Monday, October 31, 2005

Good Ole Boy

Today President Bush's third pick for the seat made vacant by Sandra Day O'Connor, Samuel "Scalito" Alito, spoke to reporters about his judicial philosophy. He said, "Federal judges have the duty to interpret the Constitution and the laws faithfully and fairly, to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, and to do these things with care and with restraint, always keeping in mind the limited role that the courts play in our constitutional system." You know, that fictional "limited role" toted by conservatives only because it sounds better than the actual practice of limited government. States' rights and other "limited roles" of the federal government, to them, don't exist in assisted-suicide, homosexual marriage or women's rights matters. It's one of the perversions of original, intelligent conservative philosophy, manipulated when those in power need and crave more power.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Unintelligible Redesign

Behind these pleas for diversity is the kind of educational relativism conservatives normally despise. "Biological evolution, like creationism and design, cannot be proved to be either true or false," writes one ID enthusiast in Ohio. Since evolution is an "unproven theory," says another, "belief in it is just as much an act of faith as is belief in creationism or in the theory of intelligent design."

...Creationists haven't repainted their Edsel. They've taken out the engine and the transmission. Without distinctive, measurable claims such as the six-day creation, the 6,000-year-old Earth, and other literal interpretations of the Bible, creationism no longer materially contradicts evolution. The reason not to teach intelligent design isn't that it's full of lies or dogma. The reason is that it's empty.

...A theory isn't just a bunch of criticisms, even if they're valid. A theory ties things together. It explains and predicts. Intelligent design does neither. It doesn't explain why part of our history seems intelligently designed and part of it doesn't. Why are our feet and our back muscles poorly designed for walking? Why are we afflicted by lethal viruses? Why have so many females died in childbirth? ID doesn't explain these things. It just shrugs at them. "Design theory seeks to show, based on scientific evidence, that some features of living things may be designed by a mind or some form of intelligence," says one ID proponent. Some? May? Some? What kind of theory is that?

...That, in a nutshell, is ID. It offers no predictions, scope modifiers, or experimental methods of its own. It's a default answer, a shrug, consisting entirely of problems in Darwinism. Those problems should be taught in school, but there's no reason to call them intelligent design. Intelligent design, as defined by its advocates, means nothing. This is the way creationism ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Don't know how I missed that article. Here's a more recent good one.

And yes, this is the 'theory' that our illustrious president supports. Three cheers.

Liar and a Cheat

Some Republicans inside and outside the White House were angered by Bush's handling of Libby's exit. They viewed it as a missed opportunity to restore badly needed credibility because the president neither condemned the aide's actions nor acknowledged that White House spokesman Scott McClellan had said categorically in 2003 that Libby was not involved in the leak.

-- Associated Press, October 30, 2005

Scott McClellan lied? Baghdad McClellan.

Even Among the Military

A question was posed to me a few days ago as to whether I had seen any polling data on the percentage of troops who feel the President is lacking in his responsibility as the Commander-in-Chief. I had not seen any, but I took a guess that it was a fair majority of the troops. From the ones I've talked to in the past, I got the feeling that there was great unrest with their Republican handlers.

More than half the North Carolina military members surveyed in the latest Elon University poll don't like the way President Bush is handling his job (53 percent) and the war in Iraq (56 percent). The poll also measured Bush's support among current or former members of the military. Fifty-six percent of those who had a military affiliation disapproved or strongly disapproved of the president's handling of the war in Iraq, while 41 percent approved or strongly approved. Twenty-nine percent of those with a military affiliation said the war in Iraq is not worth fighting, the same percentage as those with no military affiliation.

The Republicans who decided on a whim to take us to war in Iraq should be sorry for themselves. And if they're not, there's a majority of Americans who are sorry for them. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Bush's approval rating fell to 39 percent -- the lowest recorded by this poll in his presidency -- and a majority of Americans said the charges against "Scooter" Libby signal broader ethical problems in the administration. By a ratio of 3 to 1, those surveyed said the level of honesty in government has declined during Bush's tenure.

William C. Stosine from Iowa City, Iowa, wrote to Time magazine last week, saying, "Republicans are so efficient. It took them on 10 years in power to become as corrupt as the Democrats were after 40 years in control." How very sad, and how very true.

Nonetheless, President Bush, who is vacationing again, hopes to start anew next week. Jump start a stalling presidency, so to speak. A senior White House aide, who declined to release his name, put it best recently when he said, "This is a White House in turmoil right now." President Bush has got a long way to go.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Friday Random 10

A day late, dollar short. Yo tambien. Again.

It's Friday (just pretend). You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. The Only Living Boy in New York (Simon & Garfunkel, Garden State sountrack)
2. Temporary One (Fleetwood Mac, The Dance)
3. Don't Look Back in Anger (Oasis, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?)
4. She Really Wants you (Aimee Mann, The Forgotten Arm)
5. Little Red Corvette (Prince, The Hits: Disc 2)
6. The Gift (Moon Boot Lover, Back on Earth)
7. Ants Marching (Dave Matthews Band, Under the Table and Dreaming)
8. Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney, Back in the US 2002)
9. I Believe (Blessid Union of Souls, Home)
10. Free (The Martinis, Empire Records soundtrack)

Most Listened to This Week:
Chinese Children (Devendra Banhart, vanmega mixcd: october)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Operation Yellow Elephant

Chickenhawk bingo!

I'll have to try it out.

In other news, good ol' Brunswick and Bowdoin College are in the limelight. God damn get those people out of my town.

Drag Even for Nobodys

President Bush made a little get-away today to Virginia to make a speech about the Iraq War and how he fucked it up it's going swimmingly. "Thanks for the chance to get out of Washington," Bush told his audience, made up heavily of military members. Teehee.

Someone conspicuously was absent from the platform, though. Jerry Kilgore, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, was happy to have President George W. Bush at his side at a fundraiser last July, but not today.

Kilgore, 44, is in a tight race with Democrat Tim Kaine in the Nov. 8 election, and Bush isn't an asset anymore.

"Bush is a drag, even in Virginia," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics in Charlottesville.

Killing Me Softly

I'm Very Sorry, Parallel Zac

I read a rumor that Karl Rove is still under investigation because Fitzgerald thinks he can get him for more serious charges. I wasn't sure what I thought of that until the mannish Ann Coulter told me that a continuing investigation, "...is like the worse possible outcome." I can't even fathom to think how many parallel universes have been destroyed because of this instantaneous agreement of ideas. I pray for their deaths. I'm sorry.

