Broads say the darndest things

What's the best way to get back on the horse after missing some time from my regular blogging? Why, a study of recent Broadsheet headlines of course!


As always, I vow that the headlines themselves are far funnier than the actual articles…which I could not be bothered to read…so I made up my own descriptions.

Is Britney Spears bad for Hillary Clinton's campaign? – who cares as long as she's good for Bill's masturbatory fantasies?


Anxious about your areolas? Who isn't? Frankly, I'm a bit anxious about your areolas too…can I have another look?


Do big boobs boost self-esteem? Is that self-esteem in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?


More orgasms for single women – contact patrow.blog@gmail.com


Life-changing Maxi-pads? Their super-duper absorbency protects Indonesian village from latest tsunami


Let's see what the folks over at 'Broadsheet' have to say about this one

I've been (unsuccessfully) battling the flu all week and don't yet have the energy to post in full. Luckily, it was for such occasions that God invented YouTube. Have a nice weekend.


How do you define ‘supporting the troops?’

While conservative politicians, pundits and bloggers argue that Congress' timeline on withdrawing from Iraq shows lack of support for our troops, a study of the not-so-distant past illustrates the true hypocrisy of such a concept.


Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold writes about the predictable Republican resistance, drawing parallels to the biggest pre-Iraq US military failure in my lifetime.


…in [October] 1993, senators overwhelmingly supported successful efforts to cut off funding for a flawed military mission. …76 senators voted for an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, to end funding for the military mission in Somalia effective March 31, 1994, with limited exceptions.


None of those 76 senators, who include the current Republican leader and whip, acted to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia. All of them recognized that Congress had the power and the responsibility to bring our military operations in Somalia to a close, by establishing a date after which funds would be terminated.


The same day that the Senate voted on the Byrd amendment, 38 senators -- myself included -- supported an even stronger effort to end funding for Somalia operations. The amendment offered by Sen. John McCain on Oct. 15, 1993, would have eliminated funding for operations in Somalia immediately, except for funds for withdrawing troops or for continuing operations if any American POWs/MIAs were not accounted for. The mostly Republican senators who supported the McCain amendment were not disregarding the safety of our troops, or being indifferent to their need for guns, ammunition, food and clothing. They were supporting an appropriate, safe, responsible proposal to use Congress' power of the purse to bring an ill-conceived military mission to a close without in any way harming our troops.


Then as now, by setting a date after which funding for a military mission will be terminated, Congress can safely bring our troops out of harm's way. As Sen. Orrin Hatch said at the time, "The McCain amendment provides the president with the flexibility needed to bring our forces home with honor and without endangering the safety of American troops."


Wow – Republicans voted overwhelmingly to "surrender" and yet, they were supporting the troops? How is that possible? Oh yeah…when you put soldiers' well being ahead of your own political welfare, so-called surrender starts to look like an awfully noble option.


Feingold recognizes the "big differences between the military missions in Somalia and Iraq," but, he says, "Congress' constitutional power to end a military mission hasn't changed, and neither has the fact that this power can be used without jeopardizing the safety of U.S. troops." And that's the key, isn't it?


Iraq has been a nasty place for a long time, and it will remain a nasty place. I don't buy the "we're fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here" argument, as intelligence and military experts agree, we are in truth fighting them in Iraq so we can fight better trained terrorists at home and abroad in the near future.


Too many unfortunate people have and will continue to live and die in Iraq; can't we all agree that it is time to stop adding American soldiers' names to that regrettable list?


Exposing Myself to the World (wait...that doesn't sound right)

As promised on Wednesday, PatRoW Week concludes today with a letter written by yours truly to a certain group that has gotten on my nerves (no, not Republicans…but good guess).


If you haven't visited "To Whom it May Concern" yet, well, you're probably the only one. Run by a fellow Staten Island-native and Chicago resident, the site was a world-wide finalist for "Best Kept Secret" in the 2007 Bloggie Awards and was recently featured as a Yahoo! "Pick of the Day". Likely, my participation as the first of TWiMC's guest writers will provide a significant boost to its daily traffic; that is, if you think three hits will be noticed in a sea of a thousand.


So if you get a chance, please check out Dear Emo Kids.


thoughts from an airport

I am enduring a delay at O’Hare, drinking at Chilis and thumbing through this week's Newsweek (blogging from my Treo). I am sick. I am dumbfounded. I am weeping. Openly.

Contrast that with a blog I read today that attributed America's success in Iraq to George Bush, but its failure to our troops. Has there ever been a more reprehensible opinion?

Right now I am reading soldiers' own words, in their own handwriting, on their own stationery, and I know they have a courage I'll never know.

And yet, somehow these letters from the front lines have posthumously reached this privileged (and half drunk) liberal, and I know that I need to do more to ensure that no one has to read more letters like this in the future.

I say that supporting our troops does not mean supporting their mission, but ending it. I say that opposing our president does not embolden the enemy, but weaken their cause.

I say that my tears over an Awesome Blossom pale in comparison to the tears shed over thousands of caskets...and that every additional tear is one too many.


Sorry Loyal Fans, You’re Going to Have to Learn to Share

Today kicks off a week in which no fewer than four pieces of my writing will appear in online locations other than PatRoW. I know – you thought we were exclusive. Sorry, baby; a swinging man like me can't be tied down to one blog.


The first three of my pieces appear in today's edition of The "Y" – the online newsletter by and for the Young Professionals of Chicago. Tying in with the start of the 2007 Major League Baseball season, all three are centered on our National Pastime. You can see my " Top 5 Baseball Movies of All Time", an editorial about the Chicago Cubs' off-season spending splurge, and – my favorite – my interview with World Series winning manager, Bob Brenly.


