Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas in New York

From Blondie:

[. . .]

Da windiz of da fancy stawz.
Ya gotta tell da kids dat dere's no way ya gonna buy dem shit in doze staws though. There's perfectly good stuff for sale along the sidewalk, ya know?
Translation for idiots: Lovely windows at some of New Yorks finer retail establishments.

[. . .]

It's about time somebody wrote in my language.

Maybe We Can Clone Him...

WaPo columnist Tom Shales writes about Bill Moyers' retirement. I present it here in its entirety.

Bill Moyers Gets In the Last Word

By Tom Shales

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Bill Moyers has always taken the high road, but it got a little lonely up there. In a country where political discourse grows ever more shrill, his voice was more and more easily drowned out. Last night, at the age of 70 and on the eve of his 50th wedding anniversary, Bill Moyers took the high road home.

Moyers said not goodbye but "farewell" as he took leave of "Now," the program he has hosted for the past three years on PBS. The show will continue in a few weeks with another host, but Moyers's presence will be an irreplaceable loss. Watching the final program, which consisted of a report on the dominance of right-wing ranting in TV and radio and an interview with Anthony Romero, head of the ACLU, one may have felt guilty about not having supported Moyers more loyally as he kept fighting the good fight.

His is one of the few liberal voices left in broadcasting, it seems, and his insistence on being armed with facts to support his opinions left him at something of a disadvantage when dealing with people who think the way to win an argument is to scream the loudest. Moyers represented reason, deliberation, serious questioning of the status quo and, especially, standing as firmly as possible against government encroachment into Americans' private lives.

Moyers may not have helped his own image as something of a pontificator, however, by mentioning "Mein Kampf" in a cautionary note about the Pentagon's use of deception and disinformation against enemies, real or imagined, abroad. Piety is one of the sins most common to those on the political left, and Moyers's career has hardly been devoid of it. In the grand scheme of things -- if there is a grand scheme of things -- it wasn't much of a character flaw.

After the preliminaries and the listing of what sounded like 75 underwriting foundations, Moyers last night introduced the first report, "A Matter of Opinion," by recalling a car trip he and wife Judith Davidson Moyers (a partner in his business) took and how shocked they were when they started scanning the radio dial. What he heard, Moyers said, was "a freak show of political pornography" on a scale he found "malignant."

The report, produced by Kathleen Hughes, documented conservative excesses on the "public" airwaves. Sean Hannity, a bullying buffoon on the "fair and balanced" Fox News network, spent much of his time this year campaigning for George W. Bush, telling an audience in one city that a vote for Democrat John Kerry would help "Osama get his way."

Sinclair Broadcasting, a major owner of TV and radio properties, tried to force its stations to air what was clearly a free political infomercial for Bush until protesters forced company executives, loyal Republicans all, to back down. Sinclair fired one journalist, Jon Leiberman, for his protests. He told Moyers he was dumped for "refusing to toe the party line." The "documentary" was eventually cut into sections and passed off as news on the stations' newscasts.

Equally conservative and arguably more powerful Clear Channel Communications also went all-out in supporting Bush's reelection and Iraq war. A popular talk-jock at one Clear Channel station argued against the war on his show and found himself exiled to a remote time slot. "Management directed me to shut up about the war," he said.

Moyers naturally dealt with radio personality Rush Limbaugh and Fox's noisiest loudmouth, Bill O'Reilly, during the report. But he never mentioned the personal yet very public problems that the two men went through during the past year -- tabloid stuff that Moyers and his producer obviously found irrelevant to the points they were trying to make. During the second half of the show, the ACLU executive did mention Limbaugh's addiction to prescription painkillers but only in illustrating how even conservatives benefit from the ACLU's vigilance in defending the right to privacy.

In a long goodbye to his viewers at the close of the show, Moyers said: "I've learned from you not to claim too much for my craft, but not to claim too little, either. You keep reminding me that the quality of journalism and the quality of democracy go hand in hand. Or as a character says in one of Tom Stoppard's plays, 'People do terrible things to each other, but it's worse in the places where everybody is kept in the dark.' "

On "Now" and his other broadcast efforts over a three-decade career, Moyers has investigated subjects that mainstream media ignore, whether out of indifference or fear. We should have watched more often. We should have paid more attention. But Moyers can still leave "Now" with satisfaction and pride. He played by dignified and gentlemanly rules -- rules that now, alas, may be dangerously out of date.

I saw his show last night. I wish everybody could have seen it. I thought the reference to Mein Kampf was right on the money if a little late in coming, but I guess he had to wait 'til he had one foot out the door to say it. He laid into the right-wing gasbags and liars real good, from Rush Limpdope to Clear Channel. About fuckin' time.

We'll miss you, Bill.

America the beautiful

Via TBogg, this is disgusting:

ITHACA, N.Y. - Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide poll.

The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims’ civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

The only religious freedom they support is their freedom to practice their religion. Fuck everybody else. Are these Jesus' values?

Denken an der Vaterland

Lambert's in Berlin (I'm jealous) and brings us this after visiting the Reichstag:

[. . .]

So, our Constitution, with its Bill of Rights, its checks and Balances, could be no more permanent than the Prussian Empire—or the Roman Republic. And evil, ever changing and never changing, reproduces by taking the human faces, and the human hosts, appropriate to its time. Leading me to recommend to you, once again, the work of M. Scott Peck: People of the Lie (POTL). In examining evil, Peck comes to three conclusions, which are certainly relevant when thinking about the thirties, and may be relevant today. (1) The evil can be recognized by their pervasive, promiscuous lying. Lying is central to their identity. (2) The evil, like all of us, surround themselves with people who are like them. They cluster. And, not relevant to the thirties, but perhaps relevant today, (3) the evil congregate in churches, as a form of protective coloration. (Not to say that all, or even a significant minority of the churchgoing are evil; indeed, it is because most are good that the evil find protective coloration there.)

And yet I love Berlin...

So, good night...

So many similarities, so little time.

Steve Mumford

Got turned on to this guy yesterday, watching the news over dinner. That Communist Peter Jennings had this guy as the Person of the Week. Ol' Steve's a combat artist, part of a vanishing breed. I love combat photography far more than the Ansel Adams-type shit. More emotion. But the combat artists are my favorite. Go here to see more of his work. His pictures are also accompanied by his Baghdad Journal, Steve's travels with our combat units.

