Tim Russert was on the Today show this morning waxing pontificately about various and sundry news stories as he does with Matt Lauer.
One of the things he said was that Bush wants Rumsfeld to stay on as defense secretary, because replacing him would be a signal that the war in Iraq wasn't going well.
Uh...Timmah...the war in Iraq ISN'T going well. Today, we had the 1,000th US soldier killed in action (a total of 1275 troops when you include accidents, suicides, etc.). And the ones who lived to tell about it are going through this sort of thing:
Washington, DC, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Veterans of the war in Iraq are starting to show up at homeless shelters, experts say.
"When we already have people from Iraq on the streets, my God," said Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. "I have talked to enough (shelters) to know we are getting them. It is happening and this nation is not prepared for that."
Some homeless-veteran advocates fear that similar combat experiences in Vietnam and Iraq mean that these first few homeless veterans from Iraq are the crest of a wave not seen since the Vietnam era.
Yep. That's right. That was in the Washington Times. But the great American humanitarian effort for the war-torn Iraqis continues, right?
A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials.
The cable, sent late last month as the officer ended a yearlong tour, presented a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security, the officials said. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior C.I.A. official who recently visited Iraq.
The officials described the two assessments as having been "mixed," saying that they did describe Iraq as having made important progress, particularly in terms of its political process, and credited Iraqis with being resilient.
But over all, the officials described the station chief's cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy.
Together, the appraisals, which follow several other such warnings from officials in Washington and in the field, were much more pessimistic than the public picture being offered by the Bush administration before the elections scheduled for Iraq next month, the officials said.
NOTE: On December 7th, we've moved our site to a new location. When you're done reading this, come to our new higher-capacity site and bookmark it - still accessible via Hoffmania.com!
Howard Dean isn't waiting until Wednesday. He wants Democrats to be Democrats - NOW. It's hard to argue with what he writes today.
LINK - Democrats need to learn by our previous mistakes - we have tried being "Republican-lite" and it does not work. It is a mistake to run away from the things we believe and I think we can win in the so-called Republican states by being real Democrats.
We have to realize that there are no red states and no blue states, just American states. I believe the country is still more in sync with Democratic values than Republican values. Our task is to remind ourselves and the American people of the hallmark issues that distinguish Democrats from Republicans.
For example, Democrats historically tackle economic issues with bold, common-sense policies. Our last Democratic president created 22 million new jobs in this country. In the last four years, George W. Bush oversaw the loss of over 1.5 million. Democrats balance budgets, Republicans do not. Democrats consistently try to pass legislation that would provide some kind of affordable health care, Republicans do not. Democrats believe we ought to raise the minimum wage to help the average worker keep up with the cost of living, Republicans do not. Democrats believe corporations have too much power over our daily lives; Republicans do not - and to prove it, they have given away billions of dollars of our tax money to the biggest corporations in the world over the last four years.
On each of these issues, the majority of the American people are with Democrats not Republicans. Democrats have the right beliefs to win; we just execute a poor public relations plan.
Democrats can win by simply being Democrats. Reinventing ourselves as Republicans is the death knell of our party. We need to get back to basics and start listening to people from outside Washington. Only then can we save the greatest nation on the face of the earth from the twin Republican perils of enormous deficits and constant misadventures abroad.
Nice slap at the DLC there. And you know how I feel about the DLC.
It's not so much that I'm rallying behind Dean again (I'm holding that hand close to my vest). But I'm definitely rallying behind what he's saying.
Mario Cuomo said it in 1992 when he nominated Clinton - give up the Democratic predicate, and we might as well tear the donkeys off our lapels and retreat to our ivory towers where when we see the blisters and callouses on our hands - we know it's time to put down the polo mallets.
It holds true today. Someone has to corner the market of being Democrats. It might as well be us - because we really suck at being Republicans.
GreatUSAFlags.com, the fine folks who gave us the Iraq's Most Wanted Playing Cards and tons of pro-war USA-centric paraphernalia (although they did mix in some pro-Kerry stuff during the campaign to try to balance and bolster sales), seems to be breathing its last. You don't hold an 85% Off Inventory Clearance Sale in the throes of the holiday shopping season - but there they are. Selling everything at 85% off.
Guess war isn't profitable for everybody.
