Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dodging bullets

There has been much crowing about the end of hurricane season. Haven’t we learned not to say “Bring ‘em on”?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Plastic Turkey Day!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bush in Hanoi

“My first reaction is history has a long march to it,” Bush said. The lesson he draws from the 15-year Vietnam War is, ''We'll succeed [in Iraq] unless we quit.''


I wonder if he’s going to have time for a side-trip holiday in Cambodia.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Editor Graydon Carter in the current Vanity Fair:

The president still commands official respect in his international travels, but it is the respect you accord the 17-year-old with a Kalashnikov rifle. British prime minister Tony Blair has been ridiculed at home for his slavish devotion to Bush, and has been all but hounded from office, announcing this fall that he will step down sometime next year. Aside from Saddam, he is the only leader the U.S. has managed to topple since the war on terror began.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


TV critic David Bianculli, surveying the dismal state of sweeps offerings, advised Fresh Air listeners today to “pray for a meteor”.

Coming after an examination of the efficacy of prayer, this was especially chilling. I have an alternate suggestion: instead of calling down the end of the world as we know it, David, save civilization-- turn off your TV!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Matchstick Men

A few days ago, as the campaign mudslinging became increasingly offensive and absurd, I jokingly suggested we elect Borat president. Then I thought about our current Chief Executive. In spite of his ultra-elite background (educated at Andover, Yale and Harvard, grandson of a U.S. Senator and son of a Presiden-- how many Americans can say that? like six?) he often appears in rural working clothes, and speaks with a corny made-up accent.

Like Borat, W. pretends to be from a simple country village. That tumble-down shed reporters use in Crawford might as well be a stage set. We all know Laura isn’t inside it cookin’ up a mess of vittles.

Despite W.’s attempts at simple folksiness, his approach, like that of Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen, is shrewd and calculated. Like all artists of the con, they succeed through deception and misdirection. They disarm people and get them to betray their own interests. Borat is not your buddy, he’s using you to get what he wants.

W. takes lavish care of his big-money donors and is mystified to the point of pique at working people who don’t see the same rosy economic outlook as his CEO pals. They get the no-bid contracts, we drive the unarmored trucks to Fallujah, or fight with insurance companies in Gulfport, or at our second job.

The aw-shucks shuck and jive works well at first, people go along to get along and you leave them laughing. Then folk wise up. Cohen is over here because he’s too well known in his native Britain. As W. has prompted us to say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” That’s the midterm in a nutshell.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Big 3

Seated in order of succession, R to L

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let the record show

What a casual liar our President is.

At his news conference yesterday to renounce his thumpin’ and announce Rumsfeld’s sudden departure, W. was confronted by wire-service reporters. The reporters wanted to know why Bush told them last week that Cheney and Rumsfeld would remain through the end of his term.

Having just be re-reassured that Cheney was to stay on, their question was, in essence, the classic lawyer’s trap for a shifty witness: Were you lying to us then, or are you lying now?

Bush: Right. No, you and Hunt and Keil came in the Oval Office, and Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, `Are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the vice president?' And my answer was, `They're going to stay on.' And the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer. (Washington Post)

See, he only lies to us when he doesn’t want to tell us the truth. When the truth might be inconvenient or might interfere with his political agenda. Or when the truth might provoke follow-up questions and discussion. Or when he doesn’t have the wit or verbal dexterity to sidestep a question without lying. Or when he’s tired and cranky, having missed his nap or bedtime.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

America wakes up, smells coffee

Well done, Rahm & co. Sometimes even Cub fans win big.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Orgy of tastelessness

In a story on a Bush rally in Indiana, the Financial Times reports that Republicans have taken to calling the heavily-contested heartland states of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania “the Killing Fields”.

You would think they would want to avoid casual (not to mention offensive and tasteless) references to Cambodian genocide and other disastrous outcomes of the Vietnam quagmire.

As the President likes to remind us, “Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words.”

It is also heartening to see the Bush visit bringing out the best in “values voters” (Financial Times):

Penne Keith, whose husband painted an American flag on his front lawn after the terror attacks in 2001, said she admired Mr. Bush as “very moral, a Christian believer… My husband called in sick today to attend the rally, the first day he has missed this whole year.”

I bet if there’s one thing Ms. Keith just hates about liberals it’s their embrace of moral relativism.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Whom would Jesus crucify?

Regarding the Colorado Springs mega-pastor accused of a gay liaison, associate Rev. Richard Cizik is quoted as saying, “Let’s not crucify the man before we know the facts.”

Here’s another alternative: keep your beloved pastor, and lose the impulse to crucify gays. The inter-mountain west would be better for it, trust me.

Book Tour from Hell

Listen to writer Richard Ford grow increasingly desperate as he attempts to explain the idea of fiction to NPR host Steve Inskeep. Unclear on the concept, Inskeep probes for the sources, research and data behind Ford’s new novel.

This is especially droll in light of the fact that Inskeep rarely challenges the administration, folk who serve up fiction as fact daily, with dire consequences.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yale charges what?

The same press that routinely cleans up Bush’s botched utterances is now rendering Kerry’s (admittedly boneheaded) “study hard or you’ll get [us] stuck in Iraq” as “study hard or face deployment”. That’s the current ABC news crawl. Wha?? Let’s call the whole thing off and elect Borat.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hall of Fame

Actual junk mail sender line from today's inbox:

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