(Thanks to everyone who suggested questions for my Brenly interview. The "Y" was edited for space, so I will publish the full interview transcript if/when I can figure out how to post the corresponding audio as a podcast. Which is to say, I may never publish the full interview).


My fourth, and final, non-PatRoW article will appear on Friday as part of a "guest writer" program at one of the more popular (at least compared to this one) blogs around. Stay tuned…


Get well soon – the ‘equal time’ version

White House press secretary Tony Snow, who had his colon removed in 2005, underwent exploratory abdominal surgery yesterday. Unfortunately, doctors determined that that Snow's cancer had returned and metastasized into his liver.


PatRoW wishes Snow a full recovery and hopes he will live a long, healthy, guilt-ridden and embarrassment-plagued life.

‘Live today the best way we know how’

I promise I'll contribute more non-John Edwards political commentary in the near future, but the last week of his campaign has been too interesting to let pass by without additional comment.


Last Sunday, Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, appeared on "60 Minutes" to discuss his continued presidential candidacy in the face of her dire cancer diagnosis. I have not endorsed Edwards or any other candidate, but I have stated my reasons for bestowing upon him as much legitimacy as the media given to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


Here's the thing: I don't know if I agree with Edwards' decision to stay in the race, but I certainly know I don't possess that kind of courage. I'd want to spend every minute with my wife and give my young children as many happy memories as possible of their complete family.


But just because I couldn't or wouldn't do the same thing, I cannot hold it against John Edwards for staying in the race.


It was ironic that the Edwards' interviewer, Katie Couric, seemed incredulous about their decision, despite the fact that when her husband died from colon cancer she kept appearing on the "Today" show until the last week of his life. Also, "60 Minutes" icon Ed Bradley contributed to the show until the very end of his battle with leukemia.


The capper on the interview belonged to Elizabeth, who acknowledged that she, like everyone else in the world, was staring at possible death. " You really have two choices here," she said. "I mean, either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying."


If your principles are so strong that you can ignore the dark shadow of your own mortality, clearly yours is a voice that deserves to be heard. Here's hoping she has the time to say everything she wants to say.

Quick Hits: Because I wasted all my verbiage about the US Attorney scandal by posting on someone else’s blog

Lying Ex Scammed Me for Sperm – a New York man is suing his ex for leaving him under less-than-flattering circumstances. " He found out their love was a lie after the pregnant [ex] came back from a 10-day bicycle trip in Arizona and told him 'she had met someone else that could make her cervix orgasmic just by thinking and that [he] was sexually inadequate.'"


I have to say, if this "Guy Compton" really exists, he must be quite the cocksman. New PatRoW rule: anytime a newspaper prints the words " psychically sexually satisfying cycle stud", I will run that story. Even if said newspaper is the NY Post.


Britney Spears' dentist emergency – I like how Britney was whining about how "unfair" life was that she chipped a tooth and wasn't allowed to take painkillers. Boo hoo – I'm a 25-year-old over the hill addict. Feel sorry for me. Pay attention to me. Close your eyes and try to remember what I looked like when I was 17.


Jacko to Erect 50ft Robot Replica of Himself do you think Michael Jackson is sitting over in Dubai, fondling some young orphans and distraught over the Britneys and Anna Nicoles of the world who are making people forget how bizarre he is? And do you think he says, "Hey – what can I do to remind people that I'm the weirdest guy in the world?"


"Hazaa! I'll erect a 50-foot tall robot replica of myself in the Las Vegas desert! And it will shoot out lasers! And it will help me bang more 12-year-old boys!"


Why PatRoW doesn’t do ‘Breaking News’

So John Edwards had his press conference and declared that he is not, contrary to published reports, suspending his presidential campaign.

Well I feel like an idiot.

I still wish Elizabeth Edwards a full and speedy recovery, although word is that she has incurable stage 4 metastatic cancer. I can't fault the decision because she seems to be the one pushing her husband to stay in the race. And still…

The conspiracy theorist in me was thinking that Edwards would be able to use his wife's illness to his political advantage. He could "drop out" of the race – a race in which he wasn't given nearly enough attention anyway. Playing the role of "devoted husband" would only cast a better light on him, especially as Hillary and Obama continue to allow underlings to disparage one another.

Next year, after his wife had returned to full health, Edwards could sweep in on a messy primary season and win his party's nomination with a few late wins and a unifying speech at its convention. Sounds like a storybook ending, right?

Of course, Elizabeth's cancer won't allow her to ever be "fully" healthy…and John is still "in it to win it". My well wishes are still extended to the Edwards family, as are my apologies for jumping to make an ill-informed assumption.

Get well soon, Elizabeth

John Edwards' press conference has yet to start, but the news is what we feared yesterday when told the candidate had cancelled some appearances and would talk to the media with his wife: Elizabeth Edwards has suffered a reoccurrence of her cancer that first struck the day after the 2004 presidential election.


Sources say that Edwards is " suspending his campaign for the presidency, and may drop out completely" and really, who can blame him? I'd lament the loss of Edwards from the Hillary-Obama primary slugfest, but clearly his priorities are in order.


PatRoW wishes Elizabeth Edwards a speedy and healthy recovery. Her husband's absence from the election will be a loss for America, but he belongs at her side. Get well soon, Elizabeth. We are all thinking about you.


Smack Down

A few months ago I told you about my then-favorite online shopping site, woot.com . That's not to say I don't still have a fondness for Woot – hell, they gave me a sweetheart deal on a new computer a few weeks back – but a new destination has jumped into first place in my heart.


