Friday, December 28, 2007

Peggy Noonan - Reasonable? Doubt.

I try not to comment on things that my betters (Jane Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald) have already cleaned up on, but the discussions on today's Peggy Noonan WSJ opinion column led me to one of the points I talk about in The Price of Right - the demonization of intelligence, which may be one of the most dangerous conservative myths out there; certainly one that has wreaked havoc upon the running of our government. Usually, too, I tend to stay away from people like Miss Peggy because it just riles me up unnecessarily. Why invite the aggravation? Two sentences in and I'm spluttering.

Noonan insists she (and the thousands, millions that she speaks for) wants someone 'reasonable' in the White House in 2008. She (that is, 'we') "would like a candidate who does not appear to be obviously insane." (She says this, ostensibly, with a straight face.) She proceeds to enlighten us in her seventh-grade 'slam book' way as to who she thinks is 'reasonable' and who she does not think is reasonable. She's generous to Biden and Dodd, positively swoony over McCain ("He makes me proud. He makes everyone proud." Yes, Peggers, you speak for all of us, dear.) Romney? He's a keeper, too, in spite of his flip-flopping. When Al Gore was accused of changing a position, she called him a liar - even when he was misquoted. ("His lying looks at this point not like a foible but a compulsion, a tendency that is ungovernable, like a tic. He doesn’t have to do it. He can always make his point without telling stories that aren’t true. Seeing Mr. Gore lie in speeches is like seeing a rich kleptomaniac stealing things he doesn’t need...") But when Mittens does it, it's OK. "I personally am not made anxious by his flip-flopping on big issues because everyone in politics gets to change his mind once. That is, you can be pro-life and then pro-choice but you can't go back to pro-life again, because if you do you'll look like a flake." Everyone in politics, that is, who's not a Democrat. Huckabee doesn't make the cut in spite of being God's Best Friend because he has the temerity to challenge the trickle-down corporatist mentality that Peggy equates with Republican Saintliness. Obama she likes cuz he's cute and smart (in that really-cute-guy-way kind of smart - not all arrogant), but her analysis of him is hard for me to parse - she thinks he's too young because men in their forties are on fire and like drama - but in the same sentence she says he's not on fire enough. You go figure - I can't. Edwards she summarily dismisses because of his hair. (Now, we're talking Reasonable with a capital 'R'!) And do I need to even mention Hillary? I don't believe I do.

Nevertheless, in reading a number of her articles, I was struck by a common theme that runs through her wet, sloppy junior-high kisses to Dubya and Saint Ronnie - and that is that the dumber they are, the harder she falls! If you have a brain in your head, P-Noonie has no use for you. Here's how she describes Bush's strengths (emphasis mine):
Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He's normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He's not exotic. But if there's a fire on the block, he'll run out and help. He'll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, "Where's Sally?" He's responsible. He's not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, "I warned Joe about that furnace." And, "Does Joe have children?" And "I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it's formidable and yet fleeting." When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain't that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain't that guy. Americans love the guy who ain't that guy.
There you have it. There's the crux of the matter. The more marbles Reagan lost (not that he was chock-full to begin with), the better President she thought he was. And as for Dubya - well, she can't praise his stupidity enough. She's written paeans, odes, hymns, to the glory that is Bush's stubborn refusal to know anything about anything. He 'speaks the language of business and sports and politics'? Sure he does - if by 'speaks the language' you mean 'miserably fails at until rescued by his daddy's powerful connections'. And she uses a completely fallacious analogy to try to equate 'intellectual' with 'inaction'. Really, when I read that, I had to go back to make sure I read that correctly - that someone paid her to write that. Yes, Peggo, that's just what us pointy-headed liberal eggheads do - stand around discussing the distinguishing characteristics of fire while little Sally's burning to death. Good thing you've pointed that out, or maybe someone might actually get the notion that some pinko chemistry egghead invented a fire extinguisher that could save little Sally's life. But I digress. The point is that she conflates stupidity with goodness, and intelligence with badness.

In an article she wrote about the 2000 race titled "Dumb-Good vs. Evil-Smart", she talked about a Dem friend of hers:

Both in New York and in the presidential race, she announced, we have been given a choice between a candidate who’s nice and not smart, and a candidate who’s bright but not nice.

I said yes, you get the impression it’s a battle between Dumb-Good and Evil-Smart. That’s exactly it, she said.

Honestly, she didn't even need to bother to write the article - the title pretty much sums it up. According to Peggy and to many, many other conservatives, these are your choices. You want bright, you get evil. You want good, you take dumb. As in so much of the Manichean thinking of the conservative mindset, it's either one or the other. No smart, good people; no stupid, bad people. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. The deep distrust and disgust that many conservatives feel for intellect and intellectuals is, sadly, reflected in the screamingly, staggeringly inept and unqualified people who have been put into positions of influence in this government. And, speaking of running out and helping when there's a fire on the block, what happened there on September 11? When informed of what was arguably the biggest fire on the biggest block in America, did President Duncecap immediately rush into action? We both know the answer to that one. His stupidity did not translate into instant response, that's for sure. And what about Katrina? His stupidity did not budge his butt off his vacation one second earlier than he had planned.

Noonan wants to come off all seriousness ("We are grown-ups" - well, Peggy, you're a grown-up; I'm an adult. People use the word 'grown-up' when speaking to children) but 'reasonable' is not the operative word in your particular paradigm. Faith is better than reason; human beings 'reason' but God is The Truth. In fact, the more preposterous the claim, the more 'faith' you have for being able to swallow it. To use reason to make decisions is hubristic; it's a slap in the face to the Almighty. Just ask Galileo. Humans are fallible; God is not. And the more money you have, the more God approves of you. So, come off of this 'reasonable' stuff. We know you don't like the smarty-pants know-it-alls.

Embrace the stupid, Peggy! You know you want to.

Update - I cross-posted this at The Smirking Chimp (one of my daily must-reads) and it got front-paged! Check it out!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated this morning by a shooter who then blew himself up, killing at least fifteen others in the process.

Juan Cole has analysis, via Digby.

Dubya Bush Superstar - over at Pottersville

I had a lovely Christmas - lovely, that is with the exception of a vile and foul stomach flu, which has had me bedridden for two days, and thus unable to be timely about telling you all about Dubya Bush Superstar, the epic rock opera by my brotha Jurassic Pork over at Welcome to Pottersville. It has become an annual tradition between Hooterville and Pottersville to produce a Xmastravaganza featuring JP's razor-sharp writing and my Photoshopping - see last year's "It's A Blunderful Life". We are already plotting next year's festivities.

Stop on by Pottersville for a post-Xmas treat!

Friday, December 21, 2007

"The Price of Right" - My Book Is Available For Pre-Order!

FYI - my book "The Price of Right" is now available for pre-order! You can order yours at one of these fine outlets:
Barnes and Noble (pay no attention to the synopsis - it's a mistake!)
Tower Books

I'm still in shock! Me - write a book? I think it does say pretty much what I want it to say - anything beyond that, I have no idea. The official publication date is the end of February 2008, so look for it sometime after that. And thanks to my friends who have already pre-ordered (bless you, Maria!)

Let's take back our democracy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Must...Lighten...Up...For Christmas

I laughed my *ss off at this last year, because it's so unbelievably true to life - if you've ever done an ad session. Watch Santa's face as he goes from merry to murderous...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Which I Travel To Our Nation's Capital With Americans United

I was fortunate enough to be invited to Washington, D.C. last month by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU for short) as part of a blogger outreach. This organization, in my opinion, is addressing one of the most important issues facing us as a democracy, for the blurring of the line between religion and government has a direct impact upon all the other problems facing us.

