Remember Lamb Chop?

 Posted by at 01:57  Politics
Apr 292004
 

Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop will be meeting with the 9/11 commission later today…

The President’s Testimony

It would have been a pleasure to be able to congratulate President Bush on his openness in agreeing to sit down today with the independent commission on the 9/11 attacks and answer questions. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush conditioned his cooperation on stipulations that range from the questionable to the ridiculous.

The strangest of the president’s conditions is that he will testify only in concert with Vice President Dick Cheney. The White House has given no sensible reason for why Mr. Bush is unwilling to appear alone. (When asked at his recent press conference, the president gave one of his patented nonresponses: “Because it’s a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 commission is looking forward to asking us, and I’m looking forward to answering them.”)

Given the White House’s concern for portraying Mr. Bush as a strong leader, it’s remarkable that this critical appearance is being structured in a way that is certain to provide fodder for late-night comedians, who enjoy depicting him as the docile puppet of his vice president.

Mr. Bush’s reluctant and restrictive cooperation with the panel is consistent with the administration’s pattern of stonewalling reasonable requests for documents and testimony and then giving up only the minimum necessary ground when the dispute becomes public. Today’s testimony will be in private in the White House, away from reporters or television cameras. The session will not be recorded, and there will be no formal transcript. The president’s aides have defended this excessive degree of secrecy with the usual arguments about protecting highly classified information and not wanting to establish dangerous precedents.

The idea that the panel may wring from Mr. Bush some comment that may endanger national security is ridiculous. The commission, led by the respected former Republican governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean, has already heard, in public, from the leaders of the nation’s top intelligence agencies, the secretary of defense and Mr. Bush’s national security adviser. It seems highly unlikely that the president knows secrets more sensitive than they do. If he did, he would certainly be free to go off the record while discussing them.

The president’s aides have also been arguing that making the event anything more than a “meeting” or informal discussion would establish a pattern that future chief executives would be forced to follow. That is true, in a way. If Mr. Bush or any of his successors have the tragic misfortune to be in command at a time when terrorists strike the country, killing thousands of innocent civilians, they should be expected to cooperate with the official investigations, and to do so in a way that puts their statements on the record and into history.

Remember Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop? I’ll leave up to your imagination as to which is Bush and which is Cheney.

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Dump Kerry?

 Posted by at 04:10  Election 2004
Apr 282004
 

Then there’s this from The Village Voice

John Kerry Must Go

WASHINGTON, D.C.— With the air gushing out of John Kerry’s balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn’t have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party’s got to have someone to run against George Bush. They can’t exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.

With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton’s triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.

What to do? Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike. Then they can return to business as usual—resurrecting John Edwards, who is still hanging around, or staging an open convention in Boston, or both.

If things proceed as they are, the dim-bulb Dem leaders are going to be very sorry they screwed Howard Dean.

Now anybody who has read any this weblog in the past knows that I am not a big fan of John Kerry. Howard Dean was my first choice for the Democratic nomination. Kerry was actually very near the bottom of my list, just one spot above Al Sharpton. However, I am going to support and vote for whoever ends up running against George Bush. At the moment, it appears that will be John Kerry. Hell, I’d vote for a barrel full of monkeys over George Bush. I truly believe a barrel full of monkeys would do a better job. They would definitely beat him in the intelligence department.

The Bush campaign and its subsidiaries have already spent about $60 million dollars in advertising against John Kerry. Wouldn’t it just be hoot if the Democrats now nominated somebody else?

Desperation

 Posted by at 23:57  Election 2004
Apr 262004
 

This article from The New York Times illustrates just how desperate the Republicans are becoming.

Kerry Questions Bush Attendance in Guard in 70’s

FULTON, Mo., April 26 — In a day of piercing and personal exchanges, John Kerry questioned on Monday whether President Bush skipped National Guard duty 30 years ago, while Vice President Dick Cheney disparaged Mr. Kerry as an opportunist unfit to lead the nation in wartime.

Mr. Kerry had previously declined to join other Democrats in raising questions about Mr. Bush’s National Guard attendance record. But during a contentious interview on national television on Monday, when pressed on whether he threw away his Vietnam war medals in a protest in 1971, he defended himself and attacked the president.

“This is a controversy that the Republicans are pushing,” Mr. Kerry said on “Good Morning America” on ABC. “The Republicans have spent $60 million in the last few weeks trying to attack me, and this comes from a president and a Republican Party that can’t even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. I’m not going to stand for it.”

Later in the day, Mr. Kerry challenged what he called attacks on his military record from Republicans who did not fight in Vietnam.

“I did obviously fight in Vietnam, and I was wounded there, and I served there and was very proud of my service,” Mr. Kerry said. “To have these people, all of whom made a different choice, attack me for it is obviously disturbing.”

