BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tuesday

Was gonna get back to Jeff Sharlet's piece in Harper's re: the Evangelical movement in Colorado Springs.

Until I read Bob Moser's brilliant Rolling Stone article:

"The Crusaders - Christian evangelicals are plotting to remake America in their own image"

Here we go. Some excerpts:
It's February, and 900 of America's staunchest Christian fundamentalists have gathered in Fort Lauderdale to look back on what they accomplished in last year's election -- and to plan what's next. As they assemble in the vast sanctuary of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, with all fifty state flags dangling from the rafters, three stadium-size video screens flash the name of the conference: RECLAIMING AMERICA FOR CHRIST.

Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government.
Why?

I've been told that the Dominionists believe that "Christ" will come again...AS A NATION.

Not as a man. But as a NATION.

And that NATION is AMERICA.

So they've got some work to do.

To bring "Him" back.
They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow OLD TESTAMENT LAW, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions.

Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency -- all the way until Jesus comes back.
Again...some believe that Christ will come back as a man...but others believe that the Second Coming is a "Christ-like" Nation.

Ours.
"Most people hear them talk about a 'Christian nation' and think, 'Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,' says the Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell's autobiography before breaking with the evangelical movement. "What they don't know -- what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don't know -- is that 'CHRISTIAN NATION' means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This movement is no more about following the example of Christ than Bush's Clean Water Act is about clean water."
Christian nation.

It's not just a theocracy.

And definitely not moderate.
The godfather of the Dominionists is D. James Kennedy, the most influential evangelical you've never heard of. A former Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy Graham's gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving. Kennedy built Coral Ridge Ministries into a $37-million-a-year empire, with a TV-and-radio audience of 3 million, by preaching that it was time to save America -- not soul by soul but election by election. After helping found the Moral Majority in 1979, Kennedy became a five-star general in the Christian army. Bush sought his blessing before running for president -- and continues to consult top Dominionists on matters of federal policy.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."
No more Ozz-fest. That's for sure.

(Maiden is co-headlining this summer.)
At Reclaiming America, most of the conference is taken up by grassroots training sessions that supply ministers, retirees and devout churchgoers with "The Facts of Stem-Cell Research" or "Practical Steps to Impact Your Community with America's Historical Judeo-Christian Heritage." "We're going to turn you into an army of one," Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America, promises activists at one workshop held in Evangalism Explosion Hall. The Dominionists also attend speeches by supporters like Rep. KATHERINE HARRIS of Florida, who urges them to "win back America for God."
KATHERINE HARRIS.

There she is again!

I'm shocked.
To implement their sweeping agenda, the Dominionists are working to remake the federal courts in God's image.

In their view, the Founding Fathers never intended to erect a barrier between politics and religion.

"The other side knows we've got strongholds in the executive and legislative branches," Cass tells the troops. "If we start winning the judiciary, their power base is going to be eroded."

To pack the courts with fundamentalists like Moore, Dominionist leaders are planning a massive media blitz. They're also pressuring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist -- an ally who's courting support for his presidential bid -- to halt the long-standing use of filibusters to hold up judicial nominations. An anti-filibuster petition circulating at the conference blasts Democrats for their "outrageous stonewalling of appointments" -- even though Congress has approved more nominees of Bush than of any president since Jimmy Carter.
I would not want to appear in front of a Neo-American judge if I wasn't "born again."

Too bad for me: I'm an Irish Catholic.

Better not commit a federal crime.
It helps that Dominionists have a DIRECT LINE TO THE WHITE HOUSE: The Rev. Richard Land, top lobbyist for the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, enjoys a weekly conference call with top Bush advisers including KARL ROVE.

"We've got the Holy Spirit's wind at our backs!" Land declares in an arm-waving, red-faced speech. He takes particular aim at the threat posed by JOHN LENNON, denouncing "IMAGINE" as a "secular anthem" that envisions a future of "CLONE PLANTATIONS, CHILD SACRIFICE, LEGALIZED POLYGAMY and HARD-CORE PORN."
Boy...am I stupid.

I've listened to "Imagine," hmm, maybe a MILLION TIMES and totally missed the point of the song.

Clone plantations.

Child sacrifice.

Legalized polygamy.

Hard-core porn.

Totally missed the point.

So let's break it down!

*

"Imagine there's no heaven"

Okay, I can see where they'd hate that line --

"It's easy if you try"

Not for them --

"No hell below us"

Uh, they need Hell for the whole "thing" to work --

"Above us only sky"

And the Beast of the Apocalypse.

*

"Imagine all the people living for today"

*

Hmm.

At this point...no evidence of "Clone Plantations."

("Imagine there's a clone plantation, it's easy if you try, it's located in Los Angeles, somewhere near Van Nuys.")

*

"Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do"

Well, our friends can imagine no "secular" countries --

"Nothing to kill or die for, no religion, too"

Oops: They don't like that line --

"Imagine all the people...living life in peace"

*

There it is: If you listen to that verse backwards, you'll hear Lennon sing, "Yoko and I have invested heavily in cloning. You should, too."

*

"Imagine no possesions, I wonder if you can"

("Hold on! God values "achievement." Don't listen to that...no possesion message!")

"No need for greed or hunger"

("If they accept our financial package. With some restrictions!")

"A brotherhood of man"

("Brotherhood is their code word for...a clone plantation!")

*

Imagine all the people...sharing all the world.

*

They can imagine all the "born again people" sharing all the world --

The rest of us are screwed.

*

You may say Im a dreamer,
But Im not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

*

I guess the good Reverend heard the last verse...this way:
"I hope some day you'll join us...in Hilldale, Utah...and the world will live as one...on Warren Jeff's giant polygamist colony."
Otherwise, I'm not hearing it.

Last excerpts from Rolling Stone:
While the dominionists rely on grass-roots activists to fight their battles, they are backed by some of America's richest entrepreneurs. Amway founder Rich DeVos, a Kennedy ally who's the leading Republican contender for governor of Michigan, has tossed more than $5 million into the collection plate. Jean Case, wife of former AOL chief Steve Case -- whose fortune was made largely on sex-chat rooms -- has donated $8 million. And Tom Monaghan, founder of DOMINO'S PIZZA, is a major source of cash for FOCUS ON THE FAMILY (James Dobson), a megaministry WORKING with Kennedy TO ELIMINATE ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

The one-two punch of militant activists and big money has helped make the Dominionists a force in WASHINGTON, where GROWING NUMBER OF CONGRESSMEN OWE THEIR ELECTIONS TO THE MACHINE. Kennedy has also created the Center for Christian Statesmanship, which trains elected officials to "more effectively share their faith in the public arena." Speaking to the group, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP TOM DELAY -- a winner of Kennedy's Distinguished Christian Statesman Award -- called Bush's faith-based initiatives "a great opportunity to bring God back into the public institutions of our country.
They want it more than we do.

God bless 'em.

Please take the time to read the full piece in Rolling Stone.

And your comments, please.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Revenge of the Megachurch

Happy Memorial Day.

Hope you've read Jeff Sharlet's article in Harper's on James Dobson, Pastor Ted and the Evangelical movement in Colorado Springs.

It's a must read.

Gonna spend the next few days breaking down a few sections for ya:
They are drawn as if by magnetic forces; they speak of Colorado Springs, home to the greatest concentration of fundamentalist Christian activist groups in American history --
And the most fast food restaurants ever --
--both as a last stand and as a kind of utopia in the making. They say it is new and unique and precious, embattled by enemies, and also that it is “traditional” --
Super white and neo-Christian: No Catholics, Jews, Muslims, gays, minorities, etc --
--a blueprint for what everybody wants --
As many different fast food restaurants as possible --
--and envied by enemies.

The city itself is unspectacular, a grid of wide western avenues lined with squat, gray and beige box buildings, only a handful of them taller than a dozen stories. Local cynics point out that if you put Colorado Springs on a truck and carted it to Nebraska, it would make Omaha look lovely. But the architecture is not what draws Christians looking for clean living. The mountains help, but there are other mountain towns. What Colorado Springs offers, ultimately, is a story.

Lori Rose is from Minnesota and heard rumors about this holy city when she lived on an Air Force base near Washington, D.C. Her husband isn’t a Christian, refuses Jesus, looks at things he shouldn’t --
Paris Hilton's commercial for Carl's Jr --
--but she has found a church to attend without him and joined a marriage study group there. Ron Poelstra came from Los Angeles. Now he volunteers at his church, selling his pastor’s books on “free-market theology” after services. His two teenage boys stand behind him, display models for the benefits of faith. L.A., Ron says, would have eaten them up:
Dude, I hear that.
L.A., Ron says, would have eaten them up: the gangs.
No.

The scene at the Cabo Cantina on Sunset, the price of gas at the Chevron on Sunset & Crescent Heights, and the price of movies at the Arclight.