Just Wow

Oh My God! Did you hear the news today?! I can't believe it. It's so... so, unexpected. I never saw it coming.

Sulu is gay!

Libby Scoots Out

First off, after two+ weeks of hard drive problems, it looks like I might be back in action. It's been a while.

Secondly, I'm sure we've all seen that Cheney's top aide has been ousted after being indicted for "one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements."

But of course, he didn't do anything reprehensible, right?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cool is a Four Letter Word

In February of this year, I had the distinct honor of being a page viewed by the osd.mil server. Someone from the Office of the Secretary of Defense happened upon my blog and enjoyed himself rather nicely, I'll assume. Now today at 5:02:38 pm, someone from the house.gov server visited this blog by searching for "zach the attack" on Google. Interesting. I'm just cool like that.

The Lows of a Presidency



Here I stand head in hand
Turn my face to the wall
If she's gone I can't go on
Feelin' two-foot small

Everywhere people stare
Each and every day
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say

Hey you gotta resign your job away
Hey you gotta resign your job away

We Hardly Knew Ye

No, seriously.

Harriet Miers withdrew her name as nominee to the Supreme Court under pressure from conservative groups, hostile GOP senators and giggling Democrats on the sideline.

The poor woman deserved an up-or-down vote!! What's happening to our democracy?! < /false indignation>

Is this the new bork?

UPDATE 17:28:
Imagine being President Bush's next nominee. I mean, you're the dude (or woman!) who was second fiddle to perhaps the most unqualified, uncharismatic woman the nation's ever seen. Ouch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

How Very High Fidelity of Us

First Annual Great Blogger MixCD Exchange

Brought to you by the indelible Barn. And Flamingo Jones. It pretty much boils down to a bunch of blogging geeks sending mixcds to one another in a fit of sorority girl fun. And I'm all in! Half the fun is choosing the music you believe fits the personality of the person you're sending the mixcd to. The other half of the fun is listening to the mixcd that person sent to you. If anyone's interested in exchanging cds, let me know. I'm currently working on earth-shattering awesomeness for Flamingo Jones and Ian McGibboney.

attack.zacattack at gmail.com

On a Cold, Dark Night

When it comes right down to it, there isn't much to do on a starless night when the electricity goes out. Yes, I can be like my forefathers and read and write tomes by candlelight, but who wants to do that? Certainly not me. Last night as the power to my house fluctuated between normal and nonexistent, I was left with just a laptop running on battery, an unfinished cup of lukewarm tea (with sugar and cream, no doubt), a folder full of funny pictures, PhotoShop, and my wits. Together we were bored out of my mind. But in that time of uncertainty and confusion, a great many icon images were born. Including the one you see in the upper-right corner of this post.

It's a skunk. Also known as a polecat. But who says polecat? It's a skunk. Skunk, as defined by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, is "Any of several small, mostly carnivorous New World mammals of the genus Mephitis and related genera, having a bushy tail and black fur with white markings and ejecting a foul-smelling oily liquid from glands near the anus when frightened or in danger." At two o'clock in the morning, an ungodly mixture of boredom and sugar can lead one to laugh uncontrollably at the mention of the word "anus."

Anyway, I was more interested in the slang use of the word skunk. "1. A person regarded as obnoxious or despicable. 2. A person whose company is avoided." How many people do I consider obnoxious or despicable? Oh, I need many more fingers. But it's the perfect term to use when I'm annoyed at a certain individual. And besides, a skunk is infinitely more aesthetically pleasing than the site of a douchebag. Hands down.

So out of boredom and near-death, the new image of a skunk was born. Enjoy.

In Defense

In defense of Karl Rove, House Majority Whip (temporary House Majority Leader?) Roy Blunt (R-MO) said, "Karl Rove has fully cooperated in any investigation, and for more than a year now has permitted investigators to talk to him."

Wow. Instead of going to jail for obstruction of justice charges, the venerable Karl Rove "permitted investigators to talk to him." All hail St. Rove and his innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Inverse Emotions

President Bush now:

Facing the darkest days of his presidency, President Bush is frustrated, sometimes angry and even bitter, his associates say....

Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because he knows they can take it. Lately, however, some junior staffers have also faced the boss' wrath.

"This is not some manager at McDonald's chewing out the help," said a source with close ties to the White House when told about these outbursts. "This is the President of the United States, and it's not a pleasant sight."


-- New York Daily News, October 24, 2005

President Bush then:

As war with Iraq draws inexorably closer, President Bush is described by friends as not just determined, but surprisingly serene about the most profound decision he will likely ever make.

-- New York Daily News, March 9, 2003

People who have met with Mr. Bush have been struck by his tranquility. "You would never have known that he was sitting on a powder keg," said Don Hewitt, the executive producer of "60 Minutes," who recently spent 15 minutes with Mr. Bush in the Oval Office. "He was amazingly calm and wanted to talk about Harry Truman and not Saddam Hussein."

-- New York Times, March 9, 2003

When nearly two-thirds of the country think he's a blundering idiot, when every state of the Union thinks this country is headed in the wrong direction, when Republicans in Congress are seen as ineffectual and corrupt, when two associates of his could be indicted at any moment, when both Congressional majority leaders are being investigated for moral lapses, when his Social Security overhaul is dead on arrival, when Senators with consciences and gall rebuke the White House and pass a measure banning torture, when his crony nominee for the Supreme Court is seen for what she is and shunned by his own party, when his FEMA appointment turns out to know more about Arabian horse competitions than he does hurricane disaster relief, and when his tax breaks for the rich have created an astronomical deficit, that's when the president freaks and becomes grouchy.

When he sends thousands and thousands of his mislead, misinformed constituency off to an unneeded war, he's "serene" and tranquil.

Unbelievable

How does the crazy-ass faction of the Republican Party honor the dead?

"Negligible."

"Only 2,000."

"A bogus number."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Adventures in Iceland

Well this is kinda strange. Last night a freak, early-season snowstorm hit my area and caught everyone off-guard and closed the schools of the county for the day, laying down a good three inches of thick, heavy, wet snow. Trees all along my property are missing limbs; one limb two-feet in diameter cracked free from the tree.

