Friday, April 30, 2004


Not much to say today other than that the U.S. should get out of Iraq, get rid of the tax cuts for the wealthy, let gay people get married, and impeach Bush, among several hundred other things. After yesterday's fiasco before the 9/11 Commission, Bush comes off smelling like a rose ("We answered all the questions"--as Special Ed would say, "El Yay!").

And then Drudge was on "Washington Journal" this morning trying to make a big deal out of Bob Kerrey leaving the Dick Bush hearing early. I don't see why he even went at all. We'll never know for sure what was said, because it wasn't recorded by a tape or even a court reporter...oh wait, I talked about that already. If every member of the 9/11 Commission had sat at home picking their noses it would have been more productive than yesterday's session. More productive for the commissioners, anyway. The meeting was plenty productive for Dick Bush, who said they "enjoyed it" and were able to reveal "how we handle threats."

Well, we didn't have to have Dick Bush tell us how he handles threats because we already know his methods--he goes on vacations and/or flies around the country from Air Force base to Air Force base while cities burn. Or he complains that threat warnings were not specific enough for him (the friggin' President Of These United States) to do anything about.

OK, enough of that. Finally got a LiteOn DVD + R burner at Hudson's last night. It was only $66 and appears to work just fine, judging by the 4 GB DVD of mp3s I was able to burn last night... I was able to pop it right into our Dell machine with no problem--I will agree that one should be happy upon hearing the words "Dude, you're getting a Dell." Best computer my wife and I have owned so far. Also got some DVDs--first season of Chappelle's show, a couple of Baby Einsteins, and a yoga instructional and the Samurai Jack movie.

Oh, and I just remembered--got an intriguing pitch from BellSouth about their DSL service from the nicest Asian Indian man...more on that later...

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Bush and Cheney go before the 9/11 Commission today. Ho hum...I can't imagine that anything of substance will come of their testimony. Hell, to even call it "testimony" is a farce. Here's the first definition of the word from

A declaration by a witness under oath, as that given before a court or deliberative body.

Of course, there will be "note-takers" for the commission and for the White House. I guess that's supposed to make us feel as though there will be a record of what is said, as there should be. However, that just creates a situation in which there can never be a challenge to the veracity of any statements either side may eventually make about what is said. The commission might leak some statement and the White House will be able to say, "no that's not what was said according to our note-taker" and then release their version of the story.

In other words, what is said will not be recorded by an objective source, an impartial record of simply the words that come out of Bush and Cheney's mouths. Not that it would make any difference if we had a record of what came out of their mouths anyway. Bush and Cheney both said that Saddam had WMD before the Iraq war. Well, he doesn't and didn't and there have so far been no repercussions for Tweedledum and Tweedledee for these lies. The only people that have suffered the consequences of the Bush-Cheney mendacity are Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, their fellow soldiers, and thousands of Iraqis. Oh yeah, and we American taxpayers (as opposed to the un-American tax cheats) who are footing the bill for all of this well into our children's futures.

If it is President Cheney's intent to "strengthen" the Presidency, and it clearly is, one might well ask how strong he intends it to be. Napoleon strong? That's pretty strong, but maybe not quite good enough for our little Shrub. Hitler strong? Oops...was that an inappropriate question? Should I not have asked that? Don't dictators have the power to jail their own citizens indefinitely with no legal recourse? Don't they occupy countries to "liberate" them and impose their desired systems of government on those countries? Don't they babble on about amorphous, abstract "terrorists" and whip their nations into a frenzy about "national security" and promise to make the country "secure" at any cost from these "terrorists"?

Anyway, as for President Dick Bush's appearance before the 9/11 Commission, it's happening today yet it will have never really happened at all. The only hope of preserving it for history in any kind of objective way at all is if one of the commissioners wears a wire and records it. Bush doesn't answer questions anyway, he just uses a question as an opportunity to repeat his dogmatic tripe. But Bush ain't stupid--he saw what happened to the last president who testified under oath like a man and was beaten and bloodied by an hostile Congress (even though Bush has a friendly, kiss-ass Congress, he's still a pussy for not going under oath--yeah, I'm resorting to name-calling--it's OK, Rush gave me permission)

So what's the point? The commission gets to say they questioned the president and the president gets to say he relented to questioning. Which sounds nice, but it's all farcical hogwash and wastes everyone's time.
Over and out...