That's the stuff that eats you up.

That...and whoring for work.

"You've got to ask yourself everyday, 'Am I gonna work the corner of Santa Monica and Orange, by the Shakey's, or am I gonna work the bar area at the Bellagio in Vegas?'"

Dunno.
Adam Taylor, now a pastor, grew up in Westchester County, an heir to the Bergdorf Goodman fortune, the son of artists and writers. In Colorado Springs he learned the Bible the hard way, each word a nail pounded into sin.

The story they found in Colorado is about newness: new houses, new roads, new stores.
Home Town Buffet, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn for Kids.
And about oldness, imagined: what is thought to be the traditional way of life, families as they were before the culture wars, after the World Wars, which is to say, during the brief, Cold War moment when America was a nation of single-breadwinner nuclear families.
Single-breadwinner meaning "males in total control, women BPK."

Can some people from the 50's come back and remind everyone that Beavercleaverland NEVER EXISTED?

That people drank themselves into oblivion, entered into loveless marriages and did crazy shit during this "brief, Cold War moment when America was a nation of single-breadwinner nuclear families?"

Please?

"Traditional way of life." God, that term just makes me...ugh.

"Fear based" is more like it.

This article is really amazing...so take the time to read the whole thing.

One last bit. A very intense Memorial Day editorial from Minneapolis' Star-Tribune.

Excerpts:
In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country.

In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.

The "SMOKING GUN," as some call it, surfaced on May 1 in the London Times ("The Downing Street Memo"). It is a highly classified document containing the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting at 10 Downing Street in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair on talks he'd just held in Washington. His mission was to determine the Bush administration's intentions toward Iraq.

At a time when the White House was saying it had "no plans" for an invasion, the British document says Dearlove reported that there had been "a perceptible shift in attitude" in Washington. "Military action was now seen as inevitable.

Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.

BUT THE INTELLIGENCE AND FACTS WERE BEING FIXED AROUND THE POLICY.

The (National Security Council) had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

It turns out that former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill were right. Both have been pilloried for writing that by summer 2002 Bush had already decided to invade.

Walter Pincus, writing in the Washington Post on May 22, provides further evidence that the administration did, indeed, fix the intelligence on Iraq to fit a policy it had already embraced: invasion and regime change. Just four days before Bush's State of the Union address in January 2003, Pincus writes, the National Security Council staff "put out a call for new intelligence to bolster claims" about Saddam Hussein's WMD programs. The call went out because the NSC staff believed the case was weak. Moreover, Pincus says, "as the war approached, many U.S. intelligence analysts were internally questioning almost every major piece of prewar intelligence about Hussein's alleged weapons programs."

BUT NO ONE AT HIGH RANKS IN THE ADMINISTRATION WOULD LISTEN TO THEM.

On the day before Bush's speech, the CIA's Berlin station chief warned that the source for some of what Bush would say was untrustworthy. Bush said it anyway. He based part of his most important annual speech to the American people on a single, dubious, unnamed source. The source was later found to have fabricated his information.

As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths -- the most since January -- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice. But let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened. In the 1960s it was Vietnam. Today it is Iraq. Let us resolve to never, ever make this mistake again. Our young people are simply too precious.
Yep.

More later...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Peace Attack

Dateline...E-raq.

According to the LA Times:

"Risk of Civil War Spreads Fear Across Nation"

"Oh, what the hell do they know?! They should stick to stories about, you know, Rod Stewart sellin' his Beverly Hills home. That Lohan girl buying a home. Robert Hillburn comparing the Bright Eyes kid to Springsteen and Neil Young and Kurt Cobain. Stuff like that."

Sure.
Iraqis awake each day to the sounds of violence. With little respite, many wonder whether strange, terrible forces are arrayed against them. They fear that weeks of sectarian and clan violence, claiming the lives of all types from imams to barefoot fishermen, are a prelude to civil war.

*

"I'm worried 24 hours a day," said Zainab Hassan, a university student majoring in computer science. "Whenever I hear bomb or shooting, I call my mother and husband to check if they're OK. I can see a civil war coming, it's obvious. Everybody is talking about it. We have to be more careful."

Interviews with Iraqis from Basra to Baghdad to Mosul suggest that much of the nation fears that intensifying strains between Sunni and Shiite Muslims could ignite a conflict that would overwhelm the increasingly unpopular Iraqi government and 140,000 U.S. troops. Abu Mohammed blames, among others, Saddam Hussein, who, even from his jail cell, seems to taunt the country.

*

Nearly 700 people have been killed in car bombings and by shootings and beheadings IN THE LAST MONTH. What concerns U.S. officials and ordinary Iraqis is that militant leaders such as Abu Musab Zarqawi are attempting to instigate a two-track war: one, the continuing battle between insurgents and American and Iraqi forces, and another between Shiite and Sunni Arabs that could possibly draw in Kurds from the north.

*

"I only want to put this question to you," said Sana Abdul-Kareem, a dentist with four children. "Why can't the U.S., with all its might and capabilities, impose security here? How come with all our oil they cannot provide us with electricity? My son was so happy when the American soldiers first came. But after two years of failure to make good on their promises, he abhors them."

Baghdad resident Ali Jalal said: "The Americans are behind these problems. They don't want the country to be stabilized…. The Iraqi government is like a doll in the hands of the Americans."
Hmm.

"The LA Times. Ha! How much did Ashton Kutcher sell his last house for? Huh?"

Dunno.

And how does the Prez feel about...all this insurgency in E-raq?
"I think they're being defeated and that's why they continue to fight. The worst thing for them...is to see democracy."
Indeed!

More later...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Saturday Reading

A must, must, must read Harper's article from Jeff Sharlet.

"Soldiers of Christ - Inside America's most powerful megachurch"

It's more like...Colorado Springs: the New Jersalem.

Here.

One more time.

Here.

And an excerpt:
“Colorado Springs,” Jayson told me, “this particular city, this one city, is a battleground”—he paused—“between good and evil. This is spiritual Gettysburg.” Why here? I asked. He thought about it and rephrased his answer. “This place is just a watering hole for Christians. For God’s people. Something extra powerful’s about to pour out of this city. I hope not to stay in Colorado Springs, because I want to spread what’s going on here. I’m a warrior, dude. I’m a warrior for God. Colorado Springs is my training ground.”
I'll follow up on this article tomorrow.

One more article on the rightward shift/concentration of power in the GOP.

GOP Tilting Balance Of Power to the Right

Reads like a "Nation" article, but you'll find it in the Washington Post:
When Republicans won control of the House in 1994, conservatives turned an institution run by Democrats and veteran chairmen into a top-down organization that looked in some ways like the flow chart of a Fortune 500 business. The idea was to put power in the hands of a few leaders and place conservative loyalists in the most important lower-level jobs to move legislation as quickly as possible through Congress, according to current and former lawmakers.

Those who cross party leaders often pay a price, usually by losing positions of influence.

*

Bush created a top-down system in the White House much like the one his colleagues have in Congress. He has constructed what many scholars said amounts to a virtual oligarchy with Cheney, Karl Rove, Andrew H. Card Jr., Joshua Bolton, himself and only a few others setting policy, while he looks to Congress and the agencies mostly to promote and institute his policies.
They want it more than we do.

"As long as they don't take away my Ozz-fest 'n my Coors Light Part Ball, I'm fine."

Good for you.

More later...

Friday, May 27, 2005

So Much Junk

So much junk today.

First up...me went "Jeff Gannon" on the White House press releases this morning and found a wonderful 'zample of Bush-o-nomics from the Prez.

"President Tours Hydrogen Fueling Station, Discusses Research"

Dude showed up at a Shell station in D.C. to discuss hyrdrogen fuel ("some fantastic technology!") and took a few questions from "reporters."

Get ready to do some learnin.' :
Q: How much did you fill up with, and how much did it cost?

MR. SCOTT: Yes, sir, we filled up .183 kilograms, because it's a gas. Now the cost factor -- right now it's a demonstration mode, so when it rains, I jack up the cost, and when it's sunny I bring it back down.
Spoken like a true Republican, er, businessman.
MR. SCOTT: (Laughter.) Today, with the --

THE PRESIDENT: How is -- what is the -- what he really wants to know is the equivalency.

MR. SCOTT: Right now, the cost is $4.75, and what we're looking at is --

THE PRESIDENT: But what's the equivalency to the normal tank?

MR. SCOTT: It's twice as much as premium, because the car is two times more efficient in its energy, and it's a quality fuel.

THE PRESIDENT: It's also the beginning of technology. In other words, a new product generally is more expensive, and, you know, there's more volume, more distribution.
See, you liberal bastards, dude paid attention at Harvard.

"In other words, a new product generally is more expensive, and, you know, there's more volume, more distribution."

I remember when DVD players were, like, $300. Now, you can get one at Target for $30.

