Saturday, September 2, 2006

Programming note

No not here. I got an email (reprinted below) this morning from a woman I love who's not Mrs. F. It's the lovely wife of Mrs. F's cousin, Encino Man (who's also way up there on my list of favorite people in the world). We've mentioned Mrs. Encino before (here, here, and here) because she's the voice of Xena Phobe over at Billionaires for Bush.

Friends & Family,

The pilot episode of a new show that I have produced will be airing on KPFK radio on Labor day. Wherever you plan to be on Monday, Sept. 4th, get to a radio (or if you are out of the Los Angeles area to a computer. You can hear the show streaming live on the radio web site - see details below) at 4 PM Pacific Standard time.

This is the World Premiere of a one-hour show that stars The Billionaire Players (including moi as Xena Phobe) with guest star, Mimi Kennedy, original music by Clifford J. Tasner, written by Tina Dupuy and Clifford J. Tasner.

If the station gets enough response after the broadcast we may get picked up for more episodes. Your comments are welcome at

(And, of course, words of praise are always welcome directly to moi!
Best Regards to all,
~[Mrs. Encino]

Listen, comment, and show your support. This is a really talented buncha folks.

Saturday toons

I've always loved political cartoons since I was young and one of my first stops on Saturday mornings is Bob Geiger's place to see the cartoons he's collected over the week. While I always get a smile from the creative marriage of thought and pen, they don't make me laugh out loud the way they did when I was younger, before the Chimp Misadministration.

I thought about that this morning as I scrolled down Bob's page and wondered why. I realized it's because the bar has been moved, thanks to Bush, Cheney, Rummy, et. al. Political cartoons used to be gross exaggerations, whether it be the caricature of the subjects (David Levine, a family friend, comes to mind), or the exaggeration of the dialogue in them.

Since the reign of George II began, no exaggeration is too great. Anything a political cartoonist can dream up is certainly within the realm of reality and probability these days. A sad, sobering, and scary thought.

Quote of the Day



But for people like Jonah and David Warren, that is accomplished by urging fights where they have nothing at risk. This is not a "chickenhawk" argument. It is far beyond that. So much of our public dialogue is dominated by people -- exactly like David Warren -- desperate to bask in the reflected glory* of epic warriors without ever risking anything and to feel powerful and strong and resolute and "full-chested" while sitting at home, protected and safe but still scared of everything. They are people who have an endless need to parade themselves around as courageous nobles without ever doing anything noble or courageous. [my em]


*And an observation. There is no glory in war, only blood, gore, suffering, grief, and death. The 'glory of war' is something for those who were lucky enough not to have to fight it or try to stay alive though it.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Taxi, Senator Burns?

Satirical Political Report does it again! Liquid Alert!

In yet another of his grotesque exhibitions of ignorance and stupidity, GOP Senator Conrad Burns of Montana has alleged that "terrorists drive taxis by day, and kill by night."

The truth, however, as any schoolchild can tell you, is that taxi drivers are much worse than terrorists, and actually do most of their killing by day.

In fact, Local 72 Virgins of the International Brotherhood of Terrorists has issued a strong denunciation of Senator Burns, stating that he slandered them by unfairly comparing terrorists to taxi drivers.

A spokesman for the terrorist trade union, al-Check-off Mahdues, asserted that most taxi drivers were actually kicked out of the Terrorist Academy, for being too reckless to transport explosives.

Other taxi drivers flunked out for taking the longest route between the bomb pick-up and their destination, therefore increasing the chance of being caught by the authorities.

The only worse drivers are the ones who drive the Chinese Gambling Tour buses that go through my town on their way to Reno. At least I think they have drivers - their heads don't stick up over the steering wheel. Why anybody would risk death just to lose their ass at Pai Gow is a mystery to me.

The president's latest dumb speech

Fred Kaplan at Slate

In his speech this morning before the American Legion's national convention, President George W. Bush may have gone a bridge too far. It was the first of several speeches he plans to deliver in the coming days to rally support for the war in Iraq (and, not incidentally, for Republicans in November). But one passage in particular reveals that the campaign is getting desperate:

The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror, and that depends on victory in Iraq.

Here's the question: Does anybody believe this? If you do, then you must ask the president why he hasn't reactivated the draft, printed war bonds, doubled the military budget, and strenuously rallied allies to the cause?

Because he doesn't really believe his own bullshit, that's why. Go read.

Professor Smartass

No, I didn't get a doctorate in my specialty. It's a blog. He's based in the People's Republic of Santa Monica and might be a little to the left if the link to Tom Hayden is any indication. He's got some good Katrina/Compassionate Conservatism posters up. Give him a look.

Lie by Lie

Mother Jones has assembled a timeline of Bush lies that led to his criminal war. Handy. Extensive. Be sure to click on "How to use this timeline" or you're liable to get confused. I did.

The first drafts of history are fragmentary. Important revelations arrive late, and out of order. In this timeline, we've assembled the history of the Iraq War to create a resource we hope will help resolve open questions of the Bush era. What did our leaders know and when did they know it? And, perhaps just as important, what red flags did we miss, and how could we have missed them? This is the first installment in our Iraq War timeline project.

A good reference work. Enjoy, if that's the right word.

The Bush Administration and Godwin's Law

Fixer touched on this the other day, and I'm fleshing it out a little.


On the Internet, there is a dictum known as "Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies," coined in 1990 by a man named Mike Godwin. This law holds that "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." Anyone who has spent time on political discussion boards can see that it's true; in any charged debate (abortion, Iraq, Israel, foreign policy), it's only a matter of time before someone compares his opponent to Hitler.

It's commonly understood that once Godwin's Law is invoked, a conversation is dead - and that any person who invokes Nazis almost definitely has failed to make his point. It's what philosopher Leo Strauss, the great inspiration to neoconservatives like Rumsfeld, called Reductio ad Hitlerum - the absurd smearing of any opposing line of thought as "Hitleresque." He may not have been contributing to an online bulletin board, but Rumsfeld's invocation of Nazis and the G.O.P.'s sudden interest in fascism seem to be a perfect illustration of how deep this war's supporters must dig in order to justify a deadly folly.

