Tuesday, May 27, 2003

from Robert Frank, in today's Guardian:

The explosive rise in CEO pay is part of a larger winner-take-all trend in which almost all the economic gains in recent decades have been captured by a handful of top players in each market segment. Although this trend has been driven largely by market
forces, its social consequences are troubling.

Spending tracks income, and each year a growing share of national income is devoted to the construction of larger mansions and more luxurious automobiles, spending that merely shifts the standards that define luxury. Meanwhile, working families struggle to make ends meet and governments continue to slash basic public services.

read the rest here...

Robert Frank is a professor of economics at Cornell University and author of
The Winner-Take-All Society.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Body and Soul's Jeanne has posted a couple of times about the scenes on television of crowds in Iraq-- solidly male crowds, and asks "where are the women?" More specifically, she says:

"Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the front pages of major newspapers have regularly featured photographs of crowds of Iraqi men... Invariably, the captions and the accompanying stories have referred to the crowds as "Iraqis" or perhaps "Shiite Muslims" -- never as "Iraqi men" or "Shiite men," despite the conspicuous absence of women and despite the fact that a crowd of Iraqi women would surely be referred to as just that."-J

"The failure to note that the crowds are all-male is part of the larger failure to ask the question that should follow automatically from such images: Where are the Iraqi women? -- Elizabeth Goitein, The Washington Post"

I think that the absence of women on the streets is an indication of the absence of safety on the streets-- an absence that should be laid at GW's feet as his responsibility, especially after the administration got the UN security council resolution they sought that OK'd the postwar reconstruction to be supervised by just the US and the UK, after they did such a bang-up job protecting the hospitals and museums and libraries.... I seem to remember an article in the online Christian Science Monitor mentioning that incidents of rape have gone up dramatically in Baghdad since the so-called reconstruction started, but I forgot to bookmark it, I must embarassedly admit.

Nevertheless, I found this NY Times article on Common Dreams which partly supports this arguement regarding the absence of women on the streets.

Posting will be light this week as I'm moving. Not the URL, but me-- physically moving. I should be back to regular posting Monday the 2nd.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

I've resisted writing about the upcoming FCC vote scheduled for June 2nd not because of lack of interest on my part but rather because of my assumption, accurate or not, that someone reading here is likely to have already seen posts or stories about the issues at stake elsewhere. This past Friday(the 23rd) Bill Moyers' "Now" PBS show had an excellent segment on the pending vote, as did Eric Boelert of Salon in his article 'the Big Blackout" from earlier this past week.

from Boelert:

according to most press accounts, the outcome at the FCC has already been determined, with the three Republican FCC commissioners committed to a yes vote on easing ownership limits, and the two Democratic commissioners opposing the change. Come June 2, the FCC is expected to overturn decades-old rules and allow one company to own both a newspaper and a television station in the same market, acquire many more local affiliate stations, and own up to three TV stations in a single large market. The FCC is expected, however, to retain the rule forbidding any two of America's four broadcast networks from merging.

The bottom line is that one company could own television, radio and newspaper outlets in the same market. And, in theory, NBC could purchase Gannett and become the country's largest newspaper publisher.

I sometimes get the impression that web log readers rarely click the links offered, although I'm really operating in a vacuum of awareness here, and don't really know. Nevertheless, here are some links you really should be clicking on:



and don't forget house.gov and senate.gov, where you can get fax and phone numbers for your congressman and senators. They really should hear from you. Here in Texas, the phone nos. are

202-224-2934 for John Cornyn and 202-224-5922 for Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

O Heathcliff!

Stephanie Merritt of the Guardian asks whether Wuthering Heights is the "worst read of all time"...

Friday, May 23, 2003

I saw Schindler's List on vid, finally. I was kinda in-between on it. It's solid and earnest, but it occurred to me that the deliberate beauty of the cinematography was somehow out of keeping with the somber subject matter, and I found myself wishing for perfunctorily unbeautiful, washed out color photography instead of all that arty b/w chiaroscuro that seemed not quite , er, kosher.
We do not believe in aggressive or preventive war. Such war is the weapon of dictators, not of free democratic countries like the United States. ~ Harry S. Truman: Radio and Television Report to the American People, Sept 1, 1950.

(via Howard Dean's Blog and Ruminate This.)
Quid Pro Quo?