All in all, though, Our Kid's appearance at the Shell was "folksie."

Then...this:

NBC clashes with Tom DeLay on Law & Order

"Law" and "order"; two words I'd definitely use when talkin' about the Bugman.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representative Majority Leader Tom DeLay accused NBC on Thursday of slurring his name by including an unflattering reference to him on the NBC police drama "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

DeLay's name surfaced on Wednesday night on the show's season finale, which centered on the fictional slayings of two judges by suspected right-wing extremists.

In the episode, police are frustrated by a lack of clues, leading one officer to quip, "Maybe we should put out an APB (all-points-bulletin) for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."

In a letter to NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, DeLay wrote: "This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse."

The Texas Republican went on to suggest the "slur" against him was intended as a jab at comments he had made about "the need for Congress to closely monitor the federal judiciary."
He also asked Zucker to bring back the "Emeril sitcom."

Kidding.
Producer Dick Wolf, creator of the "Law & Order" franchise, took a swipe at DeLay in his own statement on Thursday, saying, "I ... congratulate Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a TV show."
Tough.
The flap came as ethics questions swirling around DeLay mounted with a Texas judge ruling on Thursday that a political action committee (TRMPAC) formed by the congressman violated state law by failing to disclose $600,000 in mostly CORPORATE donations.

The show's season finale drew 14.5 million viewers, but DeLay wasn't one of them. An aide said he heard about the show through his wife, who learned of it from someone else who saw the episode.
Classic.

He heard about the show...through his wife...who learned of it from someone else...who saw the episode.

I wonder what the DeLay's were watching on Wednesday?

Heat-Pistons? VH1Classic (Metal Mania)? American Idol?

"The 700 Club."

Right.

One more thing...

40,000 Iraqis to Form Shield in Baghdad

Kinda like "Hands Across America," but not really:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq announced plans Thursday to deploy 40,000 police and soldiers in the capital and ring the city with hundreds of checkpoints "like a bracelet" in the largest show of Iraqi force since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

In a reminder of the difficulty Iraqi security forces face in stopping insurgent attacks, violence claimed at least 15 lives Thursday in Baghdad including a car bomb that exploded near a police patrol, killing five people and wounding 17.

A U.S. helicopter was shot down Thursday near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, the military said.
2 US soldiers died in that crash.
Iraq currently has 89,400 security personnel attached to the Ministry of Interior, according to the U.S. military. This includes police, highway patrol and some commando units, although the figure may include SOME WHO HAVE DESERTED. Another 75,800 forces are in the country's military, most of them in the army.

Al-Jaafari said his government was working hard to recruit, train and equip its police and army, but still needed support from 160,000 foreign troops, including 138,000 from the United States, to deal with the raging insurgency.

*

In one of the insurgency's most bizarre attacks to date, SOMEONE TIED A CRUDE HOMEMADE BOMB TO A DOG, which exploded near an Iraqi army patrol south of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, police said. None of the soldiers was harmed in the blast.
Okay. That's it. I've had enough. That's where I draw the line with the goings on in E-raq..

I'm a total dog-person: You don't use my little furry buddies to carry bombs.

Insurgent crazy dudes, homeless guys, kids - fine - but dogs?! No way. No way. No way.

I'm so bummed out right now.

I'll sign up - if they let me start a task force to rescue potential insurgent pups.

"Operation Puppy Freedom."

Man.

I'm so not kidding.

PETA? Where are you guys on this one?

More later...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Propaganda!

(Saw "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" last night. Brad & Angelina. Loved it.)

Lotta stuff today

"Our Kid" is still on the road, pushing his Social Security "reform."

Here's a great moment from yesterday's stop in upstate NY - straight from the White House transcripts:
"Now, a personal savings account would be a part of a Social Security retirement system. It would be a part of what you would have to retire when you reach retirement age. As you -- as I mentioned to you earlier, we're going to redesign the current system. If you've retired, you don't have anything to worry about -- third time I've said that. (Laughter.) I'll probably say it three more times. See, IN MY LINE OF WORK YOU GOT TO KEEP REPEATING THINGS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN FOR THE TRUTH TO SINK IN, TO KIND OF CATAPULT THE PROPAGANDA."

(Applause.)
Yes. Yes you do, sir.

"You got to you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
We're making good progress.

I'm a uniter not a divider.

Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.

We've got (the evildoers) on the run.

They hate our freedom.

The Cubs are going all the way this year.
Man.

(Former Buffalo Bill QB Jim Kelly was a guest on this particular tour stop, BTW.)

One more classic GW bit from this appearance:
THE PRESIDENT: You are Audrey Ceglinski.

MRS. CEGLINSKI: That's right. I'm a 70-year-old widow.

THE PRESIDENT: Don't ever say your age. (Laughter.)

MRS. CEGLINSKI: Oh, that's -- I have no problem. Don't ask me my weight, though.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. (Laughter and applause.) Reminds me of my mother. (Laughter.)
Great schtick.

I love it when he bashes mumsie.

Hey, speaking of propaganda:

"Rumsfeld Laments Global Reach of War News"

You mean...the truth, Don?
PHILADELPHIA - One of the military's new wartime challenges is dealing with global media that can instantly spread around the world information that may be false or damaging to U.S. interests, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday.
Information...that may be damaging to U.S. interests.

Like troop casualties? Prisoner abuse? 9 billion US dollars...set aside for reconstruction...missing in Iraq?
The United States needs to respond to anti-American messages with greater agility and speed if it is to win the ideological struggle with Islamic extremists, Rumsfeld said in a speech to members of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.

"We'll need to develop considerably more sophisticated ways of using these new means of communication that are now available to reach the many and diverse audiences," he said.

"This is really the first war in history that is being conducted in an era of multiple global satellite television networks, 24-hour news outlets with live coverage of terrorist attacks, disasters and combat operations," Rumsfeld said.

He said U.S. officials must also deal with "a global Internet with universal access and no inhibitions, e-mail, cell phones, digital cameras wielded by anyone and everyone" and "a seemingly casual disregard for the protection of classified information, resulting in a near continuous hemorrhage of classified documents, to the detriment of the country."
The SUBTEXT is pretty clear, don't you think?

"Our companies - SBC, Verizon, FOX - what have you - need to buy everything. Once we do that, we'll be fine."

Right.

More e-mail fun:

"(Jeb) Bush's office, GOP leaders exchanged e-mail on Schiavo"

You're kidding:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush's office was in daily contact with GOP congressional leaders as court efforts to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo faltered in the weeks before the brain-damaged woman's death.

E-mails obtained by The Palm Beach Post on a public records request also showed that state lawmakers pursued LEGISLATIVE MOVES after Bush's top legal adviser concluded the effort was hopeless.

Bush's executive staff exchanged dozens of e-mails with attorneys for U.S. Senate Majority Leader BILL FRIST and U.S. House Majority Leader TOM DELAY in early March as legal teams in Florida and Washington tried unsuccessfully to halt the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube.
Jeb, Bill, and Tom just seem to show up together in the darndest of all places, don't they?

Love reading about those guys.

And look forward to reading about them for years and years to come!

More later...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

E-raq

Hey, remember Iraq?

"What's that?"

Some place.

Big news, though:

"US military to build four giant new bases in Iraq"

Hey hey!
US military commanders are planning to pull back their troops from Iraq's towns and cities and redeploy them in FOUR GIANT BASES in a strategy they say is a prelude to eventual withdrawal.

The plan, details of which emerged at the weekend, also foresees a transfer to Iraqi command of more than 100 bases that have been occupied by US-led multinational forces since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

However, the decision to invest in the bases, which will require the construction of more PERMANENT STRUCTURES such as blast-proof barracks and offices, is seen by some as a sign that the US expects to keep a PERMANENT PRESENCE in Iraq.
You're kidding.

QUICK QUESTION: Who gets to build these FOUR GIANT BASES with "more PERMANENT STRUCTURES," and how much is it gonna cost the American Taxpayer?

"Do you work for Halliburton or Bechtel?"

No.

"Then don't worry about it."

Grrr.
Under the plan, for which the official said there was no "hard-and-fast" deadline, US troops would gradually concentrate inside four heavily fortified air bases, from where they would provide "logistical support and quick reaction capability where necessary to Iraqis". The bases would be situated in the north, south, west and centre of the country.

He said the pace of the "troop consolidation" would be dictated by the level of the insurgency and the progress of Iraq's fledgling security structures.
Which...seems to be going "well." Right?

14 U.S. soldiers killed since Sunday (see below).
US officers told the paper that the bases would have a more PERMANENT CHARACTER to them, with more ROBUST buildings and structures than can be seen at most existing bases in Iraq. The new buildings would be constructed to withstand direct mortar fire.
1. The word PERMANENT has been used three times in this article.

