For the absolutely final final word on those anti-Christian and anti-life subhuman obscenities in Texas who tried to use a corpse to delay the still-birth of a doomed deformity, go to Stonekettle. And be glad you don’t live in Texas, unless you do. In which case embarrassment, despair, shame, regret or emigration would all be appropriate.
I gave David Brooks a pass on his embarrassing marijuana column this week, feeling that the poor fellow was just a mild-mannered deluded doofus and why bother? But now comes this, from a printed exchange with Gail Collins in today’s Times. Give me a minute and I could come up with half a dozen Republicans I’d rather see in the White House than Hillary Clinton, but this? This?
GAIL: Ah, the Clinton health care proposal. Back in the days of yore, when giants roamed the earth and senators still engaged in bipartisan drinking sessions.
DAVID: If she can prove that she now understands that dumb, simple laws are better than smart, complex ones, I could definitely feel some comfort with her. I do think she is hardheaded and practical. If she runs against Ted Cruz, I’m going to be in an awful pickle.
Yesterday C-Span — I am sure you were also glued to the set — featured a talk at the National Press Club given by one Daniel Akerson, departing CEO of General Motors. He was boasting about the (i.e., his) achievement at GM since the US auto bail-out by the federal government prevented his company from going bankrupt. (Note the seeds of conflict there already in his set-up during the talk.)
At one point, he recounted how, early in the company’s difficulties, some European auto executives assured him that the recovery effort was headed for “disaster.” A failure, he then remarked as an aside, that would be as bad as the failure of the health care act (meaning so-called Obamacare). There was weak laughter in the audience, but no boos or hisses were heard. He went on to say that although “it took time” to turn around GM, a few years later some of those Europeans came to work at GM.
Well, here is at least one boo and a hiss for your cheap-shot remark and your blindered arrogance, Mr. Akerson. You would now be managing a mall in Missouri if President Obama’s administration hadn’t valiantly and stubbornly stuck with the GM salvage operation even in the teeth of utter Republican disdain on TV, in the papers, and in ads during the last presidential election.
The Democratic administration’s support was of course driven by concern for your (yuk, union) workers but also for the myriad businesses that feed the GM enterprises — not by concern for you and your over-promoted, over-compensated flunkies at corporate HQ, with their ladder burns.
You say the turn-around “took time?” Well, yes. But might not the Affordable Care Act also benefit, given time? No? You are awfully quick to mock a great effort for Americans’ health that was launched a few days ago, as if you can see into the future. Can you?
Or — this is a real question for you, Sir — are you allowing your snide inner mean-spiritedness and sense of entitlement to come to the fore only now, when the federal government is no longer in possession of GM, and it is safe for you boldly to disparage, on national television and in front of journalists (however captive they may be), a social initiative of far greater value to Americans than the wheeling and dealing at your own secure fief, before you retire to your gated-community mansions bordering golf-courses in Hobe Sound, Idaho, and Hawaii?
Until I hear otherwise, I will think of you as a smirking hairless coward sheathed in a really good suit. I’ll bet your shoes are bespoke, too.
The Associated Press reports:
The Hawaiian health official who verified the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate died in a small plane crash…
Fuddy, 65, became acting health director in January 2011. After being confirmed as the permanent health director, Fuddy made news in April 2011 when she verified the authenticity of certified copies of President Obama's birth certificate, proving that he had been born in Hawaii.
I’m surprised the United Nations let her live this long, actually.
Friday update: Want to know why satire is dead? Because reality beats it to the punch. Here’s Donald Trump—
“How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died in plane crash today. All others lived.” Other skeptics also weighed in on the conspiracy across social media suggesting that Obama had a role to play in Fuddy’s deaths.
Here’s Tan Man, trying out the party’s new pickup line:
Boehner urged his colleagues Thursday in response to this POLITICO story to “be a little more sensitive” when running against women. “Some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be,” Boehner said.
Boehner (R-Ohio) said bluntly that “when you look around the Congress, there are a lot more females in the Democrat caucus than there are in the Republican caucus.”
Yeah, but the females in the Republic caucus are hotter… Oops, is it okay to say that? Chicks are so damned sensitive nowadays.
“The Republican Party, I really believe, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from years and years of bullying and taunting. The Republican Party is Jonathan Martin. The Democrat Party and the media are Richie Incognito.”
Well, yeah, maybe. Except for Jonathan Martin being black.
From the Associated Press:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he once feared that terrorists could use the electrical device that had been implanted near his heart to kill him and had his doctor disable its wireless function…
…if only Charles Pierce hadn’t gotten there first:
You work for the bilge pump of wingnut propaganda. The “professional thing” for you to do is to slink off and do five years penance reading the hog reports on a 300-watt station in west Texas before you’re allowed in respectable company again. The “professional thing” for journalists with any pride to do is to spit at the mention of your network’s name and to hang bells around the neck of you and all your colleagues so that we know when you’re coming and can clear the room. You’re lucky you have Jay Carney. Put me in that job and you’re doing your stand-ups from a chicken wagon halfway down the mall. Put me in that job and your picture is in every guard shack.
Your organization is a running sore on the profession. It’s what happens when a craft fails to keep its septic system up to date. You do not deserve the respect given to a schizophrenic in Lafayette Park who screams about the aliens from Zontar and the Rockefellers. I know people who staple their screeds to lamp posts in Central Square who are far more worthy of professional courtesy than you are. You work for a Chronic Ward of grifters, unemployables, and whatever else sticks to the bottom of journalism’s shoes on a hot summer’s day.
This from Syrbal at Herlander-Walking:
So, all you holy-rolling-fetus-ophiles? Ignoring the pains and suffering and needs of not only living CHILDREN and their inconveniently mouthy MOTHERS is working against your “every sperm-result-is-sacred” mission. Maybe women wouldn’t reluctantly (I have yet to meet a woman choosing abortion who is happy with the choice) select to NOT be pregnant if they weren’t treated so poorly WHILE pregnant. And maybe – just maybe – if they thought they might get a reasonable amount of aid AFTER they had the helpless little thing that would attach to a kneecap within months of leaving the womb, even nasty evil liberal feminist “bitches/sluts” like me would be more inclined to select “live birth” on some survey?
Besides, wtf is your beef? After all, all those wee dead fetus-beings? They are innocent and go direct to the arms of your loving (if singularly neglectful) Jesus, right? What, heaven isn’t good enough for the wee tissue-bits? They HAVE to go through the same shit on earth as the rest of us first? Well, now …. just how loving and gentle “let the little children come unto me” is that shit? Maybe you all anti-abortion allegedly pro-life sorts are just afraid that the full measure of mean-minded ‘told you so’ suffering is being escaped by SOMEbody?
Syrbal has been pregnant at least seven times and has three living children, which gives her what lawyers call “standing” in the current anti-abortion debate. In a perfect world she’d be called before Congress to explore the issue with Tennessee Representative Marsh Blackburn, who is the GOP’s attempt to put a female face on the effort to pass what Rachel Maddow calls “the most sweeping restrictions on reproductive rights to reach the floor of Congress in a decade.”
Not that I’m suggesting a ladylike discussion of ladyparts conducted under Robert’s Rules of Order. I’m thinking more under the Rules of the Knife Fight here — “There are no rules in a knife fight.”
Congressperson Blackburn and Syrbal are pictured below. See if you can tell which is the witch and which just rhymes with it. (h/t to Nancy Reagan. But you knew that already, didn’t you?)
I’m in Minnesota at the moment, involved with granddaughter graduations and related festivities. As I slowly improve at using the touchscreen and keyboard on her MacBook, posting will resume.
My thought for today is that the GOP is the gift that keeps on giving. Take for instance Senator Saxby Chambliss from Georgia, who just added the diagnosis below to our store of medical knowledge. Media attention so far has centered on the “hormone level created by nature” passage. But don’t miss an earlier snicker from the sly old solon — the part about “folks who slip through that crack.” Unintentional? You be the judge.
Cherries picked from an interview George W. Bush gave to the Dallas Morning News
“The best way for people to understand what I meant by ‘compassionate conservative’ is to look at the programs we implemented and look at the results…”
“Much of my presidency was defined by things that you didn’t necessarily want to have happen.”
From the New York Times, page one:
WASHINGTON — A new assessment by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has concluded for the first time, with “moderate confidence,” that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile…
The assessment’s existence was disclosed Thursday by Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, three hours into a budget hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.
This is kind of an amazing coincidence, really. Let me backtrack a little and you’ll see what I mean. There is a small hospital in Sharon, Connecticut, which means that there are lots of doctors in our town. Now and then they leave off old medical school textbooks in the Swap Shop at the local dump.
Just last Tuesday — you’re not going to believe this — I picked up one called Brain Surgery for Dummies and proceeded to read that sucker from cover to cover. Finished last night, and now I can say with moderate confidence that I have learned how to perform a prefrontal lobotomy. Drop by any time. Special rates if your name is Doug Lamborn.
More unfond memories of the recently late Margaret Thatcher, these from filmmaker Ken Loach via the Information Clearing House. What set him off was the news that Thatcher’s funeral is expected to cost the British taxpayers more than $12 million.
“Margaret Thatcher was the most divisive and destructive Prime Minister of modern times,” [Loach] said. “Mass Unemployment, factory closures, communities destroyed — this is her legacy. She was a fighter and her enemy was the British working class.
“Her victories were aided by the politically corrupt leaders of the Labour Party and of many Trades Unions. It is because of policies begun by her that we are in this mess today…
“Remember she called Mandela a terrorist and took tea with the torturer and murderer Pinochet. How should we honor her? Let’s privatize her funeral. Put it out to competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. It’s what she would have wanted.”
Why does every interviewee in the whole wide world of television preface every answer to every vapid question with, “That’s a great question”? Instead of, for instance, “That’s a dumbass question. Better give it another shot.” Or “Have you actually read the book/speech/report/transcript/newspaper coverage/anything?”
From Prospects of Industrial Civilization, by Bertrand and Dora Russell (1923):
The only men nowadays who believe in injustice are those who profit by it, and even they in their hearts feel that their belief is not genuine but merely an embodiment of self-interest. I except from this indictment the big capitalists of America, who are more naïve, more untouched by modern thought, than any other set of men with the exception possibly of a few Central African negroes. American businessmen still believe in the capitalist system, but businessmen elsewhere merely hope it will last their lifetime, provided they can obtain sufficient machine guns and ships to shoot down or starve those who advocate systems which, in their hearts, they know to be better.
Here’s the GOP’s Messiah of the Month, Senator Ted Cruz, remembering grim times at Harvard Law School from 1992 to 1995:
“There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
OMG, back then I used to walk past the law school every day on my way to work! Innocent me, I never dreamed there was a Republican inside.
From the New York Daily News:
WASHINGTON — While his colleagues got ready to go to the Capitol, Justice Antonin Scalia sat on a stage across town and held forth about why, for the 16th consecutive year, he would not be joining them for the State of the Union.
He doesn’t go when a Democrat is president. He stays away when the president is Republican.
“It has turned into a childish spectacle. I don’t want to be there to lend dignity to it,” Scalia said, with a certain amount of mischief.
…do you really not know that you only lend dignity by your absence?
We take up the story of Downton Abbey several years after Lord Grantham’s mismanagement has lost his beloved manor house and estate to an unhappy band of creditors. Lord and Lady Grantham now share a bedsitter with Carson the butler in the nearby town of Bleakly-on-the-Never-Never.
Lord G: I say, Carson, do set a third place for dinner. MaMa will be joining us.
Carson: Very good, my Lord.
Lady G: Dearest Robert, must we see MaMa so soon again. The tiresome old crone was here only six months ago.
Lord G: Cora, how many times must I ask you not to call MaMa a tiresome old crone? She may be tiresome but she represents the Way It Used To Be. I say, Carson, what is on tonight’s bill of fare?
Carson: I’m afraid it’s bangers and mashed again, my Lord.
Lord G (sighing): Good heavens, Cora, this is what it’s come to — bangers and mashed two nights in a row. MaMa will be appalled. I say, Carson, let us hope at least that we will have some of that delicious spotted dick to finish.
Carson: That we do, my Lord. There’s enough spotted dick here to last out the month.
Lady G: I think your beloved MaMa will be lucky to get anything after the way she’s behaved. Of course, we wouldn’t be in this situation if you had worried less about your studs and cufflinks and more about the management of the estate.
Lord G: Only an insensitive colonial would talk that way to a peer of the realm. You really must try harder, my dear, to understand the British upper class.
Lady G: My dear Robert, to understand the British upper class one had only to watch the episode where an entire hour was devoted to the issue of which dress shirts and ties were suitable for wear with certain dinner clothes. Is it any wonder the British Empire has all but disappeared?
Lord G: Some issues are more important than they may appear to an outsider. Besides, that episode was no less compelling than the one that had me lusting after one of the maids like a demented goat. Or that tedious business with Bates and whether he murdered his wife. And let us not overlook the romance between our darling Sybil and the Irish chauffeur. Who would believe any of that?
Lady G: I would, for one. Given the general intelligence level of the script, one is expected to believe just about anything. Why would a rich, good-looking woman like me marry a dithering relic like you, for instance? You squander my fortune on idiotic investments. You insist that birdbrain with a title attend Sybil in childbirth with disastrous results, and then you manage to lose our house. So now we eat pub food at a card table and the butler sleeps on a Barcalounger in the kitchen. I should have divorced your sorry ass thirty years ago and moved back to the States.
Lord G: Yes, so you say. But then you wouldn’t have been Lady Grantham anymore, would you, my sweet? You wouldn’t have been able to cock a snook at those barbarians who spawned you in Pittsburgh, or wherever it was. And you wouldn’t have had all those wonderful years at Downton Abbey playing lady of the manor with that ghastly smile pasted on your face.
Lady G: My smile comes from good breeding. I am a lady. I had an example to set.
Lord G: Your smile comes from the makeup department. And the only thing you ever set was your hair. If there is anything that provokes my contempt it is a snob who has no reason to be a snob.
Lady G: Unlike you, I suppose, a bona fide snob.
Lord G: Exactly. I am the real thing, a snob’s snob. I am convinced that I am better than everyone else, even though I’m not very bright, not in the least bit interesting, and have never accomplished anything except to learn how to tie a white bow tie.
Lady G: Well, of course you’re right, my dear. That’s what won my heart all those years ago. I saw in you a man who presided over the biggest, ugliest house in all of England, a man with whom I could create a family of girls every bit as uninteresting as their parents, all living and yawning together in a vast pile full of servants whose intrigues, romances and betrayals were just as boring as those of their masters. It was life imitating art — in this case a TV miniseries that threatened to last until the end of time.
Lord G: Beautifully put, my dear. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I say, Carson, might we have some tea?
Carson: Very good, my Lord.
At least a portion of our national screaming match about guns has turned to actions that can be unilaterally taken by the Executive Branch. Robert Reich offers some of them here. There is one suggestion I have yet to see offered.
Call up the militia.
Guess who is the commander-in-chief of the militia referenced in the part of the Second Amendment that no one seems to know about? That’d be the President of the United States, according to Article II. So the commander-in-chief should activate the militia. Clearly, “security of a free State” is at stake if ordinary citizens are not safe to go to schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, public appearances of their elected representative, and Unitarian churches. (To name but a few of the sites of mass shootings in the last few years.)
So, President Obama should call up the militia. Anyone who owns a gun is ordered to report with their weapons for militia training and assignment. They would be evaluated as to their fitness for duty — including a mental health screening — as well as the condition of their arms and their proficiency in handling them. They would be furnished with proof that they reported for and completed this training. Thereafter, any gun owner who cannot furnish such proof would be subject to penalties, and still be required to report for militia duty.
It’s simple. It’s in the Constitution. And, of course, it is 100% unworkable.
For starters, I think we know the people screaming loudest about the Second Amendment would never submit to this sort of “tyranny.” (For rather a lot of them, the definition of “tyranny” is having to do anything a black person says.) It would cost a lot of money and time, both for organization and enforcement. Military resources would almost certainly have to be diverted to the task. And last, but certainly not least, “the militia” was redefined in 1903 to mean The National Guard.
Which brings us to the fun part. Just who do you think would waste no time at all in loudly and repeatedly bringing up that last fact? I’m gonna go with “Gun Owners” on that one. Maybe even Wayne LaPierre his own self. But even if they don’t point to that particular law, one way or another it’s a safe bet that they will themselves make the point that they are not subject to being a militia in the sense that the Founders not only intended, but specified.
And once we’ve established that the first clause of the Second Amendment is outdated and inapplicable, maybe — just maybe — we can have a sensible conversation about the amendment in its entirety. (Yeah, I know. But I said “maybe” twice, so cut me some slack...)
Sure, it’s kind of a convoluted way to make a point. But our Republican friends do that sort of thing all the time — how many votes has the House held to repeal Obamacare? (Also, too, Clinton Impeachment. Heck, the war in Iraq.) Government-as-performance-art can work for our side too, once in a while...
Here's Syrbal, herself an army veteran, off on a crazed rant against patriots who just want the government to keep its filthy hands off their well-regulated militias:
I mean, a whole bunch of people are screaming about how “sacrosanct” the second amendment is, (one much louder than others), but some Rethuglican ones have decided they can tell Gabrielle Giffords to “stay out of our town”, not to mention the inherent denial of first amendment rights there?
Seriously, a Republican is daring to accuse a woman NO LONGER IN POLITICAL OFFICE of having only political reasons to visit a shot-up town to express her heart-felt commiseration?
And yes, Alex, Alex, Alex….YOU, who are screaming like someone who DID in fact miss his meds, YOU blaming Prozac for mass shootings, but not your “sacrosanct” fucking right to own a ton of guns? Good green goddess dressing! Step away from the steroids, or wtf EVER you are on; I mean really, Dude, is your dick THAT small? For pity’s sake, go buy a gigantic pick up to drive two blocks to pick up more cheap red wine or Budweiser, ok?
Interviewer: So, how’s your visit going?
Martian: Cool. Love your planet.
Int: And you’re campaigning for Romney?
Mar: Yeah, Martians love Romney.
Int: What is it you like about him?
Mar: We love that he’s rich. And he says funny things.
Int: How so?
Mar. Just funny, man. When he told the Brits they probably couldn’t pull off the Olympics — that was a gasser. And how about insulting forty-seven percent of all American voters? That was fall-down-on-the-floor funny. The man ought to be on Comedy Central.
Int: If you say so. I see you’ve been doing some shopping.
Mar: Yeah, this is a great planet for shopping.
Int: Looks like you’ve got some hats in that tote bag.
Mar: That’s right. I needed some sun hats for my heads. Not much shade back home. So I thought, why not Romney hats? Talk though your hat. Isn’t that the expression?
Int: Not exactly, but I see the hats say, “Have a Nice Day.” What’s that got to do with Romney?
Mar: “Have a Nice Day”— that’s the Romney campaign platform…
Mar: “Have a Nice Day” is a great message. It captures Romney’s philosophy of government, the way he solves problems. It would go over great on Mars.
Int: But down here, we like things a little more — I don’t know — pointed.
Mar: What’s the point of pointed?
Int: Never mind. What do Martians for Romney think of Obama?
Mar: Bad news.
Mar: He’s a commie.
Int: Anything else?
Mar: He wasn’t born in the U.S. He was born on Mars.
Int: Obama’s a Martian?
Mar: You got it.
Int: How many Martians are there?
Mar: Twelve. Well, eleven since we got rid of Obama.
Int: You threw him out?
Mar: Yeah. Martians hate big government. Also, didn’t like his looks. Also, he’s a Muslim.
Int: What wrong with his looks?
Mar: He’s odd-looking. Got a weird color and only one head.
Int: You’re a little odd-looking yourself, if you ask me.
Mar: Yeah, but nobody asked you.
Int: Did the other Martians come with you?
Mar: Just my other half. Most Martians hate politics.
Int: I noticed that half of you was missing.
Mar: Yeah, she went to Wal-Mart. Loves the prices.
Int: Is your other half also a Martian for Romney?
Mar: Damn straight. She thinks he’s handsome. And she loves that he has a speedboat.
Int: Those are good reasons.
Mar: You bet. Listen, gotta run. Meeting the other half at a Have a Nice Day rally. Don’t want to be late. Maybe Romney will actually say something. You never know, right?
Connecting.the.Dots evaluates Mitt Romney, a presidential candidate:
“There’s two ways to look at this guy. One is that the glass is half empty,” said a Republican dean of public policy at the University of Massachusetts in 2007. “The other is that the glass is totally empty.”
Headline on Yahoo NewsGOP convention story:
Big deal. So what? I mean really, who cares? What if somebody followed Jesus around all the time, fact-checking every little thing He said? Where would we be today? Think about it.
I had not realized that ladies were present when Congressman Kevin Yoder skinny-dipped last summer in the Sea of Galilee. And not just ladies. Think of the trauma suffered by poor little preborn Evie.
Mr. Quayle devoted much of his time last week to explaining what he did and did not do in the Sea of Galilee, an episode first reported by Politico.
“I went in the water. I had shorts on,” he said. His wife, Tiffany, who was eight months pregnant at the time, waited for him on the shore, he said. He also said he was able to take home some of the water in a vial he will use in the baptism of his daughter, Evie, who is now 11 months old.
…James Howard Kunstler did, and he goes on to de-ball the Democrats almost as cruelly. I would never be that mean.
History will notice — even if we are too chickenshit to face it now — that the extraordinary turpitudes of US politics today represent an unprecedented failure of American manhood. It’s everywhere and pervasive along the spectrum of party politics, as untruth is everywhere and pervasive in American life.
The Republican case is too painfully obvious — Congressman Todd Akin being only the latest buffoon from the vast red state flyover cultural wilderness of franchise food and franchise thought to expose himself as lacking the basic male decency to defend womanhood against the consequences of plain-and-simple rape.
In Dixieland Republicanism — now a misty region-of-mind that extends way beyond the old Confederate borders — you have the perfect confluence of sheer stupidity with the put-on, fake religiosity of men too weak to take responsibility for their own actions. They can just pawn everything off on Jesus: the good, the bad, the mystifying, the shameful. All the Republican men have to do is show up at the Nascar oval in time for barbeque.
As for the courage of convictions, watch VP-designate Paul Ryan haul his mom out before a crowd of Florida retirees to prove his allegiance to Medicare and Social Security — two programs he would like to dismantle — on top of the fact that his mom is exactly the sort of multi-millionaire who a sane society would means-test out of receiving old-age support from the less fortunate taxpayers…
Way to go, New York Times. We never thought you had it in you:
Helen Gurley Brown, who as the author of “Sex and the Single Girl” shocked early-1960s America with the news that unmarried women not only had sex but thoroughly enjoyed it — and who as the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine spent the next three decades telling those women precisely how to enjoy it even more — died on Monday in Manhattan.
She was 90, though parts of her were considerably younger.
The Perrspectives piece from which the following excerpt comes is the most powerful indictment of Romney’s character that I’ve seen yet. It’s worth reading in its entirety.
In his interview with David Muir of ABC last week, Governor Romney trotted out a new defense of keeping his secret tax returns secret:
“From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”
Put another way, if you paid a penny more to Uncle Sam than you could’ve, you’re not just a sucker; you should be disqualified from becoming President.
Just like Mitt’s dad, George Romney.
Mitt’s idol didn’t merely establish a precedent by releasing 12 years of tax returns during his failed 1968 presidential campaign. As Paul Krugman recently reminded voters, the auto magnate and Michigan governor not only paid a lot to the U.S. Treasury, but probably much more than he needed to.
Those returns also reveal that he paid a lot of taxes — 36 percent of his income in 1960, 37 percent over the whole period. This was in part because, as one report at the time put it, he “seldom took advantage of loopholes to escape his tax obligations.”
(The contrasts between father and son hardly end there. As Rick Perlstein documented, George Romney didn’t merely develop an innovative profit sharing plan for his employees at AMC and return bonuses if he thought them too high. He also believed that “rugged individualism” is “nothing but a political banner to cover up greed.”)
Paul Ryan’s intellectual development was tragically halted in his teen years by exposure to a Russian atheist calling herself Ayn Rand. To this day the congressman requires his staff to read her books, which are very long and full of words arranged so as to resemble thought, if you are a semi-bright 19-year-old coming across books for the first time.
Presumably, though, Ryan’s staffers are not required to adopt every single one of Rand’s insights, any more than conservatives are required to believe some of the New Testament’s more preposterous notions, such as the Golden Rule and the Rule Against Eating Eagles [Leviticus 11.13]. They are permitted to pick the cherries and ignore the lemons, or let’s hope so.
Because this is what the childless Philosopher Queen had to say about abortion:
An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).That was from Rand’s book, The Voice of Reason, not one that Ryan passes out to Republican staffers on Capitol Hill. And here’s another salient quote Ryan and his cronies ignore, from The Ayn Rand Letter: “Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights — and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable...
Abortion is a moral right — which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?
Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly.
Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.”
I am trying to dominate the Kindle that Gretchen gave me for my birthday. (Oh, all right. It was my 79th. Incidentally, you know you’re getting old when your kids start getting mail from the AARP.)
In the course of my struggles I came across a collection of very bad short-short stories by A. Conan Doyle. It was a relief to find that he had his off days, too. Back to the point, though.
One of the stories was called The Leather Funnel, after an instrument used in the time of Louis XIV of France to administer “the torture of the water, the ‘extraordinary question,’ as it was called in the genial days of the Roi Soleil.” In the genial days of George W. Bush and his adviser on matters of morality, Dick Cheney, it was called “harsh interrogation.”
Back once more to the point. One of Doyle’s characters describes another this way: “His knowledge was greater than his wisdom, and his powers were far superior to his character.” It occurred to me that these words would go very well on Henry Kissinger’s tombstone. Also on Cheney’s, except for the knowledge part.
Or do I ramble? Hey, cut me a little slack, will you? I’m 79.
Here’s Frank Rich, making a vidious comparison:
Q: House Speaker John Boehner told supporters at a West Virginia fund-raiser that hating Obama is enough reason to go to the polls and conceded that “Americans aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney.” (The latest Washington Post/ABC poll backs him up.) Can people really vote for Romney in spite of him?
Frank Rich: In the television era, only one hopelessly stiff, awkward, and socially inept candidate has ever been elected to the presidency, Richard Nixon. What he also had in common with Romney was a rogue’s gallery of secret fat-cat donors who would only become known after Election Day, thanks to Watergate.
Missouri legislators have developed a cure for those suffering from an inability to vomit:
The RNC, long known for its deft use of humor, is at it again:
The Republican National Committee is out with its first explicitly pro-Mitt Romney web ad, which mocks President Obama for “slow jamming” Tuesday on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
The video, entitled “A Tale of Two Leaders,” intermingles clips of Obama’s appearance on the show, in which Fallon calls Obama the “Preezy of the United Steezy” as the president stands in the background, with cuts from Romney’s general election kick-off speech the same day.
Pay special attention as Richie Rich tells the cheering crowd, “I see children even more successful than their parents — some successful even beyond their wildest dreams — and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.” Nobody loves a whiner, Mitt. Didn’t your less successful father ever tell you that?
From Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
In his mind, of course, the best proof of that rampant stupidity is the failure of Newt’s party, opponents and the country at large to ask him to save the country. If you fail to recognize the frankly astonishing, the profoundly fundamental and the fundamentally profound transformational genius contained in the skull of Newton Leroy Gingrich, well then, you must be stupid.
On the other hand, wouldn’t a smart person understand that you don’t win friends and support by going around and treating everyone else in the world as stupid? Isn’t that pretty basic stuff? I don’t recall Ronald Reagan, for example, lecturing people on how stupid they must be not to appreciate him.
In fact, most of us learn that lesson no later than the third grade. If at the age of 68 you’re still making that mistake and still wondering why people don’t like you, then no, you’re not very smart after all.
From Public Policy Polling:
On our Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee Republican polls in addition to looking at the Presidential race we also polled on some of the issues that have been in the news over the last week: Rush Limbaugh and the reemergence of birtherism…Here’s the question they should have asked: “Was Obama born in the United States or Hawaii?”
In Georgia 40% of Republican primary voters think Obama was born in the United States, while 38% do not.
It’s been far too long since I visited with Princess Sparkle Pony. What would the doyenne of coiffure criticism make of Callista Gingrich? Plenty, as it turns out. A snippet of which is below:
…Instead of just touching up the roots, some slipshod (local?) hairdresser went wayyyy overboard and redyed the Platinum Orb in its entirety, and it is FRIED. Chemical burns are clearly evident. Judging from wire photos, the coiffure vandalism happened either yesterday afternoon/evening or (more likely) this morning…
Maybe this is something Barney Frank should consider as a farewell gesture.
The use of chemicals to control protests has received attention recently, but Tuesday may have been the first time that tear gas was used in a legislative session by a lawmaker.
A South Korean opposition member was trying to prevent a vote on a trade pact with the United States. The bill passed despite the noxious gas that filled the National Assembly chamber and the scuffle that erupted afterward, as my colleague Choe Sang-Hun reports. The Guardian identified the lawmaker as Kim Sun-dong.
Video images from Reuters showed at least one legislator covered in white powder and momentarily blinded as others vigorously waved their hands to dissipate the thick cloud of white smoke. As the session continued in the chamber, many could be seen wearing masks or clutching cloth over their noses and mouths…
Turns out Michele Bachmann doesn’t have a title yet for her forthcoming campaign bio, so The 6th Floor asked readers to help:
The Age of Disenlightenment: How Science and Reason Ruined America
Good with Animals
Certifiable: Michelle Bachmann in Her Own Words
Doncha Know: Words of Wisdom from the Queen of Flyover Country
I'm Straight-Talking, and So Is my Husband
Not As Dumb as I Sound
Are You There, Michele? It's Me, God
A little one-sided? Well, so were the comments. What did you expect from Times readers? But here’s one from Brad, in Arizona:
Here is a posting on The Corner by a philosopher named David French. It deals with the well-documented links between poverty and sin. Jesus was dismayed by the same phenomenon. He is on the record as saying, “For ye have the poor always with you,” while twitching the hem of his richly embroidered robe away from some beggar lest it be soiled.
Read French's powerful mini-essay, and then scroll down to this comment, in which it is dissected and its parts laid out for inspection by a reader (almost certainly not named George W.) who seems actually to be poor, or to have been poor once, or at least to have known one or two of the nasty wretches.
Remember, folks, you read it here first. Even if you didn’t.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Wayne Slater, let’s assume Governor Perry has no shortage of confidence here.
Tell us something else about Governor Rick Perry that folks outside the great state of Texas may not know.
WAYNE SLATER, COLUMNIST, “THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS”: Well, let me tell you a couple things. One, you’re right. He is George Bush on steroids.
People who thought they knew who George Bush was, Rick Perry is the real thing. He was actually born on a west Texas — raised on a West Texas ranch. He wears cowboy boots every day, as do a lot Texans. He was educated at Texas A&M. That’s the Aggie college, where he was a Yell Leader.
He carries a pistol with him, laser-fired pistol, laser-lighted pistol when he jogs. And at least this is not necessarily Texan, he’s a man of trust in his family. His father-in-law actually did his vasectomy. He’s a man who trusts his family and lives big in Texas.
The MSM media will no doubt be on this story like white on rice in the next few days. Here’s a handy check list for reporters:
1. Was the operation a success? Normally semen samples are tested for sperm following this procedure. Were these taken? How?
2. Was the operation done under general or local anesthesia? If the latter, what did the two men chat about?
3. Whose idea was the vasectomy? Possible answers include but are not limited to: Governor Perry, Mrs. Perry, the governor’s father-in-law, the governor’s mother-in-law, and the governor's parents.
4. The governor and his wife have two children. Would God consider this to qualify as being fruitful and multiplying? Has the governor brought the question up in his talks with Him?
5. Romney has five children. Compare and contrast.
6. Is vasectomy a family value?
7. Does the governor plan to provide foster care for 23 teenage girls? Related question: How come Michele Bachmann didn’t take in any teenage boys?
8. Is Governor Perry’s father-in-law a doctor?
From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — The White House science adviser to President George W. Bush, John W. Marburger III, has died. He was 70…
The only man who ever held a tougher job in Washington was FDR’s tap dance coach.
I have nothing informative to say about Callista Gingrich’s hair, but I knew that Sparkle Pony would. He, after all, is the Sultan of Hair, the Historian of Hirsutery, who chronicled Condi Rice’s stylings on an almost daily basis. What would he do with Callista’s do? Go look.
God’s recent procrastination in this whole Rapture business is further evidence, like I needed any, of Biblical inerrancy. (Constitutional inerrancy will be addressed by Professor Scalia next semester.) In Genesis 1:27 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” which explains why both of us not only keep putting things off but actually should. Who am i to argue with Him?”
The end of the world has been predicted for tomorrow, and the best jokes have already been made. (I, for one, immediately clicked “Like” when I got the Facebook invite to Post-Rapture Looting.) I’m not terribly worried about the impending Armageddon. I’m more worried about Sunday morning, when the Faithful awaken to find themselves still here and the heavy drinking starts. Sorry, folks — if you want oblivion, you’re going to have to provide it for yourselves.
Of course, in the unlikely event that the Rapture does happen I will be profoundly upset. Not because I will be among those left behind to suffer Tribulation. But because it would mean that God is as big a doofus as the fundies claim He is. I don’t know why some people find the notion of a Cosmic Psychopath subject to capricious whims and temper tantrums so very comforting, but they do. They seem to like that quality in their presidents, senators and governors as well...
… the mystery of what ails Limbaugh’s dittoheads and the Tea Party and Fox News listeners and Glenn Beck fans and birthers and the entire alumni body of Liberty University as well as the electorates of Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina. It turns out that these unfortunates may suffer from frontotemporal dementia, rendering them unable to recognize lies and sarcasm. No cure is in sight, but at least their malady now has a name.
While millions of dollars are being spent on scientific research to find an early detection system for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco think they have found a simple method. They say senior citizens unable to detect sarcasm and lies are likely victims of dementia.
By asking a group of older adults to analyze videos of other people conversing — some talking truthfully, some insincerely — a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has determined which areas of the brain govern a person’s ability to detect sarcasm and lies.
Some of the adults in the group were healthy, but many of the test subjects had neurodegenerative diseases that cause certain parts of the brain to deteriorate. The UCSF team mapped their brains using magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, which showed associations between the deteriorations of particular parts of the brain and the inability to detect insincere speech…
The ability to detect lies resides in the brain’s frontal lobe. In diseases like frontotemporal dementia, this is one of the areas that progressively degenerates because of the accumulation of damaged proteins known as tau and the death of neurons in those areas.
Because the frontal lobes play a significant role in complex, higher-order human behaviors, losing the ability to detect lies is only one of several ways the disease may manifest. The first signs of the disease may be any number of severe behavioral changes. People sometimes behave in socially inappropriate ways or undergoing fundamental shifts in outlook — switching political affiliations or changing religions, for instance.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was ticketed by U.S. Park Police after being found responsible for a four-car traffic accident on his way to the high court Tuesday morning.
The incident occurred just before 9 a.m. on the southbound George Washington Parkway across the Potomac River from Washington in Virginia. Scalia reportedly rear-ended another driver who had stopped in traffic, and two other vehicles followed behind. No one was injured.
Mark Wilson reminds me that in 2001 I posted an item under the headline “Scofflaw Jurist OKs Soccer Mom’s Bust,” which I reprint below to save you the trouble of following its link. Nothing, it seems, is beneath plutocracy’s mouthpiece — including but not limited to the law.
In 1997 a soccer mom named Gail Atwater was bringing her two young children back from practice. She was almost home, travelling 15 miles an hour, when a Lago Vista, Texas, police officer stopped her pickup because she wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
The policeman arrested her in front of her children, handcuffed her, searched the truck, and took her to jail. There she was locked in a cell until she came up with a $310 bond for a $50 misdemeanor. She got home to find that on top of everything else, her truck had been towed.
It was okay, though.
Because on April 24, 2001, the United States Supreme Court decided, 5-4, that none of this violated Ms. Atwater’s constitutional right to be free of “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Among the majority, as is usual when the Bill of Rights is being undermined, was Justice Antonin Scalia.
On December 14, 2000, the New York Times ran the following copyrighted pictures of three Supreme Court justices leaving for home after the Court appointed George W. Bush president. The one on the bottom, the only one not wearing his seat belt, is Antonin Scalia. It was at that time, and had been since 1985, illegal under Section 40-1602 of the District of Columbia code to drive without a seat belt in place. Justice Scalia was not, however, seized, cuffed and jailed. Luckily for him, he had not yet got around to ruling that the Constitution permitted such a thing.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn expressed doubt Wednesday that likely Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has what it takes to be president. “He is undoubtedly the smartest man I’ve ever met,” Coburn said of the former Speaker of the House in an interview with C-SPAN. “He is a thinker. He has great vision. The question to me is, does he have the capability to lead the country? And having served under him in the House, he is probably not one that I would choose to support in a presidential primary.”
When you think about all the people Coburn must have met in the course of his life, you have to conclude that he wouldn’t recognize smart if it came up and bit him in the ass.
From the New York Times review of Donald Rumsfeld’s apologia pro sua vita. It is titled Known and Unknown, and its 800 pages can be yours for the low, low price of $36 — less than a nickel a page! (All sales final.)
