Saturday, June 24


Catching up with all I've missed over the past week, I read with keen interest this post by James Wolcott about the media's fascination with George W. Bush.

I've often pondered the same subject, of why men (Joe Klein, Chris Matthews, and so many others) seem to be so enthralled with the language-and-intellect-challenged Dubya. Do they REALLY think of him as the tough guy they wanna be? A prep school CHEERLEADER who blithely walked away from his cushy Vietnam-war position as a Texas Air National Guard pilot? A man who failed at every business he engaged in and was only recued from obscurity by his family name and political connections? Is it his hard-drinking, drug-enhanced womanizing past that they identify with, or wish they did? Or do they exult in the fact that this ne'er-do-well could ascend to the presidency, thus assuring them that even the bottom-dwellers can succeed given the right circumstances? Do they thrill at his cowboy rhetoric and fancy themselves Lonesome Dove wannabes? I just don't get it. Come on! He doesn't like horses or cattle! (Or is he afraid of them???) His idea of being a tough Texan is clearing deadly brushwood from his property! He's been a fake from the get-go, a macho-speaking, cowardly-acting pretender, and why don't they see that?

Frankly Bush personally repels me, and from my acquaintance among fellow Texans, it seems that far more women than men don't see the attraction either. The women I talk to far and away exceed the number of men I know in deprecating his swagger and sway. We see him (and the men that admire him) as puerile and suspect in their "manliness." The men we admire are thinkers and doers, not just tough-talkers. We are attracted to men (like, famously, Bill Clinton) who actually DO something positive, who LEAD, not those that have to be "handled" and protected from decision-making. And men who swoon over George W., we suspect, have doubts about their own masculinity, and so we question theirs also.

Thank God I have a husband and two sons who despise him as I do. MY men are real men. They think. They pray. And they listen and reconsider. They even, from time to time, admit they're wrong and correct their course.


Greg Palast charges that the GOP is trading white sheets for spreadsheets. In other words, their opposition to extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is just an extension of their efforts since at least 2000 to suppress minority votes, which characteristically weigh in favor of Democrats, by challenging the legitimacy of voter rights of hundreds of thousands of people of color by "caging" lists.

Listen, friends. If anyone still doubts that election fraud is at the center of the GOP strategy, they're either in serious denial or haven't been keeping up. And no matter what current polls tell us about American voter sentiments, the midterm elections can be stolen right out from under our noses if we're not vigilant and vocal.

UPDATE: Tom Paine has more.

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Josh Marshall on the Miami Seven.

This is such a ridiculous brouhaha. I heard the sister of "Brother Sunni" telling Wolf Blitzer that his nickname wasn't "Sunni" but "Sunny, he was called Sunny from childhood," and protesting, "We are Catholics, Catholics."

Don't you feel safer now?

UPDATE: Uggabugga nails it:

Question for the week:

Why hasn't Bush declared those wannabe terrorists (nabbed in Florida) "enemy combatants" and hustled them off to Guantanimo?



Unbelievable. A bill has been introduced in Congress that would have a daunting effect on lawsuits involving the separation of church and state.

The measure, known as the “Public Expression of Religion Act” (H.R. 2679), would deny attorneys who get involved in church-state cases the ability to recover any of the legal fees and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in such litigation.

“This bill is a punitive measure clearly designed to scare Americans from participating in church-state cases,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It would have a chilling effect on every citizen’s right to access our courts and would be particularly harmful to religious minorities.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. John Hostettler [R-IN] and co-sponsored by 45 other Republicans and one Democrat, Rep. Nick Rahall [D-WV]. Its official title is "To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney's fees."

More BushSpeak here. It's clearly not the protection of expression of religion that the bill intends, but rather challenges to state-sponsored religious expression.

Hat tip to Dr. Bruce.

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Tonight when I heard for the zillionth time the phrase "cut and run," all I could think of was "copy and paste."

That's basically the Rethuglican strategy for Iraq. More and more of the same failed policies. More and more of the same strained rhetoric. More and more of the same bluster, bloviating and bull****.

Friday, June 23


US CEOs earn 262 times more than workers: study.

The labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimated that CEOs of major US firms were paid an average of 10.98 million dollars annually, including salary, bonuses, stock options and other compensation. That compared with average worker pay of 41,861 dollars.

Oh, that's only a small part of the story. Just take my own company, ranked just barely in the top 200 Fortune companies, where not only last year did the CEO earn more than $20 million, the COO also raked in a cool $20 million, and four more executives earned, together, about another $20 million. An additional 40 or so guys (and when I say guys, I do mean males) earned well in excess of $1 million each. And we haven't even touched on what they profited exercising stock options! (For instance, the COO made an additional $40 million exercising just HALF his options.)

Think about it. Six guys were paid a cumulative $60 million. And ten board members, who spend from 4-12 days a year (and that's a generous outside estimate) working for the company, are paid $300,000 for their trouble.

Don't get me wrong. I personally like nearly all of these people, most of whom I know either very or fairly well.

But there's something seriously wrong with this picture, especially when juxtaposed with Republican efforts to kill any boost in the minimum wage.

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I had the chance to listen the other morning to the morning press conference at the post-Bush/EU meeting, and my principal thought was that both of the Europeans spoke better English than Dubya. It was characteristic of the cowboy-speaking Bush that he began his opening remarks by characteristically noting the nicknames he'd given the two EU representatives. What a dweeb! And, I might add, an embarrassment to the United States. The EU reps delivered measured, intelligent and diplomatic assessments of their talks; Bush rambled, used his usual "See..." and "You've got to understand..." stock phrases, and generally sounded like some ill-prepared idiot compared to his two EU counterparts.

Now I'm listening to Norah O'Donnell subbing for Chris Matthews on Hardball adversarially querying a former GITMO prisoner who is suing the U.S. for his inhumane treatment (we let him go because he is a British relief worker) and the producer of "The Road to Guantanomo," a documentary about that facility. Norah, as usual, is an extreme advocate for the U.S. (or should I say Bush?) position, but she faltered at this point: she quoted Bush saying that he would like to close down the prison and got the response from the producer, "Then why doesn't he?"

Now Norah is interviewing Cully Stimson, who is in charge of GITMO detainees, who says the GITMO techniques are in accordance with Army field manuals. "We're proud", he says, of their treatment. He states that the GITMO prisoner who Norah interviewed was actually trained at a Taliban/Al Quaeda camp and was a real threat. "Then why is he loose in England now?" Norah asks.

No good answer.


Over at Bad Attitudes, Wayne Uff has the right plan to defeat al Qaeda:

10. In the Cold War, we defeated a much more dangerous enemy than al Qaeda. The Soviet Union was a thousand times stronger than al Qaeda is.

11. How did we win the Cold War, and how can we defeat al Qaeda? Containment. Tough, hard, patient work that takes generations. Surround the enemy, more or less, and let them see your system — for economic and democratic progress -- work, so that the enemy can generate real change, that is, change from within.

12. Containment takes real tough people, strong enough to take a long view and not need to prance around the deck of an aircraft carrier. People like Eisenhower. Not impatient, unconfident bullies like W.

That's a sensible, proven strategy. We all know that Bush avoids things that take "hard work," but the Democrats should be different. If our party leaders would speak out with one voice on this critical subject, we'd take the issue away from the Rethuglicans. Dems may not agree on how to get out of Iraq, but they should all agree on how to fight the so-called "war on terror," and it's not by continuing to pursue a lost cause in Iraq, much less by invading every Muslim nation in the world and creating an environmental of perpetual world war. It's by active, cooperative police and intelligence work throughout the world; by creating a society here at home that champions freedom, economic justice and civil liberties and serves as a beacon to the world; and by lending assistance to developing nations that encourages the development of democratic institutions and an improving economy that benefits all their peoples.



Wow, this is probably the longest time I've ever gone without posting with the exception of my daughter's accident. Suffice it to say I've been totally overwhelmed with business travel and special projects. I'll be in Charlotte, NC next week but hope for a light weekend tomorrow and Sunday when I'll be able to catch up on the events of the day.