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Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I'm hardly extraordinary in my news consumption. I try to read the paper each day, and maybe catch an hour or so of news. These are a couple of the rare activities in my life that make me feel like an adult, so that's not so bad. Because of these things, I am aware that for some reason, Alberto Gonzales is still the Attorney General of the United States of America. I just can't understand why.
The Democratic majority in Congress has shown that it is spineless in holding the administration accountable on the war, the faked intelligence leading to the war, the slow strangulation of the middle and working classes, unlawful eavesdropping on law-abiding American citizens, or anything else. There is so much to impeach George Bush over, that most of us wouldn't know where to begin.
Well, not this Congress. There don't appear to be more than a handful who value the rule of law and this country over the prospect of the next election. There are more important things, you stupid bastards. Nancy Pelosi announcing at the end of 2006 that "impeachment is off the table." Damn her.
It's not your job to decide what is a crime and what isn't! Not one bit. Your job is to pass laws, and when necessary, rein in the other branches that have decided to ignore these laws. Your job, the oath you took as a matter of fact, is to protect the Constitution of the United States. Since the President and Vice President have pissed on their oaths, it is time for you to do your job, your Constitutional duty, and try these men for high crimes and misdemeanors against the Constitution.
Frankly, if you haven't instituted impeachment hearings by November, you and Harry Reid should both resign the leadership positions, and your seats in Congress as far as I'm concerned.
Someone tell me why Alberto Gonzales is still the highest ranking law official in this country. Won't someone please defend this man? Anyone? I used to just think he was a mindless automaton, doing his patron's bidding since both were back in Texas, but it's really much more than that. Gonzales has proven to be ignorant of the law in so many ways. He's not even a very good lawyer, apparently! Even I know that an attorney never asks a question to which he doesn't already know the answer. All of these Senators questioning Gonzales are attorneys, and Chairman Pat Leahy was a prosecutor. Do you really think he's just up there winging it with Gonzo?
And if Al believes it, the only conclusion that one can reach is that not only is he a courtier, a lackey, and bad at his job. He also appears to be a damned moron.
These hearings are like the chess club ganging up on the village retard. It seems cruel, but this man and the administration he so brazenly represents need to be held up to the light. If people feel pity that the smart men are picking on Corky, then we will never see the end of this tunnel of criminality that Bush/Cheney has burrowed into the bedrock of a nation that used to value its laws and freedoms.
It also likes a really extended metaphor now and again.
Impeach Gonzales. Impeach Cheney. Impeach Bush. The evidence is overwhelming, and the true beauty of the case is that these men won't even bother denying their crimes. they will sit in the dock, straight-backed and proud, desperately trying to make us understand that the only way to save America was to destroy it.
posted at 8:21 PM
Today at work, just as I'm close to finishing up, I walk out of one room into a hallway where a co-worker of mine is just strolling up to talk to a few people. She works elsewhere in the building, but she's cool, and it's always good seeing her. She looks to be ready to leave, and is holding a cup of tea she made, presumably for the ride home. As she walks up, some of the tea sloshes out onto the floor.
She wanders away to go get some paper towels out of the kitchen area, and I go into an office nearby to sit around shooting the breeze. My co-worker comes back and starts pushing tea around on the floor with the paper towels, but they aren't exactly name brand, so not much progress is being made. I see that she's having problems, and walk to the kitchen, where I find exactly what I'm looking for:
A bottle of water.
As I walk back to the spill area, she is walking back toward the kitchen to get even more towels. I approach the spill, throw about one-third of the bottle of water onto the floor, and go sit down in the office again.
She gets back, and starts sopping up liquid off of the floor again. She is laughing because "it just seems like these things aren't helping at all." She turns around again to go after a small puddle and in the full view of five other people, I throw more water on the floor behind her, then sit back down. The light comes on for everyone.
"How long have you been pouring water on the floor?"
"Since about thirty seconds after she spilled the tea."
I throw my water bottle into the corner of the office, because it's apparent that there is about twice the amount of liquid on the floor than could fit in her cup, but she's down there, pushing paper towels all over the place, while I stare at her blankly and everyone else hides their faces in their hands.
She gets wise to this scam a couple of minutes later, and has a good laugh about it, which is cool, since like I said, she's good people. This is just the latest in my formerly-but-no-longer-un-named series called "Random Spontaneous Dickery." I'd do this stuff at home, but I don't have enough people.
posted at 6:13 PM
And the living is boring.