“Too many troops could hurt our ability to win Iraqi confidence,” [Rumsfeld] writes, “and it could translate into more casualties, because more troops would mean more targets for our enemies.”
The Associated Press reports:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bank of America Corp. has joined several other financial institutions in refusing to handle payments for WikiLeaks…Curious as to just how rigorous the Bank of America’s “internal policies” might be, I turned to Google.
“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments,” the bank said.
Similarly, traffickers used accounts at Bank of America to purchase three planes that ended up smuggling 10 tons of cocaine. “Federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009,” the article says.
And here goes again:
Among Bank of America’s 50 million customers, Pierre Falcone was far from ordinary. An infamous global arms dealer who unlawfully sold weapons to Angola for its civil war and an international fugitive, Falcone was convicted of tax fraud and illegal arms dealing in 2007 and 2009 and is currently serving six years behind bars.
Yet for nearly two decades, Falcone and his relatives freely used 29 different bank accounts to funnel at least $60 million into the US from secretive havens like the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, and Singapore, and from shell corporations and secret clients. Despite his criminal record and worldwide notoriety, Bank of America essentially treated him like any other depositor.
And yet again:
In withering complaints filed in state courts in both states, the attorneys general accused Bank of America of assuring customers that they would not be foreclosed upon while they were seeking loan modifications, only to proceed with foreclosures anyway; of falsely telling customers that they must be in default to obtain a modification; of promising that the modifications would be made permanent if they completed a trial period, only to renege on the deal; and of conjuring up bogus reasons for denying modifications.
From Reconstitution 2.0. Picture McConnell or Boehner as Jeeves, and you will never see either of them quite the same way again.
Since the Rushpubliscums are pissing and moaning about raising taxes on the wealthy, let’s turn it up a few notches. Let’s propose raising taxes on only the ULTRAwealthy. And then, let the Rushpubliscums fight tooth and nail for their REAL constituency (or rather, their owners, since the Rushpubliscum Party has become an organization of butlers.)
Here’s something to give thanks for: Tom DeLay has been convicted, and is facing at least a few years in prison.
Judge Pat Priest has wide discretion in sentencing the former majority leader, who was known as “The Hammer” for his no-holds-barred style during 20 years in the House of Representatives. Mr. Delay could be sentenced from 2 years to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy count, and from 5 years to 99 years, or life in prison, for the money-laundering count.
Nineteen hours of deliberations led the Texas jury to convict on two counts.
The verdict was the latest chapter in a long legal battle that forced Mr. DeLay to step down. The trial also opened a window on the world of campaign financing in Washington, as jurors heard testimony about large contributions flowing to Mr. DeLay from corporations seeking to influence him and junkets to posh resorts where the congressman would rub shoulders with lobbyists in return for donations.
Ideology, it’s said, is often a cover for self-interest, and a good enough cover that even the self can be fooled. I think DeLay probably combines sufficient ambition and insufficient introspection to believe that he’s a good Christian with the interests of America at heart. Even when he’s laundering money.
From the New York Times:
But while [Bush] says that he had “planned to make a change at Defense as part of a new national security team” in 2004, he adds that he simply couldn’t come up with a replacement for Mr. Rumsfeld. He considered and rejected the ideas of putting Ms. Rice or Senator Joseph I. Lieberman in the job…
Rice? Well, maybe. She’d be a two-fer. Lieberman would be good and he’s a great kisser. But what the hell, why not cut out the middleman and offer the job right to Ariel Sharon?
How to explain the mostly dismal results of yesterday’s elections? Here are a few comments on the AP’s story on Tea Party-backed Republican Paul LePage’s victory in Maine’s gubernatorial race over a moderate, experienced and able independent challenger, Eliot Cutler:
LePage will do some good.Maine has too many unemployed bums roaming the streets.Busy bodies in everyones personal business are driving people away that could benefit the state…
good things still do happen, thank you Maine…
Their brains seem to be working better up there ,maybe it's the water, maybe it's the air, and maybe its because, they are tired of dimschit socialist bullschit, which would be my first choice…
Finally - a true American has ousted the communist & racist left from Maine. Power to American moraled values that founded this country!…
Still haven't heard........DID MAINE VOTE YES TO LET ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS VOTE???? I didn't think I'd have to ask this question in AMERICA!!!!…
This man should be praised for once being a homeless child, and then making his mark in the business world. It would have been easier for him to grow up in a gang like the inner city kids, and then sell drugs I guess.. huh Democrats? Then all of America could have helped pay his way through life. This is a win for America! It shows that the dream is still alive and well…
There is an old political saying: As Goes Maine, So Goes the Nation! Republicans, Democratic Conservatives and TEA Party members will make their voices heard in 2012. The new wind sweeping across our great country will blow away the Socialist, Libertarians and weak Social Democrats, who are freeloaders of any society. No Red Flags here! Fascism and Socialistic Communism is dead-let them stay that way, RIP!…
Umm Since when is it the job of the Federal Government to FORCE companies to hire American workers? You REALLY have no concept of how our Government works, what it can and can not do. Do you realize that , The Takeover of GM and Chrysler by Obama caused to loss of 7 million jobs to other nations and counting? GM is now owned by Canada and the US Governent and Chrysler is owned by FIAT. Not to mention what Cap and Tax would have done to send jobs over seas. Regulation, the EPA, and Taxiation caused jobs to flee the Nation. I know its a strange concept but companies are in business TO MAKE A PROFIT, not to provide you with a job or health care or anything else. It is not up to the Government to say who can make what where and employ who. that is the job of COMMUNIST Governments not Free ones and we have all seen what success stories Communist Governments are. Get a clue, Get a life, or maybe get a girlfriend andmaybe you would not be so prone to rants on subjects you know nothing about
Nearly two decades after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his fractious Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it remains unclear who was lying…
Really? Consider this, then:
Lillian McEwen, a retired administrative law judge who said she dated Clarence Thomas from 1979 through the mid-1980s, told The Washington Post: “The Clarence I know was certainly capable of not only doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then…”
And most of all, consider that at the time of his confirmation hearing in 1991 nobody but those with a political reason to do so believed Clarence Thomas for a New York minute. This is because his denials so obviously flunked the Pubic Hair Test, first described in the literature by me in January of 2001, which I now repost as a public service:
Fans of political theater will recall that Professor Anita Hill had charged her former boss with a pattern of sexual harassment which included showing her a Coke can with a pubic hair sticking to it. Judge Thomas swore, no doubt truthfully as the truth is vouchsafed unto him, that he had never in his life done such an ungentlemanly thing.
How could we, the millions of spectators at this morality play, know what to think? Was it the stern federal judge who was telling the truth, or was it the demure law professor? Along with thousands of others, no doubt, I applied the principles that comprise the Pubic Hair Test:
Could Professor Hill could have made up a story so peculiar? In other words, was there anything in the accuser’s much-investigated background to suggest that she was a pathological liar? Did she suffer from hallucinations? Was she “creative?” Perhaps even an aspiring novelist?
And if she were such a pathetic fantast, as the Republicans pretended to think, would the Coke can invention be more destructive to her presumed enemy than any other lie she could just as easily have dreamed up?
No to the first question. Professor Hill seemed depressingly literal and humorless. It was impossible to imagine her engaged in a flight of fancy. The only suggestion to the contrary came from a young black man who seemed principally interested in reciting his resume on national TV. He thought Professor Hill had imagined that he was attracted to her, whereas she was really attracted to him, poor thing. This textbook case of projection could hardly have seemed plausible even to Orrin Hatch.
And no to the second. The tale of the pubic hair and the Coke can was so meaningless and bizarre that the most simple-minded listeners (and there were several among the senators) would have rejected it as a lie casting doubt on the rest of her story. To do maximum damage, any competent slanderer would have stuck to such old standbys as indecent exposure, groping, and dirty pictures.
The Pubic Hair Test therefore indicated with zero probability of error that this particular woman could not and would not have invented this particular senseless and incomprehensible story.
God knows whose pubic hair that was, or what the future Supreme Court justice thought its presence on a Coke can signified, or what made him imagine that his weird performance might be seductive, but the incident plainly happened pretty much the way Professor Hill said it did.
Just a suggestion for all you book lovers, from The Guardian. Where should we re-shelve Karl Rove’s new book, Courage and Consequence? And it’s not too early to start thinking about Bush’s and Cheney’s forthcoming somebodyelsedunnits. Under True Crime? Self Help?
Blair’s nomination is not the first time that his autobiography has been classified as fiction, as bookshops have reported customers with anti-war sympathies repeatedly reshelving the book into the crime section, following a Facebook-led campaign.
Turns out the Greeks had a word for what ails the Republican Party — Anosognosia. To explore this disorder on its home turf, go to a Tea Party rally armed with official budget figures, agreed upon by economists of both the Keynesian and the Friedman schools, which prove beyond the shadow of a mathematical doubt that the Republicans are, historically, the party of high deficits. Now try to convince any random demonstrator of this simple historical fact.
The thing can’t be done, because the poor devil suffers from anosognosia. It is what allows him to cry out “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” without his head exploding.
Here’s a dictionary definition of what keeps his head together:
Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers from a disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability.
For more, go here.
First, appearances are everything. To be a good Republican you have to look like a good Republican. Which is not so easy these days. It used to be that a good Republican looked like a small-town banker — an agreeable Kiwanian with a prosperous paunch, dressed in a dark gray suit, a white shirt and a red tie drawn at the neck into a carefully constructed knot. If he had an adventurous bent, the banker might essay a triangular Windsor knot. Winter or summer, he always wore a hat.
The Windsor knot, by the way, is said to have originated with the Duke of Windsor, whose only other contribution to the world was to demonstrate just how thin royal blood could get. Before the war started, the newly minted Duke and Duchess made nice with the Nazis on one of their endless trips to nowhere, and were eventually shuffled off to the Bahamas by an exasperated British government. The Duke spent the war years perfecting his knot and studying the tango. Had he been an American citizen, there is no doubt the Duke would have been a Republican.
Republican women used to look like the banker’s wife, who was considered a style trendsetter and a model of sensible, plump American womanhood. She subscribed to family values before the phrase was invented. She was chairwoman of the annual bake-off fund-raiser for the hospital and wore a silver fox stole in the winter. She also wore a hat with some sort of bird feather in it and thought New York City was the home of the Devil. She was an enthusiastic Republican because her husband was an enthusiastic Republican. That’s all there was to it. She would have thought the Tea Party was inhabited by dangerous lunatics with terrible manners, sort of like the Hell’s Angels.
But all that was a long time ago, before everything got so confusing. Now where does a good Republican look for inspiration and guidance? Where once there was Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater and Dwight Eisenhower, all earnest and boring and utterly unsurprising, now we have John McCain, Michelle Bachmann, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich? Oh, what a rich choice! But first…
No matter how you knot your tie, as a good Republican you will want to keep your eye on the donut. You will want to embrace the essence of Republicanism, the spirit of conservatism; you must long for the way things used to be, or at least say you do, before Big Government came along and ruined everything. You will want to have at hand a few phrases about fiscal responsibility, self-reliance and the American Way, even if you don’t quite know what the American Way is. If you happen to have one of the old GOP handbooks, go through it and cross out Communism wherever you see it and substitute Terrorism with a capital T. Cross out Roosevelt and insert Obama. Cross out New Deal and replace it with Bad Deal. Make sure you’ve got the words of the “Pledge of Allegiance” and “God Bless America” down pat and memorize the First Amendment.
Now you’re ready to adopt the GOP style that suits you. Which do you like best? Boehner or Bachmann, Palin or Gingrich? And don’t forget the Old Pilot. Maybe the bolts have popped out of his wings but he’s still flying the plane, more or less. How about Orrin Hatch? Now there’s a guy knows how to knot a tie. He can do it one-handed while the other hand is busy wielding the scalpel. How about Mitch McConnell? Isn’t he cuddly cute? Nobody said this was going to be an easy choice.
Perhaps it would be easier to make a selection from a list of GOP adjectives and construct your very own Republican persona. Here are a few descriptive words to help you: smug, hypocritical, selfish, greedy, hawkish, myopic, negative, reckless, stupid.
And, finally, let’s not forget wrong.
New Left Media, may Allah smile on all its works, went to the Glenn Beck pray-in so you wouldn’t have to. Take a look at the result, in case you suffer from American exceptionalism. Something is certainly exceptional about us, and certainly Jesus hasn’t been able to cure it. Maybe we need more mosques. More libraries. Less TV. Who knows? Just help us for God’s sake, any God at all, because we’re on the point of drowning here. Already we’re up to the lower lip in stupidity.
In his address to the nation Tuesday night about Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama took a refreshingly frank approach: “Today we mark the end of our nation’s military commitment in Iraq. Our foolish adventure there has been a catastrophe, a nightmare inflicted on us by a past president whose stupidity was exceeded only by his arrogance. Iraq was a disaster that cost thousands of American lives, God knows how many Iraqi lives, and increased our national debt by an amount that is almost beyond counting. What did we get for this immeasurable investment? Nothing.
“Here’s where things stand now. The Iraqi government, if that’s what you’d call it, is a shambles. The economy is wrecked, and life in Iraq is still so dangerous and unstable that nobody wants to be there anymore. And neither do we, baby. We’re outta there.
“Now we can turn our full military attention to Afghanistan where we’ve been fighting for ten years without any success whatsoever. We’ll be putting lots more troops and treasure into the effort, which will result in many more American casualties and plenty more dead Afghanis, including lots of hapless women and children who keep getting in the way of our smart bombs and missiles. But, hey, don’t look at me. I didn’t start this and there’s no way, politically speaking, that I can just pull out of it. Which would be the smart thing to do.” The President had some other things to say about bravery and sacrifice, etc. etc., but nobody bothered to write it down or record it.
Meanwhile, down the road at the Capitol, Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress adopted a resolution to stop acting like willful little brats. Rep. John Boehner, the Republican obstructionist from Ohio and minority leader in the House, said, “We thought it might be interesting to pass some laws that would actually be good for the country.”
Boehner’s counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky obfuscator, announced that from now on he would work with senators from both parties to respond to the needs of the American people. “Tantrums will no longer be tolerated,” McConnell said. “We are also going to try to keep lying to a minimum. We want the Senate to be a kinder, gentler place where work actually gets done.”
Cynical observers of the Senate noted the timing and language of McConnell’s statement, which closely followed a threat by his fellow senators to stone him to death if he didn’t stop acting like a five-year-old with a skin rash.
Many Democrats of dubious standing also clamored to partake of this new Era of Good Feeling. So-called Blue Dog Democrats in the House, who have been trying for many months to play both sides of the fence while also sitting on it, came out in favor of the resolution. The Blue Dogs issued a statement that said in part, “The American people do not want…” Nobody bothered to record the rest of the statement because everybody knows that the Blue Dogs haven’t the slightest idea what the American people want or don’t want. And also, because nobody cares what the Blue Dogs think or don’t think, say or don’t say, stand for or don’t stand for.
Glenn Beck issued a refreshing statement in which he apologized for being a contemptible scumbag and announced that he was retiring from broadcasting to raise pigs. “I’m going to quit while I’m ahead,” said the now wealthy conservative ranter. “I sense that people are about to catch on that I am the worst kind of hate-mongering, lying phony. Even my mother thinks I’m disgusting and I kind of agree with her.”
Over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, the liberal blabber, announced that she was not going to be cute anymore. And her colleague, Keith Olbermann, said that while he intended to continue his arch ways, he was giving up his insufferable “special comments,” having recognized that what was special about them was that they were pompous and embarrassing.
Rush Limbaugh issued a one-sentence statement. It said, “Who the hell is Glenn Beck and who cares if he’s retiring?”
Bill O’Reilly also issued a statement that said, in part, “Who cares what Rush Limbaugh says on the radio? Doesn’t he know that nobody listens to the radio anymore. Hey, Rush, get a life. Join the parade. This is the twenty-first century and you’re just a fat loudmouth with bad breath.”
Limbaugh is said to have issued a response but nobody heard it.
Except for the pecs and the lats and the delts and the abs, this could be John A. Boehner getting made up for a Fox News love-in with Chris Wallace. But actually, Reuters says, it’s just some guy with a severe case of melanin envy getting all pretty for a bodybuilding contest in Tehran.
Below is an August 26, 1875, letter to the Bristol (Connecticut) Press. For the word “tramps” may be substituted, depending on the period, French, Irish, Negroes, Catholics, Polish, Germans, Czechs, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Muslims, illegal immigrants, or an oppressed, defenseless minority of your choice. Tea Partiers will want to choose themselves…
There would appear to be no immediate prospect of abatement of the tramp nuisance. Rather, the tramp seems to have become ubiquitous and the growth of his order is only equaled by his capacity for villainy and “general cussedness.) The few mild measures taken in some sections for the suppression of this dangerous class have proved wholly inoperative, thus far. How long the community at large will continue to bear the afflictions before resorting to a more vigorous and wholesome treatment is difficult to determine.
From the way in which people permit themselves to be imposed upon and cowed into acquiescence with all that these rascals insolently demand, we should judge that this is sort of a tramps’ millenium and is to be of indefinite duration. At any rate the tramps are increasing and with their multiplication, robbery, incendiarism, intimidation, rape and murder in like ratio become more and more common.
This tramp nuisance will continue just as long as people submit to it and no longer. The remedy is within reach. It is a simple remedy, easily supplied. It may appear to some to be harsh, but if people would be rid of the evil, they must first make up their minds that harsh measures are the only ones that can be made effective.
In the first place, stop feeding tramps. Secondly, let every man, woman, and youth learn now to use a revolver and have one or more of these useful articles in every house, especially if in an isolated situation. Then whenever a tramp appears, peremptorily refuse him food or shelter and escort him off the premises at the muzzle of a cocked revolver and if he isn’t easily scared and attempts force, shoot.
A trusty weapon in every house and a disposition to use it on very slight provocation, will do more to squelch this abomination than any other means possible to use. And when people drop their squeamishness and sickly philanthropy and all other classes of criminals with that promptness and fidelity which is possible only by taking the law into their own hands, the moral atmosphere will improve wonderfully and life, property and virtue will be properly respected.
Billionaire tax dodger Sam Wyly says:
In the six years since the Securities and Exchange Commission started investigating the Wylys, the brothers have not spoken publicly about the business enterprises that produced so many unflattering national headlines about them: a maze of 58 trusts and shell corporations based in two well-known tax havens, the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands…
If filing the case was intended to push the Wylys to accept harsher terms, Sam vows it will not work. It’s not just that he and his brother did nothing wrong, he said:
“We made all the shareholders money, we made all the employees money, we did a good job for the customers, we did a good job for the vendors. We did everything you’re supposed to do with a company.”
Speaking softly, he smiled like a guy at low boil. “I could write them a check, but that’s not the point,” he said, unleashing another chortle. “It’s not about the money.”
H.L. Mencken says:
When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.
From the Associated Press:
Harvard pulled ahead of Ivy League rival Princeton in the latest edition of the influential U.S. News & World Report university rankings, while a stronger emphasis on graduation rates drove other changes in the Top 10…
How did Harvard edge Princeton by 1 point on an 100-point scale? Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News & World Report, credited Harvard's higher scores on graduation rates, and financial and faculty resources…
Most notably, graduation rate performance was given greater weight, accounting for 7.5 percent of the final score for national universities and liberal arts colleges, up from 5 percent last year. The variable is the difference between a school's actual graduation rate and one predicted by U.S. News based on test scores and schools' resources.
Why am I not surprised? Because I taught at Harvard for five years, and four of my sons are Harvard graduates. Consequently I know that it takes a long and determined effort not to graduate from Harvard once you’re admitted. You have to cut classes and flunk tests for months or even years. Even then you are generally not expelled but “rusticated,” Harvard’s term for telling you to take a year or two off and then reapply.
I required three papers from my students in order to pass. A girl in one of my first classes had produced none by the end of the semester, in spite of numerous warnings and extensions. So I filed the considerable paper work necessary to flunk a student.
In midsummer I got a call from the dean’s office, asking if I could see my way to passing the girl if she coughed up the papers over the summer. Whatever, I said. It’s your university. The student eventually sent me three C- papers (meaning, on Harvard’s grade scale, total crap). Three years later, presumably, she made her tiny contribution to the university’s “graduation rate performance.”
From the Washington Post:
At a media breakfast Wednesday, House Minority Leader John Boehner attempted to show that he sympathizes with the unemployed. But in the process he admitted that he didn’t even know whether his own siblings had jobs.
“I’ve got real empathy for those who are unemployed,” the Ohio Republican said. “As most of you know, I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters. I know that three of my brothers lost their jobs. I’m not sure whether they’ve found jobs, yet, so I’ve got a lot of empathy for those caught in this economic downturn.”
Maureen Dowd shoves it to the Pontiff:
“The future pope, it is now clear, was also part of a culture of nonresponsibility, denial, legalistic foot-dragging and outright obstruction. More than any top Vatican official other than John Paul, it was Cardinal Ratzinger who might have taken decisive action in the 1990s to prevent the scandal from metastasizing in country after country, growing to such proportions that it now threatens to consume his own papacy.”
If Roman Polanski were a priest, he’d still be working here.
Below is the revenge of Lance Baxter. He’s the actor who drunk-dialed the freedom lovers at Freedom Works, who got him fired from his voice-over gig in the Geico ads. Probably everybody in the world has already seen this clip, but since I hadn’t, maybe you haven’t.
Speaking of empathy, which nobody has so far in the Supreme Court nomination of the Wise Jewess but just you wait, I came across this in the archives while searching for something else. Empathy, it seems, is another of those things that are only O.K. If You’re A Republican.
Let’s take a stroll down history lane with Irving Kristol’s little boy Billy, okay?
In other words, this was a good Democratic year, but it is still a center-right country. Conservatives and the Republican Party will have a real chance for a comeback — unless the skills of the new president turn what was primarily an anti-Bush vote into the basis for a new liberal governing era.
Those were my thoughts when, a few minutes into his victory speech, just after midnight, Obama told his daughters, “And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the new White House.”
Not out of my deep affection for dogs, fond of them though I am. But because while we’ve all known that Obama is a very skillful politician, he hasn’t until now been a particularly empathetic one. Competence plus warmth is a pretty potent combination. Suddenly visions of the two great modern realigning presidents — Franklin Roosevelt (with his Scottish terrier Fala) and Ronald Reagan (with his Cavalier King Charles spaniel Rex) — flashed before my eyes. Maybe a realignment could be coming.
(Ed. note: FDR wasn’t a Republican, of course, but then nobody ever accused Kristol of coherence.)
Back when I worked for the United States Information Agency, manning freedom’s ramparts in Casablanca during the Vietnam war, I had a poster in my office that read, “Fuck Communism.” Those were the days, my friend… And in those days, my friend, another popular bumper sticker said, “Fuck Hate.”
This rant from today’s BLCKDGRD is along similar lines:
I remember our time in Deale [Maryland], when we had our friends Henry and Donna to the marina house for a weekend, being told the minute they drove out of the parking lot by four cracker boat owners that if I ever let that nigger and his white skank race traitor bitch back they’d lynch my ass too. I told them to fuck off; my tires were slashed that night.
It’s obvious with my constant cracker this christer that I’m a stone bigot, but I’ve never said I was tolerant. I try to be intolerant to everyone, but I’m not large enough, I’m weak, I haven’t a reservoir of endless hate, I haven’t endless time to hate, I need to focus what hate I can summon on a few select targets — Arcade Fire, Raymond Carver, Terry Fucking Vaughn — that don’t affect the quality of anyone’s life but my own, and on a few large targets that affect the quality of my selfish insignificant life as a happily complicit home-owning, tax-paying, law-abiding, bloody-handed cog in capital’s race to ingest everything, and motherfucking crackers nostalgic for 1920’s Alabama and motherfucking christers jonesing for white jeebus, well, it’s delicious to hate them, it’s delicious to demonize them, it’s delicious to organize to keep them out of our schools, out of our state houses, to keep their hands off our wives’ and daughters’ uteruses, to keep them as marginalized and mocked and furious and ugly as possible.
And yes, I know crackers are funded and encouraged to be ugly to keep rubes like me busy hating them rather than hating what needs hating more, to keep me nostalgic for an America that will never be. I’m working to make my hate more copious, more all encompassing.
Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi on CNN:
— Women who dress provocatively and tempt people into promiscuity are to blame for earthquakes, a leading Iranian hard-line cleric has apparently said.
The prayer leader, Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi, says women and girls who “don’t dress appropriately” spread “promiscuity in society.”
“When promiscuity spreads, earthquakes increase,” he says in a video posted Monday on YouTube, apparently of him leading Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, last week.
— The newspaper carried the story in our local area, that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it would was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades.
So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment, and I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.
Who says the Tea Party is racist? As long as you’re clueless, folks, step right on in. We’re like Stephen Colbert that way. We don’t see color.
The photo is from Generik, who took his camera to a Tea Party rally Thursday in San Francisco. Follow the link to the best collection of Tea Party art I’ve ever come across.
I guess it would make some sense that Ron Paul fans are embracing Mario Savio, judging from the anti-military stance that Ron Paul fans enunciate. I might then find some solace in their attempts at doing well by using Thomas Jefferson's admonitions about standing armies.
The speech and the Ron Paul blurb at the end are below. If Savio were speaking then about the military machine, which I don’t believe he was on that occasion, then I could understand their method. The speech seemed to be aimed specifically at the University and its role in society. Our current political system might have seemed analogous to the Ron Paul fan in the video below, as regards the emasculation of the overseas military.
During the Berkeley Free Speech movement, Mario Savio certainly often made speeches that appealed to many, on campus as well as off campus. I read about Savio in a San Francisco News article and in this week’s The Nation.
But I have a little trouble with his persona being conscripted by the Ron Paul fans, who, after all, are still Republicans. I do, however, agree with the Ron Paul crowd about the senselessness of our national war policy and our standing military and its tremendous and incredible cost to our economy as well as to world prosperity. This great and terrible tragedy has festered since the end of World War II.
Personally, I think that Paul needs to jump ship and run as a third party candidate this election. I’d even join that group — if I thought he could help in today's world but particularly if I thought there was any chance of seeing a third party candidate run as Ross Perot did in 1992 and 1996. Not that I support Paul's current policies, but my wife did vote for Perot after all. Triangulation does work at times.
So what do our readers think of the Ron Paul supporters co-opting a speech by Savio that comes from 1964 and which wasn’t an antiwar speech as far as I can tell? I thought the Ron Paul groups and the ideas they espoused were conservative, in line with the Old Right. Now we know. They’re like Mikey. They’ll eat anything.
Today’s Waterbury Republican-American carried this story on the appearance of beloved elder statesman Henry Kissinger at the Kent, Connecticut, Lions Club:
Kissinger delighted the audience with his humorous remarks and took his time answering a half-dozen different questions.
First Selectman Bruce K. Adams was the last in line and he took the opportunity to ask Kissinger for advice in governing and leading the small town he lived in. Kissinger candidly admitted that he has been focused on foreign policy rather than local politics. “I’m counting on you in making this the special place it is.”
Also today, the Associated Press carried some earlier advice from the retired Sage of Foggy Bottom:
WASHINGTON — As secretary of state, Henry Kissinger canceled a U.S. warning against carrying out international political assassinations that was to have gone to Chile and two neighboring nations just days before a former ambassador was killed by Chilean agents on Washington’s Embassy Row in 1976…
In 1976, the South American nations of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay were engaged in a program of repression code-named Operation Condor that targeted those governments’ political opponents throughout Latin America, Europe and even the United States.
Based on information from the CIA, the U.S. State Department became concerned that Condor included plans for political assassination around the world. The State Department drafted a plan to deliver a stern message to the three governments not to engage in such murders.
In the Sept. 16, 1976 cable, the topic of one paragraph is listed as “Operation Condor,” preceded by the words “(KISSINGER, HENRY A.) SUBJECT: ACTIONS TAKEN.” The cable states that “secretary declined to approve message to Montevideo” Uruguay “and has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter…”
“You can instruct” the U.S. ambassadors “to take no further action” on the subject of Operation Condor, said the Sept. 20 cable by Harry Shlaudeman, assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs, to Shlaudeman’s deputy.
The next day, on Sept. 21, 1976, agents of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet planted a car bomb and exploded it on a Washington, D.C., street, killing both former Ambassador Orlando Letelier, and an American colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt [below]. Letelier was one of the most outspoken critics of the Pinochet government.
SIOUX CITY — Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today released a statement objecting to the presence of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) at a recent National 4-H Conference. King’s purpose is to inform 4-H leaders and members of the extreme anti-animal agriculture agenda of HSUS.
“The Humane Society of the United States is a political machine masquerading as an umbrella organization for local humane societies,” King said. “HSUS bills itself as an animal care organization but it spends less than 1% of its $100 million annual budget on direct animal care. Instead, HSUS solicits money from well-intentioned but often uninformed animal lovers and uses these donations to lobby Congress for an anti-meat, anti-animal agriculture agenda. HSUS is run by vegetarians with an agenda whose goal is to take meat off everyone’s table in America.”
This is Shelby Steele in The Wall Street Journal, telling it like he thinks it is:
The old fashioned, big government liberalism that Mr. Obama uses to make himself history-making also alienates him in the center-right America of today. It makes him the most divisive president in memory — a president who elicits narcissistic identification on the one hand and an enraged tea party movement on the other. His health-care victory has renewed his narcissistic charge for the moment, but if he continues to be a 1965 liberal it will become more and more impossible for Americans to see themselves in him…
Mr. Obama’s success has always been ephemeral because it was based on an illusion: that if we Americans could transcend race enough to elect a black president, we could transcend all manner of human banalities and be on our way to human perfectibility. A black president would put us in a higher human territory. And yet the poor man we elected to play out this fantasy is now torturing us with his need to reflect our grandiosity back to us.
Many presidents have been historically significant in retrospect, but Mr. Obama had historic significance on his inauguration day. His inauguration told a transcendent American story. Other presidents work forward into their legacy. Mr. Obama is working backwards into his.
Mr. Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is the author most recently of “A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win” (Free Press, 2007).
Which last paragraph leads irresistibly to the question: “So Why Should We Be Excited About What Shelby Steele Thinks?” Which in turn leads to the question: “Is Shelby related to Michael?” (No.) Which of course leads to this final question: “Was Michael Steele’s sister once married to Mike Tyson?” (Yes.)
Meet Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, Alabama, who was:
“…unapologetic in a 45-minute telephone interview with The Washington Post early Thursday. He said he believes throwing bricks through windows sends a warning to Democratic lawmakers that the health-care reform legislation they passed Sunday has caused so much unrest that it could result in a civil war…
He said his call for people to throw bricks is “both good manners and it’s also a moral duty to try to warn people.”
It seems, [Carl] Sandburg began, that two cockroaches, brothers, were riding on a farmer’s cart into town one day, when the cart hit a bump, and they were both thrown off. The first brother fell on a big pile of dung, which is seventh heaven for a cockroach. He settled in, ate himself fat and glossy, and prospered.
The second brother fell into a deep hole, where there was nothing to eat and scarcely any way to get out. Slowly, laboriously, he dragged himself up the side of the hole, repeatedly falling back and starting again. He grew thin and weak, and his shell lost its sheen, becoming dull and discolored.
At long last, by the greatest of effort, he managed to heave himself back onto the road. Looking up, he saw his brother perched happily atop his dung pile. “Brother,” he said, looking up, “You are so fat and sleek. How have you managed to flourish like that?”
His brother looked down disdainfully over the edge of the dung and said, with a smug self-congratulatory smile, “Brains. And hard work.”
Meet Texas congressman Randy Neugebauer, the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee's Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee. He’s opposed to killing babies, too!
Peggy Noonan, in The Wall Street Journal:
Fox is owned by News Corp., which also owns this newspaper, so one should probably take pains to demonstrate that one is attempting to speak with disinterest and impartiality, in pursuit of which let me note that Glenn Beck has long appeared to be insane.
From the Associated Press:
A Rome high school has decided to install vending machines selling condoms for its students, sparking angry reaction from the Catholic Church which claims the move will only encourage youths to have sex…
L’Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, said Thursday that sex was being reduced to ‘‘mere physical exercise.’’ The paper lamented that young people these days have no spiritual guidance when it comes to sexuality, and that educators are more concerned with ‘‘the health and hygiene consequences of sex’’ than the moral implications.
We wouldn’t be seeing all this nonsense if choirboys could get pregnant.
You’d expect this sort of thing from the Rude Pundit or the Huffington Post. But the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s new cybersheet?
Sarah Palin took a leave of absence from her Russia-watching post in Alaska to become a Fox News contributor. Who could have seen that coming? She represents diversity on Fox as that network’s only non-blonde correspondent…
Sarah Palin does have charisma and a certain following. A woman resembling her once walked into a Florida breakfast place and nearly caused a riot. Folks soon realized she was not the former Alaska governor when she started reading a newspaper.
A California Republican family values legislator who was arrested early Wednesday morning for drunk driving had recently left a gay club, sources tell a local news channel… [Roy] Ashburn, who has a history of opposing gay rights, issued a contrite apology for the drunk driving arrest yesterday.
Would the president’s health care bill fare better if it wasn’t longer than War and Peace and nowhere near as interesting? If it was cut to, say, ten pages, even Republicans would be able to digest it and it might now be the law of the land.
Might we take Rachel Maddow more seriously if she didn’t wear sneakers on her news show? And wouldn’t her news show benefit from more news and less cuteness? On a recent evening Maddow interviewed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the upstate New Yorker who was named to succeed Hillary Clinton when Clinton became capo di tutti cappi di tutti diplomati. When the camera drew back for a long shot of the two women sitting at facing desks we could see that Rachel was ready for some post-punditry hoops. She was wearing what appeared to be Converse high-tops, black with white rubber trimming. Gillibrand, who has shed a few pounds since joining the August Body, is certainly the best-looking Senator and probably one of the smartest. She was soft-spoken, businesslike, not wearing sneakers, and was not in the least bit cute.
Would Chris Matthews find more viewers if he didn’t constantly interrupt his guests by answering his own questions and spraying saliva all over the place?
During the president’s state of the union address, Justice Alito, who was sitting directly in front of the president a couple of rows back, kept shaking his head from side to side in apparent disapproval of what he was hearing. Shouldn’t our Supreme Court Justices, even those who are runaway ideologues and hypocrites, at least try to maintain some measure of political neutrality?
To be sure, that’s an old-fashioned notion and not one that will find favor with the likes of Alito, or with the oddly creepy Chief Justice, with the sneering Scalia, or Clarence the Clown. These gifted legal theorists have now declared that corporations are the same as people and therefore have the right to spend as much money as they want to elect their favorite candidates. Thus forty or fifty years-worth of laws limiting the pernicious influence of powerful corporate interests on democratic elections was wiped away. And those laws prominently included the McCain-Feingold Act, co-sponsored by the recent Republican candidate for the presidency. Nobody is safe from this court.
What is the O’Reilly factor? Maybe if we could figure out what it is, we could eliminate it. (Ed. note: It is suavity.) Without his factor, might O’Reilly go away, too? Of course, if O’Reilly miraculously disappeared, then Keith Olbermann would have nothing to talk about on his news show and maybe he would also go away. As a recovering MSNBC addict, I can say that might not be all bad. Even if you like Olbermann, you can see that he’s almost as far out of control as Rachel Maddow.
But if Olbermann is out of control, what can we say about Rush Limbaugh? It’s hard to understand the attraction of a man of such spectacular repulsiveness. He’s fat, loud, ugly, mean as a rabid coyote, utterly cynical, totally irresponsible, dope-addled, and breathtakingly dishonest. He spews hate and broadcasts lies, and, despite these traits, or because of them, lots of people think he’s great. A great mystery. But then, lots of people thought Hitler was a fun guy.
A final few tidbits for thought. Why does anyone care what Arianna Huffington thinks? She used to be a loud-mouthed conservative and now she’s a loud-mouthed liberal. Huh?
Who is Glenn Beck and why do we keep hearing about him? There seems to be nothing about him that isn’t reprehensible. Nobody likes him, including his mother. Everything he says is a lie. He lacks charm, wit and intelligence. So why the hell do we keep hearing about him? Let’s put him out with the trash, with Sam Alito’s manners and O’Reilly’s factor.
The Washington Independent goes to the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, discovers dissent:
“I should prove, what, a birth certificate that may or may not exist?” [Joseph] Farah had gotten irritated. “That’s ridiculous. You don’t even understand the fundamental tenets of what journalism is about, Andrew [Breitbart]. It’s not about proving things. It’s about asking questions and seeking truth.”
Thanks to The Washington Independent we learn that Obama conspiracy theorist, felon, jailbird, fantast and all-round wingnut Larry Sinclair is running for Congress in Florida.
Here are the basic facts of the matter:
Public records and court filings reveal that he has a 27-year criminal record, with a specialty in crimes involving deceit. The record includes forgery charges in two states, one of which drew Sinclair a 16-year jail sentence. The Pueblo County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office also has an outstanding warrant for Sinclair’s arrest for forging an acquaintance’s signature and stealing her tax refunds.
And here, from the candidate’s website, is his campaign slogan:
Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman, in full smarm mode, has lately been congratulating himself for having the courage to follow his conscience. That poor, wizened little organ has apparently been urging the senator to block passage of the health reform bill by any means possible.
