Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Free Proctology Exams in Pamplona, Spain

Photo: Pablo Sanchez/Reuters

I guess this is what happens to "slow pokes" in the Running of the Bulls.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Scott McClellen is sweatin' to the oldies

Presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellen was finally asked some pointed questions by the White House press corps today.
As i mentioned before, i love reading the press gaggles and news breifings held by Scotty. Most of the time i am outraged by his lack of honesty and utter contempt for the intelligence of the American people, as he dispenses talking points and carefully parsed responses to a mostly acquiescent press pool.
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But today was different. The WH press corps apparently grew some balls overnight and started asking some real questions about Karl Rove's role in the outing of a CIA agent. Well, it's about freakin' time. Here's some of the juicy bits from the WH transcript:

QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?

QUESTION: Do you stand by that statement?

MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk.

You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation.

QUESTION: You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?

MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott...

Yeah, he's in a bad spot. Here's video. Watch him sweat, fret and squirm. It's lovely. He got caught lying from the podium and the press is pissed at him for it.

MCCLLELAN: The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium....

Q: Scott, if I could point out: Contradictory to that statement, on September 29th of 2003, while the investigation was ongoing, you clearly commented on it. You were the first one to have said that if anybody from the White House was involved, they would be fired. And then, on June 10th of 2004, at Sea Island Plantation, in the midst of this investigation, when the president made his comments that, yes, he would fire anybody from the White House who was involved. So why have you commented on this during the process of the investigation in the past, but now you’ve suddenly drawn a curtain around it under the statement of, 'We’re not going to comment on an ongoing investigation'?

MCCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate the question. I know you want to get to the bottom of this. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the president of the United States. And I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation. And that’s something that the people overseeing the investigation have expressed a preference that we follow.

Billmon has a nice wrap up of past statements made by Snotty and the rest of the Rove defenders. You may compare recent statements above to what was said before here. Samples:

QUESTION: Wilson now believes that the person who did this was Karl Rove . . . Did Karl Rove tell that . . .

McCLELLAN: I haven't heard that. That's just totally ridiculous. But we've already addressed this issue. If I could find out who anonymous people were, I would. I just said, it's totally ridiculous.

QUESTION: But did Karl Rove do it?

McCLELLAN: I said, it's totally ridiculous.

Not so rediculous now, in light of the fact that the White House has a vendetta against Joe Wilson, whose report was true - that Iraq never sought enriched uranium from Niger. The evidence that supported that assertion turned out to be a fogery. That assertion appeared as the infamous 16 words in The 2003 State of the Union Address, where W was drumming up support to attack Iraq. See? It's all connected. The big picture is coming into focus. These folks are dirty rotten liars.

QUESTION: Scott, you have said that you, personally, went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers . . . Why did you do that, and can you describe the conversations you had with them?

McCLELLAN: They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt of that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it's accurate before I report back to you, and that's exactly what I did.

QUESTION: So you're saying -- you're saying categorically those three individuals were not the leakers or did not authorize the leaks; is that what you're saying?

McCLELLAN: That's correct.

That's correct? Not so much.

More: Think Progress DailyKos

It's all well and good that the press is starting to pay attention to this issue (this has been going on for TWO YEARS already!) and ask questions, but it doesn't mean that Snotty will give us real honest answers. The tap dance continues.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) writes a letter calling for hearings on the Hill. Give 'em hell, Henry! Put them under oath and roast them slowly. Just don't slather them in batter or mayonnaise.

Quote of the day from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI):
"Remember during the 2000 Presidential campaign when the Republican mantra was that President Bush was going to 'restore honesty and dignity to the White House'? How's that going?"

