Monday, October 03, 2005

Welcome to Planet Delay, where down is up and hot is cold!

What do you do when you've just been indicted? Keep thinking shiny, warm, happy, fuzzy thoughts.

(Via Majikthese.)

One word on Harriet Miers: HUH?

That's the word that comes to mind when I read about her. Her education and career seem to be pretty unremarkable. But she's a friend and confidante of Bush and a White House counsel, so supposedly this makes her a prime candidate for the Supreme Court. Right.

And, of course, the "a" word is going to come up again during her confirmation hearings. Of course, you can spin her stance any way you like: either she's a rabid pro-lifer or she just wanted ABA to be a "big tent," open to pro-choice and anti-abortion views. Somehow, I suspect the latter, and I hope to hell she's grilled on Roe vs. Wade.

Given that it's impossible for me to trust this administration, I'm kind of, uh, nervous about this choice, just as I was with the choice of Roberts. Both Roberts and Meirs have minimal paper trails and little (Roberts) or no (Miers) judicial experience. Thus, there's no way to know if they're Scalias or Souters.

Oh, and seems that Miers gave money to Democrats in 1988. Granted, that was 17 years ago, but still, if you're a wingnut, you're bound to feel a profound sense of betrayal. Or maybe you're just going to be pissed off that Bush made a weak choice.

Already, the professional conservatives are bemoaning Miers.

More choice quotes here.

For some of these guys, it's another way of saying, "Waaaaaaah! I want an activist judge! Not an ex-Democrat! Waaaaaaaaaaah!"

Meanwhile, over at Firedoglake, there's a nice little deconstruction of Miers' unremarkable career. The best quote:

Harriet Miers has the qualifications of someone who gets appointed to oversee the sale of assets for a local school board or a state agricultural department. She was a managing partner at a large-ish law firm in Dallas, requiring keen administrative and money-management skills, I'm sure, but not exactly a position of substantial Constitutional scholarship. She was appointed by Shrub to a 6-year term on the Texas Lottery Commission, so maybe she's good at picking numbered balls out of a spinning cage, if nothing else.


That's nothing. Did you hear about the guy from the Arabian Horse Association who...oh, never mind.

Friday, September 30, 2005

"Duh, look, dood! It's duh lib'rul media sayin' bad things about Bush again."

Except actually, it's not. It's a GOP candidate trying to disance herself from the Preznit. Woo-hah!

Marilyn Brewer, a leading Republican candidate for the nation's only open House seat, stared into the TV camera and proclaimed her support for the president.

She was not talking about George W. Bush.

"I stand side by side with Ronald Reagan on less taxes and less government," Brewer told voters at a candidate forum.

****

Later, the self-described loyal Republican who voted for the president in 2004 explained her calculus: "If the election was this year ... he would not be re-elected."


I imagine after this, Karl Rove will figure out a way to remove Ms. Brewer from the running.

(Via Americablog.)

Forget all those other sappy duets...

You know, with respectful younger artists showing their appreciation for musical giants by recording duets with them. Ray Charles and Norah Jones, Sinatra and whoever, Louis Armstrong and Kenny G. LOUIS ARMSTRONG AND KENNY G. I still don't know how that was ever accomplished. Well, I do. Armstrong being already dead and in no position to protest probably had something to do with it.

Now? Now, you've got senior citizen songcrafters teaming up with gangsta rappers for protest music. It's Burt Bacharach and Dr. Dre, d00d! Doing protest songs! Oh frack, here are all the details.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Dear Abby: Is schadenfreude wrong?

Dear Abby:

Look, I know you've got Alzheimer's and your clueless daughter is doing your column now, but this is really important. I really have to tell someone. I mean, really, really, really, really. Really.

See, just 11 months ago, I was so bummed out. Well, if you were reading the news, you'd know why. This country seemed to be turning into the Theofascist Republic of North America. Drastic measure such as a move to Canada or another civil war seemed awfully attractive. My friend Steve predicted that Bruce Springsteen and the Dixie Chicks were going to disappear after November 3. I don't want to see Bruce and the Dixie Chicks disappear!

Well, 2005 plodded along and lots of news came out, none of it good. Specifically, Iraq was a debacle, and the GOP thought that putting a feeding tube in a brain-dead woman was a matter of national importance. The Bush administration was still slimy. The GOP was still shitfaced with power. The Faux News blabbermouths kept spewing the same crap.

But then, there came a change in the air. Spring turned to summer. The hills were alive with the sound of music. Bush's popularity rating crept down to the low 40s. And nothing could prod it back up again. But then again, it didn't sink any lower.

How could 42 percent or so of the American people be so fucking clueless?

Who knows? All I know is that Delay's been indicted, Frist has been caught doing a Martha Stewart, and now, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Judy Miller is free. Her source gave her permission to reveal his name. And the source is...Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

I know, who woulda s'pected it?



Why does he have to call himself Scooter anyway? I loved the Muppet Show and he's ruining all my memories of it! ARGH!

Anyway, Miller's on her way to testify before a grand jury, and I'm trying to keep myself from dancing for joy in the streets. I'm feeling so blissfully happy I can't believe it. I haven't been so overjoyed about someone's unhappiness since this bitch I worked with was fired from her job. But this little, itty-bitty voice inside me says I shouldn't get too happy because it could all turn out to be nothing. And besides, it's not nice to be happy over someone's misery. I'm sure someplace in the Bible mentions that. But I can't help it!

Abby, or whoever does your column now, am I wrong to feel this way? Please let me know.

Sincerely,

Schadenfreudelicious in NYC

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

YES!!!!!

The Hammer's been indicted. Oh, happy, happy day!

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Block o'Wood Frist is being investigated for some questionable stock sales. Can anyone say "insider trading"?

It sounds weird, but there's clearly an upside to a GOP majority--and it's spelled s-c-h-a-d-e-n-f-r-e-u-d-e. Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jackie Speier: Badass Democrat

From Jane Hamsher comes the story of Jackie Speier, California State Senator and candidate for Lt. Governor. Speier is the kind of fighting Democrat that the party really needs more of.

The most fascinating part of her career concerns her early political career. Speier was a congressional assistant to Rep. Leo Ryan, and she accompanied him on his fact-finding trip to Jonestown in the late 1970s. Ryan was killed during the mission; Speir was shot five times and left for dead. Here's an SFGate piece with more details on this chapter of her life.

And she's suffered other tragedies as well: two miscarriages and the death of her first husband in a car accident (when she was pregnant with her second child, no less).

No wonder this woman's got fighting spirit. She's the one who first noticed Schwarznegger's little conflict of interest regarding nutritional supplements. Something tells me that all she's lived through, Ahnuld is a walk in the park.

And she wants to be lieutenant governor? Heck, if I were in California, I'd want her for governor.

From the town of It's Not My Fault, USA

Mike Brown, past FEMA head and current FEMA consultant (no, that's not a joke) blames everything on Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin. And I quote: "My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional."

Brownie still can't explain why FEMA took three days to get to Mississippi.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What's that you say about antiwar loonies, again?

