Saturday, May 06, 2006

And Then Sometimes, The Tumblers Click...

California Episcopals could elect gay bishop Saturday

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Episcopal Diocese of California began voting on Saturday to elect a new bishop and could widen the rift over homosexuality within the global Anglican Communion of 77 million if it selected one of three openly gay candidates.

No gay or lesbian cleric has been elected bishop since the consecration of Eugene Robinson in 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire threw the U.S. church and the worldwide family of Anglican churches into turmoil.
Maybe, just maybe, we're starting to get Jesus' real message out there. Love. Tolerance. Peace.

A Very Tough Day

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

So today, I've spent the day wondering.....

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"

I staggered back to the underground
And the breeze blew back my hair
I remember throwin' punches around
And preachin' from my chair

Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who the fuck are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
'Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

I took the tube back out of town
Back to the Rollin' Pin
I felt a little like a dying clown
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin

I stretched back and I hiccupped
And looked back on my busy day
Eleven hours in the Tin Pan
God, there's got to be another way

Who are you?
Ooh wa ooh wa ooh wa ooh wa ...

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?


I know there's a place you walked
Where love falls from the trees
My heart is like a broken cup
I only feel right on my knees

I spit out like a sewer hole
Yet still recieve your kiss
How can I measure up to anyone now
After such a love as this?

Sounds like me...Thank you, Jesus, for this strength you've given me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Don't Be Shtupid, Be A Shmarty....

Principal bars Coral Springs student from singing anti-Bush song at talent show

By Jamie Malernee
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

May 5, 2006

A 10-year-old Coral Springs girl won't be allowed to sing a controversial President Bush-bashing ballad at her school talent show after her principal deemed it inappropriate and too political.

The song, Dear Mr. President, performed and co-written by the singer Pink, criticizes the president for the war in Iraq and other policies, including his stance on gay rights.

Parent Nancy Shoul says her daughter Molly should be lauded for choosing lyrics that are full of substance rather than pop music fluff. She said the principal's ban sends a bad message and violates her daughter's right to free speech.

"If this was a student singing a pro-administration song, no one would quibble with it," Shoul said. "The principal is just running scared and doesn't want to upset any parents."

The principal of Park Springs Elementary, Camille Pontillo, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Gee...what a shock...

The lyrics to said song? I got your hookup...

"Dear Mr. President"
(feat. Indigo Girls)

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you
I'm sorry, those are offensive lyrics? An email from the principal cited the word "hell" as being in the song. It's likely also in the sermon the pastor at the local Baptist "soul crematorium," and in seven of seven shows on television at night, including ones on the so-called "conservative network," Fox. That's a grasp for a straw and a very short one, too.

Maybe we could rewrite a more appropriate song for these jackasses in Florida?

Heil to the Chief, He's the Chief we all "Sieg Heil" to....

There. Much better. Sing on, Molly!

, ,

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Finalists For Husband Of The Year....

First up, Lazlo Keepherinthecartic of Serbia!

From Ireland! Sean O'Shityerabastard!

Lastly, from Greece! Antonio Gotmywifetopullforus!

Hm. Maybe There's Hope For The Little Guy Yet...

Happy returns for acquitted tax accountant

Newsday Staff Writer

May 4, 2006

A Bay Shore accountant has been acquitted of income-tax evasion charges after he filed returns for 36 clients claiming that salaries cannot be legally taxed.

But don't get ready to go rushing out to your tax preparer next April. While the tactic initially saved the clients $500,000 in taxes, the Internal Revenue Service has since required them to pay tax on their salaries, according to court records.

The acquittal Tuesday by a jury in U.S. District Court in Central Islip was the second time in three months that the government has failed to convict Paul Petrino of charges of aiding and abetting false tax filings from 1999 to 2001. His defense was based on arguments from the tax-protester movement, which questions the validity of the federal income tax laws. Petrino prepared the returns in his home office and most of his clients were from Long Island.

