Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Morning Funnies

Ah, hate mail.

Back in the days at's Fahrenheit 9/11 message boards, I used to receive tons of hate mail. The good old days.

Nothing screams 'literacy' like an all-caps anonymous rant from someone I'd never meet nor care about.

Peppered with epithets, mired in spelling errors, they were a sight to behold. Sad I didn't keep them to share - except one, but that was from a craigslist post I wrote about Katrina, sourced with links to information.

It was against the argument that the entire tragedy was Nagin and Blanco's responsibility. I used the DHL FEMA plan specifics, with links, to explain why the premise was faulty. Apparently, though to some people the plural of anecdote is evidence.

Here's their response, in email:

From: "___ COYNE" <> [Add to Address Book] [View Source]
Subject: What a load of crap
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 16:56:53 +0000



Lovely note, huh? From the caps, to the grammar, through the vitriol and lies straight to the racist undertones -- what's not to love?

Here are a few more Sunday funnies - these from disgruntled Republican visitors to
Democratic Underground. They have an entire section dedicated to hate mail!

I mean, maybe it's just me -- but why does it seem that only the truly illiterate enjoy sending hate mail (and are apparently staunch Bush supporters)? Or is that too rhetorical a question at this point?

From DU:

Ignoring History And Facts
From: "Bob ---------" <>
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 11:00 PM
Subject: How is it going?

In case you have never noticed, the USA is a republic, built on heroism, dedication to the ideal of democracy, a nation of leadership that doesn't take well to the socialism of Europe, true American leaders refuse to follow. The French, since Napolation, haven't been able to protect themselves, the Germany's started wars they couldn't finish and Russia would have dominated the entire region if not for the USA.
I truely try to understand the minds of your affilliation, however the biggest obsticleto my turn, is ignoring history and facts.
Democratics live in a make believe world, that didn't use to be so, for power Dems have no boundaries.

DU RESPONDS: Stop. You had me at "Napolation."

Cursive You, Howard Dean
Date: 3/10/2005 3:08 PM
Subject: conservative idiot

Howard Dean is the ultimate idiot. He uses cursive languange like it meaned anything positive and even Kerry critisized him, not wanting him to be part of his campaign. Dean spouts hate because he is egotistical and power hungry. He brings embarrassment to the Democrats because of his insane antics. He is also a hypocrit, having put down other fellow democrats because they thought he wasn't the best man. Yet he has never come up with any alternate solution to anything. But I guess if he toes the party line, you can't touch him.

So, How'd That Pan Out?
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 1:17 AM
Subject: Rove

Hey nutballs.... Wilson will be indicted for outing his way and undermining the USA. Cooper and Miller will be nailed on conspiracy to frame Rove.........

Liberals = Traitors................

Keep talking.... Conservatives are pulsing, growing, and taking

DU RESPONDS: You make conservatives sound like a bunch of rogue erections.

Makes you yearn for hate mail, doesn't it?

From now on, when I get some expletive-filled private message or anonymous craigslist greeting, it'll be preserved and protected. Not like the "traitor" and "Hanoi Jane" missives received after posting at IMDB the picture of that little Iraq toddler, screaming and crying, covered in her parents blood. For some reason, the only righteous anger stemming from that picture was about showing it. Not the facts behind what created it.

I miss those letters.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Mother Revolution

The love between mother and child is primal. A heady alchemy suffused within the womb, it's stronger than any other bond. The connection transcends humanity; most females in the animal kingdom share a fierce, instinctive protective behavior towards their offspring.

In the wee hours while this amazing, autonomous, separate-yet-connected joy of my life called "my child" struggles with yet another bout of influenza, I am reminded again of this sacred tie - through the words of a tireless mother: Cindy Sheehan.

We've never met. Yet. But we share the intimate language of loss. I recognize it in every post she writes at Daily Kos.

We share a different silent bond, that of who know firsthand the pain stemming from a child's death. Only, I was given a second chance. Cindy wasn't. Which makes her struggle, and her ongoing strength, all the more poignant.

Read her words and you see in Cindy a mother, grieving but unbowed, heartbroken over the loss of Casey but resolved that no more mothers should lose their children for an unjust cause:

"I was feeling very down when I was flying to Waco yesterday. I did a lot of crying and missing Casey on the way out from Sacramento. I am not at the place in my grieving yet where I can look at all of our good times and feel grateful for them. Remembering many, many happy Thanksgivings past only made me feel worse, not better."

Cindy's fight, her words, actions and beliefs are so powerful because they're heartfelt. They're simple. They're exactly what I'd expect from a mother whose child was taken from her for reasons that don't make sense - to her, or many other mothers.

The tide began to turn last August, when Cindy Sheehan showed the personal courage and strong conviction so sadly absent in the man she wanted to confront.

If anyone understands the senselessness of war, the moral diminishment that results from taking life, it's a mother. After all, we're the only ones who truly understand the miraculous experience of giving life. Perhaps, finally, it is up to us to stop the madness.

We can take a page from Tori Amos' book and call it A Mother Revolution.

"Mother Revolution"

Lucky me
I guessed the kind of man
That you would turn out to be
Now I wish that I'd been wrong and then
I could remember to breathe
And all along the watchtower
The night horses and the black mares
Ready themselves for the outcome
For the strange times upon us

But what you didn't count on
Was another mother of
A mother revolution
But what you didn't count on
Was another mother of
A mother revolution
What you didn't count on, was another mother of..a mother revolution..

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Things no home should be without on this day:

Family, Laughter, Turkey, Memories, Movies (or sports, if one prefers), a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee so we see the whole picture, and these:

Cranberry fluff -- it's in my fridge. Looks like Pepto, tastes like heaven:

Tiropita - minus my own over-dry phyllo disaster this morning:

- sadly, my brother's in charge of the turkey and NO raisin stuffing. Blah.

And, finally, if your family is anything like mine, the must-have once it's all over- Smirnoff Twisted in fabulous green apple flavor ;)

Have a nice Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

PBS' "Frontline" nails the Katrina failures

If you missed the amazing Hurricane Katrina special onFrontline last night, the PBS website will offer the entire show online starting 5 p.m. today, for free. The link I added also provides some fascinating video made by NOLA residents, message boards and written analysis.

Some key highlights that had my jaw hitting the floor:

FEMA's budget has been cut to the bone in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Michael Brown saying it was the responsibility of local emergency personnel to provide for evacuation, and FEMA's own charter showing it is FEMA's responsibility to aid local governments in evacuation procedures.

All the preparation that went into the 2004 Hurricane Pam exercise, as well as the lessons gleaned from it -- completely left behind and ignored.

How the federal government, under a group of people who have contempt for "big government" is not only fiscally irresponsible and unwieldy, but completely incompetent and socially unconscious. All the funding tossed at local governments in the aftermath of Katrina has no federal oversight or accounting; absent both of those, it's like tossing cash into a bonfire.

President George H.W. Bush's response to allegations of failure during Hurricane Andrew -- "I'm not going to play the blame game." Wow. Just - wow.

