How 'Bout Them Texas Democrats?
Isn't it funny how much mileage these Democratic state reps are getting out of not doing their jobs? The national press is certainly enjoying the spectacle of watching these rats take refuge in Oklahoma like conscientious objectors chaining themselves to the pews of a church. It all sounds very romantic and principled, but I don't know what they're thinking of. Texas is no longer a Democratically-controlled state. That isn't going to change for a while yet, so, in the meantime, what do these clowns think their job is? Whatever you think of their asylum-seeking, it must be admitted that they are doing nothing more than throwing a fit.
Welcome to minority status, wankers. If your message is so great, why are you no longer in the majority?
It would be a mighty odd development if Austin, that big hippy what's sittin' in the middle of Central Texas, went ahead and lost Mr. Pickle's seat, but it's no worse than what these cross-dressing, anti-war, pinko subversives deserve.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 6:37 PM CDT
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Updated: Wednesday, 14 May 2003 7:49 PM CDT
Tuesday, 13 May 2003
Regarding Julie Kavner's Disappearance
Several weeks ago, the professional sycophant James Lipton managed to gather together the six principal voices/actors of The Simpsons on his Bravo show Inside the Actor's Studio. (I say six, but it should be seven: Phil Hartman, the comedic genius who contributed so much to The Simpsons in its heyday, was taken from us far too soon.) Despite Lipton's usual obsequiousness, it was a real treat to get to see everyone together in the flesh. However, as you may have noticed, Julie Kavner (the voice of Marge and her sisters, as well as Rhoda Morgenstern's little sister Brenda back in the day) disappeared about a third or so of the way through the show. Apparently, Kavner had asked to go to the restroom at an inopportune time for Lifton who, rather than letting her go easily, insisted that she first respond to his requests to "do" her characters. I'm not clear on how things went down, but, when Kavner finally got away to the restroom, she didn't come back. She was reportedly furious at Lipton.
Anyhow, that's why Kavner's there one minute and gone the next.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 1:39 PM CDT
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Updated: Tuesday, 13 May 2003 1:48 PM CDT
Monday, 12 May 2003
The Hostesses with the Mostesses
The Fox News Channel's growing success isn't necessarily a reflection of America's turn to conservatism, but is, more likely, entirely attributable to my own prurient interest in certain of their female reporters and anchors. Is there really any question that there should be a 24-hour Laurie Dhue Crossing and Uncrossing Her Legs Network or a Lauren Greene's Glossed Lips Channel?
Oh, and the Jennifer Eccleston Reading the Baghdad Phone Book News. That one can't be lived without.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 6:10 AM CDT
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Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2003 7:55 AM CDT
Sunday, 11 May 2003
What Nothing's Worse Than
Yep, that's right, jackson: there's nothing worse than the ex-smoker. He's the very limit of self-righteousness, quick to condemn what he himself long enjoyed. But, you can understand his turn to zealotry. If he doesn't lash out against smokers and smoking, he fears he will start from his three-week dream of self-denial with a myoclonic jerk and find himself living comfortably in a 40s-era film where everyone smokes without fear of consequences.
I encourage the Austin City Council to keep at it: ban smoking everywhere. You can't trust people to do what they should for themselves. Don't listen to these owners' stupid arguments about how a ban will kill their businesses. People will still go out to hear a band or get drunk or try to get laid. That's not going to change. And if these smokers say that keeping them from smoking will adversely affect their enjoyment of the music scene or keep them from riding the beer-and-ass circuit, be sure to ask them whether their smoking is a choice. Ask them why they can't "choose" to stop smoking for a few hours while they're out in public. Could it be because they're a bunch of nicotine addicts who have given their right of self-control over to the Altria Corporation or whatever it is that Philip-Morris calls itself now?
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 8:09 PM CDT
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Updated: Monday, 12 May 2003 5:47 AM CDT
Saturday, 10 May 2003
More on Hazing
I can't really condone the infliction of physical pain or injury as part of hazing or initiation rites ("Do unto others....," you know), but for those who wish to get their anthropological freak on, I say get to it. Young people need their bacchanals and their ritualized public humiliations. So long as they are going through these things as parts of groups, there's a kind of validation and safety in numbers. (There's also a false sense of impunity and a very real one of recklessness in numbers, but that's the consequence of a lack of character and good breeding.)