To make it perfectly clear that you can’t blame me for my state’s junior senator, I’m resurrecting this Golden Oldie from last March:
In 2000 a Republican no-hoper named Philip Giordano was running against Lieberman for the senate seat that Holy Joe was clinging to for dear life while simultaneously dragging down the national Democratic ticket as the vice presidential candidate.
I only knew two things about Giordano. One was that he was mayor of Waterbury, which is significant in Connecticut politics. It signifies that you haven’t been indicted yet, but hold your horses. You’ll get there soon enough.
The second thing I knew was that Giordano wasn’t Joe Lieberman, which left me with no option but to cast the first vote of my life for a Republican.
Meanwhile the FBI had already been quietly investigating Giordano for corruption, a process which is more or less automatic when it comes to Waterbury mayors.
During “Operation LandPhil,” as the Bureau called it, the wiretappers snapped to attention one day when they overheard Giordano making arrangements with a local prostitute to bring two girls, aged nine and ten, to his office for oral sex. Now the former Marine is doing 37 years in federal prison.
And still I don’t regret my vote. I’d rather be represented in the Senate by a pedophile than by a whiny, smarmy, sanctimonious warmonger with the blood of innumerable nine- and ten-year-old girls on his hands.
He’s not a Blue Dog and he’s not a Red Dog. He’s not the Hit Dog and he’s not a hot dog. So what kind of dog is he?
He is Lieberdog, the only one of its kind in all of nature, a species unto itself, sui generis, the one and only. In Connecticut, where he lives and pontificates, Lieberdog even has his own political party: the Lieberdog for Senator Party.
Well then, what sort of creature is Lieberdog? Also known as Stealth Dog, Lieberdog makes very little noise, looks like a shoe store clerk, and does not show up on radar. Lieberdog appears to be harmless but is known for his treachery. Although he has an unusually big mouth, he speaks through his nose. What he says, especially on the subject of health care reform, makes no sense except to the people who run the insurance industry, particularly the healthcare part of it. Lieberdog is an insurance man’s best friend.
Lieberdog is also a faithful companion to Republican presidential candidates who flap their arms like flightless birds and speak in riddles. He will perform any number of clever tricks on command and loves nothing more than rolling over. He will fetch and play dead. He will do anything for attention, sometimes to the point where his sniffing and licking can cause embarrassment to sniffee and lickee alike.
Not very long ago, in a public career that has gone on far, far too long, Lieberdog was a Democrat. Indeed, he was the party’s candidate for vice president when Lock Box Man headed the ticket in year 2,000 of the Modern Era. How soon we forget, but it is a matter of fact that this dynamic duo actually won the election, and not just the popular vote. But for a few hanging chads and a shameless Supreme Court, Lieberdog would have stood the proverbial heartbeat from the presidency for four, and most likely eight, years.
He would then have been in a favorable position to grab the Democratic nomination for The Big Job, and instead of traipsing around the country holding John McCain’s privates, he would have been running against him, holding his own. There were plenty of reasons to vote against McCain without any help from Lieberdog. Yet there he was. Wherever McCain went, he went. At every picnic, in every auditorium, at every GOP rubber chicken dinner, at every “spontaneous event,” there was Lieberdog, tongue lolling, tail wagging, fetching, licking and sniffing for the Republican candidate.
But … but, we thought he was a Democrat. What was he doing at that rally introducing Old Ironsides, the Republican candidate, for the four hundredth time? No, no, no, you don’t understand. He used to be a Democrat. But the Democrats in Connecticut turned their backs on him and nominated someone else. So he did what any beaten dog would do. He got mean and he got even.
And as the sole member of the Lieberdog for Senator Party he beat the candidates of both major parties and he’s still a senator and he still caucuses with the Democrats and he’s still the chairman of the homeland security committee. This doesn’t say much for Democratic Party discipline but does Lieberdog care about that?
Lieberdog is a religious dog, a dog of conscience. He has never voted against his principles and he never will. He believes passionately in the right of the big insurance companies to block any meaningful healthcare reform and he thinks we should stay in Iraq forever. He thinks Israel is right in everything it does even when it costs the lives of hundreds — thousands — of innocent people.
Lieberdog is a fiscal conservative except where Iraq is concerned. You can’t spend too much to support our brave boys and girls over there and anybody who suggests winding down that Bushian enterprise isn’t much better than a rotten coward.
If Lieberdog hadn’t defected from the party he might be considered a Blue Dog Democrat, whatever that is. The term’s derivation is as murky as its politics, but it seems to have had something to do with turning blue as a result of choking, the very thing that many exasperated Democrats would like to do to Lieberdog. Besides, Blue Dogs are all members of the House. Lieberdog disports himself in more important company, in the Senate, where the fire hydrants are the best that insurance money can buy.
Wouldn’t George W. Bush make an awesome high-school government teacher? Wouldn’t it be something if his post-presidential life would up being that kind of post-service service? How’s that for a model? Who needs Harvard visiting chairs and high-end lectures? How about Crawford High? (Or wherever?) Reach out and touch the young before they are jaded, or break them of the cynicism pop culture and possibly their parents have passed down to them.
I don’t want to take all the credit — his reaching Social Security age this year may have had something to do with it — but my previous posting on the Loofah King couldn’t have hurt.
In any event, the old horndog has seen the light and is shocked, shocked at what strikes him as lewdness these days:
Rio Americano High School is receiving national attention — but not the kind schools brag about.
Fox News television host Bill O'Reilly's show recently blasted Rio’s song team for provocative dance moves during a performance at a back-to-school rally…
Here’s a happy ending for you:
Don’t remember Andrea Mackris? That means you haven’t clicked recently on our blogroll link to “Bill O’Reilly’s Pathetic Sex Life.” For a Cliff Notes version, here’s an excerpt from The Smoking Gun’s anniversary hommage to the popular perv.
But we’d wager that the volcanic O’Reilly, 60, is still incensed about writing that hefty check. For her part, Mackris, 38, has stayed mum, presumably pursuant to some kind of confidentiality agreement. She has relocated from Manhattan to Missouri, where she was recently named to St. Louis Magazine’s best dressed list.
Old stuff but new to me and maybe to you: Watch Bozo the Beck practicing his act. The ointment that produces the fake tears is thought to be Vicks VapoRub. For a little more background, go here.
Brady Bonk posted the picture below on Ketchup is a Vegetable, where at first glance I took it for satire. Sadly, no. A little Googling showed that it circulates principally on the hard right side of the blogosphere, as an exercise in nostalgia whose implied subtext is, “Are you morans happy now?”
But no matter how hard I look, I can’t see anything but rich white trash — a spoiled, smug, aging brat indistinguishable from a dozen other WASPs I grew up with. How else can that smirk be read?
Evidently as the portrait of a towering yet folksy leader tragically taken from the nation by an ill-considered constitutional amendment. No doubt the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
As usual, though, it doesn’t. I’m right.
HONG KONG, China (CNN) — Former U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be in Hong Kong this week to address about 1,000 investors from around the globe in what is billed as her first speech outside North America…
“What we look to do is invite our keynote speakers who we feel are opinion makers, who are newsworthy and who we feel our clients — a very broad international client base — would be interested in hearing from,” Wheeler said Monday, noting that CLSA is a politically neutral, independent brokerage…
Past keynote speakers include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, rocker and activist Bob Geldof, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, Wheeler added.
I run the following first as an admirable piece of snark, but also read Colin McEnroe’s whole posting here, for news on why Japan is buying up American political blogs — and for more on the wonderful candidacy of wrestling queen Linda McMahon for Chris Dodd’s senate seat.
While were on the subject of Chris Dodd, I wholeheartedly support his reelection, not in spite of the fact that he accepted a handcrafted mortage on his home from subprime grifter Anthony Mozilo but because he did.
Dodd’s indiscreet mortgage was pretty tame stuff as Congressional behavior goes, but nevertheless he is now obliged to be a bulldog on reform of the financial sector. And that particular strain of bulldog is pretty scarce on Capitol Hill.
Okay, back to the snark:
Alan Schlesinger was the Republican nominee for Senate in Connecticut, and it’s generally accepted that he would have found that experience a lot more enjoyable if the Republican Party had actually decided to support him. Instead, Joe Lieberman ran on the slogan, “There is no principle of the Democratic Party that I am not prepared to swap for a reasonably good chocolate chip cookie,” and Republicans took that as a sign they should probably vote for him.
We here in Connecticut are sick and tired of all the attention South Carolina has been getting for being ridiculous. So here’s what we’re doing about it:
WASHINGTON – Pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon has never been shy about wading into the ring — and now she’s plotting a smackdown of Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd.
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. said Wednesday McMahon has resigned as the company's chief executive to seek the Republican nomination for Dodd's Connecticut seat, providing a show-business twist to one of the nation's marquee Senate races…
McMahon, who typically worked behind the scenes at World Wrestling Entertainment, has said she’s appeared in portions of the shows at least several dozen times during her more than 25-year-career. One video on the Internet shows her in the ring, appearing to kick a man in the groin.
From the Rude Pundit:
And that rowdy, fat, old man protesting government-run health care is riding around on a scooter that was more than likely 80% paid for by Medicare. Probably that cane he’s holding, too. The lesson? Irony is to the anti-health care protesters as calculus is to a gerbil.
The entire 9/12 march and rally was like the Special Olympics of protests. You wanted to say, “Good for you,” and give them all certificates of participation. Actually, that’s unfair. Considering the level of intellect and empathy at work in DC this weekend, a roomful of Downs Syndrome kids would have more compassion and genuine feeling than all of the 50,000 or so right-wing zealots, racists, idiots, and liars scootering and shuffling around the Capitol combined.
Van Jones, special adviser on green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, apologized on Thursday after videotape surfaced of him using a crude epithet to describe Republicans and amid revelations he had signed a petition suggesting U.S. government involvement in the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
Can there be a single Republican among those attacking Jones for his unforgivable, indescribably vile, nauseating, disgusting, appalling, sickening, loathsome, contemptible, debased and downright hateful epithet who has not himself called Democrats assholes?
I am of course terribly upset by President Obama’s plans to indoctrinate the schoolchildren of America next week. It’s just more of the kind of wishy-washy, mushy, feel-good, Kumbaya stuff we’ve come to expect from him. Here’s how you indoctrinate school kids:
As you sit stupefied before Cheney preening his soiled and broken feathers on every talk show he can find, relieve the monotony with this thought from Steve Benen:
What Obama really ought to do, according to Dick Cheney, is seek out the former vice president’s advice and follow it. After all, Cheney believes he’s proven himself on the issue.
I seem to recall the Bush/Cheney era a little differently. Cheney thinks it was a sterling success when it came to national security and counter-terrorism. Perhaps there’s something to this. After all, except for the catastrophic events of 9/11, and the anthrax attacks against Americans, and terrorist attacks against U.S. allies, and the terrorist attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bush’s inability to capture those responsible for 9/11, and waging an unnecessary war that inspired more terrorists, and the success terrorists had in exploiting Bush’s international unpopularity, the Bush/Cheney record on counter-terrorism was awesome.
After the previous administration established a record like that, President Obama didn’t ask Cheney for tips? The nerve.
I am curious about something, though. Terrorists first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, early on in President Clinton’s first year in office. Six people were killed, hundreds more were injured. The Clinton administration caught those responsible, subjected them to the U.S. criminal justice system, and foreign terrorists did not strike again on U.S. soil during Clinton’s terms in office.
So, at any point in 2001, did the Bush White House turn to Bill Clinton and Al Gore and ask, “How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?”
From Stephen Talbot’s letter to the editor in the current issue of The Nation:
I interviewed both men in 2001 for a PBS documentary, The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation. McNamara told me that he’d come to realize the war was a tragedy that could have been avoided…
But Kissinger was unreconstructed, unapologetic. “If you are going to ask whether I feel guilty about Vietnam, the interview is over,” Kissinger said before I asked my first question. “I’ll walk out.”
I told him I had just interviewed McNamara. That got his attention. And then he did something I’ll never forget: he began to cry. Actually, he pretended to cry.
“Boohoo, boohoo,” Kissinger blubbered, rubbing his eyes. “He’s still beating his breast, right? Still feeling guilty.” He spoke in a mocking, singsong voice and patted his heart for emphasis.
It was one of those moments, before the camera rolls, when you get a rare glimpse into someone’s character and it’s even darker than you ever dreamed.
…but he got over it. From a New York Times piece on the man who wants to bring President Obama to his Waterloo by denying health care to uninsured Americans:
Rather, South Carolina voters seem more interested in whether [Senator Jim] DeMint might run for president.
“I wouldn’t get out of my driveway without my wife shooting me in the back,” he said in Greenville. “You’ve got to find somebody who’s smart enough to be a great president but dumb enough to want to be president. Right now, I think I’m still too smart to be president.”
Odd that Governor George W. Bush never thought of this when he was sending those 152 men and women to the lethal injection chamber. As a compassionate conservative, wouldn’t you think…? I mean, looking at the thing logically, why not?
BEIJING — The majority of transplanted organs in China come from executed prisoners, state media reported Wednesday in a rare disclosure about an industry often criticized for being opaque and unethical…
Shorter John Ensign: my affair is less contemptible than Bill Clinton’s because mine was with a married woman, and my parents paid her $96,000.
I can’t even satirize this.
After speaking at a preventive-care conference here last week, he was swarmed by protesters. Or, in Mr. Baucus’s words, “agitators, whose sole goal was to intimidate, disrupt and not let any meaningful conversation go on.” There were a couple of people in the crowd “with YouTubes,” Mr. Baucus added (meaning cameras), and he posited that the agitators were paid and probably from out of state. (“I could just sense it,” he said.)
His intelligence and perspicacity are doubtless the reason he gets so much money from the so-called health care industry.
Isn’t that little Rove boy just the cutest thing?
Robert Luskin, a lawyer for Mr. Rove, said the material released Tuesday demonstrated that there was “absolutely no evidence” the White House had used inappropriate political motivations to punish federal prosecutors. Mr. Luskin said Mr. Rove and other White House aides were legitimately concerned about voter fraud and were debating “completely reasonable and legitimate policy questions.”
…pictured here at a town hall meeting in Romulus, Michigan…
On Wednesday our freshman Democratic congressman, the excellent Chris Murphy, held a rally in Simsbury, Connecticut. In the crowd were a number of just plain folks rising up from the grassroots to petition for a redress of their grievances against healthcare reform.
Note particularly the disinterested citizen in the blue polo shirt with the logo of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield on the sleeve. His sign, which he carefully points out is handmade, reads, “We Don’t Want Gov’t Run Healthcare.” (H/T to My Left Nutmeg.)
Ignore that tiresome squabbling in Washington about whose health insurance plan is better and get yourself down to Big Bob’s Healthcare Emporium. Big Bob’ll fix you up with some healthcare that will knock your socks off. And for a price even a deadbeat Democrat could smile about.
Let’s start with this week’s special: Bob is offering a deeply discounted starter family plan for an unbelievable $28.50 a month. No deductible, no co-payments, no exclusions, no problems. The plan covers everybody in the family from Granny on down to Baby Snookums — doctors, hospital, medicine, transportation, rehab, home care, prosthetics, dentures, you name it, it’s covered. Covers up to 72 family members including first cousins once removed and second cousins. With a plan like this you can’t afford not to get sick. After the first month, rates may increase slightly, but, hey, there’s no free lunch, right?
And wait’ll you hear about this baby. A nifty plan that’s drawn a lot of attention recently is the Bankers ’n Brokers bonus plan. This one is restricted to members of the financial fraternity/sorority but it’s so good you’ll want to start thinking about switching careers. Here’s how it works.
You give Big Bob a million bucks and he insures your ass six ways to Sunday. Bob invests the million with his pal Bernie the Mad Off and Bernie doubles the million in about a year. Bob keeps the earnings and returns your original million less administrative fees, a small commission, insurance premiums, miscellaneous expenses, and a few other minor costs not worth mentioning.
Your net adjusted gross net still represents a tidy pile of green and you’ve had the security of knowing the costs of your breakdown, your cocaine rehab and your defense counsel would have been fully covered. This is not a plan for the financially skittish.
Another favorite in this politically charged year is the Tell Obama To Go Stuff It Comprehensive Family Healthcare Insurance Plan. This one provides good basic insurance coverage for upscale, discriminating people who would rather not think about things that don’t concern them — like medical insurance for, well, you know, Them. Exclusive, expensive, this is insurance that feels like an Armani jacket and is worth every penny.
The Blue Dog Special. This plan was originally designed for those House Democrats who want to be known as progressive conservatives or conservative progressives. They want the advantages of being part of the Democratic Party along with the freedom to vote like fiscally responsible Republicans. They don’t need medical insurance because as Members of Congress, which you’re not, they have some the best coverage in the world, which you don’t. Bob gives this insurance to the Blue Dogs free for the PR value even though it has no PR value. That’s the kind of guy Bob is.
Then there’s Big Bob’s Own HMO, which offers a wide range of plans to suit just about everybody under the sun. The plans are much too complicated to go into here, but be assured they are as full of clever ideas for helping people through tough times as the plans offered by better known insurance companies. Don’t forget: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
If it walks and talks like socialized medicine it is socialized medicine. Big Bob knows a thing or two about the practice of medicine in this country and he knows socialized medicine when he sees it. Bob says the plans the Democrats are fighting about are all socialized medicine in one form or another. Get the government into the picture and you can forget about decent health care in this country.
What about Medicare? people ask. Isn’t that the government? Nonsense, says Big Bob. If the government was involved, Medicare couldn’t possibly work as well as it does. The Government only pretends to run Medicare, Big Bob says. It’s actually run by fiscally responsible Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.
Big Bob’s Healthcare Emporium is open 24/7. Don’t wait. Get down to Big Bob’s now before all the good healthcare insurance policies are gone.
Last night HBO re-ran a Chris Rock show from the 2008 campaign. Bush wasn’t just the worst president of the United States, Rock said, Bush was the worst president of anything, period. France, Penn State, the First National Bank, the local PTA, you name it. Worst president of anything, anywhere, ever:
“Why that motherfucker was so bad a white man can’t even get elected president no more.”
Moving right along to the Republican candidate, Rock ended a long riff about McCain’s age with, “You see what that old man done now, don’t you? Hired his nurse to be Vice President.”
From BBC News:
Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor has denied eating human flesh or ordering militias to eat their enemies.
Speaking at his war crimes trial in The Hague, Mr Taylor was quoted as saying accusations of cannibalism levelled against him were “total nonsense.”
Some of Mr Taylor’s former fighters have previously told the court that he had ordered them to eat their enemies…
Now that Al Franken is on his way to join the other comedians in Washington can we expect the Senate to be more fun than ever?
Franken, a professional funnyman and avowed liberal, will finally take his seat as the junior senator from Minnesota after seven hilarious months of legal wrangling over the vote count with the (finally) outgoing Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman, who is a joke but a bad one.
The big question is whether Franken, for all his success as a satirist, book writer, radio guy, and onetime stalwart of Saturday Night Live, can match wits with the likes of Orrin Hatch, Jon Kyl, John Cornyn, and Chuck Grassley, four of the funniest Republicans ever to crack wise on the Senate floor.
Orrin Hatch is probably best known of the current crop of GOP wits because he has been around forever and has never been able to open his mouth wide enough to say anything controversial. Orrin is from Utah and looks rather like one of those scary clean-cut missionaries, which he was, who periodically show up at your door wanting to talk to you about Jesus. Because no one can understand what he is saying, Hatch always gets re-elected.
He is also wonderfully funny, but not as funny as Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who has made a huge contribution to the public weal by making life difficult for foundations and other philanthropic organizations that think their tax-free status gives them the right to give away money to good causes without asking him first. Chuck has kicked some eleemosynary ass and shown those smug foundation types a thing or two about who makes tax policy in this country. He’s funny but he’s also tough.
Funny and tough seem to be traits common to all the members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has set itself the daunting task of thwarting President Obama’s effort to reform the country’s perfectly healthy healthcare insurance system. You need a good sense of humor to go against overwhelming public opinion. Just because health care reform was one of the main reasons Obama got elected is no reason for smart, tough, funny Senators to get stampeded into something stupid, something that smells suspiciously like SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!
Do you want the government telling you what to eat, how many aspirin to take, how many hours of sleep you need? Do you want the government examining your prostate? Well, that’s what’s going to happen if Obama’s plan goes through. So let’s be thankful that the finance committee has some members smart, funny and tough enough to just say no. Solid, fiscally responsible Republicans like Jon Kyl of Arizona, John Ensign of Nevada, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Mike Crapo of Idaho, men elected by the few to block the will of the many.
And let’s not overlook the Democratic comedians whose tough, smart, funny performance as members of the Senate Finance Committee ensures their place in the history of tomfoolery. Senators Blanche Lincoln — who? — of Arkansas; Ron Wyden — huh? — of Oregon; Tom Carper — who’s he? — of Delaware; Jeff Bingaman — oh, him — of New Mexico, and some other jokesters you probably never heard of.
Then there are other Democratic Senators not on the committee who have joined the hallowed ranks: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, to name three.
How do you feel about some clown from North Dakota, who represents about 140 people, wrecking the health plan that you sent Obama to Washington to enact? Pretty funny, eh? But this is the new fiscal responsibility. It’s okay to spend a trillion dollars smashing up a country where we’re not wanted but let’s not put money into creepy, creeping socialistic ideas about health care. Let’s be responsible.
It’s all pretty funny; well, not that funny. The big question is whether a true funnyman like Al Franken can fit in in the Senate. Maybe, in time, but it will probably cost him his sense of humor.
Talk about your great bumper stickers, huh? Here’s one Pennsylvania Democrat’s welcome to her party’s newest senator:
Pam Janvey, a Democratic committeewoman from Bucks County, found Specter’s presence at the gathering more than a little odd. “Am I in a dream?” she asked.
Janvey said that Specter hit all the right notes in his speech on Saturday and that although she had worked to defeat Specter in the past and never voted for him, she would back him this time around.
“Even when I have worked against Arlen over the years,” Janvey said, “I never felt the kind of fear that I did when I worked against Santorum…”
Sparky Satori at Shorts and Pants reminds us of a former racist activist on the Supreme Court — Chief Justice William Rehnquist. A superior work of snark, found in its entirety here.
November of last year, it was assumed that the USofA had finally vanquished the lingering ghosts of racism and was poised on the cusp of a new post-racial dawn. The long dark night of lynching and discrimination was finally over. “Huzzah!” bleated the media, smugly self-congratulatory.
But that was then. This is worse. And leave it to the hyper-sensitive Republicans to sniff out whiffs of the new racism being foisted upon the nation by its first black President. GOP stalwarts Newt Gringrich and Rush Limbaugh were quick to alert the country to a leading practitioner of this new racism, Sonia “Maria” Sotomayor ["SoSo" to her non-friends]. But she’s not your average garden-variety racist, according to the GOP braintrust. Per Newt and Rush, she is a “reverse racist,” rarer than even the “Albino Negro.” This alone should disqualify her from sitting on the Supreme Court, which has never, ever had any benchers who suffered from an iota of racial insensitivity…
Here’s a snippet from the Nixon tapes to give you an idea of the vetting process from which Rehnquist emerged. Full transcript here. As always with Nixon, fascinating stuff. Sure he was evil, but nobody ever called him dumb.
RMN: Yeah, all right, call me back when you get it. But remember, let’s figure on the Rehnquist thing. The political mileage basically is the same kind of mileage if we were to go with Smith. The idea being that we are appointing a highly qualified man. That’s really what it gets down to.
[Attorney General] John Mitchell: Yeah.
RMN: And also he doesn’t smack of the corporate lawyer as much as Smith.
JM: No, he’s more of a general practitioner.
RMN: Incidentally, what is Rehnquist? I suppose he’s a damn Protestant?
JM: I’m sure of that. He’s just as WASPish as WASPish can be.
RMN: Yeah, well, that’s too damn bad. Tell him to change his religion.
JM: All right, I’ll get him baptized this afternoon.
RMN: Well, get him baptized and castrated, no, they don’t do that, I mean they circumcise— no, that’s the Jews. Well anyway, whatever he is, get him changed.
That rancid rust-bucket that is the Republican Party sits ever lower in the water and appears to be foundering. Should we attempt a rescue or let the wretched old tub sink to the bottom? The vote here is for the coup de grâce. Put a torpedo into her amidships and let her go down without further ado. Glub, glub, GOP; it’ll be a far better world without you.
There was a time when the Republican Party stood for something, or at least appeared to stand for something. It took its name and founding philosophy from the Jeffersonian republican ideal, although the party would soon enough make a mockery of its idealistic name by becoming the champion of short-sighted greed and selfishness, the party of business.
But it started out as the party of the antislavery activists in the 1850s and came to power with the election of Lincoln in 1860. It was the party of the Tafts, dull, toothy Ohioans, who championed a conservative philosophy of self-reliance and fiscal responsibility, a credo now honored mostly in the breach. For reckless economic policy, no party has ever come close to the modern GOP. And it started with Reagan and his supply-side shenanigans. You may recall that Bush Senior referred to this nonsense as “voodoo economics.”
It was the party of Teddy Roosevelt, who took on the big corporate monopolies and, when he wasn’t starting wars or shooting beautiful animals, upheld a certain maverick standard of governmental integrity. It was the party of Grant and Eisenhower, successful warriors, each of whom served two terms in the White House without ever quite getting the hang of the job or looking like they really wanted it.
Then there was handsome, hapless Warren Harding, another Ohioan, and his equally inspiring successor, Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge famously said, “The chief business of the American people is business.” He is remembered mostly for wearing an Indian headdress. And don’t forget Hoover, who said, after the great Wall Street crash, that the markets would restore financial order if given the chance.
And, of course, there was Nixon and his infamous Committee to Reelect the President, aptly shortened to CREEP. And Reagan, who played the part so well many people believed he actually knew what he was doing. And Bush Two. And Bush Two again.
Somehow the country survived two terms of W., but will his party? How can any self-respecting Republican even whisper words of fiscal integrity in the mountainous shadow of a Bush-incurred debt so high it blots out the sun? Well, silly question. Of course they can, have, and will again, but the difference is that now nobody takes them seriously. When Newt Gingrich emerges from under his troll’s bridge to test the presidential waters, is this not a sign that the party is in its death throes?
Meanwhile, all those Wall Street banks, those bastions of fiscal discipline and Republican virtue, have lined up for billion-dollar hand-outs from a Democratic administration. Whether or not the big bailouts were a good idea is debatable. What is not debatable is the spectacular hypocrisy of the big shots that flew down to Washington in private jets to beg Congress for public money. How many of them were not Republicans?
From Lincoln’s Virtues: an Ethical Biography, by William Lee Miller:
When the boys in the neighborhood put hot coals on the backs of turtles to entertain themselves by watching the turtles’ reaction, there are several courses of action open to you. As a good fellow, you can go along with the fun. As one who does feel the turtle’s pain, but is intimidated, you can keep your objections to yourself. As one who has more important business elsewhere, you could ignore the whole matter. As a budding representative of the relativisms of the century to come, you could shrug your shoulders and say: “They like to put hot coals on turtles, I don’t like to put hot coals on turtles — preferences differ. Who is to choose? Don’t be judgmental.”
Or you can do what the ten-year-old Abraham Lincoln did: You can tell your companions that what they are doing is wrong, and that they should not do what they are doing. And you may even, as young Lincoln did, draw out the larger moral principle, and write a composition — cruelty to animals is wrong — and argue publicly on its behalf in your one-room school.
Or on the other hand you could…
This is from a long campaign profile in the New York Times of May 21, 2000, to which we should have paid more attention than we did:
While playing Little League baseball, running for class president, or even sobbing in the principal’s office, George W. Bush absorbed West Texas values that many old friends say are central to understanding who he is today…
‘‘We were terrible to animals,’’ recalled Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out.
‘‘Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,’’ Mr. Throckmorton said. ‘‘Or we’d put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.’’
When he was not blowing up frogs, young George — always restless and something of a natural leader — would lead neighborhood children on daredevil expeditions around town, seeing how close they could come to breaking their necks.
From McClatchy Newspapers:
However, the research shouldn't be about torture, cautioned John Hutson, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate in the Navy…
“Torture is the technique for the lazy, the stupid, the pseudo-tough,” Hutson said. “It’s not hard to do. What’s hard to do is rapport development, making the person want to talk and want to tell you the truth.”
That’s it, the word I’ve been looking for all this time to describe draft-dodgers and cheerleaders like Bush, Cheney, Addington, Feith, Abrams, Yoo, Libby, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Bybee and that whole crew of terrified bullies, all braying “Let’s you and him fight” from their corner offices.
Brady Bonk already wrote it, so I don’t have to. Read his full post here:
The timeline in my head: President Bill Clinton is pursued on a variety of trumped up charges by insane people who clinch their teeth whenever they speak his name, mostly probably because President Bill Clinton gets more pussy than any of them could ever imagine. I am just speculating. One ridiculous charge sticks: He lied about sex. On that one silly charge they can hang a million silly hats. To this day, say “Bill Clinton” in front of a conservative. I guarantee you he will not be able to resist joking about Clinton and women and cigars and the blue dress.
Based on Monigate, the newly-appointed Bush administration could declare it opposite day in America. They are warned by transition team officials that international terrorism might be their biggest dread. The warnings are largely ignored in favor of a general consensus to fight the Cold War all over again and, as was likely discussed though we’ll never know in Chaney’s super-duper top-secret energy meetin’s, to go get all of that frickin’ oil. But the Bush Administration could turn its back on the Israeli peace process, could abrogate treaties, could and should, according to their wisdom, do everything the opposite of how that dumb bubba did it, because, you know … he got a blow job…
Every day in every way, the manufactured debate about closing Guantánamo gets sillier and sillier. Here’s a specimen from Texas laying out the logic:
“No good purpose is served by allowing known terrorists, who trained at terrorist training camps, to come to the U.S. and live among us,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the senior Republican on the committee. “Guantanamo Bay was never meant to be an Ellis Island.”There must be something in the water down in Texas that turns grown men into sniveling, whining, terrified little cowards. For an X-rated examination of this syndrome, see The Rude Pundit.
The picture below shows the GOP firebrand himself in a rare non-whimpering moment. A Vietnam non-vet, he fulfilled his military obligation by attending the Texas Military Institute, an Episcopal prep school in San Antonio.
…brought to you by William McGurn, a speechwriter for former president George W. Bush and now for Rupert Murdoch, former Australian:
Seldom does dawn rise on an America where the morning’s New York Times displays a more intuitive grasp of a story than the New York Post.
Picture swiped from Fearguth at American Street, who captions it, “President Obama Ruins Graduation of Runner-Up for Notre Dame’s Coveted ‘Dweeb of the Year’ Award.”
They’re mad as hell, and they’re not gonna take it anymore. Who? Wall Street bankers, of course.
The mighty Atlases upon whose shoulders we sit are getting angry at our ingratitude. They give, we take; they build wealth, and we sponge off it; they motor the world, and all we do is unthinkingly criticize and complain when the invisible hand of the market rewards them. Well, Mr. and Mrs. American whiner, they want you to know they’ve had it, as reported by Gabriel Sherman in this article in New York Magazine:
“No offense to Middle America, but if someone went to Columbia or Wharton, [even if] their company is a fumbling, mismanaged bank, why should they all of a sudden be paid the same as the guy down the block who delivers restaurant supplies for Sysco out of a huge, shiny truck?” e-mails an irate Citigroup executive to a colleague.
“I’m not giving to charity this year!” one hedge-fund analyst shouts into the phone, when I ask about Obama’s planned tax increases. “When people ask me for money, I tell them, ‘If you want me to give you money, send a letter to my senator asking for my taxes to be lowered.’ I feel so much less generous right now. If I have to adopt twenty poor families, I want a thank-you note and an update on their lives. At least Sally Struthers gives you an update.”
You might think your life is tough, what with losing your job, your home, your retirement, but you just don’t get it. Your perspective is warped by the distorting prism of reality. You should have gone to Columbia or Wharton. Maybe then you’d understand that the rich have special needs. They also face special problems, the likes of which you and I could never hope to understand. For example, cost structures. Cost structures are an invisible web of interlocking expenses that, well, force you to be a greedy snob. A former Goldman Sach’s man explains:
To Wall Street people who have grown up in the bubble, the meaning of the crisis is only slowly sinking in. They can’t yet grasp the idea of a life lived on less. “Without exception, Wall Street guys have gotten accustomed to not being stuck in the city in August. So it becomes a right to have a summer home within an hour or two commute from Manhattan,” says the Goldman vet. “There’s a cost structure of going with your family on summer vacation that’s not optional. There’s a cost structure of spending $40,000 to send your kids to private school that is not optional. There’s a sense of entitlement, that you need that amount of money just to live, that’s not optional.”
Do you get it yet? If you happen to be stuck in the unemployment line this August, just know it could be worse: you could be stuck in a dreary penthouse in Manhattan. But then again, you didn’t go to Columbia or Wharton, so it’s probably not sinking in. It’s all about cost structure, which never enters our beautiful minds, or the beautiful minds of those lucky Sysco delivery drivers who get to idle away their days in huge, shiny trucks.
There’s one more thing. A lot of these beneficient Wall Street people were willing to vote for Obama. You know, because they care about you, me, America in general. But this liberal sense of entitlement he’s been spreading around violates their free market principles, and not even the billions of dollars in TARP money that he’s giving them is enough allay their concerns. Thus, they warn, Wall Street just might do something unheard of in the history of American finance — turn right!
During the campaign, Obama was never shy about his promise to undo the Bush tax policies. But it was easy to ignore his occasional lapses into populist rhetoric and focus on his intense intelligence and Ivy League education. Now, in the wake of the crisis, Wall Street’s politics are shifting rightward. “All the rich people I know took George Bush for granted,” says an analyst at a midtown hedge fund. “I’m a Democrat, but I agree with Rush Limbaugh on a lot of this stuff,” rails the wife of a former AIG executive.
The argument that Obama has in fact done a great deal to help Wall Street—to the tune of trillions of dollars—doesn’t have much truck with these critics. “If you really take a look at what Obama is promising, it’s frightening,” says Nicholas Cacciola, a 44-year-old executive at a financial-services firm. “He’s punishing you for doing better. He doesn’t want to have any wealth creation—it’s wealth distribution. Why are you being punished for making a lot of money?” As a Republican corporate lawyer puts it: “It’s the politics of envy, and that’s very dangerous.”
There you have it. We’re pushing Wall Street right into the arms of Rush Limbaugh. When they deliver us to another Republican regime, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.
I bet you feel really stupid now about complaining over paying their bonuses.
I once sat next to a woman on a plane who told me she had a neurotic fear of Robin Williams. Lurid images of his face materialized in her mind when she tried to go to sleep at night, she told me, visibly shuddering as she described it. Poor woman, I thought. She’s obviously on the verge of some kind of breakdown. Little did I know I would soon fall prey to a similar neurosis, except the object of my revulsion isn’t Robin Williams, but Newt Gingrich.
Everything about the man fills me with neuralgic horror. If he comes on TV when my nephew and niece are in the room I instinctively shield them. He reminds me of the pushy, aggressive, stinky fat kid who sucked up to the teachers but made faces behind their backs in an effort to win friends; the first one to misbehave but the first one to go tattle on someone else; or the precociously horny perverted kid who rummaged through his own mother’s panty drawer and got caught masturbating in the bathroom in fourth grade. Now he’s like the guy whose eyes dart around your living room when he’s standing at your front door talking to you, and he leaves a slimy film on your hand after he shakes it.
He sits just a little too close to your eleven year old daughter, talks to her just a little too much, and looks at her just a little too long than is proper. He’s the kind of sleaze who would not only molest a girl scout, but steal her cookies too. Why is it so easy to imagine him in an oversized army surplus jacket lurking near a playground, jerking and twitching in the bushes, a dog-eared copy of The Third Wave falling out of his pocket? “Psst, little girl, come sit on Uncle Newty’s lap and he’ll tell you why women can’t live in foxholes.” He just seems to be, I think, what the pre-Clarence Thomas Supreme Court would have called prurient.
Just when I’m about to admit I have a problem, head down to mental health and beg for zoloft or prozac or valium, I tell myself no, it’s okay. I’m not crazy, American political culture is crazy. To prove it, I do a simple web search for some of Newt’s greatest hits, and it quickly yields the following:
If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don’t have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they’re relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn’t matter, you know. These things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis-class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.
Men are basically little piglets, you drop them in a ditch, they roll around in it, doesn’t matter …
I rest my case.
Then I feel better, and I no longer worry about Newt’s efforts to become the Republican leader again. Any party that nominates that viscous worm to be their chief can’t possibly succeed, right?
Then I think about Mussolini, and Hitler, and Karl Rove, and all the other ugly little men who fomented even uglier coups and I’m back to square one. It is precisely these kinds of toad-like imps that are forever angling and scheming and plotting to gain power and upset the peace of the world. That’s why he bothers me so much. It’s enough to make we watch re-runs of Mork and Mindy in an effort to replace his face with the goofy but harmless image of Robin Williams in my mind.
Here’s The National Review’s recipe for bringing the Zombie Party back to life:
Strange as it may seem, the best GOP spokesman right now appears to be former Vice President Dick Cheney. He has taken the Obama administration to task over its declassification of CIA torture memos. He says Team Obama has made America less safe. He’s right. Perhaps he can rally the party?
