Thursday, December 30, 2004

From the wicked (in a good way…) pen of Michaelangelo Signorile:

“Since he's so confident labeling people based on outward characteristics, [Ken] Mehlman must understand why his being a 37-year-old "bachelor" who refuses to answer questions about his sexual orientation is a tip-off to many that he's a pathetic closet case…

“Surely Mehlman can't complain now that people are talking about his marital status and how he lives—right? Last week, the blogs were abuzz with stories about Mehlman, who refused to tell the Washington Blade when asked several weeks ago if he or others who worked in prominent positions in the campaign are gay. Reporters…have in recent days been popping the question to White House officials, now that Bush has chosen Mehlman to lead the RNC. They're apparently being told off the record by the White House that Mehlman is straight, and thus the reporters aren't running with anything. …

“Of course, if the White House or the RNC went on record saying Mehlman is straight, it would invite the media to study the issue further and report facts they may find to the contrary. By not saying anything, the White House keeps the topic off-limits entirely. The scared-shitless press corp wouldn't dare go there and thus be accused of invading Mehlman's privacy. And that still invites the question: What is the White House hiding, and why don't reporters see it as relevant to discuss in a year in which the Republicans gay-bashed their way to victory? “

Signorile goes on to explore the lightly bubbling panic at the RNC and republican circles about not only Mehlman, but others, like Dan Gurley, who oversaw vile, anti-gay mailings on behalf of the RNC during the election, and who was discovered recently to have been running online personal ads seeking multiple partner, bare-back sex with other men. Kid you not. This was reported on Blogactive.com, and Rawstory.com, which also reported that Republican Congressman David Dreier, a Bush campaign operative, had been involved in a relationship with his male chief of staff, with whom he shared a residence. No hypocrisy in the ranks, we’re sure.

The list goes on, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It puts me in mind of Dave Chappelle’s brilliant routine in which he plays a blind black man, who is a white supremacist who doesn’t know he’s black, and his friends don’t have the heart to tell him. Somebody tell these homos they’re gay, and they should take off the sheet and the hood and start walking the walk!!
My two cents worth. Nothing more.

Budgets in the news...

I took a little holiday break, but recent events got me out of my chair...

Check it out...

US tsunami disaster relief: $35 million. (source NYT)

Bush inauguration party: $40 million. (source NYT via Free Republic)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen...

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

George Orwell, 1984

I just haven’t been motivated enough to muster up a post lately, and you’ll have to forgive me for either being too numb to it all as a result of the constant assault of Orwellian bullshit passing for government policy lately, or just plain holiday horse-hockey fatigue.

Finally, I am moved to tears of frustration after the following two items, which I’m positive are just recently discovered lost chapters from George Orwell’s classic vision of the future, 1984. I’ll begin with SDI today, and perhaps later, or tomorrow, we’ll cover the president’s rosy opinion of Rumsfeld…

Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Test “Inconclusive”

This cold-war era boondoggle designed to provide fat-cat defense contractors with a two or three decade development and deployment hootenanny to set up a system that will defend against Soviet ICBMs. Or Chinese ICBMs. Or ICBMs from any country loony enough to launch one from its own soil. As long as that soil is far enough away to require a high trajectory and at least 20 minutes or so of flight time required to detect, verify and lock on to the target.

Of course, to build such a thing that would actually work, everyone knows, but not all who stand to make a gazillion bucks off of it will admit, is undeniably impossible. Tests conducted as recently as last week, designed to give the proponents in the administration and the Pentagon a touchstone to point to when trying to shove it through the Congressional appropriations guys, either completely missed, or failed to detect their targets and fire altogether. The tests were called “inconclusive.” Mmmm-hmmmm.

I don’t know about you, but my conclusions were pretty easy to get to. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say it actually worked as it is intended to work…

It won't defend against a cheap, makeshift, short range missile launched from a cargo ship sitting 50 miles off New York. Or Florida. Or California. Or... Well, you get the point. We have so many populated areas sitting on so many miles of coastline that an adversary could choose one of the less obvious targets, such as Charleston or Boca Raton, and still kill tens of thousands.

That's how terrorism works, by the way. Don't try to kill everyone. Just kill as many as it takes to send the nation into a spasm of panic and fear. Judging by our response to the 9/11 attacks, it doesn't take much.

Want to run down some of the other things against which SDI is useless? A dirty bomb. A suitcase bomb. A cargo container bomb. A FedEx bomb. Anthrax. (Remember Anthrax? The administration doesn't, judging by the progress of the investigation into the anthrax attacks.) Poisoning water supplies. Stinger missiles. Suicide truck bombers like Tim McVeigh. The list goes on.


