Friday, May 26, 2006

Katrina-ravaged Libraries to Benefit From Washington Wives' Fashion Auction

I'd be remiss in my duties as an officer of the Fashion Police if I didn't give everyone a heads-up about the special designer-clothing auction going on over at eBay right now. The event is hosted by the Senate Spouses, and proceeds from the sale of these ladies' suits, gowns, dresses, and children's attire will buy books for school libraries devasted by Hurricane Katrina through the Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative. The fundraiser is being organized by the First Lady and the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.

Join the spouses of our United States Senatorsand help provide funds to buy books for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Working with the Laura Bush Foundation, the Senate spouses are auctioning 100 dresses they have donated. The auctions theme comes from the book, “The Hundred Dresses,” by Eleanor Estes which tells the story of a girl who owned just one dress but dreamed of having 100.


The Senate Spouses organization, known until the 1990s as the Senate Wives, dates back to World War I when the ladies of the Senate formed a Red Cross unit to support the allied cause. After the war, the group turned its attention to other causes. Eleanor Roosevelt initiated the First Lady’s involvement with the group in 1942 when she dropped by for lunch at one gathering, bringing her own sandwich.

Be forewarned: if you're more the leather mini-skirt or plunging-neckline Versace gown type, these offerings might not be for you. The clothes are conservative. Extremely conservative. (If you've ever spent time in Washington, you know what I'm talking about.) But if your line of work calls for outfits with simple lines, modest lengths, and/or quiet colors, there are some reasonably good deals on Valentino, Escada, and other designer goodies. Feel like splurging? The bright Chanel jacket above, one of Laura Bush's own, is hovering around $200 as I write; purchased at the boutique, it would cost ten times that much.

As for me, though, I prefer my vintage a bit older--as in 1940's suits and 1950's dresses--and my contemporary clothes a little closer-fitting.

I wonder if there will be an auction of Senate Mistresses' finery?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Litbrit's Belated Mothers' Day Present Wish List

  1. Rove indicted and forced to answer questions under oath; then charged, tried, and hauled away for life.

  2. Cheney subpoenaed and forced to answer questions under oath; then indicted, charged, tried, and hauled away for life.

  3. Rummy's head implodes during an especially tight squint.

  4. Condi has heart attack while on treadmill.

  5. Halliburton's worldwide assets seized and applied to funding universal health care program for Americans.

  6. The Great Decider decides to move back to Texas permanently; suffers fatal brush-clearing accident.

  7. Al Gore...well, you know.

Looks like #1 and #2 are distinct possibilities in the near future.

Mr. GoreMustRun

(With thanks to Simon & Garfunkel)

Al, won't you please run for President?
People love you more than you will know (whoa, whoa, whoa)
God bless you Al--run for President!
The country needs a leader--one with brains.
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

We'd like to have a little less intrusion in our files;
We'd like to make our choices for ourselves.
Look around you, all you see are hopeful, trusting eyes--
Stroll around the White House and you'll quickly feel at home.

Al, won't you please run for President?
People love you more than you will know (whoa, whoa, whoa)
God bless you Al--run for President!
The country needs a leader--one with brains.
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

Giving fifteen interviews on Sunday afternoon;
Going to the candidates' debate.
Call them out on anything:
The quagmires that we're in--
Every way you look at it, you win.

So come on Al--run for President.
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say? You'll be President?
All those evil thugs will go away?
(Hey, hey, hey...hip hip hooray!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If it Walks Like a Racist—or Drives a Border Patrol Buggy Like One

As if it weren't imbecilic enough to do something as flat-out ridiculous—not to mention futile—as buliding a fence (!) along the U.S.-Mexican border (or rather, contracting Halliburton to build it), our English-challenged president and his merry gang of Rethuglican senators are now busily working on legislation that will make English the official language of the United States. And no, I don't know what that means, or how it will be of any benefit—to anyone, anywhere—or how the government could ever conceivably enforce such a law.

But Molly Ivins, writing for Truthdig, says it so much better than I:

AUSTIN, Texas—Last week, Bush visited Yuma, Ariz., to tour a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border by Border Patrol buggy. Maybe Jorge was doing a little measuring for the $3.2-million-a-mile fence the Senate recently approved, which I guarantee will be really helpful.