The lovely and talented Blue Gal e-mailed me the invitation (for which I am most appreciative!) - four days in our nation's capital with some of the brightest, most informed and passionate people I have ever met in one place. What I found especially intriguing was that it was a mixture of religious and non-religious people with the same goal - to keep church and state separate as it was outlined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It wasn't just a bunch of atheist religion-haters trying to stamp out Christianity, no matter what Bill O'Reilly and his ilk like to imagine. No matter how the right tries to spin it, it's very clear that the intentions of our Founding Fathers were to protect both Church and State by keeping them out of each other's domain. When religion and politics mix, they both suffer badly.

I got to meet some great bloggers face-to-face - some new friends, some that I had only known online -

BAC from Yikes! who is also Field Director for AU and just as charming as she can be - our 'hostess with the mostess'!
Addie Stan from, well, AddieStan, a new friend who took me to a very cool blues jam on Monday night (good times!)
DCup from PoliTits (my fave blog name ever!)
Bruce Prescott - MainstreamBaptist
Dennis Mansker aka Farnsworth - One Pissed Off Veteran
Eric Haas from the Rock Ridge Institute - the think tank that works with Dr. George Lakoff's framing ideas - awesome!
Vast Left
Leo Lincourt of Neural Gourmet and Carnival of the Liberals
Maryscott O’Connor from My Left Wing - my girl is fierce!
Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy - science is kool!
PZ Meyers of Pharyngula - University of Minnesota
Tristero of the mighty 'Digby’s Blog'
Lambert Strether with Corrente Wire

I just wish there had been time for me to talk with everyone I wanted to talk to. Pretty much every person there was someone that I would have liked to sit down with and pick their brain for several hours. As part of the conference, we were set up with lobbying appointments to talk with our congresspeople about church-state issues in our home districts. Most people were meeting up with their House members, but the California contingent were meeting with people from our Senators' office. The issues we were there to talk about were the earmarking of funds to pay for the upkeep of the California missions, which do have historical value, but are also owned by the Catholic Church and have active parishes in 19 of the 21 missions. Also on the agenda was the issue of the Mount Soledad cross - a giant 43-foot cross that sits on public land and is a violation of California's constitutional church-state separation provisions, which are stricter than the First Amendment. Both Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer had voted in favor of these issues, and we wanted to be able to present the AU take on it to our senators.

Our first appointment was with DiFi's office. When we got there we discovered that her aide, who we were supposed to talk with, was too busy to see us, so we had to talk to the 'aide's aide' - a girl who looked about 12. We were not even invited into the office - we had to stand out in the hall (there were about 10 of us) and tell our story to the little girl, who stood there wide-eyed, clutching her notebook, solemnly nodding her head and writing occasional notes, although it was clear that she had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. While we were standing there, who should come clip-clopping briskly down the hall but DiFi herself. Since we were standing in a sort of semi-circle, she walked right through the middle of our group without so much as a glance to the left or right. No matter that we were her constituents who had flown 3000 miles to see her - she had to have known that we had business with her office, considering that we were talking to her aidette. She couldn't even slow down.

Our visit to Barbara Boxer's office couldn't have been more different. We didn't get to talk to her, but we were ushered into a nice conference room and talked to her senior counsel, who was up to date on everything we were there to discuss, and we felt that, although she took a position that we opposed, her people were at least gracious enough to listen to our concerns and treat us with enough respect to have a dialogue. Boxer also had, displayed prominently at the front door to her office, a large placard listing the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq, which was updated every week. It's nice to know that someone in Congress is actually keeping them in mind.

AU is also at the forefront of the evolution-'intelligent design' issue, and I got to meet one of the chief warriors on that front, Dr. Eugenie Scott, who is the executive director of the National Center for Science Education. Not only brilliant but delightful, she's fighting the good fight to keep real science from being undermined by the 'stealth-creationism' that calls itself 'intelligent design'.

I am so glad to have gotten a closer look at AU. When I got back home, I immediately joined my local chapter and am now on the executive board. When the President of the United States believes that he has been divinely selected to lead our country, and that God told him to bomb Iraq, it is imperative that we deal with the crumbling wall between church and state and do it right now, for it is a cancer that is eating away at our democracy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Thought On The Telecoms...

Does everyone realize that the telecoms did not just give our info to the Bush administration? I wrote about this a year and a half ago, but had forgotten it until I ran across this post from May '06:

One thing that I don't hear talked about a lot is the fact that the telcos did not give our records to the government; they sold them to the government. Note that the companies were not required to turn over the records to the NSA. If they had been required to cooperate by law, then Qwest would not have had the option not to cooperate.

The companies that did cooperate - AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon - are reported to be operating 'under contract' with the NSA. 'Under contract' means for a consideration. So, it is not unreasonable to infer that there is not a sufficient legal basis to require the phone records to be turned over to the NSA.

And, since the NSA, a government agency, has bought our records, whose money do you think they used to purchase these records? That's right, Einstein. Yours and mine.

Our tax dollars at work.

That should make us all sleep a little better, shouldn't it?
And, let's not forget that we have paid the telecoms for the service which steals our information and sells it to the government, which purchases that information...with our money! We pay out on both sides!

Aren't you a little bit tired of this? I know I am. It's like paying for your rapist's Viagra.

Man Up! Yes, Dodd Did It.

Chris Dodd has earned a closer look from me. He did what no other Democratic presidential candidate currently in Congress has done - actually demonstrated real leadership. Instead of talk, he brought action. By leaving Iowa, cancelling his campaign events, and spending 8 hours on the floor of the Senate arguing his case against retroactive immunity for the telecoms who conducted warrantless surveillance at the behest of the Bush administration, he showed himself to be that rarest of Democrats - one who acts according to his principles. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who seemed eager to grant the Republicans their every wish, ended up pulling the 'amended' FISA bill from the floor in the face of Dodd's determination to filibuster.

Dodd was joined by the ever-stalwart Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy. Campaigning Senators Clinton, Obama and Biden boldly sent their best wishes from Iowa. Ho hum.

Although I've been an Edwards girl (in the sad absence of Al Gore), I certainly owe Chris Dodd a look-see, and I've already sent him a few bucks. I sure would like to see more Democrats man up like that, whether they're running for President or not. And as much as we dog our own when we feel that they're letting us down, we need to make sure we let them know we appreciate it when they do right.

Thank you, Chris Dodd.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Done! (With the writing part, anyway...)

Oh my goodness. I can't believe it. I'm finished with my book. I have no idea what will be next. Wish me luck, y'all!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm Finishing My Book Today

Okay - for good, bad, or indifferent, I will be finishing my book today. Whatever else happens, I will have written a book!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Blackwater - Speaking of Recycled Posts... most popular post of late, as evidenced by my StatCounter reports, is one I wrote a couple of years ago - right after Katrina, as a matter of fact.

It was a very short post - only a title and a link. The title of this post was "Want a Good Job? Join Blackwater!"

It's amazing how many people are interested.

A Year Ago Today - Neocons Deny Their Lord

Well, actually a year ago yesterday. But in solidarity with the Writer's Guild, I thought it might be interesting to recycle this:

Like rats from a sinking ship (the ship they sunk themselves!), the neocons are swimming away from Iraq and George W. Bush just as fast as their nasty, scrofulous little legs can paddle.

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.

Read the rest here...


I owe you.

