Tuesday, November 21, 2006
A friend of mine, Chris Miller, is the ultimate frat boy. The frat boy's frat boy. Look up 'frat boy' in the dictionary and you'll find his picture there.
A former National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live writer, he wrote the movie 'Animal House', based on his own fraternity experiences. We became friends through our kids - his son and my stepson have been best friends since preschool; they are now college sophomores. He has an encyclopedic knowledge and appreciation of jazz, rock, blues and reggae, is a science-fiction fan, as am I, and is one of the few people I knew who actually knew of and appreciated Don & Dewey, who I played with for years. Cool guy.
When the Kowboy was first running for office in 2000, I remember talking with Chris about him. From what I had learned about him during the primaries, I was underwhelmed. "He's just an overgrown frat boy," I said to Chris.
"Hey!" he said. "What's wrong with frat boys? I was a frat boy!"
"Nothing is wrong with frat boys as long as they're in college, where they belong," I replied. "But would you want a frat boy like you and your buddies were back then to be in charge of the free world?"
He thought about that for a minute. "You may have a point," he said.
He has just written a book called The Real Animal House: The Awesomely Depraved Saga of the Fraternity That Inspired the Movie, and he e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that he was going to be on the O'Reilly Factor that night to talk about it with none other than the Splotchy One himself. Apparently BOR was hidden away in an undisclosed location (perhaps the S-Ps were after him) but nevertheless he intended to poke his liver-spotted puss out long enough to interview my pal.
Now, I must admit that I am not exactly what you'd call a regular Factor watcher. In fact, I can say with some accuracy that my retinas have never been assaulted with that particularly grisly visage on the TV. I'm careful to limit my exposure to him to the clips that Stephanie Miller plays in the morning - sloppy seconds is all I can handle from him. But for Chris I would heroically make an exception.
It was worth it, though - this was an O'Reilly I had never seen before. He was practically babbling. It became embarrassingly obvious that the secret desire of BOR's shriveled little raisinish heart was to have been a cool frat boy in college, instead of the antisocial, irritating, splenetic little weasel that he must have been. He was lovin' on Chris like a drunken co-ed. I was waiting for him to ask Chris for his phone number, or did he maybe wanna hang out sometime, y'know - get crazy.
I hope nobody has the heart to tell him that Chris is an S-P.
On second thought, I hope somebody does.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Update: Thanks so much to everyone who commented on Nancy Leigh's blog! She is so excited when she sees a new comment! She will go and visit you soon.
Many thanks to Mike from Mike's Blog Roundup at Crooks and Liars for the mention! And just in time for my Blog-i-versary, too! Please feel free to pull up a chair and kick back here in Hooterville - we're glad you're stopped by, and you're welcome anytime.
Friday, November 17, 2006
As in World War II, we need to take a stand - make war profiteering illegal. President Roosevelt said, "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster". Harry Truman referred to war profiteering as 'treason'. And in 1953, at the height of the Cold War, President Dwight Eisenhower, a real war hero, said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
According to the Nation,
When he heard rumors of such profiteering, Truman got into his Dodge and, during a Congressional recess, drove 30,000 miles paying unannounced visits to corporate offices and worksites. The Senate committee he chaired launched aggressive investigations into shady wartime business practices and found "waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and profiteering," according to Truman, who argued that such behavior was unpatriotic. Urged on by Truman and others in Congress, President Roosevelt supported broad increases in the corporate income tax, raised the excess-profits tax to 90 percent and charged the Office of War Mobilization with the task of eliminating illegal profits. Truman, who became a national hero for his fight against the profiteers, was tapped to be FDR's running mate in 1944.
In 2003, United for a Fair Economy did a study of defense contractor CEO pay that is worth taking a look at. (Download the .pdf here.) There is a direct correlation between the size of campaign donations and the size of defense contracts. The study found that:
Median CEO pay at the 37 largest defense contractors rose 79 percent from 2001 to 2002, while overall CEO pay climbed only 6 percent, according to a new report from United for a Fair Economy, More Bucks for the Bang: CEO Pay at Top Defense Contractors, by Chris Hartman and David Martin.People, let's be real.
Median pay was 45 percent higher in 2002 at defense contractors than at the 365 large companies surveyed by Business Week magazine. The typical U.S. CEO made $3.7 million in 2002, while the typical defense industry CEO got $5.4 million.
The jump in median defense contractor CEO pay far exceeded the increase in defense spending, which rose 14 percent from 2001 to 2002.
Compared with an army private’s pay of $19,585, the average CEO at a major defense contractor made 577 times as much in 2002, or $11,297,548. This is also more than 28 times as much as the Commander in Chief’s salary of $400,000.
The study also looked at the size of campaign contributions by the largest defense contractors and found a strong correlation between campaign contributions made by a company in the 2000 and 2002 election cycles and the value of defense contracts awarded to that company. Ninety percent of the difference in contract size can be accounted for by size of contributions. For example, top arms contractor Lockheed Martin was also the top campaign contributor among defense firms.