I seem to be unmotivated by much of anything in terms of writing, but I suppose that's understandable. Congress is in a holding pattern, and isn't even accomplishing stupidity in an interesting way, so that's a dry well. The Commander In Chimp seems to be growing comfortable with his irrelevance, and the most interesting thing he's done in a week is put a camera up his butt.
A less creative type might make an obvious joke here, but not me. Quality matters.
Barry Bonds is about to break Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, and I can't help but feel that it's too bad. Bonds is a great player, and a Hall Of Famer, but he'd not be anywhere close to the record without using illegal steroids. It's just disappointing that the most hallowed record in sports will be held by someone with all of this scandal about him. Eh, there are worse things.
The war in Iraq continues, and no one cares about that either. The people who are against it can't get the Democrats to actually do anything, and the people who are for it won't drive their kids down to the recruiting center to sign up. And College Republicans are the funniest little fascist hypocrites in the world:
I may go to Las Vegas next week for a few days, and just see if I can bust up this cycle of dullness. I don't even know why we bother having summer once we're no longer in school. What's the point?
posted at 10:47 PM
Paging Hal Holbrook
It's Sunday afternoon, and I was laying on my bed watching television. Specifically, I'm looking at NBC's Meet The Press, which I had TiVo'ed from earlier this morning.
Go on, shake your head sadly, I'm doing it, too.
I had recently returned with full belly from Wienerschnitzel, the air conditioning was on, and I began to drift into that half-awake/half-asleep state which characterizes so many of my afternoons. There was a round table discussion of political pundits, including Bob Novak, who of course, was the first to put into print that Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA agent. Novak has a memoir coming out, from which I have no doubt he will profit handsomely.
The panel was discussing Novak's involvement in the 1972 presidential race, and in particular, Novak's part in labeling George McGovern as "triple-A candidate: Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion." This quote, published in March of that year, was made anonymously by Thomas Eagleton, a senator from Missouri. Four months later, McGovern would pick Eagleton as his running mate. It gets worse.
Apparently, ten years earlier, Eagleton had, on two or three occasions, checked himself into hospitals with mental and physical exhaustion, and received electro-shock therapy. This information naturally hit the press, and just three weeks later, on August 1, Eagleton withdrew from the ticket. The damage to the Democrats was done.
Which is not to blame Eagleton for the ensuing landslide. Nixon was still fairly popular, Watergate wasn't in the national consciousness, and McGovern wasn't exactly a formidable candidate, given the state of things in 1972. The Republicans got the opponent they wanted in the election, and the Eagleton fiasco was merely icing on the cake.
Back to today. I'm still in my half-conscious state listening to this, and then I sat up very suddenly. The Republicans have revealed their game plan, and I understood it clearly, I suspect because my questionable subconscious was at the fore.
Any Republican I speak to off the record thinks the 2008 elections are going to be a miserable, historically bad time. Every time Bush talks about progress in Iraq, and 70% of us know what a crock that is, support trickles away. Every time he talks about the stock market surging, and the rest of us see our health care and housing costs skyrocketing, another conservative voter starts to wonder what it means.
Republicans also don't like their candidates very much. They have Giuliani, who is pro-choice, for gay rights, and pro gun control. They like the fact that he had a really great day on September 11th, 2001 while the rest of us were lining up at blood banks. But they know, or at least suspect the amount of personal and political dirt that he is hiding would dwarf the pile at ground zero. And of course Mit Romney is a Mormon, so he's out.
When you have to turn to Fred Thompson to ignite passion, you are a party in trouble. If I may quote his old high school football coach:
"He was smart, but he was lazy. He probably could have been a straight-A student if he'd applied himself."
Big deal, Fred was lazy in high school. I didn't get to me the head of thoracic surgery at Harvard Med myself, in large part due to the same affliction. But when one of his advisers while in the Senate says this about his, erm, lightweight record of accomplishments during eight years in the Senate:
"While the Senate is filled with ambitious men who aren't in a rush to get home at night, Senator Thompson kept a lean formal schedule, did the bare minimum to get by and then hightailed [it] to the Prime Rib or the Capital Grille."
There will be more to come, rest assured. The man made his bones in Hollywood. You got your freebie with Reagan. Thompson will be crucified from the left, and the right. Go ahead and declare, Fred. I dare you.
But don't worry, the Democrats will screw it up and give you a chance.
It's a good-looking field, in large part. You have, just at the top, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. All three are pretty good candidates in varying degrees. Someone asked me about five months ago who I liked, and I said Edwards, mainly because he had actually outlined his plans for universal health care. Lots of candidates were talking about it, but no one had laid out specifics.
