Rush’s blind spot

10 Mar

Steve Kornacki on the dangers of Rush Limbaugh getting carried away with Obama’s polling woes:: 


Does Rush not remember that Republicans were gloating in 1994 about how independents and even some Democrats were abandoning Clinton just like they’re gloating about Obama today? And just like Democrats in 1982 and 1983 were crowing that independents and even some Republicans were fleeing Reagan?

The Clinton and Reagan comebacks provide very important lessons for those who would write Obama off right now — and for those who would read the GOP’s bright 2010 prospects as much more than a predictable reaction to double-digit unemployment and single-party control of the White House and Congress.  (I wrote much more about the parallels between ‘82, ‘94 and the present day — and why they portend well for Obama’s ‘12 prospects — here.)

Justin McKeating on the “Brown Doctrine”

23 Feb

Justin isn’t impressed by Gordon Brown’s attempt to preempt his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry:

And isn’t it fortunate that Gordon now reveals he didn’t regard Saddam an imminent threat, just as that argument is shown (once again) to be a stinking pile of mendacious horseshit. If only Brown had had a quiet word in Alastair Campbell’s ear back in 2002, all of this unpleasantness might have been avoided. Brown seems to have had no consideration of Iraqi human rights (as Blair later tried to twist it) and admits Saddam could have stayed in power if only he’d come clean about the weapons he didn’t have.

If anything, Brown’s case for cluster-bombing children is even weaker than Blair’s. At least Blair tried to convince us of some threat that needed countering. Brown makes the deaths of – at the very least – 100,000 people, the destruction of a country, and the debasement of UK foreign policy sound like an early bed time for disobedience. I have children who have a ‘persistent disregard’ for what they’re told. God help them if I take up the Brown Doctrine.


Andrew Sullivan on the increasing intolerance of the G.O.P.

21 Feb

On one panel for the under-thirties, Jason Mattera, a rising conservative star, brought the house down. His new book is called Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation, and in his speech, adopting a black accent, he mocked what he called “diversity”, including college classes on “what it means to be a feminist new black man. Think of a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank”. RuPaul is a black drag queen and Barney Frank is the openly gay chairman of the banking committee in the House of Representatives and one of only three openly gay members of Congress (all of whom are Democrats). At the same conference three years ago, Ann Coulter, the bestselling conservative author of her generation, called former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards “a faggot” to rowdy applause.

This is a new kind of Republican party. It is not Goldwater’s Arizona libertarianism or Reagan’s California tolerance. It is getting whiter and whiter, and straighter and straighter. And among the heterosexuals, the hostility towards gay equality is becoming an intense and defining shibboleth of what the party means.


If the Republican Party no longer stands for tolerance and individualism, then it exists as a mere conduit for a holier-than-thou religious tyranny that will suffocate the thin-stream of libertarian intellectual creativity, which is the only thing that makes the party interesting.

Sadly, Sullivan is right

Seriously, why not just vote with your heart?

14 Feb

You should vote. Millions of people on the planet don’t enjoy the rights you have. Many are prepared to spill their blood for the chance of self-determination. You should definitely vote.

But who should you vote for?

You’re probably thinking that they’re all a shower, and why should you vote for any of them. I’m inclined to agree which is why I’m saying just vote with your heart. Take a single-issue – be it climate change, taxes, copyright reform or whatever – and vote for the party that best represents your views.

It’s not a wasted vote. That’s what the big parties want you to believe. If enough people vote for fringe parties, others will follow. At this rate, we’ll be stuck with Labour, Conservatives and the Lib Dems forever – locked into a future of mediocre politics, led by the likes of David Cameron: a man whose soul is barely deep enough to sustain a single goldfish.

So why not frivolously blow your vote? What, really, would be the difference between any of the three major parties? Cameron is as slippery as a sack of eels, Gordon Brown is so desperate he’d probably show you his cock if you promised to vote for him, and Nick Clegg is simply beyond pointless.

When Labour supporters attack Cameron for being lightweight, it works because they’re right. And when Tories call Brown an incompetent clown, they have a point too.

There are, believe it or not, a lot of good constituency parliamentarians. If you have a good MP, vote for him or her. If you just like your MP, why not send them some electoral love? It really will not make much difference. A bunch of arse will run the country regardless.

So if you care passionately about the environment, don’t compromise, vote Green. If like me it’s the surveillance state and corporate influence on politics that animates you, vote for the Pirate Party. If you’re concerned about protecting your welfare, or your MP is Tom Watson, vote Labour.

