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Whisky defiled? Or made better?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has gotten himself on some fine mailing lists in his time. One of the mailing lists that keeps on giving about once a quarter is that of the good distillers of Johnnie Walker brand scotch. (Your Maximum Leader debated if he should put that link there - because you have to jump through some hoops to attest that you are “of age” to drink… But since he is going to be posting about some stuff they sent him it only seems polite to give them the link…

So… Your Maximum Leader is in the Johnnie Walker “Striding Man Society.” As best he can tell this gets him periodcial mailings and some invites to local events.

Now… Your Maximum Leader has always liked Johnnie Walker Scotch. Indeed, he has a bottle of “Gold Label” in his freezer. It is quite good. And your Maximum Leader also likes to relate that tale of scottish thrift involving Johnnie Walker Scotch. (Here tis: Why does Johnnie Walker come in square bottles? So you can pack more of them in a single crate (compared to round bottles) and thus save money in shipping.) He generally keeps a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black or Gold around.

(Excursus: Truth be told… Your Maximum Leader, when it comes to “mainline” brands of Scotch (mainline meaning a Scotch that you can walk into any reputable bar and find available) he is more a Glenfiddich man than a Johnnie Walker man. Glenfiddich has a little more smoke - which is desirable to your Maximum Leader.)

Anyhoo…

Johnny Walker sent your Maximum Leader a little mailer recently. The mailer contained recipes for cocktails involving (Johnnie Walker brand) Scotch. He opened it and read it over and was, at first, quite sceptical. You see, your Maximum Leader believes Scotch should be consumed two ways. 1) Neat. 2) On the rocks. That is pretty much it. Your Maximum Leader believes that Scotch shouldn’t be defiled by adding “mixers” and other such stuff. Having said this… One recipe in the mailing caught your maximum Leader’s eye. Here tis:

1 oz Scotch (Johnny Walker Green is recommended)
.5 oz Scotch Liqueur (none recommended but is there any other type than Drambuie? If you don’t have a Scotch liqueur you can substitute .5 oz of honey)
7 mint leaves
3 oz of Green Tea

Basically you mix the Scotch and liqueur first, add the mint leaves and alcohol to an old fashioned glass with ice, then top off with Green Tea. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what possessed him to try it, but he did. And it wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was pretty good. He doesn’t think he’ll drink many of these. But it was a nice change of pace.

Of course, your Maximum Leader wonders if this bandying with a Scotch cocktail with result in him loosing some points off his “Man Card.”

Humm….

Carry on.

Catwoman

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is living out a little dream of his. In this little dream he gets the bedroom he would have wanted as a little boy. Only the bedroom isn’t his own; and the little boy in question is not your Maximum Leader but is, in fact, the Wee Villain.

The Wee Villain (aged 3) has had his bedroom repainted and newly decorated. He has white walls. The trim is black. And the walls are festooned with images of Batman. The curtains are Batman curtains. The comforter, sheets, and pillow cases are all Batman. Over the summer it is possible that an artistically inclinded friend of ours will come over and will paint a Gotham City skyline on one wall of the room.

It is pretty damned cool actually.

If your Maximum Leader thought for a moment that he could get away with similar decor in the master bedroom; he’d give it a shot.

Alas, your Maximum Leader knows Mrs Villain all too well…

So, recently your Maximum Leader was digging through some old VHS tapes looking for some episodes of the Adam West Batman TV series that he recorded a long time ago. This search was prompted by his desire to get the Wee Villain some other Batman stuff to watch on the TV (and to try and retire the Scooby Doo meets Batman DVD that has long been a staple of his viewing around the house.) He found one tape after much searching. It had four episodes on it. All episodes with Batman foiling the plans of Catwoman. In one set of episodes Catwoman was Julie Newmar. In the second set Catwoman was Eartha Kitt. Your Maximum Leader had to explain this change of appearance to the Villainettes - who also decided to watch the shows with the Wee Villain.

Seeing Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt got your Maximum Leader to thinking… Which Catwoman is most alluring. Your Maximum Leader could think of four actresses to start in the role. The aforementioned Newmar and Kitt. Then Michelle Pfieffer in Batman Returns and Halle Berry in Catwoman. Your Maximum Leader must admit that he’s never seen Catwoman. So as much as he thinks that Halle Berry is one of the most physically attractive women ever (and a good actress all in all) he will supply her as a voting choice, but will not himself vote for her.

