••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

sierra club


flag sag

sen orrin hatch (r-ut) went on washington journal the other day to talk up support for his flag "desecration" amendment even tho he knew it was about to fall one vote short of passage. [pro and con gops gave me some surprises, tho: mcconnell (ky) and bennett (ut) voted no along with the expected chafee (ri); i'm wondering what happened to snowe (me), collins (me), sununu (nh), graham (sc), hagel (ne), and, most of all, specter (pa), not to mention 14 dems who voted yes!]

my first reaction was to that word. it implies the flag's a sacred object, not a secular one. betsy ross and george washington climb sassafras mountain and fast 40 days and 40 nights till an angel reveals the design. then they scrape some root bark, take it to beantown, and have a tea party as betsy sews and george cuts stars. he drops her off in philly and heads up to brooklyn to show his colors to the enemy then cut and run so he can live to fight another day.

or maybe serious superpatriots claim it's been sanctified by the blood of heroes who died for it. but that could be said of flags of many nations. did the amendment include them?

far as i know, non-americans don't have our kind of emotional attachment to flags. flags are national symbols and that's that.

sure, they fly them on national holidays and for other political events. it wouldn't surprise me if they face them when they sing their national anthems at sports events. but they don't seem to see flags as extensions of their gonads.

maybe it's the music. don't tell me nothing stirs in you when the frenchies at rick's stand and sing the marseillaise in defiance of the germans in casablanca.

i don't know many national anthems. are any besides ours about a flag? maybe singing or hearing the star-spangled banner gets our blood up. maybe we keep passions in high gear for a few hours after the song by cheering for our favorite athletes.

the association is bound to stick in our emotional memories.

and that makes us vulnerable.

foreign protesters we see burn our flag on tv may not feel so strongly about their own flags, but they seem to intuit that burning ours will upset us.

hearing of americans doing it both infuriates and perplexes. protesters may sincerely believe they communicate a valid message, but what comes across looks like bullying.

bullies sense vulnerability and exploit it: they focus their attacks on weaknesses. that's effective strategy when used against a strong foe, but it's cowardly when the strong aim it at the innocent and unready.

it doesn't have to be a physical attack. words are powerful weapons, especially if repeated a lot or in too many sound bites for the opposition to rebut them all or an overwhelming number of targeted threats keeps an audience's anxiety level above the redline. whether the target's flag burners, the new york times, immigrants, gays, activist judges, trial lawyers, whistleblowers, environmentalists, evolution, abortion, stem cell research, libs, or dems, it's just as cowardly when politicians exploit voters' emotional weaknesses.

if the people and the press let bullies pile on again and again, eventually a wannabe king becomes a de facto king, even if untitled and uncrowned.

bullies are cowards. they deny their conscience.

the only way to stop them is to stand up to them.

shooting them in the face is even more fun when you don't like them, isn't it?

jon stewart nailed it when he wondered why the white house isn't happy to have us know they're doing a good job hunting terrorists via bank records.

i wonder if secretly they are happy, and attacking the times for revealing the program is really killing 2 stones with one cake, or eating your bird and having it too, or something.

eyeless in gaza

in case it isn't obvious to you, philistine is the old form of the word palestinian, and gaza was one of their cities in biblical times too.

the book of judges makes it the site of a temple where blinded samson played (for keeps) to a crowd of 3000 assembled to witness a huge sacrifice but who unexpectedly got sacrificed when samson brought the house down in his final performance, giving john milton an image, aldous huxley a novel title, and me a headline.

unintended consequences may or may not also be the theme of the latest gaza news. certainly the kidnappers couldn't have picked a victim more likely to provoke an all-out reaction than the soldier they grabbed. israel's pr agency made sure the world got a good media look at his angelic smiling boy scout face.

that may be the only part they got right: forcing thousands of innocent folk out of their homes and cutting off water and electricity is not good pr. not for israel. it's great for hamas.

all, of course, results from sharon's bush-supported (if not bush-prodded) decision to pull out of gaza unilaterally rather than negotiating the withdrawal, which would've strengthened abbas's hand instead of hamas's.

did i miss something?

on the mclaughlin group last weekend, tony blankley of the washington times said winston churchill observed that a civilized society warring with a more barbaric one inevitably gets pulled toward barbarism.

blankely concluded that we therefore should not be quick to prosecute our soldiers accused of atrocities.

so we should tolerate our barbarism...and thus prove churchill right?

cheney most powerful VP ever, right? & knowledge is power, right? well, guess what: YOU know MORE than cheney!

june 20th's frontline episode, appropriately titled the dark side, revealed that at some point on 9/11 dick cheney thought 6 airliners had been hijacked and—on his orders—2 of them shot down by military jets.

anybody watching tv that day knew better.

cheney's one of those know-it-alls who like to show off knowledge. a couple months before 9/11 he publicly predicted that gasoline prices—rising since wannabe king george announced his candidacy 2 years earlier—would soon fall. he was right, of course. he'd been watching the futures market.