By the way, their signature item, the Iraq playing cards, are $1.49 a deck or $1.94 for 4. Yipes.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Sunday had harsh words for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
When asked to comment on Thomas as a possible replacement for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Reid told NBC's "Meet the Press": "I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.
"I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice."
But the Nevada Democrat said that he could support Thomas' fellow conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia, if he were nominated.
"I cannot dispute the fact, as I have said, that this is one smart guy," Reid said of Scalia. "And I disagree with many of the results that he arrives at, but his reasons for arriving at those results are very hard to dispute."
Citing a hunting trip Scalia took with Dick Cheney before hearing a case involving the commission the vice president set up to work on an energy bill, Reid said the justice has some ethics problems.
"So we have to get over this," he said.
We have to get over the ethics problems of a potential Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
"YEEEAAAGGHHHH!" may live forever in the folklore of politics, but Howard Dean may brush it off and become the guy who helps us take back the party. It's no secret that he's one of the candidates to run the DNC. There are jitters and fears and bugaboos about him taking the party too far to the left, but let's be real - that was never his intention all along.
The one-time outsider is gunning to be a force on the inside. His Democracy for America blog is creating a stir with this news:
Democracy for America Executive Director, Tom McMahon, sent this email to DFA supporters this morning.
Governor Dean will lay out a vision for the future of the Democratic Party this Wednesday at 12 p.m. Eastern in Washington, D.C.
He will outline not just a direction for our party, but a concrete destination: a party built from the ground up.
That means a party powered by millions of small donors, not millionaires. It means a party that speaks plainly and commits to concrete outcomes that affect real people. And it means a party that competes in every single race, for every single vote, in all fifty states.
You can watch live video of the speech on Wednesday morning at the Democracy for America web site:
Howard Dean hasn't yet started his campaign for DNC Chair, but already his supporters appear to be gearing up to make it happen. This weekend, long-time DNC Committeewoman Mary Botkin was unseated by active party volunteer Jenny Greenleaf, who had been active in the Dean campaign.
Botkin, who served a decade as chair of the DNC's women's caucus, helps lead Oregon's AFSCME union - and had been widely considered to be a shoo-in. Instead, Greenleaf won by a wide margin.
It's unclear at this time how many other campaigns are underway by hardcore Dean supporters to take over voting seats at the DNC.
So a Dean democrat will run the party in Oregon. I can hear it out there. "Waaaah! The Republicans would love to have Dean run the DNC! They'll make fun of him! Waaah!" Shuh-Dup.
At this point frankly, I don't give a rat's ass what the Republicans think anymore, and it's high time the Democratic party felt the same way. Bring it on. Things have GOT to change.
Apparently, our ambassadors didn't want to believe Naomi Klein's assertions that the US is making no bones about attacking non-combatants and body-counters in Iraq. (Read that column here - about halfway down.) So Naomi serves up the proof.
David T Johnson,
US Embassy, London
Dear Mr. Johnson,
On November 26, your press counsellor sent a letter to the Guardian taking strong exception to a sentence in my column of the same day. The sentence read: "In Iraq, US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dares to count the bodies." Of particular concern was the word "eliminating".
The letter suggested that my charge was "baseless" and asked the Guardian either to withdraw it, or provide "evidence of this extremely grave accusation". It is quite rare for US embassy officials to openly involve themselves in the free press of a foreign country, so I took the letter extremely seriously. But while I agree that the accusation is grave, I have no intention of withdrawing it. Here, instead, is the evidence you requested.
Wow. Barely a month after the election, and already the business world (along with the geniuses at the DLC) is rethinking Kerry's primary-season stand on shipping jobs out of the country - and whether he should have made more of it during the campaign. Too late, jerks. You demanded he didn't. Live with it.
...China is already the largest user of steel and cement and is poised to overtake the United States in consumption of everything from copper to soybeans. These goods are needed in a fast-growing economy with many highways, factories and office towers to build - and with 1.3 billion mouths to feed.
China has become the world's largest market for cellphones, and it is catching up with Germany and Japan as a market for cars, although it considerably trails the United States in its appetite for new vehicles.
Businesses reaping the biggest rewards include companies that supply China's need for infrastructure, like the General Electric Company, which sells large turbines and aircraft engines. G.E. currently ships roughly $3.5 billion worth of goods each year to China from other countries, mainly the United States, while exporting $2 billion of merchandise from China, mainly to the United States.
