Thursday, December 30, 2004


Conyers, a House member from Michigan, is lobbying Senators to challenge Ohio's electoral votes due to "numerous unexplained irregularities in the Ohio presidential vote, many of which appear to violate both federal and state law." This guy has some balls.

Either that or he realized a couple of things after seeing Fahrenheit 9/11, which by the way, is an excellent movie that makes a lot of really good points (I'm not going to wring my hands or pretend to wring my hands in front of the finger-wagging conservatives--Michael Moore kicks ass with some agitprop and everyone knows it and more of us lefties should be associating ourselves with him publicly rather than disassociating ourselves with him). Like for instance, he realized that he didn't look so great admitting that legislators don't really read the full text of the bills they're going to sign.

He also realized that a lot of people really sympathized with the Congressional Black Caucus when they tried to challenge the 2000 vote in Florida but couldn't because no Senator would sign. What a bunch of fucking pussies that bunch was.

Not that different now

And I hate to say it, but there're still a bunch of pussies there on the Democratic side now. You might think, well, John Kerry--the candidate himself--is a Democratic senator. Yes, indeed, but unfortunately he's also a pussy--and I say that for one reason only. And that reason is that he conceded when it wasn't clear at all that Bush had won. And he helped validate Bush's victory. Why in hell's bells he conceded I'll never know...

And please don't think that I think George W. Bush is any less of a pussy. In fact, he's more of a pussy. He wouldn't go to war himself, but he sure loves a good international conflict. He filtered his audiences on the campaign trail and made them sign loyalty oaths and what not. He is a giant, worthless pussy of a shithead and I find him a disgrace to the office of president. And I'm ashamed that he, like me, is from Texas.

So I guess we shouldn't expect much from this challenge. I'm going to predict that no Democratic senator will sign on this time either. They're all too busy trying to protect their jobs and their prestige. I bet a Senator or two, sometime in the next week or so, will publicly flirt with the idea of joining Conyers' challenge (or will leak through someone else that they're flirting with the idea), but then Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Coulter--the 4 horseshits of the apocalypse--will shout that person down with vile, baseless, ad hominem attacks and epithets and the timid Democrat(s) will be cowed into submission.

Hopefully I will be wrong...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Why does the story always break like this? First, it's reported that a tape "believed" to have the voice of bin Laden is released. Then a couple days pass, and I guess we're all supposed to be waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not the tape is actually bin Laden. And then they always come back and say, "Yeah, it's him." Just like today.

I mean, my point is, why not just say it's definitely bin Laden when the tape is first "released." Bin Laden's got his own label, yo, and he's got to keep it fresh fo' his peeps. Again, the tapes are always confirmed to be the voice of bin Laden. I'm just wondering what sort of strategy the State Dept. or who-the-fuck-ever (in the above link, it's a "senior government official" speaking on "condition of anonymity") is in charge of releasing this information is trying to employ.

Some guesses

1. Fear (the waiting is the hardest part): Here's how they play this one: "Bin Laden is releasing tapes, so that means he's still out there and he's gonna getcha! But wait, he's an unreliable terrorist, we can't be 100% sure that the voice on this tape is even his. I hope the suspense doesn't kill you [wink, wink] while we try to determine if this very dangerous person is still at large and therefore a dire and immediate threat to your personal safety...Do do de do do...still running tests--it's gonna take a day or--oh wait, it is him. Be very afraid!"

2. Number one is my best, and really only, guess. I thought I had something else but forgot it while composing that little gem.

I'm not necessarily saying that the press necessarily connives to do this, but they feel like they have to go along with the game that the State Dept. or who-the-fuck-ever is playing with them. And so every single time it's like, a new OBL tape, is it him, authorities can't confirm, wait a couple days, yeah, it's him. And so the press is happy because they get a couple days of looking responsible and bringing you serious news and the State Dept. or who-the-fuck-ever is happy because they're doing their part to rattle everyone.