Are they insane? As Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano observes, “Show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.”

Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate have constructively declared English the national language. That’ll fix everything. Every foreigner at our borders will stop and say: “Gosh, ma foi! English is the national language here. Good thing to know. I’ll begin speaking it immediately.”

Yes sir, you want a solution, call a Republican.

Indeed. But, as Molly points out, this anti-immigrant, anti-furriner mentality has got to go if President Bush is as committed to "protecting the American people" as he claims, and if Congress, too, is serious about mounting any real defense against extremist Islamic terrorism.

This is a war that is being fought with the wrong tools—and, in Iraq, at the wrong time, in the wrong place and against the wrong enemy.

It never did call for tanks, jets or carriers—just a combination of good detectives and good intelligence. In other words, smart, clever people with language skills. All of which we have fully available to us because of ... immigration. Lebanese, Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Pakistanis and Indonesians have all become Americans, and in so many cases we got the bravest of the brave—those who fought Saddam, the ayatollah and Assad, Lebanese who saw their country torn apart by religious factions. These are Americans who know the culture and language of the Middle East and other Islamic countries, and who care deeply about how it all comes out.

By all means, reform immigration with this deep obeisance to the Republican right-wing nut faction and their open contempt for “foreigners.” But do not pretend for one minute that it is not a craven political bow to racism (yes, racism—I am actually calling them racists, although they pretend it hurts their feelings. Try reading their websites and see for yourself), and to nativism, to xenophobia and to Know-Nothingism. Just don’t forget what you are throwing away in the process.

One has to wonder when they will wake up. Or perhaps a better question might be, When will we wake up from this bad dream?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Baghdad ER

This stunning HBO documentary should be required viewing for President Bush. And I would add that he should send his own children to serve in the military, as leaders before him have done—as even Britain's Royal family does, and has done.

That is all.

On Raising One's Voice (and Guitar) in Protest

Stephen and Thunderbird performing Oh Mary, Don't You Weep

As Shakes has often said, one of the best things about our corner of the Blogosphere is its community—in particular, the many intelligent and breathtakingly erudite readers who, in the process of sharing their thoughts, comments, and, indeed, their life experiences with one another on these pages, inspire, provoke, and educate us all. One such reader and ever-thoughtful commenter is Stephen Benson, a bilingual musician, composer, admitted bookworm, and Viet Nam veteran who lives a few miles from the Mexican border in Southern California. This weekend, Thunderbyrd's Restless Natives featuring Stevie B played the spiritual Oh Mary, Don't You Weep during their gig in Palm Springs. Stephen writes:

It's an old spiritual that was sung in the presence of Confederate troops by slaves. All about Pharoah's army coming to grief. It's been running around my head for the last couple of weeks. I was on my Strat (which I built myself) with my trusty Coriciden (an old decongestant) bottle for a slide. The crowd went apeshit when I got to the "raise your voices, take a stand" phrase; it really took me back to why I got into music--not just being out having fun, but saying something that has meaning and purpose.

Stephen provides the lyrics to the moving spiritual, which has been covered by countless musicians, including Bruce Springsteen:

If I could
I surely would
stand on the rock
where Moses stood.
Pharaoh’s army been drownded.
Oh mary don’t you weep
Oh, mary don’t you weep, don’t you moan
Oh, mary don’t you weep, don’t you moan
Oh, mary don’t you weep, don’t you moan
Pharaoh’s army been drownded, oh mary don’t you weep.

One of these days
in the middle of the night,
people gonna rise up
and set things right
Pharaoh’s army…

One of these days
you’ll hear the sound
all their walls
come a tumbling down,
Pharaoh’s army…

Sisters and brothers,
I know your names,
The rising blood
of all your pain,
Pharaohs army…

People from all
across the land,
Raise your voices
take a stand,

Pharaoh’s army...

