Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bush: No Need For Sacrifice

What NTodd said.

American Gulag

Via Miniver Cheevey, Here's a letter from a detainee in Guantanamo:

At Guantanamo, soldiers have assaulted me, placed me in solitary confinement, threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my daughter and told me I will stay in Cuba for the rest of my life. They have deprived me of sleep, forced me to listen to extremely loud music and shined intense lights in my face. They have placed me in cold rooms for hours without food, drink or the ability to go to the bathroom or wash for prayers. They have wrapped me in the Israeli flag and told me there is a holy war between the Cross and the Star of David on one hand and the Crescent on the other. They have beaten me unconscious.

. . .

I would rather die than stay here forever, and I have tried to commit suicide many times. The purpose of Guantanamo is to destroy people, and I have been destroyed. I am hopeless because our voices are not heard from the depths of the detention center.

If I die, please remember that there was a human being named Jumah at Guantanamo whose beliefs, dignity and humanity were abused. Please remember that there are hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo suffering the same misfortune. They have not been charged with any crimes. They have not been accused of taking any action against the United States.

As Miniver Cheevey notes, this-- the creation of a place that has as its purpose the destruction of hman beings, the deliberate attempt to start a war between xians and Moslems, and beating people until they are unconscious -- is done in our name, with our tax dollars, in my name, with my tax dollars. As Miniver Cheevey also notes, the fact that it is still going on shows that I am culpable, that I haven't done enough to stop it.

Let The Conversation Begin

Hillary Clinton's running. I like her list of priorities. First, end the war in Iraq. Second, develop an energy policy that sets America free from foreign oil. Third, address the Bush deficit. Fourth, provide health care for Americans.

I would have liked to hear her specifically include global warming as a problem, separate from energy independence, that must be addressed. One of the few things that could get me to vote for someone else in the primary would be if there were someone else making a stronger case on the need to protect the Earth.

Hillary comes back, in her announcement, to a point that has long been one of her themes: in America, if you're willing to work hard and play by the rules (as, for example, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling weren't), you should be able to build a good life for yourself and your family. I think that's the whole purpose of a government, what a government is supposed to provide for its citizens.

I've maintained all along that she would run. So today's announcement wasn't a surprise. ( I do imagine that she'd originally planned to hold off a bit longer announcing her bid, but that Obama's early announcement got her to make her announcement now, rather than later. ) It is, though, in its own way, amazing. When you think about how much abuse this woman has taken and about how much abuse will now come her way, aren't you amazed at her steel constitution? I am. I want a president like that, rather than the thin-skinned little man we've got now who can't even sit through a half an hour of Steven Colbert.

I'm 50, almost 51. In all my life, there's never been a woman candidate for president with a real shot at winning. Until today. America is ready for, and, I believe that America can benefit from having, a woman executive. (And, is it too much to hope that her candidacy will give Alito and Roberts pause on their headlong rush to institute a unitary executive (aka dictator)? Go ahead, boys, give President Clinton all that power. Wingnut heads will explode.) What a great year for the little girls of America, who see a woman Speaker of the House and a woman candidate for the Democratic nomination. I'd like to see a woman president before I die.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cat Head Theatre

Happy Friday.
You're Fired

OK, Technically, it's "impeached." But we didn't think you'd understand all those syllables. Go home to you fake ranch in Crawford.

There She Goes Again

Like the crazy aunt at the family gathering who goes around saying things that make everyone uncomfortable, I'm always going on about the fact that there are too many people here on planet Earth. Whenever I bring it up, there's usually an awkward silence in the room (meat or silicone) and then someone says, "Hey! How 'bout them Yankees!" or something very similar.

I understand the discomfort. Issues related to procreation go straight to the heart of human liberty, of what it means, for many people, to be fully human. No one wants Big Brother in their bedroom, telling them who they can have sex with and when and under what circumstances they can procreate. The potential for abuse is almost 100%, and every minority group on Earth worries that they'll be targeted. Gays worry that as soon as a "gay gene" is identified, no one will have gay children any more, especially if couples are limited to one or two offspring. African Americans can see who'll (blondes) be allowed to reproduce and who'll (people with kinky hair) be edged out. Women just know that they'll be marginalized and controlled as they are everytime that any issue related to sex or reproduction is decided by a society that is (still)patriarchal to its core. Just look at China, where the one-child policy actually meant the one-son policy. And on, and on. I do understand what it is that makes people uncomfortable.

