Thursday, September 29, 2005
Saw my Pop last Friday, with the usual delight (this is the man who taught me how to read, after all, and to love words....), but we do a little dance around his tender feelings for a world gone by, one that started to recede decades ago and keeps sunsetting.
In his own insular way I think he is a good barometer of self-described Independent opinion - plague on all houses and why are you bothering me with taxes and all this other shit? (I heard a lot of this kind of dialogue in the meds line at the Kaiser Pharmacy last year, before the election.) Lefty partisans want to make me feel guilty, and I don't want to do that. Wingnuts are intemperate, but O'Reilly can touch a nerve - and they're all unbalanced anyway, right? Stop, you're making me uncomfortable!
The subject of politicians' thick/thin skins came up. We didn't get very specific, but I couldn't help but remember all the guys who bailed from Congress (both Houses) with the ascendancy of the Newts and the Hammers. Dad wants to think, like Broder, that if everyone is just once again reasonable, it will all work out. And so, for his education, I direct him to Franklin Foer's report in TNR (now open to all) on the College Republicans' Shark Training Camp. Hammerhead 101, Pop - they are serious, they have a marvelous track record (check the alumni list), and the scruffy Libs just don't do it that way - see the last paragraph.
So, today, DeLay descends many notches - there will be legions, well trained, to fill the gap. Fuck, it's going to take decades to flush these weasels out. Throw 'em in jail, and there are battalions of home-schooled kids, so bright-eyed they could be Village-of-the Damned spawn waiting in line for thinktanks and internships or a niche in the Corner.....
I must be fair to Pop - he doesn't read The Corner for guidance, he doesn't want to be partisan, he has the most accepting social values, but, god, I think we share a frustration - from opposite ends, perhaps - with a supine Democratic party that can't make a persuasive moderate case to him and that won't be vigorous enough to me. I'm a fucking LIBERAL, and I don't think Dad and I are unbridgeably apart. I'll leave that to him in Comments.
I am just hoping that we are reaching an illumination, and that we can survive what we are forced to see.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Any student of Renaissance lit knows how Princes of the Church used to carry on, and I leave it to RC historians to parse all the celibacy policies, but as Steve adds in another post, time to Out the bastards.
Lance has a rich post on Lincoln, Depression and a Friend. I did my bit by posting a comment that is really a post (as Lance tells me I do), but that I didn't feel like putting up here. This is, after all, my magazine, and not a confessional - or a bathhouse (see ROD for my modest perv).
Sunday, September 25, 2005
The 23-5 Meme:
My 23rd post was posted March 3, 2005.
Hard to count up from the beginning, so I'm counting days as posts, but this is five sentences in from the March 3 early post:
"All very smooth and compelling, until you recognize that it's built on pure assertion, and mendacity "
It was describing Richard Perle's presentation in debate with Howard Dean, here in Portland. Wouldn't change a word.
The real 23rd post was probably a pic of Ninja Meatwad, but I didn't write it, even if it's just about equally characteristic of me.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
"HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.
US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.
Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption."
Trials by Water, and by Fire - Katrina survivors just can't catch a break, can they?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Senate Democrats have had it up to here with "John Roberts the lawyer." And it's hard to blame them. John Roberts the lawyer won't answer any questions. At least, as the sole arbiter of what questions he'll answer, he's doing a rather phenomenal job of broadly defining great classes of questions as unanswerable:
- He won't answer questions about any case currently
pending before the Supreme Court (abortion, right-to-die);
- He won't answer questions about any case that might someday conceivably be pending before the Supreme Court (separation of powers, contested presidential elections);
- He won't answer questions he's decided on the court of appeals (since they may
someday conceivably be pending before the Supreme Court);
- He won't answer questions about prior nominees (Robert Bork) because that is not appropriate;
- He can't answer questions about general legal doctrine because they are too general;
- He can't answer questions about specific legal doctrine because they are too specific;
- He can't answer questions about his early memos because a robot wrote them.
And that's only the beginning. It continues to devolve into Bad Scene Class at Inside the Actors' Studio - and people wonder why we are all fucked.
Here I have had a balking patient, and also a new and understanding boyfriend (good as gold, that!). Fortune smiling on you when she's frowning everywhere else is disconcerting - and we all know she's not reliable, or she would not be so beloved through the purchase of lottery tickets. Other people have been on the mark, and here are some of my bullseyes from the last few days:
- Jane has a sharp commentary on Dubya as a Dry Drunk. This is a meeting of personal and public recognition - what she describes so closely fits a sibling of mine, I can play diagnostician. May account for why it frightens me to drive with her - that sibling - and why I couldn't vote for her, were she to run for office, no matter how progressive her politics. Also why Bush seems such a tool when he's supposed to be in charge - he was a made man from the very beginning, and I suspect much of DC knew this all along (I am speaking to you, Broder). Complicit they were, and god, I hope they are ready to suck dick for it in future.
