Just like all conservatives look the same

Oh, man. This CNN report focuses on the fact that George Bush, when meeting with Republican senators yesterday, wasn’t even asked about Iraq. I think most people reading this story focus on Trent Lott’s bizarre assertion that “real people out in the real world” don’t think much about Iraq.
Yes, this is strange — although, not much is actually strange these days — but what I find really telling is what Trent Lott said next, the part of the story that some other media outlets (the finger points at you, Washington Post) fail to quote. Read the last paragraph of this, in particular the very last sentence, then you tell me: why do so many prominent Republicans have trouble keeping their mouths shut?

 President Bush barely mentioned the war in Iraq when he met with Republican senators behind closed doors in the Capitol Thursday morning and was not asked about the course of the war, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said.

“No, none of that,” Lott told reporters after the session when asked if the Iraq war was discussed. “You’re the only ones who obsess on that. We don’t and the real people out in the real world don’t for the most part.”

Lott went on to say he has difficulty understanding the motivations behind the violence in Iraq.

“It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people,” he said. “Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israelis and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.”

As Leela once said to Fry, “Remember we talked about you ending your conversations one sentence earlier?”

Vocabulary of our times

I was just cleaning my countertop with “Powerized Windex”… and my mind flashed on “weaponized anthrax.”
This is what living in the 21st century has done.

TV Renaissance?

When the last television season ended, I just knew that I wouldn’t be watching much of anything anymore — the demise of The West Wing, the fading away of Will & Grace, and before that the end of Judging Amy. The only show left that I still watched was Lost.
But only one week into the new season, I am started to discover that there are a pretty good crop of new shows, and I’ve settled on the ones to which I will give my allegiance.

Gave it the finger

I just realized: I don’t have a clue what happened to my class ring. Of course, I feel no particular sentimental connection to the Jefferson High School Class of ’85, but still — that ring wasn’t cheap, especially since I only got it as a way of forcing myself to feel like I belonged.
It was “white gold,” has anyone seen it around here?

Interpretation

The thing about closed-minded fundamentalists and other nutcases — read “Our Leader” — is that they narrowly interpret what they see, hear, and read to fit their world view. The most famous example of this is the Bible, which they interpret every which way to Sunday in order to bolster their own notions and hatreds. Of course, people on the far left of the spectrum do the same thing; it is a symptom of any kind of closed mind.
That said, I find it interesting that George Bush decided to declassify parts of the intelligence report claiming that the Iraq war has worsened terrorism… he claims that it will show that the report does not say that.
Funny thing is, from what I can glean, it still does. It says:

We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives… The Iraq conflict has become the ’cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement… Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

The only difference here is the last sentence, which seems to say that if we defeat them in Iraq, there will be fewer of them. Otherwise, it’s the same thing: the Iraq war is a rallying cry for a new generation of terrorists.
Somehow, Bush is interpreting this to mean that the war is good, that we are safer from terrorism (as if we were ever unsafe, statistically speaking).
He is delusional. Period.

Meanwhile, the Clinton thing. 
It was masterful. Now, at first I was applauding along with many people, wishing that he had lashed out at the right wing smear machine years ago; then it occured to me that Bill is carefully calculating his media strategy just as Karl Rove does so well. He is now free to be accusatory and tell it like it is, while Democratic candidates don’t feel so free to say what’s on their minds. (I wish they would, they’d win my vote instantly.)
So, Bill Clinton times his tirade just right, going on Fox News — hardly a sympathetic media outlet and one he hasn’t granted an interview to in recent memory — and defending his record on terrorism, poking hole in the Republican tendency to blame everything on him, even things that happened in the second term of his successor. And I think that the time is ripe, because along with everything else that the Republicans have to answer for, I believe that the American citizenry are finally sick and tired of the Right’s continual attempts to Blame It On The Clintons.™ 
As much as I detested Bill Clinton’s pandering to the right and his tendency to triangulate and trim, I desperately wish he were able to run for president again. Hillary? Not so keen, sorry. I find her right-wing pandering far too over the top and she doesn’t seem to have any real convictions unless they are politically expedient.

Meanwhile, Condoleeza Rice’s whiny response to Clinton’s tirade? 
“We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaida.”
Oh, no! You mean, after all the muckraking and name calling and outrageous slander that the Bush campaign slung at Bill Clinton, who was not even running for the office, you are whiny and upset because he didn’t leave you a packet of instructions? You people came into office and immediately started to dismantle Clinton’s work and policies, and now you’re complaining that he didn’t hold your hand and point to toward bin Laden?
I am so freakin’ sick and tired of this White House blaming every one of their mistakes on someone else.

Another boring post about the weather

You know, I’ve been here in California for — gulp — more than a year now; and wouldn’t you have thought that I’d exhausted the comments about weather by now?
But here’s what occurred to me this evening: now that fall has come around, the sun is setting early enough that darkness falls shortly after 7pm. During the summer, it was sunny well after 9pm, so this change is drastic and kind of crept up on me. But what is most interesting is that 8pm on September 25 feels like 11pm on July 25. It is 81° outside, even warmer in the house. 
My favorite season back home was always the fall, when the temps fell enough to wear a sweater — but not enough to wear a coat. Here, the mornings are chilly and the rest of the day is hot. I’m dressing in layers now.
I’ve been here for 16 months now. It doesn’t feel like that long, and it is really stunning how quickly time goes by. This is also scary, because I tend to look ahead about a year, planning financially since I am living on my savings at the moment. If a year goes by this fast, it means that my cash will disappear equally quickly! 
Anyone have some kind of special power to slow down time? Or is my perception of time just sped up as I get older?

