Friday, September 30, 2005

Not So Fast, Ahmed

No, I asked you who's the greatest living president on the cover of this book. Okay, here's a hint -- his name rhymes with "gorge tush".

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Awesome Power Of The Press

Pity poor Tom Delay for getting himself indicted after Hurricane Katrina finally woke the press up to its power and responsibilities. I mean, I realize they're hungry now and probably feel the need to make up for lost time... but this is ridiculous.



Come on, guys -- pace yourselves. We've got three more years of this crap.

Cute But Screwed

Poor kids. Better get ready for a lifetime of "Because I'm the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, that's why."

Oh Yeah, That Makes Sense


Car bomb onslaught kills at least 60 in Iraq

Bush's poll numbers up

Screw You, I'm Going Home

U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow stormed off the podium yesterday when the administration's new plan to deal with the nation's exploding deficit by printing really really big ten dollar bills was met with a decidedly lukewarm response. Plans to announce the administration's really really big photo of President Bush hugging a hurricane victim are, however, moving ahead as scheduled.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Monkey Business

Vice President Cheney awoke that morning with an extra spring in his step, only to have his spirits crushed when he realized he never got the memo that "Cane Day" had been cancelled.

Monday, September 26, 2005

All The News That's Fit To Be Tied

little bush.jpg

Here's the lede from a current Associated Press story:

"WASHINGTON (Sept. 26) - President George W. Bush urged Americans to cut back on unnecessary travel to make up for fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Rita as he prepared to take his seventh trip to the Gulf Coast."

Then a few grafs later:

"The president returned Sunday from a three-day trip in which he stopped in four cities that have been a base for government response to the storm. As he has in most of his previous trips to the areas hit by the hurricanes, Bush spent most of the time in meetings with state and local officials - many of them reporting by videoconference."

Um, think the press seems a little pissed off at George Bush?

Fun With Fotos

This from Drudge today:


But you may have missed this one:


Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Feel Your Pain

Not to question the crackerjack group that brought you pictures of the President playing guitar while New Orleans filled up with water or that shot of the Commander in Chief surveying the damage solemnly (but safely) from the window of Air Force One... but what exactly is the point of this picture, brought to you courtesy of the home page of the White House's very own web site?

President George W. Bush hugs a worker while
visiting with emergency personnel inside the

Texas Emergency Operations Center in Austin,
Texas, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005.

That he cares about office workers? That's he's mastered the fine and ancient art of the one-armed hug? That it was too sunny where his handlers had planned for a feel-good/look-good photo-op, so he banged a left and landed in NORAD's U.S. Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs and the nearest thing to a devastated hurricane survivor he could find was a stressed-out desk jockey? Trust me, I in no way mean to belittle anyone involved in the very real work of keeping our country and our citizenry safe... I only mean to belittle the people trying to look as if they are. And I'm sorry, but that's my only take-away from this...


... and this...



Saturday, September 24, 2005

Don't Need A Weatherman

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas on July 1, 2005: “I urge my colleagues to reject the politics of confrontation, and to adhere instead to the Senate role prescribed by the Constitution: the President’s [Supreme Court] nominee deserves nothing less than a prompt, respectful confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee and a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.”

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas in the New York Times today: "If the president doesn't nominate a solid nominee, that is going counter to what he campaigned on," Mr. Brownback said. And if such a nominee "involves a contentious battle, then let it be."

Hmm. "Prompt", "respectful" and "fair" is what he demands from opponents when he's certain of getting what he wants, yet "contentious", "battle" and "let it be" is where the man's thoughts and language go when things are in danger of not going his way. Interesting how the approach changes when the wind’s at your back and when the wind’s in your face.

Oh well. Guess one man's slippery flip-floppiness is another man's courageous moral stand.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Free Pass for Dads

President Bush on Thursday effectively laid the blame for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on three out of the four men who preceded him into office. Conveniently letting his father off the hook, Bush said mistakes made by Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton led terrorists to believe "we lacked the courage and character to defend ourselves", which in turn emboldened Al Qaeda to act.

