Thursday, January 31, 2008

Maybe we need another one

Juan Cole:
Bush signed a law forbidding him from spending money to make permanent bases in Iraq but at the same time issued a signing statement making clear he had no intention of paying any attention to that or several other provisions in the legislation. What do you call a leader unconstrained by his legislature? An absolute monarch. I thought we had a revolution to get rid of that sort of thing.

This is what I have been trying to say:

Greenwald nails it again (emphasis mine):
The Bush administration will be gone in 11 months, but -- in the absence of some meaningful accountability -- all of this will remain. It remains to be seen whether, if there is a Democrat in the White House, any of these trends will be reversed (their two leading candidates are expressing opposition to most of these theories). Even if they are, eight years is a long time, and if we simply allow Bush to serve out the remainder of his term and have these theories remain undisturbed and unchallenged, and have all of these crimes go uninvestigated and unpunished, that will have an even more profound impact on changing our national character, in further transforming the type of country we are.
You should really read the whole thing.

Zippity Do Da-Da

My BFF Jeannette did this painting for me some years ago, after my divorce, and she sent it to me this morning. Thought I'd share, in the spirit of offering a little something different.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fainting Goats and Flaming Wingnuts at Crooks and Liars

This is funny, and I sure hope the folks who are trying to nail this guy are successful.

Masters of War

From Juan Cole over at Informed Comment:
"President Bush should be out here watching this ramp ceremony to see what it is really like," said one soldier, who asked not to be identified.

"The people who created this war need to be thinking about the families of these 18-year-olds who are dying."

Let me just repeat that last phrase: "The people who created this war need to be thinking about the families of these 18-year-olds who are dying." That was said by one of our patriots in Iraq. It is true. It made me cry a little.


Glenn Greenwald has a couple of good posts up today, though as usual they are both depressing as hell and we may need to boost our spirits over here at BTW again after reading them. In one post, he quite handily eviscerates the Village-driven myth of "bipartisanship," which is one of those very annoying narratives that our used-to-be Very Good Friend Bill used to prattle on about whenever Democrats voted in a way he didn't like. The other one is called "'Trust Us' Government" and reminds us what staggering hypocrites today's Republicans are, in this case with regard to investing our government with the power to spy on its own citizens without any oversight whatsoever.

On another note, I'm sorry that John Edwards is dropping out of the race and I hope there will be a Cabinet position for him in the next administration. I think he might be an excellent Attorney General.

The Results Are In!

By an OVERWHELMING MAJORITY in yesterday's Official Beginning To Wonder Pick A Song To Cheer Us Up poll, voters selected option #6, "Ditty of your choice," so here is my choice, dedicated to Rudy Giuliani:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lighten Up!

I've been browsing through the YouTubes all morning for something to cheer up the somber mood here at Beginning To Wonder lest heydave accuse us of being too depressing and go hang out at the dentist's office. But I can't seem to find one that just, you know, grabs me. So I thought I would take a vote from my faithful readers: 1) Hang On Little Tomato by Pink Martini, 2) Snake Farm by Ray Wylie Hubbard, 3) Love Me Like A Man by Bonnie Raitt, 4) None of the above, 5) All of the above, or 6) Ditty of your choice. Vote Now!


Maha points us to No More Mister Nice Blog who had this to say about Little Boot's speech:
Tonight I watched Clinton's successor -- the president in my lifetime who has aged the least while in office, even though he's served nearly two full terms and dealt with terrorism, war, recession, and utter rejection by the American public. I don't think it's just the mountain biking -- tonight as I watched his speech and watched him transition from domestic matters, which clearly bore him, to the parts about Iraq and Iran, which seem to send a jolt of bitter, angry energy right across his neck and shoulders, it became obvious to me (if it wasn't already) that these have been great years for George W. Bush, because he feels he's doing vitally important things, he feels all kinds of people hate the way he's doing those things -- and he just loves both those feelings.

Clinton often radiates utter glee on the campaign trail; Bush's bliss doesn't manifest itself in glee but, rather, in smugness and defiance -- in looking down at his enemies and thinking, "I won. You lost." His victory, of course, is permanent war -- he's a Really Important Person now and nobody can take that away from him.
That's exactly right, and it is to our eternal shame that no one has taken that away from him, or in fact is ever likely to. We have allowed this little paper bully to spit in our faces, rob us blind and swagger off into the sunset feeling really proud of himself.

