Tuesday, January 31, 2006

they have internet on computers now!

Tonight ABC partnered with AOL to explore what 2002 looks like. E-mail! Blogging! Webcams! Oh, brave new world!

I wonder how Jake Tapper feels about all those years of school and experience being put to use by having him read viewer mail.

who needs the RNC when you’ve got NBC?

I am quickly flipping around the four major networks (and typing—you try it!) and I am wondering why the Republicans even need a spin room anymore. CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC—all start with the grand adjectives: “broad,” “sweeping,” “strong,” “not a lame duck.”

Oh, and now let’s marginalize the warrantless spying as an inside-the-beltway partisan squabble. . . . And the President is “saddened” by the partisan tone? Does Vice President Cankles know?

Think Progress did us all a great service with rapid response blogging of the SOTU. It is remarkable how many lies you can pack into a 45-minute speech.

Update: OK, finally a little perspective on ABC from Radatz and Zakaria. Foreign policy side of speech played like “the greatest hits of President Bush.” Gibson (on Hamas in the PA and Nukes in Iran): I heard applause lines but I didn’t hear policy. Also, Zakaria debunks Bush’s ridiculous claim about OBL wanting to take control of Iraq and use it as a staging ground for international terror. (To this point, I gotta say—wait, before the war, you said that was what Saddam was doing!)


“Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility – and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray.”

comity or comedy?

Dems applaud as Bush says Congress did not act on Social Security Reform. Bush gets awfully flustered, “Are they laughing with me or at me?”

“You’re either laughing with me, or your laughing with the terrorists!”

Oh, and, before, I saw Joseph Lieberman applauding Bush’s stupid line about cutting “discretionary” spending (read: social programs). . . he has just got to go.

Hey, Dan Clay! You gave your life for Bush’s war and now you’re a presidential shout out!

You see, if Bush had bought you that body armor, you wouldn’t be famous and your family wouldn’t have the opportunity to cry in the House chamber.

And I just gotta ask this of the Prez: How can you smile while you’re saying this? The man died!

breaking: Sheehan arrested

Inside the Capitol? Am I reading that right?

Doesn't the Prez know that seeing Democrats embrace Cindy Sheehan is really good for shoring up his base?

This also just in: The state of our union is strong. . . . phhhhh!

Alito's love triangle

Let’s do the math: 42 – 25 = 17. That’s 17. . . well, actually, it’s 16, because Tom Harkin (IA) supported the filibuster by not voting at all on cloture. . . so, OK, that’s 16 Senators who voted against Alito after voting to kill the filibuster. Sixteen Senators who think they can “triangulate”—playing both sides of an issue in the hopes of getting enough support to win an election or raise campaign funds. Sixteen Senators who have no core beliefs or values. Sixteen Senators who think that their constituents are stupid.

Here they are:

Blanche Lincoln (AR) (202) 224-4843, Mark Pryor (AR) (202) 224-2353, Ken Salazar (CO) (202) 224-5852, Joseph Lieberman (CT) (202) 224-4041, Thomas Carper (DE) (202) 224-2441, Bill Nelson (FL) (202) 224-5274, Daniel Akaka (HI) (202) 224-6361, Daniel Inouye (HI) (202) 224-3934, Mary Landrieu (LA) (202) 224-5824, Max Baucus (MT) (202) 224-2651, Byron Dorgan (ND) (202) 224-2551, Jeff Bingaman (NM) (202) 224-5521, Lincoln Chafee (RI) (202) 224-2921, Maria Cantwell (WA) (202) 224-3441, Herb Kohl (WI) (202) 224-5653, John Rockefeller (WV) (202) 224-6472

Remember, 42 votes is one more than we needed to filibuster the nomination and keep Alito off the High Court. The 16 names above are the 16 who cynically traded the future of the country for a chance at personal gain. It’s really that simple.

PS What’s up with Chuck Hagel (NE) and John Ensign (NV)? Both voted to confirm Alito after voting “present” on cloture (as good as supporting the filibuster). I guess triangles are two sided. . . .

is losing the new winning?

The blogosphere is full of postmortems on the Alito fight today (OK, some are from last night), and, guess what, we on the left won!

No, not really.

This one hurts, and it will hurt for a good long time (like the rest of Sam Alito’s natural life). I expect the new Supremos will do great harm to our rights and freedoms, our environment, our system of checks and balances, and our ability to correct these wrongs in the future. In no uncertain terms, this was a loss.

That said, if anyone were to tell you two weeks ago that 25 Senators were actually going to oppose cloture, that one of them would be a member of “the gang of 14,” that several prominent Democrats would be forced to switch sides and support the filibuster, and that all of this would be driven by a massive phone/fax/blog-a-thon, well, I think you, I, we would have said, “good luck, Captain Sunshine.”

And, it is with this spirit of hopeful optimism that I will quote Bobby Kennedy—“Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control”—and point you to two good sum-ups: Digby (at Hullabaloo) and Jane (at firedoglake).

And, of course, those two folks, and a bunch of others, got me thinking, so here’s my big fat capitoilette postmortem.

Monday, January 30, 2006


These 18 Democrats voted “Yes” on cloture, thus paving the way for Samuel Alito’s elevation to the Supreme Court.

Akaka (HI), Baucus (MT), Bingaman (NM), Byrd (WV), Cantwell (WA), Carper (DE), Dorgan (ND), Inouye (HI), Johnson (SD), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Lincoln (AR), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Rockefeller (WV), Salazar (CO)

Do you live in one of these states? Did you vote for one of these Democrats? Call and tell them (nicely, please) how disappointed you are in their unprincipled approach to our country’s future. (888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641) And, for those who will claim that they don’t support Alito, tell them voting “No” on Tuesday after voting “Yes” on Monday is the kind of triangulation real Democrats won’t stomach.

If you are lucky enough to have supported one or two of the 25 Democrats who tried to sustain a filibuster, you can call, too. Say “thank you,” because it’s nice to be noticed.