Well, if nothing else, the President appears to have provided us with the answer to the burning question: So when exactly is the right time to "point fingers" and "play the blame-game"? Answer: When you're down to a 40% approval rate, 59% of the country considers the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake, the whole world has seen you stumble, bumble and sleepwalk your way through the recovery effort to Hurricane Katrina and the Republican leaders of the Senate, House and the White House are all under criminal investigation.

By the way, anybody seen this cocky guy lately?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Extended Republican Weather Forecast

rita.png rita2.png

Hurricane Rita is bearing down on the Gulf Coast and its Category 4 force winds should make landfall in southwest Louisiana and the upper Texas coast by early Saturday. Expect calls for the repeal of the estate tax to follow immediately, along with demands to make President Bush’s tax cuts permanent. Meteorologists are predicting coastal storm surge flooding of 15 to 20 feet above normal tide levels which will be accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves, but Congress is expected to withstand calls to cut pork-barrel projects out of the Federal Highway Bill to offset the billions to be spent for storm relief. Once again, Rita is an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane and Rep. Don Young (R., Alaska) has informed Americans who might want him to return the $223 million earmarked for his “Bridge to Nowhere” and redirect it to hurricane recovery efforts that they are welcome to "kiss my ear."

Stay tuned to further weather advisories, as a series of approaching tropical depressions may have a bearing on Social Security reform, school vouchers, prayer in school, the dismantling of environmental safeguards and the morning-after pill.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Well, Excuse Me

Anyone been feeling like the country’s being run by comedians but just didn’t have any concrete evidence to point to? And, of course, by "evidence" I mean besides this...


... or this...


... or this...


... or this...


Well, for me, proof came in Friday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times, when Jonathan Chait pointed out a Grover Norquist quote in a recent New York Times article. “Step one is you deal with the problem – rebuild New Orleans,” the Pied Piper of tax cuts and teeny-tiny government told the Times, “and step two, you enact economic policies so you can afford to rebuild New Orleans.”

Compare that statement with a quote from noted economist and financial whiz Steve Martin, cribbed from his wild and crazy, arrow-through-the-head days: “You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes,” Martin once opined. “You say, ‘Steve, how can I be a millionaire and never pay taxes?' First, get a million dollars.”

Are these people for real? We’re going to fight a $200 billion (and counting) war in Iraq and rebuild New Orleans from the ground up by growing our way out of it? Seriously?

In that case, let me be the first to nominate Steve Martin for President...


We could do worse.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Things That Need To Be Fixed #6

While in Hollywood today, I happened to be leaving a parking garage behind the CNN building and witnessed Ron Jeremy attempting to operate the brand spanking new parking ticket machine recently installed there.

From what I can gather, the machine spit out one of those not-so-new-anymore Sacajawea dollar coins, which apparently threw the Hedgehog, because he held up the offending coin. "What am I supposed to do with this?" he asked the attendant. "Who's going to take this?" Though he was clearly agitated, I was impressed that Mr. Jeremy chose not to use any profanity and seemed to understand that the attendant, while nominally in charge of the exit area, had little-to-nothing to do with the minting of the coin in question or its subsequent distribution.

Nonetheless, I believe the aging, hairy porn star speaks for all of us with his questions. Perhaps the U.S. Treasury should have considered offering some sort of manual or set of instructions covering the use of the super confusing dollar coin. (Is it a dollar? Is it a pancake?) That's screwed up and I think that needs to be fixed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Um, Ms. Rice?

But if you take a potty break, Mr. President, don't the terrorists win?

It's A Fine Line Between Stupid And Clever

The New York Times reported today that New York Governor George Pataki was in Iowa Tuesday "exploring" a presidential run in 2008. Uh, yeah. Right. Pataki is “exploring” a run in 2008 like I’m ”getting paid” to write this.

Anyway, Pataki did a good job of ticking off all the appropriate boxes. Bring up a personal connection to 9-11? Check. Trout out the “not the time to point fingers” Republican talking point? Check. Surround himself with a bunch of Cedar Rapids firefighters? Check, though I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume that whatever pictures might have been taken of him with his firefighters didn’t have the same impact as President Bush’s recent firefighter photo-op in New Orleans, which appears to have had the lovely and compassionate effect of pulling several brave and heroic first responders away from the ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, rendering them little more than an attractive and politically advantageous backdrop.