But companies like G.E. are the exception. American imports from China exceed exports by more than five to one, as retailers like Wal-Mart Stores buy immense and growing quantities of goods from China. With as many people as the entire industrialized world combined, China has tens of millions of unskilled workers willing to work for less than $100 a month.
During the Democratic primaries this year, Senator John Kerry repeatedly denounced "Benedict Arnold C.E.O.'s" who moved jobs overseas. Those statements drew strong objections from the business community, including Democratic business leaders, and Mr. Kerry's comments about trade were relatively tame during the general election campaign.
Yet many corporate executives wonder how much longer a big American trade deficit and the moving of jobs overseas can persist without becoming the subject of strong protests by Americans who say that foreign workers are taking away their jobs.
Let's make this clear - foreign workers aren't taking away your jobs. Overseas outsourcing was given the green light from our neocon government via huge tax cuts for our all-American corporations. Bush took your jobs.
By FAIZA SALEH AMBAH
JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Islamic militants threw explosives at the gate of the heavily guarded U.S. consulate in Jiddah in a bold assault, then forced their way into the building, prompting a gunbattle that left seven people dead and several injured before the three-hour crisis was brought under control.
Several Americans were slightly injured, according to a State Department official in Washington.
Three attackers were among those killed, while two others were injured and arrested, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced. Saudi security officials also said four of their forces were killed, apparently in storming the compound after the initial attack.
The ministry statement didn't mention hostages. But a Saudi official, speaking from Riyadh on condition of anonymity, said numerous civilians inside the compound were confronted by attackers and held at gunpoint.
Here it is: The pivotal political reason for the election results: Terrorism. Guess all the "experts" who claim that Clinton could have had bin Laden "on a silver platter" are finding out it ain't that easy after all. Except this failure gets a big OK from President Crackhead. Up is down, wrong is right, etc...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The search for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has gone cold and there is no indication of his whereabouts, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told the Washington Post in an interview published on Sunday.
Musharraf said Pakistani forces were still aggressively pursuing bin Laden but that recent security operations and interrogation had determined only that he was still alive.
"He is alive, but more than that, where he is, no, it'll be just a guess and it won't have much basis," Musharraf was quoted as saying in the interview.
Pressed about whether bin Laden's trail had gone cold, Musharraf told the Post: "Yes, if you mean we don't know, from that point of view, we don't know where he is."
Musharraf met on Saturday with President Bush, who praised his ally's efforts in the war on terrorism and the search for bin Laden, whose al Qaeda militant network carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Tough-talking publicity-hound vowing to bring law and order to Iraq - then hightailing it out of there after a disastrous 14 weeks, leaving the place far less safe than he found it.
Oh, the bullet points on Bernie Kerik's real-life resume just go on and on. But is this really the guy we want standing between us and the terrorists?
George W. Bush apparently thinks so.
For now, let's give the Bush folks the benefit of the doubt: Maybe they've been wowed by Kerik's shameless swing-state Kerry-bashing in Bush's behalf. ("I fear another attack, and I fear that attack with ... Senator Kerry being in office responding to it.")
Maybe they've been bullied by Giuliani's bulldog lobbying for a loyal business buddy and after-hours pal. ("OK, Karl," you can almost hear Rudy say, "I won't be attorney general, but you gotta take Bernie at homeland security!")
Or maybe it's just that the FBI background check isn't back from the field.
Whatever the reason, the White House personnel office really ought to ask some probing questions around New York. You can bet they'll get an earful of heads-up about this hard-charging, thick-necked, shaved-head lightweight.
Let this be a warning from someone who's followed the man's ladder-climbing career: He's a personal and professional time bomb the Bushies will learn to regret. Don't say I didn't warn you, guys!
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger likes to talk about his bipartisan attitude and his longtime personal friendship with Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
But when Schwarzenegger decided to raise campaign cash last week during a trip to Texas, he turned to a group called the McIntosh Company. That's the same professional fund-raising firm used by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the advocacy group funded largely by conservative supporters of President Bush that ran controversial television ads during the campaign questioning Kerry's service in Vietnam.
A McIntosh spokeswoman referred all questions about the event to Schwarzenegger aides. Schwarzenegger fund-raising liaison Marty Wilson said he hadn't known about the Swift Boat connection.
"They're a Republican fund-raising company based in Dallas," Wilson said of McIntosh. "They were referred to us by one of our supporters in the area."
