Thursday, December 31, 2009


At last someone in the “mainstream” blogosphere has put it out there for all to read:

This is a deep struggle in the Muslim soul - a struggle to come to terms with its own sectarian past, the bloodiness of some of its scriptures, and the real and present threat of modernity as it crashes down on their medieval order with the power of technology they cannot control.

The paragraph appears in a posting by Andrew Sullivan on The Daily Dish.  “…the bloodiness of some of its scriptures…” is a powerful statement, and a challenge to all moderate Muslims to begin to dismantle so much of “their medieval order” which is causing all peoples of the world concern, and the daily blood of so many ordinary Muslim citizens in so many countries.

Those young Muslim men who think jihad is “cool” are wrong.  They should do a little more thinking and praying.

Trust, but verify.  And thanks to Sullivan.


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Why not a blessing in disguise?

There’re all sorts of ranting and raving about the undie-bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, not being on the “short” list (is there a pun there?) of those not allowed to fly in U.S. airspace; and there are others who are a bit more sanguine.

Mightn’t one accurately think, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that the fact Mr. Abdulmutallab did not make a short list is a stroke of good luck for Homeland Security as well as the good folk who do the airport screening?

With the inept, thankfully, attempt of Mr. A, we now have increased knowledge of bomb delivery capabilities and techniques, and, as with the “shoe” bomber of a few years back, we are somewhat more alert, if not actually safer, in the skies.

We’d all, to be sure, prefer not to have to worry about religious dimwits trying to gain entrance to some strange idea of Paradise (What, exactly are those 72 virgins supposed to do to make Paradise so special for these guys?) with the shedding of others’ blood, but if we have do worry about it, let’s have as much info into their thinking as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Abdulmuttallab for your failure.  It was a blessing for us.

Trust, but verify, transportation workers.

(And get on the stick, CAIR; encourage more moderate mullahs to condemn these killings and attempted killings.)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The junior Senator from Aetna and Bad Publicity

Imagine the surprise, Dear Gentle Reader(s), to learn that a Google search of “Senator from Aetna,” which yields some 300,000+ mentions, list both Senator Dodd and Senator Lieberman. 

(Wow!  That’s some power for an insurance company, eh wot?)

Ergo, the “junior” for Mr. Lieberman.

Mr. Lieberman’s obstructionism and flip-flopping on the issue of the current health care legislation wending its way through the Senate is much in the news lately.  What isn’t mentioned too often is the benefit which accrues to Aetna through his machinations.  While it’s OK, to make a profit, it isn’t OK for a company to accrue as much bad publicity as is going to Aetna during this time.

If you had an option between Aetna and some other company wouldn’t the antics of Senator Lieberman influence your decision?  Wouldn’t you go somewhere else? 

If you would, you might take this opportunity to send Aetna a little email telling them so.  Here’s an address should you care to let Aetna know that bad publicity from Mr. Lieberman’s actions does the company little good.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Narrative

Tom Friedman has an interesting column today, Dear Gentle Reader(s).  It concerns the way the United States, in particular, and the non-Islamic West are portrayed in media with an Islamic orientation.  It ain’t pretty.

The portrayal is called “The Narrative,” and it is enlightening.  You might take a few minutes for reading and contemplation.

Implicit in this writing is a call for the United States to hold to account the leaders of those Gulf and Mideast states which give tacit support to the dissemination of this Narrative, and Friedman proposes an addition to the Cairo speech when President Obama next addresses a Muslim audience:

“Whenever something like Fort Hood happens you say, ‘This is not Islam.’ I believe that. But you keep telling us what Islam isn’t. You need to tell us what it is and show us how its positive interpretations are being promoted in your schools and mosques. If this is not Islam, then why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God? You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.”

Sounds like good advice which could be taken by a lot of people, including, one would think, our own American neighbors who happen to follow Islam.  Are you listening, CAIR?

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why is it “None Dare Call It Blasphemy?”

Each of the world’s “religions of the book” have some adherents which proclaim that their “book” is the word of “God” in such a way that somehow limits divine pronouncements to the far past.  At the same time, there is, at least in the Christian confession, an acknowledgement that humans cannot “know” the mind of “God.”  If the adherents of Judaic and Islamic theology also have such an acknowledgement, why, then, are these religions hobbled by a concept that the Divinity stopped revealing certain “truths” 1400, 2100, or 5400 years ago?  Isn’t holding that God stopped talking to Mankind centuries ago some sort of hubris?  Isn’t it presuming to know what God’s plan might be?  Isn’t it a virtual blasphemy?

How dare these people proclaim that they have the “last” of God’s words?  How do they know that? 

How dare people preach that God wants death in His name? 

How dare they deliver sermons making women second class creatures of the race?

How dare they have prayers thanking God for not making them women?

How dare “mainstream” religionists not publicly chastise extremists?

How dare they not hurl epithets against religious suicides?

How dare they all blaspheme?!?

Trust, but verify.

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Friday, October 9, 2009


Surely most of you who drop by these postings have received one of these emails, but just in case you haven’t:

Gene --
This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.
To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.
But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.
That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.
This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.
So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.
Thank you,
President Barack Obama

Now, tell me, what about this email from would upset the loyal opposition?

Trust, but verify.

And God Bless America.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Disappointing Dems

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the Finance committee has had its say, and it wasn’t pleasant, according to The New York Times.

Five Democratic Party senators, Baucus, Carper, Conrad, Lincoln, Nelson voted against the Rockefeller government sponsored amendment.

One has to wonder how many impoverished constituents of these senators will sleep more comfortably tonight knowing their voices were drowned out by insurance contributions to political coffers.

Next time these constituents vote, one hopes they’ll

Trust, but verify.

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“Protection?” What are they thinking?