(firedoglake posts the final roll call with a link to more contact info)

it’s the values, stupid

I want more value for my values. Victory or Pyrrhic victory, Armando has a post over at Daily Kos that speaks to the real benefits to the Democratic Party of filibustering the Alito nomination.

Never mind the real harm that will come to the country should Alito don the big black robe. . . .

OK, mind. Mind a lot.

Let your fingers do the walking. . . . Democrats.com has a fantastic resource called “The Alito 48” to direct your phone calls so you get more value for your lobbying efforts—please make use of it.

Call now! Senators are waiting!

How cool would it be if Americans saw Democrats acting out of principle instead of self-interest? Really cool!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Kennedy: you don’t ever lose when fighting for principle

Yeah, well, except in real terms. . . .

BUT, there are two posts regarding the Alito filibuster over at dKos that are worth noting, and, maybe, are even heartening. First, Markos finds it ironic that:

This is probably the most united I've ever seen the Democratic establishment, that is, Democrats without offices in the U.S. Senate. Even the DLC is calling for a filibuster. Center, left, right -- all corners of the party agree.

Yes, that is ironic—and not in an Alanis Morissette kind of way, either—because all I hear on the radio or read in the papers is that this is such a lost cause (hell, they even have Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin believing it).

In another post, mcjoan writes of a conference call between Edward Kennedy and bloggers (um, oh, yoo-hoo, Senator, my number is 212. . . ) where the fabulous Teddy K encouraged all to keep calling their Senators, no matter what they might have said up till now. It is important to remind the Democrats that a principled vote is not obstructionist. And it is important to remind everyone that

Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court could turn back a generation's worth of progress in civil rights, in worker protections, in equality for women, in environmental protection, in the fight of the little guy against the corporation. And Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court will affect the generations to come. We cannot afford to refight the battles of the past 40 years during the next 40 years.

OK, with all that in mind, let’s all keep calling. Bob Fertik at democrats.com has posted a great resource that provides a whip count and a strategy for prioritizing your calls. It also lists local office numbers for all the Senators, because the Capitol Hill voicemail boxes are full! Call a few local offices today; get ready to call a bunch of DC offices on Monday.

Kennedy suggested pressuring these Senators:

Pryor, Lincoln, Cantwell, Murray, Baucus, Harkin, Levin, Bayh, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Lieberman.

In addition, he said to keep the pressure on Republican Senators Snowe, Collins, Chaffee, and Stevens. But there are more over at democrats.com. So, make some calls!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

emergency influx of whaaa???

I was going to post about how Vice President Cankles favorite homies over at Halliburton posted their most profitable year in history, and how, now that they’ve lined their pockets with just about all the Iraq redevelopment funds they’re going to get, the gang was going to really cash in by spinning off 20% of Kellogg Brown & Root in an IPO, but then I saw this:

Earlier in the week, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement awarded Halliburton a new contract valued at up to $385 million over five years.

The contract calls for KBR to build and operate new detention facilities in case of an "emergency influx of immigrants" into the country.

Emergency influx of immigrants?!? What the hell does that mean? What emergency? What immigrants? From where? Why?

And where is KBR building these “detention facilities?” Are we talking internment camps? Guantanamo? Prisons? Is this emergency something we are going to make happen? Do we already know what it is? Or is it just that we plan to round up and detain a whole mess of folks once all that nasty habeas corpus stuff is finally put to rest by the Roberts Court?

I’m seriously asking here. . . this sounds really scary!

Friday, January 27, 2006

breaking: dems looking for pyrrhic victory, er, defeat

'I was against the filibuster until I was for it.'

OK, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Harry Reid is leading from behind here. Reid and Durbin have now agreed to back a filibuster. Staffers in Clinton’s office say that she has also decided to oppose cloture. . . I have not seen an official notice of this yet, but let’s believe it while continuing to call her office.

I don’t have a whip count, but Salazar (D-CO), Menendez (D-NJ), Schumer (D-NY), and Chafee (R-RI) all need calls urging them to oppose cloture and oppose Alito. Here’s the info again:

US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 818-6641—an operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

Update: FDL reports that Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) has pledged to vote no on cloture. Jane also posts every imaginable phone number for Ken Salazar (D-CO)—so call already why dontcha!

so why can’t the dems stand up to him?

From CNN

Poll: Most think Bush is failing second term

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A majority of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate in November's congressional elections who opposes President Bush, and 58 percent consider his second term a failure so far, according to a poll released Thursday.

Fewer people consider Bush to be honest and trustworthy now than did a year ago, and 53 percent said they believe his administration deliberately misled the public about Iraq's purported weapons program before the U.S. invasion in 2003, the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found.

Americans are ripe for a vocal opposition. Call your Senators and tell them so!

Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have called for a filibuster of the unpopular President’s Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito. (Sign their petition.) Why won’t the minority leadership support them?

The New York Times agrees, “It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight.” Why doesn’t the leadership seize this moment?

Call Minority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Whip Dick Durbin—and call your own Senators—and tell them all you want to see the Senate stand up to an unpopular President. Tell them to stand up for our democracy, stand up for our Constitutional rights, and stand against the confirmation of Judge Alito. Tell them the only way to fight for what we believe is to fight against the failed ideas and bad nominees of the Republican Party. Tell the Democrats to fight—tell them to filibuster!

You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 818-6641—an operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

. . . and, of course, tell a friend.

Bush to press: I don’t know Jack!

OK, we all know this is a load of crap, but the need to lie straight to the camera, to the press, to the American people has to be called to account.

Here’s what the Prez said during Thursday’s press conference in answer to question about photos taken with Jack Abramoff:

"You know, I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don't know him."

That is a flat-out lie.

As just about everybody has noted, Abramoff was the most hooked-up lobbyist in Washington this century. He peppered the administration with close associates. He logged-in at the White House numerous times.