All of the press, of course, has been with Hillary, and Barak Obama. She's got great poll numbers and Bill, Obama is a rock star and raises money like gangbusters. Edwards has more time in the Senate than any of them, is an accomplished legislator, and probably should have been the nominee in 2004. But what do we know about John Edwards, or at least what are people saying in the press this year?
John Edwards has a giant house. Oh, sure, he talks a good game about dealing with poverty, but how dare he have an enormous home that he paid for with his own money!
He gets expensive haircuts. $400 dollars for a haircut? How can he possibly understand what I go through when he can drop four yards on a trim? Right, like Sean Hannity gets his mop varnished at SuperCuts. Please. If this was Romney, people would be rushing to the head of the line to talk about how great the economy must be to spend 400 bucks on a haircut, and furthermore, how this clearly gives the service sector huge incentive to show up for work. And where Rudy is concerned, they'd simply be happy if he had hair.
The sandbagging of McGovern got me thinking about Edwards.
The Democrats could run almost any politician in the party and take 60% of the overall vote next year, especially if things continue as they have, and Bush persists on dragging his feet on Iraq. Unless...
Unless you nominate a woman, or an African-American. Yes, I said it.
I like Clinton and Obama in varying degrees, although not as much as Edwards. I think Hillary would make a good president, as smart as she is, but she has been known to pander, and I'm sick of Bush/Clinton/Bush/etc in the White House. Obama, on the other hand, I just need to learn more about. What I know of him, I like a great deal, and his inexperience doesn't register for me as an issue. This guy is beyond smart, and appears to have common sense as well. What he doesn't already know, he'll learn. Thus far, however, he has not been a great campaigner.
The press has been content to feed us the "fact" that Hillary and Obama are the top tier Democrats, and everyone else is just muddying the waters. They can't bury Edwards yet, because he is a legitimate candidate with a great political infrastructure in place, and learned a few things in 2004. But they are sure as hell trying.
I'd like to think that at this point in history, a woman, a black, a Hispanic, Jew or gay could run for office and no one would really give a damn about it. I know better.
The press will continue to anoint Clinton and Obama as the legit candidates until one of them is the Democratic nominee. That is when it will get interesting, to see how the Irrational Right will spew out ugliness without resorting to gender bashing or race-baiting.
"Barak! Call me!"
My guess is that if Hillary gets it, it'll just be a non-stop Clinton bash-fest, and we will see endless streams of Lewinsky photos and the like. If it plays that way, Hillary will win, this country still loves her husband. Don't worry, Roger Ailes will come up with something that will work.
An Obama nomination will be more interesting. How will the GOP call a spade a spade (Whoops! Means nothing!), without being so painfully obvious? And is obvious the way to go because maybe this country, despite all of its protestations to the contrary, may simply not ready to elect a black president? I hope I'm wrong.
What I do know is that the GOP will face the candidate they want to face. A race that should not be remotely competitive will be a nail-biter. Allegations of mental illness and poor health that ruined Eagleton will not be needed when the largest "flaws" the Democratic frontrunners have are written in their genetic code.
You think it won't get that bad? It'll be even worse.
posted at 5:07 PM
Damn, I miss Joe Strummer
posted at 9:24 PM
You're acting like a baby about this
As usual, I am conflicted. I have a feeling that it is simply my nature to feel this way. I am ambidextrous, I am politically all over the place, I am completely ambivalent about where I should go for dinner, and I despise clutter yet refuse to straighten up the living room.
I feel like it is terribly sad when a marriage breaks up, and yet find it utterly hilarious when a moral crusader is caught philandering with prostitutes.
I am conflicted.
But I'm over that now. Hello, Senator David Vitter!
Adultery is an awful thing, a real betrayal in a relationship. A lot of people seem to have trouble keeping themselves in line when it comes to this, and I'm not going to sit here in judgment of the senator's actions. Truth be told, I really don't care one bit what he does, any more than I did when Bill Clinton got caught with his hand in the humidor.
Did he divulge any classified material? Was anyone murdered? Was everyone a consenting adult?
I must state simply, the only reason I adore this story, and so many others like it, is because Senator Stupidhead wasn't content to simply enjoy the paid company of friendly women. Oh, no. Vitter was very active in the whole Sanctity of Marriage folderol, which is just religiously phrased cover for "No, you can't have a same-sex marriage."
And lest we forget the reasons why, gay marriage would undermine, if not destroy traditional marriage. My guess is that repeated visits to prostitutes who dress you up in a diaper is a far more tangible threat to the Vitter marriage, but I am a "live and let live" sort of person. I will not presume to judge whether or not this is a bad thing where that relationship is concerned. I assume that Mrs. Vitter was aware that the senator liked to dress up like a baby; it's not as if giant packs of adult-sized diapers are easy to hide around the house.
