August 31, 2005
"There is a sense here that he's still the 9/11 president, and could bring the same magic here"
- Elliott Stonecipher, an independent political consultant from Shreveport, La.Ah yes, the magic:
(if you have the stomach for more outrage mixed with sadness, head on over to AMERICAblog where John and company have been expertly documenting the disaster in the Gulf along with demonstrating the lack of leadership and action on the part of our dear leader)
Can We Impeach For Tardiness?
In August of 2001, while President George W. Bush should have been paying attention to this:
...he was busy doing this:
Then, on the day that Osama made good on his determination:
...George leapt into action. Oh, sorry. I meant, George gave us his best deer-in-the-headlights impersonation:
However, THREE DAYS LATER, George finally came to the rescue, climbing atop what was now the grave of thousands of men and women, and declaring to the world, "I hear you" -- essentially beginning his re-election campaign:
It should come as no surprise that on December 26, 2004, the date of one of the deadliest natural disasters in history:
...Bush was, once again, busy doing this:
Just like three years earlier, it took 72 hours for Bush to properly address the catastrophe (if by "properly" one means promising a mere $15 million in relief before upping that figure to $35 million after a U.N. official called the offer "stingy").
And today, we are witnessing, yet again, another stunning three-day waiting period for our President to actually do something even slightly beyond a photo op. While this was happening on Monday:
...George was busy yucking it up over Medicare:
...and celebrating John McCain's birthday:
Then, on Tuesday, while this was still going on:
...George decided it might be fun to fake being able to play the guitar:
Finally, after getting an update yesterday on the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history, George decided to cut short his vacation by two days -- returning to Crawford for one more night before heading back to Washington:
Let's get this straight: He needed an "update" to decide that, um, maybe things are pretty fucked up and, perhaps, he should get back to work and be Presidentable again. An update. Any moron with access to a TV, radio or newspaper (if he knew how to read) could figure out that the Gulf Coast was in a dire state of emergency without the benefit of an official update.
Well, maybe George needed an update because he really didn't understand the magnitude of the situation. Perhaps he saw these two pictures and thought people were simply doing what he was doing on vacation: Riding their bikes:
...and playing with their dogs.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh on our strong, powerful leader. Afterall, he has his priorties. In fact, he once abruptly interrupted his vacation to return to Washington in the middle of the night:
...so he could join this circus:
This is the spot where my wife and I got married 11 years ago. I'm assuming it no longer exists.
It is now part of a landscape in New Orleans that looks something like this:
If you can, please help out the good people of Louisiana and their neighbors in Mississippi, Alabama and western Florida. You can donate here, here or here.
August 30, 2005
Al: Next Time You Want To Help...Don't
From the Houston Chronicle:
A driver for the Rev. Al Sharpton led Ellis County Sheriff's deputies on a nine-mile chase at speeds up to 110 mph before state troopers stopped the car, authorities said.Keep in mind Al, even though you now look like this:
The civil rights activist called the sheriff's report "ludicrous on its face" and accused the officers of "embellishing the story."
Chief Deputy Charles Sullins said the driver was rushing Sharpton to the airport after Sharpton visited anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Sunday at her camp outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford. The car carrying Sharpton and two other passengers was clocked doing 110 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 35 in Ellis County in North Texas.
...most of us still remember when you looked like this:
Come to think of it, he still can't quite pull off "distinguished."
August 28, 2005
Such an eloquent readership I attract:
From an anonymous comments post:
I think the president is doing a great job, and i should "Kill all the fags that don't agree!"Preznit good; homos bad. Must act like a real man and kill something.
Do You Feel Safer?
Well? Do you punks?
Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey says the National Guard already is "in the stage of meltdown and within 24 months will be coming apart."So the Bush Administration has caused structural damage to our armed forces and our National Guard is melting down -- you know, the armed forces that are supposed to fight real enemies abroad and the National Guard that is supposed to be mobilized "upon declaration of a state of emergency by the governor of the state in which they serve" -- you know, emergencies such as hurricanes or terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Man, the 62,040,610 of you selfish idiots who voted for Bush could not have picked a bigger fuckup. Thanks oodles.
McCaffrey sounded that alarm in testimony and a compelling memorandum he submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 18 after a wide-ranging trip to Iraq in June. He predicted the United States would succeed in Iraq -- but added that it would take five years and dramatic changes in the way the American military and diplomatic establishments conduct business there.