The controversy is still steaming ahead. Keith Olbermann - the only mainstreamer who is bothering to look into this story - updates us.
LINK - Blackwell gets to wait until Monday to certify the state's vote, even though all 88 counties in the Buckeye State have finished their own confirmations. Data is still sketchy, but it turns out election officials accepted about 77% of the provisional ballots - about 121,000 of them. No statewide count of the provisionals yet, though results reported by one county - Franklin (that's Columbus), indicated that Senator Kerry had gotten nearly 7,700 of the more-than 12,000 provisional votes counted.
But of all the developments out of Ohio, the most provocative, clearly, is still stalled under the weight of its own paperwork. The Alliance for Democracy is not quite ready with its challenge to the vote yet. Lawyer Cliff Arnebeck, with who else but Reverend Jackson by his side today on the steps of the Ohio Supreme Court, said that the group hopes to file its election challenge tomorrow - if not, Monday - but it's not guaranteeing anything.
If and when it gets around to it, the Alliance will be asking one high court justice to set the election results aside, pending a full investigation and hearing. Arnebeck said today he believes that if all ballots were counted in what he calls a "traditional context," the outcome would not just swing from President Bush's 130,000 vote election night lead - it would swing all the way in the opposite direction, and give Kerry a 130,000 vote lead.
Arnebeck sounded a little like a protestor in Kiev: "Our presidential election affects not just this country but all the citizens of the world. And therefore it's absolutely essential that the person who assumes the mantle of that office has the full confidence of our public and the world community that it was an honest election."
This is - ahem - high praise for the shaved-head porno-moustache look Kerik sports...
LINK - Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says his close aide, Bernard Kerik, would surprise a lot of people as head of the nation's homeland security - not with his gruff, beat-cop demeanor, but with his quiet expertise at reining in a sprawling bureaucracy.
Giuliani, who surprised many by choosing Kerik to become the city's 40th police commissioner, said he always saw much more than a beefy cop with a knack for catching drug dealers.
"When you see him, he's a big strong guy and a black belt," said Giuliani. "What you get to know when you work with him is how smart he is ... how effective and sophisticated a manager he is."
Dow Chemical's stock price took a tumble after BBC World issued a bogus report that the firm accepted full responsibility for the Bhopal, India, chemical disaster and would pay $12 billion in compensation.
Dow's share fell 3.4% to $49.58 in trading on the Frankfurt Exchange on Dec. 3 after the 24-hour television world news service interviewed a purported Dow spokesman in Paris who made the fake claim. A Dow spokeswoman promptly denied the report. And when the market opened in New York City, shares soon began to trade above the opening price of $49.70.
You just can't depend on the frightened mainstream press anymore. Raw Story, in its still-infancy, has been outstanding in digging up the dark side of the wingnut culture. Today, Hustler magazine hits the stands with RS' findings about the hidden life of Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), and RS has excerpts.
Hustler Magazine lays bare the history of closeted gay Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) on newsstands Friday, RAW STORY can reveal.
The issue, dated for February, includes an article chronicling the rise and seeming fall of the House Republicans' shining star David Timothy Dreier, a 52-year-old Californian legislator whose gay life was laid bare earlier this summer by RAW STORY and blogACTIVE.com, then picked up by LA Weekly.
While they're at it, they have some fun from the GOP convention in NYC.
New York Times and Salon.com journalist Petra Bartosiewicz blows the whistle on the sleazy underbelly that belied the public facade of the Republican Party's family-values oriented convention in today's Hustler, RAW STORY has found.
Hustler gave this site permission to reprint detailed excerpts. The full article is only available in their print edition.
The piece, titled "THE GOP DOES GOTHAM," tracks a seamy Texas energy lobbyist from one Republican gala to another, noting his drunken passes all the while.
Sure, it's fun schadenfraude. It also shows the utter hypocrisy of these moral finger-waggers.
John Byrne's doing his job.
By the way, he's also got the story of House Dems firing off a 15-page list of demands to Ohio's SecState Kenneth Blackwell yesterday demanding answers on the ongoing voter "discrepancies" (fraud). READ
This piece is about the pork-stuffed appropriations bill which the GOP's trying to ram through.
Even worse, the money for this bill does not exist. Every penny of these appropriations adds to the deficit. Why? Because two weeks ago, the Republicans passed and the President signed a bill authorizing nearly an additional $2 trillion dollars of borrowing, which our children and grandchildren will have to pay back - with interest. Two weeks before that, the President signed a bill giving $139 billion to big corporations like oil and tobacco companies and even Chinese manufacturers of ceiling fans.