So, what is the ambivalent citizen to do? The higher brain functions know that there was no worrisome crime committed. The so-called victim got paid for her trouble, although she'll probably need to spend a fortune working through the image of Davey Boy in Huggies.
I won't even bother calling for Vitter to resign, because this just isn't that big of a deal. What I would like from the senator is for him to keep his lying, douchebag of a mouth shut. Keep going to work, do your job, make your votes, collect your bribes.
But you don't get to give moralizing speeches any more.
Any time you mention the sanctity of marriage, traditional families, or the like, all anyone is going to see is the image of you, in a diaper, with a pacifier in your mouth, and a wallet emptied of thousands upon thousands of dollars for services rendered.
Keep coming to work, Senator. You're getting paid to be there, and paid well. You may spend your salary and per diem on whatever you wish. Keep undermining the cabal of moral scolds who get caught over and over again saying one thing and doing the opposite.
I love ya, man. Don't crawl back to the bayou and disappear. Don't go to rehab, there's nothing wrong with you. This is America, and a man has the right to be cleaned, powdered, diapered and spanked, if he has the cash.
Addendum: This is just icing on the cake.
posted at 8:32 PM
Less than meets the eye
I went to see The Transformers movie over the weekend. If I may quote Abraham Lincoln on the way out of Ford's Theatre, "It could have been worse. I might have been watching The Transformers."
If that wasn't clear enough, this movie is a piece of shit.
It's too bad, really, because I loved the show when I was a kid. I used to record it on a device known as a VCR, just so I wouldn't miss it. And I'm not writing this as some lameass fanboy, who wants to point out ways that the movie "wasn't true to the spirit of the show," blah blah blah.
I can't stand those people. Get a life.
It just sucked, honestly.
There's a scene where Shia Labeouf and his hot girlfriend are looking for a pair of glasses in his room. The reason they need them isn't important, but given that I sat down prepared to suspend my disbelief for the duration of the movie (Robots that turn into cars? That could never happen!), I'm going with it. This scene feels like it lasts for an hour. There are three or four giant robots stamping around in the yard, his parents are interrogating him, and apparently none of the neighbors is concerned about the 5.7 level tremors caused every time one of these Autobots ducks under the rose bushes.
And the Labeouf kid is actually pretty engaging and likable. I don't recall seeing him in anything else, but I can honestly say he looks like the offspring of Wil Wheaton and Russel Crowe. I know that sounds crazy, but that's just how it is.
Anyway, there's plenty of action, which is fine, but if I may offer a tip for the inevitable sequel, when you have two 50 foot tall robots smashing into one another and rolling in the street, maybe the extreme closeup isn't the best angle to use. I couldn't tell what the hell was going on half the time. Pull back, man! It was all a blur, and a sucky blur at that.
"Sucky" is not a word. This is what I'm reduced to.
The other thing that was just irritating was the product placement, and there was plenty of it. I've learned to put up with the fact that I have to pay ten bucks to get in, then I have to sit through five or ten minutes of commercials. Not trailers for upcoming movies (you know, commercials), but ads for Coke, AT&T Wireless and so forth. Fine, complaining won't matter anyway.
But The Transformers is a two-hour ad for General Motors, which can't seem to get cars into American garages, but sure must've paid handsomely to get them on screen. And almost every time a car got smashed close up, it seemed like it was a BMW. I could care less whose cars get crushed on screen, but considering that GM had to pay for their time on camera, and BMW likely got full price for the ones they got in, well, I suppose that's another reason while GM teeters on the brink of being taken over by Toyota.
The movie also serves as a nifty military recruiting ad, with plenty of handsome dudes blasting away with enormous weaponry. Had I been fifteen this week, I'd have run straight to the Army office to sign up.
"You kicked Decepticon ass? I wanna blow up some ragheads who hate my freedoms!"
Really, this film just sucked. There were continuity problems, things that didn't really seem to make any sense, and I'm sure it'll make more money than any other movie this year.
posted at 7:53 PM
I really enjoy the 4th of July. It's a great holiday, and it celebrates something truly important. I hope that everyone, no matter which hilarious country you may be in, will take a few minutes and read this. It matters, maybe more than it ever has.
I won't really go too far into the Libby travesty, except to say this:
George W Bush is a coward.
He got his friend off the hook by commuting the sentence, which he claimed was "too harsh." Wouldn't it have logically followed that he would reduce the length of the prison sentence, rather than obliterating it completely?