[...]The jurors who acquitted Petrino, who faced 61/2 years in prison, were angry that they had to do so, Fink acknowledged after speaking with them yesterday. But he said they accepted his argument that there was "reasonable doubt" that his client was intentionally committing a crime.
So he wasn't acquitted for filing false returns, just for not being deliberate about it? Interesting.
The tax-protest movement has made a number of arguments to contend that the federal income tax law is illegal or that citizens are not required to pay income taxes. But courts have ruled the arguments frivolous, according to federal officials and tax law experts.

In Petrino's case, he told his clients of one theory common in the tax-protest movement: that wages and salaries are not taxable because they are simply a return for an individual's labor -- "his blood, sweat and tears," according to Fink.

Petrino reported his clients' salaries on the line on the income tax form that called for it -- Line 7, according to court records, but then declared the exact amount as a loss on the line for other income -- Line 21, according to court records.
Now, let me weigh in a little with what scant expertise I have in this field.

The IRS and many courts have deemed the argument that wages are not taxable as a form of standardized barter invalid, since barter transactions are subject to tax. The special case usually raised by people protesting the income tax on salaries is that it is impossible to determine whether the barter in this case-- labor for money-- was a net profit or loss for the wage earner (which is why this idea works as declaring income on line 7 and deducting it on line 21, "Other Income" as a loss.)

Many of us would even make the argument that, since the transaction is a wash, we should get an additional deduction for the opportunity cost (what you might call "time spent working") that prevents us from earning other forms of income.

Naturally, since the income tax is vital to the operations of the country, no court in its right mind is going to rule in favor of this viewpoint. Still, it's an interesting issue that a candidate for office might consider raising and running on.

And also might form the basis of a mass protest of wage earners in the nation: since Bush has deemed fit to give away the tax-farm to the wealthy in terms of estate taxes and capital gains taxes, as a protest we could organize a one-year moratorium on paying income taxes on this basis.

In this case, 36 people were caught. Imagine if it was 36 million people? It would be kind of hard to prosecute all of us, and it might force a reconsideration of the heavily wealth-biased tax code in favor of a more fair, more progressive code.

We ought to think about this a bit, don't you think?

, ,

London Calling

I thought I'd share these rather queer little photos from London. What strange event occured that has a wooden rocket landing in the middle of Pall Mall???

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

And This Is A Bad Thing....How?

O'Reilly alleged immigrant protest "organizers" have hidden "hardcore militant agenda" to take back American Southwest
I'd gladly give back Texas, much of Arizona (except Tucson, but that's as a personal favor to one of my readers), and some of New Mexico (except maybe Santa Fe), and get rid of much of the cracker, redneck scum that inhabits this nation.

Oh...and I'll throw Oklahoma into the deal if you let us annex Cabo San Lucas...

, ,

Stephanie Miller on CNN

She had a bit of fun with two FReepers and Lou Dobbs last night over Colbert's performance Saturday night (hat tip to Katrina):

Mark Simone. I'm truly disappointed. He was a DJ on my favorite punk rock station way back in the day.


Uh oh....Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Maybe this is why they try not to let him get off the leash too often:
W's anthem-nesia:
He sang in Spanish


WASHINGTON - President Bush says the national anthem should only be sung in English, but he was apparently singing a different tune during his first run for President and at his inaugural festivities.

On the campaign trail in 1999, Bush would often sing along as the national anthem was sung in Spanish during stops in Hispanic communities, GOP scholar Kevin Phillips wrote in his book "American Dynasty."

After Bush was elected, Cuban exile and pop vocalist Jon Secada also sang the "The Star-Spangled Banner" in both English and Spanish at the 2001 opening ceremony of the presidential inaugural, according to media reports at the time.

The White House had no immediate comment, claiming it was unaware of the reports of those instances, which Democrats and their allies eagerly shared with reporters.

Bush and Secada sang the actual national anthem in Spanish, and not the new song with different lyrics and music that has angered many English-speaking Americans.

Nonetheless, Bush still appeared to have amnesia when he suggested last week that the "The Star-Spangled Banner" is an English-only tune.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," Bush said.
This is now two books written by Phillips has written that can be used against Bush. Next thing you know, Phillips will be on David Horowitz' list of the most dangerous liberals in America...

