31 May 2008

Gee, what do you think is going to happen, now?

From the Chicago Trib:
Obama quits church after long controversy

Associated Press Writer

Barack Obama has resigned his 20 year membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago in the aftermath of inflammatory remarks by his longtime pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and more recent fiery remarks at the church by another minister.

Obama campaign communications director Robert Gibbs said Obama had resigned from the church "over the last few days."

...Obama said he disagreed with Wright but initially portrayed him as a family member he couldn't disown. The preacher had officiated at Obama's wedding and been his spiritual mentor for some 20 years.

But six weeks after Obama's well-received speech on race, Wright claimed at an appearance in Washington that the U.S. government was capable of planting AIDS in the black community, praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and suggested that Obama was acting like a politician by putting his pastor at arm's length while privately agreeing with him.

Obama denounced those Wright comments as "divisive and destructive."

Comments by Wright inflamed racial tensions and posed an unwanted problem for Obama, front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, as he seeks to wrap up the nomination.

More recently, racially charged remarks from the same pulpit by another pastor, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, kept the controversy alive and proved the latest thorn in the side of Obama. Pfleger mocked Obama rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as a guest speaker at Obama's church.

Although Obama condemned comments by both Wright and Pfleger, the controversy has persisted.

On Thursday, Obama was again forced to reject another man of the cloth, this time Pfleger, who made racially charged comments mocking Clinton in a guest sermon at Obama's church.

Obama made it clear he wasn't happy with the comments -- in which Pfleger pretended he was Clinton crying over "a black man stealing my show" -- and said he was "deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause."
Any guess on how long it takes for the GOP smear machine to switch gears from "he endorses hate and racism" to "he has no convictions?" The predictability here is absolutely pathetic.

Honestly makes you wonder why anyone would ever want this job.

Saturday Shuffle

Senses Working Overtime - xtc
White Girl (live) - Soul Coughing
Willing to Fight (live) - Ani DiFranco
Rammstein (edit) - Rammstein
Jump in the Fire - Metallica
One Note Song - Tenacious D
Phantom of the Opera - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Gettin' Aggressive (Mowo! Mix) - Moby w/ Mystikal
1999 - Trans Am
Loaded Gun - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

26 May 2008

Assassination is the new "you're fired."

What the hell is the matter with these people? Former Moonie Times Bureau Chief, Liz Trotter, on FOX "News":
TROTTA: And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama — Obama. Well, both, if we could. (giggles)

HOST: Talk about how you really feel.
Bwa-HA! You here all week, Lizzie?

Impressive two-fer when you think about it: The always witty Osama/Obama "oopsie" followed by a little hitlist equivalence humor. It's ok, though, because Trotter is really, really sorry. Really.
"I am so sorry about what happened yesterday. In a lame attempt at humor I really just fell all over myself in making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm or any other candidate for that matter. I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I've offended. It's a very colorful political season and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we hadn't said."
Um, Liz, "many of you" aren't making jokes--lame or otherwise--about seeing presidential candidates killed. You're a media veteran on a national newsbroadcast for god's sake. Stop acting as if you are some neophyte who just got caught up in your moment on the teevee. And, while you're at it, for once, I'd just like to see someone own what they said without any "if I offended," "anyone I offended," weaseling. Admit that you WERE offensive and be done with it.

24 May 2008

Putting the "ass" back in "class"

I knew I should've left everything turned off when I went on vacation. Was on the road last night, so I missed this gem from HRC. Via the New York Post:
Hillary Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Talk about things speaking for themselves. Is there anything that really needs to be added to clarify just how fundamentally disgusting that observation is? Not surprisingly, damage control started almost immediately:

"I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever," the former first lady said.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson defended the comments to The Post, "She was talking about the length of the race and using the '68 election as an example of how long the races in the past have gone -- she used her husband's race in the same vein."
To address the second point, first: maybe it's just me, but invoking RFK's assassination doesn't call to mind ANY thoughts about the length of the race, only the tragic loss of a man's life. I don't see how anyone could take that reference "in the same vein" as the citation of Bill's campaign.