Maha herself gives us another great quote about Bush's call for "bipartisanship":
He's calling for bipartisanship. This is like Heidi Fleiss calling for chastity.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Via the Left Coaster we are directed to an excellent post at Daily Kos that should put to rest any notion that may be lingering in certain circles that the invasion of Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks on us. This is also related to Why It Matters.

Obama's SC Victory Speech

Our friend, Freewheel, points us to Obama's victory speech which is indeed inspirational, and couldn't we all use a little of that:

Why It Matters

I could have titled this one "Vanquishing The Beast" again but I am getting sick of that one, and it could go on, ad nauseum forever - so let's Change! since that is the Theme O' the Day for us Democrats.

I have a friend who is convinced that the Conservative machine has been systematically undercutting our government, piece by piece, little by little, over the last 40 years and that, for the most part, we liberals have been asleep at the wheel while this has happened and our Awakening these last 8 years or so has come way too late. It's over, finished, done with. We are doomed. According to her.

There's a depressing amount of data to support her thesis. Especially here in Texas, where we have been living with a Republican-dominated society for some time. In particular (and Pam, perhaps you can verify this from your own personal experience) we have seen a concerted effort by the rightwing to destroy public education. The "No Child Left Behind" Act was part and parcel of that effort, just as the "Clean Air Act" was part and parcel of an effort to remove environmental controls over industry. The obvious result of this long-term assault on our public education system has been to significantly lower our educational standards and, hence, our competitiveness in an increasingly global society.

Along with this dumbing down of America, we have seen the conservative machine take control of our standard sources of information, the infamous M-S-M. While loudly whining about "liberal bias" they have taken control of every single major news media outlet, and even created their own network which offers such controlled, openly Republican propaganda as to be almost a parody of the bias that it claims to "balance." What this effort has successfully achieved is that the majority of Americans no longer trust traditional news outlets to provide objective, truthful reporting - and we turn increasingly to partisan outlets for our information. Hence, objective "truth" becomes an ever more elusive bird to capture.

It matters, and this is one of the reasons why. Fascism is a deadly serious phenomenon in our society, and Jonah Goldberg's partisan bullshit only serves to further ensure that more Americans are more stupid about it than ever before. We all suffer because of this, whether we are conservative or liberal, religious or not.

Because I am a liberal and have been all my life, I can't be objective about conservatism. I can't even really talk intelligently about what "conservatism" is in today's world. I've certainly known and been good friends with people who call themselves "conservatives", and of course both my parents were committed Republicans, as are other members of my family whom I love dearly. I don't want a single-Party dominance in our country - I want to live in a society that allows open and free discussion of different political and social ideologies. But I believe that the factions that have dominated today's conservative movement through the Republican Party must be exposed for the destructive forces that they are and must be firmly, soundly, once-and-for-all repudiated. I am talking specifically about the factions that come together in the administration of George W. Bush and which he so clearly represents, which is the far "religious" right (as personified by the James Dobsons and Jerry Falwells and John Hagees of this world)and the neoconservatives. I firmly believe that the impeachment and criminal trial of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are vital steps in the process of this repudiation, in that we need a national dialogue that exposes and certifies their malfeasance. Frankly, I have little hope for that actually coming to pass, and without it, I don't know how we are going to keep our country strong.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Morning

Obama won big in South Carolina - I'm very glad. I would like to know what the overall turnout was in contrast to the Republican primary there. (UPDATE: Got it.) The Clintons have apparently been engaging in some dirty politics and I don't like that any more than anyone else does. I can't forget that the Clintons were the victims of the largest and dirtiest smear campaign in our country's history, one which ultimately gave us our nation's worst president and administration. I don't know that that excuses anything, but it should be worth something. I still like John Edwards the best of the three, with Obama as my second choice and Hillary my third. All of them, of course would be far, far better than anything the Republicans have to offer.

UPDATE: The Left Coaster has come up with a great new (new to me, at least) nickname for the arrogant little pantywaist that is our President for the interminable period of one more year: "Little Boots." Perfect.

Jeannette and I finally got in to see Atonement on Friday night and I tell you what, I don't know about Best Picture but if it doesn't win an Oscar for Art Direction I will eat my hat. Every single frame of that movie was stunning.

I'm stealing this from Atrios:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mayberry Machiavellis

John Cole asks the right questions.

Oh. My God. Words fail.

Raised On Robbery

Someone just sent me this in an email:

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.

After careful planning, he got past security,

stole the paintings and made it safely to his van.