In any case, the truth is, I don’t have a problem with Gov. Pataki doing what he needs to do as he runs for… er, explores running for President. (Oh that's right, I forgot one… Deny that he’s a candidate for President for the United States? "There will come a time for politics, but 2008 is a long way away," he said. Check, check and double-check.)

What I do object to, however, is the shameful and disgraceful denigration of a modern American institution – namely the drugged out, groupie-obsessed rock star. Permit me to explain. According to the New York Times, starry-eyed Iowa State Senator Charles W. Larson Jr. of Cedar Rapids gushed that Gov. Pataki “has kind of a rock star quality”. Oh really? And exactly what kind of rock star, State Senator Larson, would that be? You won't hear me saying Pataki isn’t capable in his own way of “raising the roof” or “rockin’ the joint with his axe” or whatever it is the kids are calling it these days… but seriously, dude? Rock star quality?

So would that be, oh I don’t know… Bono rock star quality? Billy Joe Armstrong of punk band Green Day rock star quality? Or are we talking more, say, Hootie and the Blowfish rock star quality?

Because if State Senator Larson is right and Gov. Pataki is now the very quintessence of a rock star, doesn’t that mean that we should demand that our rock stars should now possess that certain “Governor of the State of New York” quality?

Consider it your move, Mr. Snoop Doggy Dog.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Just Askin'

Headline from The Independent:

Bra Wars Breakthrough Marred By Fake Goods Row

If the Bush administration had to go and get us mired in a war, why couldn't it be a Bra War instead of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Just askin'...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Witness to History

Last Wednesday night, I happened to be walking past the Shubert Theatre on 44th St. in New York City and I can personally verify that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice did, in fact, attend a performance of “Spamalot” in the midst of the ongoing crisis in New Orleans. Actually, if I'm being totally honest, all I can truthfully verify is that she walked out of the theater where "Spamalot" was being performed during the ongoing crisis in New Orleans. What Condoleeza Rice did or did not do while inside the Shubert Theatre I really can't say for sure. For all I know, she had her driver stop outside the theater so she could use the restroom. Not exactly sure why she'd want to do that since the restrooms are pretty tiny and the lines can get pretty long, especially during intermission. But as I like to say, to each his own.

Anyway, I'll be the first to admit that being there to witness Condi Rice leaving the Shubert Theatre isn't exactly on par with, say, being at the Polo Grounds when Bobby Thomson hit “the Shot Heard Round the World” or being inside Independence Hall to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence or something really historically important or significant like that.

All I am saying is that I was standing on the curb with my daughter (she and I had just seen the most delightful performance of “Avenue Q” – oh my stars and garters, those puppets say the filthiest things!) when word spread that "the Mayor" was inside and about to come out. Given that the most exciting thing I'd seen that day was Jason Alexander at a corner deli picking through the salad bar wearing a fanny pack, I decided to stick around and see what developed.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when it wasn't Mayor Bloomberg but the Secretary of State herself who minutes later burst through the theater's large double doors and was immediately whisked into a waiting black SUV by a bunch of big, beefy guys. Now, I'm assuming here that the big, beefy guys were Secret Service agents and probably weren't just some really helpful New Yorkers who happened to be dressed all in black, were talking into earpieces and appeared ready to punch my lights out if I got even one step closer. Then again, it was New York City so who the hell knows.

Anyway, when the crowd milling about realized who had just stepped out of the theater, it caused an impromptu anti-war protest to break out, if two or three people shouting “Get out of the war!” qualifies as an impromptu anti-war protest. In any case, the two or three get-out-of-the-war types were immediately answered by two or three pro-war types who started shouting “Shut up!” in response, though if I'm being fair, I shouldn't automatically label them "pro-war types", since there is the possibility that the “shut-uppers” weren't so much defending the Bush administration’s war policies as not wanting New Yorkers to come off as boorish, ill-mannered hosts who didn't know how to treat visiting dignitaries and heads of state.