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Let's make something clear: John Kerry volunteered for Vietnam, was wounded three times, and was allowed to finish out his tour doing non-combat duties. He was awarded three Purple Hearts and the Bronze and Silver Stars.

George W. Bush did not volunteer for service in Vietnam and was therefore not eligible for any medals. But neither was he in the line of fire--hell, there's still doubt whether or not he was even where the National Guard required him to be at the time they required him to be there.

So Bush had no medals to throw at a protest, even if he had separated the medals from the ribbons. Maybe he didn't get soured on the Vietnam War because he never drew fire from Charlie! Being shot at and wounded and seeing your friends die in some godforsaken foreign country has a different effect on a person than being allowed to do whatever the hell you feel like doing (i.e., working on campaigns, going to business school) whenever you want while still in your home country.

The Repubes surely understand all this, they're just willfully ignoring the facts that make their man look like maybe he shouldn't be commander in chief compared to the other guy that wants his job. For a group of people who claim to be such veteran-worshippers, the Repubes (yes, as in pubic hair--surely people who don't mind the term "Feminazi" can see the humor in this harmlessly accurate jibe) certainly are doing a fine job of smearing and impugning the character of one who they would normally be arguing should be treated with a respect--nay, slack-jawed awe--usually reserved only for saints and Ronald Reagan.

It's sickeningly revelatory of the Republican mindset that they could argue that Kerry is all but a traitor for throwing some ribbons that he was awarded during legitimate, verified, unquestionable service in combat while portraying Bush as an infallible deity who sees and knows all things despite the fact that he never served in combat and kinda-but-not-really finished out his service in the National Guard.

When a reasonable, fair-minded person takes this into account with about 999 other facts, how could that reasonable, fair-minded person not come to the conclusion that George W. Bush should concede the election to Kerry right now and let a real hero and statesman take the reins?

Rock Against Bush Update

Apparently ripping down our station's "Rock Against Bush" poster had no effect on airplay, because it was number one in our Top 30 this week. Take that, ya vandals!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2004


A weekend of tributes to fallen soldier Pat Tillman. At least we won't see his coffin in any pictures (because God knows how offensive that is). I struggle with how to think about his story. On the one hand, I think his sacrifice was incredible. He turned down millions of dollars to join the army, apparently something he felt very strongly about. I would normally applaud such a move without reservation. My quarrel is not really with Pat Tillman so much as it is with the possible jingoistic uses of his story.

Supposedly it was 9/11 that made him feel as though he had to join the service and fight abstract "terrorists". That is a message that I am afraid will be exploited by the pro-war side--i.e., this true American hero saw the danger this country is in and paid the ultimate price while you antiwar types run down the war on terror and don't support the troops. He was obviously a selfless guy, but I wonder whether he wouldn't be more valuable to the pro-war effort alive. The taxes on his millions would've been able to pay the salaries of several soldiers, and if he'd stayed out of the conflict, he could have been a good mouthpiece for the war on terror. He could've paid for ads in major newspapers that spoke out in favor of Bush and his policies, etc. But war kills even the golden child, and now the world is a poorer place without him.

I realize I still haven't put my finger on exactly what it is about this story that bugs me. It's not Pat Tillman, certainly, it's more the way the story is played by the major media. I heard one commentator opine that "hero is too poor a word" for him or something to that effect. And that is true in some sense, but it was said amongst other ramblings that lead one to believe that the most honorable thing one can do is die for one's country (implied: so all you antiwar bozos better shut up and sit down). Also, so much has been made of his turning down millions to make mere thousands in a godforsaken desert hellhole. Normally, in our money-is-everything society, it's pretty much agreed that greed is good. I just wonder how the media reaction would differ if instead of becoming a cog in our national killing machine, he had instead forsaken the millions to join a hunger-fighting organization or a landmine clearing operation to help with what the Afghanis really need.

