Thursday, June 29, 2006


Good news has been so rare during King George’s reign of error that it can easily be mistaken for a mirage or cruel satire. However, I think this is the real deal, as hard as it is to believe. From “Think Progress:”

“In a 5-3 decision (Chief Justice Roberts abstaining), the Supreme Court ruled that President Bush did not have authority to set up military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, finding the “military commissions” illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention. The opinion of the Court, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, declares that “the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction.””

This decision could have far reaching effects for an administration that disdains democratic processes. It could also have an impact on the warrantless wiretaps by the NSA and possibly other Bush skullduggery. Of course, Scalia, Alito and Thomas were the dissenters in the 5-3 decision. No surprise there. Anything that smacks of administration accountability is going to get poked in the eyes by the three stooges.

Bush’s Republican puppets in Congress have already started their attacks on the decision. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Fox, “The court is telling us that tribunals would be okay if you have the Congress’ blessing.” What the court is telling you, Lindsay, is that the checks and balances established by this country’s founders are the specific reason why we haven’t had tribunals up to the Bush era. Without checks and balances, anything goes, as we have clearly seen.

The second reason why Graham’s whining is so damned disingenuous is that there is not a soul on this planet who believes Congressional Republican’s would give a Democratic president the kind of unparalleled freedom to act unilaterally as they have granted Bush. All things being equal, if Bush were a Democrat, he’d have been impeached by now and breaking rocks in a Texas chain gang for the rest of his life.

Oh well, we have to take what we can get. A tip of the hat to the SCOTUS for getting it right. Once.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Why we need an anti-flag burning amendment

As told to Alabama State Penitentiary Chaplain Ross Krueger:

A while back my friend Otis and me were sitting at my kitchen table in the trailer eating Frosty-Os and washing them down with blueberry Schnapps. We were bored, of course, neither of us having jobs. Normally around this time of day, we’d get in my pickup and drive around town drinking Miller Lites and throwing the empty bottles at kids or dogs. But before I could open my mouth to announce the commencement of our ritual, Otis looked up, his red eyes glowing with mischief.

“Let’s go burn an American flag,” he says.

“Burn a flag?” I asked. “Why would we want to do that?”

He grinned. “It’s Memorial Day.”

I understood immediately. “Hell, let’s not burn a flag. Let’s burn twenty flags.”

That got us both giggling like little girls.

At Hobart’s Hardware, we located the flag aisle, but there were only four flags. We grabbed them all.

When we set the flags, matches and lighter fluid on the counter, Old Man Garth looked suspicious. “What you gonna do with them flags, boys? I won’t tolerate no mischief.”

Otis and I looked at each other. “Memorial day,” I say. “We’re…gonna have a barbecue.”

“Yeah,” added Garth, feeling the need to chime in. “We’re grilling a bald eagle.”

Old Man Garth raised an eyebrow. “Okay. Just as long as you ain’t doin’ nothing to them flags ‘cept waiving them proudly and respectfully.” He rang us up and put everything into a bag.

We drove out to Vets cemetery, drinking the whole way, and parked next to Duffy the caretaker’s lawnmower. There was a crowd of town folk out there standing in the heat listening to an old soldier garble nonsense. Otis and I stripped naked, soaked the flags with lighter fluid, and then lit the little buggers on fire. Holding a flag in each hand, we ran screaming into the crowd waving our patriotic torches while old women and men with canes shuffled for their lives. I tell ya, we never had so much fun in all our days. Even though Otis and I ended up on Death Row as a result of the incident, it is a memory I’ll treasure for the rest of my short life.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mr. Stupidity goes to Washington

It’s a fact that we are able to take advantage of a relatively small part of our brain. I’ve heard 10 percent, but that’s a number from the archives of conventional wisdom. Regardless, there has always been speculation as to how smart we could become, and how much we could accomplish, if we could use 40 or 60 or 80 percent of our brain power.

I wonder sometimes how far we can go in the opposite direction. How little brain power can a person who is not brain damaged choose to engage. Eight percent? Five percent? I ponder this because, when one observes Republican politicians, it seems conceivable that the number could fall into the negative digits.

Today, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) stood on the Senate floor in front of a large photo of his family and declared, “I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.”

If this thinking doesn’t fall into the minus category, I don’t what would. I’m sorry, I said “thinking.” This is obviously some other activity.

Of what, specifically, is Inhofe proud? Is he proud that he is not like millions of other American families? Is he proud he’s not a member of Dick Cheney’s family? Is he trying to lord over us the purity of his gene pool?

Everyone groans and rolls their eyes at comparisons of Republicans to Nazis, but I have to say, there is something here that smacks of an Arian purity litmus test. “I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never interbred with a Jew or had any kind of homosexual relationship.”

This is frightening stuff. It couldn’t happen here, but let me be the first to tell you, it has. How can we have fallen so far as to allow this type of homophobic, racist crap to fall from the lips of someone in the Congress of America without retribution? Feingold should beat this idiot with a cane on the Senate floor as a warning to any other representative who dares utter such offensive language.

How much stupidity can we allow to go unchecked?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Requiem for America

The tragic opera “Requiem for America” being written by the Bush administration and the Republican Party reached a new crescendo yesterday.

The latest issue of Rolling Stone hit the streets with a detailed, well-documented analysis by Robert Kennedy Jr. of how the 2004 election was stolen by Republican operatives. Even though much of what Kennedy wrote has been drifting around the blogosphere since shortly after the election, one would think this article might push the story out from the realm of conspiracy theory into the mainstream consciousness. However, a perusal of this morning’s headlines finds no mention of the piece or its shocking conclusions. The American media fails once again to follow up on what is possibly the most significant story in the past fifty years: the theft of a presidential election.

In the second movement, we find the administration brazenly playing politics with Homeland Security funds. The funds have been “redistributed” based on some mystical formula that reduces money for cities like New York and Washington, D.C. and increases funding for Kansas City and St. Louis. New York City and Washington, D.C. are now classified as “low risk” cities. Baghdad Bob must be working in the Homeland Security communications department, for who else would have the audacity to make the unbelievable claim that “New York City does not have sufficient national landmarks and targets to justify full funding”? The upshot? Funds for Red States (with a Rovian eye on the upcoming elections) increased, while Blue State cities got hosed.

The cacophony continues under the direction of Maestro Bush, the tin ear, tin horn presidential impersonator. Will the music critics who have been silent finally give this travesty the lashing it deserves?

Now that would be music to our ears.