But discomfort won't change the basic fact. There are already too many people on the planet. Yes, Europe has begun, to the consternation of wingnuts everywhere, to reign in its population growth. But we're headed for a cliff and we're headed there pretty fast. This article, which Prior Aelred sent to me, does a very good job of explaining the problem.

The Population Bubble
by David Bacon

In the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons there is usually a scene where Coyote, chasing Roadrunner, runs off a cliff. He continues on a horizontal line for a couple of seconds, looking increasingly puzzled and concerned, until he realizes his predicament, tries vainly to reverse course, and falls to the desert below.
This is symbolic of the situation ecologists call "overshoot." Overshoot is when a species reproduces to a number that its environment can't sustain.

In 1944, for example, 29 reindeer were introduced onto St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. With few competitors, no predators and plenty to eat, the herd increased to about 6,000 by the summer of 1963, consuming almost all available food. That winter most of them died. The surviving population in 1966 numbered 42.

And now the species with the unique ability to change the environment on a colossal scale appears on the verge of making for itself a St. Matthew Island worldwide. At the end of the 19th century the human population was 1.6 billion. It is now 6.5 billion.

The food that made this amazing increase possible -- there's also sanitation and modern medicine, but food is the base -- came primarily by boosting crop yields with petroleum. With fertilizer from natural gas, with crops bred to capitalize on that fertilizer and with petroleum-powered machinery and irrigation wells, we can produce huge yields -- more than 7,000 pounds of corn per acre, for example. Just one lifetime ago, corn yields were one-fifth of that. Wheat yields have almost tripled. Similar comparisons can be made for other grains.

But, this can't last. The aquifers, oil and natural gas that made possible a fourfold population increase are finite. Over the coming decades petroleum will become harder and harder to find, extract and put to use, until eventually it becomes unavailable for agriculture in any significant amount. Meanwhile, another 2 billion people are predicted worldwide by 2050.

Increasing attention to the so-called peak oil problem focuses on its impact on airlines, car makers and the stock market. These will suffer, but not on the level of malnutrition and starvation for many, and a continuous struggle over decreasing resources for all.

Is the situation really this dire? Agriculture accounts for a fraction of petroleum use in industrialized countries. We might reduce use elsewhere -- more efficient cars, less plastic -- and use the savings to keep crop yields high enough to feed everyone.

But to make that work, short-term and local self-interest must yield to a long-term, global consciousness -- a tall order. Increased efficiency and alternative fuels might for a time fill the gap left by petroleum's decline. But we have yet to devise an alternative as versatile as petroleum that can fill its huge role -- especially in the face of relentlessly growing demand for energy. And whatever we do to support population growth will only make overshoot worse in the end.

In addition to unique abilities, we have a serious shortcoming. We are unwilling, perhaps unable, to see ourselves as subject to the same constraints as Earth's other inhabitants. But in our dependence on the environment for food and water, we most certainly are subject to those constraints. Without a solution, we will die just as surely as the St. Matthew reindeer.

Given Earth's limits, there already are too many of us for the long run. But the day of reckoning is many years away, and it is notoriously difficult for political leaders to seek moderate sacrifice today to prevent terrible sacrifice tomorrow when there is too little general recognition of the trouble ahead.

Can we be wilier than Wile E. Coyote? It's hard to be optimistic. There is probably no real solution to this problem, only halfway measures to lessen the eventual impact. But every little bit will help.

David Bacon is a physician and retired Army colonel living in Aspen, Colorado. He wrote this for the Land Institute's Prairie Writers Circle, Salina, Kansas.

I disagree with Mr. Bacon on several points. I don't think that the day of reckoning is nearly as far away as he imagines, especially as global climate change makes more and more land uninhabitable and as more and more people (think China) outside of the U.S. demand, as they have a right to do, living standards that equal those of people living in the U.S.

Finally, I disagree that there is no real solution to this problem, although I'd agree that there's likely no ONE solution to this problem. But we could, within five years if we wanted, turn this bus around and get it headed in the right direction.

Free, safe, effective birth control for everyone should be a focus of government spending, even if it means no more trillion-dollar wars. Actual sex education that includes education about the danger of population explosion must replace the nonsense, half efforts, and abstinence bullshit that we currently impose on our children. Tax incentives for those who don't have extra children and increasing taxes on those who have more than one child, in order to stop those people from externalizing the costs of their reproductive choices onto the rest of the planet, may be needed. Large lump sum payments for those who agree to be sterilized, especially after only one child could help. Beyond that, an attempt to change public attitudes, as we've done about everything from smoking to drunk driving to discussing cancer, has got to start now and has got to be a serious social priority -- a Manhattan Project or a race to the Moon level of social commitment is needed.