However, he was captured only two blocks away

when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime

and then make such an obvious error, he replied,

"Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings.

I had no Monet

to buy Degas

to make the Van Gogh."

See if you have De Gaulle to send this on to someone else.

I sent it to you because...I figured I had nothing Toulouse.

Interesting Furniture

This is hilarious! Be sure to check out the comments. Caution: May not be work safe - and heydave, this would go great with your FF poster!

Friday Music Blogging

My taste in music is pretty much all over the map, my musical odyssey beginning with listening to my parents' show tunes, jazz and big band; my older sister's do-wop, and my older brother's folk. I discovered motown on my own and went from there to all points beyond. Some time in the early 70's I made a brief venture into the world of jazz which led me to pick up a copy of "Swiss Movement", an album that includes this marvelous piece:

"The President he's got his war
Folks don't know just what it's for
Nobody gives us a rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason"

Whew! Maybe we should all just Take Five:

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Dave Neiwert continues to demolish the odious Doughy Pantload in no uncertain terms.

Telecom Immunity

No, a thousand times, no. Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher have all you need to know on the subject, including contact information. This is an excellent time for our representatives to hear directly from us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

From the Party of Christian faith and Family Values

Lovely. The links at the end of this post are all worth following, especially the one that tells you who Roger Stone is, in case you forgot. It's always worth remembering that these are the same people who brought us the impeachment of President Clinton and the quivering moral outrage over his blowjob.

For Heath and so many other young lives cut short way too soon

This is an amazing song, performed by another amazing talent, Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney. It starts at 2:55 (I skip the first one - maybe one of these days I'll actually listen to it, but I'm always too eager to get to "Cajun Moon"). The flutist is Herbie Mann, and she did this song as a guest vocalist on one of his albums. Enjoy:


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Really Sad Breaking News

Heath Ledger found dead in NY apartment. This is heartbreaking.

The Oscars and other stuff

Scott bitch slaps "Pastor" Doug Giles.

Maja points us to Jonathan Steele who posits that the warmongers in the Bush administration failed to think. Yes, it's true!

Mike gives us his predictions on this year's Oscar picks. I still haven't seen Juno, Atonement, or There Will Be Blood; and I haven't seen any of the films that the best actress nominations are in, so I hesitate to make any predictions just yet...Okay was that long enough? I predict that Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor, and There Will Be Blood will win Best Picture. I would love for Julie Christie to win Best Actress for Away From Her, and, from what I hear, Cate Blanchett should win Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There (but wouldn't it be GREAT if it went to the wonderful Ruby Dee, and after all, Cate Blanchett already HAS her Oscar for the Aviator.) I bet that Diablo Cody wins Best Original Screenplay for Juno, and I certainly hope that Michael Clayton and No Country For Old Men win for SOMETHING but I don't know what. What do you all think?

This 'n That

I'm going to depart from my usual probing, serious analysis of the Top News Stories Of The Day and focus instead on a few things that might have flown below the radar, so to speak:

My friend (and semi-relation!) Marley directs us to some pretty funny videos. Thanks Marley!

TBogg tells the anti-choicers how it really is.

Jillian is going to write a book.

And we get piano lessons from Nora the Cat:


Monday, January 21, 2008

Mo' Better Motown

It's also a great day to crank up the volume full blast and dance around the kitchen to this:

or this and this and this....



Still Dreamin'

Today is cold and rainy, a great day to stay home by a fire and watch old movies which, I'm ashamed to say, is what I will be doing instead of this. It's also a good day to listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s great "I Have A Dream" speech which can be found here among other places. Some of my favorite films that deal with black/white race relations in the US are In the Heat of the Night, A Raisin in the Sun, Intruder in the Dust, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Cabin in the Sky which, while it doesn't deal specifically with race relations in its plot, was the first movie with an all-black cast produced by the Big Money Boys in Hollywood, and included Lena Horne and Ethel Waters in its great cast. Tonight, Turner Classic Movies is airing a series of films by director Charles Burnett which also looks well worth checking out.

Juan Cole has a good post up that puts King's legacy into the context of today's world. I also meant to put up a link to this post of his from the other day that was one of many that linked to a WaPo article by one Andrew Bacevich, both of which are highly worth checking out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Huckfire and Brimstone

Tristero has the goods on Mike Huckabee, and his posts on the subject should not be missed. More on Vanquishing the Beast here (emphasis mine):
If he wants to change the trajectory as Reagan did then he should take a page from his political strategy instead of his rhetoric, stop praising him and bury conservatism instead.
Or at least the far right Christo-fascist ideology that has glommed on to "conservatism" over the last 30 years.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The guy who wrote this book complains that liberals haven't taken his work "seriously." Let that sink in for a few minutes.