Why is it any less honorable to bring pleasure to your country through say, one's talent in sport? Or whatever one does? Why is killing or being killed so highly valued? Shouldn't we trying to avoid killing people or avoid putting our own citizens in harm's way? Shouldn't we be pursuing peace instead (Charley Reese has a great column about this today)? Wouldn't that be the most noble pursuit? Maybe someday in the future we'll settle differences among nations with games of sport, maybe even football--no one gets killed, and you can live to play another day. If only Pat Tillman had been able to be around for that day (that will never come to pass, except in my fevered imagination).

So now he's dead but the Taliban is regrouping, al-Qaeda hasn't gone anywhere, the Iraqis hate us, we live in mortal fear of a terrorist attack before the election, terrorist attacks are occuring almost daily everywhere else in the world, and yet just over half of U.S. citizens think George W. Bush is the greatest president this country's ever had. It reminds me of that line in "Born In The USA"--"I had a brother at Khe Sahn/fighting off them Viet Cong/They're still there/He's all gone." Whoops, a comparison to Vietnam. Remind me what he died for exactly? And what they expect more of our sons and daughters to die for? Oh well, ashes to ashes, and vanity of vanities and all that. It'll all be over soon...unless it won't...

Friday, April 23, 2004


At the Mississippi public radio station where I work, we received the album "Rock Against Bush" and a promotional poster to go with it. I hesitated to put out the poster at first because I figured it would be torn down or defaced immediately. Well, it wasn't immediate, but it didn't take long. Today I discovered that it had indeed been torn down and other posters around it (and sharing it's tacks) were still flapping in the air conditioning when I noticed it. I figured it had just happened, but I didn't see anyone around, so there was no one to yell at or chase down. However, I took a quick look in a nearby trash can and there it was. It was wadded up but not torn or anything. So I smoothed it out and put it back up.

Something similar happened a couple months ago to the "Impeach Bush" sign in my front yard. I happened to be out in the yard in the general vicinity of where the sign had been earlier that day and found myself tripping over the metal stand where the sign had been. I wasn't able to find that sign, though. It wasn't exactly cheap and I doubt Bush will be impeached (even thought there's ample cause)anyway, so I didn't replace it. I'm waiting for the same thing to happen to the Kerry sign that's out there now...but we do have plenty of replacements for that one...

The Pentagon's policy of not releasing pictures of flag-draped coffins is ridiculous. Supposedly the policy exists to protect the delicate sensibilities of military families. I'm all for protecting the rights of soldiers and their families, and a good way to do that is to not send them into harm's way unnecessarily. But how do pictures of identical caskets offend military families? In the coffin pictures, no one can tell which soldier is which, what their cause of death was or anything. The coffins just look like anonymous rectangular boxes made of flags.

That's clearly why a lot of people are critical of the Bush administration's decision to continue the no-picture policy. Since no details of anything about any of the soldiers can be detected simply by seeing pictures of the coffins, there must be another reason why the Pentagon doesn't want them seen. And of course that reason is that published pictures of rows of coffins tend to bring home to the public the fact that war kills people and sometimes it kills lots of people and people that you and I know. Most people don't like the thought of their sons and daughters being killed and then begin to wonder whether the reason their loved ones died was valid or not.

Some, if not most, will conclude that the reasons their loved ones died in Iraq were questionable at best and outright lies at worst.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


So I just saw Chris Matthews talking to Laura Ingraham and Mark Green on "Hardball." Ingraham of course toed the Republican party line that everyone, even Clinton, believed that Iraq had WMD before the war. And that one has to believe that either they disappeared as if by magic the second the U.S. troops showed up or they were shipped to another evil, rogue state. OK--all of that is nonsense, everyone knows it (here's a link for starters), including the Republicans, but the Bushies can't admit it because it makes their guy look bad and this is an election year.