1. from Yahoo News/dow jones:

Uday Hussein Thinking of Surrendering to U.S. Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, is considering surrendering to U.S. forces, but so far has been reluctant to do so because of a tough negotiating posture by the U.S. government, a third party with knowledge of the discussions told The Wall Street Journal. U.S. officials in Washington had no comment. Uday Hussein, who is hiding in a Baghdad, Iraq, suburb, wants to know what the charges against him will be, and the process for interrogation and custody, the person familiar with the discussions said. He is working through intermediaries. ...

2. from CNN/Netscape: US Seizes What May Be $500 Million in Gold in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American troops have seized what appears to be $500 million worth of gold bars from a truck in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Friday.

The 2,000 40-pound (18 kg) bars were seized on Thursday at Qaim on the Syrian border in western Iraq by soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the U.S. military's Central Command said in a statement.

It said the bars could be gold and worth as much as $500 million, depending on karat weight and purity. The Central Command, which headed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to depose President Saddam Hussein, said soldiers found the bars while conducting "a routine traffic control search" of a Mercedes truck near the border. Two occupants of the truck, who were taken into custody, told the soldiers they had been told the bars were bronze, according to the command statement. The two also told soldiers they had been paid 350,000 Iraqi dinars (about $350) to pick up the truck in Baghdad and drive it to Qaim and turn it over to an individual.

U.S. troops last month found an estimated $600 million in U.S. cash in boxes near Baghdad palace complexes.This month, U.S. officials said Saddam's son Qusay took about a billion dollars in currency from the central bank in Baghdad just before the Iraq war, but that most had been recovered.

And finally, if you prefer sobriety to Oliver-Stonian speculation, here's some BBC background on the Hussein boys. Funny how as recently as March 18th US relations with Syria were supposed to be improving-- dubya and Wolfowitz, et al sure are fickle... Wait a minute, I hear you say-- he's IN Baghdad? If the US forces are in control of Baghdad, how come they don't know where he is, making "negotiations" besides the point? Maybe he's hiding in the museum Rumsfeld was so loathe to protect. And who gets the gold? The Iraqis? Haliburton? Bechtel?

BIG BIG Tax Cut:

George W Bush got his tax cut, only it was the 350 billion version, not the 726 billion one he was initially asking for in January, nor the modified(but definitely not "little bitty") 550 billion second version one he asked for in April. Is this good? The white house got a fairly steep reduction in the capital gains and dividend tax(to 15 per cent, the same as the income tax rate of the people who get zilch from GW's tax schemes). Previously the capital gains highest rate was 20 percent and divdends were taxed according to your income tax bracket, so they were as much as 38.6 per cent, so I'd say he got a pretty formidable gimme for regressive taxation.

Max Sawicky of Maxspeak points out that the numbers(350,550 billion, etc.) are largely meaningless because they are based on the deliberately unrealistic assumption that some of the taxes will be phased out at some point in the future, which will prove unlikely, or at least difficult to achieve without some legislative backbone, the lack of which arguably got us into our present predicament of Budget Busting for Rich Folks in the first place. Sawicky also points out that GW's tax policies have thus far shrunk the economy by over 2 million jobs lost and that for Bush's claims for GW's Tax Cut II to deliver, they will have to deliver over 300,000 new jobs a month between now and December 2004, instead of tens of thousands per month lost, as is presently the case.

( Liberal Oasis argues the second tax cut will help unelect Bush, because even if he didn't get the 726 billion he wanted, the White House has crowed in triumph and the bill will be seen as Dubya's.

I don't think you should count on it. The widely derided "appearing to do something" Rove strategy will work if the democrats don't appear to have anything positive and hopeful to offer in its stead. I just hope Dubya doesn't look to invade another essentially defenseless country in time for the Republican convention if the economy is still in the doldrums.)

Finally, see this Prospect article about George W. Bush's tax policies.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

from the Christian Science Monitor:

Evidence is mounting to suggest that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the recent war, according to researchers involved in independent surveys of the country...Such a range would make the Iraq war the deadliest campaign for noncombatants that US forces have fought since Vietnam...they have found evidence of "massive use of cluster bombs in densely populated areas," according to Human Rights Watch researcher Marc Galasco, contradicting coalition claims that such munitions were used only in deserted areas.

via Follow Me Here.
A clean, well-lighted URL.
There's an open source office suite(i.e., freeware) for Windows, Mas OS and Linux at OpenOffice.Org. via the Guardian.
Santorum poll:
you've probably heard about Pa. senator Rick Santorum and the flap about his comments re homosexuality, etc. A new Pennsylvania poll shows his approval ratings essentially unchanged, although his disapproval numbers are up a bit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

