Big Bad John? Ah, jeez … now I’m actually a little embarassed for him

No way am I going to embed a John Cornyn video here, so you’ll have to visit Pink Lady to see just how ludicrous his new ad is.

The condensed version (with apologies to Gary Larson): I’m a cowboy! Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!

This is what happens when a chickenhawk Republican who’s never been in harm’s way has to scramble to defend his seat against a Democrat with 23 years in the military, including a tour in Afghanistan, in addition to a decade of public service in state government.

Tell Box Turtle Cornyn that we don’t need anymore fake cowboys in Washington, folks.

Support Rick Noriega for U. S. Senate. Help elect a man who doesn’t have to pretend to be something he’s not.

UPDATED:  Cornyn claims it was a just a joke…you know, funny.. ha ha.

Tonight, in the fullness of spring

I was thinking about this in the Crack Van last night, so trust me, it is not that profound. That said, if we notice them at all, it’s usually the simplest things that we resist the most, or that we dismiss.

Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy for us.

You are the young people who’ve been inspired for the very first time and those not-so-young folks who’ve been inspired for the first time in a long time.

There has been much criticism of Obama that focused on his “pretty speeches,” dismissed his masses of supporters as kool-aid drinkers, claimed his oratory was no substitute for substance and experience.

I know, Christ we all know, that American governance has become a hardball, lowdown wrestling match of brawn and exquisitely orchestrated greed. And we all know also that like calls to like. Greed rewards greed and the thug life is engineered such that only thugs can win.

And for the past decade, we’ve been given one message, over and over and over. It’s been called many things and described in a thousand euphemisms and disguised in a hundred different government programs, but it’s the same message that’s been repeated to us, the citizens of this country:

Suck on it.

We’ve been deliberately and painstakingly conditioned to be cynical and dispirited and complacent. No one in this administration gives a rat’s ass that Bush stumbles and slurs and tap dances his way through another press conference, that every speech and interview is just a succession of nervous tics and malapropisms. They don’t care any more than anyone cared when your principal would stammer through the morning announcements over the school intercom. No one in this administration wants us to be inspired. If they want anything from us, it’s our disinterest.

And in truth, we know the Dems in power have been conditioned to lead the same way. What else explains Reid and Pelosi the last two years? They got handed a mandate and they opened the top drawer of their desks and stuffed it inside, then went down the hall to play the game like the game is played. And we sucked on it some more.

Clinton reads her way through her campaign speeches and drinks the boilermakers and panders to the apathetic and the tired. She wants to win the game like the game is played. No one can argue that she lacks that experience. We recognize it in her and she knows it and she reminds us she is tested and ready.

The pundits were talking on the television last night about those Americans, the one that vote for Hillary and say that they’ll defect to McCain when she loses the nomination. We laughed in the van when they said that there were people who didn’t know Obama, didn’t recognize him as something they might want. It’s true, though.

We are so risk averse in this country, so afraid to settle on something that might not be the right thing, we hedge our every fucking step. Drive giant tank SUVs so we can walk away from unforeseen disasters, watch picture-in-picture televisions so we don’t miss what’s on the other channels. We do not like the unknown, we guard against every possible contingency. We assume any choice might be the wrong one, so we don’t choose anything, really. We do not trust the world around us. We do not trust ourselves. We have seldom been asked to do so by the current administration. We’ve been asked instead to be afraid, and then we were told outright, over and over, that we must be afraid. And as if there wasn’t enough in the real world to fear, they invented and hyped new stuff and force fed it to us, straight into our lizard brain.

And we sucked on it.

So here we are. There are plenty of us, including Clinton voters and for that matter, Republicans and Independents, who are weary and beat down and ready for change. The thing is, people want the change to be quantifiable and recognizable, they want to know what they are getting into before they jump. They want their change to look familiar and welcoming, and above all, safe. And if possible, easy.

The thing is, we are miles past that being able to happen. We are so far past safe and easy that it would take the light from safe and easy decades and decades to reach us. Taking our country back is not going to be safe and it certainly isn’t going to be easy and it’s going to take a long time.