(With thanks to Stephen for the photo and lyrics.)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Laura Teaches Us How to Drive Cook

I'd seen the main WhiteHouse-dot-org site before, but I had never ventured into The First Lady's Recipe Box. All I can say is, Mmmmm. Here's a sample recipe from that loveable Everymom:



Peel the plasticy (but, gracious, I think it is something else!)
outer layer off of 15 Slim Jims with a sharp knife or your teeth
Scrape out the wonderful filling with a grapefruit spoon and
place in ¼ cup of boiling water.
Cook until the water turns a brownish-yellowish-green (like
used chewing tobacco in the bottom of a Styrofoam cup).
Put 4 Tablespoons of the "Slim Jim Nectar" in a pan
Blend in 4 Tablespoons of flour, using a low heat, and stir until
Slowly stir in 2 cups of water and the rest of the Slim Jim Nectar
Boil for 5 minutes, stirring with the hand you are not smoking
Add 1 teaspoon of Gravy Master (my secret!)
Turn off the heat and add 2-3 cups (to taste) of Gordon's Vodka.

NOTE: Remember if you have to reheat the gravy, all the vodka will be burned off and it will be ruined.

Not to be missed: Laura's Smoked Turkey Freedom Fowl with nicotine patches.

(Hat tip to Linda in CT)

Friday, May 19, 2006

People in Gold-embellished Houses...

My friend Lisa in Baltimore sends this, from Betty Bowers: "The man on the left—the one wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lamĂ© gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a three-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz—is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

But...But...Carbon Dioxide is So Natural!

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is really a front group funded by Exxon Mobil and other Big Oil players, the concept of global warming is nothing more than a scary smear campaign against that most natural of compounds, carbon dioxide. And of course, they've begun their slick counterattack on science itself--indeed, against anyone who utters the phrase "Global Warming" or attempts to educate the public about the coming crisis if we don't address it right now (Al Gore, for example, in his lectures and much-anticipated movie An Inconvenient Truth)--by creating, in a pair of commercials, what has to be the most transparent and nauseatingly saccharine work of cinematic propaganda I have ever seen in my life. Watch the videos at Think Progress, who note:

The first ad portrays global warming science as a vicious smear campaign against carbon dioxide. The ad, which despite appearances is not an SNL parody, helpfully reminds us that carbon dioxide is “essential to life” because “we breathe it out.”

In the first clip, there are pretty children blowing dandelions, you know, to demonstrate the act of exhaling. There is a calm voice that tells us how natural carbon dioxide is. Of course it's natural. And before fossil fuels were burned in mass quantity, Earth's ecosystem was working quite nicely in that department, thank you. Animals, including humans, breathed in the oxygen produced by the plant kingdom; trees took in our exhaled carbon dioxide. The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere kept the planet's temperature within a range hospitable to life.

Then two things happened: deforestation and the advent of fossil fuels. Once we began burning petroleum products, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose dramatically. And little by little, so did the temperature of planet Earth.

Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising.

The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, it’s already happening and that it is the result of our activities and not a natural occurrence. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable.

We’re already seeing changes. Glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts is increasing.

All together now: Natural compounds in unnatural quantities can be very deadly.

In the second video, the Competitive Enterprise Institute asserts that glaciers are actually growing. And they reiterate the point that carbon dioxide isn't pollution, but rather, a natural substance: "They call it pollution; we call it life".

Although this campaign is an interesting mix of sickening, laughable, and desperate, it does speak to Big Oil's concerns about the effect numerous magazine cover stories, as well as Gore's movie, are already having on people with at least a few active brain cells in their skulls. As for the rest of the population (most of whom reside in Florida, I fear), they're cutting back on fuel consumption for less noble reasons: it costs too much.

Either way, the sticky, black writing is on the increasingly warm wall. Let's hope enough people are able to read it.

(A big hat-tip to Eric Wyatt)

UPDATE: Check out the superb script for a proposed counter-ad over at Global Warming Watch.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The FCC Gets Involved

It looks like the Federal Communications Commission is jumping into the warrantless wiretapping fray. Good for them (bolds mine):

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the telephone industry, should open an investigation into whether the nation's phone companies broke the law by turning over millions of calling records to the government, an FCC commissioner says.