Excursus: Your Maximum Leader remembered one more Catwoman - Lee Meriweather. She was Catwoman in the 1966 Adam West Batman movie. He made up the poll before he remembered her - and he is too lazy to change the poll… Even though the poll is free…

Well… To help jog your memories on who is who…

Julie Newmar:
Julie Newmar as Catwoman

Eartha Kitt:
Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

Michelle Pfieffer:
Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman

Halle Berry:
Halle Berry as Catwoman

There is your review. Now you vote.

Which Catwoman gets your Batmobile humming?
Julie Newmar
Eartha Kitt
Michelle Pfieffer
Halle Berry

  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

You really ought to get used to this type of voting. You know… Polls that make you feel good but don’t really mean anything. They will be a hallmark of the Mike World Order…

Carry on.

Blog devolution

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had such high hopes for his blog so many years ago when he began it. It would be a highbrow blog. It would comment on issues of the day, religion, philosophy, history, and culture.

And now what has it become?

Well… It is still written in the third person…

Your Maximum Leader was just thinking about writing a few posts. Indeed, at any given point he likely has about three decents posts sitting in his wee little villainous brain. It is just a question of finding time… He wonders if he should just try and be a periodic essayist in this space…

Anyhoo…

Today your Maximum Leader wonders if he has enough energy to blog. This has been a rather busy week. It has been busy in that the schools are in a “teacher work day” mode and the villainous offspring are being shuttled around a bit more than normal. Excursus: Has anyone wondered about the whole concept of the “teacher work day?” Isn’t every school day a “teacher work day?” Shouldn’t a day when the teachers work but the kids have off be called a “teacher catch-up day” or a “teachers need to do their paperwork day?”

Anyhoo.. Back to your Maximum Leader… He isn’t feeling very energetic today. It could be due to his diet today. He was recounting to himself what he’s had to eat. Breakfast consisted of a Diet Coke. Between breakfast and lunch he drank a few cups of water. For lunch he had a chicken salad sandwich (on whole wheat bread), a small handful of crunchy cheetos, perhaps a half cup of applesauce and a glass of hot chai. Then he drank some water between lunch and dinner. For dinner he had a broccoli spear, a chicken sandwich (on whole wheat), and a glass of milk. Now he feels exhausted. Perhaps he should have eaten something more - or something different.

Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader is tired.

Is this post banal enough for you?

Are you still reading?

Highbrow? This blog? Highbrow my arse.

Carry on.

100 Below: Whispers behind the rostrum.

“Nancy. Good to see you.”

“Good to see you Mr. Vice President.”

“That lavender suit is quite fetching.”

“Thanks. It’s Vera Wang.”

“Heh… You said wang…”

“Are you going to do that all night?”

“Get your hand off my knee!”

“I’ve got an ‘earmark’ in my pants for you.”

“Nancy! Look there, Sam Brownback is undressing you with his eyes.”

“Shhh!”

“Dick, if you pinch my ass one more time I swear…”

“Executive Privilege sugar tits. Wanna complain? I see John Roberts right over there…”

“Good night Mr. Vice President.”

“Catch ya later toots.”

Rabbie Burns Day.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been so busy of late that he just now realized that today is Robert Burns day. As he just now realized the day, he’s not made plans. It is unlikely that he will have a big Burns Supper. It is likely, however, that he will consume some of the water of life (as it were).

After dinner (whatever that may be) he will crack open his book of Burns’ poetry and read some to the family. He may read this particularly well-known Burns poem (which his daughters particularly liked last year).

To A Mouse (1785)

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
Oh, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I was be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

II

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An’ fellow-mortal!

III

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
And never miss’t!

IV

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

V

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

VI

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

VII

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

VIII

Still thou art blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I cannot see,
I guess an’ fear!

Your Maximum Leader suspects he’ll also get out the kilt and wear it to dinner. Perhaps he’ll even post a photo if there is a clamor to see your Maximum Leader’s knees.

Carry on.

Her wish is my command

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader received a message from one of his favorite bloggers today. She requested that a movie be posted by one of her loyal readers right away…

Her wish is your Maximum Leader’s command…

Carry on.