Matthews really gave no ground to Ingraham and it was clear that he is not buying the Republican argument, which is refreshing after his months of Bush-worship. For instance, he brought up the irony of the fact that a woman under contract with the Pentagon was fired for taking pictures of U.S. soldiers in caskets coming home from Iraq while none of those responsible for the fabrications that led us into war have lost their jobs. Ingraham spun it, saying that she must have been acting outside of her job description and was therefore insubordinate and deserved to be fired. OK,whatever...

What I really wanted to get to in this post is the erroneous way in which Kerry's "Meet The Press" interview from 1971 is being spun. The Republican line is that he admitted to committing atrocities and accused thousands of other soldiers of doing the same thing and then he called them war criminals. As a result, Vietnam veterans supposedly hate Kerry (but this one even admits to respecting him for trying to bring the war to an end). But they apparently only heard half of what he said or are willfully ignoring the rest of his statement.

Kerry did not indict grunt soldiers as war criminals. In his statement, he basically said that the military and governmental leaders set up the rules of engagement such that all the soldiers were made to act in violation of the rules of war if they did what their commanders told them to. Republicans are so quick to use his own words against him without realizing that his own words actually implicate Johnson and Nixon and McNamara, not the average soldier like himself. To wit (quotes taken from the April 18, 2004 transcript of "Meet The Press"):

"MR. KERRY (Vietnam Veterans Against the War): There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50-caliber machine guns which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages."

That's where Kerry's critics stop listening. How convenient. Here's the rest of the story...

"All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare. All of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down."

OK, now comes the "war criminal" part. But what reasonable person with the reading comprehension of at least a 3rd grader thinks that he is saying that the grunts in the field were/are war criminals?

"And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free-fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals."

You got that? He's saying the men who designed these awful methods of fighting are war criminals, the men who sat at breakfast tables at fine Washington hotels and were far removed from the action--not the actual common foot soldiers. This is the same kind of smear that was used against Al Gore--that he supposedly said he singlehandedly invented the Internet and that Erich Segal based the characters in "Love Story" after him and Tipper. Except that this smear is much more potent because he admits on camera that he committed "atrocities." But I think it's clear that what he was trying to get across is that committing atrocites was the only method of prosecuting the war that the U.S. government at the time would allow.

That's the Republican attack machine at work,'s the "removed ellipses" approach to record distortion. All you have to do is take a statement, put ellipses in it to give it whatever effect you want it to have, even if it's completely contrary to the effect it was intended to have by the original speaker, and then publicize it with the ellipses removed--i.e. John Kerry said "I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed...I think these men...are war criminals." Well yes, he did speak those words, but there were a lot of other words in between those carefully selected words that completely change the meaning of the elliptical quote above.

Now, why Kerry himself didn't point out that he was actually implicating the leaders and not the soldiers in his "Meet The Press" interview, I don't know. Why Mark Green did not remind Laura Ingraham and Chris Matthews of the larger context of his remarks, I don't know. Probably because in political debate, especially in 2004, objective reality doesn't exist, and so it wouldn't matter if it were pointed out or not. Like it doesn't matter now that I'm pointing it out. Because Bushies will be Bushies and spout their happy cult talk on Washington Journal ("I'm behind the president 100 percent"--they all always say that) and on Rush Limbaugh and in the editorial pages of every sorry small-town newspaper--Eye-Rack is better off, Saddam was a madman, Bush is a good man and he is a strong president and that's what we need since Sept. 11, and blah blah blah.

My only problem with Kerry is that he keeps backing away from his statements. He needs to stick to what he said and BRING IT ON...this election is his to lose. Kerry needs to say all kinds of supposedly outrageous, yet obviously true things--Bush lied us into war, he lied about the tax cuts, etc. The Republicans won't sue because they know all of that is true and can easily be proven in a court of law. He needs to sling some damn mud and get his hands dirty but get the Republicans even dirtier. They're already covered in blood and bullshit, they just appear to be clean. Kerry needs to splash some Luminol on them so every American can see the bloodstains.