Frontline compared FEMA under Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. Regardless of political stripe, common sense demands FEMA be adequately prepared and mobilized during any large-scale calamity. What a disgrace that all the FEMA rebuilding and reinforcing from the 90's is completely lost, now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Twenty-five years later, the Lennon Legacy

Hard to believe it's been nearly a quarter century since the day John Lennon died. Like previous generations with Kennedy, I still remember vividly the morning I heard the news: getting ready for another day of seventh grade, just catching the radio announcer's words while turning off the blow-dryer. A huge Lennon and Beatles fan even then, it was incomprehensible that this man, the greatest of the four, could meet such a senseless, abrupt and tragic end.

Newsweek has an excellent tribute this week, with articles on the aftermath of Lennon's death, the wounds it deepened and the loss so many still feel.

Reading it, I can't help but wonder what someone so dedicated to ending war and promoting a sane, peaceful world would think about today's America. No doubt he'd be frustrated and saddened to discover we're still struggling to learn his lessons.

In his memory, please consider signing this petition for an International Holiday celebrating Lennon's message of peace and love.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dead Santa, Double-D Lights and Random Acts of Illumination

Right now, Santa is lying across my grass, presumably dead.

Okay, maybe not dead. Maybe just drunk, or sleepy, or slipping into something more comfortable to get in the mood. In this case, the lawn.

Nevertheless, there he is - flat on his back, body balancing on thousands of grass blades. Worse, the light has left him.

And I killed him -- coolly, with the stunning carelessness befitting an annual murderer.

Seemed like such a good idea at the time, too. He needed to be puffed-up. I needed something festive, myself. We made a deal: I'd hook him up if he promised to hang around until the new year.

Oh, I hooked him up, alright -straight to the porch light socket.

Problem is, it's motion sensor activated. At first our relationship worked out perfectly; I'd pull in the driveway, Santa would jump to attention and the whole front of the house would light-up.

Five minutes later the sensor deactivates, all the lights go out and Mr. Claus keels over like your co-worker after one too many stops at the Christmas party eggnog punch.

For awhile, we tried to work our relationship out the easy way. When he'd get deflated, I'd just send one of the kids out to jump up and down in front of the motion sensor device.

Flailing their arms madly and waving about like miniature Joe Cockers without a backbeat, they provide Kris Kringle's much-needed temporary life support for another brief interlude.

But the neighbors seem worried; they brought over an envelope with fifty dollars and some pamphlets on ADHD.

Also, it's getting cold and there's still school; the kids are fighting over who's stuck with the 3 and 4 a.m. illumination shifts. Ingrates shouldn't be surprised when they find the coal this year. Better yet, maybe some toys powered by all nearly-dead batteries. For Santa, revenge is a dish best served with very little juice.

Maybe it's not the motion sensory overload that has Santa doing the dirt nap. Maybe he just doesn't like the holiday lights surrounding him.

Going for the whole expediency thing, we bought those "net" lights for the shrubs. You know, with the picture on the box of a woman neatly laying said net across bushes, wearing a beatific smile, not a hair out of place?

Extremely false advertising.

The lights looked nothing like the picture on that box. Unless they hid the photos of her spouting expletives as she chainsawed the bushes down to size, I was nothing like the mini Mother Theresa shown on the package, either.

Worst of all, the lights aren't all merry, sparkly and perfect.

They fit snugly across the front of the bushes, looking like Victoria's Secret holiday bras for squat evergreens. Like Anna Nicole Smith in her E! Christmas special, drunk and decked-out in a garish electric bustier.

From the street, the effect is one of scratchy green cleavage being barely restrained by a festive 18-hour multicolored twinkling Playtex.

When they can be bothered to remain lit, that is.

Can it be any wonder that Santa keeps taking a powder? If he has an ounce of self-respect, he's likely wiggling over to the outlet and pulling the plug himself.

Atop all of this sits the massive firehazard that underscores our magical holiday tableaux. We have to wait for rain and snow for that. The lights are fed through one of those indoor electric-socket lightbulb replacement screw-in doohickies.

By mid-December, along with jumping up and down every ten minutes to activate the motion sensor, we'll then have to wiggle the cord to see if ice and snow have managed to short it out. Sometimes we find a nice Russian dance is the only thing to wake-up the sensors --unless we hear the usual popping sound that reminds us to renew the State Farm Casualty and Fire policy.

But as long as we don't get electrocuted, what's the harm?

When they're actually working and Santa's standing tall and sober, it all looks vaguely Christmasy. And even when they go out, there's always some stray dog marking the bushes who inadvertantly resuscitates the whole Currier and Ives by way of Tim Burton winter spectacle.

You should see them jump when they're interrupted, suddenly bathed in red and green floodlight! Even better, it works much the same way on solicitors.

Santa gets the last laugh, after all.

Odds and Sods: the post-weekend postmortem

By now you've seen the picture of Bush storming away from a press conference in Asia, looking for all the world like a lost vignette from The Three Stooges fame. But it never hurts to show that pic again --

Atrios has a great sequence of the pics. Click the underlined text to view and insert your clever "Cut and Run" jokes.

What most amazes me aside from the obvious wonder of possible facial contortions is the fact Bush couldn't even handle a small question that implied he was being petulant. Implied, not stated. If it's not fully scripted, our pResident Chickenhawk sure can't handle questioning.

Speaking of those who can't take questions, Rumsfeld on This Week yesterday, when it was pointed out that only 700 Iraqi troops are fully trained, said something along these lines (paraphrase):

"They're taking over. Now twice as many Iraqi troops are being killed than coalition troops."

Comforted yet?

If not, have a laugh, instead:

Stephen Colbert's "The Colbert Report" is really stepping-up. Thanks to the magic of, it's possible to review some of the best Colbert segments. This interview with a Republican Rep from Florida is a gem; the guy about flips his toupe when Stephen boomerangs back a few of his own selected quotes Click the underlined text to watch the video; you won't be sorry!

For more laughs -these of the painful variety, watch Puffy McMoonface Mclellan's press conference dodges. Time to rename him Baghdad Scotty Mclellan. I'd like to see Helen Thomas slap him silly. Just once.

New Orleans is running out of aid.
With the eyes of the world focused elsewhere, it's no longer chic to discuss the plight of the poor. Thankfully the Democrats stopped Congressional attempts to slash some of the programs most desperately needed by Katrina survivors. But we've the attention span of gnats and from all vantage points, the GOP looks poised to forget its promises to NOLA. Don't let them. Write your representatives. We're still a better country than that.

So much is going on that it's overwhelming, both in our private lives and in the larger picture. Hard to know what to write about first, and with adding a weekend job as of this week, time's at even more of a premium. But --if we don't care, who will?

On a personal note, we're working for a referral to an oncologist for further testing of my daughter's bone tumor. My confidence in the orthopaedic doctor has been shaken (too long and detailed to post about) and it's crucial we rule-out anything beyond a benign growth. She just can't go through months of not knowing, and having done it before myself, neither can I.

