Friday, January 06, 2006

I am frightened I’m a liar and I’m tortured by desire

Pam writes in her Blend that:
There are so many dreadful lesbian films out there -- some that I've seen at the Gay and Lesbian film festival have been laughably bad

And here I am with a script for a lesbian-themed romantic comedy that, damnit, I think is pretty wonderful if I do say so myself. And I don't know how to sell it. I don't even know if I want to, even though-literally-my first image of Keitha & Colley ever was to see them on a big screen.

But the process it takes to get them there means they would have to pass through so many hands. If just one person gets it wrong, say, oh I don't know, an amateur director or diva actor...

Having made it through Tennessee (but not unchanged)...I don't want to know how it would make me feel to see someone hurt these characters/this story. Aw, screw it, I don't even know why I'm blogging about this...except that I've been having a real bad week in terms of shaken confidence. Confidence that my script is any good or that even if it is, I'll be able to sell it.

I am frightened I'm a liar, that it's not, that I'm not, as good as I think it is/I am. And I'm tortured by desire because all I want to do is get these characters and their relationships and their story out of my head and into other people's.

The frustration between the two sometimes feels like it's grinding me to dust.

Be careful what you wish for, young man... may surely get it. From TV critic Alan Sepinwall's What's Alan Watching blog:
Sounds to me like, at very least, Sorkin and Schlamme are coming back to write and direct the Leo farewell episode -- or, as one critic suggested to me after he got a look at the schedule, maybe they're just coming back to do the finale. Or they could be just one and the same.

I've got mixed feelings about this; on the one hand, if Sorkin does come back for such a send off, of course I'll be there with bells on. But as a writer (he said pretentiously), I can't imagine leaving characters I created and loved in the hands of someone else for years.

And then having to come back and write a story that honored both who they were...and what they have become. But Sorkin's a better writer than I am, so it may be just me.

Sometimes we find the songs we need...

...when we need them to nourish us. Case in point, this song by Carole King which is at the end of the first disc of the Love Rocks compilation in duet with k.d. lang. I've had the comp for almost a year, but this afternoon, listening to it (on shuffle) along with a CD I'm reviewing, it really hit me.

I've followed it with two lyrics or excerpts from lyrics that, for me, are connected to this one for reasons that may be personal or may be obvious.
Why do we isolate each other
All the walls we build between us
Make it so hard to be together

How can we tear at one another
When the thing we have in common
Is an uncommon love

Walls can fall, tears can mend
So why can't we reach across the line
And touch each other

Here on two sides of the truth
We've a middle ground in common
We have an uncommon love

Time can heal, hearts can mend
So why can't we reach across the line
And touch each other

When will we ever learn
That the thing we have in common
Is an uncommon love
We have an uncommon love
An uncommon love
--Carole King "An Uncommon Love."

First a glance, then a chance
To make a simple gesture worth it all
A conquer all, a desert storm
That serves a drink to people under this sun
This is the place, now is the time
To take in any other point of view
Some are inert but one exists
To build a bridge
It doesn't mean much now
It's built for the future
--The Fixx "Built For The Future"

Down there in the ashes
There's gold and silver too
Dear sister, I try to share with you

Smug, you said
Take your spoils away

And you broke the bridge on your side

You wither my trouble
And all I dream to do
With half-smiles
Until I scream at you

Mad, you said
That's how you repay

But you broke the bridge on your side

And where am I
As I swallow your tears
And the prince with the slipper appears
Do you hack at your heel
Do I try not to feel

I fail with my anger
And with my sympathy
I tremble - so little left for me

Harsh, you said
Now you walk away

But I left the gold for you to find

When you broke the bridge on your side
--Joe Jackson & Jane Siberry, "The Bridge"

Haven't linked to a E. J. Dionne Jr. column in a while...

So here's one via Julia, guestblogger at Hullabaloo.
Abramoff, who used to pall around with close Bush allies Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed in the College Republicans and who has been a central figure in the rise of Republican dominance in Washington, is not a lone wolf. He is a particularly egregious example of how the GOP's political-corporate-lobbying complex has overwhelmed the idealistic wing of the Republican Party.