Saturday Springer Blogging

Shayna is still indisposed (haven't got my new computer yet) so Gord's girls, Molly and Bridget, have agreed to fill in.

I'm going to the dentist this morning, yeesh, so I probably won't be doing much blogging today. Chapter 5 is up over at creativity though.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Right View, Wrong Reason

Bull Moose is a real good blog. This comment is about the looming rift (Thank you, o kind and decent Deity) in the Republican Party. Moose is quoting Fred Barnes, of all people!
There's a third camp, those who would do nothing on Social Security because insolvency won't be a threat for a decade or more. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has privately questioned whether it makes sense to tackle Social Security now. After all, Republicans worked for years to gain control of Congress. Why jeopardize that by provoking a fight over Social Security?"

You folks know what I think of 'Bugs' DeLay. I'm confused. How do you deal with somebody you despise when he shares your viewpoint, even if it's for selfish, self-serving reasons?

Fuck it. I still hate the sonuvabitch and hope he goes to jail.

He goes on to say:
The Moose is not pollyannaish about a coming G.O.P. crack-up. Rather, he just wants to remind the donkey that he is not the only one with tsouris. The objective in the next year is for the Democrats to help heighten the contradictions within the Republican Party (my emphasis). For instance, seize the fallen standards of fiscal responsibility and military preparedness. Rising deficits and inadequately equipped troops cry out for a conservative party!

Maybe it can be the Democrats!

Lord love a duck! What have these administration assholes done to us? We need a stronger word than 'irony'. Maybe 'insanity' would fill the bill. Seems to be catching.

I do agree with the objective.

Fucking delusional

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House gave a new vote of confidence on Friday to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld amid growing criticism of him from members of President Bush's own Republican Party.

"Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job leading our efforts at the Department of Defense to win the war on terrorism and to help bring about a free and peaceful Iraq, and the president is focused on working closely with him on those matters," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

[. . .]

Wonder what kind of medal Shrub is gonna pin on Rummy?

Shades of Saigon

Pilfered from Steve Goddard:

Parallels to Iraq

Lest you think the mess in Fallujah has no precedent, The Nation re-runs a 1968 column on the losses caused by misdirected fire in the Vietnam War:

"Just before Saigon's police chief, Col. Nguyen Van Luan, was killed by a misfired American rocket, he noted bitterly that U.S. air strikes in the city's suburbs were helping the enemy more than hurting them. The Vietcong has no Air Force of his own so he uses ours," he said a week prior to his death--a remark which must be classed as one of the most ironic of the war."

Put Your One Foot Forward...

James Wolcott has few things to add to Bullmoose's proposal (scroll down a little) to scrap the Presidential Inauguration.
No, America is not a starving nation--quite the opposite--but this "solemnization festivity," as Bull Moose points out, is an unseemly spectacle as the dead and wounded return from Iraq. "Somehow it is obscene for party goers to be dancing the Texas Two Step at the Black Tie and Boots Ball while across town young men and women are struggling to walk again at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval."

Hear, hear.

While you're reading Bullmoose, be sure to see "Hush Medals and Rumsfeld Retirement Watch II".

Thought Police

This editorial in the WaPo frosted my balls.
YISHAI ASIDO is an 11-year-old boy in Loudoun County who refused a class assignment last month to write a letter to U.S. Marines and, according to his teacher, said he wished that American soldiers -- and "all Americans" -- would die. His offensive remark led the county sheriff's office to dispatch two plainclothes officers to Yishai's home, where, according to Yishai's mother, they quizzed his parents on their political beliefs and asked whether they had taught him "anti-American values."

That's the first paragraph. Here's the last one.
Perhaps the idea was to scare Yishai straight or to impress on him the indecency of his views. If so, there were probably better ways to deliver the message, starting with the teachers, guidance counselors, principal and other administrators at his school. Let the deployment of sheriff's deputies to a schoolboy's home be a last resort in the event of a specific, well-founded threat of violence.

Naturally, I don't agree with what this kid said. It was wrong and ill-advised. He's 11 years old fer chrissake! The old First Amendment gave him the right to say any damn fool thing he wants to, short of a direct threat.

Apparently, the First Amendment has been modified to permit only certain types of "free" speech, and the government will be glad to come to your house and e'splain it. Orwell is grinnin' from his grave.

I'm not exactly thrilled with the WaPo's degree of outrage over the incident, either. They are correct, but they miss the point. Or are they afraid of retribution?

This seems to be a step in the direction of making sure that the "Climate of Fear" that Bush&Co. want us to live under starts 'em out on the "Right" track when they're young and malleable. Every teacher an administration snitch.

Our country is changing, and not for the better.

Buying Silence

Barry Grey at the World Socialist Web Site (Ooh! The 'S' word! They'll be coming for me now, you bet!) says out loud what the MSM won't even hint at: The Medals of Freedom are payoffs for Tenet, Bremer, and Franks to keep their traps shut.
The glaring contradiction between Bush’s praise for the three honorees and the disasters over which they presided—in Tenet’s case, within the US as well as in Iraq—points to an additional motive behind the awards. In the atmosphere of crisis and palace intrigue surrounding the Bush White House, the medals suggest a payoff to buy the silence of individuals in a position to tell tales that could prove highly damaging.

To this day the utter failure of the Bush administration and the CIA to take any serious measures to thwart an Al Qaeda attack that was known to be in the offing remains unexplained. Tenet, better than most, would know precisely who in the US intelligence establishment and Bush administration allowed the attacks to take place. The political motives for doing so were already clear in the way the Bush administration seized on the tragedy to implement both foreign and domestic policies of a far-reaching and reactionary character that would have been politically impossible, except under the banner of a “war on terror.”

If and when those responsible for the atrocity unfolding in Iraq are brought to justice, the latest Medal of Freedom recipients, and the man who bestowed them, will find themselves reunited in the dock of a war crimes tribunal, where they belong.

I don't want to miss that! Anybody know where I can get tickets?

All three of those people have book deals in the works. I hope they've got the cojones to tell the truth anyway, and not let their discredited baubles go to their heads. Bush needs to be outed, in print and with proof, and these three can do it.