In any case, I'm aware that Condi has gotten some criticism for attending a light musical comedy when the disaster in New Orleans was still going on. Personally, I understand the argument that the Secretary of State's bailiwick is foreign policy and that the woman really shouldn't be required to don sack and ash cloth every time there's trouble on the domestic front.

On the other hand, there's trouble and then there's trouble… and at the end of the day, L'Affaire de Spamalot does seem to have been kind of an unbelievably stupid (or if I'm being generous, an unbelievably insensitive) picture to present to the American public. So stupid (or insensitive), in fact, that I'm really quite shaken by it. Because for the past six years, I feel there have pretty much been two constants in my life. The first being that I've pretty much come to expect that I will consistently disagree with the current administration’s politics. Whatever they think, I pretty much hold the opposite to be true. Whatever legislation they propose, I'll undoubtedly find myself on the other side. Not because I reflexively need to disagree with them but because they're always wrong.

The second constant, of course, is the Administration's masterly ability to charm, manipulate and bullshit their way out of any situation, no matter how dire things appear or how contradictory the messages they put out. I may not like it but I sure have to hand it to them. Evil genius is genius nonetheless.

So what I find myself asking now is... what the hell has happened to them? When did they lose their game? When did the magic suddenly disappear from the wand? Because it's been months now of getting everything exactly wrong on the p.r. front. I mean, if you think of Bush and his people as carpenters (and I often do), it’s like they keep whacking themselves on the thumb with a hammer over and over and over and over again. It's one thing if I keep smacking myself. It's another if a master craftsman keeps smacking himself.

Here's what I mean. Take Condi going to see “Spamalot”. Like I said, on its own, not such a terrible thing. The woman's got a high-pressure job, she has a right to go out, enjoy herself once in a while, doesn't she? Not only that, the awful truth is... I was there, too. What I mean is, neither one of us was out that night collecting clothes or passing the hat to raise money for the newly displaced population of New Orleans. No, we were both taking in a frivolous but enjoyable night of theater. (Granted, I'm sure she had way better seats than me but I suppose that's only fair. If there was suddenly a crisis in, say, Borneo or the Middle East, it's probably in the country's best interest that Condi have an aisle seat down front so she can get out of there quickly so she can go put a fire out. All I really need to do is get back to let the dog out and he's a golden retriever so he has a pretty big bladder.)

But it's not just Condi's night out at "Spamalot" that's the problem. There’s also that picture of Bush playing the guitar and before you go nuts, yes, I’m aware that the shot was supposedly taken shortly after he gave some deadly earnest speech about how he intended to help the hurricane victims. But come on! What clown let that happen? Short of sticking him in a toga and putting laurel leaves on his head, how much closer to “Nero fiddles while Rome burns” can you get?!

Then of course there was the Cindy Sheehan fiasco, where the most relaxed president in the history of the presidency refused to leave his relaxing dude ranch vacation to meet with the mourning mother of a dead soldier. The woman had been sitting in a dirty ditch for god-knows-how-long and I'm telling you, Bush gives her five minutes and the goddamned thing is suddenly history. Hell, he could have rolled down the window of his limo and waved and Camp Casey shuts down pronto. But no -- the whole situation was dealt with so ham-handedly that I actually started feeling sorry for the… okay, so I never started feeling sorry for the guy. But thing could have been so easily defused that it made me, a liberal, want to tear my hair out.

Before that, of course, there was the stupid little verbal watusi Bush started doing during the height of the Valerie Plame/Karl Rove revelations. The President was so desperate not to get cornered into having to fire his trusted Turd Blossom that he couldn't stop defining and redefining the circumstances under which he sort of might kinda maybe boot out a member of his administration if they were ever found to be guilty of a criminal act -- and I repeat, it would have to be proven in a court of law to have been a criminal act and not one of those immoral-but-not-illegal bullshit loophole thingies.

So that's why I want to know when the hell it suddenly become amateur hour in the White House. I've known for the past six years that I was being handled and deceived and manipulated, but in a weird way I at least felt like I was in good hands. There was at least some comfort, cold as it was, in the knowledge that handling the p.r. aspect of things was something they knew how to do and do well. But now they're even screwing that up.

Why, I tell you, it's almost enough to make you stop believing in the political process.