Here’s a bit of a mystery, Dear Gentle Reader(s).  The headline in The Desert Sun’s online edition reads:

Group seeks to limit services for children of undocumented

Measure would require ‘foreign' stamp on birth certificates

The “group” is unnamed, but the cause for which they’re collecting signatures is “The California Taxpayer Protection Act 2010.”

Does California need this sort of protection?  How do Californians benefit from under educated children who become ill educated adults?  How do Californians benefit from children with health problems set loose in population centers?

And just how much truth is in their claim that taxpayers are footing the bill for children of illegals to the detriment of other children with “legal” parents?

Here’s an interesting tidbit included in a sidebar next to the main story:

In 2006, a Desert Sun analysis found undocumented immigrants pump nearly $1.5 billion annually into the Riverside County economy while costing residents roughly $220 million for the social services they use.

Taxpayers seem to benefit from “illegals” here in Riverside County.

Group claims to have gathered 100,000 signatures toward a needed 433,971 to make the June ballot of 2010. 

There’s something shameful about this effort.

Group has the right to seek signatures for their petition.

The rest of us,

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Strange People

Dear Gentle Reader(s), there’s something quite unusual about some of our compatriots.  They have an unusual world view.

On the September 25 edition of the KCRW-FM show, “Left, Right, and Center,” Tony Blankley asserted that global warming is a “hoax.”

The New York Times September 26 edition carries an op-ed entitled, “The Thaw at the Roof of the World.”  It seems there’s a Tibetan glacier which is shrinking—some 830 feet in two decades.  This glacier is part of a larger glacier system which feeds many of the rivers in Asia.  As the glaciers melt, there will be an abundance of water.  After they’ve melted?  Hmmm.

On Tuesday Meg Whitman announced her run for the GOP nomination for governor of California.  The usual mantra follows—lower taxes, smaller government, etc., etc.

On Saturday the Times publishes “Cuts Ravage California Domestic Abuse Program.”  There are fewer and fewer places for battered women and for their children to seek shelter because of California’s budget crisis.

No global warming, no need protection of abused women, no need for protection of children of battered women, no need for health care for poor children, no need, in effect, for responsible taxation. 

No vision.


Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Um…Change?…Don’t forget “Change”

Granted, there must be some continuity in government procedures from administration to administration, but…

The Obama Department of Justice is requesting extension of some of the “Patriot Act” provisions which are about to expire.

The BLT (it’s not a sandwich!) tells us about it in “House Democrats Question Renewal of Patriot Act Provisions.”  One of the provisions deals with extending certain search warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  That Court is a secret Court, don’t forget.  The DOJ has never used this power, but a committee of Congress heard testimony that those warrants “…meet an investigative need.”

Meets a need which has never arisen?

That doesn’t much sound like a change in DOJ policy from the last administration.

Trust, but verify. 

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Afghanistan commitment?

“NATO reaffirms commitment to Afghanistan” proclaims the headline from today’s US CENTCOM newsletter. 

Maybe so, but…

There is increasing debate here in the U.S. as to just what shape that commitment will take.  More and more, Congressional members are calling for more civilian advisors and not more combat troops.

Stay tuned.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are newts as slippery as Newt?

If so, they’re likely to rule the planet.  (He is very slippery.)

This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition, the interviewer, Renee Montagne, asked former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich if he thought language such as “death panels” was appropriate?

Mr. Gingrich responded:

I think it's fine to say to people, "Be very careful the amount of power you are going to give bureaucrats."

Note, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that Mr. Gingrich did not answer the question.  He did not address the appropriateness of Death Panels.

But he did say something with which anyone should be able to agree:  Be careful of bureaucrats—even disgraced politico-bureaucrats such as Mr. Gingrich, a very fine example of  VanJones Republican.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sin of omission?

Is it deliberately misleading?

Today Laura Ingraham, during a promo for an upcoming segment of her show*, said something to the effect that there would be an analysis of how the Far Left was pressuring President Obama to leave Afghanistan.

This on the day that conservative columnist George Will called for the U.S. to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

White woman speaks with forked tongue.

Trust, but verify.

*No, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it’s perfectly innocent:  I was slumming during an Olberman commercial.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

RINOs* v Whatos?

November 2010 is an election year in California, Dear Gentle Reader(s), and it promises to be almost as interesting as last year’s.

There has been much ballyhoo out here in the Pyrite State (Golden no longer, thanks to the Republican Party) about two mega-RINOs, Carly Fiorino and Meg Whitman, who have indicated a strong inclination to run for state office in 2010.  Fiorino is looking to replace Senator Boxer and Whitman to replace Governator Schwarznegger.

There’s a fly in someone’s ointment, if not a grain of sand in the Vaseline.  There are already Republican base snipers out taking pot shots at these two women.  For an early introduction into the Republican names who might figure in the attempt to wrest a senate seat from the Democrats as well as keep the Republicans in the governor’s office, hie thee to the Muckroom to read Debra J Saunders’ column, “Too Big To Vote?”

Ms Saunders is thinking neither woman could win if for no other reason than their respective voting records—very spotty for both women; Whitman didn’t register as a Republican until 2007.  Seems like a thin premise, but we’ll see.

Much ado about nothing?  Can Boxer possibly fall?  Are Californians finally getting tired of having Republican nay-sayers in charge?

Stay tuned and remember:

Trust, but verify.

*Republican In Name Only—Honorable men and women who do not adhere to the right wing fundamentalists

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Afghanistan?

Hmmm.  Because it’s there?  It’s where the money is?  No and No.  It is because we have a moral obligation to try to bring stability to that benighted nation.

Remember Charlie Wilson’s War?  That’s why we’re there.  No, not the movie; the subject of the movie.  When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, the CIA—our CIA—with the help or insistence of Mr. Wilson, began to supply and assist the various Afghani fighters with money, supplies, and information.  One of the fighting factions were what would become the Taliban.  We funded them.  We armed them.  Then, when the Russians finally left Afghanistan, we didn’t keep an eye on them.  We let them take control of the post-Russian Afghani government, and then—we know the rest.