"How Criminal Are You?"
another dandy internet quiz...
And now, war profiteers trading cards, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

from Yahoo News(AP):

Democratic senators criticized the Smithsonian Institution Tuesday for moving a photo exhibit of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to a basement hallway, calling it self-censorship. The new location, between a loading dock and a freight elevator, is a high traffic area where workers moving large boxes and equipment occasionally block a clear view of the photos. At a hearing Tuesday, Democratic senators displayed photos of visitors peering over boxes to see the exhibit.

When I see a story like this, I cringe. Not because I think the Alaska ANWR is no big deal, but because I see the democrats nibbling timidly around the periphery of what Bush stands for, rather than forcefully taking him to task. I've heard nothing, by contrast, about democrats talking about the layoffs of baggage screeners that the administration is planning on-- presumably because the polls say that centrist voters favor the republicans on security, so somewhere in Washington the desicion has been made to keep mum on security issues. I hate to see faux democrat Joe Lieberman being the only one who says anything about the anti-terrorism missteps of the administration.
from Texas Monthly(via Hauser Report):

"IN THE FALL OF 1996, George W. Bush, 21 months into his first term as governor, made a surprise decision: He would show up for Travis County jury duty. He made a very public appearance at the jury screening, telling reporters, "I'm just an average guy showing up for jury duty." When he arrived at the county courthouse a week later for jury selection for a trial, he schmoozed with his fellow prospective jurors outside the courtroom, asserting to reporters his belief that jury duty was everyone's responsibility.

But while Bush held forth in the corridor, a meeting was taking place inside the court that would make certain that the governor would never be impaneled. Back in the judge's chambers, Alberto R. "Al" Gonzales, the governor's quiet, dapper general counsel and one of his closest advisers, was making a forceful case that his client could not be a juror. Bush had the power to pardon defendants, Gonzales argued, and thus should not vote on their innocence or guilt at trial.

As Gonzales presented his argument, neither the judge nor the attorneys knew quite what to do, according to defense attorney David Wahlberg. "There was nothing in the criminal code to guide us here," he says. "As far as anyone could remember, a sitting governor had never been called to jury duty before." Finally, Wahlberg agreed to accommodate Gonzales by removing Bush from the jury. At the time, newspapers reported that Bush was excused as part of a routine defense counsel's strike, but Wahlberg says that's not what happened. "It was very clearly at Gonzales' behest," he says, adding, with grudging respect, that Gonzales was "professional, well prepared, and persuasive. And he snookered all of us. He approached us informally—and at the last minute—with an argument that I feel was disingenuous at best."

Why, after Bush had so publicly declared his willingness to serve, did Gonzales move so deliberately to get him off? The answer came four years later. The week before the 2000 presidential election, the story broke that Bush had been convicted in 1976 of driving while intoxicated. As it turned out, the 1996 trial also involved a person charged with driving while intoxicated, which meant that Bush would almost certainly have been asked under oath if he himself had ever been convicted of drunken driving. Gonzales' intervention meant that Bush would not have to admit his own conviction.

Today the man who fixed George W. Bush's jury duty is Bush's White House counsel, one of the most influential lawyers in the country."

Monday, May 19, 2003

Hugo recommends Joe Conason recommending James Wolcott:

Sen. John Kerry, for one, pointed out the Bush administration's failure to use adequate force in Afghanistan many months ago. That wasn't a secret to anyone who read Bob Woodward's book "Bush at War," which revealed in detail how the president and his advisors decided to take out the Taliban with the least possible political and military risk -- and thus allowed Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and most of their top lieutenants to escape.

The best recent essay explaining how the Bush White House transmutes incompetence into omnipotence -- and who helps them to create this illusion -- is not available online. To read James Wolcott, perhaps our sharpest cultural critic and certainly our funniest, one must buy or subscribe to Vanity Fair (where his 2002 essays just won a National Magazine Award). Among those who would profit from reading Wolcott are the puzzled readers who write to me every day, asking why so many Americans are suckered by Rovian triumphalism.