But it's all a bunch of bullshit.

So what?

So bin Laden is calling for a boycott of Iraqi elections. Big deal. That's within his purview. That's exactly what you'd expect him to do. But what is annoying is that now this makes it look like al Qaeda did have ties to Saddam before the war. Just to be clear, though, IRAQ AND AL QAEDA HAD NO OPERATIONAL CONNECTION BEFORE THE WAR. Maybe they do now, but this is after the fact--their current connection does not retroactively justify this godawful war we're currently in.

The Iraqi elections won't be for real anyway. Ayad Allawi will win, and if Bush doesn't let him get the job just because it's so predictable, it'll be some other American puppet who will be installed. And then we'll call it a free and clean election and keep right on killing and being killed and looking for ways to extract treasure from Iraq.

And you know, I was thinking today--it doesn't or wouldn't surprise me at all if Iraqis and Middle Easterners in general remained angry at us for a long time about our illegal invasion of Iraq. I'm still angry about it and I'm as WASP-y white bread as they come.

But anyway...

Take the "p" out of "pharmacy"...

Check this shit out...

As a drug company executive, I care about profits. When I was responsible for a region in Northern Europe, I doubled sales in two years by lowering drug prices, and in the process increased my company's sales ranking in Sweden from No. 19 to No. 7 in less than two years. I proved that it is possible to do good business with lower prices.

This guy is a vice-president of marketing at Pfizer...wonder if he'll be fired, killed (in an accident, of course), or given a raise as a buy-off to shut up making perfectly logical comments like these.

Because you know Big Pharma ain't gonna go out like a bitch...they gon' git they money...

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Had a good holiday...I had no idea that I would like cargo pants so much...Got a pair from my dad and thought I'd get the receipt, but then put them on when I got home and found out they kick ass! They're comfy and cool-looking--I never thought so before when I'd see them hanging on the rack...

Conceptual Go-read-it

And of course my father and I had a political discussion. We had to--he mentioned that he was offended by people saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Now if this isn't the biggest crock of shit to come along and muddy up the issues, I don't know what is.

What shocks and scares me is that someone like my father has fallen for this new conservative campaign. My father is, in a lot of ways, the smartest, most versatile person I know of. He has two master's degrees, a phD in thermodynamics, he's an excellent carpenter, he's done well with animal husbandry, he's a blueberry farmer, he has a master of divinity degree, he's spent time in Europe, Mexico, and Africa, he voted for Carter in 1980, he's for legalizing weed, he is a scientist, and on and on. But he buys into the horseshit spewed by drug addicts and sexual harrassers (Limbaugh and O'Reilly, respectively).

I told him that "Happy Holidays" is inclusive, while "Merry Christmas" is exclusive figuring that would make sense to him seeing as how the Christian thing to do is to include rather than exclude people. Acknowledging the belief systems and religious calendars of other people is not a sin, it's not wrong, it's just polite and friendly.

Oh, anyway, more on that in a minute...But I wanted to say that I was reading the Conceptual Guerilla's latest tirade--"What Do You Do With An Ugly Baby?" He does a really good job of explaining the conservative ideology and how it affects those who adhere to it and how to counteract it. Just wanted to point that out. Here's a sample passage:

You can snare a snake handler with two questions. 1. Is god omniscient -- is he everywhere? 2. Was God present when the serpent tempted Eve? He's trapped. If he says "yes," he's contradicted the account in Genesis, wherein God was absent. Conclusion: The Book of Genesis has at least one fact that is inaccurate. If he says "no," then God isn't omniscient -- contradicting a fundamental tenet of his faith. Now press him with "which one is it -- because you're wrong about one or the other?"