I apologize for getting so behind in all my correspondence and things I need to get done. I have two reviews to put up, one to a filmmaker and one to a writer, who have been generous enough to send me their work and deserve a response. BTW, both the film and the book are awesome - I can't wait to tell you in detail. Until I get back on track, please check these out:

First is the powerful film by producer/director Charles Ferguson, "No End In Sight: the American Occupation of Iraq", the Sundance award-winning documentary. According to the synopsis, it's:
The first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy. NO END IN SIGHT is a jaw-dropping, insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality. Based on over 200 hours of footage, the film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials such as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003), Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, and General Jay Garner (in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003) as well as Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, and prominent analysts.
According to me, it's a motherf***er of a must-see. Official review to follow soon. But you don't have to wait for me - go to the No End In Sight website and check it out for yourself.

Next, I would like to tell you about an incredible book that was sent to me by Aidan Delgado, a Buddhist conscientious objector who tells his moving and powerful story in a book called The Sutras of Abu Ghraib. He enlisted in the Army Reserves - not after, but on September 11; while he was signing up, a television was showing the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. The son of a diplomat who spent time in Egypt growing up, his knowledge of Arabic made him a valuable asset to the Army, and he was deployed to Iraq. What he saw over there, especially after being sent to Abu Ghraib, brought him to the realization that what was happening in this war was counter to every moral and religious principle he possessed, and he applied for conscientious objector status.

I believe that all Americans, no matter what their stance on the war is, should read his story. He tells it in a way that makes you feel as if you are there in Iraq with him, and as Americans we need to know this - not the spin, not the hype, not the propaganda. Again, I'll elaborate later, but I urge you to read it. I could not let it out of my hands once I began reading it.

In fact, I'll make you an offer - if you want to read or buy Aidan's book, but can't afford it, let me know and I'll buy one for you. That's how much I think of it.

In the meantime, friends - don't give up on me; once my book is done I'll be back in full force.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Torture Does Too Work

The New York Times tells us that in December 2004, the Justice Department was publicly denouncing torture as 'abhorrent' , and the Bush Administration was making noises that sounded like they were backing off of their previous declaration that Bush could order brutal torture anytime he pleased, just because he was the Decider. All that changed, however, mere months later when Abu 'No Pain, No Gain' Gonzales rolled into town and slapped the badge of A.G. on his chest, and the Justice Department issued quite another opinion, this one not quite so public.

This secret opinion was, according to the Times,
"a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures. Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard. The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil."
What a surprise. How very different of this Administration to pretend to do one thing, and secretly do another. They are just bound and determined to hang on to their beloved torture, no matter what the rest of America thinks, and if they have to lie to do it - so what?

Opponents of torture (i.e. pretty much everybody else) point out that torture doesn't work.

Although I am also an opponent of torture, I would beg to differ. Granted, it doesn't work if you are trying to get at the truth. I'll give you that.

But it works beautifully if your real goal is to get your torturee to say what you want him to say!

After all. isn't this how the Bush Administration has operated since Day One? Everything they have been able to do has been implemented with the help of 'cherry-picked intelligence'.

If you have a thousand credible Iraqi scientists saying there are no weapons of mass destruction and nothing in the works for developing a nuclear bomb, and one drunken nutball saying the opposite, who do you go with? Why, the nutball, of course!

And if you want evidence of Al-Qaeda, or spying, or terror plots, what better way to get the information you want than by torturing someone? They'll say exactly what you want them to say! It may not be the truth, but who cares?

Torture works marvelously well if that is your aim.

And that's why this Administration doesn't care what you or I or anyone else thinks about it.

We're not the Deciders, as Bush so very frequently reminds us. So for all you Ph.D. types who think you're all big ol' smarty-pants,
"I want to remind you who the adviser is and who the president is. [...]I got a lot of Ph.D.-types and smart people around me who come into the Oval Office and say, `Mr. President, here's what's on my mind.' And I listen carefully to their advice. But having gathered the device (sic), I decide, you know, I say, `This is what we're going to do.' And it's `Yes, sir, Mr. President.' And then we get after it, implement policy."

"And it's `Yes, sir, Mr. President.'"

Sounds like torture to me.

Update: Oooops, I was wrong, wrong, wrong!

The ever-eloquent and silver-tongued Miz Dana Perino sez so.

"It's not true," sez she.

"Why not?"


"Cuz why?"

"Just cuz."

"Just cuz why?"

"Just cuz America doesn't torture, that's why."

"Have you read the memo?"


"Why not?"

"I don't need to."

"So how do you know we don't torture?"

"Cuz. Whatever we do isn't torture, cuz we don't do that, stupid."


Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh No He Did Not EVEN Say That...

Hell to the no!

From Think Progress:

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) — who voted to criticize — has decided to commend Rush Limbaugh. Today at 3:16 PM, Kingston introduced a resolution “[c]ommending Rush Hudson Limbaugh III for his ongoing public support of American troops serving both here and abroad.”
Just when you think the Republicans surely must have exhausted their giant stinking, bubbling vat of hypocrisy - just when you think it can't possibly get any worse - you get this.

But wait! There's more!

From the resolution:

Whereas Mr. Limbaugh’s commitment to American troops serving both here and abroad remains as strong as ever: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) recognizes Rush Hudson Limbaugh III for his support of the Marine Corp Law Enforcement Foundation and for providing free subscriptions for active-duty servicemembers;

(2) recognizes Mr Limbaugh’s desire to see American troops achieve a successful outcome in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever soldiers are stationed; and

(3) commends Mr. Limbaugh’s tireless public support for American troops and their families through radio broadcasts, fundraising and other public support.

Now how much would you pay?

Operators are standing by!

Where's my Ginsu knife?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Honor

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from my blogfather*, Kyle E. Moore at Comments From Left Field (a very intelligent and thoughtful blog where I used to post cartoons in those far-away days when I had free time), asking me to pass along a link to his post about the two active-duty soldiers who "joined with five other soldiers to pen a critical OpEd in the New York Times entitled The War As We Saw It. Weeks later, Sgt. Yance T. Gray, and Sgt. Omar Mora were killed in a non-combat-related vehicle accident on September 10th in western Baghdad."

I don't know about you, but it hit me pretty hard.

That NYT piece really moved me. I was struck by the bravery of these patriotic soldiers who felt that it was important for Americans to hear the truth about the 'war' directly from the soldiers who were involved in it. Not armchair generals or Keyboard Kommandos (of which I, needless to say, am one) or war salesmen anxious to promote their 'product'; not soldiers who had left the armed services, but soldiers who were there, and staying there - soldiers who felt that their duty was to serve their country by putting their lives on the line to carry out the mission their commanding officers gave them. I was in awe of what it must have taken to write that piece and sign their names to it. I won't go on about it because Kyle has put it better than I ever could, but when I heard of the deaths of Sgt. Yance T. Gray and Sgt. Omar Mora, it put a name and a face and a voice on the countless deaths that this occupation has caused.

I do not have friends or family who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I do have friends, and children of friends, who have come back from there who will never be the same - who have lost their mental health to PTSD, and may never get it back. I have seen families that I love destroyed by the consequences of this occupation. A leg that has been blown apart can be dealt with. A mind and spirit that has been blown apart takes everyone down with it. Marriages collapse; the ability to earn a living is gone forever; parents, children, spouses scarred for life also. But I have never known the horror of losing a child or a spouse or a parent to war - a strong, healthy, brave, beloved person.

Anyway, long story short - the folks over at Comments From Left Field have started a fund drive In Honor of Sgt. Omar Mora & Sgt. Yance T. Gray. 100% of the profits will go to Fisher House, an organization that builds houses near military medical facilities, where loved ones of those who have been injured in the line of duty can stay free of charge while their service member undergoes necessary treatment.

I have kicked in, and I hope you will too. Anything you can contribute, no matter how small, is welcome. Regardless of how you feel about the conflict in Iraq, these soldiers deserve our support - and not just with words.