"Bush's cult of personality is based on a rawhide image of masculinity as carefully storyboarded and marketed as an old Marlboro Man campaign," writes Wolcott. "Now that the Marlboro Man has coughed up a lung, Bush has the heroic sunset all to himself." The reiteration of the cowboy archetype has been relentless since Sept. 11, by Bush himself ("dead or alive"), by his "sidekick" Cheney, and by his frequent brush-clearing sojourns at the Crawford compound.

"President Bush is no more of genuine cowboy (roping steers, farting by the campfire) than Ronald Reagan was. In fact, he's further removed from reality. Reagan was an actor who played cowboys in movies and became a politician. Bush is a politician who pretends to be a cowboy in order to remind us of Reagan when he was president...

I decided to try reading somethin good fer my noggin offline. i picked up the american by henry james, and proceeded to read a few paragraphs. or was it a few hundred? i felt like homer struggling with some edifying activity that lisa had foisted upon him, all the while wishing for the smashup derby simplicity of hemmingway. should i stop capitalizing? i dunno. but i think i'll read the sun also rises instead. I'm not a big reader, at least, not of books. too much time spent on the internet seems to have damaged my attention span. i did read one novel last year; the eye in the sky by philip k dick. I'd never read any of his stuff before.

and now, more stuff:

Google is to create a search tool specifically for weblogs, most likely giving material generated by the self-publishing tools its own tab.

It isn't clear if weblogs will be removed from the main search results, but precedent suggests they will be. After Google acquired Usenet groups from Deja.com, it developed a unique user interface and a refined search engine, and removed the groups from the main index.'

from The Register, via Follow Me Here.

I'm a little concerned about this, as it suggests that blogs, including political blogs, will become marginalized, before the mainstream public had even heard of them.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Conservo-Non-Bloggin' Bart says:

The New Republic once ragged on the Nation's sea cruises. In the latest issue, however, there's an ad for a TNR sea cruise with Peretz and a few of his editors, including Leon Wieseltier, who sports a grey or white (b/w photo) mane as florid looking as his prose, and reminiscent of John Gardner's 70s do.

How We Raise Our Kids Republican:

Denton is about 35 miles north of Dallas, with a population of around 75 thousand. The local paper, the Record-Chronicle, has an, er, interesting take on the quorum-busting renegade democrats from the past week: apparently it wasn't about redistircting so much as, well, read from the page one story:

Lady Broncos Cry Foul Over Democrats’ Walkout:
The Class 4A state champion Denton Lady Broncos were set to head down to Austin Friday morning to be honored by the Legislature. The players were supposed to be introduced on the floor and receive a certificate declaring Friday Denton High School Lady Broncos Soccer Day, said Denton girls soccer coach Iseed Khoury. The team was also planning to take a tour of the state Capitol.

"It would have been a terrific experience for the kids to go to Austin and see how changes are made to the law," Mr. Khoury said. "But unfortunately, these are circumstances beyond our control and we’re just going to have to live with it." Denton defeated Austin Lake Travis, 2-1, in April in the Class 4A state title game in Georgetown, which is about 30 miles outside of Austin.

Many of the Lady Broncos were upset when hearing their trip had been canceled. "This would have been a good experience," said junior Lisa Stephens. "It’s disappointing we won’t get to go. The team would have enjoyed being introduced at the state capital and having the day proclaimed in our honor." "I’m just mad," said senior Callie Lawing. "I planned on this being a three-day school week because Senior Skip Day was Monday. Those politicians ruined this experience for us. They had to run to Oklahoma like sissies." Added senior Erin Cadenhead: "I was really looking forward to this. I wanted to miss school. I guess I’m kind of mad at the politicians. This whole situation seems weird to me. I don’t understand it. It seems like the politicians are just being selfish."

Despite Friday’s cancellation, Mr. Khoury said the team has other events planned to honor their accomplishment.

Presumably the Lady Broncos were told that the Republicans' redistricting plan was unnecessary and possibly unlawful since the house districts were already redrawn per the year 2000 census and they're only supposed to be redrawn once every 10 years, not whenever Tom Delay and his associates smell a potential power grab in the air. Right?

While we're on the topic, Tendentious has a before and after map of one of the districts up on his site.(see "Tommymander".)

In a recent article in the New Republic, "Beirut Redux", Hassan Fatah suggests that the US army is only safeguarding a small section of Baghdad while chaos reigns throughout the rest of the city.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Jessica Lynch, Part III:

No less august a source than BBC News has concluded that the "coalition version" of Jessica Lynch's rescue is (Jerry Bruckheimer-style) fiction.

