Weekend Coverage

While I've always had plenty of options for weeknight karaoke-ing, Fridays and Saturdays have been tougher nuts to crack. Downtown bars usually aren't willing to give up prime bar space on the weekends for karaoke.

Fortunately, there's now a solution. Pete Rock, the most awesomely misanthropic karaoke host in the city, is now doing Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the new Fox & Fiddle across from Wellesley Station (the pub that used to be Fiddler's Green). Fiddler's Green used to do weekend karaoke too, in a tiny, stuffy second floor room that was inevitably packed. I wasn't a huge fan. Now, however, the karaoke is in a tiny second floor room, with the windows open. Plus Pete insulting everyone. Also, the wait staff can apparently all sing really goddamn well.

The fact that the place is a five-minute walk from my new castle in the sky doesn't hurt either.


Booman put this up (well, technically, Steven D). I'm kind of hoping there's a David Tort remix on the way, which will become the club anthem of the late summer.

Wait a Minute

These GI Joe ads seem familiar somehow... terrorists blowing up the Eiffel Tower as an opening salvo? An elite unit of American special forces respond with cool vehicles and gadgets, with plenty of collateral damage ensuing?

Holy crap! GI Joe is just a live-action remake of Team America: World Police!

I wonder if they kept the scene where Duke proves his dedication by giving Dennis Quaid a blowjob.

Laughing Instead of Crying

Yet another non-racist politician gets caught sending out not-racist email jokes about the OG-Commander-in-Chief. And, of course, the First ShawtyLady (via TNC):

In the past several months Atwater City Councilman Gary Frago has sent at least a half-dozen e-mails to city staff and other prominent community members containing racist jokes aimed at President Barack Obama, his wife and black people in general.

In all, the Sun-Star obtained seven e-mails that Frago sent from October 2008 to February 2009 from an anonymous source.


Perhaps the most overboard e-mail was sent on Jan. 15. It read: "Breaking News Playboy just offered Sarah Palin $1 million to pose nude in the January issue. Michelle Obama got the same offer from National Geographic."

Shit like this is why Dave Chappelle really needs to come out of retirement. It's going to be a while before it's all floated to the surface and been skimmed off.

I think from now on, though, I'm going to start referring to Joe Biden as the Deputy Spade.

UPDATE: Rather fantastic discussion going on in the comments to TNC's post on this, linked above. This comment, after some people expressed alarm at the notion that 35-40% of white Americans "don't like Al Sharptonblack people", from TNC needs highlighting:

I'll give you a better equivalent. Are you offended by the notion that 35 to 40 percent of men are sexist? Are 65 percent? 85 percent? 100 percent? Are you offended by the notion that 70 percent of people are homophobic? 90 percent? 99 percent? None of these scenarios actually offend me. Why would they? I may debate the number, but that's different than actually being offended--or even disappointed--by the assertion.

But the difference between those -isms and all your others lies in this statement:

I was raised to believe that racists are the lowest of the low, the scum of the freakin' earth.

I would suggest that, if you believe this, you will likely be offended at least once a week by this blog. And frankly, it's good that you are. The problem with this statement is what lies beneath--the ="lowest of the low" sounds like a qualitative judgment to you, but it's actually a quantitative one too. In terms of morality, the "lowest of the low" connotes the marginalized, the dregs of humanity, the trolls under the bridge.

This definition of racism is very reason why, when people are accused of it, their friends say things like, "No, he's a really good person." or "No, he has black friends." The notion being that racists are monsters who hide somewhere, and come out at night to menace the population.

Racists are not "the lowest of the low"--indeed they are often the most respectable of the respected. Every week we hear about a civil servant caught mailing e-mails--like the one above--to coworkers. These people aren't "the lowest of the low." Pat Buchanan is racist. He's also holds a plum spot at one of the biggest media outfits in the world. The reason why he holds that spot is because so many people who work with him find him utterly charming. He may well be a great father. He may be a great husband, and an exceedingly loyal friend. But he's a racist, too.

The world would be a much easier place if racist were, as you put it, "the scum of the earth." They aren't. Like homophobes and sexists, they can be our best friends. That's why we're still fighting this fight. That's why it's so hard to root out. Because it tend to pop up in people we love.

I welcome you to be offended at me. I welcome you to be disappointed in me. But I'd encourage you to consider the point. I'd encourage to follow, and join in, on our Civil War threads. Understanding that Robert E. Lee, was the most upright of human beings, and yet on his way to Gettysburg he kidnapped free black people and sold them into slavery will tell you a lot about racism. It will tell you even more about people.

It's good that you were offended. I don't mean to be an ass. But half of what animates me is the belief that people who believe that racism exists strictly amongst the "scum of the earth" need a wake-up call.

Max Keiser is Shrill

Will anybody be surprised if Keiser dies in a plane crash on his way back to the States? I won't. (via B-J, via Matt Taibbi, via Zero Hedge)

BTW, if you want to know what the "$100 million dollars a day" thing is about, start with this, then read this.

Rafsanjani Makes His Move

Sully has a ton of posts up today about Rafsanjani's appearance today, and the fall-out from it.

What seems clear is that he's putting himself out there as the opposition's leader, and its public face. He wouldn't be doing this if he didn't feel he had enough support behind-the-scenes to survive a backlash.

I can't really see it as an encouraging development though. Rafsanjani is more likely to co-opt the opposition, and try to fold it back into the system, than he is to help push things towards the (inevitable?) collapse of the Republic.

If Rafsanjani tries to steer the flood, he's going to be pulled under. The best he can do is try to surf the crest, and land in a position of power when it sweeps away the old power structure.