David Neiwert begs to differ. Now, David acknowledges what many of us felt as an initial reaction to Jonah's book, including the good folks over at Sadly, No!:
Then there's the larger point of the effect of taking a book like this seriously: It's such a ludicrous premise, it deserves not serious examination but scornful ridicule. Treating it as anything but a joke gives it a patina of seriousness it shouldn't get, and just gives Goldberg's meme that much more air.
But David raises an interesting response to that reaction:
So let me be clear about where I'm coming from regarding Goldberg's book. My chief credential for reviewing it is that I understand fascism from the ground up: I was a reporter and newspaper editor for some years in northern Idaho and western Montana and covered the racist right folks who set up camp in our neck of the woods in the 1970s, particularly the Aryan Nations and Posse Comitatus; that work extended into the 1990s, covering groups like the Montana Freemen. These people were all, by any definition of the word, fascists, and not only did I cover their rallies and their crimes (I used to get phone calls from Robert Matthews, the leader of The Order), I also interviewed many, many of their followers. I also became familiar with the academic study of fascism and its permutations at that time. (Secondarily, I'm not a historian, but I'm more than familiar with the milieu; my last book was a piece of history, written journalistically, that nonetheless underwent rigorous peer review from historians in the process of being published.)

Fascism isn't just a theory for me, and it's certainly not ancient history. But it's clear that for Goldberg, this is largely a semantical exercise, a chance to bend definitions, to play rhetorical tit-for-tat with liberals who bandy the term about too freely (and they do exist). In other words, for the most frivolous reasons, he's purposefully muddying the public discourse when it comes to the very real problems posed by the existence of very real fascists.

It needs to be pointed out that there are a number of groups -- not just well-known organizations like the ADL and the SPLC, but church-based groups like the Center for New Community and community-organizing efforts like Not In Our Town -- whose primary mission entails helping the public deal with the very real issues created by the ongoing presence and activities of these groups. The key to their efforts entails educating the public, and having a clear understanding of the nature of the beast is an essential predicate of that.

What Goldberg's book means to them is that, when they try to identify real fascist organizations (particularly skinheads, neo-Nazis, and the Klan) as operating within their communities, the mainstream conservatives who constitute Goldberg's audience -- only a fraction of whom will have actually read the book (Jonah insists therein, you see, that he's not claiming that all liberals are fascists, and anyone who thinks otherwise isn't being serious), while the rest will mostly have absorbed its title -- will more than likely just dismiss them: "Nah, it's you liberals who are the real fascists!"
In all seriousness, I urge you to read David Neiwert's post in its entirety.

This Blog Fulfills a Useful Purpose


Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Wrecking Ball Policies"

Okay, first up, Our President:
President Bush told Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran, "I'm sure people view me as a war monger and I view myself as peacemaker. They view me as so pro-Israeli I can't be open-minded about Palestinian peace, and yet I'm the only president ever to have articulated a two-state solution. And you just have to fight through stereotypes by actions."
Uh-huh. George Bush: "I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet sees me as a doltish, ignorant, jobbernowl but, hey, I think I'm great! You just have to fight through stereotypes!" (To be fair, I'm quite sure that GWB would never use the word "jobbernowl.")

UPDATE: Oh, dear God. In the You-Can't-Make-This-Shit-Up Category, Majablog points us to a more thorough vetting of Bush's Big Adventure via Dan Froomkin which includeds this little jewel:
Apparently forgetting his "I'm a war president" motto of the 2004 campaign, Bush said: "I don't believe democracies, you know, generally lead to war-like governments. You know, 'Please vote for me, I promise you war.' It's not something that tends to win elections."
In other news, it appears that many of us were entirely too eager to grasp good news the other day and we jumped the gun. You know, I love Glenn Greenwald but, damn, reading him sure is depressing a lot of the time.