Just whatever you do, vote with your heart. This country is cursed with second-rate politics, so it really doesn’t matter.

On Fucking Aliens

15 Jan

(In case you didn’t catch this over at Rational Geekery – also on holiday this week, so writing is off the table)

I re-watched Star Trek the other day. Not quite the same on the TV, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

I love the references to the old series – especially the scene where Kirk is in bed with the green chick. Anyway, this got me wondering whether I would sleep with an alien?

If the Men in Black mythology is right – that aliens already live among us in disguise – then I probably have. It’s not a case of odds (I’ve not slept with that many women), it’s just that some of them have been really weird.

I guess the question is how humanoid are the aliens? I mean, there is a reason why I don’t bonk farm animals.

Kirk’s lay in Star Trek is undeniably hot (not Vulcan hot, but still), her skin just happens to be green. So yeah, I don’t see a problem with that. I’m pretty sure I could get used to green boobies. They’re still boobies.

(Not technically an “alien”, but) What about Helena Bonham Carter’s “sexy” chimp from Planet of the Apes? Could you go with that? Me? Nah. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to body-hair. And anyway, kissing her leathery ape-face would be like sucking on a handbag. Not for me, no.

I haven’t seen Avatar, but the thought of scuttling a 7-foot tall cat-woman with a tail longer than my arm, is a bit freaky. Now I’m not ruling it out, but there would need to be beer and I’d want to agree on some firm ground rules. But, we could probably make something work.

Luckily in Star Wars, many of the Aliens look a lot like Natalie Portman and Carrie Fisher, so we’re cool. I’d make a sharp exit if I went on a blind-date with one of the Sand People though. Sparkplugs sticking out of someone’s face is just plain creepy. Finally, role play with the changeling Zam Wessell from Attack of The Clones could be loads of fun. Definitely up for some of that.

Obviously the Queen from the Aliens movie is out of the question. The whole furious giant ant/acid-blood thing is, to be honest, a bit of a turn-off. I’ll pass.

So what do we want from an alien partner?

Well certainly a biped is a good start – and arms, she’s got to have arms. That way we avoid creatures that move around using tentacles or slide along on some kind of primeval ooze. And is it too much to ask that the sexual organs don’t have teeth or squirt some sort of poisonous icky goo? Thanks.

I know others might be more liberal when it comes to body hair, but I’m saying we keep the fur to a minimum. Getting 6” long strand of Wookie hair stuck in my teeth doesn’t do anything for me (have a look).

Skin-wise I’m cool. Green? Blue? Covered in spots? It’s all cool, baby. As long as her skins is soft and not crusty, I can turn a blind-eye to a bit of exotic pigmentation.

While two eyes are best, I could deal with anything in the region of 1-4 eyes. Any more and all the blinking would put me off.

I can take or leave ears. Not a biggie. Whiskers? Meh. Not fussed. Horns are an interesting one. Small ones could be quite cute, and larger ones would double as handlebars. Handy.

So ladies (if you’re still reading…), what extra/improved appendages would you fancy in your alien shag? Maybe you’d be up for tentacles, what with all those extra erogenous zones you have all over the place. What’ll it be girls?

So all in all, I think casual intergalactic fucking could be a lot of fun. To be honest, shagging humans will probably get quite boring eventually. What with just the one vagina and no antlers. That’s probably why old people just give up.

So yeah, I can’t wait for drunken nights in an alien nightclub tapping up the local talent. C’mon NASA, where’s our interstellar sex tourism? Pull your finger out, FFS.

’09 in Review

1 Jan

I usually do a very structured review of the year, with a best blog/film/record of the year etc. This year however I have decided against picking a categorised best of the year. I’m just going to vent and see what happens…


Quite a few critics have lamented the movies of 2009. It’s true that there has been asome rubbish – Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, being one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s an absolute travesty that Transformers 2 has made almost $900m, meaning that another life-draining sequel is inevitable. But there have also been a handful of decent pictures too.

Pixar followed up the seminal Wall-E with another good movie. While Up lost its way towards the end, it remains a moving and at times breathtakingly beautiful piece of work. Pixar, along with the Cohen brothers, are consistently leading from the front.

As raucous buddy-movies go, I really enjoyed The Hangover. It’s over-the-top, but it’s seriously funny in places. Nice to see The Hangover is also one of the highest grossing films of the year – pulling in almost 500m clams.

Harry Potter was fine. Watchmen was an epic letdown. Wolverine was rubbish but I enjoyed it. I haven’t seen Avatar, In The Loop or Zombieland yet. And 2012 can go F itself.