That’s why we need to continue in Afghanistan.  We need to finish the job the Bush administration virtually abandoned.

We cannot morally allow the Taliban to inflect its cultic will on the Afghani people without some serious attempt to prevent a return of that country to the plight of those people under the oppression of 7th century thinking.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Muckroom Follies 8.18.09 Brit Health Care

Watching the right wing tie itself into lying knots is mildly amusing; watching a commentator struggle to toe the line is sad.  Cal Thomas is trying to help defeat the attempts to reform health care (Why?  What will the right gain from insisting that the poor must be unhealthy?) while still keeping some semblance of rational thought is an example of the sad.

If you must, Dear Gentle Reader(s), you might go to a column by Thomas presented in, “NHS vs. USA.”  In it he manages to cite stories from the British press which disparage the NHS.  However, in his second paragraph, he is forced to admit that the British Tory leader, David Cameron, is not quite so politically unhappy with the government run health care:  “In an apparent effort to outflank the critically ill Labour Party, Cameron promises to strengthen the NHS.”

If the NHS is so unpopular and so ineffective, why is the leader of the conservative party, the party of the Iron Lady Thatcher—you remember, she’s the one at the head of the Brit government which “defeated” Billy Eliot’s miner father—making political promises to “strengthen” the service? It doesn’t make much sense.

Perhaps it’s time for more progressives in the U.S. to take to the streets, or at least to the typewriter (metaphorically), and let the congressperson nearest you know that the fear tactics over “socialized” medicine will not work.  Public option is necessary.

Trust but verify.

n.b.  For a truly scary moment, drop down and read some of the letters following the Thomas article. 

Example from a writer in MI:

Black Panther in White House Tanking....

The Kenyan coke-head is literally sinking among the American people. His real support base is among the losers like those in ACORN and SEIU.
What a shame but what could we expect? He had almost zero experience in life, other than race-baiting community organization, which is a fancy term for threatening to sue firms if they didn't hire enough so called "minorities".
The anti-American, Marxist-Muslim is tanking.......don't ya love it!

There is no better indication of the failures of the American educational system.  Alas.

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Friday, August 14, 2009


Today, Dear Gentle Reader(s), Paul Krugman has a column in which he discusses the futility of trying for bipartisanship in the political climate of Washington, D.C.

The article, Republican Death Trip, is, as usual, fascinating reading.

Naturally, there’s a quibble.  (Else why bother?)

Krugman uses much “ink” to discuss the Palinesque “death panels;” but the strongest language he (and/or possibly The New York Times editors?) can muster is: “It’s a complete fabrication, of course.”


Come on, Mr. K.  Go for broke.  Call it what it is:  a lie.  It won’t kill you to be a little more forceful.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let’s go home (after a little detour)

It seems, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that there’s a fly in the ointment of the Coalition of the Willing’s* plans to leave Iraq in a couple of years.

The New York Times is reporting that a “senior American military adviser in Baghdad” says we should leave Iraq by August 2010, some 15 months ahead of the pull out date which is now scheduled.

Good news. 

Now, will that mean freeing up more troops for duty in Afghanistan?  Or more drones for Pakistan?  How about spending the money on schools for the United States—as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Let’s go home.  Oh, but on the way…”

*The more or less imminent withdrawal of British troops reduces this entity to, as one wag puts it, “a Coalition of the One.”

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NPR Tidbits—Health Care, Race 7.29.09

A couple of quickie notes, Dear Gentle Reader(s), which come from today’s broadcast of Morning Edition on NPR.*

Senator Grassley made this point—there is no “Obama Plan.”  All the plans coming out of the Congress are plans which have been developed by Senators or Representatives to far.  The President has laid out some general goals, but the White House has not produced a plan of its own.  So, DGR(s), whenever you read of, or hear, someone referring to the Obama Plan, they are being imprecise; there is no such plan.  If they can’t get that basic bit of info correct, what else, you must ask yourself, do they not know?

In the continuing discussion of race, Inskeep and Williams brought in a couple of new twists—class and power.  That much makes sense.  It’s hard to continue to portray “minorities” as continuing victims when so much of the class and power structures have been integrated to the point we see today.  Steve and Juan could, however, have benefitted from listening to another segment of today’s program where a while man said he didn’t support Obama’s plan (see above) because only minorities would benefit.  He went on to say that the white middle class would end up paying for the plan.  Lesson?  While class and power are shifting around, there’s enough misguided “white” bias against “minorities” to keep niggling us for another couple of generations.

Trust, but verify.

*Playlist link

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Monday, July 20, 2009

An appeal of “The Appeal”?

It seems, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that John Grisham might have the opportunity to write a follow-up to The Appeal.

The West Virginia case which gave Grisham, maybe, an inspiration is going back to the West Virginia Supreme Court in a 3rd try at an appeal.

Judicial bias is the question.

It’ll be interesting to see how the SCOWV will rule this time—now that the eyes of the nation are on it.

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The Underlying Cause

Here, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is a quote from Tom Friedman’s latest column for the New York Times:  “America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were, in part, an effort to create the space for the Muslim progressives to fight and win so that the real engine of change, something that takes nine months and 21 years to produce — a new generation — can be educated and raised differently.”

That’s the most important “in part” of all.  The only weapon Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and for all that, fundamentalist Christianists, have is ignorance.  Christian and Muslim progressives must fight lack of education at every turn.

Religious leaders of all stripe must somehow accept that, like the evolution of all things on this earth, revelation is ongoing and religions must change.  Religion which has become concretized is religion of virtual blasphemy.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A virtual perpetual motion machine

Good news, Dear Gentle Reader(s), future energy problems have virtually been solved!  Not, as you might expect, in the laboratories of General Electric, et al., but in the accounting rooms of New Line Cinema—at least, that’s what one can intuit from a little news item floated in the web site for

There’s a lawsuit on behalf of J.R.R. Tolkein’s heirs seeking payment of “7.5% of movie receipts” from New Line Cinema.  Seems simple enough, eh wot?