The mainstream media is still pretending that the antiwar movement too small, too fringe-y, and too radical to be taken seriously. How much longer will they keep pretending? Who knows? But according to Americablog, yesterday's antiwar rally was a major success. Reuters gives a general number of over 100,000 protesters; organizers say it's 300,000.

"The protesters were graying baby boomers who had railed against the Vietnam War, parents pushing strollers with toddlers, college students and a few adults in wheelchairs," the Reuters piece says. Sounds like this antiwar movement isn't limited to the ANSWER/aging hippie/leftover Marxist crowd. Perhaps the media pundits should get it into their heads that this is not just a bunch of Saddam lovers, would-be fifth columnists, and lunatic-fringe radicals, hmmmmmmmm?

In fact, the antiwar movement counts some right-wing voices among its ranks, most notably the conservative libertarians of Antiwar.com. Rep. Walter B. Jones, the ultraconservative congresscritter who wanted the House cafeteria to serve freedom fries instead of French fries, is now dead-set against the Iraq war. His office is covered with photos of the fallen, and he even writes letters of condolence to the families of the soldiers killed over there.

Right-wing pundits seem to want to believe that we're reliving the Vietnam era. This is hardly the case. There have been absolutely no reports of any Iraq soldiers being spit on or ostracized upon returning home. No actresses have been photographed cavorting with Iraqi insurgents. "Support the troops, not the war" seems to be the mentality this time around. The American people have learned their lesson from Vietnam.

Speaking of Antiwar.com, Teresa Whitehurst adeptly dissects the NYT's subtle slant against Cindy Sheehan and other antiwar protesters.

Meanwhile, the anti-anti-war movement--which consists mainly of counter-protests against Cindy Sheehan--is trying to make its voice heard by screeching as loudly as possible. Alas, this movement is big on decibels and small on numbers. Yesterday's anti-anti-war protest in DC drew about 400 people. Americablog has a theory about this dismal turnout: "I guess all the real war supporters had already enlisted and are over in Iraq fighting. Uh huh."

It's super-fun online test time!

I gotta admit, these online political belief tests are soooooooooo predictable.

You are a

Social Liberal
(66% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(21% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid


Yes, I'm a Democrat! Boo, you poor Freepers! BOOOOOOOO! I scare ya!

My favorite quote from this test: "You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness."

And people find fault in this?

Joe Scarborough makes sense and is on the money. I'm convinced that the apocalypse is upon us.

Joe asks "Can't we do better?"

Broussard returns to Meet the Press

It had to happen. After Aaron Broussard's tearful appearance on Meet the Press, some bloggers began to dissect his account of a woman's drowning death in a nursing home. I guess they wanted something to take their minds off all the Bush bashin' in the media.

The flap over Broussard's testimony is really a tempest in a teacup. All they could prove is that he might have mixed up the date the lady died. Apparently, Broussard is supposed to take time out from overseeing a herculean hurricane relief effort to verify the exact date a person died.

What can I say? I guess some bloggers are hoping against hope that people will stop, erm, playing blame games with the federal government, but still...

Anyhow, Broussard was on "Meet the Press" again this morning. Russert replayed his original, heartrending testimony and then the attack of the right-wing talking points began:

Mr. Russert: Mr. Broussard, obviously that was a very painful, emotional moment, but let me show you some of the...

Mr. Broussard: Sir, I've never looked at that. I've never heard that. I'm sorry. You take me to a sad place when you let me hear that.

Mr. Russert: Well, it was important, I think...

Mr. Broussard: Go ahead. Go ahead, sir. Go ahead, sir.

Mr. Russert: Thank you very much.

Mr. Broussard: Go ahead.

Mr. Russert: All right, sir. Thank you very much. Take your time. But it's important I think...

Mr. Broussard: Go ahead.

Mr. Russert: ...that our viewers see that again because MSNBC and other blog organizations have looked into the facts behind your comments and these are the conclusions, and I'll read it for you and our viewers. It says: "An emotional moment and a misunderstanding. Since the broadcast of [Meet the Press] interview...a number of bloggers have questioned the validity of Broussard's story. Subsequent reporting identified the man whom Broussard was referring to...as Thomas Rodrigue, the Jefferson Parish emergency services director. ...Rodrigue acknowledged that his 92-year-old mother and more than 30 other people died in the St. Rita nursing home. They had not been evacuated and the flood waters overtook the residence. ... When told of the sequence of phone calls that Broussard described, Rodrigue said `No, no, that's not true. ...I contacted the nursing home two days before the storm [on Saturday, Aug. 27th] and again on [Sunday] the 28th. ...At the same time I talked to the nursing home I had also talked to the emergency manager...to encourage that nursing home to evacuate...' Rodrigue says he never made any calls after Monday, the day he figures his mother died... Officials believe the residents of St. Rita's died on Monday, the 29th, not on Friday, Sept. 2, as Broussard has suggested."


Wow. What a revelation. I'm still trying to figure out the point of this...could someone please clue me in?

As for Broussard, he had one beauty of a response. The boldface is mine:

Mr. Broussard: Sir, this gentleman's mother died on that Friday before I came on the show. My own staff came up to me and said what had happened. I had no idea his mother was in the nursing home. It was related to me by my own staff, who had tears in their eyes, what had happened. That's what they told me. I went to that man, who I love very much and respect very much, and he had collapsed like a deck of cards. And I took him and put him in my hospital room with my prayer books and told him to sit there and cry out and pray away and give honor to his mother with his tears and his prayers.

Now, everything that was told to me about the preface of that was told to me by my own employees. Do you think I would interrogate a man whose mother just died and said, "Tommy, I want to know everything about why your mother just died"? The staff, his own staff, told me those words. Sir, that woman is the epitome of abandonment. She was left in that nursing home. She died in that nursing home. Tommy will tell you that he tried to rescue her and could not get her rescued. Tommy could tell you that he sent messages there through the EOC and through, I think, the sheriff's department, "Tell Mama everything's going to be OK. Tell Mama we're coming to get her."

Listen, sir, somebody wants to nitpick a man's tragic loss of a mother because she was abandoned in a nursing home? Are you kidding? What kind of sick mind, what kind of black-hearted people want to nitpick a man's mother's death? They just buried Eva last week. I was there at the wake. Are you kidding me? That wasn't a box of Cheerios they buried last week. That was a man's mother whose story, if it is entirely broadcast, will be the epitome of abandonment....


What kind of agenda is going on here? Mother Nature doesn't have a political party. Mother Nature can vote a person dead and Mother Nature can vote a community out of existence. But Mother Nature is not playing any political games here. Somebody better wake up. You want to come and live in this community and see the tragedy we're living in? Are you sitting there having your coffee, you're in a place where toilets flush and lights go on and everything's a dream and you pick up your paper and you want to battle ideology and political chess games? Man, get out of my face. Whoever wants to do that, get out of my face.


More of Broussard's appearance, aka "Why National Tragedy Trumps Right-Wing Talking Points, can be found here.

Rockin' Coney Island bay-bay!!!!

Coney Island was rather sparsely populated yesterday. It made me miss sweaty, sticky summer, the season of the Siren Festival and the Mermaid Parade. Ah well.