The 37 companies included in the CEO pay study were all the publicly-traded corporations with at least $1 billion in total defense contracts from 2000 through 2002. The list includes well-known defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics, as well as some companies not usually associated with military spending, such as FedEx and Dell Computer. Compensation was defined as salary, bonus, “other compensation,” restricted stock awards, long-term incentive payouts, and the value realized from the exercise of stock options.
That's what's put us in Iraq, that's what's keeping us in Iraq. This is 'War A-Go-Go', as Country Joe said, and 'there's plenty good money to be made supplying the army with the tools of the trade'.
How ironic that the Kowboy Koward of Krawford is making his first trip to Vietnam right now. As we muddle and muck through this terrible quagmire, American soldiers' lives are still being traded for profits. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to get a law passed today against war profiteering, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that the contractors would be out of there so fast it would make your head spin.
And our kids could come home.
What if they gave a war and nobody came?
Wow - with everything that's been going on, I forgot about my Blog-i-versary yesterday. Hooterville is 2 years old!
I'm having my party here, and you're invited!
What a difference a year (or two) makes! When I started this blog, I was in the depths of despair. The theft of 2004 left me shaking. I had never written before, but I had to find some way to deal with the helplessness and frustration that was paralyzing me, making it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning. Through blogging, I was able to meet people who felt the way I did, and people who were doing something about it! You guys energized me and motivated me.
Fast-forward two years - we just took back the House and Senate, I've become an active participant in my local political community as well as online, I'm writing a book, and I've made some wonderful friends all over the world - all due to blogging.
I know that we have a lot of work ahead of us, and it's not going to be a 'cakewalk' with 'flowers and chocolates' (sorry, I couldn't resist) but I think we've earned the right to feel good about the work we've done together for the last couple of years.
So, this year (as last year) my blogiversary is dedicated to you, my blog compatriots. I'd like to take this opportunity to give shout-outs to some of my fave blog-friends and sites (I'd need a whole new blog to list them all) - thanks for my sanity!
Helen Wheels @ Just Ain't Right
DivaJood @ Journeys With Jood
Karena @ Karena's Blog
Blue Gal @ Blue Gal
Maryscott @ My Left Wing
Old White Lady @ It's Morning Somewhere
Wanda @ Words On A Page (not forgotten!)
Sue Woo @ Susie's Sharp Points
ae @ arse poetica
John and Mike @ Crooks and Liars
Princess Sparkle Pony @ Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog
G @ Library Bitch
kissfan @ Truespeak
Star A. Decise @ The Enigmatic Paradox
Crabbi @ A Curmudgeonly Crab
The Fat Lady Sings @ The Fat Lady Sings
Kvatch @ Blognonymous
jurassicpork @ Welcome To Pottersville
Howie @ DownWithTyranny
Catherine @ PovertyBarn
Cookie Christine @ It's Recess-time Somewhere
Station Agent @ Ice Station Tango
Rainbow Demon @ =Coffee House Studio=
Frederick @ Mccs1977
quakerdave @ The Quaker Agitator
greensmile @ The Executioner's Thong
Yoga Korunta @ Yoga Korunta
my comrades @ Comments From Left Field
my blogfather, Mr. M @ Comments From Left Field
my comic compatriots @ 'Left Toon Lane
and everyone else on my blogroll - all personally selected and approved of!
PS - even though Blue Gal is miserably ill, she is all about the linky love, so - double-back atcha, and friends, go visit her and make her feel better...
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Here's an update on my upcoming book. After Nov. 7, to my great satisfaction, I found that I needed to retool the focus of my book, as there were many people who actually did 'vote for their best interests!' While that group of people who continue to support their oppressors has not changed, the number of people who stood up for democracy has increased to the point to where they couldn't completely steal the election.
So, I have decided to concentrate on conservatism itself - why it's bad for America. I believe conservatism is built on myths, but they are very deep-rooted myths about society and about human nature.
My working title is "Glass Houses, Fun-House Mirrors, and the First Stone - Why Conservatism Is Bad For America". Since this is a book which has come about completely through blogging, I invite any of you (my blog friends) who would like to weigh in on the subject to do so, and I will happily acknowledge you in the introduction, or wherever your input is used. I would love to have you guys come along with me on my book-journey!
The first thing I'd like to put out is for the cover. My best friend from the 5th grade, who is an incredibly talented illustrator, will be submitting the cover art. My idea is this - on the cover will be a picture of a fun-house, with at least three distorted mirrors. In front of one mirror you'll see a Democrat - shown in the mirror you'll see a terrorist. In front of another, you'll see a chicken-hawk, but the mirror will reflect some military hero - who that would be is open to suggestion.
So this is what I'm looking for - ideas of mirror-pairs, seen through the distortion of the conservative mirror.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war.