Some songs I dig right now:
Lindsay Smith-One Fish, Two Fish
Gingersol-A Great Day For War
Great Depression-The Sargasso Sea
Dexateens-Cardboard Hearts
Calexico-Corona (the Minutemen tune and "Jackass" theme)
Butchies-Your Love (the Outfield song)
Vestals-Too Late To Say Goodbye

Also, the new Mission of Burma is pretty great and for some reason I'm smitten with a band from New Orleans called Blood Red Velvet . They've got a couple of really good songs, but I like them because they are a duo and simultaneously released two full-length albums this year. Also, they feature basically naked women in their album artwork. Because of that, the CNN fn channel refused to run ads for the albums.
F the FCC

Working at a southern public radio station, we’ve gotten a lot of info from the state broadcaster’s association, a law firm , and a few other sources all purporting to help us with the proposed and currently existing indecency standards .

A few paragraphs caught our attention because they listed the
words that will now be considered not just indecent, but “profane” if H.R. 3687 is passed.
Besides the usual suspects like "shit" and "fuck", they included "piss"
and "asshole" and some other milder ones as well as all grammatical
derivations thereof. They also went on to say that even made up
that could be construed to have sexual or excretory
connotations depending on their context should not be
allowed–examples were the familiar “canoodle” and the
never-heard-of-it “hobble-de-gaga.”

Not only that, but apparently Democratic turncoat Zell Miller of Georgia has written a bill that would fine broadcasters a quarter for each person in their audiences who heard and/or saw the indecent broadcast. It has little to no chance of passing of course (the logistics of such a law would be a nightmare), but the mind reels when considering how far back into the Inquistive past the right-wingers would like to go, if only the damn liberal media would let them.

So what to do? I personally favor not being able to say “Dick”
or “Bush” even when reading the news on the air about our president and
vice-president. In its context, I find it indecent because Dick and
Bush are trying to fuck us. This whole saga has created a situation in which I have to ask our general manager if we can play “Dang Me” on the air. I kid, but only a little bit–surely the religious freaks can find some language to set down in law that points out some way that “dang” or “darn” are offensive–i.e. “They really mean damn.”

Speaking of that, not only would made up words be off-limits if deemed sexual or excretory in context, but plain ol’ ordinary words
would be too, like "suck" and "blow" (on page 7). So to me, that’s where the chilling
effect comes in. These proposed new guidelines are basically saying that
"suck" and "blow" are not bad in and of themselves, but you’d better
watch any and every use of those words. Why? Because a broadcaster
never knows when some socially conservative stay-at-home-school-uber-Pentecostal mother will be offended that she heard the word “suck” on the radio. Because ultimately, we the FCC will decide if the context was offensive or not and you really don’t have a say in the matter. In fact, the primer (not online)from Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth acknowledges:

The Commission's "definition" of indecency is unquestionably vague. The "definition" of "profanity" is even more so. And any claim that either or both of those definitions are somehow informed by the "views of the average viewer or listener" is certainly subjec to dispute, particularly when the programming which is alleged to be indecent can be shown to be especially popular.

So you as a broadcaster are inclined to not air anything with
the words "suck" or "blow". Then you start to wonder what other words
might have such a connotation. What about “freak”? A lot of R&B
and rap music uses “freak” as a synonym for “fuck” so if you air a
political talk show and the host mentions a “religious freak” can
that be construed to mean “a religious sex session” and therefore
profane? Can it? Yes. Should it? Of course not. Will it? I
wouldn’t be surprised in this post-Janet Jackson frenzy of

And that’s what is frightening about the whole affair. More
and more words could potentially be put off-limits until all one can
say is “God is great”or “Praise the president!” And the creepy
part of the situation is, you’re not told exactly what is
off-limits, what you’re told is that we’ll decide if it falls under
our definition of indecency if and when it ever comes up. So
there’s no way to know how to comply with the standard–because it’s
fluid by design. You have to constantly look over your shoulder and
wonder–will they fine me if I air this? That of course will lead to
not airing anything that has the slightest whiff of controversy.