That's a good one, here's another that I liked because it deals with rationality vs. irrationality (which the wingnuts like to use to their advantage):

See how thorny the problems are in dealing with ideologues? You are used to thinking rationally. You may assume that other people think rationally, since you do. You view politics as a rational process, wherein differing ideas are selected on the basis of reason, evidence and common sense. Then you confront a flying monkey, and you don't what to do with him. The rules of rationality don't appear to apply to him. He is outside of your rational system. So you appear to be required to deal with him in terms of simple force -- something distasteful to you, if you are a rational human being.

Just the "Facts"...

And that's kind of what my dad and I discussed. I thought that a way we could get around talking about political issues was to talk about how we (and by extension, our fellow citizens) should talk about politics in the future. By which I mean that my father and I always end up conceding to each other that neither of us have the "facts" to back up what we're saying. That is to say, we know the facts as we see them, but we can't remember a specific book to cite right there off the top of our heads.

So I proposed that maybe we try to establish what we would use as "facts" so that our future discussions might actually be fruitful as opposed to exercises in which of us remembers our partisan screeds more completely. But when I laid out my criteria to him, he was dissatisfied with them and doubted that people such as him and me could ever really get "the facts" if there even are such things in matters of policy.

Of course my response to that was, if there are no objective facts or any objective reality, then nothing is rational and nothing makes any sense and basically anything you propose as a policy is just as good as anything else. And for that matter, why have a government or anything, if you can't ever really determine the facts?

Reason vs. Faith

I think the disagreements between my father and me come down to the age-old battle of reason vs. faith. I would argue that people need both and they are not mutually exclusive--I don't have to suspend my powers of reasoning to have faith in God and neither do I have to abandon faith in God because I think reason, as opposed to faith, should govern relations among men. And I think my father is coming to the conclusion as he ages that faith is all you can really count on. And he may be right in some sense about that. For example, everyone tries to twist "the facts" their way until you don't even know what to believe whereas your faith is your faith--it belongs to you and you don't have to justify it or subject it to the scrutiny of reason, and so in that sense, faith is all you really ever have.

But shit-a-mighty, I think we should all be able to agree that government should be run according to reason rather than faith. And forget George W. Bush--this would be true whether he was president or not. And the reason that reason is preferable is because reason requires proof. If you piss on my boots and tell me it's raining, reason tells me your piss is making me wet, not rain. I therefore know that I can't trust you.

But if I feel like I just have to "just trust our President in every decision that he makes and...just support that...and, um, be faithful in what happens," then I set myself up for being lied to. Because faith requires no proof. If people let faith rather than reason guide them in the non-religious parts of their lives, they'll find themselves being duped and taken advantage of time and again. Because what's to stop someone from taking advantage of your "faith?" Nothing, that's what.

That's exactly the problem with this country--we have too much faith in ourselves. People say, "Oh, America is the greatest country in the world--okay, we torture people from time to time, but still--the world's greatest country." Or "America--greatest country--yes, yes, there are no WMD in Iraq, but this is the greatest country."

Why not look at it like this--there is no greatest country. There are just countries and they all do some good stuff and some bad stuff. And hopefully the citizens of the countries try to keep their governments from doing too much of the bad stuff. But that whole false construction of "greatest country in the world" covers up a multitude of sins in the minds of a whole lot of people and keeps them from demanding that we do anything about our sins...

OK, I'm exhausted...gotta go to bed...

Friday, December 24, 2004

HAPPY XMAS (War Not Over Yet, Though)...

Happy holidays to regular readers...haven't kept up with the news much the past few days...did see "Napoleon Dynamite" and thought it charming...

Media Matters has a good list of the Top 10 most outrageous conservative comments...and while we're talking about Media Matters, their recent book "Mis-Stating The State Of The Union" is very informative...and cheap.

Hopefully on Jan. 3 and 6 we'll see some fireworks regarding the Ohio vote...unless the Dems chump out like they did in 2000...let's all watch C-Span those two days at least so we don't feel like dumbshits when Michael Moore includes the footage in a documentary 3 years hence (as the Majority Report's Sam Seder pointed out)...