And, as Josh Marshall has discovered, the White House and Bush cronies are involved in an all-out cover-up of W’s relationship with Jack. Photos of Bush and Abramoff are being destroyed—digitally wiped from data bases, deleted from CDs, pulled from files—in a fast-track scrubbing of the memory banks.

God, you guys, that is so 22 years ago!

The problem is, people have seen the photos. People have seen Abramoff mix and mingle with Bush & co. And people know this smells bad (ReddHedd has a nice rundown of the shenanigans and public opinion).

Reporters in the White House pool know it, too. If the good ladies and gentlemen of the press can’t quite bring themselves to call the President a liar, the least they can do is call what this administration is doing by its proper name: cover-up.

happy birthday, Mr. Burns

No, not that one!

This one!

(though, there is a resemblance)

Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) had a birthday party on Wednesday. Or, rather, D.C. lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates—the Number one all-lobbying firm in Washington for five years running—threw Senator Burns a birthday party.

Burns, up to his knees in Abramoff money (he is the Congress’s single largest recipient of Jack-off cash), has been very visible in his support of fellow Republican John McCain’s lobbying reform bill, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to practice what he now has decided to preach.

Maybe he just didn’t see the hypocrisy? Not likely, since he already moved the party from Cassidy’s offices to the headquarters of Republican Senate Campaign Committee because of adverse publicity.

So, the biggest name on K Street is throwing parties at the RSCC HQ

. . . excellent!

gray lady to dems: grow a spine


In a Thursday editorial, the New York Times states that the elevation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court

. . . will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government — and a Senate that seems eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead.

It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination.

The editorial explains what we all already know, a SCOTUS with Strip Search Sammy will SUCK, but you can’t ignore the boffo finale:

A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.

That’s right, the New York Times and I agree, it is time for Democrats to use the “F” word. Republicans are pushing for an end to debate, so, once again, here comes the plea:

Call your two Senators, and call Minority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Whip Dick Durbin, and tell them all you want to see the Senate stand for something. Tell them to stand up for our democracy, stand up for our Constitutional rights, and stand against the confirmation of Judge Alito. Tell them the only way to stand for what we all believe is to stand against the Republican leadership—and stand for a filibuster!

You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 818-6641—an operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

. . . and tell a friend!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bush bails out Oprah

In an effort to help a fellow media star and national figure, President Bush hastily called a press conference today in order to pre-empt the Oprah Winfrey show. On today’s edition of the show, Oprah, obviously now reading her polling numbers, told her audience she was “duped” by James Frey, author of the meme-oir A Thousand Little Pieces, and by his publisher, Nan Talese.

Knowing something about making a public show of faulty intelligence, Bush chose to face the press and say nothing of consequence about yesterday’s Palestinian elections and lie through his teeth about warrantless domestic spying and his connections to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The President’s appearance caused ABC, the network that carries Oprah, to cut away from the talk show—where Winfrey was questioning Frey’s relationship with the facts—to focus on the press conference—where reporters questioned Bush’s relationship with the facts.

“I left the impression that the truth is not important,” Bush, er, Winfrey told viewers who may or may not have been viewing.

For the remainder of the hour, which will air in later time slots on many ABC affiliates, Oprah grilled Frey, whom she called “Mr. Bravado Tough Guy,” in a way we could only wish other members of the media would approach something that really matters (i.e. the President and his administration lying on several fronts to all Americans—even those that don’t watch Oprah).

“In order to get through the experience. . . I thought of myself as being tougher than I was and badder than I was,” Bush, er, Frey explained.

Update: Gawker live-blogs the show Bush didn’t want you to see!

just say no. . . by saying yes

Edward Kennedy, on the floor of the Senate Wednesday, delivered a lengthy indictment of Squirrelly Sam Alito, and a strong case for defeating his nomination. But, right at the beginning of his speech, Senator Kennedy said all we need to know:

For the Senate to become a "rubber stamp" for the judicial nominees of any President would be a betrayal of our sworn duty to the American people. Taking our responsibility seriously -- and doing the job we were sent here to do -- is not being "partisan," as some Republicans have charged. In fact, it is those Republicans who are being partisan by defending a nominee's right to remain silent when Senators ask him highly relevant questions about his constitutional values. To ask a nominee for a candid statement of his current belief about what a provision of the Constitution means is not asking for a guarantee of how he will rule in the future.

It is every bit as appropriate as reading a law review article or a case he wrote last year or a speech he gave as a judge. Unfortunately, on issue after issue, instead of answering candidly, Judge Alito merely recited the existing case law but never disclosed his view of major constitutional issues. That is a disservice to the American people, and Senators on both sides of the aisle should find his evasiveness unacceptable. The confirmation process should not be reduced to a game of hide the ball. The stakes for our country are too high.

One of the most important of all the responsibilities of the Supreme Court is to enforce the constitutional limitations on Presidential power. A Justice must have the courage and the wisdom to speak truth to power -- to tell even the President that he has gone too far.

Chief Justice John Marshall was that kind of Justice when he told President Jefferson that he had exceeded his war-making powers under the Constitution.

Justice Robert Jackson was that kind of Justice when he told President Truman that he could not misuse the Korean War as an excuse to take over the nation's steel mills.

Chief Justice Warren Burger was that kind of Justice when he told President Nixon to turn over the White House tapes on Watergate.

And Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was that kind of Justice when she told President Bush that "a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

We need that kind of Justice on the Court more than ever, and it's our duty to ensure that only that kind of justice is confirmed. Today, we have a President who believes that torture can be an acceptable practice, despite laws and treaties that explicitly prohibit it. We have a President who claims the power to arrest American citizens on American soil and jail them for years, without access to counsel or the courts. We have a President who claims he has the authority to spy on Americans without the court order required by law.

The record demonstrates that we cannot count on Judge Alito to blow the whistle when the President is out of bounds. He is a longstanding advocate for expanding executive power, even at the expense of core individual liberties. One thing is clear. Judge Alito's view of the balance of powers is inconsistent with the Supreme Court's historic role of enforcing constitutional limits on Presidential power.

