••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?)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

political imbecile

my most worrisome scenarios

• darth has the emperor assassinated. president cheney declares a national emergency and "postpones" the election.

• we keep training iraqi troops and stationing them all over the place to secure areas cleared of "insurgents." thus, when we finally pull out, we leave behind a de facto police state under a US-trained army of several 100k sympathetic to iran and just waiting for an excuse to go to war with israel.

mt carmel, the site of haifa and elijah's cave, gets hit by so many rockets the prophet/miracleworker swings down in his flaming chariot, triggering the 2nd coming. as jesus descends on a shining cloud over the israel-lebanon border, a hezbollah rocket gets hit by an AA missile, throwing out a shrapnel shower that turns the cloud into a few wisps of steam. jesus falls to earth and dies unnoticed.
lady or tiger?

word of condogodiva's secret beirut visit got out—how can you keep a secret when you stir curiosity by closing streets?—and a few residents peeked out windows.

"i felt let down" said one. "she didn't ride a white horse naked. i could hardly see her amid all the heavily armed secret servicemen."

secret service? he must've been mistaken. she's not in the imperial family.

or was there something to it that time she blurted out "my husband—" when speaking of the blessed leader?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

i just wish israel could figure out the difference between self-defense and making more enemies

Saturday, July 22, 2006

why diplomacy won't stop israel's attack on lebanon

if you're not fully up to speed on the reason for the assault, here it is.

israeli intelligence, both on the ground and in the sky, watched hezbollah's buildup of rockets and missiles, made estimates, and looked for an opportunity to destroy them.

the cross-border raid that killed and captured soldiers gave israel a pretext it didn't think it could afford to pass up.

the rocket attacks provided proof that the intelligence was correct and the rockets are a threat.

since israel's evidence is far better than what the US used to invade iraq, the US can't condemn israel's actions and is forced to veto any UN attempt to do so, because censure of israel would implicitly censure the US.

most likely the attack won't end till israel thinks it has destroyed as many rockets as it can.

if, at that point, israel simply breaks off the assault and says the war is over, it will repeat the errors made by unilaterally pulling out of lebanon in 2000 and gaza last year.

instead, the end of hostilities should be negotiated with the lebanese government, who should enforce disarmament in the south in exchange for peace.

if israel had negotiated such guarantees 6 years ago, the present crisis might've been avoided. if they'd negotiated with the palestinian authority before leaving gaza, the hamas election win might never have happened.

(also, the US should negotiate an exit from iraq.)
why bush spoke to naacp

the decision was very likely calculated as follows:

election politics can't rely on appeal to a single constituency. vote totals are made up of a few votes here, a few there, and so on.

more african americans voted for bush in 2004 than in 2000.

some of them are still glad they did, and a significant number of those will vote republican this november.

others regret their choice. few of those will stay with the gop.

a group in between consists of those who have begun to wonder if they made a mistake. they remain open to reasons to justify what they did.

da prez aims to give them a justification.

since he's not running, alienating the racist portion of his base is a minor factor at most. holding on to a few black votes may help the gop retain some seats in congress.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

emperor's new moral clothes

george w bush cares about moral boundaries and will not cross them.

yeah. i know what you're thinking. i agree: he could've fooled me too.

or maybe it's just that if you have more than a few hundred cells in your body, plus a heart and a brain and skin and bones and a nervous system, you're no longer "innocent human life," so moral boundaries don't exist.

how else can we explain all the killing he hasn't even slightly hesitated to sign off on, both as governor and as president?

none of the counterfeit bioethicists who back him ever seem to recall that.

i'm not even going to say anything about all the suffering and untimely deaths that might be prevented if the federal govt funded research on a few of those never-to-be-adopted embryos.

that reminds me: let me respond to the way the wannabe absolute monarch surrounded himself with children who started out as adopted embryos, implying that all extra embryos created for in vitro fertilization could be adopted rather than destroyed.

the same argument used to get made against abortion.

forget it. all you need do to disabuse yourself of that fantasy is use the internet to find out how many adoption applications get filed each year.

there are nowhere near enough to provide homes for the additional babies, if they all got born. (approximately 400,000 fertilized embryos get discarded annually.)

which is why king georgie's logic is as invisible as his morality and ethics.
Deadly Disconnect: Iraq Reality vs Bush Administration Fantasy
by Arianna Huffington

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Republicans Unveil $100M School Voucher Plan

let's see, that's about $2 per student, or aren't they talking about giving vouchers to everybody?

if it's only available for low-income kids in "struggling schools," and they don't take funding away from those schools, fine, do it, but why call it a voucher? it's a grant, and it's unrelated to the national voucher plan gops used to use as a wedge issue and probably will again.