Perhaps, with Godwin's Law in mind, you'll allow me to indulge in a little bit of Nazi-analogizing. The following comes from a post–World War II interview between Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was allowed by the Allies to speak with Nazi POWs, and Hermann Goering, the Nazi Reichsmarshall. Their conversation took place on April 18, 1946, during a break in the Nuremberg trials, and was recounted in Gilbert's book, Nuremberg Diary:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the 'people' don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

A few days ago, defending the Iraq war, Donald Rumsfeld quoted World War I-era French leader Georges Clemenceau, who said: "War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory." Maybe there is victory at the end of Iraq. But the cost of the catastrophes is more than anyone, save for a few increasingly isolated members of the Bush Administration, is willing to bear.

Nobody's trying to appease terrorists, but that is what Rumsfeld said we are doing if we oppose Bush's criminal war.

We're not trying to appease the administration Nazis either. We want to jail them.

I wonder if they'll get so desperate they quote Goering and Goebbels directly? Or act like them more than they are doing already.


A BuzzFlash editorial:

Rumsfeld and Bush are Right About Evoking Nazism - But It's the Mirror That They Should be Looking At

Rumsfeld and Bush are on the right trail in bringing up Nazism, but it's because the Goering quote applies to them to a "T."

These are the tools used by dictators to direct the masses into a form of mass hysteria that leads to a population willingly giving up Constitutional powers and individual rights to the incontestable rule of a dictator.

They are asking us to support an affirmative action war agenda for failures: them.

So when Rumsfeld and Bush trot out the latest focus group tested Frank Luntz sound bites about Nazis, they should look in the mirror.

Staring back at them will be the visage of Hermann Goering, Nazi.

I think they'd do well to remember how Herr Goering ended up - dead in jail by his own hand to avoid prosecution and death by hanging.

Upate II:

William M. Arkin in the Wapo:

Rumsfeld's Enemy: It's Us

Rumsfeld stated there could be no appeasing the enemy and any "any moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."

The "who" Rumsfeld is talking about is himself.

Rumsfeld is the "who" that is right, and everyone who disagrees is not only wrong, but a danger to freedom.

If I were the conspiratorial type, I'd say Rumsfeld was a particular menace to America because in his view of a monolithic and totalitarian terrorist enemy, and in his analysis of the weakness of American society, he can only come to the messianic conclusion that he indeed needs to takeover the country in order to save it. And this might even be worth speculating about were it the case that Rumsfeld reflected the views of those in the military leadership, or were it the case that Rumsfeld could actually engineer such a coup.

But alas, the secretary would get the intelligence wrong, employ too few troops and send tank columns on thunder runs through Manhattan and Hollywood, prematurely declaring victory and then being befuddled about the American desire to recover and preserve its way of life, which is not the Rumsfeld way.

Good OpEd. Please read the rest.


Our brother Lurch:


Today we officially announce the opening of the "WPS" attack. That's not a reference to MicroShaft's "Works", the third-rate word processor they package with every boat anchor they sell. WPS stands for Winger Projection Syndrome, a condition that occurs when liars and criminals realize one of their own basic moral, ethical or psychological shortcomings and in a burst of self-loathing try to dishonestly paint the "evil demon" of the day with the same failing in an attempt to lessen their psychic guilt. [my em]


Blood Money

WASHINGTON - The chief executives of corporations making big profits from the war on terror are enjoying far bigger pay increases than CEOs of nondefense companies, according to a study by two liberal groups.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, found that, on average, CEOs of corporations with extensive defense contracts are getting paid about double what they made before Sept. 11, 2001.


So who's winning the 'War on Terra'? Why, the corporations of course.

Tip o' the Brain to C&L.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Missing the point on the CIA leak case

Today's 'must read' at Consortiumnews.

I know a lot about the covert business on both the policy and operational sides and this whole business of "naming names" is sickening, nauseating and the ultimate symbol of how far Washington under George Bush has come from what used to be the nonpartisan treatment of intelligence and the traditional standards of honor.

I have always refused to comment, even in off the record conversations with journalists, on the legal guilt or innocence of any party in this case. That is a decision by the legal system, without trial by media, and without trial by partisans. But this matter affects the core of our national security, the heart of our decision- making process about going to war, and the soul of our spirit of patriotism and honor that should rule out public disclosure of intelligence identities by any person, for any reason, ever.

The people most responsible for peddling Plame's name were the same people peddling WMD stories to Judy Miller and others.

This business about leaking identities is not only about partisan and political vendettas. It is about how and when we go to war, how and when we should not go to war, and why it is so fundamentally important that intelligence should be based on facts and truth, and not twisted and distorted for the ideology of going to war, or the partisanship of exploiting war.

What went wrong in Iraq, is that the democratic process of making the decision to wage war was corrupted and warped from the beginning.

This whole episode demonstrates how far from traditional moral and patriotic bearing Washington has come, during what historians will call, not fondly, the Bush years. In this environment anything goes, and insiders, surrounded by courtiers, substitute politics and spin for honesty and truth even on the matter of going to war.

Whatever the legal outcome, on fundamental issues of patriotism, morality and honor there is a higher standard for those of us who know how the real world works, on these matters.

The same people who bang the drums of war the loudest, are helping our enemies, by disclosing names. They are hurting our troops, by distorting our intelligence that is so essential to knowing when to wage war and how to wage it, when we must, and why to avoid it, when we can.

Let the courts decide the law, but those who do these dirty deeds deserve a special place in hell, and those who never risked their lives for our country themselves, and endanger the lives of covert people who risk their lives every day, and endanger the lives of troops who go to war with politically distorted intelligence, deserve the hottest place of all.

Let the courts decide the law, but I guarantee that when the sun has set on the Administration now in power, those who did these dirty deeds will be indicted by the court of history, while others will have to clean up the mess they leave.

My earnest hope is that they are indicted way before the historians get around to them.

Let's beat feet...

From 'that old Ay-rab' Helen Thomas:

The war and the U.S. occupation of Iraq are certainly going to be the crowning issues in the Nov. 7 mid-term elections.

That's why it's time for the Democratic candidates to bite the bullet (excuse the expression) and call for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

We don't need more phony timetables to prolong the agony. We need a quick exit from a bad show.

It might not fly before the election, but after...

Salt Lake sounds off in protest and support

Salt Lake Tribune

A crowd of thousands cheered Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson for calling President Bush a "dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights violating president" whose time in office would "rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure."

Don't hold back, dude! You don't have to candy-coat it for me!

