Thursday, November 09, 2006

Busy Day Here

Sorry for the slow pace of posts...tomorrow should be a little better in that respect.

Meanwhile, just because I stumbled upon it, here's a link to a really cool Simthsonian Exhibit: satellite photographs of Earth.

Catch up with y'all tomorrow.
Busy Day Here

Sorry for the slow pace of posts...tomorrow should be a little better in that respect.

Meanwhile, just because I stumbled upon it, here's a link to a really cool Simthsonian Exhibit: satellite photographs of Earth.

Catch up with y'all tomorrow.
A Cornered Administration is Still a Dangerous Administration
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Team Bush might be limping and quacking off into the sunset, but they've still got two years (ok, less for Rumsfeld, but hey, maybe that's just because he managed to screw things up that much faster)...and it's not like they've admitted learning a goddamned thing from Tuesday's vote.

Yesterday's press conference was instructive, at least for me, in that regard. I read the transcript, and caught a small bit on the radio, but it wasn't till I watched it on C-Span that I really got the gist of Shrub's attitude.

The "graceful concession" was a classic non-apology apology, and when I watched the entire song and dance act, it was apparent that this was yet another exercise in damage control/spin, with heavy emphasis on control. Several times Shrub made some statement to the effect of "it's [the campaign] over, time to move on," in a tone/manner that I found ironically reminiscent of a scene in The Godfather Part II where Al Pacino and Diane Keaton are arguing (scroll down about three fourth of the page)...ironic, of course, because "The Decider," deep down, is more a mix/match of Fredo and Sonny's worst qualities.

The scene ends with Pacino slapping/knocking Keaton down, and maybe that's another reason why I thought of it: after six years of trashing this country's (admittedly flawed...but that's a whole other post) political process--beginning with the 2000 election--continuing with the passage of the wrongly named Patriot Act, the Iraq war, warrantless wiretapping, the chucking of habeas corpus, the cynicism of Congress, the K Street project, etc. etc. ad nauseum--literally ad nauseum--watching the preznut praise the "process" that FINALLY put a chink in his tarnished armor was, for me, like watching a serial wife beater tell everyone how much he "really loves her."

And I wonder if we'll be seeing the equivalent over the next two years of the lame duck administration...that is, an insistance that everything they've beaten, kicked, or otherwise trashed was done for the "love of country," even as they still posess the power of executive order...and quite evidently have no problem with asserting not merely executive "privilege," but virtually sole executive-branch rule. And while I'm quite happy about the fact that Congress might now actually use its power to convene hearing and issue subpeonas, I've got to wonder if Team Bush will precipitate yet more constitional crises by, say, simply refusing to honor the latter or ignoring the former. I mean, shit, if they'll go to war/do away with habeas corpus/etc., for the sake of political expediency, what's to keep them from spitting on Congressional procedure?

I guess we'll see.

In the meantime, though, I'll celebrate this country's return to at least a measure of electoral sanity...but I won't let my guard down until we either see a genuine return of the Legislature as a CO-EQUAL branch of government...or until January 20th, 2009, when the final curtain falls on the...worst...administration...ever.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Iraq as Metaphor
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Yer GOP bandwagon...

I guess there's not really any way to diplomatically refer to the almost unfathomable horror of Mesopotamia as merely a "metaphor" when so much blood has been shed...but I'll indulge myself nonetheless.

With the confirmation that last night was a definitive thumbs-down to all things Team Shrub, there was little else the boy-chimperor could do aside from adopt a big old shit eating grin...and piously call for "bipartisanship" in the same way a scoundrel makes "patriotism" a final refuge. Hmmm...if you ask me, it was an awfully quick turnaround from last week's message of "a vote for the Democrats is a surrender to Al Qaeda's slave harem." And I'm sure that, at least for the next few days, the "see a bridge, don't just burn it, but blast it to smithereens" rhetoric that defined this election cycle will be dismissed by the GOOP'ers as mere "hardball" tactics...hell, I wonder if I should predict who will say "politics ain't beanbag" and when...

But I also see a different, ahem, metaphor at play (just to get back on track here): watching Team Bush for the last four weeks on the campaign, when it became apparent that things were rapidly falling apart, was/is not at all unlike watching the same over the last three years while an entire country fell apart...or, coming closer to home, like watching the same while the Gulf Coast reeled from the twin punches of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, or while the levees breached and flooded New Orleans.

