You’ve seen my Top 80 photos of 2003; now, see the photos that didn’t quite make the cut. That’s right, it’s the “Honorable Mention” gallery — 44 photos that I considered for the Top 80, but in the end, decided not to include.
Do you disagree with my choices? You can tell me so! Once again, this is an interactive gallery: you can vote for the photos that you think should have been in the Top 80 — as many photos as you want. You can even cast a vote stating that a photo “would have been in my Top 3!” (Speaking of which, don’t forget to vote in the Top 3 election, if you haven’t already. :)
I myself voted for three honorable-mention photos that I feel are worthy of the Top 80. “Well, dumbass,” you ask, “why didn’t you put them in the Top 80, then?” Answer: two of them are cat photos, and I was trying to reduce the number of cat photos, because there are just so many (what can I say? The kitties are cute!), and the other one is a photo that I’m only now starting to really appreciate. So if I re-did the Top 80 today, I would probably include it.
By the way, if you’re wondering what’s so special about the number 80, the answer is… nothing. I was originally planning to post my Top 100 photos, but looking at the options, I decided that was excessive and I could probably cut some. So I aimed instead for the Top 75. But when it came down to it, I just couldn’t find five more photos that I was willing to cut, so I settled on 80 — a nice, round number. :)
Today is Chinese New Year’s Day… it’s the Year of the Monkey!!!
Google is celebrating with a monkey-laden logo image:
I’m celebrating, too. Here are some miscellaneous monkeys (and uh, apes) for your viewing pleasure.
Happy Monkey Year… I mean, New Year! :)
UPDATE: Your wish is my command:
It’s been three weeks since 2003 ended, and with it, most of the year-in-review shows and lists. But three weeks ago, I didn’t have a Mac, and thus I didn’t have iPhoto. Now I do, and so now, I’m sharing with you my Top 80 photos of 2003.
The best part is, it’s an interactive photo gallery — if you’re so inclined, you can vote for your top three! (All 80 photo thumbnails are on the same page, in order to facilitate this voting process. Apologies if that causes the page to take a while to load for you modem users…)
Some of these photos were selected on the basis of some sort of perceived artistic or photojournalistic merit; others, I just simply like, for one reason or another, “merit” or no. So I’m calling it my “best/favorite photos” list, because I’m not entirely sure which it is. :)
Anyway, enjoy! And vote!
UPDATE: You can also see the photos in slideshow form if you wish. Ain’t Gallery great?
No, not that kind of cute redhead, you sicko. :) (Hi Kristy.) (Boy, am I in trouble now… :)
USC honored its three national champions today — here are the pictures from USCTrojans.com. Yahoo News has some pictures, too: 1, 2, 3. Here are articles from NBC 4 and WeAreSC.com. Presumably the DT will also have coverage eventually.
BoiFromTroy says, “That was about the lame-assest parade I have ever seen from my office window” … so perhaps I made the right decision to stay in Phoenix. :)
BoiFromTroy is right on with this one.
UPDATE: Here is the Boi’s State of the Union simul-blog. They’re all the rage!
This is why I like moderate, intelligent conservatives: they seem to have a propensity and a willingness to criticize their ideological compatriots that I feel many liberals lack. Of course, that’s a sweeping generalization, and I could be off base… but that’s my feeling.
I was seriously considering making a whirlwind, one-day trip to L.A. for this, but I decided to be responsible and stay here and work.
But oh, how it would have been fun. Woohoo, go Trojans!!
Hey, speaking of being responsible, I gotta get to work… it’s 8:00! :)
As somebody (Sean? Dane?) recently pointed out to me, tax-and-spend liberals get a bad rep, but at least “tax and spend” makes mathematical sense. On the other hand, President Bush isn’t a tax-and-spender… he’s a tax-cut-and-spender. That’s not only gramatically incorrect, it’s fiscally irresponsible. (And yes, I did just link to the “fascist lies” of the Washington Times. :)
In other news, Bush is visiting the Phoenix area today… which is sure to snarl traffic. Thank goodness I ride the bus…
Here’s a picture of Becky and me during our simultaneous simul-blogging of the State of the Union address earlier this evening:
Tying up some loose ends from earlier in the day… here is Best of the Web’s Richard Gephardt “Bye-ku”:
Whoops, I said Bush was
A miserable failure
Turns out I meant me
And here is an internal BrendanLoy.com download link for the Howard Dean “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” audio clip. It seems Drudge took his version offline.