Because of that fact, Hillary's statement of regret is almost more offensive than her original comments. For all the criticisms against her, she is not dumb. If anything, she is too calculated in both action and word. There is simply no conceivable way that she could not realize how her Kennedy reference would come across. For her to claim any different is, not only a lie, but an insult to our intelligence.

Saturday Shuffle

Sad and Young - Trans Am
The Sea - Morcheeba
Shakespear's Sister - The Smiths
Ken Kaniff - Eminem
Cruel - Tori Amos
Betty (live) - Mustard Plug
Obequey (The Death of Art) - Marilyn Manson
Happy Phantom - Tori Amos
Last Chance For Love - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Lithium (live) - Nirvana

22 May 2008

Death knell for "Don't ask, don't tell?"



Finally, the gaybashers can no longer wrap this turd in a flag and get people to salute it.
SEATTLE (AP) — The military cannot automatically discharge people because they're gay, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in the case of a decorated flight nurse who sued the Air Force over her dismissal.

The three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not strike down the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But they reinstated Maj. Margaret Witt's lawsuit, saying the Air Force must prove that her dismissal furthered the military's goals of troop readiness and unit cohesion.

(Frankly, I had no idea this case was even wending it's way through our judicial labyrinth. I firmly believe that the vacuum that is the Democratic primary is sucking the air away from about 90% of all the other stories going on in this country at any given time).

This ruling is simply a bombshell to DADT and its defenders. It robs the military of their central claim that TEH GAY is inherently damaging to the structure and well-being of the armed forces. Now, they have to prove it, case-by-case:

"The government now has to make a showing that it can't possibly make" -- that Witt's presence causes a problem in her unit -- given that those who worked with her in the military supplied her with glowing recommendations and outrage at her ouster, said James Lobsenz, part of her ACLU legal team.
Precisely the sort of test that should've been applied, all along. This incredibly damaging policy was founded on an alleged conventional wisdom that had no factual basis, whatsoever. Bigots like the freepers and their ilk will be sent into conniptions now that their broadbrush bullshit needs to meet a standard of proof. Definitely have to follow up and skim that particular cesspool for laughs a little later.

19 May 2008

Quote of the Day

"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing."

-- Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

17 May 2008

Falafel Factor - Behind the Music

Rachel Maddow sat in for Keith Olbermann on last night's Countdown and featured this bit of hilarity from the folks at

Saturday Shuffle

So Easy - Eagles of Death Metal
Omission - Quicksand
Last Goodbye (live) - Jeff Buckley
Convincing People - Throbbing Gristle
Godsmack (live) - Alice in Chains
Solitude - Billie Holliday
Go West - The Cult
Emma (live, acoustic) - Alkaline Trio
Where I Am Queen - Jack Off Jill
The Ballad of Johnny Butt - Sublime

16 May 2008

Tweety crushes parrot, earns well-deserved cracker

Hardball's Chris Matthews usually has me reaching for a rolled up newspaper to smack upside his melon, so I have to be just as quick to give him credit when he gets something as right as he did, last night, when faced with clueless GOP AM radio babbler, Kevin James:

What do you think, separated at birth?

If you think about it, it had to happen, sometime. After the national political discourse became so dumbed-down that it consists of little more than loaded buzzwords and sloganeering, eventually we'd be left with commentators who don't even understand those.

In six little minutes, Kevin James epitomizes everything that is wrong with the political culture in America today--not just in his role as broadcaster--but as a consumer of information.

Clearly, it's no secret that partisan hacks dominate the airwaves, repeating talking points; "mindlessly," we often say. Exactly HOW mindlessly, we suspected, but didn't know for sure until last night.

This poor man's Limbaugh didn't know who Neville Chamberlain was or what he actually did, only that El Presidente said he was an "appeaser" and he did it to Hitler so it must be a bad thing. In that, he's little different than much of his audience, uncritically accepting whatever sounds good, and thoughtlessly parroting it back when asked for his own opinion.

That shocking level of mental laziness and incuriosity is precisely what makes James' caliber of so-called discussion so very dangerous. And it pervades every area you see. From the talk radio dittoheads, to the "anything with an Oprah sticker" book buyer, to everyone who says they like everything Radiohead does because, if you don't, "you just don't get it."

