Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from September 2003

“Yes, it was Karl Rove who called me…”

September 30th, 2003 · 1 Comment

Hear it for yourself on the new audio file on the Guardian website.* In the latest on Wilsongate, several reporters now want, off the record, to name Karl Rove as the White House leaker who called to tell them that Wilson’s wife was in the CIA.

Are you surprised? If so, did you miss Josh Marshall’s revelation that Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after secretly planting a negative story with columnist Robert Novak.

Josh got that info from a Ron Suskind article, which has one other very relevant bit:

Inside [his office], Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. “We will f— him. Do you hear me? We will f— him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f—ed him!”

Ron Suskind, Esquire, January 2003, “Why Are These Men Laughing?

I imagine trying to humiliate the guy and ruin his wife’s career would pretty well fit into that kind of game plan.

*Thanks to BuzzFlash for the link to the Guardian!

Tags: Invisible primary

And after Republicans were so nice to Clinton…

September 30th, 2003 · 1 Comment

Why are the Democrats so negative, so shrill? Because Democrats are nutty hateful haters who hate George Bush–that’s the big Republican meme these days.*

Funny how badly that meme fits Wilsongate–the emerging story that two top Bush staffers, whose names are still unknown, leaked a CIA agent’s identity to six reporters before they found somebody low enough to help them damage the agent’s career and endanger everyone who had worked with her.

If it’s all about hating Bush, how come everyone’s pointing at his staff, not him? You’d think a bunch of paranoid Bush-hating nuts would claim Bush is the one who leaked the story, or at least ordered it leaked.

Or maybe there are a few things wrong in our country–and with the Republican game plan–that one can’t explain by invoking “They just hate Bush.”

* Even David Brooks, who used to be funny and sharp before he drank too much Republican koolade, opines today that “The core threat to democracy is not in the White House, it’s the haters themselves.”

Yes, our nation’s problems are all due to Bush-hating Democrats. The only danger to soldiers in Iraq comes from US reporters who hate Bush.
As for unemployment–rising deficits–kids with no health insurance–they’re not real issues. They’re just Democratic secret code for “I hate Bush.”**

** And in case you’re wondering–no, I do not hate Bush. Driving in Massachusetts gives you a sense of proportion. I dislike Bush more than I dislike suicidal bike riders with cellphones, but less than I dislike limo drivers who dart out from stop signs and block 3 lanes of traffic. I do hate a lot of Bush’s policies though.

Tags: Invisible primary

The tooth shall make you free…

September 30th, 2003 · Comments Off on The tooth shall make you free…

The Register announced today their new directory of IT events.

I checked out a few of their top events so far

  • Solaris Administration: A Hands-On Introduction–£1,575
  • Strategic Modelling for Building Enterprise Architecture–£1345.38
  • Strategy Planning for PR Professionals–£395

Uh oh. The Register’s motto is “Biting the Hand that Feeds IT”, but Andrew Orlowski is going to chew those guys up and spit them out.

The Register failed to warn event sponsors of Orlowski’s Prime Directive: no conference should cost more than DefCon ($75) or CodeCon ($95).

Remember, it was BloggerCon’s $500* ticket that made Orlowski sink his teeth into organizer Dave Winer, asking what gave him the right to “fleece” bloggers “for real bucks.” And, compared to some of Orlowski’s other remarks in the article, that was just a love bite.

We can still hope–I like to look on the bright side–that Orlowski may not notice his paper’s new event page. After all, he never noticed BloggerCon’s free Day 2. I mean, if he did, you have to wonder why he never apologized for even one of his earlier nasty remarks.

On an even brighter side, Orlowski’s BloggerCon feeding frenzy changed his previous stance of all abuse, all the time, of every blogger. He actually acknowleged the world includes a few “excellent, content-first webloggers.”

Okay, so this group includes only bloggers not speaking at BloggerCon. Still, that’s got to be some kind of progress.

And in conclusion, may I point out that there’s a difference between biting the hand that feeds IT and just…biting.

* $500 is more than my blogging budget for a decade–not counting the coffee I spill on my keyboard. That’s why I’m going only to Day 2 of BloggerCon–a free day, with even more events than the $500 Day 1.

Tags: Stories

My positive platform….

September 29th, 2003 · Comments Off on My positive platform….

