Reactionary racist Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo (I could tell you what party he belongs to, but do I really have to?) recently got in some hot water for saying the following about the city of Miami on noted wingnut rant outlet

"Look at what has happened to Miami. It has become a Third World country. You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you're in the United States of America. You would certainly say you're in a Third World country," Tancredo said.

Pretty strong words, Tom! The average non-Republican might find some things to criticize about that statement. But I have to rush to the good Congressman's defense for a minute. He didn't mean it that way. Let me explain.

What he means is that southern Florida conducts elections just like they do in Nicaragua or Mozambique. After all, the Department of Justice just declared southern Florida to be the most corrupt place in America. And there isn't even a close second. Noted corruption capitals like Chicago and New York pale in comparison to the tip of America's wang.

If you're not convinced by the statistics, it's worth noting that Florida's 13th Congressional district race is still undecided because their electronic voting machines mysteriously and inexplicably recorded 18,000 no-votes for the House candidates. Coincidentally enough, the "results" from the voting machines place the Republican candidate just a few hundred votes ahead. Amazing. Even MORE coincidentally, it's Katherine Harris's old district. EVEN MORE COINCIDENTALLY, the 18,000 no-vote ballots voted 2 to 1 in favor of Democrats in other races on the ballot.

I mean this with all sincerity and honesty, South Florida: go fuck yourself. Shut the hell up and stop trying to influence the affairs of our formerly great nation until you can conduct an election that would pass UN Election Observer standards for the average Ukranian parliamentary race.

Tom Tancredo is right. I just don't think he's aware of why he's right.


Looks like Bill Frist is already pulling out (too bad his father didn't do the same! *rimshot*). All that Dobson-fluffing was for naught.

In even better news, looks like Liddy Dole's retarded ass will be heading the NRSC again in 2008. This just in – the Senatorial campaign organization that she ran into the ground in 2006 not only lost SIX SEATS but also lost money doing it! Yep, they're in debt and they're asking for more help just to get out of the red. Try a bake sale, bitch.

Lastly, is soon to have a spin-off site – a Family Matters to ginandtacos' Perfect Strangers. It's going to be dedicated to political oddsmaking and it will start out with early analysis of the 2008 Senate, House, and Presidential races. Basically, it'll be Sabato's Crystal Ball with more dick jokes. Whee!

(I bet you totally forgot that Family Matters is technically spun off of Perfect Strangers. It is. Harriet Winslow – the mom on FM – worked at thenewspaper with Cousin Larry from PS.)


As anyone who has been following the news is already aware, this hasn't been a particularly good fortnight for America's law enforcers. Whether they're tasering Arab college kids, firing off 50 rounds at an unarmed wedding party, or popping a cap in an 88 year old woman in her home, there has been plenty of reason to discuss issues of police and the use of force recently.

Unfortunately, such discussions inevitably end up being reduced to "Look, police officers have a stressful, dangerous job. They have to make snap decisions and it's too easy to second-guess." This is, of course, the conclusion of the argument for those who defend the police in these instances. There's a certain logic to that, I admit. It really is a dangerous, stressful job. No one can dispute that. The logical leap I fail to make, however, is that stressful employment = carte blanche for inappropriate conduct.

While being a cop is certainly hazardous, it's not even close to the most dangerous job in the United States. Not even in the top 10, as a matter of fact. According to the Department of Labor, the 10 jobs in which one is most likely to be killed in the line of work are (fatalities per 100,000 hrs. of work) working on a fishing boat or in the timber industry. Regarding injuries (non-fatal), law enforcement isn't even in the top 25 – being a steel worker seems to offer the highest odds of injury.

Furthermore, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund there are an average of about 160 law enforcement deaths annually. Is 160 dead police officers a lot? Yes, it is. That's a lot of violence. 160 deaths means that there are approximately 18.2 fatalities per 100,000 hours worked. It indicates that being a law enforcement officer is indeed a dangerous job.

But there are a lot of dangerous jobs. "Police officer" is neither the only one nor the most dangerous. Therefore it makes no sense (here in the reality-based community) that police officers' conduct, when inappropriate, can be justified by the hazards of the job. If a lumberjack or electrician beats the crap out of an unarmed person in the street, does anyone say "Well, they have a very dangerous and stressful job" as an excuse? Well why the hell not? Their jobs are statistically about 500% more dangerous than being a cop.

This isn't really about whether or not police were or were not guilty of using excessive force in any of the recent cases. That's for the courts to decide (*snicker*). The officers involved have already faced discipline – paid administrative leave (the rest of us call that "vacation"). I'm sure the legal system will investigate itself and reassuringly inform us that it found no evidence of wrongdoing. While there's nothing that we can do as individuals to change the attitudes and behavior of people in law enforcement, I think we're all more than capable of contributing to the fight against piss-poor logic and lame excuses.


