Friday, April 30, 2004

The Power of Positive Thinking

Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?

Barbara Bush, March 18, 2003 two days before the invasion of Iraq, to Diane Sawyer on ABC’s Good Morning America

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Big Brother is Watching Bloggers

I was accused of paranoia recently for remarking that I wouldn’t be surprised if the government was keeping track of bloggers who linked to their websites. Looks like I was right.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Portrait of a President

Check out this mosaic by the American Leftist.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The commander in chief on the psychology of the subaltern:

“They're not happy they're occupied,” proclaimed Bush of the Iraqis during last week’s press conference. “I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either.” No fear of that, Mr. President. On the contrary—you’re vacant!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Tell us what you really think, Rummy.

People are fungible,” says the Secretary of Defense! They’re not “fungible” to their families ripostes Clarence Page.

Oh my God!

George Monbiot’s piece in the Guardian today should strike fear into the heart of every person with a shred of sanity. I think one actually represses the knowledge that maniacs like these have such a grave influence on the foreign policy of the world’s only hyperpower. It’s just too painful to believe. (Be sure to follow the Rapture Ready link. It's jawdropping!)

Look what the cat dragged in:

Iran-Contra veteran and former Kissinger aide, John Negroponte, is named as the United States “Empassador” to Iraq. Just the man for the job, I’m sure. The good folks of Baghdad must be delighted!

Monday, April 19, 2004

How to win friends and influence people, Bush-style

King Abdullah II of Jordan shows better taste in than Tony Blair in world “leaders.”

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Forced to climb a “wall of quagmires” in Iraq!

—Thus the inimitable David Brooks in his latest New York Times op-ed piece. This hideous mixed metaphor first dropped from his lips in an interview on The News Hour a year ago. None of us speaks English which is free from mistakes, as Brooks recently argued in defense of the president, but to blithely quote such a grotesque phrase of your own in writing takes astonishing powers of illiteracy. “Embattled prose” of this caliber is itself an apt metaphor for the conceptual incoherence which plagues the supporters of this disgraceful administration, in which a president who is obviously hopelessly lost is praised as having been “ruthlessly flexible over the past months,” and as “absolutely committed to seeing this through.” Parenthetically, resolve—which has been appealed to ad nauseam of late—is only a virtue if the course you’re engaged on is a virtuous one in the first place.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

A Dark Day for Justice in Palestine

The news that Bush has endorsed Sharon’s demented unilateral land-grab disguised as a withdrawal represents a new low in American foreign policy in the Middle East. I have no idea what to say—it’s just so upsetting. In truth, I’m afraid to say anything now, for fear that I’d regret it later.

At the very least, the Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, dismissed the plan in a statement on behalf of the EU presidency, saying that “The European Union will not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between the parties,” but I doubt that Sharon is too worried about the Irish Foreign Minister when he has the White House on his side.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Tell us in franca langua. And call a spate a spate.

Jonathan Schell in The Nation translates from Bush-speak into English:

Keeping all these things in mind, we should revise the commonly used phrases. Instead of saying, “On June 30, the Coalition will hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people,” we should say, “On June 30, the re-election campaign of George W. Bush will hand over the appearance of responsibility for the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq to certain of its local appointees.”

Monday, April 05, 2004

“Without Your Clothes”

In honor of National Poetry Month I thought I’d post the following poem by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. She is arguably the finest poet writing in the Irish language today. Anyway, I just love this piece! (Paul Muldoon’s translation follows.)

Gan do Chuid Éadaigh

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Pharaoh's Daughter
© The Gallery Press, 1990

Is fearr liom tú
gan do chuid éadaigh ort—
do léine shíoda
is do charabhat
do scáth fearthainne faoi t’ascaill
is do chulaith
trí phíosa faiseanta
le barr feabhais táilliúrachta

do bhróga ar a mbíonn
i gcónaí snas,
do lámhainni craiceann eilite
ar do bhois
do hata crombie
feircthear fhaobhar na cluaise—
ní chuireann siad aon ruainne
le do thuairisc,

mar thíos fúthu
i ngan fhios don slua
tá corp gan mhaisle, mháchail
nó míbhua
lúfaireacht ainmhí allta
cat mór a bhíonn amuigh
san oích
is a fhágann sceimhle ina mharbhshruth.

Do ghuailne leathan fairsing
is do thaobh
chomh slim le sneachta séidte
ar an sliabh;

do dhrom, do bhásta singil
is i do ghabhal
an rúta
go bhfuil barr pléisiúrtha ann.

Do chraiceann atá chomh dorcha
is slim
le síoda go mbeach tiús veilbhite
ina shníomh
is é ar chumhracht airgid luachra
nó meadhg na habhann
go ndeirtear faoi
go bhfuil suathadh fear is ban ann.

Mar sin is dá bhrí sin
is tú ag rince liom anocht
cé go mb’fhearr liom tú
gan do chuid éadaigh ort,
b’fhéidir nárbh aon díbháil duit
gléasadh anois ar an dtoirt
in ionad leath ban Éireann
a mhilleadh is a lot.


(trans. Paul Muldoon)

The long and short
of it is I’d far rather see you nude—
your silk shirt
and natty

tie, the brolly under your oxter
in case of a rainy day,
the three-piece seersucker
suit that’s so incredibly trendy,

your snazzy loafers
and, la-di-da,
a pair of gloves
made from the skin of a doe

then, to top it all, a crombie hat
set at a rak-
ish angle—none of these add
up to more than the icing on a cake

For, unbeknownst to the rest
of the world, behind the outward
show lies a body unsurpassed
for beauty, without so much as a wart

or blemish, but the brill-
iant slink of a wild animal, a dream-
cat, say, on the prowl,
leaving murder and mayhem

in its wake. Your broad, sinewy
shoulders and your flank
smooth as the snow
on a snow-bank.

Your back, your slender waist,
and, of course,
the root that is that very seat
of pleasures, the pleasure-source.

Your skin so dark, my beloved,
and soft
as silk with a hint of velvet
in its weft,

smelling as it does of meadowsweet
or “watermead”
that has the power, or so it's said,
to drive men and women mad.

For that reason alone, if for no other,
when you come with me to the dance tonight
(though, as you know, I'd much prefer
to see you nude)

it would probably be best
for you to pull on your pants and vest
rather than send
half the women of Ireland totally round the bend.

Jump into the wagon, love, throw your panties overboard

Dylan has made a few strange moves in his day. That said, selling lingerie has got to be a new low! Of course, I will always love the man whatever nonsense he gets up to, but he sure doesn't make it easy.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Tom Toles’ Washington Post cartoon is pure genius...

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Quote of the Week

“The International Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction in Texas.”—Governor Rick Perry, cited in a New York Times article on the ruling that American courts must review death sentences imposed on 51 Mexicans in the United States. (The United States is a party to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Maybe Texas has “unilaterally” withdrawn but forgotten to inform the rest of us…)

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