He has proven that the rule of law is for other people. Those who say there was no crime committed are, and I'm being delicate here, morons. Leaking the name of an undercover CIA operative is a crime, and a serious one. Valerie Plame was covert, and as an added bonus, was actually part of the intelligence gathering where WMD in Iraq were concerned.
The crime, as directly related to the leak, was committed by Richard Armitage. But it was Libby who knew this, lied to a grand jury about these recollections, and obstructed justice. These so-called law and order types who bitch and complain about some illegal picking strawberries for two dollars an hour are happy to turn a blind eye to treason. Supporting the president or the party is not the same thing as supporting the country. Take thirty steps back and try to see that, please.
Read the Declaration of Independence today, and if you're feeling up to it, check out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights while you're at it. We are so much better than what we have become.
posted at 8:18 AM
I'm doing a rain dance
Over the weekend, in a story that was little reported, former KGB honcho and current Russian president Vladimir Putin hung out at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport. He was there to discuss the placement of a US missile defense system on European soil. Apparently where we want it and the Russians will tolerate it is a point of dispute.
Fortunately, when Chimpy McFlisghtsuit met Putin the first time, he reported that "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul."
Sure, Putin assassinates political enemies and members of the press, but he's a good guy. You can't get to be a big shot at the KGB if you aren't a real people person.
All of this aside, this isn't really what motivated me to write today. The whole shindig was hosted by former President George H.W. Bush (Those words sound so nice. Former President Bush.), and like any good effete Ivy League Easterner, he knows how to make people feel comfortable. Here's how he explained it to a local radio station:
"What the President wants ... is the ambiance and the background and the life out here just as it is when our family is here . You sit down, no neckties, in a beautiful house looking over the sea and talk frankly without a lot of strap-hangers and note-takers."
The elitist arrogance of this family never fails to show itself, no matter how much they pretend to be cowboys. The former president and his son are from Milton, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut respectively. They have not hung from straps all that much. You know who does that sort of thing?
People with jobs. People who go to work every day to make ends meet. People who ride the bus or the train to get to their place of employ, because they actually don't have a limo driver to haul their hungover DWI-having asses to the office.
If the former president was from New York instead of Massachusetts, he might have referred to working scum as "bridge and tunnel types." Fortunately, he had an equally denigrating term to use for people without trust funds.
This entire family has not one clue as to what 98% of the people in this country have to deal with on a daily basis. Anyone recall Barb's analysis of the refugees' situation in Houston after Katrina?
"So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them."
Yeah, living with 20000 others in the Astrodome has got to be an improvement over living in an apartment or home without a sloop for your yacht.
This is more proof to me that there is no god, or at least that there isn't one who gives a damn about the goings on around here. These people of faith, American royalty, who hold such disdain for the poor and those who work, and who make no effort to hide their true feelings...
If there was a god, it should have taken down that whole boat and snuffed out Putin in the bargain.
"Strap-hangers." Fuck you, your highness.
posted at 11:39 AM
Really Important Nobody
I was out earlier doing stuff, when I realized that I would need to go to the grocery store. So, I head over to the 24-hour place, and I start thinking.
I need to go get food so I don't starve to death.
Now, more than ever, I am increasingly famine-resistant, but I aim the car towards the grocery. I think, here I am just crawling around on the face of the earth like a bug, no more important, dealing with the same biological needs and imperatives, and with scarcely more true effect on the universe than the ants and roaches. This is about the time I start laughing in the car.
I laughed because I rationally size this type of thinking up as belonging to a depressed human. But I don't feel depressed. I feel pretty good. Things could be better, but I'm fully aware that they could be one hell of a lot worse. I size it up to trying to know my place.
I know that rationally very little of what most people do makes one damned bit of difference in the grand scheme, but I really like that people still do their best anyway. I think it's cool that some people live to help others, and that it is possible to, in some small way, improve, if only temporarily, another person's outlook.
I don't really expect to be remembered for much of anything, but that's not a big deal. I expect that there will be a few people that will miss me when I'm gone, and maybe for a generation or two, my name will be occasionally spoken, and certain ridiculous stories will be told. Then, like all of us, save the Lincolns, Jeffersons, Shakespeares and Stalins, as a tangible actual person, I will completely cease to be.
Why doesn't that bother me, since I've taken all of this (i.e. so very little) effort to think about it? It looks sad when I read it, but it doesn't make me feel that way. It doesn't really make me feel like anything at all, to be honest. It feels like a simple fact.
Christ, I've managed to self-aggrandize while simultaneously making myself completely irrelevant.
posted at 12:49 AM
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