Wednesday, May 26, 2004


My entry for today...a forwarded email joke and my response to it...


George Bush and Bill Clinton somehow ended up at the same barbershop. As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear it would turn to politics.

As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Clinton in his chair reached for the aftershave. Clinton was quick to stop him saying, "No, thanks, my wife Hillary will smell that and think I've been in a whorehouse."

The second barber turned to Bush and said, "How about you?" Bush replied, "Go ahead, Laura doesn't know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like."



Here's a real knee-slapper...

Bill Clinton was president of the U.S. for 8 years during which the budget was balanced, the economy saw unprecendented growth, and the U.S. didn't undertake any expensive occupations while cutting taxes for the wealthy. His would-be successor and vice-president got 500,000 more popular votes than the man who became president.

George W. Bush has been president of the U.S. for a little more than three years and has already created historic deficits, gotten the U.S. bogged down in an unnecessary war and occupation in Iraq, supported the outsourcing of American jobs, and proposed writing intolerance into the Constitution in the form of an amendment against gay marriage.

Here's the hilarious punchline--Clinton was impeached because he lied about having sex while George W. Bush's lies about WMD (among other things) have led to the deaths of thousands of people yet he will never be impeached. Oh, and one can debate all day long about whether or not Hillary Clinton is a whore, but at least she's never killed anyone (hey, as long as we're taking cheap shots...).

But, come to think of it, John Kerry has killed people. In Vietnam. When he volunteered to go. That reminds me of another joke:
Q. What did Dick Cheney get for each of the five medals John Kerry earned in Vietnam?

A. A deferment!

Wait, one more...
Q. What would cause half the country to say they would vote for George W. Bush even after the unnecessary war in Iraq, the prison abuse scandal, the tax cuts for the wealthy, the detention of American citizens without charges or access to attorneys, the lies about WMD and so forth?

A, A character flaw.

Stole that last bit from a Janeane Garofalo comment on the Daily Show...and now a response to my response...starts off kind of reasonable and then...
I found this political forward a bit more amusing than most... It's funny how individuals can twist their opinions into their own sense of warped fact - that's the problem with the majority of history books in the school system today.

Clinton was not a bad president; he could have been much better - in my opinion - had the media and a handful of beaurocrats not spent his entire presidency crucifying him for getting some head from an intern...

Bush isn't perfect, either. He's had a lot to deal with though - I do not for a second envy his position and responsibilities. September 11th changed the world socially, politically & economically. I believe the President has done the best
with what he's had to work with, and he stands by what he believes in. The queers have already invaded my television most evenings... maybe as long as Bush is president, there won't be a Joe & John Doe moving in next door to me. That's enough to get my vote in November.

Now I hope that's a parody of the stereotypical right-winger, but given this particular email list, I kind of doubt it...

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Thank God for the Center for American Progress. Every day, they call bullshit
on the Bush administration. I couldn't even watch Bush's waste-of-everyone's-time-and-money speech last night--I figured, correctly,
that all the pertinent bits would be dissected to the nth degree today.
Apparently, it's more of the same--unbelievable, I know.

Why don't we just get the bloody hell out of Iraq? And I mean yesterday! Watched "The Fog Of War" over the weekend. Regardless of what one may think of
McNamara, his insights were dead-on. It's amazing to think that when the USSR had actual missiles 90 miles away from us, we negotiated a peaceful settlement but when Iraq "possessed" fictitious WMD thousands of miles away, we invaded and
took over their country. Still haven't found any, except that "sarin" shell that they've apparently tested 50 million times and still don't want to say for sure if it's sarin or not (OK, today they say it is. I liked when Kucinich held up a picture of the shell on "Meet The Press" and asked "We went to war over this?"

And frankly, now that I think about it, the Republican mouthpiece on that episode of "Meet The Press" talked about how he kept a photo in his top drawer that showed dead Kurdish women and children, killed by poison gas. That's mighty white of him, I suppose, by why doesn't he keep a picture of the uninsured babies and adults and/or un-or-under-employed people in the United States and really focus his attention on fixing that?

