Friday, January 28, 2005


Over at Kos they're looking askance at the latest photos of Cheney in Poland attending the ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. His choice of dress has been attracting some notice.

Isn't it funny how even at this blurred-out distance, and through a veil of snow, you can read his "facial" "expression" perfectly?

I like this one. It reminds me of the way a fashionable Continental woman might languidly clasp at her muffler. You might also notice what is apparently a Jackson Hole URL tastefully embroidered on the ski cap.

I don't even know what to say about this one. Do you think Cheney and that Alabama judge used the same seamstress to have their golden embroideries done?

just a click a day can help a confused historian 

In the future, when historians are picking up the pieces, they will inevitably ask, as they still do of the Germans, "How could it happen? How could civilized people become savage and barbarous so quickly? And why didn't anyone do anything to stop it?"

Shows on the History Channel of the future will have long slow zoom-out shots of the ruins of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the sun setting in the background, a groundskeeper trudging across the horizon, and a gravelly elderly male voice intoning ruefully about the human condition and the quandaries of the problem of evil as single acoustic guitar notes pick out plaintively and the screen fades to black. The Chinese, Indian, and Brazilian viewers will simultaneously click their remotes, power down their televisions, and stiffly raise themselves from their couches. As they brush their teeth, readying themselves for bed and another work day, they will shake their heads wondering how the world could have been so mad and thinking that at least they live in a place and time where that sort of thing couldn't happen. By morning it will seem like a bad dream.

So please help the historians. Watch this movie. Sign this petition. Get it in the historical record.

Gonzales will be confirmed. Torture will be essentially legalized in the US. America will attack Iran before 2008 either directly or by proxy. But at least after the dust settles, after the American Empire passes through bellicose senility into impotent dementia and finally irrelevance, someone will know that we weren't all totally insane.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

When the President Talks to God 

The Fixin's Bar writes:

The barrage of press on the 2 new Bright Eyes albums that came out last week long ago crossed into overkill territory, but a new non-album single that iTunes is giving away for free this week warrants another plug for the love-him-or-hate-him indie staple... In this simple acoustic-guitar-and-voice number, Conor Oberst has fun with the fact that he is always called "The Next Dylan" as he belts an old fashioned protest song with some fantastic lyrics.

Click this link and download an MP3 of "When the President Talks to God," legal and free.

I put the song on this temporary host since I couldn't figure out how to link directly into the iTunes store - but the song is available there for free as well. Enjoyyyyyy


Did you know that you are the third Most Loathsome Person in America this year? Yes, you:

You gaze idly at the carnage around you, sigh, and go calmly back to your coffee and your People magazine. You can’t stop buying useless crap, though you’re drowning in a deepening pool of debt. You think you’re an activist because you bitch all day on the internet, but you reelect the same gangsters at a 99% rate. You consider yourself informed because you waste a significant portion of your life watching the same three news stories cycle over and over again on your gargantuan, aerodynamic television set while you eat processed food. You really thought everything would be okay if Kerry won. Not only do you believe in an invisible man who magically farted out the universe, you also excoriate and marginalize those who disagree. You have a poorer understanding of your country’s foreign policy history than a third world peasant, but you can’t wait to see what Julia Roberts will be wearing at the Oscars. You cheer as Ukrainians challenge an election based on exit poll data, but keep waiting around for someone else to fix your problems. You can’t think, you can’t organize and you won’t act. This is all your fault.

“Culture of life” on the march 

I'm impressed with George W. Bush’s optimism. Despite the deaths of 37 American troops yesterday, he still managed to “keep the focus positive” at his recent press conference.

How does he do it? Maybe it's something about his tireless promotion of a “culture of life.”

Because even in the face of so much death, he manages to keep his eye on the bigger picture. He never gets hung up on one death, or one cluster of many deaths, by thinking about those deaths, or talking about them, or letting on that he cares about them.

New York Times:

Mr. Bush's decision not to mention the helicopter crash in his opening statement, the Bush adviser said, was part of a longstanding White House practice to avoid having the president mention some American deaths in Iraq but not others.