Cassandra Needs To Shut the Hell Up


The American economy remains in dire straits, with one worker in six unemployed or underemployed. Yet Goldman Sachs just reported record quarterly profits — and it’s preparing to hand out huge bonuses, comparable to what it was paying before the crisis. What does this contrast tell us?

First, it tells us that Goldman is very good at what it does. Unfortunately, what it does is bad for America.

Second, it shows that Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.

Third, it shows that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.

Obama's failure to even address the underlying causes of the recent shock to the global economy, and his giving ear to the parasites who benefitted, is already looking like the biggest failure of his first term.

The window of opportunity for real reform on Wall Street is slamming shut.

Mum, Dad, Don't Touch It- It's Evil!

Weird. Chrome is telling me Balloon Juice is infected with malware when I try to surf to it. Did JC get hacked, or is it just Chrome being cranky?

UPDATE: Now Chrome is telling me my own site has been infected with whatever is infecting Balloon Juice. Even though I haven't opened any page of the site today. I'm thinking 'cranky'.

UPDATIER: Not news.

Kopp's Awful Play

I'm sure I won't be the only one in awe of how terrible a train wreck this was, but last night Billy Kopp went out in 12th place in the Main Event of the WSOP by making one of the worst plays I've ever seen in any tournament of any size.

He was sitting in 2nd in chips, with over 20 million and made a classic pressure raise, bumping it from an early position with 5-3 diamonds. Nothing wrong so far. He got one caller, from a blind -- Darwin Moon, the chip leader, who was the only guy at the table who had him covered.

Flop hits K high, and three diamonds. Both players check.

Turn hits the two of hearts, pairing the board. Moon checks. Kopp bets out 2 million... and Moon check-raises to 6 million.

Now, if you're Kopp, what should your thought process be here? You flopped the baby flush, but Moon is showing some kind of strength. Maybe he has the ace of diamonds. Maybe he has a two and made trips, or something like off king-queen (or jack, or 10) of diamonds. Lots of hands that could catch up on the river. Or maybe he flopped a mediocre flush of his own. Less likely, maybe he flopped the nut flush, or hit two pair or trips on the flop, and you're now drawing dead.

Most importantly, what you should be thinking is, "This is the one guy at the table I do not want to get balls-deep with, because he's the only guy who can bust me out."

Kopp apparently never got around to that last thought.

He responded to Moon's raise by re-raising all-in. Moon called, showed QJ of diamonds, and Kopp was done.

Dude, you were three eliminations from the final table, and in great chip position. Maybe you just call the raise; possibly you come back over the top with a smallish re-raise of your own (although 'smallish', in this case, would have meant a bump to 9 or 10 million).

The absolute last thing you should be doing is pushing all your chips into the middle, against the one person with enough chips to actually call, when there is a decent chance you could be drawing stone dead.

Newz From Teh Innerwebz!

Just got an email from that Barack Obama cat... apparently there's some sort of confirmation hearing going on today for one of his judicial nominees, or something. Good to know.

I wonder if any cable news shows will mention it?

TIFF Early Peeks!

The film fest (sorry... Toronto International Film Festival) press office has started rolling out this year's slate of movies. Two probable gems from the Special Presentations programme jumped out at me immediately:

Vengeance: Johnnie To directing a reformed-hitman-revenge flick is cool enough, but the reformed hitman in question is played by... Johnny Hallyday. Sweet!

Valhalla Rising: The Best Actor in Europe, Mads Mikkelsen, re-unites with Pusher trilogy director Nicolas Winding Refn for some sort of crazy-ass Viking fantasy epic. If I'm not in the audience for the first festival screening of this it means I've up and died, and believe you me God will get an earful for yanking me off this earth before I got a chance to watch it.

In contrast, the Opening Night Gala is apparently a Darwin biopic by the guy who directed the Core, which just seems like a hilariously bad idea on a few levels.

Beyond the Veil

I'm slowly making my way through The Souls of Black Folk, and a great big idea for a short story whomped me over the head after I read DuBois' piece on going back to Tennessee to catch up on the families he'd met while he was teaching up in the hills.

Hmm. Educated man heads to rural area cut off from 'civilization'... encounters weirdness and resistance from the locals... a young girl dies... he gets out, but is irrevocably changed and haunted by his experiences...

Sounds like the basis for a Lovecraftian tale to me.

The trick will be creating the right type of Mythosy horror for young DuBois to brush up against, and to retroactively inform the rest of his life. The metaphors have to be perfect.

No No No No No

Journey are not l33t. To even suggest such a thing is sacrilege. Or at least insulting.

UFC 100

Last night's main event turned out to be Dana White's ultimate wet dream, as not only did Lesnar win but the crowd hated him. Massive boos raining down after the fight, which Brock egged on like any good, Vince McMahon-trained heel would.

The problem is, what White hasn't figured out is that a heel champ only works if you have a face challenger to take him down, and frankly there are no heavyweights in the UFC who are going to be a threat to Lesnar unless he gets lazy. He already beat up Couture. If he could handle Mir as easily as he did Noguera won't be any tougher for him to man-handle. Tim Sylvia could match his size but Lesnar's raw athleticism would make it no contest at all.

There's really only one heavyweight in MMA right now who could hang with Lesnar, and he's not even in the UFC yet. But he's got the size, strength, athleticism, speed and wrestling background to match and neutralize Lesnar's best weapons, and I can see the two of them having a series of wars than would make the Couture-Liddell trilogy look like undercard stuff. (Of course they could also have one bad fight where neither of them can ground 'n' pound effectively and they can't figure out anything else to try...)

That guy, of course, is Bobby Lashley.

How weird is it going to be for UFC fans to see two ex-WWE guys as the two most dominant heavyweight MMA fighters in the world?