It seems there’s a catch:  “The 1969 agreement calls for Tolkien's percentage cut of the revenue to kick in only when the film's gross receipts reach a level that equals 2.6 times the cost production and a laundry list of other costs.”

The problem for the heirs is that even with a 6 billion dollar take on movie receipts and associated merchandise, that 2.6 figure hasn’t been reached.  Furthermore, it would seem that with the actors’ take figured in as continuing costs (i.e., the more the film and merchandise make, the bigger the cut given to actors and others), the 2.6% will virtually never be reached.

It’s a virtual moving target which will virtually continue to move, which means the accountants have discovered a virtual perpetual motion machine.

Or something.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Madam Justice Robota

Republicans are such sillies.

The Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee seem to want SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor to be objective in deciding cases which come before her as a sitting judge. 

Objectivity is a state to which human beings might aspire, but it cannot be achieved.  Does Justice Scalia manage to leave behind his sense of entitlement as a male son from an Italian family?  Or Chief Justice Roberts his Angle camaraderie?


We can no more ignore what made us who we are than we can ignore the fatuousness of the opposition party in these nomination hearings.

Nor would we want a Justice to do that.

Trust (Republicans?!?  Shirley, you jest!), but verify.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dick, Dick, Dick, A-dick-a Dick, Dick, Dick

Actually, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the title comes from a song by Cole Porter, “Tom, Dick, or Harry,” in Kiss Me, Kate.  In case you wondered.

Richard Cheney, vice president under W, otherwise knows as “Dick,” for reasons more and more apparent as each day goes by, is in the news again.

This time Cheney’s named as the force behind some faulty CIA intelligence reports given to Congress during a period of time in the previous administration.

The New York Times carries a “news alert” about this particular brouhaha this afternoon.

Poor Dick. 

Poor W.

Poor us.

Dick just gets closer and closer to serious problems.  How much longer can the Obama administration continue to protect this man and the shenanigans he pulled?

Transparency, Mr. Obama.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Um…”…the voice of the majority…” Really?

The battle is engaged, Dear Gentle Reader(s).

The federal court case against Prop (H)8 is shaping up.  The California lawyers defending (H)8 have gained a legal team based in D.C., and the judge has set August 19 for the next case management hearing.

As we go into the public relations segment of the case, it is well to remember some basic facts about language. 

There are others, as will be pointed out in the days to come, but one basic example of “…well, maybe, but…” can be found in a statement issued by a lawyer from the D.C. firm:

We are the only party now defending the statute and essentially being the voice of the majority of Californians.

Well, maybe.  But…

Remember, the population of California, by rough estimates, is 36,756,666.  The number of voters in last November’s Proposition (H)8 election was 7,001,084 “yes” and 6,401,482 “no.”

That gives the law firm the right to say that they represent a majority of 52.3% California voters, not Californians.

Trust, but verify.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

W’s Dangerous Legacy

Forget, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the disastrous foreign policy of the erstwhile Bush II administration, the real danger to the U.S.A. lies in the Supreme Court which W and the fat cats of the United States of Corporation have bequeathed to our endangered liberties.

For an analysis of the Court’s recent term, hie thee to The National Law Journal’s website, and read “Roberts Court takes narrow road to right.” 

If the article doesn’t chill your bones, you’re not paying attention.  Scariest quote:

"This Court can afford to be quite patient," said Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld at a Washington Legal Foundation briefing June 30. Moving rightward by building on narrow precedents one by one rather than all at once "won't look as dramatic," said Goldstein. But instead of describing it as incrementalism, the founder of SCOTUSblog offered the word "actuarialism" to describe his view of the Roberts approach. In other words, by looking at who might leave the Court first (liberals) and who might replace them (liberal President Barack Obama), Goldstein thinks the Court's conservatives foresee as many as eight more years of dominating the Court, allowing them to take the long view.

“The long view…” means that, like a cancer, the changes will be so slow as to call little attention.  Then, Pow!  We’re screwed.

CJ Roberts—alas, a stealth corporate wolf in sheep populist clothing.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dudes! Think!!!

Just about the time, Dear Gentle Reader(s), I finished reading Mike Lupica’s Wild Pitch, the Nashville cops were deep into the investigation of the death of Steve McNair, a former quarterback for the Memphis team.

A mention in New York’s Daily News claims that McNair was murdered by a girlfriend,one Sahel Kazemi, who then committed suicide.

Lupica’s book is all about a sports “hero” who couldn’t keep up with his “gift” because he thought that the right, if not obligation, to par-tay was part of the package.  Since McNair left behind a “devastated wife” and 4 children, it’s logical to think he, too, believed the same.

Not much sympathy here for Steve-o or Sahel.

But, Hey! Athletic dudes of all levels of stardom, the gift comes with responsibility, not par-tay.

Don’t take my word for it; listen to Lupica.

Trust, but verify.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

The Apple and its proximity to the Tree

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there’s fun over at the Muckroom today.

The fun comes from Jonah Goldberg, son of Lucien Goldberg, she of the spotted blue dress fame.  You remember her, the sneaky-petess most responsible for keeping the dress secure.  A woman of sterling character, no doubt.

Son Jonah has written an open letter to Governor Palin, “A letter to Sarah” in today’s issue of’s email compilation, which, in itself, is almost an effort of expiation for the family’s ills—but that’s most likely a fantasy of yours truly.

First Goldberg, J. touts Sarah’s unique qualifications for the vice-presidency (go figure), then he lists ways in which she is misplaying her hand lately.  Along the way he pulls a couple of croppers, i.e., “For Democrats, fairly or not, you've become a laughingstock.”  (Become?!?  Better been.  From day 2—when she first spoke unscripted.)

