Seriously?

Sunday’s New York Times published an editorial that would ordinarily merit a thorough reading. It starts: “There are too many moments these days when we cannot recognize our country. Sunday was one of them, as we read the account in The Times of how men in some of the most trusted posts in the nation plotted to cover up the torture of prisoners by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators by destroying videotapes of their sickening behavior. It was impossible to see the founding principles of the greatest democracy in the contempt these men and their bosses showed for the Constitution, the rule of law and human decency.”

This would ordinarily have been an excellent commentary, except that it comes from the same newspaper that just last week offered an employment opportunity and a soapbox to Bill Kristallnacht. It’s like a restaurant hiring a guy with a famous past of making brown, shitty omlettes and then bitching about brown, shitty omlettes.

Did Petey Greene Write A Joke For The Current President?

Rachel Maddow recently chronicled the president’s fondness for a joke where he expresses concern that someone in the audience, often NBC correspondent David Gregory, might steal some of the White House silverware. Here it is at the Huffington Post:

I wonder if Bush ever met or knew of late ’70s – early ’80s D.C. media phenom Petey Greene. From Wiki:

“After leaving prison, he was hired by AM radio station WOL to host his own show, ‘Rapping With Petey Greene’. His stature grew, and he soon found himself hosting his own television show, ‘Petey Green’s Washington’, on WDCA-TV. On March 8, 1978, he was invited as a guest to the White House by President Jimmy Carter to honor visiting Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito. He famously quipped to the Washington Post that he ‘stole a spoon’ during the evening gala.[2]”

I bet you a dollar it was funnier when Petey Greene said it.

Willard Stinks

How utterly revolting a human being is Willard Romney? How disgusting, how ignorant, how repulsive can a human being be?

First, he utters one of the wrongest, most anti-American things a person can utter: “Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom.” Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong! Wrong!

Then he lies about his daddy’s affiliation with Martin Luther King Jr., trying to use the man for his own political profit. Wow. Mortifying.

That is all.

Johnny West Jesus and Santa God

Here’s one from The Consumerist: Talking Jesus Action Figure Sells Out At Walmart. It is, indeed, refreshing to be reminded once again about how reverent and serious Americans are about spiritual matters. As the article notes, we all know what happens to action figures eventually. Some may even end up, well, crucified—drawn upon with marker, head shaved, blown up with firecrackers, made to perform all manner of sexual act on Barbie, that sort of thing.

And that’s just what I’m doing with mine. I can’t imagine what tortures children will come up with. (Kidding. You wouldn’t catch me buying one of those things.)

One of the prerequisites to becoming a card-carrying, right-wang Republigoat—once you’ve taken the jagged suppository that unleashes the corpus callosum-rotting chemistry into your bloodstream—must be a semester-long class on unintended irony. For instance, every year, the Fox Noise Machine’s Ted Baxter goes all Debbie Downer on Christmas, whining that the “secular progressive agenda” is somehow at war with it, when in fact his perennial bitching does more to politicize and ruin Christmas than any ACLU member ever has. It’s not that Mr. Baxter doesn’t have a point. It’s just that this is one of those rare instances where he’s got it completely back-asswards. It shouldn’t be offensive to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” in America. But don’t blame the Brights that it is. Blame the Bible thumpers.

If there is a national winter holiday in this country, it is Christmas. This is true. Christmas has been the traditionally secular, inclusive, national winter holiday, a time when even the most secular of us can appreciate a pretty tree, exchange presents, and meditate on Peace on Earth and Good Will and all that crap. Unfortunately, the Falwell contingent of this nation, one of whom is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, has taken Christmas’ powerful secular role as fortification of the utterly incorrect notion that the Untied States was formed as and ought to exist as a Christian theocracy.

Some Americans, perhaps a bit due to the aforementioned loboto-suppository, cannot understand the vital difference between my cute little secular celebraion of Christmas in the commons and the private, self-flagellating Christmas observed at midnight mass or however you celebrate your imaginary friends in the sky in your own home or church. They can only perceive of Christmas as an exclusive, religious, Jesus’ birthday kind of Christmas. It’s because of them, not because of us, that “Merry Christmas” is difficult to take. The point of the secular, national holiday I’ve described is inclusion. The point of the solely religious holiday advocated by conservative hacks is exclusion. The insistence on making “Merry Christmas” an exclusive, proprietary custom makes necessary a suitable substitute for the secular, inclusive world. Thus, “Happy Holidays” is more in fashion these days.

I have a theory about why Christmas is so difficult in this respect. I suspect that children are victims of a bait-and-switch scheme designed to force a belief in the Allmighty. They are first introduced to Santa Claus, a mythical, supernatural being who lives up there and listens to wishes and instills a system of morality. When they’re older, they are introduced to God, a mythical, supernatural being who lives up there and listens to wishes and instills a system of morality. They are then told that Santa does not exist, but they are expected to believe for the rest of our lives that God does. I have no scientific evidence of this. But it does in my mind shed some light on why we are so schitzo when it comes to Christmas and other issues of spiritual import, why we seem so determined to fuzz the line between secular and worshippy. It’s because many still believe in Santa Claus.

So I don’t understand why the Fox Noise Machine’s Ted Baxter insists on bringing this up year after year like that loaf of fruitcake that keeps getting regifted. Why would we “war” about Christmas when Christmas isn’t even The Big One in Christianity (that would be Easter, dumb-dumb)? Why would we “war” about Christmas, a holiday once banned by the Puritans, a holiday that steals most of its mythical power and traditions from moon and rock worshippers? Why would we “war” when all we want is our tree and our presents and meditations about Peace on Earth and Good Will and all that crap, when he and his and the occassional presidential candidate insist on piously crowing about the “reason” for the “season” (even though, as previously mentioned, The Big One actually falls in the springtime)?