Le Sweetie and I went on some of the rides while there was still time. We took a spin on the go-karts and went on the flume. We also ate ice cream and generally pretended that it was still July. Le Sweetie really, really doesn't like scary rides, so there was no Coney Island Cyclone this time.

There were people fishing on the Coney Island pier as the sun went down. The temperature dropped into the 60s or so--and it felt a little chilly. I saw people walking on the beach, but nobody swimming. Everyone wore long sleeves and sweats.

We went to see the Shins and the White Stripes. Brendan Branson was the first act up and sounded good--very 1970s power pop. The Shins were rather dull. The White Stripes, OTOH, seriously rocked. Seriously. These guys make sloppy and garagey seem like a virtue, God bless 'em.

Next week, we're going back to see the Pixies and Gang of Four. I'm looking forward to seeing Gang of Four again.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Oh no. Not again.

Rita's on its way. It's "only" a Category 3 hurricane now. But the Gulf coast is seriously fucked. And Houston's evacuation plan has run into snags, like cars backed up the wazoo and running out of gas.

Oh, and Texas's governor is a Republican, so the wingnuts can't play blame games here.

You know you're taking supermarket tabloids waaaaaaaaaay too seriously when...

Well, the National Enquirer says that Bush has started drinking again. The lefty blogosphere loves to hear bad things about Bush (I know I do), but nevertheless, this IS the Enquirer. Elayne Riggs is pretty annoyed to find the leftyblogs chortling over this (probably and possibly fake) story:

You know, the guy in the White House has an actual record of what he has and hasn't done this past 4+ years. Most liberals would find that record abysmal. In criticizing this administration, can't we stick to all these known facts, and more are being revealed every day it seems, rather than go to the friggin' National Enquirer to dig up and delight in rumors that Bush is back on the sauce?


Amen, Elayne. This story only serves to distract from the really juicy and easily documented wackiness of Bushland...like Jeb Bush's imaginary friend, Chang.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Jeb Bush has a friend! An imaginary friend!



From the "truth is stranger than...oh, never mind department," here's the governor on his imaginary friend, Chang.

“Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.

“I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.”


It's nice to see someone didn't abandon his imaginary friend when he turned 13. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is full of lovable critters who've been abandoned by the kids to dreamt them up. I can just imagine little Jebby Bush, ensconced in boarding school, miles from Poppy and the family, dreaming up his friend Chang to keep him company.

Jebby was probably a lonely boy, with great expectations placed on him by Poppy and Mummy.

"We're expectin' great things from you, Jebby!"

"Now, Jebby, George is your responsibility."

"Jeb, can I ask a favor of you? Just one li'l favor? Pleeeeeaaaaaase? See, I've got this election comin' up, and..."

No wonder Jeb needed a friend! And who better than imaginary friend? And imaginary friend won't embarass the family, lose a presidential election, get mixed up in an S&L scandal, develop a drinking problem, get arrested, or put his foot in his mouth. In other words, Jeb might not be here today without his imaginary friend.

Let's hear it for Chang. And let's look at our elected officials with new eyes. Perhaps, behind each successful politician is an imaginary friend.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

When Bush zombies attack and Leonard Pitts answers back

Pitts has a response to all the kool-aid drinkers who send him nasty e-mails. It's just perfect!

The weirdness that is anti-government government

Over at the Decembrist is an essay on why Jack Kemp-style "anti-government government" doesn't work and why the answer is effective government, not small or large government. I myself subscribe to the Goldilocks theory of government: not too big, not too small, just right. But Republicans don't want to hear about it. It's all "government is the problem, let's shrink it." It's never "we can do this better without red tape." It's never "we should use our resources wisely." Republicans are stuck in the knee-jerk "small government, small government" mindset. Commenter Kilroy Was Here sums it up best:

Placing conservatives in charge of the government is like putting Lenin in charge of General Electric.

When I interview for a job, no one is going to hire me if I say, "I hate this job. I hate this company. In fact, I hate what the company stands for." But we seem to be proud to vote for people who feel the same way about government.

Why spammers are so useless and ineffective

Their spamming doesn't work, doesn't result in any significant business, annoys people, and is simply a pain in the butt. They always sell the same stuff: computer software, college degrees, Viagra, Rolexes. I've got computer software (otherwise, I wouldn't be typing this). I've got a college degree. I've got a wristwatch. I'm female, so I don't have erectile dysfunction. I don't need Viagra and I don't need to have my penis enlarged.

I can always tell spam is spam because they have stupid message headers that make no sense at all. A sample from my mailbox:

"On go is quaver rent"
"Which smoke in whiz"
"In learn go sellotape reality"
"An start be lithe"

I'm not sure where these messages are coming from, but loosely translated, they all mean the same thing: "This is another piece of spam wasting space in your mailbox. You'll buy a Rolex from me, wontcha?"

No. Find another way to make money.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On Penguin Family Values

As noted here and here, conservatives are claiming "March of the Penguins" as their kind of movie--a film that preaches proper values and won't be condemned by CAPalert.

How did “March of the Penguins” become a surprise hit? Perhaps because nothing beats the summer heat like a movie set in Antarctica. Perhaps it’s the majestic yet adorable emperor penguins and their fuzzy gray chicks to make moviegoers say “Awwwwwwww.” And yes, it has a powerful family-values message...but one based on reality, not partisan politics.

As it turns out, looking for a partner in Antarctica is similar to the U.S. dating scene. Male penguins are not unlike American metrosexuals. “They pout, they strut, and occasionally they will engage in some contact sports,” says narrator Morgan Freeman.

Although she isn't around when her baby hatches, the mother penguin is the kind of mom that human mothers can cheer on. As soon as the female lays an egg, she turns it over to the male, who'll guard it until it hatches. By this time, Mama Penguin has lost so much body weight that she's close to starvation. She'll also need to find food for the soon-to-be-hatched chick. We see the female penguins fighting hunger and brutal cold during a seventy-mile trek to the sea, dodging predators in the water.

Meanwhile, the fathers watch over their eggs, huddling together during Antarctica’s windiest, most brutal winter storms, taking turns standing in the center where it’s warmer. In their community, no penguin is an island—or an ice floe, as the case may be.

And when the mother returns, the father turns the chick over to her care and goes to find food himself. What parent—shuttling back and forth between the office and day care—wouldn’t identify with these intrepid birds?

“March of the Penguins” is full of unforgettable images of the joy and pain of raising a family. It shows parents gazing protectively at their offspring and the grief of a mother penguin whose chick doesn’t survive. The penguins look out for each other’s offspring, too; at one point, they stop the bereaved mother from stealing one of the chicks.

For the past ten years, politicians and pundits have tried to offer answers to this question: Does it take a village or a family? As “March of the Penguin” proves, it takes both. The mothers of our species constantly agonize about balancing work and family, but a mother penguin easily shares responsibility with her mate. And even when she’s seventy miles away, her baby is never far from her mind.

While the mother and father rarely spend any quality time together, the chick always has at least one parent there.

It seems that these birds, living at the bottom of the world, have figured out the real meaning of family values. Humans could learn something from them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bye-bye Brownie...

