And if BushCo has proven anything in the past four violent, budget-gutting, honor-molesting, nearly unbearable years, it's that there ain't no international law that can't be broken, no fear synapse that can't be hammered to death, no fraudulent power tactic that can't be abused. Anything is possible. You have been warned. God bless America.
Link per Suburban Guerilla. She calls them Desperados, but we know desperado means "hopeless", right?
"We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people--whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth--is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill housed, and insecure."
Yep, the innovative comic book Sword of Dracula has an unnamed but unmistakable John Kerry in a 1968 flashback convoying a CIA agent up a Vietnamese river in his Swift boat to a hidden village that is lair of the undead.
Comic creator Jason Henderson says, "I chose Kerry because I am impressed with his background as a military man."
How about giving Bush a shot? "I believe in equal time. Just tell me where he was in 1968 and he's there. I just try to put things as they actually were and then with a little fantasy kick to it. I'm not going to invent a whole background for Bush."
According to Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly blog, the White House is floating the story that leaking Valerie Plame's identity as a secret agent just to get a dig in at her husband, Joseph Wilson, was no big deal because she had already been outed.
Indeed, she had, although the White House neglects to mention that said outing was done by Aldrich Ames, drunken arch-traitor who turned over the names of many CIA agents in the Soviet Union to the KGB, resulting in at least ten deaths.
Linspire runs with it, a Flash animation touting the virtues of their Linux system to the tune of "Light My Fire", that is, "Come on, baby, run Linspire".
It's not nearly so tedious as it sounds. I've been pushing the radio button as soon as the organ intro finishes on "Light My Fire" for many years. I'd have to say that this performance by one guy, John Idris James, working with a drummer, blows the doors off The Doors. He's as good an organist as Ray Manzarek and a way better singer than Jim Morrison. I particularly like the organ solo under the marketing list. Lyrics by Kevin Carmony, president of Linspire, who once worked in the music industry.
The sound I love most is honking tenor sax. If you ever felt the same way even once, you owe a debt to Illinois Jacquet, the first ever to put that sound on a record. The International Herald Tribune has a nice brief obituary:
Only a handful of instrumental solos in jazz have inspired anyone beyond a small coterie of musicians and rabid fans to memorize them; one of them is "Flying Home," a lusty, brick-throwing solo by the 19-year-old Jacquet. Recorded on the first take in 1942 with Lionel Hampton's orchestra, his 80-second solo was carefully structured, building its energy precipitously and cresting on a single note, repeated 12 times in a row. The tune became a national hit, and was demanded of Jacquet night after night.
The article omits to mention that "Flying Home" was, if not the first rock and roll record, the first record to tap into the rock and roll impulse and demonstrate the existence of the rock and roll audience. (Bandleader Hampton, although a master of the form, did not realize it and dissed rock and roll all his life.)
I can't do better than suggest you listen to something by Jacquet. No point in my trying to evoke it, even though I am listening right now. Honking may be bold, but it is by no means crude, and he was an accomplished ballad player and bandleader besides giving voice to my best-loved sound.
To name but a single album, try The Kid and the Brute, in which Jacquet (The Kid) teams up with fellow honker Ben Webster (The Brute). It seems to be available in France and Poland.
Other tenor sax members of that handful of immortal jazz solos include Don Byas on "Harvard Blues" and Coleman Hawkins on "Body and Soul".
Some other great tenor sax honkers, not a complete list: Lee Allen, Grady Gaines, Joe Houston, Big Jay McNeeley, Big Al Sears, Arnett Cobb, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Hal Singer, Rusty Bryant, Jimmy Forrest, Red Prysock, Rocky Morales, Houston Person, Lloyd Lambert, Sam "The Man" Taylor, Sam Butera, Syl Austin, Red Holloway, all those and many more, thank you, Illinois Jacquet.
The media consensus is that President Bush wriggled off the hook to avoid the silver bullet from the smoking gun of the 9/11 Commission's report. This is apparently because the summary of the report, which is pretty much all any reporter read before filing a story -- and I did this stuff for years, I know -- did not include the statement
With every warning in the world, President Bush did nothing
However, anyone who reads the actual chapter of the report telling what the President and his toothy pal Cluefreezilla Rice actually were told -- lots -- and what they did -- nothing -- can only conclude that with every warning in the world President Bush did nothing.
I'm all for freedom of speech, believe me, but I just saw a District of Columbia license plate with a slogan that struck me as more than a trifle dubious.
Taxation without representation
Well, let's see:
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution says only residents of a state can vote. They aren't a state and they knew that when they moved there.
In 1960 we tossed them the bone of the 23d amendment, which gives them three presidential electors. Are they really expecting to get another amendment?