We need inspiration to make those changes, not fear. We need leaders that make us feel bigger, stronger, not useless and insignificant. There are valid, time-honored uses for incantation and ritual, for what some call preaching and prayer, for inspiration.

This is not some romantic, kool-aid influenced daydream, nor is it business as usual. The time for either of those is past.

Christian family values on parade

Isn’t Mike Huckabee supposed to be some kind of big pious Christian? What part of the Bible says it’s okay for a politician to joke about the assassination of another politician?

I wonder what kind of “no harm, no foul” bullshit excuse/explanation/apology is going to be given for this?

During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee – who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain – joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.

“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”

Five years and thousands of coiled springs later

As I’ve posted before, I live with a parrot, have done so for almost four years now. Like most animals, parrots pick up on the emotions and energy of the people with whom they live. At least in my experience, they do so to a much greater extent and in a very different way than dogs or cats. Dogs especially will often try to comfort their humans when they sense that they are upset or angry. One of my cats even does this. The bird however, is different. If I’m upset, it upsets and unnerves him. If I’m stressed, he’s screeching; if I’m depressed, he’s anxious and needy; if I’m angry, he’s aggressive.

This morning I got up early so I could do a post about the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. As anyone who reads this blog can tell, I’m not much on in-depth political analysis. I’m fascinated by government and politics, I’m deeply invested in the state of the country, I read voraciously, I very much need to converse about such things, hanging out in lefty blogtopia with like-minded acquaintances and fomenting discontent, but I’m not much good at writing from the long view about all this. So, this morning, I sat. First I procrastinated, drinking coffee, dithering, answering email. Then I tried to put some words down, but instead just watched the long grass in my back yard ripple in the breeze, the sun lighting up the new green buds on all the trees.

My mind was a blank. The clock was ticking, my morning was getting away from me. I got frustrated, and then I read the news and I got angry. That’s my problem writing about this stuff, I can’t divorce my emotions from it enough to achieve coherence.

So much for that extra half hour I planned. I was full of coffee, I was angry and sad, and completely blocked. I had no thoughts, I had nothing to write. Now I had animals to feed, a shower to take, a meeting at work to think about. Heading for the bathroom to shower, I reached for the bird as usual, so he could sit on the shower curtain rod like always, chattering with me while I did my thing and got ready. I held out my hand, said the usual “step up,” he hopped on, then after about three seconds on my arm, he went for me. By the time I’d wrenched his grinding beak off my hand, he’d dealt quite a bit of damage. Looking at my shredded knuckles and pinky, I was reminded of an old friend back in the day who’d drunkenly tried to fistfight a brick wall.

And that’s when it all poured out. Now that I was late for work and had a first aid crisis, I had more than enough words for a post but mostly I just cried. For the 4,000 dead soldiers, the dead journalists and contractors and aid workers, and the many thousands more Iraqis that have been killed, injured, driven from their homes and country. Driving into work, squinting into the sun and trying not to get neosporin all over the steering wheel, I wondered how many other Americans were angry and frustrated this morning, on this anniversary. I wondered how their mornings were going. Had they snapped at their kids, did they maybe slam their front doors a little too hard, peel out of their driveways, take out their frustration in traffic?

I’ve always loved the scene below, from Rainbow of Her Reasons, episode 506 of Six Feet Under. There’s a larger context to the scene of course, but that doesn’t matter. Watch the way Patricia Clarkson’s body just convulses with the hatred for “George… Fucking Bush.” She’s a great actress, one of our best, but I know lots of people who could have done justice to that one bit of physical business. There’s thousands of us carrying that rage in our bodies, that impotence, that need to lash out and put our fist through a wall, to kick something till it splinters.

The Mystery of the Republican Plagiarist


Big happenings over at this a.m. It appears that detective Nancy (who is, btw, one of the crew over at NuPac) has reeled in a big ol’ plagiarist. A really big one, with some seemingly impressive bona fides:

My, my, my. Tim Goeglein, director of the White House office of public liaison, is a plagiarist.

Not an accidental or delicate one, either.

Without even breaking a sweat, sleuthy Nancy has discovered that Goeglein, in his regular column for the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel, ham-fistedly lifted portions of a 1998 essay, “What is a College Education?” by Jeffrey Hart, originally published in the Dartmouth Review.