Scott Horton over at Harper’s No Comment Blog is rightly agonizing over the fact that we have a torture enabler and what some have seriously referred to as a monster sitting on the Federal Bench. This “subject” ( I use the term here to properly refer to this individual as a prosecutor or police offer would do when an accused is referred to in court) sits on a federal bench judging others who are guilty of much lesser crimes. After all, torturers and torture enablers were routinely hanged by Allied Courts at Nuremburg and in the Pacific Theater after World War II. American court officials routinely participated in these proceedings.
Some may think all of this is quite complicated, but I find it simple since the solution to resolving the problem is quite simple. I am of the opinion that simple problems can be resolved with simple solutions.
Therefore I propose a remedy to the Bybee problem, a problem that every decent lawyer knows is a black eye on the Federal Judiciary and will remain so for years to come if not remedied. I am therefore making an extremely modest proposal which I propose should be taken seriously, despite my labeling this post as partly snark.
The US needs an official representative from our esteemed judiciary to view the proceedings in Spain to ensure that they are carried out in a fair manner. I am sure the Spanish courts would be happy to oblige us if we were to choose the proper emissary. If I were the presiding judge or court official who could carry out the task of assigning the court official to engage in this duty, I would immediately assign this task to a new judge. Since Judge Bybee would have intimate knowledge of what the proceedings were about, he should be sent immediately to Spain to fulfill his judicial duties.
Of course, this might involve the devil and the deep blue sea, rocks and hard places, frying pans and fires and dozens of other things and places that go together like crude oil mixes with water. However, those are individual problems that at least one individual will have to deal with.
However this proposal is not without precedent. Robert Houghwout Jackson was sent to participate in the Nuremberg trials. Why should Judge Bybee not likewise be assigned a task in another country along the same lines? Younger judges should be given the traveling assignments in my opinion and Judge Bybee fills the bill for this assignment perfectly.
I am of the opinion that Judge Jay S. Bybee should be given this assignment forthwith, with Hillary Clinton at the State Department making proper accommodations for his stay, preferably in a five star hotel, for as long as those fine accommodations last. And if free accommodations are given by the Spaniards to one of our own, the Federal Budget would be that much better off. Allowing such an emissary diplomatic immunity is beyond the scope of this modest assignment of course, so that should definitely not be given as it is definitely not needed due to our emissary’s somewhat limited assigned duties. A few select CIA agents might be assigned the task of ensuring the judge’s security.
This assignment should be a mandatory assignment. Refusal to do one’s duty as a judge would of course mean impeachment.
Or Judge Bybee could spare himself and everyone else great embarrassment for years to come by doing the right thing. And he and all right thinking Americans know exactly what that is.
Mr. Obama, are you listening? Some of your former supporters are getting the opinion that you are going to end up letting the Europeans take care of American problems. If we don’t deal with letting the rule of law determine what happens to the torturers and their enablers, then we can expect the pattern and the behavior to repeat itself.
I hope to be dead by then and I don’t and won’t have any children to worry about what they may have to endure when the cycle repeats. Others are not so lucky.
Here and there small groups of misinformed and manipulated citizens are gathering today throughout this great land for the purpose of dropping tea bags into liquids. They have been told by Fox News and a billionaires’ lobbyist named Dick Armey that this orgy of tea bagging will put an end to taxation with representation. Or something.
Most of the foot soldiers in this army of Dick’s seem not to know that tea bagging has a very specific meaning in the adult entertainment world, a meaning which has nothing to do with relieving the anguish of the very richest Americans at the prospect of being taxed once more at the same rate that existed the last time the nation’s budget was balanced.
Nor are most of these poor saps likely to be aware that their movement has its very own song, like The Internationale, or Boola Boola. The tea baggers’ fight song is called “I Love It When They Bounce,” and Karen Marie has been kind enough to call it to our attention. Here it is, performed by Supafloss:
A few days ago I put up a brief bio of a pathetic specimen named Wayne Anthony Ross who is Sarah Palin’s choice to be the next attorney general of Alaska. Remember, you read it here first. Because now there’s more. Lots more.
As a general rule, you can assume that a draft dodger who drives around in a red Hummer with vanity plates reading WAR is bound to be a giant anus and you would, in this case, be spectacularly right. Palin can sure pick ’em. (As can, of course, McCain.)
Here in the rural heartland of America sex outside of marriage usually involves animals, and so of course I had no idea what Rachel Maddow and especially Ana Marie Cox were talking about in the clip below. Once I googled “teabagging” I realized that the Republicans must have had no idea either. Or maybe that’s what a Grand Old Party is. I would hate to think that, though. I can’t believe I even wrote it.
For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t), John Batchelor is a conservative radio host whose show is heard in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and many other markets. The sample below comes from an extended and astonishing rant he published today in The Daily Beast. If you could use a true Holy Shit moment, and who couldn’t, go read it all.
…What about the Republican Party right now? Isn’t it on radio and TV claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility and American power? Bypassing the stupidity of these claims, I am on radio, on what is called right-wing radio, and it is easy for me to see that my loudest colleagues, who compulsively repeat the cant of Conservatism for Dummies, are not sincere students of the Republican Party but rather barkers, hookers, establishmentarian jesters, cultists, and, in the worst instance, just thatch-headed whiners.
Fox News is a parade of wet-eared Republican office holders, yet there is usually just one each allowed of the categories the Democrats own in multitudes: a Jewish-American, an Asian-American, an African-American, a Hispanic-American.
Then there is the beauty pageant of fast-talking, rude Fox blondes — if they are not all the same woman in mood swings — who stridently mock the Democrats, yet have almost nothing to say about the Republicans, as if the party was a disappointing ex or mother’s latest beau.
The party’s death 76 years ago was never more obvious than over the last six months of the financial crisis. The Democrats sensibly blamed the feckless, bootless Bush administration for the collapse of the markets. Tongue-tied Bush and dyspeptic Cheney defended themselves with grunts and sarcasm before they surrendered to Congress by sending out the plutocrat Hank Paulson with a plan called TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program).
A breathing Republican Party would have brought out the flintlocks, boarded the windows, and settled down for a defense of the republic. Instead, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate rushed to grab the pork bribery and vote with the Democrats. John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, and Judd Gregg distinguished themselves as dhimmis and were later rewarded by the victorious Democrats by being granted parakeet cages for offices in the new Congress.
The House Republicans now boast that they voted a goose egg against the stimulus package, but this was just the twitching of the corpse. The truth about the House Republicans — cowards, sycophants, and snobs just like 1930s lot — is illustrated by the fact that 85 of them voted for the ludicrous AIG bonus-confiscation bill written on the back of a parking ticket.
The Republican Party’s death doesn’t really threaten anyone, and I puzzle why Democrats and independents who vote Democratic spend words and worry debating the look of the corpse. We few Republicans with long memories wander around the cemetery admiring the tombstones and enjoying the rain.
I can hear you doubting that this could truly be the end. The final stage of grief is acceptance.
This just in from CNN:
Take, for instance, “Mr. Poopy Pants” — a grown man who allegedly soiled himself 10 minutes into a flight from Florida to Minnesota. And then he just sat there.
Hey, we’ve all been there, right? It was an eight-year flight with a stop-over in Ohio to fix a balky election.
Not enough attention has been paid to Sarah Palin’s choice for attorney general of Alaska, a lacuna which I intend forthwith to fill. First of all his name is Wayne Anthony Ross, giving him the initials W.A.R. It is not clear whether his father, a Milwaukee insurance man, saw the significance of this. But the day must have come when the boy realized that his initials spelled “War.” The epiphany changed him forever, sort of.
Not enough to actually make him want to go to “War” himself, although one was handy when he graduated from Marquette University in 1965, and remained within easy reach when he graduated from its law school in 1968.
Instead he moved to Alaska, where he adopted bolo ties, high-heeled boots and a cowboy hat and became a civilian trial lawyer. But the dream never died. He went to gun shows. He shot animals, no doubt wishing they could shoot back. He became a director of the National Rifle Association.
And he pulled an 11-and-a-half year hitch in the Alaska State Defense Force (a 240-man “government-approved state militia”), rising to become its inspector general with the rank of colonel. He also became vice president of the 49th Territorial Guards Regiment, Inc., which guards territory.
Twice knighted (by Poland and the Vatican), Sir Wayne holds the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
As if that weren’t enough the colonel has also received awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Daughters of the American Revolution (for patriotism), as well as being a recipient of the NRA’s Award of Merit for the Promotion of Gun Collecting.
But want to know the best thing of all? Another dreamer of martial dreams was appointed president in 2000, and Colonel Ross finally got his chance to go to war.
He scored this really keen red Hummer to tool around Anchorage in, with these totally awesome license plates that say “WAR.” Eat your heart out, kids.
Oh, yeah. He stands right with God, too:
‘‘I feel I have a good relationship with the good Lord but if I could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I figure I got my ticket.”
Do you suffer from the heartbreak of overcheeriness? Good news!
Sarah Palin notes in a new right-wing propaganda film that the media employed search and destroy tactics against her: “We are going to seek and we are going to destroy this candidacy of Sarah Palin’s because of what it is that she represents.”
Palin is right that the media deployed a search and destroy strategy against her, and that this was every bit as poor a strategy as it was in Vietnam. Like the Viet Cong and the NVA, Palin has simply retreated to her base areas, where the media have been unable to effectively pursue her, and keeps resurfacing at times of her choosing to harass and entrap media forces. The NVA called this strategy “clinging to the belt” of the enemy, engaging them only when one has a temporary advantage, then melting away in the face of counterattacks.
What the media needs to do is shift to a “clear and hold” counterinsurgency strategy, creating secure Palin-free zones where citizens can pursue their interests in peace and safety, and allowing Palin to sit out in her bases — the mountains, the deep jungle, the tunnel complexes — as her strength gradually withers until she is no longer a threat.
Don da Man sends this along, claiming that it would make me chuckle. He was right, and so I post it in its entirety. But click on the link, too. The blogger, Paul Tatara, is a first-rate writer. He has, that is, the ability to make interesting a subject in which the reader has no interest. In this case, bad popular music.
So go see. And meanwhile:
1. I am fascinated by words, but not so much by sentences.
2. I feel the basis of any stable relationship is my ability to strike first.
3. I don’t mind if someone I distrust is made to feel like he or she is drowning.
4. When my daughters are drunk I often feel jealous.
5. Just because I am the only person in the room and the mirror suddenly breaks, that doesn’t mean I broke the mirror.
6. If I had my life to live over again I would not eat pretzels.
7. Sometimes when I talk to Jesus, he tells me to do stupid stuff. But I still do it.
8. I believe empirical evidence is too often misleading.
9. When confronted by a brick wall, I will slam into it again and again until my head looks like a mass of bloody pulp. This, I think, is my key strength as a person.
10. I feel that people who die because of me are heroes. Unless they’re not American, then they’re just dead.
11. I have always believed that if you live near a levee, don’t have any money, and are too old to swim, you get what you deserve.
12. I enjoy throwing out the first pitch at baseball games because there’s no umpire to get all judgmental.
13. When Dick Cheney says something nice about me I blush like a schoolgirl. But he usually just makes that animal noise.
14. I’m always amazed what Americans will say on the telephone when they don’t know you’re listening.
15. I like to make up funny nicknames for people so I’ll look more like a regular guy and less like one of them arrogant douche bags.
16. Laura is both the love of my life and my best friend, now that everybody else has pretty much backed off.
17. On those occasions when I pull my head out of my ass it takes a while for my eyes to adjust to the light.
18. The next time I see the Pope I plan to trade infallibility stories with him.
19. Over time, I have come to dislike celebratory banners.
20. I have long felt that the best co-workers are those who agree with every fucking thing you say.
21. My favorite food is Texas-style barbecue ribs cooked by an old Negro.
22. It seems pretty obvious to me that if man really evolved from monkeys, God would have made Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve. Or something like that. I don’t remember the actual jingle.
23. I’m sorry I never got to thank Ken Lay for dying.
24. Sometimes I wish I knew if I was ever in the military.
25. I will badly miss my “veto erections.”
When you’ve hit three home runs and tested positive for amphetamines all in the same day, you’re probably not even fazed by the prospect of a trial in which your best hope is that the evidence won’t be admitted.
Bonds lawyers moved to suppress 24 drug tests from 2000-06; more than two dozen drug calendars; BALCO log sheets; handwritten notes; opinion evidence on steroids, human growth hormone, THG, EPO and Clomid; witness descriptions of Bonds’ “physical, behavioral and emotional characteristics” — including acne on his back, testicle shrinkage, head size, hat size, hand size, foot size and sexual behavior — recorded conversations that didn’t include Bonds; and voice mails allegedly left by Bonds on the answering machine of former girlfriend Kimberly Bell.
Bonds’ lawyers also want to prevent the jury from hearing evidence of at least four positive steroid tests they argue can’t be conclusively linked to Bonds because of how they were processed.
According to records prosecutors took from BALCO, Bonds tested positive on three separate occasions in 2000 and 2001 for the steroid methenelone in urine samples; he also tested positive two of those three times for the steroid nandrolone.
A government-retained scientist, Dr. Don Catlin, also said he found evidence that Bonds used the designer steroid THG upon retesting a urine sample Bonds supplied as part of baseball’s anonymous survey drug testing in 2003, when the designer drug was not yet detectable. Federal investigators seized them in 2004 from the private laboratory used by Major League Baseball before they could be destroyed, which the players were promised.
The following piece ran May 17, 2006 under the heading, “Mission Almost Accomplished.” Now that Bush’s awful mission is completely accomplished, I put it up again. No updating seems necessary.
It’s been nearly four years since I first posted my analysis of the nasty psychopathology that has forced George W. Bush to fail all his life, and is causing him to fail so spectacularly now. Consider this from the Washington Post (emphasis added):
Bush’s job approval rating now stands at 33 percent, down five percentage points in barely a month and a new low for him in Post-ABC polls. His current standing with the public is identical to President George H.W. Bush’s worst showing in the Post-ABC poll before he lost his reelection bid to Bill Clinton in 1992.The younger Bush’s career can only be understood as a lifelong obsession with disappointing the father he so plainly hates.
He follows his father’s footsteps in school, as a pilot, as a businessman, and finally as a politician. Unable to fill those footprints, he makes each one seem unimportant by pretending contempt for it. He gets C’s where his father got A’s; he ducks the combat flying that made his father a hero; he burns through the seed money his father’s friends gave him, failing in the oil business which had made his father rich.
Then at last he was taken in hand by a sleazy political op who realized that the father’s name and money would be enough to elect the wayward son governor of Texas. (Polls at the time showed that a significant portion of the voters thought that W. actually was his father.)
Then Rove set out to hand-carry his meal ticket into the White House itself.
Take that, you old fart, junior must have thought as he took the oath of office. Any asshole can get to be president. But even that wasn’t enough. Deep inside, where the Oedipal snakes writhed in his subconscious, there was still work to do.
What better to way to humiliate his father than to degrade the supreme office the old man had spent his life to reach? What sweeter revenge than to slime, like a slug, the presidency itself? And so he enlisted Rumsfeld and Cheney, his father’s ancient enemies, to help in the work of patricide.
Outdoing his father as president, the junior Bush must have known in his heart, was beyond his limited capacities. But his whole life offered proof of his ability to fail, and so he took the only path remaining. He would become, God help the rest of us, the worst president in history.
We seem to have heard the last, thank God, of Bush’s incredibly bad imitation of a West Texas accent. (I know it’s bad because I was working as an oil field roustabout in McCamey, Texas, back when Bush was still a boy just up the road in Midland, exploding frogs.
During Bush’s self-worshipping, self-pitying embarassment of a legacy tour hardly a trace remained of the laughably phony accent on which nobody in the media ever called bullshit, to my knowledge, for eight long years.
But now that Bush no longer has to suck up to the base by pretending he’s country, the First Wrangler has reverted to talking like every other spoiled brat from the rolling prairies of Connecticut. (I know that accent, too, having grown up with rich white trash in Connecticut myself. God help me, I probably have it.)
From the Associated Press in Baghdad:
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi journalist jailed since throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush got a visit from his brother Friday and a birthday party from his guards as he turned 30.
Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who has gained cult status for his bizarre protest, is in good shape but has been denied access to his lawyer, relatives said after his brother Maitham visited him for two hours in his detention cell in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone…
Maitham al-Zeidi was not available to comment on the visit, but another brother, Dhargham, told The Associated Press that he was told the wounds had healed.
“Muntadhar was in a good shape ... and his morale was high. Yesterday was his birthday and some patriotic officers there organized a party for him and brought birthday cake,” Dhargham al-Zeidi said.
Sally Quinn at The Washington Post explores why there was no room at Bush’s inn for the Obamas. She concludes that it’s just doggone hard to give up power. I conclude that it’s because Bush is a small, mean, petty person who has quite naturally surrounded himself with other small, petty people. The whole sorry episode is the type of thing you have to expect when rich white trash winds up in the White House:
But Blair House is huge. It’s not one house but four houses put together. The federal government bought the house from the Blair estate in 1942 and connected the adjoining Lee house in 1943. The two closest houses to those were bought in 1969-70 and connected as well. So Blair House now has 119 rooms and is 70,000 square feet. It’s larger than the White House. And yet there was no room at the inn for the Obama family.
You might ask: What is this really about?
Here’s the back story. John Howard was a member of George Bush’s coalition of the willing in Iraq. Howard is no friend of Barack Obama’s. When Obama announced for the presidency, he proposed legislation that would withdraw troops by March 2008; Howard responded by saying, “If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.” Obama responded that it was “flattering that one of George Bush’s allies on the other side of the world” had attacked him.
Howard was about as unpopular in Australia when he lost his last election (and still is) as Bush is in the United States right now. The Australian press has gone crazy over the Blair House story in a way that the U.S. press has not, saying that Howard should have offered to stay elsewhere.
The unavailability of Blair House means that the Obamas will have to move three times in three weeks, adding an additional disruption for two young girls already in an incredibly pressured situation. Not only that, but the expense of staying at the Hay-Adams Hotel was considerable, as was the added expense and trouble of having to secure the hotel and its environs by the Secret Service. All of this so that Howard and his wife could have 119 rooms to themselves (including living rooms, sitting rooms, dining rooms and kitchens) for one night?
Why couldn’t the Howards have stayed at their country’s embassy, as Tony Blair did at his? Why couldn’t the reception have been held at the State Department? The White House could easily have made these things happen.
Yep, it’s time for ole Dubya to mosey on down the trail, droppin’ his “g’s” as he goes. Be headin’ back to the Lone Star State where it all began, where the legend was born. After all he’s done, that boy needs a good long rest. Kickin’ back in boots and jeans, him ’n Laura, kids comin’ by now and then, all helpin’ put books on the shelves of the Dubya Liberry. Catchin’ them Rangers on the TV and shootin’ some birds when the mood takes him. Nothin’ like killin’ things to make you know you’re livin’.
Cheney liked to shoot birds, too, until he found out it was even more fun to shoot people. “What’s all the fuss about?” he kept saying. “Only shot him in the face.” Admit it now, is Dick Cheney some kind of hoot, or what? There’s another boy knows how to have a good time.
Dubya’s hopin’ for visits from Donny and Condi and the Rover once things settle down, though Condi’s been actin’ a little funny lately. Actin’ like she wouldn’t mind seein’ the back of Li’l Georgie once and for all so’s she can concentrate on rehabilitatin’ her sorry ace. Which is not in the best of shape after years of consortin’ with a war-makin,’ law-breakin’ moron…
So maybe Condi won’t be stoppin’ by, after all. And you know Colin Powell won’t be comin’ by, not after he came out for the skinny guy from Chicago with that long-winded speech on the TV. God Amighty! Didja think maybe he’d never get to the point? Mr. Holier Than Thou. Doesn’t like waterboardin’. Doesn’t like this. Doesn’t like that. Man has no sense of humor, that’s the problem.
Seems like Donny’s a little frosty these days, too. ’Course, Donny’s never forgiven Dubya for bein’ president when everybody knew Donny was smarter and tougher and meaner and had a better plan. Now he’s busy rehabilitatin’ hisself, too, though most people think his raggedy ace is beyond savin’. Should have got it out of town a long time before he did.
Li’l Donny wrote a article not long ago in the New York Times of all places. Covered most of a page and seemed to be about the Surge and how we have won the war in I-Rack but just don’t know it. Donny’s still a little haired off at Dubya for makin’ him take the fall for all the money’s been wasted and all the people’s got killed.
But, hell, Donny’s always been haired off at somebody. Been that way since he was a rasslin’ champ down at Tiger Town. Look funny at him, he’ll take you to the mat with a triple half-nelson and a double headlock. Break your legs, arms. Break your neck. Then he’ll stick your head under water ’til you cry “uncle.”
Dubya could get lonely down there in Big D, with all these people not showin’ up like they said they would. They was like a nuke-you-lar family, you know. Thick as thieves. Peas in a pod. Bugs in a rug. Tight as ticks. Gonna be tough goin’ it alone with just Laura. You can see from her pictures she’s nice but no fun.
’Course, if there’s one thing Dubya knows how to do it’s have fun. Not like Donny and Condi. They’re too busy tryin’ to get they aces out of the fryin’ pan of history. Worried about they legacy or somethin’.
Not Cheney, though. Not him. You can take your legacy and put it… well, you know where. That’s what he seems to be sayin’. You don’t like it, sue me. Indict me. Get too close, I’ll have a heart attack. Cheney’s tough. They’ll never lay a glove on him.
Or Dubya either, come to think of it. Not that anybody’d want to. He did his best and you can’t ask more’n that from a man. People say, Yeah, but his best wasn’t good enough. In fact, they say, his best was the worst we’ve ever seen. People say he lied to us and listened to our phone calls and opened our mail and screwed around with the Constitution and got us into a crazy war and screwed up the economy and generally behaved like a despot — if only a junior varsity kind of despot.
Well, maybe. But let’s not be churlish. We were always told we lived in a country where anybody could become president. And anybody did.
The Opinionator at the New York Times directs us to the top ten conservative blog themes of 2008 from an article in The Village Voice. My choice for the winning entry is Number 9. Check out all ten at the Village Voice, link above, and let us know your favorite.
#9: The Cheapskate's Guide to Civil Disobedience. In the late days of the campaign emails circulated about a guy who pissed off an Obama-supporting waiter by giving his tip to a bum instead. Haw haw! Rightblogger Dr. Helen discussed undertipping waiters, maids, gardeners, etc. if Obama won as a way for rich people to express their displeasure. “If we had deployed this strategy six months ago the election would not even be close,” said Ghost of a Flea. Actually this one panned out: the election wasn't close. Maybe voters figured Republicans don't tip anyway.
From the Associated Press:
HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut Democratic Party officials, after an hour of political soul searching, decided Wednesday to send Sen. Joe Lieberman a letter detailing their disappointment with his public support for Republican John McCain in the presidential race.
It was a step back from an earlier proposal before the Democratic State Central Committee to censure Lieberman and ask him to leave the party…
The decision to send a letter, which passed on an overwhelming voice vote, came the same day as a new Quinnipiac University poll showed only 38 percent of state voters approve of Lieberman's job performance.
Lest we forget, here’s what the other 62 percent think of this slippery specimen who worked his fickle heart out to defeat Barack Obama. By Dick Ahles, in The Lakeville Journal:
A short trip down Lieberman Lane reveals the senator’s irregular, semi-Republican ways have always paid off for him, especially in his home state. He first ran for the Senate in 1988 to the right of the Republican incumbent, Lowell Weicker, and won with 49.7 percent of the vote to Weicker’s 49 percent, thanks to the help of many prominent Republicans, including the conservatives’ patron saint, the late William F. Buckley of Stamford and Sharon.
And when freshman Senator Lieberman arrived in Washington for the inauguration of the first President Bush in January 1989, one of his first stops was a victory celebration being held by Connecticut’s Republicans, who were delighted to see the new Democratic senator from their state and greeted him as their hero.
Connecticut Republicans would always be there for good old Joe at election time, challenging his run for a second term with the always dangerous Jerry Labriola and his third term with the soon-to-be-convicted child abuser Phil Giordano. And finally, when Lieberman had to run as an independent in 2006 against primary winner Ned Lamont, the Republicans responded with a casino card counter named Alan Schlesinger, who amassed 9 percent of the vote after Karl Rove extended Lieberman his best wishes.
Throughout his 20 years in Washington, Lieberman posed as the heavily burdened nonpartisan, agonizing over controversies as he decided what was best for the country, also known as Lieberman.
In 1991, when Clarence Thomas was picked for the Supreme Court by the first George Bush as “the best qualified judge” in America, Lieberman hailed the unimpressive conservative for his “strength of character, independence of mind and intellect generally.” Then he waited off the Senate floor until the necessary 50 votes had been cast in Thomas’ favor before voting against him.
Many of you have written and called to learn more about the 25% of Americans who still approve of Bush. Who are these odd folk? Are they deaf? Can they see? Read? Do simple sums? Feed themselves?
We report; you decide:
When Tucker Carlson said to her, “A lot of entertainers have come out against the war in Iraq. Have you?” [Britney Spears] replied, “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.”
Tom Tomorrow hits the nail on the head about the “Invisible Hand of the Free Market” at This Modern World. Now, if only Stanley Kubrick were alive to make a movie about it. I wonder how HAL would react to the news. I suspect he would say: “Dave, the one true and only terrorist is the invisible hand.”
Watch this. It’s the law.
I know I shouldn’t do it, but it’s like gawking at an awful wreck on the Interstate. I just can’t help reading William Kristol. Here he is, once again getting everything completely topsy-turvy in his poor little head:
Similarly, if you’re against big government, you’ll oppose a huge public works stimulus package. If you think some government action is inevitable, you might instead point out that the most unambiguous public good is national defense. You might then suggest spending a good chunk of the stimulus on national security — directing dollars to much-needed and underfunded defense procurement rather than to fanciful green technologies, making sure funds are available for the needed expansion of the Army and Marines before rushing to create make-work civilian jobs. Obama wants to spend much of the stimulus on transportation infrastructure and schools. Fine, but lots of schools and airports seem to me to have been refurbished more recently and more generously than military bases I’ve visited.
The question is not whether this is really the world’s largest potato, but whether it is even a potato at all. Or is it just…
Harshing on the twerp is sort of like kicking a dead dog, but hey, what harm can it do? Bush has no more feelings to hurt than the mutt does. So here’s an excerpt from Tom Degan, master of The Rant:
…All of that aside, we might as well face the fact that President Obama is now in charge of our beloved nation — in fact if not in law. All that’s left for Bush is the occasional photo op and mindless waves to a few carefully selected crowds of Right Wing robots — not unlike what Queen Elizabeth does. He doesn’t look like a president. He doesn’t talk like a president. He doesn’t act like a president. He’s an embarrassment.
For the rest of our history, even if we last into the next millennium, the image of George W. Bush’s twisted, grotesque smirk will be an eternal reminder of this generation’s jaw-dropping naivete involving politics and affairs of state. The fact that this half-witted little guttersnipe was elected twice to the most powerful office in the world defies credulity. And considering the gravitas of the two men he was able to defeat, his tenure as president is all-the-more embarrassing. It is akin to Jascha Heifetz losing to Jack Benny on American Idol.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, looks like a president! Think about that for a minute or two. On April 13, 1945, the morning after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a long time White House employee was shocked when President Truman walked into the Oval Office. She had never seen a president walk before.
Can you imagine the mass, cosmic shock this country will experience when President Obama holds his first news conference? From coast to coast, men will be nudging their wives, “Did you hear that, Martha?? The President of the United States just put two grammatically correct sentences together! Pass me my smellin’ salts, darlin’!” No doubt about it, this is a new age…
Dick Cavett brings us this from the “You can’t make this stuff up” department…
What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.
And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”
It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.
I’ve promised not to gloat about the Obama victory, primarily because we don’t know how long it will take to clean up the 30-foot-high pile of manure (and growing) that George Bush and his administration have dumped upon the American People.
However, for those of us who suffered (for what seemed like eons), dealing, enduring, and cursing at Thomas Friedman’s faux Friedman Units, there is some consolation in the following news that was just released. Whether those in the liberal blogosphere choose to gloat, I’ll leave that up to each person’s individual conscience.
However, this news from Vanity Fair is quite dramatic and may offer some of those sufferers some consolation. Whether members of the liberal blogosphere wish to protest at those overly generous speaking engagements given to Mr. Friedman, I’ll leave that up to each person’s sense of what is right and what is wrong.
I suggest, even if you don’t choose to protest, that a list be kept of organizations that Mr. Friedman supports or speaks at, and if possible, those in the left blogosphere and reality-based world should protest those organizations and his speaking engagements, or for those working for those organizations, I recommend quitting in disgust.
Do it for truth and honesty and the basic premise that truth must be rewarded and lies must be punished. Better yet, take a lesson from history and boycott any organization that offers Mr. Friedman a forum — despite Mr. Friedman’s attempts at redemption by virtue of his recent articles on global warming.
I would suggest that no one in the left blogosphere buy his books, although I know no one in the left blogosphere who does. I hope everyone enjoys the moment. Long may it last.
It would be easy to dismiss today’s rant (however spot-on it might be) by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as yet another ideological tirade against the U.S. automobile industry. But based on the bad news coming out of shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties [GGP], it is no wonder Friedman is feeling crankier than usual. That’s because the author’s wife, Ann (née Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the couple — who live in an 11,400-square-foot mansion in Bethesda, Maryland — have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share. The assorted Bucksbaum family trusts, once worth a combined $3.6 billion, are now worth less than $25 million.
But don’t expect Friedman to go from Beirut to Jerusalem begging for money. The distinguished columnist (and former New Establishment member) is still said to get at least $50,000 per speaking engagement on top of the millions he makes writing best-sellers.
Colin McEnroe fillets Connecticut’s pride, Holy Joe Lieberman:
If all of the above is worth noting about McCain, it is also worth noting about his Sundance Kid, Joe Lieberman. Lieberman attacked Obama in the ways attributed above to McCain and even did a few things McCain was not willing to do. Unlike McCain, he also wears the stain of doing these nasty things to a man whose help he sought and received during his own 2006 campaign.
Both men — Joe and John — have for years, been marketing the idea of a gracious centrism that rises above partisan politics. They have offered themselves to us as “a better kind of politician.” When you see how quickly each man descended into the vicious gutter politics, you see that whole bipartisan stance for the sham it really was -- just a different kind of face on the usual vanity and ambition. (In Lieberman’s case, one long-standing tip-off was the way he constantly sought out the company and airtime of guys like Imus, Hannity and Beck, not exactly fountains of tranquility, decorum and composure.)
Give me Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and James Carville any day. Give me some stout-hearted unapologetic infighters and elbow-throwers. At least they never pretend to be anything else. Far more insidious is Lieberman, with his coprophagic grin and his profession of good will. I never believed it, but a lot of people did.
The way you always knew that Joe Lieberman was the kind of guy who “rises above” partisan politics was that he always told you so.
The way you knew he wasn’t was to watch him the rest of the time.
Let’s take a stroll down history lane with Irving Kristol’s little boy Billy, okay?
In other words, this was a good Democratic year, but it is still a center-right country. Conservatives and the Republican Party will have a real chance for a comeback — unless the skills of the new president turn what was primarily an anti-Bush vote into the basis for a new liberal governing era.
Those were my thoughts when, a few minutes into his victory speech, just after midnight, Obama told his daughters, “And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the new White House.”
Not out of my deep affection for dogs, fond of them though I am. But because while we’ve all known that Obama is a very skillful politician, he hasn’t until now been a particularly empathetic one. Competence plus warmth is a pretty potent combination. Suddenly visions of the two great modern realigning presidents — Franklin Roosevelt (with his Scottish terrier Fala) and Ronald Reagan (with his Cavalier King Charles spaniel Rex) — flashed before my eyes. Maybe a realignment could be coming.
And let’s not forget the great political realignments sparked by George W. Bush’s Scottish Terrier Barney, Clinton’s Chocolate Lab, Buddy; Poppy Bush’s Springer Spaniel, Millie; Amy Carter’s Grits; Gerald Ford’s Golden Retriever, Liberty; Nixon’s Irish Setter, King Timahoe; Johnson’s Beagle and Little Beagle; Caroline Kennedy’s Welsh terrier, Charlie; Eisenhower’s Weimaraner, Heidi; Truman’s Irish Setter, Mike; and Hoover’s police dog, King Tut.
And, most notably of all, Coolidge’s Terrier Peter Pan, Airedale Paul Pry, white collie Rob Roy, Shetland sheepdog Calamity Jane, his two Chows, Tiny Tim and Blackberry, the brown collie Ruby Rough, the bulldog Boston Beans, King Kole, a police dog, Bessie, a yellow collie, and the family bird dog, Palo Alto.
This menagerie led directly to the political realignment, tectonic in its scope, which occurred when Hoover succeeded Coolidge. The latter, historians agree, was the only president Vermont has ever produced. He was known as “Silent Cal.” Cal (along with Calif) was then a common abbreviation for California, but in this case it was short for the president’s given name, which was “Calvin.”
No other president has borne the name Calvin, although there have been five Jameses, four Williams, four Johns, three Georges, and one Ulysses. The significance of this is unclear.
Take your id out for a walk, people. Here’s The Rude Pundit, saying out loud what we’re all really thinking. And be honest, it ain’t kumbaya.
For your Sunday morning viewing pleasure, Mister Win in Thailand sends this video of Sarah Palin in the act of being hustled by the two radio pranksters from Montreal:
Funny piece from Ketchup Is a Vegetable. Sample:
We have decided that it is necessary at this stage in the game to RAMP THINGS UP a bit. We’re in the hole, and the old man is wandering all over the place stammering like an idiot. I’ve been tempted to make him lip sync, but our tech guys can’t figure out how to make that work. We tried him on an earpiece so we could direct him a little, but we put an end to it after the Brokaw debate; it just makes him wander around the stage even more, looking for that disembodied voice. No, what we need to do is to now is to employ a much-discussed theory that’s not yet been tried: The mythical “Rove Batshit Crazy Motherfucker.” Yes, it really does exist…
From the Caucus blog at the New York Times:
Some of the fashion experts consulted Wednesday, for instance, about the $150,000 in purchases that appeared on Federal Election Commission records were puzzled by where all of that money had gone, given what they had seen of Ms. Palin’s wardrobe.
Consider also the $4,902.45 charge at Atelier New York, a high-end men’s store, presumably for Ms. Palin’s husband, Todd, the famous First Dude.
Karlo Steel, an owner there, said he had gone through the store’s receipts for September, twice, and found no sales that matched that amount, nor any combination of sales that added up to the total.…
The store carries expensive cut-up T-shirts and tricky suits from avant-garde designers, like Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester, none of whom typically create beltway-appropriate attire…
Everybody in the world except me has no doubt already seen the video below. But I just came across it and was terribly alarmed for my son Tim, who lives in Minnesota. Could Ms. Bachmann possibly be his congressperson, and if so what kind of mental wasteland had he been living in all these years? Did he have any friends? If so, why?
But it turns out Ms. Bachmann represents the neighboring congressional district, a little further out in the Twin Cities suburbs where the jaws are slacker and the eyes more vacant.
Ms. Bachmann’s call for a return to those heroic days of yesteryear and Joe McCarthy fell on receptive ears throughout the land, only the ears belonged to pinko fellow-traveling comsymps who promptly poured $438,346.57 into the campaign of her opponent, one Elwyn Tinklenberg. Good luck, Elwyn. May your house be safe from dragons.
From AFP photographer Emmanuel Dunand comes the signature image of last night’s debate: the image that McCainiacs never, never, ever wanted to see:
I am loath to jump on people for mangling the English language on account of a person needs to be really careful of his or hers. Which is to say language. Your own language. Otherwise she will loathe herself in the morning, as for instance take Maureen Dowd this morning:
Talking at the debate about how [Palin] would “positively affect the impacts” of the climate change for which she’s loathe to acknowledge human culpability, she did a dizzying verbal loop-de-loop…
Somebody at the online Times has by now trimmed the “e” off Dowd’s verb, turning it into the adjective she was after. But I have an early print edition of the paper, and I know what she wrote before the copy desk impacted her prose.
Ever feel like bending over and clearing out the system with a good, old-fashioned puke? Rich Lowry at the National Review has got just the thing for you. And while you’re blowing chunks, consider this: Have the words “very wise” and “TV executive” ever appeared in sequence before?
A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It’s one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O’Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it.
Once again, the Rude Pundit nails it:
She called herself or McCain “mavericks” at least half a dozen times. You know how to prove you’re not a “maverick”? By saying you’re a maverick.
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman thinks that in order for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to beat her Democratic rival, Sen. Joe Biden, in tonight’s debate, she needs to keep it from turning into an “IQ test.”
“What she needs to do tonight is get this public consideration of her back to who she is and her strong points and, frankly, get it away from being a, kind of, IQ test — she's plenty smart — getting it away from being a, sort of, final college exam,” Lieberman said on MSNBC…
How much IQ does it take to avoid admitting in public that your vice-presidential candidate couldn’t pass an IQ test?
We don’t have businessmen running this country. The Tony Sopranos running the corporations are running the country, but they have always referred to themselves as businessmen. Our elected officials are their political cronies who take the bribes in exchange for keeping the Soprano families in business.
