not sure Now Playing: "Bouree" by Jethro Tull
I saw most of Tim Russert's interview with the President in the Oval Office and I don't think it came off very well. Which points up GWB's greatest weakness as a politician: ineloquence. This isn't the same as being unintelligent or uninformed, as his critics wrongly claim; after all, the man graduated from some of the finest schools in the world and has served as a state governor and President. Plus, I'll bet you anything that the stuff he reads and the conversations he has are a hell of a lot more interesting than anything us common folk get a crack at.
But, this doesn't change the fact that he usually doesn't do well with unscripted public interviews. He's a regurgitator and people are correct to hold that against him. Americans want their President to be slicker than owl shit when he comes before a camera and Bush just doesn't have it. Of course, when we did have that, in his predecessor, what we got was a shameless opportunist and a moral coward. In fact, Clinton was so good at persuading the public of his agenda that whole segments of this country still think he was some sort of miracle-worker.
Anyway, Bush is going to need to get serious about his message because he is losing the PR war with every passing hour. But, at least he's no John Kerry, who can put a playground full of kindergarteners to sleep inside a minute.
Oh, and have you heard that Kerry served in Viet Nam? Someone mentioned that to me at lunch today, but I didn't believe it until I did a little poking around.
"It was [forty] years ago today..." Mood:
Isn't that something? The Beatles first arrived in America 40 years ago today. I was just getting started in this world at the time that the lads from Liverpool were breaking up, but I have loved their music for as long as I can remember. They're the alpha and omega of pop/rock music and, although they had plenty of antecedents, they had no precedent. Sinatra and Presley fans might quibble with that, but no rock n' roll band, let's say, ever had ---or ever will again have--- the impact and influence of The Beatles.
But, really, The Beatles' accomplishment stands alone. Consider their style and sound as we Americans first saw them in 1964. Only six years later ---six!--- they had reinvented the wheel. Their music had progressed so far and exerted such influence that each album was practically a matter of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny in procession. I am fond of saying that there are certain songs on the White Album which were the geneses of whole sub-genres of pop-rock. I don't know if that's true, but I think it is and it's sounds cool anyway.
The Passion of the Publicity Here's an interesting opinion piece by scholar Paula Fredriksen on the potential for an anti-Semitic reaction to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which comes out in theaters later this month.
I plan on seeing this movie, if only to find out what the big fuss is all about. But, I don't think Christians and Muslims who are already Jew-haters are going to need any further inspiration for their disease. Fredriksen (who is a hot babe, by the way) thinks that this movie might well inflame violence against Jews, especially in Europe. I doubt that, but who can say now? If it does, I will be very interested to see how Gibson responds, as he and his studio and distributors have done a once-or-twice-in-a-decade job of promoting this thing by pulling every rabbit there is out of the hat of cultural controversy. Will he denounce the violence and tell us some of his best friends are Jews? He somewhat condescendingly said the other day that he "prays for them," which I took to mean that he prays for their conversion, but maybe I'm just being perceptive.
You've got everyone from The Potato to Abe Foxman in a tizzy over this movie. It better be worth it.
Where Are You, Tim? Mood:
My old friend Tim Covey turned 36 yesterday, but I couldn't find him anywhere online. We don't keep in touch anymore, but I usually call or drop him a line on his birthday. It's an easy date to remember because it's also Ronald Reagan's birthday, which Tim wouldn't care to be associated with, to be sure, but they're both a couple of good Irish-American boys.
Tim has a special gift for storytelling. He's a quiet man, but he has an enormous store of interesting facts and ideas which come out of him with stealth. In fact, he lulls you into thinking that what he's telling you is maybe a little boring or rambling ---but then you start to realize that it's the best fucking story ever! It's like being told the secret of the Universe as recited through the words in a phone book. I don't know how many times he caught me off guard with one of his tales that I would only catch the significance of about a minute after he had finished. It's a true gift.
Anyway, Tim, wherever you are, I hope you're doing fine. Let me know.