Jellyfish has a unique business model that makes it an extremely attractive place to shop. Basically, you use their search engine to shop at one of hundreds of online retailers. Depending upon the deal, Jellyfish then gives you cash back on your purchase – sometimes 2%, sometimes 10% and usually somewhere in between.


While everyone loves cash, the best part about Jellyfish is its "Smack of the Day" (a smack is a group of jellyfish, like a pride of lions or flock of seagulls…get it?) – each day, three, four or five items go up for sale on reverse auction. Every second the amount of cash back savings is increased for the auction winner until the product quantity is sold out (usually there are only a couple of items on each auction). That's right, the deal gets better every second you wait, but as the site itself warns, "Don't wait too long buddy. Because once it's gone, it's gone."


The SOTD is a fun experience even if you don't have money to spend, as Jellyfish allows its users to guess what price each auction item will sell for. If yours guess is closest to the actual sale price, you get to spin an online prize wheel. That's right – YOU WIN A PRIZE WITHOUT SPENDING A DIME.


Recent prizes awarded on the wheel include stellar treasures like an xBox 360, Nintendo Wii and $1,000 cash. Less cool prizes have included a slinky and rubber chicken (still, a free rubber chicken is better than no rubber chicken at all). Obviously, odds of winning the smaller prizes are greater than winning the big ones, but still…free is free.


Anyway, I realize I took the long way around in making this personal recommendation. I encourage all of you to visit the Smack of the Day each weekday at noon Central Time (see link on the right column of this page). And yes, I would still feel this strongly about Jellyfish if I didn't get to spin the wheel today and win $50…but that didn't hurt.


Three’s Company

Hillary Clinton is widely knocked for carefully considering every position and pandering any response to curb favor with her immediate audience. In contrast, Barack Obama is widely lauded for his eloquence and charisma from the stump. And yet neither Democratic frontrunner took advantage when given the opportunity to condemn the ignorant social stance of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Peter Pace.


Why is a politician playing it safe newsworthy? Because one of their rivals actually said something, something right, something that makes sense. That politician's name is John Edwards.


When asked the simple question, "Is homosexuality immoral?" in reference to General Pace's comment, Edwards did not try to massage any nuance into his response. "I don't share that view," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And I would go further than that ... I think the 'don't ask, don't tell' [policy] is not working. And as president of the United States I would change that policy."


Was that so hard? Why couldn't Obama and Clinton have been as clear in rebuking the general?


I like nearly everything I hear and see out of John Edwards, yet he has been largely relegated to "third wheel" status by the left- and right-wing media. Why are we not giving this guy more of a chance? I'm not saying he is my choice – in fact, PatRoW is not nearly ready to endorse any of the Democratic candidates – but clearly Edwards is a viable candidate. Don't believe me? Check out some of Edwards' qualities compared with other people in the presidential discussion:


·      He has a tangible platform and can speak passionately about an issue to which the entire middle- and lower-class can relate.

·      He is young, charismatic and engaging.

·      He is a strong family man.

·      He can admit a mistake and ask for forgiveness without sounding like a wimp, coward or insincere jackass.

·      He is whip smart.


I think it's silly that Edwards trails Hillary and Obama by such large margins and am fully confident that, barring any extraordinary circumstance, he will close out 2007 within striking distance of his rivals. However, we shouldn't wait that long to give Edwards his due as a realistic contender. And, I'm as guilty of this as anyone, we shouldn't only talk about him when someone brings up homosexuality.


Some organization called the National Collegiate Athletic Association begins its annual basketball tournament today, and as I always strive to be ahead of the trends, I thought I'd take a crack at predicting the winners of all 63 games. I know this may seem like an odd concept, but trust me, give this thing a few years and EVERYONE will be doing it.


To make things fun, I have added some thoughts about a few of the schools/teams. And to be clear – I have watched not a second of college basketball since last year's tournament.


Midwest Rounds 1-2: Florida over Purdue; Maryland over Old Dominion; Oregon over Notre Dame; Wisconsin over UNLV.


I came dangerously close to predicting a Notre Dame-UNLV (6 versus 7) matchup in the Sweet Sixteen, but pussied out. See what I did there? I effectively hedged my bets. Nice.  


West Rounds 1-2: Kansas over Villanova; Illinois over Southern Illinois; Pitt over VCU; UCLA over Gonzaga.


In my wagering bracket, I picked against both Illinois and Southern just to spite my friends. But in truth, I think both squads will advance (hedging again? Notice a theme here?). And yes, I picked Duke to lose. That's not so much of an indictment against a school that supports alleged rapists as it is an indictment against a school that promotes lacrosse.


East Rounds 1-2: North Carolina over Michigan State; Texas over Arkansas; George Washington over Washington State; Georgetown over Texas Tech.


Realistically I know that GW has no chance of defeating Washington State, and yet I have a sinking suspicion that Cinderella could be wearing a buff and blue dress this year. Good luck finding matching shoes.


South Rounds 1-2: Ohio State over Xavier; Virginia over Long Beach State; Texas A&M over Louisville; Nevada over Memphis.


Memphis won just shy of 83 games this year, but they're coached by John Calipari. He's the poor man's Rick Pitino, whose team also plays in this bracket and has proved to be somewhat less of the coaching genius that we thought he was 20 years ago. Of course, that's like saying that Britney Spears is somewhat less sexy today than she was in 1999.


Sweet Sixteen: Florida over Maryland; Oregon over Wisconsin; Kansas over Illinois; UCLA over Pitt; Texas over UNC; Georgetown over GW; Ohio St over Virginia; Texas A&M over Nevada.