It's like the churches one sees down here in Hattiesburg and all over the South--they have rows upon rows of white crosses on their grounds that represent the "Holocaust" of the unborn. They usually have some kind of explanatory sign saying words to the effect of "This is wrong and these crosses should prick your conscience about abortion." Well, la-di-da...why don't they ever seem to care about living people and erect a sign that says "Hungry people can come here and eat for free" or "If you need money, come see us, we'll give you some" or "If you can't pay your medical bills, we'll help you pay them or pay them for you."

Why don't they put up such signs? Because then they'd actually have to do something. They'd actually have to do what Jesus said and help people. When they condemn abortion, it doesn't really do anything but make them feel self-righteous and holier than thou. Jesus never said jackshit about abortion, but he sure as hell said that if someone asks you for something, you should give it to them. He didn't make a qualification, like, "you can give them what they ask for if it doesn't inconvenience you too much" or "give 'em what they want but charge 'em interest" or what have you. Just give to people. OK, tangent over...

Reading a really good Chomsky book at the moment, "Profit Over People." As always, he breaks down the self-serving corporate rhetoric that is still flying over the airwaves today. I found this collection of essays to be somewhat more direct and less dense than some of his other stuff. Or maybe I'm just getting used to his writing style. It's unbelievable that poor people will let Republicans get away with scolding them for wanting government assistance while making sure that the biggest corporations in the United States and indeed, the world, are the recipients of big government bailouts. My favorite statistic so far was that a study (search on page for "The Logic Of International Restructuring") showed that "at least twenty companies in the 1993 Fortune 100 would not have survived at all as independent companies, if they had not been saved by their respective governments."
And then as Bill O'Lie-ly asks whether "income redistribution" is "morally right" (insinuating it isn't) on his radio show last week, he and his ilk choose to ignore or divert public attention from the fact of large-scale income redistribution from the middle and bottom to defense contractors and the Pentagon (i.e. this "Profit Over People" observation--"bear in mind the domestic role of the Pentagon system: to transfer public funds to advanced sectors of industry, so that Newt Gingrich's rich constituents, for example, can be protected from the rigors of the marketplace with more government subsidies than any other suburban district in the country...while the leader of the conservative revolution denounces big government and lauds rugged individualism"). At this point in his career, how can O'Reilly possibly expect anyone
to take him seriously when he starts asking rhetorically whether a thing is "morally right"? It's obvious he wouldn't know morality if it magically bleached his age spots--I guess that's why he feels the need to ask about morality.

Oh's hard enough to read a blog every day, much less write in one
every day...

I used to hate "Mad TV" but now that Comedy Central has replaced "SNL" with it, I think it's actually pretty smart, sexy favorite sketch so far is the psychiatrist skit with Bob Newhart and Mo Collins...I'd write it out, but it's funnier if you see it, so just watch for it...

And one more it just me or are lyrics to current country songs purposefully mundane...I mean, it seems to be a trend in current country lyrics to deal with very specific and very run-of-the-mill situations as a sort of badge of honor or as something...the only example I can come up with right now is the song "Back Of The Bottom Drawer" by Chely Wright...more on this topic in the future...

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


So it's "terrorism" if a Palestinian suicide bomber gets on a bus and blows up innocent Israeli civilians, but somehow it's not if Israeli helicopters and tanks fire on a crowd that is on its way to stage a peaceful protest? That's the problem with throwing around the term "terrorist"--any political group can say it about any other political group and it will be essentially true. So the word doesn't even really have any meaning, except to demonize a group of people or to excuse retaliation ("but they were terrorists, so we had to respond").

That's Bush's way of thinking. Speaking at the AIPAC gathering yesterday, he repeated his insane mumbo-jumbo about how "Israel has the right to defend herself" from terrorism. Every country, indeed every person, has the right to defend themselves. But firing on peaceful crowds from the air is not defense, it's offense. Or, in a word, "terrorism."