A common thread through ALL of these events has been a bizarre, grin/smirk-pasted-upon-their-face insistence by those at the top that things were fine, in spite of overwhelming evidence that things were anything BUT ok. In times past, I've referred to this as "cheerleading, not leading" (or words to that effect)...which might be fine for "the old college try," but is at best a disaster when it comes to matters of local, regional, or even global importance. Neither will it suit a political party come election time...which is why Karl Rove always managed to pull something out of his ass in previous cycles, like 2002's war resolution, or 2004's gay bashing...funny though, that tack didn't work so well this round.

So, for 2006, really all they had was "who you gonna believe...Team Bush or your lyin' eyes?" while they continued to insist--in spite of reality slapping them upside the head day after day after day--that, no, things are actually just fine. (perhaps I should say, "In spite of reality slapping the public upside the head day after day..." instead).

Iraq is a disaster, a virtual how-to on how NOT to invade a country...sort of the anti-Sun Tzu. The domestic side of the coin is hardly better: anemic economic performance, cronyism/corruption on an epic scale, the stumblebum reaction to the Gulf Coast disasters, the devil-may-care attitudes towards the hypocrisy manifested by Mark Foley, Ted Haggard...and the political apparatus that enabled them. Yet, through it all, we had Team Bush playing cheerleader, even to the point of Shrub himself leading a "Just say no" mantra as the campaign reached its final days.

Well, now we're left to wonder what's times past, Shrub would be preparing to pull the rug out from under some of his investors at this point, while requesting a few more favors from his daddy's friends. But this time, it ain't Harken Energy...
Newsflash: Won't Have Rummy to Kick Around Anymore
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Must've been an "unknown unknown."

I Hope It's Not Too Early... say this is what I'd like to see:
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Under the spotlight...behind the magnifying glass...and forced to answer some questions, for a change.

Like everyone else with a brain and a conscience, I'm breathing a sigh of relief, idiotic statements like Rahm Emmanuel's notwithstanding ("Emanuel and other top Democrats told their members they cannot allow the party's liberal wing to dominate the agenda next year."). I'll breathe easier still when the results of the Senate races from Montana and Virginia come in, sans any last minute GOOP'er tampering.

Accountability isn't a "liberal" or "conservative"...or even "moderate" descriptive. It's a matter of good governance, pure and simple. It's like shining a light in a roach infested cabinet, as anyone from the Gret Stet knows: the light comes on, cockroaches scatter...turn the light off, and they go right back.

Time to make some cockroaches scatter...

Let them retain counsel...hell, I'll even offer them habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence. But let the process begin.

As they're so fond of saying (paraphrasing here, but)...unless they're guilty, they've got nothing to hide.

Oh--if you prefer, here's the same picture, film noir version:
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why We Fight Vote
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They may not be running for office (except for Felix "I Dub Thee Macaca" Allen there at the back)...but they're sure as hell running...from SOMETHING. Which explains the desperation tactics Billmon cites in a general sense, and these two items courtesy of Rising Hegemon and America Blog respectively:

This year's heavy volume of automated political phone calls has infuriated countless voters and triggered sharp complaints from Democrats, who say the Republican Party has crossed the line in bombarding households with recorded attacks on candidates in tight House races nationwide.

Some voters, sick of interrupted dinners and evenings, say they will punish the offending parties by opposing them in today's elections. But critics say Republicans crafted the messages to delude voters -- especially those who hang up quickly -- into thinking that Democrats placed the calls.

Republicans denied the allegation, noting that their party acknowledges its authorship at the recorded calls' end. After citizens' complaints in New Hampshire, however, the National Republican Congressional Committee agreed to end the calls to households on the federal do-not-call list, even though the law exempts political messages from such restrictions.

Whether "robo-calls" are positive or negative, mean-spirited or humorous, thousands of Americans are sick of them, according to campaign organizations that have been fielding complaints over the past two weeks.

An Ohio woman, who did not leave her name, called The Washington Post in tears yesterday, saying she could not keep her phone line open to hospice workers caring for her terminally ill mother because of nonstop political robo-calls.

Pamela Lorenz, a retired nurse in Roseville, Calif., called her own experience "harassment as far as I'm concerned" and said, "If I were voting right now, the opponent who's doing this, he'd be off my list for throwing that much trash."

Hour after hour and day after day for two weeks, Lorenz's home has received the same NRCC recorded message attacking Charlie Brown, the Democrat who is challenging Rep. John T. Doolittle (R) in a hard-fought battle in northeastern California. "It is a recorder calling," Lorenz said. "I can't call it back to get them to stop."


Inaccurate sample ballots describing Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Senate candidate Michael S. Steele as Democrats were handed out to voters in at least four polling sites in Prince George's County this morning.

The ballots were distributed by people who said they arrived by buses this morning from Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Erik Markle, one of the people handing out literature for Ehrlich, who is seeking reelection, and Steele, the current lieutenant governor who is campaigning to replace retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), said he was recruited at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.

