Friday, December 13, 2002

Found over at Jim Treacher's place, here's a list of "The 50 Most Loathesome People in America", which gets my vote not only for putting Ann Coulter at the top of the list, but for describing her as "Goebbels with tits".

Thursday, December 12, 2002

In a recent survey of California dairy cows, it was determined that some 41% of the animals are, in fact, not happy. This poll could prove to be a powerful blow to California’s milk and cheese industry, as weird people who actually give a shit about the feelings of cows prepare a boycott of dairy products.

However, the poll also concluded that while almost half of California’s bovine population was not happy, some 22% described themselves as “reasonably satisfied”, and less than one percent claimed to be “totally fucking despondent”. A brief psychological quiz also determined that 64% of dairy cows have “serious issues with self-esteem” and listed as their primary concerns “the declining quality of grass, earthquakes, and being turned into leather pants”.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

I found this one over at Freedom and Whisky:

Police have told a Gloucester man he risks breaking the law if he forces his way into a vehicle which has been parked in his drive, blocking his own car in a garage.

The man can't even use his own car. The bureaucrats are throwing codes at him about the definition of "public obstruction" and "data-protection legislation". The fellow, called Mr. Windo, says "But the police say the car is legal because it is taxed. And because it is on private property it is not causing a public obstruction, so there is nothing they can do."

Well, Mr. Windo, out here in the Wild West we've got this great tradition of something called "vigilante justice". I say put on a sturdy pair of gloves, bash in a window, release the parking brake, and push the thing into the street, thus qualifying it as a "public obstruction". If you're in a particularly foul mood, you might want to pop the tires for good measure.

Roger Friedman, over at Fox News, asks if Courtney Love was a bad influence on Winona Ryder. Now I know you're first instinct is to ask "who gives a crap?". However, upon further reading, I'll bet that more of you will be asking "where can I get a doctor like that?". Hell, I nearly cut my right pinkie off once (30 stitches covering less than one inch of my finger), and couldn't squeeze a decent prescription out of my doctor. But Courtney gets Vicodin for a bee sting? A BEE STING?!?!

That ridiculous story is followed by a few quips from Martin Scorsese about the filming of "Gangs". Nine days to go...

Apparently, Strom's 185th birthday wasn't the first time Trent Lott made his comments about Senator Thurmond's presidental bid as segregationist:

In 1980, Lott, then a House member from Mississippi, told a home state political gathering that if the country had elected segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond to the presidency "30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today."

Seriously - this guy really does need to explain himself.

A British vicar reduced young children to tears and stunned their parents when he said Santa Claus and his reindeer would burn to a crisp while delivering presents at supersonic speed.

Hey Vicar, maybe Santa gets the presents delivered on time by miracle! I mean, if Jesus can rise from the dead...

Hell's bells, but I...agree with...T-t-tom...Das...Das...

(give me a minute...I can get this out)

Tom Daschle

Christ. That really hurt.

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle demanded "a fuller explanation and apology" from Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott on Wednesday for saying the nation would have been better off if segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

Maybe he hasn't offered one so far because the doctor's haven't been able to pull his foot out of his mouth yet.

The American administration is a bloodthirsty wild animal

Gerald Splinter is simply on fire today. No, not literally - sorry if I got any of you excited. He's found that he's emerged from cancer treatment (without "drowning"...?) to "the nightmare of American hysteria, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and belligerence; the most powerful nation the world has ever known effectively waging war against the rest of the world". That's right, Paraguay: watch your back. We're coming for you. And New Zealand: we've put up with your stupid accents and kiwi fruit long enough. Your surf is ours.

Take a pill, "chum". Really, horseshit like this column are so bad, so plagued with half-truths and hysteria, they don't even deserve a good fisking.

The 3,000 deaths in Afghanistan are never referred to. The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children dead through American and British sanctions which have deprived them of essential medicines are never referred to.

See what I mean? Why even bother to argue?

(Tim Blair and Peter Briffa took this one on briefly as well)

Welcome back, Ted.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

So the EU wants to prohibit tobacco companies (who, according to the EU, are second only to the United States as the most evil entities in the galaxy) from marketing cigarettes as "light" or "mild". This is because you and I, the consumer, are too stupid to understand on our own that "light" doesn't mean "safe", it just means "less". Where would we be without the Great Protectors of the Helpless and Meek?

The court ruling was the endgame in a two-year battle by cigarette firms to force the EU to water down the new tobacco law, which also puts limits on tar and nicotine and demands that cigarette packets carry big stark warnings about health risks.

They want them BIGGER. Okay, let's try this:


This will be for the benefit of people who were formerly under the mistaken impression that tobacco was a vegetable and that smoking was good for them. I'm sure it will make all the difference in the world.

p.s. - Down with Brussels!