11 years before that he said "war's closer than ever. saddam hussein is starting to feel the effects of the sanctions." up to that point in late summer of 1990, almost everybody thought the sanctions were meant to pressure saddam to leave kuwait without our having to go to war. cheney gave away the real intent: to soften up iraq for war. but nobody picked up on it.

because of those revelations, when cheney's old friend and fellow showoff bob novak unveiled valerie plame wilson's CIA identity, it seemed likely cheney was involved in the leak. on the other hand, don rumsfeld couldn't be ruled out as a suspect: he has a marked tendency to try to prove he knows more than anybody else.

on the surface, it might seem surprising that all those know-it-alls get along so well, but there are enough differences to make them complementary allies rather than rivals.

i'll leave that to anyone who wants to analyze it and go back to my starting point, namely, it's strange cheney could've been so wrong on 9/11 with the truth so widely known.

in a way, it's kind of endearing but also disconcerting: when such a powerful man has bad info, he could make a big mistake. that may be what happened in the plame leak, tho we don't yet know if any of her contacts got hurt.

cheney's bad info was his understanding of the law on handling classified info, specifically the "need-to-know" provision, which he violated when he told scooter libby about wilson's wife, something libby had no legitimate need to know.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

are there any black GOPs left?

i wonder what the the rising number of african-americans who voted for bush are thinking now.

fair enough?

GM has ended pensions for 42.000 workers this year.

the savings are meant to enable the company to continue to pay megabuck executive pensions.

this is amazing! aren't worker pensions held in a trust fund? do these guys have any idea what they're doing? is what's good for GM good for america?
Dean repeats call for Iraq troop drawdown (AP)

Schwarzenegger denies Bush troop request (AP)

Bush presses for more power to rein in spending (Reuters)

Bush pushes Congress on line-item veto (AP)

U.S. envoy faces tough job in North Korea (AP)

High court saves some best cases for last (AP)

List of major high court cases (AP)

Gov't asks judge to dismiss spying suit (AP)

Treasury Sec. Snow Praises Secret Gov't Program Tracking Banking

Iran Increasing Support for Shiite Rebels in Iraq

Iraqi Gov't Declares State of Emergency in Baghdad

Rival Warring Factions in Somalia Sign Peace Deal

Fmr. VP Mondale Supports Pre-Emptive Strike Against N. Korea

Army Lt. Refuses To Deploy To Iraq, Says War Is Illegal

Israeli PM Olmert Meets with Palestinian Leader Abbas

House sends estate tax bill to Senate (AP)

Senate rejects calls on Iraq troop pullout (AP)

Senate Rejects Two Dem. Proposals To Withdraw Troops From Iraq

New intel report reignites Iraq arms fight (AP)

V.P. Cheney Says He May Have to Testify in CIA Leak Trial

V.P. Cheney: "North Korea's Missile Capabilities Rudimentary"

V.P. Cheney Says U.S. Retreat From Iraq Would Have Domino Effect

EPA: New Permits Needed When Polluting Rivers With Animal Waste

Earth Hits Hottest Temperatures in 400 Years

Supreme Court Rules Employers Can Be Held Liable For Retaliation

House GOP Postpones Renewing 1965 Voting Rights Act

Increase to minimum wage fails in Senate (USATODAY.com)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Earth hottest it's been in 2000 years (AP)

Oil Prices Climb on Gasoline Jitters (AP)

Leading Indicators Fall 0.6 Pct. in May (AP)

GOP-run Senate kills minimum wage increase

war of/on words

let's say a horrible crime gets committed. it's so bad that the leader of the nation announces it was an act of war, so the country's at war.

he sends the army to track down the gang behind the crime.