We don’t have anyone in our goverment like Winston Churchill, who famously said, and I paraphrase here ’This is the Crowns money and the Crown intends to make a profit off of it’. There was a politician who knew how to run his country as a business and didn’t mind making it known.
I got a copy of the whole Soprano show series and watched it in about a week. (not one of my finer moments, but it was worth it)
My conclusion was: This whole show is just a metaphor for America. Those working for the profitable corporations who are paid very well are all Carmellas (and to be truthful, many more of us than that), due to the the American military industrial complex’s propensity to rob weaker nations of natural resources and keep the laborers of foreign nations working at slave rates. There was an old guy who was was named AJ something or other who was rather secretive about various things who got the whole thing down in a skinny minute, as light as it was in his day, and wasn't favorable about the whole situation. But strictly from a business standpoint, whether this Soprano situation is a net positive is debatable. The military industrial Sopranos clan is not necessarily giving the nation a good return on its investment these days. But these guys running the show, the big Kahuna’s aren't that great at running a Soprano program. In most legitimate Soprano businesses, of which our nation is one, the price of failure for those who lose family money is to put the heads of the responsible parties on the chopping block.
The big bosses, the big Kahunas who run the whole show might just be about to skip the country though as the looting is mostly complete. We'll see. Maybe this thing will run on for years to come.
If anyone thinks this metaphor is not quite right and could be tweaked, I welcome your comments. [I'm been tweaking here and there but you’re not with me yet, people]. Maybe no one saw the Sopranos or understands the concept.
Here’s a great rant from Alicia Morgan, whose enemy you would definitely not want to be.
…George W. Bush, in celebrating his own lack of intellect and curiosity, has made a virtue of ignorance, and by breaking the glass ceiling on stupidity, demonstrated to those who already think this way that there are no limits to where ignorance can take you. He has also demonstrated that governing by ignorance is not only possible, but easily done, and that ignorance can beat intelligence, given the right set of circumstances…
Case in point is the love child of George Bush and Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin. While George Bush is a relative latecomer to the fundamentalist fold, he insisted that “God told him to attack Iraq.” He relies on his ‘gut’ instead of brains, and considers that a completely acceptable, even preferable choice.
Sarah Palin takes those traits to a whole different level. No Johnny-come-lately she, Palin was steeped in fundamentalist principles from birth, and is both far more radically religious and far less educated than George W. Bush. Which, in the Bizarro-World of right-wing logic, makes her...even better! According to the Bush standard, all you need is a mule-stubborn refusal to yield to be a successful world leader, and intelligence just gets in the way of that. Sarah Palin describes it as “you can’t blink.” What she means is “you can’t think.”
This demonization of intelligence is getting worse, not better, as the ignorant and venal are rewarded ever more richly in our society. If the unthinkable come to pass, with a McCain presidency Sarah Palin — would-be book-banner, science-hater, reproductive-rights-destroyer, Rapture-ready end-timer — will be a fibrillation away from being the leader of the free world. One would not think it possible, but she makes George W. Bush look like Noam Chomsky.
Hell, yes, I’m an elitist. You should be, too.
Close readers will know that I am a huge fan of lapel pins. Others may go here to find out just how huge. Naturally, then, I was impressed by the large, double-flag lapel device of the true Übervaterlandsfreund that Sarah Palin has been wearing since her anointment. God forbid we should think she was running for vice president of Brazil or the United Arab Emirates.
And yet it slipped past me that she has lately abandoned Old Glory entirely. It didn’t slip past Don da Man, who sends the picture below and wonders what the hell that thing is. My first thought was Gold Star Mother, except the star is blue. Anybody actually know?
By now, many of you have read that John McCain has suspended his campaign and said he wants to cancel Friday night’s scheduled debate with Obama.
The first polling results are in from SurveyUSA since this news came out and Americans overwhelmingly say: Let the debate go on!
America’s First Reaction: Friday's McCain-Obama Debate Should Still Be Held On Friday, But Perhaps with New Focus: Immediately after John McCain's announcement 3 pm ET today, Wednesday 09/24/08, that he was suspending his campaign and seeking to postpone Friday’s schedule presidential debate, SurveyUSA interviewed 1,000 adults nationwide. Key findings:
A majority of Americans say the debate should be held. Just 10% say the debate should be postponed. A sizable percentage of Americans, 36%, think the focus of the debate should be modified to focus more on the economy. 3 of 4 Americans say the presidential campaign should continue. Just 14% say the presidential campaign should be suspended. If Friday's debate does not take place 46%, of Americans say that would be bad for America.
I don’t usually pay attention to Herr Bush, but I must admit that I’m going to watch to see what kind of fraud he tries to pull over on us tonight. The Republicans must be getting real nervous with the results of the polls Jerry just posted. The election isn’t close enough to steal at this point and they’ll do anything to try to get their “cover up the theft” candidate into office. Watch for the weird to keep happening. We are living in perilous times. Too bad old Cut and Run McCain seems to be trying to avoid this debate. That old soldier seems to have lost his fighting ability.
Former United States President George W. Bush brings himself up to speed on the collapse of the American economy:
Well, my first instinct wasn’t to lay out a huge government plan. My first instinct was to let the market work until I realized, upon being briefed by the experts, of how significant this problem became.
And so I decided to act and act boldly. It turns out that there’s a lot of interlinks throughout the financial system. The system had grown to a point where a lot of people were dependent upon each other, and that the collapse of one part of the system wouldn’t just affect a part of the financial markets; it would affect the average citizen — and how. Well, it affect their capacity to borrow money to buy a house or to finance a college loan. It affect the ability of a small business to get credit. In other words, the system risk was significant, and it required a significant response, and Congress understands that. And we’ll work to get something done as quickly and as big as possible.
Len at First Door on the Left turned me on to Sara Benincasa, who is not Sarah Palin but plays one on YouTube. Go here to find a whole bunch more of her vlogs. Sara is obviously one of the great women of our time.
For those amongst us who have had the pleasure of reading Jerome Doolittle’s famous cult classic novel, The Dead Zoo, available on this website for free, the facts noted in a commentary by Michael Lewis on Bloomberg News will probably give the rest of you as much of a somber laugh as it did for me. And I’m sure Ronald will enjoy watching his Dead Zoo being expanded when he gets a break from that great shoveling job he’s now doing in the depths of the Lair where he now resides.
Remember when everyone believed in Alan Greenspan? When John McCain, running for president in 2000, said that if Greenspan died he’d have him stuffed and propped up against the wall at the Federal Reserve, where he’d remain chairman?
h/t to The Mess that Greenspan Made.
Sarah Palin today on Bush’s bailout with your dollars of the American International Group:
“Disappointed that taxpayers are called upon to bail out another one. Certainly AIG though with the construction bonds that they’re holding and with the insurance that they are holding very, very impactful for Americans, so you know the shot that has been called by the Feds — it’s understandable but very, very disappointing that taxpayers are called upon for another one.”
Remember how the Republican smear squads scored with the lie that Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet? Well, it turns out John McCain gave us the Blackberry:
Asked what work John McCain did as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that helped him understand the financial markets, the candidate’s top economic adviser wielded visual evidence: his BlackBerry.
“He did this,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters this morning, holding up his BlackBerry. “Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce committee so you’re looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that’s what he did.”
Don da Man sends along this message from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., via the Huffington Post:
Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that “some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.”
It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.
My sister Pat recommends Women Against Sarah Palin, and so do I. You may already have guessed its general orientation.
(Mysteriously, the link above takes you to this notice: “Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog Women Against Sarah Palin does not exist.” Then if you click on Women Against Sarah Palin the page opens, or at least it did for me. Go figure.)
Instead of watching the GOP convention, kids, why not let Dave Barry do it for you?
[The Republicans] don’t want to be seen celebrating during Hurricane Gustav. And the Democrats don’t want to be seen celebrating about the fact the Republicans can’t celebrate during Hurricane Gustav.
So at the moment everybody on both sides is being sensitive; nobody is engaging in the hyper-partisan cheap-shot dung-flinging that is the life blood of American politics. Yes, incredible as it seems, both major parties have managed to set aside their sleazy attack-ad gamesmanship to focus on what is actually best for the nation. We can only pray, as Americans and as members of the news media, that this does not last…
Thanks to Buck’s posting below, I’ve just been on a virtual tour of the working ranch Cindy built for her Sweet Man. Like Buck, I was particularly taken with the down-home wine room, which seems to have been ripped straight from the pages of Grit Magazine, Celebrating Rural America Since 1882.
This glimpse of Cindy’s cellar answers what for me, as for so many Americans, is the central consideration in picking a president: Which candidate would you rather sit down and have a wine with?
We don’t usually run real estate ads here on Bad Attitudes, but since it’s a tough market out there, both economically and politically, this property needs all the help it can get:
Square Feet: 14,000
Former home of Sen John & Cindy McCain. Situated on over 2.5 acres. Totally remodeled in Old World style complete w/7 bedrooms in main house & 6 bedrooms in guest houses. Hardwood & travertine floors throughout. Master suite has huge walk-in w/private cantera stone patio w/spa and fplc. Gourmet kitchen has travertine floors, granite counters, commercial SS appliances w/large catering room/butlers pantry off kitchen. 2 guest houses. His/her dressing cabana. Finest entertaining backyard in the Valley - 3 ramadas (2 w/full bar set-up), BBQ, play house, cantera stone decking, pavillion, spa and large lap/play pool. 7 car detached garage.
See the listing for more details and a photo collage. You are urged to take a look at the photos in the photo collage and note that there are two wine rooms. There is the chilled wine room and the room temperature wine room. From the looks of things, I would venture to guess that Senator McCain’swine stash exceeded the value of the house I live in.
My George W. Bush Countdown Calendar for today reads:
In his memoir, The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama, the African-American Senator from Illinois, tells of an encounter with George W. Bush at a meet-and-greet at the White House. The president shook his hand warmly, then “turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a bit dollop of hand sanitizer in the president’s hand.”
Can this possibly be true? Is it out of context? Anybody read the book?
President Bush on Friday chided Russia for Cold War-style behavior, saying, “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.”
None of the coverage I’ve come across indicated that Bush said this with a wink, or crossed fingers, or with a flash of the famous frat-boy smirk. Evidently he thinks his own feces has no odor, or is chocolate ice cream.
You remember April Glaspie right? That April Glaspie. It could have been anybody, it might have been nobody, but no one would put it past Karl Rove to have actually been the one to have given the Georgians the green light to attack Ossetia.
But is there more to this story than first appears? Curious minds are pondering questions (see below for excerpt) which would normally be unthinkable except under a Bush Administration. The question appeared over on a message board that I’m not familiar with, but the question bears repeating in serious circles. As far as I’m concerned, just about anything is possible with an unchecked Bush Administration in power.
The Georgian president must be a near fool. He seemed full of panic in a recent interview. I felt sorry for him. Couldn’t help but wonder if April Glasby [sp] has been doing some moonlighting for the present Bush Administration? Look for Putin to give the Georgian president the Saddam Hussein (gallows) treatment if he does’t politely step down from power and leave the country. Some sages are wondering if “we” gave up Georgia in order to get the green light from Russia to attack Iran.
Could it be true? Is Iran next? If you're like me, you believe that the Bush Administration is capable of anything and dismissing such seemingly ludicrous questions doesn’t necessarily seem wise when you’re talking about two “soul mates”. At least the question ought to make the rounds in public discussions, just in case the Bush Administration is back doing things that it’s best known for.
Paris Hilton faces John McCain totally:
By the end of 2005, those defending the regime of torture were no longer seeking primarily to protect the search for valuable intelligence. They were fighting for its survival, in the face of considerable evidence of the failure of SERE and other programs, because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed.
Even releasing detainees whom they knew to be entirely innocent was dangerous, since once released they could talk. “People will ask where they’ve been and ‘What have you been doing with them?‘” Cheney said in a White House meeting. “They’ll all get lawyers.”
[And let me ask by way of addendum to this post, has anyone else lost access to Wikileaks.org? I’ve tried all their mirrors and cannot access the site. Is this location related or are they shut down?]
[Addendum 2: I tried to find the answer to the Wikileaks question last night, but was able to retrieve the information just now from a blog which critiques Wikileaks. I have also found that Wikileaks is indeed offline. I have noticed that they are posting a great deal of classified material and I’ve been reluctant to bite those apples under the theory that too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I urge everyone who may be thinking of offering documents to Wikileaks to consider the information contained at the website at this link before doing so. At any rate, they are offline, which isn't unusual, but no one seems to know why. If you do, please post it.]
[Addendum 3: The website referred to above just reported that Wikileaks is back online. I tried all day yesterday and today, but it's apparent, as I’m sure Peter would agree, that the audience for Bad Attitudes extends far beyond our borders. Ask and ye shall receive (sometimes anyway).]
So it goes.
Medical officers at the Bungoma District hospital told the BBC that the tip of the boy’s penis was chopped off by mistake when the knife wielded by the circumciser slipped.
He has been undergoing surgery on Friday to prevent further bleeding.
They said it was thought that he would be able to urinate but may not be able to have sex in future.
Close enough, eh?
The boy’s father said that it was an unfortunate accident but he would not be suing the circumciser for compensation.
“I have learnt a bitter lesson,” he told the BBC.
You’ve learned a bitter lesson? What about the kid? I thought patria potestas went down with the Western Roman Empire in 476.
Glenn Greenwald today posted a second long article regarding the anthrax attacks and the suspicious events surrounding the events that occurred before and after the incidents. Included in the links in the article is to a news release issued by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. A portion of the news release appears below:
Today's shocking revelation about the apparent suicide of a top Army microbiologist and lead suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks has intensified the need for a thorough investigation into the only significant bioterrorism attack on U.S. soil, said Alan Pearson, Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
“The FBI must not let the death of Bruce Ivins deter it from completing a full and thorough investigation of the attacks, ” said Pearson. “The chance to prove Ivins’ guilt before a court of law has been lost, but the need for a thorough investigation and a full accounting to the American people remains.“ CNN reported today that the FBI will soon close the case “because a threat no longer exists.”
Pearson says that the number one question still to determine is whether Ivins was responsible for the attacks and, if so, whether he acted alone and with complete secrecy. “If Ivins was indeed responsible for the attacks, did he have any assistance? Did anyone else at the Army lab or elsewhere have any knowledge of his activities prior to, during, or shortly after the anthrax attacks?” questioned Pearson. “The FBI must see this investigation through to completion.”
If the FBI does close this case now, we will be beset for years with unresolved questions and there’s no telling what the inevitable book writers may come up in their investigations. If anything, the private investigations and books to follow may rival those that occurred after the Kennedy Assassination. I’m surprised that the FBI would allow such a substantial risk to its own reputation. Perhaps they have decided that it can’t get any worse than it already is.
…but Morris supposes erroneously. This is from an ad in the Human Events newsletter (subscribers only) for a new book called Fleeced:
Americans feel fleeced at every turn, and it’s no wonder. As more and more critical problems develop that need national attention, the White House and Congress are effectively AWOL. And who’s calling the shots instead? Big government, big business, big labor, and big lobbyists — all with self-serving agendas that do nothing to help the ever-increasing number of American people who are losing their homes, paying exorbitant credit card interest rates, and finding their jobs increasingly outsourced to foreign countries.
Make your blood boil? Make you want to toss out the greedy bloodsucking neocon DLC warmongers who have spent the last eight years flushing our economy, our constitution and our nation’s most sacred values right down the toilet?
Wait a minute, though. Here’s the full title of this outraged screed:
Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the New Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Fleecing Us…and What to Do About It
And here are the authors: Eileen McGann and her husband, Dick Morris. Yes, that Dick Morris. (The picture below shows two entirely different people. I include it only as an example of very poor taste.)
Here’s a shocker for you. Now that Bush no longer has to bother imitating fake rancher Ronald Reagan, the cowhand from Connecticut can’t get out of his beloved Crawford fast enough. Fakery fans will remember that the Greenwich-born Bush hastily built his fake ranch house during the 2000 campaign. Blaming Laura for abandoning the old homestead is a nice touch, too.
Mr. Bush said they were looking for somewhere to live when they leave Washington, DC, as Mrs. Bush no longer wanted to live on their ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Good to read that Stumbletongue, Sr., hasn’t lost his touch:
Asked if he was wistful about these final months of having a key to his son’s White House, Mr. Bush replied: “I hadn’t looked at it that way. But I expect I won’t have, no matter who wins, an automatic sleeping in the Queen’s Bedroom.”
Donald Rumsfeld seems to have left a permanent rhetorical device behind him at the Pentagon. Call it the exculpative self-interrogatory. Here’s Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, answering charges that Bush’s war planes slaughtered some 40 wedding guests in the Western Iraqi desert four years ago:
And, in an email responding to questions from a New York Times reporter, General Kimmitt later offered what was, by U.S. military standards, little short of an admission: “Could there have been a celebration of some type going on?... Certainly. Bad guys have celebrations. Could this have been a meeting among the foreign fighters and smugglers? That is a possibility. Could it have involved entertainment? Sure. However, a wedding party in a remote section of the desert along one of the rat lines, held in the early morning hours strains credulity.”
…who knew the wingnuts had their own ball club? Well, they do. It’s called the Wichita Wingnuts and below the manager shows why. If he loses his job over this, they can always use a good man at Fox News or the Vice President’s office.
New stats from what Phil Gramm insists is only a “mental recession” — which phrase is, as the Wall Street shill ought to recognize since he slings shrink lingo so skillfully, a mighty pretty piece of projection.
Ads for luxury goods and services are faring best, as they have for years. Ad pages increased in a number of high-end fashion, home décor and travel magazines, like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Architectural Digest and National Geographic Traveler, while several others stayed roughly even.
“The joke here is, ‘Flat is the new up,’ ” said Thomas J. Wallace, editorial director at Condé Nast.
The Huffington Post celebrated the Fourth of July with a photo gallery called “Ten Great American Flag Bikini Moments.” Normally I would have no interest in this sort of thing, but I took a look just to make sure.
And a good thing I did, too, or I would have missed a student in the first class I taught at Harvard, Elisabeth Shue. Her patriotic statement is infinitely preferable to Obama’s pathetic two-flag lapel pin.
For those of you who think of Alaska as a Red State, full of Bush supporters and Libertarians who must surely send their government welfare checks back to the state each year, you will be pleased as Punch and Judy to know that last week in Juneau, the capital city accessible only by plane or by sea, the protesters against Bush, Cheney and the torturers in our government were out in full force.
You are now allowed to put a blue high achievement star for Alaska on your map of the United States that you keep in your vest pocket underneath your lapel pin. And thanks to Libby of Juneau for helping those of us who are having a little trouble getting around these days to see the sights of Juneau.
Since Mrs. Batard and I just returned from a trip to Alaska seeking our fortune in gold to help pay for the cost of the gasoline to run our vehicles, I thought I would share a unique site we found in Skagway, Alaska. Assuming that all of the creatures, including the humans, in this unique museum located in Skagway are the real thing, we might assume that this museum is part of the Dead Zoo Project started by Ronald Reagan and continued by George Bush, who have taken major steps towards taking us back to the Robber Baron era. And if so, it thus might be possible that you will recognize from more recent times one or more of the stuffed characters who appear on the surface to be enjoying their time at the bar.
If the previous comments make little sense to you, then I can only recommend that you read that most infamous and unpublished creepy book by Jerome Doolittle — The Dead Zoo — which incidentally has a substantial cult following, available for free elsewhere on this website.
On those rare occasions when Bush is moved to do the right thing, he gets knee-capped by his best friends. If it weren’t so horrible it would be amusing. Consider this unusually ripe specimen:
WASHINGTON — President Bush’s efforts to broaden a widely respected, bipartisan program to fight the spread of AIDS in Africa have faced roadblocks by seven Republican senators.
Bush had hoped that Congress would pass legislation to spend $50 billion to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis primarily in Africa in time for the Group of Eight summit in Japan next month. However, the seven socially conservative senators, led by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., refuse to support the legislation unless spending focuses more heavily on treatment than on prevention.
In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the seven senators — Coburn, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and David Vitter of Louisiana — criticized the bills’ increased spending over the next five years from $15 billion to $50 billion, the expansion of AIDS funding to countries such as China and India and the inclusion of funding for agricultural-assistance and poverty-alleviation programs.
“The bills’ support would allow morally questionable activities, including advocating with host governments to change gender norms and policies and promoting activities that could include needle distribution to drug users,” the senators wrote.
Vitter, Vitter. Haven’t I heard that name somewhere? Isn’t he some kind of an expert on morally questionable activities? Oh, yes, now it all comes back:
After Vitter’s telephone number was discovered this summer among the records of the so-called “D.C. Madam,” the rumors about his sexual proclivities really started flying. Wonkette and a variety of liberal blogs ran with rumors that he had a diaper fetish and liked to make in his nappy during sexual acts. No one seems to be sure where that rumor originated, so we did our best to get to the bottom of it.
Wendy Cortez (Ellis), a New Orleans-based reformed hooker, said during a press conference yesterday that Vitter stopped seeing her after he learned her real first name was the same as his wife’s. Cortez tells Radar that Vitter never wore any diapers during their sexual transgressions, which she says occurred two to three times a week over a four-month period in 1999.
“That story referred to another client of [mine] and was later misconstrued by reporters and bloggers,” Cortez explained. She also added that Vitter was always “very clean” during intercourse.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam President, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the Oval Office. We have just had a very constructive dialogue. First, I want to tell you how proud I am to be the President of a nation that — in which there's a lot of Philippine-Americans. They love America and they love their heritage. And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the — of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT ARROYO: Yes.
PRESIDENT BUSH: And the chef is a great person and a really good cook, by the way, Madam President.
The BBC reports:
Our planet is not at risk from the world's most powerful particle physics experiment, a report has concluded…
Critics are worried that mini-black holes made at the soon-to-open facility on the French-Swiss border might threaten the Earth’s very existence.
But the report, issued by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, says there is “no conceivable danger.”
No word yet on the equivalent threat from Vice President Cheney’s still-open facility at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Peter sends wonderful news. The global leader in whom the world has least confidence is Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. One step above him is our own lovable scamp, George Walker Bush of Greenwich, Connecticut. Way to go, George! We always knew you didn’t have it in you.
Presumably Hank Steinbrenner voted for Hillary; he’s got that defining sense of entitlement. And the ability to blame his troubles on something other than his own actions.
Of course it’s easy to laugh at the New York Yuckees. Particularly in a year when their astronomical payroll has barely got them a .500 record. But it’s particularly easy when Steinbrenner blames the National League for hurting his best pitcher by forcing him to run the bases, an amazingly difficult task for an American Leaguer.
“My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century,” Steinbrenner said in Tampa, Fla. “They need to grow up and join the 21st century.
“Am I (mad) about it? Yes,” Steinbrenner added. “I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.”
You can see his point, despite the irrelevant BS about rules from two centuries back. After all, the only point to the existence of major league baseball is to anoint the Yuckees, who deserve the title of World Champions every year regardless of their performance, because they spend more money than anyone else.
The pinstripes’ payroll is nearly four times that of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who lead them by three and a half games in today’s standings. Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi combined (you can substitute Derek Jeter for either if you like) make more per year than the Devil Rays’ entire team. I suppose A-Rod’s playoff record justifies his $28 million. Which by itself is more than the Florida Marlins payroll.
Plus, they play in New York, which in itself should guarantee them first place.
Unfortunately there’s the small matter of the rules. Long ago the AL decided its pitchers were not real baseball players, so they should not be forced to hit or run. On the rare occasions when they have to, they look like inept Little Leaguers, and it’s not unknown for them to hurt themselves doing something they never practice. The AL has retained this system, despite the harm its teams suffer every year in the World Series, for reasons unknown but likely related to the stubbornness, not to say stupidity, of the owners.
I’m aware of the Bill James argument that there is more strategy for the managers in the AL. He points out that in the NL there are many times when a player switch is required by the situation, and claims that such switches are not strategic because there’s no decision to be made, while in the AL managers must decide whether their pitcher can still get outs, regardless of the batting order. But that’s a separate argument, based on managers. I’m talking about whether a player is a real player, or just a part-timer.
“It is a manager’s worst nightmare when a pitcher is on a basepath,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It is unfortunate.”
Tell him not to swing.
There is in Washington a radio show called The Chaz and AJ in the Morning Show, and yesterday Dick Cheney, a vice president, was on that show, and here’s how it went:
Q: …You were in charge of the [vice presidential] search and then George gets the papers and is like, hey, Dick, how come your name’s on every page? (Laughter.)
Q: It’s a typo, right? You were here and then you are again. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The way it actually worked was they talked to me about whether or not I was interested in the job originally, and I said, no, definitely not interested; and then they came back and said would you help us find somebody, and I said, sure, I’d be happy to do that. We got through doing the search. It took a couple of months, and at the end of the day, the President, after we reviewed all the candidates, looked at me and said, you know, you’re the solution to my problem. I took that as a threat (laughter) and redoubled my efforts. He persuaded me that what he wanted and what he needed in a Vice President, that I fit the bill. So I was willing to give up private life, which I was enjoying at that point, and join in. I don’t regret it for a minute. It’s been a tremendous experience. He’s been absolutely true to his word in terms of letting me get actively involved in the whole range of activities. And it’s been well worth the effort.
Dan Eggen, in the Washington Post—
“For most other Europeans, it seems, the sprint cannot end soon enough. For years, protesters regularly crippled European capitals with massive anti-Bush demonstrations. Now, the president’s last scheduled visit to Europe this week is prompting a continental yawn, as Europeans look ahead to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as his successor.”
Adrian Hamilton in The Independent:
“Not a tear was shed, nor a cheer raised. Not even the protesters have bothered to turn out as President Bush has wound his way around Europe on the final visit of his two-term occupancy of the White House. Instead, he has come almost like an anonymous diplomat to hold talks in private, say a few words to the cameras and — unless the UK has something very unexpected up its sleeve this weekend — to depart almost unrecognised, and certainly unacclaimed.
There are five asses in this picture. Can you spot them all? (h/t to Martha Bridegam)
Chávez Goes Over the Line, and Realizes It reads the headline in today’s Times. Substitute Bush for Chávez and the sentence loses all meaning. For Heaven’s sake, Hugo, try to be a little more presidential and a little less democratic.
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela started this month as the most prominent political supporter of Colombia’s largest rebel group and a fierce defender of his own overhaul of his nation’s intelligence services. But in the space of a few hours over the weekend, he confounded his critics by switching course on both contentious policies.
In doing so, Mr. Chávez displayed a willingness for self-reinvention that has served him well in times of crisis throughout his long political career. Time and again, he has gambled by pushing brash positions and policies, then shifted to a more moderate course when the consequences seemed too dire…
The law would have forced judges in Venezuela to support the intelligence services and required citizens to cooperate with community-monitoring groups, provoking widespread fears that the government wanted to follow Cuba in creating a societywide network of informants whose main purpose was to nip antigovernment activities in the bud.
Here’s a picture of Inflatable George I took during the demonstrations at the 2004 GOP convention in New York City. The little fellow is seen wearing his make-believe flight suit.
This is excerpted from an interesting analysis of the current Supreme Court by Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times. I’d say that Judge Posner, who will be just short of 70 on the day Obama takes the oath, sees clearly by now that he has zero chance of ever making it onto the Roberts court.
Indeed, much of the commentary on the court’s performance during the last term was harsh, and it came not only from liberals. Judge Richard A. Posner, the conservative icon who sits on the federal appeals court in Chicago, offers some pointed and unusually personal criticism of Chief Justice Roberts in his new book, “How Judges Think,” published this year by Harvard University Press. The chief justice’s self-description during his confirmation hearing as a simple baseball umpire might have been a “tactical error” for one who evidently “aspires to remake significant areas of constitutional law,” Judge Posner writes, adding:
“The tension between what he said at his confirmation hearing and what he is doing as a justice is a blow to Roberts’s reputation for candor and a further debasement of the already debased currency of the testimony of nominees at judicial confirmation hearings.”
Such words from Richard Posner would cause any member of the court, let alone a relatively new and young chief justice who undoubtedly admires him, to swallow hard.
Tom Friedman today:
The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.
Andante at Collective Sigh has put together a timeline with pictures illustrating the reactions of George W. Bush to Katrina and those of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to the earthquake that struck Sichuan province this week. Take a look. The contrast between Bush and a head of state is, as usual, stunning.
Is this the end of Nixon’s Southern Strategy? (Incidentally, note the lapel pin in the photo below. Do we see a pattern emerging here? For instance, did Mussolini wear a lapel flag?)
The result in Mississippi, and what Republicans said was a surge in African-American turnout, suggested that Mr. Obama might have the effect of putting into play Southern seats that were once solidly Republican, rather than dragging down Democratic candidates.
Another masterful performance by the Little Prince from an interview with Politico.com. For one thing, he looks forward to the day when he can sent emails again. The way things are now everything has to be deleted each time Congress sends over another subpoena.
And for another thing, you will be touched in the appropriate place to learn that Bush gave up golf as an expression of solidarity with the Gold Star mothers whose sons he has killed. Sorry the following post is so long, but there are lots of presidential shallows to be plumbed here.
Q: Mr. President, thank you very much for having us into the Roosevelt Room for the first online interview. In the spirit of the Internet, I wonder if we could ask a question from one of our users, Steve Bailey, of New York, who says: With oil at $126 a barrel, pushing up the price of everything — even food — what can your administration do to help people right now?
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate Steven’s concerns. With the price of gasoline going up, it’s like a tax. I wish I could give Steven a quick answer. In other words, it took us a while to get to where we are — very dependent on oil, and in a world in which demand is greater than oil. So my answer to Steven is that the best thing we can do is to increase supply, and to drill for oil and gas in environmentally friendly ways at home, and build more refineries. Steven probably doesn’t know this, but we haven’t built a new refinery since 1976, and if we’re truly interested in relieving the pressure on our consumers, then we ought to have a very active domestic policy now…
Q: Mr. President, the one thing we don’t see in here is a computer, and we know that you went cold turkey off email for security reasons. What are you looking forward to when you finally get your computer back?
THE PRESIDENT: Emailing to my buddies. I can remember as governor I stayed in touch with all kinds of people around the country, firing off emails at all times of the day to stay in touch with my pals. One of the things that I will have ended my public service time with is a group of friends, a lot of friends. And I want to stay in touch with them and there’s no better way to communicate with them than through email…
Q: Mr. President, acknowledging those constraints, you’re an oil man — some people say that climate change, global warming could have been your Nixon-to-China. Do you wish you’d done more?
THE PRESIDENT: I did what I think is necessary to actually work, Michael. I mean, I could have signed a — I could have supported a lousy treaty and everybody would have went, “Oh, man, what a wonderful sounding fellow he is.” But it just wouldn’t have worked. I don’t think you want your President trying to be the cool guy and not end up with policies that actually make a difference…
The biggest issue we face is — it’s bigger than Iraq — it’s this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives. Iraq just happens to be a part of this global war. Iraq is the place where al Qaeda and other extremists have made their stand — and they will be defeated. They’ll be defeated through military action, but they’ll also be defeated as this young democracy takes hold. They can’t stand to live in a free society, that’s why they try to fight free societies…
I feel like — I felt like there were weapons of mass destruction. You know, “mislead” is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don’t think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was.
Q: And so you feel that you didn’t have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction — as were members of Congress, who voted for the resolution to get rid of Saddam Hussein. And of course, the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes. But intelligence communities all across the world felt the same thing. This was kind of a common assessment.
So “mislead” means, do I think somebody lied to me? No, I don’t. I think it was just, you know, they analyzed the situation and came up with the wrong conclusion.
Q: Mr. President, you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal…
Q: Now, Mr. President, President Carter recently told Charlie Rose the next President could change America’s image in 10 minutes. Here’s what he said: “I think the next President could change the image of this country around the world in 10 minutes by making an inaugural speech that would start off and say, ‘As long as I’m President we will never torture another prisoner, as long as I’m President we will never attack or invade another country unless our own security is directly threatened.’”
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, what he ought to be saying is, is that America doesn’t torture. If the implication there is that we do now, then he’s wrong. And you bet we’re going to protect ourselves by the use of military force. What he really is implying is — or some imply — you can be popular; if you want to be popular in the Middle East just go blame Israel for every problem. That will make you popular. Or if you want to be popular in Europe, say you’re going to join the International Criminal Court.
Popularity is fleeting, Michael. Principles are forever.
Maureen Dowd today:
Obama breezed through West Virginia, the state he couldn’t charm even wearing a flag pin and promising to invest in “clean coal.”
Jimmy Carter was an expert at this sort of thing, too. His Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare had lately been enraging the tobacco belt by his attacks on smoking — but North Carolina’s support had been a key element in Carter’s election. So during the 1978 midterms the president visited a tobacco warehouse there and and delivered himself of this wonderful straddle: “We must find ways to make cigarettes even more safe.”
And when Carter was governor of Georgia he unveiled a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr., in the state capitol and soothed the crowd with, “The time for racism is past.” The subtle beauty of this bank shot may be clearly seen by substituting “slavery” for “racism.”
As usual, the Rude Pundit comes right out and says it about Obama’s chances today in Indiana:
Ah, fond memories of living in a town northeast of Indianapolis, of car rides past homes that that flew the Confederate flag on poles on their front lawns (and this was in a medium-sized city, not a small burg), of towns with black populations so disenfranchised and isolated that they are practically invisible, of migrant workers regularly abused by employers when violence wasn’t being committed against them by townspeople. And that’s not even to get into how flat and gray and ugly most of the state is for most of the year, after harvest and before planting season.
When a large swath of a state is populated by people from the Appalachian region who migrated northward for factory jobs decades ago and then those factory jobs dry the heck up for the most part, what you are left with is a bunch of resentful crackers looking to play “where’s the scapegoat?”
By all means go and read the whole screed, but bear in mind that I had to look hard to find an obscenity-free passage as long as the one above. And even then I had to make a substitution, since the word “heck” has never made it out of the Rude Pundit’s computer. What he really wrote, I am sorry to report, was “*uc*”.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post files “Dispatches from the Twilight of a Presidency” —
7:58 a.m.: By e-mail, the White House Communications Office sends out its “Morning Update.” It lists two events on Bush’s schedule for the entire day: a “Social Dinner in Honor of Cinco de Mayo” and, an hour later, post-dinner entertainment. To react to the main news of the day — thousands of deaths from the cyclone in Burma — Bush sends his wife out to make a statement. She criticizes the Burmese government for its failure “to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm’s path” and “to meet its people’s basic needs.” Reporters, too tactful to draw parallels to New Orleans, quiz her instead about daughter Jenna’s wedding, and the names of future grandchildren. “George and Georgia, Georgina, Georgette,” the first lady says…
The White House regarded the briefing with an equal level of ennui. The press secretary, Dana Perino, was away, having given the commencement address on Saturday at her alma mater, Colorado State University at Pueblo. White House aides left vacant three of the five seats designated for their use. Behind the lectern, Perino deputy Scott Stanzel took 20 minutes to exhaust all questions from the diminished field of questioners.
Stanzel began with the news that the United States had provided a whopping $250,000 to relief efforts in Burma -- a figure one reporter termed “a drop in the bucket.”
During the Vietnam war a bootleg tape called “What the Captain Meant to Say” circulated among the press corps. It purported to be the recording of a press interview in which an Air Force pilot repeated puts his foot in it and a Public Affairs Officer repeatedly breaks in to clear up the mess. A sample from memory:
Pilot: We were trying to hit the Dim Sum Bridge, but we must have missed the son of a bitch by a good half mile at least.
P.R.O: What the captain meant to say was that his squadron cratered the approaches to the Dim Sum Bridge.
Along the same lines, here’s what our Pigmy President said five years ago tomorrow on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln:
“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” Bush said at the time … The “Mission Accomplished” banner was prominently displayed above him — a move the White House came to regret as the display was mocked and became a source of controversy …
“The banner should have been much more specific and said Mission Accomplished for These Sailors Who are on This Ship on Their Mission,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday.
A query from Don Heiny:
Wonder if they were able to pry anything from Chuck Heston’s cold, dead fingers?
I offer up for what it’s worth, and you’ll notice I’m not charging for it, my candidate for the bottom half of the McCain ticket. He is shown at the United Nations, holding up a vial which does not contain anthrax so that the world would tremble at the thought of how many people could be killed by a little vial like that if it did in fact hold anthrax. Remember Anthrax and how much fun we all had with it? What ever happened to old Anthrax anyway?
I few days ago I posted on a scummy GOP dirty trickster who tipped off the FBI as far back as December that Eliot Spitzer was supposed to have visited a prostitute in Miami. Since then more information has become available on the tipster, an unpleasant specimen named Roger J. Stone, Jr.
Roger J. Stone, Jr. is the one in the pants suit, below. He’s also Donald Trump’s flack and was a key player during Bush’s 2000 theft of the presidency in Florida. Let this be a lesson to Roger J. Stone, Sr. When you pass along your name, you never know how the little fellow is going to turn out. He might grow up to be president, but even then…
Mr. Stone, who has referred to politics as “performance art,” is a longtime Republican consultant known for hardball politics and a cloak-and-dagger sensibility. He started out as a teenager in the campaign of Richard M. Nixon, and has a tattoo of the former president’s head on his back.