I like Maryland – always have. It's too bad they don't have the talent, depth or coaching to keep up with Florida. Plus, Georgetown-GW sounds like it has great regional implications, but no one in the DC Metro area will even notice. Finally, Kansas could deliver the first every 100-point margin of victory in a Sweet Sixteen.


Elite Eight: Florida over Oregon; Kansas over UCLA; Georgetown over Texas; Texas A&M over OSU.


Anyone who uses emphasis to say THE Ohio State University should be shot dead. I could not feel more strongly about this.


Final Four: Kansas over Florida; Georgetown over A&M.


That's right. I've joined the masses predicting a Kansas-Florida de facto national championship game. It's like they say: "Millions of Americans can't be wrong…except in a presidential election."


Championship: Kansas over Georgetown.


There are few college programs I detest more than Kansas and Georgetown. Don't ask me why – I'm fickle. Anyway, Kansas will win in a championship game that no non-gambler/non-alumni will watch. The rest of America will set their TiVos to record "One Shining Moment".


There you have it. Now leave me alone.


Go Gee Dubs!


Hell hath no fury like a Marine’s porn

File this one in the "Who'd have thunk it?" department: a history in gay porn can diminish your chances of being taken seriously as an intellectual and hurt your conservative politics street cred.


Shocking – I know.


Such lessons can be learned from the cautionary tale of Matt Sanchez, a Columbia University student and Marine Corps reservist who recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference. While at CPAC he posed for a picture with Ann Coulter – a picture that was put under scrutiny after her infamous speech at the same event. The liberal blogosphere delighted in the revelation that Sanchez had acted in gay porn, a work history seemingly in conflict with his conservative views and Coulter's hateful words.


Sanchez clearly doesn't relish his memories of life in porn, but he is unapologetic about his choices. He also criticizes the industry as being the impetus that drove him towards his current conservative stance:


Porn reduces the mind and flattens the soul. I don't like it. That's not hypocrisy talking; that's just experience. I sometimes think of myself, ironically, as a progressive: I started off as a liberal but I progressed to conservatism. Part of that transformation is due to my time in the industry. How does a conservative trace his roots to such distasteful beginnings? I didn't like porn's liberalism. In porn, everything taboo is trivialized and everything trivial is magnified.


While Sanchez's story is interesting and he makes a valid point about "those who complain about wire-tapping reserve the right to pry into my private life and my past for political brownie points", I am most concerned about his accusation about what porn does to its participants.


Folks – I have long been a proponent of sending our nation's best and hottest young women into Porno University, but not if the entire industry is really just a front for the Young Republicans. Who could have foreseen that the conservatives would attack one of the left's seemingly most secure flanks? And does this mean that we need to be on alert for a recruitment campaign at DNC headquarters?


I mean, they already snagged one of our senators

Back to Basics

I was on mini-holiday last week and I apologize to those who have had to go without your semi-regular PatRoW fix. To fill the void, I am returning today to an old standard: listing some of the best headlines from the last month of Salon's Broadsheet. As always, I vow that I have not read any of the articles; who needs to be informed when the jokes write themselves?


If breasts could talk - …they'd say, "Put me in your mouth." Those breasts…perverts, the whole lot of them.


Elective C-sections: Convenient or chancy? – what, are those the only two choices? Are we discriminating against "mouth-watering" simply because it doesn't begin with the letter "c"?


"Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It" – right, and it's not gay if you don't push back.


Good cop vs. slutty stripper – It's the Godzilla vs. Mothra (or Gilligan's Island versus the Harlem Globetrotters) of the 21st Century!


My vagina's school district – Do you think they make bumper stickers that say "My vagina is an honor student at Abraham Lincoln Junior High"? Because I know people in the printing business that can run with a good idea…


Ann Coulter: The board game – wow…what would you possibly call an Ann Coulter board game? Cunts and ladders? How about Douchey Douchey Douchebags? Send your idea for an Ann Coulter board game in a blog comment or via e-mail to patrow.blog@gmail.com. A special PatRoW prize will be awarded for the best entry.

Hating the Haters

I don't like Ann Coulter. Stop the presses.


By now everyone has heard about the end of Coulter's speech on Friday at the Conservative Union Political Action Conference. Still, for context, her words are worth repeating: " I was going to have some comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you say the word faggot -- so I am kind of at an impasse."


Predictably, sane folks on both sides of the aisle raced to denounce the lunatic. Edwards, too, scored points with rational members of both parties with this measured response:


Edwards said Coulter's comment was "hateful, selfish, childish behavior."


"What I've learned is that if you don't have the courage to speak out against it -- no matter who says it, and no matter who it's leveled at -- then it becomes tolerable," he added. "And it's not tolerable, any more than the language I heard leveled at African Americans when I was young."


OK, Senator. I suppose that was fair. And I understand not wishing to engage Coulter in an ongoing debate – giving her any more time only plays to her maniacal need for attention. And yet, Edwards missed out on a chance to truly put the conservative blowhard in her place and say something that is long overdue in America.


With that in mind, I'm dusting off my DeLorean, firing up the flux capacitor, getting that baby up to 88 mph and turning the dial back 48 hours. Senator Edwards – I've written your response:




As much as I'd like to ignore her, Ann Coulter said something that I need to address. Once. Really – I will have nothing more to say to her or about her after this.


On Friday, Ms. Coulter referred to me as a "faggot". Friends of mine were outraged. Gay rights activists were offended. Even a majority of Republicans distanced themselves from Ms. Coulter's choice of vocabulary.


And yet, I say this: so what?