when they capture anybody, they call him an "enemy combatant" rather than a "suspected criminal," but they say he's not a "prisoner of war" because he wears no uniform and the gang never signed the geneva convention, so they can hold him till the "end" of the "war" without trial or any legal protections, such as right to counsel and assurance he won't be tortured.

at home, the govt bugs phones and raids offices and seizes whatever it wants to take and closes borders, and most citizens think it's ok.

see, if you define it as war, you can do all kinds of shit you couldn't get away with if it was a hunt for criminals.

grasping at straws of mass diversion

a poll shows challenger bob casey leads sen rick santorum (r-pa) 52%-34%, up from a 13-point spread in may.

ricky seized an opportunity to join the unrepentant legion who've "proven" saddam had WMD.

the occasion was discovery (2 years ago!) of a few hundred deteriorated 1980s devices of the 100k+ iraq had declared "used" in the war against iran. apparently some were hidden and forgotten.

ricky must be running scared.

next blowback?

george w has faith democracies don't fight each other.

i'm not so sure. ok, it hasn't happened since athens hit syracuse 2400 years ago, but what happens once can happen again.

besides, who can guarantee iraq will stay a democracy?

georgie-boy's legacy may well be a fully-equipped 300,000-man US-trained army just itchin' to fight israel.

and if the shi'a majority dominates, who can say iraq won't join hands with iran in the grand enterprise of wiping the mideast's first democracy off the map?


in case jon stewart happens to have occasion to say something about sen richard shelby (r-al), i want to let him know—or remind him, if he already knows but has forgotten—that nearly dead-center in joe wilson's book, politics of truth, is a very interesting photo of shelby.

he wouldn't even have to wait for the senator to make news. he could just pair it up with footage of da prez in the rose garden with the king [then-prince] and do a bit on hand-holding.

big mistake, stephen

last night steve colbert improvised (i think) a few short rants ridiculing some world cup competitors.

ghana, which had already beaten the czech team that crushed the USA 3-0, was victim of a couple puns, including turning its name into that of a particularly unpleasant STD.

today ghana eliminated the US from the tournament, 2-1.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

say, instead of that heavy up-armor, why don't they line humvees with kevlar?

1, 2

anti-Iraqi elements?

what the hell does that mean?

open letter to ambitious flip-floppers

to all politicians who favored the 2002 force authorization but now see the error of invading iraq:

thank you for changing your position.

doing so was the right decision, but, for the good of the country, do not seek the presidency.

frankly, you don't think like a chief executive needs to think. if you didn't see thru the bush admin claims 4 years ago, your thinking was stuck deep "inside the box."

much as i respect your new awareness and change of course, what this country needs is a president who thinks freely enough to have recognized all along that the hawks didn't have proof beyond reasonable doubt, so war wasn't justified.

fortunately or unfortunately, we voters have a tendency to like candidates with the common touch—folks like ourselves, somebody we'd want to have a beer with.

so we often elect ordinary joes who let their passions rule their reason and whose thinking is commonplace instead of common sense.

we need to get over it. these are difficult and dangerous times. a lot of very complex issues have emerged.

elitist as it may sound, we need somebody superior in the white house.

civility & strategy

rep jack murtha (d-pa) responded with what i'd call excessive diplomacy to a pair of political attacks in the past few days.

one came from a colleague on the house floor, the other in a speech in new hampshire by karl rove.

the unknown-to-me congressman, first-termer louie gohmert (r-tx), began with the support-our-troops rhetorical device of thanking murtha for his service and visiting the wounded and so on, but then he said if murtha's thinking had "prevailed" during ww2 we'd be speaking japanese or german now.

murtha stood and simply asked gohmert about his combat experience. as it turned out, he had none. (that might put him in his place, but it's really irrelevant. what counts is the illogic of his bullshit.)

rove, gearing up for november, attacked from a distance, a favorite habit of his clique. he claimed zarqawi would still be alive if we'd "cut and run" when murtha said we should.

murtha's answer on meet the press was that zarqawi could've been bombed without US troops occupying iraq. he also said it's easy for rove to make such comments when all he did was sit in an air-conditioned office on his "fat backside" as others took risks.

my reply would've been less tempered. i consider killing from 8000 miles away nothing short of cowardice. sending other folk to do the dirty work is abject.