He gave brownies a bad name, anyway.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Kate Bush is back! Well, almost...

Kate Bush was one of my musical heroes during my teenage years. I adored "The Kick Inside" and "The Dreaming." During a summer in England, I spent lots of nights at the local pub. The pub had a jukebox. The jukebox had "Wuthering Heights," Kate's 1978 hit. I loved "Wuthering Heights" and kept playing it again and again. Sure, it annoyed the heck out of everyone else there, but so what?

Kate Bush has been laying low for about 12 years. Now, I find out, via The Velvet Rope, that her next album is almost done. Hooray! Yippee! Yay! God exists after all!

Here's a longer piece about Kate Bush and what she's been up to. Basically, she's now a mom, and that's one reason she's been laying low. What's that about good things coming to those who wait? I'm really hoping that the next album will be stunning.

If only we could swap Kate for George W...but that would probably violate some sort of international treaty. Sigh...

(Yeah, I included a partisan dig in here. Gotta problem with that?)

The stupids--err, compassionate conservatives--are at it again

Via Moxiegrrl, I find that the nation's "compassionate conservatives" can't seem to disengage their mouths at the same time that they disengage their brains. More rock-stupid quotes here.

These go beyond the usual stupdity and let-'em-eat-cake blatherings from Babs Bush, Jackasstert, Dubya, and the incompetents at DHS/FEMA. Way, way beyond.


9) "I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.” –Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sept. 6, 2005

12) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" –House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston

13) "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." –Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) to lobbyists, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal


(Note: 2006 is just around the corner. Santorum, Baker, and Delay are up for re-election then. No reason they should be allowed to live this down.)

15) "I also want to encourage anybody who was affected by Hurricane Corina to make sure their children are in school." –First Lady Laura Bush, twice referring to a "Hurricane Corina" while speaking to children and parents in South Haven, Mississippi, Sept. 8, 2005

24) "I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It's terrible. It's tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen." --GOP strategist Jack Burkman, on MSNBC's "Connected," Sept. 7, 2005

25) "Thank President Clinton and former President Bush for their strong statements of support and comfort today. I thank all the leaders that are coming to Louisiana, and Mississippi and Alabama to our help and rescue. We are grateful for the military assets that are being brought to bear. I want to thank Senator Frist and Senator Reid for their extraordinary efforts. Anderson, tonight, I don't know if you've heard – maybe you all have announced it -- but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating." –Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), to CNN's Anderson Cooper, Aug. 31, 2005, to which Cooper responded:

"I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians slap – you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up. Do you get the anger that is out here?"


(Landrieu sounded a different tune a few days later. She noted that the sheriff's department was doing an outstanding job and she'd punch out anyone--including the president--who said otherwise. Okay, so maybe she's not such a butt-kisser after all.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

What blog is complete without an online personality test or two?

I guess I saw this one coming...


John Fogerty returns to Fantasy

Who would've ever seen this coming?

Breaking: Brownie's out!

Via Crooks and Liars, we learn that FEMA in-over-his-head Mike Brown has been relieved of his responsibilities in Louisiana. But Bush thought Brownie was doing a great job! What happened? And has he been pink-slipped or just sent back to Washington so someone else can handle things down south?

Our compassionate conservatives talk out of their nether regions

Representative Richard Baker, of Baton Rouge, finds the up side of a hurricane: ""We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

Laura Bush (remember her?) thinks Kanye West's comments are "disgusting." Wonder what Laura thinks of her mother-in-law's remarks about the evacuees at the Houston Astrodome? On second thought I don't want to know.

Oh, this is hilarious. Bush's image czar says looters in NOLA have hurt America's image abroad. No, you imbecile, the government's slow response, seemingly dismissive behavior, and general ass-backwardness are hurting America abroad. The woman's job is obviously to make excuses for the Bush administration.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Jackasstert Update

Jackasstert is now trying to, uh, clarify his statement regarding New Orleans. It turns out he doesn't really want the city torn down after all.

Too late, at least as far as one former elected official is concerned...

In Syracuse, N.Y., President Clinton was discussing New Orleans' dilemma when someone described the comments. Had they been in the same place when the remarks were made, Clinton said, "I'm afraid I would have assaulted him."


Oh yeah, and Jackasstert was at a fundraiser while Congress approved 10.5 billion dollars for hurricane aid. He also attended a car auction, but he claims that the money was given to charity.

Someone run against Jackasstert in 2006, please.

La Hill has an idea: a Katrina Commission

I'm waiting for the wingnuts to accuse La Hill of using the NOLA tragedy to boost her presidential ambitions. But anyway, she is now calling for a Katrina commission to figure out where the government fucked up. She even has a smart idea: legislation to separate FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security and make FEMA a cabinet-level agency.

It is one of the few smart ideas I've heard from Congress so far.

Now, if only La Hill can disassociate herself from the DLC and admit that the Iraq war was a mistake (uh-huh, right), then she'd make a swell presidential nominee.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Compassionate conservatism," huh?

Dennis Hastert is a jackass. In fact, I might start calling him Dennis Jackasstert.

The Big Easy Becomes the Big Seriously Scary

It's a Yahoo report, which means it's got the bare details of what's going on in New Orleans. But even the bare details are too awful for words. As a New Yorker, who has some idea of the kind of what kinds of horrors a city can endure, my thoughts are with the people of New Orleans.

I can't even condemn the looters. How are you or I to know why they're looting? As NO's mayor says, "This is a desperate SOS." Desperate people can do things they wouldn't normally dream of doing. Things they might feel embarassed about later on. I doubt anyone down in that city woke up and thought "No one here? Shops closed? Fucking A! I always wanted a new pair of sneakers!"

Let's focus on answering their SOS before we start handing out arrest warrants.

The Big Easy Becomes the Big Scary. . .

...And the president acts like a deer caught in headlights. Okay, that isn't totally true. He spent August 30, when Katrina socked New Orleans and the deep south, giving a speech and jammin' with country singers. He even had his own gee-tar with a presidential seal! Yeeeeeeeeee-hah!

He headed back on 8/31 and gave the lamest of lame presidential speeches. Via Echidne, we find the NYT saying what needed to be said.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Wingnuts callin' the kettle black, OR: Who's doin' the exploitin'?

Soundbitten responds to the latest talking point re Cindy Sheehan--namely, that she's exploiting her son's death. He also includes a helpful table for determining what's crass and what's tasteful. Hint: that 9/11 Freedom Walk and Clint Black concert coming up doesn't fall under "tasteful."

Rain, rain--GO AWAY AND STAY AWAY

I spent the weekend in the Poconos with Le Sweetie and friends. It's beautiful up there. However, it started raining on Saturday and was totally soggy on Sunday. Plus, I came down with a cold. Argh!

And now Hurricane Katrina has hit the south. Crap.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Abstinence Pledges and British Folk--Yes, They're All in the Same Blog Post

I read Pam Spaulding's piece on virginity pledges while listening to "The Trees They Do Grow High," a traditional English folk song about child marriage. The song exists in many forms and has been recorded by Joan Baez, Pentangle, and Martin Carthy. Steeleye Span (one of my favorite folk groups) recorded a verion titled "Long A-Growing."