Finally, the new job: it's strictly weekends, for Nielsen Media Research, and involves introducing the public to new media in order to garner their views. Should be kind of fun, and will hopefully add a nice balance to running my company solo. However, I am worried about having enough time for other things, including this. So I put up the outdoor Christmas lights yesterday; if nothing else gets done, we'll still have a festive yard.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Maybe it's just that Alfonso Cuaron, director of the previous Potter installment, is too hard an act to follow; but for all its fire-breathing dragons and the heat of teenage angst, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire left me both cold and thirsty.

For one, the pace was maddening. With over 750 pages and three wizarding tournaments to condense, director Mike Newell was wise to kick it up a notch. But breathtaking and breathless are two different things; viewers don't get a chance to digest before being swept away to the next bit of Potter business.

End result? A sense of being dragged through the paces, hitting several markers, but no exhilaration from passing the finish line.

My 16-year-old, an unremitting Potter fan since the first Rowling book arrived, kvetched the whole way home over the movie's disappointing lack of faithfulness to storyline and character alike. Since I can't remember what I ate yesterday, let alone the details of something read three years ago, on that score the singular disturbing point to me was a decision to turn Dumbledore into a bellowing, shoving tyrant. Who did that?

Was it Newell? Michael Gambon, the replacement for the wonderful, beatific late Richard Harris? Was Rowling too busy actually giving birth to adequately oversee this production?

Whatever the cause, it sorely disrupts and undermines the character of Albus Dumbledore, who would no more shove Harry Potter (or any other Hogwart's student) then he'd conspire to take over the magical world with Lord Voldemort.

Speaking of "He-who-shall-not-be-named" Ralph Fiennes brings to life one helluva fine Dark Lord. Inspired casting and a phenomenal actor to flesh-out what will likely become the best screen villain since Darth Vader. Of course, for those of who've been drooling and enthralled since his turn as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, no great surprise there.

Newell has a talent for human drama (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco) and the scenes capturing Ron, Hermoine and Harry's foray into confusing, messy, frightening adolescence are pitch-perfect. As are those concerned with a romance for Hagrid. Interesting to watch these three kids mature before our eyes, both physically and as actors.

Maybe that's part of the problem: by the fourth Potter installment, the audience is firmly established. Conventional wisdom might be that if you haven't seen them thus far, you won't be drawn-in at this point. Conversely, if you've seen them all, as we have, you're already a big fan who'll happily fork over the cash simply to see your favorite characters put through their book-dictated paces. Perhaps true, but even we need more than a breakneck run through plot offering little in the way of depth.

More a paean to the wonders of CGI and magic than a movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is filled with visual artistry and breathtaking scenery. If only it had more heart.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Patrick Fitzgerald, People's Sexiest Man Alive, and My Own List

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's made People Magazine's Sexiest People Alive issue. When it comes to him, Clooney, Anderson Cooper and a few others, People has excellent judgment. ;)

But if it were up to me, here's the winner's list - famous people only (plenty of unfamous sexy men and they shouldn't feel left out):

From Jamie in my favorite love story with a twist "Truly, Madly, Deeply" to the notorious Potter nemesis, Professor Snape, what's not to love about Rickman? He's the quintessential older leading man: suave, self-assured, sexy -- and that English accent. Oh. My.

Hands down the chameleon of Gen X actors, there's no part Johnny Depp cannot play. And well. I loved him in his bra and angora in "Ed Wood." Can't say that about many men. Which brings me to these two:

John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig (click on the pic to see his least favorite things)

John Cameron Mitchell as John Cameron Mitchell


Stephen Trask

They brought to life the heart, words, lyrics and music of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". Aside from having terrific acting/directing and music careers, respectively, if they did nothing else than make that movie, it would be enough.

To be continued. . .

Good to know we have our priorities straight. . .

During an acrimonious extended session, our leaders brokered compromise on the contentious budget bill, according to the Washington Post. Let's focus on the highlights:

"Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) called the youthful, redheaded Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) a "Howdy Doody-looking nimrod."

So much for the silver lining. Now, on to the cloud:

"The House measure would cut about 220,000 people off food stamps, allow states to impose new costs on Medicaid beneficiaries, squeeze student lenders, cut aid to state child-support enforcement programs and trim farm supports".

"The proposed spending package for fiscal 2006 is smaller than this year's version, meaning high priorities such as disease research, rural health care, Pell grants and low-income heating assistance were allotted less money".

"Under the bill, health care programs would be cut by $976 million, including a $249 million reduction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the smallest percentage increase for the National Institutes of Health in 35 years."

"Education funding would decline for the first time in a decade, with Pell grants frozen for the fourth year in a row. Infuriating many lawmakers from Northern states, funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which subsidizes heating bills, would remain stagnant.".

That GOP - always looking out for the poor and our future. More blankets, anyone?

But wait. There is more good news:

A provision denying Medicaid nursing home benefits to people with home equity of $500,000 would be modified by raising the limit to $750,000.

And who said Medicaid was for poor people?

Finally, lest anyone think the GOP is really cracking-down on spending where it actually matters to them and their constiuents:

"as early as today, House Republicans hope to pass a five-year $57 billion tax cut that would more than undo the savings in the deficit-reduction measure."

See, redistribution of wealth is only a bad thing when it's aimed at the poor. When money's taken from the poor and middle classes and handed to the wealthy, that's just called standard GOP operating procedure.

They should've held this vote until Christmas. As a nice companion piece to annual "A Christmas Carol" viewings. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

From the filing cabinets. . .

An excerpt from one of my favorite poems, for a specific someone in honor of the first snow falling:

Pablo Neruda - La Muerta

No, perdóname.
Si tú no vives,
si tú, querida, amor mío,
si tú
te has muerto,
todas las hojas caerán en mi pecho,
lloverá sobre mi alma noche y día,
la nieve quemará mi corazón,
andaré con frío y fuego y muerte y nieve,
mis pies querrán marchar hacia donde tú duermes,
seguiré vivo,
porque tú me quisiste sobre todas las cosas
y, amor, porque tú sabes que soy no sólo un hombre
sino todos los hombres.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oh, for God's sake -- this is beyond words

From CNN's Anderson Cooper

"Well, the death toll keeps rising.

You know, it's hard to imagine anything worse than coming back to your home in New Orleans and finding it completely destroyed. But, tonight, as you're about to hear, there is something worse, much worse. Dozens of families have returned to what is left of their homes and found, lying amidst the mold and the wreckage, a body, forgotten, abandoned. Maybe it's their mother or their grandmother, sometimes even their missing child.

The state called off searching house to house in New Orleans well over a month ago. They said they completed the job. Clearly, they have not. In tonight's "Keeping Them Honest," our daily segment devoted to New Orleans and the still devastated Gulf Coast, we try to find out who is to blame."