Sounds Like a Plan Mood:
That filthy animal who kidnapped and murdered the 11 year-old girl out in Florida needs to have all of the bones in his feet and hands pulverized in a hydraulic press. Then, he needs to have several long incisions made all over his body until he's lost most of his blood. But, just before he passes out, they should force Clorox down his throat so that he will vomit up his guts. If he's still alive, they should just go ahead and douse him in gasoline and throw a match on him.
Vermin like him who have a long history of drug abuse and violence aren't worth saving. If we would simply put such burdens on society to sleep when they are still behind bars, parents wouldn't have to cry themselves to sleep, worrying for the lives of their missing and brutalized children.
Nickel slugs and landfills, jackson. That's the answer. Those who oppose the death penalty are no better than those who rape and murder our children. There's no contradicting that.
Here Comes Old Flat-Top Mood:
on fire Now Playing: "Come Together" by the Beatles David Frum says that GWB is going to give his endorsement of a Constitutional Amendment which will define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thereby precluding the very Constitutionality of gay marriage. This would clearly be the stupidest goddamned thing done to our Constitution since the Volstead Amendment. Why are "marital traditionalists" pushing for this? Because God told them to, that's why! God, of course, has no problem with loveless or abusive or dysfunctional marriages or with the near-50 percent divorce rate; He just doesn't want fags making a commitment to each other.
All you have to do is ask one of these tools why they're opposed to gay marriage and they will either have no reason or one that is religious. And, since this country is as secular as it wants to be, there really shouldn't be an Amendment based on a fundamentalist notion of how men and women commit themselves to each other.
You know what this is all about, right? The traditionalists don't want to recognize the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution in regards to marriage. They know that if gay marriage has judicial sanction in Massachusetts, it will have to have it in any state.
This is wrong. But it's safe for Bush and the Christian Right because not even John Kerry has the balls to advocate gay marriage. None of the Democratic candidates for President do. And, when the gay lobby realizes this, they will hold it against the Democrats and it will depress turn-out for them.
Follow Me on This
I hear that the great majority of Americans are opposed to gay marriage, but I never seem to find out the reasons why. I figure it's because most Americans affiliate themselves with religious denominations which teach that homosexuality, let alone the idea of gay marriage, is a sin. After all, the Bible says man shall not lie down with man, right? Thus, on some doctrinal basis inherited from men, some of whom are unmarried celibate priests, they declare with the confidence of God's word that other men may not enjoy the same benefits of marriage that they do.
Beyond their doctrinal instruction, those who believe homosexuality is wrong and who are opposed to gay marriage also have a rather medieval understanding of the nature of homosexuality. They say it's unnatural and that it's some sort of perversion that is learned or imposed through trauma or some other psychological means.
But what is the basis of a straight man's sexual preference for a woman and her body? Does that ever get considered? Of course such compulsion is natural, but why isn't a gay man's attraction to another man also considered natural? That is to ask, what is the basis of his preference? Would it not also be natural to that individual?
Preference and taste are as variable as height and hair color. And while we may attribute these latter two to genetic determination (and, certainly, to some degree, environment), too many of us fail to appreciate that the former traits are also subject to the same explanation.
For example, why do human beings think that shit smells bad? To a fly, shit smells like heaven. Actually, human beings don't have to "think" about it at all; they are simply repulsed at the very smell, requiring no cognitive rationale for their reaction. You don't have to learn that shit smells, well, like shit. Nor do you have to learn, except by the trial of your error, that you don't place your hand on a hot stove or remain in a place where the noise is so loud that it hurts your ears or eat someting that is so bitter that it makes you want to spit it out. These are not things you have to reason out; you just know not do them because they violate your senses.
Well, a man who desires a woman and the exquisite softness of her skin and the beauty of her face and the warmth of her kiss isn't repulsed by any of that because it wouldn't be natural. And he doesn't need to learn this preference; it is in his nature to desire these things. Thus, why can he not see that a gay man might also desire the affection of another gay man? The lack of repulsion is the same, the desire is the same, and the preference is, to him, altogether natural.