So what that Ann Coulter chose to be deliberately offensive? One of the greatest things about America is that all of us, even the most hateful of us, have the freedom to say disgusting thoughts that come to mind. One of the greatest things about America is that we can criticize the actions, intelligence or even sexual preference of a president (or presidential candidate) without fear of repercussions.


I've taught my children a lesson that I learned at young age, a lesson that I'm sure most of you learned and have passed on as well. I've taught them that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me". For all her hateful, ignorant and loathsome opinions, Ms. Coulter's words were just that – words. And words, while they have the power to influence, can never cause us harm unless we allow ourselves to be hurt.


Ann Coulter does not owe me an apology because I think being called "insincere", "dispassionate" or "un-American" are a lot worse than being called a "faggot". If gay Americans choose to be offended about her use of label, that is entirely within their right and I support their beliefs. But don't be offended for me – be offended that an attitude still persists that homosexuality is something deviant, something about which we should be embarrassed.


My fellow Americans: I don't care what labels you use to define me. My campaign is, as I've said all along, about building an America that lives up to its promise. And America's promise will always be about ideals, not the favorable or slanderous words we use to define one another.


I don't think that Ann Coulter represents a majority of Americans, but clearly her polarizing voice carries weight in some circles. And for that truth, I have a label for her, a label I use as my final word about her and this entire non-issue.


Ms. Coulter, and those for whom you speak – you are a disappointment.


What? You thought I was going to end with the c-word, didn't you? Well…I *was* thinking it, but I don't think that word would have made it onto the Senator's teleprompter.


Baseball as the Big Question

Those who know me well know I am a HUGE baseball fan. I absorb everything that is our National Pastime (still Major League Baseball, by the way, despite the NFL's vastly superior ratings). And to be honest, I was as surprised as anyone that baseball's ongoing steroid controversy never really registered in my baseball consciousness.

As much as a like to rant and take credit for things completely out of my control, I was not one of the loudmouths clamoring for drug testing a few years ago, nor was I one of the self-righteous douchebags who patted myself on the back for "forcing" the players' union to capitulate to popular demand.

In the wake of baseball's latest, big drug bust (Gary Matthews Jr may have used performance enhancers last season? Boy, I sure hope no one gives him a $50 million contract. Uh oh…too late) MLB has decided that all of its employees – not just the on-field talent – will be subject to random drug testing.

I don't like the notion of random drug testing, although I haven't exactly voiced my opposition at any of my last three workplaces where the policy was on the books (for the record, I have not yet been called to pee in a cup, although I keep up with my 10 am daily routine "just in case"). MLB seems to have adopted this stance for purely defensive purposes – who can accuse them of turning a blind eye to drug abuse when they're collecting urine from the office steno pool?

Salon's King Kaufman objects to baseball's new policy on purely idealistic grounds, saying, " Forcing workers, even very rich, very privileged workers, to surrender their rights just for the chance to make a buck is not what the America I grew up learning about is supposed to be."

And maybe that's the lesson here – and the parallel we can draw between Major League Baseball's drug problems and America as a whole. It seems that idealism today is too often countered by oppression. Our country was founded on noble principles, yet every day we sacrifice our core beliefs for the so-called greater personal good, the greater corporate good and the greater national good.

I'm not suggesting that an American patriot should take a stand against any one thing, any one politician or any one policy; rather, I'm saying that a true patriot should end a lot more of his sentences with question marks than exclamation points. Before we accept, we must always question…know what I mean?

'If a teenage girl feels a little prick, she's gonna want to feel a whole lot more’

I'm becoming a Bill Maher fan in spite of myself.

Never too enamored with his stand-up comedy, and merely ambivalent to his various talk shows, I have again and again found myself drawn to the man's writing.

Maher's latest essay is about the controversy attached to the HPV vaccination. You know, the vaccine that's so effective it could completely eliminate this frequent gateway to cervical cancer.

What's the problem? HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, and some prudes seem to think that vaccinating young women against a STD is tantamount to giving them permission to whore it up (like that's a bad thing).

Anyway, Maher makes a number salient points, but his one-liners have rarely been so sharp. I submit:

· If you don't think your daughter getting cancer is worse than your daughter having sex, then you're doing it wrong.

· HPV shots don't cause promiscuity. Tequila shots do.

· If you could use stem cells to prove that life begins at foreplay, the pope would turn the Vatican into a lab.

And about the idea that the vaccine is bad, because the girls "may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex"?

[That] is really a stretch. People don't get the vaccine for typhoid and say, "Great, now I can drink the sewer water in Bombay." It's like saying if you give a kid a tetanus shot she'll want to jab rusty nails in her feet. It's like being against a cure for blindness because it'll encourage masturbation. It's like being for salmonella poisoning in peanut butter because it'll discourage weirdos from spreading it on their ass and calling the dog.

Wait a sec…that makes me a weirdo?


Joe Dirtbag

The always prolific Glen Greenwald has narrowed his sights on one of PatRoW’s favorite targets – “Independent Democrat” Joe Lieberman. At the center of Greenwald’s fury is a Lieberman Op-Ed that appeared in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, and how the senator’s new stance seems to stand in direct conflict with the one he espoused in the Journal fifteen months ago.

…whereas Lieberman is claiming now that everything is different today because we had no real strategy before for ensuring security, it was Lieberman himself who promised Americans in 2005 that we did have exactly such a strategy and that it was working so well that "we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007."

