Sunday, April 30, 2006

This is What Plutocracy Looks Like

We Billionaires For Bush were hanging out at the United for Peace and Justice mass rally in New York City on Saturday, poking fun sticks at the hoi polloi, who just loves it when we poke them with our witty repartee.

Here we are showing them what plutocracy looks like.

About an hour into us standing in front of the Chase bank, a guard came around and told us to tell the rally folks not to take pictures of us in front of the bank. Yeah, we'll get right on that. It was of no moment, however, because the sun was just about to stop shining on our side of Broadway and our glory, so we moved across the street to stand in front of Best Buy. Which was as good as standing in front of Chase and a tad more ironic anyway.

More about the rally at and thanks for the photo and vid.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Give Me $500,000...

... and I'll write not two, but THREE of the best, most original novels you'd ever want to read. There will be no plagiarism, I will research all of my facts, I will make you laugh, cry, and it will be the bestest thing you've ever read. And original! How about that!

Why $500,000? That's the Little, Brown advance amount given to Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan while she was still in high school to write two books. The first book of the two book deal, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, reached to number 32 on the New York Times' best seller list. Unfortunately passages from Viswanathan's book closely resemble original passages from the 2001 book Sloppy Firsts by Megan F. McCafferty.

All sorts of excuses are being bandied about regarding how passages from McCafferty's book found their way into Viswanathan's book, but the bottom line is that McCafferty came up with original passages that were her creation. Come up with your own damn ideas and strings of words that make up a book. Especially if someone is paying you $500,000 to do it as a high schooler. Do you really think someone won't notice?

In the immortal words of Bill the Cat, "ACK!"

I have to admit that I've thought about writing the story of my life under the title of Miscegenated Bastard Out of Detroit, which is a play on Dorothy Allison's book Bastard Out of Carolina, but only because it sounds really cool, and I really want to use the words "miscegenated," "bastard," and "Detroit" in the same sentence. And, well, cause it's true, too.

I am so sick and tired of people who are blessed enough to have found their way either onto the pages of top newspapers or pursued by big publishing houses only to have it later found out that they are simply fakes and frauds.

So, James Frey (who just made shit up and called it his memoir), Kaavya Viswanathan, Jayson Blair, Ben Domenech and all of you other little freaks out there who are given the opportunity of a lifetime only to fuck it all up, you really do get what you deserve: public shunning. I'm sorry to be so harsh about this, but if you use other people's stuff without acknowledgment or attribution, that's the only solution, short of branding. You just better be happy that I'm not into that sort of thing.

One pattern of the four plagiarism cases we've seen pop up in the last few years are that they are all young writers under 30 years of age (Frey is 37, so he should have really known better) , raised on computers were cutting and pasting and changing things slightly have been the norm. Young writers who have not been taught the sacredness of protecting original work (even though Blair was a freaking journalist and Domenech was... well, I can't figure out what he was or is... ); young writers who download other people's copyrighted stuff with abandon in regards to music and film; young writers who buy $5.00 videos from the streets of blockbuster movies; young writers who apparently haven't been taught that it's just wrong to steal other people's stuff without attribution.


Yes, I'm a librarian and copyright is important to me... and YES, I do use photos from the web for this blog, but there's rules about that, too. I follow them as much as possible and attribute where certain photos come from when I can.

If there are any agents out there reading this and you have $100,000 lying around anywhere, I'll sign a one book deal tomorrow. I promise you it will be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.*

*Oh wait... I think that's taken...

Thursday, April 27, 2006


So I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to see Hairspray tonight at the Neil Simon Theatre on 52nd Street. The only time I get to see B'way shows is when they are free, cause I certainly don't pay the thousands of dollars per ticket that it costs to get in. Which is really sad, because even though I hate to admit it, I love Broadway.

Luckily, Hairspray is awfully fun and I highly recommend it if you're in town and feel the burning desire to plunk down at least $65 for a show, unless you sign up for the lottery three hours before the show for the chance to get $25 tickets. (Good luck with that.) You might want to check out the TKTS booth over on 46th street also.

If you don't know about Hairspray because you've been living under a rock for the past twenty years or so, it's John Waters's 1988 movie set in 1962 about a self-confident, bubbly and chubby girl who wants to dance with both the black and white kids on the Corny Collins dance show in Baltimore. She gets the guy AND desegregates the dance shows in the space of two hours and forty minutes! Genius!

The cast included American Idol's Diana DeGarmo as Penny Pennington, who was surprisingly funny, and r & b genius Darlene Love.

I found myself tearing up for a bit when Love sang the tender showstopper "I Know Where I've Been":
There's a road
We must travel
There's a promise
We must make
'Cause the riches
Will be plenty
Worth the risk
And chances that we take
There's a dream
In the future
There's a struggle

We have yet to win
Use that pride
In our hearts
To lift us up
To tomorrow

'Cause just to sit still
Would be a sin
She sang it beautifully, and in that moment I thanked all the beings in the Universe that I got a free ticket to Hairspray and not the vampire flop, Lestat, which, according to Ben Brantley of the New York Times, is Broadway's version of Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata. Ouch!