Here's the link to donate through ActiveGiving. It is tax-deductible.

Here's the link to Kyle's post, which is a must-read.

*it drives him crazy when I call him that!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Maybe They're Right - Maybe Dems ARE 'Weak On Terror'!

I'm blogging today from my sister's house in beautiful Stevensville, Montana, looking out at the Sapphire Mountains from my window as I write. It's a great opportunity to get my book done with no distractions, and I just finished the chapter on Hunters and Farmers - how there may be a genetic relationship between the outlooks of liberals and conservatives, having to do with leftover genetically-transmitted survival traits from when humans lived in hunter societies and later on, agricultural societies.

One difference I have noted (and has been backed up by research) is that conservatives are more susceptible to perceived threats than liberals are.

And we all know that the GOP has exploited this mercilessly. They are continuing to do it because - it works! Why abandon such a successful strategy?

Another trait of the authoritarian follower personality, according to Dr. Altemeyer, is the tendency to be aggressive towards the opponents of the leadership that they follow. Lord knows the Repubs have been relentlessly and aggressively attacking Dems, whether they were in the minority or majority. And Dems have been sitting there and taking it.

Is this giving credence to the Republican assertion that Democrats are 'weak on terror'?

After all, if we (as the majority, mind you) can't even stand up to terrorizing by Republicans, how can we expect Americans to believe we will be strong on security? Now that the shoe is finally on the other foot, the Republicans are doing exactly what they excoriated Dems for doing while we were in the minority! And instead of pointing this out, and instead of using our majority to push through legislation that we believe in by forcing the President to veto it, and sending it back again and again, we capitulate! We give away our power voluntarily!

No wonder the public has a hard time taking Democrats seriously.

As liberals, we are community builders, and we aim for consensus and compromise so that everyone gets something. And our ability to empathize makes us loath to assert that our way is the only way.

But, unfortunately, the Repubs have no such scruples. They do believe that their way is the only way, and they are willing to go to the mat for it. And Democrats are paying the price for refusing to answer the challenge.

Haven't we learned our lesson yet? Don't we understand that 'giving in' to Bush in hopes that it will be reciprocal only screams 'weakness'? Compromise is not in his vocabulary (way too many letters!), nor is 'bipartisanship' (ditto!) - it only means 'do what I say'. Bush's way is "Let's compromise - I'll do what I want, and you go f*** yourself!" How is it that Dems are not understanding this?

When Tom ‘The Hammer’ DeLay was Speaker of the House, he got Republican votes in line by bribing and threatening – using his K Street influence to support those members who agreed to vote his way, and threatening non-compliant members with supporting and funding a challenger to their seat. He created order and obedience by fear. Is this the only way to get party unity? Dems have got to step up, or we will continue to get stepped on. We're not bringing 'knives to a gun fight' - we're bringing overcooked linguine.

It is more urgent and important to Repubs than to Dems that they get their way, because the rank and file really believe that "Islamofascists are coming to get us." The 'leadership' knows better, but it's the sure-fire way to get everything they want. It's their trump card, and they play it like Diamond Jim Brady every time. Logic is trumped by fear, so conservatives will buy any lie or exaggeration and take it to heart, because that's how they're built. And since we don't feel the urgency of believing that they're right around the corner getting ready to follow us here to blow us up, we don't have the need to crush anyone who stands in the way of our 'safety'.

But we should be afraid - not of Republicans; not of 'Islamofascists' (after all , our long-time Cold War enemy the Soviet Union - which was much more of a threat than Iran could ever be - had nukes and we didn't attack them), but of losing our rights and civil liberties. And we need to be as willing to fight to keep them as the Repubs are willing to fight to get rid of them. We need to be as willing to fight for peace as the Repubs are willing to fight for war. We need to be as willing to fight for the well-being of the little guy as the Repubs are willing to fight for the well-being of the wealthy and the big corporations.

Dems 'weak on terror'? Apparently so, when they're terrorized by Republicans.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I think I'll make 'Must Lighten Up' a regular feature here at Hooterville. Jolly Roger of Reconstitution recommended this wonderful site The Sixth Brother, featuring Seth Romney-Levinson, someone we should all get to know better. The videos are especially noteworthy!

Who cares about you, Seth? We do!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Yes, friends, there's been quite enough Seriousness and Earnestness here in Hooterville lately, so what better way to lift one's spirits than by a visit from Princess Sparkle Pony's famous Hand Turkeys? Some folks may make disparaging remarks about the intelligence of turkeys, but I think these little gobblers are always brilliant. Especially when compared to certain over-educated yet staggeringly, bumblingly inane persons I could think of. So here, without further ado, I present....the lovely and talented...Hand Turkeys™ (Yay!)


Friday, September 07, 2007

Never Give Up, Never Surrender (or, Hope is for Pussies)

I got the title for this post (at least the first part!) from Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake.

Yesterday at work, I was talking to a progressive friend of mine, and she was frustrated at the lack of Dem spine. We had such hopes after the 2006 midterms, and then...bupkis. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Yessir, Massa! How can we further your agenda, sir?

I get frustrated, too. It seems as though no one is going to stop this runaway train of disaster. But I'll be damned if I'm going to allow these people to determine what I do or say. They can only have that power if I hand it to them. This is what I wrote to my friend today:

It gets really frustrating when we're confronted with this appalling apathy and the sense that nothing's going to change because everyone's standing around with their fingers in their ears going "La la la, I'm not listening - I wonder if Lindsay will go to jail - do you like my new car? la la la!" I know you're someone who walks the talk, and it's very disheartening to think that most people aren't even aware of the problem we're facing, much less willing to cowboy up and do something about it.

But something else I realize is - it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter if we get the results we want from our activism.

It only matters that it's right; that we stand up for what's right.

Whether we have popular support doesn't matter. Whether things change on the schedule we want doesn't matter. Whether things change at all doesn't matter.

What matters is that we do what's right.

It's right to end the invasion.

It's right to get these crooks out of office.

It's right to stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It's right to put people before corporations, and to take care of those who need it.

It only matters that we stand up, individually, for what's right.

If we only take action if we know we'll get our way, if we get a 'good feeling' and validation out of doing what we do, then that's not real activism.

We have to search our hearts and consciences, decide what's right, and then stand up for it.

Nothing else matters.

So, stay strong, and let's keep fighting the good fight.

I believe that we will prevail if we do.

But if we don't, that's no excuse to quit. That just means we need to do it more.

Update: I sent this to my fave radio host, Mike Malloy, who read it on the air. You can hear the clip by going to the sidebar under 'Audio Clips' and clicking on the arrow button.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Suicidal Insanity

Insanity is defined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Since 2000, Bush and Co. have been able to implement their destructive and illegal agenda with no opposition. They have yet to be held accountable for anything they have done, starting with their usurping of the White House and continuing from there into pre-emptive war, the emptying of our Treasury from the public coffers into the greedy, grasping hands of the Bush corporate cronies, staggering corruption, politicization of the entire government en route to a one-party permanent majority and the dismantling of what we used to assume were our most basic Constitutional rights - separation of powers, separation of church and state, privacy, habeas corpus, freedom of speech. And our tax dollars have gone to pay for all of this.

Some of us have been screeching about this from the get-go, only to be ridiculed first as 'sore losers' and then, after 9/11, castigated as 'terrorist-loving, America-Hating Traitors'. But as the Bush Administration grows bolder with every success - notwithstanding the 2006 elections and the ostensible Democratic majority - more and more people are beginning to question the wisdom of setting the whole world on fire. Many conservatives are beginning to back away from the excesses of this power-mad cabal, rightly seeing it as a departure from 'conservative values' - the rule of law, fiscal responsibility, smaller government, avoiding 'nation-building'. Yet there seems to be no way to stop the Administration on its drunken bender.