According to an Oct. 15, 2003, story in Roll Call, Abramoff was one of a half-dozen lobbyists who raised $100,000 for Bush's 2000 campaign. When Bush was battling Al Gore's efforts to recount Florida's votes, Abramoff was there with the maximum $5,000 contribution Bush was taking for the effort. A September 2003 National Journal story noted that Abramoff was so confident he would meet his fundraising goals for the president's 2004 campaign that he was planning, as the lobbyist generously put it, "to try to help some other lobbyists meet their goals."

On an Oct. 15, 2003, CNBC broadcast, journalist Alan Murray asked Ed Gillespie, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, about fundraising by "people like Jack Abramoff, who represents Indian tribes here," and another lobbyist whose name I'll leave out because he has not been implicated in any scandals. "Are you going to sit here and tell us that their contributions to your party have nothing to do with their lobbying efforts in Washington?"

"I know Jack Abramoff," Gillespie replied. He mentioned the other lobbyist and insisted: "They are Republicans; they were Republicans before they were lobbyists. . . . I think they want to see a Republican reelected in the White House in 2004 more than anything."

Julia adds:
There's been quite a flurry of attempts to play this unholy mess as a bipartisan scandal (I particularly enjoyed [a] bizarrity from the ever Republican-friendly Gallop, where they make a valiant attempt to "prove" that corruption is a bipartisan problem for Congress in the wake of blanket news coverage of Mr. Abramoff's activities based on polls taken, um, a while ago).

It's not working, and we shouldn't let it work. That means, among other things, you might want to consider defending the Democrats. After all, individual lobbyists weren't making tens of millions of dollars selling both sides of the mall to anyone with money when we held them (pace the junior generation of the Boggs family). Maybe we should grab them back.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Broken Flowers

This movie is Bill Murray at his dryest, how much you like it will depend upon how much you like sitting with that; I'm mostly fine with it. I think of all the Second City/SNL graduates, he's been the most artistically succesful (not that it's been much of a horse race).

It's about Murray looking up old girlfriends to see which, if any, is the mother of the son he's just been told he has. It's enlivened by neatly understated performances by the supporting cast. One sequence in the film has at least one too many "inside" qualities to it, however.

Murray meets first an old flame's teenaged daughter, whose name is Lolita (of course) and exposes herself to him (of course). Her mother is played by Sharon Stone (of course) and her father is dead, explaining the flaunting (of course).

Stone, BTW, is surprisingly terrific in this; I haven't seen everything she's ever done, but I'm gonna out on a limb and say it's the first time she's played a recognizable human being in...forever.

In some ways it compliments Happy Endings, which was also, in part, about a search for a son (and no, I don't have a father, thanks for asking). But where that movie had a few too many characters spread too thin, this one doesn't do quite enough, for my taste, with the few it has.

Man oh man

Ever wonder what sort of behavior gets you placed on a "no-fly" list? Apparently...writing books critical of the Bush administration.

What do you mean if?

Democrats have said repeatedly they aren't planning to filibuster Alito, although they also have refused to promise to refrain from the stalling tactic on the federal appellate judge.

The final decision will be made after the hearings, said Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and one of the senators who will question Alito.

"If he's a mainstream conservative, if he doesn't use a court to impose his views on the American people, he's likely to get approved," Schumer said. But at the same time, the senator added, "if he is out of the mainstream and will use his tremendously powerful position as Supreme Court judge to impose his views on the American people, then there's a potential for a filibuster, and no one really knows that until the hearings."

Ugly, baby. Just righteously ugly.

Via The Raw Story:

January 5, 2006
The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you regarding the National Security Agency's use of warrantless surveillance involving people in the United States. While we believe it is critical that communications with Al Qaeda representatives be scrutinized, it is also imperative that it be done in a manner that respects the law and the privacy rights of individuals in this country, and as has been done by prior Administrations.

As you know, since this program was first disclosed by The New York Times on December 16, 2005, it has caused a firestorm of controversy. Among other things, concerns have been raised that not only is the program constitutionally problematic; but also that it is inconsistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") and not authorized by any subsequently passed law (including the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force); it included within its sweep calls solely within the United States; the intelligence information was widely disseminated without adequate controls; and that it involved tapping into telecommunication data and voice networks, thereby intercepting a large volume of telephone and Internet communications. Concerns about the program were not only raised by Members of the Intelligence Committees and Members of the FISA Court (one of whom resigned in protest), but by then-Deputy Attorney General Comey and, reportedly, by then-Attorney General Ashcroft.