The only truly annoying thing was all the little girls who were clamoring after two young ladies in the audience from the Disney adventure, "High School Musical." During intermission, after getting the autographs of the movie's stars, Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Anne Hudgens, the girl behind me, called not one, not two, but THREE of her girlfriends on her cell phone to brag about who she had just seen in the audience.

As a former children's librarian, I do keep up with kid's stuff, but even I had to wrack my brain about who the girls were and what movie they were in... so, in hindsight, I should retract my snarky statement about those who might not know about Hairspray. But then again, maybe I won't.

Anyway, two cheesy thumbs up for Hairspray.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Snow Job

According to Anderson Cooper, Tony Snow of Fox News has accepted the position of White House Press Secretary.

If this is true, then it's official: Fox News is the official propaganda wing of the Bush Administration.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Bomb Goes Off in June

Test Date: June 2, 2006
Where: Area 16, Nevada
Attack Date: Ask the Pentagon and President Bush
Where: A Desert Nation Near You

I heard about this upcoming test blast while listening to the Randi Rhodes show the other day. A few days later, a fellow poster on a private board posted some information on it, so I decided to take a further look.

In order to measure the efficacy of nuclear devices to destroy underground weapons holds and sites, the U.S. will test a large-scale explosive device deep underground in the Nevada desert on June 2, 2006. The Nevada site was chosen over two other sites due to its underground limestone deposits, which, according to the full details reported to the State of Nevada, most closely resemble the underground deposits of certain places that we're likely to use an underground nuclear device on. The test bomb itself is going to be
"... up to 700-tons (635-metric tons) of heavy ammonium nitrate oil emulsion (also known as heavy ANFO) ... in addition to the ANFO, up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of C-4 exlosive would be used to initiate detonation ..."
In other words, that's a big boom. At the end of it, expect a giant hole, lots of dead snakes, birds and underground critters; radiation, and a ton of research to perfect a bomb that could destroy underground weapons holds in Iran and other places. Oh, and start WWIII as well.

I'm a bit confused about why they've named it Divine "Strake," as from what I can tell of the word, it's a "single continuous line of planking or metal plating extending on a vessel's hull from stem to stern." [See the black and white picture at the top of this post.] What, pray tell, is so divine about that? Wikipedia expands on the definition a bit, only in that strakes have been placed on aircraft as well. Although it's probably safe to say that the definition they had in mind was "a tool made of metal or wood for levelling a bed of sand." In other words, it's a God-inspired test weapon to level a bed of sand and limestone in a desert nation that may or may not have nuclear weapons, which, if they do have nuclear weapons, will go boom when the God-inspired sand leveler goes boom and which, if they don't have nuclear weapons, will have us issuing one hell of an apology in the aftermath of the big boom.

Lovely, but that's just what I came up with. NPR explains how the name Divine Strake came about (or tries to), and how code names are developed in general.

Read all about the test site, the detonation, previous such detonations, and all the other details regarding rationale, how loud the explosion will be and earth and animal destruction here:

E2006-222 DEA for a large-scale open-air explosive detonation "DIVINE STRAKE" at the Nevada Test Site.

More folks are talking seriously about the test and what the results may be used for in the following links:

Now, if you really want to stir up some controversy, check out the proposed multi-year permit plans for the annual Burning Man festival.
E2006-230 EA for multi-year permit for the Burning Man event on Public lands in the Black Rock Desert. - Comments due: 1/25/2006 (Too late for you...)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Add A Caption

"Hey Condi, are you sure this here's a fiddle?"

*Thanks, Vesti!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Condeleeza Rice on Piano

When I look at this picture, I can't help but think about the Roman Emperor Nero, violins, and the circumstances surrounding the phrase, "While Rome burned..."

Story here....

And thanks to Vesti at the Intellectual Comedy Salon, I can envision the circumstances even better...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Weekend Update: Fri-Sun, Apr 7-9

Just an eye out and ear on for a few news stories over the weekend.
I've gotta to go help the Billionaires For Bush Follies with the Spring Bling! Spectacular. Later.

Mom Dies After Boy's 911 Call Considered Prank
UPDATED: 3:18 pm EDT April 7, 2006
DETROIT -- A 6-year-old boy's 911 call for help was thought to be a prank, but the call was real and the boy's mother died, according to WDIV-TV in Detroit.
[via Shakepeare's Sister]

Wiretap Whistleblower's Statement

By 12:25 PM Apr, 07, 2006
Former AT&T technician Mark Klein has come forward to support the EFF's lawsuit against AT&T for its alleged complicity in the NSA's electronic surveillance. Here, Wired News publishes Klein's public statement in its entirety.
[via Crooks and Liars]

Nepalese King orders protestors shot on sight.
Pro-democracy demonstrators cancel protest amid curfew; 1 killed
Updated: 7:25 a.m. ET April 8, 2006

KATMANDU, Nepal - Protesters demanding a return to democracy postponed a rally that had been expected to draw thousands on Saturday, after the king imposed an all-day curfew and ordered violators shot on sight.