The storyline is as follows: A nobleman marries his daughter off to a much younger bridegroom. By "much younger," I mean mid-teens: most versions place the husband's age at fourteen or sixteen, and in one version of the song, he's twelve. The bride isn't too happy about the arrangement, but the father assures her that her husband, with some education, will become a proper young man. Alas, it's not to be: the husband marries one year, sires the next year, and expires the next.

More information on the song and its many variations can be found here.

So, what's this got to do with virginity pledges? Well, all this "wait 'till you're married for Jesus" rhetoric gets me to thinking that 500 years ago, these kids wouldn't be thinking about abstinence unless they were in a convent or monastery. They would likely be married by their mid- to late teens. All you Shakespeare fans should keep in mind that the Bard's tragic lovers--Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia--would be considered lovesick puppies on the schoolyard today. Desdemona? She would've been a sixteen-year-old girl married to a much older man. Today, the thought of a grown woman marrying a thirteen-year-old kid a la Mary Kay Letourneau turns our stomachs--as it should.

Part of the reason our ancestors were considered sexually mature so early in was because life expectancy was lower. Not only that, but there was no birth control and no prenatal care. For royalty and noble classes, marriages were arranged early in life for political purposes. There were royal couples who married for convenience yet loathed each other with a passion. (King George IV and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, are particularly infamous examples.)

So what's all this got to do with abstinence pledges and whether or not they work? Well, it's important to accept that teenagers are sexually curious. However, that doesn't mean they should be sexually active. I personally think they should wait until they're of legal age before having sex. The more mature, the better. Sometimes, teenagers have sex for all the wrong reasons.

There is so much talk about sexual activity and not enough talk about sexual responsibility. Abstinence-only education, it seems, is a pretty flimsy substitute for teaching responsibility.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Feingold: The Democratic Leaders Knew Better, But...

From the Booman Tribune, an interview with Senator Feingold. Feingold says all the things that the Democratic leadership should be saying about Iraq:

Steve: In your announcement this week you spoke about the "taboo" of suggesting withdrawal. Has the administration been effective in framing the Iraq issue as a matter of patriotism, and in turn, make overt opposition muted and tentative?

Senator Feingold: Unfortunately, until very recently, they have been extremely effective. I mean, we could have won that election in 2002. We were way ahead on domestic issues, but the Democratic Party and Democratic leaders decided to take a pass on the Iraq war. They decided to defer to the President, and I have to tell you many Democratic leaders knew better. This was a bad idea, but they allowed the Bush administration to brilliantly intimidate them into not standing up and saying this doesn't fit in with the fight against Al Qaeda and the terrorists that attacked this country on 9/11. Of course, I didn't buy into this and I voted no, but I was even in the minority among Democrats in the Senate. And now were making the same mistake, now that it's clear that the administration took us into Iraq under false premises. We have a situation where they are doing a terrible job managing this war. They are doing a terrible job of having a plan to win the war and win the peace. Yet, Democrats are allowing the President to set the terms of the debate. If somebody says "what about a plan to bring the troops home", the President labels it cut and run. Democrats have become silent, so I do think perhaps that we have allowed this to become a taboo. My purpose this week is to break that taboo, let other Democrats know it's safe to go in the water. It's safe to talk about how we can succeed and bring our troops home. Why shouldn't we Democrats be talking about that?


Why not, indeed? Please, someone explain to La Hill, Lieberman, and the rest of the DLC that they should be on the same page as the majority of Americans, who are now deeply opposed to the war.

Oh, and someone tell Joe Biden (aka Senator Smarm) to SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Feingold continues:

I started trying to get other Senators interested in some kind of approach that has a real plan and vision of how we can leave. It was like pulling teeth. But, I predict after the August recess, that they are going to have a very different attitude....So, I believe this thing is reaching a critical mass and if Democrats don't get ahead of this issue it will just be another sign to the public that were not ready to govern.


Well, we can only hope they do sense that the wind is shifting. I think Reid's proven to be a pretty tough, effective minority leader, but this is the party's chance to a. come up with an exit strategy and b. establish their own agenda.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

From Utah...Now, THIS is interesting...

Via One Pissed Off Veteran comes this news item about the kind of welcoming committee the mayor has planned for the Preznit. And there's no accompanying quote from Orrin Hatch. Aw gee.

I did NOT need to see this.

From Ayn Clouter. Ow, my poor tummy.

Gee...You Think?

With this proclamation, Senator Chuck Hagel wins this week's Counselor Troi Award for Most Blatantly Obvious Commentary.

"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

Hagel said "stay the course" is not a policy. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning," he said.


Naturally, another GOP senator, Mark "Party Line, All the Time" Allen, disagrees. Like Hagel, Allen is considering a 2008 run. If we are (God forbid) still in Iraq by 2008, expect to see a lot GOP nominees duking it out over the Iraq issue.

Last week, Senator Russ Feingold was pushing for a deadline for US withdrawal from Iraq--preferably December 2006. I liked an earlier proposal he had: identify goals in Iraq, figure out how to meet said goals, and come up with a timetable for withdrawing troops. Don't know how effective a timetable would be, but Feingold seems to be one of the few people in Congress (and the only senator) suggesting anything remotely resembling an exit plan.

Feingold never supported this war to begin with, so it's only fitting that he now supports a deadline.

Man, the more I read about Feingold, the more I respect the guy. If he runs, he's got my vote.

The Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not--I reapeat, NOT--Snark on Santorum at a Book Signing

I am not sure whether to be amused or horrified or both. Moore proof of how thin-skinned today's wingnuts truly are.

"Oh no! She snarked on Rick Santorum! She was even going to have him sign a Dan Savage book!"

Wussies.

Oh, crap. Another young actress nearly kills herself

In a galaxy of lissome, insubstantial, and undistinguished blond starlets, Natasha Lyonne stood apart--husky voice, head of reddish-blond curls, and a choice of roles that ranged from quirky cult films to ensemble blockbusters. I first saw her in "Slums of Beverly Hills," and she was fabulous as a teenage girl in 1970s California with a flat-broke dad and a crazy cousin. Certainly more deserving of megastardom than Lindsay Lohan. (Not that Lindsay's a bad actress, but she's gotten overexposed and seems way to fragile for all this press attention.)

Anyway. Back to Natasha Lyonne. She's in the hospital with a host of medical and drug-related problems. I'm usually not the sort of person to follow celebrities, but this just so sad. She once had so much promise. Here's hoping she makes a full recovery and gets her act together.

Someone really, REALLY wants to be President

Senator Bill "I'm the Senate Majority Leader, so why shouldn't I get the 2008 nomination" Frist now supports (not so) intelligent design. From MSNBC via Jon Aravosis.

First, he can diagnose patients by watching them on video. Then he supports stem cell research. Then he supports "intelligent design." Either Bill Frist got through med school by cheating off other students on exams, or he's just spouting this nonsense to make nicey-nice with the religious right, in the hopes that they won't demolish his presidential hopes.

