The GripeVine
Because I'm tired of listening to idiots.

Monday, October 13, 2003  

CALPUNDIT EXPLAINS WHY I have a problem with some factions of the hard right.

posted by Brian | 12:27 PM

Monday, September 29, 2003  

I SUPPOSE IT IS TOO MUCH to ask of those of you, who so fortunately find youselves completely above the political fray, but can I get a shout out to the White House on the Plame/Wilson thing? You know, this whole thing about a senior Administration official exposing Joseph "Niger didn't sell Iraq Uranium" Wilson's wife as a C.I.A. operative? It really is quite an unbeleivable story. (Nice to see the press corps have located their scrota.)

If you want the news about it, go to any news site on the web, if you want some opinion and implications go read Josh Marshall or Kevin Drum.

posted by Brian | 4:18 PM

MAYBE THEY SHOULD TRY SOME Nation Building at home, eh?

posted by Brian | 12:42 PM

Friday, September 26, 2003  


Granted some of these accomplishments are based solely on the author's opinion, but most of them are factually accurate. Like I said, impressive.

posted by Brian | 4:43 PM


Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, last night defended the Bush administration's request to Congress for $87bn (£52bn) to spend on Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the US would not get involved in nation building and that the funds represented an "exit strategy" for American troops.

"We are not in Iraq to engage in nation building," Mr Rumsfeld told a Washington conference co-hosted by the US army and attended by its top officers. "We are there to help Iraqis build their own country."

No nation building.

I think this story makes it easy to understand this ingenious pre-planned "exit-strategy".

Those details include $100 million to build seven planned communities with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school, two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship and a market for each; $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts for six months, at $100,000 an expert; 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 each; $900 million to import petroleum products such as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world's second-largest oil reserves; and $20 million for a four-week business course, at $10,000 per student.

Building planned communities, roads, schools, clinics, temples, prisons, is not nation building. Do you understand? Let me repeat: THIS IS NOT NATION BUILDING. This is exit strategy.

I'm waiting for them to tell us that they are not using our tax dollars to fund any of this stuff.

BTW I just ripped this whole post off Arthur Silber I figured I would save you the trouble of having to link over to his peice. Also, he scares me a little sometimes.

posted by Brian | 4:19 PM

WHAT UP, WHAT UP, WHAT UP! Now that my riveting year-end audit is complete I can refocus my attention on bothering you all here. I don't really have anything to comment on at the moment, so I think I'll just write this to say hello. Hello!

Have you noticed how Douchebag McMonkey Fuck Fuck and his band of Soon to be enjoyiong an eternity of anal fisting at the hands of Lucifer himself Assholes lie about everything? And how they are destroying our democracy? I'm sure you've heard by now that both Condi Rice and Coly Powell said before 9/11 that Saddam and Iraq posed no threat to us or anyone else. What? You didn't hear about this? That dammned liberal media!!! Well as a good consevarvative with a mind for Fair and Balanced news reporting, I will reproduce Mr. Powow's statement for you here:

SECRETARY POWELL:.... We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions -- the fact that the sanctions exist -- not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction....And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors....

Soooooooo, check out what happens when a reporter (yes, journalists still exist, they just don't really do anything anymore) asked Monkey Fuck Toy what changed between those speeches and the U.N. "We must save the world from the most dangerous man ever to live" speech:

Q: Mr. Dribble Dick Numbnuts, in February of 2001, your Secretary of State said that the sanctions against Iraq had prevented Saddam from developing any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. A year-and-a-half later, before the U.N., you called Saddam a grave and gathering danger. And I'm wondering, what changed in that time? Was it the nature of the threat? Did you get new intelligence? Or did 9/11 put a new -- set a new playing field for those --

THE HALF-WIT SHIT EATER: Yes, the Secretary of State said the same thing, as well, that Saddam was a threat. Nine-eleven changed my calculation. It made it really clear we have to deal with threats before they come on our shore. You know, for a long period of time we thought oceans could protect us from danger, and we learned a tough lesson on September the 11th. It's really important for this nation to continue to chase down and deal with threats before they materialize, and we learned that on September the 11th.