Why we lost

From the Columbia Political Review via Seeing the Forest:

A short answer to the question of why we lost: Bush had more room for error. The Republicans had the stronger hand and played it well. The Democrats had the weaker hand and played it pretty well. The stronger trumps the weaker and well trumps pretty well. To put it another way, Kerry’s challenge was to do everything right. He didn’t. So he lost.

[. . .]

It's a good analysis. We need new leadership at many levels in the Democratic Party. Initial returns have me giving Harry Ried the benefit of the doubt, but the DNC chairmanship will be critical. Write to your Congressnudnik and tell 'em you want them to vote for Howard Dean.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Stolen from WTF:

Wake the #uck up already
When are the Dems going to stop being such deaf, dumb and blind dickheads? I don't know what pisses me off the most: the g-pukes who'll make shit up and stop at nothing, or the Dems who'll curl up quivering in a corner with #uck me painted on their asscheeks.

Former Kerry campaign manager says she may have underestimated the impact of the Swift Boat Liars Vets for Bush Truth ads, and the incredible number of morons who fell for them, the Duh Institute reports.


From Under A Rock...

I was cruisin' yelladog and linked to the Guardian and got this jewel:
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should be replaced sometime in the next year, Sen. Trent Lott says.

``I'm not a fan of Secretary Rumsfeld,'' Lott told the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. ``I don't think he listens enough to his uniformed officers.''

Jeebus, I know "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and all that, but this is scary. I don't even know if McCain, Kristol, and Schwarzkopf want that idiot on their side. Maybe he has great appeal to the Retard Right.

Yelladog's comment is priceless:
I was saying this two years ago and I got called a commie and a traitor for my trouble.

Why does Trent Lott hate America?

Because of the Emancipation Proclamation for one thing, Patrick.


Via Kos:

Nearly 900 children have lost a parent in Iraq

Sad to the depths of his 4-year-old soul, Jack Shanaberger knew what he didn't want to be when he grows up: a father.

"I don't want to be a daddy because daddies die," the child solemnly told his mother after his father, Staff Sgt. Wentz "Baron" Shanaberger, a military policeman from Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed March 23 in an ambush in Iraq.

On that terrible day, Jack and his four siblings joined the ranks of the largely overlooked American casualties who, until now, have gone uncounted. Although almost daily official announcements tally the war dead, the collateral damage to the children left behind has not been detailed.

But, from Defense Department casualty reports, obituaries and accounts in hometown newspapers, and family interviews, Scripps Howard News Service has identified nearly 900 U.S. children who have lost a parent in the war, from the start of the conflict in March 2003 through November, when a total of 1,256 troops had died.

[. . .]

Full story.

I am so pissed off and saddened at the same time. This poor little boy and 900 others will never know their fathers. For what? For some stupid, twisted scheme for petro-dollars. It's disgusting and criminal.

Bush today

"This nation should never settle for mediocrity."

Go fucking figure.

Presidential Medals of Failure

From Richard Cohen in the WaPo.
Where's Kerik?

This is the question I asked myself as, one by one, the pictures of the latest Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees flashed by on my computer screen. First came George Tenet, the former CIA director and the man who had assured President Bush that it was a "slam-dunk" that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Then came L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy of Iraq, who disbanded the Iraqi army and ousted Baathists from government jobs, therefore contributing mightily to the current chaos in that country. Finally came retired Gen. Tommy Franks, the architect of the plan whereby the United States sent too few troops to Iraq.

One by one these images flicked by me, each man wearing the royal-blue velvet ribbon with the ornate medal -- one failure after another, each now on the lecture circuit, telling insurance agents and other good people what really happened when they were in office, but withholding such wisdom from the American people until, for even more money, their book deals are negotiated. (Franks has already completed this stage of his life. His book, "American Soldier," was a bestseller.)

The White House medal ceremony was really about George W. Bush. It had a slight touch of the absurd to it, as if facts do not matter and failure does not count. The War to Rid Iraq of WMD has now become The War to Bring Democracy to the Middle East. No one is ever held accountable, because the president will not do as much for himself. He admits no mistakes because he is convinced that he has made none. The terrorist attacks themselves, for which Tenet should have been sacked, are no one's fault because they cannot be the president's fault. He was warned. Condi Rice was put on notice. But, still, who could have known?

To make these awards in the face of failure -- the mounting American death toll, the awful suffering of the Iraqis, the looming possibility of civil war, the nose-thumbing of the still-at-large Osama bin Laden and the madness of making war for a nonexistent reason -- has the creepy feel of the old communist states, where incompetents wore medals and harsh facts were denied. For this reason Bernie Kerik -- three months in Iraq building a police force as good as rhetoric can make it -- seemed as likely and appropriate a recipient of a presidential medal as any of the others.

Maybe next year.

Maybe with the price of gold going up as the dollar goes down, that's all the medals they could afford this year. That whole deal is a travesty right up there with awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Kissinger and Arafat. Tacky, just like Bush.

This Space For Rent

Maureen Dowd of the NYTimes has an all-American solution for Rumbo's failure to give the troops what they need.
But, hey, it's Christmas. Overcome with the spirit of giving, I'd like to give Rummy a lifeline to escape the flak over armor

They should take a lesson from their own playbook and reach out to corporate America. If Rummy can't adequately supply the Army, maybe I.B.M. and Xerox can.

Picture this: a truck rumbling across the desert on the evening news, completely armored and emblazoned with golden arches. Or a fleet of Visa Humvees. You know Donald Trump would love to slap his name on a few Chinooks. The 82nd Trumpborne.

And what about product placement? When soldiers give their Christmas greetings on Fox News or MSNBC, they could be holding cans of Pepsi or calling home on Samsung phones. Why merely send their love when they could be writing love letters in the sand on Apple computers?

Like athletes or Nascar drivers, they could sell every inch of their body: STP helmets, Nike boots, Staples "Yeah, we got that" dog tags, Starbucks M.R.E.'s, CamelBak canteens by Camels, Sony laser target designators.

All those old, out-of-shape reservists being dragged back by Rummy would be great pitchmen for arthritis medication. And Celebrex night vision goggles (emphasis so it's easier to read for us old farts. Don't forget Depends).

