Thursday, January 31, 2008

The last meme of Meme Month

Just got tagged by Splotchy on this the last day of January is Meme Month to do a word post--cool! I love words.

Here are his instructions:

It's all about word fun, because words are fun. Give me 1 noun, 2 verbs and 3 adjectives you like. You can also provide an optional made-up word.

Okay--here goes:

1. a noun: blurb

2. two verbs: facilitate, gas

3. three adjectives: facetious, fallacious, swolley (okay, I made that last one up, but it's one of my favorite words; it means "a condition in which something on your body is a little bit inflamed, but not enough to call it 'swollen'--just a little 'swolley.'" I quoted that from my own personal dictionary in my head. I also have a thesaurus in my head, since you asked.)

4. a made-up word: sploozle -- to drizzle and spoon at the same time, i.e. I sploozled a glop of honey onto my toast.

Splotch tagged a bunch of people, but as today is the last day, it's half-way over, I will cut people some slack. If you want to do it, do it. But you have to do it before midnight tonight!

But why not start celebrating February is No Meme Month early? I say bring it on, people.

Bookin' It

my library-mate, Wilfred Hyde-White

My bloggy hero and the future President of these United States Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein did a book-related meme that piqued my interest -- so I stole it even though he didn't tag me. And because Splotchy has declared that February is No Meme Month, I figured I'd better get busy and post this one. Here it is:
Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Anything by James Joyce. Looks ponderous and boring.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
Nick Caraway from The Great Gatsby
Denver from Beloved
Hermione from the Harry Potter series
We’d probably just have a nice dinner together, lots of good food and wine. A very long evening with lots of good conversation and some magic.

You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for a while, eventually you realise it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady –THE most boring book evah!

Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?
I’m embarrassed to say this, but it’s Orwell’s 1984. I was supposed to read it in my 10th grade English class, and I've always wanted to read it since then. For some reason, though, I haven’t. I need to.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't?
I don’t think so—there are plenty of books that I don’t remember reading until I pick them up again, though.

You've been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why?
Chalmers Johnson’s The Sorrows of Empire, because it contains a good review of US and world history and penetrating analysis of our imperial actions (and their long-range effects) since the 1800s. It should be required reading for every American, especially politicians.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
Russian. I’d love to read Dr. Zhivago, The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Akhmatova’s poetry, and Solzhenitzyn in the original Russian.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
Wow. Well, the easy answer is either of the last two Harry Potter books, but for true literature I’d pick Toni Morrison’s Beloved or Melville's Moby Dick.

What's one bookish thing you 'discovered' from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?
I have never read anything by Don DeLillo, but Dr. Monkerstein’s recommendation and synopsis of Libra makes me want to read it.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.
I don’t care much about the condition of the books themselves (as long as they’re not falling apart), but I would definitely have all the novels by the major American, African, and Chinese writers; a huge science collection including two of my favorite subjects, meteorology and astronomy; a huge forensic science and criminalistics collection with all the best scholarship in those fields; and of course a copy of the OED (all 20-whatever volumes, with magnifying glass). My bookcases would be floor to ceiling, wall to wall, a little like the bookcase I built for Kat (see photo below) in our living room, and I’d have one of those sliding ladder thingies. And it would be multiple stories with one of those spiral staircases, much like Henry Higgins’ library in My Fair Lady. In fact, it would look exactly like that, only even bigger and with more books. And Colonel Pickering would be there to read with me and to be his cute little Wilfred Hyde-White self.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


At the risk of sounding bitter, BIG SURPRISE that Obama is already hounding Edwards for his endorsement. I'd rather see Edwards do as Kucinich did and not endorse anyone. I know, I know--it would hurt his chances at a VP slot. But dammit, I'm -- well, I'm just bitter. I was really hoping he'd stay in long enough for me to vote for him on Feb 5.


On the bright side, there's more than enough Monkey/Love to go around.

UPDATE: Edwards had some pretty good things to say in response to the SOTU idiocy the other night, notably:

"The State of the Union may be interesting political theater, but until we
find bold solutions to the challenges facing the country, we will be stuck with
the same old small, Washington answers.

And in the chamber of the House of Representatives where the president
speaks, even though this Congress stopped listening to him a while ago, they
will still applaud and cheer him."

Boy, ain't that the truth. I read earlier that Hillary applauded after Chimpy's tired old "we're making progress in Iraq" bullshit. Come on, man! Obama didn't applaud, which is cool.

On a related but bitchy note, it just kills me to see these staged and forced speeches by Chimpy (or any other president) during which everyone in there is a captive audience, and everyone is trying to be polite and clapping. But Mr. Have-A-Beer-With-Him gets that idiot smile on his face, and you can see his little brain actually believing that the applause is genuine. He winks like he's got a facial tic, and he just eats up all that fake approval, like the overgrown dunce he is. It's disgusting. If he had any illusion that everyone in there really liked him, he should've wised up when some dems were heard laughing in response to Chimpy's praise of his "No Child Left Behind" debacle (see the last graf on that link). I'd be laughing too, if education weren't so screwed up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Necco Wars End!

In the great tradition of all wars (except the endless War of Terror), our grand and glorious mission to rid the world of Necco Wafers has come to an end -- with a peace treaty, a policy of tolerance, and a big old box of Sweethearts.

Our fearless leader, FranIAm has agreed to peace in our time, and we're all invited to a peace party at Germaine Gregarious' Rumpus Room!
Long may the Nestle's Crunch Bar and the Necco Wafer live side by side, in peace!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Toni Morrison endorses Obama

The greatest living American writer, period.
Toni Morrison, whose books were the subject of my master's thesis, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. Her reasoning, sent to Obama in a letter:

"In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it.

"Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace -- that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom."

I find it interesting that she mentions his "rare authenticity," as that is one of the things I find strangely lacking in him. Before he had declared his candidacy, I started reading The Audacity of Hope and found it bland and rather inauthentic-sounding. I didn't make it past the second chapter.

I'll say again that I'm a little wary of another Clinton presidency; nothing against Bill, but I just find it difficult to imagine the possibility that we'd be governed by a Bush, a Clinton, another Bush, and another Clinton. It just doesn't seem wise to pass on the presidency like a heirloom. Perhaps Obama would make a very good president. I have no doubt that he's intelligent, and the fact that he's a constitutional scholar is impressive.

Still, I support Edwards; I like him, and I like his positions. Obama worries me. I fear he's a very persuasive speaker but will have no true substance, only style. He reminds me of the old Robert Redford movie, The Candidate. Once elected, after fighting bitterly for office, the Redford character sits with his advisors and says, "Now what?"

Arbitration offers

It seems the presidential ticket of Dr. Zaius and Germaine Gregarious has offered to arbitrate our Necco wars, offering love instead of war. Given that wannabe-VP Gregarious looks like this:

(the one on the right, folks!) I say, "Bring it on, baby!"

By the way, what is it about these simian presidential candidates that makes them able to get such smokin' hawtTM running mates? Check out the ticket of Monkey/Love:

She's got my vote!

