Saturday, December 31, 2005

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Just another Saturday morning at Chez Musclehead. Not really, though, because Frankie is off at the shelter for adoption day. As much as I am attached to the crazy little guy, I really hope he finds a permanent home. He deserves it!

Update: Frankie was NOT adopted today (silly people overlooked the best guy there), so he is still in residence at the Musclehead compound and will spending New Year's Eve with us.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Borrow and Spend

Remember back in the good old days, back when the GOP at least paid lip service to fiscal responsibility? Well, those days are long gone, as the Bushies have requested another increase in the debt ceiling from Congress. This would be the second increase in the debt limit in 14 months.

The GOP needs to admit to the American people that its slavish adherence to massive tax cuts for the wealthy come at a price to future generations. Bush and his buddies in the Republican Congress have managed to turn huge surpluses as far as the eye could see into a tsunami of red ink in a little over five years. Good work, assholes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sometimes I Even Write Letters to the Editor

This is in one of the two weeklies that cover my hometown. Now y'all can find out my name and where I grew up. Lucky you.

What About the Easter Bunny?

According to the Harris Poll, a sizable number of morons (Americans) believe that Saddam and Iraq were involved in 9-11. A staggering 22% believe that Saddam helped plan 9-11 and 24% believe that several of the hijackers were Iraqis. And, let's not forget that 26% who still believe Iraq had WMD when we invaded.

I suppose, though, that this is good news insofar that the numbers have come down since February. What is really shocking is the inability of FACTS to trump beliefs for this one-quarter of our population. One would have to surmise that these are the same folks tuned into Faux News, Limbaugh and other right wing propaganda outlets. The same people who want "intelligent" design taught alongside real science. And the same braindead zombies who believe there is some sort of war on Christmas.

In other words, nearly one in four Americans continues to live in a world devoid of reality. A world where black is white and up is down. A truly Orwellian place where an AWOL cokehead is more patriotic than a decorated veteran. And a place where leaking a covert CIA operative's identity for political gain is jim-dandy, but a whistleblower alerting us to illegal surveillance is a traitor.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Who Needs Truth Anyway?

Cal Thomas, conservative jerkoff, thinks that religious folks ought to take their kids out of the public schools. Instead, he believes they should " place them in private schools -- or home school them -- where they will be taught the truth, according to their parents' beliefs." So now the truth is something relative to one's beliefs? Pardon me, but didn't the right used to rail about relativism?

But now who needs all these eggheads and their book learning? All we need is that one good book and some loony preacher man to tell us what is truth. Scientists and people with fancy degrees don't know nothing. I learned everything I need to know from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

God, please do me this one favor- strike down your moronic followers before they do further damage to my country.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sophie and Frankie Blogging

More recent (as in about 10 minutes ago) pics of Sophie the wonder dog. Her partner is our foster for the holidays, Frankie. He is available for adoption at Atlanta Pet Rescue.

(Update: Apparently whatever person used to own Frankie didn't treat him regularly for heartworms (nor did they neuter him). So, he had to recevie HW treatment recently. He is now suffering a complication from the treatment and is on his way to the vet today. Please include him in your prayers.)

Just 'Cos I Live in a Red State

Doesn't mean that I can't have a good, blue Congressman. John Lewis said that Bushie should be impeached if he authorized spying on Americans, in contravention of US law. Money quote--
"Its a very serious charge, but he violated the law," said Lewis, a former civil rights leader. "The president should abide by the law. He deliberately, systematically violated the law. He is not King, he is president."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sophie Blogging

This is an older pic of our daughter. I will try to do a new pic every week. Kinda like the other cool blogs with animal pics. (But no frigging cats on this site!)

Just a Goddamned Piece of Paper?

Apparently, that is what Bushie the wonder chimp thinks of the Constitution. According to people present for a recent meeting about the Patriot Act renewal-
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Fan-fucking-tastic. At least now we know for sure what that asshole thinks of our Founding Fathers and the tens of thousands of men and women who gave their lives to defend and protect America since 1789.

Bob Barr is Right

Although this has been referenced quite a bit already in the blogopshere, it bears repeating. Bob Barr basically tears Chimpy and his apologists (here Congressman Rohrabacher) a new one on the illegal spying.

BOB BARR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What's wrong with it is several-fold. One, it's bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it's bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without court order.