With their signs labeling Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the "axis of evil," calling the Iraq war a "mission of lies" or comparing the invasion of Iraq after Sept. 11, 2001, to invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor, the estimated 1,500 to 4,000 protesters hoped their demonstration at the Salt Lake City-County Building sent a message about the reddest state in the country.

"If they [the Bush administration] lack support in Utah, my God they're in trouble," the Rev. Tom Goldsmith of the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City told the lively gathering between protest songs and banner waving.

If they're getting it in Utah, the whole country's getting it. BushCo is toast.

For those who didn't get enough, organizers held a "Rock Against Rumsfeld" concert at Pioneer Park in the evening. Between songs, Salt Lake City singer Colin Robison challenged Rumsfeld's Tuesday speech to the American Legion.

"Critics of the war were equated with Nazi sympathizers. How dare he?" Robison asked the crowd of over 300. "What about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? Who's the Nazi?

A mother of an Iraqi war veteran on his second tour, Debbie Johnson, told the crowd they need not heed the "Orwellian double-speak" of the administration.

"This war is illegal. You don't have to support the war to support our troops."

At the federal building, protesters had to wait outside as organizers delivered the petition. The lingering pack, observed by five armed federal guards, chanted "No more war" and "We are the people."

Looking around the spectacle, Ruth Dunn, of Tooele, summed up the day: "This is what democracy looks like."

I'm very glad to see a large anti-war demonstration. They are going to get larger. The anti-Vietnam-war demonstrations started slowly and small as well, and built up to huge ones.

Just as an aside, Tooele is home to the Tooele Army Depot, where a lot of our WMD are stored.

The saying east of here is "Welcome to Utah. Set your clock back 25 years." It's more like 50, but they're catching up, I think.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: the post title has "support" in it. The American Legion refused to allow the Mayor into the speech in a show of support for Bush's War.

Speaking as a member of the American Legion, fuck them.


Via my new favorite Valley Girl, Sumo:

Bushtemberfest, or the Festival of Fatal Fuckups, will give GOP-weary Americans a chance to celebrate the non-accomplishments of George W. Bush, the first president to let one major American city be devastated by terrorists and allow another one to drown, all within the space of a few years. The observance will start with the anniversary of the flooding of New Orleans and climax with the anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center, during which time we will pray - loudly and publicly - that no other disasters befall us while we await the blessed day that King George and his menagerie of religious hucksters, corporate bandits and ideological grifters get their eviction notice.

How shall we observe this new holiday, this Bushtemberfest? Shall we drown kittens in the bathtub while chanting, "Heckuva job, Brownie"? Shall we say, when a breathless Good Samaritan runs up to tell us that a building is on fire, "Okay, go home, you've covered your ass"? Shall we pull milk bottles and lollipops out of the hands of children and give them to obese adults? Shall we march into schools and confiscate globes because they depict the Earth as round? (When teachers object that the Earth is not, in fact, flat, we'll say "Teach the controversy! Give both sides of the debate!")

The link is to her site rather than the post. She posts a lot of good 'toons 'n shit. Go see.

How will Dems use the power they're going to have after November?

Geov Parrish

Booting Republicans out of power in one or both houses of Congress this fall is a worthy goal, if for no other reason than the purpose of accountability. No political party that has done so much to damage the people of our country (and the world) in so many different ways in such a short period of time should be allowed to go unpunished. Let alone to remain in power; the failure of Democrats to win congressional power would mean, almost by definition, that Republicans would still have unimpeded control of Washington, since for the last six years in that situation, the "opposition" party has been anything but. And with the clock ticking on the criminal looting spree that has been six years of the Bush administration, goodness knows how much more damage they could do with two additional years of zero accountability.

But there is no guarantee that a Democratic victory can bring accountability. The imperative of trying to wrest a Democratic win in November, broadly agreed upon by progressives, isn't enough. Progressives also need to be paying attention in the next nine weeks to improving the odds that giving Democrats a taste of Capitol Hill power will, in fact, make anything better.

Let us count a few of the many, many ways in which this is not a given:

He then goes on to count a few of the many, many ways in which this is not a given. Go read.

RIP Pete's Dad

Glenn Ford passed away yesterday at age 90. Some of you younger folks might not know much about him, so please go read his obituary.

Mr. Ford was a fine actor and is on my personal list of 'Top 10 Cowboy & Western Actors of All Time'. Click on his name for a history and filmography.

This is personal for me. When I was a kid of about 10 to 12, I went to school with his son Peter for a couple of years. They lived about three blocks from me and I used to go over to his house in the afternoons. Pete's Mom, Eleanor Powell, would sometimes take us for ice cream. One of the world's best-ever dancers, she was a very sweet lady who could cuss like a sailor.

We played kinda rough. One time we had a dirt clod fight and I hit Pete in the head with one with a rock in it and opened his head up a little. He almost got me back some time later: I was crouched behind a low wall on his back porch and Pete was up on the roof of a shed across the yard. I had a BB gun and he had a bow and arrow. We traded shots for a while. At one point I looked up to see an arrow coming straight at right between my eyes! I ducked. I took a little better aim and shot at him again. He was in some foliage, but I think I got him in the arm. He never said.

I can trace a bad habit right to Glenn Ford's house: I smoked my first cigarette out by his swimming pool.

I got two things directly from Mr. Ford, and I still have both of them. He gave me a Pancho Villa peso and some good advice: never apologize when you have nothing to be sorry for.

I haven't seen those folks in fifty years, but I remember.

Adios, Godspeed, and Semper Fi, Mr. Ford.

Peter Ford has a website in honor of both his parents. Definitely worth a look.

The end of Empire

You know how to tell when a nation is in decline? Just look at its infrastructure. A society on the rise is marked by trains that run on time and well, highways that are a pleasure to drive upon, and basic services that work well. That's not happening in the U.S. anymore. Our pal RJ Eskow details:


The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation "D" for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.


The U.S. is in decline, ladies and germs, and that decline has been hastened by the people in power for the past six years. My sad feeling is that in 50 years, the U.S. will be seen as a has-been compared to the Indians and Chinese, societies and economies both on the ascent.

Deleted ...

Remember the wingnut woman-hater who was giving AOB a hard time? Well it looks as if Darwin's dead hand is active in Blogtopia (y!sctp!). Pauly:


"WELL, IT WAS THERE THE OTHER DAY" UPDATE: Looks like Vech has moved his site to Error Page 404. That's the shortest-lived blog I've ever heard of.