Of course, I follow our Fearless Leader of the Anti-Necco Factions, FranIAm, and will stand down only on her orders! Our enemies are many, and they have even formed their own state! Will we allow the dominos to fall to Necco?

Dr. Zaius was even so kind as to offer a link to this 100% accurate taste test of said Necco wafers! Oops--is that a potential violation of the very fragile treaty to come? Soooooo sorry! (tee hee)

Well, comrades in arms--what say you? Peace and love, or bombs away?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Political Birding Humor

Rob over at The Birdchaser did a great post on how birds would vote that's definitely worth a look. He's a fellow Keystone Stater from bird-rich Bucks County. Lucky him!

I commented that my spark bird (the bird that got me into birding), the American Bittern, would vote for Edwards -- like Edwards, who gets way too little face time on TV, the AMBI is very hard to see when hidden in the marshy grasses it prefers.

Imagine if kitties could vote. Clawsie would vote for herself. Kisses and Cookies, the sisters, would vote for Hillary--they're all about the female. And is there any doubt that the silky-furred Niblet would vote for the silky-haired John Edwards?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Great news!

Once again, the oil companies are rolling in the dough! From CLG:

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is within striking distance of setting an all-time profit record - again. Analysts are expecting the company to post solid quarterly and full-year earnings next Friday - and if the results top forecasts, Exxon could end up reporting the highest profit ever for a U.S. company. "Exxon is likely to have record quarterly earnings," said Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer. "For every $1 [increase] in the price of oil, Exxon makes [another] $125 million for the quarter."
If that math is actually valid (Matty Boy?), then HOLY SHIT. That $1 => $125 million formula really puts it in perspective, eh? But gee, I'm sure big business really needs those tax cuts (while cutting food stamps and unemployment benefits! Yay! Fuck the poor! Way to go, Nancy!) that Nancy Pelosi gave to Bush! They've got to help the economy, after all!

Meanwhile, I'm starting to think we'll have $4/gallon gasoline by summertime.

Speaking of the "economic stimulus" package, Tengrain pointed out something I've been thinking for a while:

But the thing that just about everyone is missing is this: to pay for these tax cuts, we are adding to the deficit. China and others who are bankrolling us are watching their investment lose value as the deficit increases and as the interest rates decline. They are going to stop bankrolling us at some point, and then watch the freefall.
True dat, Tengrain. I realize that republicans (and most politicians) seem to have forgotten that our government's been pretty much writing hot checks every day since moRon Reagan told schoolkids that ketchup was a vegetable and started dreaming about lasers in space. But really--how long can this go on? How far can a country go into debt until the whole house of cards just falls apart? Ten trillion? Fifteen trillion? Twenty trillion? How long before some of these other countries get sick and tired of our imperialist bullshit and pull our plug?

Remember that friend you loaned fifty bucks to in college, because he said he really needed it to buy groceries? He promised he'd pay you back in a couple of weeks, but of course a couple of weeks turned into a couple of months. So a few months go by, during which your pal avoided you like he owed you money (which he did, the lousy jerk!), and then you found you were a little low on cash, so you finally put aside your disgust with the whole idea of asking for your money back (seeing as how it is YOUR money after all!) but of course, friend didn't have it--some bills came in, Mom and Dad hadn't sent him any money, yadda yadda. Typical. So you blew the guy off, and then that next weekend, you went out and there was said friend at the bar, drinking that $50 for all he was worth. And you thought, "That asshole!"

Well, that's the US Government, folks. We're the assholes who are borrowing billions of dollars from friends, neighbors--shit, whoever will give us any money--and the whole time Condi's talking that noise about how fundamentally sound our economy is, and that corpse Greenspan's spewing jibba-jabba about how we're not in a recession. And yet, to get the supposedly robust economy stimulated (if it's so robust, why does it need stimulating?), they're going to throw a bunch of tax breaks to business (surprise) and a bunch of tiny rebate checks to a bunch of us. Meanwhile, China and Japan are standing in the door of the bar, thinking, "Those assholes!"

Many other people who are much smarter than I have already pointed out that most of those rebate checks will be used to pay bills, or will be put into savings (that's what I'm going to do with mine, just as I did in 2001). Most of the people who need these checks will pay bills, pay down their credit card debt. And the credit card companies will get even more money to spend on all those stupid "You've been pre-approved!" card offers to people who can barely afford to pay their light bills.

If there's one phrase I'd use to describe our economy--our capitalistic, "free market," robber-baron-run economy--I can tell you that it would NOT be "fundamentally sound." We're in a deep pile of economic shit right now, and it's only getting deeper as we throw money down the pit of our endless wars and empire of military bases.

We're in deep doo-doo.
But hey, great news!--Exxon's CEO will probably get himself big old bonus check, and the shareholders will be thrilled with their dividends. Maybe they'll go shopping.

Caucus of the Living Dead

Congratulations to Drunk-Grandpa-Breath Fred Thompson, who just won a GOP presidential caucus in Louisiana!

Problem is, he's no longer a candidate for president.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Over my dead body!

Friends, I come to you tonight with a tremulous heart and a steadfast resolve. Our Department of Candy Security has just given me evidence that the forces of evil have threatened all that we hold dear:

“I'll give you shock and awe. We can't eat Neccos at every meal...maybe we'll invite Elmer Fudd to make us some wabbit stew!”

Yes, my fellow patriots and Necco-haters, the Necco factions (or as I like to call them, “Neccids”) have threatened Niblet.

I ask you: Is nothing sacred to these people?

Even now, Nibble is being rushed to a secret location for his protection:

Tonight, the flavors of evil--”chocolate” (aka poo), “lemon” (aka mustard gas), “lime” (aka that green stuff that gets caked under your lawnmower), “orange” (aka light-colored REDS!), “clove” (uh-huh--”clove”--it’s the wacky weed, I tell you!), “wintergreen” (aka liquified grasshoppers), “cinnamon” (Reds! Commies!), and “licorice” (aka gross!)--are massing their forces, plotting their havoc, and trying to strike at all that is furry and good in this world!

This will not stand. We will prevail. Niblet will be safe. As God is my witness, Niblet will be safe!

The War on Necco

My fellow Americans, I'm here tonight to tell you that our country is under attack by the forces of all that is evil, powdery, and weird colors, including pale brown: Necco wafers. Led by CDP, a candy-coated dictator who possesses weapons of mass nostalgia, she seeks to impose her 60s-era confections on our way of life. Modern sugar-sources cannot abide this. We have hard evidence that CDP has sought pale yellow chalky powder from Africa to make more of this Necco substance.

The Necco Wafers, Mary Janes (indeed!), and Clark Bars form an axis of evil, and we are dedicated to defeating these evildoers wherever we find them. We will smoke them out of their holes; we will hunt them down and smoke them out. We will fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here. Of course--we will continue to try all diplomatic solutions to this crisis, my fellow Americans. However, we will not hesitate to resort to any and all means necessary to protect our freedoms and our way of life. They hate us for our freedom from chalky candy. But with Almond Joy, with Payday, with Smarties, with Sugar Babies, we will prevail.