…On what conceivable basis is Joe Lieberman accorded even the most minimal respect or credibility? He is obviously a person who will say anything at any time in order to defend this war, and, now that everything he said in the past is revealed to be completely false, he does not have even an iota of integrity or honesty to admit any of that. Instead, he stands up and pretends that he never said any of those things -- he actually pretends that he knew all along that our military strategy was wrong -- and simply makes the same promises and commitments as he has been making all along with a sense of entitlement that he has credibility on these matters and should be listened to.
Now you may be asking – what good does it serve to continually point out Lieberman’s hypocrisy and dishonesty? And if you are asking that question…you don’t know me very well.

Joe Lieberman continues to spew lies and convenient mistruths, and continues to caucus with congressional Democrats while he sabotages the Party’s platform in the media and Senate floor. Every time he talks about the war, the man insults the intelligence of the American public (hey – that’s my job!) and betrays our troops in Iraq. But for the capper, Greenwald says it best:

Worse still, people like Joe Lieberman attempted -- and are still attempting -- to bully and stigmatize those who were trying to alert Americans of the reality of what was going on in Iraq by depicting anyone who challenges the rosy-eyed deceit of the President and Lieberman as the ones who actually bear responsibility for the failures in Iraq, even as subversive and traitorous.
Calling Lieberman a douchebag no longer seems strong enough, and “Interloper Enabler” has potential, but is a bit of a mouthful. Maybe there’s a simpler word: responsible. Surely he shares blame with a stable full of culpable fucks (conveniently, most of them work together at the White House), but Joe Lieberman is responsible for our Iraq clusterfuck quagmire, he is responsible for America’s rapidly vanishing esteem in the global community and he is responsible every time another American soldier comes home in a box.

Black Enough for the Blogosphere?

A compilation of my recent Obama posts (see here, here and here) has been posted on The "Y" – the online magazine written for and by the Young Professionals of Chicago. While loyal PatRoW readers have already read and digested my rants weeks ago, I encourage everyone to check out The "Y" and leave a comment on my – or any other – story.


Without further adieu, I give you Black Enough for the Blogosphere?


Dear Self-Appointed Arbiters of Highway Safety:

(note – today I’m borrowing a template from one of my favorite, newly discovered blogs. After all, plagiarism is what I do best)

Let me get this off my chest right away: I hate you self-righteous fucks. Just because you don’t know how to drive in the snow (here’s a hint – gas is on the right, brake is on the left; hands at 10-and-2; you know, kind of like how you drive on a sunny day) doesn’t mean you have to pretend like your wheels are hanging perilously on the edges of a tightrope.

In Chicagoland, we got a dose of snow/sleet/rain on Saturday night. I was stuck in the suburbs, where apparently they rely on one plow and two salt trucks to cover 447 square miles. So yes, the roads were slick…but you fools were ridiculous.

Fifteen minutes after the precipitation began the roads had a glossy sheen to them. But you dickheads decided to parallel caravan three-abreast at 10 mph on the type of road under which normal circumstances folks would drive 65.

As I seethed behind you on one-lane roads, you slowed to a crawl at GREEN lights and STOPPED at intersections where only the crossing traffic had to yield. And maybe I shouldn’t have gotten up on your back bumper and flashed my high beams (or my impressive vocabulary of swear words), but really, I needed to teach you a lesson for trying to impose your weak wills on the rest of driverkind.

A few hours later and finally making my way back to the city, I entered a major interstate highway to find that you douchebags were intent on impeding my path home. At this point, about an inch of slush had accumulated on the ground, but to see you drive, I’d have thought there was a foot.

In the one lane IDOT had so graciously plowed, you drove coasted as if you were balancing a Faberge Egg on the tip of a sewing needle. I’m not saying you should have been doing the speed limit, but sweetheart, you have to go faster than 5 miles an hour in your four-wheel drive SUV! Isn’t that the point of buying that gas-guzzling monstrosity? And when I passed you (in my front-wheel drive, 4-cylander sedan) in the unplowed lane at 12 mph, your disapproving looks were about as appropriate as my next Andrea Yates joke.

Hey assholes, I’ll consent that the snow is a good reason to drive with caution…but “caution” can’t come at the expense of “drive”. I think I saw a dude pushing his stalled car on the shoulder faster than you!

You must always remember that I’m an important man with people to see and places to be. If you douchebags can’t get out of my way, next time I’m sending you careening off the road in the hopes that I have spared the world of future generations of vehicular pansies.


Farewell to the Chief

Last night, Chief Illiniwek danced his last dance in Champaign.

Wait – you're not from Illinois and have no idea why that's important…or what it even means? I'm sorry – let me start from the beginning.

Chief Illiniwek was the grossly stereotypical Indian caricature/mascot for the University of Illinois – the school at which a disproportionate amount of my Chicagoland friends attended. And get this: some people are offended that a white kid in face paint, feathered headdress and moccasins would prance around and make a mockery of Native American culture. Fucking prudes.

Though the Chief has been alienating Native and non-native Americans alike for decades, the school finally retired its mascot because of financial pressure from the NCAA (the school would not be able to host postseason athletic events if they chose to keep the Chief). Despite the sound fiscal reasoning, Illini alumni are pissed that the school would capitulate to the PC-police.

Normally, I'm the least politically correct liberal in town…but have you ever seen Chief Illiniwek? The Chief's supporters liked to claim that the mascot actually honored Native American culture, but in reality, the dude was a 21st century version of vaudevillian blackface. Maybe there aren't many Illini Tribe members left in central Illinois, but who wouldn't be offended by this guy's shenanigans?

The pro-Chief argument always seems to center around tradition – hey, we've been insulting an entire people since my grandpa's day, no way we're changing now! You know what was another popular American tradition? Slavery. I hear that depriving women of voting rights was a fun trend too – should we end universal suffrage?