And then there’s this extraordinary admission: 

“Yes, you can talk well about the stuff you know -- oil drilling, energy, etc. -- but beyond your comfort zone, you fall back on bumper-sticker language that sounds fine to the people who already agree with you but is useless in winning over skeptics.

President Bush had the same problem you do, which is why there's a hunger for Republicans who can effectively articulate and sell our policies and philosophy.”

That bit of honesty, Bush II was inarticulate, is rare from the Goldberg ilk; but, notice, DGR(s), it isn’t done in the spirit of admitting a mistake—Jonah’s mistake about both Sarah and W.

How tone deaf Goldberg is in this piece.

Hie thee thither and enjoy.


Trust, but verify.

And don’t stand too close to an apple tree.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No surprise

Today’s edition of the Townhalldotcom’s Muckroom, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has not one story about Republican Mark Sanford’s marital tribulations.

Circling the wagons as the party circles the drain?

Trust, but verify, Mrs. Sanford.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Status Quo Ante

Technorati Tags: ,

Of all the Latin phrases we use, Status Quo Ante gives the most pause as well as exhilaration. 

After incident X, do we really want to go back to the context in which we found ourselves prior to X?  Sometimes yes.  Sometimes no.

Is it even possible to return to that prior context?

That is the situation in which the Iranians find themselves today, the 2 week mark from their problem election.

The hard-line mullahs must know that their regime cannot ever return to June 11, 2009.  They must be scrambling to preserve something of their theocracy, but they scramble in vain. 

The Islamic revolution of Khomeini ended on June 12, 2009.  The status quo ante June 12 is gone.


Trust, but verify (and be patient).

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Monday, June 22, 2009


Feel, Dear Gentle Reader(s), like doing some virtual neck exercise?  Zip back and forth from the news organizations’ reporting of the latest suicide bombers’ body count in Iraq and US CENTCOM’s public relations’ “Latest News Feed” where you’ll read about a Farmers’ Market opening.

What have we visited upon those people with our shoot-‘em-up foreign policies?

Very good news and very, very bad news.

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Crocodile Tears

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On Friday “Ayatollah” Khamenei wept.  On Saturday his thugs murdered.

Crocodile tears, false holy man!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Different Ayatollah?

Here, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is a clip from a posting by Andrew Sullivan on his blog, “The Daily Dish.”  The posting concerns a statement issued by a reformist cleric Ayatollah Montazeri who comments, in part, on the current demonstrations in Iran:

1- A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views. I fear that this lead to the lost of people’s faith in Islam.

2- Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.

3- I invite everyone, specially the youth, to continue reclaiming their dues in calm, and not let those who want to associate this movement with chaos succeed.

4- I ask the police and army personals not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children. Today censor and cutting telecommunication lines can not hide the truth.

I pray for the greatness of the Iranian people.

So, there are some clerics in Iran who do not wish to reside in the Dark Ages any longer.

Let’s hope the Iranian people come out of this with better lives.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

4.6 and counting

Bing tells us:  “The Earth is about 4.6 billion years old and formed along with rest of solar system. The Milky Way galaxy that contains the solar system probably formed around 13.6 billion years ago. The universe is calculated to be about 13.7 billion years old, dating from the Big Bang.” (Encarta Encyclopedia)

So, taking the long view, the Islamic Republic of Iran, established on April 1, 1979, is a small point in the timeline of Earth.  Friday’s vote could well have been the last day of that republic, regardless of what happens over the next few days or months or years.

The ruling theocrats have lost the support of too many of the people.  The thugs might well get the upper hand for the time being, but, like the Chinese Tienanman Square democratic movement, the movement towards a more progressive and democratic Iran is inevitable.

Good luck to the people of Iran.

Bad cess to politically inclined theologians.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Muckroom’s Snark of the Day

Perhaps, Dear Gentle Reader(s), Snort should be in the title instead of Snark.  (Is there such a word as “snark?”  “Snarky” is used often, but “snark?”)

Today’s “sheesh!” response to a email offering comes from the lede of a column by George Will.  Try this for an eye-rolling moment: "I," said the president, who is inordinately fond of the first-person singular pronoun, "want to disabuse people of this notion that somehow we enjoy meddling in the private sector."

Cute, eh wot?

…inordinately fond of the first-person singular pronoun…” somewhat skirts the point that a syndicated columnist based in the most influential newspaper in the nation’s capitol is the epitome of one who the “first-person singular pronoun” simply by virtue of position and ability to publish a personal essay which is nothing but a long first-person singular pronouns I, me, mine, my.

And, of course, the comment had nothing to do with the discussion at hand—the nation’s economy.

Nice work, Georgie Porgie.

Trust, but verify.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Martyrdom? Never! Updated*

There’s a breaking story in The New York Times, Dear Gentle Reader(s), which gives pause on first reading.

Here’s the email alert teaser:

U.S. Could Let Detainees Plead Guilty Without Trials

The Obama administration is considering a change in the law
for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death
penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid
airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It
could also allow the five detainees who have been charged
with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of
pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.

Allow them to become martyrs?  And give the Islamofascists more recruiting posters?


Name them as murderers.  Have Islamic theologians denounce their crimes.  Keep them imprisoned in shame for the rest of their lives.

Trust, but verify.

*Latest NYTimes link

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

More on “Pro-Life”

Here’s a You Tube segment on Bill O’Reilly commenting a few weeks ago on Kansas abortion clinic, Dear Gentle Reader(s).

Doubtless now that Dr. George Tiller has been murdered, O’Reilly will protest the taking of a life.  Doubtless, too, he will eschew any responsibility disregarding the inflammatory language he uses at the end of the clip.

We are all shamed by O’Reilly’s actions.

Trust, but verify.

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Pro-Life? Yeah, right.