meanwhile, over the weekend i learned al qaeda strategist zawahiri wrote that the goal of the 9/11 attacks was to make the US lash out at muslims, thus winning converts to the terrorist cause. the first end was obviously attained when we invaded iraq. time will tell how successful the second has been.

in any case, the political significance of all the above is clear to those who retain objectivity: gop rhetoric aims to blame dems for the bush admin's strategic failures, not unlike the way they convinced the weak-minded that john kerry's vote caused rumsfeld's failure to provide enough body and vehicle armor.

da prez claims he takes seriously what the enemy says. let's hope he knows about the zawahiri statement and figures out its implications.

but, as usual, don't hold your breath.

expect the unexpected

i'll say this about the FBI raid on rep wm jefferson's (d-la) office: at least they had a warrant!

i wouldn't know if the warrant followed the constitution's requirement to describe the "things to be seized" or if the raiders seized only what was described, but that's the lawyers' problem, not mine.

as for separation of powers, i am a bit concerned, but i'm willing to wait for what higher courts say. the fact that the executive branch has never searched a congressional office before is clearly a long-followed custom and may or may not be a legal precedent.

it looks like they've got a lot on the guy and the country would be better off with him in jail instead of congress, but one aspect of it still worries me: if they can do that to a congressman, imagine what they can do to you or me!

sure, i know. you're one of those characters who says "go ahead. i've got nothing to hide."

well, bully for you. what a boring life you must lead: no love letters you wouldn't want a stranger reading? nothing ever said on the phone that wouldn't embarrass you if you knew a 3rd person was listening?

i recall hearing of a guy who got stopped for something minor on the jersey turnpike. the cop asked if he could look in the trunk. the guy figured he had nothing to hide, so he said ok.

the search took 2 hours!

see, it's not all about getting unjustly locked up or tortured or shot. often it's about your right to have a humdrum existence without a guy with a badge imposing an unreasonable inconvenience on you just because he can.

so when you think you've nothing to hide, also think about whether you have nothing better to do, and, like mel brooks says (after disraeli), "hope for the best, but expect the worst!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

progress in congress?

you surely know this old one, but in case you don't: if con is the opposite of pro, what's the opposite of progress?

nevertheless, if you compare the vote against withdrawal from iraq to the 2002 force authorization, our side gained 20: dems added 23 nays to their original 126, gops took back 3 of their 6. the other side lost 40 votes, the difference coming from abstentions and nonvoting.

i missed the end of the debate. around 10pm good ol' comcast lost c-span and comedy central till almost 11:30. i had to stay up to watch the replay of the daily show at 1:00am. i try to be forgiving, but it ain't easy.

the debate, seen as theatre, entertained but failed to elevate. gops trotted out every cliché and rationalization in their book, from "after 9/11" to "every intel agency in the world agreed" to "#1 front in the war on terror" to "cut and run."

sorry, charlie. you may win the vote, but you lose the moral, legal, and strategic cases:

• the only certainty in war is that the innocent will suffer; therefore, no matter the risk, invading a country without proof of necessity beyond reasonable doubt is both cowardly and criminal.

• terrorists don't try to make us run or hide or surrender; they want us to overreact! when we do, they win hearts and minds.
say what you will about how dangerous it seemed 3½ years ago. we now know for sure your fears were groundless.

because we invaded, we bear blame for many times more deaths than al qaeda does, and iraq is now more of an on-the-job training ground for terrorists than afghanistan ever was.

you let fear drive you to sow wind, and now you'll reap the whirlwind you feared most.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Senate Panel Sends Flag Burning Amendment to Floor

oh, & in the iraq debate they still defend the wmd argument


toles on rove

rall on lifting one w/ da prez

rall on pundits

rall on shock

iraq frame-up

the gops must think us pretty stupid and/or too blinded by fear to see they've reframed the debate over iraq as the same as the war on terror.

it's both patronizing and mendacious, and the "party of ideas" counts on our being too dull-witted to see thru their diversions from reality.

gops, take notice: we—the free and independent people of america!—are waking up! we will not be treated as gullible cowardly children! we will swallow your tripe no more!

mad mushroom party

let's get one thing straight: there really is a good reason to doubt iran's claim that they want to enrich uranium for peaceful use as reactor fuel, namely, they don't have any nuclear reactors!

that said, only a couple possible reasons exist to enrich uranium: 1) to make weapons or 2) to provoke a preventive attack by the US or, more likely, israel, who iran would expect to act as a surrogate to hide US involvement. iran's response would be all-out war on israel with right and world opinion on iran's side, since israel would've fired the first shot, thus playing into iran's game.

