Friday, December 24, 2004

Shepards quake

And they're not the only ones.
...Jesus described his mission as being to "preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and to set at liberty those who are oppressed". He insisted that the social outcast be loved and cared for, and that the rich have less chance of getting into heaven than a camel has of getting through the eye of a needle. Jesus set out to destroy the imprisoning obligations of debt, speaking instead of forgiveness and the redistribution of wealth. He was accused of blasphemy for attacking the religious authorities as self-serving and hypocritical.

Giles Fraser has a great piece in the Guardian describing the Christ we were meant to follow: should be perfectly obvious to anyone who has actually read the Christmas stories that the gospel regards the incarnation as challenging the existing order. The pregnant Mary anticipates Christ's birth with some fiery political theology: God "has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly, he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty", she blazes. Born among farm labourers, yet worshipped by kings, Christ announces an astonishing reversal of political authority. The local imperial stooge, King Herod, is so threatened by rumours of his birth that he sends troops to Bethlehem to find the child and kill him. Herod recognised that to claim Jesus is lord and king is to say that Caesar isn't. Christ's birth is not a silent night - it's the beginning of a revolution that threatened to undermine the whole basis of Roman power.

Tender and mild my ass.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Just to put things into perspective...

As of 2004
• only 82 years have passed since women were finally granted the right to vote;
• 40 years since Congress passed the Civil Rights Act that outlawed sexual discrimination;
• 31 years since women got the right to choose a legal abortion;
• 18 years since the Supreme Court declared sexual harassment a form of illegal job discrimination;
• 10 years since the Violence Against Women Act passed;
• and just 7 years since the Supreme Court ruled that college athletics programs must involve roughly equal numbers of men and women to qualify for federal support.

This is from Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner's new book, The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy

I came across it in the latest Utne.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Poking my head up for a second

Choose the Blue.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

"We don't do body counts"

In Iraq, US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dares to count the bodies.

The question is: what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that these voices are being systematically silenced through a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained physical attacks.

Naomi Klein, in the Guardian, outlines how American military forces came to choose unusual targets as part of their strategy to control information and images beamed around the world.

The estimate of civilian Iraqi casualties is 100,000.
They can't eliminate all the witnesses.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Coup in Cuyahoga

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday the United States does not consider legitimate the results of the elections, which the opposition says was marred by fraud.

He challenged leaders of the nation "to decide whether they are on the side of democracy or not.''

"We cannot accept this result as legitimate, because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse,'' Powell said.

Editorializing about the election the Washington Post wrote:
"For the Bush administration, the responsibility starts with stating the unvarnished truth about what has happened in an election."

I'm afraid the truth is being shellacked to within an inch of its life.

These quotes could be referring to the whammy perpetrated on the true blue majority right here in River City, but no..., they're talking about the strangely parallel election fraud in the Ukraine. As the Professor noted, the only difference between the U.S. elections and the Ukraine elections is that, over there, people are protesting in the streets.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Drumroll Please

Ladies and gentlemen...
...Your new Secretary of State.

(Ugh. I watched the whole thing. We are screwed, we are really, really screwed)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Taking Back Moral Values

Versions of this story have been floating around the web for a little over a week.
As researchers have noted, the areas of the country where divorce rates are highest are also frequently the areas where many conservative Christians live.

Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas, for example, voted overwhelmingly for constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. But they had three of the highest divorce rates in 2003, based on figures from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The lowest divorce rates are largely in the blue states: the Northeast and the upper Midwest. And the state with the lowest divorce rate was Massachusetts, home to John Kerry, the Kennedys and same-sex marriage.

In 2003, the rate in Massachusetts was 5.7 divorces per 1,000 married people, compared with 10.8 in Kentucky, 11.1 in Mississippi and 12.7 in Arkansas.

This is one of those No Shit Sherlock articles. You mean if I go to college, live my life, and make my own decisions, it is more likely that I will choose a spouse wisely? Egads!

I can't wait for the angry mail to pour in. "How dare you suggest that godless liberals are better at marriage than Christians?" Fun.
Josh Marshall gets it
Any hired-gun who worked for John Kerry and is now publicly -- subtly or not so subtly -- slipping a shiv in his back: that's someone the Democratic party can do without. Clear the decks.

We should have done that after 2000.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bush's Veterans Day Policy

Honor Veterans...
Bush will attend a private White House reception for veterans Thursday morning. The reception will to be followed by an annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns and remarks at the memorial amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

Spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush was looking forward to honoring all those who've served. Creating More Veterans
The latest tally :
Eighteen U.S. troops have been killed and another 69 wounded in this week's offensive to take control of the rebel-held Iraqi city Falluja, a senior U.S. Marine Corps commander said on Thursday.

And to what end? The people we really want to capture or kill are long gone.

No this is not me being sarcastic in the face of the new normal. This is me pointing out the utter outrage of a day like to day. This should no longer be shocking. Let's face it: nothing can be shocking anymore. These last four years (and the contemplation of the four still to come) has me rendered me shock-proof. That doesn't however neutralize the rage.

Fuck Bush and his sanctimonious didn't-serve-in-Vietnam piety. He dishonors every soldier past, present, and future, simply by existing.
And you thought all we had to worry about were new pro-life Supreme Court justices! Take a closer look at Bush's FDA appointments! This is somewhat old, (he was first appointed in 2002) but he's just been reappointed, petitions are circulating to get rid of him (thanks Kimprobable!) and outrage should never get old...

Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager is the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing women with case studies from Hager's practice. In the book Dr. Hager wrote with his wife, entitled "Stress and the Woman's Body," he suggests that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome should seek help from reading the bible and praying. As an editor and contributing author of "The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality, Reproductive Technologies and the Family," Dr. Hager appears to have endorsed the medically inaccurate assertion that the common birth control pill is an abortifacient.


Contrary to the claim made in the now widely-circulated e-mail decrying his appointment, Dr. Hager says he does not deny birth-control prescriptions to unmarried women. However, Time magazine reported that "In his private practice, two sources familiar with it say, Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women."

LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2004 - At 7:50 PM two armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood. The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered. Enraged, some of the people attempted to block the tanks, but police quickly cleared the street. The people continued to protest the presence of the tanks, but about ten minutes the tanks drove off. It is unclear as to why the tanks were deployed to this location. Uploaded here is video from the event.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Everything you need to know about John Ashcroft's replacement is right here.

I think I should have saved some of those tears from last week. Something tells me I'm going to be pretty weepy for the next four years.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Paranoid? Moi?
David M. Miyasato enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1987, served three years of active duty during the first Gulf War and received an honorable discharge in 1991. He remained on inactive status for five more years, until 1996. Since then, the Kaua'i resident has married, started an auto window tinting business and this year, he and his wife had their first child.

But in September, Miyasato received a letter from the Army recalling him to active duty and directing him to report to a military facility in South Carolina on Tuesday.

Friday, November 05, 2004

What do you guys make of this?

It COULD work but I don't know. For one thing we would need to publicize it in a way that keeps it under the media radar and yet attracts enough people to be effective. Also security is still likely to eject people for this stunt given Bush's notoriously fragile ego. As an image it's compelling.

I dunno. I don't have any ideas myself.
Clearly, melodrama is in.

Getting back to business

In other words, nothing has changed. Mr. Bush's victory on Tuesday was not based on his demonstrated competence in office or on a litany of perceived successes. For all the talk about values that we're hearing, the president ran a campaign that appealed above all to voters' fears and prejudices. He didn't say he'd made life better for the average American over the past four years. He didn't say he had transformed the schools, or made college more affordable, or brought jobs to the unemployed or health care to the sick and vulnerable.

He said, essentially, be very afraid. Be frightened of terrorism, and of those dangerous gay marriages, and of those in this pluralistic society who may have thoughts and beliefs and values that differ from your own.

As usual, he turned reality upside down. A quintessential American value is tolerance for ideas other than one's own. Tuesday's election was a dismaying sprint toward intolerance, sparked by a smiling president who is a master at appealing to the baser aspects of our natures.