Definition list

Iraq (past)
I thought we should have waited for the weapons inspectors to finish their job–or at least for the UN to agree to join us. I don’t like pre-emptive war against people who haven’t attacked us or our allies–and that doesn’t mean I like Saddam Hussein. I also don’t like the leaders of North Korea, Iran, Liberia….should we declare pre-emptive war on all of them?

Iraq (present)
I believe there are lots of Iraqis who are glad we’re there.

Iraq (future)
If we want the UN to help us help Iraq–and I do–wouldn’t it be reasonable to share control there? I’d like to help Iraqis fight off the forces of chaos until a real government gets established.

Bush’s tax cuts
I think we should get rid of the many cuts that help billionnaires, but save the very few that benefit poor families. (Here I agree with Kerry rather than with (my guy) Dean, who wants to get rid of every one of the tax cuts.)

“We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace.”
— Yitzhak Rabin

Tags: Stories

Me and Niek don’t need no steenkin’ organization….

September 29th, 2003 · Comments Off on Me and Niek don’t need no steenkin’ organization….

When the BloggerCon registration form asked for an entry in the field “Organization”, my gut response was “What????
If I were organized, would I have a blog?”*

Within nano-seconds, I filled that field with “Disorganized Blogworld”–whose anti-Organization describing my loyalties well.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I read the latest Bloggercon blogroll–my friend Shutterclog Niek is not only there, he’s there from “Disorganized Blogworld”.

* A blog bogs you down–that’s why organized people don’t blog. Instead, like an attack dog, organized people go whole hog on non-blog dialogue that lets them leapfrog competitors groggy from last night’s blog.

Organized people may jog, or send their kids to a fancy pedagogue, even breakfast on hair of the dog–but they don’t blog.
They leave blogs to folks like me and Shutterclog. [End rap video here, please–I don’t have enough guns or bling-bling to continue.]

Tags: Metablogging

Gollum is baaaack!

September 29th, 2003 · 6 Comments

Gollum: Gollum blinks, looking even more evil.

Gollum’s rap video has disappeared, though his Oscar acceptance speech is still available.

Now, the trailer for Return of the King is online in a 9M version, with a 19M version rumored to come out later today at

I really enjoyed the frame-by-frame analysis, but if you’re that geeky, you’ve probably already seen it. OTOH, if you’re that geeky, you’ll be desperate for any distraction between now and December 17…

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Funny ha-ha “prebuttal”

September 28th, 2003 · 2 Comments

Today, ________[CANDIDATE, CANDIDATE, CANDIDATE, ETC] continued their _______ [ADJECTIVE], [ADJECTIVE] attacks on Governor Dean’s record on ___________ [VITAL DEMOCRATIC ISSUE].'”

“‘Governor Dean strongly supports _________ [VITAL DEMOCRATIC ISSUE]. It is one of the most important Democratic achivements of the past century and part of the party’s legacy of standing up for __________ [VITAL DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUENCY].'”

According to Friday’s Note, the Dean team handed out this prebuttal press release, entitled “Dean Libs,” just before the Democratic debates.

You’ve got to admire the way the Dean team can still have fun with the issues, and with their candidate, even as

  • Kerry claims Dean plans to raise taxes on poor people.
  • Lieberman claims Dean hates Israel.
  • Gephardt claims Dean loves Newt Gingrich.

ABC’s The Note went on to call the press release

“a tongue-in-cheek guide to Dean’s message: regardless of the charge, rebut it by being anti-Bush, anti-Republican, beat Bush, take the country back from Bush, beat Republicans, take the country back from Republicans, did we mention, beat Bush, take the country back…”

That’s kind of a negative way to frame the Dean message, but I sure like it better than what Kerry, Lieberman, and Gephardt have been doing lately.

Tags: Invisible primary

Lucrative jobs for telemarketers….

September 27th, 2003 · 1 Comment

1. Background: As of late February, the “scandal” had disappeared, as had all the guys responsible…..

2. 7 months later, columnist from conservative NH paper gets Ashcroft off the dime…

In case page has gone:

COINCIDENCE? Remember the GOP “phone-jamming” controversy? We reported in February that a GOP consultant paid by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee for “telemarketing” had a subcontractor jam the phones at Democratic and firefighters union get-out-the-vote sites on Election Day 2002.