Perhaps the most significant concern many of us have is that such a program could be utilized with the Executive Branch acting in the role of attorney, judge, and jury in deciding whether or not the surveillance was justified or appropriate. This is particularly perplexing given the ease with which your and other Administrations have been able to obtain FISA warrants in the past, and the fact that such warrants can even be obtained on a retroactive basis.

Given the controversy and myriad legal concerns raised by the surveillance program, we would ask that you forward to us proposed statutory language authorizing the program so that the Members can consider the same as part of our review of those provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act scheduled to sunset on February 3, 2006.

In addition, so that we may better understand the nature of the program, we would ask that you forward to us the following:

Any and all legal opinions and memorandum concerning the lawfulness of the program

Any and all orders authorizing and reauthorizing the program

Any and all records and information indicating the number of U.S. persons for whom such surveillance was authorized

Any and all records and information indicating the number of U.S. persons for whom communication to or from them were intercepted

Any and all records and information indicating the number of intercepted communications occurring completely within the U.S.

Any and all records identifying any members of the U.S. press, other U.S. media or Members of Congress for whom communications to or from them were intercepted

Any and all records and information indicating how the information concerning U.S. persons was stored, shared among various agencies and departments, and whether, when and how such information is to be destroyed.

To the extent any of the above includes classified information, we would be willing to discuss a means by which certain information can be redacted.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Rep. John Conyers, Jr.; Rep. Bobby Scott; Rep. Lofgren; Rep. Nadler; Rep. Tauscher; Rep. Jackson Lee; Rep. McDermott; Rep. Meehan; Rep. Olver; Rep. Wexler; Rep. Inslee; Rep. Schakowsky; Rep. Doggett; Rep. Kucinich; Rep. McCollum; Rep. Berman; Rep. Baldwin; Rep. Van Hollen; Rep. David Price; Rep. Tom Udall; Rep. Ackerman; Rep. Wasserman Shultz; Rep. Sabo; Rep. Tierney; Rep. Hinchey

Now he's up in the big leagues, getting his turn at bat...

Jon Stewart Set as Host of Oscars.

This is potentially great. He's done so well in little bits on other awards shows, I look forward to seeing how he'll do with "the big one."

Of course I do

I get along without you very well
Of course I do
Except when soft rains fall
And drip from leaves
Then I recall
The thrill of being sheltered in your arms
Of course I do
But I get along without you very well

I’ve forgotten you just like I should
Of course I have
Except to hear your name
Or someone’s laugh that is the same
But I’ve forgotten you just like I should

What a guy
What a fool am i
To think my breaking heart
Could kid the moon
What’s in store
Should I fall once more
No, it’s best that I stick to my tune

I get along without you very well
Of course I do
Except perhaps in spring
But I should never think of spring
For that would surely break my heart in two

What’s in store
Should I fall once more
No, it’s best that I stick to my tune

I get along without you very well
Of course I do
Except perhaps in spring
But I should never think of spring
For that would surely break my heart in two

~Hoagy Carmichael, "I Get Along Without You Very Well"

I don't even know what to say about this one

Jane says
Today King George announced seventeen -- count 'em seventeen -- recess appointments, many of whom would have faced serious confirmation problems. Kos tells us that the three appointments to the Federal Election Commission never even had nomination hearings. No opportunity to even face questioning. None. Zero. Zip.

Amongst them -- Hans von Spakovsky, who was in large part responsible for the purge of mostly Democratic, mostly African American and mostly legitimate people from the Florida voting lists in 2000. And, of course, Robert Lenhard, who is married to the Viveca Novak, the woman now providing the substantive part of Karl Rove's defense in the Plame matter.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Oh my god.

NBC seems to have reason to believe Bush wiretapped CNN's Christiane Amanpour. If you're not familiar, this is an excerpt from her official CNN bio:

For her reporting from the Balkans, Amanpour received a News and Documentary Emmy, two George Foster Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, a Courage in Journalism Award, a Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival Gold Award and the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. She also was named 1994 Woman of the Year by the New York Chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications, and she helped the network win a duPont Award for its coverage of Bosnia and a Golden CableACE for its Gulf War coverage.