As the article notes, population problems tend to solve themselves -- it's just that they do so in particularly ugly ways and, I'll note, in ways that hurt children. We can do nothing and then face our own Winter of '63. I'll simply note that the St. Matthew Island reindeer didn't have nuclear weapons. I know what I think we should do and I'm willing to be the embarrassing aunt who makes everyone uncomfortable if that will help us to face this problem. Maybe it's the Bene Gesserit in me, hoping that we'll someday become human beings. Perhaps population overshoot will be our Gom Jabbar?

Save In My Breast

You realize right away that she started as such a Romantic.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


You don't have to read the whole article, but you owe it to yourself to check out the slide show. He was

A Threat To At Least Half The World's Population

Today's EEI newsletter reports that:

United Nations Head Urges President Bush to Address Climate Change
In his first meeting in the Oval Office since assuming the post of United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon caught President Bush off-guard by pushing for new U.S. policies on climate change, the Financial Times of London reported. In making it one of his top three priorities in his talk with Bush, Ban urged the U.S. to show leadership. The FT quoted a U.N. source as saying: "The president at first was a little surprised, as it was not on the agenda."

In a speech later at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ban was quoted as saying climate change was "an all-encompassing threat - to health, to food and water supplies, to the coastal cities where nearly half the world's population live. Acting on climate change will be one of my top priorities."

The White House, meanwhile, refuted reports that it was going to reverse itself on climate change and push for a cap-and-trade system, the FT reported. White House spokesman Tony Snow was quoted as saying: "I want to walk you back from the whole carbon cap story . . . The carbon cap stuff is not accurate. What the president has talked about all along is the importance of innovation."
Financial Times of London , Jan. 17.

Heaven forefend that the President of the United States should ever have to think on his feet and deal with something that's not on his pre-approved agenda. He can hardly deal with a topic on which he has been thoroughly briefed. You'd like to think that the leader of the largest, most powerful country on Earth would be ready to discuss "an all-encompassing threat," an issue that threatens the world's "health, food and water supplies, and to the coastal cities where nearly half of the world's populations live." I hope that the new Secretary General is serious and that climate change will indeed be one of his top priorities. I wish that we had a president who felt the same.


I think this brief excerpt from Robert Novak's column says quite a bit, especially when your remember that various branches of the conservative movement often use Novak to talk to each other:

Iraq is a black hole for the Republican Party," a prominent party strategist told me this week. What makes his comments so important is that he is not a maverick Republican in Congress but one of Bush's principal political advisers.

As they adjust to the 2006 election returns, Republicans recognize that this was no isolated bump in the road. The loss of about 320 state legislative seats across the country to the Democrats classifies last year's election as a midrange electoral disaster.

The Republicans have a problem. His name is George Bush. He doesn't listen to them; he doesn't care about them. He had his accountability moment back in 2004, when they all backed him 100% and, as far as he's concerned, he'll never have another.

If the Democrats have the brains that the Goddess gave to garbanzo beans, they will tie the Republicans to George W. Bush. Then, they'll SuperGlue them to George W. Bush. Then, they'll weld them to George W. Bush. Then, they'll . . . . Well, I think you get the idea. Someone needs a database right now of every supportive statement that every Republican ever made about George W. Bush and his insane war.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Nice Pagan Ladies

Discussing an interfaith celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, M. Macha Nightmare raises an issue that I've struggled with in other contexts.

One of the speakers preached, and as preaching goes she was good, but I don't want to be preached to no matter how skilled the preacher. I feel that preaching is inappropriate in interfaith contexts, even ones that celebrate the life of another African-American preacher.

I must admit that when one man sang a song he'd written about 'the Lord,' I just had to walk out for a while. He was a fine singer with a good strong voice, but the song made me so uncomfortable. Daresay it offended me. I know it was meaningful to him. But was it appropriate to all present? I don't think so. Not to me anyway. I returned after he finished.

What should a nice Pagan woman do in such a situation? I felt the only option I had to address my own discomfort was to absent myself for the duration. I did mention to the Director of MIC, who was one of the main organizers, how I'd been put off by such overt religiosity of a particular stripe. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this kind of work. I don't seek it out. It comes to me -- not this particular event, but in general I participate in interfaith activities because someone asks me to. I pass such opportunities to others when I can, and generally I feel I do a credible job, but still -- I'm never sure I'm the best person to be doing it.