(For the record: I do get it. It just sucks).

"Truth" is now a function, not of veracity, but repetition.

What passes for humor

Hyuck-hyuck, Huck. You here all week?
During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee — who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain — joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.

"That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak," said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. "Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor."
Bottom line is, it's thoughtless, dumb, and not very funny, to boot...and I can't really seem to get too worked up about it.

All things being equal, in one of my less-inspired moments, I could probably hear myself making a similarly morbid crack about someone/thing, so I'm not going to start wagging fingers and playing the "and you call yourself a minister," card. It only ends one way:

"Why can't liberals take a joke?"

"Want some cheese with that whine?"

Blah, blah, blah.

But you know damn well if anyone with a "D" after his/her name joked around in the same way, they'd be roundly pilloried--not by anonymous website commenters and bloggers--but by "respected" columnists, pundits, and radio hosts, all with national soapboxes, for making light of assassination. The only thing more numerous than the demands for repeated, self-flagellating public apologies would be the cries for Clinton, Obama, and whomever else to roundly condemn what was said, the person who said it, and promise on their respective mothers' eternal souls to remove them from their Christmas card lists and never come within 50 yards of them ever again.

Your liberal media--STILL not liberal.

But let's look at the bright side (as anyone who knows me, knows I ALWAYS do) best case, the Huckster does get the veep nod and the bottom of the ticket comes with a ready-made "macaca" moment.

15 May 2008

Quote of the Day

"This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement" -- Joe Biden (D-DE), on George Bush's comparison of dialog with Iran and Hamas to Nazi appeasers in the 30s.

Spot-on, Joe.

Some claims are such blatant asshattery that they just don't deserve to be dignified with a response any more involved than that.

13 May 2008

To striking a chord...

Fort Hood.

Just watch it.

"Fort Hood" isn't exactly an anti-war song. It's more of a song about my own guilt for living life without thinking of the war every moment. I was invited by the USO to visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2006; I went over and gave CDs to wounded guys, most of them in their 20s, most missing limbs. It was tremendously moving. As we left the hospital, I was thinking that I wanted to never lose that feeling I felt, of incredible gratitude for everything in life.

Fort Hood is the base in Texas that's lost the most people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The first verse is about guilt. That I can go about my daily life without thinking of the violence and the fear in Iraq, and the sacrifice people are making over there.

The first part of the second verse is about frustration with political pissing matches, instead of unity among our elected representatives to serve these guys. The second half is about how the war haunts me; how I see dudes in uniform in airports and wonder what's going on in their heads, what they've witnessed.

The bridge is about lost innocence. The lyrics are about what I wished a guy in his 20s was doing instead of being scarred by a fucked-up war. One line is, "You should blast Young Jeezy with your friends in a parking lot." I changed it from "You should blast Toby Keith with your friends in a parking lot" -- mostly for reasons of singability. But also because I realized everybody would take it as a snobby dis on the soldier. I actually meant it in passionate sympathy; it's better to be a teenage jingoist than to come back with your consciousness or body shattered, knowing the tragic naivete of jingoism. Young guys go over there and come back scarred -- bodily, often, but also psychologically, such that so many of them will have the burden of post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, haunting images." -- Mike Doughty

From tone deaf...

Fair warning: set all sharp and/or heavy objects outside of arms' reach before continuing. Fail to heed this warning and the ErrPort will NOT be held responsible for any desktop, laptop, or wireless device damage that may ensue:
Q: Mr. President, you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.

Q: Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf -- I think I was in central Texas -- and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do.
Heavy, indeed, is the head that wears the crown.

You cannot make this shit up. You just can't.

For El Presidente, the best show of solidarity with a family with a dead not to hit the links.

If we weren't before, we are now find ourselves wandering around far beyond the realm of satire. There is simply no possible way to clear the bar for absurdity set by the comments above. What's more, after two weeks of listening to well-heeled pundits make nauseatingly self-righteous pronouncements about who, and what, is "out of touch" with the American people, we finally see the real thing. Bubble Boy, here, is being sincere; he actually believes what he's saying.