It's just possible that at least two or three citizens of the capital agree with the idea that the local citizenry is so entangled with the government that it would be a bad idea to make them a state, even if it means losing a sure additional Democratic Congressman. That could change, you know.
And, even if they don't think that, they might think that it's better that license plates not be used for political propaganda.
Previous DC plates were in the grand old innocuous tradition -- The Nation's Capital; A Capital City; Celebrate & Discover -- all totally suited to ride the nation's bumpers along with Idaho's World Famous Potatoes, Colorado's Colorful, Georgia's Peach State (supplemented with ... On my mind), and South Carolina's The Iodine State (Go SC!).
The only remotely political slogans I can find are:
My own Mass. plates, which used to say Make it in Massachusetts, but were changed to The Spirit of America before the Dukakis run, but fairly inoffensive withal. (Make it in Massachusetts was a stirring slogan for all of us who used to truck up to New Hampshire to work for Digital, who found out why we had been trucking up there when were laid off and discovered New Hampshire's mingy unemployment benefits.)
New Hampshire's Live Free or Die, which the Supreme Court ruled could be covered by those who preferred a plate free of political slogans. (Here in Massachusetts, that slogan is often rendered Live Cheap or Die, in tribute to New Hampshire's parsimonious government, which gets antsy if asked to spend money on anything but highways or to tax sales. New Hampshire responded with Make it in Massachusetts, Spend it in New Hampshire, but not on its license plates.)
This is all, to my mind, closely related to the Under God business in the Pledge of Allegiance. Under God was stuck in there in the late 50s to annoy the communists or something. I wasn't a communist then or now, I was a good churchgoer kid back then, anyway, but I have never said Under God once in my life.
I'll furnish the opinions, let the government stick to promoting tourism and local products.
The popular mind is incapable of skepticism; and that incapacity delivers their helpless strength to the wiles of swindlers and to the pitiless enthusiasms of leaders inspired by visions of a high destiny. -- Joseph Conrad, Nostromo
A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do
is put you on hold. -- Marlo Thomas
Evangelical Christians are by no means entirely captured by the radical right. The following is circulating widely.
Hey Ladies I found this to be very interesting. It may confirm what you
THIS IS GOOD
The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don't!!!
Think about it!
Bush gave a big speech last week about how his faith is so "important" to him. In this attempt to convince the American people that we should consider him for president, he announced that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.
Of course the speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Bush camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error.
And do you know what John 16:3 says?
"And they will do this because they have not known the Father nor Me".
The Holy Spirit works in strange ways.
Now, Snopes says the current President Bush didn't say it and notes that the same story was told about Al Gore. However, and here it gets interesting again, Snopes cites conservative columnist Cal Thomas as having been present when this mistake was made by the previous President Bush.
Speaking of the wonderfully great Buckminster Fuller, inventor of everything blah-blah-blah (and I do mean blah-blah-blah) the US Postal Service has issued a Fuller stamp.
The portrait of Fuller, in which a (not quite accurately rendered) geodesic dome replaces his own chrome dome, with his smug scowl and forbidding glasses intact, is the very image of the heartless scary antihuman future.
Now, I know, as I said, that I should be kowtowing, but I would rather kowtow to someone else, thanks.
An extra pleasure for me is to see the many pictures of her cat lounging around in the church. The cat, named, I am afraid, Precious closely resembles my cat, whose name is . . . wait for it . . . Nick the Brick, after his solidity.
I wrote a while back that every time I felt warmly towards the libertarians for their general stance that liberty is better than non-liberty, some idiotic libertarian pulled something that made me pull back. But then along comes some idiotic liberal making me wish I was somewhere else with someone else doing something different.
Like, say, MoveOn and Common Cause filing a lawsuit claiming that the Fox News trademarked slogan, "Fair and Balanced" constitutes a "deceptive business practice".
All I have for these whining liberals is a big warm comforting wooza-wooza-wooza.
So, Fox News is a lying bunch of Cheneywads who are nothing more than conduit for deceptive Republican propaganda. Yeah, big Cheneying deal. It's all true, but so what?
The First Amendment way to fight lying propaganda is with truthful propaganda, not with frivolous lawsuits.
And, if your Vice Presidential candidate is a plaintiff's attorney who is being attacked unjustly as the fountainhead of frivolous lawsuits, then there's one thing you must not do.
Don't file any frivolous lawsuits.
This fighting idiocy and mendacity with idiocy and mendacity just isn't going to work out, you know.
In the end, it will turn out that the administration was right after all, the responsibility for the torture will be laid at the feet of just a few bad apples, out of control: President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, Under Secretary Feith, Under Secretary Cambone, General Myers, General Ricardo, some guy named "Scooter" . . .