The National Security Agency has been collecting records of calls made in the U.S. by ordinary Americans as part of its anti-terrorism efforts, according to USA Today. The newspaper story followed reports that the NSA has been conducting eavesdropping on the electronic communications of suspected al-Qaida members and their contacts in the U.S. without warrants.

Commissioner Michael J. Copps' comments also come as the three phone companies allegedly involved -- AT&T Corp., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. -- face a growing number of lawsuits by consumers. The latest, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, seeks billions of dollars in damages for violation of federal privacy laws.

''There is no doubt that protecting the security of the American people is our government's No. 1 responsibility,'' Copps, a Democrat, said in a statement. ''But in a digital age where collecting, distributing and manipulating consumers' personal information is as easy as a click of a button, the privacy of our citizens must still matter.''

Bravo, Mr. Copps. (Those who are so inclined may click on that link, read about Copps, and drop the FCC a quick email of support for holding the telecom giants accountable.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cable Companies Are Following the Law

If you're like me, you love your local cable provider. In my case, they provide not only a wide range of programming (though Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and Speedvision seem to get the most airplay in our house) and on-demand HBO reruns (so great for those bouts of insomnia when infomercials are the only things showing on most channels), but also super-speedy Roadrunner Internet plus a truly great deal on their digital phone service that allows us unlimited calls to the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico--all day, every day--for one-tenth of what we used to pay one of those spineless, privacy-violating telecom giants (okay, Verizon).

Anyway, my concerns that the NSA might also be hitting up the cable companies for customers' records were premature. Whew.

NEW YORK — Leading cable operators say a 1984 federal law would stop them from handing customer calling records to the National Security Agency the way AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have, as reported Thursday in USA TODAY. The phone giants agreed after Sept. 11, 2001, to create a database of customer calling logs to help the NSA find terrorists, according to the report.

Comcast, the largest operator, doesn't "provide the federal government access to customer (video, Internet or phone calling) records, or the ability to monitor customer communications, in the absence of valid legal process" such as a court order or search warrant, says spokeswoman D'Arcy Rudnay. Time Warner and Cox also said that it would take such an order for them to give the government such access.

Something to consider if Qwest and Working Assets are not options for your region.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wisdom From the First Mothers' Day

On this Mothers' Day 2006, we who brought life into the world look around us and realize there is still so far to go, still so many lessons that humankind seems unwilling to learn. Lessons we must keep teaching our own children, even as the adults who control much of their world seem oblivious.

We despair at the needless violence and hunger and suffering that persist despite all the advances our species has made. And yet we press on, because we must. My friend and co-author, Linda, sent along the following, which she received from yet another mother, Sara. I thought it beautiful and wanted to share it.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, a poet and abolitionist, called for a Mothers' Peace Day Observance--a day that mothers would set aside to come together to work for peace. In 1872, the first Mothers' Peace Day Observance was held, and the meetings continued for several years. Below is her proclamation that explains, in her own words, the goals of the original Mothers' Day in the United States.

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Today, I celebrate and salute my own dear and extraordinary mother, "Queen Mum II" and sister, "Princess", along with every mother and child reading this who dreams of a peaceful world without hunger and suffering and who, in his or her own way, works toward the realization of that dream.

(Thanks to Linda, Sara, and Hedda)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ours, Mined, is Theirs

This latest Buzzflash piece by Greg Palast was so illuminating, I felt it deserved its own post. Palast writes:

I know you're shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that George Bush is listening in on all your phone calls. Without a warrant. That's nothing. And it's not news.

This is: the snooping into your phone bill is just the snout of the pig of a strange, lucrative link-up between the Administration's Homeland Security spy network and private companies operating beyond the reach of the laws meant to protect us from our government. You can call it the privatization of the FBI -- though it is better described as the creation of a private KGB.

The leader in the field of what is called "data mining," is a company, formed , called, "ChoicePoint, Inc," which has sucked up over a billion dollars in national security contracts.


They are paid to keep an eye on you -- because the FBI can't. For the government to collect this stuff is against the law unless you're suspected of a crime. (The law in question is the Constitution.) But ChoicePoint can collect if for "commercial" purchases -- and under the Bush Administration's suspect reading of the Patriot Act -- our domestic spying apparatchiks can then BUY the info from ChoicePoint.