As for Sci-Fi, I thought both District 9 and Star Trek were great.


I don’t really buy much music anymore. I love a few bands like The Killers, Radiohead, Muse and The Arctic Monkeys, but in the main I listen to audiobooks and podcasts.

Anyway mainstream music is now the preserve of one man: Simon Cowell, who seems to manipulate the nation like a huge braindead marionette. Now richer than Scrooge McDuck, Cowell – sporting his trademark Botox-swollen face and G.I. Joe haircut – seems to be behind everything. It’s only a matter of time before Cowell builds a fortress in the clouds and we’re all forced to crawl on all-fours like bugs dong his evil bidding.

At the centre of Cowell’s insidious empire are the twin-behemoths, X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. X-Factor, which allows bedroom-bound popstar wannabes to to ruin your Saturday night, provides a desperately bored nation with a never-ending production line of wet crooners – many of whom seem to have severe personality disorders.

Britain’s Got Talent, on the other hand, takes hideous curiosities and turns them into national treasures. More Britons would recognise the Hairy Angel, Susan Boyle, than they would The Angel of The North – one of the few genuine cultural highlights of recent times.

The recent Rage Against the Machines Christmas Number One was of course an impressive display of guerrilla grassroots marketing, but really the whole story just highlights the predictability of British Music.

The X-Factor track was absolute rubbish, but it still got the number two spot. What sort of bottom-feeders bought that shit? The mass lobotomising of the British people is the great unreported story of the last decade, and it’s time Simon Cowell was brought to justice.


Watching the slow and painful premiership of Gordon Brown is now unbearable. While the backend of 2009 has offered a flicker of hope for Labour ranks, it’s inevitable that Labour will get an almighty hosing at the general election.

The electoral map is heavily stacked against the Tories, but it hard to imagine that David Cameron will be denied victory – even it that means being the dominant faction in a coalition.

I don’t believe for a minute that a Conservative government will be much good. That’s why it’s hilarious reading the Tory blogs. They’re selling a great sack of fail. David Cameron is not nearly good enough to run a corner shop, never mind the nation. He’s going to become the next PM because Labour is such a crock.

If the Liberal Democrats had any ideas, gumption or class, they’d be crucifying the Tories. Instead they are, as always, paralysed by opportunity and terrified of success.

Of course the Lib Dems don’t actually want to win the election. Having to give up their sniffy-aloofness would be too high a price to pay. No, the Lib Dems are perfectly happy with the status quo, which allows them ample time to sit about telling each other how fragrant their farts are.


After last-years stellar year for gaming, 2009 was always going to be a bit of a letdown. That said; there have been really good games released this year.

The year’s monster hit has been Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which is brilliant. While none the individual levels quite match up to its predecessor’s highlights (the All Ghillied Up sniper level and the majestic opening few minutes of Charlie Don’t Surf), the overall campaign is better. My favourite part being the heart-pounding unarmed race across the Favella rooftops.

My criticisms of MW2 are that the multiplayer maps don’t offer the same varied experience of the first Modern Warfare game. Nothing quite betters the thrill of dominating on Ambush or Backlot. I like the Favella level and Invasion, but I’d love to be able to get a COD4 map-pack and bring my old favourites over to the new game.

The third MW2 game-type, Special-Ops, is really good and offers loads of re-play value. All together an outstanding, if not faultless, game.

One of my most played games of the year is the brilliant Xbox Arcade offering Trials HD, which is a beautifully realised game with a nod to the open-source motorbike classic Moto-X. You only control the trial-bike’s gas and the rider’s weight, but the experience is thrilling, addictive and taxing. My brother-in-law is completely besotted by the game.

I felt a bit let down by Halo ODST. Yeah it was moody and atmospheric, but it was also incredibly boring in places and the Halo 3 engine is incredibly dated now. Good to have all the multiplayer maps on one disk though.

Not being a PS3 owner I haven’t played Uncharted 2, but it’s the one game on the platform I’m desperate to play.

I’ve only played a bit of Left 4 Dead 2, which looks like more of the same – which is no bad thing! I hope to rattle through it over the next few days. I also got last year’s Fallout 3: Game of the Year edition for Christmas, so that’ll keep my busy.


Technology wise it’s been the year of the netbook. I love my Samsung NC10 (running Jolicloud OS) and often use it around the house instead of my MacBook Pro. I’m looking forward to the Chrome OS too.