Floor debate on the nomination of Samuel Alito continues today. While there are enough Republican votes to confirm him, there are more than enough Democrats in the Senate to sustain a filibuster—but they have to know that’s what we want! There is still time to call your Senators, but you’ve got to do it now. Call your two, and call Minority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Whip Dick Durbin, and tell them all you want to see the Democrats stand up to Republican bullying, stand up for our Constitutional rights, and stand against the confirmation of Judge Alito. Tell them the only way to say “No” to Alito is to say “Yes” to a filibuster!

You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 818-6641—an operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

And while you’re at it, forward this information to all your friends. Get everyone you know to make a call!

And, if you want to read more of my (and other’s) musings on the future of America under the “Bush Court,” click on over to Capitoilette.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

and you thought you were having a bad day

OK, I just opened a fortune cookie, and I really want to know, who the hell thought this was a good idea for a fortune?!?

I knew things were bad, but not that bad. . . .

. . oh, and, the smiley faces???

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

blogging for choice. . . and a filibuster

First, let me thank the organizers of “Blog for Choice” for coordinating Sunday’s demonstration of support for abortion rights. It was great to participate, and I loved looking in on all kinds of other blogs I never would have known about if not for this action.

Second, a big “thank you” to Babyitis, Bitch | Lab, and F-words for the links, the kind words, and for pointing people to my piece on capitoilette.

Now, on to matters of the day: The Senate Judiciary committee approved the Alito nomination today on a strict party-line vote, 10-8. It was a real sunny get-together, with Democrats focusing on abortion rights, other civil rights, and presidential power, and Republicans accusing the Dems of politicizing the nomination.

Yeah, right.

While Democrats like Senators Leahy and Feinstein spoke specifically of what they believed would be a detrimental shift to the right should Alito ascend to the High Court, Republican Orin Hatch whinged about how he had voted for the “liberal” Ruth Bader Ginsburg (of course, Ginsburg was sent to the Senate after several proposed Clinton nominees were rejected by Hatch during informal consultations), and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham threatened violence, saying if Democrats want to make judges a campaign issue, “we welcome that debate on our side. We'll clean your clock.”

That’s nice.

Senator Kyle (R-AZ) said the Republicans would “remember” the party-line vote in the future. In other words, he’s threatening a blind, purely political retaliation should the Dems ever be so lucky as to nominate someone to the Supreme Court in the future.

So, who is doing the politicizing here?

I say, to Hatch, Graham, and Kyle—and all their Republican comrades in arms—if they want a political fight, bring it on! And, I say to the Democrats, it’s time to stand for something big, and not just against something small.

There are lots of big ideas that the Democrats can and should turn into talking points (and action points) going into the fall, but right now, the nomination of rightwing radical Sam Alito gives them issue number one.

The Republicans have scrupulously avoided talking about real issues that might come before the court—issues that will have a day-to-day affect on the lives of Americans—and have instead talked in vague generalities and engaged in partisan preemptive attacks. Republicans have not said, for instance, “I favor corporate rights over worker rights,” or “I favor a weakening of privacy rights, or free speech rights, or civil rights, or the elimination of the right to a legal, safe abortion.”

The Democrats, with speeches before the Judiciary Committee today, made some steps toward articulating a support for the rights we hold dear, but those words and votes do not go far enough. It is time for Democrats to flat out oppose the lurch to the right that Republicans have forced on the ship of state—say that they cannot accept what Bush and the Republicans are doing to this country, and then propose a progressive agenda designed to give America back to its people. And, it is time for the Democrats to make it clear that they will go to the mat for the rights of all Americans—starting with stopping Alito.

It is time for a filibuster, and not in a shy way. American’s are ready for elected officials who stand up for their interests, and it would be easy to frame a filibuster in those terms.

Brad Blog reported over the weekend that minority whip Senator Dick Durbin said Dems are still considering the option of filibuster to stop the Alito nomination. (Alito’s approval is, thus, not the foregone conclusion virtually every major news outlet would have us believe.) Durbin stated that support for a filibuster is growing. I say, damn right it is! With each revelation about the misdeeds of the Bush administration and the abuse of power by the Congressional majority, voters become hungrier for an alternative. So, let’s give them one.

Call your Senators; tell them you want Alito kept off of the Supreme Court by any means necessary. Tell your Senators that you support a filibuster. Tell your Senators that you support a Democratic party that robustly opposes the Republican agenda, and robustly supports the rights and welfare of the American people.

You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 818-6641—a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

just a coincidence?

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

It is also the 500th anniversary of the affiliation between the Vatican and the Swiss Guard.

Just a coincidence? OK, yeah, it likely is. But, as part of “Blogging for Choice,” today’s coordinated action to help celebrate the Roe decision and raise awareness about current threats to abortion rights, I write about some possible inferences this coincidence sparks. Please take the time to read my post.

And please join me in working to protect a right we hold dear by keeping Judge Samuel Alito off of the Supreme Court:

Call your Senators—both of them—and tell them that you not only oppose the confirmation of Judge Alito, you fully support a filibuster to make sure he never takes a seat on the High Court. You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121—a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

Sign some petitions. Planned Parenthood has one here. Campus Progress has one here. (You can sign both.)

Stay active. Planned Parenthood has other things you can do to help protect choice here.

Thank you.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

republicans acknowledge drug plan is a bust

I wrote earlier in the week about the potential political fallout from the Medicare drug debacle. Well. The LA Times has a story on the Republican “response” to the problem that is so juicy I might have more than this quick hit, but this one bit is too good to keep bottled up while I try to wrap an extra thousand words around it:

Republicans have a huge stake in the program's success because they have called it one of the biggest domestic accomplishments of Bush's presidency — one that they hoped would make it harder for Democrats to mount their traditional attack on Republicans for being hostile to the concerns of the elderly.