Amanpour has been awarded a number of other prizes, including a further Emmy for her documentary 'Struggle for Islam'; the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcast Journalism; the Sigma Chi Award (SDX) for her reports from Goma, Zaire; two George Polk Awards for her coverage of Bosnia in 1994 and for her work on the CNN International special Battle for Afghanistan in 1997 to name but a few.

As a side note, she's also been cited several times on Gilmore Girls as Rory's ultimate role model.

So in other words, exactly the sort of person we want our government to wiretap in order to better protect us. Which, after all, is the only reason they'd do it. Oh. Unless, of course, it were one of these other reasons. On that same AmericaBlog post linked above:

anyone who uses any of Christiane's telephones or computers (work or home) could also have had their conversation bugged.

This includes Christiane's husband, former Clinton administration senior official Jamie Rubin, who was spokesman for the State Department.

Jamie Rubin was also chief foreign policy adviser to General Wesley Clark's presidential campaign, and then worked as a senior national security adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Did Jamie Rubin ever in the past four years communicate with any elected officials in Washington, DC - any Senators or members of the US House? Any senior members of the Democratic party?

So let me get this straight. NBC appears to have reason to believe that President George W. Bush wiretapped one of the most prominent journalists in the world. With a chief advisor to a couple of his opponents in the last election thrown into the bargain.

I don't want to jinx it by saying he's toast, but...this sure should be an interesting story to follow for the next few days, that's all I can say.

ETA: Talking Points Memo adds a little more on that subject.
...the president is arguing that his powers as commander-in-chief give him the authority to set aside that law. Such an unlimited assertion of presidential authority just has no place in our constitutional system; and his continued assertion of such authority is a plenty big enough scandal right there.

But if this were to take a truly Nixonian turn and it turns out that this was being used against political enemies, anti-war groups or journalists then we're talking a whole 'nother ballgame.

More reporting needed.

I admire your work, William Goldman

Bob Geiger, formerly of the Yellow Dog Blog, "follows the money" in the Abramoff scandal. He finds something that I think is going to be important to keep tattooed behind your eyeballs if you're keeping even one eye on this story via the MSM.

An analysis of all donations under Jack Abramoff's name or by his wife, Pamela – who donates under "Pam," "Pamela" and "Mrs. Jack Abramoff" – since 1977 and through January 2, 2006, shows that they made a total of $338,418 in political contributions. Of that, $204,000 went to individual political candidates, while $134,000 went to Political Action Committees (PACs).

Of the $204,000 that went to people running for the House and Senate, not one dime went to a Democrat. Yes, that's correct – 100 percent of Abramoff's personal donations went to Republican candidates or, in an extremely isolated case, he gave $750 to Howard Phillips of Virginia to run for something or other on the Constitution Party platform in the mid 1990s.

Other than that, it was all GOP money. Who were the biggest piglets at that trough? Little Tom DeLay picked up a cool $15,000, or over seven percent of the total all by himself...

There's more at Bob's blog, but that's the big thing to remember. This is not a bipartisan scandal. This is the Republicans being caught as the corrupt little piglets they are, every last squealing one of them.

And by the way, to those who say, "well, maybe the Democrats just weren't in power?" First of all, as Bill Sherman said in Pop Culture Gadabout,
Watching members of a political party that only a few years ago was heavily relying on "Character Counts" as its electioneering mantra now trumpeting, "But everybody's doing it!" as an excuse is pretty funny.

Yes it is, Bill. But second of all, dig that timeline. 1977-2006. By my counting, that includes two Democratic Presidential Administrations (or maybe three, if a second term is considered a new Administration). And I think something like 25 years where Democrats controlled the House and/or the Senate.

Times, in other words, when they had power. And Abramoff still didn't give them any money.

This is completely and utterly a Republican scandal.

It's a small world after all

A new biography of Laurence Olivier asserts that a long claimed affair between he and Danny Kaye may in fact not have happened, while otherwise conforming his general bisexuality.