Which brings me to the Democrats - the ordinary voters, not the politicians - and where they go from here. I have been struck by the extraordinary demoralization, even dark despair, among a lot of voters who desperately wanted John Kerry to defeat Mr. Bush. "We did all we could," one woman told me, "and we still lost."

Here's my advice: You had a couple of days to indulge your depression - now, get over it. The election's been lost but there's still a country to save, and with the current leadership that won't be easy. Crucial matters that have been taken for granted too long - like the Supreme Court and Social Security - are at risk. Caving in to depression and a sense of helplessness should not be an option when the country is speeding toward an abyss.

Democrats shouldn't cave in to Mr. Bush when he tries to appoint highly partisan judges - even when the effort to block a bad appointment fails, it will show supporters that the party stands for something. They should gear up for a bid to retake the Senate or at least make a major dent in the Republican lead. They should keep the pressure on Mr. Bush when he makes terrible policy decisions, which he will.

It's all right to take a few weeks to think it over. (Heads up to readers: I'll be starting a long-planned break next week, to work on a economics textbook. I'll be back in January.) But Democrats mustn't give up the fight. What's at stake isn't just the fate of their party, but the fate of America as we know it.

The hard part isn't believing the words. The hard part is getting past my own sense of personal grief. Mentally I know that we have go on, and to do nothing is unacceptable.

But I wasn't prepared for how completely this would knock me over, I feel like somebody died. Words are so inadequate to express my own sense of personal loss and failure. So I guess I'm trying to say, yes, I will be there to fight. But right now I'm grieving. Because that uphill battle has become the sheerest of cliffs and I can't face it in my current state. I'm also emotionally spent. I don't enjoy the constant sense of embattlement. I don't enjoy this vigil. Kerry not only meant hope. For me it meant that I put out the watch fires for a little while and attend to my own life.

So allow me these moments of wallowing and brooding. I'll get there soon, And I will continue to post. Just don't expect a return to good humor anytime soon.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Yes, the black was a bit melodramatic. I'll be better before too long. And it's wrong to be so glum after reading this.
This is my hope: that the vision and determination that we poured into Kerry's campaign, we will now direct towards everything else there is to do, from the poverty-level families in our own cities to the Sudanese that are being systematically killed and raped in Darfur. I have learned something absolutely brand new about myself in the last couple of months: in the face of crisis, once I make the connection between the situation and my own two hands, I act. I have the time to act, I have the energy to act and I have the resources to #$%-damn act. I had just never realized the connection before. I just hadn't realized that what I do as an individual does affect others and can affect the world. My potential to affect others is being wasted every year that I assume that my responsibility as a human being only goes as far as the ends of my own fingertips.

I am 38 years old and it's time to get on with it: time to get on with a global focus that takes me outside of my own lonely life. With no husband and no dependents, what else to I have to spend my time on? If I could squeeze six days out of my life to help successfully deliver Wisconsin to the Democrats, what else can I do? In my last post, I wrote that I couldn't control the election, but I could control my participation in it. Robert Kennedy and countless other activists are dead, Kerry's campaign and the Democratic plan to re-take the Senate lie in tatters, but I'm still standing. I'm still standing and although I can't control the world, I can control my participation in it. Now all I have to do is decide what to work on next.

Brava Regina! You worked really hard, and have become my personal hero this election.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

From Move On
Our journey toward a progressive America has always been bigger than George Bush. The current leg is just beginning -- we're still learning how to build a citizen-based politics together. But it's a journey our nation has been on for a long time. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

Today, we'll take a breath. Tomorrow, we'll keep moving toward the America we know is possible.

I needed to read this today. When I feel better hopefully I'll be able to use my own words. But right now I have none except those that are angry and full of despair.

I was so sure we would win.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Tentative Good News

It's still early but check out those swing state numbers!

Kerry 45 48 42 60 52 51 51 50 58 52 49 57
Bush 55 51 57 40 48 48 47 48 40 43 49 41

Thanks to Kos for the link (and happy 1st birthday to Baby Kos, Ari).

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ezra over at Pandagon has an eloquent post about his reasons for supporting John Kerry
...Righteousness, as a habit, rejects certainty; in fact, the angels have a troubling predisposition to wander around issues, which makes sticking in their camp a matter of ideological flexibility as much as judgment. There's no chasm greater than the one Kerry bridged to go from Vietnam war hero to the war's most prominent opponent, but he was right to serve his country and right to fight for an end to the misguided slaughter. It's a lesson he's refused to unlearn, and one he's spent a lifetime applying. And we need it.

There are times when principle matters more than results, when the admirable aspects of certainty outweigh the practical aspects of flexibility. Certainty can inspire, it can direct, it can empower. But it can't always be right. Terrorism isn't an issue on which we can afford to be wrong. Kerry's willingness to adopt new strategies and positions in response to new evidence is his most crucial trait. The terrorists, Cheney says, will not be impressed by our softer side, though, according to the precanned narratives emitted by his voicebox, it seems George Bush's resolve impresses them greatly. But the objective is not to impress those who wish to kill us, it's to destroy them and their networks. Kerry is willing to adapt his approach to that imperative, Bush is unwilling to do anything that may compromise his puffed-out chest and firmly set jaw.

As a practical matter, that is the primary difference between George W. Bush and John Kerry. It's a choice between extreme certainty and an almost excessive flexibility. These are personality traits and I blame neither man for them, I simply judge which I prefer in my president, and that places me in Kerry's camp. But you know what? I forgive Bush his failings, I forgive him his mistakes, I forgive him his transgressions and his lies and his misjudgments and miscalculations and messes. What I don't forgive -- what I will never forgive -- is that he ran for president in the first place. And the reason, dear reader, that I can never forgive him for that, is because he fought to ascend to an office he didn't understand.

I'm not going to pretend to share Ezra's magnamity when it comes to Bush. I will never forgive him for this war. In fact I hope there is still time to bring him and his abetters to justice.

Nor would I call Kerry's flexibility "excessive". A person who changes his/her opinion when confronted with truths that fly in the face of said opinion is smart. More importantly, he is result oriented.

But for the rest, Ezra hits all the right notes. Kerry has emerged as exactly who we need right now.
No Retreat, No Surrender

I'm reading Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night for a paper I'm writing. At one point he describes the media as "the silent assassins of the Republic." This in 1967. Fast forward thirty-seven years and those silent assassins aren't silent anymore. They have corporate sponsorship and a captive audience.

When I first started this blog, my first priority was to keep insanity at bay and have a little fun in the process. I also wanted to join this community that seemed yet unbowed by the consecutive shocks of the 2000 Election and September 11th. The energy, ballsyness, and humor of these people was the perfect antidote to anything on cable news. After one of Bush's "press conferences" it was nice to read something insightful, cutting, or even downright vulgar about our Resident-in-Thief. It was also exciting to watch it grow, from Mediawhores, to Atrios, to Daily Kos, and further out. The blog community became an excellent way to innoculate myself against the multiple threats of pessimism, apathy, doubt, and above all misinformation.

Through it all, this year's election has always appeared to be the end of a long road. Of course I didn't count on the massive incompetency of this administration. We all know that a victory the day after tomorrow is merely breaking ground on a daunting reconstruction process. But we can only cross that bridge once we get there and we're not there yet. Moreover, we can't afford to let up once we do get there. Because even if Bush goes away, the assassins remain. Fox News isn't going to fold just because their guy loses. If anything they're sharpening their fangs as we speak.

So I guess for me this a reassessment of sorts. This blog's title is going to have to change after Tuesday, and only Tuesday will tell what that change will be. What should my priorities be? The same? More of this? Less of that? I'm taking suggestions.

Meanwhile, we're all crossing our fingers and watching the polls. At the very least, this election won't catch me lying down, (although I can't promise not end up that way, literally, regardless of the outcome on Tuesday). So stay cheerful everybody. This isn't 2000. We know better now.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Zogby predicts Kerry victory!