We share many values -- peace activism, concern for the poor and homeless, opposition to capital punishment, green concerns -- and when we work together on those problems, I'm just fine. But still I find that the majority Abrahamics tend to slip into their assumption that all the world's population is monotheistic. It bugs me. I feel I should try to bring it up in as constructive a way as I can. How do others deal with it?

I'm on several listserves that purport to be for members of all faiths devoted to liberal causes. Yet, when they need a quotation to illustrate a point, I note that it will either come from the bible or, when they feel very "inclusive," the quoran. Both of those exclude and offend me. It does get tiring to always be the one who emails the author to point out that we don't all worship "God" and that "his Son" is not a major prophet for some of us.

But I think that "nice Pagan ladies," and, Goddess knows, that's how I present, (at least initially!), in my grograin-ribbon Ferragamos, sensible ear-rings, ear-length bob, and Hermes scarves, have to speak up.

I'm on an email list for the local farmer's market and the woman who runs it always posts lovely poetry with her weekly emails. But one week, she made some point about how so many different faiths celebrate around the Spring Equinox, noting that some farmers were coming back to the market after being gone for the winter. She listed lots of faiths, but no Pagan ones. I had to email her back and point out that many of us don't celebrate a religious holiday around the Spring Equinox. We celebrate the Spring Equinox. She emailed back a nice response, but I swear, it was the FIRST time that it occurred to her that some xian, moslem, jewish, buddhist didn't completely cover everyone who came to the market.

Interfaith is supposed to mean interfaith. If we can't be, as I noted below, a religion that's under the radar, then I'm going to insist on our place ON the radar.

The Goddess Weeping

On the one hand, I find that the WaPo's "On Faith" section has a pretty high squick factor and I kind of feel weird about Starhawk giving it legitimate Pagan cred. (Yeah, well, bite me. I kind of liked being a hidden religion, even though I know: things change.) On the other hand, it's the only way that many xians and other Abrahamists will ever hear from a "real" Pagan, rather than hearing from their minister "about" Pagans.

Today, I think she does a good job answering the latest (stupid) question: Is the war in Iraq a "just war"?

The whole thing is good, but here's the money quote: Religion should not be a set of earplugs to deafen us to the cries of children, nor a sedative to ease our consciences as we survey the graves. Religion should challenge us to be more than we are, to deeper levels of compassion and love than we have yet reached. The Goddess, the deep interconnectedness of all being, does not cheer on one team to kill and maim another. She is weeping.

The McCain plan is bad for America, bad for Iraq.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For Rynee

Merry Meet And Merry Part And Merry Meet Again

Webb, You Better Fucking Have Meant It When You Said That You'd "Grown" On Women's Rights

Oh yeah, oh yeah. That's my Senator talking, bitches!

Webb's upset victory over former senator George Allen (R) provided Democrats with the sixth seat they needed to take control of the Senate. "In a call echoed by Americans across this nation, the people of Virginia sent Senator Webb to Congress to help take our country in a new direction," Reid and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

Webb serves on the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Joint Economic and Veterans Affairs Committees. At a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iraq last week, Webb chastised the decision to go to war.

"We went to war in Iraq recklessly; we must move forward responsibly. The war's costs to our nation have been staggering. These costs encompass what we hold to be most precious: the blood of our citizens. They also extend to the many thousands more Iraqi people killed and wounded as their country slides into the chaos of sectarian violence and civil war."

Several Democrats said the decision to have two Virginia lawmakers in a row give the speech highlights the party's efforts to continue to make inroads into what has long been a conservative-leaning state. Some political observers believe Virginia could be competitive in the 2008 presidential race, even though the state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.

"It's a wonderful recognition of the state of the Virginia Democratic Party," said Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Arlington), chairman of the House Democratic caucus.

Virginia. A blue state. Get used to it, bitches.


What Mad Melancholic Feminista says.

Someday, I am going to start a blog called What Mad Melancholic Feminista Says. It will consist of links to the Mad Melancholic Feminista's blog. It will be the best blog ever.

Spinster Aunts Unite!

So by now, when I finally get home from work and can blog, this NYT article has probably been commented upon to death. But I do have a few things to say (my point, and I do have one!) about it.

The NYT reports on the amazing fact that a whopping 51% (well, according to the boyking, that's a mandate) of women now live in -- gasp -- an unmarried state. Full disclosure: I am a member of the 51%. I've been married twice. Both times, it made me fucking miserable. I never, ever, plan to be married again.