Rummy's a little distracted trying to get his silly space shield, which fizzled yet again in a test yesterday, and fighting hard for his job, so it may take him awhile to focus on privatizing. Meanwhile, we still have that pesky armor shortage.

So how about Tommy "Stop Writing Books and Finish the War" Franks, Paul "You Disbanded the Iraqi Army, Dummy" Bremer and George "Slam-Dunk" Tenet taking off those preposterous Medals of Freedom and contributing them. Just as Scarlett and Melanie took off their gold wedding rings for the Confederate cause, those medals can be melted down for a little Humvee armor.

With help like that and some corporate support - maybe Levitra could even sponsor his next trip to Iraq - Rummy could get the Army he wants and wishes to have sooner rather than later. Like, while we're actually fighting a war

Thanks for that mental image, MoDo. Rumbo running around the desert with a hard-on. The way he's been doing the troops, doesn't look like he needs a pill to fuck 'em.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Freedom Of The Press - NOT!

From the Ess Eff Chronicle:
Courts turn journalists into criminals
- Tim Crews
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

An American journalist today must be prepared to go to jail.

Newspapermen from the first days of this country would be saddened, but not shocked, to see 21st-century courts stampede to corral journalists, whether with the cudgel of subpoenas or fear of subpoenas.

Oddly enough, the press ought to have seen this coming and prepared for it. Even now, with reporters from Time Magazine and the New York Times held in contempt and facing 18-month prison sentences, the response from the mainstream American press has been tepid.

Few seem to know about -- or consider their legacy -- Benjamin Franklin Bache, who was beaten at the behest of President John Adams, arrested for printing news that the government did not like and for publishing documents that showed leading Federalists were lying about the "evil schemes" of France. Read: weapons of mass destruction.

Today, while more and more journalists are subpoenaed by federal investigators in connection with the alleged retaliatory "outing" of a CIA agent married to a critic of President George W. Bush, subpoenas are being used by defense attorneys and grand juries.

A few are standing tall. But the response of many in the press is predictable: Don't make waves. Death by self-censorship.

It's not just that reporters, photographers, editors and publishers have become very cautious or timid. Many have capitulated altogether and refuse to do any journalism that requires deep probing and sources to be protected. Consider that the New York Times' Judith Miller is being questioned about sources for a story she never wrote.

There is little doubt, from the acid poured upon my newspaper for publishing a send-up of the overzealous Patriot Act, that many are quite ready to silence a free press, ostensibly for reasons of security but really for reasons of having their self-deception disturbed (my emphasis).

It has come to a time, it seems to us, that journalists worth their salt must contemplate committing civil disobedience in nearly every issue. If we report that the county is misspending money or defrauding prisoners, we are cast as disloyal. "Get on board the bus, boy, or get run over" -- that's the message from Washington and Sacramento.

Virtually everyone doing eyes-open journalism courts a subpoena and then, if worth his or her salt, courts jail, financial ruin, even loss of family.

The deep disrespect by our elected and appointed officials for the free exchange of ideas is now seen plain in the higher levels of the nation's courts. The answer is to fill the prisons with reporters, photographers, editors and publishers.

For a nation that has given lip service to the ideals of free speech and a free press and that has long excoriated the Third World for imprisoning journalists, that is where we have come.

Tim Crews is editor of the Sacramento Valley Mirror in Glenn County. He spent five days in jail in 2000 for refusing to name his sources for a story he wrote about a former California Highway Patrol officer charged with stealing a gun.

Tell the truth, go to jail. Why isn't Bob Douchebag For Liberty Novak locked up or facing it? Because he pled the Fifth Amendment. It looks as though if you knowingly break the law, you can get away with it as long as you're a mouthpiece for this crooked administration, but if you simply tell the truth without breaking the law, you get in trouble. A sad state of affairs that needs to be corrected. Soon.


I was over at Jeffthinks today and realized I hadn't been there in a couple days. He's got another epic going (here and here so far) and I was gonna reply in comments. Well, as I've said before, Jeff gets me thinking. Anyway, this comment was turning out longer than his post and I was getting . . . tangential. So I figured I'd just post it here and leave a link to it in his comments.

Okay, the F-man's 2 cents: (Sorry I haven't got to this until today, Jeff) Obligatory wiseass remark: A mind is a terrible thing.

God and the whole religion thing is what separates us from the lower orders because we don't have one thing they do. Strong instincts. Oh yeah, we have fighting and fucking, but we don't have the things that count, at least not as strongly ingrained. We don't have the sense of heirarchy and community as the wolfpack does. Look at your family dog. He loves your ass, wants to be with your ass. Why? The pack instinct. Yes, we gather in communities and have a 'tribal' society, but we don't have that 'alpha-male' pecking order. We don't have that ingrained programming that the lower orders do. We have free will.

Some smart guys figured out, long before the Chinese, or the Egyptians, or the Greeks and Romans, that to keep order with all these folks exercising their free will, that there had to be consequences for one's actions. While the anarchists get attention every election season, a society can't survive if anarchy reigns.

Ever notice how almost every religion has a Hell of some sort? Hey, fuck up in life and that's where you're going. The ultimate form of control. Control over the Mortal Soul. Kill somebody, go to Hell. Fuck your neighbor's wife, go to Hell. Eat pork, go to Hell. Homosexuality, go to Hell. Know why? Anarchy prophylaxis and disease prevention.

That's the basis of religion. Ancient man needed a force to scare the shit out of the masses enough so most of 'em would toe the line, and live according to society's rules. Hey, if folks believe they're only on this Earth for a relatively fleeting moment and then dwell in the afterlife for eternity, they're gonna want to make that stay as cushy as possible. If they believe the Almighty is watching them every minute, keeping score, they'll behave well enough for society to function. I mean, if people believed their entire existence was only the time betwen birth and death, what incentive would they have to conform? Who cares what 'sins' I commit if I have no soul to be damned, right? If I am not to be judged and sentenced to damnation's fires, what the fuck if me and the neighbor lady bump uglies when our spouses aren't looking, right?