But is it only Bush that fits this definition of insanity?

The Democrats in Congress, who after the 2006 elections seemed to hold out hope for arresting the headlong flight of democracy and the voice of the people, have simply rolled over and are continuing to enable these thugs, like the battered wife who says, "If I behave myself, try to get along with him better, and not make him mad, he won't hit me anymore." And the Alcoholic-in-Chief goes along his merry way down the path of total destruction, seemingly oblivious to the damage he and his Administration's fearmongering, world-intimidating neoconservative policies are inflicting on not only Iraq, but the United States and the rest of the world as well.

Then, when we have the temerity, the gall, to ask to be told what's going on, we're slapped down with a 'None of your damn business, woman! I'll do whatever I want - I'm the man of the house! My job is to make the decisions and your job is to do as I tell you and not ask questions! Or do you want another fat lip?" And we whimper and cower and get him another beer out of the fridge, hoping to take the edge off his anger.

When someone asks us why we let him get away with treating us like that, we say, "He really loves me - he's not mean on purpose! It's only when he gets frustrated that he acts that way, and if I was a better wife he wouldn't do it. It's only because he loves me so much and wants to protect me! And he's taken all my money and credit cards, and my passport, so I don't have any way to get out, and nowhere to go that he can't find me. He listens in on all my calls and opens my mail. He's cut me off from all of our friends. And I don't know where he goes and what he does when he's not home - he won't tell me. Everyone tells me I should divorce him, but I don't want to break up my family. Besides, I can't stop him - he's so big and strong, and I'm afraid I'll end up in the hospital or dead if I get him mad. He's already given me a black eye and broken my jaw. If I just try harder to get along with him, he'll be sweet again, like when we were first dating. He was so much fun to have a beer with!"

Insanity is defined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Why do we think that placating Bush and giving him everything he asks for is the way to get him to behave? Over and over again, he breaks the law, and we wring our hands, but no one ever stops him. Talk about 'emboldening the terrorists'!

My husband thinks that there's no way Bush will attack Iran. He thinks Americans wouldn't stand for it. I wish I could believe that, but we've stood for everything else. Why would he not think he could do it? He has no reason to think otherwise, based on what has happened over the last 7 years. We have done the same thing, over and over.

And now, like many alcoholics, we're on a suicide track. When there's a drunk driver at the wheel, eventually there will be a fatal crash. Power is the ultimate intoxicant, and the Cheney/Bush cabal are hooked through the bag. Attacking Iran is insane, but when you're an alcoholic, the consequences of your decisions don't matter to you. All that matters is getting your fix, your high, your buzz. When you have a partner that enables you, it's a family disease that affects not only the alcoholic, but everyone you are in contact with.

If Bush succeeds in attacking Iran, there is a high likelihood that World War III will ensue (if it hasn't already). We are talking suicide here. But that doesn't seem to register on the neocon radar, or if it does, it is of no consequence. Common sense and logic would tell Americans to rise up and put a stop to this, but the co-dependent electorate so far has been incapable of standing up for itself.

Insanity is defined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

While You're At It, Why Not Pardon Padilla?

Hey Dubya...

You've certainly shown me what 'compassionate conservatism' is all about. Now that you're the 'Commuter-of-Scooter', I think I finally get what you've been saying all along. You really do have a big, soft, wet, warm, squishy ol' heart in that manly, puffed-up chest of yours.

For the longest time, I thought you were just kidding us about that 'compassionate conservative' stuff you were so on about in the debates when you were first running for office. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't believe you at first. I doubted your bona fides. In fact, I must confess that I doubted you at every turn. When, after your ascension to the Presidency, the 'compassionate conservative' talk seemed to turn off faster than Dead-Eye Dick's trigger-finger after a few brewskis, I began to despair of any real compassion coming from the direction of the White House. In vain I watched and waited, and hoped for a glimpse of that famously big heart of yours - the one that showed so much kindness and mercy when confronted with the awesome power of the death-penalty that you so reluctantly wielded in Texas as governor, when you showed such Christian compassion for your sister in Christ, Karla Faye....oh, wait - never mind.

Anyhow, these last 7 years I've been eagerly awaiting the real George W. Bush - the one my friends told me didn't exist. Oh, sure, I got a little preview when Terri Schiavo needed your help, and you were right there without a moment's hesitation - flying out in the middle of the night and signing special legislation to see that justice was done. And then, when Hurricane Katrina hit, and you dropped everything - right in the middle of your hard-earned vacation, no less - and rushed to the rescue of that unfortunate city, and....oh, wait - never mind.

And the way that you comforted and supported the grieving families of the soldiers that you sent off to die so very nobly, and went to each and every funeral, weeping right along with...oh, wait - never mind.

And the way that you're dedicated to making sure that the soldiers that come back, having given their limbs, their families, their sanity - everything that makes life worth living - have the best medical care, benefits, education, and support in picking up the pieces of their lives after returning to a country they no longer...oh, wait - never mind.

Anyhow, you get my point. I had almost given up hope for your 'compassionate conservatism'. I thought it was just empty rhetoric, designed to trick the unwitting into voting for you.

O, me of little faith.

And then, you showed me who you really are. How wrong I was. Why, when you commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby, that's what showed me the real you. You knew that he'd suffered enough. The annoyance, the disruption of his schedule, the nagging demands for truth. Having to give up several weeks' pay. The embarrassment. The irritation. The prolonged aggravation. And, like the compassionate conservative you are, you stepped up and made it all go away. You just waved that clemency wand and - poof! - two years' worth of justice - gone!

So it is with joyful anticipation that I await your next step - pardoning José Padilla! You've shown how understanding you can be. So, naturally, you'll be anxious to alleviate the suffering of this man who was held without a lawyer and tortured for 3 years before he got the trial he was entitled to under the Constitution, and then convicted of something entirely different than what he was ostensibly held for. Heck, you hold onto somebody long enough, you're bound to come up with something to hang on him! But don't let me keep you, sir. I know you've already got pen in hand, ready to make things right. That's how you roll.

If Padilla had a mind left, he'd probably really appreciate it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shut Up, Newt. Just Shut Up. Please, For the Love of God, STFU.

(update - many thanks to Blue Gal and to Mike at Crooks and Liars for the mentions!)

Why the f*** does anybody give a rat's ass about anything that overstuffed, festering pustule, that pathetic, bloated bag of helium has to say? I use the Google and this is what comes up:

Who cares about what that pompous, self-worshipping blowhole thinks? "Gingrich rips Bush"? Are you kidding me? Gingrich "sickened"? Yeah, Newtie, me too - sickened by hearing your name and seeing your roly-poly squeak-toy of a face on TV and the 'news'. "Gingrich prescribes change for GOP"? Dr. Alicia has got a prescription for you, Newt - take a fistful of Thorazine and STFU in the morning. One of the most ridiculous articles is "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Addresses Investors on Winning the Future Under the Next Administration" - chock-full of tasty little Newt-nuggets such as:
--"If you are thinking about the next 20-30 years, barring a major war,the human race is going to continue to get richer at somewhere between 3-5 percent a year unless politicians screw it up."
-- "We are in a genuine world market, whether we want to be or not, and the only thing we're deciding is whether the jobs are in the US or the jobs are overseas. But we are not deciding whether or not there are jobs."
-- "You should calculate on a 4 to 7 fold increase in scientific knowledge over the next 25 years ... that is, we should have 4 times as much science in the next 25 years as we had in the last 25 years."