Apparently, the [currently-famous] hazing incident involving the girls from that suburban Chicago high school was fueled by alcohol provided by some of their parents. Naturally, this will lead to a slew of wankerous tort cases ---none of which will take into consideration the issues of free will and the desire for group participation, or the relative safety of the location where the hazing took place or the interests of adult chaperoning of such activities.
No government or authority in a free society will prevent young people from getting drunk or high with their peers. Where the possibility of such rebellious and debauched behavior is absent there is no life. The occasional and ritualized acceptance of drunken and silly behavior ---as part of some rite of passage or as an unanalyzed gesture to the rule of peer approval--- is a sign of healthy socialization.
When I was the age these girls are now ---16 and 17--- there was probably nothing more important to me than to be included with my group of friends in a night of prowling through our neighborhoods' creeks and dead-ends, getting drunk and listening to music with each other in places no parent would think to find us. We took stupid chances and upset a few garbage cans or road signs or whatever, but I think we did all of that then because we knew we weren't going to be doing it now. We governed ourselves in large part, only sometimes going over the line in cruelty, but we survived. I suppose we could have "survived" by even higher standards of lawfulness, but what a boring lot of bastards we'd be.
Ultimately, the only thing to be regretted from those few years of teenaged rebellion (and, God, what middle-class Caucasoids we were about it, too!) is the legacy of drink. I like to think that my own peer group was an anomaly because such a disproportionate share of them were the very best and brightest minds our whole city had to offer ---and, yet, there is no question that their behavior was that of alcoholics. Was drinking their way of damping down the pressures of the expectations placed on them? I can't say. I was never in their league. And, besides, my own choices in addiction (made shortly thereafter) cannot be ameliorated or justified by comparison.
Those girls up near Chicago need to think long and hard about whether they, too, want to take refuge in alcohol or anything else. Every statistic I see says that binge-drinking is on the upswing among the college-aged set, especially for young women. Who knows what vulnerabilities they're open to when they embrace a life of alcoholism? Enjoy your youth, ladies, but don't forget your selves.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 5:59 PM CDT
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Updated: Saturday, 10 May 2003 6:27 PM CDT
Some Splaining to Do
I still don't understand how cutting the taxation on stock dividends is going to encourage consumer spending or provide new jobs. After all, that's what's going to get our economy going again (if anything will). What the President and his economists are asking for is, to my untutored mind, a huge tax break for people who are already so wealthy that the income they make on stock dividends constitutes a considerable part of their income. But these are rich individuals, right? They're not the ones who need help, goddammit! They're not, as the President suggests, going to rush out and "buy new equipment" or "hire new employees" for their businesses; they're going to feather their nests or sink the savings back into the stock market. That's dead money or fuel for more of the same speculative crap that made the bust so severe in the first place. (That's another gap in my understanding of economics: bull markets don't pay my bills, beeatch!) If there're going to be any tax cuts, they need to go to people for whom a few hundred bucks is the difference between making the rent and not. These jag-offs who nearly kill me every day with their SUVs as they make their way to the golf course or to pick up Caitlin or Jeremy from soccer practice don't need a break: they need to get broken.
I hope the moderates in the Senate keep to their guns and don't allow the President to bully them into going along with what his own father once called voodoo economics.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 10:58 AM CDT
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Updated: Saturday, 10 May 2003 10:47 AM CDT
Friday, 9 May 2003
Sean Hannity Is Unlistenable
At particularly newsworthy times, I will turn on my car radio to a local talk station here in Austin (AM 1370) and check out stuff like Don Imus or Bill O' Reilly or Sean Hannity. Basically, I like Imus because his curmudgeonosity is an equal opportunity trait. Plus, when he gets down to an actual discussion with someone informed on the issues, he becomes quite useful to the audience because he knows how to stand back and listen.
O'Reilly is basically a prick, but it's hard for me to dislike him completely because he will ---very occasionally--- let the other guy have his piece, too. He usually has on someone he's opposed to for the purpose of having a prop to beat down. O'Reilly's usually so sure he's right that he can't keep from bullying the opponent, but he does back down and show respect if the other guy has his argument down and doesn't get frightened off.
