Saturday, November 26, 2005

And a-one, and a-two...

(Mr. Varkentine steps out on stage wearing a bowler hat & striped suit, and carrying a thin wooden cane, and does a little dance whilst conveying the following information)

So it seems that a high school student newspaper had its latest issue censored (two, three four).
Because it contained an article with information about birth control (two, three, four).

"The school administration should realize they don't have the power to censor our paper," [the paper's Editor-in-Chief, Brittany] Thomas said, while fellow students gathered around her living room late Wednesday afternoon to hand-paint T-shirts they plan to wear to school on Monday in protest.

"When they (the general population) see a pregnant girl, they say the girl should know better," senior Samantha Senn said. "But in a lot of cases, they (the girls) don't know anything."
(two, three, four)

According to...Thomas, an article placed underneath the offending story, "advises students to practice abstinence until marriage."
(two, three four)

Where is this school located, you ask (two, three four)?

...Tennessee (two, three four).

All together now for our big finish:

"Duck-humping, racist, rock-stupid, anti-sex, illiterate hillbillies!"

Thank you.

Oak Ridge school superintendant Tom Bailey said "Our paper’s not there to hide things from parents," evidently stating his support for keeping our students dumb and pregnant. Or maybe he’s toeing the "ignore it and it’ll go away" approach that Lil G.W. has favored at the White House.

Geez, you'd think Tom would be more mellow about it, having spent all those years as the lead singer for the Thompson Twins and all.

Friday, November 25, 2005

That's the most frightening thing I've ever seen in my whole entire life

Credit: Shakespeare's Sister

"My mom says I'm cool!"

Sadly, No! on this announcement:
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.

See, the best part about being a wealthy white male is that there's virtually nothing you can do to hurt your overall economic well-being. Even if no one will hire you because you're a complete fuck-up whose grievous errors cost people their lives, you can always start a your own consulting firm advising people on how not to be complete fuck-ups like you.

Brown said companies already have expressed interested in his consulting business, Michael D. Brown LLC. He plans to run it from the Boulder area, where he lived before joining the Bush administration in 2001.
“I’m doing a lot of good work with some great clients,” Brown said. “My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me.”

I don't know why that Bush administration hasn't responded to my suggestion. If they want to see their poll numbers go up (and they do), a good way to start might be to hold "Smack Michael Brown Day" in New Orleans.

R.I.P, Mr. Miyagi

"Karate Kid" star Pat Morita has died at 73. The "Karate Kid" sequels are increasing levels of crap (admitting that I haven't seen the last one), but there are reasons why the first one is so well-remembered, and Pat Morita is among the largest of these.

I remember his performance as being really quite touching in places, aided by a better script than the sequels received (though all were written by the same man).

I'm thinking of the scene where Mr. Miyagi gets drunk and we learn about his experiences in the war. A little thing, perhaps, but it added depth. And it got Morita the first acting Oscar nomination ever given to an Asian-American.

I was too young to remember him as Arnold on "Happy Days"--by the time I started watching the show it was Al's place. But a story I saw in the newspaper, I think around the time "Karate Kid" first came out, has always stayed with me.

Early in his career Morita was a stand-up comedian, and one night, through your standard hilarious mix-up, he was booked to entertain at reunion of veterans of World War Two.

Picture the scene. Japanese comedian onstage. Audience of WWII veterans. You can feel the tension in the air. Morita begins: "First of all, sorry about what we did to your harbor..."

And he had them. The rest of the night they were his. Or so the story goes.

And you thought Mr. Miyagi had balls...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Things To Be Thankful For, 2005

Or "Can U Dig It?"

In no particular order:

Aaron Sorkin, especially the promise of a new series from he and his directing and producing partner, Tommy Schlamme, and the screenplay he's writing for Tom Hanks. And happiness is having all four of his/their seasons of The West Wing on DVD.

Joe Jackson.

This blog & its handful of regular commenters-hi guys.