I’ve become very attached to my new iPod Shuffle, which is used far more than my Touch. I just wish I could control the order my podcasts are played like I could on the old 2nd Gen Shuffle – maybe I just don’t know how to do it. They always play alphabetically.

Browser wise, Chrome has become my browser of choice on all my machines except the Macs. I need the Xmarks extension to sync bookmarks across my computers. On the Mac I use WebKit, but if the Chromium dev-build of Chrome was more robust, WebKit’s use would dwindle.

Phone-wise I’m still a BlackBerry man, that’s will change this year. Now the iPhone can gone multi-network expect sales to go crazy. I’m unsu
re between an Android phone and the iPhone, but I will get a touch-screen phone with a good browser.


I don’t watch much TV, but the recent series of The Thick of It, and MadMen have both blown me away. I still like the I.T. Crowd and Peep Show is another favourite. Other than those two… Meh.

So yeah, I finally watched Transformers 2

31 Dec

I’ll put my cards on the table. I enjoyed the first Transformers movie.

I know many critics didn’t much like TF1, but I enjoyed the special effects on show and thought that Shia LaBeouf’s motor mouth cockiness was pretty funny – especially his interaction with the slimy Sector 7 suit. Even the origin story nonsense I enjoyed and it held together okay.

Last night I watched Tranformers 2 and now I want 150 minutes of my life back.

When TF2 was announced I intended to catch it at the cinema. But after the critical mauling, I decided not to bother. Yesterday I decided it was probably worth a rental, just to see giant robots beat the shit out of one another. What could possibly go wrong?

I’ll tell you what went wrong. Everything.

Why the hell was that film two and a half hours long? It was a visual effects demo held together by the most convoluted and sigh-inducing story I have ever suffered.

So Sam Whitwhatsit goes off to Uni. It’s his first day at college, but somehow his fellow freshman roommates have – presumably in the few hours before Whitwhatsit got there – become dear friends, created a popular conspiracy website and set-up an internet business selling kitty calendars. Bullshit.

So anyway, story-line-wise (such as it is): inevitably the Decepticons are back and start appearing all over the place, slicing humans to bits and generally being nasty fucks.

We also see more of Megan Fox. In the first movie I agree Megan Fox was quite the hottie. Obviously she can’t act for shit, but she does what it says on the tin: pouts a lot and looks good in a tight vest. Let’s be honest. Fox is provided as eye-candy for the boys turning up to see two sports cars turn into robots and start wrestling.

In TF2 however, Fox spends the entire film looking like a carnival clown trying to make it as a hooker. You can literally see the pantomime makeup caked on her face. Yeah terrific rack, but it would be like making out with one of the female Splicers from the videogame BioShock. Urgh.

So back to Whitwhatsit. The jokes from the first movie are long gone. Think Shia LaBeouf’s god-awful turn in the recent, and very much regrettable, Indiana Jones movie. This time Whitwhatsit is supposed to be this seasoned hero trying to assimilate back into a normal life. He comes across as an annoying ass-knuckle, who you be quite happy to see slip and hit his temple on the side of a coffee table.

When Sam’s life is in peril towards the end of the movie, I genuinely wanted the wet fuck to croak. I couldn’t care less about any of the characters.

And what was with the two bickering twin Autobots? Are we, in these post Jar Jar Binks times, expected to put up with ridiculously clichéd (and possibly racist) characters in very blockbuster fantasy? Fuck, dudes.

And so even my son, who’s otherwise obsessed with anything remotely to do with superheroes and robots, got up halfway through the movie and mooched upstairs. Presumably he went to lie in bed and repeatedly punch himself in the face, in the pathetic hope he could wipe the experience from his fragile little mind.

Around the two-hour mark I too was becoming borderline suicidal. I started praying for the torture to end. Believe it or not, I’d actually had enough of gigantic robots rolling around on the floor and smashing each other in the face. I know. Incredible isn’t it?

I know the Transformers back-story is famously convoluted, with differing origin-stories from various incarnations, but the pseudo-religious Prime nonsense of the movie’s last hour was so painful I almost tore the skin from my face.

This film is so bad; everyone involved ought to be forced to drag the limp carcass of an expired Optimus Prime across the Sahara desert as punishment. Michael Bay, the film’s director, should be condemned to a life making adverts for sanitary products, and never be allowed near a movie set again. What a hateful cum-pot of a movie.

My wife’s conclusion summed it up perfectly as the credits rolled: “Well the first one was pretty good”. And that, I guess, is the kindest thing you can say about Transformers 2.