Sunday, February 22, 2004

We’re All Going to Die!

A secret report on climate change commissioned by the Pentagon predicts apocalyptic consequences. I assume that these guys are not given to issuing prophecies of ecological doom lightly. This is frightening stuff.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Honi soit qui mal y pense!

Those adorable Young Conservatives of Texas are up to their usual fun and games again. It seems they held a “Straight Pride Parade” the other day to “show the hypocrisy of gay-pride activities,” whatever that means. At least we’re unlikely to have to endure a “Maturity Pride Parade” by these jokers anytime soon...

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Nunc est Bibendum

It was Dictionary Johnson, if memory serves, who said that a tavern seat is the throne of human happiness. This gentleman would seem to agree. And I thought I was a boozer...

And the Verdict from the Crawford Jury is...

Guilty as charged, as expected.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Larry David Backs Bush...

...in a moving account of the asperities of life in the Army Reserve.

Belated Valentine's Day Thoughts from Bill Maher

The man has gotten on my nerves in the past, but I have to hand it to him on this one. I especially like his suggestion that Republicans, who are always saying we should privatize this and that, should have a go at privatizing privacy!

Spitfire Speaks the Truth!

Strange days indeed when I find myself in agreement with the New York Times's cantankerous old conservative...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Breast in Show

Brian Leiter has appealed to Europeans and Canadians not to laugh too hard at the U.S. for the Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco, but given the frequency with which recent events here have reduced so many sensible people to tears or worse, surely he can't begrudge the denizens of the “Rest of the West” a harmless giggle at puritan America’s expense...

“I Thought the Whole Country Was a Free Speech Zone”

I dragged myself out of bed at six o’clock last Saturday morning to attend the trial of the infamous “Crawford Five”—a group of activists who were arrested for breaching an ordinance against parades and protests in the Heart of Darkness, alias Crawford, Texas last May while en route to the great man’s ranch to let him know how they felt about him (and Australia’s Johnny Coward). I got a ride with two unborn again former Christians, the mother of one of whom—so she told me—stockpiled a huge supply of dry goods in December 1999 in anticipation of the coming rapture! Being in Crawford made me feel most peculiar—like some unwanted interloper, or a hobbit in Mordor, perhaps. But unfortunately, unlike the brave Frodo Baggins, I had no ring of power to destroy…

The whole affair was pure Opera Buffa, with a gang of Buford T. Justice look-alikes on one side, and a clatter of ponytails and Birkenstocks on the other, some of whose owners were so busy fighting for peace that they never seemed to have a chance to take a bath. The chief of police was forced to admit under cross examination that one of the accused—who looked as if he had escaped from the pages of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and had apparently been distributing “legalize marijuana” leaflets on the day in question—could be charged with violating the controversial ordinance on the basis of the peace buttons pinned to his bandana! Out came a copy of the first amendment, followed by a brief panegyric on free speech. “What exactly is the status of Crawford?” asked defense attorney Harrington, to howls of laughter from the gallery, and a suppressed snigger from the judge. “Is it some kind of deconstitutionalized district?” The trial was eventually adjourned until next Monday after it became clear that the proceedings would never be completed in a single day. “America—Your Stupidity,” to quote Gary Snyder. “I could almost love you again.”

The officers in attendance—to be fair to them—were personable and friendly, and did their best to create a hassle-free atmosphere. I even felt a bit sorry for the chief of police at one stage, who had obviously made the arrests on the orders of the Secret Service, but couldn’t lay the blame on them for the ensuing mess. “I haven't noticed you before. Have you been here all day?” one of them asked me late in the evening. He’d already frisked me several times with his magic wand on my way back into the courtroom after various recesses. “Yes, sir!” I replied, “I’ve been here since this morning, but I like to keep a low profile round the cops…”

Another “Translation” of the Famous George Bush Interview

I’d given up reading David Brooks’s idiotic editorials in the New York Times. But an email I received from my friend Michael Walsh today reminded me of the comedy I’ve been missing. “Like most of us,” Brooks begins, “President Bush doesn't have the facility for perfectly expressing his situation in conversation. But if he did, he might have said something like this to Tim Russert in the interview broadcast Sunday…” The thought that anybody with any facility for expression would deliver him or herself of the nonsense Brooks scribbles in his articles in print or conversation I take to be so absurd as to need no rejoinder. Consider, for example, the following words of wisdom which Brooks puts in Bush’s mouth in the course of his column:

Some liberals have trouble grasping evil, and always think that if we could take care of the handguns or the cruise missiles or the W.M.D., our problems would be ameliorated. But I know the problem lies in the souls of our enemies.

“If someone ever points a gun at me,” comments Michael, “I'll know that his evil soul is the real problem and the gun merely an irrelevant detail.” Bush had to make up his responses as he went along, which absolves him of some blame for his tongue-tied ramblings. Does Brooks think he is helping Bush by writing this gibberish? What is his excuse?

Would You Buy a Used Car from this Man?

Amy Goodman and her cohorts have Bush on the back foot after his weasely Meet the Press interview on Sunday.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Blair's Dilemma

The British Prime Minister gets the William Blake treatment here. The same goes, needless to say, for Bush. (Assuming Nietzsche's dictum that error is cowardice is true, it could be argued that the pair of them are both wicked and stupid.)

No Politics Please, We’re Americans…

Bono and I do have our differences—not least among them the fact that he is rich and famous, while I am poor and unknown—but his being banned by CBS and MTV from the Super Bowl halftime show for his inappropriate political commitments is surely to his credit!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

O Tempora, O Mores!

Well, it looks like CBS got all the controversy it could handle on Sunday despite its unforgivable decision not to run MoveOn’s divisive Bush in 30 Seconds ad. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Powell had his delicate sensibilities offended by Janet Jackson’s breast-baring antics, which he described as a “classless, crass and deplorable stunt.” (And here I was thinking the very same thing about the FCC’s position on media deregulation…) Apparently the excitement was altogether too much for poor John Ashcroft. Rumor has it he fell into a swoon and had to be revived with smelling salts. Just think! There were millions of children watching that half-time show, whose innocence has been tainted forever by the shocking sight of a little female flesh. Perhaps the morally corrupting effect of all those topless bathers on the beaches of France and other decadent European countries is one reason for their governments’ inexplicable and unpatriotic refusal to see reason and do what George Bush tells them to…

Monday, February 02, 2004

Nil Desperandum
Can we rely on it that a “turning around” will be accomplished by enough people quickly enough to save the modern world? This question is often asked, but no matter what the answer, it will mislead. The answer “Yes” would lead to complacency, the answer “No” to despair. It is desirable to leave these perplexities behind us and get down to work.

—E. F. Schumacher, quoted by Fritjof Capra in Deep Ecology for the 21st Century, edited by George Sessions, p. 26

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