Now, why on earth would you say something like that unless it was at issue? Is this what the writery folk call 'Chekhov's Gun'? There has never been a time that we have not had elections in a 'time of war' (again with the 'war' frame, even though we're not technically at war.) John Nichols writes that even during the Civil War, when Lincoln was urged by his party to suspend elections, he refused. Instead, he ran for re-election, facing strong opposition both within his own party and from a Democrat who was a decorated general.
“We cannot have free government without free elections,” he said. “If the rebellion could force us to forgo or postpone a national election, it might fairly be claimed to have already conquered and ruined us.”So what's this talk about suspending elections, if it's never been done before?
Are you threatening us, Dubya?
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Hey folks - there's a hot new Democrat in town!
Everyone's favorite Oxy Moron, Rush Limbaugh!
Don't believe the hype - that he 'hates liberals'. It's all been a secret stealth plan to propel the Democrats to victory. The modest, retiring Limbaugh is loath to take credit, being the humble and self-effacing guy that he is, but I can tell you that we owe the Democratic Senate majority to one man and one man only - the Rush-meister. Oh, he had everyone fooled for a while, but all of that bluff and bluster conceals the squishy, rubbery, blubbery heart of a true-blue Democrat.
So, welcome to our party, Rush, and please accept our heartfelt thanks for single-handedly delivering the complete domination of Congress to the Democrats. You gave us the single Senate vote that made the difference between a tie and a majority. Your entertaining dance routine in homage to Michael J. Fox was truly inspirational to all Americans.
We've got a big tent, Rush - even big enough for you!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Events are unfolding at a break-neck pace - Rummy's been thrown under the wheels of the Crazy Bus! - things are happening almost too quickly to process.
All I can say is, whatever happens next, at least we have brakes on the Crazy Bus. We may not have a steering wheel, but we have brakes. We're not going over the cliff just yet. It's not going to be all gazebos and jellybeans. Dems have a lot to figure out. And we will now be held responsible for what goes on. There's no magic wand.
But at least we have checks and balances again.
I think that's plenty to be happy about for today.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Wow. Now that's chutzpah!
Raw Story reports that the winner of the Hilary Swank Look-Alike contest, the lovely Ken Mehlman, has written an Op-Ed in USA Today, the nation's favorite McPaper. Mehlman said that given their electoral impotence, Democrats need the help of activist judges.
"Democrats ... vocally fought - and then voted against - Justices Roberts and Alito. Why? Because they depend on activist judges to hand them the victories they can't win at the ballot box," wrote Mehlman.That's really cojon-er-rific, considering that his Dear Leader assumed office by 'depending on activist judges to hand him the victory he couldn't win at the ballot box'.
I'm just sayin'.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Vanity Fair has just posted a shocking (and I do not use that word lightly) article on its website. The magazine itself will not hit the news stands until the beginning of December, but the folks at VF apparently feel that this is important enough to warrant getting it out to the public now. When you read it, you'll see why.
Now that it's obvious to all but the most willfully blind that this unprovoked occupation of Iraq is a complete and utter disaster, the neoconservative architects of this debacle are completely distancing themselves from the bloody mess they created and pointing the finger at the crap-flinging, flea-bitten, hydrocephalic chimp they installed to do their dirty work.
A few tidbits:
"The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."
"In the administration that I served [Perle was an assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan], there was a one-sentence description of the decision-making process when consensus could not be reached among disputatious departments: 'The president makes the decision.' [Bush] did not make decisions, in part because the machinery of government that he nominally ran was actually running him. The National Security Council was not serving [Bush] properly. He regarded [then National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice] as part of the family."
Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute freedom scholar:
"Ask yourself who the most powerful people in the White House are. They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes."Frank Gaffney, an assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan and founder of the Center for Security Policy:
"[Bush] doesn't in fact seem to be a man of principle who's steadfastly pursuing what he thinks is the right course. He talks about it, but the policy doesn't track with the rhetoric, and that's what creates the incoherence that causes us problems around the world and at home. It also creates the sense that you can take him on with impunity."David Frum (former speechwriter 'Axis of Evil'):
"I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."
(well, duh, David!)
But the real kicker is this unbelievably heinous quote from Perle.
"Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that."Oh, I get it, Richie. Damn tired, are you? What a pity. How awful for you. 600,000 Iraqi people dead, almost 2900 American soldiers dead, half a trillion dollars stolen from the American taxpayers, an irreplaceable American city demolished due to an overextended foreign distraction, leaving nothing for our own at home...and you're 'damn tired'? It's not your fault - you just wanted to get rid of Saddam? And just how was that going to happen? A friendly suggestion? You bloodless, worthless, shameless waste of skin, you. If you were any kind of a human being instead of a ghoul, you'd at least accept some responsibility for your action. If things had gone 'well' in Iraq, I'll bet you wouldn't be backing away from the credit.
You are unfit to breathe air. You and your brethren in crime should rot in the hell you slithered out of.
Update 11-6-06: Richard Perle piles it on, adding insult to injury. Just when you think he can't be any more degenerate and disgusting, he continues to surprise.