Several of my friends were hit without power for spans of time throughout the day, my house being the sanctuary for all lost-souls. Now, at 8:17pm EST, my power is out. It fluctuated here and there throughout the day but never more than that and I thought I was safe. But now, thanks to the wonderful creation of laptop batteries, I am still online -- albeit, online for the next three hours and eleven minutes until my laptop dies.

If this is any indication of what we're in for, I'm ready to move to Florida, err -- California, err -- somewhere.

Saving our Children, III

"... but the Democrats have failed to find ways to keep our children from bearing the burden of a skyrocketing deficit." -- Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Press Release, October 18, 2005

Two in one day! Three so far.

When the Pentagon went shopping for seven armored cars for senior Iraqi policemen, U.S. officials turned to an Iraqi supplier to provide them some hardened Mercedes-Benzes.

After spending nearly $1 million, here's what they got: six vehicles with bad armor and run-down mechanics. They also were a little more than slightly used: The newest model was a 1996; the oldest, a 1994.

According to the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, the seventh auto is missing.

Torture Apologists

Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush administration is floating a proposal that would allow the president to exempt covert agents outside the Defense Department from the Senate-approved prohibition on torturing detainees in U.S. custody.

How can they sleep at night?

Two Thousand

A U.S. Army sergeant died of wounds suffered in Iraq, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The death -- along with two others announced Tuesday -- brought to 2,000 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the start of the Iraq conflict in 2003.

A sad, sad day in United States history.

In today's Wall Street Journal, for the first time, a majority of Americans (53%) feels that military action in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, according to the survey of 1,833 U.S. adults, compared with 34% who feel it was right. At the same time, 66% of U.S. adults now say President Bush is doing a "poor" or "only fair" job of handling Iraq.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, "I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."

I can hardly believe that, to Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, two thousand deaths is an "artificial mark on the wall." These were human lives, Mr. Boylan. They are a stain on no wall.

Saving our Children, II

"... but the Democrats have failed to find ways to keep our children from bearing the burden of a skyrocketing deficit." -- Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Press Release, October 18, 2005

I found another one! Another one, I tell ya!

The Pentagon paid $20 apiece for plastic ice cube trays that once cost it 85 cents. It paid a supplier more than $81 apiece for coffeemakers that it bought for years for just $29 from the manufacturer.

That's because instead of getting competitive bids or buying directly from manufacturers like it used to, the Pentagon is using middlemen who set their own prices. ...In September 2004, prime vendor Lankford Sysco Food Services Inc. sold the government nine MGR refrigerators for $32,642.50 apiece -- a markup of 89 percent.

Dancing in the Streets

Welcome Arab world. Your toasters are in transit.

Happy Days II

As if God heard my silent wishes, a snowstorm caught my little town unawares without snowplows at the ready last night, so school was cancelled. And because my classroom follows the school schedule of the town, I don't have work today. You can find me reading all day long. Woo!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Woot Woot

Oh Happy Days!

And, as if the day couldn't get any better, I got Eldest in the mail from Barnes & Noble today. Oh happy days.

Pro-Lynching Values

The city of Austin has given permission to the Ku Klux Klan to hold a rally on Saturday, November 5 at Austin City Hall's south plaza. The group says they want to have a pro-family values rally in front of City Hall that afternoon to get voters to vote against gay marriage.

Nothing says pro-family values like a KKK rally.

Dirges

Which Witch is Which

Of the following, which is the title of a Chuck Norris movie, the title of a Stevel Seagal movie, the title of a Jean-Claude van Damme movie, or an operation of the Iraq War? Guess and then hover over the box.

Bells of Innocence
Into the Sun
Planet X
Black Eagle
Black Typhoon
Under Seige
Top Dog
Phantom Linebacker
Wolfpack Crunch
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Hellbound
Tombstone Pile Driver
Lionheart
Lone Wolf McQuade
Outlaw Destroyer
Coyote Moon
Clementine
Octagon
Cobra Sweep
Centaur Rodeo
Devil Thrust
Maximum Risk
Submerged
Iron Promise
Forced Vengeance
Devil Siphon
Bayonet Lightening
O.K. Corral
Eye for an Eye

United Nations Day

We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.

While the United Nations has had its ups and downs along its 60 year history, I refuse to give up on such a lofty, noble idea. Even the mighty United States has had moments of darkness, only to break out of the void better and stronger. I, too, wait for the day the United Nations rises above its corruption and ignorance and meets the goals the first fifty-one countries imagined. Who doesn't want better standards of life? Who could possibly argue against faith in fundamental human rights? We are one country and can do many things. But one hundred ninety-one countries can do more.

What a Spectacle

Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said yesterday that his panel is likely to require Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson and perhaps others to testify about purported conversations after which he hinted he had received privileged information.

Asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" whether the committee will "bring some of these people who said they were told things that perhaps they shouldn't have been told, like Mr. Dobson," Specter replied: "my instinct is that they'll be called. And the American people are entitled to clarification."

Specter has expressed interest in Dobson's comments before, but yesterday marked the clearest signal that the broadcaster may be required to face the 18-member committee in public.

Thank God for television, and thank God for televised judicial hearings.

The Devil in Federal Court

"He's a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he's been tapped by God to do very important things."

Was that disgusting hodgepodge of despicable words strung together by a partisan Democrat describing President Bush?

Nah. It was a "White House ally" referring to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. You know, the guy the president recently commended for conducting his investigation in "a very dignified way." When some people don't follow the script, they say silly things.

Gift Horse or Something

For the first time since the fall of the Taliban's Islamic government four years ago, a journalist has been convicted by a Kabul court under the country's blasphemy laws. Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the editor of a monthly magazine for women called Women's Rights, was sentenced Saturday to two years in prison by the primary court in Kabul.

A commission set up by the government to look into such accusations found no instance of blasphemy. But that didn't stop the prosecutor from seeking the death penalty. That, my friends, is Afghanistan today.

What about the recent free elections in Afghanistan? At least half of the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of Parliament, will be made up of religious figures or former fighters, including four former Taliban commanders.

You can lead a horse to water...

Or my favorite: You can lead a herring to water, but you better walk really fast or he'll die!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ayatollahs of the Right

"Oddly enough, the scriptures seem to be telling us, this is part of God’s gift to us. God intentionally chooses to be mysterious — for our sakes. If God were to be fully and completely revealed, if we were to see God beyond all hiddenness and mystery, our freedom would disappear. We would be forced to believe, forced to be obedient. No, this hiddenness is God's blessing.