Amee. Pleasant memories & friendship. Also thankful that she and hers were not hurt in the recent Tacoma mall shooting.

Kirsty MacColl (bless her).



The Marx Brothers, especially Groucho & Harpo, & Ron Goulart's series of mystery novels featuring the former.

Ginger Pielage, wherever she is. An artist never forgets his muse.

John Edwards & his wife Elizabeth. To say nothing of their daughter Cate.

The Kittens, for better and for worse.

Christina Hofmann. Not as much of a muse, but an important woman in my life nevertheless.

Rock & Hyde & all the other semi-obscure gems in my collection of '80s bands.

Corey. My friend, and my first reader on most of my stuff since my first play. I usually appreciate his comments...eventually...

Keitha, Annabel & Colley. I don't know where we're going, guys, but you've been with me for a long time.

Boston Legal.

Everything & everyone I praised in this post.

Harlan Ellison. I think Aaron Sorkin pretty much walks on the water as a screenwriter, but this guy is my "father" in prose. Not because our styles are usually that similar. It's just that he's one of my favorite writers. And the one I'm most sure will somehow find out and kick my ass if I'm ever untrue to my own writing.

Stephen Sondheim.

Charles Schulz (Bless him).

Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Gunsmoke and the "Golden Age of Radio."

Stefon & his wife Melissa.

John Hughes. Not just for his movies (although I love them as much as the next '80s man). But because their soundtracks may have been the most influential in shaping my musical taste.

Every chick flick I picked for this post.

William Goldman's books for writers.

Jim Brooks' movies.

The four most beautiful, hottest, sexiest women in the world:

  • Anne Hathaway, the future Mrs. Varkentine.
  • Virgina Madsen. When you die, if you've been good, you go into a never-ending shower with a 21-year-old Virgina Madsen. That's my belief, anyway. And the age is not a deal breaker.
  • Holly Hunter. Only when I made a list of films I thought had good parts for women did I realize how many of them involved her.
  • Kate Winslet. No explaination necessary, I trust.

Clooney's Murrow movie.

Veronica Mars. Have I badgered you people too much about that yet?

My nephew.

Johnny Cash.

Reese Witherspoon in the new movie about Johnny Cash.

Monty Python.

Pet Shop Boys.

This quote, which I just found tonight and made me smile, for some reason:

Like a ghost come back to life, or Garbo in her greatest role, the lesbian offers us new and vital information about what it is to be human.

~From the introduction to The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homsexuality and Modern Culture, by Terry Castle.

The Harry Potter movies and especially that driven little witch character. I haven't seen the new one yet (nor have I read the books), but I love that character.

Those fave TV shows not previously mentioned: 24, Everybody Hates Chris, The Daily Show/Colbert Report, Gilmore Girls, & Supernatural.

The fact that the nation finally seems to be waking up from the insanity of the past five years.

and Moya.

Can U Dig It?

Well, at least it'll be warm

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High

Take the Dante's Inferno Test
The sweet light no longer strikes against your eyes. Your shade has been banished to... the Seventh Level of Hell!
Seventh Level of Hell


Guarded by the Minotaur, who snarls in fury, and encircled within the river Phlegethon, filled with boiling blood, is the Seventh Level of Hell. The violent, the assasins, the tyrants, and the war-mongers lament their pitiless mischiefs in the river, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape their punishment. The stench here is overpowering. This level is also home to the wood of the suicides- stunted and gnarled trees with twisting branches and poisoned fruit. At the time of final judgement, their bodies will hang from their branches. In those branches the Harpies, foul birdlike creatures with human faces, make their nests. Beyond the wood is scorching sand where those who committed violence against God and nature are showered with flakes of fire that rain down against their naked bodies. Blasphemers and sodomites writhe in pain, their tongues more loosed to lamentation, and out of their eyes gushes forth their woe. Usurers, who followed neither nature nor art, also share company in the Seventh Level.