After a two-hour bus ride to Maryland, Markle said the workers were greeted early this morning by first lady Kendel Ehrlich, who thanked them as they were outfitted in T-shirts and hats with the logo for Ehrlich's reelection campaign. Nearly all of those recruited, Markle said, are poor and black. Workers traveled to Maryland in at least seven large buses.
Vote Early, Vote Often

Gret Stet civil servants get a day off work on 'lection Day, so I'm taking advantage of the time to take care of...the usual, pressing chores.

I decided to defy tradition and NOT vote early or often, but I'm about to head over to the local polling place and pull the lever press the buttons on the (grrr) Sequoia electronic vote tabulators. Alas, the 6th District is truly a Chamber of People's Deputies region, with NO Democratic candidate opposing the incumbent Rethug, Richard "We-finally-cleaned-up-public-housing-in-New-Orleans-we-couldn't-do-it-but-God -did" Baker. OK, to be fair, he tried to make up for this with the Baker bill, but the "We don't give a good goddamn about the Gret Stet" 109th and Team Bush swatted it down...

There IS a Libertarian candidate, who just might "exceed expectations," and achieve a moral victory of sorts. And we've got amendments to vote on...

Meanwhile, I actually didn't mind listening to George Michael for the longest I've EVER listened to him as part of this You Tube election video (h/t to my sister, who pointed it out to me)--actually, it's quite a powerful piece:

Also linked to here.

I guess everyone's already seen the reports re: problems with the voting machines...Again, grrr...

I'm also curious as to the whole Holy Joe Lieberman situation. Looks like he's gonna whine his way back to Washington, but I wonder how long it'd take for him to switch parties, especially if the Senate ends up in a 50-50 tie...

Back in a bit.

Monday, November 06, 2006

109 for AGAINST the 109th
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Think Progress makes a list.

For some reason, this song popped into my head...I guess it's music blogging Monday.

And lord knows I hope tomorrow is throw the bastards out Tuesday...

Oh--a couple of miscellaneous items here: Patrick Cockburn asks "When Does Incompetence Become a Crime?", and, without any irony whatsoever, a US Embassy spokesperson in Nicaragua is actually raising questions about electoral fairness in light of Daniel Ortega's presumed victory...
Cue Up "Ashokan Farewell"
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Almost forgot, but the last two parts of The War of the Words are now available for your viewing, if not listening, pleasure.

For some reason, the thought of locking Ken Burns up in a tiled room with Ashokan Farewell playing endlessly--at high volume--makes me laugh.
Diminishing Returns
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Well, I'm not sure if this means yer GOP is a gang of pushers or junkies...probably both...but they say you eventually build up a tolerance, and the same dose no longer provides the kick it once did.

Or so we can hope.
Separated at Birth?
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There's something I find deeply disturbing about these individual photos...and no, it's not that Haggard and Foley now both admit to a predilection towards being gay, which doesn't bother me in the slightest.

No, I think what bothers me is that each face seems more like a very creepy mask. And, perhaps it's mere coincidence, but the resemblence between them struck me. In their determination and zeal to hide something, they've adopted a plastic facade that spills over into an expression that I can only describe as sinister. A look that says, in my mind, something John Houston's character Noah Cross mentioned in Chinatown:

See, Mr. Gitts, most people never have to face the fact that, at the right time and the right place, they're capable of... anything!

Like a level of hypocrisy that's virtually unprecedented in modern politics.

Well, two of these three stooges have been exposed as the hypocrites they are...despite an almost surreal media atmosphere, particularly given recent history (for several spot-on examples, see Hullabaloo).

In Shrub's personal (closet) case (that's a joke, by the way: I neither know nor care about the chimperor's personal life...well, unless he's also being hypocritical)...anyway, in Shrub's case, it's not teh gay (at least as far as we know, his weird behavior towards bald guys and Cap'n Codpiece notwithstanding)'s the power. Krugman sums it up as nicely as anyone else:

At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in Iraq.

In other words, he’s the sort of man who should never have been put in a position of authority, let alone been given the kind of unquestioned power, free from normal checks and balances, that he was granted after 9/11. But he was, alas, given that power, as well as a prolonged free ride from much of the news media.

The results have been predictably disastrous. The nightmare in Iraq is only part of the story. In time, the degradation of the federal government by rampant cronyism — almost every part of the executive branch I know anything about, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been FEMAfied — may come to be seen as an equally serious blow to America’s future.

And it should be a matter of intense national shame that Mr. Bush has quietly abandoned his fine promises to New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

In other words, what SHRUB'S hiding is his patent incompetence.