Certitude is a spiritual danger. If we claim to know God’s ways without question, we limit God to the shape of our own minds. As St. Augustine put it 1700 years ago, "If you think you understand, it isn't God."

One of the troubling currents of our time is the tendency of religious people to speak as if we have seen God's face. A lot of what is being said in religious circles can suggest that some people claim to have God figured out, under control, in their pockets." -- The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of Washington National Cathedral, Washington National Cathedral, October 16, 2005

A religious man who speaks some sense.

Poor Children

If we truly had a liberal media, this story would be HUGE. We'd have CBS News interviewing crying, sullen-eyed kindergarteners who had to miss their field trip. We'd have CNN's delectable Anderson Cooper on site, debriefing the nation on the outcome of President Bush's ill-mannered actions. But, alas, it isn't to be. The liberal media myth is once more disproven.
One hundred Brentwood kindergartners, many dressed in costumes, were all set to go see "The Wizard of Oz" on Friday when their first-ever field trip was blocked by the nation's 43rd president.

They never got to see the wizard.

President George W. Bush, his Marine One helicopter grounded by fog, brought morning rush hour to a standstill while his motorcade proceeded from West Los Angeles through the San Fernando Valley to Simi Valley for the dedication of the Air Force One Pavilion.

"We had buses all loaded up -- but by the time they got to school it was too late," said Julie Fahn, a volunteer mom at Kenter Canyon Elementary in Brentwood, where girls had dressed as Dorothy to see the play performed in Malibu.

"My poor children -- they were so disappointed. They're all so sad. They were inconvenienced by a silly motorcade down Sunset (Boulevard)."
This is, of course, after the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, asked President Bush to stay the hell out of California to begin with. But what's with an unliked governor telling an unliked president what to do anyway?

Saving our Children

"... but the Democrats have failed to find ways to keep our children from bearing the burden of a skyrocketing deficit." -- Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Press Release, October 18, 2005

I found one, I found one!

Affirmation

When Harriet E. Miers, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, was moving toward the presidency of the State Bar of Texas in 1992, she enthusiastically supported an effort by the group to guarantee positions on its board of directors to female and minority lawyers, her two immediate predecessors said on Saturday.

Isn't tha -- isn't that affirmative action?

Congressional Makeup

I really do like the idea of women in the White House. I think it would be a refreshing alternative to the sable-rattling, dismal failure currently habitating the highest elected-office in the land. But that's just me.

But I can't say the same for my Republican compatriots. In the 109th Congress, there are just 68 women in the House of Representatives and 14 in the Senate. Forty-five of the 68 women in the House are Democrats -- just shy of 2/3. Of the 14 women Senators, nine are Democrats (64%).

If women have such a hard time receiving support for Congress from Republicans, imagine what a woman would have to go through to be elected Chief of the Executive Branch. Imagine if that woman were black, like Condolleezza Rice whose name has been tossed around as a possible presidential candidate.

Just imagine.

In the 109th Congress, there are forty-two blacks in the House and one in the Senate. They are all Democrats. All Democrats. Let me say that again. They are all Democrats.

Hispanics? There are twenty-four in the House -- nineteen of them are Democrats. Asians and Pacific Islanders? There are four in the House -- three of them are Democrats. There are only two in the entire Senate -- both are Democrats.

So yeah. If you're a woman or a minority and want to run as a conservative, don't plan on the Republican Party backing you all the way to office. As one moderate commentator on this blog wrote, "Name a worthwhile black candidate." Allow me to apologize for the GOP in advance of you wanting to run.

Texaslandwater

Texas officials paid Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' family more than $100,000 for a small piece of land in 2000 -- 10 times the land's worth -- despite the state's objections to the way the price was determined, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported Saturday.

Whitewater! Err -- Texaslandwater? According to Knight Ridder, the land - which was part of a large Superfund pollution cleanup site - was valued at less than 30 cents a square foot. But the panel recommended paying nearly $5 a square foot for it. You know, a panel that included Peggy Lundy, a friend of Miers.

Again, you can't make this shit up.

Vote the Bums Out

U.S. intelligence officials say Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has expanded his terrorism campaign in Iraq to extremists in two dozen terror groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden's.

Isn't it about time the American people get rid of the lame ducks in the White House and put in place someone, anyone who is going to do something about the terrorists? We've been swept up into the lofty, nation-building dreams of an unpopular president while a global war of terror is taking place. It's time to say enough is enough.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Get a Move On

"We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move." -- George W. Bush, September 1, 2003

Nearly 46 million Americans have no health insurance. We're hurting, Mr. Bush. We're hurting.

Unbelievable

Number of Pork Projects in Federal Spending Bills

2005 - 13,997
2004 - 10,656
2003 - 9,362
2002 - 8,341
2001 - 6,333
2000 - 4,326
1999 - 2,838
1998 - 2,100
1997 - 1,596
1996 - 958
1995 - 1439

Friday Random 10

A day late, dollar short. Yo tambien.

It's Friday (just pretend). You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney, Back in the US 2002)
2. Dear John (Ryan Adams, Jacksonville City Lights)
3. Plateau (Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York)
4. Honky Cat (Elton John, Greatest Hits 1970-2002)
5. Kiss (Prince, The Hits)
6. Me & Mia (Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets)
7. Paranoid Android (Radiohead, OK Computer)
8. La Isla Bonita (Madonna, Immaculate Collection)
9. Light My Fire (Doors, Best of the Doors)
10. Radio Song (JET, Get Born)

Most Listened to This Week:
Hung Up (Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor)

Stike that Law Down!

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday unanimously struck down a state law that punished underage sex more severely if it involved homosexual acts, saying "moral disapproval" of such conduct is not enough to justify the different treatment.

Not that underagers should be having sex anyway!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Who's the Best?

Isn't it odd that when Karl Rove and Tom DeLay do wrong, they run to Democrats to save them in court? Both Rove and DeLay's lawyers are big-name, high-priced Democrats. Can't they find a worthy attorney at the Federalist Society?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Audio Voyeurism

For the weirdos who read my blog, here's what I'm listening to now.

Universal-what?!

According to a new Wall Street Journal poll, seventy-five percent of Americans favor universal health-care. Socialists have taken over the country!