I bring this up, because it's been fun watching die-hard conservatives go Nomad on this piece of information: "But it's an English song... but my president sang it in Spanish...error....error....faulty...FAULTY...."

Praying The Problem Goes Away

What is the role of government?

Conservatives and liberals lock horns over this question constantly, the extreme positions being "protect us militarily and get out of the way" (conservative) to "any problem that can be solved by large infusions of cash" (liberal).

Neither extremist position truly appeals to me, but I think one thing most reasonable people can agree upon is that, when it comes to a crisis, the federal government's job is to prevent the problem and should it happen anyway, offer solutions that work.

So imagine my surprise this morning to read this:
Report: Federal Bird Flu Aid May Be Tough

AP Medical Writer

May 3, 2006, 6:35 AM EDT

WASHINGTON -- States, cities and businesses should not expect to be rescued by the federal government if a flu pandemic strikes, warns a draft of the latest national response plan, one already under fire from critics who say federal preparations are moving too slowly.
Ya huh. In other words, "Don't mind us, we'll be praying for you!"

To continue:
On Wednesday, the Bush administration will update the $7.1 billion pandemic preparations it proposed last fall, an incremental step that basically outlines exactly which government agency is responsible for some 300 tasks. [....]

Once a pandemic begins, expect massive disruptions with as much as 40 percent of the work force off the job for a few weeks at a time, even if the government slowed the spread by limiting international flights, quarantining exposed travelers and otherwise restricting movement around the country, the document says.

"Local communities will have to address the medical and nonmedical impacts of the pandemic with available resources," the draft warns, because federal officials won't be able to offer the kind of aid expected after hurricanes or other one-time, one-location natural disasters.

A flu pandemic instead would roll through the country, causing six to eight weeks of active infection per community.
OK, so what is the Bush administration going to rely upon?
The report aims to energize the private sector, noting that 85 percent of the systems that are vital to society, such as food production, medicine and financial services, are privately run. Those businesses must ensure that power stays on and food is shipped even if 40 percent of their workers are absent because they're ill, caring for sick relatives or other pandemic upheaval.

But the report doesn't actually put anyone in charge of checking whether vital businesses are heeding these warnings.
"Doin' a heckuva job there, Brownie," musta caught up with these lemme see...I can just imagine an executive from Citicorp running over to Big Allis in Queens to ensure that the generators are working, probably priming the pump to put a little more fuel into the system to get his computer system up, but um, oh, gee, is that the wire to Chase Bank headquarters?

Sharight. Let's put the market forces to work on this! And then run and hide...but wait! There's some good news to be had!

[A] survey that found 66 percent of mid- to large-sized companies have made no preparations, said former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, whose new Deloitte Center for Health Solutions conducted the survey.
Tommy Thompson found a job!

Now, contrast that with another pandemic affecting American society, one I'd argue is even HARDER to control and more insidious, and certainly more obvious: childhood obesity.
Nearly All Sodas Sales to Schools to End

Associated Press Writer

May 3, 2006, 8:31 AM EDT

NEW YORK -- The nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public schools, according to a deal announced Wednesday by the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Under the agreement, the companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks to elementary and middle schools, said Jay Carson, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.
(emphasis added) Do you see how it's done, Mr. Bush? Even a former President carries enough influence and power to pressure soft drink manufacturers to change their evil, short-sighted, market-driven ways for the greater good of Americans.

It's too bad we don't have a real President in office, one to whom this story would raise an alarm:
Study Shows Americans Sicker Than English

Associated Press Writers

May 2, 2006, 10:47 PM EDT

CHICAGO -- White, middle-aged Americans -- even those who are rich -- are far less healthy than their peers in England, according to stunning new research that erases misconceptions and has experts scratching their heads.

Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer -- findings that held true no matter what income or education level.

Those dismal results are despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens.
So much for private health care beating nationalized medicine, huh?