In case you missed Thursday's Daily Show, pollster John Zogby was Jon's guest and he predicted that John Kerry will win on Tuesday! John, Jon, and John = Jackpot! The Palm Beach Post also quotes Zogby.
However, pollster John Zogby said much can be learned from the gridlock that seems to plague the race.

At this stage, incumbent Bush shouldn't be struggling in key states where 131 electoral votes are at stake, he said. Bush's struggles, he said, are Kerry's gains.

Undecided voters historically break toward the challenger at the end of a campaign, he said.

That's why he said he has no compunction about calling the race for Kerry.

"It's a hunch," said Zogby, who is known for his unconventional methods. "I'm looking at the president's numbers as an incumbent, and they're not good."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Charge to Keep : My Plans to Invade Iraq

Author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz, the original ghostwriter on "A Charge to Keep: My Journey to the White House" with George W. Bush, gives a candid interview to Russ Baker for the Guerrilla News Network.
-In 2003, Bush’s father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son’s invasion of Iraq.

-Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been “excused.”

-Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot’s garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.

-Bush described his own business ventures as “floundering” before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Big-boned gal, Karen Hughes took over ghostwriting duties after Herskowitz was yanked off the project for accurately quoting Bush discussing his "floundering" oil businesses.

Btw, Herskowitz' conversations with George took place in 1999, two full years before he was appointed to the highest office in the land. Thanks to the Smirking Chimp for the link.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I really wish I could make myself stop deconstructing David Brooks. I really wish I hadn't written that sentence. I've realized what it is at long last. It isn't simply my need to get angry twice a week, nor is it to make reading Krugman that much sweeter. No it's far more embarrassing than either of those reasons.

I believe I've convinced myself that there must be something more to him.

This is what happens when a piece of writing achieves such a high level of banal craptitude that the reader is left with no other conclusion than it must an exercise of some sort. I must be missing something. It can't really suck as much as it does for no reason

Take this week.
Now dominating the table, the pundit should indulge in the sort of storytelling beloved by swing-state-travel braggarts. He should speak in counties, about his trips through Cuyahoga, Macomb, Muscatine and Broward. If somebody mentions she has an aunt living in Ridgeville just south of Dayton, he should fondly recall the exceptional Waffle House there.

Donning the false modesty worn by Those Who Talk to Voters, he should describe how he humbly listens to the volk, while making it clear that only someone as brilliant as himself could discern national trends from 13 conversations.

What the fuck??

On the one hand, Brooks appears to be poking fun of himself in all his Bobo self-aggrandisement. Which is pretty sad. A week before the election and you write this? C'mon Dave. On the other, this alleged Brooks doppleganger is--well--much smarter than the original.
While others quiver with pre-election anxiety, their mood rising and collapsing with the merest flicker of the polls, he alone radiates certainty. He alone can read the internals, cross-tabs and trends, can parse Gallup and Zogby and emerge with clear answers. He alone can captivate a gathering, while men hang eagerly on his words and women undress him with their eyes.

If you saw Brooks' debate-parody piece, you know that parody is not something he does well. Self-parody isn't much better. In fact David, for the love of all that is literary, stop writing. Anything.

But there still remains that nagging suspicion that Brooks has an agenda in torturing us. Is he using the pseudo-self of the piece as a round-about way of making the point about election predictions that ends up condemning "him"? Or is it what it appears to be, a critique of making predictions at this late date?

The genius (dear Lord) of the piece is that its very suckiness allows Brooks to have it both ways. He can hide behind the weak parody self, say that stupid line about "too close to call," and still criticize all the analysis.

I know.

At any rate, one thing Brooks has been extremely successful at, is taking up space in my brain and on my blog. One would think I would have something more substantial to write a week before the election. And I do. But you'll forgive me for purging my brain to make room for the real thoughts.
Eminem Rock's the Vote

Democratic Underground has a link to Eminem's anti-Bush video/ad. Go Marshall. Your mother must've done something right.
"Caging List?"

I guess the October Surprise must be a wee bit short on shock and awe if Plan B is being feverishly executed.

Greg Palast, on BBC's Newsnight is reporting on more below-the-belt Republican shenanigans planned for Nov. 2 in Florida.
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

They may then only vote "provisionally" after signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status.

Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter "in the 16 years I've been supervisor of elections."

"Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting."

Sancho calls it "intimidation." And it may be illegal.

In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the voters.

No doubt the Republican "challengers" are having their white sheets and hoods cleaned and pressed at this very moment to be all ready for their big day. Extra starch for Jeb's and Katherine's.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

At some point before the election I will do a really well thought out post on some things that have been swimming around my head lately. For now--man-- James Wolcott I'm so glad you are with the good guys.
Fineman will never obtain a lasting clue about anything. His translucent shell of professional narcissism is impregnable.

This morning I saw him on Chris Matthews' weekly show--the one where Matthews doesn't sound as if he's bouncing off the walls of his own brain--and Fineman was talking about the excitement on the Democratic side. He said that thousands were turning up at rallies all "pumped up."

"Are they pumped up about Kerry?" he asked. "No. His job is to come across as normal and acceptable to--"

At which point I changed channels.

First of all, how does Fineman know the crowds aren't pumped up for Kerry? Did he attend these rallies? Did he ask anyone? No, he's assuming, as most of the media elite do, that no one could possibly be "up" for a Kerry event because the media narrative is that Kerry is a stiff hunk of bark.

As reflected in Adam Nagorney telling Charlie Rose that heck he has more charisma than poor Kerry.

Really, Adam? You think you could hold the interest of 12,000 people, as Kerry did at a recent rally in Reno, Nevada?

You're the kind of putz people walk away from at cocktail parties!


Saturday, October 23, 2004


La chupacabra almost gets her just desserts You'd think her adam's apple alone would be a large enough target, but no...she escapes uncreamed, unpied, and, as always, unhinged. Tbogg is all over it.

Hmmm... must search the internets for when she will next be in flying pie range...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Must SEE video of Jon Stewart on Crossfire

This is great. Just go watch it. Thanks again to The Poor Man for the link.

Friday, October 15, 2004

More Jon Stewart Fun

The Poor Man has juiciest tidbits from Jon's appearance on Crossfire.
STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.

CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.


CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.

CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.

STEWART: So this is...

CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You're a...

STEWART: So this is theater.

CARLSON: Now, let me just...

CARLSON: Now, come on.

STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie.

CARLSON: They're difficult.

STEWART: But the thing is that this -- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.

BEGALA: We do, do...

STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.

CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

STEWART: Absolutely.

CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...

STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.

STEWART: What is wrong with you?

CARLSON: Well, I'm just saying, there's no reason for you -- when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy's butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It's embarrassing.

STEWART: I was absolutely his butt boy. I was so far -- you would not believe what he ate two weeks ago.

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey.

BEGALA: Go ahead. Go ahead.

STEWART: I watch your show every day. And it kills me.

CARLSON: I can tell you love it.

STEWART: It's so -- oh, it's so painful to watch.

STEWART: You know, because we need what you do. This is such a great opportunity you have here to actually get politicians off of their marketing and strategy.

CARLSON: Is this really Jon Stewart? What is this, anyway?

STEWART: Yes, it's someone who watches your show and cannot take it anymore.

STEWART: I just can't.

CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?

STEWART: If I think they are.

CARLSON: I wouldn't want to eat with you, man. That's horrible.

STEWART: I know. And you won't. But the thing I want to get to...


CARLSON: Jon, you're bumming us out. Tell us, what do you think about the Bill O'Reilly vibrator story?

STEWART: I'm sorry. I don't.


STEWART: What do you think?

BEGALA: Let me change the subject.

STEWART: Where's your moral outrage on this?

CARLSON: I don't have any.

STEWART: I know.

BEGALA: Which candidate do you suppose would provide you better material?

STEWART: I'm sorry?

BEGALA: Which candidate do you suppose would provide you better material if he won?

STEWART: Mr. T. I think he'd be the funniest. I don't...

BEGALA: Don't you have a stake in it that way, as not just a citizen, but as a professional comic?