Hannity, on the other hand, is just a prick. He's a big cheerleader for the right and he absolutely explodes if he gets shown up. It's a real embarrassment. I just heard him talking to a couple of commies from MoveOn.org on his radio program and, before I tuned in, the one guy had gotten him in a headlock and all he can think to do is call the guy a coward and cut him off with an ad break. When he comes back from the break, he says that the guy had hung up on him and then begins his tirade, certain that he won't be interrupted. Well, too bad for him that the control room had not, in fact, cut the guy off and, during a pause in Hannity's breathlessness, the guy from MoveOn.org starts talking again and turns the table on Hannity, accusing him of being the one who had hung up. Hannity's reaction: he immediately calls the guy a liar and says that he has no control over the technical end of the program since he is on a remote feed. So, that justifies his immediate characterization of the guy as a liar? That's about as shrill and immature as it gets. He's no better on the Fox TV show he does with the house liberal Alan Colmes. He's all bark. Do your homework and tone it down, irish. You're annoying your natural allies to the point of antagonism.
You know this town's going to hell when the only meteorological variable is the quotient of Mexican smoke lingering over us. We're choking ahogo, Vicente. Maybe y'all can find some other way to clear your fields?
And, further on the question of our hazing (as it were), this story out of suburban Chicago about the teenaged girls getting loaded and beating on each other with shit and mud and whatever else was at hand is simply pathetic. Once again, here's a story that gets lots of attention in the major media and you honestly have to wonder why. It wouldn't be any sort of prurient, sweeps-weeks type stuff, of course, so what could it be?
First and last of all, these chicks aren't even hot. They all look pretty homely to me. Why couldn't their school's drill team have been the group to do the hazing? Now there's some video worth checking out. What them drill team girls need is some discipline. You know: a good, loooong spanking from Uncle Tobe. Heh, heh, heh....
On the Matter of Cussing
My Mother just told me that a man with so good a vocabulary as mine shouldn't have to reduce himself to the use of profanity in his writings. Well, I am genuinely sorry for any offense that I give her with my cussing, but I like to use all the words I know. People cuss naturally, casually. If they're raised right, they'll usually know when and where it's not appropriate to use certain words, but, otherwise, cussing is a perfectly acceptable part of our natural speech. The thing is, though, I don't like censorship ---and not using the "F-word" (as my Mother puts it) when the only thing that will work is the F-word is extremely annoying and unnatural.
This question extends itself to racial, ethnic, and class slurs: when do they get used? That is, I ain't no Mark Fuhrman: when the defense attorney asks me if I've ever used the "N-word," I'm not going to be able to deny it. If, like Fuhrman, I do deny it, everyone will know that I am a liar ---and that is a hateful thing to bear. That's far more hateful, in fact, than striving to have never used the "N-word" at all. Why? Because if a black guy makes me mad (e.g., by driving recklessly and endangering my life), why wouldn't I use the ugliest, most hateful term I can think of? Am I a passionless robot, programmed by my betters to rein in my heart and tongue and personality at all costs? No one who lives is above being chewed out or hated or denigrated or praised or loved or exalted. Niceties are sterile; inoffensiveness as an end is the end of human being: don't ask me for that; don't want that for me.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 9:32 PM CDT
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Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2003 9:00 PM CDT
Wednesday, 7 May 2003
Oh, Cut the Crap with This Laci Peterson Business, Already!
I really resent the major media forcing this story down our throats. I don't care that Diane Sawyer scored an interview with the villain of the piece, and I don't know why we had to watch "breaking news" coverage of this dead woman's memorial service on the cable news outlets. These murders, despite their general horrificness, are of absolutely no social or cultural relevance to the world at large. Several days ago, I mistakenly believed that the cultural relevance angle was going to be the question of the unborn child's rights, but I have yet to see this question pursued. Rather, the media only seems interested in the forensic evidence that the cops had taken from the Peterson home before the bodies surfaced. I swear, this isn't even a good episode of Law & Order. Write your favorite networks and tell them to cut the crap with this Laci Peterson business, already. It's beyond absurd.
