Friday, February 17, 2006
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The Ventriloquist Speaks
Can't you just imagine the softball questions Vice Preznit Coronaries For Everyone will be tossed? It will be like swatting marshmallows with a sledgehammer for the honesty-challenged Veep. In fact, odds are that by the end of the press conference, most wingers out there in I (Heart) Bush-land will be convinced that the shooting was all either Ted Kennedy's or Bill Clinton's fault. I can hear the spin machines cranking up already...
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Unsafe at Any Speed
Saturday, February 11, 2006
It's My Birthday And I'll Cry If I Want To
One friend wrote to me recently saying that there is your chronological age, and then there is your "real age." (This idea is also expressed in the adage, "You're only young once, but you can stay immature forever.") So my chronological age is now 50; my real age is... well, I'm about old enough to drive, I guess. Another friend, someone who was one of my best friends in high school but that I hear from only about once every two or three years now (he apparently has an email system that receives, but only allows him to send on special occasions, and a telephone that doesn't dial out), wrote me a couple days ago saying, "Is it just me, or have you noticed that at 50 we're still the same as we were in school? (It's not just you, Bill.) Maybe [fewer] insecurities and more wisdom, but pretty much the same likes/dislikes (if less energy to carry them out) as then. I always thought that when I 'grew up' things would be so different. Is it kind of funny/scary to think our parents were just grown up big kids like we are now?"
Yes, I guess it is. Funny and scary. And I would absolutely agree that I still -- and probably always will -- feel like a "grown up big kid."
I suppose it really hit me on Thursday. I went through my normal lunch time routine -- get the Bay Area section of the Chronicle, walk up the hill to the cafeteria, make myself a salad, sit down and read the letters to the editor and the op-eds, get amused or outraged, as appropriate, then take the paper back to my office, exchange it for my iPod and go for a long, meandering walk along the bay to the Oyster Point marina and back. Listening to the iPod, I imagined what I would think of the device, and the songs being played, if I were to somehow have possession of it when I was 16 years old. (Of course, quite a few of the songs on it would have already been familiar to me back then.) That year was rather seminal in my life -- it was 1972, "the year the '60s ended." Current music at the time included David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street, the Allman Brothers' Eat A Peach and Stevie Wonder's Talking Book. (My pal Jay Dresner gave me Exile for my 16th birthday, and that remains to this day one of the best birthday gifts I ever received. I played it so much I had to buy a replacement copy a few years later, and have since owned two CD copies of it as well.) The world seemed magical and full of promise then. That summer, I traveled around the country with my family, seeing New York City and Boston and Washington DC for the first time. I, uh, "experimented" with various substances (a lot, actually) and found out a few things about the opposite sex. For some reason, I always think of that year as being light blue in color, like a perfect afternoon sky; 1973, in contrast, is a deep red. I'm not sure why certain years have colors associated with them in my mind, but those years certainly do. I guess that's when I first felt like I was no longer a child, and that I might someday become a grown-up.
Of course, that didn't really happen, did it? But I got close.
So I walked along the winding path that skirts the bay, watching the people out jogging or eating lunch, observing all the various birds (one of my favorite things to do on my walk) -- the gulls and ducks and coots and geese; the cormorants and sandpipers and pelicans; the snowy egrets (egrets... I've had a few...) and the occasional great heron -- and reflected on what I've done in my 50 years. As that 16 year old looking ahead, would I have approved of the life choices I've made? I certainly never could have predicted the path my life has taken, but I suppose I'm pretty comfortable with it now. I've got a good job and a successful marriage. I've been able to travel quite a bit in the past few years. I have family that loves me and many close friends about whom I care very much. So while I may not be rich or famous (I never wanted to be famous anyway, and still wouldn't), I'm essentially happy.
As I neared the end of the walk, which is about 3.5 miles and typically takes me an hour to complete, I figured I'm more than halfway now on my walk through this life; maybe even two-thirds of the way there. Of course, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, or I could live to be a centenarian and then some; who knows? But odds are, given the typical life expectancy in these United States, that I'm on the downhill slope at this point. And that's okay.
What got me, though, was when I got home and looked at the mail. In years past, by the time my birthday rolls around, I've usually already received a few cards in the mail, from my mother or my sister or friends. I hadn't seen a birthday card in the mail all week (not that I'm complaining, mind you, I just found it a bit curious), and when I opened the mail box that Thursday evening, again saw no cards. There was, however, a personalized offer from the AARP to purchase their life insurance at a discount.
The AARP has already found me! Fuck it, I'm officially old now.
As many of you already know, I'll be celebrating tonight by holding court at my favorite local watering hole, the HiDive. A number of my friends, including some of my fellow BARBARians will all be there with me; stop on by and have a cocktail and a piece of cake with me if you're in the area and so inclined. Or not. What the hell, I'll probably never remember one way or the other by tomorrow. You know how old folks' memory slips away.
"Put another candle on my birthday cake, I'm another year old today." -- Sheriff John's Birthday Polka
Friday, February 10, 2006
Scooter and Nuremberg Defense
I would encourage you to read Blognonymous anyway, whether I'm posting there or not.
Get 'Em While They're Young
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Wednesday Vacation Blogging: Munich
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Misery -- and Incompetence -- Loves Company
His failures are many, and enormous: Allowing the 9/11 attack to happen on his watch, and then bungling the response; destroying the good will of the world after 9/11 by engaging in shrill, partisan rhetoric and stonewalling the investigation into the cause of that event; letting Osama bin Laden run free to this day; Dick Cheney's energy policies; creating the largest deficit in the history of the nation; cutting taxes for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor; starting a costly and unnecessary war of choice with Iraq; allowing and condoning extraordinary rendition and torture; Abu Ghraib; Medicare D; Plamegate; the criminally negligent response to Hurricane Katrina; warrantless spying on the American people; the list goes on and on.