The magic of chopping wood.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader really enjoys Eric’s site. Today, your Maximum Leader read Eric’s lastest post a few times… All the while he thought of the wood that lay in his back yard waiting for cutting…

Excerpt from Eric’s great post:

…how he’d [Eric’s Dad] turn the wood to just the right angle, lean in and let his eyes search the surface for natural splits, breaks, or signs of weakness…. and once he had achieved some sort of near-mystical understanding between he and the hunk of wood, he’d steady himself, bring his mall to the port-arms position, and in one single moment of extreme violence, precision, and focus, he’d smash down on the wood…. and more often than not, he’d make the split in one beautiful movement….. and if the wood didn’t bow to his will after the first lick, it usually gave up after the second…..

Great post. Read it.

Carry on.

Things that died today…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader notices that two things died today… Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign and Heath Ledger.

Okay… That was sorta tasteless…

But it was amusing…

Admit it.

Your Maximum Leader has been saying for a little while now that Fred Thompson’s campaign was toasted. He had said that a strong, but not winning, showing in South Carolina might keep Fred going for a while. But, Fred didn’t do well in South Carolina and thus, dropped out of the race. Your Maximum Leader is not really sad about this. He had resolved himself, a while ago, that Fred wasn’t going to win the nomination. Politically speaking, Fred Thompson was probably as good a candidate as your Maxmium Leader could hope to see in this cycle. But, Fred didn’t have the fire in the belly to run. As your Maximum Leader noted before, not having the fire in the belly might in an earlier time have been an attribute. At any rate, Fred is done. He can now go back to his young wife and daughter and making TV shows.

Your Maximum Leader believes the Republican race is effectively down to McCain and Romney. If your Maximum Leader had to choose between those two, he would choose McCain. Romney just doesn’t do anything for your Maximum Leader. If your Maximum Leader had to lay a wager on the eventual Republican nominee he would choose Romney. He would make that bet solely because Romney can self-finance if he wants.

Your Maximum Leader wonders if the current cash crunch that so many candidates are experiencing is because of the protracted run-up to the primary race. These candidates have been raising money for ages already. They have been spending money for ages. Now, due in part to campaign finance laws, they can’t go back to the same big donors they have already tapped. (This probably hurts Hillary Clinton more than any other Democrat by the way.) People are tired of giving. They are tired of being asked. They are probably just tired of the campaigning.

And to close out your Maximum Leader’s tasteless opening…

Heath Ledger has died. He was 28. Apparently he died of a drug overdose in his New York apartment. Your Maximum Leader really enjoyed “A Knight’s Tale.” He thought that “Brokeback Mountain” was well done, even if the subject matter didn’t really appeal to him. He thought “The Patriot” was positively awful. And as far as your Maximum Leader can tell, those are the only three Ledger films he’s seen. There probably are more, but he can’t think of them now.

It is sad that a man with so much promise should die so young. But if he OD’ed, that is his own fault and your Maximum Leader is much less remorseful. Your Maximum Leader wonders if Heath Ledger will become a sort of James Dean type icon for a new age. He sort of doubts it. But anything is possible.

Carry on.

Life under Sharia…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think of himself as a basher of Islam. He believes that a significant portion of the Muslim world lives under a rather twisted interpretation of Islam. He says this not as a Muslim, but as a man firmly rooted in the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. There are aspects of Islam that a praisworthy, and there are plenty that leave your Maximum Leader just scratching his head wondering what the hell is going on.

To wit:

Two years ago, a knock on Fatima and Mansour al-Timani’s door shattered the life they had built together.

It was the police, delivering news that a judge had annulled their marriage in absentia after some of Fatima’s relatives sought the divorce on grounds she had married beneath her.

Now, your Maximum Leader believes that his own lovely and intelligent wife, the wonderful Mrs Villain, married beneath her station. She is a wonderful and giving woman - and marvelous mother (and frankly your Maximum Leader is… well… a man). But to think for a moment that Mrs Villain’s relatives can sue in court to have his marriage annuled is beyond the pale.

Excursus: Let it be known that your Maximum Leader is, here and now, declaring that no man is good enough for either Villainette. He will sue any man that attempts to marry one of his daughters by claiming they are beneath the girls station.