Now, I lean more toward the 'Great Engineer' theory. That some great, incomprehensible being set Life, the Universe, and Everything in motion and left off. Whatever happened, happened. The natural world just works so well. If the Ol' 'GE' did do something after the initial spark, it was to give humans the gift (or the potential to develop) their sentience. That's just my deal, and I'm not down on religion at all. I have an aunt (Roman Catholic) who should be nominated for sainthood because she lives by the Book. She does good, charitable works and goes to church every Sunday. She doesn't curse either. My problems with religion comes when it's used to subjugate and control.

We are now hopefully, though the jury's still out, more evolved. We are a world that is based on the Rule of Law. We have justice and punishment, a duly sanctioned constabulary, and governments to set guidelines for society's behavior. Religion is not required to keep order (I'm talking the Western World) anymore. It is why it's such a 600lb gorilla. Organized religion is losing its grip steadily as we learn more about our natural world. As we all know, change comes slowly when it comes time to redistibute power.

We're at a time in our history (I'm talking Human history) where we are beginning to see Star Trek becoming a reality. We are going through incredible growing pains at this point, evident in the Western-Muslim conflicts. For all intents and purposes, the Muslim world is just entering the 20th Century and is coming squarely up against the Techno-Porno world of the West. I'm sure that's what our world looks like to them. Think Bladerunner. The conflict between the Religious Right and the Liberal Left in this country is the same thing. Humanity is growing into its new skin. It's known as Evolution. Unfortunately, human evolution ususally entails violent, cataclysmic events.

Thanks a lot, Jeff. Now, once again I have a headache from getting my two brain cells fighting. I think I'm gonna twist a spliff and let the ol' cranium settle down.

Let the Afghan Poppies Bloom

I don't actually like Christopher Hitchens. He's a smarmy, unctuous, arrogant obnoxious Englishman with a beautiful command of our language. The thing about him that I really don't like is that sometimes he's right. Via Slate. Worth a read.
To these contrasting hypotheses one might add another variable, this time on the other side of the ledger. Coalition forces in Iraq do not come roaring into towns and villages to tell the local people to stop producing or consuming oil products. Nor do they roam the country blowing up oil-wells or drills. Picture how the situation in Iraq might be different if they did. Now picture something that you do not have to imagine—a determined effort by the liberators of Afghanistan to force the country back into warlordism and anarchy. Every day, soldiers acting in our name are burning or spraying Afghanistan's only viable crop.

Reporting from Afghanistan a few months ago (Vanity Fair, November 2004) I pointed out a few obvious facts. Twenty and more years ago, the country's main export was grapes and raisins. It was a vineyard culture. But many if not most of those vines have been dried up or cut down, or even uprooted and burned for firewood, in the course of the hideous depredations of the past decades. An Afghan who was optimistic enough to plant a vine today could expect to wait five years before seeing any return for it, whereas a quick planting of poppies will see pods flourishing in six months. What would you do, if your family or your village were on a knife-edge? The American officers I met, tasked with repressing this cultivation, were to a man convinced that they were wasting their time and abusing the welcome they had at first received in the countryside. It doesn't take much intelligence to understand the history of Prohibition, or to know that American consumer demand is strong enough to overcome any attempt to inhibit supply. In any case, we know this already from dire experience in Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico.

There is the further point that opium is good for us. Painkillers and anesthetics have to come from somewhere, and we have an arrangement with Turkey to grow and refine the stuff that we need. Why Turkey, an already over-indulged client state? Isn't it time to give the struggling Afghans a share of the business? We could simultaneously ensure a boost for Afghan agriculture, remove an essential commodity from terrorist and warlord control, and guarantee a steady supply of analgesics that would be free of impurities or additives.

In order to comprehend this point, there is no need to know much about Afghanistan. Do you know anyone who really believes in the "war on drugs" as it is supposedly waged in the United States? It is widely understood to be the main index of pointless and costly and unjust incarceration, a huge source of corruption in police departments, and a cause of crime in its own right as well as a source of tainted and "cut" narcotics. And that is before you even consider absurdities and cruelties like the denial of medical marijuana, or the diversion of personnel and resources from the war against more threatening gangsters. Our entire state policy, at home and abroad, is devoted not to stopping a trade that actually grows every year, but rather to ensuring that all its profitable means of production, distribution, and exchange remain the fiefdom of criminal elements. We consciously deny ourselves access to properly refined and labeled products and to the vast revenue that could accrue to the Treasury instead of to the mobsters here and overseas.

This demented legacy of the Nixon administration will have to be abandoned sooner or later, and I believe that the threatened sacrifice of Afghanistan to the dogma may be the "tipping point." There are numerous policy planners, prison officials, policemen, elected politicians, and scientific specialists, on the intelligent Right as well as the intelligent Left, who have concluded that decriminalization is an urgent necessity. It's hard to think of any other single reform that could make more difference in more areas. The idea offers a way out of the current sterile red state/blue state dichotomy. It ought to be the next big thing.

I think buying the opium from Afghan farmers is a priority right up there with buying up loose nukes. It's a better use of my tax money than financing Jesusland.

The Defense Secretary We Have

When I start posting shit from conservative William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, in the WaPo, the handwriting is on the wall for Rumsfeld and, hopefully, the administration.
Actually, we have a pretty terrific Army. It's performed a lot better in this war than the secretary of defense has. President Bush has nonetheless decided to stick for now with the defense secretary we have, perhaps because he doesn't want to make a change until after the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections. But surely Don Rumsfeld is not the defense secretary Bush should want to have for the remainder of his second term.

Contrast the magnificent performance of our soldiers with the arrogant buck-passing of Rumsfeld. Begin with the rest of his answer to Spec. Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee Army National Guard:

"Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe -- it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously, but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment. I can assure you that General Schoomaker and the leadership in the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable for it to have, but that they're working at it at a good clip."

So the Army is in charge. "They" are working at it. Rumsfeld? He happens to hang out in the same building: "I've talked a great deal about this with a team of people who've been working on it hard at the Pentagon. . . . And that is what the Army has been working on." Not "that is what we have been working on." Rather, "that is what the Army has been working on." The buck stops with the Army.

Perhaps Rumsfeld simply had a bad day. But then, what about his statement earlier last week, when asked about troop levels? "The big debate about the number of troops is one of those things that's really out of my control." Really? Well, "the number of troops we had for the invasion was the number of troops that General Franks and General Abizaid wanted."