but wait! did i say get it straight? according to my 1997 world almanac, as of the end of 1995 the IAEA said iran had under construction 2 reactors capable of generating a total of more than 2000MW.

so what's going on?

as the mad hatter said, i haven't the slightest idea.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

stealing into baghdad

too soon to say how many poll points you gain by spending 22 hours round-trip in the air to touch down for a less-than-6-hour mid-way surprise.

if it turns out to be 2, 3, 6, or 7 points, you can use a football metaphor: safety, FG, TD, or TD+PAT. if it's only one, a soccer image might be appropriate, but it won't impress anybody, especially after our world cup czech bounce, so maybe we'll stick to our good ol' "national pastime" and say a one-bagher, a stolen base, and driven home by another single. in any case, no one will call it cricket.

the culture-gap trouble is, in the war of words we call the other side "ali baba." we somehow forgot he's the hero of the story, not one of the thieves.

it's the sort of devil-in-the-details lapse we get accustomed to in the old doubleheaded reptile, the r-complex: mr & ms rummy-rice. but that's par for the course.

PBS, meanwhile, must be following the blogs: next week's frontline will be titled "the dark side." and, yes, it's about darth cheney.

so, steal away, lord, steal away.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

venomous voice

well, it happened again.

when rep ellen tauscher (d-ca) appeared on washington journal, a caller said dems have "venom" in their voices. before she hung up she said her husband was in vietnam "...and look what kerry did to him!"

i guess she bought the swiftvet slander that kerry branded all viet vets as war criminals.

i don't know what she meant by "venom," but her own voice sounded tense with fear, resentment, and hate.

"...you can...fool some of the people all the time...."
—a lincoln
rep tauscher—who said she voted to authorize force in iraq because she trusted da prez's claims in 2002—now opposes the war, but she'll vote to fund it because she supports the troops.

maybe she doesn't know "support our troops" is a rhetorical sledgehammer to get votes to pay for war. maybe she doesn't know the troops were polled a few months ago and 72% say we should leave iraq. does supporting them mean ignoring their opinion?

gops have shown their extreme effectiveness at repeating sound bites to lodge them firmly in our memories. unfortunately, memory can't tell true from false. it just stores info and retrieves it, both of which are facilitated by repetition.

when two pieces of info are repeatedly juxtaposed, they become associated with each other in the memory. if one of them is harmless and the other is threatening, the threat gets associated with the harmless idea. that's the source of phobia.

gops have—perhaps inadvertently—induced mass phobia in a large segment of the american public. is that why they call themselves the "party of ideas"?

comeuppance coming?

a news report says a GI refused to go to iraq on the grounds that the war is illegal.

it's not the first such refusal, but perhaps this one will signal a trend. it could happen because, in the wake of abu ghraib and more recent events, more and more of our troops are motivated to read up on the law, and the internet makes it easier to do.

once they read article vi of the US constitution and chapter vii of the UN charter, many will realize the truth, some will refuse to obey orders to ship out to iraq, and a few will get court martialed.

have no illusions about the fairness of military justice: most will get convicted. it's next to impossible to win acquittal. officers assigned to the court are fully indoctrinated, ambitious, and unlikely to risk displeasing commanding officers who have the power to impede promotions.

eventually tho, some smart young defense attorney may come up with an argument that overcomes denial and shines light in the murk inside those mickeymouse brains, and a military tribunal may declare the war illegal.

if that scenario materializes, imperator bush will find himself skating on thin ice that covers deep shit.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

zarqawi dead, &...

congrats to everyone involved in the operation. stopping him was among the highest priorities in the campaign against terrorism.

of course, it could be a mixed blessing: one result may be a rash of copycat beheadings of innocent folk to celebrate the so-called martyrdom—which zarqawi's supporters have expected for a long time—but it's an important achievement nonetheless.

sadly, pro-bush levophobes couldn't just enjoy the moment. they jammed phone lines and, i assume, all media claiming dems are mourning the loss of an ally and if kerry had won we'd all be dead now. [i actually heard both those assertions, among others, on c-span.]

you can see where it comes from: months of their hero's poll slide will likely reverse for a time, so they taste another election win, no matter how bad it would be for the country.

their rancor needlessly stirred by the immigration "debate" and fueled by bush's latest attack on gay marriage, the resurrected "death tax" ploy, and ted stevens' ongoing "decency" campaign—all those diversions already on the table, and no more really needed to smother media coverage of meaningful issues, but karl rove never justly accused of underkill—can the flag-burning amendment be far behind?