2. What's a "robust building?"

One of the administration buildings on the Disney/Buena Vista/ABC lot (Burbank) is decorated with giant statues of the Seven Dwarves.

Something like that?
A source at the Iraqi defence ministry said: "We expect these facilities will ultimately be to the benefit of the domestic forces, to be handed over when the US leaves."
"Hey, we're gonna build these bases for YOU GUYS."

"Really?"

"Totally. We'll build 'em, take care of biz, get you guys up to speed, and we're gone."

"You're serious?"

"Absolutely."

"Great. (Pause) Is there any chance that, uh, some of our people could get in on the construction deals?"

"I'm sorry...what?"

"Nevermind."

*

Back to the latest on the "level of the insurgency."

1,000 U.S. Troops Launch Offensive in Iraq

Huh?
HADITHA, Iraq - Helicopters swept down near palm tree groves and armored vehicles roared into this Euphrates River city before dawn Wednesday as 1,000 U.S. troops launched the second major offensive in less than a month aimed at uprooting insurgents.

The assault, called Operation New Market, focused on this city of about 90,000 people, where the U.S. military says fighters are using increasingly sophisticated tactics. Insurgents have killed more than 620 people since a new Iraqi government was announced on April 28.

Violence continued elsewhere Wednesday, a day after four U.S. soldiers were killed, pushing the number of U.S. troops killed in four days to 14, part of a surge in attacks that also have killed about 60 Iraqis.
Hmm.

1,643 US troop casualties to date.

And some people are beginning to notice.

Last bit from the UK's Guardian:

French fries protester regrets war jibe

That's an awkward title for an interesting story:
It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to "freedom fries" has turned against the war.

Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification".

Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".

"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."
Whoa.

Comments?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Flush It!

Remember our buddy in North Carolina...the pastor who tried to, uh, remove "Democrats" from his flock?

We've got another one:

Church sign sparks debate

DEBATE is a loose term:
FOREST CITY, NORTH CAROLINA -- A sign in front of a Baptist church on one of the most traveled highways in the county stirred controversy over religious tolerance and first-amendment rights this weekend.

A sign in front of Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221 south, reads "THE KORAN NEEDS TO BE FLUSHED," and the REV. CREIGHTON LOVELACE, pastor of the church, is not apologizing for the display.

"I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, IS WRONG," said Lovelace.
Gonna need some help from the Reverend LoveJOY on this one.

("Marge), just about everything is a sin. Have you ever sat down and read this thing? Technically we're not allowed to go to the bathroom."

Yep.
"I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn't agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what's right."
"Ned, have you thought about one of the other major religions? They're all pretty much the same."
Seema Riley, a Muslim, who was born in Pakistan and reared in New York, was one of those upset by the sign.

She moved to Rutherford County for the "small town friendly" atmosphere, she said.
Ha!
When she saw the sign on the side of the highway Saturday she felt angered and threatened.

"We need a certain degree of tolerance," said Riley. "That sign doesn't really reflect what I think this county is about."
Ned: Homer, God didn't set your house on fire.

Rev. Lovejoy: No, but He was working in the hearts of your friends and neighbors when they came to your aid. Be they Christian, Jew, or... miscellaneous.

Apu: Hindu! There are 700 million of us.

Rev. Lovejoy: Aw, that's super.
The appearance of the sign follows a national news story from last week. Newsweek magazine retracted a story reporting that military guards at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay flushed a copy of the Koran down the toilet during interrogation of a detainee. The Newsweek story sent Washington in a frenzy and was blamed for igniting Muslim riots and deaths abroad, including a particularly violent outburst in Afghanistan.
"Once something has been approved by the Government, it's no longer immoral."
"Our creed as a Christian, or a Protestant, or a Baptist church -- of course we don't have a creed but the Bible -- but we do have the Baptist faith and message that says that we should cling to the 66 books of the Holy Bible and any other book outside of that claiming to know the way of God or claiming to be God's word is automatically written off and is trying to defeat people from the way of true righteousness inside of our viewpoint in how we view the word of God," Lovelace said.
"See you in Hell...from Heaven!"
When Lovelace was asked whether he considered before he put the sign up that there may be some consequences or that some people may be angered, he said he was aware of the likelihood of angering some people.

"Well, I thought about it and I said there may be people who are offended by it but the way I look at it, Jesus told his followers that if the world hates you, don't feel bad because they hated me first," said Lovelace. "If we stand for what is right and for God's word and for Christianity then the world is going to condemn us and so right away when I got a complaint I said 'well somebody's mad, somebody's offended, so we must be doing something right.'"
Somebody's mad...so we must be doing something right.

Brilliant.

"Judgement Day is upon us. I warned you; the Lord wouldn't stand for your minidresses and Beatle boots. But it's not too late to repent your sins and be embraced by the Almighty."
Director of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Bill Hall said he does not think that the Danieltown sign will have a negative impact on the county's tourism or economic vitality.

"It is unfortunate that things like that happen and it certainly doesn't represent Rutherford County," said Hall. "I think that most people will understand that that is not a common attitude in this community."
Rrriiiggghhhttt.

"Go on, Homer. Our commandments clearly state that beer is alright. Try some."
Lovelace said he felt IT WAS THE WORK OF GOD TO DISPLAY THE SIGN and that no one in the church has spoken up against it to him. He said the church has 55 members on the roster and he has only received one angry phone call since the sign was posted. "We have a good group of people," said Lovelace.

Lovelace said the sign changes every week. "About Friday or Saturday we will have a new sign," he said. "It should state to some effect 'Where are your treasures? Are they at the flea market or are they in heaven?'"

Lovelace said that he does not have anything against the flea market that recently opened up down the street from the church.
He doesn't have anything against the flea market.

Well, that's a start. I guess.

Some other sign recommendations:

1. What Would Jesus Flush?
2. God Hates...Everyone But Us!
3. Give in to the Dark Side of the Force, eh.
4. What If We're Right?
5. Seriously; I've Got Nothing Against the Flea Market.

And some final thoughts from the Reverend Lovejoy.

"I urge every halfway decent member of our community to gather up all merchandise that bears the likeness of Krusty, that clown prince of corruption, and join me in a public burning."

*

"Good people, I'm so happy you're all here tonight, but please, just a few words of caution. Now we are going to set this pile of evil ablaze, but because these are children's toys, the fire will spread quickly. So please stand back and try not to inhale the toxic fumes..."

*

Quick article on the UK's George Galloway today:

Galloway renews attack on Senate over 'forged' evidence

Excerpt:
George Galloway plans to go on the attack once more over a US Senate Committee's accusation that he took oil money from Saddam Hussein.

The MP for Bethnal Green and Bow is now demanding to see the original Iraqi government documents on which the Committee based its allegations, after claiming he was handed nothing but a sheaf of US transcripts. He hopes to demolish the case against him by proving that the originals are forgeries.

"It is something that has not sufficiently come out that what the committee put up as exhibits were in fact all typed up in English, though masquerading as original Iraqi documents," said Ron McKay, Mr Galloway's spokesman.

"They gave us the documentation on the spot as we went into the committee hearing, we hadn't seen it before. On an A4 sheet there is this fairly clear, English-typed document, and behind it, almost obscured, there is this grey smudge which appears to be what they called the original document. But it is completely illegible and totally obscure.

"They didn't make it clear in the hearing that these weren't in fact the real documents. So we are demanding to see the originals, and to have them forensically examined."
Come now. You're not saying that the Bushies used "fake documents" to make their case, are you?

"And may we burn in painful and foul smelling fire forever and ever."

Amen.

More later...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Game Show Host, Part II

"Who wears the pants in this family, H.I.?"

Again --

Here's the game show moment from Bush's Social Security stop in Wisconsin:
"You got any thoughts about Social Security?" Bush asked 22-year-old Concordia University senior Christy Paavola, one of five younger workers who appeared on stage with him at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

"Yes," Paavola replied. "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary."

"Got anything else you want to say?" Bush asked.

"I really like the idea of personal savings accounts," Paavola said.

"You did a heck of a job," Bush said. "You deserve an A."
Or a trip for two...to CABO SAN LUCAS!

Now --

Some game show moments from his stop in Virginia:

Bush brings Social Security debate to Northern Virginia

Ryan Seacrest got nothin' on my boy:
President George W. Bush was in Northern Virginia last Friday morning, playing off his press conference the previous evening in a discussion of Social Security reform with a mostly young panel at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church.

The event, "Conversation with President Bush," was sponsored by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Some 500 people attended, packing the auditorium.

Five of the six panelists were YOUNG PEOPLE, just beginning their careers.
Which..they hope will generate enough income to pay off their massive student loans and credit card balances.
The president joked with each of the PANELISTS, even as he drew out their views on key elements of his reform package, especially the role of private investment accounts.