The Kaye allegation was printed in Donald Spoto's exquisitely written life of Laurence Olivier, which I find generally trustworthy. But who the hell knows? The author of the new book said in a recent interview:

"What I did find was evidence of a homosexual affair in 1937 with an actor called Henry Ainley. He was a big name of the 1910s and 1920s. I'm not sure this is a terribly important thing. It's there and it's a fact and therefore I report it."

Henry Ainley was the father of Anthony Ainley, the second actor to play The Master on Doctor Who as a recurring role. And for that matter, Olivier was once asked (and reportedly considered) to play a cameo role in an episode of the series.

It's a small world after all...

So it's come to this

I just heard Newt Gingrich talking on Fox about how the Republicans need to take up the mantle of reform and vow to clean up the corruption in Washington. He said this without irony because he's quite serious. He mentioned that the Democrats were investigated ten years ago for illegal foreign campaign contributions. He didn't mention that there was never any there there. But it sounds good, doesn't it? And the Republicans may just be able to finesse this because Democrats are so skittish about a couple of their brethren being caught up in the sweep that they are pulling their punches.

Republicans beat a decorated war hero with a fey draft dodger during wartime because they skillfully exploited the public's long held anxieties about Democratic bona fides on national security. If Democrats can't can't run on the corollary "Republicans are crooks" meme in the midst of the biggest government abuse and corruption scandal since Watergate, then we really are useless. We saw this coming for months. And yet we are caught flat footed and the GOP is going to run as the party of reform. Dear gawd.

Digby sees the same thing I do. You know, if it weren't for what I desperately cling to as my "principles," I might just have to go and become a Republican, on the grounds that at least they can get things done. At least when it comes to winning elections. I gotta say, there are times when I can definitely see the appeal of that.

I mean, who doesn't want to be with a winner? Meanwhile, the Democrats are on life support like most television series in their sixth or seventh seasons. There are still a few zombies tuning in, but most people with any critical faculties left gave up a long time ago.

And I am reminded of my mantra during the Kerry campaign: If the Democrats can't beat George W. Bush, they ought to just quietly disband. Do you suppose they have, and they just haven't had the heart to tell us?

In a mine...

So I'm watching the return of "Scrubs" last night. That show, BTW, still has the same problems and virtues it's always had for me: Some genuinely funny direction, performances and writing, but I don't give a damn about any of the characters.

And I think Christa Miller-oft referred to by me in the past as "the most beautiful woman on television" must have had Botox or something. In any case it's the hardest someone's fallen off my radar since the unfortunate Laura Prepon incident.

But, of course, none of that really matters. At one point during one of the two episodes shown last night, NBC interupted the program to announce that the 12 miners had been found alive. And I, like most anyone watching, I imagine, thought, "Well great-a happy ending."

Turns out, not so much. AmericaBlog:
If this is true, someone screwed up big time. How do you say publicly - say to the FAMILIES - that 12 survived and now say "oops" 11 died and one survived?
Family members learned early Wednesday that 11 of the 12 coal miners who were initially thought to have survived an explosion in a coal mine have died.

Families learned of the deaths from mine officials more than three hours after Gov. Joe Manchin said he had been told 12 of the miners survived the disaster. The sole survivor of the disaster was hospitalized, a doctor said.

Anderson Cooper is ripping the coal/mining company. They knew, according to Anderson, 20 minutes after the news broke that the 12 had survived that in fact several did NOT survive. But since the coal company didn't have all the information, they didn't say anything for three hours, leaving the media and the families to believe that 12 had survived. Jesus. Now the company gets to worry about emotional distress damages added to the lawsuits.

I genuinely don't mean to trivialize-but ever since the miner story broke all I can think of is that Bee Gees "New York Mining Disaster" song.

In the event of something happening to me, there is something I would like you all to's just a photograph of someone that I knew...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


This can't be comfortable.

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God...

"...for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says man, "the Babel Fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It proves you exist...therefore, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

~The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

James Hoebuck will vote yea...if we give him $115,000.


For an RV? What's he want?

An NIH study on remote prayer.


Well, in my faith, we've known it's worked for two thousand years. I never knew there was data available, but okay.

~The West Wing, "Guns Not Butter" by Eli Attie & Kevin Falls & Aaron Sorkin

January 03, 2006

Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest

This should go well...