The Chief represented a hateful mockery of an entire race. Maybe the student who portrayed him was a fair-minded fellow, and maybe the past and present students shared not a racist thought amongst them, but Chief Illiniwek was a walking, talking and dancing Confederate Flag. No matter what the intent, displaying a symbol of hate is always hateful. And (except for educational purposes) always wrong.

Adios, you disgusting racist symbol. I'm sure George Allen will welcome you into retirement.


How much do you love me?

So you think you're the world's biggest PatRoW fan? Prove it by signing up for an e-mail subscription to this blog! Simply type in your e-mail address in the handy-dandy space to the right (below my Blogger profile; above my favorite blog links). You will be directed to verify you are not a spammer, then - presto! You've solidified yourself as a true fan and won't be removed from my will (or brandished a douchebag in this very space).

C'mon...all the cool kids are doing it.


'The infallible pope can say he's sorry, but this recovering alcoholic can't even say he's wrong'

Comedian/talk show host Bill Maher is promoting the upcoming season of his HBO show, and as usual, had some interesting things to say about a few topical issues. Read a full interview here , but if you're short on time, check this out:

On a certain surge:
The people in Iraq don't want this. The people in America don't want this. The Iraq Study Group doesn't recommend it. The Democrats are against it. Most [Republicans] are against it, even though many of them wouldn't say so out loud. But George Bush, he knows better. That is a kind of arrogance that is very hard to swallow at this point, especially when it's costing this many lives. Even the pope -- remember he said something bad about the Muslims a few months ago? The infallible pope came out and said, "Geez, my bad. That came out wrong. I didn't mean that." Yeah, the pope can say he's sorry, but this recovering alcoholic from Midland, Texas, he can't even say he's wrong.

Why are we in Iraq, anyway?
It's so over. The country is ethnically cleansing itself. It's already a partitioned country. What are we fighting for over there? Why are we fighting to keep Iraq together? Iraq has only been a country since what, 1932? That's seven years younger than Paul Newman. Why are these drawn-on-a-map borders worth one more American life? I have no clue. And I don't think [Bush] does, either.

On Hillary, Bill and effective government
The Clintons have a reputation for a number of things that baffles me. Yes, he's got a wandering eye, and yes, he's oversexed or whatever. But really, Bill Clinton is a policy wonk. He's the kind of guy who gets into the details of it, and so is she.

Government -- they used to teach it in college. It's actually something you should study and learn and know how to do. The Republicans always run on the idea that government isn't very effective. Well, not the way you do it. But it can be effective.

Does anyone doubt that if Bill Clinton was president during the Katrina storm that he would have been on top of that? He would have been all over that situation! He would have had the right people. He would not have slept for a week. That's the kind of guy he was.

I'm not saying there wouldn't have been problems -- it was a storm -- but as well as it could have been handled, he'd handle it. These people know how to do government; that is their passion. And it is something that can actually be done effectively.

What we're seeing with the Bush administration is that when you outsource government jobs to private contractors, both here and in Iraq, that's where the trouble is -- those are the people who are greedy and unchecked and corrupt and inefficient.

Black enough for you?

Barack Obama's race continues to be an issue for some people…and that's a shame. He's black, not black, not black enough, African-American, half-black, mixed race and/or "other" – depending who you ask. Do any of those labels make a difference when considering our next president?

Following a few links, I stumbled across a blog post that communicates the only solid truth in this race-driven non-issue:

There's no such thing as a "post-racial" candidate when you look black . In this country, Obama can still be followed in a store suspected of being a shoplifter, be passed by a cab driver afraid to pick him up, or stopped by a police officer for "driving while black." In none of these cases would it matter if Barack Obama pulled out a family picture to show he's half white.
Isn't that the point here? Whether or not you believe Obama's genetic profile is representative of a specific community does not matter; what does matter is that, taken on appearance – not substance – alone, he is a black man.

Let's debate whether Obama's politics are reflective of the black community, the Democratic community and the greater American community. But let's also put to rest how those relevant discussions are affected by the amount of melanin in the man's skin.


Why are greeting cards so…blech?

This Valentine's Day I am taking a stand. I'm taking a stand against conformity, a stand against expectations, a stand for my masculinity. This Valentine's Day I am taking a stand against the gratuitously effeminate greeting card industry.


Guys – who's with me?

How can any man feel good about himself when buying a greeting card? I realize that cards should appeal to the givee, but shouldn't they also serve as expressions of the men who buy and give them? I don't know too many guys who need to express their love – and I'm talking about genuine love here – with a six by nine card printed on pink paper, with a pink bow, lavender scent and an 18-line sonnet. Am I wrong, or is that a bit much?

I'm sure there is a market for the overly flamboyant card because there must be some women who appreciate (expect?) such a ridiculous gesture. But I know I'm not the only man sick of the choices (or lack thereof) that are out there.

And while the issue is most distressingly prevalent this time of year, it is not a phenomenon unique to February 14th. A few months ago I tried to buy a birthday card for my mom. Now I know that my mom *expects* a card from me – no gift, just a card. Simple, right? But here's the thing: my mom doesn't want or care about what poem Hallmark has written inside – she won't read the print or acknowledge the embellishments. The card is important to my mom because of what I write and what that means to her.

So what were my choices? The only cards in the "Birthday, Mother" section under $4.99 were a six-fold monstrosity with a pop-up lace heart or another containing a 250-word essay on the importance of mothers. If I wanted to step up to the $7.99 plateau, I could have purchased an oversized card with rhinestones…and who doesn't love rhinestones? They're the international pseudo-stone of well-wishing. Am I the only one who thinks $7.99 is a bit excessive for a birthday card? Apparently I must be; the store sold more cards priced over six dollars than under three.