Kristin Seitz, 23, an NVTC staffer, told the president, "Since this is my first job, I've noticed how much money is taken out of my check (for Social Security)."
BUSH PRODUCER: Kristin, this is your first job?

KRISTIN: Yeah.

BUSH PRODUCER: Kind of exciting, right?

KRISTIN: Uh, I guess. It beats working at Wal-Mart.

BUSH PRODUCER: (Ignore.) Have you received a pay-check yet?

KRISTIN: Um. Yeah. Of course.

BUSH PRODUCER: So...you've noticed how much money is taken out of it. I mean, you don't get ten bucks an hour times forty, right?

KRISTIN: Eight.

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Have you noticed how much money is taken out of it? Your weekly paycheck?

KRISTIN: Yeah. Of course.

BUSH PRODUCER: Great. So when the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA asks you if you've noticed how much money is taken out of your pay-check...say you've noticed.

BUSH PRODUCER 2 - And mention that it's your first job.

BUSH PRODUCER - Yes. Say, "Since this is my first job, I've noticed how much money is taken out of my check." Can you do that?

KRISTIN: Yes.

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Say it.

KRISTIN: "Since this is my first job, I've noticed how much money is taken out of my check."

BUSH PRODUCER: Great. Really great, Kristin.

KRISTIN: Thanks.

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Are you going to wear those jeans?

KRISTIN: Um...yeah, I guess.

BUSH PRODUCER 2 (calling): Can we get some women's dresses down here?! (Then) What size are you, Kristin?
Colleen and Justin Rummel, both employed at VERIZON, were also on the panel. A 2000 graduate of Ball State University, Colleen Rummel said she supports the idea of private Social Security accounts and that she and her husband participate in 401(k) plans.

Justin Rummel said he thinks not only about how Social Security will affect him and his wife but also the couple's 11-month-old son, Gavin. "I'm concerned about him when he retires," Rummel said.
BUSH PRODUCER: God, is he cute. What's his name?

JUSTIN: Gavin.

BUSH PRODUCER 2: What Book is that from?

JUSTIN: Book?

BUSH PRODUCER 2: You know, Joshua, Judges, Ruth --

JUSTIN: Uh --

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Nevermind. I bet you're real concerned about his safety, his future --

JUSTIN: Yeah, I'm his dad --

BUSH PRODUCER: Oh yeah, of course you are. And that's what dad's do. They worry about the future. Everyday. Their future. Their wife's future. Their kid's future --

JUSTIN: Well, I try not to worry too much. You know, worrying about stuff I can't predict or control is really stress --

BUSH PRODUCER: Well, you can control your finances. Can't you?

BUSH PRODUCER 2: I mean, you look like a smart guy. The kind of guy who has control over his finances --

JUSTIN: Well, yeah, I guess. Most of the --

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Great. And...you probably want more control. Right?

JUSTIN: Everyone does --

BUSH PRODUCER: You want Gavin to have control over his finances, too. Right?

JUSTIN: Well, he's just a baby. That's a long way off.

BUSH PRODUCER: (Ignore) And you want Gavin to grow up and and play ball or start a Fortune 500 company or something?

JUSTIN: Uh, yeah, sure --

BUSH PRODUCER 2: So you HAVE thought about his future...worried about his future.

JUSTIN: I --

BUSH PRODUCER: You've worried about what life will be like when he gets old and retires.

JUSTIN: I...I...well, you know, now that you mention it, I was thinking about, you know, what the environment will be like when he's older --

BUSH PRODUCER 2: What the financial environment will be like.

JUSTIN: I -- what?

BUSH PRODUCER: This is really, really great, Justin. You're a really, really great dad.

BUSH PRODUCER 2: For worrying about your son's future.

BUSH PRODUCER: 'Coz that's what dads do.

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Republican dads, least ways. (Ha ha.)

JUSTIN: I --

BUSH PRODUCER: So...when the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA asks you about YOUR BABY, say something like, "I'm concerned about him when he retires."

BUSH PRODUCER 2: Can you do that?

JUSTIN. Um, yeah. Sure.

BUSH PRODUCER: Excellent. (Pause.) Here's a Kenny chesney "one-sie" for Gavin.

*

Last thing:

Cheney reminisces

And it's really cute!
Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, also has been taking a message to young people. Last week, he was at the commencement ceremony at Auburn University in Alabama.

Generally somewhat reserved and taciturn in public, an expansive Cheney urged the graduates to be receptive to unexpected shifts of fortune and to people who might point them in a new direction in their lives.

"I think, for example, of the first time I met my friend and colleague DON RUMSFELD. It was back in the 1960s, when he was a congressman and I was interviewing for a fellowship on Capitol Hill," Cheney said.

After a 15-minute interview that didn't go very well, Cheney found himself back out in the hallway.

"Don's impression of me was that I was kind of a detached, impractical, academic type, and I thought he was a brash young politician with a cocky attitude," Cheney said. "And we were both right."

The Wyoming University graduate also ruminated on his wayward days at Yale, the president's alma mater.

"I didn't finish there," Cheney said of New Haven. "Actually, instead, I dropped out after a few semesters. Actually, dropped out isn't quite accurate. Was asked to leave would be more like it. TWICE. And the second time around, they said, don't come back."
Finally. Some truth from the VP.

What a guy.

More later...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

George Bush, Game Show Host

The Prez is back out on the road...pushing his Social Security, uh, restructuring plan thing.

This time...the targets are the Abercrombie & Fitch-es of the world.

Not the store - the people who shop there.

From the LA Times:

"Bush Resumes Well-Staged Social Security Roadshow"

And a WELL-PRODUCED one.

Excerpts:
MILWAUKEE -- As President Bush resumes his cross-country campaigning to promote his vision of Social Security restructuring, it's no secret that he's relying on outside organizations to help provide the supporting cast.

Yet a MEMO circulated this week among members of one group, Women Impacting Public Policy, illustrates the lengths to which the White House has gone to make sure that the right points are made at the president's public appearances.
And the length that the White House will go to to CONTROL THE SHOW.
"President Bush will be in Rochester, N.Y., for an upcoming event and has called on WIPP for help," the memo to members stated.

It went on to DESCRIBE several types of WORKERS the White House wanted to appear on stage with Bush, starting with a YOUNG wage-earner "who knows that SS could run out before they retire."
If you're a producer for MTV or a dating show - like Blind Date or Elimidate or Crush - you want young people "who might hook up with other contestants."

So...when you conduct the PRE-INTERVIEWS with the kids...you ask certain questions. And you lead them into the areas you need to cover.

"Ever gotten drunk in a hot tub and made out with a random person?"

"Ever worried that your SS will be gone by the time you retire?"
Each participant (CONTESTANT?) would represent some aspect of Bush's proposal to let younger workers divert a portion of their payroll taxes into individual investment accounts that they would control. The accounts, in turn, would be part of a broader restructuring plan that would slow the growth of benefits to ensure Social Security's solvency.

"Essentially, everybody needs to be under the age of 29," the memo said. It requested an immediate response, because "we will need to get names to the White House."
I think the cut off for Elimidate is 29.
The solicitation reflected the latest refinement of the White House sales strategy for Social Security, featuring a heightened emphasis on YOUNGER WORKERS. The new theme was on full display today as Bush took his Social Security roadshow to Wisconsin, the 26th state he has visited to promote the restructuring.

"You got any thoughts about Social Security?" Bush asked 22-year-old Concordia University senior Christy Paavola, one of five younger workers who appeared on stage with him at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

"Yes," Paavola replied. "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary."

"Got anything else you want to say?" Bush asked.

"I really like the idea of personal savings accounts," Paavola said.

"You did a heck of a job," Bush said. "You deserve an A."
And that, my friends, is a perfect example of a WELL-PRODUCED GAME SHOW MOMENT!!!

Trust me, the "producers" of this show spent a great deal of time with "Christy" beforehand.

Her pre-interview may have gone something like this:

PRODUCER: Okay, we're gonna ask you a couple of questions, some questions that THE PRESIDENT MIGHT ASK YOU.

CHRISTY: Cool.

PRODUCER: Okay, here's the first one. You got any thoughts about Social Security?

CHRISTY: Um, not really.

PRODUCER: Okay, that's good. I mean, you're probably thinking that it's not going to be there when you retire, which is really scary. Right?

CHRISTY: Um. I don't know.

PRODUCER: Great. So when the President asks you if you have any thoughts about SS, you say, "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary." Okay?

CHRISTY: Um, sure, okay.

PRODUCER: Can you say that for me? Right now?

CHRISTY: "I don't think it's going to be there when I retire, which is really scary."

PRODUCER: That's really great, Christy. One more question. You'll just have to worry about two questions and you're done.

CHRISTY: Whew.

PRODUCER: That's it. Okay? That's a great dress.

CHRISTY: Thank you. (Ha ha.)