His memorandum reinforces the impression that the U.S. transitional authority essentially wasted its 18 months in effective power and helped create "a weak state of warring factions" that still has to get on its feet. Understaffing and too rapid turnover by the State Department as well as the Pentagon have created a crippling lack of continuity for the decisive months ahead, McCaffrey wrote.
Such concern is driving a dramatic shift in U.S. military planning in Iraq. An emerging aim is to reduce the damage being inflicted on America's armed forces as an institution. It is the structural damage -- the hollowing out of America's military -- that most concerns McCaffrey and other military leaders. Reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq's contested urban areas by the summer of 2006 is now a key component of that planning.
August 27, 2005
Cindy Sheehan, Forshizzle
Click the pic to watch Cindy completely rock on Real Time with Bill Maher, courtesy of onegoodmove.
President George W. Bush, assailed by sagging poll numbers and criticism from anti-war protesters camped outside his ranch, called on Saturday for Americans to show resolve and brace for additional sacrifice in Iraq...In other words:
"Our efforts in Iraq and the broader Middle East will require more time, more sacrifice and continued resolve," he said.
Bush has said withdrawing now would only embolden insurgents who have sought to derail the drafting of an interim constitution.
"And when Iraqi forces can defend their freedom by taking more and more of the fight to the enemy, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned," he said.
August 26, 2005
Why Does This Make Me Think Of Lumpy, Spoiled Milk?
Admit It America: " We" Lost This One
From the Huffington Post:
Iraq spins further into disarray. Its president's entourage was ambushed. Soldiers and civilians die daily. The constitution, drafted by Shiites and Kurds, is abhorred by the Sunnis, and still must be voted on in October -- a vote likely to be fraught with more in-fighting and more terrorist attacks, even given the very recent compromise offered by the Shiites. If the Sunnis can't stomach the constitution, it may even be voted out in October, plunging the country into additional darkness -- and not just from the lack of electricity.But is it really fair to say that "we" lost this war? Someone (for a change) has to take responsibility for destroying America's trust across the globe by waging a war based on lies, killing thousands of innocent Iraqis and killing and injuring thousands of coalition soldiers. I know it shouldn't be "us." So, I nominate this asshole:
At the same time, 1500 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to Iraq over the next several weeks -- in time to help "support security efforts" during the election process -- once again demonstrating our administration's inability or unwillingness to recognize the strategy we're currently following is not working. More troops sent will just put more people in the line of danger.
A reader over at Hullabaloo goes one step further and suggests indicting the entire Republican party along with Bush:
"We cannot win the war in Iraq and staying could rouse terrorist sentiment against us"
"The Republicans lost the war in Iraq and our continued presence is rousing terrorist sentiment against us."
I happen to think this has the benefit of being true. The Bush administration lost the war before it began because it was unwinnable as a purely American/British venture. He didn't mishandle it. He didn't misjudge. He lost it.Oh, and by the way: We support our troops. In fact, we'd like them to stay alive so they can defend us against real enemies, not ones created by the Bush Administration.
I know it's unpalatable to use their frame, but I think it's pretty ingrained in the American psyche. We are the ultimate "win-lose" culture. Because of that I believe it is in our political interest and the country's security interests to frame this as a Republican loss. Terrorism is still a threat. Nukes in the hands of bad actors are a very, very serious threat. We are economically and militarily weakened by Bush's response to 9/11...
The GOP has proven in real time, right before our eyes, that they want to start wars but they don't have a fucking clue how to win them. That needs to be reiterated over and over again to the American public. If it sinks in we might just be able to find our way out of this ridiculous national security paradigm we've been in ever since the wingnuts asked "who lost China" back in 48. It created Vietnam and it created Iraq. Enough.
August 25, 2005
Heroes & Zeroes
Cindy to her supporters, Wednesday night:
"...I am going to make sure that after our troops are brought home from Iraq, and they will be brought back, that we’re going to keep the Camp Casey movement going and we’re gonna make sure that our kids are never sent to fight a war for power and greed."Debbie from Indianapolis, who called radio host Rush Limbaugh...to say her own son was wounded in Iraq:
"What she's doing is not only dishonoring her son, she's dishonoring mine."Um, whatever.