Also, the good ol' "liberal media" is really letting Bush have it over him sanctioning torture...the Washington Post at least brought it up:

But the documents also confirm that interrogators at Guantanamo believed they were following orders from Mr. Rumsfeld. One FBI agent reported on May 10 about a conversation he had with Guantanamo's commander, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who defended the use of interrogation techniques the FBI regarded as illegal on the grounds that the military "has their marching orders from the Sec Def."

Don't these people know that Rumsfeld is a great "Sec Def" according to Bush?...

Well, try to have a Merry Christmas anyhoo...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


So the Hattiesburg American printed my letter...all right! The more the idea of "end the war" creeps into people's consciousnesses, the better...

A Blessing?

Saw a father of a wounded soldier on MSNBC talking about how it was a "blessing" for his son to be "given" to him twice (here's a link--this is probably the story, but I'm not sure since I didn't catch the guy's name on MSNBC)...I understand they're glad their son isn't dead, but for god's sake, he's lost both legs below the knee plus his right thumb. Even if the son makes miraculous progress in physical therapy and has a super-duper can-do attitude, it will still suck for him (the soldier) that he's an amputee with no thumb.

And I'm not sure that this soldier should be positive. Or he should be positive about the recovery part, but negative about the unnecessary war part. But these people tend to get this sort of treatment in our screwy media:

He lost both legs and a thumb fighting for our freedom in Iraq. He overcame adversity and is now the best-selling author of "Two Limbs And A Digit: An Inspiring Story Of Hope." He'll join us today for his overwhelmingly positive view on life post-amputation.

Then, when the guy is on the air, it's all positive or at least the question of why he was put in the position he was put in isn't brought up. So to the viewer/reader, the message delivered is "injured in war, now just fine...lost limbs for freedom, now just fine...war not that bad...war just fine...war causes wounds...wounds heal and are source of inspiration and book sales."

Whatever. I just thought it was a little propagandistic to show this father talking about how "blessed" he is that his son is a triple amputee (of sorts). I mean, why didn't the guy say "we're glad he's alive" or "we're glad he's still with us" or something like that. War wounds are not a blessing! They are a curse!

Again, my grandfather had a nervous breakdown in WWII. They said he was never the same. Yet my grandmother would say "I LOVE the military." That's like saying "I love prisons!" Both are necessary evils that we'd be better off without. Ugh.

The PX

So let's end the goddamn war already. I'm tired of going to Wal-Mart (yeah, I know) and having it look the PX. There're so many military people in there, and it weirds me out. I look at 'em and go--"Wonder how long he'll make it" and stuff like that. I'm tempted to go up to some of them and tell them I'm sorry that they're being shipped off to Iraq and I would like nothing more than for the war to end immediately. But I don't.

I just try not to look them in the eye.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Here's a letter on the opinion page that provoked a response from me...

I have never written anything on the Opinion page or voiced my opinion before concerning wars and conflicts. But I have read several articles about American soldiers being court-martialed for killing Iraqis. Duh! What is the point of American soldiers being over there if not to kill the enemy?Wake up, U.S. leaders and politicians who are inflicting this travesty on American soldiers. Why don't you yellow bellies in government go over there if you think you could actually do a better job?

Why not invite some more attacks on U.S. soil and kill more American citizens while you're at it.

Our soldiers face an almost impossible task because the enemy looks just like every John Doe over there. I know our weak leaders will no doubt keep on punishing soldiers who make mistakes, but they should be rewarding soldiers for killing the enemy.
Wake up, politicians, war is for killing the enemy.

Let the soldiers do their jobs and return to their families.

Wow...who does this guy like? Other than soldiers...he hates politicians because they abuse soldiers, he hates Iraqis because they keep trying to kill our guys and we can't help but kill more of them than we mean to because after all they all look exactly alike (just like the "gooks" and the "niggers"), he hates peace because instead of trying to end fighting, he wants to encourage more death.