Irony in the epidermis

Seen by my pal Teresa today at Kinko’s:

 My ‘helper’ was a stoner with ‘NOTHING IS PERMANENT’ permanently tattooed on the inside of his forearm.

The era of confirmation

There are many of us — in the real world, not the bizarro world conjured up by Bushco — who have had 20/20 vision from the start. We’re the ones who said, years ago, that Iraq had no connection to al Qaeda, and we were proved right. We said that a war in Iraq would result in sectarian violence and the crumbling of that country into chaos, and we were proved right.
These days, more and more reports are beginning to come out showing just what a failure the Bush administration has been; I just wish that all this confirmation had come earlier… say, before the 2004 election.
Anyway, here’s yet another report on the blunders of the Bush era, another confirmation of something many of us have known for years but that the White House has lied about and spun for its political machinations:

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight
By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 24, 2006; Page A01

The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded.

A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the “centrality” of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda. Rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, it concludes that the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.  

“It’s a very candid assessment,” one intelligence official said yesterday of the estimate, the first formal examination of global terrorist trends written by the National Intelligence Council since the March 2003 invasion. “It’s stating the obvious.”

Although this comes a little too late for me, I have to admit that the exposure of Bushco Bullshit™ is really coming out quickly, much more quickly I think than in previous administration — with the notable exception of the Nixon administration. 
I find myself wondering where the serious calls for impeachment are — if Clinton could face impeachment because of a concerted Republican effort to discredit and oust him, is it just the disorganization of the Democrats that is keeping Bush from the hot seat? Or is it a real effort to put that ridiculous impeachment behind us, not giving in to the temptation of payback?
The problem is, in this situation there are real grounds for impeachment. Serious, real grounds for removing him from office, not the least of which is the destruction of our civil liberties, his failure to uphold the oath of office — remember the bit about faithfully upholding the Constitution? That’s at odds with his shredding of it — the dismantling of the separation of powers, and the deaths of thousands of our soldiers and a hundred times that many Iraqis and Afghanis, for ill-conceived reasons.
Why are we content to let him serve out his term in the White House instead of serving his term in federal prison?

Bring back green stamps

Over the years, my American Express card has been accumulating points — right now, I have something like 79,000 points, which is an unfortunate number in many ways. First off, it signifies that I’ve spent a whopping $79,000 on my card; secondly, I’ve always been disappointed in what I could get with the points. Magazine subscriptions, really, and some fairly uninteresting and cheap gift items.
But today, just out of curiosity, I checked the Amex website… and discovered that for a mere 52,000 points, I could get a bike. And now I feel silly, because I went out and bought a bike a week or so ago.
Luckily, I bought the bike using my Amex, so at least I’ll get a few more points out of it, right?

Either will work

As we wait for another Bush speech to the UN — seems like a flashback to the beginnings of the neocon justification for war in Iraq, doesn’t it? — I’m reminded of my favorite quote from the movie “Teahouse of the August Moon”… letme paraphrase, ‘cos I don’t remember the actual words:
I’m going to teach democracy to these people if I have to shoot every last one of them!”

I believe Republicans call this “flip flopping”

Oh, boy. This will be fun: Daily Kos reports that Dubya is about to do a 180…

Yes, it’s all true!  Dubya, king of the “Kyoto Protocol is bullshit, y’all” blather, suddenly realizes his ass is getting warm, so to speak.  The Independent has the story:

President Bush is preparing an astonishing U-turn on global warming, senior Washington sources say.

After years of trying to sabotage agreements to tackle climate change he is drawing up plans to control emissions of carbon dioxide and rapidly boost the use of renewable energy sources.

And of course we all know what Bush’s concept of “renewable energy” is…

Anyway, The Independent article mentions that the Bush administration might have suddenly noticed the growing movement to curb carbon emissions in the US1, as well as – yes, you guessed it – an upcoming speech by Al Gore:

Over the past few days rumours swept the capital that the “Toxic Texan” would announce his conversion this week, in an attempt to reduce the impact of a major speech tomorrow by Al Gore on solutions to climate change.

The White House denied the timing, but did not deny that a change of policy was on its way. Sources say that the most likely moment is the President’s State of the Union address in January.

(Links added.)

I’m assuming “soon” means this week (goodness, could there be an election coming up?), and that the final Grand Amazing Plan to Save the World™ will be announced in January 2007, to be filed away and regurgitated in the 2008 Republican primary candidates’ stump speeches.

Will Bush’s speech be more convincing than this?

Global warming is an issue that my administration is very concerned about – deeply – deeply in a deep kind of concerned way.  I start my day and I think about the warming of the globe.

(Yes, that’s Will Ferrell as Dubya – click here for the hilarious video).

I won’t hold my breath.

Honestly, does he think he’s going to fool anyone?  He’s already pissing off his own buddies;  The Independent article quotes a representative of the ExxonMobil front group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (famous for the “carbon dioxide is life” ads, as well as calling Al Gore a Nazi).  It pains me to say that I agree with the guy:

“We are left with the unpleasant conclusion that the only motivation is political.”

No kidding.