August 24, 2005
"The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom."
Excellent Jon Stewart/Ben Karlin interview from Wired, mainly about how the internet is changing the way we watch television:
Your contract goes through 2008. How do you think people will be watching the show then?
Stewart: Through their nipples. I believe the show will come in through one nipple and will be broadcast out the other through some sort of projection device.
Karlin: And if you have three nipples, you're basically walking high definition.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
The Biggest "Joey Nichols" Ever
From Think Progress:
Speaking in Idaho a few minutes ago, Bush argued that moms like Cindy Sheehan are a threat to freedom:Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this man?There are few things more difficult in life than seeing a loved one go off to war, and here in Idaho, a mom named Tammy Pruitt…knows that feeling six times over.
Tammy has four sons serving in Iraq right now with the Idaho National Guard — Eric, Evan, Greg, and Jeff. Last year, her husband Leon and another son Aaron returned from Iraq where they helped train Iraqi firefighters in Mosul.
Tammy says this — and I want you to hear this — “I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country. And I guess you couldn’t ask for a better way of life than giving it for something you believe in.”
America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruitts.
The Man Who Could Have Been President
What a waste. Take away the arrogance that was his ultimate undoing and the Dems would have had an excellent candidate in 1988 (instead we ended up with, gulp, Walter Mondale). Here's Gary Hart writing in today's Washington Post:
"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative era entered.
Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse.
History will deal with George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who misled a mighty nation into a flawed war that is draining the finest military in the world, diverting Guard and reserve forces that should be on the front line of homeland defense, shredding international alliances that prevailed in two world wars and the Cold War, accumulating staggering deficits, misdirecting revenue from education to rebuilding Iraqi buildings we've blown up, and weakening America's national security.
But what will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on? My generation of Democrats jumped on the hot stove of Vietnam and now, with its members in positions of responsibility, it is afraid of jumping on any political stove. In their leaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong."
To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me."
Further, this leader should say: "I am now going to give a series of speeches across the country documenting how the administration did not tell the American people the truth, why this war is making our country more vulnerable and less secure, how we can drive a wedge between Iraqi insurgents and outside jihadists and leave Iraq for the Iraqis to govern, how we can repair the damage done to our military, what we and our allies can do to dry up the jihadists' swamp, and what dramatic steps we must take to become energy-secure and prevent Gulf Wars III, IV and so on."
At stake is not just the leadership of the Democratic Party and the nation but our nation's honor, our nobility and our principles. Franklin D. Roosevelt established a national community based on social justice. Harry Truman created international networks that repaired the damage of World War II and defeated communism. John F. Kennedy recaptured the ideal of the republic and the sense of civic duty. To expect to enter this pantheon, the next Democratic leader must now undertake all three tasks.
But this cannot be done while the water is rising in the Big Muddy of the Middle East. No Democrat, especially one now silent, should expect election by default. The public trust must be earned, and speaking clearly, candidly and forcefully now about the mess in Iraq is the place to begin.
The real defeatists today are not those protesting the war. The real defeatists are those in power and their silent supporters in the opposition party who are reduced to repeating "Stay the course" even when the course, whatever it now is, is light years away from the one originally undertaken. The truth is we're way off course. We've stumbled into a hornet's nest. We've weakened ourselves at home and in the world. We are less secure today than before this war began.
Little Birds Say The Darnedest Things
Elvis Costello explains why he changed the lyrics of "The Scarlet Tide" for his Today Show performance with Emmylou Harris. Click the above pic to watch the entire song in case you missed it the first time I posted it.
At 2am on the 21st July, I woke up and re-wrote a few lines of “The Scarlet Tide” to reflect the frustration that I sense with the disastrous and dishonest prosecution of a war, an action that might have been thought treasonous in saner times.This is why I have loved Elvis Costello for almost three decades. Whether you agree with him or not, at least he has the guts to speak his mind.
The original text adapted an arcane idiom:
“I thought I heard a black bell toll
A little bird did sing;
‘Man has no choice when he wants everything’”
Little birds are always telling you something in old folk songs.
At 5.15am, we were on stage at the “Today” show rehearsing the new lyrics, the repeated verse of which reads:
“I thought I heard a black bell toll upon the highest dome
Admit you lied
And bring the boys back home”
You can never be certain of whether people will take things in at one hearing but there seemed to be a discernibly positive reaction at Rockerfeller Plaza.