STEWART: Right, which I hold to be much more important than as a citizen.

BEGALA: Well, there you go.

BEGALA: But who would you provide you better material, do you suppose?

STEWART: I don't really know. That's kind of not how we look at it. We look at, the absurdity of the system provides us the most material. And that is best served by sort of the theater of it all, you know, which, by the way, thank you both, because it's been helpful.

CARLSON: But, if Kerry gets elected, is it going to -- you have said you're voting for him. You obviously support him. It's clear. Will it be harder for you to mock his administration if he becomes president?

STEWART: No. Why would it be harder?

CARLSON: Because you support...

STEWART: The only way it would be harder is if his administration is less absurd than this one. So, in that case, if it's less absurd, then, yes, I think it would be harder.

But, I mean, it would be hard to top this group, quite frankly.


STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.

CARLSON: Now, you're getting into it. I like that.


CARLSON: OK. We'll be right back.

God, I miss cable.
Not that I had any doubt...

But it's always good to get the official word.
Saying "it looks like Kerry," Comedy Central host Jon Stewart said he expects to vote for Sen. John Kerry for president.
"I'd be stunned if something happened to change my mind," said the host of the popular Daily Show.

Stewart spoke with New Yorker media critic Ken Auletta at a breakfast sponsored by the magazine and by the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

While saying that President Bush is a "decent" man, Stewart lampooned him for saying during a presidential debate that he couldn't name one of his mistakes.

"He can't think of one?" Stewart asked. "I got a list."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Weirdest Thing I've Seen in New York to Date

On my way to the West Village this is what I saw on the subway platform: blonde, young woman, maybe early twenties, fake tan, bright pink UGG boots, denim miniskirt, lotsa eyeliner...

...and Bush-Cheney '04 button on her shoulder bag.

Ann Coulter acolytes-- they exist.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I don't have a lot to add to the general praise of Kerry. Given everything we know at this point, for Bush to have outdebated Kerry this time, he would have to be-- well somone else. I think the Bush team thought that the foreign policy questions at the beginning would allow Bush to recoup from last week's debate. Too bad about that pesky Duelfer report. The audience asked great questions. I think Bush was a bit taken aback by how well-informed they were. Wonkette has the best of the live-blogging posts.
9:37Shorter Bush: "Stop fucking with me! Stop it! Stop fucking with me!"
9:39 The voice in his ear just told him to speak more quietly.
9:40 BREAKING: Canadians want to kill you with their pretend drugs.


10:22 Dred Scott case? Wha? Isn't this teevee? Oh well. At least we know for sure that Bush doesn't support slavery. Whew.
10:28 Q: Name three times you've made a mistake. A: I WAS RIGHT TO GO TO WAR. AND THAT'S A TRICK QUESTION. FUCK YOU.
10:30 Dad Wonkette writes in with his summation: "Kerry waxed Bush's ass." And you wonder how I turned out this way.

Hee hee.

UPDATE: More hee hee from James Wolcott
It's one thing to cut off your opponent, but to cut off Charlie Gibson in mid-question, holler at the audience, and heave your shoulders with laughter at your own weak jests--this doesn't strike me as a good gameplan to convince swing voters of your sanity.

My provisional opinion, contingent upon no unforseen events altering the current dynamics (i.e, a meteor crashing through the ceiling of the auditorium), is that Kerry is grinding Bush into such fine pencil shavings that even Peggy Noonan will not be able to sweep him up and make him whole.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Bullshit Alert!

Bill O'Reilly on Jon Stewart tonight! I can hardly wait.
Bush/Cheney: Four more months

It's very interesting that the Edwards-Cheney debate generated such lopsided online poll results.
* MSNBC has Edwards Up 60% to 40% in this poll with over 1,580,000 respondents so far.
* CNBC Has Edwards up 59% to 41%.
* CBS News has Edwards over Cheney by a margin of 81% to 17%.
* Right wing Fox News has Cheney winning 50% to 47%
* The CNN poll has Edwards destroying Cheney 78% 18% with nearly 200,000 votes tallied.
* The Wall Street Journal has Edwards crushing Dick 88% to 9%.
* Yahoo News shows Edwards dominating Cheney 62% to 32%.

I mean, Edwards was good, but he hardly ran away with the debate. In fact, I wish he hadn't pandered to Israel quite so obviously, or gone on about Cheney's GAY DAUGHTER, (could he have stressed that any more pointedly?) among other things. I was not as utterly relieved and giddy as I was after Kerry handed Bush his ass last Thursday.

But then maybe I'm not giving Edwards enought credit--Kerry wasn't up against Satan.

Cheney is a pathological liar. And his matter-of-fact, no-nonsense delivery had the oddly unnerving effect of making me second guess what I know is the truth. I could feel his evility reaching through the television to bend my will.

But I think the tide has turned and voters who are paying attention are not being fooled anymore. I think the lopsided polls are a result of people who have made up their minds, not only who they are voting for, but to take action and affect public opinion in the way the right wingers have affected it so well for the last 4 years. We are making it happen.

BTW, wasn't Dick Cheney the doctor who delivered Rosemary's baby?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

You don't need to read all of David Brooks' latest column to know that he bad night. All you need to see is the very first sentence.
In weak moments, I think the best ticket for this country would be Bush-Kerry. The two men balance each other out so well.


Friday, October 01, 2004

In this campaign it's always been the statesman versus the frat boy and last night revealed that in spades. For a man whose campaign is allegedly floundering, Kerry was one cool customer last night. PBS wasn't doing the split screen so I missed out on a lot of the reaction shots. But you didn't need to see them to know that Bush was uneasy and testy and Kerry was in classic debate form.

We've seen Bush act like this before. What we haven't had is the sublime benefit of a side by side comparison. What we're seeing today in the post-debate polls isn't so much a reflection of the debate as it was, but how much Bush suffers when compared to Kerry in real time. Bush was just being Bush and Kerry was being Kerry. The difference was that Kerry seemed to blossom under debate pressure. He responded rather than reacted, nodding and taking notes when attacked. His whole demeanor said, "Bring it on. I can take it."

Bush's said something else entirely.

To give him a little credit, Bush so rarely has unscripted exchanges that it's a wonder he didn't fold altogether. But several gulps to one sip of water equals a very uncomfortable Commander-in-Chief. A ninety-minute debate is about 75 minutes too long given how quickly he seemed to lose is cool. And Kerry didn't really zing him so much land a few choice hits in soft spots, namely Bush the first and Osama bin Laden. Bush fell back on his trusty talking points, and rendered them useless by too much repetition.

Bush has a small personality and a long-time drug user's mental reaction time. He can't take criticism and can't focus enough to counter it effectively. It'll be interesting, to say the least, to see how he weathers the next debate. His team can change their prep strategy, but that can only work to a certain point. You can't change who he is.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Spanking the monkey
Who's your daddy, bitch?--I mean Bush. Befuddled, bewildered and boiling. George could barely contain his fury as well as his wierd tics. Was there something in his eye? Maybe that Biblical beam you've heard tell about. What a stupid little shit.
But Kerry was unfuckingbelievable! He was looking good--kind of a cross between John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln--and he brought his "A" game.
Will the mainstream media have the cojones to state the obvious? "Bush got his ass whupped!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Crawford, TX tells Bush to suck on it

It's a little thing I know but I am very, very happy right now.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ten Questions For Jon Stewart via Wonkette

Take a look a #8
CAN I ASK WHO YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR IN NOVEMBER? I'm really concerned about this Administration. Now, does that mean that they've completely lost any chance? Not really. Things could change drastically. But let me put it this way: they've put themselves in a giant hole, as far as I'm concerned. And as far as I'm concerned, their best argument for election is, Yes, I drove us into a brick wall. But I didn't blink!

FYI there is no cable at my new abode and I am going through some serious TDS withdrawal. Guess I'd better buy the book.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Yes I missed the speech. Fie on me for not waking up till noon.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Joe Says Relax

Joe Conason has a great piece today for those of us who see doom in recent poll numbers.
The liberal tendency to assume the fetal position upon hearing any bad news not only creates a damaging psychological environment for those who indulge it, but also repels undecided and independent voters who are seeking strong, confident leadership. Nobody wants to join a team that obsesses more about losing than winning.