So the Palestinians are terrorists, the Israelis are terrorists, the good ol' U.S. is a terrorist nation, and so forth. Let's face it. We've all got blood on our hands. We need to stop the finger-pointing and try to figure out a way for us to stop killing each other and blaming each other.

Not brilliant, I know, but it's all I got...after watching the aftermath of the helicopter raid this morning, I just wonder how long we'll let this "terrorist" blame game go on. People are people, for Christ's sake...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


On my post from yesterday, I forgot to mention the fact that when I was teaching at Hawkins Junior High School in Hattiesburg, MS, I could count the number of white students in my classes on one hand. And I mean that literally. It was so strange to me that I finally asked the other teachers where the white kids went to school (I had just moved there with my wife). They apparently went to Rowan, in the largely black part of town. All the teachers talked about the Hattiesburg school district being under some kind of court order. They weren't that sure of what it was about, but apparently it had to do with school segregation.

Anyway, I was only there three months, but in that time, the court order was lifted and Hattiesburg schools were granted "unitary" status, meaning that its schools were finally integrated. I found this odd in a school that was at least 90% black...

And good riddance, Mr. Chalabi...$340,000 a month? For leading us astray? While 44 million of our own citizens have no health insurance?

Monday, May 17, 2004


Wow...the 50th anniversary today of Brown v. Board. Obviously a landmark case. And on the very same day, the first legal marriages of homosexuals take place in Massachusetts. No American should have a problem with that, black or white, straight or gay, Christian or atheist. And I say that for two reasons: 1) the Constitution guarantees equal protection to all citizens, and 2) neither the Christian Bible, the Muslim Koran, or the Jewish Torah is the law of our land. In fact, the Bible just lists homosexuality in a laundry list of other sins like stealing, lying, cheating, and so forth. And we all know thieves, liars, and cheats who are married and got married when they were doing those things. No one is trying to deny such people the right to get married and basing their arguments on what the Bible says. Jesus himself never said anything about it.

Here's a couple of relevant verses (online at "The Unbound Bible"--very cool site):

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 6:9
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1 Corinthians 6:10
nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

So anyway...

Reflecting on the progress of the civil rights movement, I wanted to recount a few things that I've experienced. First, when my family first moved to Mississippi, I was starting junior high. It was the first time I'd ever been to a public school, and it was not easy for me. Mostly because no one would really talk to me except a kid named John Beck. He befriended me and we hung out at recess and lunch and whatnot. Well, one day some kids that rode my bus saw him waiting for the bus with me, and once I got on the bus, I started getting thumped in the ear from behind as usual. But this time, I was also being called a "nigger lover."

Second, the main road that ran through the mostly black part of town (I should point out that this was in Picayune, MS), Rosa St. was not paved. My sister went to school at Southside Elementary, which was on the corner of Rosa and Beech St. Beech St. was paved; Rosa was not. I don't remember when Rosa St. was finally paved, but it was only within the last 10-15 years. I point this out as an anomaly because there were no other high traffic streets in the city that were unpaved.

And it's significant to me because it was in my lifetime. This was a gross violation of decency that was not in black and white photos taken in 1963 and in some textbook--this was after what happened in the black and white photos was supposed to have fixed things...

And then in the 90s I had a friend who managed an apartment complex for his grandfather. This friend told me that the applications of blacks were "lost" or "misfiled" because his grandfather did not want blacks to live there. Apparently, they followed the law as far as accepting applications for apartments from people of color, but then the applications just somehow never made it to the top of the friend doesn't work there anymore...

And Colin Powell admits the intelligence was "flawed" as opposed to "solid."

And Eric Alterman kicked much ass on "Scarborough Country" tonight. He called bullshit on Scarborough and the entire hawk contingent that allowed us to be lied into war. And hopefully Michael Moore will sue the Republican stooge who called him a traitor in the same the transcript at

And check this out--remorse for American atrocities in Iraq.


Honeychurch is awesome. Great album--beautiful harmonies, lush arrangements.