The only difference between two such men is that one of them believes that God and the teachings of his religion hold the other man in contempt as a pervert. When will this end? When will society let go of its prejudice? I believe it is happening all the time. It is happening every time a court or company or legislature accepts the human nature of all their citizens and employees.
No one would seek to be hated for his preferences and for his nature. It is that which one might call unnatural or perverted. Thus, homosexuality cannot be seen as a choice, but as an inherent trait found in maybe a tenth of all men. Would God condemn so many of his children to a life of repression and pain? Would God plant unnatural desire in some of the very gentlest and brightest of his creations? There, too, is a perversion ---of understanding and acceptance.
Biden's Winning Argument Mood:
I just heard Senator Joe Biden of Delaware on one of the morning news programs go on and on about the difference between a "pile of anthrax" and "weaponized anthrax." His point, I assume, is that one is dangerous and one is not and that, if Saddam was in possession of the former, that doesn't mean that he was going to develop the latter. Hmmm. Great argument, dumbass. Did it ever occur to you that there's no reason why a regime of Islamofascists like his should have been in possession of either? I mean, what sort of shyster bullshit is Biden trying to pull? When is a Democrat (other than those like Lieberman or Zell Miller) going to stand up and not equivocate on the positive value of our having disarmed and dismantled Saddamite Iraq? When are one of these partially-sentient turds going to find his shame at making these sort of lawyerly arguments? They're only doing it because it appeals to anti-Bush voters who want some hyper-literalist reason to criticize our reasons for liberating Iraq.
If George W. Bush hadn't done such a poor job early on of explaining and justifying the historical imperative of kicking ass and taking names over there, I suspect that at least a couple more Democrats might have gotten behind our cause. After all, what liberal-minded American can argue against the importance of establishing democracy in the Middle East? Which of them has a problem with advancing human and civil liberties in a region controlled by superstitious tyrants and psychopathic Mohammedans? They will say, of course, that all of that is just great, but that we should have waited on our so-called friends like the French and the Turks to come on board. Right. Like those extortionate cowards have any interest in changing the face of the Middle East for the better.
Bush said that we aren't going to wait on these people while the threats against us and our real allies gather. The doctrine of pre-emption is the only way to peace and security. If that comes as a shock to Leftist stooges here and abroad, and if they think America's gone Roman for no good reason, then it's time to wake up to our responsibilities. Chemical weapons are easy for a murderous regime to develop and weaponize. Is there some reason to doubt that they will also be deployed some day, killing many thousands? Remember that. It's more likely than not that at some point in the relatively near future, a group like al-Qaeda is going to try to poison us on our own soil. The beast is on the loose and has to be hunted down and destroyed.
PBS is airing a four-part documentary by British filmmaker Michael Wood on the life and times of the man we know as William Shakespeare. The first installment premiered last night.
You may not think about Shakespeare too much, maybe consigning him only to unpleasant memories of high school English class. But he is surely the greatest figure in all of English literature and one of the strongest influences on our language, so, if you care anything about our Culture and History, it should be of some interest to learn about his life.
For people like me, though, "Shakespeare" is the name of a world-famous dramatist and poet ---but this is not necessarily the same man as William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon. This is the essence of Anti-Stratfordian belief; that the two identities are so widely divergent at so many crucial points that it may be reasonably doubted that they are inherent in the same individual.
Efforts like Wood's only go to show how little there is to say about the literary life of William Shakspere (as distinct from William Shakespeare). This documentary is no better in resolving that problem than any of the popular (or even scholarly) written biographies. Shakspere's life is well-documented for a man born almost 450 years ago, but it is mostly one of real estate and money-lending transactions. Surprisingly little documentation exists that would lead one to believe that this small-town businessman and big-city theatrical entrepreneur was actually the author of the plays and poems we attribute to Shakespeare.
Be sure to tune in to Wood's documentary, but keep in mind that much of what he states as fact are simply his speculations.