Robert Byrd's Thoughts on Men's Fashion
The doddering old goat/U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) has criticized the President for exploiting his position as Commander-in-Chief and for dressing himself in "the garb of a warrior" during his recent visit and speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
This, of course, shows no sense of taste at all. The flight suit the President donned for his landing on the carrier was plainly more becoming to him than the white sheet and hood that Byrd used to wear as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 10:35 AM CDT
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Updated: Friday, 9 May 2003 10:59 PM CDT
Why Bush Will Win in 2004
An old friend of mine sent me an e-mail yesterday containing a parodic version of President George W. Bush's resume. Inevitably, it is a giant laundry list of his crimes and misdemeanors, ranging from the charges of drunkenness and secretiveness to his theft of the Presidency, his single-handed destruction of the American economy, and his warmongering. My friend, of course, believes it's all true, but that's what the multilateralist-cosmopolitan-post-nationalist set is reduced to: taking solace in their distorted view of a morally unambiguous man. It's fun to deride the simplistic cowboy, as though the purposes of civic inquiry could ever be satisfied with a neutrality of judgement or vision. My contemporaries laugh at Bush because they fear his moral clarity, but I am unconcerned with their opinions because I know that there are many more Americans who welcome it.
Who was it who taught my generation to look down on the strength of judgement? It's uncool to believe in black and white or right and wrong. The way to get along is to see things relativistically and to not hold one thing above another for fear of offense. Well, the culprit is obvious, but I'm not going to waste my time on him right now; instead, let us briefly examine a few of the usual charges against Bush.
Is Bush a drunk? Yep. Always will be. But at least he's a recovering drunk. As a man who is also fighting addiction, I am proud to say that the leader of my country is a former addict who has found success in action. He isn't saddled with the burdens of drink anymore; rather, he is charged with overcoming the impulse to use that poison. Sniveling craphounds like Maureen Dowd may congratulate themselves on finding the next and best criticism or barb with which to wound him, but George W. Bush's character is like what is best in America: it is resilient.
Is Bush secretive? I think that's probably true. He learned that Administrations that conduct their interior dialogues on the front pages every day and the evening news that night are going to wind up fighting a lot of rear-guard actions that will only sap the strength out of their cabinet and staffs. It's hard to understand why anyone in the business world who appreciates the value of guarding proprietary knowledge would actually find Bush's secretiveness indefensible. Do the Freedom of Information Act activists believe that he or his Administration have done something wrong? Do they harbor fantasies of exposing cabals of oilmen with Dick Cheney dressed in a mask and a bishop's blood-red vestments? In the end, they may be right. But it is crucial to remember that there is one area of public life in which you cannot discriminate ---and that is in what you choose not to hide. It is time to grow up, my Democratic friends, and admit that the exercise of executive privilege is not unique to either party.
Okay, then, did Bush steal the Presidency in 2000? No, and it's a lot of goddamned seditious lies to say he did. You will find in the full range of the Democratic Party ---from the uninformed sluggards that constitute its voting base to vicious pricks like Terry McAuliffe and Tom Daschle--- a singular willingness to make the accusation of theft wherever possible. It's like their rum-soaked nipple that they can always grab at for replenishment when it's time to discredit the President. Too bad for them that it's all a lie. Sure, the President's brother is the governor of Florida. So what? Show how that affected anything. Did the Bush family somehow cause several Democratically-controlled counties to adopt the use of punch-card balloting years before the election in anticipation of a close race? Is it really true that Florida state police intimidated blacks into not voting? And what, by the way, is an undervote? Can some one explain that to me? Do you mean to say that you can divine the intention of a voter from a ballot where no choice was indicated for President? How about an overvote, in which more than one chad gets punched? Was Al Gore entitled to a certain percentage more than Bush? I mean, what the fuck?! Why can't people accept the fact that the 2000 Presidential race in Florida was an accident of numbers? I'm sure it whets the paranoiac appetite to know that the Bushes "control" Florida, but sometimes, amazing coincidences occur. Did you know that Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day? ("Okay, that's interesting: the second and third Presidents died on the same day.") Right, but did you know that they died in 1826 ---exactly a half-century after American Independence was declared? ("A half-century? You mean exactly?") Yes, they both died on the Fourth of July. ("Huh! That sounds like a Hollywood ending.") But it's true. So, what are we going to do about that? We either have to believe it happened that way (because we know the facts of their deaths) or we have to carry on like Democrats who smell intrigue behind every corner. It's boring: get over it.
Well, maybe Bush has brought down the American economy. Maybe the 2002 tax cuts that he pushed for were what actually threw this multi-trillion dollar economy into a recession. I mean, don't you feel guilty about that $300 rebate check you got?