You can't get more isolated from the average person than to think that that grand gesture of "solidarity" is going to be met with anything other than the ridicule and derision it so richly deserves.

12 May 2008

Obama: secret Muslim, Christian racist, God's wrath?

Fresh out of careers to destroy, Count Novakula rises from the grave to piss in the GOP's punchbowl:
Some U.S. Christians are not reconciled to McCain's candidacy but instead regard the prospective presidency of Barack Obama in the nature of a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people.

...Nevertheless, the word is that some evangelicals dispute Huckabee's support (of John McCain). One experienced, credible activist in Christian politics who would not let his name be used told me that Huckabee, in personal conversation with him, had embraced the concept that an Obama presidency might be what the American people deserve. That fits what has largely been a fringe position among evangelicals: that the pain of an Obama presidency is in keeping with the Bible's prophecy.

According to this activist, at the heart of the let-Obama-win movement is longtime Virginia conservative leader Michael Farris -- the nation's leading home-school advocate, who is now chancellor of Patrick Henry College (in Purcellville, Va.) for home-schooled students. Best known politically as the losing Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 1993, Farris is regarded as one of the hardest-edged Christian politicians. He is reported in evangelical circles to promote the biblical justification for an Obama plague-like presidency.
Classy, huh?

(Now, of course, Farris and the Huckster deny all of this on the record, and anonymous sources definitely deserve to be taken with a grain of salt, but it's worth noting that Novak has shown a knack for getting legit--I shudder to use the word "good"--information).

If you thought we hit bottom when the Bushistas managed to equate dissent with the far-Right's talking points with un-Americanism, then, clearly, you've got another think coming. Try and wrap your head around that for a second: Now, having political views in line with an Obama means you're, somehow, both the reason for, and--amazingly--the means of, divine retribution being visited upon our nation.

The GOP has long had a schizophrenic relationship with the James Dobson/Tony Perkins segment of the Christian Right, throwing them heaping rhetorical piles of gay-bashing, anti-choice red meat to get them to turn out at the polls...only to treat them like the crazy aunt that they keep locked in the attic when it came time to prioritize the legislative agenda. Votes are great; the potential consequences for carrying water for the fringe, not so much so.

Which is why accounts like these must be turning their bowels to water, right about now.

With the sizable amount of traction Huckabee had in the primaries, the GOP can now hear the crazy aunt at the top of the attic stairs scrabbling to put her newly found key in the lock. If the "our opponents are God's plague" wing of the party gets that door open and starts running around town pushing that particular argument into the popular discourse, everyone with an "R" after his/her name is going to have it hung around their neck for years.

Quite fittingly, reaping what they've taken such pains to sow over the past decade or so.

10 May 2008

Saturday Shuffle, Time Travel Edition

In a test of Blogger's powers, I'm posting this into the future from Thursday night.

Ain't technology grand?

Supernatural - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Metro - Alkaline Trio
Through the Never - Metallica
Oh, Me - Nirvana
Caught a Lite Sneeze - Tori Amos
Mr. Grieves (live) - The Pixies
Slave New World - Sepultura
You Never Can Tell - Chuck Berry
No Life Singed Her - Pavement
Piss Up a Rope - Ween

09 May 2008

I'll take "Tarnishing My Legacy" for $500, Alex

The "Sherman Strategy" continues, unabated:
Speaking in gymnasiums and fairgrounds in rural towns, Bill Clinton returned repeatedly to the words "people like you and places like this" as the keys that could help his wife stop Obama's momentum.

"They want you to vote in low numbers so she doesn't get ahead in the popular vote," he told a crowd Thursday in Sutton.
In case there was any doubt, "Clinton" is officially the campaign's party identification, now--fully separate and distinct from "democrat"--and the two have **wildly** diverging interests.

What other explanation can there be for pushing the notion that the other nominee's camp doesn't want people to vote, effectively poisoning the Democratic electorate for the general election, AFTER YOU'VE ALREADY LOST. At this point, it's purely delusional to think that some sort of "Mountain State Miracle" could resuscitate Hillary's chances. If she is bound and determined to ignore the writing on the wall and carry on this farce for a few more weeks, the only responsible thing for Bill to do would be to praise her and avoid damaging the guy who's actually going to be running against McCain.