Matthew Engel today:

Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, were signing books in a Washington suburb on Saturday. The crowd was huge, with latecomers regretfully being turned away; the lucky ones queued in a long line, sometimes with armfuls of books.

while also noting that:

But poor old Al. He really can't get it right. One of these works is at No 1,911 in the US bestsellers list on Amazon; the other is at 4,159.

And let's not forget the gratuitous Florida recount reference:

No one can yet have any idea what the 2004 election will actually be about - it might focus on how a deluded president wrecked his own war on terrorism by frittering away a year at least on an irrelevant campaign against Iraq. What is certain is that it will be nothing to do with righting the wrongs of Florida 2000.

Politics, as Alan Watkins often says, is a rough old trade, and Gore is not the first practitioner to discover that. Sympathy is no reason for the Democrats to re-nominate him. Or to buy his books.

And clearly they are not buying his books.

The sense that it is time to move on has been enhanced by the emergence this week of the first serious alternative: senator John Kerry of Massachusetts has taken the first steps towards announcing his candidacy. Up to now, the choice before the Democratic party was either Gore or some unspecified A N Other. Now there is someone else in the shop window.

Wrong! We're still in "exploratory committee" stages. Plenty of candidates will pop up within the next six months. Too many, in fact.

Kerry is an interesting option. He is 59 tomorrow: he has presence and gravitas and sounds as if he knows what he is talking about, a rarer skill among American politicians than it ought to be.

True. We prefer that they actually do know what they're talking about.

He also has a narrative: he was in Vietnam, as a naval officer, was wounded three times and decorated twice. He then returned home to become spokesman for Vietnam Veterans against the War. Military heroism is no bar to having your patriotism impugned by Republicans: ask Max Cleland, the Georgia senator who lost three limbs out of four in that war, and was beaten last month in a nasty little contest by a typical Bush/Cheney-style chickenhawk.

Because he was a typical Gore/Kerry lib-lab. I can't thank you enough for your sacrifice, Senator Cleland, but just because you only have one arm, that doesn't oblige the people of Georgia to vote for you, nor does it make you a good leader.

And Kerry is very mockable. He has the most extraordinarily elongated face I have seen since Jimmy Hill went off prime time. The word "craggy" will be used a lot, and it really does look like one of the lesser Munros: full of gullies and crevasses and sheer rockfaces. The hair is amazing too, and somewhat overtended: much of his press this week has been a debate about whether he pays £50 for a haircut, or £100. Once they have pummelled him over that...

Wait. Hold the phone. Why on earth would a man spend one hundred and fifty dollars to get his hair cut? Not that this is a mark of good or bad leadership skills, but it most certainly is a mark of vanity and over-indulgence.

...the Republicans will start on the fact that he is a Massachusetts liberal, and that he self- consciously plays on his initials (he's John F Kerry - think about it).

And I'm Emily F. Jones - as in William F. Buckley and George F. Will. Think about it!

We will also be hearing about his wife, who is helpfully stinking rich (Heinz family money) but unhelpfully gabby. The voters themselves may notice that he appears aloof and arrogant. His agenda? Don't expect to hear much about that.

Like we never heard about the Bush family being wealthy. Or the drinking habits of his daughters. This sort of backwards and unfair thinking works both ways.

But then it is extraordinary what you do and don't hear in the US at present.

And what Engel does and doesn't hear. Perhaps he's not looking that hard.

Last Thursday, as predicted in this column a fortnight ago, senator Strom Thurmond, who ran for president as a breakaway candidate in 1948, attained his 100th birthday. Among the tributes was one from a fellow senator, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who recalled the fact that his own state had voted for Thurmond as president. "We're proud of it," Lott said. "And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Trent Lott has been whipped, defended, berated, applauded, and called everything under the sun for those remarks. How on Earth did Engel miss all of that?

A couple of facts may need explaining here. Trent Lott is no ordinary senator: he is the leader of the Senate Republicans, who have just regained the majority. That makes him something like the fifth or sixth most powerful man in the country.

Politically, sort of. But not really. I think what he means is that he's fifth or sixth in line for the Presidency, and even the President is arguably not the most powerful man in the country.

And Strom Thurmond was no ordinary presidential candidate. His campaign had one essential issue: the continuation of segregation.

Yes. In 1948. People change their minds. Strom did. Funny how Mr. Engel didn't feel the need to point that out.

p.s. - Hi Harry!

Monday, December 09, 2002

There's a new lefty Brit blogger in town. He calls himself Harry, likes to chide "right-wing American bloggers", and wears ladies underwear when he's sure nobody'll catch a peek. Okay, so I made that last one up. But despite the fact that he's a feckless commie bastard, he's got some great content, and unlike the more extreme of his political affiliates, actually appears to possess a brain. Go say hi.