BARR: Well, the fact of the matter is that the Constitution is the Constitution, and I took an oath to abide by it. My good friend, my former colleague, Dana Rohrabacher, did and the president did. And I don't really care very much whether or not it can be justified based on some hypothetical. The fact of the matter is that, if you have any government official who deliberately orders that federal law be violated despite the best of motives, that certainly ought to be of concern to us.

BARR: Here again, this is absolutely a bizarre conversation where you have a member of Congress saying that it's okay for the president of the United States to ignore U.S. law, to ignore the Constitution, simply because we are in an undeclared war.

The fact of the matter is the law prohibits -- specifically prohibits -- what apparently was done in this case, and for a member of Congress to say, oh, that doesn't matter, I'm proud that the president violated the law is absolutely astounding, Wolf.

Let's See If I Have This Right

I admit to a bit of confusion (snark) with respect to national security and the latest news. So, I need to put it all down to try to make some sense of it all.

(1)Circumventing the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court is jim dandy. And those who would report on it, or challenge Chimpy's powers are traitorous scum who jeopardize national security.

(2)The leak and subsequent report of secret US prisons abroad (where one would have to presume they torture) is detrimental to national security.

(3)Leaking a covert CIA operative's identity in order to discredit her husband, an administration critic, is a-okay. Not only that, but it is patriotic.

Welcome to bizarro world.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Random Baker's Dozen

My holiday present to y'all--

(1)Modest Mouse- World at Large. Though I like MM, many of their songs sound alike.

(2)Morrissey- All the Lazy Dykes. Most dykes I know are quite energetic. So I am not sure what Moz is on about.

(3)Weezer- Dope Nose. Call me crazy, but I still think Bush should have used this as his campaign theme.

(4)Lemon Jelly- Return to Patagonia. This was just to show how hip I am.

(5)John Vanderslice- Heated Pool and Bar. An appropriate song for these times--
I’m a guard in guantanamo
I bring the prisoners in
the hoods come off and torture slowly begins

the screams I’ve overheard
it’d fuck up a weaker man
but I’m cold, I’m so untouchable

and you can’t be nice
I got a flak jacket
on my soul with me tonight
and you can’t be good

(6)Death from Above 1979- Go Home, Get Down. Rock n roll, bitches! By the way, their remix album (Romance Bloody Romance) is a good one.

(7)Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- Clap Your Hands. It's a carnival. It's a song. It can be annoying.

(8)Moose- Won't Look for Love. And I won't look for WMD, so we're equal. On a side note, this album is worth having if only for its title, High Ball Me.

(9)Kelley Polar- My Beauty in the Moon. Just added this to the iPod today.

(10)Danger Doom- Perfect Hair. Any track with Shake (from Aqua Teen Hunger Force) is worth a spin or two.

(11)Atmosphere- Pour Me Another. Protein shake?

(12)Cannibal Ox- Straight off the D.I.C..Cheney? A song about Big Time Torturer?

(13)TW Walsh- Old Fashioned Way of Speaking. Last time I saw TW was as the bassist for Pedro the Lion.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Best Ever?

In the December issue of Muscular Development they pose the question of whether or not Ronnie Coleman is the greatest bodybuilder of all time. Now, MD didn't ask me for my opinion, so I will give it to you here.

First of all, I am not sure that I even agree with the notion that there is any one best bodybuilder of all time. Each generation brings with it new competitors, new nutrition and training information and new supplements. It's sort of like comparing Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. Nevertheless, I will play along with the premise.

It comes down to three contenders- Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney, or Dorian Yates. But wait, you say, what about Arnold? Sure, the Australian Oak was a great bodybuilder, but there is a significant difference between Arnold and more recent Mr. Olympias. First, Arnold did not have the sort of competition that Dorian, Lee or Ronnie have had. Second, while Arnold had incredible genetics and drive, his overall development cannot compare to the other three.

So, who is the best ever? One could make an argument for any of the above, but I would pick Lee Haney. While Ronnie has now tied Lee's record of eight consecutive Mr. O's, and Ronnie is genuinely a nice guy, he just does not have the aesthetics that Lee had. Haney was a monster of mass, but still retained very pleasing lines, including one of the sport's best v-tapers.

For an absolute freak of muscle mass, Ronnie has great striations and condition, but too often he has come to shows with a bloated stomach and slightly off conditioning. This is no way is meant to take away from Ronnie, for he is a great bodybuilder. But, at least for now, Lee reigns supreme.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday Random Ten (now with ratings... boo yeah!)