Come on, now, Professor Newt - did you really say "4 times as much science"? For realz? As if the phrase 'calculate on a 4 to 7 fold increase in scientific knowledge over the next 25 years' is too difficult for the morons you're addressing to understand? "The human race is going to get richer"? Yeah, you mean you and your buddies. "Whether or not there are jobs"? Wow, Newtie, that's deep. Real deep.

By the way, if you haven't picked up on that nifty little catch-phrase 'Winning the Future', don't worry; you'll be hearing it enough soon. That's his exciting new Luntzified™mantra that he eagerly anticipates shoving down our throats. Incredibly, he believes that the electorate will come clamoring to his door, begging for the leadership and wisdom that only Newt, the erudite and far-sighted Newt, can give.

Gee, Newt, haven't you done enough with your "Contract on America"? Do you have to come around stinkin' up the joint again? Aren't you satisfied with pissing in the well of bipartisanship, and destroying any modicum of civility across the aisle? Aren't you content to be a walking, talking sack of moral and ethical hypocrisy? A pudgy, putrid pile of pseudo-pious pontificating? I thought we were finally done with you and your excrescence.

But, noooooooo! Like a cur inexorably drawn to the site of his spew, ol' Newtie is slithering back, slavering for sloppy seconds at the trough. And, even worse, the press is egging him on, giving his ludicrous blather the patina of respectability, encouraging his ridiculous belief that he, and only he, is the American people's choice to lead them in 2008.

Although ordinarily, I'd be saying, "Run, Newtie, run!" just for the kicks of watching him make a complete and total ass out of himself, I wonder...what if, just what if...the fix is in for a Republican victory?

In my nightmares, I see Newt at the swearing-in ceremony - pink, sweaty and smiling that gecko smirk of his, with his hand on a Bible (which immediately dissolves into a smoking pile of goo), while standing next to him is the only man fit to serve as his second-in-command...

Tom DeLay.

I wake up screaming.

"Winning the Future"? You forgot to put the 'Ru' in front of it, Newt.

Please, I beg you - go back to Bizarro-World, where black is white, up is down, good is bad, and you're brilliant, handsome and beloved. We'll all be happy then.

But leave us Americans in Reality-World alone. There's no room for you here.

Update: There's actually a site called ''. I think that's an excellent idea. A few months in the desert heat in camos will do wonders for his figure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

All Over For Rover? Looking Back: A Photographic Retrospective

Personally speaking, I'd rather have him in the White House where we can keep an eye on him. He's bad enough with a veneer of 'accountability' - imagine him unfettered, in the shadows...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hey Dems - Why Can't You Be More Like Bush?

Don't bother refreshing your page. You heard me right.

These are words I would have bet my last nickel that you would never hear from my lips (or fingertips), but here I am, and here they are.

We'd be a whole lot better off, it seems to me, if the Dems in Congress could pick up some of the Kowboy-in-Chief's sterling traits. If the Dems had some of that mule-stubborn intractability - uh, I mean, strength of character - they would still be sending him that spending bill until he agreed to start bringing troops home.

If the Dems in Congress believed in the rightness of what they were doing like God's Best Li'l Buddy does, they would not have rolled over on that grotesque mockery of the Constitution that is the 'new and improved'® FISA bill (now with more scrubbing bubbles!)

If they had the sense of superiority and entitlement that allowed them to utilize the power inherent in their office with impunity, Samuel Alito would not be on the Supreme Court, and John Roberts would not be Chief Justice.

If they had one fraction of the stones of this arrogant, pig-ignorant, swaggering, self-aggrandizing, strutting banty-rooster, Harriet Miers would be cooling her heels in the clink along with Scooter Libby, closely followed by Abu 'No Pain, No Gain' Gonzales, and Karl Rove would be on the witness stand, squealing like the pink, plump porker that he is.

If the Dems didn't care what the Republicans might say about them as much as George W. Bush doesn't care what the American people say about him, we might be able to do something with our congressional majorities.

If the Dems were more like George W. Bush, he and his henchmen would be long gone.

So, how 'bout it, Dems - why not 'cowboy up' and be more like Bush? It certainly hasn't impeded his agenda any!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

No New Taxes.

I'm just sayin'.

Gen. Petraeus - Bush's 'Main Man'


Lately I have been so busy and stressed that everything I do has been less than my best. Trying to juggle kids (home on vacation), a teaching job, various gigs, and my book, I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to be everything to everyone. This results in everything I do being, well, half-baked and unsatisfactory. And hovering over all is the fear that I wouldn't be able to finish my book in time.

I was optimistic that I would be able to write my book quickly because when I was doing the majority of it I was in Tampa visiting my dad, where I had no day-to-day responsibilities. I was able to write 4 chapters in a couple of weeks. But at home, everything is different. I found that I needed at least 4 or 5 uninterrupted hours to 'cogitate' about my subject matter before I could produce any output.

I'm ADD - not in the 'oops, I forgot' sense that so many people mistake for ADD, but the 'can't go to college or hold down a regular job' sense. Things that most people take for granted, organization-wise, are incomprehensible to me. Once I was diagnosed, I was able to structure my environment so that I could be productive, working with the way my brain works instead of against it, and now I see it as an asset, not a liability. I love being ADD because I can approach things in ways most people can't; I can learn (or teach myself) in ways most people can't. I'm not complaining about my ADD. It takes me to the places I want to go.

But one thing I don't have is a set of filters. I can't have music or TV on as 'background noise'. I almost never listen to music for enjoyment, because it sucks up every bit of my attention and prevents me from doing or thinking about anything else. It's a deep, dark pit I fall into that I can only climb out of with great difficulty. The only way I can work productively is in complete silence and isolation. For me (and I guess for a lot of other writers) it is analogous to building a house of cards. I have to place one idea on top of another to get a structure going, and the slightest interruption causes the whole thing to collapse and I have to start all over again.

The way my life is when I'm home is, as you might guess, not exactly conducive to this style of working. I can't just do a half-hour here, 45 minutes there, 2 hours in the afternoon and an hour before bed. It doesn't work that way for me. So I began to despair of being able to finish the book when my publisher wanted it, which was somewhere in the middle of August. And the crazy-making thing about it was that I knew I could finish it in 2 weeks if I was isolated for those two weeks. However, my husband has been going in and out of town for work and my own teaching schedule has its demands, as do my kids. I can't just ignore them, nor would I want to. So it might as well be a year on a private island for all the possibility of that happening.

My publisher, though, has given me a reprieve! Now I have till January to go to press, using this time to finish up, flesh it out the way I'd like to with more interviews, and ramping up my platform so that the time the book is out in March people might know who I am :-). The company has a new distributor that they are excited about and who is very familiar with this kind of book.

Needless to say, this has taken the weight of the world off of my shoulders. I've been able to relax for the first time in 6 months without thinking "I'm supposed to be doing something and I'm way behind!" Now I can give what I need to give to my kids and my job without that sense of impending doom - the kind you feel at 5 in the morning when you can't sleep and the alarm clock is going to go off in another hour. And I can work on mt book without feeling that I have to rush through it and just get it done, but give each chapter the attention it deserves.

I can breathe again. Maybe even blog again!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cintra Wilson - King Dick’s Brave Conquering Of California

Cintra Wilson is the funniest person alive. I read her book "A Massive Swelling - Celebrity Re-Examined As A Grotesque Crippling Disease" and laughed until I peed myself. Then, I went to her blog and found this awesome post:

This story happened six long years ago, so nobody remembers, except for old wise elves like Jason Leopold, ex-LA bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire, who just did an investigative report for

ONCE there was a Thomas Cruickshank, who, in the 1960’s, was the Vice President of an oil-field services company called Halliburton.