Also watched Zappa's "Baby Snakes" DVD over the weekend. What a weird flick. The claymation is so bizarre it's beautiful. It's almost equally balanced between Zappa's love of sexual/toilet humor and his brilliant music. The concert footage is inspiring, to say the least. Terry Bozzio is amazing and the keyboard players were out of this world..."Baby Snakes" is indeed "A movie about people who do stuff that is not normal."

And while on the subject of Zappa, Ensemble Modern's new version of "Greggery Peccary" is outstanding...

Thursday, May 13, 2004


Why are pundits debating whether Nick Berg's decapitation was revenge or not? The conservatives argue that it's not revenge for the Abu Ghraib torture because the Iraqis would've killed him anyway--whether the American torture had come to light or not. Yeah, maybe, but the Abu Ghraib torture sure came along at a convenient time for these guys.

Even if Berg's demise wasn't really revenge for Abu Ghraib, it's revenge for illegally invading Iraq, or I don't know, perhaps our unwavering support of Israel.

Colmes was pretty good tonight on H&C. I don't really watch it very often, but he was giving some former CIA guy hell about torture. The guy was all tough, saying, "When I'm trying to stop airliners from crashing into builidings and killing 3,000 people, I'm gonna take the gloves off and get that intel." So Colmes points out that we're signatories of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. prohibitions against torture and asks him, "Do you think it's all right if we say one thing [sign the treaties] and then do another [torture prisoners]? Isn't that what we accuse other countries of?" Or words to that effect.

Anyway, when's the impeachment? Eric Alterman has several interesting links on his blog today about how the tide is turning in American public opinion about Iraq. Thank God for that. I'm beginning to think that even if Osama bin Laden is trotted out on Halloween, no one will really care because of Abu Ghraib and Fahrenheit 9/11 and whatever else is bound to go wrong between now and then. At this point, I don't think there's any way Bush can win legitimately. But that's no different than last time.

And I ask when the impeachment is because there were no WMD and no connection to al Qaeda. It just helps to remind people of that once in a while.

Also, now that I think about it, where are all these Islamic fundamentalist websites that all the networks seem to have access to? Do I just go in to Google and type "Hot terrorist action" or something? OK, I just did that and no bizarre, gritty "death to America" websites came up. Not that I want to like sign up on al Qaeda's email list or anything, I just want to know that I can get to these sites on my own and verify their actual existence. Because, you know, sometimes the news is made up...

Good stuff from Cuneiform Records I heard today...

University of Errors: A new band put together by Daevid Allen, who founded Soft Machine and Gong. Apparently, the new album "Jet Propelled Photograph" is a re-invention of some early Soft Machine stuff. Even if you didn't know that, you could just think of it as hot, noisy, brainy indie rock.

Yo Miles: Henry Kaiser and friends re-do some Miles Davis fusion tunes and some originals in the same vein. It's quite badass and sounds awesome (it was recorded with some new super-duper digital recording system that is supposedly as close as digital gets to analog...)

This record is not on Cuneiform of course, but I've really been into AC/DC's song "If You Want Blood (You Got It)"...I've never owned "Highway To Hell" and bought it recently..."Blood" is just simple and rockin', but it fires me up...

Also, I'm returning the DSL to was slower than Christmas...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Sweet Jesus, they cut off that dude's head. That's sick--that's terrible. But dude, what the hell was Nick doing in Iraq in the first place? Not that ineptitude makes his death any less sick or tragic, but this is why most people don't go to the Middle East at all and particularly when there's a war going on. And particularly when one has no real prospects there, one's just trying to drum up some business.

I mean, that's how I look at it. I stay here, I keep my head. I go to Iraq, it might get removed.

And all the Repubes are up in arms about what they perceive as less outrage over Berg's gruesome fate than there is over the prison scandal. Well, of course people are outraged about Berg, but even more outrage is due us because: 1)don't forget, we invaded Iraq without provocation, 2)we always claim we're noble and good and don't violate human rights, and 3)NONE of this would be happening if George friggin' Bush hadn't dragged us into this illegal, immoral conflict.