Mr. Cheney came here to Westminster College, where Winston Churchill first used the term Iron Curtain to describe the imposition of Communist rule in Eastern Europe, to offer a sharply drawn comparison between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush. The vice president drew snickers from the heavily Republican invited audience as he read quotations from Mr. Kerry intended to portray the senator as equivocating on major issues of national security.

“The contrast between the candidates this November will be sharper than it has been in many years,” Mr. Cheney said. “The senator from Massachusetts has given us ample grounds to doubt the judgment and the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security.”

The developments on Monday illustrated how the White House is planning to anchor Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign to the war on terrorism and showed the imperative his aides see in trying to undercut Mr. Kerry’s foreign policy credentials, including his decorated service in Vietnam. Democrats hope Mr. Kerry’s résumé will help neutralize Mr. Bush’s presumed advantage on these issues.

The Bush campaign is going to challenge John Kerry on the basis of his military record?! I would think that military records would be the last thing Mr. Bush would want to compare. He’s also completely botched the battle against terrorism. I cannot believe they have chosen these two items upon which to base his campaign for (re)election. But then, what else does he have? Certainly not jobs.

Every day in America, 85,444 workers lose their jobs. 14.7 million people are jobless, underemployed or have given up looking for work. 43.6 million people have no health insurance. 4,227 people file for personal bankruptcy. 12,878 workers are injured or made ill by their jobs. 6.8 million people are in the workforce but are still poor. 11 million children attend broken-down schools.

These are the almost-numbing statistics about the state of America’s working families. They are among the most important parts of the case against George W. Bush. How could somebody do so little while so many hurt?

Mr. Cheney is definitely correct about one thing — the contrast between the candidates this November will be much sharper than it has been in many years. I’m predicting a landslide victory for Kerry.

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Out on a limb

 Posted by at 14:09  Lifestyle
Apr 262004
 

There are right ways to get attention and then there are ways that are just plain wrong. The way these two went about it was not exactly the right way, but they did indeed get attention…

Gay lovers go out on limb

Two lovers, naked as jaybirds and apparently as crazy as looneybirds, climbed a tree in Central Park yesterday – and put on a bizarre four-hour show that drew cops and hundreds of gawkers.

In a shocking new twist on the birds and the bees, a 17-year-old boy and a 32-year-old preoperative transsexual offered an X-rated sex spectacle – refusing cops’ pleas to leave their unlikely love nest 50 feet above the Chess and Checkers House.

The standoff ended at 8:30 p.m., when the duo voluntarily came down and embraced as onlookers cheered. They were then taken away for psychiatric observation.

“We don’t get this back home,” said tourist Elise Gaillard, 21, of Adelaide, Australia. “Crazy Americans.”

Earlier, the teen told cops that his parents did not approve of his relationship with his newly bosomy pal. “I want my mother and my psychologist,” he yelled.

When police began scaling the leafy larch tree, the couple climbed higher.

“You think I won’t jump?” the transgender tree-hugger screamed at cops, who rushed two cherrypickers to the scene and put a huge airbag around the base of the towering larch.

At one point, the older of the couple broke off a branch and threatened to throw it at cops, before demanding a vanilla diet Pepsi.

When police handed up a regular old diet Pepsi, the 32-year-old hurled the can to the ground, screamed, “Vanilla!” and declared, “What I say goes!”

The couple also shouted complaints about the portrayal of transgender people in the media, and called for an apology on national TV.

“I think they were just mentally distraught, fed up with how people were treating them,” said Detective Steven Elter, who climbed up the tree to talk to the couple. “We just tried to talk to them and make them feel comfortable.”

The incident came just days after two Canadian women took a swim – fully clothed – in the Central Park reservoir.

Yesterday’s surreal antics prompted tourists like Louise Sharp, 24, of Scotland to change their sightseeing plans.

“We were going to go to the Empire State Building, but we thought we’d stay here instead,” Sharp said.

Crazy Americans, indeed! How come things like this always seem to happen in New York? Why not here in Dallas? I know the answer to that one. Because if it had happened here in Dallas, the police would probably have shot them out of the tree.

Just back from Discount Tire. They fixed the tire, no charge. So the whole fiasco ended up only costing me the five buck tip I gave the AAA guy. Not bad. Now if only somebody would call with a job offer my day would be made.

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Had it

 Posted by at 03:40  General
Apr 262004
 

I’ve had it. Up to here. Really.

Friday afternoon I go out to get in my car. Upon entering the garage, the first thing I noticed was that my left rear tire was flat as the proverbial pancake. The second thing I noticed was that it smelled like something had died in there. The stench was horrific.