Bill, the administration IS weak

So. The administration is sending decidely mixed signals on this whole "pullout" thing. It'll destablize the region, some say. On the other hand, some say we may be doing just that early next year.

What does it all mean? Let's ask your friend and mine, Bill Kristol, the gift that keeps on giving:
What message does this send here at home? Here in Washington, policymakers, congressional staff, opinion leaders pick up the two Washington papers this morning and there in the Washington Times, ‘General Calls Iraqi Pullout Destabilizing.’ So you think, well, that’s good, that’s the administration’s line. You can’t pull out too fast. Then you pick up the Washington Post. ‘Three Brigades May Be Cut In Iraq Early In 2006′ based on a Pentagon briefing by a different general. It looks confusing, it looks weak in my opinion. Dick Cheney just gave a major speech warning against this kind of talk. Everyone knows that we want to pull out troops when we can, but to sort of go out on a P.R. offensive, I think, on the part of the administration looks weak right now.

There's a reason for that...

"Strict constructionists" should support legal abortion

According to Christine Stansell, professor of American History at Princeton,
"women's issues'' such as abortion were below the radar screen of the founding fathers and not picked up until the mid 1800s when the AMA pushed to render abortion illegal. Prior to that it was not regulated at all. Moreover, she said that no enforcement really kicked in until the 1940s.

I'm sorry, but is it just me, or is this really funny?

An anti-abortion group has renewed its effort to fly pictures of aborted fetuses over crowded Oahu beaches.
An attorney for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform has told federal appeals court judges that Honolulu's ban on aerial advertising illegally censors the group's most effective way to advocate its message.

Robert Muise says the explicit images can't be replaced by other forms of advertisement.

The group already drives trucks around town with giant photos of first-term aborted fetuses.

"Fetuses Over Hawaii," a WWII action thriller starring Dana Carvey...

The last post about this Schmidt

Because it's like shooting fish in a barrel.
Judging by her words yesterday -- the first after avoiding the public for three days -- Schmidt doesn't understand what the fuss is about, and sees herself more as victim than villain. "I am amazed at what a national story this has become," she said in a statement. "I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening."

Somebody get this woman a violin.

ETA: Digby found something cool.
just a couple of months ago, Schmidt said this in her first remarks before the House:

(Mrs. SCHMIDT asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Honorable people can certainly agree to disagree. However, here today I accept a second oath. I pledge to walk in the shoes of my colleagues and refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character. It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate. Harsh words often lead to headlines, but walking this path is not a victimless crime. This great House pays the price.

It is easy, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Well, that clears that up

Quoted verbatim and in toto from GovExec:

This Just In: Bush Not Madman

Great little snippet of a quote from State Department spokesman J. Adam Ereli's briefing Friday in the "Verbatim" feature on the Washington Post's Federal Page today:

Q: Do you have any reaction to the comment of [Venezuelan] President [Hugo] Chavez saying that President Bush is a killer and a madman?

Ereli: It's not true.


This kind of seems maybe important. Via Avedon Carol, guest-blogger at The Washington Monthly:
GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY... Murray Waas has just posted this at The National Journal:

Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group.

Funny story, what?

Via MyDD:

Paul Bremer, administrator of Iraq, May 14, 2004:
"If the provisional government asks us to leave we will leave," Bremer said, referring to an Iraqi administration due to take power June 30. "I don't think that will happen, but obviously we don't stay in countries where we're not welcome."

Iraqi leaders, November 21, 2005:
Iraqi leaders, meeting at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, urged an end to violence in the country and demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq.
In a final statement, read by Arab League chief Amre Moussa, host of the three-day summit, they called for ``the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces.'' No date was specified.

Vice-President Cheney, November 21, 2005:
Vice President Dick Cheney said the administration won't set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq

Okay, everybody got that?

This has nothing-no-thing-to do with freedom for the Iraqi people.