Quote of the Day


The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.


Much as I have problems with Ahnold, I applaud him for stepping up and attempting to deal with the problem of global warming. He's basically given the Chimp the finger on the subject of greenhouse gas emissions and that has to be a good thing:

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 30, 2006 -- The greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction agreement announced today between Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature (AB 32) is an historic step, according to the California Climate Action Registry (Registry). AB 32 provides recognition to companies and public entities that already voluntarily participate in the Registry. Registry members such as PG&E, Hewlett Packard, BP America, Xerox, Qualcomm, Waste Management and others have already certified 200 million metric tons of GHG's through the Registry.


Good on Ahnold and good on the folks of CA. Let's hope the attitude is contagious among the Repukes.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

Just go read this article in the Anchorage Daily News. Maybe a liquid alert, maybe not, your call.

It looks like Ken Starr's on the wrong side yet again.

Rummy loses it

The Carpetbagger Report

If you missed Donald Rumsfeld's remarks today at the Veterans of Foreign [tag]Wars[/tag] National Convention, you missed the Defense Secretary at his least sensible. This guy was on a roll, lashing out at "quitters," who "cannot stomach a tough fight" and are inclined to "blame America first." Throw in a few straw-man attacks and some sycophantic praise for the president and you get the idea. It was quite a string of bumper-sticker slogans.

And, as Matt Yglesias noted, it was also a hint of what's to come.

"For his latest trick, in a speech to the American Legion, Don Rumsfeld gives the full wingnut monte. America faces an undifferentiated fascist menace. Bush's critics are appeasers who don't understand the lessons of history who blame America first and hate freedom. The media is treasonous and a free press is a luxury we can ill-afford in this time of crisis. Etc.

"This, I think we can assume, is the fall campaign. The idea is to psyche the Democrats out. To make them think they can't win an argument about foreign policy. To make them act like they can't win an argument about foreign policy. And to thereby demonstrate to the American people that even the Democrats themselves lack confidence in their own ability to handle these issues.

"It's essential that the debate be joined, and joined with confidence. Rumsfeld is a buffoon. A punchline. A well-known liar. He and his bosses - Bush and Cheney - are running around the country trying to cite the failures of their own policies as a reason to entrust them with additional authority in order to continue and intensify those same failings."

Quite right. Rumsfeld's almost-ugly tirade today wasn't delivered from a position of strength; it was offered in fear. With neither facts nor narratives on his side, Rumsfeld was left to simply pound the table, and hope that no one snickered at the sad rants of the poor man who doesn't know what he's talking about

The Dems' long-time positions, consistently labeled "out of the mainstream," have not only been embraced by most of the public, they're winning over the GOP as well.

As it turns out, Rumsfeld's "blame America first" crowd includes most of America.

And we're pissed.

Well? Is it full?


BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 29 - At least 67 people, including dozens of looters siphoning gasoline from a government pipeline, were killed in an explosion late Monday night after fuel vapor was accidentally ignited by a cigarette lighter, the Iraqi police and government officials said.

Despite Iraq's huge oil reserves, corruption, mismanagement and the lack of security have created a severe gasoline shortage that has sent prices to $3.20 per gallon and forced drivers to wait in gasoline lines for as long as 24 hours.

Lieutenant Rasheed said dozens of Diwaniya residents punctured the pipeline on Monday night.

"They were filling their jerrycans until one of the looters lit a lighter to smoke his cigarette, and that resulted in the explosion," he said.

Dr. Hussain al-Janabi, director of Diwaniya hospital, said several bodies had arrived charred or burned beyond recognition. He said by telephone that witnesses had said that the spark that ignited the blast came from a man who used a lighter to check if his can was full (my em).

Well, that'll teach him...

He would have known not to do that if they had Burma-Shave signs in Iraq. I actually remember this one from my youth aka The Dawn Of Time:

He lit a match
To check his tank.
Now they call him
Skinless Frank.

A modest plan for saving the country

My 'recommended light read' for today. Garrison Keillor.

Annual interest on the national debt now exceeds all government welfare programs combined. We'll be in Iraq for years to come. Hard choices need to be made, and given the situation we're in, I think we must bite the bullet and say no more health care for card-carrying Republicans. It just doesn't make sense to invest in longevity for people who don't believe in the future. Let them try faith-based medicine, let them pray for their arteries to be reamed and their hips to be restored, and leave science to the rest of us.

Cutting out health care to one-third of the population--the folks with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers, who still believe the man is doing a heckuva job--will save enough money to pay off the national debt, not a bad legacy for Republicans. As Scrooge said, let them die and reduce the surplus population. In return, we can offer them a reduction in the estate tax.

All in favor, blow your nose.

Please pass me a tis-syoo. HOOOONK!

Donna Edwards = Maryland's Ned Lamont


Under the media radar, a huge struggle is going on on Maryland's 4th Congressional District where progressive activist Donna Edwards is challenging the machine of pro-war Bush Democrat Al Wynn.

It is brutal, as the campaign moves to the September 12th primary. Recently an Edwards campaign volunteer was beat up and two Wynn campaign workers were detained. (Check out VIDEO of the attack aftermath to the right.)

The guy they beat up is a rather large brother. They musta blindsided him.

Matt Stoller writes at MyDD:

"During the debate, Edwards just crushed Wynn on his votes for the war, the energy bill, the bankruptcy bill, etc. Wynn is clearly a terrible Congressman, one of the biggest villains on net neutrality. What the debate proved is that he's also a terrible politician who has maintained his seat in Congress through a mixture of fear, machine politics, and voter apathy."

This race, like the Lamont effort against Lieberman represents the heart and soul of the struggle to fight back against the right wing fear machine.

This might be one to keep an eye on.


Via Skippy. The.Best.Political.Ad.Ever. Now if someone could actually get this on the TeeVee....

Local races ...

Bob Johnson is running in NY-23. I know I constantly poke fun at the 'upstaters', calling them 'the other New York' but this is serious.


It's not just sheer corruption; there's sheer war profiteering as well. Tammy Duckworth, running for Congress in Illinois, has reported that when she was in Iraq, some units couldn't sand-bag their own facilities because Halliburton had the "sand-bagging contract". The gall of those very words stops me for a moment. Halliburton would pay locals pennies to do that and charge the US Government (in other words ... you and me) for a full labor rate.