Then again, the next responsible thing they do on that front will be the first. Her ego is rivaling that of Ralph Nader's and, like him, she has no problem with the rest of us paying the price for her folly.

Superdel's take note: It's quite apparent that she is beholden to a constituency of two, the rest of the Democratic voters be damned. Your votes might be worth about 10,000 of ours, but she's burning your house down, too.

In case you missed it...

Portishead re-emerged from the void after 10 years.

In case you forgot why you should care...

08 May 2008

B-b-but whitey likes me

"Hi, my name's Hillary, I'm a scorpio, and I like telling people what they want to hear, divorcing myself from reality, long walks on the beach, and, um, playing with fucking fire:"
"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

I don't care how the AP originally framed things, there's very little room to interpret this as anything but drawing a parallel between "hard-working" and "white." Regardless, it effectively rips the veil off what she's been trying to sell all along.

That "white" has always been the unspoken qualifier to Clinton's claims of a blue collar advantage is undeniable. Barack Obama's support among African American voters has never flagged, and it's impossible to claim that that population isn't represented in the working class. It's classic dog whistle politics; a carefully chosen phrase and, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, your point is made without making it.

As such, I honestly doubt this is an attempt to equate blacks with laziness. Even in her current spasm of ego-driven desperation, I don't think she'd go down that road. But there is no doubt, whatsoever, that this very much is her campaign's desire to frame Obama as "the black candidate," laid bare.

And it's ugly.

07 May 2008

I do not think that means what she thinks it does

"This primary election on Tuesday is a game changer. This is going to make a huge difference in what happens going forward. The entire country – probably even a lot of the world is looking to see what North Carolina decides."  -- HRC, 5/02/08
"Obama: 56%, Clinton: 42%"  -- NC Voters, 5/06/08
Looks suspiciously like the same game we've seen for the last two months.
Wonder what the over/under is on how long it's going to take for North Carolina to go from "game changer" to "meaningless?"
I'm thinking 18 hours.

04 May 2008

People who know what they're talking about? Fuck 'em.

Here she goes, again:
"Clinton raised questions about Obama's ability to connect with working-class Americans while dismissing economists who have said her plan to suspend gas taxes over the summer would do little good.

"I'm not going to put my lot in with economists," Clinton said when asked to name an economist who backed her proposal.

"We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans," said Clinton."
From the pandering with pointless damaging tax-cuts to the casual dismissal of legitimately knowledgeable experts in favor of the aforementioned pandering, the woman's looking more and more like one of G-Dubs' Bushista Republicans, every day.

It's really somewhat impressive in a bang-your-head-against-the-nearest-wall sort of way: In one stroke, she manages to not only regurgitate the anti-Obama "elitist" smear (I can only imagine that working Jeremiah Wright into the conversation was too much of a stretch) but reinforces the altogether tragic trend of American anti-intellectualism.

In 28 little words, Clinton takes the position that there's not only a divide, but an actual antagonism between informed opinion and "the vast majority of Americans." Her pathetically transparent populist poseur routine is bad enough, but the fact that she's--once again--recycling GOP attack lines is reprehensible. Al Gore and John Kerry both lost their respective White House bids due in no small part to their resistance to bumper sticker-length policy statements. In the current climate, that left them vulnerable to the Karl Rove-led smear machine narrative that anything more than the most over-simplified soundbite was academic double talk and, as such, not to be trusted.

Because, after all, who wants leaders that publicly recognize the complexity of the issues with which they're dealing, right? It's much better that we entrust the ship of state to someone whose positions mirror those of the least-informed, as opposed to the best. That way, it's easier to feel smarter, ourselves.

Are we, as a people, really that intimidated by individuals whom we perceive to be more intelligent than we are? As suicidal as that may seem, given the stakes of our leaders' decisions, it certainly appears to be the case.

And if it is (especially after witnessing the past eight years of El Presidente's bungling), shame on us.