ETA: Meanwhile, the Republican blogger Gatway Pundit says
Hoping to Appease Dems & Terrorists, Iraq Announces Troop Withdrawal I missing something, or can none of you think of a reason why Iraq would want to "appease Dems" either?

ETA, again: Think Progress points out that it wasn't just Bremer who said of course we would leave if the Iraqis asked us nicely:
From the Washington Post, 5/15/04:

Secretary of State Colin Powell emphatically said yesterday that if the incoming Iraqi interim government ordered the departure of foreign troops after June 30, they would pack up without protest, but emphasized he doubted such a request would be made.

Oh, and:
In January, President Bush said that if asked by the Iraqis, U.S. forces would leave the country:

President Bush said in an interview on Thursday that he would withdraw American forces from Iraq if the new government that is elected on Sunday asked him to do so...

Nothing to to with Iraqi freedom. Not a thing. Zero. Goose egg.

Oh my.

The news about Congresswoman Schmidt just keeps getting better and better. It seems that the Marine she said told her to "send a message" to Congressman Murtha now says he never mentioned Murtha by name to her. And that he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.

Like a true Republican, she's falling back on ignorance as a defense against accusations of wickedness. Claiming she didn't know Murtha had been a Marine when she made her remarks. This is almost certainly a lie, as ReddHedd shows us in the entry linked above, but even if it were not, it doesn't make Schmidt look any less pathetic.

And somewhere, Bud Bundy is smiling

A teenager has been charged with indecent exposure after he was caught trying to have sex with a female mannequin on display at an arts centre.

Security guards found Michael Plentyhorse, 18, sprawled with the dummy on the floor with his trousers and pants down.

Police spokesman Loren McManus said: "There was inappropriate activity between him and the mannequin."

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's kinda nice to see 'em all lined up like that

Someone at Daily Kos has put together a list that...well, this is something I think we all knew, but it almost takes your breath away to see it all laid out in black-and-white. The service record of prominent Democrats vs. that of Republicans:


* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.


* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." (The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.)
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; failed to show up
* B-1 Bob Dornan: enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL for 8 years as quarterback.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

Pundits & Preachers

* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.

A little something to keep in mind the next time a Republican accuses a Democrat of being a coward. Because you know it's coming any day now.

Yes, that would explain it.

In The News Blog:

this was posted in comments by First Draft's Tena

That's it - I'm going to become an adherent of voudun.

I've never seen anything like this. Since they let NOLA drown, it has been a non-stop shit storm for the junta and the Repugs.

Fun with Photoshop


Walk The Line

In a few words:

There's an unfortunate tendency for films like these (and Ray) to seem like extended episodes of Behind the Music, and Walk The Line does not wholly avoid it: They chart their subjects rise, fall--drug-related--and rise again.

But the performances, especially acting (I was particuarly impressed with Reese Witherspoon) but also musical, give this film much more life than the standard musical bio-pic.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I saw Rent in a road company production here in Seattle a few years ago. I didn't like it very much. Oddly, perhaps, what put me off was not the depiction of gays and lesbians, or gay life. I was "gay friendly" at the time, but a few years away from getting involved in the whole Tara on Buffy thing, let alone creating my own lesbian characters and their own story.

No, what bothered me was that Rent seemed to me to be about the romanticism of poverty. That idea (usually promoted by rich people), that poor people are sexier, more "in tune with life" and "earthier." And therefore, really, they're luckier than those poor-sons-of-bitches who happen to inherit a few thousand dollars. As has often been observed, and not just by me, how come it's always the multi-millionaires like John Lennon and Sting who tell us to "imagine no posessions" or that we can "live here and be happy with less?"

Plus at the time I thought too much of the music in Rent sounded the same. But I've come to believe that was the result of a faulty sound system. Enough of the songs have stayed with me from that one viewing that I now think they're the show's greatest strength.