, ,


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In Re: Stephen Colbert

The single best, most incisive review I've read about the Correspondent's Dinner (and no, Mr. Wolcott, sir, this has nothing to do with the piece I wrote on spec for VF....but if you have a minute...)
A note about the Stephen Colbert monologue at the Correspondents' Dinner that Elisabeth Bumiller seems to have slept through face-down in her entree. No question the stint played better on TV than it did in the room with C-SPAN cutting to gowned lovelies in the audience with glaceed expressions and tuxedo'd men making with the nervous eyes, but to say he "bombed" or "stunk up the place" (Jonah Goldberg's usual elegance) is wishful thinking on behalf of the wishful thinkers on the right, who have nothing but wishful thinking to prop them up during the day.

I know what bombing looks like. It looks like Don Imus when he did a standup monologue before President and Hillary Clinton, and went over so badly that sweat broke out in rivulets down his face and in parts unseen. What triggered the perspiration cascade was a sexual innuendo about how Clinton rooted for his favorite football team by yelling, "Go baby!" at the TV, which Imus remarked was probably not the first time he had voiced such a giddyup--an allusion to Clinton's poontang exploits, if you'll pardon the expression. Imus gave such a crass performance and caused such embarrassment to himself and everybody in the room that there were calls for apologies and he was in danger of being as contaminated as Whoopie Goldberg and Ted Danson briefly were after their unfortunate blackface episode.

See, that was Colbert's mistake. He didn't slip in any smutty lines. Had he done so, his standup would have been impossible to ignore as the Fox News hotheads would have gone into full outrage mode to defend the honor of Laura Bush and her virgin ears. Instead, Colbert was cool, methodical, and mercilessly ironic, not getting rattled when the audience quieted with discomfort (and resorting to self-deprecating "savers," as most comedians do), but closing in on the kill, as unsparing of the press as he was of the president. I mean no disrespect to Jon Stewart to say that in the same circumstances, he would have resorted to shtick; Colbert didn't. Apart from flubbing the water-half-empty joke about Bush's poll ratings, he was in full command of his tone, comic inflection, and line of attack. The we-are-not-amused smile Laura Bush gave him when he left the podium was a priceless tribute to the displeasure he incurred. To me, Colbert looked very relaxed after the Bushes left the room and he greeted audience members, signed autographs. And why wouldn't he be? He achieved exactly what he wanted to achieve, delivered the message he intended to deliver. Mission accomplished.
Wolcott nails it, and it's how I saw the monologue. Colbert studiously avoided his in-room audience, knowing he was playing to the bloggers (or Blogtopia©, as Skippy likes to say) and to the viewers of the Daily Show and Colbert Report. He zinged and manhandled (in a totally non-Brokeback Mountain way) the Bully-In-Chief and his minions and orcs, the press.

How do we know he scored and scored big? Well, as Wolcott points out, the crowd IN the room became hushed, near silent, and yet Colbert didn't resort to "Is this thing on?" humour. But more...he was totally ignored in the media the next news cycle, which chose to focus on the air-fluff impersonator (who the fuck was that, anyway, and couldn't they have found a funnier one?) miming the near-unmimable. I mean, after all, how do you mimic a man who is a cartoon of himself?

I suspect that, had there been an antechamber where hoi polloi could stand and listen to his performance being piped in, you would have heard the echoes of riotous laughter ringing in the silence of the hall (and picked up by C-Span's mikes, no doubt), punctuating the lack of humour and deep fear that the audience in the room must have been feeling, as truth showed up like Carrie in her goat-blood drenched dress.

Remember when Jon Stewart (again, Wolcott is spot-on in his assessment of Stewart's likely reaction) hosted the Oscars and kept trying to toss off self-deprecating one-liners? And how the press and television commentators the next day remarked how "unremarkable" this supposed scion-of-Carlin-crossed-with-Maher was?

Colbert? Nothing. Why? They "got" him. And they realized he wasn't trying to be funny.


Limbaugh: "Case closed. Story's over. I won."

In case you hadn't heard, Friday night, Rush was arrested (again!) for possession of large quantities of the prescription medication, OxyContin...note, that's OxyContin, not Oxy10, the acne medicine, anyway...Rush got away with a slap on the wrist: he's under probation and has to submit to random drug tests for the next 18 months. He's claiming that as a victory, despite
[A] spokesman for the state attorney characterized the agreement, which, as Limbaugh noted, requires him to undergo random drug tests, as "standard for someone who is dealing with their addiction," according to an April 29 Associated Press story.