We’re not the ones who usurped and ruined Christmas, Ted Baxter. You are. You’re the Grinch. There is a wall between the secular and the worshippy not just to prevent the tainting of former from the latter. It goes both ways, you big dummy, and that is why you have seen a “war” all these years, while we have just been trying to mind our own damned business.

Merry Christmas.

Power

I daresay. Rachel Maddow does special commenting just as good as does The Keith.

Transcribed from her broadcast of December 18, re: recent ice storms and subsequent power outtages in the Midwest:

We are the richest most powerful nation in the world, and we apparently are unable to get electricity to the middle part of our country in the wintertime. We are no longer capable of that. In the 1960s, we could put a man on the moon, but now we can’t get electricity to Oklahoma. Because our electrical grid, our electricity infrastructure, it’s “just that good.” Something on the order of 90,000 Americans, 90,000 people in Oklahoma, are looking at day nine without power. To me, this is a homeland security issue. Sure, you know, weather happens. That happens seasonally. It has something to do with Copernicus. But this is not like we were just hit with a once every 500-years’ storm, and there’s no way we could have seen this coming and there’s no way we could have withstood it. This is just winter. I mean, yeah, it was an ice storm. It was a big ice storm, sure, but ice storms happen. Ice storms happen every single year, but we are now so fragile as a nation that we fall apart at the smallest insult. And when we see these things, in response to acts of God, when we see these things, when we see ourselves unable to snap back after some act of nature, some sort of weather event, some sort of storm, something like this, the natural response is to categorize this as oooh must have been a bad storm, act of God, those poor people, let’s see if we can get some charity out there and hope this doesn’t happen to us. But if you start to look at these stories in terms of what a nation ought to be expected to be able to withstand in the 2007-sies, what the richest and most powerful nation on Earth ought to be able to take without blinking, you start to realize that this ought to be, even if it’s not, this ought to be a political story. It ought to be a call for a political response because it ought to be a national shame there ought to be an angry political outcry over the fact that we as a nation have not invested in our infrastructure and the basic stuff that we need to support our citizenry living on our land. We haven’t done enough to support what it means to live in this country in terms of our public sector so that this stuff doesn’t happen. There ought to be an outcry that ought to cry out for a political response. And the first presidential candidate to give a cogent series of speeches, to push a cogent, moving patriotic American strength platform about rebuilding America’s infrastructure, about making out public sector strong again, that person will get my support. Swoosh.

*

I have a lot of family in southeast Kansas, a lot of whom were without power for seven days.

In Which Chris Dodd Gains Many Points

I have not generally selected a set favorite in the big race for the White House. I tend more to rank them. I do tend to support Kucinich first, as the category title suggests. I simply think that a man with a Department of Peace at the forefront of his policy proposals really has the right idea. Also, until now, he’s the only fella in Congress to have acted with any sort of balls, having introduced articles of impeachment against the current vice president.

Until recently, after that it went: Edwards, Obama, Dodd, Biden, Clinton. But upon his awesome filibuster of the telecom bill—sorry, John. We have a new second. That is what we need our Dems to be doing right now; it’s what they should have been doing ever since.

Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Turkey Come Over

Rice flies to Iraq as Turkish troops cross border
By Arshad Mohammed and Shamal Aqrawi
Tue Dec 18, 9:07 AM ET

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Iraqi leaders on Tuesday to speed up national reconciliation on a trip overshadowed by an incursion by several hundred Turkish troops into northern Iraq.

About 300 Turkish soldiers, carrying only light weapons, entered an area of the mountainous northern Kurdish province of Dahuk, about 200 km (120 miles) from the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where Rice’s plane first touched down.

The soldiers clashed with Kurdish separatist guerrillas, a Turkish military official said. Turkey says it has the right to use military force to combat Kurdish rebels who shelter in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

The incursion was a sharp reminder that while violence in Iraq has dropped by 60 percent since June, security is fragile and Iraq still faces threats both from within and without. The Kurdish Regional Government condemned the incursion.

Another Air American Bites the Dust

I am not a loyal rabid fan of “The Young Turks.” I am a casual listener since I have begun a weekend regimen with The Howard Stern Show. I am even less a fan since they got rid of Jill Pike and Ben Mansokosakostravinskibergermeistertikiwikiwitz. Ben was at least witty. Jill was hot, though they never seemed to know how to use that to their advantage, but at least she was there. Anyway, not a real fan, so I missed that something or other happened with the show last week. It was yanked off the air for a few days for some reason or other.

So this morning, Cenk announces that the show’s gig is up Jan. 15, and that AAR will probably not produce another morning show. Wow. This thing is going tits up fast. When you abdicate morning drive time, you basically admit defeat. That’s like ABC saying well, it’s too expensive to create programming to air from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday night, so we’ll just run a test pattern.

As I’ve said, I will be sad when AAR tanks, but sad more like Chris Farley’s friends were when he died, and less like Richard Jeni’s friends were when he died. Air America Radio did this to itself, not because the Evan Cohen debacle, not because it lost its star power, but because it had good programming, it had brilliant talent that adored and believed in Air America Radio, and Air America Radio told it to go fuck itself.