Who ARE these guys selling George Bush a piece of you?

ChoicePoint's board has more Republicans than a Palm Beach country club. It was funded, and its board stocked, by such Republican sugar daddies as billionaires Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone -- even after Langone was charged by the Securities Exchange Commission with abuse of inside information.


And now ChoicePoint and George Bush want your blood. Forget your phone bill. ChoicePoint, a sickened executive of the company told us in confidence, "hope[s] to build a database of DNA samples from every person in the United States …linked to all the other information held by CP [ChoicePoint]" from medical to voting records.

And ChoicePoint lied about that too. The company publicly denied they gave DNA to the Feds -- but then told our investigator, pretending to seek work, that ChoicePoint was "the number one" provider of DNA info to the FBI.

" And that scares the hell out of me," said the executive (who has since left the company), because ChoicePoint gets it WRONG so often. We are not contracting out our Homeland Security to James Bond here. It's more like Austin Powers, Inc.

Go and read it, if you have the nerve.

They Spy, With Their Little Minds...

...something that begins with us. As in, the USA in toto.

That's right: they see us, the People of The United States. And in order to form a more perfect union of government control of, and power over, the people, the President authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to undertake what can only be described as a breathtaking and unprecedented operation involving domestic intelligence-gathering that targeted the telephone records of millions upon millions of unsuspecting American citizens.

Invading our privacy as never before. Illegally. Unconstitutionally.

And then, when called to the mat on this shocking affront to our rights, hiding behind that tired old "Gotta protect everyone from the terr'ists" line, and invoking (yet again) 9/11. In fact, when speaking about the domestic spying, 9/11 punctuated the first sentence out of the President's mouth. The only surprise is that we haven't been subjected to an Orange Alert this week. Yet.

There's plenty of blame to go around, and while many are calling for a Congressional investigation of the White House and all who were party to this, some are also rightly leveling criticism at the telecommunications giants who, when asked by the NSA, merrily handed over their customers' records in direct violation of Federal Law. From Think Progress:

This morning, USA Today reported that three telecommunications companies – AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth – provided “phone call records of tens of millions of Americans” to the National Security Agency. Such conduct appears to be illegal and could make the telco firms liable for tens of billions of dollars. Here’s why:

1. It violates the Stored Communications Act. The Stored Communications Act, Section 2703(c), provides exactly five exceptions that would permit a phone company to disclose to the government the list of calls to or from a subscriber: (i) a warrant; (ii) a court order; (iii) the customer’s consent; (iv) for telemarketing enforcement; or (v) by “administrative subpoena.” The first four clearly don’t apply. As for administrative subpoenas, where a government agency asks for records without court approval, there is a simple answer – the NSA has no administrative subpoena authority, and it is the NSA that reportedly got the phone records.

2. The penalty for violating the Stored Communications Act is $1000 per individual violation. Section 2707 of the Stored Communications Act gives a private right of action to any telephone customer “aggrieved by any violation.” If the phone company acted with a “knowing or intentional state of mind,” then the customer wins actual harm, attorney’s fees, and “in no case shall a person entitled to recover receive less than the sum of $1,000.”


3. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act doesn’t get the telcos off the hook. According to USA Today, the NSA did not go to the FISA court to get a court order. And Qwest is quoted as saying that the Attorney General would not certify that the request was lawful under FISA. So FISA provides no defense for the phone companies, either.

Now, you might be saying "Oh, this is not that big of a deal...if you drive a car, use a credit card, or carry a mortgage, there are already numerous databases who know more about you than you'd care to think. So what?" And if you are saying that, I submit that there is an enormous difference between knowingly giving information to a bank in order to borrow money, or to the DMV in order to procure a driver's license, and making calls you reasonably assume to be private, from your own telephone—the service for which you pay and the records of which you also reasonably assume, and are contractually assured by said service, to be private—all the while unwittingly subjecting your calling patterns (and who knows what other details) to the scrutiny of the NSA Big Brother.