Later in the segment:

. . .There was no joy for Paul Murphy (ph) in this homecoming. When he walked into his house in New Orleans' Ninth Ward last month for the first time since Katrina, it was shock and anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I'm thinking that, OK, I was going to come and salvage a few pictures or something. And I walk in here. I found my grandma on the floor dead.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Extraordinary Rendition - or more mundane torture?

"We do not torture," says our President. Well, color me comforted.

He of the faulty Iraq intel, the Brownie you're doing a heckuva job spin, the man who says we should help the poor and a few weeks later proposes slashing social programs --he wouldn't lie to me, would he?

How ironic, these unequivocal, choked-on statements coming so close to Veteran's Day. How...touching: "We do not torture."

Strictly speaking, we don't do it in America. Like everything else these days, we outsource. It's so much cleaner that way.

Think of it like having an illegal alien for a nanny or a maid. Only this Mary Poppins takes time out each day to toss prostitutes menstrual blood in the faces of infidels. Instead of putting little Johnny's bat back in his closet, she busts a few kneecaps of the Muslims next door.

And she doesn't even have to pay taxes! No wonder the right-wing Bush supporters are outraged! Oh, wait. They're not. But I hope regular American people are.

Our bright and shining beacon of fair play, promise and morality has dimmed to an almost imperceptible night light. While this is just one of the many Bush administration abominations, it's the largest, most grotesque symptom of the pervasive sickness they've spread.

Strictly speaking, we don't torture in America. Although, strictly speaking, we don't let Americans die on the streets of, say, New Orleans, either. And yet both of these have been witnessed by good people willing to speak out. Captain Ian Fischback. Shepard Smith, who deserves much more than weekly mental reprogramming at Fox News. Sgt. Frank "Greg" Ford, who told his superiors that he witnessed his colleagues torturing Iraqi detainees was strapped to a gurney and flown out of Iraq -- even though there was nothing wrong with him.

Such is the price of being honest in Bush's America. Just ask General Shinseki, Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame. . .and countless others we'll no doubt be hearing from in the future.

Time and time again this administration tells us that its critics are wrongheaded. They're "putting the troops in danger" by daring to tell the truth. Worse, they're delusional, mistaken, confused.

When is it okay to start making historical comparisons to this administration? When can we revoke Godwin's Law and recognize that if the fascist shoe fits it's time to wear it?

What endangers the troops is the torture, not exposing it.

Impossible wishful thinking to believe that the Muslim community is the last to know about our so-called extraordinary rendition to secret gulags and the vile practices that take place at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

Equally impossible to fathom is the notion that talking about it "destroys troop morale." That implies performing acts of torture is somehow good for morale. Who needs a strong stiff scotch with that kind of spiked kool-aid?

We cannot stand in judgment on the terrorists for their destructive acts of cruelty when we perpetrate our own. Period. We've no business galluping around the world condemning countries as civil rights violators when we're guilty of same, at home and abroad.

Most importantly, each of us - you, me, your neighbor with the "W" sticker on his gas-guzzler, the neighbor with the "war is not a family value" sticker on her hybrid --none of us can afford not to speak out against a government that commits torture in our name, and exposes their own cowardice and evil by using our troops and other countries to perpetrate their sick agendas.

We can't afford not to scream. Not for the lofty concerns of our place in the international community, or that it violates the very beliefs on which we were founded, but because these acts threaten our individual humanity, or soul if one believes in God.

Some issues demand outrage; now that our acts of torture are brought to light there's no hope of trying to shroud them in darkness and salvage what's left or go back to pretending we're something we're not.

What's happening right now in our names plunges us into moral bankruptcy and will result in decades of shame. None of this is worth our continued silence and complicity.

Lately, my friends and loved ones increasingly ask what can any of us do. "What good does it do for this to consume you so? I understand why you care, but what do you think it's going to accomplish?" as Nancy often asks me.

When this administration is gone and the inevitable fallout transpires -- and make no mistake the end-product of their malevolent foreign and domestic policies will continue to turn our country inside-out --many of us will be left with nothing.

Maybe the best that I can hope for in terms of results is surviving with my dignity and sense of humanity intact.

Someday when my daughters and their children look back on this dark period of American history, they'll be able to hold their heads high and say honestly their loved ones didn't look the other way and condone atrocity like good Germans.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Writer and subject: symbiotic or parasitic relationship

After seeing Capote today, I confess to some sense of guilt.

You see, the nature of ethics in writing is somewhat fluid within the confines of generally accepted behavior.

Every good interviewer becomes an interviewee's confidante, if only for a day. Comes with the territory. We're built to question, cajole, share confidences, build rapport and establish trust to create the most truthful snapshot of a moment and the human beings in the center.

Done correctly, it's the best of symbiotic relationships: a person gets to tell their story and the writer provides a compelling product.

But it's not "best friends forever." The relationship usually ends with the story. Usually. When it doesn't, as with Capote's work on "In Cold Blood" serving two masters is problematic.

The back story on In Cold Blood goes like this:

When the Clutter family was brutally murdered in their Kansas farmhouse in 1959, Capote decided to write on the horrific impact these killings had on the small community. By the end of the story six years later, Capote had befriended Perry Smith, one of the Clutter family killers, and invented a wholly new writing genre, a fusing of non-fiction and novel -- the grandfather of true crime.

On the way, according to the film Capote, he compromises his integrity, turns personal ethos into pretzel form and nearly loses his soul from torn allegiences to his novel and his bizarre, seemingly real emotional attachment to Smith. For one to thrive the other must fail. He preys on his subject in the same vicious, ruthless manner that Smith employed in murder, becoming voyeur, parasite and a guiding hand in another man's fate.

While Capote was capricious, vain, narcissistic and callous, the road he traveled while in Kansas is a dangerous potential path for any writer.

How does a writer get close enough to their subject to know it without romanticizing or emotionally investing? Then too, at what cost?

I found myself in the awkward position of both recoiling from Capote (wonderfully performed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and understanding his motivation, even recognizing the absolute necessity of such a tightrope walk.

Without a close, personal view of Smith and his partner in crime, Richard Hickok, Capote had no way of providing such a glimpse into the psyche of a murderer. He also had no way of writing what proved to be the most compelling novel of its era, and though he never said so, he knew it.

Thankfully, simple reporting is far less complicated than six years spent compiling research for a book. But the pitfalls exist.

Leaving the theater, my friend and I were discussing this problem, and I mentioned an interview for a recent story centering around a woman with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, named Donna. Donna's friend had initiated the story, calling me at the paper to talk. My friend's co-workers had known me, through her, and knew Donna. So she was aware of the story.

Donna's friend Carol who provided the bulk of background for the story had taken to calling me at home after our meeting, wanting to see article copy before it went to print and to be assured I "got it right."

Mostly, though, she continued to talk about her friend and the ravages of ALS.

During our meeting she'd experienced a catharsis of sorts, discussing openly her fears and hopes. We'd both left the interview teary-eyed, and for the next week or so I was completely enmeshed in details of her friend's life - the illness, her family members, who she was before she contracted the disease. Impossible not to get involved.