Can we please leave Iraq now? I mean now. Like, within five minutes. "Oh, we have to stay the course or Iraq will fall into chaos," some say. How many other countries are there in this world that are in utter chaos right now that we are not occupying? I don't know--Sudan, Colombia, Congo, etc. The chaos caused by our leaving will not mean the end of America. We'll just treat Iraq like all the other chaotic countries.

OK--no time for links or anything else. About to be late...I liked this Pravda article...

Monday, May 10, 2004


So the Iraqi prison scandal is pretty scandalous. I've noticed all the pundits and newspapers using the term "prison ABUSE scandal." Don't you imagine that if the shoe were on the other foot--i.e., Iraqis were stacking naked American prisoners on top of each other while wearing empty sandbags over their heads, just to cite one example--the headlines would blare "Iraqis TORTURE American G.I.s". And Rush Limbaugh would not think of it as akin to a "fraternity prank," no, he and Sean Hannity would be foaming at the mouth to encircle more Iraqi cities and kill everyone indiscriminately until the Iraqis ratted out the "terrorists" who were doing this, etc.

Meanwhile, according to Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld can do no wrong. Cheney really is aptly named (as the Matt Angus Thing tells us in the dead-on "President's Son")--he is a dick and if I may say so, a major league asshole--and I mean big time. I mean, he's so transparent. He actually comes out and says Rumsfeld is the greatest defense secretary of all time. This is said at a time when the generals are clamoring for more troops, but there really aren't any, so they tack extra time onto soldier's tours of duty; it's clear that the situation in the prisons maintained by the military is totally fubar, and oh yeah, they STILL HAVEN'T FOUND THE WMD RUMSFELD CLAIMED TO KNOW THE EXACT LOCATION OF!

I mean, how in the hell can Cheney possibly say with a straight face that Rumsfeld is "the best" secretary of defense? I'll tell you why--because he's out of his mind. He has lost all grip on reality. He calls Rumsfeld the best when it's clear that Rumsfeld is among the worst in a pathetic attempt to convince "the base" (isn't that just "al Qaeda" in English?) that everything's peachy and Jesus will smite whoever Dick says to smite. Or whatever.

And, seeing as how I've drifted far from my original point, I just wanted to agree with Alterman and Green when they point out in "The Book On Bush" that the Bush administration says one thing and then does the exact opposite. If the public would just start interpreting Bush's remarks through the "oppositizer", we might call it, they might start hearing the truth. Bush says we're sure Iraq has WMD--the opposite is true. Bush says the vast majority of my tax cut goes to the bottom--the truth is the opposite of that. And so on.

My Original Point
But my original point was going to be two things--the press is referring to these outrageous acts as an "abuse" scandal rather than a "torture" scandal, further illustrating the tendency of the American press to side with Bush for no good reason. It's one of Chomsky's recurring themes about the how hypocritically events are portrayed in the press--if we take over a country unprovoked, it's for their own good and we have only noble intentions but if someone else does it, they're rogue states--i.e., if we do the things to prisoners that have been talked about and have yet to be revealed, it's "abuse", but when they do it, it's "terror" or "torture". So, nothing new really, just more of the same. This prison torture scandal is just the latest example of that fact.

And the second part of my original point was related to something Chris Matthews said on "Hardball" the other day. He asked Howard Dean (probably playing devil's advocate, but then again maybe not) if such behavior toward Iraqi prisoners might not be necessary since we're trying to conduct a counterinsurgency and we have to get the "intel" by any means necessary to save our soldier's lives. My point is that of course we want intel if it can save our soldier's lives, but the best remedy for saving the soldier's lives is to get them the hell out of Iraq where they should never have set foot in the first place. And no offense to the soldiers--they're great and everything (except when torturing Iraqi prisoners)--but this whole escapade is a ruinous farce that will bring America to ruin if we let it. And one way to let it is to reelect Bush's no good ass (at least it never got any shrapnel in it).