Hmmmmmm, "declaring victory," huh?

Well, if Rush can do it, so can I!

You may recall a post I made several weeks back inviting my female readers (and I know there's a LOT of you out there...) to vote for me as the Sexiest Male Blogger.

Unfortunately, despite mounting a serious, last minute comeback (my entry was submitted five days after everyone else's) that saw me just eking ahead of the front runner at the time, some wife-beatin' shirt wearing cugine named "Mr. Wonderful," the blog that sponsored the contest shut down.

So, I'm declaring victory and appointing myself


....even tho my agreement is standard for someone who's contest was cancelled in midstream (e.g. other loserboys).

Oh...any ideas for a logo?

Won't You Please Help

AgitProp is engaged in an humanitarian effort to send relief to a certain troubled and pained individual who has just lost his job and possibly his family, if recents comments about him are true.

Please. Click and help.

This Looks Like A Job For Captain Obvious!

Historians give President Bush a failing grade

May 2, 2006

ALBANY - If his presidency ended now, Republican George W. Bush would go down in history as a failure, according to a majority of college history and political science professors surveyed nationwide.

And, 67 percent of the 744 professors responding to the survey conducted by Siena College's Research Institute said they doubted Bush "has a realistic chance of improving his rating" during his remaining time in office.
Gee....what do ya think clued them in?
The Bush standing among the professors has, like his public opinion poll ratings, dropped dramatically since the days following Sept. 11, 2001, and the problems following the Iraq invasion.
Let's see...a barely-elected President comes to office. The worst tragedy to ever occur on this nation's soil happens. He handles it...well, better than I expected, but you'd think the way the "white-ringers" talk about it, he was a combination of John Wayne and Winston Churchill...except...
In Siena's 2002 ranking of all the nation's 42 presidents, Bush came in mid-pack at No. 23, one spot behind his father.
Whoops. Well, I guess then we see precisely how badly he wanted to outdo his daddy, huh?
"That was shortly after 9/11," said Douglas Lonnstrom, director of Siena's research institute. "Clearly, the professors do not think things have gone well for him in the past few years."
You can always count on a history professor to understate things.
Of those professors responding to the survey in February, 58 percent said that if the Bush presidency were to end now it would be rated a failure while 24 percent said it would rate "below average." Two percent said it would rate as "great" while another 5 percent said "near great." Eleven percent said the Bush presidency would rate "average."
So 82 percent think he's been horrible, & eleven percent think he's done about average. So basically, 93 percent think you could replace Bush with Millard Fillmore or even Richard Nixon and the nation would be better off, while nearly 60 percent think you could replace Bush with a filing cabinet.

, ,

Monday, May 01, 2006

Colbert Than Alaska In January

I found the entire Colbert performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner (in an unusual bit of posting, Crooks and Liars only posted half of it, and the video is of poor quality):

Colbert: Part I

Colbert: Part II

Also, someone at Kos posted a complete transcript. It's funnier live, but some of the jokes come across more clearly in print.


Bathed In Light

It's hard to believe she's only 75 years old. It seems as though this building, so closely associated with New York City, has been standing here since Verrazano sailed into the harbor in 1525. Its lights beckon us to reach higher, be stronger, try harder. These lights have thrilled people from around the nation and around the globe. If a building can be an icon, then certainly the Empire State Building is the very essence of that word.

As it rises almost 1,500 feet from the street level, it's soaring majesty commands attention without demanding it.

Built at the height of the Depression, for no other reason than it had to be built...there was no overwhelming economic force at play, no urban planning model that demanded such a structure, no governmental edict...this building has faltered, struggled, renewed and revitalized itself, and is now poised to step towards eternity as a thriving entity, modern-yet-classic, bold-but-familiar.

These lights, this building, has told people with its quiet grandeur and magnificence, that yes, you too can make it here.

And so I find the coincidence almost karmic that this emblem of this great immigrant city is celebrating it's 75th birthday on a day when immigrants from around the world gather to protest attempts to criminalize them.