Leave aside the fact that the issue is not "the number of troops we had for the invasion" but rather the number of troops we have had for postwar stabilization. Leave aside the fact that Gen. Tommy Franks had projected that he would need a quarter-million troops on the ground for that task -- and that his civilian superiors had mistakenly promised him that tens of thousands of international troops would be available. Leave aside the fact that Rumsfeld has only grudgingly and belatedly been willing to adjust even a little bit to realities on the ground since April 2003. And leave aside the fact that if our generals have been under pressure not to request more troops in Iraq for fear of stretching the military too thin, this is a consequence of Rumsfeld's refusal to increase the size of the military after Sept. 11.

In any case, decisions on troop levels in the American system of government are not made by any general or set of generals but by the civilian leadership of the war effort. Rumsfeld acknowledged this last week, after a fashion: "I mean, everyone likes to assign responsibility to the top person and I guess that's fine." Except he fails to take responsibility.

These soldiers deserve a better defense secretary than the one we have.

First, I start agreeing sometimes with Pat Buchanan and now this. I think I need counseling.

What we're dealing with

The Christo-Fascist mindset. Read my post below. Now, this morning, I run across this post from the farmer containing an excerpt from a fish . . . er, woman named Wanda, who is obviously concerned about 'family values'. These are the good, God-fearing people who follow Jesus' word:

Christians Are Taking Back America
by: wanda_for_decent_values (47/F/Des Moines, IA) 12/13/04 10:29 pm
Msg: 792 of 4454
5 recommendations

And we are THROUGH kowtowing to muslims, atheists, homosexuals and anti-American "artists" living on our tax dollars!

By the end of President George W Bush's 2nd term:

1) Iraq will be well on the way to being a peaceful Christian country. Once Iraq has gone Christian, the Gospel of Jesus will spread throughout the Middle East. The region will be at peace and millions of Arab souls will be saved through the grace of Jesus Christ.

2) Bush will have appointed at least two USSC Justices and the baby slaughterhouses will finally be closed down forever.

3) Gays will be put back in the closet for good. The sodomy and decency laws will be reinstated and their disgusting disease spreading activities will be outlawed again. Maybe we can’t get rid of them, but we can get them out our children’s view.

4) School vouchers will allow parents to send their kids to decent Christian schools instead of the NEA-infested cesspools that exist now.

5) Worthless liberal social welfare programs will be dismantled and replaced by Christian faith-based government funded programs. People will finally get REAL help through Jesus Christ.

6) Filthy shows like Howard Stern, Jerry Springer and Will & Grace will be off the air and replaced with decent Christian family programming. Families will once again be able to turn on the radio or television and not be embarrassed to listen or watch together.

7) The abominable scourge of Internet pornography will end with the expansion and ENFORCEMENT of the Online Decency Act. Pornographers who expose the public to this sickening material will be behind bars where they belong.

You can be with us or against us, but you had BETTER believe one thing:

Christians are DONE sitting at the back of the bus.

Yup, that's our little Wanda. I wonder how much 'sitting in the back of the bus' she's actually been forced to endure. I wonder if she realizes it's our (the muslims, atheists, homosexuals and anti-American "artists") taxes who are supporting the Jesus freaks.

I'd like to ask the Frau Kommissar if Jesus was a Nazi or Hitler was a disciple? I'd also like to ask her when they're gonna start taking gays, and anyone else who doesn't agree with her ideology, to the camps. I mean, isn't that what Jesus wants? Ol' Wanda and her ilk are a serious waste of my good air.

"Fifteen years ago I had nothing save my faith and my will. Today the Movement is Germany, today this Movement has won the German nation and formed the Reich. Would that have been possible without the blessing of the Almighty? Or do they who ruined Germany wish to maintain that they have had God's blessing? What we are we are, not against but with the will of Providence. And so long as we are loyal, honest, and ready to fight, so long as we believe in our great work and do not capitulate, we shall also in the future have the blessing of Providence." (Adolf Hitler, Rosenheim, Aug. 11, 1935)

The defense rests.

Update: 05:58:

And I just realized what Rove is using as a how-to manual. Mein Kampf.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Nazis . . . again . . . and again . . .

From Jesus Politics via Blondie:

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." (The German Churches Under Hitler, p.241)

I know I bitch and bitch about this. I won't even link to all my posts about the Bush Reich. But if you had any doubts about where this country's headed, these quotes from Der Führer should seal it for ya.

"Without pledging ourselves to any particular Confession [Protestantism or Catholicism], we have restored to faith its prerequisites because we were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." (Berlin, Oct. 24, 1933)

Yes, Martha, it can happen here.

Is this a joke or what?

Al Kamen in WaPo:

[. . .]

Failing upward? President Bush announced yesterday he'll be awarding the presidential Medal of Freedom to the Tres Amigos of Iraq: former CIA chief George J. "Slam Dunk" Tenet, who gave him bad information; retired Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who didn't have enough troops for the postwar occupation; and former Iraq viceroy L. Paul Bremer, who complained about the troop levels too late.

[. . .]

Three miserable failures get one of this nation's highest honors? WTF? Am I missing something? This administration leads the league in fuckuppedness.


On Bernie Blowhard:

[. . .]

. . .I could see how this tough-guy shtick--which obviously wasn't entirely shtick, but a tough streak that had been refined into an urban lawman persona--would impress fake swaggarts like, well, George Bush, who likes to play dress-up as a range hand and fighter pilot to show what a Hungry man entree he is.

[. . .]

Go read

I love the farmer 2

I know I've said it before, but he's (I think he's a he) fantastic, with an acerbic wit (or half-wit) that's right up my alley.

[. . .]

Also, I believe, given my obvious expertise, that I'd make a good religious figure. In fact I'm thinking of becoming one sometime after the new year. It's a lucrative and lively trade and clearly in demand. I'm thinking of something in apocalyptic end time prophecy sales, management, and dispensational accounting. Possibly publishing. On the other hand it might just be fun to buy me a used camper van and a catering tent and hit the road as the Pastor Animus Poole; The Bawl and Jump Hellfire Hotdog!