Sing, sing a song...(Abramoff plea) UPDATED

Indicted Washington Uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has pled guilty to three counts. Okay, this is going to be something of a link festival, which I normally don't like to do. But this is a big story, so...

Firedoglake reports:
What this means is that Jackie Boy has agreed to offer substantial cooperation, in the form of information, evidence and testimony against members of Congress, staffers and others involved in these schemes. The DoJ will hold that promise of cooperation over him and will withhold any sentencing in the matter until that cooperation has been completed. If he cooperates fully and gives meaningful evidence and testimony, the DoJ will make a favorable sentencing recommendation. If Abramoff tries to weasel out of the deal, the recommendation will not be so favorable.

In AmericaBlog, Joe says:
So much for Bush controlling the news this week.

ETA: Mark Evanier weighs in:
it's about time politicians of all kind saw that there can be accountability (i.e., prison time) for selling out the public trust for lobbyist dollars. I don't care what party they belong to or even which party did more of it in this particular case. I mean, if Democrats took less or took it indirectly, that may just be because Democrats are not in power and therefore not positioned to do as much for donors as Republicans. I also think that if I were a crooked politician -- a life's goal that seems less and less attainable with each passing year -- I'd feel a lot safer about taking bribes if my party controlled the government. So even if a lot more Republicans get swept up in the Abramoff investigation, that doesn't mean Democrats didn't or wouldn't. Throw all the rascals out, I say
ETA, again: In Hullabaloo, Digby takes on what seems to be the heavy GOP talking point for this scandal-that it's bi-partisan, that Democrats will be found to be just as tarred as Republicans. 'Taint true, Magoo.
I just saw CNN's Henry again say that this was a bi-partisan scandal and that Democrats were going to find it very hard to make the "culture of corruption" charge. This was not "he said/she said" --- he was editorializing in his piece and his opinion is either uninformed, myopic or biased. This piece was followed by another from William Schneider in which he helpfully points out that while the public indicates that it thinks Democrats are less corrupt than Republicans that's only because the public understands that it's because the Republicans are in power and have more opportunity.

This characterization of the scandal as being "bi-partisan" is typical bad mainstream journalism, particularly the emphasis they are placing on the very small handful of Democrats who've even been mentioned (much less included in any legal procedings.) Not only are they creating some equity and illegality where none exists, by doing it they are missing the real story, as usual.

This isn't a story about power corrupting or about a few bad apples. This is about a corrupt political machine --- a system of money laundering and public corruption on behalf of one political party. It's about a party that has used every tool at its disposal to legally and illegally enrich itself and enhance its power. It's right there. It's unravelling before our eyes.

Republicans get overwhelming support from our military

Except, of course, when they don't. From a Military Times poll (via Editor & Publisher):
Approval of the president’s Iraq policy fell 9% from 2004; a bare majority, 54%, now say they view his performance on Iraq favorably. Support for his overall performance fell 11 points, to 60%, among readers of the Military Times newspapers (85% of those polled are on active duty).


There is an op ed in the Washington Post that may be painful for some to read, but is definitely moving. The writer is a father who lost his son in Iraq. Here are some excerpts, but I'd recommend reading the whole thing...if you can stand it.

I am outraged at what I see as the cause of his death. For nearly three years, the Bush administration has pursued a policy that makes our troops sitting ducks. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that our policy is to "clear, hold and build" Iraqi towns, there aren't enough troops to do that.

In our last conversation, Augie complained that the cost in lives to clear insurgents was "less and less worth it," because Marines have to keep coming back to clear the same places. Marine commanders in the field say the same thing. Without sufficient troops, they can't hold the towns. Augie was killed on his fifth mission to clear Haditha....

Two painful questions remain for all of us. Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain? President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?...

Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

This is very painful to acknowledge, and I have to live with it. So does President Bush.

Monday, January 02, 2006

"It's true," said Keitha, "she's the one who turned me."

The Concerned Women for America, fresh from promoting name-calling in school and warning parents against allowing their children to watch Buffy, have discovered the latest threat to heterosexuality:

Barbie. Via AmericaBlog:
The religious right is now attacking Barbie for promoting "gender confusion." According to the men at the Concerned Women for America, Barbie is urging kids to go bi:
"This is directed at children aged four to eight... that's a really young age to be directing something along the lines of bisexuality."