This joker is off his friggin' rocker. He starts off with this "aw shucks/humble southerner" routine--I ain't never raised my voice about nothin'...Then he all but says the Iraqis are our enemies and deserve death, that they all look the same and "our leaders" are weak and wrong in every way. If he's talking about George W., he couldn't be more right. But I have a feeling he ain't...Then he wants soldiers to be rewarded for killing more people...I mean, should they get a trip to Cozumel for every ten "sand people" they "liberate?"

Support Our Troops?

I'm almost positive that this guy is a no-holds-barred, yellow-ribbon-magnet-sporting, SUV-piloting Bush backer, but I'm not 100% sure. The only reason I'm not sure is that he is critical of "U.S. leaders." You have to understand that people from where he's from may or may not be aware that the Republicans are in control of the entire gov't. So he may think that he's really sticking it to the liberal elite cabal without being aware that the cabal is totally sitting on the sidelines nursing its wounds.

Anyway, I'm almost certain that this guy is a hardcore "support our troops" guy. I mean, literally every other car in this area has at least one yellow ribbon magnet sticker and most usually have 3 or 4. You know, you gotta support the troops--when they shoot wounded Iraqis in the head, when they abuse prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and whatever else it is they do.

"Support the troops"--there's no qualifiers. Support them regardless of what they do. That's this guys' problem. He thinks that even if our soldiers commit atrocities and violate the laws of war, they should be allowed to get off scot free because they're Americans, damnit. Americans are only capable of doing good. Americans can never be evil.

Ugh, you get my point...I attempted several responses and this is what I eventually sent in (via email and the paper's drop box):

William R. Johnson is upset ("Let soldiers do their jobs," December 17, 2004) because he feels that soldiers should not be court-martialed for “killing the enemy.” He says that instead, soldiers should be “rewarded” for killing the “enemy,” a word he uses interchangeably with “Iraqi.”

However, he doesn’t cite a specific case of a court-martial that he thinks is unjust.
One has to assume then, that he thinks all the courts-martial he’s referring to are unjust, because after all, the cases only involve Americans heroically killing Iraqis. And killing the people we’re told we’re “liberating” is to be encouraged, because hey, what’s the point of having this awesome war if we don’t get to kill anybody, right?

I do, however, agree with Johnson that our troops should come home and the sooner the better. Rather than agitating for rewards for more death and destruction, let’s call on the President and our fellow citizens to end this illegal and immoral war immediately.

Roger Ailes is a disgusting fatso and not cause he's fat

He was on the new Q & A program on C-Span today. He said that Columbia School of Journalism's reading list is 100% anti-American. Brian Lamb asked him to clarify, and Ailes said that the books were railing against capitalism.

My point: being against the ravages of unbridled capitalism is not anti-American. In fact, Roger Ailes is anti-American precisely because he is for the ravages of unbridled capitalism (just look at the guy--he is the ravages of capitalism incarnate).

Does it say anywhere in the Constitution that the United States shall be a capitalist society and shall pursue profit above all things? No, it doesn't--therefore capitalism isn't inherently "American" and socialism isn't inherently "anti-American." Roger Ailes and Fox News and the right wing smear machine are a bunch of anti-freedom, anti-Christian, anti-American haters.

Oh, and he was really hung up on parties and restaurants (again, look at the guy--I ain't the thinnest guy on the block, but c'mon). Lamb was asking what Ailes perceived the "media establishment" to be--which Ailes implied Fox News isn't a part of--and Ailes repeatedly mentioned certain parties and restaurants that the so-called "media establishment" types go to and that's what makes them the media establishment.

And then of course, he talked about how goes to the same parties. But wants to be seen as separate from the establishment. But yet has the most popular cable news network there is. But is most definitely, absolutely not part of any media establishment. You know why? Because of parties and restaurants.

This guy is an ape and thinks everyone else is a baboon.

I missed this exchange, but it seems fairly pregnant with, shall we say, um...utter bullshit:

LAMB: How would you define journalism?