Just to say it another way, why won't these pundits quit taking it as a given that we have to be in Iraq? Evey question and every conclusion seems to flow from that assumption. We should have never been there in the first place and certainly shouldn't be there now. Bring the boys back home!!!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


I realize that I never finished my story about the BellSouth DSL pitchman. I'm on the "do not call" list, but I suppose according to the rules of that list, BellSouth can call me all they want because I'm a customer of theirs (not that I have a choice if I want a land line). Anyhoo, I answered the phone even though the caller ID didn't register a number I recognized.

Turns out it was a gentleman from an East Asian nation, probably India. I didn't ask where he was calling from, but I could hear him really working hard to put his "American accent" training to good use. Such good use that I could hardly understand him. I wanted to tell him to just speak in his regular Indian accent so I could understand him better. Please don't misunderstand me, by the way--I harbor no ill will toward citizens of India. The ill will I harbor is toward BellSouth, who sent jobs that Americans could do over to India. When I say Americans, I mean me and my friends. Telemarketing is a job that nobody cares for, but it's something we could do if we couldn't find anything else. And a lot of my friends are looking for something else these days.

Well anyway, he told me about the DSL service and finally got around to mentioning the price, which is $20 cheaper than the cable modem we currently use. So I signed up for it. I'm screwed either way--paying too much for a monopoly on cable modem service, or paying for extra services from a company that sends American jobs overseas. Lou Dobbs would be disappointed. As he was reading me the fine print of the contract, I finally told him I was having a hard time understanding him (by this time, he had abandoned all pretense of being American and was speaking rather quickly over a bad connection). But whatever, we'll see how the new service works out.

But speaking of Lou Dobbs, that guy is awesome. He makes no bones about being against outsourcing and talks about it on his show every night. And he's not a pansy about it either. He knows his stuff and will not let anyone bullshit him about it. Business leaders criticize him as waging a holy war against outsourcing--but that ain't criticism, that's the highest of compliments.

Because honest work for decent pay is getting harder and harder to find here in these United States, regardless of one's education or skill level. Not only that, as author David Cay Johnston argues in a Buzzflash interview about his great book "Perfectly Legal":

Meanwhile, people in the middle class and the upper middle class are confronted by two things. A growing share of their income is going to taxes, and we have seen falling wages for the bottom, about 40 percent, of Americans; stagnant wages for the next 40 percent of Americans; infinitesimal growth in income for the next 10 percent...

That's why outsourcing, gigantic deficits, tax cuts for the wealthy, and illegal, expensive wars are BAD FOR THE AVERAGE U.S. CITIZEN...and one way to start changing that is to throw Bush out of office.

Speaking of that, Scarborough had the pathetic, backstabbing "Swift Boat Veterans For Truth" on his show last night and prompted me to write this letter to the show:

(can't retrieve it from my email right now...I'll put it up basically reiterates my comments from a few days ago under "Context Counts")

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


So now we're not just killing Iraqi citizens in battles in this illegal, immoral war, we now have to humiliate them as we privatize their country and call it "liberation". That's just swell. I thought, and I'm sure the Iraqis wanted to believe that, as Bush said "The tyrant has fallen." Oh really? Or did Saddam Hussein just morph into George W. Bush? That would be a great image for a Kerry attack ad.

And please let there be lots of Kerry attack ads. Lots and lots...and I cannot wait for "Fahrenheit 9/11"...And what's this crap about Kerry not being likable? He's plenty likable and not only that, unlike some people, he volunteered for service in Vietnam and received 3 Purple Hearts and the Bronze and Silver stars. Lest we forget. If that ain't commander-in-chief material, I don't know what is...maybe skipping out on National Guard duty and getting 5 deferments qualifies...interesting, I just noticed that for each of Kerry's military honors, Cheney got a deferment...All I know is, whenever I apply for a job, they want me to have some experience doing the job (and when it comes to fighting wars, whether they be against actual enemy soldiers or on terror, drugs, poverty, or what have you, Kerry beats Bush hands down in the experience department)...whether or not they like me or care if I'm a Christian or not is usually quite secondary.