Americans deserve a better government than this. I very much hope that Democrats will provide at least a strong opposition force to this kind of spending and to these kinds of gross invasions of personal privacy, which the President's party apparently thinks are justified.
I hope the Democrats and moderate Republicans in Congress will stand up for better priorities than this administration has, no matter how nice the President's words. Nice words will not save our farmers, our environment and our schools. Nice words will not protect the privacy of our tax records. Leaders who understand the value of a dollar will protect us and our children, and leaders who respect Americans as individuals will give America back the kind of country we deserve.
I do not believe it is our job to support a philosophy, which can be summed up as "Borrow and Spend, Borrow and Spend". Loyal and patriotic Americans have an obligation to their country to stand up for fiscal policies which make America stronger, not weaker.
They think they conquered America. They think they conquered Iraq. Now the Republicans think they can have the U.N. as their bitch. Hey. Senator Coleman. You're not the United Nations' boss. It's not up to you whether or not a U.N. Secretary General should step down, little man.
Jesus H. Christ, these people are belligerent little bastards. They're trying to replace Kofi Annan with what - someone who's more in line with Bush's vision for his own U.N.? Please. The world is going to tell our jerks to shut up in one way or another someday - and it looks like that day might be coming soon. It's hard for anyone to accept being called a fraud by another fraud.
George Bush pointedly declined to support the United Nations secretary general yesterday after the head of a Senate committee investigating multibillion-dollar abuse of a UN programme in Iraq called for Kofi Annan's resignation.
President Bush called for a "full and open" accounting of the oil-for-food programme, under investigation by five congressional committees and a separate UN inquiry. According to Norm Coleman, the US senator who demanded Mr Annan's resignation on Wednesday, Saddam Hussein illegally diverted $21bn.
Mr Coleman, the Republican head of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said Mr Annan should resign because "the most extensive fraud in the history of the UN occurred on his watch".
Britain, France, China and Russia, expressed support for Mr Annan yesterday, but the US pays a quarter of the UN's budget and could make life difficult for the Ghanaian secretary general - as it did for his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whom it refused to back for a second term. "They are pounding the UN. They are pounding Kofi. It's worse than under Boutros, and that's saying something," said a senior UN official yesterday.
Ken Starr. Look at you. A few years ago, maybe out of boredom with a failing real estate investigation, you let a sexual tryst become an obsession. You opened up and pounded away at a private matter, and dragged it into the media - day after day after day after day. You reveled in the sordid and sleazy details and relished every moment you expressed your outrage publicly. You pushed and pushed and pushed until you gave a Republican House an excuse to launch an impeachment against our last peacetime president who led the nation into prosperity. You watched the bringing down of a good president who dabbled in a private infidelity, and you marched it right into the living rooms of every American. With every little detail you got, you made oral and cigar sex a national obsession. You spent millions of dollars on that investigation. Our government spent millions on an impeachment which failed to materialize. The finger-wagging and fake outrage began an anti-Democratic bias and sentiment by the slumbering hate-filled self-righteous ultra-religious right which is still spiraling out of control in today's completely lopsided political climate.
Now you're regretting it.
Okay, Ken. We'll accept that. But first, show us how sorry you are. Give back the money you made since you started the sex investigation. Make an apology directly to Bill Clinton and his family. Make a formal apology to all the lives your investigation ruined. Denounce the backstabbing by Linda Tripp. Send a message of disgust to Lucianne Goldberg for forcing the issue. Prove you're a non-partisan by endorsing a few candidates on BOTH sides of the aisle in 2006.
Got an anchor tied to your ass, Ken? Go. Start now.
LOS ANGELES -- Kenneth Starr says he never should have led the investigation that resulted in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.
The former independent counsel, now dean of the Pepperdine University law school, says "the most fundamental thing that could have been done differently" was for somebody else to have investigated Clinton's statements under oath denying he had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Starr said his role in a yearslong investigation of Clinton should have focused instead on Clinton's role in the failed Arkansas land deal known as Whitewater.
"There was a sense on the part of the country that my (Lewinsky) effort was an effort somehow to expand the (Whitewater) investigation, when it was separate," he told the Santa Barbara News-Press following a speech on Wednesday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was looking forward to a good trip to Iraq.