AILES: Journalism is a collection of stories, editing them and presenting them to the people in some fair manner with as many facts as you can muster to get it through to people. It’s a pretty simple craft. It’s not brain surgery. It’s simple but it’s not easy. And to do it right is hard work.

Egad...if you look at the transcript, most of the stuff I'm talking about is almost at the end...

Stuff I watched and listened to

Saw "Maria Full Of Grace" this weekend. Good movie--real insight about how poverty perpetuates the drug trade (and hot mules!). Not exactly what I expected, but that's a good thing. Also, saw "Badder Santa"--goddamn that fuckin' movie has some fuckin' cursing in it. But I liked it too.

My biggest discovery was the show "Signifcant Others" on Bravo. Friggin' hilarious!! I don't know a thing about it so I'm off to search for a website.'s one. I didn't realize it was improvised...very nice.

Listened to "Sacred Steel Instrumentals" a pretty good bit. Those guys really make those steel guitars sing. I mean, every now an again, you almost can't really tell that it's not a human voice singing. Aubrey Ghent's version of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is what stands out right this second, but everything on there is worth checking out.

Also recently been digging Hawkwind. I'm really into a band like that that has a whole universe built around them. The album I liked most so far is "Hall of The Mountain Grill." Never had heard Hawkwind much and really just knew that Lemmy from Motorhead used to be in the band. But damn, they've really got some awesome space rock--the keyboards are very nice and are a high point, but frankly the songwriting is also quite good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

2004 Top 10

In no particular order, just the ten that made the cut:

ALL NIGHT RADIO Spirit Stereo Frequency
!!! Louden Up Now
COMETS ON FIRE Blue Cathedral
HONEYCHURCH Makes Me Feel Better

The new Prince album was good, so was the new Tears For Fears. I never really listened to the Wilco. I liked Paul Westerberg's album, didn't think much of R.E.M's and only liked U2's in comparison to the one that came before. I thought The Court and Spark's album was nice and the Polyphonic Spree made a good follow up. I'd say more about each of these, but I'm short on time this evening...

Watched "Outfoxed" tonight. Very nice piece of agitprop for our team. Bill O'Reilly acknowledges telling a guest to "shut up" only "once in six years." Then footage is shown of him saying it numerous times in numerous contexts. The movie also had a good segment on the Jeremy Glick interview that O'Reilly did. I had read a lot about it but never seen it.

And that brings me to my topics for the day.

Topic One

Al Franken talks about the Glick incident in "Outfoxed." Glick and Franken apparently know each other and have talked about the situation, which is that O'Reilly did several follow-ups on the Glick appearance--one the next day, one six month later, one eleven months later, and so on. In each of these follow-ups, O'Reilly distorted what Glick had actually said and demonized Glick and by extension, the antiwar position and those who hold it.

Now this is the interesting part. Franken says Glick asked if Glick had a case against O'Reilly. Franken talked to his lawyer (the same one who handled the suit that O'Reilly brought against Franken), and his lawyer said that for Glick to have a case, Glick would have to be able to prove that O'Reilly "knew he was lying" about what Glick said during Glick's appearance on the O'Reilly show.

Now I'm not a lawyer, but from what I do know of the law, the only defense against libel is the truth (my wife, who is a lawyer, confirms this). Therefore, it would seem to me that Glick would not have to prove anything about O'Reilly's state of mind to bring and/or win a suit againt O'Reilly. All one would have to do is look at transcripts of the original interview and compare it to the follow-up pieces in which O'Reilly attributed statements to Glick that he never made.

Case closed--Glick never said what O'Reilly repeatedly attributed to him after the fact.

It's not a lie if you believe it

Thus spake Costanza on "Seinfeld" in a hilarious skewering of the logic that people use to make themselves feel better about being dishonest. But I have seen that very argument used in many articles to defend or explain people's attitudes toward real-life liars--usually George W. Bush. In Lakoff's "Don't Think Of An Elephant," he
breaks it down thusly on p. 76:

Most people will grant that even if [a] statement happened to be false, if he [Bush]
believed it
, wasn't trying to deceive, and was not trying to gain advantage or harm anyone, then there was no lie.

