Saturday, July 28, 2007

Man, this is happening a lot today.

Second time where someone says what I've been trying to write:
Boy howdy, the Bush administration is harder to kill than roaches. It seems like every week, sometimes every day, there’s a new revelation that should make the Bushies radioactive even to their own party, that should make the American people clamor for impeachment (at the least), and yet it never… quite… happens. It’s like all those happy turning points in Iraq that never quite lead to a secular democracy.

Not only is the sheer volume of outrages impressive; consider the diversity. You’ve got corruption, contempt, coverups, catastrophic negligence, endless war, torture, illegal domestic spying, leaks, perjury, all-out war on science and the Constitution, rampant politicization of government, people getting shot in the face, and… gay hookers. Hell, I’m already in double digits, and that’s only a partial list of broad categories.

There have been so many times I thought that maybe, just maybe, this will be the one to finally reveal BushCo. and the GOP as a thuggish criminal enterprise fronted by a craven, smirking moron, but their image never quite seems to take a direct hit.

True, that.

Do you ever read something that makes you wish you could write that well? Something that pithily takes what you've been struggling to say and just jots it down, and makes it look easy to do so? I have that feeling often when I read Digby. The latest example:
Why are so many of these people such children in these matters? Rod Dreyer read "All Quiet On The Western Front" a couple of weeks ago and was so moved that he actually felt compelled to write a column about it. (I did too. In the eight grade --- only I called it a book report.) I guess I thought everyone knew that war was a crazy, fucked up enterprise filled with great drama and boredom and courage and loss of humanity and that most of the simplistic mythic clap trap that society uses to compel young men into doing it was pretty much propaganda. Sure, it still has to be done sometimes and it takes great physical courage and commitment to throw yourself into the meat grinder, but that doesn't change the fact that it is, on many levels, a total debasement of your humanity. Like most things in life, it's complicated.
Apparently, an anomyous soldier wrote a column in the New Republic describing some of the workaday cruelty and boredom towards other soldiers and Iraqis that he's experienced in Iraq. For doing so, he's been crucified by the right wing for selling out 'the troops.' Or something.

Well anyway, what Digby said above is how I feel. I just sort of assume that people know instinctively that sending lots of people off to go kill other people is going to be a complicated mess, and we should undertake such messes only very rarely, and then only under extremely special circumstances. The crowd whose every answer to any problem is to bomb the shit out of them are frightening psychopaths. I guess my problem is that not everyone knows this to be the truth. Lots of people idolize the military without ever having a living understanding of what war actually does to people.
When I was speaking back at home with one of a very right wing conservative talk show hosts and after, thank God, after we were off the air, I said something that I assumed he would agree with and I just said ‘you know, I’m really worried about these guys and gals, but mainly guys, that have gone, that they’ve been redeployed now three and four times’ — he came back to me and said ‘you know what, they should have thought about that before they enlisted, before they signed up.’ He said ‘it’s their fault.’
Another example of this kind of sheer criminality of thought processes is the fact that the far-insane Heritage Foundation ran a study of what actually bombing Iran would do to our economy (forget the actual effects of bombing the Iranians. No one cares what happens to them.) They concluded it would be bad for lots of reasons. But since, as Kevin Drum writes, they are committed ideologically to bombing the shit out of anyone they don't like, they re-ran the study and changed a few of the criteria. Voila! Bombing Iran would be great for America!

The mind reels that these people are not only taken seriously, but given access to key decision makers in the country, and actually provided the opportunity to peddle these 'ideas' as 'advice.' And what is more frightening is that not only are they not laughed out of the room or put in a rubber room, but that often, this advice is followed.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Now, that's good news

North Dakotans are hoping to aid their farm economy by legalizing industrial hemp (which can't be smoked to get high). It's a move in the right direction, one that I often wish tobacco farms would embrace. Hemp has tons of uses, like soy, and could be a great and reliable cash crop.