This is your own, personal mantra. Repeat it to yourself silently, over and over, with your eyes shut and your ears plugged. It will help, I promise. It has worked for others.
In case you’re one of the lucky few who’s still flush with cash, Amazon has just the ticket to deal with the problems facing the economy right now. Along with some other useful items . In case that doesn’t work, I know some good root doctors on the South Carolina coast who will be glad to help you out. Just in case voting doesn’t do the trick.
From Reuters, March of 2008:
WASHINGTON — U.S. President George W. Bush got an earful on Thursday about problems and progress in Afghanistan where a war has dragged on for more than six years but been largely eclipsed by Iraq…
"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."
From Army counsel Joseph Welch to Senator Joe McCarthy, June of 1954:
Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
Brother Bill emails:
This lead graced the front page of the Pocono Record last week:
“If sewage could talk, it might one day say, “What a long, strange trip it has been.”
Actually sewage can talk, Bill, and here’s the kind of thing it keeps saying:
”We're in a battle with evil men — I call them evil because if you murder the innocent to achieve a political objective, you're evil.”
President Bush at a press appearance in Crawford with Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark:
Q: Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for bringing us to the great weather.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, back to Texas, man. I cut his teeth in Texas. (Uneasy Laughter.)
(Actually the transcript doesn’t say “uneasy.” I just figured the laughter had to be uneasy, because otherwise it would have to be servile, and these guys and gals of the press are watchdogs, not cringing curs.)
Our new friend Gary Eschman dug this up, emailed it, and kindly agreed to my request to publish it.
George Walker Bush Presidential Library
The Library will include:
To highlight the President’s accomplishments, the museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate them.
When asked, President Bush said that he didn’t care so much about the individual exhibits as long as his museum was better than his father’s.
Raw Story reports that a UKTV Gold television survey showed 58% of Britons think Sherlock Holmes really existed, while 23% believe Winston Churchill is a myth.
I don’t deny the mythical character of much of Churchill’s life. Anyone who’s read Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s review of three biographies of the irascible drunk, in the May 2006 issue of Harper’s (subscription only), knows that a huge portion of his life was made up out of whole cloth, or constructed by others under his loose supervision. (Unfortunately his racism was genuine.)
…Churchill the great writer [was] awarded the Nobel Prize for literature on the strength of a book that was largely written by others.
But he did actually live, whatever you think of him. So did Gandhi, Florence Nightingale, the Duke of Wellington (boo!), and Richard the Lionheart.
The post-literate generation may believe that watching pictures move gives them information, but the results prove otherwise.
See? What did I tell you about snorting pig brains?
The packing house, in Austin, Minn. (pop. 23,000), slaughters 1,900 pigs a day, working two meat-cutting shifts and one clean-up shift. Virtually everything is used, including ears, entrails and bone. The 12 sufferers of the neurological illness — most are Hispanic immigrants — all work at or near the “head table” where the animals’ severed heads are processed.
One of the steps in that part of the operation involves removing the pigs’ brains with compressed air forced into the skull through the hole where the spinal cord enters. The brains are then packed and sent to markets in Korea and China as food.
Investigators say there is no reason to suspect that either the brains or the pork cuts were contaminated. Their working hypothesis is that the harvesting technique — known as “blowing brains” on the floor — produces aerosols of brain matter. Once inhaled, the material prompts the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the pig brain compounds, but apparently also attack the body’s own nerve tissue because it is so similar.
As if cheeseburgers were something we should be promoting, a German company is offering them in a can. For a mere four euros, you too can open a tin can and remove a squashed cheeseburger, complete with bun, after a week-long trek into the wilderness. (h/t William Gibson; yes, that William Gibson)
Far be it from me to poo-poo the smooth.
“It just looks nice and tidy,” said Stuart after his “back, sack and crack”. “Of course it is slightly painful, but in my experience not nearly as sore as having your chest waxed. It’s much better than shaving it, too. You don’t get those awkward nicks and it doesn’t grow back anything like as quickly.”
Men seem better at dealing with the pain, said Senior. “They are always saying ’Oh, it doesn’t hurt’, but I suspect that might be male bravado. Women are never shy to scream the house down.”
Maybe I’m just too old to get it. But while I consider women worthy of praise and adoration, and to some extent imitation, there are things even I consider beyond the pale. So I guess if you were on the verge of sending me a love letter based on the idea that I would submit to a full-body waxing, you can save your stamp.
Are you as good at playing the Air Guitar as I am? I doubt it.
Here’s the biggest craze to hit these shores since the advent of air guitar playing. For all of you bloggers who revel in YouTube blogging , this video displays the proper method of AirBlogging. Many of our newspaper writers and editors have worked so long at mastering this craft and are so good at doing it well, they are even able to create the illusion of producing a legible, seemingly credible copy, at least to a portion of the populace.
I have much to say about this subject since I have been learning the proper method of becoming a real journalist. Please follow along closely, as I want to relate below the fold what I have learned from a great many of the well paid (mostly conservative) journalists working in their respective fields of coverage. But watch the video first before you read the rest of what I have to say — otherwise you will not be able to understand my message.
Okay, I realize everyone’s trying to get the story posted immediately. Perhaps these three (consecutive) paragraphs slipped out, and the WSJ will edit them later.
Today former President Bill Clinton critiqued Mr. Obama’s record while stumping for his wife throughout the state, calling Mr. Obama’s candidacy “the biggest fairy tale I have ever seen.”
Yo! Is the Big Dog taking out his latent frustrations with his wife on the campaign trail?
In the end, it was Mr. Obama’s lack of experience that made many voters opt for the more seasoned Mrs. Clinton. “I like him and I think he’ll be ready in eight years,” said Allison Mundry, a 49-year-old real estate agent in Salem. But for now, she says “We have to vote for someone who can get the Republicans out of office.”
Okay, you’re voting for the candidate who polls the worst of the top three Democrats against the Republicans because we gotta get rid of those damned Republicans? Well, I can pretty near guarantee you they’ll absent themselves from any discussion of a Clinton. They always have.
The Illinois Senator will go on to South Carolina where half of all registered Democrats are African-American and could choose Mr. Obama, the first serious candidate to have a chance at the White House.
“The first serious candidate”? They can’t even bring themselves to say it openly.
Here’s the nastiest bit I’ve come across in a long time. This effluvium emanates, you will be less than bouleversé to ascertain, from the Sultan of the Supercilious, the CEO of Self-satisfaction, the Prince of Pretension, the Poobah of Pomposity, the High Priest of Preciosity, the King Kong of Kondescension, America’s Avatar of Affectation, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for — GEORGE F. WILL!
[Obama] and John Edwards, flaunting their histrionic humility in order to promote their curdled populism, hawked strikingly similar messages in Iowa, encouraging self-pity and economic hypochondria.
To follow this thought to its endearing conclusion, Will feels that the poor, the sick and the homeless have no one to blame but themselves and if they had any gumption at all they’d do like he did — get born to a professor of philosophy, learn loads of loquacious locution at Princeton and Oxford, and then pimp his prissy wee pen out to the power.
I just finished listening to Bush’s year-end press conference, and am thereby mightily uplifted. I was under the impression that things more or less sucked, but it turns out that this is not so. Things are actually swell, so that we can all look forward to the next 13 months with happy hearts.
I also learned, after Bush repeated it three times for me, how to pronounce “an omnibus bill.” You just take a deep breath and say “Anonymous Bill.” Try it for yourself. See how mellifluously it trips off the tongue?
NEW YORK (AP) -- A 710-year-old copy of the declaration of human rights known as the Magna Carta — the version that became part of English law -—was auctioned Tuesday for $21.3 million, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman said.
The document, which had been expected to draw bids of $30 million or higher, was bought by David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, the spokeswoman said.
Sotheby’s vice chairman David Redden called the old but durable parchment “the most important document in the world, the birth certificate of freedom.”
Inside sources tell us that the document will be handed over to President Bush, who will issue sweeping signing statements relative to the document that will make clear that the right of habeas corpus is a nullity and that the divine right of George Bush, religious leader and Supremely elected ruler of the nations, is absolute and forever.
White House spokesman Dana Perino was quoted at a press conference, “now that the President has made clear that the United States Constitution is a nullity, an all out effort will be made to insure that other historic documents that the President disagrees with will be rendered null and void, particularly the Magna Carta with its quaint and outdated definition of habeas corpus.”
Last month I traveled through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and back, a total of 1,586 miles. During all that time I spotted exactly two Hummers, a black one and a yellow one.
My question is, where have all the Hummers gone, long time ago? Is there a big Hummer graveyard somewhere, probably Texas, where these gigantic lapel flags all rust away together, dreaming of world domination?
Or are they hidden away individually in supersized garages, as unacknowledged by their owners as those earlier votes for Nixon and Bush? Gosh, let's hope not. Those big babies run $50,000 or so, which is a lot to blow even on a meat-extender with a really gross weight of 8,600 pounds powered by a 3.7 liter in-line 5 engine with 95.5 mm bore and a 102 mm stroke.
Especially if you’re ashamed to drive it.
So next time why not go for the economy golf cart version? This little beauty here can be yours for only eighteen large, and what better way to tell the world that you’re not only an asshole, but a cheap one?
P.S. Check out the link in Buck’s comment below to see stunning pictures of an actual Hummer graveyard. And that was back in 2005!
News from Saturday’s Democratic debate in Iowa:
For all of the good will, with the Iowa caucuses less than five weeks away, the candidates did take opportunities to draw distinctions between each other.
While the Democrats said they wanted to change drug sentencing laws for crack and powder cocaine to erase racial disparities in punishments — more blacks and Hispanics are convicted for crack possession and sales, which carry heavier penalties — Mrs. Clinton said she had problems with making any sentencing changes apply to people already convicted.
“On principle, I have problems with retroactivity,” she said.
Unfamiliar with that principle, I pulled out my well-thumbed copy of Principles for Idiots and there it was, right on page 2008: It is better to let a thousand prisoners rot in jail than to free one Willie Horton.
We can do better. We can have an aviation system that is improved. And that’s what we’re talking about. Secretary Peters and Acting Administrator Sturgell have been working with the airline industry on practical improvements. I want to announce a series of preliminary actions to help address the epidemic of aviation delays:
First, the military will make available some of its airspace over the East Coast for use by civilian airliners this Thanksgiving. These new routes will help relieve air congestion from Maine to Florida for nearly five full days surrounding the holiday.
Second, the FAA is taking new measures to head off delays. Bobby Sturgell will impose a holiday moratorium on all non-essential projects, so that the FAA can focus its personnel and equipment exclusively on keeping flights on time. The FAA is also partnering with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reduce bottlenecks in the New York metro area, which is the source of most chronic delays, etc., etc., etc.
Fortunately it didn’t slip right past Jim Fallows of The Atlantic, a pilot with long experience of east coast air traffic. Here is, as Paul Harvey used to say and for all I know still does, the rest of the story.
Thank God for the Second Amendment, without which we’d be unable to change tires.
Police say he wasn’t drunk, so one must assume a certain level of idiocy in the man from South Kitsap, Washington. Working on his Lincoln Continental, he was unable to remove the last lug nut on the right rear tire. What’s the logical next step? Stand an arm’s length away and fire your 12-gauge at it.
Buckshot and debris peppered him from foot to chin. The Beeb didn’t give his name, nor did it specify whether he’s friends with Dick Cheney.
When American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, private security and military contractors will have guarded the convoys bringing the turkey and gravy.
If not for the private security contractor (PSC) business, there would have been no Thanksgiving at all. For it was a PSC whom the Pilgrims hired in 1620 to join them on the Mayflower and provide security for what would become their new colonial settlement in Plymouth, Mass.
Oh, well that excuses the murders of all those Iraqis then. They’re not Christians anyway, and they wouldn’t be interesting in giving thanks. According to Rat Pobertson:
Ladies and gentlemen, we have to recognize that Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law. In the Quran, it says it very clearly. There are two spheres. One is the Dar al-Harb, which is the realm of war. The other is Dar al-Islam, which is that part that’s under submission to Islam. There is no middle ground. You’re either at war or you’re under submission. Now, that’s the way they think.
Which is completely different from Robertson’s view, that God punished the United States with 9/11 because we allow pornography and gays, that we should submit to his view of God rather than Muhammed’s, and that we’d better start a new Crusade posthaste. Can we say shadow projection? (Can we say President Rudy? I didn’t think so.)
Whether due to good relations with the friendly local Indians or the deterrent effect of the well-organized militia and relatively well-armed fort, Plymouth never came under direct enemy attack. But other English colonial towns would. Standish and his men volunteered to come to their aid when threatened or attacked, and in at least one case they left the invaders bloodied and dismembered. Some accounts say Standish led revenge raids and, in one case, used a medieval form of intimidation — mounting an enemy Indian’s head on a pike — to protect the colonists from further attack.
Such operations earned Standish criticism for being too harsh. But the colonists held him in high regard. They repeatedly elected him military captain of Plymouth…
It’s good to remind ourselves that the founders of our country were just as bloodthirsty as we are.
I have recently been running pictures of Rudi Giuliani with babies. This is because. as the father and grandfather of 16 past or present babies, I find these pictures terrifying.
Why would these mothers allow Rudy Giuliani to touch their tots? I would sooner entrust an innocent creature carrying my genes to a reticulated python coming off a six-month fast. Have these moms checked with Rudy’s own former tots?
All of which leads up to a plea for help. Google Images only goes so far, and I am about to run out of Rudy-Baby pictures. Please send URLs or JPEGs to jeromedoolittle, followed by the usual symbol, followed by gmail and a dot and then com. Thanking you for your consideration in advance, I remain, etc.
In obedience to instructions proceeding from the highest levels of the administration I was sitting around the house last night feeling scared. Which world leader, I fearfully wondered, was capable of keeping me warm and safe?
Not in some general sense, but specifically, physically. Suppose I’m in some neighborhood saloon, minding my own business but keeping an eye out for anybody who looks a little, you know, different? And suddenly in comes this bunch of terrorists, all of them mean drunk on goat’s milk or whatever the hell it is they drink and out to kill them some Christians.
There’s only one other regular person in the place that could get my back, so who should it be? Which world leader would have the strength, speed, hand-eye coordination, and testicles to save my sorry, aging ass so I could live to fear another day?
I went straight to Google, looking for beefcake shots of world leaders. Mussolini came up first, but he was hanging upside down and had a shirt on. Besides, I needed somebody alive.
All I could find, scantily-clad statesmanwise, was the three gotchas below. Contrast and compare, in one word or less. Which of the three looks tough enough to drag that bogeyman out of your closet and beat him like a borrowed mule?
(The old cowhand from Connecticut is shown as he tries and fails to break a bucking Segway. Although Segways have gyroscopes to keep greenhorns tall in the saddle, the safety feature can be overcome by a sufficiently incompetent operator.)
This little tidbit which appears in this morning’s Times caught my eye this morning. At first I thought Chinese official who was quoted might be speaking about Herr Bush or some of the previous recipients of the Medal of Freedom given by Herr Bush, but I was wrong. The Chinese are pissed about a religious leader getting the award. However I have to agree with their sentiments regarding many of those other recipients of the Medal of Freedom given by Bush. Like previous leaders in other countries, Herr Bush does love to hand out his medals and seems to have a passion for it, although it’s quite interesting to note that the fundamentalists who put him in office haven’t yet made it to the list. Like grandfather, like son.
Well, at least the Dailai Lama gets to join such heroic freedom fighters from Bush’s list such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, BB King, Aretha Franklin, Andy Griffith, and we can’t leave out Michael Brown. No need to mention the unmentionable winners involved in the Iraq adventure. You know who they are.
Such a person who basely splits his motherland and doesn’t even love his motherland has been welcomed by some countries and has even been receiving this or that award…
Gritted teeth department, in today’s New York Times:
In Washington, a White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Of course we’re happy for Vice President Gore and the I.P.C.C. for receiving this recognition.”
Rush Limbaugh’s recent attack on soldiers who oppose the war as “phony soldiers” is just another in a long line of right wing lies that go back to the Vietnam War Days. Jerry Lembcke is the author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam. In an article published a few years ago, Lembcke notes:
Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. Born out of accusations made by the Nixon administration, they were enlivened in popular culture (recall Rambo saying he was spat on by those maggots at the airport) and enhanced in the imaginations of Vietnam-generation men — some veterans, some not. The stories besmirch the reputation of the anti-war movement and help construct an alibi for why we lost the war: had it not been for the betrayal by liberals in Washington and radicals in the street, we could have defeated the Vietnamese. The stories also erase from public memory the image, discomforting to some Americans, of Vietnam veterans who helped end the carnage they had been part of.
What causes me to bring this up? Well, the spitting stories are back. In a recent letter to the editor in a rural South Carolina paper, some character named Curry writes:
Recently in Charleston, at a trendy franchised restaurant; two young soldiers who had just arrived from the war in Iraq were confronted by two college students who proceeded to spit in their food and call them “baby killers.”
These two college students were of course thrown out and the soldiers given new meals on the house. When asked why the soldiers didn't respond violently to these two college students, they said; “We just laughed at them, we had seen enough killing.”
As my favorite conservative writer John Swift boldly says ”I am Paris Hilton”.
I boldly say that ”I am Rush Limbaugh”. And I am here to tell you absolutely and unequivocally that the rest of the story is that the soldiers in Charleston SC were against the war and the persons who spit upon the soldiers were fans of Rush Limbaugh. And you can take that story and run with it.
On Monday’s news I watched a little of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia and too much of President Lee Bollinger’s introduction. Today I got around to reading the transcript, naturally not in search of enlightenment. To seek enlightenment in the speeches of presidents, whether of colleges or countries, is to go duck-hunting where no duck dwells.
Instead I wanted to be sure that the TV excerpts had fairly represented Lee Bollinger’s remarks, and they had. This was a disappointment, as the president of Columbia had earlier given hints of a certain testicular presence by approving Ahmadinejad’s appearance on his campus.
But of course this had stirred up a perfect storm of the squawking that, when Israel is on the agenda, greets the the most tentative deviation into sense. So now it was CYA time: after a nod in the direction of academic freedom Bollinger turned his introduction into an attack on his invited guest.
This was understandable but it was also unforgiveable. Sins against God, country, and the legal code are merely venial, while sins against good taste are mortal.
Once Bollinger was done with armoring his ass against further assault, Ahmadinejad took the mike and politely said:
At the outset, I want to complain a bit on the person who read this political statement against me. In Iran, tradition requires that when we demand a person to invite us as a — to be a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment, and we don’t think it’s necessary before the speech is even given to come in — (applause) — with a series of claims and to attempt in a so-called manner to provide vaccination of some sort to our students and our faculty.
Another thing struck me while watching this small, slightly-built man take on a hostile crowd in a hostile city. Ahmadinejad — although every bit as despicable as such other enemies of the republic as King Abdullah, General Musharraf and Vice President Cheney — showed that he is at least no coward.
The Conqueror of Baghdad and the Lion of Guantánamo, by contrast, would have surrounded himself with a battalion of Blackwater mercenaries before running such a risk. Whenever G.I. George ventures out in public his aides even issue orders that he is to be protected from so much as a glimpse of an antiwar button on man, woman or child.
Any little thing from the reality-based world outside, they seem to fear, might pop their boss’s bubble.
Going over some old notes for a political novel I’m in the middle of writing I came across this, copied out of the New York Times of September 29, 2003:
“Members of the president’s political team said they were not overly worried about signs of deterioration in his standing. Mr. Bush is still in a stronger position now in the polls than either Ronald Reagan or Mr. Clinton was at this point in his first term.”
Don’t you just love schadenfreude? It’s my favorite emotion of all!
Let’s start the week with a cheerful video trip down memory lane — the recent as well as the not so recent past.
Hope you didn’t miss the McClatchy cartoonist Kevin Siers on the Republicans with their tired-as-Britney act.
While driving through central Pennsylvania yesterday, I spotted a rather humorous advertising sign which was located near the entrance driveway to a megachurch. Apparently the memos from God’s helping hands on earth haven’t quite made it to the pulpit yet.
As websites are frantically scrubbed of embarrassing material regularly these days, I am pleased to report that Harvard Law School has resisted the temptation to scrub.
We are therefore blessed to have available from the Harvard Law website, presumably preserved for posterity, the wisdom imparted to the the Harvard Law Class of 2002 by the recipient of the Harvard Law School Association Award for 2002, one Alberto Gonzalez. A portion of a summation of the speakers remarks, copied directly from the website, appears below.
The hallmarks of a good attorney — fidelity to the rule of law, compassion to clients, and dedication to the profession — are even more important when the country is at war, said Gonzales.
“I can assure you,” he told the graduates, “that public service will make you a better person.”
Gonzales earlier in the day accepted the Harvard Law School Association Award, an honor whose previous recipients include Harry Blackmun, William Coleman, Mary Robinson, Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson, and, last year, Janet Reno.
“I will dedicate the remainder of my life to live up to the principles of service and achievement reflected in this award,’ said Gonzales in his acceptance speech.
One can only guess at what Gonzalez surmised that those principles were.
If you haven’t already done so, please go sign the petition being circulated by the Progressive Majority asking companies who advertise on Fox News to stop sending Rupert their money. I haven’t a clue who advertises on Fox since I never watch, but this list is said to be accurate. Next time we’ll order the AMD chip on our computer.
Why sign? Because Bill O’Reilly hates bloggers.
Why does Bill O’Reilly hate the right of Americans to engage in free speech? Because Bill O’Reilly hates America, that’s why.
Sorry to be so cranky and in such a foul mood as to be posting such intellectually stimulating material, but that’s my “tribute to Keith Olbermann” rant of the day. And I don’t want to get into Freud here, but why is Bill O’Reilly causing my mother to hate me even more?
Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig gently jabs the jolly Lucas giant.
Upload a remix and George Lucas, and only Lucas, is free to include it on his Web site or in his next movie, with no compensation to the creator. You are not even permitted to post it on YouTube. Upload a particularly good image as part of your remix, and Lucas is free to use it commercially with no compensation to the creator. The remixer is allowed to work, but the product of his work is not his. Put in terms appropriately (for Hollywood) over the top: The remixer becomes the sharecropper of the digital age.
Lessig, who is near the top of the list of folks I’d like to interview, is known for deep assessments and thought-provoking viewpoints on the convergence of reality and cyberspace. He adds to the long list of disses continued through the ages:
Lawyers never face an opening weekend. Like law professors, their advice lives largely protected from the market. They justify what they do in terms of “right and wrong,” while everyone else has to justify their work in terms of profit. They move slowly, and deliberately. If you listen carefully, sometimes you can even hear them breathe.
Chants of “Fred” and “Run, Fred, Run,” greeted the actor and former GOP senator from Tennessee from many among the 350 people at the Young Republicans National Convention. The crowd interrupted his nine-minute speech with wild applause and mobbed him when he left.
Kevin Fickert, a 22-year-old college student in Los Angeles who originally is from Massachusetts, said he liked Romney’s leadership as governor but thinks Thompson has more appeal. “Thompson has this star power about him that I really like,” Fickert said.
Hey, I’ve seen that guy on TV! Oh yeah, he’s, like, an actor, or President. Or something.
Why is it that only crappy actors make it in politics? Or perhaps I’m drawing an unwarranted line from Reagan through Schwarzenegger to Thompson. What kind of childhood generates this immense need for the overwhelming father figure? I thought it was about competition.
Thompson’s pro-abortion lobbying effort, directed at Bush I, appears to have caused barely a ripple among his supporters.
“Whatever choice do we have? Mitt Romney has been on both sides of the issue,” said Paul Boyd, 26, of Memphis, Tenn. “Rudy Giuliani is 100 percent pro-choice. John McCain, at least for the first four years of the Bush term, was against whatever the president was for. Everybody has their flaws.”
Good point (but who says, “Whatever choice…?”). Aim low, keep your expectations within reason, or failing that at least the realm of possibility. And you can see what he means when you read that
[Romney] said he would like to use the country’s leading marketing minds to help sell the idea of American values in the Middle East.
“People will give up half a day’s salary to get a Coca-Cola in some parts of the world. We market Coke well. We market McDonald’s well. We market our rap music, our movies, our jeans,” Romney said. “We market everything America sells brilliantly, but when it comes to marketing ourselves and what we stand for, we don’t do a very good job of it.”
Damn, marketing, of course! Why didn’t I think of that? That’s what we haven’t been doing enough of! If people will give up half a day’s salary for a bottle of sugar water, we can surely get away with torturing them and stealing their oil. We just have to market it appropriately, with a certain amount of local sensitivity and some happenin’ colors.
So you can see why Republicans are turning to the man Nixon called “dumb as hell“. (“But he’s friendly,” Nixon allowed.)
Thompson had his supporters. His mentor, for example, Howard Baker, defended him in no uncertain terms: “He’s tough. He’s six feet five inches, a big mean fella”. What he thought that would buy Thompson as re: his career remains uncertain at this point. A starring role, perhaps.
What does appear certain from the established record is that Thompson was keeping the Nixon White House informed of certain key events.
Publicly, Baker and Thompson presented themselves as dedicated to uncovering the truth. But Baker had secret meetings and conversations with Nixon and his top aides, while Thompson worked cooperatively with the White House and accepted coaching from Nixon’s lawyer, J. Fred Buzhardt, the tapes and transcripts show.
Thompson made his place in history on Monday, July 16, 1973, by asking former White House aide Alexander Butterfield, “…are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” Butterfield said, yes, as a matter of fact I am, setting in motion the final act of the Nixon drama, as the tapes proved to be his downfall. Thus, no doubt, Cheney’s passion for secrecy.
But though this was news to the public, it was not to the committee. Thompson was allowed to ask the critical question because he was the lead counsel for the Republicans, whose leader was Baker, and the information had been obtained by a Republican interrogator (which probably didn’t mean the same thing in those days that it would now).
This was a, perhaps the, turning point in the Watergate investigation. Republicans had rallied around their wartime President, a simple, cloth-coated patriot with a dog, who would never stoop to burglarizing an opponent’s office. In fact Baker’s famous “What did the President know and when did he know it?” was, according to historian Stanley Kutler, originally an attempt to show that the evidence hinged on the word of a single person, John Dean, a disgruntled employee if there ever was one, against that of the President of the United States, Leader of the Free World and Political Ass-Kicker Extraordinaire. (I mean, dude, he was friends with J. Edgar; you don’t fuck with those people.)
Unfortunately for Baker et. al., it turned not to be the case. Butterfield revealed the existence of the tapes, and it reached the point where only a Nobel Prize-winning spinner could deal with today’s headlines alone, leaving aside last week’s. It became necessary to look like you supported basic justice, even for Nixon’s moles inside the Watergate committee.
Thompson called Buzhardt over the weekend [before the Monday question] to tip off the White House that the committee knew about the tapes.
“Legalisms aside, it was inconceivable to me that the White House could withhold the tapes once their existence was made known. I believed it would be in everyone’s interest if the White House realized, before making any public statements, the probable position of both the majority and the minority of the Watergate committee,” Thompson wrote in his book.
Scott Armstrong, a Democratic investigator for the committee who was part of the Butterfield questioning, said he was outraged by Thompson’s tip-off.
“When the prosecutor discovers the smoking gun, he’s going to be shocked to find that the deputy prosecutor called the defendant and said, ‘You’d better get rid of that gun,’” Armstrong said in an interview.
Law and Order, that’s what it’s all about. Or is it image, I can’t remember…
Are these folks really that stupid, or is this propaganda from a desperate position?
The fact that the Al Qaeda plot to detonate car bombs in London and Glasgow was carried out by doctors working for the National Health Service has shocked the British public far more than the fact that they were Muslims.
The notion that the NHS might have been infiltrated by jihadists from the Middle East is as disturbing as the emergence two years ago of young British Muslim suicide bombers.
In fact, it is more disturbing, not just because doctors are meant to save lives rather than commit mass murder, but because the violation of this inner sanctum of the British way of life threatens the whole idea of integration — which is meant to be the answer to Islamism. The line between integration and infiltration is a thin one.
The NHS is the nearest thing to a religion that the British now have. For half a century the British have convinced themselves that the NHS is the envy of the world. It is — for the third world. And it is the third world’s doctors and nurses who keep alive this socialist cult of security from cradle to grave.
Interesting piece by columnist and radio talk show host Colin McEnroe on how the Hartford Courant tanked for Connecticut’s insurance industry when it came time to review Michael Moore’s Sicko.
He also put a headline I wish I’d thought of on the photo he posted of Bush wearing Crocs with socks (the latter tastefully decorated with the presidential seal awarded to him by the Supreme Court) and a to-die-for little cap with a black Scotty embroidered upon it.
Am I starting to sound like Maureen Dowd here? I am, but I can live with that.
Back to the headline: It’s “I'm the Commuter! Of Scooter!” As to my own headline on this posting, it probably sounds like nonsense to you. Which explains why you’re not on the Supreme Court.
Looking for something else, I just came across the transcript of one of Bush’s performances as he traveled around the land in February of 2005 trying to destroy Social Security.
It’s almost too easy to pick on Bush’s rhetorical and intellectual inadequacies, so let’s do it. These specimens come from an appearance in Omaha:
Look, I'm worried about a society in which there's too many lawsuits. I believe all these lawsuits make it hard for people to form capital.
(On the surface, this seems utterly inane. Form capital? And yet something must have been stirring feebly in the presidential brain. All I can think of is that such things as the judgments against the tobacco industry, for instance, may have prevented major stockholders from getting even richer.)
I think there's a group — the life expectancy of certain folks in our country is less than others. And that makes the system unfair. In other words, if you're dying earlier than expected, the money you put in the system simply goes to pay somebody else.
(This time the message is clearer. Not only does the Decider fail to grasp the basic principle of the Sermon on the Mount, he also fails to grasp the basic principle of the insurance industry.)
MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
(No argument from me on this one. Bush has got it exactly right. It is uniquely American. It’s how a certain few among us — not Ms. Mornin of course — “form capital.”)
Given the general right-wing bent of the editorial page at the Washington Post, perhaps less shrill than the WSJ but almost equally pro-war, it’s a bit of a surprise to read this editorial in the Post today. They actually disagree with the Supreme Court ruling in the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case!
You probably read about the student in Juneau who put up a banner with the offending slogan across the street from his school during a school event. His banner was torn down and he was suspended, so he sued claiming free speech rights. I expect that’s why the Post feels some kinship with the case, since they told a bunch of whoppers a few years back themselves. They haven’t really processed that yet, with a couple of exceptions like Froomkin. But when they’ve made excuses, they’ve often referred to the First Amendment.
So they can see the kid’s point, or rather the lack thereof:
As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissent: “To the extent the court independently finds that ’Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ objectively amounts to the advocacy of illegal drug use — in other words, that it can most reasonably be interpreted as such — that conclusion practically refutes itself. This is a nonsense message, not advocacy.”
Perhaps that nonsense thing is what the editors at the Post are connecting to.
Or perhaps they’ve been sneaking out to the alley on break:
Issues of drug use and drug policy are matters of serious contention. High school students must be able to debate them frankly — and that might even involve students taking the position that bong hits are not that bad.
A little quiz from today’s Washington Post:
…Agents have assembled a sketch … that they say fits the “Collector of Injustice” profile.
“It is always someone else’s fault, and the world is out to get them,” Bart McEntire … said in describing people who fit the profile. Eventually, the person’s compilation of wrongs becomes overloaded, and he lashes out violently to right them and get even with those who he believes have caused him misfortune and ridicule.
No, sorry. You guessed wrong. It’s not Bush and it’s nobody from his stable of spavined neo-cons either. It’s the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung Hui Cho.
Because, you know, New Yorkers are nothing if not practical…
A woman arrested for exposing her breasts has accepted a $29,000 settlement from the city, her lawyer said.
Jill Coccaro, 27, was arrested on a topless stroll two years ago, despite a 1992 state appeals court ruling that concluded women should have the same right as men to take off their shirts.
Coccaro, who now goes by the name Phoenix Feeley, remained in custody for 12 hours before she was told prosecutors were not going to pursue charges.
[ … ]
She told the newspaper she had gone bare-breasted after running the 2004 city marathon without police bothering her.
“I’ve always just felt that was something natural,” Feeley said of going topless. “I’ve kind of always done it out of practicality.”
I mean, have you shopped for tops in New York recently?
After a few days the young iguanas move from the low shrubbery around the nesting area and join the older juveniles and/or adults; here they consume the feces of their seniors, and this inoculation ensures the presence of the correct microflora in their guts.
From Herpetology, 2nd edition, p. 272, by Zug, Vitt and Caldwell.
My new congressman, Chris Murphy, recently traveled with five other House representatives — two other Democrats and three Republicans — to Afghanistan and Iraq. After their return, Bush invited them to the White House.
Last month I linked to a story giving part of Murphy’s reaction to the only president we’ve got (as Lyndon Johnson used to describe himself, when he was hip-deep in his own Big Muddy). Murphy then: “I really believe the president is much more intelligent than many people make him out to be.”
Yesterday our congressman gave a fuller after-action report during a meeting with local Democrats in the new gym at Cornwall Consolidated School. At the start he repeated, and I paraphrase pretty loosely, that the president indeed wasn’t as dumb as we might have thought. But you couldn’t prove it by what Murphy went on to say.
First off, it seems that Bush put no — zero, zip, nada — questions at all to six legislators fresh from the scene of his crimes. Whatever they might have seen or learned was evidently a matter of indifference to the Decider.
The incumbent did allow questions, however, which he answered with the same talking points he he has been parroting for years. Murphy said that Bush did this skillfully and articulately, and that he seemed to believe what he was saying.
What do you think so far? Is the president smarter than you thought or what? But wait, the evidence of a lively, engaged mind just keeps piling up. A few direct quotes from Murphy:
“He continues to have a refusal to accept any responsibility.”
“He has no ability to understand that this election had something to do with accountability.”
“He seems to miss enirely the complexities of the Sunni-Shi’ite battle…”
Oh, what the hell, why go on? This stubborn little floater isn’t going to go down America’s toilet for another 624 days no matter how hard we jiggle the handle.
From an editorial in today’s New York Times:
The lasting spellbinder proves to be Reagan the speech maker, not the diarist. “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” he once declared, setting one of the worshiped pillars of Reaganism. It was a facile turn of rhetoric that has so sadly been turned into fact by this administration.
In a letter to the novelist Owen Wister, Theodore Roosevelt once wrote, “Nothing is more sickening than the continual praise of [President] Wilson’s English, of Wilson’s style; he is a true logothete, a real sophist…”
This raises two questions, maybe even more. What the hell is a logothete anyway? And has any president since Wilson even heard the word, let alone been one? We will start and end our examination with the 43rd president.
George Walker Bush is a logorrheic, true. Logorrhea runs in the family, and Bush has engaged professional logographers to control the symptoms. For a time their treatments were successful, but have lately become less so.
And so the White House began releasing lists of books full of complicated words, some of them French, which Bush was said to have read between brush-clearing sessions at the old family ranch he bought while running for president.
Still, the president’s efforts at logomachy continued to falter, and so lately he has been positioning himself subtly in front of a bookshelf when the television cameras are running. In some polls, his numbers then dropped into the twenties.
Apparently this latest ploy hadn’t made the president stink of the lamp, but merely of flop-sweat. Books in the background didn’t make Bush a logothete any more than being born in Connecticut made him a Texan.
This week’s production of the long running television show 60 Minutes ran a story on the “Stop Snitching” movement among entertainers of the hip hop music genre. Predictably, the story only covered the bit players in the “Stop Snitching” movement.
60 Minutes didn’t delve deeply enough into the subject to point out that the movement has its roots in the highest levels of our government. We must therefore turn to a less biased source to understand how deeply the “Stop Snitching” movement has permeated our culture. Here, to further elucidate the thinking on this subject is a word from those at ThugLifeArmy:
...[W]e didn’t hear about the No Snitching ethos that seems to be practiced by our very secretive Vice President Dick Cheney and Presidential aid Karl Rove. We can talk about the lack of snitching around important issues like the War in Iraq, the firing of Federal Judges. Hell let’s look at 9-11. Also we shouldn’t forget how Cheney went into Stop Snitching mode after he shot his homeboy in the face. The Cheney bunch are the epitome of ‘Stop Snitching’ . They hold that position much harder then Cam’ron or any other rapper.
Hat tip to MrDaveyD.
Cuba and Venezuela want to get their hands on Luis Posada Carriles, a murderous thug and one-time terrorist for the CIA who blew up a Cuban airliner in 1976. However—
An immigration judge has blocked Mr. Posada’s extradition to Cuba or Venezuela, ruling that he could be subject to torture in those countries. Efforts to deport him to another country have failed because so far no other country has been willing to take him.
Has Torture Boy Gonzales heard about this rogue jurist who openly flouts the administration’s core moral value? Why hasn’t Torture Boy charged him with decent exposure and fired his whiny ass? If it’s good enough for all those U.S. Attorneys, it’s good enough for some two-bit “judge.”
[Murphy] described the White House meeting as “a pinch yourself moment,” and he also left the confab more impressed with the man who occupies the Oval Office.
“I really believe the president is much more intelligent than many people make him out to be,” he said.
So there’s your bumper sticker for the next 640 long, long days: George W. Bush — Not as Dumb as You Thought!
