Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Now instead of thinking about a girl band from the 80's, the name of Katrina will now be associated with widespread destruction and horrible anguish. Incredible, to see the pictures of the Gulf Coast under water......Daily Kos has an excellent summary page of organizations that you can donate to here. This is another reminder that we live on a dynamic ball spinning through space, and that we are hard-pressed to live in static, non-portable homes. As George Carlin once said, our houses are "just a place for my stuff." Maybe the African nomadic tribes have it right: just move to another place when the going gets tough......

Monday, August 22, 2005

Victimized Majority
Have you ever seen such a bunch of pissed-off people in power as this current bunch of Republicans? With their friends, the religious right, they literally froth at the mouth, even over stuff they like! You would think that with unprecedented control over the House and Senate, Presidency and the media, they would be happy as clams. Nope, right-wing talking heads, religious nuts (anyone see Zell Miller's rant when he was speaking at a big religious rally last week? Holy crap, he was unglued, speaking of the church's "rise to power!" and other stuff) and others can snap at a moment when their leader is questioned, when a Gold Star mom pesters the President......can you imagine these folks when the eventual political tables are turned on them? They think they're victimized now, geez, watch out........

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"It's also important for me to go on with my life"
If you haven't been in a media blackout for the past few days, then you will immediately recognize that lovely little quote from Dubya's impromptu press conference last Saturday:

President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and ‘‘it's also important for me to go on with my life,'' on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.

Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.

‘‘But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job,'' Bush said on the ranch. ‘‘And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.''

‘‘But,'' he added, ‘‘I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.''

The comments came prior to a bike ride on the ranch with journalists and aides. It also came as the crowd of protesters grew in support of Sheehan, the California mother who came here Aug. 6 demanding to talk to Bush about the death of her son Casey.


‘‘I don't want comfort from him,'' she said Friday. ‘‘I want answers. I want the truth.''

Bush on Saturday said, ‘‘I've heard their complaints about my policy. I think it would be a big mistake to withdraw immediately from Iraq, which is what they're suggesting we do.''

In addition to the two-hour bike ride, Bush's Saturday schedule included an evening Little League Baseball playoff game, a lunch meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a nap, some fishing and some reading.

‘‘I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy,'' he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. ‘‘And part of my being is to be outside exercising.''

‘‘So I'm mindful of what goes on around me,'' Bush added. ‘‘On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so.''


But, according to the anti-anti-war protesters, folks like Sheehan are:

“They're trying to market grief,” Deming said from the bed of a pickup truck. “That's why they want to see photos of coffins. That's why they want to see the amputees.”

Actually no. While some are most assuredly trying to bandwagon Ms. Sheehan for their own anti-war purposes (think back to the Schiavo circus, where good Christian folk were sure as heck marketing grief!), pictures of coffins and amputees make people face the fact that this war, like every other, has a price and that we shouldn't aproach it like Dubya would like us to, which is "Don't think about it, we've got it covered here. Go about your consuming, no sacrifices have to be made."

When I first heard Dubya's "go on with my life" quote, I was absolutely stunned at the outright callousness and selfishness of it (especially from a "compassionate" conservative). To twist a Gold Star mother's loss into his own "got to get over it" quote and how it literally affects just him, just boggles the mind. In case Dubya forgot, his life right now doesn't just belong to him, no matter how irritating it is to have his naps and bike rides interrupted by world events. For better or for worse, he represents all Americans, and so "go on with my life" only happens when he is out of office.

Now, do I understand the precedent that meeting with one person camping out would set? Of course I do, and the strictly logistical problem that would cause is a problem (next is a set of folks protesting Dubya's logging policies come to Crawford demanding he meet with them, etc.). However, a true leader, unafraid of differing opinions and aware of his own symbolic position would do something like, oh I dunno, meet with Sheehan (fifteen minutes, tops) and then have his staff set up a specific time every other week or so to meet with regular 'ol citizens (who don't have a million bucks). If it doesn't cut too much into his nap time....

If indeed this is a time of war, then the absolute selfishness of a grown man displaying no sense of personal sacrifice (naps, meeting with little leaguers, "my life" quotes) for anyone else to emulate is one of the reasons why I think this Country is so lost at times as to how to grieve and/or act. Think back to WWII, and the government-backed efforts at rationing, carpooling ("If you ride alone, you're riding with Hitler" posters) involved everyone and gave folks who weren't serving in the armed forces tangible acts of sacrifice to perform. Oh, by the way, if 9/11 marked the beginning of Dubya's war, then here is the reason those WWII references are quietly going away: WWII was over by this time, since 9/11.

So, where did Dubya get schooled on priorities? Why, his Dad:

How could President Bush be cavorting around on a long vacation with American troops struggling with a spiraling crisis in Iraq?

Wasn't he worried that his vacation activities might send a frivolous signal at a time when he had put so many young Americans in harm's way?