Why the hell not? Hey, it's become increasingly evident to me that American Christianity is sinking rapidly to the bottom of the genotypical pond. Sinking like a sack of sash weights. Not to mention drowning aesthetically. Retreating back to some kind of fundamental primordial infantile playpen where it will ultimately, in the end, lay gurgling like an imbecile, batting stupidly at whatever colorful blowmolded plastic gee-gaw is dangled before it's worshipful eyes. Religion as teething ring, rattle, and inflatable "terror-eyes yellow balloon."

[. . .]

Entire post

Raisins to Balls

(CBS/AP) New Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Monday his party will launch investigative hearings next year in response to what he said was the reluctance of Republicans to look into problems in the Bush administration.

[. . .]

Wish Tom Daschle had some. We might not be in this mess right now. Maybe it's a good thing he lost.

Link via the American Street.

No storybook ending

This one's good. In toto. Via Working For Change.

Cynthia Tucker - Universal Press Syndicate

12.13.04 - Never underestimate the power of myth. It can solder broken resolve, fuel astounding acts of courage and overwhelm evidence and reason.

That's why the U.S. military struggles so hard to create myths to shore up support for its dubious enterprise in Iraq. Jessica Lynch -- young and blond -- seemed to come straight from central casting to play the part of courageous heroine. Only later did we learn that she never fired a shot. Never mind. The myth served its purpose.

So has the Bush administration's convoluted explanation for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It doesn't hang together logically; its internal contradictions are too great, its fabrications too obvious. Nevertheless, the fanciful tale of a heroic and just America tracking down and killing the terrorists who struck us on 9/11 -- or, even if they didn't, who would strike us if they had a chance -- served well enough to get President Bush re-elected.

It has also served to keep rank-and-file soldiers and their families back home squarely behind the president. Few soldiers or their families have publicly expressed doubts about the Iraqi mission, despite clear evidence of a con job -- from pre-war assurances they would be greeted as liberators to a post-invasion back-door draft that will keep many overseas past their tours.

That could be changing, however. Even compelling myths can wear thin when bleak reality eats away at them every day. That reality reared up several days ago in a so-called "town hall meeting" Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held with soldiers in Kuwait. The troops peppered Rumsfeld with pointed questions about inadequate equipment and extensions of duty.

Painful reality hits hard, too, when families see horribly maimed young men and women who will never recover anything resembling a normal life. While the numbers of war dead have been faithfully reported -- even as the Bush administration has deflected attention from them -- the number of casualties, closing in on 10,000, has gone little noticed.

They have been shuttled quietly away to military hospitals for additional treatment and rehabilitation, though it is difficult to imagine that some will ever be able go home. The New England Journal of Medicine reports on one airman who survived even though he lost both legs, his right hand and part of his face. "How he and others like him will be able to live and function remains an open question," the article noted.

And the journal article did not address another large category of casualties: the emotionally shattered young men and women who found the horrors of war more overwhelming than they expected. Many will struggle with psychic scars for the rest of their lives.

These burdens are borne by a relatively small sliver of the American population -- the working class. Enlisted men and women tend to come from households earning between $32,000 and $33,500, according to a 1999 Defense Department study. (The median American household income is $43,300.) The poorest of the poor don't go; neither do the affluent.

It is odd enough that so many working-class Americans have been seduced by Bush's claims that he's a regular guy looking out for their interests, when, in fact, his policies overwhelmingly benefit well-off families and wealthy corporations. It is downright weird that so many of them have been taken in by his story of a just war when their sons and daughters, husbands and wives -- not the scions of the wealthy -- are the ones paying the ultimate price for it.

This contradiction simply cannot hold much longer, and perhaps it won't have to. Bush may be planning to use the cover of January elections in Iraq to declare victory and leave -- whether the country is stable or not.

But if large numbers of U.S. troops are ordered to stay in Iraq for another four years, as Rumsfeld recently suggested, you can expect to see signs that the hard truth is puncturing the romantic myth of a just war easily won. Those doing the grieving and dying are unlikely to go on willingly playing their part in the fantasy.

(c) 2004, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Monday, December 13, 2004

Gee, Why Don't WE Have One Of Those?

Go see Non Sequitur, Dec. 13, '04.

Tonight's the Night

From MSNBC News. The Geminid meteor showers are supposed to peak tonight. If your skies are clear and you don't have too much light pollution in your east-northeast sky, tear yourself away from your keyboard (or take it outside with you and blog in the dark) and go look. Click on the link for details. Happy viewing and 'ooh-ing and ah-ing'.

Red and Blue Crossover Horse Divers: Bagels Topped With Squirrel Parts?

I get this free in my e-mail every week. Sometimes it's just so-so, but this one's pretty good. From Dave Barry of The Miami Herald.
I thought that, in today's column, I would heal the nation.

The nation suffered a wound during the recent presidential election as a result of the rift between the red states -- defined as ''states where `foreign cuisine' pretty much means Pizza Hut'' -- and the blue states, defined as ``states that believe they are smarter than the red states, despite the fact that it takes the average blue-state resident 15 minutes to order a single cup of coffee.''

Some blue-state residents are so upset about the election that they're talking about moving to Canada, which is technically a foreign nation. In my view, this would be a mistake: Canada is not the paradise it is often made out to be.

FACT: Every year, 43 percent of all Canadians -- a total of eight Canadians -- are eaten by polar bears.

Besides, running away is never the answer, unless you are a teenage boy who has just blown up a mailbox. As Americans, we need to stay here in America and work things out, because regardless of what color or hue of state we live in, we are all, deep down inside our undershorts, Americans. And as Americans, we must ask ourselves: Are we really so different? Must we stereotype those who disagree with us? Do we truly believe that ALL red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying roadkill-eating tobacco-juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that ALL blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing communist latte-sucking tofu-chomping holistic-wacko neurotic vegan weenie perverts?

Well, now that you mention it...
And so today I am calling upon both sides in the red-blue rift to reach out. Maybe we could have a cultural-exchange program between red and blue states. For example, a delegation from Texas could go to California and show the Californians how to do some traditional Texas thing such as castrate a bull using only your teeth, and then the Californians could show the Texans how to rearrange their football stadiums in accordance with the principles of feng shui (for openers, both goalposts should be at the west end of the field). Or maybe New York and Kentucky could have a college-style ''mixer,'' featuring special ''crossover'' hors d'oeuvres such as bagels topped with squirrel parts.