And all of this while the soldiers, the poor kids in the Army and Marines, the older soldiers in the Guard and Reserve, all of them got paid little to walk around in a war zone, sometimes without adequate body armor and driving un-armored Humvees. For a veteran like me, it's especially infuriating.

And the Republican government has actively blocked all efforts at investigating this in any way.

The committees responsible in the House, especially the Armed Services Committee on which my opponent (John McHugh) sits, have, to my knowledge, not held a single hearing on this matter. Every attempt at even holding hearings gets bottled up in the Rules Committee in the House. The corruption is so obvious and blatant, and the efforts to block looking into it so complete, it's hard not to get the feeling that it's deliberate. [Link]


The article is your 'must read' for today.

Help elect Bob to the House of Representatives so he can continue his efforts to stop the Rethug corruption that runs rampant through the Congress.

Elect Bob Johnson

Bob's ActBlue page

Do you live in NY-23? If you do, vote for Bob in November.

Other highlighted races

Huge tip o' the Brain to Dave Johnson.

Quote of the Day

Jack Cafferty from Wolfie's show last evening:

I find it absolutely amazing John that any politician who had anything to do with Katrina had nerve enough to walk into the city of New Orleans Today.

Of course, da fellas at C&L have the video.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Top 10 Stupid Post-Katrina Quotes

Pensito Review

Sherman, set the Way-Back Machine to 2005! Here are some doozies uttered by the people that brought us the Katrina disaster (Mother Nature exempted). They range from the blithely idiotic to the utterly clueless to the maliciously racist.

Go refresh your memory. Never forget. I wish there was some other term than "a memory like an elephant"!

Local races ...

Froggy points me to Linda Stender in NJ-07. I'll excerpt his comment:

...a local race, in NJ, Stender in the [7th] is the best chance to get rid of Mike "Mr Fetus" Ferguson*, an out-of-touch-with-his-district Tom Delay handpuppet who needs to go, and now. Ms Stender is a member of the NJ State Legislature and has her own constituency to begin with. She has the support of Emily's List and has shown she can raise enough money to be competitive, unlike previous Democratic challengers in the NJ 7th CD... [*link moved from original]

Linda Stender for Congress

Contribute at Linda's ActBlue page.

Do you live in NJ-07? Get out and vote for Linda in November.

If you're not registered to vote, go do it.

See who we've highlighted so far.

Polygamist arrested

San Diego Union-Tribune

LAS VEGAS - The leader of a polygamist sect who was on the FBI's Most Wanted List was found with cell phones, laptop computers, wigs and more than $50,000 in cash when he was arrested, authorities said Tuesday.

Warren Steed Jeffs, 50, was arrested without incident, and no weapons were found when he and two others were pulled for a traffic stop late Monday and taken into custody, said FBI special agent in charge Steven Martinez.

Jeffs faces sexual misconduct charges for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.

He was stopped in a 2007 red Cadillac Escalade by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 just north of Las Vegas and was being held Tuesday in Clark County jail.

I hope he gets to be in a harem in prison. The wig oughta come in handy.


A red Escalade, huh? Gotta keep my eye on this site.

Judge rules against Bush poisoning us


Last week, a federal district judge struck down rules created by the Bush Administration intended to make it easier for pesticides found harmful to endangered species to reach the market. The defeated policies had allowed political appointees and bureaucrats in the federal government to make unilateral decisions that ignored or contradicted research conducted by their own scientists.

In other words, they just didn't care about the facts.

Wow! Now there's a big surprise!

More than two dozen members of Congress had urged the Administration not to implement the now illegal policies. "The proposed changed would unnecessarily risk both wildlife and public health by exposing animals and humans to highly toxic pesticides when they are most potent and would eliminate necessary interagency checks and balances," they wrote.

Checks and balances? There's that "goddam piece of paper" again!

"The tragedy of Sept. 11 shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

The "terrorists" in this case would be Bush and his corporate Rethuglicans.

Good on ya, Judge.

Oh, the Horror!

For the last few days, and probably for a few days yet to come, there's been no dearth of articles, op-eds, blog posts, and, oh yeah, TV shows and specials, on "Katrina: One Year Later". Maybe you've noticed.

These things are important, both to remind us of the continuing plight of the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, of the sheer incompetence and utter waste of resources by this administration, and of the need for dialog on race and class prejudice that has been flying under the nation's radar for far too long.

I've been reading and watching a whole lot of stuff on the topic, and it has had unintended consequences.

Last night, I had a horrible, life-changing nightmare. I dreamed that Fixer had his arm around my shoulder and said to me, "You're doing a heckuva job, Gordy".

I like being part of the Brain, and would not like to have to resign in disgrace.

A disclaimer that may be my only hope of survival: I'm certainly not equating Fixer with Bush! Not only would he kill me, I'd deserve it! He'd be acquitted by any court in the land on the grounds that it was justifiable, even mandatory, homicide. Hey, dreams are weird.

I sat bolt upright in bed so fast the windows shook from the passage of wind. The 'passage of wind' is not at all an uncommon occurrence at my house, but this one was remarkable even for me.

I wondered what I might have done wrong in my life, and how I was going to fix it in the unlikely event I figured out which instance caused this. I prayed for forgiveness for the first time ever.

Finally, it came to me: don't eat a pork-and-jalapeño burrito with guacamole, sour cream, and a generous helping of fruta y vinagra just before bedtime. Or maybe it was the three fish tacos. Anyway, I drifted back into the arms of Morpheus and slept like a baby.

Oh, one other thing: Fixer, do I get a medal?

I made it all up, but Katrina is still on my mind as it should be on everybody's.

Slowly Sidling To Iraq's Exit

E.J. Dionne

August 2006 will be remembered as a watershed in the politics of Iraq. It is the month in which a majority of Americans told pollsters that the struggle for Iraq was not connected to the larger war on terrorism. They thus renounced a proposition the administration has pushed relentlessly since it began making the case four years ago to invade Iraq.

Nearly as significant as the new support for troop withdrawals is the effort of many Republicans to criticize President Bush without taking a firm stand on when the troops should come home.