That is why Republican congressional leaders have been urging their rank and file to talk up the benefit to constituents. House leaders are offering rewards — a bust of Ronald Reagan — to lawmakers who make extra efforts to reach out to their constituents and explain the program in town hall meetings, mailings and more.

No way! A whole bust!?! Damn if it don't make me wish I were a Republican lawmaker, just so I could break the system, fuck-over the vulnerable, and then come to their rescue by explaining that I am actually acting in their interests, no matter what they mistakenly think they are really going through.

You just can’t make this shit up. . . .

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cheney surrenders!

Faced with a continued probe into his connections to the Plame affair, the growing Abramoff scandal, an ongoing disaster in Iraq, accusations of violating federal laws by spying on US citizens without a warrant, renewed threats from Osama bin Laden, and incredibly bad choices in quality footwear, Vice President Cankles gave up today. “I surrender,” he said to an assembled crowd of cronies and yes-men, “you win.”

No. Not really!

Rather, Veep Dick told an assembled crowd of cronies and yes-men that warrantless domestic eavesdropping was “critical to national security.” (Never mind that he can’t tell us how or why it is critical. . . .)

Another face of this charm offensive, Attorney General Roberto Gonzalez, used The Federalist Papers—yes those Federalist Papers—as a justification for the administration’s domestic intelligence abuse. He also dragged in selected parts of the Constitution and cherry-picked from a bunch of casual writings by former presidents to assemble a 42-page “report” that reads like a high school term paper.

The “analysis” was ordered by Gonzo because he thought the conclusions of the January 6 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service were just too, uh, nonpartisan. (The CRS report “challenged virtually all the main legal justifications the administration had cited for the program.”)

The CRS report was especially critical of White House claims that the post-9/11 authorization by Congress to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against terrorists justified the NSA wiretaps.

Fuck that noise, says the Justice Department paper. “The Congressional authorization on the use of force places the president at the zenith of his powers in authorizing the N.S.A. activities.”

Oooh, “zenith.” Somebody got a word-a-day calendar for Christmas.

Just to give equal time, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), read the DoJ’s thoughts and said, “The administration's latest justification for circumventing the law to spy on Americans falls far short of answering the many questions Congress and the American people have about this activity.”

Um, yeah. . . a little.

breaking: Bush chooses to perpetuate war on terror

Oh, ScottyMac, you make this too easy!

From Thursday’s WH briefing:

MR. McCLELLAN: And as I indicated, clearly, the al Qaeda leaders and the terrorists are on the run. They're under a lot of pressure. We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business. The terrorists started this war, and the President made it clear that we will end it at a time and place of our choosing.

So, let’s just recap: The terrorists started the war, but it is the administration that gets to choose when to end it. . . and since the war on terror is not yet over, it is because the President has chosen not to end it. So, Bush wants the war on terror to continue. . . at least for the time being.

That’s the only way to read it, folks!

I say let’s all write to GWB and say we are tired of the war on terror and would like to be over now. . . do you think he’ll listen?

I guess if he doesn’t listen re: that other war, then why now, huh?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

mister inside and mister. . . inside

I hate to traffic in what a major news outlet might still classify as rumor, but this is just too outrageous to keep to myself. Josh Marshall, AmericaBlog, and Josh Orton (of dKos) all follow-up on an appearance by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY28) on Air America. There, Rep. Slaughter reported that day-traders were operating out of the Congressional offices of Senate Majority leader Bill Frist and former House Majority leader Tom Delay, trading on insider information.

"I'm going to track this down, I know it's true," Slaughter told us, "that Frist, DeLay and probably others had some day traders working out of their offices." Those working out of the Congressional offices "would find out there's a bill being written by lobbyists, that there would be no asbestos bill ... and when the market opened the next day, the cost of asbestos stock had doubled."

I guess I shouldn’t be so amazed—I mean, the greed of this kleptocracy knows no bounds—but it is just so incredible to think that these guys believed they could get away with it.

Oh, wait, they did get away with it.

Update: Oh my god, you guys! It turns out it’s legal! Yes, it may smell like three-month-old chicken parts, but it is not illegal to peddle inside information on pending legislation for purposes of making a killing in the stock market. No, this is not a joke. Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA3) appeared on Air America Thursday to say just that. He also said he will introduce a bill designed to prevent this in the future. . . and when I’m old and gray and the Democrats are back in control, maybe it will become a law.

mmmm, donuts. . . .

Michael Hiltzik has started a great series on the disastrous repercussions of Bush’s Medicare drug scheme as evidenced in California.

The Medicare drug benefit is shaping up as the single most cynical scam perpetrated by the Bush Administration on American consumers. Designed to maximize profits for drugmakers and health insurers, the program was launched so ineptly Jan. 1 that hundreds of thousands of patients have been prevented by computer glitches from filling their prescriptions. California and 25 other states have had to step in temporarily to pay for improperly rejected prescription claims.

California has had to fill 34,000 prescriptions in just the last week, and the feds, now looking at a $700 billion price tag for privatization (a 75% overrun), have made it clear that no state will be getting reimbursed for its “good will.”

As one doctor interviewed for the piece sums it up, “As a patient, you are totally hoodwinked by this system. It's not just an economic tragedy; it's a moral tragedy.”

And this tragedy will compound as each senior’s annual drug costs top $2,251 and the “donut hole” kicks in.

Of course, as I discuss on capitoilette, this is buck-passing as usual for the Bush administration. But maybe, just maybe, this bitter donut will taste a little sweeter come November.

compare and contrast

Good to see we’ve got our priorities straight.

Feds Probe D.C. School Prank
Georgetown landmark raided after e-mail hack at tony institution

[smoking gun]

U.S. Seeks Google Records in Pornography Inquiry

'Bin Laden tape' warns of attacks
Arabic TV station al-Jazeera has broadcast an audio tape it says is by the al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.


meet your new friends, Sam

The Supremes handed down a ruling Tuesday on Oregon’s “Death With Dignity” law. No matter what your feelings on physician-assisted suicide, the six to three decision bodes ill for the future—not because of the six in the majority, but because of the three in dissent.

