Thursday, October 16, 2003

Those wacky Feds

Apparently some of the 9/11 Hijackers are alive and well and actually aren't hijackers or even terrorists.
Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well...FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged on Thursday that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.
We can't find Osama or Saddam or the weapons of mass destruction or that pesky White House leaker. (which way did he go, George?) Of course we can't identify the 9/11 hijackers correctly. Just another day in bizarro world. We are so far into the looking glass that nothing surprises me anymore.

Apparently Condo's love life (or lack thereof) is off limits.
Condoleezza Rice is a sticky subject at the Washington Post this week.

The paper has suspended "The Boondocks," a comic strip populated by cynical,
politically aware African-American children, because of a series of jokes
about the national security adviser's personal life. (You can read the
banned comic in this newspaper.)

On Tuesday, cartoonist Aaron McGruder had one of his young characters
speculate: "Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly
loved, she wouldn't be so hell-bent to destroy it."

A rep for the Post, which won't be resuming the strip until Sunday, said:
"We had no way of knowing whether Mr. McGruder's assertion that Condoleezza
Rice had no personal relationship was true or not."

Rice's office didn't return a call yesterday.

The artist's rep told us yesterday, "Not a single other paper in the nation
chose to abort this week's strip."

Is Aaron really being mean? I think he's being compassionate. Just look at this woman's life.
For Rice—who has never married, has no siblings, and was orphaned just a few weeks before assuming her post—Bush and the job represent a very large part of her life, even by upper-level White House staff standards. She has a close circle of old friends and relatives, but most of them live down South or in California. She isn't on the Washington social circuit. Home is a sparsely furnished apartment in the Watergate complex. Entertaining means ordering takeout. Her primary off-hours companions seem to be George and Laura Bush.

Aaron's been on Condo's casebefore. Why all the fuss now?

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Howard Zinn has read my mind

This is exactly how I feel.
I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper, and feel that we are an occupied country, that some alien group has taken over. Those Mexican workers trying to cross the border--dying in the attempt to evade immigration officials (ironically, trying to cross into land taken from Mexico by the United States in 1848)--those Mexican workers are not alien to me. Those millions of people in this country who are not citizens and therefore, by the Patriot Act, are subject to being pulled out of their homes and held indefinitely by the FBI, with no constitutional rights--those people are not alien to me. But this small group of men who have taken power in Washington, they are alien to me.

I wake up thinking this country is in the grip of a President who was not elected, who has surrounded himself with thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water, the air. And I wonder what kind of world our children and grandchildren will inherit. More Americans are beginning to feel, like the soldiers in Iraq, that something is terribly wrong, that this is not what we want our country to be.

Something is horribly, horribly wrong--the straw has, long ago, broken the camel's back. There is no other choice but to kick the thugs in suits and their trained chimp out of the White House. Lighting candles and saying novenas is not going to cut it, my friend. We have to exert ourselves and break a sweat on this one. Wake up your loved ones as if your house was on fire. Wake up your neighbors as if their house was on fire. WAKE UP!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I feel I should sympathize with David Brooks, but he really doesn’t make it easy.

To begin with I really don’t enjoy the whole pennant thing right now. It’s not that I don’t like the Cubs as a team. It would be nice for them if they won. But on game days I go out of my way to avoid Wrigleyille. I realize that not all Cubs fans are drunken ex-fratboy yuppies with their overdressed girlfriends swishing on their arms. I realize that most people don’t urinate against buildings and loot and block traffic. But that contingent of sports fans pretty much ruins the whole Cubs experience for me. So as we approach a potential pennant victory, I find myself wishing I could be in another city till the whole thing is over.

In fact here is exactly how I feel, just substitute Cubs and Chicago for Sox and Boston.

So yeah, Brooks does have a point when he says this:
It occurs to me that some of my friends in the Southwest may be watching the series on TV, and may be alarmed by some of the behavior they are seeing on the field and elsewhere. They may think it impolite to grab a 72-year-old man by the head and toss him to the ground, or throw hard objects at people's faces, or hold dueling press conferences calling each other names.

He is of course speaking of this incident at the Yankees-Red Sox game on Saturday.

But I can’t help wondering two things. The first, since when has professional sports been a model of civility and decorum? The second; under what rock does Brooks live? I’d wager it’s a giant gilded one in the manicured garden of a gated community. The only thing wrong with it is that it’s not in Tucson.
My friends should remember that the Yankees-Red Sox series is a contest between two Northeastern teams, and while the Northeast is no longer a particularly important region of the country — we haven't sent a person to the White House in 43 years — we do have a distinct way of doing things, which we cherish.

For example, while most people in the Southwest seek pleasure and avoid stress, we in the Northeast do not have that orientation. The place in their culture that is occupied by the concept "happiness" is occupied in our culture by the concept "cursing at each other."

I’m not going to defend idiots who think turning over a car is an acceptable form of celebrating victory. Nor am I going to make a case that the Northeast is a better place to live than the Southwest. I’m merely pointing out that drunken sports fans whoop it up after games have nothing to do with the red state blue-state polarization.

Reading this piece it’s hard to picture Brooks physically attending this game. Did he brave the stands holding a scented hanky to his nose the entire time? Or did he observe from the safety of his skybox, peering at the mayhem through his opera glasses? It’s not that I object to his snobbery. In many ways I am a snob. But I know enough not go to places where my snobbish sensibilities might be offended.

Brooks could have written a better piece than this. He could have written about sports and alcohol and rivalry. And I might have enjoyed reading it. But Brooks lives in a red and blue world where the antics of rabid sports fans are limited to one region of the country and thus condemn it to political irrelevancy. Others have pointed out Brooks’ peculiar form of color blindness so I won’t go into it.

Meanwhile, tonight is game six. Go Cubs and God help us.
Margaret Cho has a blog. Enjoy.
Aaron McGruder on Fresh Air today.