Other Republicans have taken their distance from the president more subtly. In May Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), facing a difficult rematch against Democrat Lois Murphy, called on Congress "to step up and be more assertive in assessing the level of progress" in Iraq. He added: "The Iraqi government needs to know that American patience and support are not blank checks that Iraqi politicians can cash with American lives and tax dollars."

And judging from the Web sites of other Republicans in close races, many would prefer to make the Iraq issue disappear between now and November.

News Flash: it ain't gonna.

The cracking of Republican solidarity in support of Bush on Iraq has short-term implications for November's elections and long-term implications for whether the administration can sustain its policies.

With a growing number of Republicans now echoing Democratic criticisms of the war, Republican strategists will have a harder time making the election a referendum on whether the United States should "cut and run" from Iraq, the administration's typical characterization of the Democrats' view.

It seems as if the Kool-aid has worn off some Rethugs, and they have woken up to the fact that a majority of Americans now consider anyone aligned with Bush to be inveterate liars.

They laid down with dirty dogs and are now trying to get rid of the fleas. Too little, too late.

We need to get out of Iraq. If I were elected President, the announcement that the Iraqis have 'stood up' and we were 'standing down as we speak' would be in my inauguration speech*.


*Along with the information that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and every neocon we could find was in custody and on their way to Gitmo for a little 'education' on what they have done to America and the Constitution. Dream on, G.

Election Prediction

From the radical, Liberal, bomb-throwing left-wing Bloomberg:

Barring an unexpected and big event, Democrats will win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November and conceivably the Senate, too. Whether it's a tsunami or just a powerful wave, the political dynamics are moving in that direction, or more accurately, against the Republicans and President George W. Bush.

Democratic insiders, who months ago thought their chances of winning a majority in the House were no better than even, and that the Senate was a lost cause, have become far more optimistic. Now, they say, winning the House is a lock, and the Senate is within reach.

'People Are Angry'

I think that may qualify for 'understatement of the year'!

Privately, Republican congressional leaders are bracing to lose 20 to 30 House seats -- more than the net 15 gain that Democrats need to take control of that chamber -- and to barely hold on to their Senate majority.

A Dem Senate would be the icing on the cake.

The most important difference -- and the reason the White House desperately hopes to avoid a Democratic House -- will be much more aggressive oversight. With tough lawmakers like Dingell of Michigan and Henry Waxman of California setting oversight agendas, defense contractors such as Halliburton Co., eavesdroppers at the national security and intelligence agencies and anti-environmentalists at the Interior Department will be in for a rough few years.

Heh. They have no idea!

To be certain, the party's confidence is occasionally tempered by the realities of recent elections. At a private gathering sponsored by Democratic House Leader Pelosi for some of the party's biggest givers in California early this month, there was a palpable sense that Karl Rove and the White House will engineer some "October surprise."

And Republicans, with a better get-out-the-vote system, generally tend to close better in American elections. But October surprises usually are the invention of summer nervous nellies; the public mood, not organization, will shape this year's elections.

Maybe so, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The most dangerous, unpredictable animal is one who's cornered.


California may get Universal Health Care


The Democratic-controlled Legislature is on the verge of sending Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a bill that would create a state-run universal health care system, testing him on an issue that voters rate as one of their top concerns in this election year.

On a largely party-line 43-30 vote, the Assembly approved a bill by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, that would eliminate private medical insurance plans and establish a statewide health insurance system that would provide coverage to all Californians. The state Senate has already approved the plan once and is expected this week to approve changes that the Assembly made to the bill.

If he vetoes SB840, the governor will be reminded of his decision come election day in November, Kuehl said.

"I hope that the people of California will hang the albatross of bad health care around the governor's neck," she said.

"SB840 creates a system of comprehensive health insurance benefits for all Californians that guarantees free choice of doctors and hospitals," Kuehl said. "It creates access for all Californians by steeply reducing administrative overhead and emphasizing preventative and primary care instead of endlessly cutting coverage and access to care or increasing consumer spending."

Republicans and insurance groups oppose the bill, saying it will create an inefficient government bureaucracy.

As opposed to greedy inefficient insurance companies, I suppose?

California likes to lead the way. This would be a good way not only to do the right thing but to help figure out how to do it nationwide.

Sign the bill, Ah-nold.

Just as an aside, State Senator Sheila Kuehl used to play Zelda on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. You have to be really old to remember that one...


Now that this idiot who confessed to the JonBenet klling has been cleared, do you think the news media can go back over the stories they deemed to be less of a priority, like the situation in Iraq going down hill by the day?

The American news media, bigger whores than Republicans.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A reminder ...

You folks who want me to highlight a House race in your state, drop me an email or leave a comment in one of my recent 'Local races ...' posts. I want the House this November goddammit!

And just an additional note. Rahm Emmanuel is an idiot, a wanker, and a moron, and I want somebody else running the DCCC.

Katrina. Shakes. Blogswarm.

I saw Shakes pushing this out of the corner of my eye for a while now and somehow (with the elections coming up and being swamped at the shop) it just never got moved to the front burner (God I need a vacation). Sorry Sis. Fortunately a whole host of others picked up the ball as I fumbled. I can at least tell you to go there now.

Daily Dave

I highlighted this Newsday article about Rep. Peter King's endorsement of racial profiling. Today Dave talks. The Mejias campaign alerted me to an article the candidate posted on MyDD this morning:

In a recent Newsday article, Peter King endorsed a proposal to base our airport security on a full-scale racial profiling program. This is a cheap election year stunt aimed at motivating King's ultra-conservative base, NOT at increasing security. The security of our country is a serious problem that requires significant thought and practical answers. King has repeatedly shown that he cares little for coming up with a real solution.

Then, Peter King (probably stung by the criticism he received) dramatically reversed himself. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, King's new opinion was that airport screeners should merely take into account a person's ethnicity as part of the threat equation in combination with displayed behavioral characteristics. His initial position followed by his subsequent flip-flop further proves that King, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has no serious solutions for our nation's flawed security procedures.


Despite his rhetoric, Peter King has only delivered security failures and disappointments to the residents of New York. In addition to his support for racial profiling, funding for New York's security and anti terrorism efforts have been cut by 40% under King's watch and he failed to get the Republican Congress to support a budget increase of formula-based anti-terrorism grants for high threat and high density areas. All of these failures prove that Peter King is ineffective, irrelevant or asleep at the switch in Congress.