Why Kerry Won't Get My Vote
The primary sentiment motivating the great majority of Democratic voters is their dislike of the President. And the great crime for which they hold him accountable is the war in Iraq. Since John Kerry must have his base sewn up if he's going to have a chance at getting elected, he will be obligated to pander to the anti-war crowd, despite his having voted for the war. This will make him an insufferable liar and his supporters opportunistic hypocrites who just want someone "electable." Therefore, I will not vote for him ---not only because he's just begun in earnest to make his equivocations on our foreign policy, but because he's bound to subject our country's security and sovereignty to the whims of the international community of corrupt and treacherous "allies" like France and Germany.
I just read that the image of Janet Jackson's right breast is the most sought after item in the history of the Internet. Which is preposterous. I haven't taken the time to see it just yet, but I read that, not only is it fake (like her brother Michael's face), but it has a stud piercing it. Yecchhh. Who knew there was such a future in plastic?
For no particular reason, this episode reminds me of Homer Simpson's angry reaction at losing his shot at making employee-of-the-month to an inanimate carbon rod.
I'm not about to say that a man's military record is irrelevant to the question of his leadership because, for one thing, American History proves otherwise (e.g., Washington, Jackson, Grant, et al.). And that is, as I suggested here recently, entirely just. If you're going to go through the crucible of fire for the sake of your country, you have earned the right to move ahead of the line and be given preferential treatment. It's a measure of a man's character and courage and it is something to be rewarded.
John Kerry went and served his country in the Viet Nam War. He did so with distinction. No one can take that or the fact of his bravery away from him. But is it just, for him or for those who support him, to then use his record to bludgeon his political opponents? I don't think so. While his service is a demonstration of his character and patriotism, it is not an irrevocable trump card or some license to demean the character of others.
And let's be clear about that in the context of Kerry's and Bush's generation. By the time it was over, the Viet Nam War was hugely unpopular with most Americans. It was the most divisive thing that had happened to our country since the Civil War. For millions of Americans, the question of whether one should serve in that war became a test of morality and patriotism. Many veterans of Viet Nam, including Kerry himself, became vehement opponents of our involvement there. And, needless to say, there were many more on the Left who had been opposed to the war from the start, but who never served. These young men sought out deferments or they fled and resisted the draft. They first held LBJ and, then, Nixon responsible for killing babies and burning villages and destroying a whole generation of their own peers in what they saw as an immoral war. But, again, these young men did not serve.
So, where are those young men now? They are middle-aged men. Baby boomers with Leftist attitudes. Checkbook and armchair liberals who live lives of affluence gained on the degrees they took in college 35 years ago while other men of their generation went and served in a war that they refused to or avoided. And, now, when it serves their disdain for George W. Bush, they want to cash in vicariously on Kerry's war record because they think it will make Bush look bad? That's enormously hypocritical. Just think about it: liberal Bush-haters calling him a deserter in the time of a war that they themselves opposed. What nonsense.
It would be one thing if Bush reminded people, as Kerry does with practically every exhalation, that he did serve in uniform, but he doesn't. Why is that? I think it's because Bush has long kept the experience of his service in perspective. No, he didn't serve in Viet Nam. In fact, he explicitly wished not to. Instead, he took full advantage of his father's political connections to obtain the best possible assignments inside the Air National Guard. It also seems likely, based on what I have read, that he had enough juice to have his commitment ended early. Yet, none of this makes Bush exceptional. That's because, whether or not idealists wish to believe it, the military is a political establishment and strings do get pulled.
The bottom line is that our President was no wartime coward or shirker, and it's incredibly unfair of his detractors to now paint him as such. Bush didn't run off to some foreign college or cross over into Canada or cook up some medical disability; he joined the Texas Air National Guard and learned how to fly F-102's. Had the war in Viet Nam intensified or continued, he might very possibly have had to go. Other men in units like his did. In any event, what Bush trained to do was inherently dangerous: what coward goes and flies fighter planes to avoid serving his country? Moreover, our President was honorably discharged. He did his duty as he saw fit.