Here’s all you need to know, Dear Gentle Reader(s).

Too soon to tell anything about the perp, but someone shot Dr. George Tiller, a physician who performed abortions, as he walked into his church this morning.


Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Alas, if you can’t trust Masterpiece…

…who, then, Dear Gentle Reader(s), can one trust?

The Masterpiece series on public television recently broadcast a Wallander segment titled “One Step Behind” which, it turns out, was a bit unfaithful to the book. 

The villain in the screenplay (is there a word for a videoplay?) is limned as a jealous drag queen who kills for attention and for revenge.

That’s not what happens in the book.  No spoilers here for readers, but the tinge of homophobia which colors the screenplay is totally absent from the pages of the novel.

Why might that have happened?  Other than a bit of imaginative laziness on the part of the video’s writers, it’s hard to think of a reason.

Other than the villain’s rationale, the video is faithful enough to the book.  It’s a 90 minute play developed from a 408 page book—much has to be truncated, characters omitted, incidents compressed.  There was no reason, though, to alter the villain’s explanation.  The book makes much more sense.

So, Masterpiece is one to be trusted, but read the book for verification.  (Which is not a bad thing.)

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Take a Letter to Andrew (but don’t tell him where I am) Updated*

Dear Andrew Sullivan,

Today you recounted a joke President Obama told at a fund raiser last night: “One of them said, 'Obama keep your promise.’ I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.”  Of course, the joke was that Mr. Obama did, indeed, know what the protester was talking about, since the day prior the SCOC had upheld Prop 8.  Except that Obama didn’t “promise” anything about same-sex marriage; he said he supported “civil” unions instead. 


As Sullivan himself points out, Obama made several “promises” which might have been included in a protest staged primarily by GLBT (sounds like a sandwich) activists: “…how about an end to the HIV ban, an end to the military ban and a federal recognition of full civil equality for gay married couples? Three clear promises.”  And three clear promises for which there has been, ahem, little progress in their fulfillment.  Ergo the joke.

Sullivan’s post ends with a reference to the fact that the attendees at the fundraiser were enjoying themselves, and laughing along with the president as he acknowledged that there has been little progress (but some) which deserves a response:  “And then I remember why I'm not a Democrat.”

Um, actually, Andrew, you’re not a Democrat because you were and are and doubtless will be (now that you have a chance to help re-shape the Republican party) a Thatcherite toff-in-spirit-if-not-in-fact.  (Alas, you probably didn’t/don’t have enough money to be a thorough toff.)

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Do trust, but verify.

*Several of Sullivan’s readers upbraided him and he posted some comments and a video of the remark.  I think Sullivan is wiggling about being wrong--“Maybe I jumped too soon”—seems a rather weak acknowledgement, but read the post and judge for yourself.  Trust, DGR(s), but verify—even me.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Speaker and the CIA

Maybe, Dear Gentle Reader(s), Speaker Pelosi did say the CIA lied to her somewhere at sometime; the clip I saw, however, had her using “mislead” rather than “lie.”  “What’s the difference,” you ask.  I dunno.  Perhaps what’s the objective of the person lying/misleading.

Misleading is akin—or the real definition—of/to “spin,” which we all know so well these days.

And the CIA is known for its spin—remember “Slam dunk” about the WMDs in Iraq?

The most egregious example of the CIA’s ability to spin/mislead can be found in the archives of most libraries, even the library at the CIA, and it concerns the CIA’s long-running estimate of the economic vitality of the Soviet Union.

There’s a particularly interesting little piece available for general perusal at this CIA website titled “What Did the CIA Say?”  It defends the CIA; it is, after all, an in-house site.  Parsing the piece, though, is fun and perhaps a bit illuminating.

Take, for instance, this quote:

While most of us who were participants in the effort believe the CIA did get most of it right, and are prepared to argue-on the basis of the record-what was right and what was in error, the primary purpose of this monograph is not to ``prove'' CIA was ``right.'' Rather, the objective is to demonstrate that assertions that CIA got it blatantly wrong are unfounded-that charges that CIA did not see and report the economic decline, societal deterioration, and political destabilization that ultimately resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union are contradicted by the record. Arguments about who was ``how right'' are of less use, much as we might wish to engage in them.

Look at “blatantly wrong.”  The author of the piece isn’t arguing the CIA didn’t get the situation wrong; the argument is that the CIA didn’t get it blatantly wrong.  That is a bit of equivocation, DGR(s).  Nor is the author concerned about “who was ‘how right…’”  That, too is equivocation.

Is equivocation misleading?  Of course, it deflects the attention.

Magicians and follow-the-pea artists mislead.  It’s how they make their living.  The CIA must mislead at times.  Agents in the field would be at risk if they weren’t protected by misleading statements which protect their identities. 

In the case of the Speaker, the question is whether or not the national defense was somehow weakened by what the CIA said and what the Speaker heard.  And make no mistake, torture weakens the U.S. far more than whatever grain of intelligence might strengthen it.

As far as her press conference is concerned, Speaker Pelosi got it right.  She did not accuse the CIA of lying to her.  She said she was mislead.  That is a much more “spinnable” word.  And the right wing is on shaky ground trying to put that albatross on her—even the CIA’s Panetta in his letter to the “troops,” didn’t use “lie.”

Trust, but verify.

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Monday, May 18, 2009


Feel like a little religion v science today, Dear Gentle Reader(s)?  Then go to “God Talk, Part 2” by Stanley Fish in today’s The New York Times.

Mr Fish takes on readers who challenged a recent column.  By his account, he successfully parried all thrusts.  And he well may have.

What he, and those who he quoted, did not do,though, is to present the essential point about religion which seems too too seldom mentioned:  religion began as a pragmatic tool for tribal survival.