PRODUCER: I bet you drive the boys crazy.

CHRISTY: Sometimes. (Ha ha.)

PRODUCER: Okay, here we go. "Do you like the idea of personal savings accounts?" You know, like the checking account you have now?

CHRISTY: Sure.

PRODUCER: What do you do for a living?

CHRISTY: Well, I'm in school, but my dad owns all the lumber yards in Wisconsin.

PRODUCER: Great. So you like checking accounts?

CHRISTY: Yeah, sure. Who doesn't?

PRODUCER: Ha! Right. So, when the President of the US asks you if you like savings accounts, you'll say, "Yes." Right?

CHRISTY: Yes.

PRODUCER: Great. Do you like Abercormbie & Fitch, Christy?

CHRISTY: I buy a lotta stuff there.

PRODUCER: Great. Here's a gift certificate. Thanks for your time. You're gonna be great.

*

You feelin' me?

Trust me - the pre-interview went down this way. I've had the "pleasure" of watching/conducting a number of "pre-interviews" with some of SoCal's finest young people - for projects which will remain nameless - AND I was a contestant on the Dating Game, circa 1998.

Which was the lowest point in my life.

No. I did not win. Because they wrote my answers - based on my pre-interview. Even changed some of my answers during the taping.

Because I made an irreverent comment about "Bachelor #2." At one point.

Because I tried to get a cheap laugh.

Friends - There's no need for spontaneity in a controlled environment.

Like Bush's "Social Security Tour."

(BTW - "Chuck" needs NO PREP TIME for TDG. When it's time to tape, he just appears. From out of nowhere. And reads off cards...the producers have prepared for him. If he doesn't like the jokes, HE WALKS OFF-STAGE until they write new ones.)

Your comments, please.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Recruiting

You'll remember this recruiting call from a few weeks ago:
SGT. KELT: "Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, BY FEDERAL LAW you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AND WE'LL HAVE A WARRANT. Okay? So give me a call back."
As a reseult of this call, the Army decided to have a stand-down and to review their recruiting policies.

They've got some more stuff to dig through.

Excerpts from CHANNEL 5! in Cinncinnatti:

Cue the dramatic, local news music
Announcer: "An explosive Target 5 investigation. Our hidden cameras catch military recruiters making the Tri-state sound more dangerous than Iraq."
Trust me, that's Channel 5's copy -- not mine.
Recruiter: "You've got more chance of dying over here than you do over there."

Announcer: "So, why are Tri-state recruits ready to risk their lives not getting honest answers?"

Anchor: "The problem is so bad the military is planning a nationwide stand-down day. That means this Friday the Army won't do any recruiting. Why? Recruiters using outrageous tactics to get your son or daughter to enlist."
Buh duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh.

I'll give you the choice bits from the transcripts:
Wagner: "These days, it's a lot easier talking to high school students because military recruiters have easier access to your kids. As part of the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT, all schools that receive federal funding, and nearly all of them do, are required to give military recruiters access to your child's name, address and phone number."

Fisher: "From a recruiting standpoint, that's a great thing because a lot of people we couldn't get numbers to actually tell the Army story or the armed forces story we now can."
Wow.

And what kinds of schools are NCLB schools?

"The best ones. Filled with the best and the brightest. Your Exeters, your Andovers, your Harvard-Westlakes."

Right.
Wagner: "But as Target 5 discovered, those military pitches can turn from fact to fiction in a matter of seconds. Target 5 sent four young men, with hidden cameras, into every Tri-state armed forces recruiting center. The conversations began with talk of job security."

Recruiter: "We guarantee you a job."

Wagner: "Signing bonuses."

Recruiter: "Up to $20,000."

Wagner: "And cash for college."

Recruiter: "Up to $70,000 for college."

Wagner: "But when the questions turn to safety, some Tri-state recruiters make Iraq sound more like a trip to Tahiti than a journey to war."

Recruiter: "You have more chance of dying here in the United States at, what is it, 36-percent die, kill rate here in the United States, people here just dying left and right, you have more chance of dying over here than you do over there."

Wagner: "The U.S. does not have a 36-percent kill rate. If that were true, more than 100 million people, one-third of the U.S. population, would be killed each year."
Hilarious.

So get ready for more hilarity.
Recruiter: "If you get on the Internet and look up how many deaths are in Columbia, S.C., in the past year, year and a half, and then compare that to how many deaths there are in Iraq, there's more deaths going on in Columbia, S.C., for no reason, none, over a pair of Nikes, over a jacket, people stealing people's wallets, shooting people. There's more deaths going on in Columbia, S.C. -- I know, I just got back from there -- than there was in the whole time when I was in Iraq."
SUBTEXT: Do I have to spell out the heavy subtext of that statement for you?

Columbia, SC, Nikes, jackets, wallets?

Hmm?

46% of the population in Columbia is...any guesses?

"Irish?"

No.

"I-talian?"

No.

"Chinese?"

No.

Figure it out.
Wagner: "So Target 5 called the Columbia, S.C., police department, and despite the words of our Tri-state recruit, this city is hardly a hotbed for crime."

Sgt. Thomas Thomas of Columbia, S.C., police department: "There were 16 homicides in the city of Columbia in 2004. This year to date we have five in the city."

Wagner: "And if that recruiter thinks Columbia, S.C., listen to what this GI Joe Isuzu says about the danger of driving around Dayton, Ohio."
The GI Joe Isuzu schtick is Channel 5's -- not mine.

Bad schtick in a good piece.
Recruiter: "Dayton area alone, which is about four or five counties, Dayton area alone, 1,500 people died in two weeks. You know what that was from? Car wrecks. Those numbers that we get, we get from the actual highway patrol. So, I mean, all that stuff's factual. So, you look at that way. We've lost 1,500 soldiers so far over in Iraq. We've been over there for three years. If you add it together, 1,500 people died in five counties alone within two weeks, just from car wrecks."
I remember that story. The OHIO HIGHWAY CARNAGE story. 1,500 people just ramming into each other within a two week span.

The nation is still in mourning - over the worst national disaster since 9/11.

Uh...Channel 5?
Wagner: "The truth is, there aren't 1,500 deaths from car wrecks in the entire state of Ohio for an entire year."
That's what I thought.

Read the whole transcript.

I DO know...that there were over 1,500 deaths in Barstow last month...mostly from meth-lab explosions...but no one really cares about Barstow.

"Barstow: The Gateway to Hell."

Hopefully, none of those Ohio recruits will ever have to hear this speech:
WALTER- Donny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was...He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors, and bowling, and as a surfer explored the beaches of southern California from Redondo to Calabassos. And he was an avid bowler. And a good friend. He died--he died as so many of his generation, before his time. In your wisdom you took him, Lord. As you took so many bright flowering young men, at Khe San and Lan Doc and Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. And Donny too. Donny who...who loved bowling.
Your comments, please.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lots of Stuff

Alright.

Lots of stuff today.
DUDE - I, the royal we, you know, the editorial -- I dropped off the money, exactly as per -- Look, I've got certain INFORMATION, certain things have come to light, and uh, has it ever occurred to you, man, that given the nature of all this new shit, that, uh, instead of running around blaming me, that this whole thing might just be, not, you know, not just such a simple, but uh--you know?

LEBOWSKI - What in God's holy name are you blathering about?

DUDE - I'll tell you what I'm blathering about! I got information -- NEW SHIT HAS COME TO LIGHT and--shit, man!
Gonna beg you to take a few minutes to read some of this "NEW SHIT" re: "The Downing Street Memo" and other British documents which prove that the Bushies were planning to attack Iraq long before they bothered to tell the people who were gonna, uh, pay for that attack (i.e., the Americn Taxpayers).

Because our "press" ain't talking about it. You know, because of all the 'portant stuff goin' on here in 'Merica; the Runaway Bride, Britney & Kevin, Brad & Angelina, yada yada.

Here we go.

First, a phenomenal piece on the Daily Kos this morning.

A Kos reader (Apian) has posted some of new BBC transcripts which spread out the following case:
The Downing Street minutes are only one of a set of documents leaked to the BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation) in late March.  A careful reading of the following will reveal seven different memorandum, and includes references with direct quotations taken from the Downing Street war council minutes.  This is further documentary evidence that the Iraq war was planned well in advance of 2002, that INTELLIGENCE WAS FIXED, that the UK knowingly entered into an illegal war with Iraq, and that Washington pressured, or forced, Goldsmith to reverse his opinion that the Iraq war is illegal.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read the whole thing.

You will not see this stuff on FOXCNNMSNBCNBCABCCBS.

Second, a fantastic article from Juan Cole re: the Downing Street Memo on Salon.

(Yes, getting the "day pass" from Salon is a big pain in the ass, but it's well worth it today.)