I often spend time at the observation decks of the building (I carry my executive pass around in my wallet), and rather than look out, I look inward. I observe the families and school groups gather around the walls and windows, excited and nervous, pointing out this landmark, that building. Often, the most vibrant corner of the tower is the one facing northeast, towards the Chrysler Building, the only building that, even when the Trade Center towers stood, truly rivaled the Empire State Building in height (the WTC being so far downtown, you couldn't grasp the magnitude of those buildings from midtown).

At night, the lights of the city burn like embers from a fire scattered about this gray lady, warming her in their glow and people are hushed as they scan the horizon.

And I look even further inward, and find that I too am awestruck by this building. Ignore the physical accomplishment of raising it, or the demands it requires for maintenance and security. Put aside the sheer physical presence, and contemplate the metaphysical: it towers above the towering city of North America. To stand on the tower is to reach up and nearly touch God himself, to catch that falling star and put it in your pocket.

To glimpse immortality.

tags technorati :

A Lesson In Reading Between The Lines

This was a fairly innocuous story, as stories go:
Suozzi pushes gay bill revote

Newsday Staff Writer

April 30, 2006

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who did not offer support for a domestic partnership registry bill narrowly defeated last week in the county legislature, promised he will try to get another vote on the measure.

"No I didn't lobby for it," he admitted on TV yesterday. "I thought it was going to pass." Suozzi, who is seeking the Democrat Party nomination for governor, told viewers of the WCBS-TV interview show "Kirtzman and Company" that he would urge lawmakers to bring the measure up again for a vote.

In the past, Suozzi has said he opposes gay marriage, but supports giving gay couples some legal rights, such as access to their partner in a medical crisis, something the registry would have provided.

Suozzi spokesman Bruce Nyman said yesterday that Suozzi's position was clear. "He always was in favor of the registry," Nyman said. "The only reason he didn't intervene was that he had assurances from the Democratic leadership that the bill was going to pass."

The nine members of the legislature's Republican minority voted against the bill. Of the 10 Democrats, one voted against it and one abstained.

Legis. Joseph Scannell (D-Baldwin) voted for the bill in committee in April, but against it last Monday. He has said he cast the "no" vote because he is Catholic and his district is heavily Catholic.
OK, so the County Executive screwed up, and now he's got the embarassing task of re-voting a bill that he wanted passed in the first place.


Well, not so fast now. Let's take a look at the context: first, note that he is a candidate, albeit a dark horse, for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Next, look at the fact that this is a political machine that he has engineered over the past several years to dominate Nassau County politics, which because of its suburban demographic, has tended to skew more conservative than New York City, to the point that several moderate Republicans have been County Exec in the past. This machine of his is (or maybe I should say, was) poised to bring down Congressman Peter King, a hard-line, hard-nose Republican and strong Bush backer.

His struggling candidacy for governor is far oversahdowed by Eliot Spitzer, who should win the nomination and the general election in a walk. Suozzi's best bet in this campaign would be to run hard, run a little right of Spitzer (hard, because while Eliot is clearly liberal, he's also got some chops as a prosecutor, which automatically makes him attractive to more conservative elements), and don't screw up, so that in the unlikely event of a Spitzer stumble this year, he could run in four years as the nominee-apparent, or even challenge for Chuck Schumer's Senate seat in 2008.

The one thing Suozzi cannot afford is to be seen as ineffective, or worse, managing a bunch of rebellious little children, an impression the Republicans have managed to raise with this stunt (right....Scannell changed his vote for his district...) and past stunts regarding the leadership of the county board.

The clue to all this?
During the show, Suozzi also predicted that despite poor poll numbers and weak intraparty support, he would win the party's nomination for governor. Later in the show, in a separate interview, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a supporter of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer -- the Democratic party's front-runner for the nomination for governor -- dismissed Suozzi's efforts to petition his way onto the primary ballot.

"There will be more powerful Democrats in office after November's election," Silver said. "Fortunately Tom Suozzi will not be among them."
Emphasis added, but hardly needed.