Iron & Wine on the TV

I watch a lot of television. I do this because it's easier than reading books or interacting with humans other than my girlfriend. I am so "path of least resistance" that way.
Since i watch so much TV, i am exposed to a lot of commercials. And since i watch only a handful of channels, i see the same handful of commercials over and over. i also like to think that i am acutley aware of the subtleties involved in consumer coercion. i know that there are focus groups and marketing people and writers and directors who agonize over every deatil of every commercial that is beamed at me through the cathode ray tube's comforting glow. i tend to notice when a commercial has been shortened, changed, or edited in some way, and it makes me wonder why.
Sometimes, it's an obvious matter of brevity. When they hype some blockbuster flick two weeks before it comes to a theater near you, they will show you all the best parts in a 30 or 60 second spot. Then, after it reaches mass distribution, the marketers assume you know about the movie by now and give you a shorter version.
Sometimes they change the copy of the ad. By "copy," i mean: the words they say in the commercial, but i like to sound like i know what i'm talking about by using marketing jargon.
For instance, there's a sandwich ad airing right now, starring that Jared guy who lost like, 372 pounds by eating nothing but Subways (the sandwiches, not the mass transit trains).

When i first noticed the ad a coupla weeks ago, Jared told us how other fast food dumps ruin chicken by "frying it and covering it with mayonnaise." When i first heard him say that, i thought that that would be a tasty way to enjoy chicken. Mmm. Mayonnaise. Then over the weekend, i saw the commercial a few times, only now he says the other chains ruin chicken by "frying it and slathering it in batter." Okay, that sounds even better.
So i ask you, gentle reader, why did they change the copy? Does slathering it in batter sound worse than covering it with mayonnaise? Did the mayonnaise people get upset and file an anti-defamation complaint against Subway? And if so, do they think the batter people will let them get away with this? Mmm. Batter slather.

Last week, i noticed that one of my favorite artists, Sam Beam, aka Iron & Wine had a song on an M&M's commercial. I was in the bathroom at the time, doing who-knows-what with the door slightly open and i heard his soft, whispery voice sing,
They will see us waving from such great heights
"Come down now," they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
"Come down now," but we'll stay
I heard my girlfirend give a, "Hmm!" of curiosity from the other room, and i stopped what i was doing long enough to ask, "Is that Iron & Wine on the TV?"
"It sure sounds like it," she answered. "What are you doing in there?"
"Oh,, just combing my hair."
"You don't have enough hair to comb. You don't even own a comb"
"I know, that's why it's taking so long!"
Okay, i'm getting off on a tangent here.
i saw the commercial later on, and confirmed that it was indeed Iron & Wine, and it was indeed the song, "Such Great Heights," and the commercial was indeed, very cool.

Then i saw the commercial a few times over the weekend and they had changed it. It's the same song, but they used a different part. WTF?
I am thinking it's a sign
That the freckles in our eyes
Are mirror images and
When we kiss they're perfectly aligned
So i pose to you, o kind and gentle reader of this blog: Why did they switch the lyrics for this commercial?
The name of this spot is "Kaleidoscope" and can be found here (thanks to JT for the link). It's got some trippy visuals, and the lyrics in the original spot may conjure up images of a coupla hippies too high to come down. Is this why they switched? Did they get complaints from one of those radical religious groups that the ad was too "trippy" and to tone it down? What will the hippies' response be? Oh yeah: Mmm...M&M's.

BTW, if you don't have all of Iron & Wine's albums by now, may i persuade you to click here and purchase every one of these releases? You will not be sorry, dear reader. i was lucky enough to finally catch him (with a full band) live a coupla months ago and was blown away by how freakin' awesome it was.
Other Iron & Wine links:
Our Endless Numbered Days LP (2004) reviews: E! Online. Pitchfork. Pop Matters
Woman King EP (2005) reviews: All Music Guide Splendid
Creek Drank the Cradle LP (2002) reviews: All Music Guide JunkMedia Dusted
The Sea & the Rhythm EP (2003) reviews: Prefix MusicEmisssions
Iron & Wine on "The L Word" Season 2 soundtrack? It's a crappy show, but i guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do.