So first I went looking for the thing that had died and, sure enough, something had. Lying beside the lawn mower was a dead possum. How a possum managed to get inside our garage, let alone decide that our garage was the ideal place in which to give up the ghost, is anybody’s guess. At any rate, the possum is now in a plastic garbage bag in the bin out in the alley awaiting pickup by the city in the morning.

After possum disposal, I came inside and logged onto AAA’s website and entered a service request to have somebody come and change my tire. Heck, we pay for the service and hardly ever use it, so I figured why not? Five minutes after I entered the request, the truck pulled into the driveway. I was floored by the quick response! Thirty minutes later, the tire was changed. It took thirty minutes because the dude couldn’t figure out how to get the spare tire free from its resting place underneath the car. Once I finally convinced him that the owner’s manual really was good for something, it was smooth sailing from there.

Then it was off to Discount Tire Store with my flat tire loaded in the back of the car. Upon arrival, we discovered that I had somehow managed to get a screw lodged in the tire. The salesman thinks it can be repaired, for a $13.00 charge, “but we close in 30 minutes and already have about an hour wait. You’ll have to come back Monday.”

The garage has mostly aired out, since we left the door up most of the day Saturday. My flat tire is still flat and still resting peacefully in the back of my car. I hope to have it fixed later today.

Top all that off with my continued state of unemployment and growing state of depression and you have my weekend. Oh, and about half the country still thinks that George W. Bush is doing a good job. Dolts.

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Bushworld

 Posted by at 23:25  Politics
Apr 242004
 

Maureen Dowd, whose views I frequently disagree with, gives us a column today that is priceless… a tour of Bushworld:

In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies coming home.

In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the president’s leadership against terror.

In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn’t control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.

In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it.

In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings (“Down With America!”) without having their tongues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers (“Down With America!”) without shutting them down.

In Bushworld, it’s fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you’re insisting you’re not planning.

In Bushworld, you don’t consult your father, the expert in being president during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can’t talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes.

In Bushworld, it’s O.K. to run for re-election as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he’s the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.

In Bushworld, it makes sense to press for transparency in Mr. and Mrs. Rival while cultivating your own opacity.

In Bushworld, you can reign as the antiterror president even after hearing an intelligence report about Al Qaeda’s plans to attack America and then stepping outside to clear brush.

In Bushworld, those who dissemble about the troops and money it will take to get Iraq on its feet are patriots, while those who are honest are patronizingly marginalized.

In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state separate in Iraq, even as they increasingly merge the two in America.

In Bushworld, you can claim to be the environmental president on Earth Day while being the industry president every other day.

In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers like Pat Tillman are still dying and the Taliban are running freely around the border areas, hiding Osama and delaying elections.

In Bushworld, imperfect intelligence is good enough to knock over Iraq. But even better evidence that North Korea is building the weapons that Saddam could only dream about is hidden away.

In Bushworld, the C.I.A. says it can’t find out whether there are W.M.D. in Iraq unless we invade on the grounds that there are W.M.D.

In Bushworld, there’s no irony that so many who did so much to avoid the Vietnam draft have now strained the military so much that lawmakers are talking about bringing back the draft.

In Bushworld, we’re making progress in the war on terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists.

In Bushworld, you don’t need to bother asking your vice president and top Defense Department officials whether you should go to war in Iraq, because they’ve already maneuvered you into going to war.

In Bushworld, it’s perfectly natural for the president and vice president to appear before the 9/11 commission like the Olsen twins.

In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying Iraq and unstintingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements.

In Bushworld, we went to war to give Iraq a democratic process, yet we disdain the democratic process that causes allies to pull out troops.

In Bushworld, you pride yourself on the fact that your administration does not leak to the press, while you flood the best-known journalist in Washington with inside information.

In Bushworld, you list Bob Woodward’s “Plan of Attack” as recommended reading on your campaign Web site, even though it makes you seem divorced from reality. That is, unless you live in Bushworld.

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Blood vote

 Posted by at 02:55  Election 2004
Apr 202004
 

Blood Vote – The Consequences of Voting for George W. Bush

by John D. Goldhammer

And let us bathe our hands in . . . blood up to the elbows, and besmear our swords. Then we walk forth, even to the market place, And waving our red weapons o’er our heads, Let’s all cry “peace, freedom and liberty!”
– Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

On a crisp Colorado evening in the fall of 1945, my mom helped me put on the sailor suit my father had given me-a perfect replica of his Navy uniform. I was four years old and I still remember that night. World War II had just ended. Far away in the Philippines, my father was waiting for the ship that would finally take him home. Holding a small American flag in one hand, and clutching my mother’s hand with the other, we joined thousands of people in a celebration march through the streets of Denver. Even at that young age I could feel that our country had accomplished something noble and worthwhile. At the time, I had no real comprehension of how many lives were lost. I just knew was that my father was coming home. That was a different war.