Peter King has said he is planning to run his campaign on his homeland security credentials. He may want to reconsider
. [my emphases]

Dave Mejias
Democrat for Congress, NY-03
Donate to my campaign through ActBlue

Vote for Dave in November. Do you live in NY-03?

Plan B

There's a great little post over at Needlenose about Plan B and how it's gonna make certain wingnut heads pop.They are SO in a corner on this one.HeeHee.(h/t to the fine Americans at Crooks and Liars for the link).

Broken Promises

Paul Krugman on Katrina's first anniversary.

Last September President Bush stood in New Orleans, where the lights had just come on for the first time since Katrina struck, and promised "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen." Then he left, and the lights went out again.

And so it is along our own Gulf Coast. The Bush administration likes to talk about all the money it has allocated to the region, and it plans a public relations blitz to persuade America that it's doing a heck of a job aiding Katrina's victims. But as the Iraqis learned, allocating money and actually using it for reconstruction are two different things, and so far the administration has done almost nothing to make good on last year's promises.

It's true that tens of billions have been spent on emergency relief and cleanup. But even the cleanup remains incomplete: almost a third of the hurricane debris in New Orleans has yet to be removed. And the process of going beyond cleanup to actual reconstruction has barely begun.

Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. That's the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology.

But bureaucracies don't have to be this inefficient. The failure to get moving on reconstruction reflects lack of leadership at the top.

Please read the rest. Then go see Bob Schieffer sound off on this, with a reference to a different reconstruction zone.

The 9/11 Report: Pow! R-rumble...

The 9/11 Commission Report has been put in a 'Graphic Adaptation' aka 'comic book' form. I think it's a good idea, as it makes it easier to read. As us Marines say, "Pictures! Lotsa pictures!"

With my own ears, I heard former Governor and Commission Chair Thomas Kean say they got it right.

Slate has the whole thing.


My son is coming up with his own testicle jokes now. He'll be 13 in the spring. It hit me this summer that I can actually almost wear some of his clothes.Any day now I'm going to have to look up at him to see his gorgeous face. This summer he crossed over forever into the menswear department,no more boy's size clothes or shoes. WTF happened to the time? While I was slogging through all the day to day hell with this kid(his first few years were really HARD.Once we figured out that he is autistic,life got lots easier because we learned how to handle things)it seemed like forever.In retrospect,the time has flown. Holy Crap. Holy FREAKING Crap.

Anyhoo,onto the testicle joke and enough of my parental anxiety.

My son's dentist has a big gumball machine next to the receptionist's desk. Instead of gumballs,the thing is filled with those little hard rubber balls that bounce really high when you fling them against any hard surface. When a kid gets done with their appt,they go to the front desk and ask for a quarter for the machine.We must have at least 2 dozen of those little balls around the house and in the yard and the pool.Not counting all the ones I've thrown away because they've been used to annoy the snot out of me.

On this particular dentist appt day(Atilla had reconstructive dentistry this summer,we had many appts),the kiddo got two balls when he put his quarter in the machine.You see where this is going don't you?

So we're driving home and Atilla is trying to juggle in the car.I told him to knock it off until we got home,he was elbowing me and stuff. I have one car rule(well,two,seatbelts are the other one),Don't Fuck with the Driver.Especially when it's me driving.

Off in my peripheral vision I see the kid look straight at me and he says:

"What's the matter Mom?Shouldn't I be PLAYING WITH MY BALLS in the car? I guess I'll have to put MY BALLS away until I get home,then I can BE ALONE WITH MY BALLS,in my room?Is that what you're saying Mom?"

Smartass. Common Parental Wisdom(tm) says you shouldn't laugh at this stuff because it only reinforces and encourages it. But funny is funny. My boy's first testicle joke(to me at least),is there a Hallmark Card for that milestone? Ahh,those Mother/Son moments...(((she sighs,wistfully)))

Because of this,and more incidents like it than I can count,I've come to think that men have two main life stages after childhood.

Stage one starts at the early teens and ends sometime around age 30. At this point,men are quite similar to year old black lab or golden retriever pups. Goofy,rather clumsy and a bit(or alot)awkward,full of piss and vinegar and boundless energy,rarely serious,and have a need to be paid attention to,except when they're sleeping. They always seem to be hungry too. Usually they're cute enough that you can't stay mad at them for long. Usually.

Stage two is Bears With Furniture*(and pants,sometimes,if you're lucky). Bears With Furniture tend to do lots of scratching,farting,and have stomachs that make noises that have no business coming from mammals. Don't even get me started on various odors they leave around the house. Alot of them like reclining chairs and remote controlled anything. Their hobbies tend to be either loud or expensive,or both. But they are cuddly, which kind of makes up for messy and goofy.Sometimes.

I have one of each and no female backup. One thing I've learned is to pick my battles to preserve my sanity.But even then there are times where my grip is tenuous at best. Let's just say a lesser woman would have either run for the hills screaming,never to return,OR,she'd be drinking,heavily. That I've resorted to neither(though both have crossed my mind,alot)means I'm either brave or crazy,I haven't decided which.

*Bears With Furniture I believe came from a comedy bit by Rita Rudner.Who,if I remember correctly,was a comic from NYC.Is she still around?She was kinda funny,never really made it too big though.

Local races ...

Granny in Montana directs me to Monica Lindeen's campaign:


When asked why she thinks Rehberg and the current Congress are vulnerable, Lindeen said: "Pick an issue."

"The rising cost of gasoline, the rising cost of health care, the Red Sea of debt that this Congress is leaving for our children," she said. "Montanans are concerned about it. They know they're getting the short end of the stick.

"This man says that he's a fiscal conservative. How can he look anyone in the eye in the state of Montana and say he's a fiscal conservative?"

She raps Rehberg for opposing any increases in the federal minimum wage - until last week, when it was paired with an estate-tax reduction. [Link]


Lindeen for Congress

Monica's ActBlue page

Do you live in MT-01?

Addendum: If you know of a House race I should highlight, drop me an email or leave a comment on one of the 'Local races ...' posts.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Double standards

Remember when the Right attacked Jill Carroll when she was abducted and made forced statements?

I wonder what they'll say about Centanni? *crickets*


Since Labor Day is fast approaching, it's time for the new Uniform of the Day. Back to Woodland camo for the Fall.