Flag Wavers and Saber Rattlers
Posted by James Wolcott

But the real prize was Dr. Jack Wheeler, whose appearance on Neil Cavuto's was touted enthusiastically by Ms. Pamela at Atlas Shrugs (which in itself should set off a cathedral of warning bells), peddles a much slicker line of shit. First off, the "Dr." bit has all the hallmarks of someone trying to pad his loafers to gain sham stature. (Dr. James Dobson, anyone?) Wheeler was on to warn us about the prospect of a second civil war, which would be waged between native-born Americans and Mexican invaders. He argued on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show that Mexico, not Iran, was the greatest threat to American security.
04.07.06 11:04AM

The above was in response to the instigation of a New Mexican Civil War. As if we don't have enough to take care of already, the Mexicans are about to attack: 'Mexican Civil War rage has got to stop."

Seymour Hersh: Bush already decided on war against Iran, thinking of using nukes

by John in DC - 4/08/2006 12:15 PM
I don't even know where to begin with this. The story is from the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, who unfortunately ges his stories right.
[via AmericaBlog via Crooks and Liars]

Apr 9, 2006 12:07 am US/Eastern
Possible Hate Crime Causes Controversy
Questions Arise Over NYU Student's Death

(CBS) The 20-year-old NYU student who fell victim to an alleged attack in East Harlem last Saturday night may have been targeted because he was white, but police have not classified the case as a bias attack.

Broderick Hehman was allegedly fleeing a group of young black men in East Harlem last Saturday night when he was hit by a car. Hehman died three days later and his death was ruled a homicide.
[via CBS News]

Park could face extinction
Lack of building permits closes dinosaur museum

William Rabb
It may have been built with heavenly intentions, but a judge has ruled that the creationism theme park known as Dinosaur Adventure Land still must obey earthly laws.

Escambia County authorities this week locked up a museum building at the theme park on North Palafox Street in Pensacola after Circuit Judge Michael Allen ruled the owners were in contempt of court.
[via Fantod via The Other Place]

"Republicans Say Mollohan Should Quit Ethics Post
By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 8, 2006

Republican leaders called on Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) yesterday to step down from his ranking post on the House ethics committee because of allegations that he provided legislative earmarks benefiting companies and individuals who helped make him a millionaire.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Rockwell Moment at the Daily Kos

I kinda love a post over at Daily Kos.

There was a fellow by the name of Harry Taylor who, at a recent Bush speech, stated the following [video]:

Q You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you’d like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are –

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what’s your question?

Q Okay, I don’t have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I — in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and –


THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec — let him speak.

Q And I would hope — I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself. And I also want to say I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I’m saying to you right now. That is part of what this country is about.

THE PRESIDENT: It is, yes. (Applause.)

Q And I know that this doesn’t come welcome to most of the people in this room, but I do appreciate that.

THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate –

Q I don’t have a question, but I just wanted to make that comment to you.

Over at Kos, Clone12 pointed out a Norman Rockwell moment:

To the Left, Harry Taylor...

To the Right, "Freedom of Speech" by Normal Rockwell

Today, when Mr. Taylor spoke out, the crowd booed.
Freedom of speech, indeed.
Thanks, clone12. Great post!
And thanks, Mr. Taylor, thanks very much.

By the way, Rockwell's painting is from his "Four Freedoms" series inspired by FDR's Four Freedoms address to Congress on January 6, 1941.

Though I do also like zed's interpretation of the two women near Mr. Taylor...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

11:15 PM: "Did you hear about Delay?"

...said a voice on the other end of the phone.

Delay? You mean... Tom? "Yes," said the voice. "It's just been announced."

It was late and for the second night in a row, I was babysitting over a three day period. I actually went to sleep at 10:30. If you knew me, you'd know that's just not right. I'm lucky to get INTO bed by 12:30, most nights.

Except when I'm babysitting over a three-day period, and I'm plum-tuckered-tired-out.

But when my friend said that the lovely *gasp* Tom Delay had resigned, to "carry on for anuther day" (he SO reminds me of Scarlett from Gone With the Wind, don't ask me why) I had to do a little happy dance, quickly thank my friend, and excuse myself back off to sleep.

It was a beautiful sleep, indeed.

Go and check out Democracy for America's "Tom Delay is a Chicken" site. Donate a rubber chicken to Tom or just sign the card. Your pick!