Yes, Barbie is making four year olds want to have sex with other four year olds of the same gender. And the Concerned Men would prefer that children have sex with four year olds of the opposite gender, I guess.

What's really going on here is that the religious right has been attacking Mattel for months, just like they went after Ford and Microsoft and Allstate and Kraft and every other major American company. This is just another way for them to attack Mattel and get Mattel to do something bigoted to make amends.

Unfortunately, Mattel has already done something bigoted. You'll recall that Girls, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that promotes
...high self-esteem among girls...supports birth control and freedom of choice [and] girls who are lesbian or bisexual
Naturally, the AFA called for a boycott of any companies that partnered in promoting this weird behaivor, which Mattel had through their American Girl line. Caving in to this pressure, Mattel cut their ties with Girls Inc. last month.

It would be nice to think they would learn from this latest attack that bigoted groups like the CWfA and the AFA are the very epitome of the expression: "You gives some people an inch, and they takes the whole blasted yardstick."

There should be no compromises in dealing with those groups because those groups are not interested in compromise. They are interested in "freedom for me, but not for thee" and denying human and civil rights that should be garaunteed to everyone.

Yes, it would be nice if they realized that Ford did, after all. But I'm still not holding my breath.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Taking the virginity of an Amazon

Not bad, is it?

I think he looks more like Anthony Michael Hall

A naked man in Lake County, Fla., claiming to be Satan was arrested after he threatened to kill a sheriff's deputy and then injured the man in a neighborhood street, according to a police report.

Officers responded to complaints of a naked man screaming in the streets Monday in the area of Wall Street and Grant Avenue in Eustis, Fla.

When deputies arrived, they found Roy Lee Henson walking with his boxer shorts around his ankles and screaming wildly, according to the report. Henson then lunged at a sheriff's deputy, the report said. Backup officers arrived and took Henson into custody as the man screamed he was Satan.

The sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries when he was kicked during the struggle with Henson, according to the report. Henson has been booked into the Lake County Jail on $10,000 bond.

In retrospect, Johnny Be Good was probably a clue.

Oh! And...

Graphic stolen outright from Pam.

I'm telling ya...If enough GOP leaders get together...

I have no idea whether or not 2006 will be the year the power of the despots in this country will be checked, but if it happens it will be due to people like James Comey who after only three weeks on the job as the number two man in the Justice Department went to John Ashcroft in December of 2003 and told him he had to recuse himself from the CIA leak investigation.

It was also James Comey who appointed his good friend, the godfather to his son, Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Counsel and gave him the power to do the job without interference.

According to the New York Times, it now appears that when John Ashcroft was hospitalized for a gall bladder operation in March of 2004, Andy Card and Abu Gonzales had to go his hospital bed and ask for approval of key parts of the warrantless wiretapping program because his acting deputy refused to certify it.

The deputy's name? James Comey.


Hey, Democrats! If you don't start taking care of this the Republicans will...

Now for a word from our sponsor

Credit: The Propoganda Remix Project.

Taking care of old business...

One or two of you long-time readers from my old blog may remember I was suspicious of something that happened at the end of the fourth "day" of 24. Follow that link to the old post if you don't know what I'm talking about, and want to.

An "evil lesbian" character killing a character whose name sounded like "Joss," in exactly the same way that Tara was killed, yet? Taken together, it seemed to me possible if not probable that someone on the writing staff was having a giggle.

But it was also possible that the characters name was "Josh." A friend and I looked in the various online cast lists and summaries, but the part was so small it wasn't listed. So I had to wait for the DVD subtitles.

Well, the DVD has been released. It is not "Josh."

However, it is also not "Joss." According to the DVD is "Joz." So I guess the question of whether this was intended to be a subtle tweak remains in the category of "you make the call."

Me, I think it was, and I'm going to continue to think so until I hear or see something from whoever thought up that name which says otherwise. Because, as I said at the time, one or even two of those connections, I'd write off to happenstance. But three?

And really, how many times have you heard the incredibly-common name "Joz?" Pretty off-beat name to just be "throwing in there."

Old business now concluded...go about your day.