Location: Midwest, United States

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I beg of you

Please, plesae, please go see An Inconvenient Truth.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Moments of brilliance

I just heard Fred Edwards on the radio, and he made a brilliant point about the separation of church and state, specifically why the Ten Commandments cannot be considered the basis for our legal system. Compare, he suggests the First Commandment to the First Amendment. They’re incompatible. Oh, yes, one can follow the first commandment and still be a law-abiding American citizen. But to make the first commandment law violates the principle of freedom of religion.

Last night on Saturday Night Live, Robert Smigel produced another of his Read Audio cartoons, where he takes actual audiotapes of new events and animates them. Last night he took a serious of quotes by the Bush administration and after each quote someone did a spit take. The President talks about yellow cake in a State of the Union address and Cheney hurriedly wipes up someone’s spit. The President stands on the deck of an aircraft carrier (with the exaggerated codpiece that had G. Gordon Liddy salivating) and declares Mission Accomplished while military men perform spit takes. Vice President Cheney tells Larry King that the “insurgency is in its final throes” and King does such a violent spit take, his heart comes out of his mouth and onto the table. It was hilarious!

Later in the show, Kevin Spacey does a parody of Neil Young, who has a new album out severely critical of this administration. He’s sacrificed art for making his political points; he falls back on generic garage rock for the music, and his lyrics evolve from titles like “Let’s Impeach the President.” A bit on the nose, don’t you think? So Spacey as Young delivers another album, which the voiceover describes as “subtle-er.” The titles and the lyrics became more and more prosaic as the list went on. Too prosaic to remember specific examples, though an interesting point was made.

Stephen Colbert is my new hero. (Actually I have a trio of heroes, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.) Colbert was magnificent in his performance at the White House Correspondents’ dinner; Stewart described it as “ballsalicious.” Here are some of my favorite bits from that night:

“Most of all, I believe in this president. Now, I know there are some polls out there saying that this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias. . . .

“I stand by this man. I stand by this man, because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things, things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world. . . .

“But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction! . . . .

“So, the White House has personnel changes. And then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring! If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg! . . .

“Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend. Haven't heard from the Reverend in just a little while. I had him on the show. It was a very interesting interview, very challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say what he wants at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is. . . . .

“Joe Wilson is here. Joe Wilson, right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And, of course, he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? Ay, gee monetti! I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife “Joe Wilson's wife.” Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight, right? Okay, dodged a bullet.”

I’m so proud of you Stephen!

I would like to end this blog entry with a breath-taking quote by Tony Campolo: “The question is would Jesus ask, ‘What doth it profit if you gain information from a tortured terrorist and lose your own soul?’"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A brief musing

Last night I went to Steppenwolf and saw Last of the Boys. I had no prior idea of the content. It was about how the Vietnam War affected four people--two vets and two women, one widowed and the other orphaned by the war.

So of course the after-play discussion was about how the current war parallels the Vietnam War. I actually don't think there are many parallels. Vietnam always had that through line--gotta fight those godless communists. The rationale for this war changes quarterly.

Anyway, I've discovered my father reads my blog. But he will only comment on my eldest sister's blog--my other sister and I are the neglected middle children.

Just kidding!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Merry Fitzmas!

Five felony counts against Scooter!

Not that I'm one to engage in Schadenfreude. . . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

To All The Republicans I've Loved

Capital Times of Madison, WI quotes this obit:
"Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service-related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans."

Consider these musings said acerbic letters.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


“[The president] is. . . releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He. . .has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. [This does] not make for a sound foreign policy."-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."
-Sean Hannity, Fox News

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W. Bush

"I had doubts. . .from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to [this]."
-Tony Snow, Fox News

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years"
-Joe Scarborough

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military.. . . There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
-Sean Hannity, Fox News

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
-George W. Bush

"This is [the president's] war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."
-Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

"You can support the troops but not the president"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"My job. . . is to be supportive of our troops, try to have input as decisions are made and to look at those decisions after they're made ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do." Trent Lott

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain. . . what the exit strategy is."
-George W. Bush

"This is [the president’s] war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."
-Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

"[Attacking] a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

“For us to call this a victory and to commend the President of the United States as the Commander in Chief showing great leadership. . .is a farce" -Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"It is a remarkable spectacle to see the. . .administration taking over from the Soviet Union the role of sponsoring "wars of national liberation." -Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)

Okay, there's a punchline. These folks are criticizing President Clinton, when our men and women in uniform were in harm's way in Kosovo. Is this treasonous, giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

No! It's okay when the right voices their opposition to military action, and it equally okay when the left does it. In fact, we should cherish our right to free speech and exercise it thoughtfully.

You go, Cindy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

An Open Query to the Right Reverend Pat Robertson

“[Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez] has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent. You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop.. . .this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”

These are the words of Pat Robertson on the 700 Club this week on his Christian Broadcasting Network.

Reverend Robertson, I respectfully ask you—what part of “Thou Shalt Not Kill” don’t you understand? Now I confess, I am rather broadminded. I believe implicit in this Commandment is the idea that “Thou Shalt Not Advocate for the Assassination of a Duly Elected Leader of a Sovereign Nation.” Maybe your tranlation of the Bible says that assasination is A-OK as long as it doesn't interfere with the flow of oil to our gas-guzzling nation.

Although you tried to depict him as a dictator, Chavez was elected in 1998 with the largest majority in Venezuelan history. Chavez has a 70% approval rating, compared to our own fearless leader’s 36% approval rating.

Maybe the folks behind GSAVE (the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism) could have a chat with you, our homegrown extremist cleric advocating violence—I mean, man of God.