Thank you! Yes exactly! Why else did Democratic leadership roll over so quickly in 2000 despite having the will of the voters on their side? Even when we win we act like losers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.

This is a great piece of writing by Garrison Keillor. I've been meaning to send this link to various relatives of mine who have recently taken to bringing up Abraham Lincoln as a rationalization for supporting the Republican party, and citing "The Blue and the Gray" as a softer, gentler way of looking at the Civil War from the point of view of the Confederacy.
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.

Jeez, do I really share the same genes as people who could support these nimrods? number 12 in the line-up, there's only a slim chance that I was adopted.

Thanks to chicanaontheedge for the link.

Monday, September 13, 2004

From Newsweek via Kos:
..Sixteen months after the war's supposed end, Iraq's insurgency is spreading. Each successful demand by kidnappers has spawned more hostage-takings?to make Philippine troops go home, to stop Turkish truckers from hauling supplies into Iraq, to extort fat ransom payments from Kuwaitis. The few relief groups that remain in Iraq are talking seriously about leaving. U.S. forces have effectively ceded entire cities to the insurgents, and much of the country elsewhere is a battleground. Last week the total number of U.S. war dead in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,007 by the end of Saturday.

...Yet U.S. officials publicly insist that Iraq will somehow hold national elections before the end of January. The appointed council currently acting as Iraq's government under interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is to be replaced by an elected constitutional assembly?if the vote takes place. "I presume the election will be delayed," says the Iraqi Interior Ministry's chief spokesman, Sabah Kadhim. A senior Iraqi official sees no chance of January elections: "I'm convinced that it's not going to happen. It's just not realistic. How is it going to happen?" Some Iraqis worry that America will stick to its schedule despite all obstacles. "The Americans have created a series of fictional dates and events in order to delude themselves," says Ghassan Atiyya, director of the independent Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy, who recently met with Allawi and American representatives to discuss the January agenda. "Badly prepared elections, rather than healing wounds, will open them."

Of course we've "created a series fictional dates and events to delude ourselves." We elected were saddled with a fictional president who created a fictional reason for going to war with Iraq and then declared a fictional victory. Why should anything about this war be real except for the people who are dying in it?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

President Bowel Movement on the Pantleg of History

I can't even imagine the gnashing and grinding of teeth that would be all over primetime if even a fraction of this stuff was being alleged against John Kerry.
...Bush’s charge sheet for alleged wrongdoing has got it all – sex, drugs, cowardice, cruelty; his alleged failings and foibles are imperial in stature.

But then Jesus forgave George for every transgression and, of course, being born again, and all, he came to embrace Christianity.
Perhaps the most disturbing example of Bush’s zeal for the Death House was shown in 1998 when he was governor of the state of Texas. Karla Faye Tucker was then facing execution by lethal injection. The former teen prostitute had committed murder after a three-day drug binge and later underwent a religious conversion in jail. As a born-again Christian – just like Bush – many religious leaders wanted her life spared. Tucker even appeared on Larry King’s TV show to discuss her case. Bush was caught out by a reporter mocking the condemned woman. Sneering at her, he put on a whiney voice, pouted his lips and whimpered: “Please, don’t kill me.”

Thanks to Smirking Chimp for the link.
Bumper Sticker polling

If it's any consolation to those of you who are becoming increasingly discouraged about the election--on a roadtrip to and from NYC just after the Repuglican convention, (and, yes, this did involve moving Lenora to Brooklyn), the political bumper stickers for Kerry/Edwards were twice the Bush/Cheney stickers. And that's driving across Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Didn't see my personal favorite: "I Brake Like a Little Girl"
I might have to produce that one myself.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

In a sharp rebuke of a new administration policy, the House moved Thursday to block the Labor Department from carrying out overtime rules that critics argued could deprive millions of workers of their overtime pay

Monday, September 06, 2004

Even though the convention is over, the protest spirit hasn’t quite died down. People are still passing out flyers and selling anti-Bush pins. The rage of the last week’s protests is spilling over into regular life. It suits me just fine. Despite having watched a sum total of 65 minutes of it, my mind still feels tainted.

I’m not sure what was more disgusting, the sheer number of adoring delegates dwarfed only by the number of lies told, the Zell Miller meltdown, the acceptance speech itself, or the whole 9/11 orgy.
The inspiration the president provided, however, was overshadowed by the disturbing nostalgia for Sept. 11 that preceded it. The phenomenon of "faster nostalgia" keeps accelerating, and the decades we reminisce about grow closer and closer to the present with each passing year. But the two political conventions this August must be the first recorded instances of nostalgia for the 21 st century.

During the Democratic convention, too many speakers looked back to 9/11 with fondness. They didn't recall the months after the worst foreign attack in American history as a sad and tragic time. Instead, they appeared to remember those days as a warm-and-fuzzy time of national unity, now lost because of Republican partisanship. But the GOP's wistful look back at the tragedy as a marvelous occasion that somehow justifies the re-election of President Bush was even more stomach-turning. The convention's final night had the air of a VH-1 special: I Love Sept. 11.

I don’t buy Suellentrop’s assessment of the Democratic Convention. That convention was about many things and 9/11 was one of them. But he’s spot on about how much this election hinges on that vision of Bush cheerleading on the charred ruins of the Twin Towers.

In Sunday’s times Frank Rich has a discouraging piece on how the image of Bush as a fake war hero has (so far) succeeded in trumping Kerry’s real war heroism. I do agree with Rich in that Kerry gets into trouble when he lets himself get caught up in a pissing contest with Bush. But I don’t think the answer is to create a new image of Kerry as the vet who stood up to the Vietnam war. I personally prefer that image above all else (if you haven’t seen the footage of him testifying before Congress after his tour of duty, check out C-SPAN). But I think that’s a loser at this late date, Kerry’s problem is that he is too hesitant to turn the tables on the opposition. Take this story on Bush’s National Guard days. This article should be in the talking points of every Democratic operative out there. Part of image-making in a campaign is doing damage to the other guy’s image. And Bush in vulnerable.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Live from New York

As of 6:00 P.M. EST, I am a New Yorker. I have the scary cab ride and the tummy full of good eats to prove it. I had planned to be here a day or two earlier and maybe blog part of the convention but you know how these things go. You start thinking about traffic and getting lost and crowds, and the next thing you know you're two days behind schedule.

I did not catch much of the Republican Convention. I couldn't stomach it. I saw Junior's speech last night though. It's depressing. If we give him another four years in office, we deserve whatever catastrophe follows.

Okay, I'm exhausted. More to follow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

If we lived in a better world, last night's episode of The Daily Show would be the end of this Swift Boat Veteran crapisode.
STEWART: Here's what puzzles me most, Rob. John Kerry's record in Vietnam is pretty much right there in the official records of the US military, and haven't been disputed for 35 years?

CORDDRY: That's right, Jon, and that's certainly the spin you'll be hearing coming from the Kerry campaign over the next few days.

STEWART: Th-that's not a spin thing, that's a fact. That's established.

CORDDRY: Exactly, Jon, and that established, incontravertible fact is one side of the story.

Oh and tune in tonight. John Kerry is the guest.

ADDED: The Chicago Tribune has been all over this as well.

Friday, August 13, 2004

O’Reilly wins?

You all may have noticed today the NYTimes front-page story by Susan Sach & Judith Miller on the Oil-for-food Scandal I’ll talk momentarily about the contents of the article, but the real story is why it’s there at all. For months now, O”Reilly, Safire, and all the bottom feeders on the right have been pushing this story as THE scandal, and complaining mightily that a left-leaning media have avoided it in their preoccupation with beating up the Bush administration for such things as lying to the nation about Iraq and torturing prisoners at Abu-Ghraib. O’Reilly has taken to mentioning “oil-for-food” when anyone so much as asks him the time of day, and when Russert had both him and Krugman on recently, O’Reliable Bullshit Bill brought it up by contrasting the number of articles the Times had run on Abu Ghraib vs. the number on oil-for-food. And so, voila, this story appeareth—ah capitulation, thy name is liberal media.

