Friday, January 30, 2004


Osama the savior? I'm cynical by nature and fight the tendency to believe in conspiracies, however, this is odd.

Are they "sure" they will catch him like they were "sure there were WMD's? Or are they "sure" they're going to grab Osama and his buddy Omar because the psychics from the Enquirer told them they would? Or maybe they already have them (or at the very least have someone on the inside who will give them up at the right time). Of course the right time would be August or September -- just in time to push up his lagging poll numbers before the election.

Getting back to my cynical nature, I think something will happen before elections to give Bush the support he needs to win. Another war perhaps. More likely than that though would be another terror attack. Osama needs Bush as badly as Bush needs Osama. What leader could divide the world and alienate a population of Muslims quite like Bush? Ultimately the terrorists want Bush to continue his recklessness and ill-conceived policies in the Middle east to raise troops for the "holy war". And Bush is happy to acquiesce. BooYah! How's that for a "conspiracy" theory? I'm "sure" that if I'm not right, I'll be wrong but no one will remember --



There are people who can spin and then there are the spin-asters. How they wish they could direct a somnulent populace one way or another, but they just cant' get it right Scroll down to General Swannek's comments.---- more on this later.

You know, I look at this and I find it increasingly difficult to believe that anything good is coming out of that region. What's so positive about it?


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

If you aren't familiar with the MoveOn and their recent attempt to get an ad run during the Supebowl, you should be. A good summary was done alternet and really depicts the conflict here. It's ultimately a free speech issue and anyone saying it's too controversial hasn't seen the ad.

Perhaps CBS execs are assuming it is, as Adage says, "an anti-Bush" contest which implies it is going to some partisan hack job -- surprinsingly it's not. As a matter of fact, you can check out one of the finalist's ads and his interview on Scarborough country here -- Scarborough not a "lefty" by any means, asks a very telling question "Is MoveOn moving to the center?"

All the finalists' ads are here and scroll down.

Get involved. Write a letter. Sign a petition.


Ok, so I have a few pieces published in some small press lit mags and as you may or may not know, most rely on state and individual funding. Many state's seem to be in some financial crisis and are cutting funding to various arts related program activities. Here's a couple of rags you may want to check out -- California Quarterly, CSPS, POB 7126 Orange, CA 92863 (sorry no website); Spillway; and Red River Review. Or, of course, go out and support a local lit mag --


I will try to post everyday -- if you ever get the urge, you can contact me here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Can anyone tell me if O'Reilly and the rest of the wingnut crowd apologized to Garrafalo yet? Or maybe this qualifies as a disaster.


Monday, January 26, 2004

I've been extremely busy this week, but I need to jot this down. A friend of mine is not a Dean supporter. He sent me a link to a picture of a raging Dean and the subject line "Would you want this guy's finger on the trigger?" It started a thoughtful and interesting discussion about Dean and Kerry but something was nagging me, a feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then I realized what it was: we've all been to this primary before.

I was living in South Carolina when the Republican primaries were in full swing. McCain was hot, Keyes was still hanging around, and Bush was digging in. Bush needed SC and was doing anything he could to make sure he got it.

It was at that time that McCain's anger really made the headlines. Charles Memminger on November 5, 1999, opined, "The most serious political scandal of the day is that Republican presidential candidate John McCain has a bad temper." Oh boy, and how. Forget policies or platforms, he's worse than the Hulk on steroids. These types of comments and headlines were all over the place. Take John Dickerson's statement, "For McCain, the challenge is not to prove he has the fire, but the opposite: that if he carries the McCain flame into the White House, it won't set the mansion ablaze." Oh Lord, the Senate has survived his wrath, but the White House that's where THE BUTTON is and we don't want to see a remake of Kubrick's "Dr. (Dean) Strangelove" with McCain dropping the bomb then ordering all the conservative ladies into the tunnels, how boring. In December Saletan said, "McCain's anger is supposed to be bad because he can't control it--and therefore can't work with Congress and can't be trusted with nuclear weapons." Yeah right, and the joint cheifs, VP, and all the other checks and balances guys just go along with any crazy President on some pre-emptive war BS-- Oh wait....

Of course by February when the SC primaries were in full throttle, the raging McCain image was being used by the RNC and the Bush campaign pretty often. Someone forgot to give Tucker Carlson the memo:

February 16, 2000 "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- You didn't hear the phrase "compassionate conservatism" much in the Republican debate Tuesday night. Over the past week in South Carolina, George W. Bush has waged one of the roughest primary campaigns in memory. The man who describes himself as "a uniter, not a divider" has gone profoundly negative against his chief rival, John McCain. When he talks about his political philosophy, Bush typically goes out of his way to sound gentle and inclusive. He didn't bother during the debate on Larry King Live.

Instead, Bush sounded angry, raising his voice and scowling. He seemed close to losing his temper several times, usually when the three others on the set attempted to speak over him. Bush hates -- absolutely can't stand, won't tolerate -- to be interrupted. During the first hour of the debate I tried to count the number of times he petulantly snapped, "Let me finish," or "May I finish?" or "Wait a minute!" My pen ran out of ink before I completed the tally, but the point was clear: Bush, not McCain, appears to be the one with the temper problem."