Rats Love Cheese



Say "Cheese!" You've been indicted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dumb Dumb Dumb

Ha! Minuteman officials are still puzzled why one of their volunteers gave a ride to two illegal immigrants trying to reach Hachita two weeks ago. The Minuteman volunteer, a man from Colorado, was questioned by Border Patrol agents in Hachita, but not arrested. Minuteman officials immediately dismissed the volunteer for violating the group's standard operating procedures, which establish a no-contact policy between volunteers and suspected illegal border crossers.

Please No

The Syndney Morning Herald is reporting that "US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and in breach of the Geneva conventions."

Deeply offensive to Muslims? This is and ought to be deeply offensive to everyone. Moral indignation at the burning of human bodies doesn't end when the bodies aren't Americans. I surely hope that the Herald got it wrong, but they go on to say, "An investigation by SBS's Dateline program, to be aired tonight, filmed the burning of the bodies." I'll believe it when I see it.

Swirling Rumors

With rumors of possible indictment and/or resignation, Dick Cheney goes house-hunting in Maryland? What? He may have to give up his tax-payer-paid home soon?

Some say Rice would be the best choice to take Cheney's position in the administration, but at least one Freeper believes otherwise: "Harriet Miers for VP!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Whispers

Beggared

President Bush's job approval rating has slipped to 39 percent, the lowest measure of his presidency, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll.

At the same time, job approval for Congress, which has a Republican majority, has fallen to 29 percent. That is its lowest level since 1994, the year Democrats lost control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.

In defense of Bush -- a very mild defense -- every president since 1963 has had approval ratings at one time or another that were lower than Bush's current rating. Those ratings include Lyndon Johnson's 35%, Richard Nixon's 24%, Gerald Ford's 37%, Jimmy Carter's 28%, Ronald Reagan's 35%, the elder George Bush's 29% and Bill Clinton's 37%.

The only thing keeping President Bush's numbers from falling below 39 is a rock-steady, partisan base of loyal Republicans who turn a blind eye to grave miscalculations, negligent responses and explicit cronyism. Independents' approval of this adminstration has slipped from 37 percent to 32 percent -- far below half -- between this poll and the last while the blind, deaf and mute of the Republican Party -- a full 84 percent -- still favor his inability to lead. Partisanship is the only thing keeping Bush above single-digits.

You Misspoke

Interviewed by several reporters at the Justice Department about his knowledge of Associated Supreme Court Justice nominee Harriet Miers, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said : "She's very detail-oriented."

Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia Bar were delinquent and as a result my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended. I immediately sent the dues in to remedy the delinquency. The non-payment was not intentioned, and I corrected the situation upon receiving the letter.

-- Harriet Miers, Responses to Senate Judiciary Committee Questions

You can't make shit like this up.

Vanity Fair

I work with people with disabilities every day, so something I read today put things into perspective for me. I've never been a fan or even a big supporter of abortion, especially abortion "on-demand" and late-term abortions, but there's something about encroaching on personal rights. Yes, I realize there's a life at stake. And yes, I realize that it's morally disgusting. But sometimes -- not always, but sometimes -- it's warranted. Warranted doesn't mean essential or even necessary, but it's not your body.

Anyway, this article in today's Washington Post struck me pretty hard because it covers the growing trend of prenatal screening and the abortions that take place after a "problem" turns up. You know, the problem known as a "disability."

In ancient Greece, babies with disabilities were left out in the elements to die. We in America rely on prenatal genetic testing to make our selections in private, but the effect on society is the same.

Margaret's old pediatrician tells me that years ago he used to have a steady stream of patients with Down syndrome. Not anymore. Where did they go, I wonder. On the west side of L.A., they aren't being born anymore, he says.


The parallels are striking and rather repugnant especially after one considers the medical and societal advances we have made since then. I spend my working hours with an array of special needs children, children with "disabilities" ranging from cerebal palsy to Downs syndrome to autism to speech delays. And I can tell you that they're pretty special kids. To be sure, those born with Downs syndrome can lead healthy, educated, full-aged lives with little assistance. They can now hold jobs and responsibilities, when once a person with Downs would have been locked up in an institution. This is the kind of abortion I abhore. It's vanity killing at its worst.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It's Tina!

I'm busy all day, but this creeped me out far too much for me not to write about right away. Have fun, and I think we should all join.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Moment of Zen

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Aux Armes Citoyennes!

Although I find homosexuals living sub-rosa in the Republican establishment disappointing and unfortunate, I cannot condone forced outings of said individuals like the dirty witch hunts of Salem. Homosexuals living among those who do not or simply will not understand the homosexual lifestyle -- one of heartache and, often times, isolation -- have a pressing moral responsibility to come out of the closet on their own and show that there are homosexuals of all kinds, on both sides of the political spectrum.

Log Cabin Republicans -- a group of conservative homosexuals -- and I have not always seen eye-to-eye. In fact, I mock them quite frequently for not actively persuading those who remain in the closet while backing anti-gay legislation and rhetoric to step forward and say enough is enough. But the president of the LCR Patrick Guerriero wrote an op-ed piece yesterday and I find a part of it a call to duty.

During this moment in the culture war, we face a fight that will determine how LGBT Americans are treated for decades to come. Those who choose to be missing in action are running from the most critical fight of our generation. During these historic times, the closet is not only a place which suffocates personal dignity, it is also a place which suffocates the powerful force of personal integrity that can change the hearts and minds of even the most conservative Americans and most conservative politicians. Coming out doesn't have to mean putting a sticker on your car, flying a rainbow flag from your front porch, or marching in a parade. Coming out means different things to different people. It may be as simple as putting a picture of your partner on your desk at work, sharing your personal story with your boss, or speaking up when someone says something anti-gay. For others, it may be as difficult as offering a letter of resignation instead of implementing or assisting with an anti-gay campaign strategy.

Maybe it's time for people to stop being scared about who they are and start standing up for who they were born to be.

Jury Tampering

The title of this Associated Press piece is "DeLay Uses Website to Attack Prosecutor." It might as well be titled "DeLay Uses Website to Influence Potential Jurors."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Random 10

It's Friday. You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. Nice Overalls (Lustre, Empire Records soundtrack)
2. All I Really Want (Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill)
3. #34 (Dave Matthews Band, Under the Table and Dreaming)
4. Voodoo (Godsmack, Godsmack)
5. Master of the House (Barry James [Thenardier], Les Miserables)
6. Don't Stop (Fleetwood Mac, The Dance)
7. Ecstasy (Rusted Root, When I Woke)
8. Mary Jane's Last Dance (Tom Petty, Greatest Hits)
9. Long View (Green Day, Dookie)
10. In the Light (dc Talk, Welcome to the Freak Show)

And because I'm oddly in a really, really good mood:

11. Dancing in the Dark (Pete Yorn, Music for the Morning After)

Three Down

Lower and Lower into Oblivion

Forty-one percent of Americans feel that the history books will look back on the Bush presidency and judge it a miserable failure, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Tut tut.