LINK - On Thursday, the Senators will be in Iraq, where a series of meetings are scheduled with General George Casey, General David Petraeus and Ambassador John D. Negroponte, and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. A meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is scheduled for later in the week in Cairo.
"I am also looking forward to meeting with troops from California," Senator Feinstein said. "I hope to share with these men and women how much we value their heroism and commitment to our nation."
LINK - Mortar fire struck a central Baghdad street and the city's heavily fortified "Green Zone" Thursday, and the U.S. Embassy barred civilian personnel from using the main road to the airport, developments that underscored how insurgents still terrorize Iraq's capital despite an increasing American military presence.
"I saw fear. I saw people huddled on the streets," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Before I get to part of an essay I wrote back in 2000 (in a very short continuing series of stuff I unearthed from my hard drive), I need to point out two occurrences which have happened in the last month.
Occurrence 1: I've mentioned in the past that I started this blog as an easy way for the pals on my email list to get all these stories and brain farts I come up with. That group of pals (of all political persuasions) still exchanges political messages today (and I still appreciate you guys and your contributions here).
One member of this list decided to shoot out a post-election screed, deriding Democrats for some of their tactics against the Republicans, for our criticism of the GOP, and mostly for our criticism of Bush - and therefore he didn't want to be on the list anymore.
That's it. He didn't like what he read, so he wanted out. (With all due credit to my pals, they HAVEN'T let up on him, even though we no longer hear from him.)
Occurrence 2: Bullit, my wife, was raised in a VERY Christian household, and therefore has a deep knowledge of what the rest of us would call the Red State of Mind. As a writer, she knows how to create a friendly nuanced message when she deals with her family and friends back home, and she does a splendid job in deflecting all the political hooha she gets from them - I dare say, a tenfold better job at diplomacy than I could ever muster.
Just this past week, one of her friends-in-law (a friend of her sis) sent out a mass message about how her 54-year-old uncle - a Vietnam veteran - is willing to join the fight in Iraq because "terrorist [sic] want more then [sic] anything to destroy you and me." This woman, by the way, is in her 30s, so she was too young to see the returning troops from Vietnam firsthand.
Bullit replied with a message of peace, invoking the phrase "Thou shalt not kill" regarding the way we invaded Iraq and its citizens instead of going after - y'know - the terrorists. She praised this woman's uncle profusely, but told her that everyone who returned from Vietnam didn't turn out so gung-ho. She cited her own cousin who needed almost three years to recover from the horror he experienced.
The friend-in-law shot back a highly passive-aggressive reply admonishing Bullit, telling her that the commandment meant only murder, and that we're justified in attacking and killing the enemy - and that we must support the president's decisions.
Oh, and she also mentioned that she was removing Bullit from her email list.
So there we go. In two months, one neocon and one fundamentalist in our inner circle have decided to shut out their friends because we had the temerity to challenge the president.
Which brings us to December, 2000 - and how this closed mindset has remained utterly unchanged since that election.
We moved my mother out of Florida this past May and brought her here - a little over a mile from our home. It was the greatest gift we ever gave her - and ourselves - for many reasons. One of which was Florida's assembly-line healthcare for seniors. Another was the hurricanes. And as you'll see here, Florida's rife with political discrimination.
The neighbors in this essay lived behind my mom. He was 55-ish, his wife in her 40s. Every day, Mom would walk over to the fence and give snacks to their German Shepherd and chat with the couple. They looked out for each other and led an extremely friendly coexistence. Then one day, everything changed.
(You'll see that in spite of this incident, I still gave Bush's supporters some credit. Hey, I was young and naive.)
(November 30, 2000) - The continuing polarizing as a result of this election has opened up a Pandora's Box for those single-cell humanoids who wholeheartedly miss practicing discrimination. Yes, intolerance is making a rousing comeback. Like the pinhead who lives next to my Mom.
Mom is one of the kindest people walking this planet. She's 80 and she lives in what America now thinks of as Pinhead Central: Palm Beach County, Florida. Nonetheless, the folks in her neighborhood always look out for each other. Y'know...feeding each others' pets when they're away, watering the plants...and therefore everyone holds a set of keys to each others' homes. That is until Mrs. Pinhead knocked on Mom's door last Monday to give Mom her house keys back.