Back to the State of the Union for a moment… InstaPundit has some good links, as usual… I’m too lazy to dig any deeper than that at the moment. (Plus, I need to go to bed.)
I do like Glenn’s quotation of blogger Stephen Green saying, “On domestic policy, Bush is the Republican Bill Clinton. No issue is too small to get his attention, if he can throw a few million dollars at it and claim ‘progress.’”
Also, Becky enthusiastically agrees with Glenn’s assessment that “Nancy Pelosi’s unblinking, wide-eyed stare-into-the-camera delivery is just creepy.” Frankly, I wasn’t looking at Pelosi, so I wouldn’t know. I was typing at the time. But at least I listened to Pelosi… Daschle lost my interest about two minutes into his half of the response.
State of the Union responses are, in my experience, always bad. If I were the opposition party, I think I might abandon the exercise altogether. You tend to just make the president look more presidential, and yourself look silly. Better to let the president have his say and then let your pundits spin it behind the scenes.
Becky is simul-blogging the State of the Union… which is good, because it takes the pressure off me. :)
Well, she’s trying to simul-blog. Her computer just crashed…
UPDATE: Heh. The Dems clapping for the PATRIOT Act’s imminent expiration was funny… but stupid. They inevitably look like jackasses when Bush finishes the thought: “The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.” A trap set by Bush’s speechwriters? If so, Democrats fell right into it.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Hmm… Bush’s declaration (or reminder) of victory in Iraq prompted the Republicans to stand and clap, and the Democrats to remain seated and clap. Interesting.
AND ANOTHER: Becky is now officially simul-blogging, and doing so rather rapidly.
“For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible. And no one can now doubt the word of America.” A good line as far as it goes, but that whole massive WMD intelligence failure thing? No, that doesn’t make anyone doubt our word, at all…
“Nukular” count: 4. That’d be four shots in the drinking game. (As for me, I’m drinking milk and eating hot pockets.)
UPDATE: Good points about the legal battle against terrorism vs. the war against terrorism. I agree.
“Weapons of Mass Destruction-Related Program Activities”? Wow. That’s so convoluted, it’s almost a Clintonism.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE, 7:34 PM MST: “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.” Wow. This is a very political speech. Then again, it is an election year, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Getting back to my previous point: I guess the war in Iraq was fought to eliminate WMDRPA. Talk about revisionist history… and revisionist acronyms. :)
AND ANOTHER, 7:35: Fighting against the forces that stall reform in the Middle East… good! Let’s start with the Saudis, shall we, George?
Actually he made an interesting slip. He said we will “expect more from our friend.” Presumably he meant to say “friends,” but one can’t help but think of the House of Saud when he uses the term in the singular.
Becky and I are both sitting here, next to each other on the couch, typing away, not talking to each other at all, just blogging. It’s kind of funny.
UPDATE, 7:38: “Didn’t we weaken the U.N.?” Becky asks. No, honey, the U.N. weakened the U.N.
Becky’s simul-blogging is fascinating. It’s a bit ideologically schizoid, but that’s Becky for you: a contrarian moderate. :)
UPDATE, 7:41 PM: Then again, I shouldn’t talk. Some days I feel like I could be blogging at Dean for America, and other days I think I should join the staff of Best of the Web. :)
Wait, who is undermining the “No Child Left Behind” Act? Could it be the Bush Administration, which is failing to actually provide funding for the act’s mandates?
UPDATE, 7:44 PM: Um, who is cheering and who is booing? What’s going on? The reaction to the tax rhetoric is confusing me. It sounded like some members of Congress were mooing. :)
UPDATE, 7:45 PM: “The clapping by the democrats about increasing taxes? That’s shameful. This is not Britain,” Becky writes. Shameful? C’mon. If it’s shameful for the Dems to express their reactions, it’s shameful for the Republicans to hoot and hollar for the stuff they like. Either you believe only polite applause is appropriate, or you accept freer expression. You can’t give the president’s party free reign but give the opposition no leeway at all.
UPDATE, 7:56 PM: Bush is telling team owners and players and sports unions what to do (get rid of steroids). Interesting.
UPDATE, 7:58 PM: STDs… abstinence-only education… oh jeez.