And finally, digby has a doozy:
I'm not saying that Obama is DLC. But the interpretation of that election as being a reaction against liberalism and big government certainly is and that acceptance of their myth has served conservatives very well. There's a reason their movement has developed this ridiculous St. Ronnie hagiography --- it's to inextricably associate their dark, divisive ideology with his carefully manufactured cheerful persona. It protects their movement from the harmful consequences of their wrecking ball policies. "We're not like those losers --- we're the party of Reagan, the sunny, optimistic, winner everybody loved! Look, here's our new Reagan! Vote for him!" (Check this scary thing out. And this from the man who said bipartisanship is date rape.)
Aaaa-MEN, Sister!
Look, I know this is weedy stuff and probably doesn't matter to the average voter under the age of 45. But to long time liberals who lived through this period as an adult, it's like waving a red flag in our faces. Reagan ran explicitly against the left(and in the process normalized the kind of indecent talk that made Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter millionaires.) Because he won big in 1984, leaders in both parties accepted this omnipotent Reagan myth and have run against liberalism ever since --- and have ended up, through both commission and omission, advancing the destructive conservative policies that brought us to a place where we are debating things like torture. It would be helpful if ending the era of Democrats running against the liberal base could be part of this new progressive "trajectory."
Please read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


"Glenzilla" (did Atrios coin that term? Does anyone know?) is at it again. Good for him. We have been bombarded with so much BS from the mainstream press, mostly, I think, in response to their being bombarded by the rightwing machine whining about "liberal bias" - it's good that they are finally beginning to experience, and respond to, some feedback from the liberal-to-moderate readership in this country.

Restless, Need Snark Target

Our Good Friend Bill appears to be MIA from Blogtopia and I find myself with no one to make fun of except this guy which, frankly, seems hardly worth the effort. What's a poor, old cantankerous (w)itch to do? Guess I'll just have to go Dust My Broom!


Can We?


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vanquishing the Beast

Let me be clear: George W. Bush and his enablers (and that includes you, Hillary Clinton) deserve to rot in hell for all eternity. Deranged? Maybe so, but as far as I can see, derangement is the only healthy response to this, not to mention this. Of course we should pull all our troops out of Iraq, and of course we should shut down Guantanamo, but the reality is that we can't, not nearly fast enough to suit most of us, and, as it seems - if Bush gets his way (and when doesn't he?) - not even in the foreseeable future. Now, does someone - anyone? - want to try and give me a reasonable explanation for why this pissant little asshole CROOK of a president and his DICK of a vice president aren't sitting in jail ticking off life sentences for war crimes RIGHT NOW? Excuse me while I go find something to smash.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Light posting today

Just didn't have all that much to say - Sorry! But here's a cool picture to make up for it. Let's see what tomorrow brings, shall we?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday afternoon football blogging

Rooting for my Cowboys - sorry, Freewheel!

This is so awesome. Congratulations and thank you Senator Dodd.

Majablog has two great posts up today - I highly recommend reading them both in full; they're long, but worth it.

Ballad For A Soldier


Why, indeed.

Thanks, John Cole (emphasis mine):
Now if you expect invading Iraq to end badly then the embassy complex probably strikes you as hood ornament on a monstrously expensive lemon of a project. If you supported Iraq and think that this mission might still work the embassy project is much, much more important. Although not as critical as, say, resolving Kirkuk or settling the beefs between Sadr, the Sunni councils and the central government, at the very least the center of our presence in the country ought to be habitable.

One would expect Republicans to take it worse than anybody that managers of the embassy project handed the project to a firm that never did embassy work before, mismanaged the proceedings and then buried evidence of major safety issues. They won’t, of course. A central theme of modern Republicanism is that appearing to do something is more important than doing it well. The mentality isn’t limited to the embassy, of course. It pervades contracting throughout Iraq. When Stuart Bowen, the Inpector General responsible for Iraq, uncovered evidence that America’s contracting money was largely disappearing down a fraud hole the White House reponded by trying to sack him. If any right-wing voices complained about that I don’t remember hearing about it.


Sure, as a guy who shares almost none of their agenda I won’t be supporting modern Republicanism any time soon. The billion dollar question is why anybody would.
And that, my friends, is what I call hitting the nail on its head!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

For Martin

I've been struggling with this for a few days - how to pay tribute to a friend from work who died last week. Martin was a severe and fragile diabetic, and on Wednesday the disease claimed his life. We weren't close, but we would frequently walk to and from our cars together, and where I work that distance afforded us some time to have a good conversation. He was also a bit quirky, and I've always been drawn to that type. He had a wife and a 13-year-old daughter by a previous marriage, both of whom he clearly loved deeply, and was also apparently good friends with his ex-wife. I liked him, and I'll miss him. I think he might have liked this little collage, so I'm posting it and dedicating it to him.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sandy's Pix

My son insists that I include this on my blog and give him credit. Done!