So… To continue with Fatima and Mansour’s story…

Fatima said her husband, a hospital administrator, followed Saudi tradition in asking her father for permission to marry her in 2003.

“My brother reported good things about him, so my dad accepted his proposal,” said Fatima, a computer specialist who was 29 when she married.

She said her father knew that Mansour came from a less prominent tribe than hers, but that he did not mind because he “cared about the man himself.”

A few months after the wedding, several of Fatima’s relatives, including a half brother, persuaded her father to give them power of attorney to file a lawsuit demanding an annulment, she said.

Then her father died, and Fatima said she had hoped the case would be dropped.

But on Feb. 25, 2006, police knocked on the couple’s door to serve Mansour with divorce papers — which said his marriage had been annulled nine months earlier.

Your Maximum Leader admits that this is one instance where he is willing to overlook a little pontificating by the Assocated Press (who ran this story). The story, like your Maximum Leader’s reaction to it, is rife with an undercurrent of shock that this sort of thing can happen in a “civilized” country. Of course that last line implies that Saudi Arabia is a civilized country. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that his definition of civilized and the Saudi’s would be quite in line. It is at times like this when your Maximum Leader wants to go all Charles James Napier on some foreign country.

Excursus: Can your Maximum Leader try and coin a phrase? He’d like to see “going Napier” or “pulling a Napier” but into the lexicon as meaning “to subdue a nation or tribe by force.” Your Maximum Leader means this in the most positive way of course. Frankly, your Maximum Leader would like to see the more foreign policy based on “pulling a Napier.” But it isn’t going to happen… Sadly…

Anyhoo… According to the AP article, if King Abdullah doesn’t reverse the al-Timani’s annulment Fatima (who is incarcerated by the way - with her children - whom your Maximum Leader supposes are bastardized by the annulment) says she will kill herself.

Your Maximum Leader tries to be a modest Christian at times and doesn’t easily bandy about his thoughts on someone’s eternal fate. He knows that status of one’s soul is determined by the Almighty. And in a case like that of the al-Timani’s, if Fatima were to kill herself because of the injustice done to her, your Maximum Leader would hope divine retribution is severe on those who drove her to the fatal act.

Carry on.

Double Dose of Sadness

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is sad this morning. He is, in fact, doubly sad.

First, his beloved Green Bay Packers just colapsed yesterday night on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. By the middle of the third quarter (around the time Smallholder called your Maximum Leader to discuss the game) your Maximum Leader was beginning to think that the Packers were beginning to unravel. By the middle of the fourth quarter your Maximum Leader was beginning to believe that the Giants were going to win. He had already started to think to himself that “there is always next year.”

Then the game went to overtime. When the Packers won the toss and elected to receive your Maximum Leader was elated. He foresaw another glorious victory akin to the one on the Monday night game earlier this year. (You remember the one when Farve threw the 60+ yard pass to win the game on the first play of OT vs Denver.) His hopes were raised…

Then Farve threw the interception.

Then the Giants kicked that damned field goal.

It was very sad.

But at least there is next year…

Secondly, Suzanne Pleshette, of Newhart fame, died yesterday at age 70. She died, apparently, of complications resulting from lung cancer. While your Maximum Leader is in his late 30s (near 40) he does fondly remember the Newhart show from re-runs. What does it say about a young kid that he liked Bob Newhart over the other comedies on TV? Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader liked Newhart and Pleshette. May she rest in peace.

Carry on.

Quick Quiz

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders if you have wondered where he has been this week? Off doing villainous stuff? Sitting on his arse doing nothing? The victim of a zombie attack?

Well, it is none of those things. Your Maximum Leader has a pinched nerve in, of all places, his elbow. He’s been advised to keep his typing to a minimum for a while and let it recover some. Thus, he’s not been posting.

He has been reading blogs (and watching lots and lots of hockey on TV - surprisingly). From Phoenix we have a little candidate calculator. It is fun and interesting tool to pick a candidate (or now-non-candidate) to root for - if you happen to be undecided. According to this quiz your Maximum Leader should have supported Sam Brownback for President. Other candidates who were good matches were: Fred Thompson and Tom Tancredo.