UPDATE, 7:59 PM: “Activist judges… have begun redefining marriage by court order … Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.” By constitutional amendment if necessary.
UPDATE, 8:03 PM: Ha! Bush is getting written letters from 2-year-olds! I guess No Child Left Behind is really working, after all! :)
UPDATE, 8:05 PM: Aww… wrapping up the speech with advice for, and from, the 10-year-old (who, it turns out, is sound asleep). How cute… how sweet… how calculating.
UPDATE, 8:06 PM: The speech just ended. The calculated cuteness won Becky over.
UPDATE, 8:20 PM: “America will be much safer if we reduce the chances of a terrorist attack in one of our cities than if we reduce the civil liberties of our citizens.” I’d like to hear more Democrats elaborating on that theme.
I didn’t like Pelosi’s line about how we should be grateful to our troops overseas, “especially” those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why should we be less grateful to troops elsewhere?
Does Tom Daschle really call Nancy Pelosi “Leader Pelosi” in everyday conversation?
Becky says, “She’s not quite responding to the speech is she?” Um, the speech was delivered like 10 minutes ago. Bush has been working on this speech for months. The Dems have had a few minutes to figure out their response. So you can’t exactly expect a full and thorough response. The opposition party is always at a disadvantage in this situation.
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You gotta love the Drudge Report:
Drudge offers an audio clip of the infamous screech, and links to a National Review article stating that “Dean’s Iowa concession speech, in which he appeared to lose control of himself and began screaming at supporters Ã¯Â¿Â½ all in front of dozens of television cameras Ã¯Â¿Â½ may be even more damaging” than the caucus loss itself. Excerpt:
“Not only are we going to New Hampshire,” he said, his voice rising. “We’re going to South Carolina and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York. And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we’re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House.”
Then he let out a strange, extended, yelp that seemed to come from deep within him: “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!”
UPDATE: Drudge’s audio link is now broken, but you can download the scream right here.
We do know a bit about Bush’s State of the Union plans, though, thanks to the intrepid reporting of the fine folks at ScrappleFace:
Less than a day after Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean motivated his followers with an aggressive screeching noise, President George Bush plans to use a similar tactic in tonight’s State of the Union address, according to a senior administration official.
“Howard’s non-syllabic verbal flourish put his opponents on notice and set a new standard for statesman-like oratory,” said the unnamed official. “During the foreign policy segment of tonight’s address, the President will cut loose with a Dean-like jurassic screech that will set your hair on end. I’ve heard him do it in rehearsal, and it will definitely tell the terrorists that America is a force to be reckoned with. Our Commander-in-Chief is one tough velociraptor.”
Heh. Hehe. Hee hee hee.
I’m eagerly awaiting Best of the Web’s “Bye-ku” for Gephardt. It should be online within the next hour or two. In the mean time, you can read the previous Bye-kus for Graham and Braun. (The Graham post also explains the origin of the Bye-ku.)
In more serious election analysis, Des Moines Register columnist David Yepsen writes, “Iowa Democrats decided Howard Dean was simply too angry, too liberal and too gaffe-prone to be trusted with his party’s presidential nomination.” Yeah. And too unelectable:
Olen Lambert, a retired factory worker, grassroots Democrat and former UAW member from Newton, provided me with my first clue Monday morning that the ground was about to shift under the Democratic Party.
“I’m in a hell of mess,” he wrote in an e-mail. “As you know, I have been with Dean from from the start . . . but I have come to look upon Kerry and Edwards as possible winners over Bush. I hate Bush so bad that I will hate myself for the rest of my life if I pick the wrong guy.”
A few hours later, he wrote back: “I will now vote for Kerry.”
Interesting. This seems be back up Dane’s “electability” argument. Personally, though it’s not being touted by the media as a major storyline, I still think Dean’s loss of “outsider” status was a factor as well. But clearly the Anybody But Bush factor is not to be ignored.
Lambert also points out that Dick Gephardt’s relationship with the state of Iowa has now come full-circle:
In 1988, Iowa launched him to national fame and the leadership of his party in the U.S. House. On Monday, it was Iowa that broke him.
Now, a couple of observations of my own…
It really is amazing how some liberals seem to live in a parallel universe entirely different from our own. Last night on C-SPAN, I caught a brief snippet of a conversation between a Kucinich supporter and some other Democrat at a caucus location in Iowa. It went something like this:
KUCINICH GUY: We’ll get the troops out of there in 90 days.