Q: Why the discrepency?

A: Yes. I've wanted to bomb that camel jockey for a long time, it is so totally awesome that 9/11 gave me a excuse to get away with it. Actually it has given me an excuse to get away with pretty much anything I want. Prett cool, huh? Oh yeah, and you guys not bothering to call me out on any of it helps too. Thanks.

I also believe it is very important to continue to chase down the threats before they materialize. So I ask this: When can we start dealing with the current (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, North Korea, Indonesia blah, blah, blah) and potential (Canada, Argentina, Sweden, Bora Bora, Nepal, Hawaii, Luxembourg, the Vatican City, Thailand, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tierra del Fuego, San Remo, Poland, Iceland, and California) threats? We could invade all those places, right? Unlike Iraq, as Mr. Poowell explained, some of these countries really do have weapons that can kill us, or at least have the potential to start thinking about desinging weapons that might possibly one day be used against us. That is a pretty serious threat if you ask me. Think about it, Canada is pretty much right next door, and they have way worse shit than Saddam did. Shouldn't we be occupying Ottawa right now?

Oh, wait...I forgot. Iraq is just the staging ground for our larger war terror. I tell you what. It is a good thing Dumbfuck and crew did such a good clean job getting us set up there. Imagine if all of our troops had to stay there for years instead of getting busy fighting terrorists. That would totally defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?


Hoooo! I feel better already. I guess I should invite Steve back now so he can tell me why I am such an idiot. That's always fun!

posted by Brian | 1:06 PM

Monday, September 08, 2003  


What possible gain does Davis thing will come from saying, in reference to Ah-nuld:

"you shouldn't be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state."


This is not the kind of thing that the Governor of a state with an enormous foreign polulation should be saying. Scratch that, it is not the kind of thing anyone who claims to embrace the rich cultural diversity that makes our country so great should be saying. This is exactly the type of statement I usually jump on wing-nut conservatives for saying, and I just want to say that I am no less appalled by it just because a Democrat governor said it.

posted by Brian | 1:29 PM

Friday, September 05, 2003  

93,000 JOBS LOST IN AUGUST but unemployment numbers are down? The lede explains how it is possible.

The U.S. economy unexpectedly lost 93,000 jobs in August, the most since March, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent as more discouraged workers dropped out of the labor force, government figures showed.

Unless I am mistaken, that means that significantly more than 93,000 people got fed up and decided to stop looking for jobs. In August alone. That does not sound too promising for the economic recovery we are all hoping for.

The good news? Well it depends on how you look at it, but the main reason given for the drastic job loss is increased productivity and automation and, by extension, a cheaper labor force. Combined with extremely low borrowing rates, these conditions are supposed to indicate an economy in a strong position for recovery and growth. So what's going on?

``What we're seeing now is the dark side of rapid productivity growth,'' said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services Inc. in Boston. ``Businesses across the board are figuring out ways to do more with fewer people. We may be further than we thought from a truly sustainable economic recovery.''

Got that? We're losing jobs because businesses are getting more efficient. That makes a lot of sense to me until you read this:'s report extends the total number of positions lost since President George W. Bush took office to 2.7 million.

How many jobs did we lose from the increased efficiencies wrought from the inception of the Internet and the rapidly advancing computing technology in the 1990's?

The Longest Peacetime Expansion in History -- Nearly 18 Million New Jobs, Lowest Peacetime Unemployment in 41 Years, and Real Wages Rising Jobs

Alright, it is more than a little unfair to compare "The Longest Peacetime Expansion in History" to post bubble/post 9/11 America. But...

The U.S. has now lost 1.4 million jobs since the economy emerged from the latest recession in November 2001.

Wait a minute? Emerged from the latest recession in November 2001? That means, of the 1.3 million jobs were lost between January 2000 and November 2001, pretty much all of them were lost before THE DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING. Then we recovered from the recession and lost another 1.4 million jobs.