Sure. All economies grow in a linear fashion and ours has always done so in an upward trajectory of growth and prosperity for all of God's creatures. Regulated markets never go through periods of stock over-valuation leading to crashes or losses in consumer confidence and buying due to national disasters or other manifestations of chaos theory at work in the rates of interest, inflation, employment, or fuel prices.
Oh, and is the President a warmonger? I don't believe that. I think he is doing an excellent job as our Commander-in-Chief. He appears to have the full confidence of our military and our military should have the fullest confidence of the American people. They are all fighting against Islamofascism and, in that, they have my endorsement. I'm proud that the President of the United States is from my home state of Texas and have no doubts that he will be re-elected in 2004.
But, you know, I didn't really explain why Bush will win again. Here's the reason, though: I didn't vote for him in 2000. I didn't think he was qualified. I found his demeanor obnoxious and disturbing. But if the election were tomorrow, I'd be the first in line to give him my vote. I'm sure a lot of people feel that way: he changed my opinion of him through his good work. And that's why he's going to win again.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 2:17 AM CDT
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Updated: Wednesday, 7 May 2003 3:20 PM CDT
Tuesday, 6 May 2003
Remembering Jody Conradt
Several years ago, I was making a left-hand turn off of 2222 onto 360 when this fucking idiot in a giant Suburban-like vehicle does the same thing ---and totally hogs my lane, nearly running me off the road. So, to whom do I find myself giving the bird just seconds later? It's the famous pillar of the community, Jody Conradt, UT's women's basketball coach.
No, I take that back: it was an intersection that looks exactly like 2222 and 360, but actually isn't.
Anyhow, Jody Conradt could have killed me.
I was remembering that about Jody Conradt a few months ago when she won her 800th game as a head college basketball coach. The local paper here ran a list of every game she ever won. You don't get a spread like that if you're not a pillar of the community, you know. Anyhow, the most interesting thing about this story I'm telling you is that, according to a footnote at the bottom of this huge table of Jody Conradt's collegiate basketball wins, nobody ---despite the best efforts of the researchers who wrote her history--- could remember anything about the first game she won as head coach. Now, how likely is that? Here's a college basketball game played no more than maybe ---what? a quarter of a century ago?--- and no one can even tell us what team her girls played against? What kind of bizarre failure of the archival gods is that? I know we're not talking about the loss of the Library at Alexandria or General Sherman on his March to the Sea, but this has come back to me again and again in the months since I read that story and I just can't seem to think the less of it. Can't she remember? Isn't there a newspaper clipping or a yearbook or something somewhere that would tell us that simple fact?
Hey! Check it out! It's hailing! Looks like pea-sized. Sweet!
It's Just Some Mexican Smoke, Man
The origin of this haze hanging over town has been identified in the slash-and-burn agriculture practices of Mexico and Central America. That's great. Think the aborigines will take requests? How's about lighting up some major shit farms, amigos? Waft some of that action up here and mellow out these jackasses on 360.
Terry McAuliffe's Winning Strategy
Democratic partisans get so much mileage out of propagating the lie that they were cheated out of the Presidency in 2000 that one must wonder why they are doing everything they can to guarantee a huge landslide loss for 2004 ---one that can't be taken as a close contest turning on an accident of numbers. There are at least eight Democratic candidates, each one splintering the party in another direction. In the race to distinguish themselves, they will resort to fringe ideas and the merest kinds of contrarianism. Nixon said of the GOP that a candidate must run to the right in the primaries to get the nomination and run back to the center to win the election. The Dems will either try to out-liberal each other to preserve their own bona fides as actual Democrats or they will do what The Impeachee-in-Chief Bill Clinton did and move so far to the Republicans' left flank that party labels will become as meaningless as Nader says they are. Regardless, Bush will kick their ass. The only thing that will keep him from winning is if the economy goes deeper into the toilet. After all, just look at the garbage the Democratic Party is allowing on stage with the main contenders. Al Sharpton? He's an obscenity. How can they be taken seriously when they would allow something like that to participate in debates with them?
Keep up the good work, McAuliffe. You're making it too easy, you lousy craphound.