Fifty-five years later, thinking about voting in the approaching election, I find myself deeply saddened and disturbed by what has happened to our country. I worry about our future in a world faced with an American administration that is looked upon as arrogant and aggressive, a rogue superpower that frightens and intimidates other countries.

What will it mean to vote for George W. Bush for a second term? When I answer that question I realize that we face a presidential election that will be a profound referendum on the very nature of what it means to be an American, a referendum holding ominous portents for the future of the United States and for the world. A vote for the Bush cadre will leave those voters with bloodied hands, making them accomplices to each and every casualty of a foreign policy that has alienated us from our allies and inflamed our enemies, a foreign policy that also has ensnared us in an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Voting for Bush II will support and perpetuate what amounts to a full-blown, political cult -a fanatical political predator with fundamentalist religious fangs and moneyed, special interest claws. The religious right’s cult mind set has corrupted our country’s current leadership, which has, in turn, further deformed an already dysfunctional foreign policy into an empire-building rogue state.

Please click on the headline and read the full article.

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Past time for apologies

 Posted by at 03:07  Election 2004
Apr 192004
 

CNN’s Mark Shields gets it right…

Time for apologies

WASHINGTON (Creators Syndicate) — Do you remember when Saddam Hussein — who at the time was dividing his time between a hole in the ground and a shed piled with dirty clothes and was obviously not commanding any organized opposition — was captured last December 14?

Former Vermont Governor and then-Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean actually dared to spread the ugly truth that, while a very good thing, “the capture of Saddam has not made America safer.”

Such candor brought down the wrath of Dean opponent Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, who fumed, “Howard Dean has climbed into his own spider hole if he believes the capture of Saddam has not made America safer.”

Lieberman looks like the soul of restraint compared to Wall Street Journal opinion columnist James Taranto, who wrote: “It’s not easy to cram so much idiocy, mendacity and arrogance into nine words. … Dean’s assertion is impossible to support rationally.”

As more young Americans daily make their last, long trip home from Iraq — in body bags — how many of their families and neighbors feel safer because Saddam Hussein is today in custody?

Do you think any one of the 40,000 or so foreign policy-national security gurus who ridiculed and condemned Howard Dean, last December, has for so much as a microsecond thought about apologizing or had even a flash of self-doubt?

Everyone, of course, is entitled to her own opinion, but not to his own facts. In a democracy, the informed consent of the governed depends upon their free access to the truth.

Americans were urged and encouraged by the nation’s leaders to make the most serious of all judgments — the awesome decision to go to war — because of the weapons of mass destruction the despot controlled and would not hesitate to use against the United States.

None of that was true.

Click on the headline to read the full article.

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New archivist?

 Posted by at 03:13  Politics
Apr 182004
 

The National Coalition for History reports on the Bush Administration’s efforts to replace our current national archivist with one of their own choosing — as quickly as possible.

Concern is growing within the archival and historical communities regarding the Bush administration’s hoped for “fast-track” process to replace Archivist of the United States John Carlin with one of its own choosing — historian Allen Weinstein. According to informed sources, the administration hopes to short-circuit the normal confirmation process and see Weinstein confirmed through an “expedited” process. Their goal — place Weinstein in the position prior to the November election.

According to Hill insiders, the effort to replace Carlin is coming from the highest levels of the White House. Reportedly, Karl Rove who is widely viewed as one of the president’s chief political advisors, if not his political mastermind and, Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President, want their own archivist in place for two overarching reasons: first, because of the sensitive nature of certain presidential and executive department records likely to be opened in the near future, and second, because there is genuine concern in the White House that the president may not be re-elected.

There is a third reason, of course. There are secrets within this administration which must not be revealed at any cost. We don’t really need to know who has in truth been writing our energy or environment laws, do we? We don’t really need to know the real reasons behind the invasion of Iraq, right? How about how economic policy was formulated? There a lot of things that have transpired during the Bush II years that we really have no reason to know about. With their own puppet archivist in place, in will be so much easier for the Bushies to keep these things hidden. Yep, makes sense to me.

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On growing old

 Posted by at 09:45  General
Apr 172004
 

I am not growing old gracefully. I am having a lot of trouble with the fact that kids now in their twenties (who seem to think they know all there is to know) were born when I was in my thirties. I could be a grandfather!

We are taking the train over to Fort Worth this morning with a couple of friends and will be taking in the Main Street Art Festival. We’ll be leaving the cats in charge of the homestead. Here’s hoping we’ll have a home to come home to!

(Sunshine, who is currently lying in her favorite spot right in front of my keyboard, with one paw on the keyboard, just assured me that everything will be fine. I feel much better now.)

In other news, I have switched to Mozilla Firefox for browsing and Mozilla Thunderbird for e-mail, and I could not be happier. Ba-bye, Microsoft!

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