I'll give the first two quarters of 2000 to the previous Administration, so that's only 650,000 jobs lost in Bush controlled pre-9/11 America. That's not so bad considering we were in a recession.

Regardless of all that, the rough total numbers while sitting in office are:

Clinton: +18 million jobs
Bush: - 3.7 million jobs

So, here's a point I'd like to make. If you think the Clinton Administration was responsible in any way for creating jobs, you must also agree that the Bush Administration is in some way responsible for losing jobs.

If you think that neither one of them had any influence on job creation or loss, then you also must think there is no reason for economic policy promoting employment since the President can't make any difference anyway.

UPDATE: Forbes says maybe globalization has something to do with it.

posted by Brian | 2:42 PM

ANTI MISSLE SYSTEMS ON BRITISH AIRWAYS PLANES? According to the BBC, it is at least being seriously considered.

I know I would feel safer flying in a plane that had such a system in place, especially since that guy was caught trying to smuggle SAMs into the U.S. It is encouraging to see the airlines take the necessary precautions to combat those those threats.

posted by Brian | 1:09 PM

CONGRATULATIONS, STEPHEN. Your have successfully removed yourself from The GripeVine.

Tired of hearing me write the same old shit?

Fuck off, and start your own blog, then.

posted by Brian | 12:45 PM

Monday, September 01, 2003  

BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE: So I finally saw the Best Documentary of the Year last night. And the best I can say for it is that it's worth seeing. It has it's good points, which are that it highlights the perplexing problem of gun violence and of the distorting effects of media coverage. But I can't help but think that those problems have been highlighted many times before in many venues, most notably in a high school or college classroom at some point or another in any person's academic career. And considering that, it's bad points make trying to form an opinion on any of the issues covered in the film worse than useless.
I copied an article about Michael Moore's numerous factual errors and tricks below, but beyond those errors, Bowling for Columbine's worst feature is its rambling, shallow script (or whatever you call the narration/organization of a documentary.) Near the beginning of the film, there's this catalog of atrocities committed by the US government (ie "1963: The US sponsors the assassinat of Vietnamese dictator Ngo Dinh Diem. 1962-1975: US kills 4 million Asians.) Leaving aside the fact that the US only reluctantly approved the coup ousting Diem (his assassination was not part of the plan, even if it was a likely outcome) and that that 4 million killed includes all the Vietnamese fighting in the war - what's the point? If the point is that the global violence perpetrated by the American government all over the world influenced the Columbine killers, it's not a point that Moore makes.
There's more of the same when Moore begins talking about the disproportionate attention the media pay to crime and other scares (ie Summer of the Sharks!) Just when it starts getting interesting, there's a digression about Bush's increase in military spending and corporate crime. There's even a bit featuring Moore dressed up in a cop outfit for "Corporate Cops," a parody of the TV police show "Cops." He talks with the producer of the show first about whether the show demonizes blacks and hispanics (a point marginally related to the overall narrative) but then moves on to whether the public wouldn't rather see something like his "Corporate Cops" show. Whether that's true, or whether corporate crime is a big problem is beside the point, and it's also beside Moore's point.
Not that, ultimately, he has one. I think that he'd like to say that he wants the audience members to make up their own minds. But if that were really the case, then why not present more relevant facts (or rather, fewer irrelevant ones) and some analysis, instead of a few glib one-liners and quick cuts?
I was predisposed to hate this movie because of what I'd read about it, and it was not even close, really, to how bad I thought it would be. It's thought provoking, and it's entertaining. But it's not a particularly good documentary.

And here's more on why:

By Ben Fritz
Ben Fritz is co-editor of Spinsanity ( Portions of this article first appeared there.

It's no exaggeration to say Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" has had the greatest impact of any documentary in this country since his own "Roger and Me" 14 years ago. After winning a special prize last spring at the Cannes Film Festival, Moore's exploration of the reasons behind America's high rate of gun violence went on to break "Roger and Me's" record for the highest box office gross of any nonmusical documentary. Now it's won the prestigious National Board of Review's "Best Documentary" prize, made over 100 critics' Top 10 lists, and been voted by members of the International Documentary Association as the best documentary of all time. But in their praise of Moore's provocative and often hilarious filmmaking style, critics have neglected the fact that "Bowling for Columbine" fails at the most basic task of a documentary: telling the truth.