Friday, May 16, 2003

One Hundred Lives-- at the Guardian .

Thursday, May 15, 2003

from the New York Review of Books:

Before arriving in Doha, I had spent hours watching CNN back home, and I was sadly reminded of the network's steady decline in recent years. Paula Zahn looked and talked like a cheerleader for the US forces; Aaron Brown kept reaching for the profound remark without ever finding it; Wolf Blitzer politely interviewed Washington's high and mighty, seldom asking a pointed question. None of them, however, appeared on the broadcasts I saw in Doha. Instead, there were Jim Clancy, a tough-minded veteran American correspondent, Michael Holmes, a soft-spoken Australian, and Becky Anderson, a sharp and inquisitive British anchor. This was CNN International, the edition broadcast to the world at large, and it was far more serious and informed than the American version.

The difference was not accidental. Six months before the war began, I was told, executives at CNN headquarters in Atlanta met regularly to plan separate broadcasts for America and the world. Those executives knew that Zahn's girl-next-door manner and Brown's spacey monologues would not go down well with the British, French, or Germans, much less the Egyptians or Turks, and so the network, at huge expense, fielded two parallel but separate teams to cover the war. And while there was plenty of overlap, especially in
the reports from the field, and in the use of such knowledgeable journalists as Christiane Amanpour, the international edition was refreshingly free of the self-congratulatory talk of its domestic one. In one telling moment, Becky Anderson, listening to one of Walter Rodgers's excited reports about US advances in the field, admonished him: "Let's not give the impression that there's been no resistance." Rodgers conceded that she was right.

CNN International bore more resemblance to the BBC than to its domestic edition—a difference that showed just how market-driven were the tone and content of the broadcasts. For the most part, US news organizations gave Americans the war they thought Americans wanted to see...

from Michael Massing's "The Unseen War."

via Alas, a Blog("Ampersand.")
Another Time, Another Republican Party:

One by one, President Eisenhower's top advisers paraded into the Cabinet Room of the White House and took their places around the big mahogany table. The discussion on this morning, Dec. 10, 1954, quickly turned to the workaday business of running the country: an initiative to add 70,000 units of public housing, the Buy American Act, the need for preventive medical care. Yet one subject, above all, seemed to stir the participants' passion: raising the minimum wage.

Mr. Eisenhower -- the first Republican to occupy the White House since the minimum wage was enacted -- had floated the idea of increasing it from 75 cents an hour early in the year. Now, with the economy humming along, it appeared the perfect time to put the plan in motion. Even the president's economic adviser, the cautious Arthur Burns, agreed that the only question left to decide was what "the optimum figure" for the new wage would be.

Handwritten notes from the cabinet meeting, stored at the Eisenhower Library, suggest that the president listened intently to the numbers being bandied about. George Humphrey, the treasury secretary, declared that going to $1 an hour "would be too much" and could undermine smooth relations with the business community. All eyes then fell on Labor Secretary Jim Mitchell, a plain-spoken man who had once been in charge of employee relations at Bloomingdale's. One dollar, he countered, "has great appeal." The vice president, Richard Nixon, added that it would be "unfortunate" if the administration recommended less than $1 because that would only enhance the odds that Democrats in Congress would "raise the ante."

Finally, Mr. Eisenhower spoke up. "We just have to seek that place where both sides will curse us," he said. "Then we'll be right."

from "How Minimum Wage Lost its Status As a Tool of Social Progress"
by Ric Wartzman, from the WSJ, July 19th, 2001.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

AWOL Texas Democrats to be hunted down...

Ok, I'm being a wee melodramatic. But it is true that

State troopers and the elite Texas Rangers were ordered to track down and bring in 59 Democratic lawmakers who brought the Texas House to a standstill Monday by going into hiding.
The quorum-busting boycott capped months of tension between Democrats and the newly-in-control Republicans, and occurred as the chamber was scheduled to debate a congressional redistricting plan opposed by Democrats. The parties also have clashed over a bill to limit lawsuits and a GOP budget that would avoid new taxes but make deep spending cuts.

according to the AP's Connie Mabin, as of yesterday. It turns out that they're "holed up" in a Holiday Inn in Oklahoma jus' north of the Red River.(Sorry, I couldn't resist. I've lived here since '74 and I still don't sound Texan. Anyway, I digress...)