If the study of the Andaman Islanders in the early 20th century taught anything, it taught that societies will develop taboos which enable it to survive.*  It’s an easy step from a “man” driven taboo to a “god” driven taboo.  It becomes a relatively safe “The other guy did it” as tribal leaders deflect any dissent which might challenge the taboo.

Nice jobs, Mr Fish and Mr Hitchens.  For the rest of us,

Trust, but verify.

*See, for instance, p74 of The Social Anthropology of Radcliffe-Brown

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Meanhwhile, back at the…

Alas, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it seems we are in for more of the same—on so many different fronts.  Half truths, three-quarters truths, possibly even 99 and 44/100% truths are still on the table.  Maybe there’s no such thing as the whole truth.

On or about April 27, General David Petraeus spoke to an audience at Kansas State University.  His topic was principles used in Iraq and how they applied to Afghanistan.  It makes for interesting reading.  You are encouraged to go to the Centcom site for the Pentagon’s press release.

In his talk Petraeus spoke of the success of the “Surge,” and how its principles would apply in Afghanistan, with one teensy omission:  paying Sunnis to work with American forces out in the Iraqi provinces.

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the success of the Surge in Iraq had as much to do with employment as it did with troop buildup.  We simply weren’t told about it at the time.  (And the breakdown of that employment program has contributed in no small measure to the current rise in violence in Iraq.)

Petraeus should acknowledge all facets of the Surge in Iraq if he wants us to trust his judgment in Afghanistan.  And some journalist, somewhere, should ask him about them.  Otherwise there will continue to be that niggling sense of unease whenever our leaders speak to us.

Trust, but verify.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

The True Danger to Kids

The good folks who are using children as pawns in the marriage equality debate don’t seem to have a good grasp of the damage their stated goals could very well have on the psyches of those youngsters they purport to “protect.”

Instead of respect for self, respect for others, and a sense of accepting responsibility for choices, these people instill confusion and a sense of alienation in the minds of those children whose sexual orientation will eventually not be in synch with the teachings of their “protectors.”

If same-sex relationships are not worthy of the sanctity of a child’s religion, what is a child to do as he or she grapples with budding sexuality as the person approaches physical sexual maturity?  Where does the child go for advice?  For guidance?

The next time someone pleads “child” against the development of marriage equality, ask that person, Dear Gentle Reader(s), how much that person really thought about the consequences of his actions, instead of merely reciting a rote response.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Devil and Ms Prejean

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Strange.  That’s the only word for it, Dear Gentle Reader(s). 

The link will take you to a U.S. News & World Report blog called “God and Country.”  It contains a “Here's the transcript:” section presenting a portion of a radio show presented by James Dobson’s Focus on the Family in which Dobson leads Ms Prejean in a conversation about her brush with the Old Boy himself at a recent beauty pageant.

In case you missed it, here’s the transcript provided by USNWR:

Dobson: It sounded, Carrie, like your first reaction was to hedge, to say "Well, this is a free country" and then something took over.

Prej ean: It really was a switch.

Dobson: And you did one of the most courageous things I've seen anybody your age or anybody else do. What was going on in your mind?

Prejean: I started off by saying I want to win this pageant so bad, I've worked so hard, I wanted to sound politically correct but still stay true to my values. But I just knew at that moment that God was just telling me "Carrie, how bad do you want this? Are you willing to compromise your beliefs for a one year crown of Miss USA." And I just knew right there . . . And I said you know what and the switch went off. And I said, "A marriage should be between a man and a woman and that's how it should be. "

. . . . And I knew there was no way I was going to win Miss USA. No way.

Dobson: So you put it on the line, that's what I mean when I said you're courageous because this was the goal of your life to that point. And yet you gave it up. And yet the Lord is using you all over this country.

Prejean: And we are all faced with that at times. And just by me being here, I want to encourage other people that when you're faced with an issue which you know in your heart what to say, but you're faced with someone asking it, don't ever compromise that just for pleasing them. Your goal should be to please God, not to please man . . . .

Dobson: Why did you give the answer you did with regard to the affirmation of marriage?

Prejean: . . . I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question. And then God was in my head and in my heart saying, "Do not compromise this. You need to stand up for me and you need to share with all these people . . . you need to witness to them and you need to show that you're not willing to compromise that for this title of Miss USA."

And I knew right here that it wasn't about winning. It was about being true to my convictions.

You gotta love “something took over” and “I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me” and “then God was in my head and in my heart…”

Kool Aid time.

The magazine’s blog ends with this:  “Could Prejean's next job be in Christian media, perhaps on Christian radio?”

As the erstwhile Veep nominee from Alaska would say, “You betcha!”  Move over Joe the Plumber.

Trust, but verify.  (And good luck getting past God’s Admin Sec for a verification interview!)

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

OMG! A Muckroom Rarity: A Pony!!!

Mark the day, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it’s one for the history books.  A pony has been unearthed in the Townhalldotcom Muckroom!

Steve Chapman, who writes for the Chicago Tribune, has penned a rather gentle, factual discussion of the nature of federalism as it relates to same-sex-marriage.  (You know it’s factual by the nature of the first reader’s comment: “Repent from your personal sin nature.”)

Chapman includes a list of federal rights not afforded to gay and lesbian married couples because of limitations contained in the infamous Defense of Marriage Act: 

Under federal law, there are more than 1,100 rights and privileges that go with being a husband or wife. And none of them is available to married same-sex couples.

Under federal law, a person may transfer property to a spouse tax-free. Married couples may file their income taxes jointly. Someone whose spouse dies is assured Social Security survivor's benefits. A married person has the authority to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner.

Or say you're an American citizen living in this country who marries a foreigner. Normally, you would be entitled to bring your beloved to this country to live permanently and become a citizen.

These rights, DGR(s), among others, are not permitted to every married couple in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, nor will they be for every married couple in Iowa beginning April 27.  So much for “justice for all.”