The six in the majority, speaking through Justice Kennedy’s opinion, sided with a literal interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act, ruling that then Attorney General Ashcroft overstepped his authority when he tried to use the 1970 act to cancel-out Oregon’s twice-ratified law. The opinion did not say that Congress couldn’t pass a new law specifically banning physician-assisted suicide.

The dissenting justices chose an activist path, inventing a new use for the Controlled Substances Act that was not even hinted at in the bill or its legislative history. They also chose to side against the decisions of two lower appeals courts.

Two of the dissenting justices are no surprise—they are the high court’s most activist judges, Scalia and Thomas. Joining them, in what looks all too much like a harbinger of things to come, was that paragon of precedent, that stud of stare decisis, that literal legal eagle, Chief Justice John Roberts. If this is the result after Roberts’s proclamations of judicial restraint at his confirmation hearing, one can’t help but ask whom Sam Alito will side with if he joins the court. Given Alito’s decidedly lower level of commitment to legislative intent and judicial precedent, it looks like Antonin, Clarence, and John will have a new playmate.

[I will likely mention this again, but now would be a good time to call your Senators. Tell them that you don’t want to see Sam Alito on the Supreme Court, and that you expect your elected proxies in this fight to do everything in their power to stop his confirmation—that means a “no” vote, and a vote to sustain a filibuster, if necessary. You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121—a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request. You can also sign this petition (but please try to make the calls, too).]

why you gotta be hatin’?

Good ol’ “Beam me up Scotty” McClellan, White House Press Secretary, not content with simply bullshitting folks who are paid to sit in a room with him (the White House press corps), he now has to take out his frustration on Bloggers.

QUESTION: There are allegations that we sent people to Syria to be tortured…


QUESTION: Yes. You’ve never heard of any allegations like that?

MCCLELLAN: No, I’ve never heard that one. That’s a new one.

QUESTION: Syria? You haven’t heard that?

MCCLELLAN: That’s a new one.

QUESTION: Well, I can assure you it’s been well publicized. My question is…

MCCLELLAN: By what, bloggers?

Hey, ScottyMac, your job might suck even more than your lies, but that’s no reason to be so naaaaasty! Like dad always said, nobody likes a smartass. . . but you already knew that, didn’t you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

file under “quelle surprise”

The New York Times “reveals” today that the Bush administration lied in the run-up to the Iraq war.

OK, the lie is not “news” to us, but the new documentation is. And, no matter how many times we are reminded of the deceit, it still matters.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

happy birthday, Ben

The above scan is from the title page of the first (1759) edition of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. As Richard Minsky details, there is some controversy over whether it was even written by Ben Franklin, who “celebrates” his 300th birthday today, January 17. Minsky concludes that Franklin probably can be credited with the quote as worded above, but the scan is important because the statement has been misquoted and rewritten so often as to, in some cases, render it meaningless.

So, one time, for Ben’s birthday, everybody—yes that means you Mr. President, and your hacks in the Department of Justice, and your friends in Congress and at the NSA, and Judge Alito, and your future buddies on the Supreme Court—say it with me:

“Those who would give up ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither LIBERTY nor SAFETY.”


It is said that to love New York is to always be heartbroken, but lately I’ve been getting it broke into seventeen pieces. Hot on the heels of the Beatrice Inn and the Second Avenue Deli comes the closing of McHale’s, a 73-year-old bar at 8th Avenue and 46th street.

Originally opened as the Gaiety Café—the side windows still retain etched “Gaiety” logos—the McHale family bought the place in the early ‘50’s and added their name to the fabulous neon that wraps around the building’s corner. I stopped by earlier to pay my last respects and snap some pictures on what was rumored to be the bar’s last night (owner Jimmy McHale wouldn’t confirm or deny).

McHale’s was one of the few places left where you could sit down and order chops and a beer and feel like you were in a black and white movie (like for real, not like some faux-ty-second street theme park). It was also the rare cheap, good meal and/or drink in the Theater District.

And now it’s gone, soon to be torn down and replaced with 42 stories of luxury ugly.

It occurs to me that I have now been to the last night at Magoo’s, McGlade’s, and McHale’s. (There was also the last night at Grand Ticino a few years ago, but that’s a story unto itself. . . and it doesn’t start with an “M.”) None of these places would have closed when they did if rent and/or development pressures hadn’t forced the issue. Like I said up top, I know the city is always reinventing itself, but there is a perceptible change in the pace and type of reinvention. (I admit that Magoo’s and McGlade’s were quite a while ago, but my point still holds.)

It’s probably too much to ask of New York’s pro-big-deal-development mayor, but somebody with a little pull in this city really needs to call a time out so that everybody can think about what makes this place so popular that we need all this extra luxury housing stock.

I’d argue it is (was) places like McHale’s and the people who went there much more than it is any anonymous high-rise and the people who will blindly pay luxury prices to live at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 46th Street.

In other disappearing New York news, Untitled, a great postcard store that has been on Prince Street for 39 years, is closing at the end of business today. The owners blame e-mail, but I blame the lack of commercial rent control.

Monday, January 16, 2006

quite possibly the best blonde joke. ever.

Those folks at LibCo sure know how to tell a joke.

Make sure you read all the way to the end.

the specter of impeachment

You know, if this keeps happening, I’m going to have to actually get up on Sunday mornings. Yesterday, I mentioned McCain’s callous words on Face the Nation, and now I see that Senator Arlen Specter dropped the “I” bomb on ABC’s This Week.

Let me just give you this headline:

Specter: If Bush Broke The Law With Warrantless Spying, Impeachment Is A Remedy

And this link. (It’s good stuff, I promise.)