Still, it's pretty funny every time he opens his mouth. If he keeps flip-flopping, he'll make himself dizzy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fiona Apple--FINALLY

Well, a couple of Fiona Apple tracks are now on iTunes for download. I, music fan and wary admirer of her talent that I am, went ahead and downloaded them.

Now that her album is FINALLY coming out, I feel a little cheated. I suspect everyone was led to believe that she was a victim of label politics. Jon Brion gave the sob story about Sony leaving the album on a shelf because there was no apparent single. "Free Fiona!" cried her fans. My guy wondered if perhaps she could buy back the album and take it to a nice, sympathetic indie.

But now rumor has it that Apple herself is the reason the album was delayed. (Of course, no one can explain how the thing got leaked onto the net in the first place.) Oh poopy. That's not as exciting as the concept of Fiona vs. the Record Industry. Anyway, her new album, "Extraordinary Machine," will be out October 4. Here's hoping she can avoid flaking out.

In Which The Truffle Goes to a Vigil

I went to one of the city's many, many vigils in support of Cindy Sheehan. We were right in front of the NBC building, in fact, and perhaps they'll run a ten-second segment on it at some point or other. Feh. The hell with TV news.

I've been to demos, but never a vigil. It was a well-mannered but passionate affair. Lots of people were holding candles and the occasional sign (with slogans gladly provided by Moveon.org). I got one of these small candles that I put in a Dixie cup. It's very easy to put a candle in a cup. You use the melting wax, let it drip into the cup, and stick in the candle. Presto.

There were a few women from Code Pink (a feminist peace organization that I know very little about). They were identifiable because of their pink outfits and hot pink buttons. They do seem like an interesting group. I'd like to find out more--but as for getting involved, there's a problem: I look awful in pink. It's my worst color.

Weirdly enough, earlier that day, I sent a care package to a US soldier in Iraq. There's a site called Anysoldier.com, which has listings for US troops needing snacks, toiletries, letters, and other good stuff. I wanted to do something for the troops, so I did it. Two bottles of body wash and five paperback novels. Not only am I supporting the troops, I'm also getting rid of some old books of mine. Man, did I need to clear off the shelf space!

The Rude Pundit, meanwhile, weighs in on the Preznit and the grieving mother. It has the splendid title of "President Who-Gives-a-Shit (Part 3, Wherein President Who-Gives-a-Shit Reveals That He Is the Exact Same Kind of Selfish Baby Boomer His Party Accused Bill Clinton of Being)." Classic stuff.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More from Chase Comley's family

A follow-up to yesterday's post re moms, grandmoms, and other antiwar voices. Via Kos, I stumble onto this piece by Missy Comley Beattie, whose nephew, Chase Comley, was killed in Iraq.

For those of you who still trust the Bush administration -- and your percentage diminishes every day -- let me tell you that my nephew Chase Johnson Comley did not die to preserve your freedoms. He was not presented flowers by grateful Iraqis, welcoming him as their liberator.

He died fighting a senseless war for oil and contracts, ensuring the increased wealth of President Bush and his administration's friends.

He died long after Bush, in his testosterone-charged, theatrical, soldier-for-a-day role, announced on an aircraft carrier beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner that major combat was over.

He died in a country erupting into civil war and turned into a hellhole by Bush, a place where democracy has no chance of prevailing, a country that will become a theocracy like Saudi Arabia.

Have we won the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people? Apparently not.


OOOUUUUUUUCCCH!

Read the rest of the letter. This is truly powerful stuff.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The new antiwar voices: Mothers and grandmothers

These days, the right-wing noise machine's got a problem when it goes up against the antiwar movement. The new symbol of Iraq war opposition isn't some 1960s holdover. It's not some goofy Marxist academic. It's a mother. Specifically, the mother of a fallen soldier.

Suddenly, they can no longer frame antiwar activists as a "fifth column" in American life, and they can no longer smear them as traitors to their country. Not when they're moms. After all, motherhood's one of those things that Americans are supposed to love and defend--along with Uncle Sam and apple pie.

Smear a grieving mother, and you come off as a heartless dick. Suggest her motives are less than pure, and you risk a raised eyebrow.

"She lost her son!"

"Have a heart!"

Those are some likely responses you'll get.

Of course, the right-wing noise machine won't give up trying. But their desperation, their flailing, their rush to find something to use against Cindy Sheehan, are all too apparent. As Billmon notes:

There's a kind of comical desperation about it -- like watching cartoon elephants dance in hysterical fear at the sight of a cartoon mouse. I said recently that the Rovians attack what they fear most. And when your greatest fear is the mother of a combat soldier who wants to ask the president why her son had to die in Iraq, you know you've got some serious PR problems.


They're going to get more nervous really soon. Now, even grandmothers are following suit. I stumbled onto the following Lexington Herald-Leader story by way of Daily Kos. It's about the funeral of 21-year-old Marine Chase Johnson Comley:

But on Friday, Comley's grandmother, 80-year-old Geraldine Comley of Versailles, described herself in an interview as a former Republican stalwart who is "on a rampage" against the president and the war.

She said she would like nothing better than to join Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier who has been holding a peace vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Texas.

"When someone gets up and says 'My son died for our freedom,' or I get a sympathy card that says that, I can hardly bear it," Geraldine Comley said.


Chase Conley's aunt (and Geraldine's daughter), Missie Comley Beattie, didn't mince words either:

"I've never seen my father cry, but I've heard him cry this week," she said. "And he will look at the picture of Chase that's on their hearth and say 'George Bush killed my grandson.'"


But wait! It gets even better! A group called the Raging Grannies attempted to enlist--something none of the right-wing pundits have done or encouraged their audience to do.

Mothers and grandmothers and grieving family members are emerging as the new faces of the antiwar movement. Suddenly, the Iraq war cheerleaders have reason to be nervous. Because this time, their opponents aren't crazed, wild-eyed hippies. They're the people we're supposed to love, cherish, and revere. Parents and grandparents.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Another wingnut cartoonist makes stuff up.

There's a reason why "conservative humorist" is such an oxymoron these days. They don't dare poke fun at the Bush administration, even though the Bush administration is to blame for the mess in Iraq, the ballooning deficit, the limp economy, the Plame case, and just about every single mess we're in.

Well, they could dare. They could poke a few holes in the president's hypocrisy or lampoon his ever-shifting excuses for the Iraq war. They could cast a withering satirical eye at Bob "This is EXPLETIVE DELETED" Novak.

But, as
Carl Moore's State of the Union strip
makes clear, it's easier and less embarassing to just make stuff up.

Now, really. Nonsense like this makes "Mallard Fillmore" look smart and insightful. Someone kept a straight face while drawing this?

A good political cartoon takes a current event--something rooted in fact--and offers a new perspective that makes the reader grin and, maybe, think. This goes for liberal and conservative cartoonists alike. This one, however, is based on a lie--specifically, a lie told by Karl Rove.

Satire based on something that didn't happen and doesn't exist doesn't really qualify as effective satire. "Mallard Fillmore" and "State of the Union" are cartoons based on straw men, bogus information, and stuff that the cartoonists just made up.