May Hersheys bless us and guide us in our fight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Holy shit, Heath Ledger's dead? Wow.


Sleepy Thompson, aka drunk-grandpa-breath, is out of the presidential race! Guess he realized he'd have to stay awake for most of the day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It would be easier to spell...

If I ever wanted to change my name, perhaps I would take one of the names I've found in my email inbox:

Randolph Mountainouscock
Loretta Erectileorganjumbo
Elton Grandshlong

On Martin Luther King Jr Day

From Dr. King's Letter from Birmingham Jail, written April 16, 1963:

Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have vicious mobs lynch your mothers and father at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affulent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing and unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct and answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"... then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.
May we all rise up in some way today, and every day, to fight injustice and prejudice.

Rest easy, Dr. King; your dream lives on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Why do I do it?

"Why?" I ask you. Why do I put myself through the torture and madness of Spider Solitaire? I know that sometimes I win--once, I only had to play 23 games before I won one! And yet, as it grows later and later, and I'm sleepier and sleepier, that urge to just win once--once, dammit! that's all I'm asking!--overwhelms me and I sit here, slumped over my computer, clicking and dragging my life away.

Spider Solitaire--she's a cruel mistress.

P.S.--sorry for the crappy screen pic--I can't for the life of me figure out how to do a screen capture on this "Mac-compatible" keyboard. Niblet chewed the cord to my real Mac keyboard...

P.P.S.--Man, I sure could use a margarita.

P.P.P.S.--This deal sucks. *clicking New Deal button*

P.P.P.P.S.--Is this what it's like to be a gamble-aholic, refusing to leave the blackjack table until I've lost the car and the house?

P.P.P.P.P.S.--Nah. *clicking New Deal button*

This is interesting...

Wouldn't it be funny if the whole mantle of secrecy that Darth Cheney has erected around himself were to come crashing down because of this?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Warning: this will be a very long post...

...but I hope it speaks to you. It all started when I found myself asking, "Is absolutely everything the US does about oil?"

There are easy answers on both sides here, I know--but I wanted to know more than just a snide yes or a naive (or even more snide) no.

Regular readers of my blog know that I’ve been going back to school for a while now, trying to get a different degree than I did the first time around. It’s all for two reasons, really: first, I’m finally brave enough to pursue the science degree I’ve wanted since I was a child (but didn’t get because I was too afraid to take the math required), and second, I really love learning. I was one of those dorks who LOVED school, loved reading, loved writing. I still am one of those dorks.

But as much as I love school and I love learning, I realized a while back that my first time around the rodeo, I was really a very naive and ignorant student. Oh, I learned all the names and dates in history, the laws and the Constitution in government, and so forth; I had a good GPA in high school and college. But, other than in English classes (my major the first time around), I just never thought to question or challenge any of the things I learned in lecture or read in my textbooks. If I wasn’t in English class (where I learned and enjoyed the fact that you could question and argue any interpretation of a literary work if you had the textual evidence to back you up), I made no connections, assigned no blame, and never questioned the motives of our government (or the textbooks, or the teachers). Wars were always the result of some other country’s aggression, plain and simple, and--thank God!--the US was always there to step in and fight the good fight!

Yeah--I was that naive.

(I wasn’t stupid enough, however, to ever vote republican. Thank God again!)

Anyway, I’m not that naive anymore, but I still have a lot to learn, and what I’ve learned lately is what I want to share with you. In my quest to find out if everything we do really is just about oil, I’ve just finished reading Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (published 2000, updated with a 9/11-focused preface in 2002) and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2004), the first two books in Chalmers Johnson’s American Empire Project trilogy, which ends with the ominously titled Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006). In these books, Johnson outlines the past and present of the US’s aggressive pursuit of a global empire of military bases--from Okinawa, to Latin America, to Europe, to the Middle East, and western Asia--and what this pursuit has cost us as a nation and as a society.

Johnson claims that the American empire has five “missions” in this post-Cold War world:
1. “maintaining absolute military preponderance over the rest of the world”
2. “eavesdropping on ... citizens, allies, and enemies alike” just because we can
3. “attempting to control as many sources of petroleum as possible”
4. “providing work and income for the military-industrial complex”
5. “ensuring that members of the military and their families live comfortably and are well entertained while serving abroad” (if not so well tended when they come back, because then they’ve pretty much become useless to the empire) (Sorrows, p. 153).

If you think about it, does our president really do anything other than those five things? Has any president? Whether it was taking continental land from the Native Americans or the Mexicans, or occupying Okinawa forever despite the locals’ opposition, or occupying Iraq and killing whoever gets in their way, America has always been about empire. The sad thing is that so few people realize it for what it is. There are plenty of Americans who, once the empire and all the damage it’s done were pointed out to them, would say, “So what? It SHOULD be America first, and fuck the rest of the world!” I see people like this every day, and I shake my head and wonder: if the thievery and injustice were being performed right in front of them--if they had to walk around in the cities where our empire shits on the locals and our corporations set up their sweatshops--would they really say this to the people they saw? I can only hope they wouldn't.

But there I'm talking about your every-day person--someone with no control over the empire that dominates the world in our name. What about the people in government? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself, Why would anyone do the things that our government officials have done—starve people, let them die, blow them up, screw them over, steal their resources—is it all just to make money? Are those billions that Cheney and Bush and all the other elite benefactors of empire have stolen—are those billions really worth selling your soul, your existence, your very humanity? Under all that devil-ness, doesn’t Dick Cheney EVER feel bad or guilty?

I read a quote the other day by someone, can’t remember who, who said when men do evil things, they have to believe they’re doing them for a good reason. Is that the answer? Or is it what Chalmers Johnson says—that in addition to the five “missions” above, our elected officials grab at every stinkin’ dollar they can and completely disregard us, our obvious wishes to get the hell out of Iraq, to end the endless wars, etc., because of “the post-Cold War discovery of our immense power, rationalized by the self-glorifying conclusion that because we have it we deserve to have it” (Sorrows, pp. 151-152)? Do they really do what they do because they think they deserve it?

So I guess I found my answer: it's not just oil. It's also all the accompanying billions, not to mention the feeling that they're winning the worldwide "who has the biggest dick?" contest. And because, Johnson says, “Wars and imperialism are Siamese twins, joined at the hip,” (Sorrows, p. 187), we never will get out of Iraq or Afghanistan, and we’ll soon be declaring war on Iran--which happens to be the only country in that entire Middle Eastern oil-rich region that we don’t have our talons into. Yet.

The worst part is that the wars are not about "winning;" I doubt that was ever in the plans. All we have to do is go in, blow up some shit, install whatever puppet “government” we choose, and then make them sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to protect all our troops and mercenaries and Halliburtons from any legal action by the once-sovereign nation they’re now raping and pillaging. And then BushCo sits back while certain elite people get to make (or increase) their fortunes to the tune of billions of our tax dollars. And us little folks? Well, you all know what we get.

Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein has been reading and blogging about Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, which is as good a source as any for a list of places where we’ve worked our imperial magic--all under the guise of stopping communism, containing communism, preventing the “domino theory” of communism, the “war on drugs,” “globalization,” “humanitarian aid,” “peacekeeping missions,” preemptively stopping countries with “weapons of mass destruction,” fighting the “war on terror,” or whatever other bullshit excuse the government has fed us for the last century. I read John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hitman. It's also worth a read.

So armed with this knowledge, of course I had to know more, learn more about this "empire of bases." I did a little more research, based on the sources Johnson used for Sorrows, and found the 2007 Base Stucture Report. This DoD document lists all Pentagon property--whether actually owned or just leased or rented--broken down into separate facilities, consisting of military bases plus other various airstrip areas, housing projects, dependents’ schools, support sites, and so forth. Did you know that Germany, a country roughly the size of Montana, has 287 US military facility areas within its borders? Montana has 257.

The countries with the most facilities are Germany (287), Japan (130), and South Korea (106). Johnson wrote, “It was not until World War II that our empire of bases achieved its global reach, and the United States still seems to regard its continuing occupation of the territory of its former axis foes as something akin to a natural birthright” (Sorrows, p. 189). Germany and Japan fit that bill, as does Italy, tallying 76 separate bases and facilities, the fourth most of any overseas country. South Korea earned their 100+ bases when we decided we needed to fight the communist menace of the northern half of Korea.

Note that we don’t have any bases in Vietnam.

...which reminds me: the Base Structure Report, Johnson points out, only details those facilities that the DoD acknowledges. The list of countries with military bases/facilities from the report:
United Arab Emirates
Hong Kong
South Korea
British Indian Ocean Territories (Diego Garcia)
Netherland Antilles
United Kingdom
Marshall Islands
Saint Helena (Ascension Island)

There are some obvious omissions, wouldn’t you say? Iraq is the most obvious, with known bases in Tikrit, Basra, and Baghdad. (Remember, this is supposed to be the report for 2007.) But nothing in Saudi Arabia? Nothing in, oh, say, Guam? How many other places can you think of that aren’t on that list?

- - -
If present trends continue, four sorrows, it seems to me, are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative impact guarantees that the United States will cease to bear any resemblance to the country once outlined in our Constitution. First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a growing reliance on weapons of mass destruction among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut. Second, there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights as the presidency fully eclipses Congress.... Third, an already well-shredded principle of truthfulness will increasingly be replaced by a system of propaganda, disinformation, and glorification of war, power, and the military legions. Lastly, there will be bankruptcy, as we pour our economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchange the education, health, and safety of our fellow citizens....

Empires do not last, and their ends are usually unpleasant. (Sorrows, last page the number of which I don't have right now!)
The future does not look bright.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oprah launching her own TV network

It'll be called OWN--the Oprah Winfrey Network. Personally, I can't imagine what the hell she'll show for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but hey--whatevah.

Imagine if others followed suit:

GWBTV--Chimpy's post wrecking-of-America gig. Highlights of Chimpy's broadcast schedule: Green Acres, Bonanza, and daily updates of brush-clearing status in Crawford (thanks to Olberman via Newsbusters for this pic):
(By the way, see Chimpy's resume at Karen Zipdrive's -- it's really impressive when you stack up all the different shit he's fecked up. It reads like a rap sheet, but unfortunately Speaker Botox is too busy lobbying for higher-end food in the Congressional cafeteria (h/t Christopher at From the Left) to worry about such insignificant matters as our Constitution, our future as a democracy, and the lives of innocent men and women in our armed services and in all the countries we're occupying/waging war against.)

CHENEYVISION: Completely black screen, 24/7/365. If you watch for even a millisecond, expect some big guys in suits and mirror-shades to pound on your door in three... two... one...
CONDI-TV: Pretty much looks like OWN, only it's the multi-UNtalented Condi trying to do all the shows, and we have to hear her mediocre piano playing.

JEEBUS-TV: Pat Robertson gets his own network and spews venomous and completely insane statements like "(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians" . . . oh wait . . .

Sunday, January 13, 2008

John Edwards' inspiring speech

I was scouring the internets today, trying to find something to cheer me up, when I came across this on the John Edwards site:
Sumter, South Carolina – In remarks today at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, John Edwards said that real change begins with leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and with the American people, not with politicians in Washington. Edwards attended the service with Rep. Leon Howard, head of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, and the Rev. James Blassingame. Excerpts of Edwards’ remarks follow:

“I’d love to speak with you this morning, not just as a candidate for president, but also as a fellow southerner who has traveled from Seneca to Sumter and a lot of places in between. You know, much has changed since James and I left Seneca. When we were in Seneca, we weren’t allowed to go to school together. But as glory be to God, today we can worship together.

“And this may come as a surprise to some of you, coming from another presidential candidate, me, but as someone who grew up in the segregated South, I feel an enormous amount of pride when I see the success that Senator Barack Obama is having in this campaign.

“And some days, now I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say some days I wish he was having a little less success, but it gives me great pride to see the reception he has received. We have come a long way in the 54 years that I’ve been on this earth, but not far enough. We still have work to do. And the hopes that both Senator Obama and I have for this nation and this country that we love so much, they’re real hopes.

“I must say I was troubled recently to see a suggestion that real change came not through the Reverend Martin Luther King, but through a Washington politician. I fundamentally disagree with that. Those who believe that real change starts with Washington politicians have been in Washington too long and are living in a fairy tale.

“Real change has never started in Washington. Real change came from those who fought in the trenches -- those who shed their blood, sweat and tears, and those who suffered broken bones. Real change started in Selma. Real change started with Rosa Parks. Real change started with the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King and the brave men who sat down at a luncheon counter at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina. Real change started in churches just like this across America and across the South. And real change started not far from here in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

“We are not being true to ourselves or the heroes of Greensboro, Selma, Birmingham and Orangeburg if we do not continue this journey to bring about real change. And you can’t take a single step on this journey unless you stand on the truth. And let me say here, that what I say to you today, I say in front of all audiences, no matter black, white -- including audiences where there is not a single African American.

"The dream is strong and the dream still lives, but we still live in two different Americas. One America for those who are doing extraordinarily well and one for everybody else. We’ve still got two public school systems in America. One for wealthy, affluent suburban areas and one for everybody else. We’ve got two health care systems in America. One for those who can afford the best health care money can buy and one for everybody else. We’ve got two economies in this country. One for those who make millions and millions of dollars every year and one for those who are struggling just to get by and pay the bills.

“You know what I’m talking about. That’s what this election is about and we can do better than this. America can do better than this. We’re better than this as a people and we’re better than this as a nation. We want to live in a country where every single child has the same high quality public school education. We want to live in an America where everybody has health care through a universal health care system for every man, woman and child, not where the wealthy get good health care and everybody else struggles. We want to live in an America where 37 million people don’t wake up every day living in poverty, literally worried about feeding and clothing their children.

“What this election is about—it’s not about me and it’s not about any of the other candidates—what the election is about is building one America.”