Excerpts:
Going to war is the most serious decision a president can make. It should never be approached in a cavalier fashion. American lives, the prestige and influence of the country, international relations, the health of its defenses, and the future of the next generation are at stake. Yet every single piece of evidence we now have confirms that George W. Bush, who was obsessed with unseating Saddam Hussein even before 9/11, recklessly used the opportunity presented by the terror attacks to march the country to war, fixing the intelligence to justify his decision, and lying to the American people about the reasons for the war. In other times, this might have been an impeachable offense.

*

The Bush administration, and some credulous or loyal members of the press, have long tried to blame U.S. intelligence services for exaggerating the Iraq threat and thus misleading the president into going to war. That position was always weak, and it is now revealed as laughable. President Bush was not misled by shoddy intelligence. Rather, HE INSISTED ON GETTING THE INTELLIGENCE THAT WOULD SUPPORT THE WAR ON WHICH HE HAD ALREADY DECIDED. A good half of Americans, opinion polls show, now believe that the president actively lied to them about Iraq. In another, less cynical, flag-waving and intimidated age, this conclusion would provoke a scandal. The question would be, What did George W. Bush decide about Iraq, and WHEN DID HE DECIDE IT?
Indeed.

Where to begin?
DUDE - Well, okay, you're not privy to all the new shit, so uh, you know, but that's what you pay me for. Speaking of which, would it be possible for me to get my $20,000 in cash?
Finally, a great quote from Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D-Vegas-land) re: the fight in the Senate over Bush's push for turbo-conservative federal judges:
"Right now, the only check on President Bush is the Democrats' ability to voice their concern in the Senate."

"If Republicans roll back our rights in this chamber, there will be no check on their power. The radical right wing will be free to pursue any agenda they want. And not just on judges. Their power will be unchecked on Supreme Court nominees, the president's nominees in general and legislation like Social Security privatization."
Again -- that's not a Chomsky quote. It's Harry Reid -- a moderate Senator from Nevada --and a Mormon -- fighting back in a way that Tom Daschle never would.

Awesome.

Your comments, please.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Norm Coleman: Working for You

First off...gonna honor the request for more ABSOLUTE TRUTHS:

1) The constant line outside Pink's is baffling.
2) "Katie" has taken a Personality Test by now. At the very least.
3) You'll take my life but I'll take yours, too.
4) The mini-mall at Sunset & La Brea is the WORST mini-mall in the world.
5) Well, no. Like I said, Woo peed on the rug.
6) The Replacements should follow the Pixies and get the frig back out there.
7) You'll fire your musket but I'll run you through.
8) I will not be seeing the upcoming "Dukes of Hazzard" movie.
9) You can get herpes by swimming in Lake Havasu.
10) So when you're waiting for the next attack, you'd better stand...there's no turning back.

Okay...

By now, some of you have seen the footage of British lawmaker George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, ripping US Senator Norm Coleman (R - Crazyland) a new one - during yesterday's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigation sub-committee hearing. (Whew.)

Coleman had hoped to pin some "oil for food" stuff on Galloway during the hearing: Instead...Galloway used the opportunity to shine a light on the neo-cons. And to tell Coleman to "suck it." (In not so few words. Basically.)

You've got to read the whole transcript here.

Some great bits:
Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'MANY meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.

"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is DONALD RUMSFELD MET HIM TO SELL HIM GUNS and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.

"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce."
SUBTEXT: Suck it!
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
 
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
 
If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth."
SUBTEXT: SUCK it!
"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
 
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."
SUBTEXT: "Suck IT!"

Good stuff.

Wish some of our own people had the balls to speak to the neo-cons this way.

Hey, speaking of the neo-cons:

Jane Fonda film banned from Ky. theaters

Because it sucks?
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. -- The owner of two Kentucky theaters has refused to show the new Jane Fonda film "Monster-in-Law" because of the activist role the actress took during the Vietnam War.
Right. Whatever.
Ike Boutwell, who trained pilots during the Vietnam War, displayed pictures of Fonda clapping with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft crew in 1972 outside the Elizabethtown Movie Palace to show his disapproval. The marquee outside Showtime Cinemas in nearby Radcliff reads: "No Jane Fonda movie in this theater."

"I think when people do something, they need to be held responsible for their actions," Boutwell said. "When you give the enemy aid, it makes the war last longer."
Uh...what year is this?

"1975."

That's what I thought.

Hey, Ike? You go, girl.

And the last thing re: the whole silly Pentagon/Koran/Pakistan/"Newsweek" mess.

One of David Sirota's loyal readers (WELLSTONER) did a quick Lexis-Nexis search to find other articles that mentioned "Koran abuse," including:
The Denver Post, January 9

HEADLINE: Nightmare of Guantanamo.... U.S. prison camp in Cuba has become legal black hole, reporter says.

They were punched, slapped, denied sleep, had seen other prisoners sexually humiliated, hooded and forced to watch copies of the KORAN BEING FLUSHED DOWN TOILETS. Eventually the pressure proved too much - they gave false confessions that the British intelligence service, MI5, later showed to be untrue. Upon their return to the United Kingdom they were released without being charged.

*

Financial Times (London, England), October 28, 2004

HEADLINE: Four Britons held at Guantanamo sue US government

In August Mr Ahmed, Mr Rasul and Mr Iqbal issued a 115-page dossier accusing the US of abuse, including allegations that they were beaten and had their KORANS THROWN INTO TOILETS.

*

Daily News (New York), August 5, 2004

HEADLINE: ABUSED AT GITMO, FREED BRITS CHARGE

"They would kick the KORAN, THROW IT INTO THE TOILET and generally disrespect it," Asif Iqbal wrote.

*

The Washington Post, March 26, 2003

HEADLINE: Returning Afghans Talk of Guantanamo; Out of Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment

The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts of how American forces treated them during interrogation and detainment. Some displayed medical records showing extensive care by American military doctors, while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their SACRED TEXT INTO A TOILET to taunt them.
Yeah.

WELLSTONER posted a bunch of other examples on his site, too. Check it out.

"Which says to me...that the blood of the Pakistani people is on the hands of more liberal papers than just Newsweek."

"And...we've got more liberal papers to shut down!"

Sure.

More later...
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Moyers Vs. Tomlinson

(Too much coffee and a danish from Ralph's. I'm flying. Here's a quick post 'til I calm the frig down.)

Finally: Bill Moyers is speaking out against Ken Tomlinson, the CPB dude who wants to FOX-ify PBS and NPR.

Remember: Tomlinson hired a "contractor" to watch Moyers - to find the liberal bias on "NOW."

"And to prove that Bill Moyers is a commiepinkofaggot who eats children after he rapes them."

Hey, calm down, man.

(God. Republicans just love hiring "contractors," don't they?

"If you weren't such a lazy hippie, you'd start your own contracting firm. There's gold in them thar hills!")

Here's an excerpt from the speech that Bill gave over the weekend to the National Conference on Media Reform in St. Louis.
We just learned it from The New York Times two weeks ago that last year Mr. Tomlinson had spend ten thousand dollars to hire a contractor who would watch my show and report on political bias. That’s right. He spent ten thousand dollars of your money to hire a guy to watch “NOW” to find out who my guests were and what my stories were.

Ten thousand dollars. Gee, Ken, for two dollars and fifty cents a week, you could pick up a copy of TV Guide on the newsstand. A subscription is even cheaper, and I would have sent you a coupon that can save you up to sixty-two percent. Or, for that matter, Ken, all you had to do was watch the show.

You could have made it easier with a double JIM BEAM, your favorite.
WHOA! Bill!

Great line.
Or you could -- mine, too. We have some things in common. Or you could go online, where the listings are posted. Hell, Ken, you could have called me collect, and I would have told you who we were having on the show.

The PUBLIC paid for that study, but Ken Tomlinson acts as if he owns it. Let’s see it. You can watch my bias. You can watch my mistakes. You can watch everything I do right there on the air. We have the funders listed, everything is there, it’s all listed. But he won’t do it. In a May 10th op-ed piece in REVEREND MOON'S conservative Washington Times, Ken Tomlinson maintained he had not released the findings because public broadcasting is such a delicate institution he did not want to, (quote), “damage public broadcasting’s image with controversy.” Where I come from in Texas, we shovel that kind of stuff every day.
And how.

One more great excerpt. Here...Moyers "labels" the dudes on the far right who've been gunnig for his head:
Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control...using the government to threaten and intimidate.

I mean the people who are hollowing out middle class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class to make sure Ahmad Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq’s oil.

I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into Karl Rove’s slush fund; who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets.

I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy.
Daddy issues all.

Don't you think?
That’s who I mean. And if that’s editorializing, so be it. A free press is one where it’s okay to state the conclusion you’re led to by the evidence.
"No. A free press is a press where you are free to conclude what I pay you to conclude."
One reason I’m in hot water is because my colleagues and I at “NOW” didn’t play by the conventional rules of Beltway journalism. Those rules divide the world into democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news.
Good stuff.