Thursday, June 08, 2006


is underkill a word? it should be, tho in this age it won't get much use.

i've coined words before. eet's moy jawb: i'm a poet. [i know, i know.]

none have caught on.

i'll take credit for popularizing intense and intensity, tho i didn't make them up, of course. i wrote a poem called intencity [deliberately misspelled] in '92 and read it a lot round nyc. soon folk started saying "that's intense!"

infoverload is another title from 12 or 13 years back. it's just a contraction, of course, but a useful one for a widespread and influential phenomenon that's a major source of anxiety, so i think it deserves use.

i just came up with my headline. all i did was cut off the suffix, but i've never seen it without -ism, -ize, -y, or something longer.* i think this is the first time i made a multiple-sense word: 1. a record or journal of new words [tho not likely to be regularly kept as log usually implies]; 2. a person who makes new words [like me]; or 3. the opposite of neocon.

*now i have

SOOL since 6/6/06

jon stewart interviewed former ed sec bill bennett on 6/6. playing on the omen theme, he pointed out that bennett's then boss's full name, ronald wilson reagan, has 3 groups of 6 letters.

he should've rerun his tony snow bit that day. the graphic with it said "FOX in the henhouse," but the building in the pic looked like its main hen's named laura. snow, of course, worked for FOXnews before moving to the WH. numerologically, FOX=666.

steve colbert also did something on the beast, but he missed the FOX connection, too.

meanwhile, here on the home front, i've had no luck at all since 6/6. blogger was shut down when i tried to post yesterday, and it's not too good today. it won't let me respond to odysseus's comment. i can't get it to insert links, either. making them myself is too damn much trouble. if i can get it to post this stuff at all, i think i'll wait to add links when i get a chance.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

uh oh

Islamic militia seizes Somalian capital

Militia Seizes Somali Capital

Militants capture Somalia's capital

Rebels with alleged al-Qaida links take control of Somalia's capital

[these are all the same story w/ different headlines.]

NEVER underestimate the enemy (link)

these bumperstickers give an idea why dub's still in the WH.

there's no phobe like an old phobe—unless it's a young one.

a lil geography lesson for rich lowry

Pointing to Haditha and saying that it means we have to leave Iraq would be a little like pointing to the New York City police officer who sodomized a suspect with a broomstick and saying that the NYC Police Department should exit New York because the stresses on its officers are too great.
—Rich Lowry, Wallowing in Haditha
no it wouldn't.

nyc is nyc. the nyc police belong there.

in case you never noticed, iraq is not the US. the US armed forces don't belong there.


since i made a reference to gop big lies below, and since i like to give some background when i make sweeping claims or imply them like that, here, once again, is that foundation of modern conservatism, the 1964 barry goldwater best-known line:
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
and if you think that makes sense, you got another think coming!

Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog

18k books online, free!

and here's where they started.

Colbert Report Authors

You don't trust books, and neither does Stephen. Still, you need to know what those book-writers are going on about. So here they all are!

from my inbox

the dems sent me this the other day. it had more to it, of course, but i just want to post what i think's most interesting:

Imagine for a moment that you're Republican Bill Frist, the Senate's Majority Leader, and you have the power and awesome responsibility to control what issues the Senate considers and when it considers them. Knowing everything you do about the crises facing our nation and the things that most concern Americans, would your top priority be to:

A) Force the administration to change its failed strategy in Iraq

B) Help consumers walloped by $3.00 a gallon gas and take steps to reduce our oil addiction

C) Pass the first minimum wage increase in 10 years and develop plans to create good jobs in America

D) Expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition

E) Ensure access to health care for every American

F) Amend the Constitution to deprive gay people of equal rights under the law

As someone who cares deeply about this nation, its problems and its future, you probably said A, B, C, D, or E. But Republican Majority Leader Frist chose F.

as you see from choices A thru E, the dems really do stand for something, tho you'd never know it if you listen to cable news, where the only thing you get is so-called analysts and pundits who pass on the gop big lie that the dems have no ideas and no program other than to frustrate gops.

if you think this country would be better off changing congressional majorities, but your gop senator or representative deserves reelection, maybe it hasn't occurred to you that the handful of gop moderates keep their party in the majority and keep their leaders running the show, leaders who do almost nothing but waste time and resources on wedge issues like choice F so they can fool their base.

i'm in PA and think arlen specter is pretty exceptional, but i voted against him, because getting a dem majority would be worth the sacrifice. unfortunately, not enough folk have learned to think strategically yet!