I'm not saying Lakoff is endorsing this train of thought, but some people do endorse it, like Franken's lawyer. However, this defense of lying makes the very concept of lying obsolete--if all you have to do to get off the hook when accused of lying is to say that you really believed it at the time you said it and never meant to hurt anyone, then what's the point of penalties for perjury or false advertising, etc.?

I don't know the answer (at least it's not coming to me as I've been interrupted from this writing about 10 times already and it's getting late and I've got other things I gotta get to), but the question is worth seems to me that if progressives accept this definition of lying, we are letting the Repukes get away with whatever they want.

Topic Two

Also in "Outfoxed," the great David Brock makes a couple of appearances. One thing he said articulated more or less what I've tried to say here in this blog a couple of times, and that has to do with objective reality, i.e., is there or is there not such a thing as global warming? Or do Bush's tax cuts help mostly the wealthy in a certain bracket or do they assist mainly the bottom income percentages?

And what he said was that Fox wants news to become only a matter of opinion, because opinions can't be proven false. So then people, like members of my family, will say that there is a conservative side and a liberal side to every issue and that neither one is necessarily right. However, that makes no sense--when you're talking about issues like global warming or tax cuts, there are scientific studies and financial balance sheets that reveal the reality of each situation.

Anyway, it's a good movie. It was $7.99 at Best Buy.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Then I'll take Eric Alterman and Thomas Frank talking to Sam Seder on the Majority Report on Air America. Just read Alterman's blog today and found something very useful--more useful than anything I've yet found in Lakoff's "Don't Think Of An Elephant" (still not finished!):

In principle, I think it’s wrong that foreign-born Americans cannot become president. I mean, who cares? Lots of people who would make great presidents were not born in the U.S. and, in principle, nobody should be penalized for where he happened to be born. A citizen is a citizen is a citizen.

On the other hand, almost everything in this country will suck a great deal more if we elect yet another Republican next time around, and Arnold’s eligibility would make that more likely. So I’m against it. Who cares about the “principle?” My acting on principle is not going to do anybody any good save the fact that I get to feel self-righteous. But reducing the likelihood of another four or eight years of Republican misrule sure will, especially to the people living on the margins, most vulnerable to the various cruelties of extremist Republican rule. To me that’s an easy choice. If you need a “principle,” to make you feel better, I chose utilitarianism. (A second argument against principle in this case is that the Republicans have none—see “Bush vs. Gore”-- and their opponents cripple themselves if they act upon theirs. But I don’t even need to go that far.)

As he points out, this is part and parcel of the Republicans' entire winning strategy: talk up the principle, then do whatever the hell you want. It's loathsome, but it's reality. We should do the same.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


This would be the denomination I'd favor...the UCC's ad was turned down by NBC and CBS and now the UCC is challenging their FCC licenses...that's the way to do it. That kicks ass. Don't back down, don't (ahem) concede. Hit 'em where it hurts...

Also, I found this intriguing for those of us down south:

The United Church of Christ was the first voice to demand that broadcasters who use the public airwaves have a responsibility to operate in the public interest. In the 1960s, the United Church of Christ earned its place in U.S. broadcasting history by successfully challenging the license of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss, for refusing to broadcast news and information about African Americans.

I did not know that...good for the UCC. I guess it paid off, as WLBT no longer has a moratorium on broadcasting info about blacks...they even have 3 blacks on-air...I guess progress does get just takes a really long time.

That headline has nothing directly to do with this post, it's just a bumper sticker I thought of this morning. Hell, I'm already nervous enough about the bumper stickers I already have on the back of my car. I might not feel that way had my car not been vandalized several times during the election because of my Kerry stickers. If nothing else, Homeland Security officials can use them to take note of who they need to dispose of...