Smell of Desperation

It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.

Ya know, I didn't think presidents could ever be this desperate. But with sliding approval ratings and Congressional influence, President Bush shows he will sink to any low for a boost in American confidence.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Silk Purse out of Miers

These so-called movement conservatives don't have much of a following, the ones that I'm aware of. And you just marvel, these are the senators, some of them who voted to confirm the general counsel of the ACLU to the Supreme Court, and she was voted in almost unanimously. And you say, 'now they're going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative President and they're going to vote against her for confirmation?' Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office.

-- Pat Robertson, 700 Club, October 13, 2005

It's official. To oppose Harriet Miers is to oppose Christianity. Look at President Bush's recent defense of Ms. Miers as subtle proof of that. A Christian Supreme Court justice isn't an oxymoron; in fact, it's the standard. But soley being a Christian without qualifications does not a Supreme Court justice make.

Taking Low to New Lows

A plurality of Americans, 48 percent, said they would prefer the Democrats to control Congress compared to 39 percent who want the Republicans in power, according to the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. The gap between the two parties was the largest recorded since the NBC/Journal poll started asking the question 11 years ago.

Also according to the poll, sixty-five percent said charges against Bush ally and former majority leader of the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, suggested potential illegal activity. A majority of 57% said an investigation into possible insider trading by the majority leader in the Senate, Bill Frist, indicated possible wrongdoing.

The poll also revealed overwhelming opposition to Bush among African-Americans. Only two percent said they approved of his performance as president, the lowest level ever recorded in that category, NBC television reported. TWO PERCENT! And a percentage point of that was due to the PR stunt known as Bush the Pimpstar when they just felt sorry for the sombitch.

Just Like Martha

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the subpoena within the past two weeks, after initial reports that Frist, the Senate's top Republican official, was under scrutiny by the agency and the Justice Department for possible violations of insider trading laws.

Teehee.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You Don't Say!

Lawyers for embattled Spokane Mayor James E. West told a judge Wednesday that the contents of his City Hall laptop computer were not public records and should not be released. West's lawyers acknowledged that the mayor visited gay-oriented Web sites and that the computer contained about 1,800 files of photos and correspondence from West to people on sites such as gay.com.

I'm shocked, shocked that there are gay Republicans. Tsk tsk.

Java Joe's



But Harriet Miers does have that certain something to become the next Supreme Court justice. As President Bush said today, "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion." That's all it takes, right? I mean, religion and the Supreme Court. Excellent mix.

Toward the Inhumanity

For me, the alleged prison scandals reported to have occurred in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay have been a disturbing reminder of the mistreatment of our own POWs by North Vietnam ... The minute we begin to deport prisoners to other nations where they can legally be tortured, when we hold people without charges or trial, when we move prisoners around to avoid the prying inspections of the Red Cross, when prisoners die inexplicably on our watch, we are on a slippery slope toward the inhumanity that we deplore.

-- Melvin R. Laird, former Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973, Counselor to the President for Domestic Affairs from 1973 to 1974, and a member of the House of Representatives from 1952 to 1969, Iraq: Learning the Lessons of Vietnam, Nov./Dec. 2005

This reminded me of what Sen. John McCain, Republican and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said as nine of his fellow Republicans voted on the Senate floor to allow the United States to torture human beings. He said, "The enemy we fight has no respect for human life or human rights. But this isn't about who they are. This is about who we are."

Spending Like a Liberal

Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 by promising to eliminate the "incompetence, cronyism and corruption" that came with decades of Democrat rule. However, quite amusingly, instead of reforming Congress to be a better, well-oiled machine, Republicans have taken incompetence, cronyism and corruption to new levels.

A top White House procurement official is under indictment. Rep. Tom DeLay, the second-ranking person in the House, is under indictment. The highest-ranking Senate leader is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department. One or more White House officials could be facing indictment in the next couple weeks. A top GOP lobbyist is under indictment. Controversies are rampant about mismanagement of the Iraq war and the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. And the White House is fending off accusations of cronyism at the highest levels.

Hardly a party of competence and moral fiber. But what's more, under the post-1994 Republican Congress, pork barrel spending has gone from around $10 billion to $25 billion today. The number of "earmarks" under today's Republicans has gone from 1,439 in 1995 to 13,999 this year so far. Defense and 9/11-related spending accounted for less than half the growth in spending between 2001 and 2003. [PDF] They didn't rid the budget of pork barrel spending. They reduced Democrats' poor spending and substituted their own. They aren't a party of ideas and motives. Not anymore. They're the worst of liberalism with a dash of imperialism, cronyism and hypocricy.

That's a sad, sad fact you can take to the bank.

Put That in Your Pipe

Seventy-six percent of 18-to-24-year-olds, in a sample that was nearly all male and half Republican, are so unfazed by homosexuality that lifting the ban on gays in the military would have no effect on whether they'd enlist.

The skew in this sample mimics the demographic makeup of the military itself. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed described themselves as Republicans, 30 percent as independents and 17 percent as Democrats. Of those surveyed in August, 82 percent were male and 18 percent female.

Hardly seems like a reason for keeping around Don't Ask, Don't Tell anymore. Unless, of course, you're a bunch of old-fart bigots.

The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military’s statement notes that when the Canadian and British militaries opened their ranks to gays, polls showed there was strong opposition by a majority of service-age people. However, recruiting was not a problem after gays were admitted.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Stacy's a Girl's Name

Tennessee Rep. Stacy Campfield may seem an unlikely candidate for his state's black caucus. But the white Republican said he wants to join the group to serve a segment of his constituency better. Campfield's membership to the caucus was rejected and the state representative says it's because of the color of his skin. "Only blacks can become full members -- full and equal members," Campfield said. "I think that's the definition of racism."

And I want to join AARP for the discounts -- like 40% off Reebok shoes -- but I cannot until I'm 50. It's age discrimination. It's unfair. But as the Rolling Stones once sang, "You can't always get what you want."