Direct from the iPod

(1)The White Stripes- Black Math You know, for awhile I really liked the direction of indie rock going towards a more 70's garage sound. But now that the major labels have picked up every wannabe White Stripes, I just can't feel the same joy. (6/10)

(2)Broadcast- Bit 35 I had almost forgotten about these guys, until seeing a review of Tender Buttons somewhere. Glad to have been reminded. (7/10)

(3)Mull Historical Society- Barcode Bypass My brain really wants to say that this is Brit pop for people who don't like Brit pop. Why do I want to say that? I'm not sure. Perhaps it is because Mull is a wee bit less fey than some other Brit poppers. And, yes, I know Coldplay is not overly fey, but they are more arena rock than Brit pop (heck, they want to be U2). (6/10)

(4)The Warlocks- The Tangent Ok, a ton of people loathe these guys. But there is something about them that I find appealing. Perhaps it is their love for Velvet Underground. (7/10)

(5)Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- The Ballad of the Sin Eater Boy, Hanna really hates this band. (And you didn't think they could hate you, now did you?) Everytime I play it, she leaves the room. And, quite honestly, the rest of the album does not live up to Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone? (5/10)

(6)Dungen- Gjort Bort Sig I have no idea what the hell these guys are singing about, but they are from Sweden. There is some unwritten indie hipster rule about being into one band that doesn't sing in english. Even if they sang in Southern accents, their spacey guitar play would be worth the listen. (8/10)

(7)Head of Femur- Manhattan I think someone convinced me that since I was so into Bright Eyes, I'd dig this band. That person was very wise (maybe it was me). Actually there is a Bright Eyes member in the band and another who plays on records, apparently. The vocals are not as raw as Conor's, but still quite good. I'd call this music for rainy days or depressive nights. (8/10)

(8)Atmosphere- That Night This is probably the most meaningful song on my iPod. It tales the story of a 16 year old girl who was raped and killed trying to get backstage at an Atmosphere show in New Mexico. The killer had a prior conviction for raping a four year old. I think some of the lyrics are worth a look

She was sixteen
another young angel with clipped wings
she came to the shows
but I never met her
don't even know if she was listening
that night, we lost a supporter
that night, somebody lost a daughter
he raped and killed her at the venue
I can't comprehend what her friends must've went through
that night, the sun went dark
now watch everyone on the tour bus fall apart
that night, Lord have mercy
the music died that night in Albuquerque

I become another number that wants you to suffer
you're locked up for now
you have no more chances to steal the children's laughs
and if you ever find God, better pray to her
and ask that we never cross paths

(9)TV on the Radio- The Wrong Way These guys mix so much into an album, that it is hard to describe just what they are all about. I mean, aside from some really good music. There is some post-punk, some jazz, some electronic knob twidling. If forced to categorize it, I'd probably go with art rock, which may be especially apt since two of the three members of the band are artists. (7/10)

(10)Weezer- Simple Pages For years after the Buddy Holly song I could not stand to hear this band. Somewhere down the road I became less bitter (maybe because they were no longer emptyvee's flavor of the month?) and I have all their albums on my iPod. And while their songs will never be among the pantheon of creative indie pop-dom, they are very catchy, easy to sing along to and accessible for people outside of the indie clique. (7/10)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

This Is What the Bush Administration Thinks Its Fallen Soldiers Deserve?

We all know that the chickenhawk Bushies care little about sending other people's sons and daughters to their deaths in Iraq. But this is simply un-fucking-believably wrong. Basically, dead soldiers are being shipped home from Dover (DE) on commercial flights as freight. There is no flag draped over the coffin, no military honor guard to meet the coffin, etc.

This is more than unacceptable. This is disrespectful of the men and women who have given their lives. This is a disgrace to America itself.

And, please spare me the argument about how the coffins are initially greeted at Dover by proper military protocol and that maybe it is too expensive to fire up a military plane to fly one or two coffins across the country. That is simply bullshit. What price can we put on the life of a dead soldier? What does his/her sacrifice mean not only to their family, but to our country?

I don't care if it costs millions of dollars to fly these dead soldiers home on military aircraft and be met by an honor guard. (Maybe if we didn't give away so many tax cuts to the millionaires we could afford to do so.) Either the Bushies don't know or don't care how to honor our fallen heroes.

(hat-tip: americablog)

Alternate Universe

Visiting the right side of the blogosphere is a rather surreal endeavor. If you have never been there, and I can understand why a sane person would decide not to, it is truly an alternate universe. One might even say it is a bit Orwellian. From the supposed war on xmas to the belief that the Iraq war is going well, the right side of the universe is more than a bit out of synch with reality.