Edwards is the real deal. I've been saying that I'll vote for whoever the dem nominee is, but now I'm really starting to hate the idea of voting for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Clinton will be nothing but more of the same, with a nod to social programs domestically but no move away from corporatocracy or imperialism abroad. She won't even commit to getting us the hell out of Iraq NOW. I fear Obama is nothing more than a rousing speaker who won't be able to get anything done (reminds me of Jimmy Carter).

Still, I fear that anyone who bucks the system--the system being imperial overstretch and a government of, by, and for the corporations--will either be eliminated (gulp) or rendered completely powerless. Think about Jimmy Carter again, who tried to pull the US meddlers out of several foreign countries and who did the best he could when our long-time tampering in Iran led to the hostage situation, but was undermined and eventually made into a laughingstock by Reagan and his backroom deals to get the presidency.

But Edwards says he'll shoulder on, fighting against the establishment candidates until it's over, no matter what. I sure hope so.

Godspeed, John Edwards.

Close Bush's mouth--shit's coming out of it (again)

It seems Bush is now backing down from his commitment to reduce the number of troops in Iraq. (I don't know--can you call it a "commitment" when we're talking about Chimpy McBullshit?)

He’s making promises to the Middle East as well:
A main aim of Bush's Mideast visit is to convince the Saudi leadership as well as those in Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates that he remains committed to preventing Iran from destabilizing the region, despite U.S. intelligence findings that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons development in 2003.

So he's planning to sell "$20 billion in weapons, including precision-guided bombs" to the Saudis to help them protect themselves from big bad Iran, which doesn't actually pose a threat. Oh, and just to show how smart and fair he is, he's also planning to "counterbalance the Saudi sale with $30 billion in military assistance to Israel - a more than 25 percent increase over the next 10 years."

Let me get this straight, Chimpy--you tell Americans that you're finally going to bring at least some of our soldiers home, but then you say, "oops--sorry!--nobody's coming home!" And somehow we're just supposed to believe your bullshit reason about "any decision about troop levels 'needs to be based upon success,'" as if "success" (other than that of your billionaire pals) has ever had a damned thing to do with why we're in our war for oil and profits in the first place?

Then, in a region that's already crawling with weapons and turmoil, a huge part of which assholes like you have caused, you announce how "committed" you are to "preventing Iran from destabilizing the region." Yeah, because it's so fucking stable now, right? And because Iran is causing all the problems in the world, not us, right?

Then Mr. Peace in our Time/War President says that all the other Middle Eastern countries better hurry up and "confront this danger before it is too late." Too late for what, Chimpy? Let's see--maybe one of those non-existent mushroom clouds you and Lecondel like to scare us with?

Or maybe you want them to hurry and blow everything up over there before Congress wises up and impeaches your ass?

Sorry, Chimpy, I don't think anyone's buying your lies anymore.

Cute Ovahload

Look at my beautiful little nieces! This is two-year-old Allyssa with her daddy looking over her shoulder,

and this:

is four-month-old Nathalia sleeping on me. It's so strange how I just looked at them and immediately loved them. Now, they didn't make my "clock" start ticking or anything (I don't think I HAVE a clock!), but I just loved holding them! ...and then giving them back to their mommy, my baby sister Nora, when they needed a diaper change. How convenient!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Irony, thy name is Associated Press

"Okay, now, heh heh, which one-a you guys has the marshmallers?"

OH. FRANIAM'S. GOD. I'm so glad that Chimpy McStagger is here to decide these critical matters of policy in such a timely fashion! He's such a caring guy! So protective! So pensive and deliberate! In case you missed this, we ought to laugh at it together:

Bush: US should have acted on Auschwitz
By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - A teary-eyed President Bush stopped in front of an aerial photo of Auschwitz on Friday at Israel's Holocaust memorial and said the U.S. should have sent bombers to prevent the extermination of Jews there.

Yad Vashem's chairman, Avner Shalev, quoted Bush as saying the U.S. should have "bombed it." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush referred to the train tracks leading to Auschwitz, not the camp itself, where between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were killed by Nazi Germany. . . .

Bush twice had tears in his eyes during an hour-long tour of the museum, said Shalev, who guided Bush through the exhibits.

Upon viewing an aerial shot of Auschwitz, taken during the war by U.S. forces, he said Bush called the decision not to bomb it "complex." He then called over Rice to discuss President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision, clearly pondering the options before rendering an opinion of his own, Shalev told The Associated Press.

Shalev quoted Bush as asking Rice, "Why didn't Roosevelt bomb it?" He said Rice and Bush discussed the matter further and then the president delivered his verdict.

"We should have bombed it," Shalev, speaking in Hebrew, quoted Bush as saying.

First off, who the hell wrote that hedline? Bush said "BOMB," not "act on;" it's not like he stood there and figured out how his Special Forces were going to go into the camp, take out the nazis, and rescue the Jews. "Just bomb 'em! It worked for Eye-rack!"

Next, after having to endure the idea of a "teary-eyed" Chimpy, we see MommySister Lecondel step in to clarify to (I'm sure) dumbfounded reporters that, of course! duh! he meant bomb the train tracks, NOT the actual camp! Of course! He would never bomb innocent civilians!

I'm sure Chimpy and Condi had a very meaningful policy discussion over whether they would bomb innocent Jews who'd already been held captive, starved, and worked almost to their deaths by the Third Reich. Then, after these leaders of the Fourth Reich settled that policy point, I'm guessing they tried to decide whether to sign the Treaty of Versailles... you know, it's just. so. COMPLEX!

I love the idea of Chimpy calling any decision "complex." Isn't EVERY decision "complex" to a booze-and-cocaine-fried guy who doesn't have two brain cells left to rub together? I picture him standing in front of the fridge in the White House at night: "Uh--Pickles? Hey! Ah'm trying to decide whether Ah want ice cream or cookies fer dessert--it's just so complex! Ah shore wish Turdblossom wuz here to help! Hey you, Condi, sister! Come on over here, Brown Sugar, and help me decide 'cause Ah'm the decider!"

Just look at the "journalism" happening in this excerpt, though -- "then the president delivered his verdict." Either Aron Heller's got one wicked sense of humor, or he's a fucking idiot. Almost every treatment I saw talked about how he was "admitting US error" or whatever. As if figuring out that the nazis were doing some evil shit, fifty-plus years after the fact, makes him a fucking genius? You make the call. I need to go be sick now.

Because some things just bear repeating until even stupid people understand them.

One little note: does Fuckabee look like teh gay in this shot, or is it just me? TPM keeps using it over and over, making me think I'm not the only one who's noticed....

I won! I won!

Just got this email in my box at work:

This Email is to inform you that you emerged a winner of
(£2,500,000.00 Great British Pounds)contact our claims office
AGENT NAME: Mack Davidson
Yours Truly
Co-ordinator(Online Program)
And they're even kind enough to pay it in pounds instead of crappy old dollars! I'm so freakin' psyched! All my dreams will come true now; I'll be able to bird, blog, and build furniture to my heart's content! Wait'll I tell Kat!