Jack Idema, Special Forces soldier, crooked businessman, and free-lance jailer and torturer, well wired in the Pentagon, has his day in an Afghani court:
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Americans in combat fatigues kicked in the door at the home of the Afghan high court's chief judge, fired warning shots into the walls, trussed up the jurist and seven other men and whisked them off to jail.
There, one of the captives said, the men were doused with cold water, deprived of food and grilled about terrorism.
This was no ordinary raid, though. The men who nabbed the suspects are also in jail, accused of impersonating American operatives and imprisoning innocent people at a private jail during an illegal vigilante campaign in Afghanistan.
This is beyond strange, the sort of story where the truth never comes out.
Thanks Brother Dave for the link to the L.A. Times story.
PS -- Faces of 'Jack' Idema: black ops ace, nut case, an even more colorful story from the Raleigh New-Observer, local paper for the Special Forces.
"I liked him, but in my mind, I'm thinking, 'Who the hell is this guy?' He's clearly not a spy. Not military. He's one of those people who show up in war zones."
Here's another of our literary treatments of torture. This one is from Joseph Conrad's Nostromo. The novel is set in a South American country in a time of revolution and civil war. I'll be reviewing it soon, but this struck me forcibly when I read it today.
The subject is Dr. Monygham, an English doctor of the country, who seems a strange, hobbling, fearful, cynical fellow, a sort of respectable beachcomber. He had been tortured in a previous revolution, and has a flashback when another revolution begins.
Ed's note: I've altered the paragraph breaks and added emphasis for ease of online reading. Original text via Gutenberg.net.
First, how does it happen that a military force begins to torture its prisoners?
Many years ago both his ankles had been seriously damaged in the course of a certain investigation conducted in the castle of Sta. Marta by a commission composed of military men. Their nomination had been signified to them unexpectedly at the dead of night, with scowling brow, flashing eyes, and in a tempestuous voice, by [the dictator] Guzmán Bento. The old tyrant, maddened by one of his sudden accesses of suspicion, mingled spluttering appeals to their fidelity with imprecations and horrible menaces. The cells and casements of the castle on the hill had been already filled with prisoners. The commission was charged now with the task of discovering the iniquitous conspiracy against the Citizen-Saviour of his country.
Their dread of the raving tyrant translated itself into a hasty ferocity of procedure. The Citizen-Saviour was not accustomed to wait. A conspiracy had to be discovered. The courtyards of the castle resounded with the clanking of leg-irons, sounds of blows, yells of pain; and the commission of high officers laboured feverishly, concealing their distress and apprehensions from each other, and especially from their secretary, Father Berón, an army chaplain, at that time very much in the confidence of the Citizen-Saviour.
That priest was a big round-shouldered man, with an unclean-looking, overgrown tonsure on the top of his flat head, of a dingy, yellow complexion, softly fat, with greasy stains all down the front of his lieutenant's uniform, and a small cross embroidered in white cotton on his left breast. He had a heavy nose and a pendant lip. Dr. Monygham remembered him still. He remembered him against all the force of his will striving its utmost to forget. Father Berón had been adjoined to the commission by Guzmán Bento expressly for the purpose that his enlightened zeal should assist them in their labours. Dr.Monygham could by no manner of means forget the zeal of Father Berón, or his face, or the pitiless, monotonous voice in which he pronounced the words, "Will you confess now?"
This memory did not make him shudder, but it had made of him what he was in the eyes of respectable people, a man careless of common decencies, something between a clever vagabond and a disreputable doctor. But not all respectable people would have had the necessary delicacy of sentiment to understand with what trouble of mind and accuracy of vision Dr. Monygham, medical officer of the San Tomé mine, remembered Father Berón, army chaplain, and once a secretary of a military commission.
After all these years Dr. Monygham, in his rooms at the end of the hospital building in the San Tomé gorge, remembered Father Berón as distinctly as ever. He remembered that priest at night, sometimes, in his sleep. On such nights the doctor waited for daylight with a candle lighted, and walking the whole length of his rooms to and fro, staring down at his bare feet, his arms hugging his sides tightly.
He would dream of Father Berón sitting at the end of a long black table, behind which, in a row, appeared the heads, shoulders, and epaulettes of the military members, nibbling the feather of a quill pen, and listening with weary and impatient scorn to the protestations of some prisoner calling heaven to witness of his innocence, till he burst out, "What's the use of wasting time over that miserable nonsense! Let me take him outside for a while." And Father Berón would go outside after the clanking prisoner, led away between two soldiers. Such interludes happened on many days, many times, with many prisoners. When the prisoner returned he was ready to make a full confession, Father Berón would declare, leaning forward with that dull, surfeited look which can be seen in the eyes of gluttonous persons after a heavy meal.
Second, how is torture administered and what can be learned by torture?