I have no respect for liberals and Leftists who think it's appropriate to try and show up the President with Kerry's war record. Kerry's heroism doesn't make Bush a coward. Get it? That's essentially what the Democrats are hoping to insinuate and it pisses me off. But if they and Kerry wish to make an issue of it, I think we should also make something of Kerry's lies and manipulations from the time of his protests. He's on record with a lot of questionable statements that he may have to answer for. He says he is not sure if he wants to make an issue of his and the President's military experiences. I think he is.
post script: Here's a fairly balanced essay on Bush's record.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 3:23 AM CST
Post Comment |
Updated: Wednesday, 4 February 2004 4:00 AM CST
Feeding the Stray Mood:
Man! I can't believe the polls were right and that Wesley Clark has won the Oklahoma Democratic primary. Now he's going to start thinking that he might stand a chance against Kerry and stay in the race. But, maybe it's all to the good. Maybe the two of them can pull rank on and scuff each other up a bit. No, we're not done with Viet Nam yet.
Anyway, the man is unqualified to be President. He's a waffler and a poser and I wouldn't trust him with a sack of shit. The fact that he can con the country into thinking that he's actually a member of the party he's running in should tell you someting of his aptitude for opportunism.
Bush's Military Record Mood:
There's a lot of people talking about how John Kerry's heroism in combat in the Viet Nam War is going to put the President to shame in the months to come. And, when they're not talking about that, then lousy abortion survivors like the anti-American Michael Moore are calling the President a deserter.
Well, there's no detracting from Kerry's war record; he was a genuine hero who gave his very best in a war that the Great Societarian took this country into. But to even suggest that George W. Bush was some sort of wartime shirker is just total crap. After all, the man did serve his country in the Air National Guard, many units of which did go into the war, just as Bush's might have, too, had our involvement continued. He was an accomplished pilot and gave years of his life to training and preparing in the event that his country needed him in combat. How can these wretched cocksuckers on the Left call him a deserter? Are they willing to stand face to face with a Guardsman and tell him that his service is unimportant or somehow doesn't count? We got plenty of such servicemen fighting and dying in Iraq at this very hour.
I think it's shameful that our Commander-in-Chief, who did serve his country in uniform, is being questioned on this. I say, even if he didn't meet his requirements during his time in Alabama, he still did more for his country than the great majority of the sniping turds who are putting him down now.
I couldn't care less that Justin Timberlake exposed one of Janet Jackson's breasts during the Super Bowl halftime show last night. It's absolutely the way things are these days. Everybody's going on and on about it, but are they really surprised at the vulgarity of modern pop music and performance? Are these parents not aware of what garbage their kids listen to and the kinds of imagery they are exposed to? The great majority of them, I am sure, permit their young daughters and sons to support such entertainers as Jackson and Timberlake with their money and attention, so what's with the "shock"?
I do enjoy, however, seeing the big Viacom machine (viz., CBS and MTV) take it on the chin from the rest of the media.
Does the President realize how unpopular his immigration plan is with most Americans, including, most especially, his political base? What the hell is he thinking of? I'll say it again: there is too little potential reward for the political risk of courting the Latino vote by granting what is essentially a blanket amnesty for illegal Mexican immigrants. Mexican-Americans on the Left may want no borders and easy terms for citizenship, but he's not going to get the votes of those relative few who actually do participate in electoral politics, anyway. And those who have been here for generations and who work hard and who endeavor to establish themselves among the middle-class through property ownership and assimilation don't particularly care to see a great influx of illegal aliens. Why? Because they know that it will force them to compete (and lose to) a whole new wave of low-wage laborers. So, in neither case does the President stand to gain anything. Plus, he pisses off conservatives who don't want to see more balkanization of the Southwestern United States.
I'm one of those people who didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but who instantly found his loyalty to the man in the aftermath of 11 September 2001. I have defended him time and again because of his righteous prosecution of the war against Islamofascism and the terrorists who promote that disease. But, he has done himself great political harm in the past several weeks with a lot of ill-considered ideas ---the immigration plan, in my view, being chief among them. Is it too late to emend his agenda? For his sake, he better hope not.