Archives: February 2006
Tue Feb 21, 2006
Political Animals: Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley and the ’68 Conventions
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10-Year U.S. Strategic Plan For Detention Camps Revives Proposals From Oliver North
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After Neoconservatism - New York Times
an interesting read
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Thu Feb 09, 2006
J Lo's Ass
I am exhausted of writing about annoying shit that the Bush administration is doing. People must think I’m such an angry dude from what I write. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can’t wait to get these bastards out of town so I can write about happy, sunny shit again.
Did you know that there was another hot 37 year old woman in Tennessee (she was a former model) who had sex with a 16 year old boy? That’s awesome. Of course, they gave her jail time for that, which is unconscionable. That’s almost as bad as when Bush accidentally invaded Iraq.
It’s a crime these days to make a young boy’s dreams come true but not a crime to ignore federal laws against warrantless eavesdropping. Go figure. I’m just happy that the kid got laid before they locked the lady up.
Alright, now having said all that, did you see the $500 billion the Bush administration hid in the budget? Well, actually it’s not in the budget. It’s all the expenses they left out. They excluded half a trillion dollars from the budget over the next five years – and they thought we wouldn’t notice. Who knows, maybe they’re right and most people won’t notice.
There's an old saying in Tennessee, I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee ... you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Mainly, the Chinese. What I mean by that is the Chinese have already decided that they are going to diversify away from their immense dollar holdings.
That might sound like economic gobbledygook, but it has enormous ramifications. The Chinese are one of our top lenders. If they start shying away from the dollar, it will make it easier for them to raise the interest rates on our loans (to make a complicated story simple). And that starts our unfortunate, long run downwards on the economy.
When people start losing their jobs and not being able to afford the things they’re used to, their patience for random Middle Eastern invasions, illegal wiretaps, reckless budgets, and endless corruption is going to wear out real quick.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Representative Bill Thomas (R-CA) snuck a provision into a recent bill that took $22 billion out of American taxpayers’ pockets and put it into the pockets of HMOs. That’s a cute trick you can get away with when you control all the branches of government and no one on television challenges you. But it becomes entirely uncute when the economy goes south and the American taxpayer gets a load of what you’ve been up to.
I can’t believe these guys used to call themselves fiscal conservatives. They don’t really have the nerve to trot that line out anymore. What I can’t understand is why average, everyday Republican voters like getting their money stolen. What’s conservative about a run-away budget disaster where we pile up record deficits with absolutely no plan to pay for them (and that’s not even including the half a trillion dollars they hid from the budget)?
What’s conservative about allowing your Republican representatives take high class vacations and have their wives get paid tens of thousands of dollars for nothing and ride off on limos and yachts (literally), while you get stuck with the bill?
Man, when the average taxpayer understands what these Republicans did to them in the middle of the night, when the after-effects of the political roofies wear off, they are going to one pissed set of monkeys.
Of course, the only question is – when. When will people on television finally start telling the truth so we can get rid of these clowns and I can go back to having fun and talking about J. Lo’s ass?
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Sun Feb 05, 2006
re: Slaughterhouse '06
Last week, George Bush used his annual State Of The Union address to declare that his government is meeting its responsibility to provide healthcare for the poor and the elderly and spearheading a global quest for peace. Vonnegut’s stump speech states the opposite. In the land of his internal exile, corporate profiteers rule unchecked, extended families have been split into desperately vulnerable nuclear groups, “lethal injection and warfare are forms of entertainment” and Americans are “as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis once were”.
When challenged about this last statement, Vonnegut repeats that US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and vice- president Dick Cheney are “jut-jawed, like Nazis” and argues that the main difference is that the Germans were justly feared for their military prowess.
“We have no army,” he says, “What makes us the most powerful nation on Earth is our willingness to kill people in their thousands with remote-controlled missiles, the fact that we’re prepared to set off nuclear explosions in the middle of unarmed people – men, women and children.
“Only one country has been crazy enough to set off a nuke in the middle of a civilian population. Did it twice, and that’s when members of my generation, soldiers, could see that ‘we’re not the good guys any more’. We were very careful not to hurt civilians.”
In his rage and despair he invokes the true guardians of America’s soul, quoting from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and Christ’s Sermon On The Mount. For a confirmed humanist, he mentions the Beatitudes surprisingly often, arguing that the President’s fundamentalist friends have forgotten the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers.
Vonnegut once observed that he was at his funniest two days after Martin Luther King Jr was shot, because he was speaking to an audience “full of pain that they couldn’t do anything about … there was an enormous need to either laugh or cry”.
The punchline count is high in A Man Without A Country, as it has been in every one of his novels. On the first page he explains that, as the youngest child in a family of five, making jokes was the only way to get noticed in adult conversation. Reporting on the fall of Biafra in 1970, he noticed he still cracked wise as the Nigerian army approached, writing that “joking was my response to misery I couldn’t do anything about”.
Crucially, it has not been his only reflex. What elevates his work above gallows humour and exposes him as an idealist in pessimist’s clothing is his palpable compassion and the way in which he appeals to his readers’ better natures. “Practising any art is a way to make your soul grow,” he writes, and it is clear that this has been his own salvation. As we speak, he raises a glass : “To the arts.”
Later, when the food arrives, Vonnegut talks about the teacher who inspired him, James C Bean, reminding me that “the Great Depression was going on, and there were no good jobs, so it was a wonderful break to get to be a teacher or a mailman. Some of the best and smartest people in Indianapolis were teaching in school.
“All it takes is one great teacher,” he continues, and though he would never be so conceited as to admit it, he has evidently been that teacher, for his seven children, for students at various American universities, and for three generations of science-fiction fans.
What he has consistently taught is that art alone can rescue his homeland, through a series of personal revolutions. This belief in the transformative power of creativity is expressed beautifully in the preface to Wampeters, Foma, & Granfalloons (Opinions). “I now believe,” he writes, “that the only way in which Americans can rise above their ordinariness, can mature sufficiently to rescue themselves and to help rescue the planet, is through enthusiastic intimacy with works of their own imaginations.
“I am not especially satisfied with my own imaginative works, my fiction. I am simply impressed by the unexpected insights which shower down on me when my job is to imagine, as contrasted with the woodenly familiar ideas which clutter my desk when my job is to tell the truth.”
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