She still called, even after it hit the paper. First, just to say she appreciated the article's quality -- later to offer updated information. Eventually we did lose track of each other.

Today my friend told me that Donna, the woman with ALS -- this woman I'd never met, who I felt I knew in some strange, yet intimate, detail, whose life had at one point been my only focus -- had died. And I didn't even know. I didn't even really know her. But I did.

For some reason what flooded my brain at that moment was the vision of Hoffman's Capote as he watches Smith hang: constricted, confused, relieved and distraught all at once.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Nothing News Under the Sun

"But this nation is now in competition with malignant forces of evil who are using every instrument at their command to empty the minds of their subjects and fill those minds with slogans, determination and faith in the future. If we go on as we are, we are protecting the mind of the American public from any real contact with the menacing world that squeezes in upon us. We are engaged in a great experiment to discover whether a free public opinion can devise and direct methods of managing the affairs of the nation. We may fail. But we are handicapping ourselves needlessly."

---Edward R. Murrow,
RTNDA Convention
October 15, 1958

While this is but a piece of Murrow's speech, and not spoken by David Straithairn (left, as Murrow) in the wonderful new film Good Night and Good Luck it carries a resonance equal to the speech excerpts shown in the film.

Reading the entire speech staggers any sentient being; for Murrow to have been so prescient in describing both the potential heights and obvious lows of television as it exits today forces recognition of an ongoing epic struggle as yet unwon. Perhaps never to be won.

As the score sits now, we're losing.

Ceaseless cable news channels with perky overcoiffed readers fail to illuminate. A ticker crawls across the bottom of the screen dispassionately announcing the real story in numbers as another vapid talking head crows about the Dow Jones numbers or reduces politics to a matter of cheering different sports teams.

Nothing News Under the Sun

Crisp leaves, bright sun flood the Shoreway
Sights, nights, days blend seamlessly
Michelle -that's Me, not Mih-chelle Norris
On the car radio says in other news
We regret to inform you

Twenty people were killed in Jordan
Tomorrow in Palestine, another roadside bomb
Took out ten Marines today in Iraq
In other news Thanksgiving's 'round the corner
With Christmas not far away

If you're wondering what's for dinner
Grocery circular's in the mail, religion
is making a resurgence in other news
We're sorry to say
Insurgency still rages

The Dow gained today up twenty-two points
My neighbor waves as she rakes
Leaves float down,littering the yard
Refusing not to blow back
We're just getting this news:

White phosphorus burns the skin
Leaving clothes intact, maybe modestly
keeping up appearances but in other news
We regret to inform you
It's considered acceptable

Brightly colored voices reassuring
moms are right to be choosy, spend hours
deciding on Jif or Skippy for pacification
is not an option, it's time for more war
We're sorry to announce

Seventy-two channels are nothing
To sneeze at though I have hundreds
by which to sleep, and now our sponsors
Serta and their bleating sheep
We'll be right back with other news

And in other news what will you buy
the person who has everything
would really love a Carnival cruise
the corporate excess we fight for
another breaking bit of other news

One day's cable-knit cycle drones
into another so soothing, same faces
none fallen, no innocents lost on ABC
at 9 on Wednesdays, but in other news
We regret to inform you

So we don't.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bush White House: The Pathetic Beltway "Heathers" Remake

The Columbia School of Journalism reports that a complicit Dana Bash from CNN has announced the Bush White House's plan to "hit back" at Democrats who are now speaking aloud what many of us have been saying for years: we were taken to war on false intelligence, and most likely deliberately.

Included in the Bush offensive?

The "hit-back," as Bash's anonymice called the strategy, will apparently commence in the coming days. The anonymice also detailed for Bash the "hit-back"'s top talking points (pre-war intelligence was faulty, but it was not manipulated; everyone was working from the same intelligence; here are some quotes from Democrats talking about WMDs as if they existed).

Well, um...alrighty then. Just say it: you're remaking Heathers.

Remember that movie - the one where the popular, vapid, mendacious, bullying girl clique, all named Heather, met their comeuppance for plotting and scheming one too many times?

This version isn't likely to end pretty, either.

Ignore the real issue: that you supplied the faulty information to the Senate that caused them to vote in favor of war, and that they supplied caveats and stipulations stating that if the conditions you said existed were not met, war was not an option.

Instead, let's examine feasibility for the new Beltway Heathers' PR plan:

Rather than play it straight and make your case to the American public, you're going to expend energy on yet another PR smear campaign? Bloody brilliant strategery, Heathers.

Especially in light of the fact that one of the largest complaints about your administration, particularly with regard to Katrina and Iraq, is the widespread belief your entire philosophy, focus and plan centers only around altering perception, rather than fixing reality.

Your version of events:

Think we screwed-up Katrina? Nah. Don't believe your lying eyes and the people dying on television. Let's just tell Brownie he's doing a heckuva job, and fly out to New Orleans another twenty times.

Think the Iraq war isn't going well? Silly! How about we regurgitate the same "War on Terra" speech seven or eight times more on television. That ought to fix everything.

America's reality:

Here's a really radical idea, you bunch of backslapping, gossip-mongering, superficial Heathers: try expending some energy actually doing your jobs.

You know, the stuff you were elected to do: work on the lack of jobs, the limping economy, the huge increases in poverty you promised at the 2000 RNC would be a priority for your administration?

Remember them? Because America is suddenly possessing complete clarity of collective recall when it comes to all you're failing. It's a long list, but we're a pretty astute bunch that hates being lied to. Worse, we hate being placated.

And another PR campaign is sheer pandering.

There's only so much crap you can serve us and still expect us to call it goat cheese -- pretty garnish or not.

Another radical idea?

When you want to be taken seriously and considered trustworthy, behave in an honest and trustworthy manner.

That means it's time to stop changing the White House press conference transcripts when Puffy McMoonface Mclellan screws up and admits Rove and Libby lied. Yes, the current transcripts and the old ones. Screwing with the public record? Not a sign of trustworthiness.

How about you saying "we need to help the poor" and three weeks later trying to push through a budget that cuts student loans, school lunch programs, foster care funding, medicaid and food stamps for legal aliens?

Not so trustworthy. Not so honest. Do your mouths hurt from talking out of both sides?

Your problem, White House, lies not with the Democrats. They are merely the timid Winona Ryder characters to your vapid, self-promoting Heathers.

Your problem is with the American people. Consider us the Christian Slaters in your Heathers remake.

We're pissed. We're volatile. We recognize the insidiousness and affront to decency that lies beneath your polished, smiling facade. We know for certain we've been lied to. And we're bringing on the damage, to the tune of ever-decreasing job approval ranks.

Want to get even closer to Nixon's all-time low ratings? Forge ahead with this remake.

Keep refusing to address the real issues you face and put up Democrats as your strawmen. Work yet another PR campaign hard while simultaneously ignoring the very dire circumstances you've created in America. That worked so well in your response to Katrina and Iraq -- and by January 2006, you could easily limbo into an approval rating somewhere in the high 20's.