NON-KUCINICH GUY: No way, that’s not going to happen. We’re in too deep.
KUCINICH GUY: Sure it can happen, we can get the U.N. to take over.
NON-KUCINICH GUY: It’s just not realistic.
KUCINICH GUY: But it’s an ideal.
Ah yes, the last stand of a out-argued, out-maneuvered lefty: “It’s an ideal!!!” Yeah, because governing the country on the basis of pure idealism is a really good idea.
The absurdities of the Kucinich line of reasoning — that we can clean up “Bush’s mess” simply by extracting our troops in three months, and that the previously wash-our-hands U.N. will suddenly be oh-so-happy to take over! — do not need to be expounded in detail; they are self-evident. But the silliness and hypocrisy gets even worse when you realize that these liberals are the same people who have so often faulted America for going on foreign adventures and then leaving countries to their own devices once our own interests are taken care of. Now they want to do just that in Iraq — and blame Bush for it, of course!
Thankfully, Dennis Kucinich has no chance whatsoever of becoming president, so we don’t have to worry about his supporters’ outlandish “ideals” becoming American policy. (At least Dean — even Dean! — condemns the war but promises to double the number of American troops in Iraq, saying the current force is inadequate to keep the peace. Now, granted, I don’t know where he’s going to find all those extra troops, but at least his “ideal” isn’t absurd on its face.)
Unelectable extremists aren’t the only ones who are making reality-check-worthy statements, however. I like John Kerry, I really do, but there’s something rather amusing — or maybe “hypocritical” is the better word — about a senator who voted for the PATRIOT Act and the authorization for war in Iraq condemning Bush’s foreign policy and John Ashcroft’s assault on civil liberties. It’s as if he doesn’t even remember his own role in these policy decisions.
But… “Bush lied about the facts in Iraq! He didn’t act in good faith with the international community!” apologists will cry. “And Ashcroft has abused the PATRIOT Act! He hasn’t policed his department from overusing it!” These arguments, or some of them, may contain a few grains of truth, but what they really argue for is my contention, a few months back, that Congress has rendered itself virtually impotent by abdicating its own constitutional role.
Andrew — the congressional staffer — disputes this point, but I continue to believe it is true: Congress, despite occasional, brief bursts of independence, is mostly a passive entity in today’s government (except for pork-barrel spending, of course).
How do Kerry’s statements back up this point? Because if Congress had real power, it would have real accountability. The two go together (just ask Spider-Man). But on the other hand, if a member of Congress such as Sen. Kerry can skirt accountability simply by arguing, “We trusted the executive branch, those bastards,” that means Congress has no accountability, which means it has lost its actual power and has become a glorified rubber stamp for the president.
Now that’s something to be proud of, senator.
Checks and balances do not work if one branch of government relies on another to act in “good faith.” If men were angels… well, you know. The whole point of checks and balances is that you can’t blindly trust the people in power — that’s why you have to check them and balance them.
If Congress were a truly equal branch of government, it would not pass a law based on the assumption that an executive department would freely choose not to “abuse” the law’s provisions; instead, it would insist on safeguards built into the law specifically designed to prevent abuse. Similarly, if Congress were a truly equal branch of government, it would not provide ANY president with a blanket authorization to go to war, months in advance, before knowing the actual facts; instead, it would insist that the president come down to Capitol Hill when he’s about ready to start the fight, and lay out his case for why Congress should declare war. And if the president refuses to play by these rules, Congress would make use its power of the purse to force his hand. That’s what we call a balance of power.
Alas, today’s Congress does not do any of that. Certainly John Kerry is not specifically, solely to blame for that; indeed, all the members of the present Congress combined are not solely to blame for it. It is something that has developed slowly but surely over the last several decades. But it is a very bad thing, and it’s high time the Congressional leadership — of either party; of both parties — started being a little more assertive (regardless of who the president is!). In fact, I think maybe Congress could use a little of Howard Dean’s anger. Do you think we could convince him to move to North Carolina and run for Vice President Edwards’s seat? :)
From Dane, in comments: “Let us place a picture of Bush next to a picture of Kerry. Now I ask you, which one looks like a president and which one looks like a Chimpanzee?”
Heh. This seems like a good time to link to BushOrChimp.com…