First, let's look a bit more into this supposed war on xmas. Up until about two or three years ago, most conservative (and even many liberal) christians decried the over-commercialization of christmas. After all, what does running up your visa and mastercard or standing in line for an Xbox have to do with the christian savior? But now, the same people who lamented the crassness of the holiday are ready to take up arms against those retailers, and others, who dare to wish them a "happy holiday" rather than a "merry christmas."

It's hard to see what has changed, in substance, over the past few years. The only difference is that the right wing media empire has made hay of this supposed war on xmas. From Falafel Bill O to John Gibson, the outrage seems to seep out like blood from a stuck pig. But it would seem that Billy and Johnny have taken their cues from the overall Republican strategy to keep "conservatives" feeling as though they are under siege.

This has been a common theme for the past twenty or more years. One has to look no further than abortion to see how the GOP has used "moral" issues to divide the country. After all, the GOP has had ample power and opportunity to roll back the clock on Roe, yet they have done nothing more than pay lip service to ending abortion. Unfortunately, the people who continue to support the GOP seem to be too ignorant to realize they are being played for fools.

It is these same people who imagine that the liberal, humanists control the country. I cannot count how many times right wing bloggers and their commenters have made use of this strawman/ghost. Do these people not realize that the GOP controls all three branches of government and the vast majority of corporations in America? And, it is not a recent phenomenon, the GOP has controlled the federal government for the past five years (almost).

But what has the GOP done in those five years? Aside from their ridiculous adventure in Iraq (all at a time when Osama bin Forgotten) and their massive run up of debt, all the GOP has given the right wing is some good rhetorical love. Abortion is still legal. Gays are still out of the closet. Women can still vote. Etc.

Yet none of this matters to the mouth breathers on the right. Everywhere they look, they see a country plagued by liberals (can you say McCarthyism). They simply refuse to confront the stark reality that their beloved GOP and their anointed savior, GW Cokehead, have failed to give them any substantive change. If a person didn't know better and got all their information from Faux, Rush et al. they'd be left to believe that the US was run by a liberal cardre intent on destroying the traditional values of America.

It is amazing what nonsense people are willing to believe in order not to face reality.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Look At All The Cool People Who Share My B-day!

December 11 is just a couple of days away and so I am wishing myself a happy early birthday by noting all the excellent people who were also born on that day. Among them are- Willie McGinest; John Kerry; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Of course, there are some clunkers, too- John Kerry; Nicki Sixx; Jermaine Jackson.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I Am Sooo Screwed

My cushy retirement plan to depend on social security is now lost. And, it's not because of Bushie's plan to privatize (I'd do well under that plan, because I understand the efficient capital market hypothesis and would only invest in index funds). It's the result of today's ruling by SCOTUS that the government can seize a person's social security benefits to pay back student loans. Yowzers!

Now that my plan to stay in school until I retire has been foiled, I'll likely spend winter break coming up with a new plan that actually includes employment at some point (damn you, supreme court!).

Bush Enlists in the War

The War on Christmas, that is. Georgie had the audacity to send out holiday cards, as he has every other year since he took office. Apparently this wasn't a problem in the past because up until last year it was only Falafel Bill who was worried about the War on Xmas. But now we have Johnnyboy Gibson (also of Faux News) enlisted alongside Falafel/Loofah master Bill O, not to mention the millions of morons who get their daily dose of GoOPer propaganda from the Obese Pill-Popper, Slick Sean Hannity and the rest of the clowns on Faux, talk radio and the American Falafel Association.

It makes you wonder if Naughty Bill O will put Georgie on his enemies list now? Of course, it should also make you wonder what in god's name is wrong with these jackasses that a wish of happy holidays sends them into convulsions. Weakness of faith anyone?

I Write Letters

This is from my latest email to the putz from CT, Joementum Jackass Lieberman:

Please resign NOW. You do not represent any faction within the Democratic Party any longer. Your remarks today, blaming the Democratic Party for the acrimony in Washington, DC shows just how detached you are from reality.
Sure, the signs have been there for awhile, but recently they have become more apparent. For example, assessment of Iraq (published in the GOP talking points rag, the Wall Street Journal). It was so lacking in realism that reporters in Iraq commented that your description of the country didn't resemble any place they had been.
We all know that you're angling for Secretary of Defense. So, just do us all a favor and have the decency to resign now, so that Governor Rell might appoint someone who does not hide their Republican ideology behind a facade of Democratic centrism.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Life Too Short

This morning Hanna got that call, known only to those who have lost a loved one to terminal illness. She had been preparing for that moment since June, but nothing can really make you ready for that instant. Her Uncle Ron passed away last night, after a protracted battle with cancer.