the only problem with the usual national voucher plan is it reduces federal funding to the schools that need it most, while claiming it encourages them to compete for those govt bucks. it's like how reaganites used to say deficits don't matter, and cutting taxes increases tax revenue.

right! like i heard somebody say, how many pay cuts do i have to take before i become a millionaire?
personally, i don't give a shit what dapplecider said. what gets me is how they bleep it out on my local npr station.

i mean if south park could say [expletive deleted] 162 times, how dare they censor one time by the president of the unighty states!

btw, trapped in the closet is scheduled for tomorrow night! can't wait to see if the heavy hand of viacom slaps it down again.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

bush asks UN for HELP!

somebody on washington week said we now have more foreign policy challenges than anyone can recall ever happening at the same time before.

and, some might add, we also have the most inept president ever.

what an interesting confluence.

rotsaruck, schmuck!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

book non-review

last week on book tv, i heard kevin mccullough talk about his book, musclehead revolution: overturning liberalism with common sense thinking.

i'm sorry to say i didn't hear any common sense at all.

but don't take my word for it. catch the rerun saturday at 7pm edt on c-span2.


so i'm watching the news hour, and the tv starts buzzing, right?

these big letters start crawling across the upper part of the screen, saying
the national weather service has issued a flash flood warning for the following areas: new castle, de, until 6:10pm,
got it?

the buzzing stops, and the sound of the world news comes back up to normal, ok?

so i check my watch. it's 18:09.57.

thank you, national weather service. thank you, whyy-tv12.

i don't know how we'd manage without you.
"party of lincoln" no more?

will the gops blow it? stay tuned.

stephen gets nailed!

from colbert report newsletter, monday, july 10, 2006, under the heading "moment of truth":

Happy Birthday, America! You may be 230, but if you were a dog, you'd only be 32. But you'd be dead. Because dogs don't live that long.
guess again, stephen. 230 dog years equals about 32, but 230 in dog years is 1610.

that's old. you're right about it being dead, tho.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

nervous nellies?

ever wonder why the bush admin so often jumps the gun and takes action before they have real evidence?

i do.

the arrest ot the miami "conspirators" who openly chatted online about bombing the sears tower in chicago is only one more in a series.

the group was infiltrated, so no chance existed they'd suddenly drop out of sight, so why not wait till they did something truly threatening, like make contact with a seller of explosives? then the FBI could've arrested the dealer too.

of course, maybe the DoJ is more interested in pr....

american pie

Ben & Jerry's chair ben cohen was on washington journal this morning to talk about the company's american pie, which advocates shifting some nuke weapon spending to education, children's health, reducing poverty, &c.

here's what i copied from their website:

Ben & Jerry's Thoughts on...
...Federal Spending and American Pie

America stands first in nuclear defense capabilities and first in nuclear defense expenditures among industrialized countries. And it's not even close!

But America ranks only...
14th in efforts to lift children out of poverty;
18th in the percentage of children in poverty;
And last (yes, last!) in providing health insurance for all children.

It might make you wonder if something is out-of-whack with the U.S. federal discretionary spending pie. Perhaps some slices are too big, while others are too small?

Consider these facts: The United States spends nearly $30 billion annually on nuclear deterrence, including strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and missile defense systems. That's about the same amount we spent, on average, during the Cold War that ended sixteen years ago.

Our nuclear stockpile today includes nearly 10,000 warheads. Their destructive force would stack up against 150,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs.

Meanwhile, according to the experts, as much as $13 billion could be cut from U.S. nuclear spending each year without compromising our national security or our standing as the world's strongest nuclear power.

We think those funds would be better invested in programs that benefit America's children.

Just $1 billion a year would be enough to fully immunize every two-year old who has not already been vaccinated against preventable childhood disease.
$2 billion annually could provide health insurance for 1 million of America's 9 million uninsured children.
$5 billion a year would allow us to cover Head Start for every eligible child not currently enrolled in the program.

It's as easy as pie to visualize the possibilities...

We believe there's ample opportunity in the Federal budget to do what's right for America's kids.

Don't you?

Tell Congress to...

Step up and deliver a budget that supports our children as well as our national defense.
Re-order Federal spending priorities to ensure that America's children get a bigger slice of the pie.

Speak your piece. Take action at the Children's Defense Fund

Thanks to our friends at the Children's Defense Fund, the Center for Defense Information, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Priorities Project for helping us gather the information used in this position paper.

just to give you an idea of a typical right-wing response, the last caller of the program segment said [quoted as best i can from memory]:

for 40-odd years, liberals have whined about more money for education. in that time, the quality of schools has gone steadily downhill. what do you have to say to that?

gee, how 'bout: looks like the libs might've been right!?