So Britain's pro-war Labor Party has finally gotten the memo that they need to start covering their asses if they have any hope of future political success. Our anglo cousins are preparing to remove "most" of their 7,000 troop contingent in Iraq (the second-largest force behind our 140,000 troops). Ditto Italy, which currently contributes less than 100.

You forgot Poland! No, we didn't. They're leaving too (900 troops).

The Coalition of the Willing, minus these three nations, will be the United States followed by, in descending order of troop committment:

– United States (140,000)
– South Korea (2600)
– Australia (1400)
– Netherlands (1200)
– Romania (865)
– Denmark (515)
– El Salvador (380)

Awesome! Need I even point out that the overwhelming majority of these "contingents" are non-combat personnel (engineers, medics, etc)?

So much for "Iraqization" of the ground forces. Let the Americanization continue unabated!


I have paid my six matinee dollars to see Christopher Guest's newest, For Your Consideration. In the words of Cypress Hill: save your money, fool.

People in Hollywood seem incapable of understanding the simple truth that the rest of us do not find jokes about Hollywood to be funny. This film is a perfect example of why that always fails. The reason is that there is nothing inherently likeable about Hollywood personalities. Nothing. In fact they're inherently dislikeable – most of them quite strongly.

Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind are three of my favorite movies. They're absolutely hilarious, mostly because there's something inherently funny about dopey old folk musicians, people who go to dog shows, and small town hicks. Contrast that to the newest film. There is absolutely nothing funny about Hollywood agents, vapid producers, and washed-up actors.

First of all, we've never met any of those people. So if they are funny, it would basically be an inside joke for those making the film. Second, what we do know about those people suggests that they are vapid, soulless, and unspeakably vain. Ha ha! That's hilarious. Wait. No it isn't.

This movie is about 4% funny (basically whenever this guy was on screen) and 96% depressing. I cannot imagine what Christopher Guest was thinking. Why did he think we would be amused by actors getting dicked around by a cruel, manipulative system and then ending up suicidal and alcoholic? Honestly, if anyone can make it to the end of this film and tell me what's supposed to be funny about Catherine O'Hara I'd like to hear it.

The kindest I can be to this film is to say that it is a joke I didn't get. More accurately, though, I'm not sure there were any jokes at all. What a waste of a hilarious cast.


Believe it or not, I'm kind of a luddite and I've never bothered to learn many of the intricacies of this blogging thing. If anyone can help me out in protecting the ginandtacos comments from annoying spam, you will receive a tremendous prize. So tremendous, in fact, that the true extent of it will only be comprehended centuries hence.


Fox News is prepping a conservative answer to the Daily Show. If it's anywhere near as awesome as the right-wing response to leftist punk and anti-war music then we are in for one hilarious show.

I only hope it somehow incorporates neoconservative stand-up comedian Julia Gorin! She is just so goddamn funny I can barely stand it!

(Author's note: stand-up comedians whose acts are made up almost entirely ( > 75%) of laughing at their own jokes and egging the crowd into applause breaks with phrases like "Am I right, people?" make me want to tunnel to the Earth's core and ignite an explosive powerful enough to turn our planet into soccer ball-sized chunks of uninhabitability.)


I'm sick of talking about politics. Or reading about it. Or getting angry about it, which is a permanent side-effect of talking or reading about it. This post is about Dick Clark.

OK, the Ageless One is only tangental to the point, which is that you need to watch this video (also available in much less awful mpeg quality here or here) if you've never seen it before. What is it? Why, it's none other than Public Image, Ltd. – maybe the most underappreciated band of my brief but expanding lifetime – on American Bandstand. In his later years (i.e., right now) Clark called this "surrealist" performance one of his 10 favorite episodes in the show's history.

How did PiL end up on American Bandstand? Apparently the answer is that they never saw American Bandstand and American Bandstand never saw PiL. We can imagine, then, that PiL were none-too-happy when they found out they were expected to lip-synch their "hits" ("Poptones" and "Careering") for a studio audience. We can also imagine that Dick Clark was equally unhappy to learn that PiL's music is bizarre, completely atonal, and utterly unlovable.

For those who don't feel like watching this 9 minute clip, the band make absolutely no effort to play along. They swap instruments as John Lydon heads straight into the seats, mouths words to the song (sans microphone), and organizes some sort of bizarre game of Red Rover. After a completely surreal "meet the band" interlude where Dick Clark introduces everyone (including a massively stoned Keith Levene) they go into "Careering." By this point Lydon is just standing around chatting with audience members, most of whom are dancing on stage.

I wasn't cognizant of things on TV when this happened, but I am pretty convinced that until Twin Peaks came along this is the most surreal thing that had ever been on network television. Enjoy it. It is not politics.

(PS – While we're at it, can someone please tell me what f'n planet Jah Wobble is from? I can't imagine the amount of drugs one would have to do to come up with those bass lines. But maybe it all came naturally to a man who got booted from the band after he set their drummer on fire. He set the fuckin' drummer on fire. Top that.)