Today they gave a press conference(I think it was in the motel's parking lot) and defiantly annonced they were staying put as long as necessary to stave off redistricting and harmful budget cuts the newly majoritarian republicans mean to enact. The republican majority leader, Bill Craddick, dubbed the missing democrats "chicken d's", which doesn't seem to be sticking, if my Google search for the term is any indication. And no, it's not really that bizarre that law enforcement is (ostensibly) involved, because Texas state law does have a provision to use law enforcement to track down missing legislators as needed, even if it dates back to a time when you might've been plausibly concerned that your colleagues had been kidnapped by indians.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Jane sez:

I kick Bronte butt! In your face, Iris Murdoch-- I've got your stream of consciousness right here!

th' ar ticle:

and th' list:

Friday, May 09, 2003

Joshua Marshall has a useful post on the Katrina Leung affair, noting that she was a GOP fundraiser as well as a double agent for the Chinese, and that her handler/lover, James J. Smith, was one of the lead FBI investigators charged with investigating alleged Democratic fundraising wrongdoing in 1996. Was she feeding him misinformation from the People's Republic as well as the occasional grape? Marshall notes that yesterday's ABC News prime time lead story last night about Leung never mentions her affiliations with the GOP, nor Smith's previous investigation of the Democrats in 1996-97. .
The Guardian's verbiage is perfect as it is:

The two faces of Rumsfeld
2000: Director of a company which
wins $200m contract to sell nuclear
reactors to North Korea.
2002: Declares North Korea a terrorist
state and a target for regime change.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Jessica Lynch, cont'd:

In an earlier post in April I note that "Jessica Lynch's father goes on record saying his daughter was not stabbed or shot, contrary to prior reports. It strikes me as another one of those news items that may have a mythology and life of its own." Now the link to that item is gone, which to be fair happens routinely to Yahoo news links. But now Yahoo is reporting that:

" Former POW Jessica Lynch, making progress after surgeries for injuries sustained in Iraq, is doing well emotionally but still cannot remember her capture and may never do so, one of her doctors said Thursday.Dr. Greg Argyros, assistant chief of the Department of Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Lynch is being treated, said evaluations of Lynch so far suggest there is only a slim chance she may remember her ordeal.

"The likelihood is very low that she will remember any of the events from the time of the attack until the time she woke up in the Iraqi hospital" after being rescued, he said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show. What happened in the March 23 incident, in which 11 troops were killed and Pfc. Lynch and five others were captured, has been unclear. A convoy of her 507th Maintenance Unit was reported to have taken a wrong turn and been ambushed by Saddam Fedayeen militia in southern Iraq. Lynch was rescued by special operations forces April 1, but there have been varying accounts of the rescue.

Though authorities may never get Lynch's firsthand account, Lynch's father, Greg Lynch Sr., said in a statement the family is "not worried about when she can tell her story." "She'll tell it when she's ready," he said. "We just want her to get better."
(AP- Pauline Jelinek, May 8th. Emphases are mine.)

Forgive me for always seeing ulterior devious workings under the surface of news related to Gulf War II, but it sounds to me like the Bush II administration has been refashioning the narrative again. Does Dr Argyros have concerns about funding for his hospital that he didn't before someone from Rumsfeld's truth and reconceal-iation comission had a talk with him? (and mediate booking him on the Today show?)

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

from Atrios:

"Stephanie Hill shoved her way through the crowd and whipped out a pen for Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas. She wanted his autograph, but had no idea he is a professional basketball player -- Hill was impressed by his poetry.

"People usually have a stereotype when they see a basketball player anyway. When they see you and you break those stereotypes, they come up to you afterward and they want to talk with you. I like that." And the crowd at Borders liked Thomas.

"This poem is called, 'Republicans,' " said Thomas, wearing glasses and khakis."

Them hypocrites don't care about you.
Director of Anti-Bush play attacked in Paris:
(via Cursor): link here (Int'l Herald Tribune)

Monday, May 05, 2003

a tale of two cities redux:

The white house says:
"DHS Grants Asylum to Iraqi Who Aided Jessica Lynch Rescue

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services has granted asylum to Mohammed Odeh Al Rehaief, the Iraqi citizen who provided information to the U.S. Marines that led to the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nassiriyah, Iraq. Al Rehaief's wife and five-year-old daughter were also granted asylum in a meeting last Friday at the Arlington, Virginia asylum office.