Yep. Eighty billion would be better spent reinforcing security in areas where an attack is more likely. That is, if you actually believe the tab for this foolishness will only be $80 billion. And if you do... maybe you thought the animalted film version of Animal Farm was a documentary?

Friday, December 10, 2004

MoveOn gettin' mouthy...

I am still SO loving the reliably brash and rowdy MoveOn.org. Like many of you, I received the email from Eli Pariser, head of MoveOn’s PAC. He summed up what many of us out here in the grass, where the “grass roots” actually are, have been feeling.

“For years, the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base. But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers."

The strongly worded, in your face, clearly kind-of-pissed-off message pointed out that the party coddled the same corporate donors that fund Republicans to bring in money at the expense of vision and integrity.

He rants on…

"In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive. Now it's our party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back.."

Pariser urged MoveOn supporters to help support a DNC chair with a bold vision to represent Democrats outside Washington. Democrats will vote at their February meeting in Washington on a successor to McAuliffe. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s code for “Howard Dean.”

DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera responded with more mush-mouthed praise for Terry McAuliffe, and proceeded to take credit for the cyber-driven grass roots fundraising success this year, which can only be credited to Howard Dean and MoveOn’s early efforts which kicked it into gear. What a putz.

And frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about Terry McAuliffee working so hard these past years for his $1 annual salary. Looking back, that’s about what it’s been worth. Look at all the money he raised. And it’s gone, and we have shit to show for it. I feel like I’m some rube who got duped into going on a casino weekend with the local bingo club, and blew the entire Christmas Club account at the craps table, and didn’t even have enough left over for a “Horseshoe Casino” T-shirt. What good is fundraising if the funds go in the crapper???

Thank you, Mr. Pariser, for your big mouth. We who are about to start throwing our weight around, too… salute you.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Donning our Gay Apparel...

Has the Human Rights Campaign finally begun to get it? Take it from someone who’s lived as an openly gay person in a rural area of a red state for many years… you don’t gain acceptance by demanding something straight people don’t understand in the first place. You win acceptance by showing them there’s nothing to be afraid of from someone who is essentially just like them, a person with a family who’s trying to make his way in the world, playing by the rules, especially the Golden Rule.

Excerpted from a New York Times piece about the Human Rights Campaign (the largest gay rights advocacy organization in the country) national meet-up in Vegas recently…

"The feeling this weekend in Las Vegas was that we had to get beyond the political and return to the personal," said Michael Berman, a Democratic lobbyist and consultant who was elected the first non-gay co-chairman of the Human Rights Campaign's board last week. "We need to reintroduce ourselves to America with the stories of our lives."

Steven Fisher, the campaign's communications director, said the group's emphasis in coming months would be on communicating the struggles of gays in their families, workplaces, churches and synagogues. The story of gay men and lesbians in the United States is often told through the prism of sensationalism and stigma, Mr. Fisher said.

"When you put a face to our issues, that's when we get support," he said. "We're not going to win at the ballot box until we start winning at the water cooler and in the church pews."


I wish I’d said that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

And just when you thought it was going to be a slow day/week for news…

Senator/Doctor Bill Frist appeared on national television Sunday with his head up his ass (again), which apparently happened when he fell out of the stupid tree, and hit every limb on the way down…

Turns out that federally-funded abstinence programs are spreading misinformation to the nation's youth -- and sucking up $170 million in tax dollars to boot, telling the nation’s children that AIDS can be spread through tears and sweat.

Considering the fact that the Centers for Disease Control have long emphasized that HIV has never been transmitted this way, you might have thought Dr. Frist, who likes to be thought of as some kind of world AIDS funding hero in the Senate, would take the opportunity to set the record straight. You’d be wrong.

"STEPHANOPOULOS: Now you're a doctor. Do you believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

FRIST: I don't know. I can tell you --

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t know?

FRIST: I can tell you things like, like --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Wait. Let me stop you there. You don't know that, you believe that tears and sweat might be able to transmit AIDS?

FRIST: Yeah, no, I can tell you that HIV is not very transmissible as an element, like compared to smallpox, compared to the flu, it's not.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...Let me just clear this up though, do you or do you not believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

FRIST: It would be very hard...for tears and sweat to -- I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat. But in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard."

Frist not surprisingly put politics ahead of his own medical knowledge and responsibility as a physician, unless, of course, he really doesn’t know any better, which is alarmingly possible.