"I'm determined that life goes on," Mr. Bush said stubbornly.

That wasn't the son, believe it or not. It was the father - 15 years ago. I was in Kennebunkport then to cover the first President Bush's frenetic attempts to relax while reporters were pressing him about how he could be taking a month to play around when he had started sending American troops to the Persian Gulf only three days before.

On Saturday, the current President Bush was pressed about how he could be taking five weeks to ride bikes and nap and fish and clear brush even though his occupation of Iraq had become a fiasco. "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life," W. said, "to keep a balanced life."

Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."

Ah, the insensitivity of reporters who ask the President Bushes how they can expect to deal with Middle East fighting while they're off fishing.

The first President Bush told us that he kept a telephone in his golf cart and his cigarette boat so he could easily stay on top of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. But at least he seemed worried that he was sending the wrong signal, as his boating and golfing was juxtaposed on the news with footage of the frightened families of troops leaving for the Middle East.

"I just don't like taking questions on serious matters on my vacation," the usually good-natured Bush senior barked at reporters on the golf course. "So I hope you'll understand if I, when I'm recreating, will recreate." His hot-tempered oldest son, who was golfing with his father that day, was even more irritated. "Hey! Hey!" W. snapped at reporters asking questions on the first tee. "Can't you wait until we finish hitting, at least?"

And there you go.....Go read that full column by Maureen Dowd.

Monday, August 15, 2005



Brace yourselves!

Over and over, for the entirety of a news cycle, MainStreamMedia nomenclature notches Universal I.Q. down a few notches. Bloody talking head victims all. Mr. Bush setting the tone, uh, Karl Rove setting the tone on, uh, Condi setting the tone on the "failure,"... no!, it's not a failure, of course. It's a moment of reflection before making a big leap.


Are you nuts?, says Dick! And "leap!" That won't work in the trailer parks.

(loudspeaker from the White House): And does the Defense Department submit the namecard?

And who will write the theme music for this "failure"? Did it ever occur to commission an Iraqi composer???

The ghost of Peter Jennings is already on a secret plane to Bagdad. The slave at the door.

Thrall Electronica. Thrall to the Arab King vacationing in Rio with bikini-clad Saudi hotties; Thrall To the Texan Coward (hey! he might not allow you behind the gate of the Texas ranch if you ask the wrong questions); Thrall to Tums, Bayer, Lance Armstrong, Viagra, Motorola, ExxonMobil. Thrall to fake tits and dyed blonde hair and whitened teeth.

How CAN'T Iraq's failure to draft a Constitution today be great for business??!!

Spin. Spin. Spin. The job of the Thrall Electronica. Will they drink more Coca-Cola WITH or WITHOUT a ratified Constitution???

He'll make it all so simple, Mr. HunkyDooorieRioGrande. You betcha.

Time to turn off almost everything.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Really Important Americans
....are the ones with the money. In a classic case of "actions speak louder than words," we have this classy moment from Dubya:

President Bush and his motorcade passed the growing camp of war protesters outside his ranch today without incident.

As Bush passed on his way to and from a political fundraiser, law enforcement blocked two intersecting roads where the demonstrators have camped out all week. Officers required the group to stand behind yellow tape, but no one was asked to leave.

The motorcade didn't stop.

Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who started the vigil along the road leading to Bush's ranch, held a sign that read: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"

It was unclear whether Bush, riding in a black Suburban with tinted windows, saw the demonstrators.


Today, Bush arrived before noon at a neighbor's ranch for a barbecue that was expected to raise at least $2 million for the Republican National Committee.

About 230 people were attending the fundraiser at Stan and Kathy Hickey's Broken Spoke Ranch, a 478-acre spread next to Bush's ranch. All have contributed at least $25,000 to the RNC, and many are "rangers," an honorary campaign title bestowed on those who raised $200,000 or more for Bush, or "pioneers," those who have raised $100,000 or more.

Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., set up camp last weekend a few miles from Bush's ranch, and the group with her has now grown to more than 100.

Spending at least 20 percent of his Presidency on vacation, he rides out to a multi-million dollar fundraising event hidden behind tinted windows, past a war-time widow. I can't even add anything to that.

Friday, August 05, 2005

What Century is This??
Let me add onto Joe's great post below.....OK, with the combination of Dubya's offhand verbal support for teaching fairy tales in science class to the "miracle" of the Air France plane crash survivors (great bit on The Daily Show last night...."it would have been classified a miracle if all of the people died then rose up again three days later!"), you have to wonder just what century this is. I've seen scary polls where it appears most people believe in angels and other such nonsense. Let me get to the "intelligent design" issue. As many of you know, our Harvard/Yale educated president made this comment earlier this week:

"Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."


John G. West, an executive with the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank supporting intelligent design, issued a written statement welcoming Bush's remarks. "President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution," he said.