Wait, what? What do you mean, it's a scam? But I got it in my email inbox!

I... I... I'm so bummed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

When the "check" in "Checks & Balances" bounces

from a story in the NYT linked on Truthout (which is the link I'll use, as I'm anti-NYT):
When the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey needed to find an outside lawyer to monitor a large corporation willing to settle criminal charges out of court last fall, he turned to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, his onetime boss. With no public notice and no bidding, the company awarded Mr. Ashcroft an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million.

That contract, which Justice Department officials in Washington learned about only several weeks ago, has prompted an internal inquiry into the department's procedures for selecting outside monitors to police settlements with large companies.
Oh boy, another "inquiry" -- just what we need. I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of this oh-so-coincidental appointment. I'm sure it's not at all a conflict of interest, a prime example of BushCo cronyism, or unethical! Phew, glad we got that settled.

Oh, and I included the cover of "Let the Eagle Soar"'s great book, subtitled "Securing America and Restoring Justice." How's that for irony?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

So much for pundit predictions

Holy crap, Hillary won in NH and the pundits are freaking out. The worst part is that I just had to endure a "report" on Fox "News" where the talking moron discussed "why do tears work for women but not for men?" I almost picked up this monitor and threw it at the TV in the cafeteria at work (which as you know is Fox Nazi Channel central!).

How many examples of men tearing up and getting emotional do we need to see? Hell, remember when Walter Cronkite teared up when covering the moon landing? That is one of the single most powerful memories of my childhood! So Muskie's presidential hopes crashed when he cried--that was like forty years ago, folks. Wake up, MSM--we're not as stupid as you think we are.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cooking with DG

Bloggy heroes Dr. Monkey and Whiskeymarie often display their cooking talents on their blogs, so I thought I would follow suit (copy their idea) and show you a popular Mexican breakfast dish, "migas." (sounds like MEE-gahs) You've probably seen these if you frequent an authentic Mexican restaurant. Hope you like.

Ingredients for enough to serve two hungry adults:
Six or seven large eggs (we loves eggses)
Butter (or margarine or whatever you cook your eggs in)
Cilantro (the more the mexican-er)
Three small tomatoes (I like a lot of salsa)
Six corn tortillas
Grated cheddar
Chop the tortillas up into little pieces; mine are usually about the size of a nickel. (Bigger pieces = harder to get crispy, smaller is kinda pointless.) Melt some butter in a large skillet and add the torts. You're going to saute these until they're golden brown; Kat likes her torts kinda crispy, but it's your preference how long you saute. The official butter of the Marsh House:
Tee hee
Here's a perfect golden brown piece:
To keep the torts crisper, once they're golden brown, take them out of the pan and put them on a plate; you're going to use this same skillet to scramble your eggs. If you leave the torts in there, they tend to get a little soggy in my opinion.

For the salsa -- While you're sauteing the torts, stirring or (flipping like a real chef) occasionally, chop or slice three small tomatoes. Add a splash of water and some salt and peppa. As the toms cook, mush them with a fork. I don't peel the toms, but you can.
Add some ground cumin; my mom grinds hers from seed, but I don't have a "molcajete" (a stone mortar and pestle) so I just buy it already ground. I use about this much, but again--whatevah you like:
Once the toms are soft and smushed, add some chopped cilantro:
Note my beautiful Wusthoff cook's knife and complimentary cutting board; this pic was taken before I chopped. I used to use only the cilantro leaves because I thought the stems would be bitter or something (I don't even know why I thought that) but I've actually never tasted a difference, so throw the stems in there or whatever.
You can add a little more water to the salsa if you like as it cooks; you don't want it to get too dry, but you don't want your eggs swimming in it either.
While the salsa's cooking, scramble your eggs, and when they're almost cooked but still kinda wet, add the chopped sauteed torts and mix well, completely cooking the eggs and letting some egg stick to the tort pieces:

The presentation, with grated cheese and salsa on the migas, with half an avocado, sliced:

Thus endeth the Mexi-lesson.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hillary's Emotional Moment, Edwards' Bonehead Response

I just walked by the Fox "News" Channel TV here at work (it's never off that channel, except for sometimes in the morning when someone--can't figure out who--puts it on Pat Fucking Robertson) and listened to the morons bashing Hillary Clinton for being "on verge of tears" while answering a crowd question in New Hampshire. The woman answers a personal question, with emotion and honesty, and they fecking slam her. They even had some idiot "radio talk show host" on who said, "Forget Britney, Hillary looks like she needs a therapist!" or something to that effect. Can anyone, even the reich-wing morons, call that "fair and balanced" without laughing?

At first, I chalked all this up to the usual Fox idiocy, but then I read this ABC news story, linked from TPM:
[John] Edwards offered little sympathy and pounced on the opportunity to question Clinton's ability to endure the stresses of the presidency.

"I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also tough business," Edwards told reporters Laconia, New Hampshire.

Earlier in the day, Clinton became emotional when speaking to a group of voters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"My question is very personal, how do you do it?" asked Marianne Pernold Young, a freelance photographer from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Getting emotional, Clinton said, "It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country [and I] just don't want to see us fall backwards," she said....

Her voice breaking and tears in her eyes, she said, "You know, this is very personal for me. It's not just political it's not just public. I see what's happening, and we have to reverse it."

Edwards jumped on the chance to express his readiness to face the strenuous demands of the presidency: "What I know is I'm prepared for that and I'm in this fight for the middle class and the future of this country for the long haul, through the conventions, straight to the White House."
I would've thought John Edwards was above this kind of misogynist bullshit. A candidate gets emotional while considering the state of this country and her chances to improve it, and Edwards (and the MSM) jumps on her for not having "strength and resolve" or not being ready for the "tough business" of governing?

Come on, John, you're better than that. Whether she's tired or whether she's sincerely and emotionally invested in changing this country's direction, you really should've just taken a cue from Barack Obama, who said he hadn't seen it and wasn't going to comment on it.

I know that when I "see what's happening" in this country thanks to BushCo, I ALWAYS feel like crying -- or throwing up. Would it have been better if she'd just looked kinda green and said she felt like throwing up whenever she thinks of the direction this country's going and how she felt obligated to run?

Man, I hate presidential elections more every time they happen. And I hate the media.

Some damn funny shite

(Am I going to curse in all my hedlines today or what?)

Check this out, mah peeps. You'll be glad you did. Though if you're a Hillary lover, like I used to be, you might wince a little. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Freedom of religion, and all that that implies

I was on my pal FranIAm's blog and found her link to tengrain's posting of a questionnaire from the people at First Freedom First, an organization for separation of church and state and religious freedom.

Even back when I was a mass-attending Catholic, I always believed that one of the finer things the founding fathers did was establish the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." If you believe in your right to peaceful assembly, or free press, or free speech, you have to also accept that freedom of religion is guaranteed in this country. To me, "no law respecting an establishment of religion" means that "religion" cannot be established by law, nor should it be connected to "law," and by extension our government.