Monday, June 05, 2006


From the writers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

In the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, protestors are calling for "The Da Vinci Code" to be banned, with Eduardo Ermita, Philippines' executive secretary, stating, "And if you are to ask me, personally, I think if we know that indeed it will offend the sensibilities of the Filipinos, we being a Catholic country, I think we should do everything not to allow it to be shown." He then shrugged and added, "Then again, that means the local theater will have to show 'Monsoon Wedding' for the 260th straight week, and I think there's a gay kid in that. You can't win."

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Q: how is gay marriage like war in iraq?

A: in a word: politics. [fleshing this out could take a book, so i'm going to have to leave a lot out, such as that the war was unnecessary, unjust, illegal, immoral, &c.]

the growing number of retired officers who say lose rummy focus mainly on dandy donny's insistence on not enough troops to finish the job. few get into why he wanted to limit troop strength so radically.

as gen batiste pointed out, the reason is that the needed doubling of the force would've delayed the invasion at least 3 or 4 months and upped the cost enormously. that would've endangered bush's tax cut, thus losing the base and a second term.

bush's renewed call to amend the US constitution to ban gay marriage in order to protect the institution of marriage is another example of creating a problem from no problem. 45 states already ban gay marriage and won't recognize those performed in the few places that allow them, and those few have already shown they have no interest in making the rest change, plus we already have unchallenged federal, state, and local "defense of marriage" laws up the wazoo, so there won't be a national impact.

so why amend? the trouble is bush's poll numbers: only 3 states—utah, idaho, and wyoming—give him over 50% approval. (he didn't get texas?!)

dub still nurtures a fantasy that history will judge him kindly, but that depends on actually doing something of value, which, in turn, depends on keeping control of both houses of congress, so he has to mobilize his christian homophobe base again, as he did in '04 by putting marriage on 11 states' ballots. it wasn't cost effective—he only won states that went over 60% antigay—but it did the job of getting 4 more years.

now the base is grumbling that the boy they elected hasn't given them much of what they wanted, so he wants to expand the state referenda to a national one.

15 or 20 years ago, he figured out that many religious folk are so naïve they will cast caution to the wind, toss reason aside, and vote entirely on faith if you just keep talking up god. he didn't so much—as some say—find god at the bottom of a bottle as he found power beneath a bible.

in 2000 it fooled 'em once. '04, fooled 'em again. third time's the charm, but he seems to have run out of new ideas, and doing it essentially the same way as last time might stretch the envelope beyond its elastic limit.

does that mean da prez will bend himself into a pretzel? i wish.

what's the name of that place? nurem-something?

with so much brass calling for rumsfeld to resign for poor planning and inept running of the war, i don't think i've heard one say we shouldn't've invaded iraq at all—unless wes clark said it a few years ago.

come on, general! come on, admiral! this war is illegal and has been all along, and you should've known it!

minds on vacation

one of the clearest signs we've taken leave of our senses—or, at least, of common sense—is that advocating withdrawal from iraq is now commonly described in the media as an "extreme" position.

that, of course, implies that keeping the war going is moderate.

nobody should need reminding that war is extreme. it's understood whenever anyone says going to war should be a last resort only after all reasonable alternatives fail.

war is unreasonable. it's filled with horrific events. it causes the innocent to suffer and die. it leads to abuse of prisoners and civilians. if you know of a war that had no such outrages, it's a rare example indeed.

that's why preemptive war is a corrupt doctrine and why we must rectify the atrocious situation we've created—but that's not to say we have to stay in iraq.

clever clichés to the contrary notwithstanding, we don't own it, but we broke it, so we owe for it.

none of that gives us the right or the obligation to decide the next thing to do, however. we don't have standing, either legal or moral. we have unprecedented power, but let's face it: we lack objectivity and understanding.

we have to let the international community decide the course of action, and we must agree in advance to abide by the decision, whatever it may be.