Talk about being slapped down!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Wimp Factor

Shouldn't real men be able to admit they made a mistake and need help? Rummy & Co. bullied the UN and treated allies like doormats before the war, thinking they could do everything themselves, thanks to the phony optimistic intelligence fed to them by the puppet Chalabi. No wonder they're meeting with a cold response as they slink back.
Shouldn't real men be reducing the numer of Middle East terrorists rather than increasing them faster than dragon's teeth?
Could the real men find some real men?
(From Bushworld, by Maureen Dowd) A fish rots from the head.

Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, schooled at Andover, Harvard, and Yale, he was a cheerleader, and "commissioner" of a stickball league (because unlike his dad, he had no real athletic talent,) George W. Bush claims to be a real Texas rancher, yet has never milked a cow. I'm not even sure he owns more than a head of cattle and a sheep, or more than one horse. He sure does wield a mean chainsaw at brush that any real man could clip with a pair of shears and a hacksaw.

Five years into this national nightmare, something has begun to crystalize in my mind: the guy's a wimp!

In 1987, Newsweek magazine published an issue which featured as its cover story The Wimp Factor, a treatise on Bush the Elder, which raised such hackles in the by-then floundering administration that the President himself memorized how many times the word wimp appeared in it, and called the publisher and editorial staff to a meeting and blasted them.

W. was a large part of that meeting. Even today, he claims he can't think about that article without his blood pressure jerking skyward. I think we see why now. Let's make the case.

First off, overreactions to a name like "wimp" can only mean one thing: a deep sensitivity to the word itself; in other words, fear that it might be true. For Bush 41, he was afraid that his moderate policies and lack of interest in domestic affairs translated into him being afraid of his own people. But why would Bush 43 have such a big problem with his father being called a wimp, especially in light of his repudiation of all things 41?

I'm not sure it's about Dad, in this case. I think perhaps he irrationally assumed that he, Bush 43, was being called a wimp, long before anyone thought to do so to a drunk cocaine-sniffing ne'er-do-well. Who dodged military service. Got into colleges on his daddy's name. Failed in businesses left and right. Had to rely on Saudi oil money to bail him out. Uh oh. Looks like maybe it wasn't so irrational after all.

I mean, what can be said about a guy who cheats to get elected? First, during the 2000 primaries, when it looked like McCain would have the nod locked up (and thus, we might have had a campaign with substance and debate as opposed to pandering nattering nabobs of Clinton-negativity), stories start "popping up" about an illegitimate black baby in his past (actually, he adopted the kid from Bangladesh in order to get her proper medical care). Or a guy who actually had to have his brother hand him the election by forcing the vote count to go his way? Or have a bunch of lying weasels make up stuff about his next opponent, John Kerry?

Corruption stems from fear, a fear of losing power. Greed is not good. Greed is fear.

Embodying this concept is the decision the Supreme Court handed down in "Bush v. Gore" in 2000, which essentially said "We declare George Bush the President, but the basis of this decision shall not be used in the future to set precedents." Meaning in their greed for power, the Bush's were afraid that this might be thrown back in their faces in subsequent elections (and it nearly was in 2004.)

More fear: On September 11, as the country was being attacked by terorrists, in a fashion that he had been warned about, did he react? Did he stop what he was doing and scramble Air Force One, the most protected airliner in the world, head back to DC, and take command?

No. First he sat stunned. Not angry, stunned, in a classroom for dozens of minutes, staring blankly into space while he digested what was occuring. Despite the fact that he had a full fighter escort and there was no evidence to suggest a military operation attacking our nation-- indeed, the available evidence suggests he knew that it was terrorists hijacking commercial airliners-- he then got on Air Force One and began to play "Find the P", shuffling around the country from airbase to airbase in a desperate attempt to hide from possible attack. No words of reassurance to the American people were to come from his office that day, the most frightening in this nation's history.

Not a surprising reaction, when you consider that he ducked military service, opting instead to protect Texas from warlords of Oklahoma. Mind you, his "wimp" dad flew combat missions over Korea and was actually shot down once. Mind you, he viciously attacks any critic or opponent of his who served by turning their military history back on them. Sounds like a little scared bully to me.