And before you all go off on me, let just state for the record that I know impeachment is a pipe dream without Democratic majorities in Congress, and would still be a long shot even if the Dems pull off a miracle in November. And, let me also say that I don’t trust Specter—he’s made a career out of putting things on the table, only to ignore them (drawing a line in the sand about Roe and judgeships, for instance)—but it is very interesting that this man, most likely in his last term, would toss this out there, on his own, and quite clearly.

How’s about some leading Democrats hop on the bandwagon?
Update: Shake's Sis finds one Dem who did today. . . unfortunately, he no longer has a real job.

today is MLK day. . .

. . . it is a national holiday. . . just like Christmas, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July. . . if you are at work, go home!

This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love.

—Martin Luther King
Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence
Delivered April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church, NYC

I urge you to read the whole speech. It’s long, but its timeliness is chilling.

(There's more timely King quoting today on capitoilette.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

just in case you forgot: John McCain is an asshole

“It's terrible when innocent people are killed. We regret that. But we have to do what we think is necessary to take out Al Qaeda, particularly the top operatives,” US Senator John McCain told CBS television's Face the Nation.

“We regret it. We understand the anger that people feel, but the United States’ priorities are to get rid of Al Qaeda, and this was an effort to do so. We apologize, but I can't tell you that we wouldn't do the same thing again.”

Those were McCain’s words, but what is his rationale?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

photo caption contest

This pic was resurrected by The First Post, and I just had to share. In case you can’t read the fine print, it says, “On the day Memoirs Of A Geisha premiers in London, a flashback to January 1974 when Donald Rumsfeld, then Gerald Ford’s Chief of Staff, entertained a geisha on an official visit to Kyoto.”

Well, that’s accurate, but dry. Surely this picture is worth at least nine or ten carefully chosen words. I welcome all submissions. I can’t say what the prize will be beyond the recognition and love of the adoring masses. . . . It’s an honor just to compete, right? I will post a winner (if I get a winner).

Here, I’ll start the ball rolling:

“For my next trick, I will destroy the American Military. . . .”


“When W saw what Donald could do with just his nose and a straw, George knew he’d met his soul-mate.”

I’m not thrilled with either of those. I know you can do better.

Friday, January 13, 2006

hot time in the old town: urban renewal begins in NOLA

I’m sorry, but nothing in the story says, was this a planned burning, an accident, or an “accident?”

Bill Haber/Associated Press

A fire was burning in a 100-foot-high pile of hurricane debris in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Debris Fire Burns in New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A smoky fire was burning Friday in a 100-foot-high pile of furniture, refrigerators and other hurricane debris in the city's hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward.

The fire, reported late Thursday, covered about 4.6 acres and was largely under control, firefighters said. They were dropping water from helicopters and planned to let the blaze burn itself out.

No injuries were reported. The area remains largely uninhabited due to the extent of the damage from Hurricane Katrina's floods.

The pile included wood, furniture, water heaters, stoves and refrigerators.

sorry for the clip show

It’s the end of a dark week, and I’m not saying that just because I never see the sun. January is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months of the Iraq war, Strip Search Sam looks like a lock for the high court, and Vice President Cankles was released from the hospital. So, rather than give you any more long form cynicism, I thought I’d end the week with a quick survey of this great Web of ours.

‘bucks in da ‘hood
Lemme hear ya’ say, SoBro! So So So So SoBro! NY realty wonk Barbara Corcoran puts the South Bronx on her hot ‘hoods list.

Macy’s parent Federated selling Lord & Taylor to concentrate on making country more boring.
That said, how excited am I to eat a burger in Bloomingdales? Very.

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a slob.
Shoe Lover solicits nominations for ”Best Dressed Blogger."

Steve Jobs also ignores FISA courts, engages in secret warrantless domestic spying.
Though I don’t think Jobs took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

Making the world safe for monogamy.
Save that cash and buy yourself some body armor, boys, the hookers are now off limits!

But can somebody please get Condi laid—apparently it would make everything a whole lot better. (t.o.t.h. to Wonkette)

Ted to write for the New York Times; Dave to anchor for Al Jazeera.
I might finally have to get cable, but there is still no way in hell I’m paying for “Times Select.”

Sam Alito is a robot from outer space programmed to lie with every breath.
(I don’t have a link to anything, I just know.)


God likes funnel cakes less than I thought. Last Friday, I noted the apparent conflict of interest involved in selling part of your country to a man that has called for the lord to smite your elected leader. Well, after being reminded of what a complete asshole Pat Robertson really is, Israel decided to punish the fundamentalist cleric and cancel the deal. So, now, Robertson has apologized. I’ll wait to see if Israel lets bygones be bygones.

You oughta be in pictures. Also last Friday, I noted what an empty lot of hoo-hah Bush’s council of Secretaries was. Arthur Schlesinger told Lauren Bacall he agrees (don’t know if he also used the word “hoo-hah”).

Because a mine is a terrible thing to waste. Last Thursday, I drew a connection between Bush administration mine safety policy and the Sago disaster. Knight Ridder and Daniel Schorr see it, too.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

is Texas the new black?

Not likely. . . . But it might be the new Mississippi.

scientists find candy in space

Dark candy.

Not content with making us cringe as we walk down the supermarket aisle, scientists have boldly taken a terrible naming trend where no one has gone before. Yes, from the good folks who brought you fruit twisters, milk chillers, salad shakers, and jalapeño poppers comes that new taste sensation, gamma ray bursters!

I’m sorry, maybe there’s a good scientific reason for using this construction, but the now well-established consumer product naming trend of taking a verb and adding “ers” to it is like nails on a chalkboard to me (actually, nails on a chalkboard don’t bother me that much, but anyway). It’s the worst thing since the croissan’wich. Is anybody with me on this one?