I Heart Tina Fey

In other news, Saturday Night Live debuted this very day thirty years ago with host George Carlin. Here's to thirty more -- preferably funny and preferably sans Ashlee Simpson.

Just Do It

Happy National Coming Out Day!

National Coming Out Day is observed on October 11 in the U.S. by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and their allies. The day commemorates October 11, 1987, when an estimated 750,000 people marched on Washington for gay and lesbian equality. National Coming Out Day events are aimed at raising awareness of the gay community among the general populace in an effort to give a familiar face to the gay rights movement. The Human Rights Campaign manages the national event under the National Coming Out Project offering resources to LGBT couples, parents and their children as well as straight friends and relatives to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives. Candace Gingrich became the spokesperson for the day in April 1995.

Tax and Horde

I didn't graduate college with an economics degree, so I'm not the go-to man on things dealing with surpluses and deficits. That being said, I'm a little confused about a brag by Republican Governor Mitt Romney yesterday. Wanting to show off his budget expertise, Romney took credit for trimming what he said was Massachusetts' $3 billion budget deficit and turning it into a $472 million surplus a year later and a $1.2 billion surplus in the last fiscal year.

Now, isn't a surplus created when you tax your citizenry more than you spend? Why is this a grand and noble accomplishment? Instead of tax-and-spend Democrats, we have tax-and-horde Republicans running the Bay State. And for once, you can't blame Ted Kennedy or John Kerry for that.

They're Invading!!

At a recent fundraiser for super-rich folks in Charlotte, North Carolina, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) told the crowd that Islamic fundamentalists are "not just intent on blowing up a little bomb here and there at a shopping mall, awful as that would be. They want to bring down our government, bring down our entire economy. They want to put in place a huge theocracy." Pretty big words for such a small man. When asked by a reporter after the fundraiser if he really thought the fundamentalists are trying to take over America, Romney responded, "No. No. No."

What a bunch of fluffy, flip-flopping poppycock.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Music Pick of the Week

"Lives of Crimes" [mp3] by the Fruit Bats is the perfect song to be my first Music Pick of the Week. Suzanne Asprea of Glide Magazine calls the song "a perfect opener, happy and light with gently chugging guitars, crisp harmonies, handclaps –- and who can deny a song that slips in a few handclaps?" I concur fully.

Down, Down, Down

Twenty-seven Republican senators -- almost half of the party's members in the chamber -- have expressed specific doubts about Harriet Miers and her nomination to the Supreme Court. Where's the beef?

Movie Pick of the Week

Kung Fu Hustle is the bomb. And almost as if they realize I could never get enough of the beautiful, stylized action choreography of the original, Fung Fu Hustle 2 is set to begin filming the end of this year or early next year. Excellent.

Just... Stop Having Sex!

Britney Spears has a sex tape now? Damn. And I'm still waiting to see Colin's.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Head for the Bomb Shelter

Pat Robertson seems to think that the recent earthquake in Southeast Asia and the two hurricanes last month point toward the Second Coming of Christ. It's about bloody time.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Verbatim

But nominating a constitutional tabula rasa to sit on what is America's constitutional court is an exercise of regal authority with the arbitrariness of a king giving his favorite general a particularly plush dukedom. The only advance we've made since then is that Supreme Court dukedoms are not hereditary.

-- Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, October 7, 2005

I'm Addicted to You

Are you addicted to porn? Talk to your pastor about hosting a PornSunday Party at your church. Break the cycle of porn addiction. Keep the party in your pants. Vote Republican.

Well, Duh.

Republicans control the White House and have majorities in the House, the Senate and on the Supreme Court. Sixty-nine percent of Americans say things in the United States are seriously off on the wrong track -- the highest number since CBS News started asking the question in 1983. Go figure.

Oh, 37 percent of Americans approve of the President. If this were high school, that'd be a big fat F.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Random 10

It's Friday. You know what that means. The rules: Take out your iPod or other musical device. Put it in "random" mode. Hit "play." Write down the first ten tracks that come up -- and no fair putting in ones you think will make you look cool, or omitting ones that make you look like a total dork.

1. This Side (Nickel Creek, This Side)
2. You Are My Sunshine (Norman Blake, O Brother Where Art Thou)
3. A Side Wins (Sloan, One Chord to Another)
4. My Little Demon (Fleetwood Mac, The Dance)
5. The Tourist (Radiohead, OK Computer)
6. In the Waiting Line (Zero 7, Garden State soundtrack)
7. Give It Away (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
8. School's Out (Alice Cooper, Dazed & Confused soundtrack)
9. Dancing Queen (ABBA, Gold)
10. 1999 (Prince, The Hits: Disk 1)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

No Way



Please. Don't be real.

GOP v. GOP

Everyone thought that the war for the next Supreme Court justice would be of epic proportions not seen in the recent past. But most pundits failed to consider that these battles might be fought by members of President Bush's own party. Teehee.

Tanka Very Much

Flamingo has a monopoly on haikus, so I hereby claim the ancient Japanese form of unrhymed poetry called Tanka as my own. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Miss Jones.

President Bush is
second-best and second-rate
in societal
equality and in his
performance between the sheets.

Torture is a Family Value

Would you vote to allow the use of torture? Nine United States Senators did.

Sen. Wayne Allard (R), Colorado; Sen. Kit Bond (R), Missouri; Sen. Tom Coburn (R), Oklahoma; Sen. Thad Cochran (R), Mississippi; Sen. John Cornyn (R), Texas; Sen. James Inhofe (R), Oklahoma; Sen. Pat Roberts (R), Kansas; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R), Alabama; Sen. Ted Stevens (R), Alaska.

Allard -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Bond -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Coburn -- right-wing religious zealot elected to the Senate in 2004 with endorsements from James Dobson and Gary Bauer; has been a Family Research Council board member.

Cochran -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Cornyn -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Inhofe -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Roberts -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Sessions -- 100% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Stevens -- 83% ratings from the Christian Coalition in 2004 and 2003.

Since when is torture a Christian virtue? Did I miss that catechism class?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bring It On

Back in My Little Town

From Lew Rockwell:
Back on September 10 I took part in a demonstration at the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. The reason some 300 of us were there was to protest the Great Maine Air Show, particularly the Navy’s elite F/A-18 fighter jet ($57 million each) flying squadron, the Blue Angels. Why demonstrate against the Blue Angels? Because they are an exultant expression of the glorification of violence in our militarized culture. But, more about that later. Some aspects of what happened there continue to disturb me. So, I’m finally moved to mull it over in writing.