Friday Afternoon

Thought you all would enjoy this video of me enjoying my weekend afternoons:


"the rotted soul of today's Republican Party"

Glenn Greenwald rocks my world:
The reason we basically block out from our public discourse the effects our behavior has on innocent human beings -- the reason, for instance, we don't bother to count Iraqi victims and the reason we exempt our own behavior from any sort of scrutiny other than the most self-absorbed -- is because that's the only way that the propaganda can be sustained ("Freedom is on the March. We're Liberating Them. They're so Grateful. Winning Hearts and Minds"). Is there anyone who could make a list of all of the pros and cons from our invasion of Iraq and -- while including the hundreds of thousands of innocent dead human beings and the 4 million who are displaced -- argue that it was worth it? What kind of moral depravity would allow that argument to be made?
Why, the kind found at All Things Conservative, for one.
Just listen to the repulsive laughter and boisterous cheers in the first video from the GOP South Carolina debate crowd, where Swaggering Tough Guy/Draft Avoider Fred Thompson (pathetically reading from cue cards) mocks Islam and issues playground war taunts. It's as adolescent as it is depraved. Yet that's the rotted soul of today's Republican Party (and much of our cheering press corps). Not that it really matters much, but threats of that sort -- like the ones issued all year by Bush to invade Iran -- are clear violations of the U.N. charter which, as a treaty to which we are a party, happens to be (yawn) binding law in the U.S. pursuant to our Constitution's Article VI:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

And one of the leading GOP candidates is now speaking openly about having permanent bases in Iraq for 100 years -- exactly what we swore to the world we wouldn't do prior to our invasion while mocking as Arab Street Paranoids those who believed that was our intention. Of course, Iran is ruled by warmongering militants and religious fanatics who are a grave threat to world peace and threaten other nations.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I can has legacy now?

So the homeboys got tired of Chief Chimpy hanging around the office making fart jokes and Laura nixed the idea of another "vacation" so they pack him off to the Middle East where, hell, how much MORE damage can he do, right?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I gotcher legacy right here, asshole.

UPDATE: Maja, of course, has more - check out all her links, esp. Dan Froomkin. I like this part:
"With all due respect, Bush might do the region and the entire world a favour by staying home," suggested the respected Beirut Daily Star commentator Rami Khouri, "if he plans to visit the Middle East only to speed up the same American policy of blindly supporting Israel, sending arms and money to Arab authoritarian regimes, opposing mainstream Islamist groups that enjoy widespread popular legitimacy, ignoring realistic democratic transitions, and actively pressuring governments and movements that defy the US."
Yes indeedy. I'm sure Bush's visit is being discussed with all the respect that it is "due."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Because it's better than listening to pundits, isn't it?

Photo Finish

Seems to me that, in normal circumstances, the results in New Hampshire would be seen as a tie for Obama and Clinton, with Edwards coming in second. But these aren't "normal" times, are they? Of course it's a "win" for Hillary because of her loss in Iowa and the predictions of her loss in NH, based on polling data and all the caterwauling of the political press. Way to go, Hillary! Steve Benen has a good summary of contributing factors.

UPDATE: Publius has an excellent and thought-provoking pair of posts up about Hillary.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Just. Shut. Up.

I want a president who understands that "suiciders" is not a word. (H/T Crooks and Liars)

Today's Assignment

First up, Maha takes on The Vegetable and asks the right question: Why can't we throw cousin Maggie down the stairs?

Digby discusses the raging sexism in the press coverage of Hillary, about which Amanda is mad as hell, by God, and she's not gonna take it anymore!

Anti-abortion nazis try new tactics. Added: Scott gives them their due.

And finally - well, for now - TBogg has the BEST EVER picture of the Democratic front-runners!

Take notes, because the test is 50% of your grade.

Extra Credit: "Military Officials Disagree on Impact of Surge". You don't say. Money quote:
Macgregor says that people are desperate for success.

"They want to believe that we have done something positive for the population of Iraq. That we are helping them to become something positive," he says. "The thing that worries me most of all is what happens over the next 12 to 24 months in Iraq. Could we not have made matters worse in the long term? Are we not actually setting Iraq up for a worse civil war than the one we have already seen?"

Iraq can be seen as a conflict temporarily frozen.

Oh Dear...

We'll have none of that!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Yeah, but can he spell "disband"?