When visiting his wife who worked as a nurse at the Saddam Hospital in Nassiriyah, Mr. Al Rehaief discovered that Pvt. Jessica Lynch was being detained at the hospital. Because of his concern for Ms. Lynch, Mr. Al Rehaief provided information about her location to the United States Marines, who were subsequently able to successfully rescue Pvt. Lynch.

The family was brought to the U.S. by the Department of Defense earlier this month after the Department of Homeland Security granted them humanitarian parole into the United States."

Well, this is very nice. But meanwhile, just last week GW Bush's favorite court ruled,

"splitting 5-4, upheld...the sweeping power exercised by Congress to order the lockup of all immigrants who face deportation because they have committed crimes, even if they have finished serving their prison sentences and are considered to pose no danger."

If that isn't enough, and apparently for the current administration it isn't, dubya's torquemada, attorney general John Ashcroft, has recently proposed " creating military detention camps for all U.S. citizens deemed by the administration to be enemy combatants."

It's all too depressing. Most people don't care that much, and the white house will score the unwarranted sentimental accolades they seek for helping out Al Rehaief and his family. I'm not saying they shouldn't help them, but the counterpoint of the sound-bite warmth of this isolated gesture of magnanimity contrasted against thousands of detainees, many of whom came here with legitimate fears of being persecuted for their political affiliations, or even their gender or their sexual identity, only to end up in open-ended de facto jail sentences awaiting deportation is simply disgusting. The conjunction of these events, along with Patriot Act I and possibly pending Patriot Act II, makes me think of that post not so long ago by Jeanne at Body and Soul about America's "Sally Field Imperialism." If you haven't read it, go read it.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

According to Fat Boy Delgado:

"So that’s a bit like old Bush the other day on telly. Me and Tubs were watching it and we were on the fucking floor mate, laughing our bollocks off. Bush flies onto that aircraft carrier all dressed up like some fucker out of Top Gun only with Bush he just looks like the back end of a fucking pantomime horse in that all gear, mate. He’s a scream. You can’t help finding him comical. Not like old Blair. And the geezer on the BBC news made us laugh when he was commentating on it and he said that Bush did his national service by flying round Texas a couple of times and then ducking out of going to Vietnam.

I like Bush when he’s making his speeches. He’s like a cheeky little kid isn’t he. He always looks like there’s some fucker behind him tickling his arsehole with a feather. He looks like he wants to burst out laughing at the crap those bods have written for him to tell the American people. Not like Blair. Blair looks like he doesn’t think anyone’s going to swallow what he’s got to say but his eyes are bulging and his arms are flapping about because he really wants them to. “I say this to you..” or “I want to make this perfectly fucking clear..” and crap. And Blair just looks fucking stupid when his people slap a guitar in his hand and try and make him look a cool fella for the youth to get into. He just looks like an area manager for British Home Stores in a grey suit holding a guitar. Shape up, Tone.

But that speech old Bush gave on that ship was funny as fuck, mate. That guff about freedom and darkness and captives and light. He looked like he wanted to fall over side ways. He’d be much happier telling it straight. “These motherfuckers fronted us up so we bombed the shit out of them? Did we get the right ones? I don’t know, but if we didn’t we’ll bomb the fuck out of them too. God Bless America." Chutzpah, mate."

Unfortunately my permalinks aren't working correctly, otherwise you'd be able to see that this is from his May 3rd post.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

It is time to add some new links:

Follow Me Here

Ok, they're not "new", but they're new to me and worth reading. I also want to add Hauser Report but it's not coming up-- possibly his server is down. I'll try again tomorrow.
And Now, From the Culture Wars:

via Doc Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

It seems that former drug czar (and ongoing piety czar) William Bennett has a small problem:

Bennett--who gambled throughout Clinton's impeachment--has continued this pattern in subsequent years. On July 12 of last year, for instance, Bennett lost $340,000 at Caesar's Boardwalk Regency in Atlantic City. And just three weeks ago, on April 5 and 6, he lost more than $500,000 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. "There's a term in the trade for this kind of gambler," says a casino source who has witnessed Bennett at the high-limit slots in the wee hours. "We call them losers."

more here:

Do you know anyone who drools over the Book of Virtues and all its phoney-baloney highfalootingness? E-mail 'em this story;
and don't forget to tell them

Wah! Whooooo!! Wheeeeeeeeh!!! Weh weh weh weh weh weh!!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2003

School is kicking my butt-- I'll be back Saturday.