Perhaps most egregiously, Moore has apparently altered footage of an ad run by the Bush/Quayle campaign in 1988 to further implicate then-Vice President George Bush in the Willie Horton controversy. Trying to make a point about how racial symbols have been used to scare the American public, he shows the Bush/Quayle ad called "Revolving Doors," which attacked Michael Dukakis for a Massachusetts prison furlough program by showing prisoners entering and exiting a prison. Superimposed over the footage is the text "Willie Horton released. Then kills again." This caption is displayed as if it is part of the original ad.

However, existing footage, media reports and the recollections of several high-level people involved in the campaign indicate that the "Revolving Doors" ad did not mention Horton, unlike the ad run by the National Security Political Action Committee (which had close ties to Bush adviser Roger Ailes). In addition, the caption is incorrect - Horton did not kill anyone while on furlough (he raped a woman).

Similarly, during a stylized overview of American foreign policy, Moore claims that the U.S. gave $245 million in aid to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001. The Taliban aid tale is one Moore has repeated in many media appearances over the past year. But contrary to his claim, the aid did not go to the Taliban - it actually went to famine-relief programs administered by the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations.

In a recent article for Forbes, Dan Lyons found even more distortions in Moore's documentary. The film makes reference to "weapons of mass destruction" being manufactured in Littleton, Colo., and questions whether there is a connection between that activity and the Columbine High School shooting. In actuality, the Lockheed Martin plant in Littleton makes space launch vehicles for satellites. The much-celebrated scene at the beginning of the film where Moore receives a gun at a bank in return for setting up a certificate of deposit turns out to be false as well. In reality, customers at the branch where Moore shot the scene are normally required to pick up their guns at a local store. An executive at North Country Bank said the scene where Moore is handed the gun at the bank was staged at his request (and a mistaken belief by the bank that it would be good publicity). Yet Moore makes it look like it's standard practice to receive a gun right there, even joking before he walks out, "Here's my first question: Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?"

Beyond his errors and distortions, what Moore likes to call his "hard-core analysis" is contradictory and confused. He claims that excessive coverage of gun violence by the media makes Americans scared of each other and therefore more violent. This circular argument doesn't make any sense. If gun violence is really so bad, shouldn't the media be covering it, and don't citizens have something to be afraid of? And if the media are indeed overcovering it and America is safer than we think, why did Moore make this film?

Contradicting himself doesn't seem to be a problem for Moore, though. Nor does he lose sleep worrying about his growing reputation as someone who makes things up and passes them off as fact.

When questioned last year about distortions in his best-selling book, "Stupid White Men," Moore hid behind the excuse of satire. "How can there be inaccuracy in comedy?" he said on CNN. Yet in an interview with the Contra Costa Times, he expressed an opposite sentiment: "I always assume that only 10 to 20 percent of people who read my books or see my films will take the facts and hard-core analysis and do something with it. If I can bring the other 80 percent to it through entertainment and comedy, then some of it will trickle through."

Most critics, it seems, land in that latter 80 percent. But when you're giving out prizes for a documentary, shouldn't facts count for something?

posted by Stephen | 11:45 PM

Sunday, August 31, 2003  

Nothing makes me want to see Arnold Schwarzeneggar become governor of California more than this 1979 interview. An excerpt:

"Bodybuilders party a lot, and once, in Gold's gym - the gym in Venice where all the top bodybuilders train - there was this black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together.
OUI: A gang bang?
SCHWARZENEGGAR: Yes, but not everybody. Just the guys who can fuck in front of other guys. Not everybody can do that. "

But Arnold can. And if he can do that, you bet your ass he can balance a budget!
I never wished I lived in Cali more than I do today.

posted by Stephen | 12:38 PM
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