I'm just thinking out loud here. (I don't mean that figuratively: The neighbors are complaining.) But I truly believe that, if the red states and blue states made a sincere effort to get to know each other, they'd discover that, beneath their surface differences, there are a lot of deep underlying differences.

But that doesn't mean we have nothing in common. We must always remember that, as Americans, we all have a common enemy -- an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.

He gets down to it sometimes.

And you think I'm crazy?

Dr. John Caulfield thought it had to be a mistake when the Army asked him to return to active duty. After all, he's 70 years old and had already retired - twice. He left the Army in 1980 and private practice two years ago.

"My first reaction was disbelief," Caulfield said. "It never occurred to me that they would call a 70-year-old."

In fact, he was so sure it was an error that he ignored the postcards and telephone messages asking if he would be willing to volunteer for active duty to "backfill" somewhere on the East Coast, Europe or Hawaii. That would be OK, he thought. It would release active duty oral surgeons from those areas to go to combat zones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But then the orders came for him to go to Afghanistan.

[. . .]


Careful, Gord, your old ass is on a list too somewhere. I'll meet ya in Baghdad, my friend.

Put your $$$ where your vote is is a site dedicated to helping us to:
...carefully consider where they spend their money in order to avoid "dump(ing) millions of dollars into the conservative warchest." The attractive website, done up in all kinds of blues, is a grassroots effort to help depressed Democrats recognize their hidden source of power -- and to do so in the Buying Season.

Check out BuyBlue's current campaign.

Hard to do, but worth some effort, I think. Via AlterNet.

Too Controversial For New York?

From the NYTimes:
Artwork in an exhibition that drew thousands to the Chelsea Market for its opening last week was abruptly taken down over the weekend after the market's managers complained about a portrait of President Bush fashioned from tiny images of chimpanzees, according to the show's curator.

I thought the artist captured his essence. Maybe some animal-rights outfit objected to the pornographic, demeaning use of the chimps in the portrayal of a lower life form.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Inventing a Crisis

I missed this opinion by Paul Krugman on the proposed Social Security Privatization the other day. Better late than never though, huh? Go read the first part. Here's the last part, with my added emphases.
....Still, there is a long-run financing problem.

But it's a problem of modest size. The report finds that extending the life of the trust fund into the 22nd century, with no change in benefits, would require additional revenues equal to only 0.54 percent of G.D.P. That's less than 3 percent of federal spending - less than we're currently spending in Iraq. And it's only about one-quarter of the revenue lost each year because of President Bush's tax cuts - roughly equal to the fraction of those cuts that goes to people with incomes over $500,000 a year.

Given these numbers, it's not at all hard to come up with fiscal packages that would secure the retirement program, with no major changes, for generations to come.

It's true that the federal government as a whole faces a very large financial shortfall. That shortfall, however, has much more to do with tax cuts - cuts that Mr. Bush nonetheless insists on making permanent - than it does with Social Security.

But since the politics of privatization depend on convincing the public that there is a Social Security crisis, the privatizers have done their best to invent one.

My favorite example of their three-card-monte logic goes like this: first, they insist that the Social Security system's current surplus and the trust fund it has been accumulating with that surplus are meaningless. Social Security, they say, isn't really an independent entity - it's just part of the federal government.

If the trust fund is meaningless, by the way, that Greenspan-sponsored tax increase in the 1980's was nothing but an exercise in class warfare: taxes on working-class Americans went up, taxes on the affluent went down, and the workers have nothing to show for their sacrifice.

But never mind: the same people who claim that Social Security isn't an independent entity when it runs surpluses also insist that late next decade, when the benefit payments start to exceed the payroll tax receipts, this will represent a crisis - you see, Social Security has its own dedicated financing, and therefore must stand on its own.

There's no honest way anyone can hold both these positions, but very little about the privatizers' position is honest. They come to bury Social Security, not to save it. They aren't sincerely concerned about the possibility that the system will someday fail; they're disturbed by the system's historic success.

For Social Security is a government program that works, a demonstration that a modest amount of taxing and spending can make people's lives better and more secure. And that's why the right wants to destroy it.

Lies, swindles, and wanting to steal our money. That's what this whole administration is built on.

update 3:45pm OWT

Mrs.G saw this and said, "They can't foreclose on the widows and orphans if they have money to pay the mortgage." Smart gal.

Iraq, Ballots and Pistachios

Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes opines on why more European and Arab countries aren't offering to send troops to help secure the upcoming Iraqi election. He knows a lot about the Middle East and is always worth a read.
If only we could call the Iraqi election, "A Seminar on the European Defense Initiative: Why NATO Is passé and E.D.I. Is the Future"; then we could get thousands of Europeans to take part. If only we could call the Iraqi elections, "A Seminar on George Bush and Genghis Khan: Why Bush Is Worse"; then the Arab League would send so many people, we'd be turning them away. We'd be talking pay-per-view on Al Jazeera.

So let the record show that when Iraq finally decided to hold a free and fair election, all the bad guys decided to come and "vote" and all the good guys sat on the fence, dangling their legs, eating pistachios.

I think the Europeans want to see what happens with these elections before committing themselves and the Arab leaders don't want to see the beginning of the end of hundreds of years of oppressive regimes. Both should take their eyes off their shoes and look up. They might see some interesting graffiti on the wall.

Unless they are secretly hoping Iraq (and thus the U.S.) fails so they can be smug and smile and say, "I told you so" to the Great George W. Satan.

But What's He Gonna Do On The Twelfth Day...

I don't need to say anything about this except go read it.

The 12 Days of Rummying

The last "journalist"

You have to put the word in quotes now, because true journalists (as opposed to talking heads) just got a bit rarer. Ol' Bill Moyers is retiring.

[. . .]

It hasn't been so much a habit for Moyers as a truth-telling mission during his three decades as a TV journalist. But come next week, he will sign off from "Now," the weekly PBS newsmagazine he began in 2002, as, at age 70, he retires from television.

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," says Moyers. "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people." [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Sorry to see him go.

Programming note

Howard Dean will be on with Russert on MTP this morning.