In March, after the push polling and attack ads, McCain had enough. As a matter of fact, I remember McCain responding to the dirty tricks; soon the headlines screamed "Angry McCain lashes out". Of course, little mention of the actual push polling that egged him on was ever mentioned. The game is fixed, and the media fixed it. James M. Wall quoted Phyllis Schlafly of the conservative Eagle Forum who said, "People don't want to elect an angry candidate." There you have it.

A thorough look at McCain's anger and the pundits who fed the frenzy was done by the Daily Howler here:

Now we have the same label "angry Dean" and the same bad captions "trust him with the button" on similar horrible photos. In August a blogger by the name of Stinson asked: "The real reason that people in the press compare Dean to McCain is that the main schtick of both campaigns is to be "the very angry white guy." But McCain earned the right to be angry in Vietnam. Where's Dean's justification?" No torture, no life threatening experiences, no war to blame your psychological problems on. McCain did not survive the primary with the excuse; Dean has no chance.

Here's some headlines and commentary -- "Analysts: Iowans Rejected Dean's Angry Style," and Liberal Ideas by Bill Fancher says, "Associated Press says Dean's rivals "pummeled" him with criticism, saying he has neither the foreign policy experience nor the temperament to lead the country."

Of course, just as the Republicans bombed McCain, many are noticing party-line Democrats are doing the same thing to Dean, albeit much earlier. In Dec the UK News comments, "That's the rap that Republicans and, more viciously, Stop-Dean Democrats want to pin on Dr. Populist." Howard Dean "is continuing to feed the perception among some voters, campaign strategists and academics that he is angry, edgy and -- a cardinal sin in politics -- not cheerful," USA Today reported. Chris Suellentrop, says, "Howard Dean is testy. Doesn't play well with others. Has a chip of Vermont granite on the shoulder of his buttoned-down shirt. Is too negative. Acts like an angry short guy. Doesn't have the temperament to be President." That's a mouthful -- he must be a midget. Meanwhile The Chicago Tribune says, "Dean runs on high-octane anger."

Now Bush hasn't even started campaigning yet (unless you count his first three years in office) and he's already giving us pause about those angry Dems so says Jimmy Moore: "Bush Expresses Concern Over 'Angry' Demeanor of Democrat Presidential Candidates" -- of course the site I found the article on also sported an ad for Ann Coulter's book Treason on the same page. Coulter's not angry, she's just off her psychotropic drugs.

conservative blogs are all over the talking point of Dean's anger

While even Comedy central gets involved on Dean it's interesting to note that Saturday Night Live picked up the ball with a McCain anger skit in February before the primary:

tacitus has an interesting piece and discussion concerning the media's anger management problem:

Salon did two wonderful pieces on Dean and the Media's infatuation with his "anger".

Oh, but it gets better; remember the SC the turning point: the Push polling, whispers/rumors/innuendos? Check out what I saw earlier today:

"Statement from State Director Karen Hicks
Posted by Timothy Jones
on Sun, 01/25/2004, 12:50 pm

Today, Karen Hicks, Dean For America's New Hampshire State Director, made the following statement:

"In recent days, our campaign has been hearing reports from New Hampshire voters that they are receiving:

* phone calls early in the morning and late at night;
* "robo calls" from soulless machines, not calls from considerate people;
* calls claiming to originate from the Dean campaign, but do not;
* and even harassing calls and bigoted messages.

Let me be very clear. The Dean campaign does not call New Hampshire homes before 8:30 am or after 8:30 pm. Our calls are made by respectful people, not droning machines. Our callers tell the truth.

We call on the other campaigns to make the same commitments.

We are grateful for the extraordinary engagement of New Hampshire's people in this race. But our campaign believes that everyone deserves some peace, some respect, and a truthful message."

And we're only in New Hampshire. I have a feeling somebody didn't like that Dean stopped the freefall in the polls and wants to get Dean out the race now. Why did the Republicans go after McCain? Because they couldn't control him; they knew he wouldn't take marching orders from the party. I know who is making the calls in Dean's name, but it's eeirly similar to SC. I'm not saying the party establishment is in any way involved, but I think they want their boy, someone they know and for Dems, it's Kerry or Edwards. Dean: He's unelectable. At least that's what my friend in Maine tells me. I don't know. Of course, I went to hear McCain in South Carolina and liked what I heard and look at what happened to him.