Chuck McGee resigned as state party executive director the following day but maintained he had nothing to do with the operation. He now heads the local chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

Investigative information on the case was provided to the U.S. Justice Department’s Election Fraud Unit about a week after our report. Although we’ve sought updates from the Justice Department, our calls were never returned.

When Attorney General John Ashcroft came to the state this week, we asked chief spokesman Mark Corallo if anything was up. He promised to get back to us.

Sullivan reports that just last week, the state Democratic Party’s legal counsel, Finas Williams, was asked by the Justice Department to provide the names of people working at the state party offices when the phones were blocked.

Sullivan said she found it “frustrating” that the feds were asking for basic information seven months after the fact. “It is the very same information we provided to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office several months ago,” she said. “I’m grateful they are paying attention and taking it seriously. I just wish they’d take it more seriously and pay a lot more attention.”

3. Follow-up, one week later state officials also remembered they said they would do something.

In case page has gone:

PHONE-JAM UPDATE UPDATE. Last week, we reported that the U.S. Justice Department wants the names of the staffers who were at Democratic Party offices when phones were jammed last Election Day on the orders of a GOP consultant. It appears that 11 months later, a state review is under way.

State Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan received a letter a few days ago from Attorney General Peter Heed. “I want to assure you my office is treating this matter very seriously,” Republican Heed wrote, promising “a thorough investigation.”

He wrote that “in order to give this matter the full priority of my office,” he assigned a second attorney to the case.

And in other recent news of phone games:

Tags: New Hampshire! · Not what it seems...

Louisiana ghost story….

September 26th, 2003 · Comments Off on Louisiana ghost story….

This guy was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a real dark night in the middle of a thunder storm. Time passed slowly and no cars went by.

It was raining so hard he could hardly see his hand in front of his face.

Suddenly he saw a car moving slowly approaching and appearing ghostlike in the rain. It slowly crept toward him and stopped. Wanting a ride real bad the guy jumped in the car and closed the door — only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel.

The car slowly started moving and the guy was terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running. The guy saw that the car was slowly approaching a sharp curve, still too scared to jump out, he started to pray and begging for his life; he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and in the bayou and he would surely drown, when just before the curve, a hand appeared thru the driver’s window and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend.

Paralyzed with fear, the guy watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve. Finally the guy scared to near death had all he could take and jumped out of the car and ran to town.

Wet and in shock, he went into a bar and voice quavering, ordered two shots of whiskey, then told everybody about his supernatural experience. A silence fell over the room and people got goose bumps as they realized–this guy was not just some drunk, he was telling the truth.

About half an hour later two guys walked into the bar and one says to the other, “Look Boudreaux, ders dat idiot that rode in our car when we was pushin it in the rain.”

Yet another wonderful joke from my brother Kevin, who also sent me that email virus warning.

Tags: Learn to write funny

What May 22 national emergency?

September 26th, 2003 · 2 Comments

On May 22, 2003 we had a national emergency–I sure missed that one.

I might have noticed a national emergency if Bush had happened to mention it to–for example–the nation. But Executive Order 13303 crept under the newsmen’s radar, as did Bush’s claim of:

“…an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States… I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

It wasn’t until July anybody noticed the May “national emergency” had given our President some sweeping powers and the oil companies some startling benefits.

On May 22, the UN set up a Development Fund for Iraq, funded by revenues from Iraqi oil. “Billions and billions”, as Carl Sagan would say–a better translation is “corporate feeding frenzy“.*

That same day, Bush’s Executive Order 13303 declares null and void any legal action related to petroleum from Iraq.
Some Bush critics** say EO 13303 must have been drafted by an oil company lawyer who expected Bush to agree to only a fraction of its laundry list–for example:

  • An accident caused by your negligence injures workers? They can’t sue.
  • Your pipeline breaks? The damages aren’t your problem.
  • A tanker spills your oil into New York Harbor? Hey, if it’s Iraqi oil, you’re in the clear!

Oil-company authorship would explain why, on the one hand, the legal protection it gives is so sweeping–and, on the other hand, it benefits only oil companies. I hope, that as non-oil companies head for Iraq, we won’t get another “national emergency.”

And I hope that in any real national emergency, somebody tells us about it.

* Josh Marshall this morning links to online promises of high-level influence by Bush’s longtime friend Joe M. Allbaugh.

** That is, I say it. I’m a Bush critic, and “some” is a mathematical term meaning “at least one.”

Tags: Invisible primary