More later...if I can come down from my sugar high.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Happy Mondays

A couple of things.

1) Please read the previous post re: Saddam Hussein's new book if ya haven't already.

2) Howard Dean had this to say re: our kid Tom DeLay:
"(He) ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence."
"And how!"

3) Remember the news bits about Bushevik Ken Tomlinson, the new chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and his efforts to turn PBS into the new FOX?

Dude has his sights on NPR.

No joke.
A Battle Over Programming at National Public Radio

WASHINGTON, May 15 - Executives at National Public Radio are increasingly at odds with the Bush appointees who lead the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In one of several points of conflict in recent months, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (TOMLINSON), which allocates federal funds for public radio and television, is considering a plan to monitor Middle East coverage on NPR news programs for evidence of bias, a corporation spokesman said on Friday.
To make sure that we get PRO-BUSH COVERAGE of the Middle East.
The corporation's board has told its staff that it should consider redirecting money away from national newscasts and toward music programs produced by NPR stations.
And why do I get the feeling that, before all is said and done, "Morning Becomes Eclectic" will become "Morning Becomes Today's Hot Country?"
Top officials at NPR and member stations are upset as well about the corporation's decision to appoint two ombudsmen to judge the content of programs for balance. And managers of public radio stations criticized the corporation in a resolution offered at their annual meeting two weeks ago urging it not to interfere in NPR editorial decisions.
Too late.

Get ready for FAIR & RE-BALANCED programs such as "Far Right, Right, and Right of Center without Arianna Huffington," "Fresh Air with Randall Terry," and "To the Conservative Point, with the ghost of WARREN Harding."

"The Tavis Smiley Show hosted by Larry Elder?"

Spineless bastards all.
The corporation's chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, has also blocked NPR from broadcasting its programs on a station in Berlin owned by the United States government.

Mr. Tomlinson denied several requests last week to discuss the relationship between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR, but he issued a one-sentence statement saying that he looked forward to "working through any differences that may exist between our institutions."
Meaning...he's looking forward to telling the NPR people that it's time to get rid of the differences between the institutions.

And he ain't the one who has to change.

NBR: National Bush Radio. Or else?

"Hit the bricks, yo!"
Mr. Tomlinson has been waging a campaign to correct what he and other conservatives see as a liberal bias in public television programming.
No. Mr. Tomlinson has been waging a campaign to GET RID of what he and other conservatives see as a liberal bias in public television programming.

"Which is everything...'cepting Tucker Carlson."

Can we get some help from the John D and Katherine T MacArthur Foundation?

Do they have a private army or something?

"This week on 'This American Conservative Life'...chapter one, a young man buys a brand new pair of khaki pants. Chapter two, the young man rebels against "Casual Friday" by showing up in his favorite Brooks Brothers suit. Chapter three..."

(Here's an old bit from Brandoland for more on this subject - if you follow the link, scroll down the page to the PBS stuff.)

More later...and your comments, please.

Hussein's book

Good news, citizens.

"Saddam begins memoirs from behind bars"

Can you say, "New York Times best-seller?"
Saddam Hussein has decided to write his memoirs while he languishes in an Iraqi jail awaiting trial after more than two decades of being responsible for brutal abuses.

According to Giovanni di Stefano, who is a member of Mr Hussein's legal team, the former writer of allegorical novels better known as Iraq's dictator resolved in recent weeks to start writing his biography.

Mr di Stefano promised: “There will be quite considerable detail. The Americans [holding him] are relaxed about it and we've seen some of the translation.”
Wouldn't you know it? I've got some excerpts...right here.
The first time I met "Dandy" Don Rumsfeld? Lessee. That would be...December 20, 1983. Dude wanted to talk about the war with Iran, our "loans" from Uncle Sam, and alternative routes to transport our oil. Which had been hampered by the Iranian pig dogs.

I remember thinking, "Man, this guy is a mother-fucker." But in a good way. Like, you know, don't mess with this guy. If I went to war, I'd want him on our side. And he was, so that was cool.

I said to him, "You should be the President. The B-movie actor is cool and all, and we're grateful for his support, but, dude, c'mon." Don laughed...then looked me straight in the eye and said, "I can get so much more shit done under the radar."

Whoa

Those steely eyes, the dry humor....brrrr!

*

When David Lee Roth left Van Halen? That was the worst day of my life. The best day, though, was the day I became a man. By assassinating some guy who was a supporter of (former) Iraqi ruler Abdul-Karim Qassim. That was in 1958. I was 21.

*

My 50th birthday party was crazy. We'd just finished renovations on the Imperial Palace, and had flown in a few bengal tigers for the party. And a bunch of girls from Los Angles and Moscow. One girl told me that she worked at Crazy Girls on La Brea. I said, "If I'm ever in Hollywood, I'll ring you up." She laughed, and we did each other in the master bathroom.

Those were the days before Viagra and Levitra, so we all did the best we could.

Uday was, what? 23? 24? Yeah, he was there. Runnning through the lobby...after some Russian whore...with his pants around his ankles. It was hilarious.

*

I came up with the term "Mother of all Wars" after watching Wrestlemania 5. The "Macho Man" Randy Savage kept going on and on about how Wrestlemania 5 would be the "mother of all battles," so I thought, "Cool, that's the catchphrase I've been looking for. I'll just add my own touch to it, and then we can deal with the Americans if they decide to be DICKS about the whole Kuwait thing."

*

Well, the soldiers just did not know what they wanted to do. I was like, "Look. Just take one camera package, get a group of guys, I'll hide in that hut, you guys kick the doors in, I'll fire a couple of blanks in the air, and you guys can snag me by the couch." But they weren't having it. The producer, a Jewish guy in his early forties, was like, "No. You don't get a gun. We're not gonna create the vibe that you tried to fight back." And I was like, "Fuck that!" But he was like, "We'll, the deal's off the table then."

So I consulted with my people and everyone agreed: Just let the Americans feel like they've won. Our "other people" will deal with them later.

And that's when I came up with the idea of "the hole." It took the soldiers about an hour to dig it, and less than ten minutes to shoot the whole scene. I think we did three takes, but only because I forgot to rub dirt on my face on the first one. We had a barebones crew, so we had to do our own make-up. Still, that day was very easy.

*

The interview with Dan Rather was bizzarre. God, does that guy ride his people. Man. "Courage?" What the fuck does that mean? You're on TV, man. You've got a cush life. Chill.

He asked me if I had a relationship with Bin Laden, and I remember thinking, "You, too? You, the guy who stood up to Bush I, you're gonna play this game with the administration? You're gonna repeat that propaganda?"

Jesus.

*

When I heard that the Americans were dealing with Chalabi and Allawi (a former Ba'athist!) and all those other fuckers, that was the day that I knew I was fuh-ucked. Fucked.

We'll get some of our people in there somewhere. I'm pretty sure of it.
More later?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Bits from the Week

Yo.

Happy Saturday.

MORPHEUS: Do you want to know what IT is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

NEO: What truth?

MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo.

*

BEEP

SGT. KELT: "Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, BY FEDERAL LAW you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AND WE'LL HAVE A WARRANT. Okay? So give me a call back."

Beep.

*

TOM RIDGE on the White House and Orange Alerts: "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people (IN THE WHITE HOUSE) were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "

*

DWIGHT EISENHOWER: "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny SPLINTER GROUP, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other TEXAS OIL MILLIONAIRES, and an occasional politician or BUSINESS MAN from other areas. Their number is negligible and THEY ARE STUPID."

*

MR. LEBOWSKI: Sure! Fuck it! That's your answer! Tattoo it on your forehead! Your answer to everything! Your "revolution" is over, Mr. Lebowski! Condolences! The bums lost! My advice is, do what your parents did! Get a job, sir! The bums will always lose-- do you hear me, Lebowski? THE BUMS WILL ALWAYS --

SLAM.

*

JEB BUSH to GA Republicans at their convention last week:"There is such a thing as right and wrong. Republicans cannot continue to win unless we talk with compassion and passion about ABSOLUTE TRUTH."

*

Elwood: Where is Matt 'Guitar' Murphy?

Tom: He opened a soul food restaurant with his old lady on Maxwell Street, and he took Blue Lou with him.

Willie: You'll never get Matt and Mr Fabulous outta them high paying gigs.

Jake: Oh yeah? Well me and the Lord? We got an understanding.

Elwood: We're on a mission from God.

*

TOM DELAY on today's "Democrat" party: "No ideas. No leadership. No agenda. And, just in the last week, we can now add to that list, NO CLASS."

*

WALTER - HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY? AM I THE ONLY ONE HERE WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THE RULES? MARK IT ZERO

*

Big story funtime tomorrow!

Comments?