Godspeed, Heathers. While you continue to dig yourself into an even bigger hole, we Slaters will be writing your suicide notes!

"What's your damage, Heather?" indeed.

"I could write a book. . ."

Despite the cliche, writing fiction is much harder than it sounds. For years people have told me "Oh, you should write a book" with the same tone one's reminded he or she should change the engine oil or eat their vegetables. Writing is hard work. Getting published? Extremely difficult.

Sure, it's easy for people with name recognition to write. I'm reading New Rules by Bill Maher and All the President's Pets by Mo Rocca. Do you think either of those would have a chance in hell of seeing widespread publication if they were written by Sam Johnson or Joe Smith?

Me, neither. Reading's missing its once-heralded spot as the pastime of champions in America. Obviously publishing suffers because of that, and the market is glutted with potentially exceptional writers who never make it to the clearance shelves, let alone the bestseller list at Borders.

So what's a frustrated writer to do?

Well, keep writing. Forget the doom and gloom above. Just keep writing whether anyone reads it or not. You're reading it. So by definition, you've already got a small, friendly following!

Also, check out some of the writer-friendly sites on the Internet.

One of the best is a yearly project where contestants work to complete a 50,000 word novel from November 1 to November 30. With this group, it's all quantity, folks. Sure, you hope for some quality - but what the contest does is force a person to. . .keep writing!

At the nanowrimo site forums, budding novelists can also find great links to other supportive sites, like, and Forward Motion ( where you can meet with like-minded scribes who surf the peaks and valleys of prose right along with you.

Commiserate as you all stare at yet another blank page; share the joy of seeing your name in print in some obscure online magazine with a net readership of ten people. Whatever you do, there's certain to be another struggling writer experiencing the same thing.

As for me, novels aren't my thing. I'm just missing something when it comes to that kind of writing. It's called, um. . .plot.

In my writing, and my life, not much happens but people talk and snark really fast about it, anyway.

Arnold's Total Recall

In a dramatic about-face from Ohio, Californians trounced every one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's pet propositions on the bill; from parental notification to electricity regulation, The Governator got his sleek behind handed to him last night.

Three of them were passing when I went to bed last night; which explains why you never can tell until all the votes are counted. Now that they are, what does all of this mean?

Other than the case of Diebolded Ohio, last night's elections were a referendum on Bush and the GOP, with Democrats Corzine and Kaine winning New Jersey and Virginia, respectively. We trounced a few "intelligent designers" aka Creationists from Pennsylvania, a likely response to the Kitzmiller vs. DASD case. In Maine, an anti-gay initiative failed. And I believe somewhere in Michigan the wife of John Conyers, my patron saint, picked up a new job.

All in all, not shabby.

But this is no time to rest on laurels. We need verifiable paper trails in voting. Especially since the Federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on October 26, 2005 that essentially said the vote was stolen:

Without free and fair elections, nothing else matters. Regardless of party affiliation Americans need to support open voting with verifiable tangible balloting. Otherwise the spectre of massive voting error and anomaly, like Arnold, "will be back."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Disenfranchised, Diebolded or Dumbed-down?

With just 26 percent of the votes in, it looks like Issues 2-5 have failed in Ohio -- spectacularly -- despite all polls going in showing a comfortable lead for almost all of them.

Are Ohioans schizophrenic at the polls? Did the Republican negative campaigning work? They sure spouted off the fear rhetoric: saying these issues target wallets, are bad for Ohio, etc.

Like letting a partisan hack such as Kenneth Blackwell have power over the voting apparatus is good for Ohio? I think not.

Of course, it could be that so many people who waited nine hours to vote for Kerry in Democratic strongholds throughout Ohio were just not feeling much like a reprise, especially in an off-year election.

Many people at the largest progressive blog on the Net, Daily Kos, my frequent haunt, suspect that Ohio is now a red state. I call bullshit on that one, based on pre-vote polling alone.

If the Issues truly were defeated -- if Ohioans really don't want absentee voting, independent means of vote tallying, fair districting and campaign contribution oversight, fine. I'll reserve my opinion on the collective intelligence needed to support further disenfranchisement of the people from their vote.

But those new spiffy Diebold machines we used today? They scare me. If Diebold can, and does, make ATM machines that not only operate perfectly fine 98 percent of the time but also provide a verified paper document with each transaction why can't they do that with the voting machinery?

Or a better question might be - why won't they?

Regardless of political affliation, if all Ohioans don't get vocal and active in support of verified voting, then we really are schizophrenic, disenfranchised and dumb. And destined to stay that way for the long haul.


Ohioans, please choose YES on Issues 2,3,4 and 5. All of them deal with voting corruption in one way or another. In a nutshell:

# Issue 2: Makes it easier to vote by allowing all Ohioans to vote by mail

# Issue 3: Helps stop the influence of big money in elections by greatly reducing campaign contributions.

# Issue 4: Stops the politicians from drawing their own legislative districts and puts an Independent Commission in charge of this process.

# Issue 5: Places a bi-partisan Board of Supervisors in charge of Ohio's elections, instead of a partisan official who backs candidates and takes sides in elections.

After the Ohio voting fiasco in 2004 and what appears to be ceaseless corruption (Taft, Blackwell, Noe, DeWine, Coingate) we as Ohioans need to take our rightful places in government. The only way to change things is at the grassroots level, and these issues serve as a good start.

For anyone seeking to delve farther into the facts:

or click my RON link in the bottom left corner.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Whither your chains?

If Dickens was to be believed and people do carry around chains ala Jacob Marley, I've just figured out the composition of my own trail of clanking, eternal error: failed romantic relationships.

Need one? I've got a ton of 'em, of various durations, importance, horror, regret, sadness and jubilation. They'll be buy one, get one free by Christmas.

Only a few, however, truly illustrate just how unlucky I am when it comes to making choices. Forget for a moment that it takes me nearly a decade to read the handwriting on the wall everyone else keeps quoting to me. Focus instead on the aftermath of decisions.

Today, focus on one, only: my very first real boyfriend, Don Woodlock.

A smart, funny, kind guy who I really adored, Don was 16 when we met and eventually headed for MIT. We dated for several months, in the way only teenagers could then: lots of letters, cards, weekend dates, visits to one another's home. That sort of thing. While it wasn't the Capulets and the Montagues, Don did suffer for his affection from time to time. Once my brother and father took all the hubcaps off his van and stuck them in the driver's area. For fun.

Also, I was a pretty lousy girlfriend after awhile.

I got tired of solid, sweet, dependable boys and started tracking the elusive, black-leather-wearing, cigarette smoking James Dean type. . .the guy I eventually married and had two kids with. The guy who drank too much, remained emotionally distant and never understood the value of children. But, I digress.

Four years after we broke up, with less than a week to go before the wedding to Mr. Black Leather, I received a four page letter from Don. He talked about missing me, how close we once were, and so forth.