It's gotta be hard to be a conservative humorist these days.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Awww. Diddums get mad on live television?

Or, "S is for schadenfreude, that's good enough for me." Robert "What journalistic ethics?" Novak threw a hissy fit LIVE on the set of "Inside Edition." Not only did he have a hissy fit, he said a SWEAR WORD! Ooooooooh! Bad Novak, bad! CNN doesn't like it when their pundits swear and curse live on the air, so they've suspended him. Here's the Cliff Notes version from USA Today.

Sounds as if James Carville was trying to get in a few digs at Novak, and Novak couldn't take it. The fact that they were planning to ask Novak about--AHEM--Plame probably also had something to do with it.

This is one of the funniest examples of an on-air meltdown I've ever heard of. Novak has thus far emerged unscathed from the whole grand jury investigation into the Plame case (probably because he blabbed about everything to save his skin) and continues to be welcome on polical TV gabfests. Why this man isn't a pariah in the punditverse is beyond me.

See Bob in action right here!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Wingnuts Invade the Romance Writers Convention!

Last week was the Romance Writers of America's annual convention in Reno, Nevada. Nora Roberts was supposed to be the emcee. It was supposed to be, in Roberts' words, "a celebration, a night of fun and anticipation for the nominees, and an entertaining and sparkling event."

But the idiots in charge of RWA had other plans, and when Roberts saw the script for the thing, she flipped and refused to take part.

As it turns out, even romance writers can be freepers. Selah March has more.


Instead of a celebration of RWA and romance fiction over the past 25 years, the RITA/GH awards ceremony included the following:

* a video and audio rehash of every national and international tragedy that's taken place since 1980, set to a back-drop of kicky tunes from each year represented.

Imagine, if you will, footage of the tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square with "Don't Worry, Be Happy" playing in the background. Apparently, only a last-minute edit managed to save the ceremony attendees from being forced to watch the shuttle Challenger explode in mid-air and...AND...the Twin Towers fall.

Think about that. All those NYC agents and editors in the audience. Think about it some more.

Yee-HAW. We're celebratin' NOW, baybeee...

** images of political leaders flashed on the screen, looking handsome and honorable.

Okay...wait. Let me rephrase. Images of REPUBLICAN political leaders--specifically Presidents Reagan, Bush I and II--flashed on the screen, looking handsome and honorable.

Word has it the only time President William Jefferson Clinton--you remember him? Rhodes Scholar? Two term president? Led the country through a time of exceptional prosperity? Had a little trouble keeping it in his pants, true, but left the nation with a JILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS?--was shown was in conjunction with the Monica Lewinsky nonsense. Biased much?

(Hey, I understand political bias. I'm a walking, talking political bias, lefty lunatic that I am. But I'm not leading a 9K-strong organization, either, and if I were, I'd put aside my political leanings when organizing a FREAKIN' AWARDS CEREMONY, and understand that I need to TRY to reach EVERYBODY. Or, at least, to openly offend as few as possible.)

*** virtually no positive images of women. Lewinsky was there, as noted. Lorena Bobbitt made a showing. Donna what's-her-name...the one that sunk Gary Hart's political career? She was pictured. Princess Diana got the full treatment, and--GET THIS--they called her story a FAIRY TALE.

What were these people smoking and where can I get some? 'Cause most fairy tales I read don't end in adultery, divorce, and gruesome death for the HEROINE.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg? Nowhere to be seen. Sally Ride and Oprah were mentioned, apparently, but not shown. Anyone could spend ten minutes and come up with a list of names appropriate to celebrate in a venue such as that and do a better job...but the ceremony organizers had another agenda, I'm thinking.

**** virtually no positive images of people of color. O.J. in his white bronco they got, ad nauseum. Bill Cosby flashed by once, so I'm told, and, as I said, Oprah got a brief mention.

Really? That's all they could come up with? How hard were they trying, do you think?

And over top of it all, let's not forget the music. And the stretch limos, right up there on stage. And the slow-as-molasses fashion show.

The adjectives I'm hearing to describe this event range from "unfocused and unenjoyable" to "hideous, conference-ruining mess." Folks don't understand how any of this was supposed to celebrate romance fiction or educate the members on how far RWA has come in the past 25 years.

A retrospective on romance trends from the eighties, nineties, and today? Maybe with a slide-show of the RITA-winning covers from the past 25 years? Safe, staid, boring, you say?

Tell it to the bitca who thought watching the Towers fall was the best way to say "I love RWA." Thank God cooler heads prevailed on THAT one. And yes, I know which specific individual organized this morbid little homage to bad taste, but I'm not saying. I'll let Nora herself tell you, in the letter to which I've linked, down below.

People are talking. People are PISSED. People are writing letters to the BoD, and to the RWR (Romance Writers' Report).

Other people--the usual suspects, otherwise known as the Ladies Who Lunch, aka: the Stepford Wives of the RWA--are pooh-poohing the uproar with the standard "can't please all of the people all of the time," and spreading the rumor that Nora bowed out because she was "sick."

Don't. You. Believe it.

Nora wasn't so much sick as SICKENED.


I'm a book editor. I work on romance novels. I live in New York City. And I remember watching the Twin Towers burn and collapse.

And some shrew at RWA thought it would be a great idea to show a "patriotic" montage of national tragedies? With cheerful oldies playing in the background? Someone was actually so devoid of common sense and good taste?

Okay. They're romance writers. Go ahead, laugh. It's just a convention with women writing lovey-dovey stuff. So what?

Romance novels are supposed to be about love, faith, struggle, and living happily ever after. Instead of celebrating them, RWA's leadership decided to shove a tacky political agenda down people's throats.

So many conservatives are devoid of sensitivity and regard for others. I think we all know that by now. But this defies explanation.

At least Nora Roberts did the right thing and pulled out rather than be part of it. "I can't comprehend how such tragic events and images had a place at a ceremony meant to showcase the nominees and the twenty-five years of the organization," she writes (follow Selah's blog for the link). Neither can I, Nora. It's just that the RWA freepers have other priorties.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Back in the swing of things...

I spent a nice long weekend on beautiful Long Beach Island in New Jersey. My guy and I stayed at a motel by the beach and spent our days bicycling, swimming, and going to Beach Haven's amusement park. Meanwhile, I did some early bird Xmas shopping. (My mom is worse than I am. I suspect she has all her shopping done by August.) Also picked up the requisite souvenirs (t-shirts, postcards, etc.).

Work is busy but not too busy. Just as it should be. I got my check for a freelance writing gig, so I'm feeling happy. Am also looking to do freelance editing while I'm at it. I've been too busy having fun and keeping up on current events to think about it, but...it's always nice to have extra money.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The GOP First Movement

A new special interest has emerged in this country--the GOP First Movement. These are not the Republicans who consider party affiliation just one part of who they are. These are also not the Republicans who think about their party only on Election Day. These are the Republicans who identify themselves as Republicans first, Americans second.

It's for them that the acronym IOKIYAR (It's OK If You're a Republican) was coined.