And another housekeeping note. I put the hit count up on the Site Meter because we're getting close to 100,000 hits. I'm debating a prize for the 100,000th person and at the rate we're going, it'll take a few more weeks. I'll think about it. Maybe if I still have those pictures I took of my ex ... Heh ... Bad idea. I can hear AOB yellin' at me already ...

Quote of the Day


Bush has announced that pulling out of Iraq now would bring about "disaster." Because all is well in the midst of our occupation. *blink*

Local races ...

Via Jesus' General. Darcy Burner is running in Washington-08:


"We are at a very dangerous moment in the American experience. We are under attack by forces outside of this country: Terrorists who are focused entirely on killing Americans and destroying this country. And we are under attack from the inside, by an administration and a majority in Congress that would destroy those things that the American people have fought for and won over the last 215 years."


Darcy Burner, Democrat for Congress

Do you live in WA-08?

Darcy's ActBlue page.


You see why I'm pushing the House races this year? The Rothenberg Report via Pensito Review:

Our latest race-by-race review of Congressional districts around the country convinces us that a Democratic wave is building and that the party is poised to take control of the House of Representatives in the fall. The only question now is the size of the November wave.

The national mood remains bleak for Republicans. President George W. Bush's job performance ratings are terrible, and the public still gives Congress low marks. A majority of Americans continue to tell pollsters that the country is headed in the wrong direction.


We can do this.

Navel gazing

When the Lefty bloggers become the bogeyman of the Right, you know they're scared. TCF:


There's a very good reason the Lefty blogsphere has become the bane of the Right's existence from, yes, Joe Liberman, Bill O'Reilly and future Viagra spokesman Rush Limbaugh. The Right blogs speak hypocrisy in defense of the Bush administration and the Congressional Republicans. Yet, the newfound power of Liberal and Progressive blogs is the result of successfully speaking truth to power.



Godwin's Law*

I've related some of my mother's stories (here, here, and here) about Germany during the time Hitler's power was growing and pointed out how analogous they were to events happening today in America. Sorry to say, but there's nothing else to call it**. The U.S. is fast becoming a Fascist state.


Obviously a regular Brain reader.

Pic courtesy of Pam.

*Godwin's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. [1]

**Great thanks to Sumo for the link.

Pump up the fear ...

Election Day is near* ...

Dave Johnson noticed, as I'm sure the rest of you have, the frequency of 'terror' stories on the news lately.

*Probably my first and only attempt at poetry here at the Brain.

This is still America

And while I don't want to hear anything about God from people, I support their right to believe whatever they damn well please. If it works for ya, fine with me. Just don't expect me at your meetings or whatever you call your get togethers. Living in New York, you meet people who'll worship just about anything and that's fine, but the one thing I don't get are these guys:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Saying he's "as Jewish as a matzo ball or kosher salami," Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus for using his name and likeness in a pamphlet.


Jews for Jesus. Being married into a Jewish family, I just don't understand the rationale. And just an additional note, the Metropolitan Transit Authority sued them too*, for appropriating the logos of the NYC Subway System. Seems to me, these guys ain't too bright to begin with.

Tip o' the Brain to our pal Seth for the link.


But what really scares me are these folks (read 'comments' too), probably nice people all, but yeesh.

Just a note: I found this link while I was going over site stats. I guess somebody got to the Brain via the 'Next Blog' button on the Blogger bar, that we don't have here (I hate that fucking thing). I'm certain this lady didn't link to us. Heh ...

*Link added after the fact.

Life during wartime ...

[With apologies to Gilliard, and the Talking Heads, but I'm stealing the whole thing. - Fixer]

Take a look at the pictures below*.

Somewhere, some son or daughter of the Beltway upper classes is either sneaking out of an apartment after furtive, drunken sex, playing Evercrack or sleeping off a boozy night.

They will spend Sunday over eggs and coffee, maybe watch a Nationals game, hop in the SUV and head to a mall, enjoying the end of the fetid Washington summer and do some shopping. Maybe they'll settle in for some midday sex or smoke a bowl of weed or run or any of the myraid of things that well off people do on Sundays.

Other people, people without such luxuries, will wake up, with rank, sweaty clothing, sore, because concrete makes anyone sore. The smell of piss fills the air. Sleep wasn't much, but you can't not sleep, even if it's miserably hot.

You spit out a little warm water because you'll wait to brush your teeth. A million years ago, you used Mentadent. But the plastic container is way too bulky to follow you here, so it's Colgate, what you used as a kid. And then you bury it so it won't explode in your gear, fucking it up. You shouldn't really have it, but you can't shave, there is no hot food, so the one luxury, beside that bible your uncle gave you, the one he had in Vietnam, is toothpaste.

You stand up, in a room you share with other stinking bodies, none over 24, because it's your turn to watch that street.

When Clint Eastwood did it, in the movies, it was cool, watching the street for bad guys. Now, it isn't cool, it is a deadly business. It is your life in microseconds. The wrong person, with the wrong weapon, and you could no longer exist.

You look at every alley, every gust of wind. It may be quiet in other places, but here, the bad guys, who in your quiet moments think aren't all that different than you, may pop up and start the day up with some gunfire, maybe a rocket.

This is your Sunday, it was your Saturday and it will be your Monday, when you get relieved and get a shower and hope the Halliburton food doesn't make you sick again.

And then there are the people who live in total fear. Who will shoot at you today, the Sadrists, the guerrillas, the police, the Americans, the contractors who have no law. Who will you have to fear today.

At least the Americans can go back to their bunkers and bases and sleep. Last week, some men took the people down the block out and shot them. Dead. Everyone. They were Shia, but who knows why? A crooked business deal, a death squad, who knows? All you can do is live and hope you don't get that knock on the door.

You have no base to go to, no place to hide. All you can do is run your errands, pray to be safe and hope for the best, the best meaning everyone in your house lives to the next sunrise.You aren't going for any run, not if you want to live. Anyone can shoot a running man.

Some days, you think you can stick it out, that it will get better. But some days, you want to leave. Life on the moon must be better.

And then, your sister's daughter never mentions her job. She speaks English, learned it at univesity. They have money, but is she working for the Americans? Is she that stupid? There are people who watch, who make notes. She hopes she isn't that stupid, because you don't know who that could kill.

Sunday. Some people get to rest, some don't.

*[Pic link here.]