FAF's questionnaire follows, along with my answers inserted. Please feel free to copy the questions and provide your own answers, either in the comments section or on your own blog. I'd be interested to read your thoughts on these issues. (OR you could always say that your answers are your own damned business, and true freedom means you can keep 'em to yourself!)

1. Leaders on the religious right often say that America is a “Christian Nation.” Do you agree with this statement? NO—see my reasons above. Mentions of “God” as in “In God we trust” on governmentally issued things like money and so forth were incidental, the common usage of the day, NOT some sort of Christians-first rubber stamp.

2. Do you think Houses of Worship should be allowed to endorse political candidates and retain their tax exempt status? NO. I don't even think the words "houses" and "worship" should have capital letters, either.

3. Do you think public schools should sponsor school prayer or, as a parent, should this choice be left to me? LEFT TO ME—as an atheist, I think this is more important than ever; even schools which try to respect diversity and give a nod to all faiths would NEVER say anything like "and if you don't believe in a god or higher power, please feel free to use the time as you wish" or whatever.

4. Would you support a law that mandates teaching creationism in my child’s public school science classes? HELL NO. Nor would I allow the teaching of fairy tales as historical fact, either.
5. Do you think my pharmacist should be allowed to deny me doctor-prescribed medications based on his or her religious beliefs? NO. The entire idea is simply absurd; if a pharmacist tried to do this to me, I'd complain until he/she lost his license.

6. Will you respect the rights of those in our diverse communities of faith who deem same-gender marriage to be consistent with their religious creed? YES, or even if they're not religious!

7. Should “faith-based” charities that receive public funds be allowed to discriminate against employees or applicants based on religious beliefs? NO. Acceptance of public funding means they agree to operate under the law, including anti-discrimination law. "Faith-based" should be "faithful-funded."
8. Do you think one’s right to disbelieve in God is protected by the same laws that protect someone else’s right to believe? YES. Religious freedom includes the freedom to NOT be religious.

9. Do you think everyone’s religious freedom needs to be protected by what Thomas Jefferson called “a wall of separation” between church and state? YES!

10. What should guide our policies on public health and medical research: science or religion? SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE!

Some of these questions made me laugh; the very idea that a public school would even mention creationism in a science class is hilarious to me. Believe what you will about the origins of the universe and human life. But in a science class, stick to the science. Otherwise, I will demand that my closely held personal belief that angles that look the same size ARE the same size be accepted in my analytical geometry class. Just sayin'.

Tengrain also asks if there are any other questions we'd ask; I'd probably only add, "Do you believe in the rights guaranteed by the US Constitution?" because that would pretty much end the debate.

File under "how fucking insensitive are these people?"

Yesterday, my local paper had the usual Parade Magazine supplement. However, someone obviously wasn't paying much attention to world events. The supplement featured an interview with Benazir Bhutto, with a headline asking whether she's the key to defeating terror, complete with a subhed about the upcoming elections on Tuesday.

I went to their web site after I'd recovered from the initial shock. There, of course, they have all the "Editor's note: The assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto on Dec. 27 occurred after PARADE’s Jan. 6 issue went to press" business. But there was absolutely no explanation in our paper, no statement that the supplement was put in there because the interview was so important or whatever. Just the shock of seeing this photo and interview, and the sadness of remembering that she is no longer here.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Making sense of the senseless

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Axis of Evel Knievel, and came across this little nugget from La Dottrina del fascismo, a book, Axis tells us, that Il Duce Benito Mussolini wrote with Giovanni Gentile in 1932:

Fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action with all his energies; it wants him to be manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle in which it behooves a man to win for himself a really worthy place, first of all by fitting himself (physically, morally, intellectually) to become the implement required for winning it. As for the individual, so for the nation, and so for mankind. . . .
Suddenly, everything that Chimpy and Big Dick do makes perfect sense.

Color me surprised

I knew Obama might win, but I sure didn't expect him to win by such a large margin.

But hey! My guy came in second (barely)!
Way to go, buddy!

Meanwhile, Clinton's in third and looking a little depressed:

Things are going to get interesting now, I think. I'm heartened by Edwards' strong showing; I was afraid he'd get waxed. That honor, however, must go to Rudy Jewels, who was soundly beaten by Fuckabee, Mittens, The Living Corpse, Walnuts McCain, and RON FUCKING PAUL! I mean, how pathetic is that!?

Here are the dem results, courtesy of The Carpetbagger Report:
1. Obama — 38%
2. Edwards — 30%
3. Clinton — 29%
4. Richardson — 2%
5. Biden — 0.9%
6. Dodd — 0.02%

And the Republicans:
1. Huckabee — 34%
2. Romney — 25%
3. Thompson — 13.3%
4. McCain — 13.1%
5. Paul — 10%
6. Giuliani — 3%

Wow. I think it goes to show that Rudy's standing in this race has been a completely media-manufactured illusion all along. Whatever attention was paid to him resulted solely from his non-stop screaming of "9/11." When the voters came out, however, we saw what the people really think, and that's that Rudy is irrelevant.

I can hardly believe Mr. Coma came in third, though--the guy's been asleep since his last filming session of Law & Order! Which begs the question: how fucking NUTS are those repubs in Iowa? Fuckabee doesn't know his foreign policy from a pheasant's ass, yet his "I'm with Jesus and Walker TX Ranger" act got him a nine-point victory over Mittens, who poured a ton of money into that state AND can probably tell you where Pakistan is on the map. Poor Mittens. Somehow, though, I doubt that "crucifix on my shoulder" routine will translate well in the northeast.

And that's really the question now, isn't it? What will happen in New Hampshire and beyond? I know there are a lot of white evangelicals there, but I doubt the state will buy into the Jesus card quite as completely as Iowa did.

And what about Obama? Everything will depend on whether he can repeat this drubbing of the competition. If he doesn't, look for him to go back to second- (or even third-) place status.

Hillary may be down, but if anything, this defeat will only make her refocus her efforts, cut out any and all hijinks (see: "Obama did drugs!"), and get really fecking SERIOUS. This is just the first caucus; it's a looong way to November. And remember--Bill Clinton wasn't called The Comeback Kid for nothing. Check out the results from the 1992 Iowa dem caucus (courtesy of the Iowa Caucus web site:
1. Tom Harkin 76%
2. Paul Tsongas 4%
3. Bill Clinton 3%
4. Bob Kerrey 2%
5. Jerry Brown 2%

OUCH! Talk about getting drilled! So you know that Hillary can take this; she's been in this position before (albeit as wife and supporter, but still), even worse. The Clintons will probably hole up, recharge, and come out fighting. I just hope she doesn't do anything stupid--she needs to stick to the issues, leave the negative shit out, and DAZZLE. Look for Bill to hit the campaign trail even harder than he has been. You just know he wants back into the White House, and he seems like the kind of guy who does not take "no" for an answer. (okay, okay, put all those snarky skirt-chaser remarks away! this is serious political analysis, man! *snicker*)

As for Edwards, he'll need to use this as a jumping-off point -- raise more money, hit the road hard in the northeast, and keep walking the walk. My fingers are crossed for him.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

More greatness from TPM

God, I love the folks at Talking Points Memo. I didn't even bother to follow the link--the little subhed and that corpsy photo say all that needs to be said.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The 7 Faces of Dr. Delia

NOW PLAYING: The 7 Faces of Dr. Delia! "A mysterious circus comes to a western town bearing wonders and characters that entertain the inhabitants and teach valuable lessons."