In this book, Sarah Schulman makes a convincing case that her novel, People In Trouble was used as an unacknowledged source for Rent's book, specifically the lesbian plotline. Unfortunately she is less convincing about why she chose not to pursue legal action about this. She repeats several times that she couldn't, and we're fools who've watched too many legal TV shows if we think she could. But it begins to seem like a self-fufilling prophecy.

Whatever the case, Schulman chose instead to use Rent and her discovery of its similarities to her novel as a launching point to discuss "Theater, AIDS and the Marketing of Gay America" (her subtitle).

Now I have, as they say, a dog in this fight. But I don't think that's the only reason it seemed to me she was contradicting herself in some of this book. At times it was like she was walking in a rapidly shrinking cul-de-sac: Gays don't get properly depicted because it's either not shown how deviant they're made to feel, or they're shown to be too deviant. But don't you impose "straight" versions of health-and-happiness on them either.

And although she explicitly denies at one point that she thinks only gay people can write about gay/lesbian culture, I did get that impression from some of what followed. However, let's allow that I might be too sensitive about this. But I wonder too what audience Schulman thought she was writing for, because she tends to toss off assertions as though she assumes that everyone is going to agree with her-or that they even know what she's talking about.

The book is also let down somewhat by her limitations as a drama critic. The best of these--Kenneth Tynan was the supreme example-put you in the seat next to them, so agree with their opinion or not, you know what happened.

When Schulman gives examples of other plays and performance pieces that, to her, gave more authentic depictions of gay life, she leaves herself open to the question Yeah-but were they entertaining? Because she doesn't succeed in making them come alive for the reader. We get that she liked them, but we don't get what they were like.

(Six Degrees Of Separation moment: One of the actresses in a show she describes is Liza Weil. Weil is an actress I've sometimes named on my wish-list of "if I could have anybody to play one of my characters...")

Yet the book is, ultimately, too convincing to be easily dismissed. It belongs in the category of books I apreciated reading even though I disagreed with much of it, if not because of that.

Actually, I can live with that

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Damnit, Jim, I'm...

I've been good and I've been bad, But...

That's the way - Shellshock
Hold on!It's never enough
It's never enough until your heart stops beating
The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain
Don't give up the game until your heart stops beating

You called me on the phone, you left me all alone
All I get from you is shellshock
Another day goes by, now all I do is cry
All I get from you is shellshock
I tell the world and save my soul
The rain falls down and I feel cold
The cold that sleeps within my heart
It tears the earth and sun apart
But that's the way that I can win
A victim of your evil sin
You've lost the hold you've had on me
By causing the changes that you never see

Hold on! It's never enough
It's never enough until your heart stops beating
The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain
Don't give up the game until your heart stops beating

When we walk through open doorways,
Counting time in one or more ways
I can't find my peace of mind
A life becomes a life of crime
And that's the day I call your name
I came to you, I called in vain
You lost the faith within your heart
The fire in your soul from the end to the start

Hold on!It's never enough
It's never enough until your heart stops beating
The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain
Don't give up the game until your heart stops beating

I've been good and I've been bad
But common sense I've never had
No matter how I try and try,
I hide the truth behind a lie
But that's the way that I can win
A victim of your evil sin
You lost the faith within your heart
The fire in your soul from the end to the start

Hold on!It's never enough
It's never enough until your heart stops beating
The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain
Don't give up the game until your heart stops beating

~New Order, "Shellshock"

All right!

Erotic Thriller

You've made your own rules in life - and sometimes that catches up with you.
Winding a web of deceit comes naturally, and no one really knows the true you.

Your best movie matches: Swimming Pool, Unfaithful, The Crush

Yes, ladies, he is single!

Metaphor, anyone?

From BBC News Asia-
Door thwarts quick exit for Bush

President George W Bush tried to make a quick exit from a news conference in Beijing on Sunday - only to find himself thwarted by locked doors.

The president strode away from reporters looking annoyed after one said he appeared "off his game".