I soon found the only other "Happy Birthday Mom" cards in the so-called Humor section – "so-called" because all of the "jokes" were spin offs of the old you're-so-old-we-have-to-use-a-fire-extinguisher-to-blow-out-all-the-candles-on-your-cake gag. Yeesh. Obviously, these cards weren't right for me, nor were they right for my mom.

As bad as that was, my 2007 Valentine's Day selection was even worse. Can't there be a happy medium? Why must every card be so disgustingly over the top or atrociously unfunny that I want to puke in my own mouth? Is it too much to ask for some industrious card company executive to design something that doesn't require me to check my masculinity at the door? Here's an idea (Hallmark, feel free to steal this one – I promise I won't sue):

Plain white stock, four by six inches. Front of the card has a simple flower – let's go with a rose because, for some reason, that's what you expect - with the words "Happy Valentine's Day" or "To my Valentine" printed in an attractive font on the bottom. The inside left of the card is blank while the inside right says "A special day; a special woman".

There, that's fairly simple, right? Now, sell that card for $1.99 and I guarantee you won't be able to keep enough on the shelves. Men of this millennium know that we're expected to personalize cards to the women in our lives and actually want to write our own messages; you can trust us to adequately adapt this card for our wives, moms, sisters, etc.

It shouldn't be this difficult, yet it is. Someone has to speak up before another man is forced to castrate himself in order to purchase a simple greeting card, and that someone needs to speak up soon – I've grown quite attached to my testicles and would hate to part company when we have so much left to do together.


And you thought I wasn't a romantic.

46 Heads in the Sand

A wise man once called the US Senate "the place where charisma and charm go to die". Sounds good…but what about integrity?


On Monday, the Senate voted to discontinue debate on the three proposed non-binding resolutions opposing the war in Iraq. Let me say that again: they voted to NOT DEBATE any of three prospective resolutions that would express disapproval yet carry no legislative clout. They voted to avoid conversation; they voted to stick their collective heads in the sand and pretend that the conversations happening in homes, schools and workplaces across America isn't happening.


Blaming the entire Senate is not exactly fair, but I refuse to pin the fault exclusively on Republicans…even though 45 of the 49 GOP Senators voted against continued debate (bravo to Minnesota's Norm Coleman and Maine's Susan Collins for adhering to the will of the people despite pressure from party bosses; Florida's Mel Martinez and presidential hopeful John McCain were strategic no-shows). In contrast 47 of the 49 Democrat Senators voted to move forward with debate ( South Dakota's Tim Johnson remains in a hospital after his brain hemorrhage and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu honored a previous commitment in her state after it was clear her vote would not make a difference in the final tally). Vermont's Independent Bernie Sanders voted with the Democrats and – shock of shocks – Connecticut "Independent Democrat" Joe Lieberman voted with the Republicans.


Republicans (and Jo-mos) are to blame for their hypocritical votes, but my problem is the resolutions themselves. None of the three proposals had any legal teeth, and none were hard enough on Dubya's Folly. And here's the thing – Democrats seemed to be OK with that. Their harshest suggested "disapproval" of the Interloper's surge. One plan suggested benchmarks for the Iraqi government (even though that resolution's author, the absent McCain, admitted that there were no real consequences to not meeting those benchmarks). All agreed that the government would not cut off funding for troops already deployed, even if it withheld funds for a surge.


George W. Bush dug us a hole that we can't easily crawl out of, especially not with a measly non-binding Senate resolution. But that would still be a start. Don't we owe it to the 3,000+ American soldiers who have lost their lives in this unnecessary conflict? What about the hundreds of thousand of non-insurgent Iraqis who have been injured/displaced/killed due to our instigating this war?


Can't we all agree that what's happened should not have? How can we sit back and let the Interloper to compound his many mistakes by adding fuel ( i.e. American lives) to the fire? And where, Senate douchebags, do you get off voting to stop the debate?


Bear Down, Chicago Bears

Apparently the NFL staged a game yesterday to give folks watching at home a break between contestants in the Super Bowl of Advertising. Here in Chicago, that left ample time for "Go to hell, Rex!" and "Fuck you, Peyton!" chants. Damn, these people are angry…what happened to Midwestern charm?

I will say this – for all of the much-publicized Black History Month campaigns, the night's best racism conversation was inspired by Bud Light's gorilla commercial and someone making a Joe Biden joke. And yes, that "someone" was me.

According to USA Today , Budweiser's stray dog ad was viewers' #2 favorite (trailing only those cuddly, false-idol worshiping crabs). I love pathetic looking mutts as much as the next guy, but why is no one expressing outrage at Anheuser-Busch's blatant rip-off of a classic Pepé Le Pew bit? I suppose more people would have caught on if the faux-dalmation were to date rape the beauty queen, just like Warner Brothers' skunk would have.

Finally, I had a good laugh listening to Colts owner Jim Irsay accept the Vince Lombardi Trophy for his team's victory. Perhaps overwhelmed by emotion, Irsay displayed a penchant for inventive vocabulary and douche chill-inducing segues (at press time, I have been unable to find an official transcript…but here is my best "I promise this is no exaggeration" recollection):

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Central Florida. We don't want to forget that. And the Indianapolis Colts will work in partnershiping with the…groups…to help with tornado recovery…And the Colts are WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Uh…Jim? That was a bit awkward. Then again, the COLTS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS! I'm sure your "partnershiping" will go a lot smoother now that you guys have Super Bowl rings.