August 23, 2005
If Only These Things Really Worked
Actual photo from Bush's address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"I'm less popular than Nixon was during the height of Watergate."
The War They Wanted
From the mighty "pen" of James Wolcott:
(The) neocons got the war they wanted, it was waged according to their blueprints, and it's their fuck-up, their moral responsibility, their historical bloodstain, their arrogant, ignorant, blundering, inexcusable mess.A mess with a new constitution:
Article OneIslamofascism: Certainly seems like a cause worth dying for...
The Republic of Iraq is an independent state.
The political system is republican, parliamentary, democratic and federal.
1. Islam is a main source for legislation.
-- a. No law may contradict Islamic standards.
-- b. No law may contradict democratic standards.
-- c. No law may contradict the essential rights and freedoms mentioned in this constitution.
2. This constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the Iraqi people and guarantees all religious rights; all persons are free within their ideology and the practice of their ideological practices.
August 22, 2005
It Never Came Up?!?!
Lance Armstrong said Sunday he set a one-day record during his bike ride with President Bush - not for cycling but for lobbying.I wonder if it came up later that night during dinner with his girlfriend?
During their two-hour ride on Bush's ranch Saturday, Armstrong pushed the president to spend more federal money on cancer research.
"I've never asked someone for so much money before," the seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor told ABC's "This Week" for its Sunday broadcast.
Armstrong added that the Iraq war, which he opposes, never came up during their 17-mile ride.
Why Is He Running?
Kinky Friedman, left, with his future Energy Czar Willie Nelson
I decided to run for governor (of Texas) because I've achieved a lot of my dreams, or realized a lot of my dreams in my life — [like] eating monkey brains in Borneo with the Peace Corps. And I've played the Grand Ole Opry. So I've done all this stuff and I want to see that other people, particularly younger Texans, get to realize some of their dreams. If musicians do run the state when I'm governor, we won't get a lot of legislation done in the morning, probably. All these politicians are owned by special interest or by political parties. I am a free bird. I am an independent, and that is just what Texas needs now. When I'm governor, we will bring the Ten Commandments back to school. I may have to change their name — "the Ten Suggestions," maybe. But we have to get them back in. And I would like to bring nondenominational prayer in the public schools. What's wrong with a kid believing in something? And what's wrong with an independent governor that can have an issue like prayer in school that he likes, and like gay marriage that he likes. He doesn't have to toe the party line all the time. So, I mean, I think gays have every right to be just as miserable as the rest of us. So I support gay marriage. Renewable fuel: We gotta stop the Saudis from playing the jukebox and the rest of us dancing to the tune. I mean, gas is going to be costing a dollar a drop in a few years. So bio-diesel is something that my friend Willie Nelson has really been promoting, and I am with Willie on this. In fact, Willie will be my energy czar. Well, all I really offer is I know how to ride, shoot straight and tell the truth. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan when he first ran for governor of California, "The other guys got the experience — that's why I'm running." That's exactly why I am running.You can watch the video here, read the 6,000 words or so that The New Yorker devoted to the Kinkster here and/or go to his official website here (why the hell not?).
This Website Is Soooooo Wrong
...and that's why I'm linking to it, my little cuppycake gumdrops.
Here's A Song For Of All You Young Lovers Out There...
Click to Listen
(Warning: May cause brain hemorrhaging, my little snoogums-boogums)
You Are Forgiven
After the disappointing first 9 (!) episodes of Six Feet Under's fifth and final season, the show made good on it's promise of the first 4 seasons by first, killing off Nate in episode 61 ("Narm!"), dealing with his loss on episode 62 (Brenda to Maggie: "What is this? Some Quaker thing? You fuck someone's husband to death and then bring them a quiche?") and finally, on last night's finale, reminding us why we originally fell in love with The Fishers and their extended family in the first place. The last 5 minutes showing their future were as powerful and emotional as any television I've ever seen (and, of course, also filled with the show's trademark black humor: How could you not love Brenda finally getting sick and tired of Billy's bullshit and croaking on the spot at age 82?). To read their final obituaries, go here. R.I.P. friends...
August 21, 2005
Bikey W. won the "Tour de Crawford" yesterday, narrowly defeating Lance Armstrong by taking a short cut and avoiding Camp Casey.