Fast forward 23 years, to one bright weekend day in autumn, when I decided to Google people's names out of boredom. Lo and behold, who should I find readily accessible through modern technology? Yes, Don. Only now, Don is Vice President for a large online health records technology organization, quite successful, and quite distantly located.

Also, I'd bet (even though unlucky people shouldn't lay wagers) quite happily married. He never was the type to leave someone. That's...well, that's more my ballgame.

Now, I told this story to illustrate one thing and one thing only: I have terrible personal decision-making skills when it comes to relationships. The ones I stick with are probably those that I should've left and sped away fast from the truly good guys. But my friends don't see the moral of the story.

Today several of them said "You should call him!" "He might be single" "He probably never forgot you, and...."

Yeah, right. And while I'm at it, perhaps we can scare up a coach made from the rotting leftover Halloween pumpkin and turn the (now dead) mouse my cat caught in the kitchen this weekend into a noble steed.

They just don't get it.

This is life, not Lifetime. If my luck is so bad that I tossed over the very first guy (and maybe last) who truly loved me, Don is either married to Elizabeth Hurley, has become gay or has used the miracle of modern science to become Donna. Or he's perfectly fine, a happy bachelor who can't wait to see me and gets on the first plane home -- only to have it burst into flames and crash, leaving no survivors.

Because, friends, the moral of this story is not "everything turns out right in the end." That's a story for other people's lives. The moral of this story is more like "don't gamble, because you have terrible luck and poor decision making skills."

Not small enough to fit on a bumper sticker, but you get the idea.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Weekend stuff - Barenaked Ladies come to town!

I've decided to change topics a bit for weekends, given how right now I'd really like to blog but am decidedly not in a political frame of mind. My biggest concern right now is affording to take the youngest, she of recent medical concerns, to see Barenaked Ladies at the Jingle Bell show.

Her sister and I try to see BNl once a year; this year, with money concerns and time off because of her sister's medical problems, it's gonna be much harder to accomplish. Besides that, ticket prices have gone up to nearly $50 apiece!!

She's been begging, and I've been promising for years to bring along the youngest once she was old enough to appreciate a BNL concert. Doesn't look like this will be the year, though. That's a shame, since this has been a really rough year for her and the next one promises to be even more difficult.

But what are you going to do? Groceries, utilities and other essentials devour many of our incomes. As a single mom, things have gotten harder rather than easier since 2000. I'm sure you've got similar horror stories -- trying to do without the extras, only to find you still don't have a lot of money left over, despite working more than one job.

Enough bitching, though. As things go, we're pretty blessed. We've had our own home for nearly eight years, employment, pets, and most important of all, the three of us have one another.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Much ado. . .about one thing

The three-phase bone scan was tonight. First phase: injection of radiopharmaceutical and scan of the ankles. Second phase: immediate scan of the blood pooling. Third phase: total body bone scan three hours after injection.

Technologically speaking, it's a pretty impressive event.

The radiopharmaceutical isotope gathers in areas of bone activity; in children that means the growth plates light up, providing a pretty intense overall view. We wondered if the hospital could blow up the pictures of her skeleton large enough for us to use as lawn decorations next Halloween.

No such luck.

Also not so lucky: the tumor lit up, indicating growth activity. At first the test facilitator and I didn't see it and thought that was a good sign. However, when she zoomed the picture in above the ankle growth plate, there it was.

I'm not sure what it indicates beyond growth activity and possible malignancy. Guess we shall find out when meeting with the orthopaedic doctor next week. He said that if the scan showed activity, an MRI would be next and possibly a bone aspiration to view the cells.

She wants to know what all of this means. So do I. Unfortunately, she still believes I have the answers to most everything. If only she were 14 and sure I know absolutely nothing. It would be easier than being asked to guess about something I wish not to think about in the first place. Or try and pretend there aren't twenty different thoughts and emotions running through me, none of them worth sharing or capable of making even the slightest difference.

Like a grouping of television sets at a department store tuned to many different channels they drown one another out leaving nothing but a meaningless cacaphony.

Did you know all skeletons smile, underneath, all the time?

It's only an intricate covering of skin and muscles working together that cause us not to spend our entire lives grinning at everything. And nothing. Both in the same inexorable, inalterable fashion.

Sort of the opposite of what we've always been told: what's happening on the surface sometimes does serve to adequately hide what's happening underneath, and that's not always a bad thing.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Little ado about. . .everything

"A talking point, a talking point - my kingdom for a talking point"

-- The Republican National Committee

In what has to be the biggest "make lemonade from bruised lemons" attempt, the usual Republican suspects are heralding Fitzgerald's Plame findings and Judge Alito's nominations as victories for the Bush administration. In what alternative universe?

Woo-hoo, only one indictment for the White House. That's great news!

Um, are they trying to tell us they deserve more indictments and are happy to settle for one? Or are indictments the new Beltway second wives: unfortunate, but everyone has one?

Newsflash: Any indictments are bad indictments, last time I checked. But, really, don't let this interfere with your revelry. And we'll amp-up the criminal investigations to make it more festive, if that's your wish.

As to Alito. . .

Let's see: after a terrible act of cronyism that brought us FEMA's Michael "Arabian Horse's Ass" Brown, Bush nominated Harriet "You're so cool, George!" Meirs for the SCOTUS.

At which point his base went after her like the Donner Party chasing down a portly, slow-moving child. Before you could say Cujo, Harriet was left screaming on a farm alone, locked in a car with windows covered in frothy rightwing saliva.

After a month of savage attacks on both Bush and Meirs, solely coming from members of the President's own party, he finally recognized he was wrong and nominated someone so far to the right he makes Scalia look like the guy carrying the flaming baton at a Gay Pride parade.

Good thing Bush's base wasn't locked in the Superdome without food and water while he took his sweet time realizing how badly he'd screwed up.

So this is what winning looks like? Good to know. Because from where I'm sitting, it sure looks like the soft bigotry of lowered presidential expectations for Bush. Presidential Imbecile Quota, party of one, your table's ready. . .

"Excuse me, Mr. Frist, is this your manhood? I think you dropped it in the Senate hallway. . ."

--Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Minority Leader

Say, was I the only one wanting to call a WAAAmbulance for Bill Frist yesterday, after "Give 'em hell Harry' Reid demanded immediate closed session discussions on the faulty (read:lying) intel that took us to Iraq? Frist missed his calling; judging from the handwringing and tears, he would've made a great lead on an ABC soap opera or Lifetime movie. Hope all those drama lessons come in handy for your impending money laundering trial.

As to the sessions - good on ya, Harry Reid. The report's been due for an entire year. Is it too cynical to suggest it might not be in the Republican Senate Majority's interest to release the information?

"Well, foreign torturers need employment, too!"

--The Bush White House

The Washington Post reported today that America has set up secret prisons in Eastern Europe designed for interrogation and detention of Al-Qaeda operatives. Yes, I expected it to be right next to the headline "Minnesota Mom Gives Birth to Alien Twins" in Star Magazine, too. But it's true.