Humm… Your Maximum Leader has said he liked Thompson - which he does. He has never thought (ever) of supporting Sam Brownback (even if he was still in the race). Your Maximum Leader stands by his assertion earlier that Thompson is toasted in this election. He will admit that if Thompson pulls off an upset in South Carolina, or even finishes second in SC, then Thompson will perservere for a while - perhaps through March. But he doesn’t see Thompson catching on. In a way your Maximum Leader hopes he is wrong. But that is unlikely.

You know who else is toasted in this election? Rudy. Your Maximum Leader thinks you can already stick a fork in him - so done is he. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t see, with the news cycle being what it is, how Rudy can win in Florida and then pick up momentum on Super Tuesday and wrap up the nomination. It is just too implausible.

Your Maximum Leader thinks that this race is really going to boil down to McCain and Romney.

Carry on.

100 Below: Uh Oh Part Deux

The worst part of the zombie apocalypse was the fatigue.

It wasn’t hard to pot the hooting inhuman undead as they limped bloodshod up the farm lane.

But they came at irregular intervals, mandating constant vigilance. How could a man sleep?

Plus, the cow still needed milking.

He shouldered his rifle and climbed down from the barn cupola-come-sniper’s nest.

It was odd that Bonnie didn’t issue her welcoming moo.

Entering the stall, he saw why.

Dismembered bovine. Empty skull. Intestine-festooned manger.

It came from behind: Baaaaaas surging past bitter cuds and froth-corrupted lips.

Zombie sheep.

Shit.

100 Below: Uh oh.

Brendon Travers was proved right after all. His neighbors joked him mercilessly about the “bomb shelter” he built. Now who was laughing?

Brendon settled into his 10×20 concrete bunker (which was buried 5 feet underground). The only door was secured. The air filters were working. His generator was good for weeks.

The worldwide zombie apocalypse wouldn’t claim him.

He decided to treat himself to his favorite snack, microwave popcorn. He had boxes of it piled around. He got a pack and went to cook it. But he couldn’t.

He’d forgotten to put the microwave in the shelter.

Shit.

Primaries!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been thinking about a post about the primaries and what is going on in the US Presidential race. All in all it is quite interesting, and fluid. The most amazing aspect of it is just how myopic the media is being in covering the races. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t heard any of the reporters or talking heads trying to take a look at the proverbial big picture. Perhaps it is worth taking a look at the forest…

The day after (or more accuarately the night of) the Iowa caucuses it seemed as though Barack Obama was now annoited on the Democratic side and Mike Huckabee was going to march at the head of a Christian army to take the Republican nomination (and presumably then work on America herself) back for Christ. Mitt Romney was toasted. Rudy Guiliani was not even a blip on the radar.

Now the day after New Hampshire the stories have changed. McCain is solidering on and the “front runner” on the Republican side. Hillary is back in the driver seat on the Democratic side. What will happen in Nevada? What will happen in Michigan? What about South Carolina?

Gadzooks! What does anyone know about anything?

Well… Your Maximum Leader thinks that the compressed primary season is going to have to be seriously rethought by both parties. He imagines that Hillary and Barack will keep going hammer and tongs at each other well past February. And as it stands, he can’t imagine a single Republican “locking up” the nomination before the Republican Convention.

Yes, you read that right. Republicans might not have a nominiee until their Convention. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t consider himself a “typical Republican.” He strongly tends to vote Republican. His conservative disposition and outlook causes him to gravitate towards Republicans. But on the balance he doesn’t believe he is a straight “party man.” This said, in one way he might be more like Republicans than one might think. He isn’t excited about any of the Republican candidates. He was (and frankly still is) ideologically inclinded to like Fred Thompson. But Thompson really doesn’t seem to want the job enough to campaign for it. (Excursus: Fred is running for president 200 years too late. Circa 1808 his refusal to seek the office would have been seen as a strength. Sad how we have gone in a century or two.) Your Maximum Leader has officially given up on Fred Thompson.