What’s the goal? First of all changing the subject by charging that the real corruption is not in the White House but in the UN. Equally important, though is discrediting the global antiwar effort in the run up to the election. France and Russia are deeply involved and what the Right has been charging all along is that the reluctance of so-called old Europe to back the war was based on nothing more than that these countries were profiting handsomely from kickbacks from Hussein. This is Bush’s grab for the moral high ground after pursuing and unnecessary and illegal war, and we shouldn’t forget that fact.

As for the story itself: Well, at present Paul Volcker, who’s chairing the panel that’s looking into the issue says that it’ll be at least a year before they determine whether the charges are justified (but that’s not going to matter if the Right gets to prosecute this in the press during the next twelve weeks). And from what’s been reported thus far, it’s pretty clear there were kickbacks galore, but all stemming ultimately from the ill-designed sanctions against Iraq after the first war, which were punishing the Iraqi people and not doing anything to oust Hussein’s regime. The “Oil-For-Food” program was a 1996 compromise, and who’s to say that it wasn’t working at some level given that Hussein appears to have given up his WMD and fewer Iraqi's may have starved than would have otherwise? Be that as it may, however, the real point is that since neither the first Gulf War nor the sanctions following it were part of our agenda, the only dog we have in this fight is the one that keeps biting at the administration for having unjustly led the nation into war

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I’m back, folks. I return triumphant. My waking nightmares of a cramped, windowless, New York existence have been wiped clean by a charming abode in Williamsburg complete with non-scary smart future roommate.

I did bring my laptop, meaning of course to find a cool hotspot from where which to blog but somehow it never happened. I ended up wandering around Chelsea and Greenwich Village just getting used to the layout and finding nice corners for coffee, lunch, and bubble tea.

I also got a taste of what life on “high alert” feels like. A couple of times on my rambles I was forced to turn back due to the fact that streets were blocked off while police investigated suspicious packages. On the Upper East Side there is a visible military presence because of all the embassies. It’s slightly surreal. Initially I felt a thrill of fear. What if it’s real? What then? But nothing did, and it’s hard to know what do with that stop-and-start of tension. This of course makes me dread moving during the week of the Republican National Convention. It’s all people are talking about; the protests, the security, the traffic, the security.

But I’m looking forward to it, particularly now that I’ve cleared the first hurdle of living space. I’ll be living in the city of great theatre, great food, great literature, and of course, Jon Stewart.

P.S. I almost had a chance to see the taping of Bill Clinton on The Daily Show but it fell through. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Note to Senator Kerry

After reading this Boston Globe article about your Iraq vote, I started to wonder why you give those slimy bastards on the right more rope with which to hang you. I know you want to take an honorable stance and not let on that the current president of the USA can't be trusted to take the country around the block, much less to Iraq. But it's time to call a duck, a duck. I've come to agree with an alternative answer that a certain professor I know suggested you use the next time the question comes up:

If I had known then that the president and his advisors were going to handle the Iraq situation in such a boneheaded, hamhanded, incompetent way, then I wouldn't have voted to give the president authorization to go to war. I made my vote on the assumption that the president could be trusted to act responsibly. Obviously, I was mistaken.

It's short but sweet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

If you had any suspicions that political motivations determined the timing of Tom Ridge's targeted Orange Alerts last week the AP story today about the handling of similar intelligence about Las Vegas casinos seems to confirm that the Bush administration has no consistent policy about how to keep the public informed about terror threats and tends to release information when it is to its advantage to do so. The decision about whether or not to go to an Orange Alert in 2002 when FBI officials informed Las Vegas authorities about threatening videotapes was left to local authorities, whose fears about liability and loss of tourist revenues led them to suppress the information. So much for protecting the nation. Any chance Bush & Ridge will face tough questions from the mainstream media?

Friday, August 06, 2004

So here's the deal.

For the past couple of weeks I've been engaged in tying up umpteen thousand loose ends before leaving my job and today was finally the last day. Tomorrow I am off to New York to look at apartments for four days. At some point after that I will be moving. So yes things are going to be a little sloppy here for the time being. I've been sorta keeping up with the news but in a channel-surfing way. But I do see things picking up. I will be busy once I start classes but I also will be in a very good thinking place and hopefully my posts will blossom. I might--MIGHT--start a New York blog. We'll see. So bear with me. Life is happening.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Saturday, July 31, 2004

I stuck to watching C-SPAN for most of the convention so I missed most of the pundit reaction to Kerry's speech, but I did hear tell that on PBS for a bright and shining moment, David Brooks removed his head from his ass.

Unfortunately he has reassumed the positionor rather he never really removed it in the first place.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

So far, I think Josh Marshall has the best first-hand take on the convention. I'm glad I'm not there (Bono's presence notwithstanding). It sounds like chaos. But back to Josh. Having watched most of the speeches last night, I'd have to agree that the dems seem to understand their base a bit more than we give them credit for.
When it first occurred to me to write this post I was going to say that partisan Democrats have decided to give Kerry a free hand in appealing to independents and swing voters. But that doesn't get it quite right. That was the case in 1992 when the party's core voters, after twelve years out of the White House, were willing to give Bill Clinton all sorts of leeway with what most viewed as his DLC heterodoxies. But something different is at work here.

Among Democrats, the rejection of this president is so total, exists on so many different levels, and is so fused into their understanding of all the major issues facing the country, that it doesn't even need to be explicitly evoked. The headline of Susan Page's piece in USA Today reads: "Speakers offer few barbs, try to stay warm and fuzzy." But the primetime speeches were actually brimming with barbs, and rather jagged ones at that. They were just woven into the fabric of the speeches, fused into rough-sketched discussions of policy, or paeans to Kerry.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Gore’s Speech

I always enjoy watching Gore speak. I also hate it. I hate it because seeing him reveals in stark relief exactly what should have been. Seeing him makes it harder to hear Bush speak, to open the paper and see how far we have fallen. I hate it because the man who spoke tonight is not the same man who conceded the election nearly 4 years ago. This man would have fought tooth and nail. This is a man who hit his stride too late to himself any good.

Seeing Gore reminds me that I don’t ever again want to feel the way I did nearly 4 years ago.
Convention Blogging

Not much of this from me. All the cool kids are in Boston. I might blog on some key speeches throughout the week.

And apparently someone's crashing our party. Ann Coulter in Boston, during the Democratic Convention? She must be breaking out in hives. I hope she gets all scabby.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Dear John

Here's a nice letter from Barry Crimmins to John Kerry. I think he handles Kerry's vote to authorize Bush to go to war against Iraq quite nicely.

I understand the political pressure you felt, but still, you’re a brilliant guy and had to know what a load of hooey was being dumped on us. I further estimate that the hard-bitten among your insiders advised, "Look, you know we can always just say they lied to us," and considering who was trumping up this war, that was a pretty safe fall-back position. But please, you did a nice job investigating and exposing much of this crew back when terrorism was a central component of Saint Ronald Reagan’s not-so-secret foreign policy. And so when the same gang of thugs who help facilitate death-squads in Central America came forward as the defenders of innocence and champions of democracy, you should have marched right outside of the Capitol and joined the hundreds of thousands of us who were in the streets screaming, "Noooooo! Don’t do it!"

Well, Senator, we told you so.

Some of my lefty pals won’t forgive you and I can see their point. Nevertheless, I refuse to join their circular firing squad. I know how to face political reality myself, and if ever there were an occasion for compromise, this is it. I don’t value my moral purity more than the lives of countless innocents. My stridence withers when I consider how much suffering would result if the Bush regime extends beyond next January. Someday, George W. Bush’s administration will be labeled for what it brought us to: the "New Low." Under your leadership, even a slight trajectory of improvements in health-care, environmental regulation, civil liberties, and workers’ rights will have to be measured against the all-too-imaginable speed at which of these vital matters would reach even newer lows during a second Bush term...