A thrice-failed businessman, he had to be bailed out by friends in Saudi Arabia. Harry Truman almost filed bankruptcy, but he managed to pay each and every person he owed money to back every dime they lent his business, without a bailout. Dubya drilled dust holes in Texas, and Saudis flew in bags of money to support him. That's right: the nation that owns a quarter of the world's oil reserves was helping Bush find a few barrels in the Texas plains.

He couldn't testify in front of the 9/11 commission (which he first opposed, then insisted upon) alone. He redacted 28 pages of the initial Congressional investigation into 9/11 to soothe Saudi concerns regarding detailed connections made between the 9/11 hijackers, Osama bin Laden and the Sauds.

He chided America's addiction to oil, then had to turn around and reassure the Sauds that we would continue to buy oil at the levels we had been, and then signed an energy bill from Cognress that included enormous giveaways to the oil industry less than 2 weeks later.

So much of this administration has been done out of public scrutiny and when you look at the modality of operation and psychology, you begin to understand why: they're afraid. Rather than confront us with an ideology, something for the nation to engage in honest debate, policy is determined behind closed doors then rammed down our throats. It's no wonder to me that Bush opted to change this modality for the immigration debate, only to see it flounder and falter. He is desperately seeking a way to reconnect to the American people, but like the frat-boy antics in college that made him popular, then despised, his ways have worn thin.

I think the signal that we were wearing out on him happened during the 2004 campaign. Recall that audiences were forced to sign loyatly oaths in order to attend rallies for Bush/Cheney '04? That said to me there are people in the administration deathly afraid of legitimately voiced-concerns over policy. After all, Kerry didn't have such a fealty-driven pledge and none of his rallies were ever disrupted by hecklers or worse. But consider that even after his reinauguration, audiences were carefully handpicked to present policy initiatives like the Social Security fiasco.

Anyone who has legitimately criticized this administration from a position of knowledge has been marginalized, but mere citizens looking for explanations are excommunicated.

Even his legislative agenda, as co-opted as its been, has been done sneakily. He has never vetoed a bill, and has even signed bills he's said he disagreed with. But not content with that facade of democracy, he has attached signing statements to his signature, explaining precisely which part of each bill he was going to freely ignore, or detailing precisely how he planned to alter enactment of the bill to suit his agenda, thus taking away from Congress the power to enact legislation as it (and presumably the populace) sees fit.

I could go on and on about his intentions and then failures in the face of any real opposition, rather than fight a legitimate fight over something he believed in (Harriet Miers, anyone?). But this post has already extended past its bedtime.

Here in the final thousand days of Bush's presidency, we start to see history pronouncing its verdict. From Newsday this week:
There have been other moments in the Bush presidency when he could and should have moderated his ideology.

When Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore ended the divisive battle over hanging chads by conceding the bitter 2000 election, Bush could have done the statesmanlike thing. He could have acknowledged the near-even split in the country and sought common ground. He opted instead for radical, revenue-draining tax cuts.

Then there was 9/11. Most of the world shared our pain and outrage, and voters would have rallied around a call for shared sacrifice. Bush should have tapped that unity in the fight against terrorism. He opted for a divisive, pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. He could have sounded the charge for energy independence. He stumped instead for an energy bill rich in tax cuts for his oil-industry friends.

Finally, there was the moment after his 2004 re-election. With the war going badly, its costs and the federal government's red ink mounting, Bush should have reconsidered his tax cuts for the wealthy and put forward a plan to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. He pushed to make the tax cuts permanent and to privatize Social Security instead.

In each instance, Bush stuck to his conservative guns. Some voters applauded. Others retched. But it's no longer just a question of ideology.

With the administration's ineptitude in post-war Iraq and it's lethal bumbling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the issue now is simple competence. It's hard to avoid the sinking feeling that the country is being led down the wrong road by people who don't quite know what they're doing and refuse to listen to constructive criticism or to change course.

The question now isn't how to rescue the Bush presidency. It's how to rescue the nation.

Mendacity. What's the quote from "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof"?
Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game. Mendacity! You won't live with mendacity! Well, you're an expert at it. The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman you don't love any more. Truth is dreams that don't come true, and nobody prints your name in the paper till you die.
Mendacity = wimpitude. "W." stands for "wimp."