From The Architect, by James Moore and Wayne Slater. Karl Rove is lobbying for the appointment of one of Bush’s office wives, Harriet Miers, to the United States Supreme Court:
On Monday morning, [Karl Rove] called his reliable ally Richard Land of the Southern Baptists, offering reassurance that if [Harriet] Miers were ever to rule against Bush’s political wishes, “it will be seen as an act of gross personal betrayal both by her and by him. And there is nothing lower than somebody who betrays their friends.”
If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
It may be, though, that the freedom-loving Forster and the neofascist Rove are not sisters under the skin after all. For Forster, in the same essay, also wrote:
Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world which is rent by religious and racial persecution, in a world where ignorance rules, and Science, who ought to have ruled, plays the subservient pimp.
Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor most hated and mistrusted by New York’s blacks in modern memory, goes with his heart, not with his head:
MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 10 — Answering a question that has become a litmus test of sorts for Republicans campaigning in the South, Rudolph W. Giuliani said Tuesday that he would leave the decision about whether to fly the Confederate battle flag over the State Capitol here to the people of Alabama.
Brigham Young University! This is not a straw in the wind. This is 2,000 board feet of kiln-dried lumber whirling around in a tornado headed for the White House.
“The problem is [Cheney] is a morally dubious man,” said Andrew Christensen, a 22-year-old Republican from Salt Lake City. “It’s challenging the morality and integrity of this institution.”
Let us now turn the pages on our internets to the comforting and consoling words of Eric Hoffer, from whom the following paragraphs appear in his seminal work, The True Believer. (Well, actually, I had to type ‘em out, as the scribes of the right have not yet seen fit to place much of the work of Hoffer onto the internet, the reason for which becomes more and more obvious as I read Hoffer closely.)
Whence comes the impulse to proselytize?
Intensity of conviction is not the main factor which compels a movement to spread its faith to the four corners of the earth: “Religions of great intensity often confine themselves to contemning, destroying, or at best pitying what they see in themselves.”Nor is the impulse to proselytize an expression of an overabundance of power which as Bacon has it “is like a great flood, that will be sure to overflow.”
The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgiving, some pressing feeling of insufficiency at the center. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth.
The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse. It is doubtful whether a movement which does not profess some preposterous and patently irrational dogma can be possessed of that zealous drive which “must either win men or destroy the world.”
It is also plausible that those movements with the greatest inner contradiction between profession and practice — that is to say with a strong feeling of guilt — are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others. The more unworkable communism proves in Russia, and the more its leaders are compelled to compromise and adulterate the original creed, the more brazen and arrogant will be their attack on a non-believing world.
The slaveholders of the South became the more aggressive in spreading their way of life the more it became patent that their position was untenable in a modern world. If free enterprise becomes a proselytizing holy cause, it will be a sign that its workability and advantages have ceased to be self evident.
The passion for proselytizing and the passion for world dominion are both perhaps symptoms of some serious deficiency at the center. It is probably as true as a band of apostles or conquistadors as it is of a band of fugitives setting out for a distant land that they escape from an untenable situation at home. And how often indeed do the three meet, mingle and exchange their parts.
“The thing I like about Bush is I think he hates liberals.” Ann Coulter
In the last fifteen years, the word liberal has been made a dirty word by evil conservatives bent on spreading their True Believer propaganda. However, even the sainted Ronald Reagan promised “liberalization” to the Soviet Union:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
If the right wing propaganda machine truly believes that Ronald Reagan was a saint, they would deliver the goods. Otherwise, Ronald Reagan was a liar and a hypocrite — or the right wingers have gone off into a wilderness far beyond what Reagan envisioned.
Times are tough out there in the land of newspapers, but the Wall Street Journal has a plan! No need to write the bullshit! Just let the readers smell it. And you thought those scratch and sniff cards were a thing of the past, eh? Gotcha!
Atrios says: “....maybe people are tired of reading right wing horseshit”. I would add that there’s a lot of elephant shit out there too. We on the blogs haven’t quite figured out how to do the smell thing yet, but we can direct you to an earful.
It’s hard to imagine that when the late James Brown soul-shouted, “Somebody open a window, it’s gettin' funky in here,” the phrase would ever apply to Wall Street.
But then came the news that The Wall Street Journal is planning to adorn its hallowed pages with Rub ‘n’ Sniff ads.
Such shenanigans might be expected from the tabloids, home to all things wack. But the stoic Wall Street Journal? Why, one can almost see the loosening of ties — which, just in case, also make handy nooses.
The idea behind this daisy-fresh experiment is to draw readers and advertisers back to the newspaper industry, which has seen better times, given the lengthening shadow of the Internet.
So perhaps the first smell that this scheme of schemes is emitting is the musty scent of flop-sweat desperation, masked as ingenuity. An article on the Advertising Age Web site is accompanied by a photo of a wad of greenbacks with the caption, “Ahh...that new money smell.” Bullish optimism at play.
The plan wouldn't have been feasible until recently, because the traditional scratch ‘n’ sniff olfactory experience was far too expensive for use in newspapers. But a company called Scentisphere (how Jetsons - and ridiculously close to Futurama’s “Smell-o-scope”) developed a much cheaper way to apply scent to ads and dubbed it Rub ‘n’ Sniff.
It looks like the Torture Boys are going to be facing a relentless onslaught for the next two years. Only problem is, Chinese water torture was said to have been designed to make the victim go insane. Can an insane person be made more insane? Probably not, but at least they face the music.
This week’s first item of drippage is now out of the faucet and is featured in today’s Washington Post. Stay tuned. There are two more years to cover the last six years of fraud, corruption, graft and malfeasance so there is a great deal of water left in the tank.
Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove’s political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.
With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House’s deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.
Lurita Alexis Doan, administrator of the General Services Administration, is to appear Wednesday before a House committee.
A Political Invitation
In January, political appointees at the U.S. General Services Administration were invited to participate in a videoconference with agency chief Lurita Alexis Doan and the deputy director of Karl Rove's White House Office of Political Affairs.
When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could “help ‘our candidates’ in the next elections,” according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using “targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country.”
On Wednesday, Doan is scheduled to appear before Waxman’s committee to answer questions about the videoconference and other issues. The committee is investigating whether remarks made during the videoconference violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that restricts executive-branch employees from using their positions for political purposes. Those found in violation of the act do not face criminal penalties but can be removed from their jobs.
I didn’t listen to Mr. Bush’s speech last night, but I heard about it. He made several references to the term “klieg lights&rdquo. At first blush and without doing a little research, my first thought was that this term must have come out of Nazi Germany. It didn’t. It is an archaic term these days, as the Kliegl Light Company went out of business in the 1990’s, although they had actually quit producing real Klieg lamps in the early part of the last century. Klieg lights were carbon arc lamps that were used in stage lighting, but they haven't been used for at least 75 years. Thus the term is as archaic as Mr. Bush’s use of it is.
Actually, though, stage lighting was first used at the end of the dark ages and the beginning of the period that we now call the Enlightenment. According to my sources, stage lights were first used in 1580 in Italy and helped usher us out of the Dark Ages.
So where could Mr. Bush have gotten the idea to use the term klieg lights to refer to the fact that Congress wants to shed a little sunshine on the dark inner recesses of the White House and the dark age that has descended upon America since he took office?
I did a little googling and I think I have answers for our readers. On February 21, Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post wrote a blog post entitled “Democrats Find it Hot Under the Klieg Lights”. Cilizza’s article was critical of Hollywood and the Democrats. Why would Bush choose such a term that his friends at the Washington Post had used in a disparaging manner against Democrats? I don’t think he believed that anyone would notice, just like he doesn’t think anyone will have the political strength to deliver much needed sunshine into the inner recesses of the dark, shady dealings that are and have been going on in his administration for the last six years.
It’s time to let the sun shine in on the White House. Sunshine is brighter than a klieg light ever was and it’s time to let the sun shine brightly. Make haste, fellow Democrats, make haste.
Keeping Bush’s poll numbers at the high twenty range is unquestionably the result of the efforts of that most illustrious of faux news sources, Rupert Murdoch’s preeminent ideological cable “news” channel, FOX News. Fox leads the market in propagandizing to those who are too senile to know better, those in the leftward most half of the IQ bell curve, and those persons susceptible to the “True Believer” syndrome. Except for the growing market for some of Rupert’s more legitimate news outlets, as some of my friends on the left coast who are True Believers in the genius of Bart Simpson have assured me exists, I assumed Rupert had just about reached market saturation.
Look out! In 2005, Murdoch purchased My Space, a web networking site, which is a favorite among the young, but also features such notable southern geniuses as Jasper Johns, another Simpson News Channel fan. Yesterday, Murdoch’s people announced that MySpace will promote its own news network, which will apparently get quite involved in the upcoming American Presidential race.
My thoughts? I think that Censorspace is on to something. The War on Propaganda is in its infancy.
Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone carves Tom Friedman a new one. Enjoy. You may even learn something. (I didn’t know till now that Friedman is not just comfortably off like any New York Times columnist, but obscenely rich.)
In other words, both Vietnam and Iraq failed not because they were stupid, vicious occupations of culturally alien populations that despised our very presence and were willing to sacrifice scads of their own lives to send us home. No, the problem was that we didn’t make an effort to “re-evaluate tax and spending policies” and “shift resources” into an “all-out” war effort.
The notion that our problem in Iraq is a resource deficit is pure, unadulterated madness. Our enemies don’t have airplanes or armor. They are fighting us with garage-door openers and fifty year-old artillery shells, sneaking around barefoot in the middle of the night to plant roadside bombs. Anytime anyone dares oppose us in the daylight, we vaporize them practically from space using weapons that cost more than the annual budgets of most Arab countries to design.
We outnumber the active combatants on the other side by at least five to one. This year, we will spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined — more than six hundred billion dollars. And yet Tom Friedman thinks the problem in Iraq is that we ordinary Americans didn’t tighten our belts enough to support the war effort.
With all due respect to the owner of this blog, FTA is now twentieth century and so passé. We now live in a trickle down world and we might as well get used to it. Our conscripted troops don’t have the resources to tell the Army to go fuck itself anymore. But the generals do. So they sent the Decider a FTD package through the Times of London .
Trickling down this morning is a report from the Times of London that five generals have given the exalted leader of the American theocracy their resignation letters in advance. To paraphase Phil Ochs, you can call it peace or you can call it treason, call it love or call it reason, but they aren’t marching any more.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”
A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.
“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”
A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a Pentagon source. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.
The threat of a wave of resignations coincided with a warning by Vice-President Dick Cheney that all options, including military action, remained on the table. He was responding to a comment by Tony Blair that it would not “be right to take military action against Iran”.
Bill Maher won my heart and mind right after 9/11 when he got fired for pointing out that you could call suicide bombers a lot of things but you couldn’t call them, as Bush just had, cowards. Maher didn’t add, and so I will, that the word coward better describes a draft dodger who would fly hysterically from one bolt hole to another on 9/11 instead of heading straight to New York where his duty lay.
All of which leads circuitously to last night’s airing by HBO of a Bill Maher special dating from 2000, during the middle of the campaign that landed us in the hideous mess we are in today.
What did I learn from this stroll down memory lane with America’s premier and certainly funniest political commentator? I learned that where George W. Bush claims to come from (actually it’s Greenwich, Connecticut), they call cocaine “Texas booger sugar.”
And I learned (actually relearned; I must have known it once) that Bush campaigned in 2000 as “a reformer with results.” Six years later that has a poignant and terrible ring to it, doesn’t it?
Interesting bit from today’s New York Times story about the White House’s low-key roll-out in Baghdad of those new semi-WMDs called “explosively formed penetrators.” (Students of Freud will recall the “robust earth penetrators” with which Cheney-Bush plan to sodomize Iran until the mullahs beg for democracy.)
At the State Department, the Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, officials had anticipated resistance to their claims. They settled on an approach that sidelined senior officials including Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Iraq, and John D. Negroponte, who until last week was the director of national intelligence.
By doing so, they avoided the inevitable comparisons to the since-discredited presentation that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made to the United Nations Security Council in 2003 asserting that Iraq had illicit weapons.
In the run-up to their second war Cheney-Bush didn’t hesitate to send a black secretary of state out to hustle tricks on the mean streets of New York. So why not turn out Condi to peddle their third war? She’s blacker and looks better in mesh stockings.
Would this strike the boys in the pimpmobile as a little too raw even for them? Nah, nothing is that raw. Turns out they just didn’t want to remind us tricks of the last time we fell for the same Murphy game.
In case you thought it should be President’s Day today because it is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, think again. That comes next week on Washington’s Birthday. It’s official! Today has been especially reserved to celebrate the birthday of Charles Darwin. Today is Darwin Day and is also a day to celebrate the birthdays of the Great Emancipators.
We would also like to congratulate the 611 Congregations from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and five nations that participated yesterday in Evolution Sunday 2007.
Don’t look for Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell’s churches to be on the list. They’re still following their exalted leader. No, not that guy, this one:
UPDATE: Now that George Bush is no longer running for office, it appears that the top banana brain might soon be John McCain.
Our friends down at their sweet home in Moon of Alabama further debunk the NY Times article that reminds us all that the New York Times itself fits neatly into an aluminum tube, or at least for NY Times work, a reasonable approximation thereof:
It is “aluminum tubes” all over again. When Gordon writes stuff like this, he is just repeating but never questioning the ridiculous assumptions whispered to him:
“According to American intelligence, Iran has excelled in developing this type of bomb, and has provided similar technology to Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon. The manufacture of the key metal components required sophisticated machinery, raw material and expertise that American intelligence agencies do not believe can be found in Iraq. In addition, some components of the bombs have been found with Iranian factory markings from 2006.”
There is nothing sophisticated with shaped charges. These are known and used since world war one. To convert, let's say a regular 155mm artillery grenade into a shaped charge, one needs a piece of solid copper and a lathe or a hydraulic metal press. If those are not there hammer and anvil will do too. These materials and the tools are well available in Iraq. Any half competent mechanic can produce these things.
Gordon also writes:
“American military officers say that attacks using the weapon reached a high point in December, when it accounted for a significant portion of Americans killed and wounded in Iraq.”
Indeed iCasualties.org, which is based on Pentagon reports, does count 71 soldiers killed by IEDs during last December.
But 41 of those died in or near Baghdad and north-east thereof, another 21 died in the western Sunni Anbar province. Gordon's sources say the shaped charge weapon is mostly used by Shia in the south and was very deadly during December. How does this fit the facts?
It does not, but stenographer Gordon does not care to do those 10 minutes of research that it took me to debunk the claim.
Trouble vomiting? Take this and call me in the morning.
“I’m a feisty, happy warrior,” [Senator Lieberman] said. “And I’m going to continue to fight for what I think is right for the security of our country.”
GO AWAY, LIVE PEOPLE, STOP HAUNTING THE DEAD
If they catch you, it is said, they make you rap, rap, rap on a table allnight,
And blow through a trumpet and float around the room in long white veils,
While they ask you, and ask you: Can you hear us, Uncle Ted?
Are you happy, Uncle Ted? Should we buy or should we sell?
Should we marry, Uncle Ted?
What became of Uncle Ned, Uncle Ted, and is he happy,
and ask him if he knows what became of Uncle Fred?
KEEP AWAY, LIVE PEOPLE, KEEP FAR AWAY,
STAY IN THE WORLD'S OTHER WORLD WHERE YOU REALLY BELONG.
YOU WILL PROBABLY BE MUCH HAPPIER THERE.
And who knows, what they are hunting for, always looking,
looking, looking with sharp bright eyes where they ought to have sockets?
Whoever saw them really grin with their teeth?
Who knows why they worry, or what they scheme, with a brain where there should be nothing but good, damp air?
STAY AWAY, LIVE PEOPLE, STAY AWAY,
YOU MEAN NO HARM, AND WE AREN’T AFRAID OF YOU, AND WE DON’T
BELIEVE SUCH PEOPLE EXIST,
BUT WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? WHO DO YOU WANT?
WHO? WHO? WHO? O WHO?
From the New York Times :
Prosecutors in the southern German city of Munich today obtained warrants for 13 CIA agents they say were involved in the kidnapping of a German citizen, Khaled el Masri.
A similar case has been moving forward in Italy, where a judge in 2005 ordered the arrest of 13 C.I.A. agents in connection with the abduction in Milan of a Muslim cleric.
More from Bob Woodward’s State of Denial, which is just full of those Holy Shit! moments. Here is one from Stephen E. Herbits, whom Woodward calls Rumsfeld’s “one-man think tank.” Herbits is proposing the appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to the Iraq pro-consul job that would eventually be botched by L. Paul Bremer III:
”His being Jewish is a plus: It is a reminder that this is not a war against religion, it is a clear signal that the position is temporary, that the former ambassador to the world’s largest Muslim nation [Indonesia] for three years has experience in being culturally sensitive.”
To all my fellow bloggers:
The next time some sniveling little snothead in the mainstream corporate controlled media makes some snide, snotty little unkind remark about bloggers, point them to this post. We might also mention Joe Bageant, who tells us that “blogging is not literature”, despite the fact that he’s apparently living like Howard (Walter Huston) did at the end of the book and movie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. We’ll forgive Joe Bageant and buy his book anyway, but the sniveling little snotheads in the mainstream corporate controlled media need some comeuppance, so here it is:
Dear Mrs. Blumberg,
Wordiness is a sickness of American writing. Too many words dilute and blur ideas. An average American book is twice as long as a British book on the same subject. The same is true of articles.
There is not an idea that cannot be expressed in 200 words. But the writer must know exactly what he wants to say. If you have nothing to say and boldly want to say it, then all the words in the dictionary will not suffice.
Do not count a, of, the, and, etc. Averaging the number of words in a line is OK.
Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times boldly goes where no one else in the mainstream press will go; he criticizes his own by quoting Chris Hodges and Eric Hoffer. And gives new meaning to the word “collective farm”. Too bad the rest of the mainstream collectivized corporate press doesn’t have such courage:
A Pulitzer Prize winner, [Chris] Hedges knows a lot about war and war-related death. He was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. He covered the Balkans and the Middle East, including the first Gulf War, where he was captured by the Iraqis. He also covered Central America. He is a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School.
I will not try to paraphrase Hedges’ eloquence. I will quote him at length:
“I learned early on that war forms its own culture. The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug. ... It is peddled by mythmakers - historians, war correspondents, filmmakers, novelists and the state. ... The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living.
“And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those who have the least meaning in their lives, the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the legions of young who live in splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world, are all susceptible to war’s appeal.”
Hedges indicts his colleagues in the press for being co-conspirators in the celebration of war:
“It is hard, maybe impossible, to fight a war if the cause is viewed as bankrupt. The sanctity of the cause is crucial to the effort. The state spends tremendous time protecting, explaining and promoting the cause. And some of the most important cheerleaders of the cause are the reporters. This is true in nearly every war. During the Gulf War, as in the weeks after the September attacks, communities gathered for vigils and worship services. The enterprise of the state became imbued with religious aura. We, even those in the press, spoke in the collective.”
And once again, for auld lang syne, we return to Bill Adler’s seminal work, First Mom: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Bush:
If ever again a minister asks those of us who have perfect families to please raise their hands, mine will go up in a minute… My children have had only minor problems. They haven’t had any real problems.
(Among their unreal problems have been looting a savings and loan, an unusually nasty and messy divorce, influence peddling, addictions to drugs, alcohol and serial lying, DUI arrests, fixing elections, illegal wiretapping of American citizens, revoking the right of habeas corpus, the torture of prisoners, failure to perform military duty, negligent slaughter of a major American city and the launching of an unlawful, unnecessary, preemptive war of choice resulting in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Oh, yeah — and cruelty to animals.)
Here, for your holiday enjoyment, is another selection from Bill Adler’s First Mom: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Bush:
What convinced George W. Bush to run for president? According to Time magazine, it happened at a prayer service with his family in Janary 2000.
”Pastor Mark Craig started preaching about duty, about how Moses tried to resist God’s call, and the sacrifice that leadership requires. And as they sat there, Barbara Bush leaned over to the son who has always been most like her and said, ‘He’s talking to you, George.’”
In response to Jerry’s last post, I offer up this fascinating fact from the home-front.
Did you think that Hoover Hogs, like those other hogs, the Delays and the Bushes, only lived in places down South? Turns out they’re trying to make a move North, specifically Illinois. We've heard there’s one there named Hastert already. So if you live in Illinois and see a Hoover Hog, better be quick on your feet. Turns out they do have something in common with the aforementioned well known political animals:
“They stink . . . and they urinate and defecate like any animal does when they’re stressed. They’re kind of nasty creatures if you ever get close.”
Not only that, they’re trying to move big time into other parts north. Hopefully we Democrats can do something to slow down this nasty crisis.
NSC adviser Stephen J. Hadley reports to Bush on Iraqi prime minister Maliki, who seems to suffer from a problem that Hadley ought to know a thing or two about:
The information [Maliki] receives is undoubtedly skewed by his small circle of Dawa advisers, coloring his actions and interpretation of reality.
Pennsylvanians got great news yesterday; the Republicans failed to hold the Pennsylvania House of House of Representatives resulting in Democratic control of the House, the first time that’s happened since 1994. We must confess, we weren’t shocked. However, it seems the Republican loser Shannon Royer apparently spent quite a bit of time making unnecessary preparations — those draperies ordered for the Royer office won’t be necessary after all. Congratulations to Barbara McIlvaine Smith.
Although the new term does not begin until January, Smith said she will head to Harrisburg on Monday. Smith was not invited to last week's orientation for 50 newly elected state representatives. Royer did attend, setting up his office, putting in for committee assignments and picking up an ID badge and stationery.
From The Guardian:
The White House, meanwhile, announced that George Bush had stopped using the slogan, “Stay the course,” while the president himself hammered a new buzzword: Change.“We’re constantly changing. The enemy changes, and we change. The enemy adapts to our strategies and tactics, and we adapt to theirs. We’re constantly changing to defeat this enemy,” he said, after visiting a Florida company making a device for sniffing out roadside bombs.
I don’t know, though. “Change” just doesn’t do it for me. How about “Keep on Suckin’ ?” Or send in your own suggestions. Come on, folks, let’s help George out here. He’s in deep PR trouble, and he’s the only president we’ve got.
A little while ago, I put up this excerpt from First Mom: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Bush:
Don’t ever lend your car to someone you gave birth to or they gave birth to.
…or else something like this might happen, as the First Mom knows all too well.
Unhappily, it turns out that the elder Mrs. Bush was pulling an Ann Coulter on us. I just came across this in a book of homilies called Life 101: "Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth." It was credited to the late humorist, Erma Bombeck.
Once again, a selection from a book that is on Mrs. Batard’s recommended list, Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer (1951), a work praised by Dwight Eisenhower. The author happened to have also been given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1983. Reagan also was an admirer of Ayn Rand, thus proving that senility came early, as many have previously speculated.
The genuine man of words himself can get along without faith in absolutes. He values the search for truth as much as truth itself. He delights in the clash of thought and in the give-and-take of controversy. If he formulates a philosophy and a doctrine, they are more an exhibition of brilliance and an exercise in dialectics than a program of action and the tenets of a faith. His vanity, it is true, often prompts him to defend his speculations with savagery and even venom; but his appeal is usually to reason and not to faith. The fanatics and the faith-hungry masses, however, are likely to invest such speculations with the certitude of a holy writ, and make them the fountainhead of a new faith. Jesus was not a Christian, nor was Marx a Marxist.
This post is directed to all current and former members of the John Birch Society. Damn! Who would have known? You guys were on to something after all. Great God Almighty, I’ve got to listen to some music to quiet my mind.
SHANGHAI, China (AP) — Capitalist icon Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, now has its first communist party branch.
The party branch, a Communist Youth League branch and a trade union were set up earlier this month at the outlet in the northeastern rust belt city of Shenyang, a staffer in the store’s communications department said, confirming Chinese media reports.
In view of the fact that no one here at Bad Attitudes seems to be blogging much, it being the Dog Days of Summer, at least for us old country boys, and, furthermore, in light of the coming heated campaigns that many of us will be working hard away at in the days to come, we pause to remind everyone of Ricky Santorum’s famous “Dog Days of Summer” interview in which Ricky famously said:
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —
AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.
Now that the Dog Days of Summer are here, we most certainly know what’s on Ricky’s little mind. As for this old country boy, I’m just dreaming of the days to come when we put that little bugger Ricky out on the porch where he belongs.
Yet another excerpt from First Mom: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Bush. This was the First Mom’s analysis of the Monica Lewinsky affair:
“Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.”
This cries out for close textual analysis in so many different directions that I hardly know where to begin. So I won’t.
Xymphora offers up a reassuring dose of reality for anyone planning on visiting an airport anytime soon. What will they think of next? Why bother with a plane when the bumbleheads in charge of security can take out the whole airport?
This political scam can continue as long as we agree to put up with it. Airline security is a joke, with the neanderthal screeners picking out the 90-year-old grandmothers for strip-searches, and the guards pouring all the chemicals, which supposedly explode on being mixed, into the same vats.
Another excerpt from First Mom: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Bush:
Don’t ever lend your car to someone you gave birth to or they gave birth to.
…or else something like this might happen, as the First Mom knows all too well.
Along the same lines as my post below, and from the same speech:
As Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would “discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists, it will confuse the Iraqi people.”
Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies — that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder — and invite new attacks on America. To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)
This pledge, incidentally, is a rare instance of Bush deviating into truth. He does indeed plan to leave the cutting and running to the next president, very much as a baby leaves the mess in his diaper for his mommy to clean up.
Haven’t tried it yet, but the idea is cute: combining tea with peach and mint, producing Impeachmint tea…
In the spirit of Independence Day and the spirit of Abbie Hoffman, and to try out some new software, we thought we might bring you (see below) part of a screenshot from a story that appeared on NPR about this time last year. Since Mrs. Batard and I live in a mostly Republican neighborhood, I decided this year to act like one on Independence Day. Therefore we will be lighting up our Republican Citronella “made to burn” flag candles that came straight from the shores of China. A tantalizing find from a bargain store that I bought for a buck each, complete with bamboo stake holders to place them in one’s yard. I would have bought more, but when I went back to stock up, the store was sold out. It appears that all these flag-waving Republicans enjoy burning faux American flags these days, witness the candles, so we decided to join in all the regalia and will be dutifully burning our flag candles this year on Independence Day. Anyone else found these in your neighborhood shops? If Abbie were around anymore, I wonder whether he would be enjoying the spectacle.
We learn from the New York Times:
But that fact has not muted the fury of Mr. Bush, his top aides and many members of Congress at the decision last week by The New York Times and other newspapers to disclose a centerpiece of that hunt: the Treasury Department’s search for clues in a vast database of financial transactions maintained by a Belgium-based banking consortium known as Swift.
Mr. Bush received a prolonged, standing ovation from the Republican crowd when he added, “There can be no excuse for anyone entrusted with vital intelligence to leak it — and no excuse for any newspaper to print it.”
Exceptions must be made, however, for presidents, vice-presidents, Karl Roves and all persons nicknamed “Scooter” who reveal to the press the identity of undercover CIA agents msrried to ambassadors guilty of lèse majesté in the first degree.
And while we’re at it, couldn’t the Great Pretender have spared a few kind words for the many newspapers which refused, on grounds of patriotism, principle, and simple decency to out Valerie Plame in their pages?
Bush’s leakers had to work all the way down their list of journalists to Robert Novak before finding a viper vicious enough to print their smear. And just in time, too. Below him lay coiled only Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Jeff Gannon.
From the New York Times account of Henry M. Paulson, Jr.’s, nomination to be Secretary of the Treasury. This is the job held at the beginning of Bush’s administration by Paul O’Neill, who proved unfit for the office. Being intelligent, honest and able, he stood out like a turd in the punchbowl.
Mr. Paulson formally accepted the job the next day, May 21, a fact Mr. Bush hid when asked at a news conference four days later whether he had any indication that Mr. Snow intended to leave soon.
“No, he has not talked to me about resignation,” Mr. Bush replied then, resorting to what the White House acknowledged Tuesday was an artful attempt to keep the move secret.
Or, as we say in English, a flat-out lie.
Renowned scientist Louis Guillette announced research today indicating that pesticide pollution is causing a reduction in penis size and increasing the numbers of male genital abnormalities due to chemical similarity to estrogen.
Surely some drug company will come out soon with a new pill to help us fix the problem. Just wondering though, could this lead us to the root of Curious George’s problem with little things like manliness? Is there a reason that Daddy Bush calls him “little George”? Was Barbara a lawn freak? Anybody know?
…today is the third anniversary of the Great Decider's Great Accomplishment. Here is a picture of him parading his package, or perhaps a pair of rolled-up socks, on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln:
While I work on getting my mojo back, just wondering if any readers are getting their daily dose of glurge? What’s glurge? According to Wikipedia:
Glurge is a neologism describing a certain kind of melodramatic, saccharine story. The defining characteristic of glurge is that, while its purpose is to make the reader happy, the feel-good aspect is so overdone that it is more likely to nauseate rather than to inspire. It often has a religious theme and is most commonly circulated via e-mail in the form of a chain letter. The term was coined in 1998 by regular Urban Legends Reference Pages forum contributor Pat Chapin as an onomatopoeia to communicate the feeling evoked by reading these missives.
Common themes in glurge are man’s relationship with God or children protected by angels or cute animals. While most glurge is of a Christian nature, glurge may also be associated with other religions, atheism, patriotism or nostalgia. Glurge may also be thinly veiled social criticism of the religious persecution some Christians perceive, though some argue that this is not true glurge, lacking as it does the cloying sentimentality that characterizes pure glurge.
In case you want any, here’s a link.
First, news out of India that shows that a number of people have died from complications of bird flu:
Nine poultry farmers from across India have killed themselves and many more face a grim future after the scare of bird flu wipes out demand for chicken in the country.
India has culled hundreds of thousands of chickens to contain several outbreaks of the H5N1 avian flu virus among poultry since February 2006. But the disease continues to resurface, mostly in the state of Maharashtra.
The bird flu scare has decimated the country’s US$ 7.8 billion poultry industry, which claims that losses in the past two months have reached US$ 2.2 billion, or Rs 8,000 crore. “Nine farmers have committed suicide after their businesses suffered huge losses,” says O P Singh, member of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC).
In the last 15 days, suicides have been reported from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the last state being the epicentre of the bird flu outbreak in India. “These are cases reported from areas close to cities and towns. One does not know how many more such cases in remote villages have gone unreported,” the NECC says in a press release.
But wait! There’s more. Here in the US it’s going to be deadly too, perhaps not just to chickens, but to some of our own farmer’s businesses. At least American farmers will be compensated for the value of the dead chickens, although it might hard to compete with corporate poultry farms thereafter. I suspect when this business is over that a good many small farmers will be out of the chicken business forever.
Free-ranging chickens and small, backyard flocks will be at greatest risk if deadly bird flu reaches the United States, officials said yesterday. They also said they would begin killing off flocks large or small if they are suspected of having the virus — even before tests are completed.
From lovely South Carolina, the home of the almost defunct Christian Coalition, and as we once mentioned, what we suspect might be the home of the Great Mother of all the Mullahs, comes word from The Barbecue and Politics Blog that a great peril exists in the land. Yes, this time it’s not the Communists, it’s the evil liberals, bent on destroying the soul and fabric of children everywhere. Thus a book to educate our little ones, appropriately titled by the Mullah Mothers of South Carolina as “Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!”
In response to this great crisis, we heark back to the days of the truly evil liberal endtimes, the 1960’s, and recreate the voice of one of the most famous evil liberals, Bob Dylan, who now enjoys comfortable commercial success due to what many consider the greatest coffee house of all time, Starbucks. Apologies to all you Italians!
We therefore offer up a more current version of one of his classics, The Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues, this time recreated here as ”The Talkin’ Evil Liberal Under the Bed Paranoid Magnolia Blues”
Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them Liberals they wus comin’ around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace. . .
So I run down most hurriedly
And joined my local Republican Party,
I got me a membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Yee-hoo, I'm a real Kool Aid Republican now!
Look out you Liberals!
Now we all agree with Jesus’ view,
He never said nothing bad about gay people too.
Gosh darn it, that must mean he was a liberal,
Why didn’t he read Leviticus?
Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Libs.
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed,
Looked in the sink, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ’em doing me no wrong. . .
I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Libs everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my TV set (Jerry Falwell says they’re there).
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain.
Them Libs caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones.
Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus blue stripes on the American flag!
That ol’ Betty Ross, she must have been a Northern Liberal.
Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be burned away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Sixty-Eight percent of them gotta go.
The other few percent are fellow Republicans . . . just like me.
Now Clinton, he’s a Chinese spy,
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy.
To my knowledge there’s just two men,
That’s really are true Americans: Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
I know for a fact they hate liberals cause they spoke out against Brokeback Mountain.
Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn't imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I'm sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don't find out anything . . . hmm, great God!
Maybe that damn George Bush started this whole bunch of crap.
How about yall don’t tell Mrs. Batard about this. She might get upset that there’s a liberal right there in her bed.
And oh yeah, yall slide on over to Amazon and give that book a one-star review.
Yes, Princess SparklePony has posted the childhood photos of Condi that you need to see.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Chrysler’s chief spokesman, Jason Vines, took on major oil companies Monday, saying they had failed to combat high gas prices, demonstrating outright greed.
Vines’ blog posting reflected rising tensions between auto makers and the oil industry over stagnating vehicle fuel economy and high gas prices. Auto makers have not generally commented publicly on friction with the oil industry.
“Big Oil would rather fill the pockets of its executives and shareholders, rather than spend sufficient amounts to reduce the price of fuel, letting consumers, during tough economic times, pick up the tab,” he wrote on an official Chrysler blog, thefirehouse.biz, which is open only to automotive journalists and industry analysts.
The piece was in response to an ExxonMobil ad alleging that the American automobile industry had not improved efficiency over the last 20 years, he said.
Gas prices have severely impacted the sales of sport utility vehicles in recent years, which are among the auto industry's most profitable produtcs [sic].
Everytime I hear the mass media trying to tell me something, the first alarm bell I hear ringing in my head is usually, “What are they trying to sell me this time?”. Aw shucks, I’m sure they’re right some of the time.
NEW YORK (FORTUNE) — Forgive the bad pun, but global warming has become a hot topic in the mass media.
ABC News spent two days focusing on climate change last month. Time ran a cover story headlined, “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.” HBO will show a documentary called “Too Hot Not to Handle” on Earth Day. Next month, Paramount plans to release “An Inconvenient Truth,” a theatrical film about former vice president Al Gore’s crusade to protect the earth from global warming.
These programs strike similar themes. They assert that the scientific debate over global warming is over, and they argue that action must be taken sooner rather than later to protect the Earth from catastrophe.
Global warming is “no longer a controversy,” said Terry Moran, an anchor on ABC’s “Nightline.” “Science tells us it’s a fact.”
Time writes: “The debate is over. Global Warming is upon us — with a vengeance,”
“All our lives will be affected and most of those effects will be very unpleasant,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton professor who gets plenty of airtime on HBO.
And, of course, Al Gore declares, “It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly and wisely.”
Some global warming skeptics, of course, will differ. There’s an alarmist tone to some of this coverage, particularly HBO’s show, which is produced by Hollywood activist Laurie David.
Then again, maybe it’s time to sound alarms. The truth is, it’s hard, if not impossible, for those of us who are not climate scientists to assess the scientific evidence.
Years before Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a lawyer during a Texas quail hunt, Cheney himself was on the receiving end of an errant shotgun blast. …
Cheney wasn’t hurt but he was miffed, Forrest told the Journal.
“He said, ‘you guys watch where you’re shooting!’ He was very offended,” Forrest said.
I don’t mean to be picking on Condi. At least, no more than on the rest of the lying, cheating, scumbag war criminals she works with.
Armando Iannucci, pretending to be Jack Straw, has some fun with her:
If America did go to war with Iran, which they won’t, but let’s just say for the sake of pointless argument they did, then would Britain go to war with Iran with them? Let me make it absolutely clear that Tony Blair has made it absolutely clear that this is on balance pretty unlikely.
I mentioned this to Condoleezza and she said: ‘How unlikely?’ and I said: ‘Pretty’, then, realising what I’d just said, blushed, and she said: ‘“Pretty” is good enough for me’ and walked back into her room, which just demonstrates the laser-like commitment to detail this marvellous politician exudes at all times. As Condoleezza left, the faint scent of peach blossom lingered in the air, a too-quickly dispersing waft of fragrance hanging like a cloud of hope in the night-time hotel corridor of wartorn central Baghdad. I took to my own bed thoroughly satisfied. With her answer.
To my mind, Condoleezza is not nearly as objectionable as her predecessor. For one thing, she’d have to be a lot smarter to be as scary as Powell. Only her sycophants call her smart. Everyone else can see that she’s the Clarence Thomas of the White House: window dressing, adopted by the right as evidence of the big tent, and kept on as long as she mouths the right platitudes. She’s a front, like the President himself. And his idol, Ronnie.
Powell, on the other hand, still has supporters, amazingly enough. He’s much the better politician: he sees the ship sinking and deserts in time. Then he dispatches surrogates to try to shore up his reputation, with an eye on future Presidential campaigns. Sure, he seems to be saying, I lied, blatantly and egregiously, in my UN presentation. And yes, I knew I was lying at the time. But, hey, I was just being a good soldier. It’s like when I helped to cover up the My Lai massacre. The war I helped to start is not my fault; the hundred thousand dead are not my responsibility. And some people believe him.