I especially like the "New Low" for Bush's campaign slogan. I wonder if the people who write the history books are paying attention.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Yeah about this.

For the record, Kate had everybody beat weeks ago with photographic evidence of this ass-hattery.

And it doesn’t matter that it’s idiotic and wrong. It will work anyway. It will work because there are enough reptilian brains that work like this.

A) Terrorists are bad
B) Bush hates terrorists
C) Bush is good
D) Kerry hates Bush
E) Kerry is bad
F) Kerry likes terrorists.

It’s hurts that this kind of thinking is out there in the world. I remember shortly after the 2000 Election was consoling my mom with the undeniable fact that Gore won the popular vote. She said it didn’t matter because the knowledge that there were that many people out there who had voted for him made her sick to her stomach. Seeing bumper stickers like that gives me that same kind of feeling. And I wonder if it’s worth it to try to get Kerry in office. Because even if he wins he’ll have to combat the Jack Richardson’s of the world, cajoling, placating, and compromising with them just so his time in office can be a little more bearable.

Wouldn’t you love it if Kerry were asked to comment on the bumper sticker, and he just let loose with, “Jack Richardson IV is big greasy turd. Where I’m from, we flush those.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Please God, no
[Mike Ditka]The 66-year-old former head coach of the Chicago Bears appeared on television news shows to talk about a possible bid for Senate. More than 6,000 people have signed a petition for Republicans to draft Ditka as the "people's choice" for November.

"I'm getting excited about it. I'm just thinking about it," Ditka told WGN-TV, Chicago.

Let's not take the stupid baton way from California just yet.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

My aunt called from Albuquerque, NM Friday night. She was standing in line at the Hispanic Cultural Center with about 10,000 other people to shake John Kerry’s hand. In front of her was a gentleman with arthritis who had difficulty standing. He informed her that he hadn’t ventured out to see a presidential candidate since Kennedy ran. She said that Edwards was positively glowing and Kerry towered over the waving signs. She got to shake his hand. She was so excited.

The Bush-Cheney team is acting like scared rabbits and they should be. It’s hard to fight that kind of excitement when you’re also busy covering your behind.

Friday, July 02, 2004

You don't want to be on this list.

Seriously, if you live in Florida, double check.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Barbara Ehrenreich is subbing for Tom Friedman this month. Book leave my ass. That man's off in a "spa" somewhere settling his nerves. Ms. Ehrenreich should go ahead an get comfortable.
I don’t think I really need to say anything about Fahranheit 9/11 that hasn’t already been said and said better. That’s what comes of seeing the film after everyone while on vacation from blogger duties.

It was fun to read Hitchens’ piece after seeing the movie. Clearly he didn’t enjoy it mostly because images of dying children contrast badly with the tune of “The 1812 Overture” playing in his head. I won’t go through the whole thing. Rereading it will send me into a fugue state. But Chris should keep is gin-soaked paws off of Black History.
From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex," and the use of "spin" in the presentation of our politicians. It's high time someone had the nerve to point this out. There's more. Poor people often volunteer to join the army, and some of them are duskier than others. Betcha didn't know that. Back in Flint, Mich., Moore feels on safe ground. There are no martyred rabbits this time. Instead, it's the poor and black who shoulder the packs and rifles and march away. I won't dwell on the fact that black Americans have fought for almost a century and a half, from insisting on their right to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Civil War to the right to have a desegregated Army that set the pace for post-1945 civil rights. I'll merely ask this: In the film, Moore says loudly and repeatedly that not enough troops were sent to garrison Afghanistan and Iraq. (This is now a favorite cleverness of those who were, in the first place, against sending any soldiers at all.) Well, where does he think those needful heroes and heroines would have come from? Does he favor a draft—the most statist and oppressive solution? Does he think that only hapless and gullible proles sign up for the Marines? Does he think—as he seems to suggest—that parents can "send" their children, as he stupidly asks elected members of Congress to do? Would he have abandoned Gettysburg because the Union allowed civilians to pay proxies to serve in their place? Would he have supported the antidraft (and very antiblack) riots against Lincoln in New York? After a point, one realizes that it's a waste of time asking him questions of this sort. It would be too much like taking him seriously. He'll just try anything once and see if it floats or flies or gets a cheer.

Shorter Hitchens: Well somebody has to fight these wars and the blacks have always been so good at it. Moore is a racist because he doesn’t want them to succeed at their God-given talent.

Monday, June 28, 2004


I probably should've mentioned that I'd be on vacation this week. I'm in not-so-sunny San Francisco with this crazy biz-nitch. It's been one crazy weekend. Today we marched in the parade with Stop AIDS and handed out condoms to crazy people and little old Asian ladies. And Kerry support was alive and well.

We're going to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" tomorrow. Don't tell me what happens!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

I heard from a friend who attended the premier of "Fahrenheit 9/11" in D.C. that Tom Daschle was there. I don't know what he was thinking, but he apparently didn't stand up and apologize. I guess no one gave him a heads-up that he appears several times in the film—he should be ashamed of himself. In fact, he is the most prominent Democrat in the film, so any critic who claims this documentary is just one big Democratic love fest, must've gone out for popcorn and soda more than once.

My own take on it? I think it will be an eye-opener for a lot of people who don't read alternative news sources, and even people who do. I knew there were protests during Bush's inauguration (our own Lenora was there) but did anyone see the footage of the limo being egged on CNN? or the massiveness and anger of the crowd? Even so, Michael Moore pulled his punches. He was restrained, but very effective. He limited himself to one grieving mother (very moving, nevertheless), one citizen who felt his rights had been violated by the FBI because he was critical of George Bush, when we know there are lots of angry citizens and at least 850 grieving families. Another thing missing from the reviews I've read is how sad "Fahrenheit 9/11" is, on so many levels. When contrasted with the trumped-up grief the media attributed to us for Ronald Reagan's funeral, Moore's film illustrates what the country really is mourning.

And did everybody else catch Condo explicitly linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks of 9/11?

Monday, June 21, 2004

If you missed Jon Stewart eviscerate Stephen Hayes be sure to catch it at midnight Central Time or tomorrow at 6 P.M.

Jon is national treasure. Let's save the $10 bill for him.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

My Late Clinton Post

I’m watching the 60 Minutes Clinton interview on tape (Father’s Day dinner and all).

I like that he said this: “I’ve said more about my personal life than any public figure should.” I like that

This proves once and for all that countries may fall, presidents may lie about death and torture and what have you, but we as a people will forever be obsessed with Clinton’s penis.

They’re framing his beef against Kenneth Starr as though it’s a paranoid fantasy he thought up to get himself out of trouble. No corroborating evidence.

Dan Rather bites ass.

I really don’t like the way they’re doing this. Everything he says, even the stuff that can be confirmed, is presented as being subject to debate. A good news program would provide context for his statements.

I can’t believe Rather just accused Clinton of wagging the dog.

I suppose it would have been too much to hope that they wouldn’t beat us over the head with the subject of his infidelity but Jesus fucking Christ, how many times can he possibly say that, “It was awful and I’m sorry”? And there was a right wing conspiracy for anybody who cares to do the goddamn research.

It’s a hard to watch the testimony again. It takes me right back to that surreal icky feeling.

Shut up Dan, just shut the hell up

This interview was supposed to make me happy. It’s pissing me off. The funny thing is that Dan is trying his damnedest to make Clinton look bad and it’s not working very well. It’s hard to smear someone who has nothing to lose.

This is a sloppy interview. First of all there is no conceivable structure. Even a third grader knows when in doubt start at the beginning. They can’t seem to leave the flashpoints of Lewinsky, Flowers, and Jones alone long enough to do any actual work. Secondly, it’s completely manipulative. Instead of saying anything new, they’re hitting all the hot buttons, all the boring ones at that.

And Reagan even had the crash this party. “Bill let’s talk about when you die.”