When Mr. Cruickshank stepped down, he handed his golden Halliburton crown to his good friend, Mr. Dick Cheney.

Mr. Cheney went on, in the year 2000, to become Vice President of the Entire World, with Dominion Over All Powers and Energies both Temporal and Thermonuclear.

In 2001, King President Bush, an oil man, told his Vice King Cheney to create an Energy Task Force which would help dictate energy policy throughout the land. Cheney and his friend, Ken Lay, King of Enron, had secret meetings with all the Kings of Energy from all over the world: Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco, Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc., Chevron, and others, according to the Washington Post. “Nearly 300 people and organizations….Virtually every major oil and diversified energy company,” said the New York Times on Thursday.

Go here to read the rest. You'll thank me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Live Blogging the Debate At 'Comments From Left Field'

Getting a late start, but inviting y'all over to Comments From Left Field to the live-blog going on in the comments.

Join me, my blogfather* Kyle E. Moore (the former 'Mr. M' who is now 'out and proud' with his own name) and a bunch of other folks to armchair-quarterback the YouTube debate on CNN!

*it drives him crazy when I call him that!

Check Out Blue Gal's Kucinich Video!

Go visit Blue Gal to see the latest Kucinich video, featuring the lovely and talented Blue Gal!

Kucinich - in your heart, you know he's right.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

How Tammy Faye Changed My Mind

Like many of you, I find Christian hypocrisy horrifying. As a Christian, I have a hard time reconciling the Jesus of love, compassion, and poverty with the 'religion' that celebrates worldly wealth and condemnation of others. The excesses of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker during the 'PTL' days seemed to be the prime example of everything that was wrong with that particular style of Christianity - the constant begging for money on the air, soliciting (one might even say strong-arming) the donations of the poor, the elderly, the lonely and gullible, who often sent what they could not afford to send in the hopes that God would bless them for it, all the while using those donations to live high on the hog. The idea that God shows His favor by conferring earthly riches upon His followers is antithetical to everything that the Christ taught us.

I'm sorry to have to say I found a certain amount of satisfaction in the fall of Jim and Tammy Faye - an embarrassing bit of schadenfreude which is un-Christian in itself. But the idea of manipulating people for money in God's name repelled me, and I was glad to see someone actually have to pay in some way. That whole group of holier-than-thou evangelists - Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard and the like - often are found to be unholier-than-thou, excoriating others for behavior that they are later discovered to be involved in, often far more than those they chastise.

So imagine my consternation, years after the PTL scandal, to find myself sharing the green room of the Roseanne show (where my husband and I were in the house band that played on taping day to keep the studio audience amused between takes) with none other than Tammy Faye - now Mrs. Roe Messner. I was about 8 months pregnant with my second child, so I was spending a lot of time sitting down and eating, when we weren't playing in between takes. Tammy Faye was a guest star. It was the last season of Roseanne, where she wins the lottery and the story line went wild, and there were all sorts of unusual guest stars (Arianna Huffington, for one) so it was always fascinating.

Anyway, sitting there by ourselves in the green room, I couldn't imagine that Tammy Faye and I would have anything to talk about, but she broke the ice by asking me about my kids, and talking about being pregnant. From then on, we talked about husbands (she adored hers, as do I), and Palm Springs (she hated it - she thought that palm trees looked like 'upside-down brooms') and Burbank and Florida and North Carolina and babies. Every once in a while someone would come in and gush over her (usually someone gay, with a picture for her to autograph) and she was always friendly and funny and totally charming.

Tammy Faye and I chatted for about 3 hours in that room, and I left a little bit different than I went in. I met someone who broke the stereotype I had formed in my mind about 'that type' of Christian. She survived one of the most publicly humiliating scandals a person can imagine, and came to embrace the gay community - which her particular denomination considered hellbound - while managing to keep her real faith intact. She learned what it's like to be hated and despised by strangers, and was loved by a community who understood that, and understood her, and she understood and loved them back.

It takes a lot of gumption and courage - and faith - to come back from something as devastating as that with an open heart and head held high, but Tammy Faye did it, and I became one of her fans that night. My wedding anniversary was coming up that week, and Tammy Faye asked me what we were going to do. I told her that we usually went to Chadney's, a steak restaurant in Burbank that we considered 'our place', but which had recently closed, so we hadn't decided yet.

"Oh, then you should go to the Smokehouse," she declared. "It's Roe's and my favorite place. It's all wood paneling and big comfy booths. You'll love it."

We did go to the Smokehouse for that anniversary, and we did love it. It has now become 'our place', thanks to Tammy Faye.

This week, my husband and I will go to the Smokehouse - this time in honor of Tammy Faye. Thank you, Tammy Faye, for helping me to be more open-minded and less judgmental. That's the kind of Christian I want to be.

Update - there are so many people who have written about Tammy Faye and/or linked here that I want to share them with you all too. As I find more, I'll add them. Interesting to see all the different takes on Tammy Faye.

Blue Gal
The Omnipotent Poobah
Mock, Paper, Scissors

I don't know if you all ever saw the episode she was on (I don't watch TV much myself) but Roseanne and her sister were at some posh spa, in reclining chairs facing the audience, and the makeup artist had her back to the audience and was talking to them about subtlety and the 'natural look' and 'less is more' and how the goal of makeup is to look like you don't have any on, etc., etc. - and then, of course, she turns around and it's Tammy Faye.

I think her saving grace was that she could laugh at herself. We should all be so fortunate.

Update II - Princess Sparkle Pony has Tammy Faye audio and album covers!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why Impeachment?

My friend Dr. Zaius raises a point that deserves discussion. Here is his comment from the Avalanche! post:

You need a 2/3rds majority in the senate to impeach, and either Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush appointed) or Dick Cheney will act as judge.

I am not sure that is the best short term solution.

A valid point. Here's my take on it:

You are right, zaius, that we don't have the votes. Perhaps you are even right in that it would be unsuccessful. And you may be right in that it is not a short-term solution.

But I believe that we must attempt it nonetheless, for the long-term health of our Constitution. Otherwise, you might as well strike out the possibility of impeachment at all, for any reason. Just save some ink and take it out of the Constitution.

What could be more of an impeachable offense than lying our country into war? If that is not an impeachable offense, then what is?

If the President (and if Bush) gets away with this without a mark, a precedent is set that may never be undone. Precedent is an onerous burden to overcome, even if accidental. Especially if accidental.

In the decision that gave corporations legal personhood - possessing rights rather than privileges, as other artificial legal constructs such as churches, unions, and civic clubs, even governments have - Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad , the actual decision by the Supreme Court mentioned no such rights for corporations. The court reporter, J.C. Bancroft Davis – a former railroad president – added a commentary called a headnote (which has no legal status) which stated: "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." There has been much speculation ever since as to whether the Waite court actually agreed with the idea of corporate personhood – it might have - but the bottom line is that corporate personhood was not addressed in the decision itself. The headnote was immediately seized on by corporate lawyers, who used it at every opportunity, and once the Supreme Court quoted it in subsequent cases, the doctrine of corporate personhood became law.

Even if something is not codified into law originally, precedent can make it so.

We as a democracy cannot afford to let this stand without challenge.

We seem to be approaching this as if we should only take action if we are assured of a successful outcome.

I believe we should take action regardless of whether we are guaranteed success, simply because it's right.

Our Founding Fathers risked everything - their fortunes, their families, their lives - to create a nation of laws, rather than men. We rightfully deride the chicken-hawks who cheerlead for the 'war' but would never dream of fighting it themselves. Yet we are unwilling as a party to risk what we have - our slender majority, our 'power' or influence; money, comfort, our perceived 'approval' - to do the right thing and check these megalomaniacs before they destroy our democracy.