But if, rather than push back against this incredibly damaging bit of conventional un-wisdom for the good of the country, Clinton chooses, instead, to parrot it for the good of her personal ambitions...then shame on her, as well.

03 May 2008

The yawning chasm that is John McCain's reality gap

Looks like hot wars aren't enough for Johnnie Mac, anymore. Mr. Hundred Years is bucking for a return to a good, old-fashioned Cold War:
WASHINGTON — John McCain dropped a little-noticed bombshell into his March foreign-policy address: Boot Russia from the G-8, the elite club of leading industrial democracies whose leaders try to coordinate economic policies.

One major problem: He can't do it because the other G-8 nations won't let him.

But the fact that he's proposing to try, risking a return to Cold War tensions with the world's second-largest nuclear power after 20 years of prickly partnership, raises questions about McCain's judgment. It also underscores that many of his top foreign-policy advisers are of the same neo-conservative school that promoted the war in Iraq, argue for a tougher stance toward Iran and are skeptical of negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear program.

The Group of Eight, or G-8, as it's popularly known, makes decisions by consensus, so no single nation can kick out another. Most experts say the six other countries — Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada — would never agree to toss Russia, given their close economic ties to their neighbor. A senior U.S. official who deals with Russia policy said that even Moscow would have to approve of its own ouster, given how the G-8 works.

"It's not even a theoretical discussion. It's an impossible discussion," said the senior official, who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. "It's just a dumb thing."

Does McCain need to be caught, on camera, hiding in a fort that he built out of couch cushions, wearing only a combat helmet and his underwear for his barbeque buddies in the mainstream press to recognize just how batshit insane he truly is?

Unlike his embarrassing ignorance of Sunni and Shia, there's absolutely no way for his apologists to spin this as a slip of the tongue:
"We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia."
This is our experienced foreign policy candidate? In one fell swoop, he's making G-Dub's childish, fingers-in-the-ears, "I'm not talking to you" stance on international relations seem positively enlightened in comparison. It's the worst of all worlds: the tinnest of ears for international opinion coupled with a fundamental lack of understanding of the body on which he's opining.

All to pander to the rightest of the right wing of his party.

In what should be mandatory reading--and broadcasting--Fareed Zakaria politely eviscerates McCain's latest "dumb thing," here.

Saturday Shuffle

Honeybomb (live) - Mermen
Black and White and Red All Over (demo) - Biohazard
Raspberry Swirl - Tori Amos
Lisa Says - The Velvet Underground
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get (live) - Morrissey
Head Creeps - Alice in Chains
Intolerance - Tool
The Star Spangled Banner - Jimi Hendrix
Roads (live) - Portishead
Punk It Up - Infectious Grooves

02 May 2008

In a nutshell

Last night, I was fortunate enough to find myself in a theatre for a live, satellite simulcast of NPR's This American Life with Ira Glass.

Years from now, when my son or daughter asks me about George Bush's war of choice that managed to destroy not only the invaded country, but the invading one as well, I'll have to point her to the story of Haider Hamza, a young Iraqi who worked with the Information Ministry at the start of the war.

Hamza eventually relocated to New York City where virtually everyone he met told him that they had been against the war. If that was the case, he wondered, then how did it happen? To find out, he traveled to the South to try and engage pro-Iraq War Americans about their feelings. (His set-up, a Peanuts-like booth with a "Talk to an Iraqi" sign, is priceless). He--and we--were treated to a perfect example of the thinking that got us where we are today.

While posted at a car dealership, a local man told Hamza that the war was to make him and his people free. Hamza told him of the strife that followed the American occupation and asked him what freedom was.

"So you can go outside and say what you want without fear of the government."

Hamza pointed out that, between carbombs and curfews, people can't go outside, period. While Saddam Hussein was in power, he said, at least that much was possible. The most pregnant of pauses followed, and the man finally said:

"But you weren't free."


EDIT: I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mr. Hamza ran across my little write-up here and took the time to send a few kind words as well as a correction (It's "Hamza" not "Hamsa," as spelled in the write-up I originally cited).
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