Aside from the more obvious reaction -- screaming, vomiting and heading for Canada --I also have a couple of questions:

1. Is this why Bush and Cheney are adamant about removing the anti-torture language
from the recent defense spending bill?

2. Can we apologize now to the unfortunate Democrat who had to apologize for calling our torture practices akin to Hitler and Stalin? After all, the only thing separating our gulags and torture chambers from those of Russia and Saddam's Iraq is location, location, location.

3. And speaking of location, is the Washington Post gang ever going to identify which country we're using as our "torture on the cheap" dissembly line?

4. Finally, have these prisoners been charged, tried and convicted, or is this more like Gitmo where we just snatched 'em up with no charges and extradited? Because if the latter is the case, I think Libby, Cheney and Rove might fess-up about outing Plame if they get the same treatment. Let's try it.

Speaking of Darth Cheney:

"But my approval is still in the double digits!"

The latest CBS poll has Old Sneery with a 19 percent approval rating. Which means he won the sympathy of the American Heart Association because they know he needs a donor. But basically everyone else hates him. How much do they hate him? Let's just say this: Ted Bundy had more support outside the prison on execution day. Hitler's polling at 35 percent approval. And Satan's got a solid 25 percent.

"And speaking of reports, wake me when it's Christmas. . ."

-- Me

Well, it's official. Tomorrow is the bone scan. Apparently the doctor's worried that the tumor may be growing because my daughter is no longer having pain over the growth plate area that was originally injured, and the pain is coming from the area where the bone tumor is. Needless to say, she's frightened to have the iodine injection and I'm frightened of the possible results. More on those when they arrive, maybe.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Alito gathers steam; rulings pick up celebrity endorsement

Normally celebrities don't side with extreme right-wing conservative idealogues on any issues. Needless to say, it's surprising to see celebrities rushing out to support Judge Sam Alito. But some well-known names are fairly giddy with glee at seeing how well Alito's rulings align with their own beliefs.

Here then, are a few of Alito's kindred spirits and their official statements:

If only Judge Alito had gotten here sooner, I wouldn't have had to kill my wife. His minority opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991)might've helped me get rid of that Bonnie woman before she trapped me by getting pregnant. I'm all for Alito; all women should have to defer to their husbands wishes when it comes to whether or not they should be forced to carry and deliver a baby. Alito's right; women are nothing more than another appendage, and with him on the Supreme Court we can get rid of our wives easier than choppin' off a thumb. You can take that to the bank!

Not surprising, Republican Arnold Schwarzenneger supports Alito. Particularly Alito's ruling in Sheridan vs. Dupont in 1996. "That Alito, he is such a great guy! If only Alito was on the Supreme Court when I was accused of sexual harrassment! Those women wouldn't have stood a chance with Alito's ruling that demanded higher standards of proof, and Maria wouldn't have hit me in the head with the frying pan when I was sleeping. You can be sure I'll be back grabbin' seats once Alito grabs his on the Supreme Court."

"I support Judge Alito's great ruling on Doe v. Goody in 2004. You know, the one where he condoned unauthorized strip searches of ten-year-olds, even though the search warrant only said one adult guy could be searched? That's the one. It's sad I had to sell "Neverland" before Judge Alito can rule on strip-searches for little boys, too. Just think of the fun I can have in my policeman uniform. Judge Alito will put the verse back in perversion again, and it makes me want to sing!"

Tommy Lee chimes in:

"I love how Alito wants to crush the Family Medical Leave Act from Nevada v. Hibbs, in 2003. Everytime I gave Pam a black eye or smacked her around a little, she was always takin' time off from work and using FMLA. If this Alito cat gets on the Supreme Court, she won't be taking any more FMLA time, I'll tell ya that much."

Psychics report the following dead celebrities have sent messages of support for Alito from beyond the grave. (Wonder how much those calls cost 'em?)

Marge Schott loves Alito! "I particularly liked his ruling on Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997. That Alito, he understands how much we still need race-based discrimination. I've been saying that since my days running the Cincinatti Reds. And it doesn't make me and Judge Sam racists, either. We just think even those million dollar types need to know their place and worth!"

Rumor has it that John Wayne Gacy has also registered support for Strip Searchin' Sammy's policies, and a recent Walton family seance has revealed Walmart creator Sam Walton supports Alito's ruling against the Family Medical Leave Act.

Developing. . .

The trust train has left the station

Complacent and caught, a cheating lover duly chastised will attempt to take his/her spouse on a trip, buy them something new and extravagant, be at their best behavior and work tirelessly to change the subject.

Beyond the first breach of trust, it's a working tactic only for the truly naive and gullible, a willing suspension of disbelief because the fear of leaving the comfort of a well-known environment for unchartered territory is often too great.

Both parties know it's a distraction. Nothing more, nothing less. It buys time to breathe, rethink, maneuver and the superficial comfort stemming from the status quo.

Country, meet your cheating spouse - George W. Bush.

Having been caught in the Plame Affair, George's best wooing face is frozen in a smile, the same old well-rehearsed lines issue forth as he attempts to hand us the Alito bauble. If that fails, he's still got the fear trump card of avian flu.

Regardless whether he's pleading, threatening or wooing, it's all pixie dust designed to change the subject.

For the first time since 2000, it's also unlikely to work. His job approval rating is in the toilet. When what remains of his loving throng try and point to poor ratings for previous presidents, they're also prevaricating. Clinton's job approval rating never fell below 57 percent:

Limbaughites and others use the "popularity" ratings of past presidents versus Bush's job approval ratings to compare apples and oranges; consider them the well-intentioned in-laws who hate to see their family torn asunder even as they admit the relationship's "not going so well."

Yet the handwriting is on the wall:

The trust train has left the station. And as any person with more than one serious relationship under his or her belt can attest, once suspicion outweighs trust, there's no turning back.

Call it the underlying, lingering sense of unease; our relationship with George W. Bush just isn't working out.

Sure, we had some laughs: who will forget his ingratiating smile in 2000, the endearing way he showed-off his more manly qualities by taking care of the Crawford Ranch "brush," that sweet, cajoling tone as he tried unsuccessfully to convince us that Enronizing Social Security would be good for us (baby)?

But those fond memories are going to take some time resurfacing; right now, we're still fixated on how he betrayed us with Katrina. How he promised us yellowcake from Niger and instead bought it at the corner grocery store. How he swore the cloud we stared at would become a mushroom. Yet we watched and it floated right on by, taking 2000 of our sons, husbands, uncles, aunts, mothers and daughters with it.

Absent the intervention of a qualified relationship counselor, or maybe even with one, this relationship is finally doomed by a breach of fundamental trust.

With the tired resigned sigh only an overburdened underappreciated spouse can really understand, we're done. We recognize the purpose and truth of cliches and country music: the ship has sailed. The train has left the station. It's all over but the goodbyes.

So, thanks for the Alito flowers and those spiffy well-lit declarations of love and understanding - but no thanks. All that's left is a way for you to exit gracefully.

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