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Friend and frequent commentor Regina has struck out on her own. Go check her out over at Chicana On the Edge.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Salon has a good piece on Nader today. Apparently, his new schtick is to claim that his campaign is tailored to lure away disillusioned Bush supporters. Let's see.
Nader's campaign itinerary raises more questions about his professed drive to find GOP support. I was following Nader on his "Northeast Tour," which hit some of the most Democratic-voting cities in America. Visiting Amherst, Boston and Concord -- the liberal center of New Hampshire -- is a funny way of looking for Republican votes. "Well, in June I'm going to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois," Nader told me. "I'm just going to every state." (Iowa and Illinois voted Democratic in 2000.


And while we're on the Nader subject I just have to say something. I'm really getting tired of being stuck on the "Kerry Voted For the War" line with these people. Yes, I was upset too. More upset because before that I was all ready to support him. And the war is going badly.

But, A)the war is not Kerry's fault. It's Bush's fault. And voting for war based on evidence that turned out to be false is not the same thing as providing false evidence so that we might go to war. And, B) if you do vote for Nader--which is your right--if Bush wins by a narrow margin and the war continues and continues to go badly, it will be your fault.

So think about that this summer. Kerry actually has a stake in turning things around in Iraq. If he wins we can reasonably assume that he will listen to reason. Bush won't. He hasn't and there is no reason to expect that he's going to start anytime soon. With Kerry there is hope.

If you really opposed this war, you will vote for Kerry. But like I said it's your choice. So go ahead and vote for Nader, and if Bush wins and the bodies keep piling up, you can comfort yourself that you voted your principles.

My one and only Reagan Post

When I was five my Kindergarten class held a mock Presidential election. Mondale won.

Is there really anything left worth saying about Reagan? Lay the man to rest already. Does anybody else find something a smidge revolting about the way they are parading his coffin around the country like some holy relic?

It's probably tasteless of us to enjoy scoring points on this the darkest of days for the right. But Peggy Noonan has had this one coming for a while.
The week has been ... something. I watched it from where I am, in the place beyond. It's wonderful here. I'm working as a lifeguard again, and I love it. It's a little crowded, though, and an awful lot of people seem to want to talk to me, which I'll get to in a minute. But first you and I have to talk. I know what you were trying to do all week, or what you sort of meant to be doing. But, Peg, it's been bad.

Peg. Please, for the love of God -- who's in the next hammock, by the way? -- shut the hell up.

For those of you don't remember, read this first.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Somebody buy this for me right now.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Kevin Hayden over The American Street was nice enough to include yours truly on his list of cool female blogs (yes I am going to make you click on all of the links until you figure out which one is me). He clearly hasn't seen my latest traffic stats.

UPDATE: Oh fine, click on the word "more".

Sunday, May 30, 2004

OT: 15 Minutes of Fame

If you have time today check out the MTV News Special on R. Kelly. Not only will you see my old high school but towards the end my baby brother Greg is interviewed. 3:00 p.m Central Standard Time, re-aired on MTV 2 at 4: 00 p.m.

ADDED: I probably should add that Greg's role is strictly man on the street as-a-student-how-do-you-feel-about this blah blah. Right now family members across the country are watching a tabloid show on a sex scandal in the hopes of seeing my brother. It is a proud moment in Casa Warren.

ADDED: Greg was the second of the teen interviews.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Endless Love

Well it's been a rough couple of years but the Blair-Bush love affair has become the dysfunctional relationship that just won't die. And I just gotta hand it to them for being able to make it work for so long.

George, Tony...

...this one's for you.

UPDATED: Link fixed. It's funny, I swear.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

From Frank Rich today on Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11:
Fahrenheit 9/11" doesn't push any Vietnam analogies, but you may find one in a montage at the start, in which a number of administration luminaries (Cheney, Rice, Ashcroft, Powell) in addition to the president are seen being made up for TV appearances. It's reminiscent of Richard Avedon's photographic portrait of the Mission Council, the American diplomats and military figures running the war in Saigon in 1971. But at least those subjects were dignified. In Mr. Moore's candid-camera portraits, a particularly unappetizing spectacle is provided by Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of both the administration's Iraqi fixation and its doctrine of "preventive" war. We watch him stick his comb in his mouth until it is wet with spit, after which he runs it through his hair. This is not the image we usually see of the deputy defense secretary, who has been ritualistically presented in the press as the most refined of intellectuals — a guy with, as Barbara Bush would have it, a beautiful mind.

Said my mother after reading that passage: "I think I'd rather see The Passion than that sequence."


Friday, May 21, 2004

Oh unfair New Mexico

Our hearts with shame o'erflow...
In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being "un-American" because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its "No child left behind" education policy.

The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.
But, as with horseshit everywhere, it's spread farther and deeper than just little old Rio Rancho High.
Writers and editors who have spent years translating essays, films, poems, scientific articles and books by Iranian, North Korean and Sudanese authors have been warned not to do so by the U.S. Treasury Department under penalty of fine and imprisonment. Publishers and film producers are not allowed to edit works authored by writers in those nations. The Bush administration contends doing so has the effect of trading with the enemy, despite a 1988 law that exempts published materials from sanction under trade rules.
I've reformatted Korean and Arabic healthforms...does that make me an enemy combatant?
Thanks to bartcop entertainment for the link.
Eric A.'s column in The Nation
These are the men not just the neocons but self-described progressives and human-rights advocates believed capable of carrying out the delicate and difficult mission of bringing democracy and modernism to the Arab world, while safeguarding the security and good name of the United States. Excuse me, but just what was so hard to understand about this bunch? We knew they were dishonest. We knew they were fanatical. We knew they were purposely ignorant and bragged about not reading newspapers. We knew they were vindictive. We knew they were lawless. We knew they were obsessively secretive. We knew they had no time or patience for those who raised difficult questions. We knew they were driven by fantasies of religious warfare, personal vengeance and ideological triumph. We knew they had no respect for civil liberties. And we knew they took no responsibility for the consequences of their incompetence. Just what is surprising about the manner in which they've conducted the war?

It's hard to welcome the disillusionment of so many chickenhawks. As much as I'd like to be happy that they are finally growing a brain, I find myself even more angry at their surprise and dismay. Eric's right. How the hell can you be surprised at a catastrophe played out in plain sight?
The Ryan campaign is paying somone to stalk Barack Obama (via Josh Marshall)
In what has to be a first in Illinois politics, Republican Jack Ryan has assigned one of his campaign workers to record every movement and every word of the state senator while he is in public.

That means Justin Warfel, armed with a handheld Panasonic digital camcorder, follows Obama to the bathroom door and waits outside. It means Warfel follows Obama as he moves from meeting to meeting in the Capitol. And it means Warfel tails Obama when he drives to his campaign office.

"It's standard procedure to record public speeches and things like that," Obama told reporters as the bald, 20-something operative filmed away. "But to have someone who's literally following you a foot and a half away, everywhere you go, going into the restrooms, standing outside my office, sitting outside of my office asking my secretary where I am, seems to be getting a little carried away."

Warfel interrupted Obama several times with heckling questions, but wouldn't respond when reporters asked him about who he was and why he was filming Obama's every move.

"You'll have to speak to the campaign office," Warfel said tartly to practically every inquiry.

Yeah, I know.

ADDED: Here's Jack Ryan's contact info
Jack Ryan for U.S. Senate
118 N. Clinton St., Suite 305
Chicago, IL 60661

312.258.8601 (fax)
888-880-2004 (Toll-free in Illinois)


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Jon Stewart's Commencement Speech at William and Mary
Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it.

Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize.

But here’s the good news. You fix this thing, you’re the next greatest generation, people. You do this—and I believe you can—you win this war on terror, and Tom Brokaw’s kissing your ass from here to Tikrit, let me tell ya. And even if you don’t, you’re not gonna have much trouble surpassing my generation. If you end up getting your picture taken next to a naked guy pile of enemy prisoners and don’t give the thumbs up you’ve outdid us.

We declared war on terror. We declared war on terror—it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.

We had Robert Pinsky speak. He read a poem about death.