::
The GOP First Movement's unofficial motto is "Party First, Country Second." Grabbing power and votes is the be-all and end-all. Rewarding the corporations who give them money is taken a given with the GOP First Movement. Their goal is to serve the Party; why should the piddly voters concern them?

The GOP First Movement embraces the idea of a one-party state with gusto. They make no secret of wanting the Democratic Party either consigned to permanent minority status or simply erased from existence. They have only contempt for the achievements of Democratic presidents. Thus, their hostility to the New Deal. The GOP Firsters also have no love for other parties.

The GOP First Movement encourages a sense of entitlement. Although they support the Iraq war, joining the military is for other people, not for them. They believe that keeping the party in power is more important than serving their country--the country is beneath their concern.

GOP Firsters see politics not as something that can better the lives of people, but as a contact sport. Their mentality is not "my candidate is better/stronger/more effective" but "my guy can beat up your guy."

It's okay for a GOP Firster to make outlandish attacks on opponents. However, GOP Firsters hate it when anyone calls them on it or--God forbid--makes similar attacks on them.

There is no dissent among GOP Firsters. They do not tolerate disagreement--even healthy disgreement. Anyone who dissents is cast out of the GOP Firsters and dubbed a RINO.

GOP Firsters may be hostile to outsiders, but they are loyal to their own. If a fellow GOP Firster is accused of a crime--be it perjury, taking bribes, or treason--the rest rush to protect and defend him. An attack on a GOP Firster is an attack on the Party.

Because GOP Firsters are loyal only to themselves and not to their country, their time in power could be very short-lived. In the end, every GOP Firster is answerable only to the people who put him there--which includes Democrats and independents as well as other Republicans. And a GOP Firster makes a poor public servant, because he serves only his party, not his country.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Talking Points for GOP Kool-Aid Drinkers

Man, I love Daily Kos. Expecially when they have kick ass diaries like this one.


If Bill Clinton had dressed up in a flight suit and landed on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln five weeks after the war began and told us it was over, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton had been in charge of the national security of this country on September 11, 2001 and terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton had invaded Iraq based on WMD that didn't exist, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton had said "Bring 'em on" and encouraged Iraqi insurgents to kill American troops, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton had made us the face of torture in the world, what would you be saying about him?

If James Carville and other members of a Clinton White House outed an undercover CIA officer during a time of war, what would you be saying about them?

If Bill Clinton had sent troops to Iraq without adequate body armor and other equipment, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton's hatchet-men claimed that John McCain and Chuck Hagel never served honorably in Vietnam and didn't deserve their medals, what would you be saying about him?

If participants at the Democratic National Convention handed out Purple Heart band-aids to mock McCain and Hagel, what would you be saying about them?

If a male prostitute posing as a White House "reporter" for a left-wing media organization was throwing softball questions to Bill Clinton, what would you be saying about him?

If the Clinton White House had paid off Molly Ivins and Paul Krugman to endorse administration policy in friendly opinion pieces, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton's administration had inherited a budget surplus and turned it into a $400 billion deficit, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton had been elected without winning the popular vote, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton's electoral victory was decided by roughly 500 votes in a state where Bill Clinton's brother was the Governor and his state campaign co-chair was the vote-counting Secretary of State, what would you be saying about the integrity of that election?

If Al Franken (not Rush Limbaugh) had three failed marriages and a drug habit, what would you be saying about him?

If Michael Moore (not Bill Bennett) had a gambling addiction, what would you be saying about him?

If Keith Olbermann (not Bill O'Reilly) had a phone sex addiction, what would you be saying about him?

If Bill Clinton (not George W. Bush) was born into political and financial royalty with a grandfather in the Senate and a father who would later be President of the United States, would you still consider him to be "one of us" or "authentic" or "a guy you'd want to have a beer with"?

Monday, June 20, 2005

The fangirl is happy

I saw "Revenge of the Sith" and after that went back to watch "Return of the Jedi" on DVD. After the snif-snif-WAAAAAAAAAH! moments of "Sith," I really needed to remind myself that the story ultimately has a happy ending. The good guys win; the bad guys lose; love conquers all. Anakin ultimately finds redemption, thanks to his son, the only person in the galaxy who could possibly believe he was worth saving.

When "Sith" came out, people drew parallels between the movie and current events. Maybe, on a political level, some parts of the movie do hit home--a senate that grants more and more power to the evil Chancellor Palpatine, for example. Would've liked a couple of scenes with Padme and the other senators standing up to Palpy--which forms the basis for the Rebel Alliance. In the novelization of "Sith," we do see Padme meeting secretly with other senators and putting together a petition of two thousand senators critical of Palpatine's administration. Kinda wish we'd seen a bit of that. Padme was way underused in "Sith," and her death? Lame. Just lame.

Anakin, of course, is a well-meaning young Jedi with more power than he can really handle and without the discipline to control himself. He's ideal prey for Palpy, who's had plans to sink his claws into young Skywalker all along.

Sometimes, I wonder if Anakin himself is meant as a symbol of the blindly trusting "red state" Bushite, who invests so much hope in a corrupt leader and his slimy administration that they can't understand what's being taken away from them. As Anakin comes to see the Jedi as his enemies and the Sith as his salvation, John Q. Redstate comes to see Bush as the embodiment of America and his critics as traitors. (See the flap over Durbin's comments re Gitmo for evidence of this.)

As Anakin is consumed the dark side of the Force, as John Q. Redstate is consumed by hatred of whomever his enemy is supposed to be (Democrats, liberals, CNN, Arabs). John Q. Redstate knows these people are his enemies because Bush, or Faux News, or Limbaugh, or some other messenger from the right-wing echo chamber said so. Like Anakin, John Q. Redstate relinquishes personal responsibility and independence. By the end of "Sith," Anakin is Vader, a Sith Lord under the thumb of the Emperor Palpatine. (Remember in "Return of the Jedi," he tells Luke, "I must obey my master.")

I guess the challenge now is to turn John Q. Redstate back from the abyss. Question is: how? Anakin ultimately stands up to the emperor, saving his son's life and ending Sith rule. Does John Q. Redstate have that same inner strength? For that matter, who's willing to pull him away from the edge?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

From the "Much ado about...oh, never mind" department...

The runaway bride in Texas. She will have been forgotten by the end of the year. Bet on it.

Brad and Angelina and Jennifer. The media's all over them, but they're kinda mum. And I'm kinda bored by them. When was the last time Angelina had a hit movie anyway?

Dean's comments about the GOP. They're "pretty much a white Christian party"? Gawd, after the way the GOP courted white Christians, I never would've guessed. If anything, Dean's comment wins the Deanna Troi Award for Blatantly Obvious Commentary. Why is anyone shocked by this? And why is the right wing echo machine so mad when they've been saying all kinds of nasty things about the opposition for years? Grow a thick skin, people.

The West Side stadium that will never be. Now Bloomberg says that New York City let America down. Oh, puh-lease. A West Side stadium would've been a traffic nightmare. Believe me, New York will survive without a stadium. Bloomberg should focus on rebuilding downtown. Oh yeah, and that proposed Freedom Tower looks like a hypodermic needle.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Test

This is only a test. Jeez, I feel like a TV set.