President Bush tugged at both handles on the double doors before admitting: "I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work."

Sometimes the universe gives you gifts.

When we don't mind when a politician lies

Here's the thing. Former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, voted against the war, and explains why in an article he wrote for The Washington Post.
At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.

Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.

There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked.

Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary.

There's more, but I think that's the heart of it. Now, an anti-Bush blog with the Muppety name of uggabugga expands on Graham's article a bit, saying:
That's a key argument against Bush. That there was no information about Iraq's alleged WMD threat (or al Qaeda threat), which had been "independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States." As Larry O'Donnel said over a year ago:
Since when do we go to war based on another country's intelligence?

In September 2003, Max Cleland wrote in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
If you adopt the strategy of pre-emptive war, your intelligence must be not just "darn good," as the president has said; it must be "bulletproof," as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed the administration's was against Saddam Hussein. Anything short of that saps credibility.

Meanwhile, over in the Republican PowerLine land, Graham is a hypocrite, because at the time, he said:
From St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 20, 2002: excerpting from his Senate Floor Statement:

"But tonight I have to vote no on this resolution. The reason is that this resolution is too timid. It is too limited. It is too weak. This resolution fails to recognize the new reality of the era of terrorism.

"Now, there are good reasons for considering attacking today's Italy, meaning Iraq. Saddam Hussein's regime has chemical and biological weapons and is trying to get nuclear capacity. But the briefings I have received have shown that trying to block him and any necessary nuclear materials have been largely successful, as evidenced by the recent intercept of centrifuge tubes. And he is years away from having nuclear capability. So why does it make sense to attack this era's Italy, and not Germany, especially when by attacking Italy, we are making Germany a more probable adversary?"

Now, why would he have said that at the time? Wild guess? He was lying to protect his ass. But there's something people like the Power Line Republicans either don't know or pretend not to as they equate lying about a personal affair with impeachable offenses.

I think most people know that any politician is going to lie to them, either a little or a lot. It's just the nature of the beast, the way the game is played. George Carlin said the reason we re-elected Clinton is because Americans like their bullshit right up front, where they can get a good solid whiff of it. Dole tried to cover it up, Clinton said "Hi there, I'm fulla shit, and how do you like that?"

I think most people ask themselves, not "Will this politician lie to me?" But rather, "How will this politician lie to me, and what will he or she lie to me about?

My point is, I think most Americans can tell the difference in scale between a lie calculated to help you save face with your constituients, a lie to cover up an extra-marital affair, and a lie that condemns thousands of young people to death.

That's why the Republicans keep trying to make it personal, digging up dirt on Cindy Sheehan or Congressman Murtha or Bob Graham. Because, if they can make Americans suspicious of their motives, maybe the public won't notice the answers they're not getting.

It's not about Cindy Sheehan being a nice woman or not, it doesn't matter whether Murtha is an entirely ethical man or not, it doesn't matter if Bob Graham is a hypocrite. The Republicans cannot answer their questions. They can only attack the questioners.

And the stakes are so high, and the cost has already been so much, that people have finally started to notice that no concise answers are forthcoming. Their act is no longer working.

And that, finally, is why this incarnation of the Republican party looks doomed right now.

I'm starting to like this guy

AmericaBlog reports on Congressman Murtha's appearance on Meet The Press this morning. All emphasis below is mine.
Congressman Murtha, on Meet the Press, responded to Russert's question about attacks on him by Cheney and others. Murtha answered that this is not a war of words. This is a real war where people are being killed. He also said Bush and Cheney can't hide behind rhetoric.

Murtha also said his vote for the war was a mistake. And he reminded Russert that we've increased terrorism in the Middle East. He also predicted we would withdraw American troops before the 2006 elections.

When Tim asked him how his life has changed in the past 72 hours, Murtha chuckled and basically said it's not about me. The public is thirsting for answers.

Yes, I'm starting to really like this guy.