The telecom giants should be held liable, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. And Congress must begin investigations immediately.

It is a big deal. And it isn't tin-foil-hattish to be very, very concerned. Even conservative politicians and pundits like Joe Scarborough are speaking out against this egregious violation of the privacy and civil liberties of the American citizenry; indeed, both The New York Times and the The Washington Post are already weighing in.

(Hat-tip to blogenfreude for the Think Progress piece.)

UPDATE: Think Progress answers some questions and maintains the telecoms are still liable. (Thanks again, bf)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Roberto!

Happy Birthday to you,
you live in a zoo
with three wild Italians
and an English chick, too.

Wishing my darling "Mr. Litbrit" a wonderful birthday and an infinite number of happy returns. May all your dreams keep coming true.

Ti amo.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Go Molly, Go Molly...

Now joining the Hookergate Review is the fabulous Ms. Molly Ivins. Welcome, Molly! It's an honor to have your famously wise and always witty voice joining the chorus that we in the hopeful and optimistic segment of the blogosphere have spontaneously put together.

Come on, Mainstream Media, call it what it is so all the God-fearing church ladies (especially here in the South) will hear it and immediately know what's going on with those supposedly-holy rollers for whom they piously voted: Hookergate!

For, as Molly writes (featured at Truthdig):

I don’t care what anyone smoked 20 years ago, I approve of those who boogie ‘til they puke, and I don’t care who anyone in politics is screwing in private, as long as they’re not screwing the public.

On other hand, if you expect me to pass up a scandal involving poker, hookers and the Watergate building with crooked defense contractors and the No. 3 guy at the CIA, named Dusty Foggo (Dusty Foggo?! Be still my heart), you expect too much. Any journalist who claims Hookergate is not a legitimate scandal is dead—has been for some time and needs to be unplugged. In addition to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Hookergate is rife with public interest questions, misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance, and many splendid moral points for the children. Recommended for Sunday school use, grades seven and above.

Terrific political writing, as always. Go Molly.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jesus. A Fish.

I daresay we shouldn't be surprised that when asked by a German news weekly to name "his best moment in office", the Great Decider replied that it was when he caught a 7.5 pound perch in his lake:

"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

Of course. A fish. A bloody (groan) fish. Shot in the barrel that is the President's well-stocked lake.

Many of us out here would suggest that the main achievement of BushCo et. al. has been something that might have looked good to some of the flock, but wound up stinking to high Heaven, as it were. And oh, yes, Great Decider's defining moment was nothing if not cold-blooded. Scales? Surely not the ones of justice. The Constitution? Looks like they consider it little more than something with which to wrap that hapless perch.

And if you'll permit me one more pun, I'd like to offer this: We, the People, look forward to the day that the crime family is removed from power and we can smile at one another as the credits roll, bursting into applause when we see the word:


(Hat-tip to blogenfreude, who's also posted about this.)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Offered For Your Amusement

Ah, Hookergate.

As the Devil in the Blue Dress incident of the '90's proved, there's nothing quite as effective as a good sex scandal to bring down an administration and turn the electorate toward the oppostion party. And in this case, it's an administration those of us in the reality-based world already knew were shameless whores.

Call me a wide-eyed innocent, but I still can't quite get my head around the fact that BushCo have pulled off lying to the public about the stone-cold-serious matter of WMD's in order to take us to war; squandered thousands of young American lives on a war that has also left tens of thousands horribly and irreparably wounded; turned a record surplus into a record deficit; shredded the Bill of Rights and pissed on the Constitution; promoted an atmosphere of xenophobia and paranoia to the point where Americans are so terrified, they'll allow all manner of intrusions into their personal lives; ruined America's reputation in the world, so much so that our athletic teams are forced to travel in unmarked buses; and perverted every noble and good ideal for which brave men and women fought, and continue to fight...(etcetera, etcetera), yet the thing that will most likely (finally, thankfully) rid the country of this crime family's evil Rethuglican rule is a sex scandal.