Friday, January 23, 2004

A couple of months ago my grandmother, 76, died of cancer. What a cliche -- everyone knows someone who has died of cancer. It's sad. And the only "good" thing that came out of watching her die was the way she showed us love and dignity even in her most desparate and humiliating moments. Talk about grace. I had to write something for her funeral and so at 5 AM the morning of her burial I wrote and rememberred:

Before she returned to God’s warm embrace,
Before the trees shed their leaves so furiously they looked like imposters of themselves,
so drawn and thin, so fragile,

Before that beautiful day in November when her breathing
sounded like wind -- irregular, deep, pausing,

Before her family circled her frame, held her hands,
stroked her hair, caressed her feet,

Before any tears fell,

Before she instructed her family in the arts of strength, dignity
and patience by accepting help graciously and lovingly
even when they were sometimes awkward, afraid, unsure
of what their own hands were doing,

Before the soft washcloths she knitted were used to bathe
her great-grandchildren and wipe the day’s imprint from their bodies,

Before she held those great-grandchildren in her arms and smiled,
playfully tugging at their “foofers”,

Before family and friends surrounded a table weighted down by sugar cookies
and peanut brittle and ate until their stomachs bulged with excess
and even then she shoved tins stuffed with sweets into their hands
as they hugged her goodbye,

Before she wrapped her grandchildren in hand-made Afghans,

Before her two careers took time from the one thing she enjoyed more than any other --
being a mom,

Before she made her daughters feel smart about being mothers themselves,

Before her shaking hands sliced grapefruit and poured milk for her own child stricken
with cancer, she said a prayer and wiped her eyes dry,
then took her place bedside,

Before her youngest daughter pleaded to keep the flower dress that she made for her
even though it was threadbare and two-sizes too small,

Before she rushed after her children searching the nooks and crannies
of her house for their Sunday veils,

Before she married and settled into a new life,

Before she was a child herself where she watched her older sister fall
out of her father’s car, and calmly answered his “where’s your sister”
with a simple “she left”,

Before she learned the meanings of sharing and patience and family
from her parents and five siblings,

Before she first nestled into her own mother’s arms, a new year’s baby in 1929,

Before any of that

She trembled with the expectancy of life,
nervous about leaving God’s warm embrace,
but she knew she would too soon be home,
back in His loving arms.

That was one of the hardest things I ever had to write.

After the funeral and the food and everything I found myself talking with my aunt. She was still visibly shaken by watching her mother die (we we all there -- her 4 daughters, her 3 sisters, her brother, and two of her grandkids). I was in my own little space. I tried to tell her by the time grandma passed, she was already gone -- her spirit was gone -- and it was just the wheezing shell left. My mind lept to an experience while in college -- I was living in Louisiana and working on a farm in excange for rent in a small shack. One of my daily duties was to feed all the animals. One Saturday morning I was passing through the pasture toward the barn when I saw one of the horses in the ravine and it was in the last moments of life. I watched it writhe, the purple tongue lolled out, and it died. And then, before I knew what I was saying, I told her about that experience. My poor aunt just looked at me increduously and wiped tears from her eyes. I immediately wanted to take it back. Yes, it was one of those dumb ass things you say at precisely the wrong moment and you just hang your head and hope to hell everyone forgets it because you never will.


Thursday, January 22, 2004

This is probably one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. Fox News almost sues Fox Entertainment over the Simpsons. From an AP report:

"Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel threatened to sue the makers of "The Simpsons" over a parody of the channel's right-wing political stance, the creator of the hit US television show has claimed....According to Groening, Fox took exception to a Simpsons' version of the Fox News rolling news ticker which parodied the channel's anti-Democrat stance, with headlines like "Do Democrats Cause Cancer....Other satirical Fox news bulletins featured in the show included: "Study: 92 per cent of Democrats are gay... JFK posthumously joins Republican Party... Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple..."

So the O'Reilly/Franken thing never really sunk in on Murdoch and Ailes, eh? One would think sooner or later these guys would "get it", but they don't. The best part? "Now Fox has a new rule that we can't do those little fake news crawls on the bottom of the screen in a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking it's real news," Groening said.

I was wondering why the corner store never carried any Duff beer.

This is freakin' hilarious, almost as funny as Rush going to a "liberal" touchy, feely rehab instead of a "conservative" let the addicts serve time jail.

But it's not. OK, so either Fox News thinks were all idiots (or at least those who watch Fox News, which may or may not be the case but if I were a Fox News viewer I'd be a little upset). Or they are such a large propaganda machine that they will use whatever means necessary to stifle any critique no matter how outlandish. And the sad thing is, it worked. Groening can not parody Fox News, period. I'm sure he got the message loud and clear. And I'm sure others are getting the message as well. "We will go after you."

Frivilous, sure. Effective at keeping critiques to a minimum, absolutely.

If Fox was willing to even consider suing a sister company, they will tie anyone up in court. I suppose if one has a ton of money or gets a lawyer to work pro bono for the publicity this isn't an issue; however, for those everyday people who use parody to make arguments and ask questions about our culture, they'd rather not mess with it. Too much time. Too much trouble. Too much money.


I check out Yahoo this morning and these two headlines caught my attention. First two more soldiers killed in Iraq


then the Army is having trouble recruiting


uh, no shit?

I'd like to sign up to be fodder for some guy's hostile action (I refuse to call it a war), revenge policy, family fued, or the new scare-the-world-with-our-big-stick-doctrine, and transferred home in a tube, but I'm kind of busy doing anything except dying.


"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to
tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era
of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country
will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People,
until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed."

- Abraham Lincoln, shortly before his assassination


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