Oh well, I just wanted to write in since I've gotten a new link or two and because I do miss writing in the blog. With the election over, it feels like there's not much to work toward, but in fact the opposite is true. Started reading "Don't Think Of An Elephant" by George Lakoff. It's actually pretty perceptive, but so far, all I've been reading is how progressives/liberals can't communicate as effectively as the right.

The Problem

Lakoff seems to be arguing (and I say "seems" because I haven't finished the book yet) that if progressives would only use the right words and what he calls the right "frames," we can take back America. I sure hope so, but I kind of have my doubts...and here's why.

It's said pretty well in an Arianna Huffington column that she put out a few weeks before the election. She said that the Repubes were appealing to the lizard part of peoples' brains to motivate them to vote for the Terrorist-In-Chief. Meaning of course, that their appeal was to the primitive, base part of people's psyches. And that is certainly true and that's why I fear that no amount of appeal to peoples' good sides is going to pay off for long. Because most people are intuitively racist and sexist and mean and bitter and the Repubes know that and want to use it to the fullest.

I do recommend reading the book, though, and I hope I'm convinced.

A Few Other Things

1. Can we please end this war? Not only am I getting very tired of American and Iraqi casualties, I'm sick to death of the yellow ribbon stickers and all their different varieties. The people who put these stickers on their cars mean well, but they really just demonstrate the following point...

2. Since when did being an American make you a perfect, guileless, creature of unending love and kindness? The reason I ask this is because in conversations with my parents and others,in conversations between pundits on TV, in the underlying assumptions of news stories and on and on, there is this sense that no person who is American would ever intentionally do anything wrong.

For example, the guy who killed the Iraqi with a shot to the head while the cameras were rolling is not a bad guy, he's just in the heat of battle. Yeah? How come none of the other soldiers freaked out and shot the Iraqi?

For example, how come the media, influenced by John O'Neill and his ilk, painted the soldiers in Vietnam as saintly do-gooders, when many soldiers admitted to atrocities and studies have shown that they happened?

Why does my father assume that George W. Bush is among the purest of the pure because he's the freaking President of the God-fearing nation of America when his career in oil and politics is so clearly linked to the saintly nation of Saudi Arabia?

I don't know the answer to these questions, except to say that we've developed a severe case of the "It can't happen here" syndrome. Even as American citizens are held incommunicado for months without being charged, and people are penned into "free speech" zones during important civic events, and government workers are subjected to secret background checks and fired with no explanation and no chance of appeal, or an un-elected president takes us to war on the basis of lies, we all try to comfort ourselves with the idea that it's only an anomaly, or we don't know all the facts, or that America is just not the kind of place where such things happen.

Wake The FUCK Up

Well, if you think that way, wake up, would you? You're helping to ruin it for everybody by allowing this crap to go on. Please think for yourself, please question what your preacher tells you, what your teacher tells you, what your mommy and daddy tell you, what your boss tells you and so forth.

OK, two more is a list of some evil Americans to prove that just because one is a citizen of the U.S., one can still do bad things:

Al Capone
John Gotti
Timothy McVeigh
Jeffrey Dahmer
Eric Harris
Dylan Klebold
John Mohammed
Charles Manson
and so on...

Ben Franklin
Watched the History Channel specials on Ben Franklin. I didn't know he invented the glass harmonica. I didn't know he consorted with hookers and had a child with one. But most importantly, I never knew that he quit working in his early 40s because he felt he had enough money and wanted to pursue other things. That is amazing--he had sex with whores, yet he wasn't a whore himself. Also, his inventions like bifocals, the lightning rod and the Franklin stove were never patented by him--he never made a dime from exclusive rights to them. He did it just to help the world and to contribute to the ages. If that doesn't refute Bill O'Reilly in this post and vindicate what I said, I don't know what does (scroll down to "Incentive Theft")...