But the whole Condi thing is really incidental to Armando’s point:
There is as yet no reason to go to war with Iran because they have not provided us with one. And even if they did, would we spot it? You see, they’re so devious, this Iranian regime, that they would be perfectly capable of hiding the very reasons we should go to war with them. So devious, in fact, that this is exactly why a lot of people are suggesting we go to war with them. Which is why I think we should counter their bluff by not falling for it. It’s an argument I’m more than happy to put to the Americans or something approximating to it, anyway. I’ve already mentioned it to Condoleezza Rice and she’s said it’s certainly an interesting point of view, so I think I’m making some headway there.
I would normally let my esteemed conservative colleague Jon Swift or Jesus General handle this, but this one I’ve got to do myself. With less than two weeks before the most important holiday in the Christian tradition, not one person at any store I visited today said Happy Easter, or even Merry Easter to me. In fact, they didn’t even say Happy Holidays. I’m one of those who thinks Good Friday counts as a Holy Day, or Christian holiday, or whatever.
What’s wrong with these people that call themselves Christians? Surely they’d be up on their high horses about this obscene slander of Christianity by the business world. Target, Wal-Mart, Jiffy Lube, Burger King, McDonalds, I went to them all. From nary a one of them have I heard Happy Easter. I’m also sure that I would have heard about it if Jerry Falwell or Oral Roberts or Benny Hinn had made a fuss about how everywhere you go in this nation these days, no one bothers to tell you Happy Easter when you shop. It’s a national disgrace I tell you. I’m beginning to wonder if all these people who call themselves Christians are nothing but a bunch of fakers. Well, anyway, the Easter Bunny isn’t coming to our house this year anyway, because our sweet Mabel already did him in.
I once read that Woody Guthrie hated the friend of HUAC, Burl Ives, and for good reason. Woody also couldn’t stand a song that Ives sang and was famous for, “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”. Woody somehow thought it was a song used by old perps to entice young boys away from home. [Wikipedia says it’s so, but I’m not convinced.]
Well, I’ll forgive Woody for his indiscretions and bigotry, par for the course for the times. I’m sure Woody would be more enlightened today. However, I do revel in the fact that Tom Delay is leaving Sugar Land. Yes, Delay is doing the perp walk, leaving the town of Sugar Land, which surely must be where the “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” lies.
DeLay, who will turn 59 on Saturday, did not say precisely when he would step down, but under Texas law he must either die, be convicted of a felony, or move out of his district to be removed from the November ballot. DeLay told Time magazine that he is likely to change his official residence from Sugar Land, Tex., to Alexandria by the end of May. He said he informed President Bush of his decision yesterday afternoon.
I probably should wait until the story shows up, but I can’t resist. The Washington Post just announced in their headlines (no story yet) that:
Delay to Resign From Congress: Texas Republican and former House majority leader announces his retirement rather than face a re-election fight that appears increasingly unwinnable.
That stuff always worked for me too!
OK, it’s up. Hopefully it’s just the beginning.
There’s plenty out there to fuel paranoia, but this story should set off some neurons in the brains of true American patriots:
In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie “Minority Report,” one North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air — close enough to identify faces....
Let us reflect on the scriptures:
Mark 12:41–44. 41: And he sat down over against the treasury, and beheld how the multitude cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42: And there came a poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. 43: And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all they that are casting into the treasury: 44: for they all did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
What better example of the poor widow and Christian piety than Katherine Harris, who reminds us via this article in the Orlando Sentinel of her steadfast faith in the Lord:
Harris makes reference to a poor, pious widow in a biblical parable, saying she, like the widow, was “willing to take this widow’s mite … and put everything on the line.”
While Avedon at The Sideshow showcases the latest Bra of the Week, we here at Bad Attitudes work harder to find something more useful — something you can put in your wallet and that’s free. We hope you get to enjoy using it.
The Smoking Gun brings us an interesting travel document in which Dick Cheney gives directions to the Five Star Hotels about his preferences. We might note that sparkling water is only required if Mrs. Cheney is present. We can only assume Dick is still sticking with the hard stuff, probably a requirement for those who are so intellectually challenged such that Fox News is the only channel worth watching.
I knew that outsourcing was the rage, but I didn’t know until today how far we have yet to go. Please don’t tell the Republican legislator in South Carolina responsible for this about the last civilized country which tried a similar scheme. It might break his heart to know that he’s stealing ideas from the country which brought us
French Freedom Fries.
South Carolina could contract with foreign countries to house inmates convicted of drug-related offenses or crimes related to the sexual abuse of children under a bill introduced this afternoon in the S.C. House.
From Jack Abramoff’s interview in next month’s Vanity Fair:
“The exposure of my lobbying practice, the absurd amount of media coverage, and the focus — for the first time — on this sausage-making factory that we call Washington will ultimately help reform the system, or at least so I hope.”
NBC cut away in the middle of its live coverage of George W. Bush’s press conference this morning, no doubt stifling a yawn. I, of sterner stuff, surfed over to ABC and hung on till his last words. Like so much that had gone before, they were lies: “Appreciate the opportunity to visit with you all,” the Great Kidder said. “Look forward to future occasions.”
But occasionally truth did rear its ugly head, as here:
Q: Will there come a day — and I’m not asking you when, not asking for a timetable — will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq.
And here, although he was talking about illegal immigration rather than illegal wiretapping:
When you make something illegal that people want, there’s a way around it, around the rules and regulations.
Cheney’s approval rating is down to 18 percent, leading one to wonder what kind of person could still be drinking his Kool-Aid. Stop wondering, one. This comes, word for word, from a letter that ran yesterday in our local weekly, The Lakeville Journal:
Your obviously biased question regarding the shooting accident involving the vice president prompts me to reply.
Would I go quail hunting with Dick Cheney? I would be honored to be invited and would go without a worry. He is an experienced hunter, has served our country well for decades and is highly intelligent.
Would you go riding in a car I drove? My record includes a fatality, more than one speeding ticket, and (most recently) a totaled car and more than 40 stitches in my head. But find me one person afraid to ride with me. The point: accidents happen …
A five-star hotel in the Indian capital is playing host to a special team that is part of US President George Bush’s security entourage — “some 65 dogs that are referred to as “officials”.
The specially trained dogs were flown in as part of the multi-layer security for Bush and have been put up in deluxe rooms at the Le Meridien Hotel in central Delhi.
According to Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Nilotpal Basu, who gave the information to the media, the hotel authorities initially refused to accommodate the four-legged “officials”, saying they did not have provisions for accommodating animals.
“But the US officials apparently insisted that they were not dogs, but skilled security ‘officials’ and no one should call them dogs,” Basu told reporters at Parliament House.
“These dogs cannot be called animals. They can be addressed either by their ranks such as sergeant, major, etc. And the hotel staff had to accept it,” he said.
Today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times editorializes by detailing another instance of Orwellian language in our political system.
That the United States Senate has a body called the Intelligence Committee is an irony George Orwell would have truly appreciated. In a world without Doublespeak, the panel, chaired by GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, would be known by a more appropriate name — the Senate Coverup Committee.The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee does seem to be properly named, at least by its acronym — HELP!
While the left blogosphere goes berserk about Dick Cheney’s little hunting accident, I’m left wondering what the buzz is all about. I mean come on guys, there’s graft, corruption, malfeasance in abundance and half of the left blogosphere is all in a dithers about Cheney being a sorry shot; not nearly to the point that the Right Winger nutjobs did about Bill Clinton’s just as unimportant little dalliance with the lady in the blue dress, but come on guys, give it a break and let’s move on. I mean after all, doesn’t anyone remember that the late great Hunter S. Thompson shot his assistant back in 2000 in a similar accident?
What I really want to know is, who let Cheney get ahold of Hunter’s stash?
What Bush really meant when he said he wanted to end our dependence on foreign oil. Very funny.
Last night Cindy Sheehan was arrested because she didn’t wear appropriate clothing to Congress. Doesn’t it make you feel safe and secure knowing that the fashion police are out in full force these days? I suppose they’re out in full force everywhere the President goes.
It appears most of the ladies who appeared with and before Congress last night did in fact wear their saucy red dresses. We are certainly well aware that reading has been on the decline in this country, but we weren’t aware that it had become so deeply esconced even into the nation’s highest halls. What might be the cause of this red dress phenomenon? The only conclusion I can make is that someone is seriously misreading that little hallowed piece of paper that we used to call the Bill of Rights, sometimes known as the Constitution of the United States of America.
At any rate, let us remind Congress, and especially the ladies that “red dress” is NOT in this sentence:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Knowing that the government is monitoring peace activists all over the country gives one pause as to what they’re trying to “protect” — certainly not free speech or national security. However, a group in Cleveland, Ohio seems to have come up with a nifty idea intended to turn the tables on the watchers. Link here (you’ll have to make up an age and zip code to read all of it). I hope this idea catches on. If so, go out and buy a trench coat, black sunshades, and get a group together and join in on the fun. Go ahead, let your body be used for lewd purposes, like fake spying. After all, if they fuss about the get up, you can just quote Mata Hari: “Harlot, yes. But traitor? Never!”
The watched became the watchers Monday.
Trench coats and shades. The surreptitious passing of a mysterious black briefcase. Cameras and binoculars focusing on — none of your business.
Someone singing the refrain to “Secret Agent Man.”
It was guerrilla theater staged outside the Celebrezze Federal Building about 7:30 a.m. by the Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition (NOAC).
Some two dozen members of NOAC and other groups affiliated with the coalition dressed in exaggerated spy gear to protest government surveillance of a NOAC meeting in Cleveland last November, and similar monitoring of other peace groups, including the Quakers.
Hence, “Operation Turn the Tables,” as one sign read near the man wearing a CIA — “Citizens Intelligence Agency” — jacket.
“Google This!” another sign dared.
NOAC member Sarah Morton said the demonstration was intended to plant a covert tongue in a very serious cheek — matching a perceived government gaffe with an equally ludicrous gesture. To “make people think about the ridiculousness of this federal action,” as Morton said.
The “spies” were bracketed by Homeland Security cars parked behind them, and security keeping a watchful eye in front of them from the building on East Ninth Street and Lakeside Avenue.
Peering back at them through comically fake glasses, under a wide-brimmed fedora matching her tan trench coat, Penny “Peacenik” (her term) Allen, of Cleveland Heights, said of the recent government surveillance, “I can’t imagine why they feel we’re threatening enough to spy on us.
No doubt I am late to this one, but the first minute and a half of this is hilarious.
As many of you know, Joe Bageant is writing a book with, let us say, a somewhat provocative title. It’s that pesky little word at the end that may mean that the book might not show up on the family book table at Barnes and Noble or Borders —and it sure ain’t gonna make it into Wal-Mart.
While shopping at the almost out of date cheapskate food store this weekend, lo and behold, but what did I find? Bingo markers! Not just any old bingo markers, but special bingo markers, made especially for the little old lady crowd that loves to go to the church bingo games.
I just gotta ask one simple question? Are they going to let me carry Joe’s book into church when it’s published?
From a page straight out of Orwell’s 1984 comes this amazing story of the new “Mayberry RFD”. Read it, but put on your tinfoil hat first.
In a news article in today’s NY Times, Rep. Bob Ney is described as a victim of circumstances in the Jack Abramoff scandal. That seems to be par for the course for the media these days and ordinarily, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. However, here’s what sets my belly on fire:
“I’ve had Democrats say to me that they feel badly for Bob,” said Representative Ted Strickland, Democrat of Ohio.
Some results, assuming of course that the numbers are accurate, are startling, but intuitively reasonable:
73, 37: Percentage approval rating of Bill Clinton the day after impeachment and George W. Bush in November, respectively.
37: Percentage of Russians today who approve of the direction their country took under Stalin.
2,225: Number of U.S. prisoners serving life sentences with no parole for crimes they committed while juveniles.
12: Number of prisoners serving such sentences in all other countries worldwide.
Others are somewhat non-intuitive, at least at first:
50: Percentage of all music on Venezuelan radio that must be homegrown, according to a new law.
50: Percentage of the homegrown music that must also be “traditional.”
-8: Change since 1996 in the percentage of all Latin Americans who say democracy is the best form of governance.
+14: Change in Venezuela.
Of course, that might be related to this statistic as well:
2/3: Portion of its currency reserves that Venezuela says it transferred from U.S. banks to Swiss banks last fall.
And finally a pair of Katrina-related stats:
22,000,000: Tons of hurricane-related waste still waiting to be hauled away in Louisiana in mid-November.
8,500,000: Tons of waste produced by New York City each year.
Let’s get controversial again. Real old time Republicans should find this one especially interesting.
Some will call it a political ploy, others will call it laudatory, but there Mr. Bush goes again, exceeding the scope of Presidential power and authority:
In a directive sent to all Medicare drug plans over the weekend, the Bush administration said they “must take immediate steps” to ensure that low-income beneficiaries are not charged more than $2 for a generic drug and $5 for a brand-name drug. In addition, it said insurers must cover a 30-day emergency supply of drugs that beneficiaries were taking prior to the start of the new program. This requirement for a “first fill” of any prescription applies to all beneficiaries, regardless of income.
Can anyone explain how this action differs from the action taken by Harry Truman in 1952, in which he ordered the seizure of the steel mills? Has there been any law enacted giving Mr. Bush the authority to order private corporations to do something that they are not contractually obligated to do? A host of private companies run these plans; why aren’t their stockholders howling? I suppose they have decided not to look the gift horse in the mouth. Legal references here, here, and from the Harry Truman library:
Fifty years later, the famous Steel Seizure Case continues to raise haunting questions about the scope of Presidential power, even during times of war. Among the topics to be discussed is the potential application of the Steel Seizure Case to President Bush's current decision-making with respect to dealing with accused terrorists within the United States, as well as possible military action in Iraq.
Who could resist a headline like “U.S. Bars Spain’s Sale of Planes to ‘Antidemocratic’ Venezuela?” And sure enough:
In rejecting Spain’s request, American officials said the sale amounted to support for an oppressive government that threatened to spread instability.
“Despite being democratically elected, the government of President Hugo Chávez has systematically undermined democratic institutions, pressured and harassed independent media and the political opposition, and grown progressively more autocratic and antidemocratic,” the [United States] embassy said in a statement.
Try this at home, kids, only substitute Bush for Chávez. Works pretty well, huh? Wait a minute, though. Chávez was democratically elected twice by landslides while Bush had to be levered into office twice, first by the Supreme Court and then by the GOP Uncle Tom who fixed the election in Ohio.
Bill Doolittle’s powerful lamentations in a previous post encouraged me to write this. If you’ve ever wondered how and why TV censorship got started, this article will open up your mighty eyes. Read it and weep.
During the battle over “The Last Temptation of Christ,” Wildmon claimed victory in another controversy when the creator of the “Mighty Mouse” cartoon agreed to cut 3 1/2 seconds of an episode that Wildmon had protested. The creator, Ralph Bakshi, had fallen under suspicion because of his role in making an X-rated animated feature, “Fritz the Cat.” However, Bakshi had also won an award for “Mighty Mouse” from Action for Children’s Television. In the disputed episode, Wildmon charged Bakshi with portraying Mighty Mouse as experiencing drug-induced exhilaration after inhaling the petals of a flower. Mighty Mouse had sniffed cocaine, Wildmon contended. Bakshi defended his cartoon, insisting that Wildmon had interpreted the scene out of context. However, Bakshi said he was removing the scene because of his concern that the controversy might lead children to believe that what Wildmon was saying was true. Wildmon interpreted the cut differently. “This is a de facto admission that indeed Mighty Mouse was snorting cocaine”. Wildmon said. “We have been vindicated.”
A month after his defeat in the Mississippi House race, Wildmon made another effort to win backing for his advertiser boycott. He met with the Reverend Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia. Falwell, the leader of The Moral Majority, was then at the peak of his career as a spokesman for the movement of conservative church groups known as the “Religious Right.” As Wildmon later told the story, he held up before Falwell a dollar bill. “The networks don’t care about your moral values, but they do care about this,” Wildmon said. According to Wildmon, Falwell didn’t require much persuading. “Great,” he said. "Let’s go with it." Wildmon said later that he believed he had reached a turning point. As he sat in his motel room that night, he was sure of victory. “Now I have the numbers,” he recalled thinking. “Now I have the clout. After three years of wandering in the wilderness, I’ve found a road to the Promised Land.”
Two months later, in February 1981, Wildmon announced the organization of the Coalition for Better Television (CBTV), the group that would bring him national recognition. His alliance with Falwell enabled Wildmon to claim that CBTV represented 200 organizations with a combined membership of over three million. These three million people were prepared to back a boycott of the three advertisers who sponsored the worst programming on television, he announced. The targets of the boycott were to be selected following three months of monitoring by 4,000 members of the coalition. The monitors would rate the offending shows on the basis of “sex incidents per hour,” scenes of violence and uses of profanity.
For all of us who have ever been called “trailer trash”, here’s a story to warm the cockles of our hearts:
The estranged wife of the publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was arrested Thursday and charged with defiant trespass after refusing to leave her husband’s Shadyside residence.
Pittsburgh police said they were called to the home of Richard Mellon Scaife, at 5201 Westminster Place, at about 7 p.m. Thursday. Mr. Scaife called police because his wife, Ritchie Scaife, was pounding on doors and peeking in windows.
When police arrived, Mrs. Scaife, who was in the back yard, was told to leave. She did, but only for about 15 minutes, police said. When she returned, she refused officers’ orders to leave and was arrested. She was charged with defiant trespass and released on her own recognizance.
Millions of Americans own SUVs that have rugged ‘off-road’ capabilities, as illustrated in TV commercials wherein these vehicles climb mountains, ford rivers, run down and kill wildebeests, etc. Unfortunately, most of these SUV-owning Americans live in the suburbs, which means that if they ever actually did drive off the road, they would be on somebody’s lawn. What these people need is Spray-on Mud, which comes in a convenient can. Now, when you return home from an outing with your car all muddied up, your neighbors will think you were driving through rugged back country, even though you were actually parked at Mattress Outlet World
Some time ago I got the idea of tracking down and memorializing various unsung heroes whose work had made significant contributions to America’s march toward idiocy. The author of “Winstons Taste Good, Like a Cigarette Should.” The designer who put that first small bump on the tail fin of the Cadillac. The inventor of the brassiere. That sort of thing.
Nothing ever came of this but my eye was nevertheless caught by the recent obituary of Joseph L Owades, a biochemist who discovered the enzyme which made it possible to brew light beer. In a civilized society this would have caused him to be barred from life from the brewing industry and thenceforth shunned by all decent men. Here it caused Miller Lite.
No very bright future can be possible for a nation with a citizenry so simple that it can be persuaded, in the tens of millions, to buy a fluid scientifically stripped of every good thing but alcohol that distinguishes beer from pasteurized swill.
If anyone thought Bill Doolittle was off the mark when he wrote the post entitled The Love that Dares Not Low Its Name, The Seattle Times has got some news for you. You’re wrong. It turns out that the Seattle Times is discovering the truth about the whole sordid story. They say that pure capitalism works best in the national media. Sure, right up my ass, and yours too.
As I look back at the year in news, it’s clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses.
Tha’s the conclusion I reach after reviewing a new list of the year’s top local news stories. Only this list is not the usual tedious recounting by news editors or pundits who profess to speak for you readers. This is the people’s-choice list.
It’s not a survey of what news you say you read.
It’s what you actually read.
By tallying clicks on our Web site, we now chart the most read stories in the online edition of The Seattle Times. Software then sorts the tens of thousands of stories for 2005 and ranks them. Not by importance, impact or poetic lyricism, but by which stories compelled the most people to put finger to mouse, click, open and, presumably, read.
Which brings me back to sex with horses. The story last summer about the man who died from a perforated colon while having sex with a horse in Enumclaw was by far the year’s most read article.
What’s more, four more of the year’s 20 most clicked-upon local news stories were about the same horse-sex incident. We don’t publish our Web-traffic numbers, but take it from me — the total readership on these stories was huge.
It being that time of the year between Christmas and New Years when hardly anyone does much of anything, nor are they expected to — unless you count the requirement that we must go shop till we drop — allow me to reflect upon the late Gershon Legman — more on Legman here — , so valiantly defended here by our Master of Ceremonies in two almost forgotten blog posts.
Now I must admit that Gershon Legman qualifies as one of those souls best described as a mystery wrapped in an enigma with a strong distaste for the Riddler. In that regard, while researching the dear departed, I ran across a blog run by a Dr. Fredric Wertham, MD, who has a strong penchant for quoting the irascible Mr. Legman. Therefore, in the spirit of the season, or in spite of it, allow me to offer what must surely be a heretofore unknown quote by Mr. Legman, sometimes affectionately remembered as Roger-Maxe de la Glannege. After all, we must offer up something at this time of the year and Dr. Wertham’s transcription of Mr.Legman’s expository prose seems quite appropriate for the season:
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT: THE MURDER-MYSTERY READER IS A LYNCHER. A solid citizen by day, by night he rides hooded to watch human beings die. He may, certainly does, think of himself as a mere, harmless literary escapist. He may actually believe that his nightly passion to murder the murderer of his own creating adds up to nothing more than pleasant, law-abiding, purely, meaningless recreation — light entertainment, and all that. He may imagine that the mental torture, the anxiety, the pounding heart and terror (jargonicé, ‘suspense’), the desperate twistings & turnings, and the final, ingeniously contrived humiliation and death of the murderer — three hundred violent and excited pages of it — all these, he may imagine, are no part of his interest.
Yet remove from the murder-mystery this element of sadism — of manhunt and lynch — and what is left? A flabby mouth of greed, mistaken identity, or vernacular chit-chat. Wholly without attraction for nine in every ten readers, the non-lethal mystery does not sell well, is not read, and is now therefor seldom encountered. The ‘mystery’ is the murder-mystery. And the murder-mystery reader wants blood, death, and lynching. But not the blood of the ‘victim,’ whose unwept death — presumably the whole justification for the protracted lynch that follows — is lackadaisically presented on page one as a fait accompli, an utterly routine knock-down-&-drag-out bit of ritual. The murder-mystery reader wants the murderer’s blood.
And again, where is the difference? The murderer may have killed from the noblest of motives. His ‘victim’ may have been a blackmailer, a drug-peddler (of anything but alcohol), a sadist (sic), a human ghoul. It may all even have been a mistake. But what are the reader's motives? He has none. He is quite calm. His interest in law & order is infinitesimal — so much so, that he enthroned the murder-book as our prime literary fare (one third of all fiction printed) in the midst of the illegal, nation-wide whiskey-jag of the 1920’s. The murders that he avenges are written to order for him. Wholly synthetic, they would not exist at all but for his endless thirst for blood. He picks up his nightly ‘mystery,’ prepared to lynch down whatever miserable murderer his author chooses to present. He is unprejudiced. He has no personal grudge. He will kill anybody. He kills for pleasure.
We always knew that Rummy was on the Halliburton payroll and was secretly working for them, but now we have it confirmed by photographic evidence, courtesy of Reuters. What I want to know is, who paid for the trip?
This illegal wiretapping thing goes deep. When the president on Sunday night said, “I also want to speak to those of you who did not support my decision to send troops to Iraq: I have heard your disagreement, and I know how deeply it is felt,” I didn’t know he meant it literally.
ABOVE: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, center, in March 2003 hands President Bush a note reading “Mr. President: This is Uff’s weekly call to Mom,” as Secretary of State Colin Powell looks on.
It looks like the Judge in the Dover Monkey case just made monkeys out of a few lying assholes. Although we don’t have the opinion yet, this excerpt seems to indicate that the judge himself intelligently designed a stunning legal opinion:
“The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy,” Jones wrote. “It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.”
UPDATE: The Opinion of the Court
Five Times Deferred, America’s Number Two Chickenhawk Finally Sees Combat! (Hint: He’s the one wearing the huge American flag on his fake soldier suit.)
The highly scripted day unfolded exclusively behind concrete barriers, barbed wire, armed guards and the other measures to ensure his safety, and came as insurgents broke the relative calm since the national election on Thursday with a string of attacks in central and northern Iraq that left at least nine people dead.
The photoshopped picture on the cover of this week’s Newsweek shows an unhappy Bush-faced homunculus trying to escape from a giant bubble. The article inside the magazine gives a more accurate impression, though. Dubya, likes it just fine inside his warm and cozy little bubble, thank you very much.
Lots of good quotes from frightened, anonymous aides in the article. Here’s one I especially liked:
“There is this enormous pressure to change, but he’s going to resist that,” says a longtime adviser. “He wants solid people who don’t overrespond in a crisis.”
The street price for Rush Limbaugh’s drugs of choice must be much higher than what he was paying for them at the doctor’s office, witness his latest shameless marketing ploy. Drug addicts will do anything for that next fix.
On Friday, Limbaugh announced his “Adopt a Soldier Program’. This involves soliciting money from listeners to pay for subscriptions to the Limbaugh letter and Rush 24/7 that will be “given” to the soldiers. Each listener can “adopt” as many soldiers as they wish who will each get a subscription. The donor pays the discounted price of $49.95 for each soldier.
Clearly this is a tasteless marketing ploy. Rush and Premiere Radio Networks are fattening their coffers by exploiting the generosity of listeners with the use of our military troops as props. There is not one thing stopping Limbaugh and Premiere from simply giving the subscriptions away. Rush 24/7 amounts to accessing content on rushlimbaugh.com. This content is produced and costs Premiere the same no matter how many people are consuming it. The Limbaugh Letter amounts to a handful of printed pages. If Rush and Premiere Radio Networks wished the troops to experience the generous and supportive spirit of the show, they would simply provide this to the troops instead of making it a function of how many Rush listeners are willing to pony up $49.95 per soldier.
From Editor and Publisher:
Appearing on NPR’s “Morning Edition” Friday, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller got into a couple of heated exchanges with interviewer Renee Montagne, mainly over Scooter Libby's request that he be identified as a “former Hill staffer” rather than as an administration official.
Miller denied it, making the distinction that “I agreed to listen to the information in that way, and that's all,” and might have asked him to change his ID later. She said this was “very common in Washington.”
Clearly surprised, the interviewer asked if she does this frequently. Miller then replied, ”No, I did not say I do it. I said it is often done in Washington, especially in the National Security area.”
By now even the slowest members of the class know what Bush does when competence breaks out in his administration. He kills it before it can spread. Still, the very length, breadth and depth of the necrology retains the power to shock.
In a fantastic stroke of brotherly love, we now learn that Israel plans to build a Christian theme park, which will probably be similar to one I blogged about earlier. Move it on over Mickey Mouse, the competition is heating up.
Officials in Israel say that out of about 2 million people who will realize their dream of visiting the Holy Land this year, more than half will be Christian. And among those, more than half will be Evangelical.
With that in mind, the Israeli ministry of tourism has gone public with a plan to build — in partnership primarily with American Evangelical churches — a sprawling Holy Land Christian Center on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, home to some of the most notable chapters in Jesus’ ministry. The center, to be built on approximately 125 acres that the Israeli government is offering free of cost, would be a Christian theme park and visitors’ center, one that would be particularly attractive to Evangelicals and other Christians who want to spend more time in the places where Jesus walked.
Highlights may include a Holy Bible Garden, full of plants and trees mentioned in the New Testament, and equipped with quiet sites for reflection and prayer. A Sea of Galilee Amphitheater will overlook the mouth of the Jordan River and hold 1,500-2,000 worshippers. And the park will have a Christian Experience Auditorium and a Multimedia Center. The center would also feature an online broadcast center, which would give religious leaders an opportunity to address their followers back home, live, near the tranquil blue waters of the Sea of Galilee (which today is considered a lake).
And moving on down, we don’t mean to be bearers of bad news, but this part of the story is going to be tough slogging.
And bowing to protests from Orthodox Jewish groups, the Christian partners will have to agree not to go out and proselytize to local Jewish Israelis.
Since baseball metaphors are supposedly the rage these days, here’s one for the playbooks.
After several years of being outshone by star traders, investment bankers stand to reap some of the biggest gains in Wall Street bonuses this year.
Bonus season on Wall Street is quickly approaching, the time of the year when investment banks determine how big their year-end bonus pools will be and how they will be divided.
Economically, the year-end bonus makes up most of a Wall Street professional’s compensation. Socially, the bonus — and the real estate, art and NetJets shares purchased with it — determines who will be the year’s Masters of the Universe. This season, despite a lackluster stock market, bonuses are forecast to be strong for a third consecutive year
but there is no joy in Mudville:
2005 is the biggest year ever for chief executives leaving their positions, according to a survey released Tuesday.
With 1,110 CEO departures so far, 2005 has already exceeded the dot-com-scarred year of 2000, which had previously held the record, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm.
In October, 96 CEOs departed their positions — up 113 percent from the year-ago period.
“One might think that being in a constant spotlight ever since the Enron and WorldCom scandals rocked the business world would persuade all CEOs to be on their best behavior,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“However, month after month we are reminded that there will always be a few bad apples to toss.”
... Jarhead succeeds as an exercise in gay metaphor. By emphasizing the male bonding rituals that go on between the troops, Jarhead is the gayest war film of all time.
Recipe for gayest war film of all time:
1. Combine macho homophobic comments of soldiers with showering together (loads of slapping of asses)
2. Mix in tight bonding (note the pairing-off of sniper teams) of often topless hard-bodied troops (even the stereotypical nerdy recruit is ripped)
3. Juxtapose with sub-theme of cheating by far-away girlfriends and wives (including one who is said to only wear her boyfriend’s military clothes and have a soldier fetish)
4. Equate shooting of gun with masturbation (x10!)
5. Add General who keeps saying he’s getting a hard on while speaking to the assembled male troops
6. Simulate gay group orgy to embarrass Sergeant
7. Climax film with scene about as close as you can get to a literal circle jerk (firing guns into the air until all their rounds are spent)
This film is comparing war with busting your gay cherry. Or, if you want to get all film-crit 101 with it: the sexualization of war. They’re all waiting for their first kill, to fire a shot, to do something, anything! And everything they do while waiting is highly sexualized. And then when it doesn’t come, when nothing happens, it’s like the biggest cock-tease in history.
From the Guardian UK.
Tony Blair repeatedly passed up opportunities to put a brake on the rush to war in Iraq, a failure that may have contributed to the country’s present anarchy, according to Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to Washington at the time, in his book DC Confidential, serialised in the Guardian from today.
He says Mr Blair failed to exploit his enormous leverage with Mr. Bush not only to secure a precious delay but to plan for postwar Iraq. “We may have been the junior partner in the enterprise but the ace up our sleeve was that America did not want to go it alone. Had Britain so insisted, Iraq after Saddam might have avoided the violence that may yet prove fatal to the entire enterprise.”
But Mr Blair did not have any appetite for bargaining with Mr Bush, according to Sir Christopher: “Tony Blair chose to take his stand against Saddam and alongside President Bush from the highest of high moral ground. It is the definitive riposte to Blair the Poodle, seduced though he and his team always appeared to be by the proximity and glamour of American power.”
“But the high moral ground, and the pure white flame of unconditional support to an ally in service of an idea, have their disadvantages. They place your destiny in the hands of an ally. They fly above the tangled history of Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Turkomen and Assyrian. They discourage descent into the dull detail of tough and necessary bargaining: meat and drink to Margaret Thatcher but, so it seemed, uncongenial to Tony Blair.”
From a story in the New York Times headlined, “White House Tries to Keep Distance from Leak Case,” which is kind of like, “Tongue Tries to Keep Distance from Mouth.”
“A White House that is aggressively on message is an unstoppable political tool,” said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant. “Just as the Clinton White House got itself back together in ’95 and after impeachment, this White House will get itself together, too.”
Whatever political problems the Libby indictment creates, he said, “It’s a long way from the Veep’s office to the Oval…”
That’s funny. I remember it as being right down the hall, next to the elevator.
The poll results are in! In a fair contest, Bad Attitudeans say they would prefer John Gotti as president of the U.S. over George W. Bush, 94 percent to 6 percent. Those numbers may explain why the brilliant Machiavellians Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are having themselves sent to prison, to be near the new center of power. Access is everything.
Fortunately, this computer is near the bathroom door.
I have a family doctor who checks everything (she’s got more of my blood than I do), and she’s decided I ought to undergo a colonoscopy. I’ve drunk the cherry-flavored magnesium citrate, which tastes pretty good. So I do about 3 minutes of the work that pays bills like hers, and then I go to the bathroom door. Repeat. A lot. So my mind drifts.
I liken my body to the White House. Is it, too, in the initial stages of a massive purge? Is Fitzgerald squeezing out all the fecal matter, step by step, to flush it into the sewers? Will it all go gently, will it be a spasming process, will some of the slime cling tenaciously to the bowels of the nation and require a gallon of PEG lavage solution? What's the GoLytely equivalent in getting rid of DC stoolies?
And what will our seat of government look like inside when we get a clear look? I can just about guarantee that my colon will be pinkly perfect. The oval office is more likely to show tortuosity. Then again, its polyps are obvious, the grand jury is doing a biopsy, and maybe the question is whether there is metastasis beyond the walls of the West Wing.
I can’t wait till it’s over and I know the results of Dr. Fitzgerald’s examination.
From Pottstown PA, get news that a fourteen year old girl is in danger of losing her arm because she was bitten by a copperhead snake.
Confirmed reports are also stating that an elderly gray lady in New York is in danger of losing her arm and having both of her legs literally being cut out from under her because she allowed slithering creatures to inhabit newsrooms.
At last report, the New York patient had not excised out all the poison and some observers say the patient retains very little chance of regaining her former strength.
We can only hope that our intrepid snake reporter in the field is on the story of the lady in New York and we anxiously await the next week to learn if there is any hope that the patients will recover.
Although as Wayne pointed out in the previous post, Tom Delay knows how to play the game, so did this guy.
Let’s hope smiling faces end up in the same beautiful places.
From Uncle Horn Head, we get a link to a story that had us up wondering all night. Can anyone check and see if this guy visited the White House lately? The profound memory loss that so many supposedly intelligent people seem to have been having lately has to have an explanation, and we certainly don’t want to rule out the paranormal.
Bank clerks in Moldova have been told not to make eye contact with customers after a string of robberies by a hypnotist.
The robber reportedly puts cashiers into a trance before making them hand over tens of thousands of pounds.
Local police said the criminal, who they believe is a trained hypnotist from Russia, begins talking to bank tellers and gradually hypnotises them.
He then gets them to give him money before bringing them back out of the trance and leaving them with no memory of handing over the cash, Russian media reported.
While trying to come up with something snarky this morning, I ran across this story in the NY Daily News, which did it for me.
An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.
“He made his displeasure known to Karl,” a presidential counselor told The News. “He made his life miserable about this.”
Bush has nevertheless remained doggedly loyal to Rove, who friends and even political adversaries acknowledge is the architect of the President's rise from baseball owner to leader of the free world.
As special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald nears a decision, perhaps as early as today, on whether to issue indictments in his two-year probe, Bush has already circled the wagons around Rove, whose departure would be a grievous blow to an already shell-shocked White House staff and a President in deep political trouble.
Asked if he believed indictments were forthcoming, a key Bush official said he did not know, then added: “I’m very concerned it could go very, very badly.”
“Karl is fighting for his life,” the official added, “but anything he did was done to help George W. Bush. The President knows that and appreciates that.”
With apologies to Lynard Skynard, we offer up a mystery from the Washington Post and suggest that the reporters get their noses to the pavement and dig a little deeper to root out the problem. Here at Bad Attitudes we’ve been complaining about that smell in Washington for some time, and we suggest that the problem has been festering for some time but has been particularly acrid over the last five years. We suggest that the reporters look more closely at the situation. The problem is literally right under their noses.
D.C. health inspectors say they have identified the source of a mysterious stench that drifted through the city recently: the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
WSSC officials disputed having a link to the odors that generated hundreds of complaints from D.C. residents. In an interview, they said that the agency had dumped only a small amount of material and that it was not responsible for the smell.
“There was not enough [waste] to create the widespread odors,” said Al Richardson, a commission spokesman. “It doesn’t support the argument for the widespread gas odor problem.”
For weeks, D.C. authorities had been trying to pin down the source of the stench, which was first noticed Sept. 28. Fire officials received more than 30 calls about gas leaks that day, primarily at large public buildings across Northeast Washington.
Scores of others called Washington Gas to report leaks. Residents said the smell reminded them of rotten eggs, propane, methane and skunks. Two schools were evacuated, and some residents and students complained of headaches and nausea.
Fire officials initially blamed the odor on a sewer leak in Capitol Heights or storm drains that had not been flushed by rainwater in several weeks. WSSC officials said at the time that the sewer leak was not to blame.
We’ve known all along that the Republicans want to cancel Christmas but until now we’ve underestimated the lengths to which they were willing to go to achieve their nefarious purpose. In a move calculated to make environmentalists the villain, the Forest Service says that environmental laws might preclude the White House from getting “approval” to cut the Christmas tree in time to have it at the White House for Christmas.
All we can say Virginia, is yes, the Republicans are trying to cancel that special day this year. But the answer to the other question is definitely no. He died a couple of years ago in a war.