"My husband doesn't want the keys to the home of someone who voted Democrat," she said to my Mom.
Mom's first reaction was what any of us would ask. "This is a joke, right?"
"No. He doesn't want to watch your house anymore."
"(after two minutes of a dropped jaw:) Is there anything I can say to him?"
"No. He's impossible to talk to when he's like this. We're sorry."
And she turned home undoubtedly to cater to Mr. Pinhead's other ugly biddings like washing his sheets and hood...leaving Mom with one less friend this late in her life.
Now mind you, Mom never talks politics with anyone. She never puts any kind of political placard on her front lawn, and believes her politics (like religion and life) are nobody's damned business but her own. Still, the Pinhead household HEARD she voted Democratic and gave her the figurative bird. No questions asked.
Is this typical? Hell no. But when something like this happens, should it surprise you that this act of random stupidity came from the mind of a supporter of America's "Compassionate Conservative"? Hell no again.
Again, Pinhead here is in no way typical of the Bush camp. He's just showing his true colors as a card-carrying...well, Pinhead. And no matter which side you're on, you cannot comprehend this sort of thing coming from an 80-year-old lib'rul tree-hugger like my Mom.
This prolonged election has apparently brought out a few people's long-suppressed desire to hate (or at least strong dislike) and discriminate. That we can now identify these jackasses has made all the waiting worthwhile.
In no way do I have the desire to speak for this manure pile in Sans-A-Belt slacks, but I'm still compelled to say, "I'm so sorry, Mom."
What bugs me after four years is that this behavior doesn't stun me anymore. It's been repeated so many times that it has become a permanent stain in the fabric of our lives.
Well, Sirius is completely tapped out of all the free Sirius radios (got ours today - it rocks). We can still save you 100 bucks on the compact-sized Clarion for just $49.99 which sells elsewhere for $99.99 - plus a free car or home kit worth $49.99. You can subscribe monthly or annually with this offer. (Shipping is $9.99)
I don't own this model, but I've fiddled with it at Circuit City and it's a sweet little unit. Lord knows I've heard that a lot over the years. Thank you. Tip your waiters and waitresses.
So if you've wanted to make the leap away from the 53 Clear Channel stations in your area into satellite radio, here's a cheap way to do it without long-term commitments.
Go to Sirius.com.
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Sid gives a great synopsys of the Pentagon report released last week. He ends his summary with this ominous news...
LINK - Almost three months ago, the board delivered its report to the White House. But, a source told me, it has received no word back. The report has been ignored by those to whom its recommendations are directed.
For the Bush administration, expert analysis is extraneous, as it is making clear to national security professionals in its partisan scapegoating of the CIA. Experts can only be expert in telling the White House what it wants to hear. Expertise is valued not for the evidence it offers for correction, but for propaganda and validation. But no one, not in the White House, Congress or the dwindling coalition of the willing, can claim the catastrophe has not been foretold by the best and most objective minds commissioned by the Pentagon - perhaps for the last time.
Y'know, at this point, Bush can have oral sex performed on him by an intern live on Fox News Channel AND MSNBC - and the only outrage will be that CNN didn't carry it because they're Godless heathens who are biased against Bush.
Patton's one of the good guys who did a ton of work for our side during the campaign. He keeps a journal at his website, which contains this post-election day message.
Enjoy the next four years, red states.
You voted, again, for your exploiters. You chose people who don't care about you to take care of you. Maybe you'll get out of it unscathed. I doubt it. If you believe in the power of prayer, pray that your elected leaders keep your kids out of any more wars. Pray they'll fix the economy. Pray your kids will stay off drugs when their job opportunities dry up. Pray, pray, pray. Don't actually do anything realistic or proactive about it. Pray. Pray 'til you poop your pants. Pray for a magical super-being up in the sky to come down and fix your problems, like the people in the Superman and Green Lantern comics. "Nothing you can do but pray" will be carved onto the tombstone of the 21st century. I always thought it'd be a line of dialogue from THE BIG LEBOWSKI, but there you go.
You don't need to worry about gays getting married or anyone forcing you to get an abortion - but you never needed to worry about that in the first place. You don't need to worry about any terrorist attacks in the Midwest - unless it's by another all-American, white bread Timothy McVeigh. The brown terrorists only want to blow up New York and California.
He's gotten over the pain, and he's one of the funniest sumbitches who ever graced the front of a comedy club faux brick wall.