The only thing that bugs me about that article is its tone, which screams "Rural white people want to do this, so it can't be sketchy, it has to be a wholesome idea. You know, not like it's cooked up by hopeless dope addicts in the ghetto or patchouli-wearing hippies. That would make it A Bad Idea."

You know, I've never lost my legs for my country

But if I had, and the President were standing if front of me, I bet I'd want him to say something other than "He's a good man, we're going to get him some new legs."

It somehow comes off, oh, I don't know, a little condescending and trite.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Well, that was nice.

After getting back from vacation (which is a good thing) I spent all last week consumed with work (which, since I love my work, is also a good thing). I haven't been much up on the news. I'll try to get something together soon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Internet access has been hit or miss in the past couple of days.

Jackson, WY is a weird place.

These are some of those Utah fires that have been in the news.

Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Rock squirrel begging for food. Seriously. Three more joined him after this picture was snapped.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Where we are.

Hint: It's on vacation, and not in the Chicago suburbs. Yesterday we saw two moose, four eagles, nearly two dozen elk, five beavers, several dozen buffalo and a chipmunk. Yes, a chipmunk. I couldn't believe it either.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

George Bush's history on fighting 'excessive punishments' for convicted felons

Let's just say it's less than stellar:
Serving twelve years for a rape that DNA testing shows you didn't commit does not get you a pardon. Being represented by a lawyer who slept through large chunks of the trial does not get you a pardon. Being convicted of murder in proceedings that a court-appointed special master describes as ""a breakdown of the adversarial process" caused by the incompetence of your lawyer does not get you a pardon, even when someone else confesses on tape to the murder you were convicted of. Likewise, when someone else confesses to the murder you were convicted of and you ask for a stay of execution in order to conduct tests that will establish your innocence, no dice. And when you are unquestionably incompetent to assist in your own defense but no one seems to take that fact into account, or tells the jury, that's just too bad.
Awesome! And let's not forget how that paragon of humility and forgiveness, George W. Bush, mocked a woman he was about to put to death, Karla Faye Tucker:
Tucker Carlson of Talk magazine described the smirk Bush wore as he mimicked convicted murderer turned Christian Karla Faye Tucker begging, "Please don't kill me," something she never actually did.
How very Christian of you, sir! But the coup' de gracie (as my Mom would say) is that there is someone serving 33 months in jail, right now, for the very same crime that Bush's pal Scooter Libby is guilty of. He's only served his country in two wars, though, not by taking a dive for Team Caesar Augustus. Pity, that.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

That about nails it. Happy 4th of July.

On this most sacred of national holidays, after our nation has apparently given up the rule of law for something else altogether, I have to ask, what the fuck?

Glenn Greenwald pens the kind of essay that does the President's commutation the justice it sorely deserves, and which is sorely lacking in the kind of coverage it has received in the media.

The reason people like me get pissed about the woeful state of media coverage is that it is supposed to represent the first draft of history, and so often it is either glaringly inaccurate, hopelessly incomplete, and yet usually it supposes that it knows best. We don't want media coverage to be more liberal, just to do its fucking job and speak truth to power. Afflict the comfortable, comfort the afflicted, and all that.

We have been asking questions for the past six years like: "Who are we as a nation? Why do we allow our leaders to literally get away with murder? Why are the deaths of several hundred thousand Iraqis and several thousand US troops not newsworthy? Who gives a shit about Paris Hilton, and why does she get more coverage than these issues?"

These questions get no public airing, other than what we type to each other on our websites that no one reads. Sometimes we see these absurdities, and we curse them. With foul language, no less. Sometimes, that is all you can do.

To the official timekeepers in Washington however, dirty language is more objectionable than the crimes which elicited the curses.

Here's the problem:

You can vote Republicans out of office, and some things may change. You can vote Democrats out of office, and other things may happen (which we've seen over the past six years). What we can't do is vote out of office the completely vapid, morally vacant and utterly useless press corps which holds up this entire rotting system and defends it from any kind of challenge. We can't vote out Tim Russert, or Fox News, or any of the rest of them who enable this sad process to degrade our nation any further.

Happy 4th of July.