My, my, my, indeed, Nance. This should be very interesting…

h/t to the esteemed Dr. Morris


The News-Sentinel has pulled down Goeglin’s column:

Tim Goeglein, former Fort Wayne resident and now a special assistant to President George Bush, has been accused of plagiarism over a guest column about education that we carried on our editorial page on Thursday. While we look into the matter, we have taken the column down from our Web site. We are also checking out previous guest columns of Mr. Goeglien’s that we published. We will promptly report what we find.

Also, erstwhile Atriot The Kenosha Kid has uncovered a bit more of Goeglin’s “borrowing.” From the WaPo, no less. Damn, it seems the dude doesn’t even try to hide his tracks.

UPDATED again, to add:  Be sure and read all the comments over at Nancy’s.  The story’s definitely got legs, and it’s gettin’ weirder and weirder.

Nope, Sen. Cornyn, I’m still single


FYI to Texas Senator John Cornyn, I am a gay person, more specifically a lesbian. Also FYI, there was a very handsome box turtle in my yard for several days this week. Thirdly, be aware that during that entire time, neither myself or the box turtle were moved to set up housekeeping with each other. Not in the slightest.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must also reveal that the turtle suffered an untimely demise today, my at-risk-youth dog being the likely culprit (after three days of completely ignoring our guest). However, even if the turtle had stayed on indefinitely, I am fairly certain that, at best, we would have remained mere acquaintances.

Note also that I’m voting for Rick Noriega.

I … what’s your point?


Holden serves up some Friday gaggle, wherein Helen defenestrates third-stringer Scott Stanzel on FISA. And rightly so.

Q What right does the President have to tell any company or any person in this country to break the law?

MR. STANZEL: I — what’s your point?

Q No warrants and so forth; that they can go and spy on us without any warrants?

MR. STANZEL: The Protect America Act was passed by Congress last August, as you know, and signed into law. So it is a lawful program that is expiring tomorrow night.

Q Well, if it’s lawful, why would you not get a warrant? It still prevails, doesn’t it?

MR. STANZEL: Because it’s — in 1978, as we talked about, during that period, in 1978, the law, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was passed, and that law was designed to help us gain intelligence on foreign targets in foreign lands. What we’re not wanting to do here is to extend constitutional protections to terrorists in foreign countries.


Q All Americans should be wire-tapped?

MR. STANZEL: Helen, your facts are not correct here. If a foreign terrorist is calling to the United States, we want to know what they’re saying.

Q How do you know they’re a foreign terrorist?

MR. STANZEL: Because they’re in foreign lands and we have to be able to track foreign terrorists in foreign lands and what they’re doing.

Q Any foreigner —

MR. STANZEL: You may want to extend constitutional protections to terrorists, but that is not something that we want to do.

Q You can’t automatically call every foreigner a terrorist.

MR. STANZEL: Jeremy?

Hey, where’d everybody go….

No, this isn’t turning into a Rachel Maddow fansite. However, this one is too good not to post. Rachel goes Nancy Drew and ponders the fascinating mystery of the Missing Republican Voters….

…and I had a romantic candle-lit dinner with Rachel Maddow. In my mind.

TPM has been having fun with Mitt Romney’s “literary” memory faux pas.  Romney’s handlers really should make him just STFU before he digs himself even deeper into this hole.

“Mitt X.” hee

Mitt Romney went a step further in a 1978 interview with the Boston Herald. Talking about the Mormon Church and racial discrimination, he said: “My father and I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. through the streets of Detroit.”

I think we just blew right through the parody wall here.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about that week he spent in the slammer in Selma with John Lewis, especially after his role organizing the Fruit of Islam.

Huckabee was concerned for “the general population”

Huckabee “clarified” his 1992 statement calling for an AIDS quarantine:

We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with a lower level of contact than with TB. But looking back almost 20 years, my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population – if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political correctness last.

By 1992, more than 10,000 people had already died — needlessly—in the US, you crazy sanctimonious sack of shit.

But hey, they were mostly just “aberrant, unnatural, and sinful” queers, so no reason for alarm. Or compassion.