So I was doing a Google search on the term Hookergate—which is all over the blogosphere—to see if any mainstream media had begun using the word yet (hey, fellow blogger Waveflux remarked yesterday that he'd pay fifty bucks to watch Bob Schiffer say the word Hookergate on the CBS evening news) and lo and behold, there at the top of the results page is a listing about a school in England (oh, where else) called Hookergate. Hookergate Comprehensive School.


And it gets better. The school's slogan?

One school, many talents.

Then, again courtesy of Google, I wound up on a comments page at the notoriously inane Free Republic (to which, on principle, I will not link—sorry). Now, knowing the general lay of the land there, one wouldn't expect to find discussions about global warming or string theory, but still. The choked-on-pretzel logic has a certain beauteous hilarity. To wit:

"Well at least Republicans are having lobbyists pay for their extra-marital shenigans (sic). Clintoon (sic) used women paid for by American taxpayers (intern)."

First, interns don't get paid—and please feel free to correct me in comments if I'm wrong. It's kind of an apprenticeship period and one's "pay" is the attendant prestige and experience one receives, plus the benefit of having something to put on one's resume (at least, that's how it worked when I was an intern my senior year). And even if they are paid, it's probably a token, minimum-wage kind of amount, hardly in line with the billions of defense-contract dollars handed out by our (s)elected officials.

Second, do these idiots really think what was going on at the Watergate and Westin doesn't have any impact on the taxpayer? That the gazillions of dollars in contracts being handed out by those happy, sucked-and-fucked, poker-playing congressmen don't come from us, which includes them?

Hell, more kudos to Pam for donning the biohazard suit and heading over to Freeperville as she does in order to report back on the state of the mentally unbalanced Right. I can see why most of us don't--it's damned scary how stupid they are.

And how unintentionally funny.

UPDATE: Media outlets (other than blogs) are starting to use the term Hookergate. Right off the top of a Google search, we find:

The London Times, Yahoo News, and Editor and Publisher.

UPDATE 2: Fox news affiliate in Australia, The Australian, is also using the term Hookergate now.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Maps For Rape Victims

After surviving the trauma and violence of being raped, victims need medical attention and emergency birth control. This would seem glaringly obvious, yet many Catholic hospitals refuse to give the so-called "morning after pill", variously known as Plan B, or simply, emergency contraception, to rape victims who wind up in their facilities after being sexually assaulted.

And true to form, Senator Joe Lieberman is siding with religion over reason, supporting the dismissive approach of these hospitals, as Shakes reported in March.

Lieberman said the Catholic hospitals shouldn't have to hand out the pills and that transportation should instead be provided, for the rape victim, to some other hospital. He said, "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."

Oh, sure. I mean, it would be a breeze for a physically and emotionally traumatized rape victim to hop up from the examining table and say, Okay, let me call a cab now, because I really need some emergency contraception in case the monster who did this also impregnated me. And since you guys won't give it to me, I'm outta here--Seeya!

What was Lieberman thinking? (Don't answer that one.) A woman in those circumstances is now supposed to find her way to a second hospital, a less ridiculous and dogmatic one, in order to get the medication she needs? A short ride?

Anyway, the brilliant Connecticut Bob has thought that one through and suggests Einstein Lieberman provide maps for rape victims; he offers a few, for Connecticut cities, that show unfortunate rapees how to get from birth-control-denying Catholic Hospital A to reasonable, birth-control-supplying Hospital B. Bob notes:

Well Joe, that's not very helpful. I mean, I know that you'll never need emergency contraception at two o'clock in the morning after having been brutally raped. So I guess it's easy for you to disregard any woman who is unlucky enough to have gone through that trauma.

But here's a suggestion: Why don't you provide maps for the victims, so they can walk out of the Emergency Rooms of the various Catholic hospitals around the state, hail a cab, and take that "short ride" to another hospital?

You know what, Joe?

Never mind.

I'll do it.

And knowing how difficult it is to even GET a cab at 2AM, I'll include the distance between the hospitals, in case the victims have to walk (or crawl) there.

Check out the post to see the actual maps, which one can only hope find their way to Senator Lieberman. Unfortunately, though, I suspect he only opens correspondence from far-right religious organizations.

(Hat-tip to Lisa in DC)