Two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah
when israel pulled out of lebanon 6 years ago, hezbollah claimed they'd driven them out, so it should've come as no surprise when hamas did the same after the withdrawal from gaza. what is surprising is that ariel sharon didn't anticipate hamas's claim and circumvent it by negotiating the pullout with mahmoud abbas. now the copycatting is going the other way, with hezbollah snatching soldiers. and hamas's success in provoking an israeli overreaction is playing out in lebanon, too.

Novak: Rove was a source in outing Plame
maybe now special counsel patrick fitzgerald should go back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How Art Made the World

if you haven't been watching this bbc series on pbs, try to find it!

episode #3, The Art of Persuasion, is closely related to what this blog is about.

Friday, July 07, 2006

curious gwb



The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)


Thursday, July 06, 2006

dog messiah

remember those halcyon days before columbush discovered osamica, when the wannabe king's top priority was missile defense?

almost nobody outside the bush legion took the idea seriously, and it seemed destined to wither on the vine after 9/11, but what if it kept percolatin' in the imperator-in-chief's terrorfried brain?

wednesday's first caller to washington journal suggested that very possibility: maybe his glorious majesty so loved raygun's star wars that he deliberately provoked kim jong il into giving US a pretext to resurrect that $1 trillion gift to the military industrial complex.

that throws a whole different light on the "axis of evil" speech, demonization of kim, refusal to talk one-on-one to north korea, and perhaps even the iraq war.

i ask you, where lies greatness? in saying "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" [mar 1933] or in saying "facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" [oct 2002] and "...the danger is already significant and it only grows worse with time. if we know saddam hussein has dangerous weapons today—and we do—does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?" [oct 2002] and "some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? if this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late" [state of the union, jan 2003] and "they hate us because they hate freedom" and "we fight'em there so we don't have to fight'em here" and "trust us"

fdr taught us to defy fear.

gwb [no, not the bridge] teaches us to ingest fear, to nourish it in our bellies, to bring it to birth both drooling down our chins and wetting our pants whenever he rings his pavlovian bell.

my vote goes to fdr.

of wars and "wars"

by chance i caught the end of flight 93 on the history channel. an image of the first collapsing tower brought back the emotions of that day, reminding me how i felt we were under attack and it was an act of war.

before then, terrorists were viewed and treated as criminals, tho we knew they wanted to be seen as warriors.

for a time, i thought our leaders might've been right to switch from a law-enforcement model to a military one, but now i see i was wrong.

terrorists are vicious mass murderers. al qaeda—however big, well-organized, skilled in martial methods and strategies, or desiring to conquer and set up a new caliphate—is a gang of killers, not a nation or an army. seeing ourselves as at war with them makes some folk willing to support them and makes it too easy to get misdirected into real wars.

"war on terror" should not be literal but metaphorical, like "war on poverty" or "war on crime."

treating suspected terrorists as accused criminals rather than "enemy combatants" would eliminate all the fuss and confusion over warrants, wiretaps, tracking finances, detention, torture, right to counsel, court and prison jurisdiction, habeus corpus, due process, geneva conventions, and more.

the armed forces and spy agencies could still engage in the fight, but their roles would be clarified as adjuncts of law enforcement in the pursuit of justice.

and we could stop worrying about wartime passions and patriotism and presidential powers, and stop fighting each other, and just get on with the business of hunting and catching killers.

ya know, it seems to me...

...a big part of our political disputes comes from not noticing that the only way you can have the same rights as everybody else is for everybody else to have the same rights as you.

almost missed these over holiday weekend

NYT: Bank program not news to terrorists

Bush Directed Cheney To Counter War Critic

Subject: English As A National Language

my friend rich forwarded me this eml:

This is addressed to the ordinary Americans among us, to all you schlemiels and schlimazels, nebbishes, nudniks, klutzes, putzes, schlubs, schmos, as well as schmucks, nogoodniks, and momzers, and I might add any golems and dybbuks that happen to be lurking out there in the crowd.

I just wanted to say that like you, I get mamish sentimental when I think about English and its place in our society. To tell the truth, it makes me so verklempt I'm fit to plotz.

That's why this whole schmeer gets me so broiges when I hear these mavens and luftmenschen kvetching about it as our national language. What chutzpah!

These schmegeges can schlep their schlock about the cultural and linguistic diversity of our country and of English itself, but I for one am not buying their shtick. It's all so much dreck, as far as I'm concerned.

I exhort you all to be Menschen about this and stand up to their fardrayt arguments and meshugganah farschtrunken assertions. It wouldn't be kosher to do anything else. Remember, when all is said and done, we have English and they have bubkes.

thanx, rich.