Our Good Friend Bill on Why Ron Paul Is Insane:
Let me explain why I think Paul is insane, and unfit to be president.

...(blah, blah, blah)...

He says the Civil War was a mistake:

Six-hundred-thousand Americans died in the senseless Civil War," he said. "No, he should not have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original tenet of the Republic,"

He wants to dispand the IRS...and the CIA.
Back in the days when I was trying to be fairly diplomatic with our Good Friend Bill, I had an interesting email exchange with him once which began when I pointed out to him that his grammatical errors (such as writing "your" for "you're" and saying things like "My wife and me went to a movie...")could be somewhat distracting from the (cough, cough) "point" he was trying to make. I received back a rather curt response that he was very aware, thank you very much, what the correct grammar was but chose to write incorrectly on purpose because he was "rebellious." I never got back an answer to my question of why he felt the need to be "rebellious" against good grammar.

Coffee and a doughnut...

Here's the link that Freewheel sent me. Thanks, FW, m'luv!

And my friend Nancy (thanks Nancy!) sent me this, from Andy Borowitz:
Oh My God, What a Ticket!
By Andy Borowitz

In a bold move that could dramatically alter the playing field of the 2008 GOP presidential race, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today named Jesus Christ as his vice presidential running mate.

Huckabee has made an increasing number of comments about his relationship with Jesus in recent debates, but few Republican insiders expected him to announce that he was anointing Christ as
his vice presidential pick.

"This could be huge for Huckabee,” said Stenson Partridge, a veteran GOP consultant. “Among Republican voters, Jesus Christ is even more popular than Ronald Reagan.”

The Rev. Pat Robertson, a supporter of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, said he was “blindsided” by the news of Huckabee’s decision: “I talked to Jesus last night, and he didn’t
mention anything about it.”

At a raucous Huckabee rally in Davenport, Iowa, today, sup porters of the former Arkansas governor could be seen holding signs reading “HUCKABEE/CHRIST ‘08."†

It is “highly unorthodox” for a presidential candidate to select a vice presidential running mate who is a prominent figure in the Holy Bible, says Davis Logsdon, dean of the School of Divinity at the University of Minnesota.

But according to Logsdon, if the Huckabee-Christ ticket makes it all the way to the White House, it could be historic in more ways than one: “If Huckabee is elected and then something happens to him
while in office, we would be looking at our first Jewish president.”

Elsewhere, a madman attempted to take hostages at former Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign headquarters in Rochester, N.H., but found that everyone had been given the week off.

Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz is author of “The Republican Playbook.”
Well, pretty much everyone seems to be back from holiday now. What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vanquishing the Beast, Redux

Via Newshoggers we are directed to a post by George McGovern in the the Washington Post, arguing for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The subtitle to the article says it best:
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.
Sigh. To me, it's like trying to convince people that slavery should be abolished, or that incest is bad, or that the sun is hot. What in the WORLD is it going to take for us to become people for whom such self-evident, in-your-face TRUTHS (i.e. torture is bad, science and religion are compatible but not interchangeable) don't need to be debated?

It's Sunday. Laugh While You Can!

What it takes to become a Republican.

Cab Calloway on what it takes to tolerate Republicans (H/T Crooks and Liars):

And, by all means, don't miss this version:

Another Huckchuckle from Sadly, No!

John Cole continues to tickle the linguaphile's fancy with "Huckaboom" and, along with Glenn Greenwald, reminds us to keep our funny bone honed because it's going to get grim. Very grim.

P.S. Damn. Our pal, Freewheel sent me a link to a great post comparing Republican candidates to Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, but I can't seem to retrieve it from here at home. Something to look forward to!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Being the heretical, DFH, commie pinko despot that I am....

I normally don't have much use for "clean" (read: not funny) humor, but someone sent me this and I thought it was cute, so sue me.

*'Twas The Day After Christmas*

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house, Every creature was
hurting-- even the mouse.

The toys were all broken, their batteries dead; Santa passed out, with some
ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while Upstairs the family
continued to snore.

And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans, Went into the kitchen and
started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the sink to
see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the curtains, and threw up
the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a little white truck, with
an oversized mirror.

The driver was smiling, so lively and grand; The patch on his jacket said

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox Then quickly he stuffed them
into our mailbox.

Bill after bill, after bill, they still came. Whistling and shouting he
called them by name:

"Now Dillard's, now Broadway's, now Penney's and Sears Here's Levitz's and
Target's and Mervyn's--all here!!