Eventhough I had only known him for only a short time, I still feel the loss. Ron was a man full of joy and spirit. He cared deeply about his family and friends. Always quick with a joke or funny story, he reminded me quite a bit of my own great uncles.

Most of the time I spent with Ron was visiting him in the hospital. Even there he was full of humor and caring. He'd ask about school and our dog and our new apartment. He'd always check the strength of my grip when we shook hands, even when he was at his weakest.

It is said that when we grieve for those whose lives have been lost we are grieving not for their loss, but for ours. With the passing of Uncle Ron, that could not be more true. May he rest in peace.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Updated Bio

After several requests (mostly from my girlfriend), I am going to update my biography. So, here goes--
I am a graduate student at The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. As of next fall I should be an official PhD student in the joint program with Georgia Tech (right now, I am just a funded graduate student). My area of concentration will be public finance with a minor field of either education policy (this would be the easy route given my MS in education policy) or policy and program evaluation.

Prior to graduate school, I had been enrolled in law school at Emory University and Washington University in St. Louis. I finished two years and realized that I had zero desire to continue or to become an attorney.

As noted above, I already have one graduate degree, from SUNY at Albany. I also worked for the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee as a budget analyst. Most of my other non-political employment has been in the area of education and childcare (in other words, I have no retirement fund or savings).

As far as politics goes, I have held elective office and have consulted to candidates ranging from the municipal level to US Senate. (I've been on a self imposed hiatus for the past seven years.)

Now, the name of the blog probably indicates what my biggest passion is outside of politics and policy- bodybuilding. I have been training seriously for about four years, with a couple of interruptions (torn labrum in right shoulder that kept me out of the gym for the better part of a year; impinged AC joint in left shoulder that took me out for about 3 months). I was to do my first show back in 2001, but because of complications I had to pull out, three weeks before the show.

I am currently training for a spring/summer show in 2006. I have yet to decide on a specific show and a lot depends on how the next couple of months of training go. In addition, the sanctioning group here prohibits the use of pro-hormones, even though they were legal up until this past January. So, I have to make a decision about whether to travel back north to compete or stay down here and do an NPC show.

Blah, blah... that was rather lengthy. But I could not stop without mentioning that I live with my wonderful girlfriend, Hanna, and our sheltie/collie mix, Sophie.

Surreal Life

Today I had the misfortune of turning on CNN while Chimpy the walking failure was speaking in North Carolina. From what little bit I could stand to watch (hey, I was trying to eat!) it seems that the new talking points are all about the economy. Aside from claiming success on the job front (right in the midst of major layoffs) Bushie did something rather strange- he talked about politicians in Washington wanting to raise taxes.

Now, call me crazy, but last I checked the cocksuckers in the GOP Congress were cutting taxes (about 50% of the cut in the latest bill goes to those who earn over $1.1 million per year). And, as they were easing the burden on the yacht club crew, they were cutting programs for poor and middle class folks (student loans, food stamps, etc.). So, I am not sure who the evil politicians in DC are that want to raise taxes. Perhaps they are the same people who hid the WMDs in Iraq?

I guess what this really shows is that the GOP is so completely devoid of ideas in their time of crisis (corruption, Iraq, etc.) that they are trotting out the old tax scare tactic.

Chimpy also mumbled something about fiscal responsibility. I had to change the channel before I gagged, so I can't be sure that he wasn't taking blame for the current fiscal problems (hahahaha and I believe in Santa Claus, too). Someone might want to remind Bushie and his moron minions (you know, the 40% or so with their heads planted firmly up their ass) that it was Bushie and his GOP Congress who- increased spending more than Clinton; wasted billions of dollars on a failed war to avenge his daddy; and, gave away the US treasury to corporations.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why Won't They Pay Me?

Once again the Bushie administration is paying journalists to write favorable "stories." Ok, let's call a spade a spade... the Bushies are paying for propaganda. Except this time it's not going to Armstrong Williams to shill for the Department of Education, but rather to Iraqi newspapers and journalists.

I suppose it won't be long before Bushie and Cheney will trumpet glowing OpEds from the Baghdad Times as proof that we're winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, as well as the war. One has to marvel at just how much the Bushies model themselves after Goebbels and his Nazi propaganda machine.