By the way, gamma way bursters are one of the latest entries in the “why is the universe expanding and why is it getting faster” derby. (My theory? It’s all rolling down hill.) I don’t know much about quantum physics, but it sounds like a big deal (you’ll have to listen to the audio stream to hear the scientist use the term “bursters.” The good writers over at NPR couldn’t bring themselves to actually scrawl it on the web page). In fact, there are more than a couple of people out there (OK, on the Internet) that think we will all be killed by gamma ray bursters!

Is that sort of like death by chocolate. . . dippers?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I take the snot from my nose and smear it all over my face

Two guys have decided to walk to the North Pole in the dead of winter, which sounds crazy enough, but one of them shared his secret for warding off frostbite. Yup, the snot thing. Apparently it freezes and forms a functional (and very fashionable) ice mask.

I’m not an arctic explorer—not much of the outdoorsy type at all, really—but it seems to me, at this point in our evolution, there would be something better. . . but I really don’t know. If there are folks out there who do know about these things, please let me know. I’m curious.

Oh, and one more thing, these two guys, Borge and Mike, are attempting to be the first men to walk 620 miles to the North Pole, unsupported, in the total darkness of Arctic winter. Now, I’m all for challenges, and I think I understand the allure of being the first to do something that’s never been done and all, but when you have to start adding little extra impairments (walking, unsupported, in the dark) to make it still be a first, well, I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem as, uh, firsty.

But, with that in mind, I am hereby announcing my intention to be the first man in New York to blog all night without artificial stimulants. . . while listening to streaming audio. . . and eating a whole box of Mallomars. . . during a rainstorm. . . this year.

total fox. . . or total hedgehog?

Atrios wonders what’s up with Jeffrey here.

I try to explain here.

lefty-ist or lefty-est?

I mean, I’m trying to decide how hard I should laugh.

In listening to Tuesday’s Alito hearings, I caught Orin Hatch making this statement:

I don’t know a judge alive who has been on the bench 15 years that doesn’t have, uh, cases that some of our lefty-ist members, uh, disagree with.

. . . or is it “lefty-est members?” Orin, I gotta know! Are you defining a new fringe of the Democratic Party—the leftyists—or are you saying that only the very most “lefty” members—the lefty-est—could possibly disagree with anything—anything at all—decreed by Strip Search Sam?

Am I supposed to assume that everyone else in the Senate has zero degree of difference with Alito. . . or only the righty-est members? Or is that righty-ist?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

dark prince gets dressed in the dark

In a more serious, um, vein, it is possible the Veep’s swollen feet are not gout, but a sign of congestive heart failure. (And that shortness of breath thing could be another symptom.) A little searching found that I’m not the first one to have this thought—Cheney's feet have been swelling for years.

the gnome who would be king

The angry lawn gnome. . . .

So glad he’s out of the hospital and back to his normal, cheerful self.

It just occurred to me that Dick not only advocates ruling like an 18th Century monarch, but what with the heart disease and, now, the gout, he must have the diet of one, too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

file under "wtf?!?"

Something a lot of us might have missed because of the New Year’s holiday (I know I did): When President Bush signed the Defense Appropriations Bill that contained Senator McCain’s so-called “torture ban” amendment, he also issued what is called a “signing statement.”

Now, I like to think I pay attention to the finer points of Washingtonalia, but the concept of signing statements was news to me when I heard about it on Sunday’s All Thing’s Considered. Apparently, though they date back to Andrew Jackson, signing statements didn’t really come into vogue until the second term of the Reagan administration, when Ed Meese ran the Justice Department (is this setting off any alarms? Yeah, me too).

History aside, here’s the bottom line on Bush’s recent signing statement (which was posted on the White House website, but not publicized anywhere else): The president has said in no uncertain terms that even though he signed the torture ban into law, he has no intention of obeying it.

Really. This is not a joke. This is not hyperbole. GWB has explicitly reserved the right to violate the law. And why bother reserving such a gruesome right unless. . . yeah.

is it Sharon envy?

And is that foot medication designed to keep him from putting it in his mouth?

Cheney hospitalized with shortness of breath
Medication for foot problem causes vice president to retain fluid

horses, horses, comin' in in all directions. . . .

OK, hang on a minute. . . . Reining? Reining??? Yeah, that’s its official name. Some folks call it “cowboy dressage.” Whatever. I just saw this piece on the news, and, apparently, we’re all about to call it an Olympic sport. Folks dressed up in cowboy boots and chaps making their horses spin in circles and walk backward. I dunno, sounds like an event more suited to three rings than five, but again, whatever. . . .

Honestly, I think just about everything should be an Olympic sport if it gives somebody joy and you can come up with an intelligent way to separate the winners from the losers (oops, that nixes figure skating), but the talk of making reining an Olympic sport comes just months after the IOC decided to eliminate baseball and softball from the summer games, starting in 2012.

Baseball and softball—great, competitive, team sports, with a large pool of talented amateur athletes in North and South America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim, and Australia—or. . . reining. . . with. . . cowboys. . . in boots and chaps. . . and cowboy hats. . . and horses, I guess. Now, I know I can blame George W. Bush for the demise of baseball and softball (I’m not kidding—don’t buy the official spin that it was about steroids and not letting the pros play—there was talk at the time that members of the IOC were just sticking it to the US for its go-it-alone foreign policy, you know, like Iraq, and Kyoto. . .), but how do I explain the ascension of. . . reining?

Is Brokeback Mountain really that popular?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

file under "new coke"

Maybe I’m just too old school for cool, but this seems like a really bad idea. I know Kodak needs to reposition its brand for the digital age, but to mess with one of the few thing you still have—an iconic and internationally recognized ID—seems to just cast the brand adrift before it has a signature product to replace analog/chemical film. Plus, the new logo sucks.

You know what else sucks? The future. That is if gizmodo’s comprehensive dump of gadgets from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is any indication. I’m probably just not geeky enough to realize how a wireless washing machine monitor and a seven-foot TV screen are going to rock my paradigm.

The vibrating chocolate penis, however. . . . (But why only milk chocolate?)