"It's almost a policy," said the adviser, who asked not to be named because the president does not want aides talking about the inner workings of the White House, "because if you mention one, you have to mention them all."

The president took a similar approach in November 2003, when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Iraq and 16 Americans died. Mr. Bush stayed at his ranch and let Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld do the talking, and officials said they did not want Mr. Bush to be consumed by headlines. "If a helicopter were hit an hour later, after he came out and spoke, should he come out again?" Dan Bartlett, a senior aide, said at the time.

When you think about it, it makes sense: what kind of “culture of life” will there be if that culture’s avatar is always talking about death?

Bush must derive this stoic attitude from his faith. Or maybe from his mom, who is able to look at the war in Iraq, stare death in its unremorseful eyes, and declare, on national television:

But why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's, not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

Down with death! Up with the “culture of life”!

Thursday matinee 

Very wrong. Very funny.

Built Upon the Sand 

I was just listening to some Johnny Cash--always good for the soul--and happened upon his song "Belshazzar," which reminded me of a recent event covered by this blog.

The lyrics:

Well the Bible tells us about a man
Who ruled Babylon and all its land
Around the city he built a wall
And declared that Babylon would never fall.

He had concubines and wives
He called his Babylon paradise
On his throne he drank and ate
But for Belshazzar it was gettin' late.

For he was weighed in the balance and found wanting
His kingdom was divided, couldn't stand
He was weighed in the balance and found wanting
His houses were built upon the sand.

Now, this got me thinking--who was the ruler who tried to build a wall around his land and declare it an eternal paradise? Who was the ruler who reveled like a glutton in the excesses of his wealth and power? Whose kingdom was divided? Who was found wanting? Whose houses were built upon the sand?

Not those poor folks in Sumatra, methinks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More Republican necrophilia 

Bush promotes “culture of life”; disinters, defiles late New York Senator


As he pushes ahead with his proposal to remake Social Security by adding private investment accounts, President Bush has so far failed to attract any prominent Democratic supporters.

At least, no prominent Democrats who are still alive.

Instead, Mr. Bush is taking cover under the reputation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the New York Democrat who died nearly two years ago. Mr. Moynihan served as co-chairman of the commission Mr. Bush established in 2001 to recommend ways of establishing personal accounts, a fact the president and his aides mention almost every time they discuss the issue publicly.


"I think it's odd or strange or unsettling that the Democrat being invoked here is dead and not able to defend or explain his position, which we all know he would have done with eloquence and passion," said [Maura] Moynihan [the senator's daughter]….

"He supported Social Security plus," said Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska, who worked closely with Mr. Moynihan on Social Security legislation. "He said it should be on top of Social Security, not a carve-out or something that would take away from the guaranteed benefit."

Mr. Kerrey said that if Mr. Moynihan were around, he would object to the way his views were being characterized.

"If somebody stood up and said, 'Pat Moynihan supports my proposal to carve out retirement accounts from Social Security,' he'd say: 'Like hell I do. I don't support that,' " Mr. Kerrey said.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Thank you. 

Finally. For Christsake.

"She misled me," Senator Dayton said, referring to Ms. Rice's prewar statements about Mr. Hussein's supposed arsenal. "She misled the people of Minnesota and the people of America."

Mr. Dayton said Ms. Rice had helped to construct a foreign policy based on a false foundation "by hiding the truth, hiding the truth in matters of life and death, war and peace."

"I really don't like being lied to, repeatedly, flagrantly," Mr. Dayton said.

No Pension Piracy Until Sodomites Suppressed 

Well, it's just "politics" as usual in Washington, these days. The theocrat-fascists are threatening to not support Bush's Social Security privatization scheme unless they see serious movement on the gay-bashing amendment.

Personally, I would like to see the Senate Democrats promise to filibuster the transportation bill unless and until miscegenation is once again outlawed.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Fear and loathing at the inaugural parade 

New York Times photographer Doug Mills took this photo on Thursday along the route of the inaugural parade.

Wary. Suspicious. Fearful.
The faces of Bush’s America.


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