The NYT notes that: "[T]here is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people'’s lives," said Prof. Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group. "Most of these women will marry, or have married. But on average, Americans now spend half their adult lives outside marriage."

Further, "Although we can help people 'do' marriage better, it is delusionalusional to construct social policy or make personal life decisions on the basis that you can count on people spending most of their adult lives in marriage," said Professor Coontz, the author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage.”

I think this article is important because it points out just how wrong the wingnuts are. Continuing to insist that our society is "founded" upon a nuclear family is just wrong. Insisting that "marriage, between a man and a woman," as they always intone, must be "protected" because it is "crucial to our society" is bullshit.

Interestingly, in spite of all the propaganda that our society throws at women insisting that to be an unmarried woman is to be ugly, unfulfilled, unhappy, and a failure, women are slower to remarry after a divorce than are men. The article is replete with examples of women who are quite happy no longer being married. This has got to scare the crap out of the wingnuts who have (I'm looking at you, Elizabeth Edwards) invested all they've got in the myth that an unmarried woman is an unhappy (less joyous!) woman.

I can count on one hand the truly happy marriages that I really know. I'm not anti-marriage. But there are a large majority of us who are not married and who live in this society. It's time for society to take notice. And it's time for us to stop raising girls, from the cradle onwards, as if they were going to spend their whole live married. They're not.

Get over it.
Rain Subpoenas, Rain, Rain, Subpoenas.

Hat tip to KyleasSuch.

Mobility -- And Damn The Cost!


When young I scribbled, boasting, on my wall.
No Love, No Property, No Wages.
In youth's good time I somehow bought them all,
And cheap, you'd think, for maybe a hundred pages.
Now in my prime, disburdened of my gear,
My trophies ransomed, broken, lost,
I carve again on the lintel of the year
My sign: MOBILITY!—and damn the cost!

~Stanley Kunitz

I had two very contradictory experiences today.

This morning, I was in a meeting, with two men I consider brilliant, discussing strategy for a rather complex Supreme Court case. And, I had this moment when I realized, removed a million miles from the conversation, this is why I went to law school. This is the kind of work that I love to do, this is the glass bead game I can play for the rest of my life. For this "one white singing hour" of intellectual stimulation, I'll "count many a year" of traipsing up the road to school "well lost." Being a witch, my first reaction was to ground. To dig my roots deep into the Earth, to bind myself and my future to that experience.

But, coming home, I was thinking about early retirement. When I was younger, I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to retire early. I'd read articles in, say, Fortune Magazine about people who did all this mad planning and investing so that they could retire at my age, 50, and I'd wonder what was wrong with them. Why would they want to drop out of life so early??? What I couldn't imagine when I was young was that there would come a time when it would make me very happy to never have to do another day's labor for someone else. It's irrelevant now; I spent too many years in public service. I'll be working until I drop. But now that I'm 50, I understand the urge, which is more than I ever understood before.

So, all in all, I count it a very good day.

Help Us, Obi Wan. You're Our Only Hope.

From today's EEI newsletter:

Ex-VP Gore Invited by Rep. Dingell to Testify on Climate Change

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., has crafted an environmental agenda memo to members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which he chairs, making climate change the top panel priority of the 110th Congress, Greenwire reported. Dingell plans on inviting former Vice President Gore to testify in support of new federal climate change legislation.

Greenwire quoted the memo as saying: "It is critically important that members of the committee gain a full appreciation of the scientific and substantive implications of climate change policy so that we can develop and, if at all possible, enact a sound and effective public policy that is environmentally and economically responsible." The newswire said Gore's staff was noncommittal about an appearance.

Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch, said the Gore invitation was a "blockbuster way to kick off the House debate," while Phil Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, said Dingell was taking a leadership role because he recognized that there was a seachange in the House to push for some kind of legislation. Clapp was skeptical that Dingell went far enough, saying: "There's no commitment here to move legislation. 'If at all possible' distinctly throws cold water on the situation. This actually reads more like an assertion of committee jurisdiction."
Greenwire , Jan. 15.

I hope that Al Gore will agree to appear before the Committee and I hope that he will explain to it, in no uncertain terms, that we can't tolerate the "if at all possible we'll enact legislation" approach. We've run out of time for that approach. Mr. Gore, if anyone can convince the politicians to act now, I think you can. Please, go make it clear to them.
Strega Nonna

Always obey your Nonna.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Before Enlightment, Chop Wood, Carry Water; After Enlightenment, Chop Wood, Carry Water

This year, I'm working (and it is work, hard work!) with renewed fervor on demanding from myself an engagement in daily practice. There are so many reasons to skip a day -- I'm tired, I need to do X, or Y, or Z, I'll do it with real devotion tomorrow, etc. When I'm tempted to pretend that my commitment to my own soul doesn't matter, I pull out this paragraph from Twelve Wild Swans and read it out loud.