But here's the thing -- he hasn't operated in a vacuum. He has been aided and abetted by his pals in the halls of the Capitol building, who, to my mind, may just qualify as the Worst Congress Ever. They've helped Bush lower his game to the abysmal level where it stands today. With many, if not most, of the same members who were so subpoena-happy during the Clinton years, this Congress has essentially abdicated its duties and allowed the Boy King to run roughshod over them and, by extension, all of us. Blinded by the cigar smoke and mirrors (and the occasional blowjob) of the Clinton administration, a right-wing-driven and -funded Congress issued hundreds of subpoenas at the time. Since Bush took office? Maybe, what, three? Five? Congress has collectively said, "Subpoenas? Oh, that's so '90s. Besides, I don't see any wrongdoing." Here's a tip, Congressman -- it's tough to see anything but your own colon when you've got your head that far up your ass.
Rabid partisanship has kept the Republicans in check, and they are loath to investigate -- or even question -- one of their own. Actions that, had they been undertaken by a Democratic president, would have had the House and Senate in impeachment hearings long ago, have been ignored or excused by this crowd. Nothing the president does, including breaking the law with impunity and saying that he plans on continuing his criminal behavior, is enough to draw the ire or the attention of his cronies at the Capitol. And so he skips merrily on his way, lying and stonewalling and answering to exactly no one. And neither do his spokespeople. How does this Congress react to the presidential thumbing of his nose? They argue about whether or not to put Torture Guy Little Abu Gonzales under oath about the NSA spying case (and, because the Republicans had the votes, ended up not). Not that it would have done much good, with his repeated "I'm not going to answer that" and "I can't talk about that" responses to their inquiries. (Senator Pat Leahy showed just the slightest bit of spine when he commented, sarcastically, "Of course. I'm sorry, Mr. Attorney General, I forgot: You can't answer any questions that might be relevant." But, echoing the dominant paradigm in this particular group of legislators, Senators Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions and John Cornyn all defended Little Abu and his boss in their outlaw activities.)
And so it goes. The lying, incompetent president and his excuse-makers in Congress, hand in hand, skipping down the garden path. It's sickening, what's happened to our once-vital government. On the one side you have corrupt, crony Republicans allowing the president to get away with blatant criminal behavior, and on the other side you have ineffectual, Republican-Lite, afraid-of-their-own-shadow Democrats triangulating and wringing their hands, wondering why they keep losing elections to such a transparent gang of thieves, liars and blithering idiots. All of them, of course, are members in good standing of the Corporate Elite Party, willing to do whatever it takes to keep the corporate lobbying money flowing and to keep themselves in power. A pox on all their houses. It's time to throw the rascals out and elect some representatives who will actually try to legislate in the best interests of the people.
What a match -- the Worst President Ever and the Worst Congress Ever. I suppose they deserve each other. But what did we do to deserve them?
And what a prize it is -- I get to be a guest blogger at Kvatch's site as a reward for the winning entry, and I'll try to be worthy of the honor. Thank you, one and all, but especially Kvatch for putting on the contest in the first place.
What was that winning entry, some of you may be asking...? Well, here it is, with typo intact (ot = to):
I love my president because he's the kind of guy you'd like to sit down and have a beer with. The kind of guy you'd like to sit down and have a beer and a couple shots of tequila with. The kind of guy you'd like to sit down and have a beer, a couple shots of tequila and a few big lines of cocaine with. The kind of guy you'd like to sit down and have a beer, a couple shots of tequila, a few big lines of cocaine and a whole box of rat poison under the table ot replace his coke with.
Uh... that's a joke, Ann Coulter.
Woohoo!! I won, I won!!
Friday, February 03, 2006
Show Your Patriotism
Head on over there and let the word know why you love our Preznit more than life itself.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Freedom From Information Act
The Justice Department is balking at the request so far, administration officials said, arguing that the legal opinions would add little to the public debate because the administration has already laid out its legal defense at length in several public settings.
But the legality of the program is known to have produced serious concerns within the Justice Department in 2004, at a time when one of the legal opinions was drafted. Democrats say they want to review the internal opinions to assess how legal thinking on the program evolved and whether lawyers in the department saw any concrete limits to the president's powers in fighting terrorism.This has been the modus operandi of this maladministration from the get-go -- stonewalling and refusing to issue information that should, by all rights, be freely available to Congress and the public. It's been the same way since Dick Cheney's
Wear a T-shirt, Go to Jail
I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled; "Protester." He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like "I'm going, do you have to be so rough?" By the way, his name is Mike Weight.
The officer ran with me to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. On the way out, someone behind me said, "That's Cindy Sheehan." At which point the officer who arrested me said: "Take these steps slowly." I said, "You didn't care about being careful when you were dragging me up the other steps." He said, "That's because you were protesting." Wow, I get hauled out of the People's House because I was, "Protesting."
I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things...I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful conduct."There's more if you follow the link. Read it and weep for America.
***Update*** Glenn Greenwald has a great round-up of the many, many right-wing blogs out there who accused Cindy of "breaking the law" when, in fact, she violated no law at all by simply wearing a T-shirt in the chamber where the speech was being given. Even the cops now admit that they "made a mistake" in arresting her, and all charges have been dropped.