- Fred Kaplan eviscerates emergency planning in a Slate piece yesterday - and makes me think about the jobs I've had analyzing operations, or writing and building management tools in both academic and business settings. The vagueness Kaplan describes in the HSC Manual on emergency planning scenarios is fucking terrifying - any well-run hospital has protocols 10K times more specific and detailed, and they pride themselves on it. I never did believe the initial Bushie bravado about "grown-ups" taking control, but these guys truly embarrass themselves, and why anyone ever trusted them with our security goes beyond mystery to a collective psychosis.
- My family prides itself on rationality (even when it goes nuts), so I think I can commend this note from Kevin Drum on The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney's new book to them. Should really scare Dad....:-)
God, there's a lot more, what with Roberts playing with Seven Veils and Senators saying, "My Head on the Silver Platter First! Kiss me, Kiss Me, Jokannan!!" - like we fags don't know the Bible....or Richard Strauss.
The new BF hates opera, btw - tough for him, but I'm not that much of a Taste Queen to insist on categorical fidelity. Many more inportant things to consider, and they are marching upon us.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
I hope no one thinks the "PussyKat" in the title is in any way flip - bg's new pic made it irresistible, but Hurricane Kat can't be allowed (in ways so manifold I cannot count them) to ruin more lives than it already has. This is an ongoing effort, and the more we engage personally, the more stories will come out to undercut the propaganda - the torrent of bullshit - we are getting from the Bushies and their minions.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Under the classic Daley 1 Machine, your alderman didn't play, you had unfixed potholes. Your corner curbs were not refitted for anyone (and not just the disabled). You had a Clout Deficit, and you would suffer for it, one way or the other. When Hizzoner died, there was a scramble, and we got the undistiguished but loyal Mike Bilandic, and what brought him down? A blizzard, to which the great resources of the City in the Garden did not respond fast enough (my roomie's car, buried under snow, was towed and he didn't discover it until the spring - a Bayside, Queens boy, he was sure it had been stolen). Bilandic, good-bye.
Weisberg makes the point that Bushie racism is less racism than it is machine politics - NOLA doesn't count because it's overwhelmingly black and poor, it doesn't deliver the GOP votes, Louisiana's overall Red State margins notwithstanding. Together with the cronyism and patronage that gives Wyoming an outsized share of DHS funds for anti-terrorism defense (and in Louisiana, despite bipartisan asslicking, an undersized share), the only conclusion for those benighted voters who have never been strongarmed by these bastards is, "Get in line or we will fuck you." My neighbors here in Oregon have no fucking idea.
That's how machines work, and they used to be common. I almost feel lucky to have seen the last of the Old Ones die - especially as I can see the same marks on the horrible New One that now afflicts us, afflicts us all. States are Wards - deliver or rot. Trent Lott? Haley Barbour? Loyal aldermen, and their potholes get fixed first. Karl Rove is taking the names. No one is invulnerable.
The wheels, they grind.
And this, from 400 years ago:
Hey, Provident Council - where the fuck are ya?
Considering duly that a prince's court
Is like a common fountain, whence should flow
Pure silver drops in general, but if 't chance
Some curs'd example poison 't near the head,
Death and diseases through the whole land spread.
And what is 't makes this blessed government
But a most provident council, who dare freely
Inform him the corruption of the times?
Though some o' the court hold it presumption
To instruct princes what they ought to do,
It is a noble duty to inform them
What they ought to foresee.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Addendum: In an earlier post, I said I could very well have been stuck in the Dome (or the Convention Center) with the thousands still there, the old, the sick, the poor. This was not special pleading; I have plastic, but I also have a 97-year-old patient, and she and I have been watching the news from New Orleans with horror. My patient cannot travel easily, by any of the usual means - she will literally break. I am confident that her family would have moved heaven and earth to extricate her from such a disaster situation, but they may, themselves, have been unable to do so. So, when we watch the news tonight, and see these helpless people, do we begrudge any of the strongest of them for gleaning supplies from stores that are as stranded as they are, where the goods that could mean their survival will otherwise rot? My G-d, it's my job and my duty to protect the woman I take care of, and I'd swim though shit to keep her alive. Imagine how much stronger the urgency of parents, siblings, sons and daughters, cousins and aunts and uncles to do anything to keep their families alive and together, and then the helicopters pass by because someone took a potshot at them, or buses never arrive because the hazard is too great. Hazard for fucking whom? This is so fucking sick - and, as Wolcott rightly says, "...this is the time for politics, none better." You bet your boots, dude!