Chapman’s title is “Stacking the Deck on Gay Marriage.”  Given the general nature of Townhall’s dominant columnists, it was a surprise to discover he was, essentially, calling for the repeal of DOMA.  His column was not generating favorable “votes” in the early stages.  Obviously devotees of Townhall were expecting a screed of denunciation of the “homosexual agenda” proponents and were disappointed with a reasoned discussion of the Federal deck’s stack against gay marriage.

Trust, but verify.

(And enjoy the discomfort.)


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sullivan’s Quest and those pesky Windmills

Andrew Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), seems very much to want to see W and Dick in the dock.  Just skim any recent postings on his blog which discuss the brouhaha about the torture memos and Mr. Obama’s seeming vacillation about just who might be investigated for possible prosecution.

Today Sullivan posted a piece about the military’s resistance to the torture policy, and he included this:  “Cheney himself told us when he warned us of his walking over to the "dark side" what he was going to do, and a pliant, ignorant, overwhelmed president with a sadistic streak was powerless to resist, even if one clings to the hope he might have wanted to.”

One wonders about Sullivan’s adjectives for W—pliant, ignorant, overwhelmed, sadistic, powerless to resist.  How appropriate are these words?  Pliant, obviously; overwhelmed, quite possibly (who wouldn’t be given the man’s background and the problems heaped upon his shoulders); powerless to resist, no.  He wasn’t powerless, he just didn’t have the gumption.  How about ignorant and sadistic?  Rather than those how about unquestioning and myopic?

What Sullivan doesn’t address, and maybe can’t because he isn’t a native born Amurrican, is the Texas-ness of W’s persona.  Remember the 2000 campaign?  It was someone who was a bit stuffy vs someone you’d like to have a beer with.  (Why on earth you’d give the “atomic” football to someone who has a penchant for beer, is another story!)

Then, when the Islamic fundamentalists attacked, W went, after the scenic tour of Middle America, into his John Wayne mode, so familiar to Texas boys—those “Friday Night Lights” kids who grow up to be the people in charge, but never quite leave behind the macho guise they were pummeled into beginning in Pop Warner and Little League.

Bring ‘em on!” worked for John Wayne; “Make my day” worked for Dirty Harry.  Hell, W had the biggest gun in the world—the U.S. atomic arsenal!  The cheerleader was all of a sudden the quarterback of the Texas Cowboys!  Superbowl Time!!!

And you know, DGR(s), the rest of the story.

It wasn’t Dick which W was powerless to resist.  It was that Texas myth born at the Alamo with the deaths of those Tennessee land grabbers, nurtured on cotton, cattle, and oil which W couldn’t resist.

The lesson for us all,though, is (ahem)

Trust, but verify.

And Sullivan’s correct:  in order to verify, we have to investigate, then let the chips fall where they may.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

“Torture” memos

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Get your copy of the latest four to be released here.

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Nanny? Manny? More Muckroom Nonsense

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Perhaps somewhere in your subconsciousnesses,Dear Gentle Reader(s), a synapse will react to the political right’s occasional lamentation of how shockingly our nation has become a “nanny state.”  They complain of too much coddling of the proletariat by the various social safety nets we have constructed.

No longer.

By way of a commentary by one of the most esteemed right wingers in the nation, one George Will, the right has lost the ability to cast a disapproving sneer at the state’s willingness to take responsibility for others.  Mr. Will, it seems wants to forbid adult males, of whatever political persuasion, the ability to decide on the cloth with which to drape his body.

That’s right.  Will wants to deny denim.

Try this for an opening paragraph:

On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim.

The article then becomes a snob fest.

It provides an opportunity for a liberal to give a full-throated hoot, too.

Given all the problems with which the nation has to deal, is this the best to which a pre-eminent mind of the right can rise?  Our problems can be solved by panting the male population with khaki? Or 80% cotton, 20% polyester?

We’re in trouble.  There is no longer a thinking party of loyal opposition.

Trust, but verify (before you believe anything any right winger tries to tell you.)

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Silent Minority

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Here, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is a quote from today’s New York Times,

In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said…Iraq remains religious, conservative — and still violent…The killers, the police say, are not just Shiite death squads, but also tribal and family members shamed by their gay relatives. (And the recent spate of violence has seemed aimed at more openly gay men, rather than homosexuality generally.)

Here is the web site for CAIR today.  On it you will find no sense of outrage at the grotesque treatment of openly gay Iraqis egged on by religious leaders, “Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society.”

Condemn the religious who foment murder in all its manifrestations, CAIR. 

Until they do, DGR(s),

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Abashment, self-inflicted

More often than one cares to admit, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there happens a moment of uncharitable thinking which brings a twinge of…not quite…shame to oneself.

Vz., for instance, my reaction to an article in the on-line Advocate.

The story delineates, briefly, the misadventures of one J.A. Ovalle who had the misfortune to chat on-line with a faux 15-year-old girl.  You know where this is going.  No biggie, right?  Wrong!  The “girl” was really an undercover female police officer.  Still no biggie?  Try this:  J.A. works for the Spanish-speaking arm of…wait for it…Focus on the Family!

Gee, a potential statutory rapist working for a self-proclaimed Christian family organization.  Who woulda thunk it.

The cherry on the sundae, so to speak, is a quote from one Gary Schneeberger, spokesman for FotF, “We’re shocked.”

Doubtless.  (And sweeeeet!)  (Not to mention dumb, dumb, dumb.  Hasn’t every ephebophile in the world watched those sting programs like “To Catch a Predator”?)

Ol’ Gare once worked here in the Coachella Valley for The Desert Sun.  He convened a committee of locals to give some input to the paper back in 1999.  I liked him very much.  Then he left the paper, got married, and became something hardly recognizable—a spokesman for a fundie Christianist organization.

Review your life, Gary, ol’ pal.

Certainly review the harm your organization does.

And as for the other “Christians” in your group,

Trust, but verify.

As for me,

I’m so ashamed!


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