To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall, Now
chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!"

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work. He filled up the box,
and then turned with a jerk.

He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road, Driving much faster with
just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer, "ENJOY WHAT YOU GOT ...

Author Unknown

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

And may the Flying Spaghetti Monster forgive me for doing anything to promote the likes of "Pastor Tim"!

What's it all MEAN?

For those of you who are wondering, via Crooks and Liars, Steve Benen gives us a great Shorter version of an analysis of last night's caucus results. And lexicographers must be having a field day with the flood of new terminology that Huckabee's campaign is generating. Today, alone, we have "huckenfreude" and "Huckernaut". Good times!

UPDATE: Dear God, here's another one: The SS Hucktanic.

The Great Debaters

"In Texas, they hang Negros."

Foregoing the cliffhanging thrill of watching the returns of the Iowa caucuses last night, the boys and I went to see The Great Debaters and had ourselves a whale of a good time. I recommend it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I really have only the mildest interest in the Iowa caucuses - I'm leaning in support of John Edwards, but I know I'll be fully supportive of whoever wins the Democratic nomination. It is somewhat amusing to watch the Republican race, but the entertainment value of that has an extremely short shelf life. I've never enjoyed watching someone make an ass of himself/herself, and the entire Republican field is nothing short of cringe-inducing.

We Americans might do well to wrest our attention away from our national navel long enough to gain some passing familiarity with what is going on in the rest of the world. To wit, Pakistan, via the go-to guy for all things Middle Eastern, Juan Cole:
Barnett Rubin's most recent posting on Pakistan's crisis and Bush administration policy is a college education all on its own. Read, and grow learned. It is also a sensitive and searching deconstruction of the Bush administration's 'war on terrorism' rhetoric and its practical meaning for Pakistani and Afghan politics. And it is written by one of the world's great experts on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, who actually knows Afghanistan and Pakistan intimately.
I certainly include myself in that collective "we" since I feel woefully uninformed about the complexity of the issues in that part of the world, and Lord knows the Bush administration and the mainstream American press are not going to be helpful. Viva la blogosphere!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vanquishing The Beast, Part Forever

I'm transferring this entire post; it's short and sweet and provides a link to two of my favorites at once, Hullabaloo and Glenn Greenwald. The emphasis is my own:
Actually, It's Not That Hard

by tristero

Glenn Greenwald:

Both legally and politically, it's hard to imagine a more significant scandal than the President and Vice President deliberately obstructing the investigation of the 9/11 Commission by concealing and then destroying vital evidence which the Commission was seeking. Yet that's exactly what the evidence at least suggests has occurred here.

Oh, I dunno about that. As utterly outrageous as it is, most of us can all too well imagine this administration destroying torture tapes and not telling the 9/11 Commission about it.

And as far as scandals go, there's the 2000 election, and 2004 Ohio. There's Bush ignoring August 6, 2001. And let's not forget the entire Bush/Iraq war. And Plame. And Schiavo. And the subversion of science. And surreptitiously hiring journalists to flack for the administration. And let's not forget Katrina. Or those attorneys general who were gleefully indicting and jailing Democrats for partisan advantage. And what about the energy companies and Cheney? Remember California's blackouts?

Which brings up an interesting question. Given such an extraordinary number of world-class choices, what IS the most significant scandal of the Bush years?

Well, I'm certain what would be considered the worst scandal, if we had a working press and a non-befuddled citizenry. And it's that the leaders who perpetrated and funded the worst attacks on American soil since the Civil War have never been found. It's an indication of how truly weird things have become that this most fundamental function of government - you protect your citizens by bringing to justice those that are known to be responsible for attacking them - has kind of been finessed or forgotten. But I can think of even worse than that.

The most significant scandal of our time is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are still wielding power.

And sadly, I can imagine even worse. That the United States elects as president one of the uber- bozos contending for the dubious honor of GOP nominee.

tristero 1/02/2008 07:08:00 AM Comments (49) | Trackback (0)
Tristero is exactly right - the fact that these two slimeball crooks, along with countless minions who have served and enabled their lawless regime, have thus far avoided prosecution, and in all probability will finish out their terms having done so, is a national disgrace. I don't think that we are going to elect a Republican president this time, but I'm afraid I also don't have much faith in our Democratic leaders to be able to effectively counteract the damage done by this administration. That, to me, is the most significant scandal of our time.

I think I'll call this one: I Should Be At Work Today But I'm Not

Tuesday, January 1, 2008