If not Fred who? Well… Your Maximum Leader thinks the following:
1) Rudy is a self-centered arsehole and bad judge of people. He would likely be something remarkably close to a third term of George W. Bush.
2) Mike Huckabee is a pleasant fellow who might be nice to have as your pastor. He strikes me as a man who, outside of social/religious issues, is really lost when it comes to planning to govern in all the arenas outside of his narrow baliwick.
3) Mitt Romney looks presidential, is damned smart, and ambitious. But your Maximum Leader looks at him and thinks, “What would have happened if Robert McNamara had been President? Would the nation be better off?” Mitt Romney really strikes your Maximum Leader as a Robert McNamara type. The incredibly smart and self-confident businessman who believes that with enough data and the right minds in the right room any problem can be solved. For Robert McNamara at the Pentagon it didn’t turn out too good. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe that it would be better for Mitt Romney.
4) Ron Paul is wacky.
5) John McCain is a Senator of long standing. Being a Senator of long standing is a bad thing. You are on the record for so many different issues. You have to explain procedural votes on issues as political issues. (That worked out well for John Kerry if we all remember.) He has a bad temper. He has been on the wrong side of many issues for many Republicans (the issue he is on the wrong side of for your Maximum Leader is campaign finance reform). And he is old.

Of these your Maximum Leader chooses… None of the above. If put up against a wall and his family threatened and forced to choose one, he would likely choose McCain. But, lucky for your Maximum Leader he doesn’t have to choose. So for now he isn’t choosing a Republican.

On the Democratic side it is so much more interesting. Indeed, from almost any perspective the Democratic race is more exciting. You have the ambitous woman, the breath of fresh air, and the Breck girl. (Excurus: It upsets your Maximum Leader that John Edwards has become the Breck Girl of American politics. In your Maximum Leader’s mind the Breck girl of American politics will be Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX). Although the humour of the put-down of John Edwards does give your Maximum Leader some pleasure; you could have chosen another shampoo. How about Pert?)

Your Maximum Leader can’t add anything to what countless others have already written about Hillary. Let it suffice to say that to your Maximum Leader Hillary Clinton is just a Democratic Richard Nixon. By that he means that Clinton is Nixon without the years of anti-communism, without Henry Kissinger, without the wingtips on the beach, without the love of baseball and boxing, and without Pat and Checkers. She is Nixon with the conniving, with the enemies list, with the plumbers, with the fear and loathing of all things out of her control, and with the burning desire to prove herself worthy of everything in life. Of course, she has a vagina and Nixon didn’t. They both also have saggy jowls.

If Hillary Clinton wasn’t a woman your Maximum Leader isn’t sure she’d have made it this far in politics. That is to say that if Hillary Clinton were Harry Clinton she would just be a Democratic party hack. She had the good fortune to be married to one of the greatest politicians ever produced by this great republic. She parleyed that connection to her advantage. Good for her says your Maximum Leader. He doesn’t begrudge her anything she’s accomplished. But he doesn’t think that by virtue of her being a woman she should be president. Indeed, as he just said, to him Hillary Clinton is Richard Nixon - only without all the traits that made Nixon a worthwhile person and president.

John Edwards… Heh… Your Maximum Leader can’t help but smile whenever you mention the name of John Edwards. The man is so remarkably fake. He is an angry everyman who lives in a mansion with his millions in the bank. He is a blue collar worker in tailored suits with a $400 haircut. He is one of the toiling masses with polished teeth and soft fleshy hands that would recoil at the grit of dirt. He comes out of the long tradition of the angry privledged that, as best your Maximum Leader can tell, has heretofore only produced bloody revolutionaries (in other nations) and broken burned-out old men (in our own nation).

The most interesting Democrats, in your Maximum Leader’s opinion are Bill Richardson and Barack Obama. Richardson is just too obscure in the field to amount to anything except a fine VP choice. That is too bad because his combination of experiences in politics would in most other years propel him to a front-runner status. Does anyone remember how George H.W. Bush many experiences in government (legislative, executive, diplomatic) was parleyed in 1988 as a great strength? Bill Richardson could be the George H.W. Bush on paper. He doesn’t excite the masses (but men of his calibre rarely do). While your Maximum Leader doesn’t agree with Governor Richardson on a whole host of policy matters, he does think that Americans could do much worse than electing him their President.

That leaves Barack Obama.