Now seems like a good time, as Bernice Clifton would say, to pull your coat up over your head.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I hate to say I told you so...

I’ve been saying from the git-go to anyone who would listen that this “they hate us for our freedom” bullshit the president has been projectile-vomiting at us since 9/11/02 is just that. They don’t hate us for our freedom. They could give a shit about our freedom. They hate us for our policies, namely our blind, stubborn, unquestioning support of every time Israel farts, and our military bases in Saudi Arabia. That’s about it.

A just-released report of the Defence Science Board Taskforce on Strategic Communication - the product of a Pentagon advisory panel - delivered in September, confirms this opinion. Its 102 pages were not made public in the presidential campaign, but, barely noticed by the US press, silently slipped on to a Pentagon website on Thanksgiving eve.

Sidney Blumenthal writes about this report in The Guardian, a British periodical:

“The taskforce of military, diplomatic, academic and business experts, assigned to develop strategy for communications in the "global war on terrorism", had unfettered access, denied to journalists, to the inner workings of the national security apparatus. There was no intent to contribute to public debate, much less political controversy; the report was for internal consumption only.

“…What emerges is an indictment of an expanding and unmitigated disaster based on stubborn ignorance of the world and failed concepts that bear little relation to empirical reality, except insofar as they confirm and incite gathering hatred among Muslims.

“The Bush administration, according to the defence science board, has misconceived a war on terrorism in the image of the cold war. However, the struggle is not the west versus Islam; while we blindly call this a ‘war on terrorism’, Muslims ‘ … see a history-shaking movement of Islamic restoration’ against ‘apostate’ Arab regimes allied with the US - an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a 'war on terrorism'".

“… So the US projects Iraqis and other Arabs as people to be liberated, like those ‘oppressed by Soviet rule’. And the US accepts authoritarian Arab regimes as allies against the ‘radical fighters’. All this is nothing less than a gigantic ‘strategic mistake’.

“‘There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell among Muslim societies - except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the US so determinedly promotes and defends. … Muslims do not 'hate our freedom', but rather they hate our policies.’ As a result, jihadists have been able to transform themselves from marginal figures in the Muslim world into defenders against invasion, with a following of millions.

“‘Thus the critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim … is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none - the United States is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims ... Inevitably, therefore, whatever Americans do and say only serves the party that has both the message and the 'loud and clear' channel: the enemy.’

“Almost three months ago, the board delivered its report to the White House, [b]ut…it has received no word back. The report has been ignored by those to whom its recommendations are directed.

“For the Bush administration, expert analysis is extraneous, as it is making clear to national security professionals in its partisan scapegoating of the CIA. Experts can only be expert in telling the White House what it wants to hear. Expertise is valued not for the evidence it offers for correction, but for propaganda and validation. But no one, not in the White House, Congress or the dwindling coalition of the willing, can claim the catastrophe has not been foretold by the best and most objective minds commissioned by the Pentagon - perhaps for the last time.”

Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of www.salon.com

Excerpted from © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004.

Your Two Cents Worth...

Think you don't have time to do anything about anything? Post to a weblog, write a letter to the editor, interrupt a fag joke? Sure you do.

I do my reading in my underwear, early in the morning, with coffee. I don't play cards or video pinball on my computer at work. I spend 12 minutes of my lunch hour eating lunch at my desk. I spend 20 minutes or so when inspiration strikes me writing this blog.

Sure you have time. Do something.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Color of Irony...

The president slips off to Canada so he can snub the Canadian Parliament, and while his back is turned, Tom Ridge says, ‘fuck this shit, I’m so outta here, sucka.” Too bad he can’t take the ridiculous to the point of being insulting “terror alert color scale” with him. His legacy? Can you say ‘duck tape, plastic and bottled water?’



And now for some irony… reported by the New York Times:

Universities are allowed to bar military recruiters from their campuses without risking the loss of federal money, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, found that educational institutions have a First Amendment right to keep military recruiters off their campuses to protest the Defense Department policy of excluding gays from military service.

The 2-to-1 decision relied in large part on a decision in 2000 by the United States Supreme Court to allow the Boy Scouts to exclude gay scoutmasters. Just as the Scouts have a First Amendment right to bar gays, the appeals court said, schools may prohibit groups that they consider discriminatory.

Can’t you just hear Thomas and Scalia screaming bloody murder.

Important to remember, however, they can ban recruiters at the university level, but not in high schools, because it's MANDATED in the No Child Left Behind Act: two visits a year per service, as well as a list with every student's name, address, and phone number.

THAT should be the main explanation for Desperate Housewives…