This Weather Is Simply Unacceptable
There's clearly been a curse issued against the city of Austin that keeps us in a wretched state of hyperhumidity ---but without any hope of rain. What the hell is going on here? It must be well over 95 per cent humidity. Oh, and lots of lung-pleasin' smog or haze or whatever they want to call it draped over the skyline. Like fog with a temperature in the 80s.
Half-expect to see a goddamned pterodactyl fly over any moment now.
Piped in from the Waiting Rooms in Hell
I've always been amused at how it's the very worst songs possible that're the ones that come and bore themelves into your head, unwelcome guests that stay for hour after hour. Do we secretly love these songs, but are too conditioned by society's prejudices to give them full vent? Or, just occasionally, do our cranial super-tuners catch a skip in the atmosphere and offer us an auditory glimpse into the realm of Satan?
Yesterday, for instance, it took all my powers of concentration to read and ruminate and NOT, as you must surely know by now, find myself, everywhere inside my head, singing Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves." At such points, it is necessary to stand up and bellow out some John Philip Sousa or some other such banality until the warbles of Cher are safely flushed away.
It's been at least two weeks since I quit smoking and, all in all, it's been a tolerable experience. The physical benefits have not proved quite so dramatic as I had hoped, but they are undeniably there and accruing with every day. My lung capacity seems to have improved most dramatically, but I am not expectorating nearly as much as I had expected. Hopefully, that will change ---and on my own terms.
Based on the rate of usage at the time I quit (something just over a half a pack a day) and on the cost of cartons (they seem, diabolically, to be getting cheaper), I figure I'll be saving myself at least $40 a month. That's a utility bill right there.
I don't suppose it's possible that I will never smoke again. I may bum a smoke off a friend at a party just to see what I'm missing, but it really comes down to individual will. Who, after all, would choose to draw carbon monoxide, sulfur, and tar (among many other chemicals) into his own delicate lungs? And to pay good money for the privilege? It's barbaric, frankly. It's something that a slave would do.
I'm not much of a modern country music fan and don't really have anything for or against the Dixie Chicks, but why must it be they who are in the role of martyrs? They're pretty ladies, basically, and quite talented musicians (check out their performance on Austin City Limits of a few years ago), but they don't strike me as particularly exalted heroines in the question of who has a right to say what and where and when it should be said. They're no better in this role than Luther Campbell or Larry Flynt.
No, Natalie Maines isn't a traitor for telling a British concert audience that she and her bandmates are ashamed that the President hails from their own home state, but she's quite possibly a dumbass for doing so. Country music fans are a pretty conservative bunch and it is a huge commercial blunder to put them in the position of having to defend their President against the opinions of a favorite music group. (Then again, I love John Lennon and his music dearly, but have never felt threatened by his politics.) Ultimately, it was a gratuitous thing to say and she certainly didn't need to curry favor with a paying audience. If she had wanted to be on record as being opposed to the war, she could have said the same thing she did say to a magazine reporter and would at least have spoken her mind in a less turbulent setting.
Anyhow, the point is this: Maines is entitled to her opinion. That's the American Way. She should never be threatened with death or personal harm of any kind for what she said. That is not the American Way. But in the absence of killing or harming her (something the Baathists or Stalinists would have had no problem doing), there is, in fact, a very American way of responding to her with a passion equal to hers: protest and boycott. How do you take down a well-paid commercial artist? You cut her off and withdraw your support. That's not execution for treason; that's discretion after indiscretion.
Rooting for Tubers, Truffles, and WMD
These [logicians] make me laugh. Go ahead and keep demanding that we find the Iraqis' weapons of mass destruction (the existence of which, it is said, was the sine qua non of our war against Saddam). Your approval of the war's outcome depends on irrefutable proof that Saddam possessed botulo-toxins and anthrax? Even though Iraq was liberated from the Baathists with a minimal loss of civilian life? Even though the first expressions of religious and civil liberties in a generation have been made possible by American soldiers and marines? Did you see the torture chambers and holding cells for the small children of the enemies of Saddam's state? Have you seen the footage of schools and mosques filled to the rafters with grenade launchers and Kalishnikovs? Yeah, well, you want us to follow the letter of the law. I see. Oh, well. I watched happy young men riding the statued heads of their country's former tyrant through the streets of Baghdad like sleighs. Go lodge your complaints with Dr. Blix or the MP for Glasgow Kelvin. The good guys won, no thanks to the "patriotic" exercise of your right to second-guess and denigrate.