We have been told by this administration in so many words that what we do or say will have no influence on the decisions made by the Decider. Why don't we believe him? He's telling us, "Scream all you want to - I'm still doing it my way."

We should take him at his word. In this, for once, he's telling the truth. And we should respond appropriately, and take the steps that the Constitution demands that we take in this situation. Otherwise we are giving our tacit approval and support to what these criminals are doing to us and the rest of the world. We would be establishing a precedent that may be impossible to overcome.

Impeachment is all that's left. The Founding Fathers did not say, "We'll break away from King George, if he'll let us, and not get too mad at us, and agrees with us that independence would be best for everyone."

We shouldn't say that either.

Friday, July 20, 2007

For the 2½ Hours Cheney is 'Officially' President Tomorrow... opposed to his usual unofficial Presidency, I will be wearing a black armband.

God help us all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Avalanche! We're Being Buried Alive

Whoa Nelly!

Is it just me, or do things seem as if they are sliding downhill at an accelerated pace? Is it just getting crazier and crazier? Each offense more egregious than the next, as if, when you pile one on top of another, you don't notice each one individually as much?

As the end of the Bush regime looms over the horizon, it seems as if they are scrambling to do as much damage as they can to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights before they are ushered out - if, that is, they indeed will be ushered out, or if they plan on extending their reign of terror by some kind of false-flag, Gulf-of-Tonkin maneuver. At this point, the tin-foil hat is perched smartly atop my head, and it looks like it's going to be a staple of my wardrobe for a while.

This last week has been filled with the most shocking, arrogant power-grabs imaginable.

First, Bush slithers out an Executive Order calling for "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq". This order says that "I, George W. Bush" can seize the assets of anyone accused of:
(i) committ(ing), or pos(ing) a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
Furthermore, he doesn't have to tell anyone he's doing it, and anyone who tells that he's doing it will suffer the same consequences.

What does 'promoting economic reconstruction and political reform' mean?

(hint: whenever you see the word 'reform' associated with the Bush Crime Family, you know that it means utter destruction in some form or other.)

Translated into English from Bush-gibber, it means "I'm gonna git my grubby paws on all o' that Eye-racky oll, and ain't none o' y'all gonna stop me." The increasingly desperate attempts by the Bush-whackers to steal the oil in Iraq can be seen for the naked theft that it is. All the talk about 'benchmarks' merely means that Pirate Cap'n Bush ain't quittin' till the Iraqis give up the booty - the majority of their oil revenue - the only asset they have. 'Stabilization' my ass.

Bush is acting as if the Iraqis are at fault - as if they owe us! Remember, at the start of this shameful attack, the American people were promised that the 'war' wouldn't cost us a dime, because the Iraqis were swimmin' in oil! They could 'pay for their own reconstruction'! In February 2003, White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said that in the event that there is a war to oust Saddam Hussein,
"Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction,"

Imagine the gall!

Saying, "We can destroy a sovereign nation who did not threaten us, and then make them pay for it!" Like the thief that breaks into your house, steals everything you have, murders your family, and then sues you for breaking his arm while on your property, Bush even has the unbelievable, unmitigated grapes to accuse Iraq of being 'ungrateful'!



This is the kind of insane and delusional thinking (and acting) that has destroyed America's reputation and any shred of moral authority we once were able to claim on the world stage. This is what has created more terrorism, emboldened our enemies, and made us less safe than ever. And the thugs in charge are dismantling, brick by brick, any recourse we have of stopping them.

Next on this week's Hit Parade Countdown, BushCo pushes on with its dictum of omnipotence, according to the Washington Post:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action." But administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege.

Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts."A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case," said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. "And a U.S. attorney wouldn't be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen."

A 'bold new assertion'? Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Every time The Kowboy Koward of Krawford shoves his boot up the rectum of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the media fawningly calls it 'bold' or 'steadfast' or 'strong' or some other flattering term. 'Executive privilege' is Bush-squawk for "L'état, c'est moi".

And in a not-unrelated story, Valerie Plame's suit has been thrown out of court. According to the Associated Press,
A federal judge dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration Thursday, eliminating one of the last courtroom remnants of the leak scandal. Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had accused Vice President Dick Cheney and others of conspiring to leak her identity in 2003. Plame said that violated her privacy rights and was illegal retribution for her husband's criticism of the administration.U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
And who is this impartial pillar of jurisprudence who threw out the suit? Bob Fertik at tells us:
So who is Judge John D. Bates, the judge who threw out Valerie Plame's lawsuit against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Richard Armitage? A "loyal Bushie," of course.

  • Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997, where he forced the White House to release thousands of documents related to Hillary Clinton's conversations about Whitewater.
  • Appointed as Federal judge in December 2001 by George W. Bush
  • In December 2002, he dismissed a lawsuit filed by the GAO against Cheney over access to his energy task force documents, claiming the GAO lacked authority to sue the VP.
  • In February 2006, he was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to serve as a judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court - replacing a judge who resigned in protest over the illegal NSA wiretapping. It's a safe bet Bates has been a reliable rubber stamp allowing Bush's NSA to spy on millions of Americans without a warrant.
  • In August 2006, Bates declared it acceptable for Bush to sign a bill that had not been passed by Congress.
"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory, " Bates wrote. "But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."
Even if it's treason.

So much for the Department of 'Justice', Like Rupert Murdoch, they solve their problems by buying or taking over any organization that can impede their vision.

So, here we sit, taking hit after hit after hit from these disgusting criminals, and we're being buried alive.

But we have to ask ourselves, is it any wonder these guys are getting more aggressively dictatorial every day?

After all, every time they try something and get away with it, the message we send is "We're not going to stop you." Like Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler, attempting to persuade this President to act rationally and legally and in the interest of the American people by 'taking the high road' and going through the congressional channels merely tells Bush and Cheney that we're weaklings. They chortle and give us the finger, and instruct us to go Cheney ourselves while they continue to rape and pillage and loot and fatten themselves and their cronies. And we'd better not complain about it, either, or we may find our assets seized and ourselves 'disappeared'.

Please understand that we are past the point of rationality here. We are past the point of being able to expect these criminals to obey the law. And up to now we have given them every assurance that we aren't going to stop them.

Nothing else but impeachment will do.

The Dems claim that, instead of impeachment, we should concentrate on trying to make some much-needed changes in policy, blah blah blah.

But how do they think they're going to make any changes or pass a Democratic agenda when they can't even deal with a filibustering Repub Senate - the same ones, incredibly, who shoved through these horrible judges by threatening Democrats who even talked about considering a filibuster with the 'nuclear option'. Somehow, Dems who filibuster are 'obstructionists' but not Repubs. (Remember the howls for an 'up or down vote'? No? I didn't think so. Neither do the Repubs .)

The definition of insanity, in the Big Book, is taking the same action over and over and expecting different results.

Al Wilson, an artist who I was fortunate to have played with when I was very young, had a hit song that described this situation perfectly. It's the story of a 'tender-hearted woman and a poor half-frozen snake'. The snake begs to be taken in and taken care of, and the tender-hearted woman complies, and brings him back to life. The lyrics go on to say:
Now she clutched him to her bosom, "You're so beautiful," she cried
"But if I hadn't brought you in by now you might have died"
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite.

"I saved you," cried that woman
"And you've bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die"
"Oh shut up, silly woman," said the reptile with a grin
"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."

Sorry, kiddies, but playtime is over. These snakes are not going to change their natures.

We must impeach now - while there is still hope that we can.

I don't want to be buried alive.