When I find myself unwilling or unable to set aside time for my soul-life, I sometimes ask myself the following question: if I had a lively and sensitive little daughter -- say four or five years of age -- who loved me dearly and longed for my attention, how much of my time would I make sure to give her every day? Five minutes of undivided attention? Twenty? Wouldn't i want to plan my whole day and my whole life around her?

But how much of my attention do I [who have no such demands upon my time] give to my own soul-life? Why is it so hard to give myself the love and attention I would willingly give to to others? It's a little sad isn't it? This is a question [that] I have asked many women over years of mentoring, and it is amazing how frequently we are determined to love, protect, and care for an imaginary daughter and yet are unwilling or unable to take the time to care for our own dear souls.

~Twelve Wild Swans by Starhawk andHilary Valentine

Bush & Cheney Are What Impeachment Was Designed For

Digby's right about everything except for this: we do so have the time. And the process of impeachment all by itself might exercise some of the restraint that nothing else has managed to do. Not only that, but it's the right thing to do. And there's a huge power in doing the right thing. And, hell, if we're headed for a Constitutional crisis anyway -- and, one way (implicitly) or another (explicitly), that IS where we're headed -- I'd like to have it while Justice Stevens is still on the bench. (And, BTW, this is what happens when you ignore the Constitution. SCOTUS ignored the Constitution and ordered Florida to stop counting votes -- sticking America with the man who was voted down. Turns out that the Founders were right: it's better to let Americans select their leaders. Not SCOTUS, not Diebold, Americans.)

So the Iranians are after our troops. Condi said so last week. Cheney and Hadley are saying it today. Sounds like CB (cassus belli) talk to me. We can't wait for the Iranians to shoot the American troops with smoking mushrooms. Or something.

I have long said that the Republicans are undemocratic, but now they're just coming right out and saying it: democracy is all well and good until the people and their representatives object to what the president is doing at which point the people and their representatives become a superfluous "committee." They have interpreted the words "commander in chief" to mean that the constitution gives the president dictatorial powers during "wartime" (which the president defines.)

These are two dangerous and selfish men who aren't running for office and so have no political constraints. Not even a 30% approval rating or 12% support for this decision has made them think twice. They are completely confident that history will vindicate them.

They are what impeachment was designed for, I'm afraid, although I doubt there's time to build a case, what with the endless executive privilege claims and stonewalling. (I don't rule it out, naturally --- let a thousand oversight hearings bloom and follow the evidence where it leads.) But whether they are ultimately impeached or not, it's clear that they are rogue executives who are impervious to the normal limits that inhibit decent men and political animals. This can't just be swept under the rug.

Bush made it clear a long time ago when he said to a citizen on a rope line: "Who cares what you think?" And when he quipped "A dictatorship would be a lot easier, as long as I'm the dictator," he wasn't really joking.

Pat Robertson Discovers New Method Of Birth Control

I realize that this may come as a surprise to those of you who believe in, well, biology, but apparently all it takes to keep from getting pregnant is to refuse to believe in the xian god. I know, it surprised me, too, but Pat Robertson says that it's so.

Also, and I realize that this may come as a surprise to Europe, but it's now become "statistically irrelevant" -- whatever that means -- because Europeans are doing a better job than the U.S. of controlling their population. Of course, the birth rate's down a bit in the U.S., but we've, according to Reverend Robertson, "made up" for that with a "wonderful f-f-flood of immigrants." Unlike Europe where there are now quite a few immigrants from places such as India and the Middle East, I guess. Who knows what the hell he's saying? That there aren't immigrants in Europe? That our immigrants are better than their immigrants? Does he start stuttering because he realizes that he's stepped in it and is about to piss off some of the poor slobs who send him their money? He's just batshit insane.

Who lets these people sell batshit on the American airwaves?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Would Have Been 78 Years Old Today.

We are all so much poorer for his loss.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

Reading Hamlet

A barren patch to the right of the cemetery,
behind it a river flashing blue.
You said: "All right then, get thee to a nunnery,
or go get married to a fool . . . ."

It was the sort of thing that princes always say,
but these are words that one remembers.
May they flow a hundred centuries in a row
like an ermine mantle from his shoulders.