OK, if you didn't catch the subtle bit in that last paragraph, I'll make it quite clear: INTELLIGENT DESIGN (or I.D., for short) IS NOT A DIFFERENT SCIENTIFIC VIEW!!!! It is a religious slant on the origins of life, nothing more, nothing less. It does not belong in a science class. Does it belong in a philosophy class, a religious class? Absolutely! The larger debate, framed in a social context, is fascinating, but let me repeat, I.D. (or creationism, back in the day) is not science, pure and simple. A major problem is that I.D. proponents throw around such terms as "freedom," "free speech" and "rights of students to hear different views." These are hot-button terms used not by accident, but to make the general public agreeable to the concept of inserting one religious view about man's place in the universe into science curricula (gee, why not the Lakota Indians' origin of man as well??). As I recall from my days in grade and high school, my "rights" were limited to listening to my teachers and not getting in trouble.

Another issue is that the majority of the public does not understand the theory of evolution, nor just how different the term "theory" is in a scientific setting as opposed to elsewhere.

I'm going to add the website for the National Center for Science Education to the blogroll on the right. For those of us who realize just how important science education is for today's children, it is a fantastic resource for this very issue. There was a time when people thought that bad swamp air led to disease (hence the term, "Malaria," or "bad air"), but scientific methods led to the real source of the affliction. We can't afford (economically or otherwise) to let our society slide back into a superstitious "demon-filled world," as Carl Sagan once put it.

Tell you what, let's have the I.D. proponents list all of the major scientific breakthroughs in medicine, geology, astronomy, biology and chemistry that led directly from the reliance on the theory of I.D. or creationism......hear that sound? That's the sound of silence. And that should be the president's reply next time he's asked about a subject he knows nothing about.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The President applies his logic to pedagogy this week. While being asked about teaching "intelligent design" alongside evolution, Mr. Bush expressed his wish that American students be exposed to multiple truths and various perspectives in science class. Ah, TRUTH, yes.... surely that's what the president meant. No?

Consider some of the president's other truths:

2 + 2 = 961.

The entire Universe was created in six days. Six actual days... the time that passed since only last Friday. Obviously, clocks were the first things created, or how else could anyone have known how long it took to make All That Exists?

Condi Rice possesses an I.Q. of 358; John Bolton is a ghostwriter for the Miss Manners Etiquette Column; "Justice Rehnquist" is not an oxymoron; the word "theory" is best defined as: haphazard guess; the best way to prevent forest fires is to cut all the trees down before they can catch fire; Jesus Christ aspired to be a political philosopher, he's just been mislabeled; the 1,816 dead Americans in Iraq aren't really dead, they're just play acting to fool the liberal media; the media is liberal; Iraqi national soldiers have every motivation to risk their own lives while American soldiers are taking all the bullets first; "slam dunk" serves as air-tight justification for pre-emptive war; Jesus Christ cares about the score of professional baseball games in Texas; shoes are made for wearing on big ears; the most effective way to pay for rebuilding an entire nation destroyed by the Pentagon is to reduce taxes for the people who can most afford to pay them; only Republicans pledge allegience to the flag and know all the words to the "Star Spangled Banner"; white men know best in everything all the time everywhere forever; born-again Christians are the smartest human beings who have ever inhabited earth or any other planet in the Universe; women who have never, ever had sex often give birth to healthy baby boys; rotting corpses can suddenly get up and walk around; replacing cocaine addiction with addiction to evangelical Christianity while accepting Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior in a Holiday Inn cafeteria in Texas is the quickest way to the presidency; it's literally impossible for presidents of the United States to lie or mislead anyone, anywhere, ever; the most likely place you'll find WMD is on your hands and knees under your desk in the Oval Office; "self made man" means attending only colleges your dad attended, aspiring to make "C+", failing miserably at Texas oil businesses, getting linked up with your dad's friends who buy your way into ownership of a baseball team whose stadium was built with taxpayer money, using inside information to dump your stocks before they tank in the market, linking up with a guy named Rove, who's brilliant at deception and jugular-cutting politics, winning an election with fewer votes than your opponent, and starting a war knowing that no sitting president in American history has ever been voted out of office during wartime conflict... now THAT is a self made man, sir!; and finally: "My Pet Goat" is second only to the Bible as great literature.

Thank you, Mr. Bush. Smart as you are, you never make us feel stupid.

Pure altruism, sir.

Monday, August 01, 2005

"Links" Update
There's a couple of changes to the "Links" portion of this blog. First, South Knox Bubba is no more. If you have tried to access his blog lately, you'll know what I mean. All of us here at Fire Ant will miss 'ol SKB. OK then. Next up is the addition of thinking 13 to the blogroll. It's a blog that deals with currency trading, developed by my 'ol schoolchum Joe. Go take a look.......

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