...

Three teenage boys launched a counter demonstration. Across the lighted, divided highway from us, the boys suddenly appeared, shouting, swaggering, gesticulating angrily, dressed only in shorts and tee-shirts. They also carried signs that we couldn’t read which they held up for passing traffic which must have encouraged motorists to honk if they supported something the boys thought was in opposition to us –- the war on Iraq? the Blue Angels? the military? There wasn’t much traffic, but cars slowed going in both directions & sometimes honked for us, sometimes for them.

The boys had not been there long when they stripped off their tee-shirts. All three were medium height, lean, smoking a lot, and yelling that they were going to show us that Brunswick supported them, not us. Because it was cold, and because they seemed like kids who would run out of steam as soon as the beer wore off, we expected them to leave soon with a show of disparaging shouts and squealing tires.

Not the case. They kept it up. For hours. Their obstreperous, at times nearly apoplectic, behavior was in almost humorous contrast to our quiet vigil. If one wonders where our energy comes from (a bunch of middle-aged folks unused to all-nighters), one must certainly also ask about theirs. We are fueled in part by our anger at the status quo and all it represents in terms of violence, exploitation, deceit, and suffering. Their anger must in part be the opposite, fueled by their outrage at our questioning of the status quo, which for them seems patriotic and noble. Eventually, the police, who seemed very concerned to not let the situation get too confrontational, told the boys they had to stop shouting. Maybe Brunswick has a law about shouting in a public place after midnight. I suspected that, denied the right to yell at us, they would go home. They didn’t & stayed for several more hours.

But, right before the police quieted them, one of the boys waved his sinewy, young arms at us and shouted something that still reverberates in my ears, something I remember as, "When I graduate from high school, I’m joining the Marines, and I’m going to kill everything that moves!"

What haunts and disturbs me is wondering what this kid was really saying. Obviously, I don’t know that particular teenage boy and had no opportunity to talk with him. I was merely the object of his anger and a witness to his protestation of violent outrage. Part of his message, I assume, was to shout the thing that he knew would appall us as peaceniks. But, let’s examine the content a bit more. First, his plan as he moves from high school into the adult, working class is to join the Marines. We know that because jobs paying living wages are so scarce for most kids, and because college is so expensive, kids are being funneled into the military. This is not a mere happenstance, but part of the neoconservative plan. Create a society in which so many people are reliant on the military for income that they dare not question its goals or refuse its offers. Increase complicity, compliance will follow. So, this boy may not envision a future with many more options than the Marines.
I find this interesting because it's rare that issues hit me so close to home. I've gone to that air show several times. Growing up with P-3s crisscrossing the sky seemed normal to me. You'd see at least three fly low right overhead during a rec soccer game. My ex-girlfriend's family was very much involved in the Navy. I'd drive past the base any time heading north on route 1 up the coast. Now, of course, it's on the closing list, despite the new multi-million dollar new hangar.

It's further interesting because I almost certainly know the high schoolers mentioned in the article. I wish somehow I could find out their names. I don't remember the ASVAB being optional in my high school. Maybe it was.

My dad, who was in the National Guard during Vietnam, told me that he was seriously considering protesting the air show, clearly torn between the innate awe of flying I assume all people have, especially former pilots, and the moral flaw of glorifying war. I don't know what he ended up doing.

That's my show and tell.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ain't It the Truth?

Food for Thought

To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity... He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.

-- Federalist No. 76, Alexander Hamilton, April 1, 1788

Plenty Bright

Should I be worried that the grim reaper President Bush chose to be his nominee for the Supreme Court once told a fellow White House employee "that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met"? Honestly, how much real social interaction could've this woman acheived by the age of 50 if Mr. My Pet Goat is considered even remotely brilliant by anyone?

In related news, I'm also a little weary that in defense of his decision of Harriet Miers, the brilliant president known as George W. said of her, "She is plenty bright." That cleared that up.

I Like Libertarians

I'd love to see [a Republican fillibuster of Harriet Miers]. Weren't judicial nominations supposed to be the reason we were all asked to put up with President Bush's spending, expansion of government, signing of campaign finance reform, and littany of other betrayals of principle?

Unless you're completely delusional, like Hugh Hewitt, if you're still a Bush supporter, the only thing you have left to defend him on is, um, Iraq. And the way things have regressed over there, if you're willing to put up with Bush's dreadful performance on just about every area of public policy in order to go to the mat with him for his leadership in Iraq, well, you're about as delusional as Hugh Hewitt, anyway.

The Republican party has proven that they don't stand for a damned thing beyond keeping and wielding power. I can't decide if the Miers nomination was a wholesale cop-out by a wounded president who has lost all fight for what he claims to believe in, or yet another example of the rampant cronyism and arrogance of power of an administration that realizes it'll never again face accountability at the ballot box, and simply doesn't care anymore. Probably a little of both.
-TheAgitator

Monday, October 03, 2005

Yack!



Death. Warmed over.

And if you think it's just a bad picture, see People's B. Honey, eye-liner should be your friend, not your calling card. And for the love of God, Cruella, don't wear red lipstick -- you're not 20. That is all. For now, anyway.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

In the Pooper

I don't know which is worse: the fact that Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R)'s approval rating has dipped to a dismal 15 percent or that only three governors have ever had lower approval ratings.

I Like 'Bootstraps-ism'

Conservatives claim to be champions of individualism, bootstraps-ism, and erstwhile opponents of collective rights. But they're happy to switch gears and embrace a collectivist worldview when it comes to pointing out that black people are inherently dumber than white people, or that we shouldn't let more Hispanics into the country because they're more likely to be criminals than white people.

Or, put more succinctly, the right (correctly) rails against collective rights, but when it comes to minorities, they're more than happy to assign collective wrongs. That strikes a lot of people as a double standard.

And until conservatives can reconcile it, they'll always be on the defensive when it comes to race.
-TheAgitator

Read the rest.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Big-Business Only

By a 53-39 vote, Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, failed to restore money cut by the House for those programs, including one that would help poor people buy heating fuel this winter.
Where have their hearts gone?

Illegal White House

Don't people who do something illegal go to jail? Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

When they talk about personal responsibility, they don't mean themselves, surely.