I have to tell you that this movie scared the bejeesus out of me when I was a kid; I seem to remember him turning into some sort of giant snake or caterpillar or something, and I wigged out in the theatre and started crying. However, when someone (I can't even remember who) tagged me for the 7 Lies meme, this was the first thing I thought of. What follows are seven UNtrue things about me.

And now... Back to tonight's feature.

[Enter STAFF SERGEANT GUZMAN, U.S. AIR FORCE] Hello, you miserable recruits! You are the sorriest bunch of asswipes I've seen in my twenty-five years of service! My name is of no consequence to you--you will address me as MA'AM, YES MA'AM! Now open your ears and shut yer yaps! Drop and gimme 20! I love the Air Force! I love the Corporate States of America, and I'm proud to serve and die for my CEO-in-Chief, George W Bush! That man makes me proud to be an Amurkan! "Taps" is now being played so get in yer bunks and shut the hell up! [Exits.]

[Enter DGUZMAN, GOVERNOR OF THE GREAT STATE OF TEXAS] Hello, thaynk yew verah much for invahtin' me to speechify at this here barbecue! Me and mah momma, we wanna thaink yew fer votin' fer me, based on my ads on the teevee talkin' bout how religious Ah am. And Ah wanna tell ya, I LOVE JEEE-ZUS. Ah call him on mah cellphone ever'day to aisk him just what he would do 'bout ever' li'l thang that's goin' on in this here state. He told me to fry ever crim'nal, stop ever 'bortion, and only let 'em teach the Bahble's creation in the (whaddya call those classes? oh yeah) Science classes. And Ah believe in all them thangs! One hunnerd percint! Praise the Lord! Ever'body make shure to git yer free gun down at the front of the stage, okay, ya'll? Amen! [Exits.]

[Enter DCLEAVER, PROUD WIFE AND MOTHER] Good afternoon, ladies. I want to thank you for inviting me here to discuss the proper role of a wife and mother in this new century! First and foremost, we must all graciously submit to our husbands; Reverend Huckabee says that's the way to be, and I believe he knows best. After all, he is a man AND a man of God! Second, I believe that more women should stay home, avoid education at all costs, and be fruitful and multiply! Marriage, that blessed institution, is the union of a man and a woman, as God tells us in his holy book! Anyone who deviates -- and I stress the word DEVIATE! -- from this, our greatest mission in life, is bound to burn in the fires of hell! And yes, I'm talking about all those hairy-legged, bra-burning, man-hating lesbo college-going freaks! Now, ladies--do what God and our husbands intended us to do: go to your homes, prepare a bountiful meal for your husbands, and prepare to serve! [Exits.]

[Enter DGUZE, STONER] Hey, man... I'd like to tell you something but I'm so wasted I can't remember what it is! [Exits.]

[Enter DGUZMAN, EVEN-TEMPERED DRIVER] Ahhh, I so enjoy my time behind the wheel. Come along with me on a typical drive down America's highways. Oh, look over at the gentlemen to our right: he's eating his breakfast in the car! Now isn't that ingenius! Look how he's steering with his knee as he stirs his coffee and takes a bite of his Egg McMuffin all at once time! Incredible; I really admire his hand-eye coordination. And if you'll check the rearview mirror, you'll see a young college student, talking on her cellphone, zipping through her iPod selections, and running a stopsign. Way to multi-task, young woman! Oh, she just bent over while driving 65 mph to look through her purse! You go, girl! [Exits. In a fiery crash, that is.]

[Enter DED NUGENT, GUN LOVER] Yo America! Wango tango with the NRA, YEE-OW! Yeah! When it comes time to vote this year, remember to vote PRO-GUN, PRO-LIFE, PRO-DEATH PENALTY, PRO-CREATE, PRO-BUSINESS, PRO-FIT! Vote republican and you'll be able to shoot people in the street, bomb abortion clinics, and eat all the red meat Rush can feed ya! Cat-scratch fevah! Go out and shoot something! Yeah! [Exits.]

[Enter DGUZMAN, BUSINESSWOMAN] Good afternoon, future CEOs! If you want to be like me, roll up your sleeves and work for it! Yes, you too can learn to kiss the RIGHT asses, suck the RIGHT dicks, and sponge off the federal government's bailouts of big business! You only have to get into the RIGHT business! Faith-based, global, tax-exempt government contracting is where it's at! Just set up your Big Pharma, Insurance, Oil, Credit Card, "International Security" firms (hee hee, right Mr. Prince?), or--get into the most lucrative business of them all--POLITICS!

The End. We hope you enjoyed the show. Please use the trash receptacles at the exits, and come again soon.

"other dreams" -- a new hope

Back from Ohio, and already missing my nieces and my little sister. I took some photos, but I left the camera at home--I'll update tomorrow so you can see how unbelievably freakin' cute they are!

I was trying to catch up on my blogreading (would that be 'greading?) and I came across this post on Splotch's site. Optimism has never been my strong suit. In fact, I don't even own that suit. But last night, as I tossed and turned in a fitful bout with my bedsheets, I had a thought: "it just CAN'T happen."

Let me explain:
My brain was replaying a news item I heard about the delayed elections in Pakistan, which made me think about whether Chimpy is going to try that same little song-and-dance here come November, and suddenly my brain said, "Nope. It CAN'T happen. No way." Then I thought about how bad Big Dick wants to bomb Iran, and again, my brain said, "Nope. Can't happen. WON'T happen. Will not."

And that got me thinking: Optimistic people are always talking about the "power of positive thinking" and how if you just THINK positive, then positive things will happen because you'll be putting out that good juju or whatever. What if everyone were to start thinking, "It can't happen" and saying that and really focusing on that whenever the subject of all the potentially horrible things Chimpy might do to end his term with a bang (literally) comes up? What if we all really DO start thinking "positive" in the sense that we simply REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE POSSIBILITY that Chimpy will:
a. be allowed to finish his term without being impeached
b. be unindicted of war crimes and high treason (not to mention outright grand theft)
c. take us into another war
d. suspend the next presidential election or do ANYTHING that might delay his and Big Dick's getting the hell out of D.C.

What if we all just do our damnedest to move the juju of the universe toward impeachment, indictment, prosecution, a new start with an honest administration, a return to true investigative journalism in the MSM, the end of news-as-spectacle/entertainment, the swinging of the national pendulum back to the left and away from this christofascist Fuckabee-style theocracy? We all start thinking and saying that THESE are things that are going to happen. The bad stuff just CAN'T happen. Will not happen. Cannot happen.

Or am I just ridiculously naive?