Your Maximum Leader waivers in his thoughts on Obama. His thoughts actually can be summarized in two names. Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter. Now before we all go jumping to conclusions about the sanity of your Maximum Leader, give him a moment. Obama, like Lincoln, is a fairly junior guy without much experience as he is running for President. (Excursus; they are both from Illinois too.) Obama, like Lincoln - in a very broad sense, has the ability to make Americans think about the angels of their better natures. Obama, unlike Lincoln actually, projects (and for all your Maximum Leader knows actually is filled with) a sense of hope and optimism. Obama has a lot of potential.

Unfortunately, in 1976 James Earl Carter had lots of potential.

(Excursus: Did you know that there was a day when your Maximum Leader actually thought that Jimmy Carter was a pretty good ex-President? As best your Maximum Leader could tell, that day was March 17, 1984. Around that time your Maximum Leader read that Jimmy Carter was spending his time building houses with Habitat for Humanity and teaching Sunday school. Your Maximum Leader thought that those were two worthwhile activities for an ex-President. Of course, shortly afterwards your Maximum Leader matured mentally and resolved that the best ex-President EVAR! (as well as one of the best Presidents EVAR!) was James K. Polk.)

Does your Maximum Leader actually have to detail why Jimmy Carter wasn’t a good President? He didn’t think so. Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter had more experience (at least more experience governing) than does Barack Obama.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what to think of Barack Obama. Unfortunately, the only way to know which way he’ll turn out is to elect him. And your Maximum Leader isn’t ready to do that…

(Update: Your Maximum Leader reads on the news wires that Bill Richardson is dropping out of the race. Pity. But understandable.)

So back to the primaries… They were, afterall, where your Maximum Leader began this screed…

This compressed primary schedule, combined with the general discontent among voters with all their choices, is actually prolonging the time it will take to pick a candidate. It is entirely possible that a fragmented primary electorate coupled with a schizophrenic reporting mentality (Today the frontrunner is:________!) will result in two (or three) candidates in each party duking it out all across the nation for far longer than anyone thought. It is not outside the realm of possibility that one (probably the Republican) or both of the party conventions could really have to do some work! Great Jeezey Chreezy! The thought of that makes your Maximum Leader shudder.

As it stands now, your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that anything will be decided by “Super Tuesday” on February 5th. If that is the case (and at many levels your Maximum Leader hopes it is) we are in for a more exciting election year than we had ever thought.

Carry on.

Copyrights and photos on the interwebs.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t do much in the way of photos on this site. Not much at all. That is in part because once that photo is out on the interwebs you never know what is going to come of it. Your Maximum Leader refuses to post photos of his children on the internet for this reason (indeed, he doesn’t even email photos often).

So… It was with great interest that he read this peice on the Washington Post. The piece describes how big corporations are lifting photos from the internet to use in their advertising. Here are some excerpts:

Under the banner of “intellectual property,” record labels warn you not to bootleg their songs. Hollywood studios warn you not to download their movies. Intellectual property has lately seemed the concern of corporations trying to protect the artist from the grabby public.

But in an increasingly user-generated world where the public is the artist, sometimes it’s the big boys who get grabby. And the questions that arise are about ownership, but they are also about fairness, and changing culture, and ultimately, the search for authenticity.

[…]

Photographers (even amateur ones) automatically own the rights to their own work (even online). That means others can’t use a photo without permission.

But sometimes, through “fair use,” it actually is okay to use a photo without permission. Fair use can include scholarship or parody, and is determined by a number of criteria.

Further: sometimes, individuals… can decide to give away just part of their control. For example, permitting use of a photograph as long as the source is credited.

[…]

Says Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford legal scholar who created Creative Commons, when asked about the issue of corporations borrowing photos: “There’s really no excuse for [these companies] except that they think it’s not important to protect the rights of the amateur.”

[…]

What’s noteworthy…, Lessig says, “is that bloggers, a community typically associated with piracy, are rallying in support of copyright.”

He says average individuals are increasingly thinking of themselves as artists, whose work has value — or at least deserves respect. Lessig predicts that as the average Joes have their own material appropriated, it will eventually result in better behavior from both individuals and corporations.

Very interesting stuff. Your Maximum Leader knows that he’s used some photos without attribution. He does know better (and does try to provide attribution - in the form of a link mostly). Appropriation of web images by big corporations without trying to get permission is wrong, in your Maximum Leader’s mind at least.

Be careful with your images people….

Carry on.

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