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March 20, 2007

Bush patently in denial over Gonzales
Posted by Teresa at 03:40 PM * 240 comments

George Bush has issued a strong statement of support for his longtime friend, disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The White House also denied that it was looking into possible successors.

Joining Bush in Nephelococcygia is disgraced former Republican House Leader Tom Delay, who in an interview Tuesday on NBC’s Today Show said, “This is a made-up scandal. There is no evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever.”

Hoo boy.

Senior Republican officials are being quoted as saying that the Attorney General’s departure is inevitable, and that Gonzales has lost the confidence of key Republican senators, some of whom are up for tough reelection campaigns in 2008. Party mandarins and White House aides have been openly speculating about who will replace him.

D. Kyle Sampson, one of Gonzales’ senior advisers, has already been thrown off the back of the sleigh. It won’t save Gonzales—his claim that he knew nothing, and that Sampson did all the firing, is not going to stand up—but it’s been great fun to watch. The New York Times has Sampson’s political obituary here.

Expect to hear a lot more about the U.S. Attorney firings. The Justice Department has gone for obfuscation by inundation, responding to requests for information by releasing some 3,000 documents. Sorting and assessment is still going on. Apparently there are mentions of “performance concerns” about the fired officials: yeah, yeah, yeah. I have yet to see anything that would come close to satisfying your average corporate HR department’s documentation standards for a proposed termination.

One of the more interesting infobits extracted thus far is a chart the Justice Department sent the White House in March of 2005. It ranks U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald among the prosecutors who had “not distinguished themselves.”

The ranking placed Fitzgerald below “strong U.S. attorneys … who exhibited loyalty” to the administration but above “weak U.S. attorneys who … chafed against administration initiatives, etc.,” according to Justice documents.

The chart was the first step in an effort to identify U.S. attorneys who should be removed. Two prosecutors who received the same ranking as Fitzgerald were later fired, documents show. …

The March 2005 chart ranking Fitzgerald and other prosecutors was drawn up by Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson and sent to then-White House counsel Harriet Miers. The reference to Fitzgerald is in a portion of the memo that Justice has refused to turn over to Congress, officials told the Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

At the time, Fitzgerald was leading the independent investigation into the leak of the identity of a CIA operative, which led this month to the perjury conviction of former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, also had recently brought a corruption indictment in Illinois against former Republican Gov. George Ryan.

A Justice Department official Monday sought to play down the importance of Fitzgerald’s ranking, saying the chart was “put together by Sampson and is not an official department position on these U.S. attorneys.”

Yeah, sure. You betcha.
Comments on Bush patently in denial over Gonzales:
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 12:53 PM:

How I love to see those bastards squirm...

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:08 PM:

I figured Gonzales was gone when Shrub expressed his support for him. The Kiss of something-or-other, probably 'desire to spend more time with family'. The list of names they're floating as a replacement is, um, disturbing. Half of them have already been rejected, and the other half are not people you'd want in charge given past performance. The only thing they have in common is that 'Whatever George Says Is Good' attitude.

#3 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:18 PM:

"Gonzo, you're doing a hell of a job."

Gonzalez's inevitable departure can't happen fast enough. Could we make it retroactive?

#4 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Talking points memo has put out a call for volunteers to read through the morass. Even though it's anarchy, I rather like the idea that we can all help decipher this.

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:26 PM:

I want Rove gone.

I want Bush to have an empty feeling inside, from not having Rove's hand shoved up inside to where it can make Bush's lips move.

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:29 PM:

González provides Bush with what credibility he still has among Hispanics, it would be pretty hard for him to ditch him. That being said, Bush's public approbation does seem to be the kiss of death.

#7 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:33 PM:

#5, Stefan, the trouble with Bush in that circumstance is that he might be even more likely to do something insane than he already is. Invade Iran, for one.

Not to say I don't want Rove, Hadley, and the whole crew gone, including Bush. 2008 can't come too soon.

#8 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:35 PM:

It could well be denial, as Shrub seems to be in denial about so many things. I wonder, though, if the problem of picking a successor is having an effect here. While it may not affect Bush 43, it may well be stimulating a great deal of enabling behavior from those close to him.

Consider the problem -- they have to find someone who is:

  • willing to work for less than two years, in a collapsing administration
  • seem personally loyal enough for Bush to feel comfortable
  • publicly seen as honest, to defuse the current situation
  • acceptable to enough Democrats in the Senate to win confirmation
  • unlikely to disturb all the skeletons in the basement from the Ashcoft/Gonzales years
  • willing to have their name associated with this bunch.
    Hmm. I wonder -- would Lieberman take the job?

    #9 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:36 PM:

    I want proactive activity to occur--2008 is MUCH too long away and far in the future, I want the Hydrocarbon Toxic Regime removed from office NOW, now, now, NOW! Put the scrubbers into DC and get the effluvia out NOW!!!

    #10 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:46 PM:

    I caught the end of a Tom Delay interview on NPR's Morning Edition this morning. Mr. Delay decries the Democratic "criminalization of politics." I'm surprised that he isn't dizzy with the sheer amount of spin. Prosecuting crimes, if done fairly, is not a partisan act. It seems to me that the best way to avoid prosecution and the open display of incriminating evidence is to not commit the crime in the first place. Having him say, in effect, "Well, it's all the Democrats' fault for holding us accountable for our wrongs" strikes me as desperate. (I suppose his argument is really "The Democrats are just making baseless charges for non-crimes against the Republicans just as the Republicans did against them.")

    I hope Delay's spin doesn't have legs. We'll see...

    #11 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 01:56 PM:

    JC, as I understand politics these days, anything the Democrats do is partisan. Even breathe.

    #12 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:02 PM:

    Delay's spin is really strange. Surely one criminializes politics by, well, committing crimes. The act of investigating the crimes is *de*criminalization.

    But of course that would not be something a fine moral upstanding individual like Delay could possibly admit.

    #13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:07 PM:

    DeLay's spin amounts to 'How dare you punish ME for breaking the law?'.

    #14 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:09 PM:

    I can see Fox or CNN putting Delay on but NPR? Guess it's true what they say: NPR these days stands for "Nice Polite Republicans."

    #15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:10 PM:

    During the first part of the DeLay interview, I was worried that it was going to be a slow-pitch softball interview.

    As it happened, DeLay did a great job of revealing his inner cynical rat bastard all on his own.

    #16 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:12 PM:

    #14 moe99, he has a new book out, so he's doing the tour. And Stefan Jones in #15 pretty well describes the interview.

    #17 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:23 PM:

    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's appointees by government for the past six years or more have all been selected and vetted by The Entitites Which Replaced Saddam Hussein with an Even More Psychopathic Situation and Which Politically Bowdlerizes all Federally Funded Research and Researchers. And the appointees to high level in CPB have effected changes in NPR and PBS, such as canning long-standing popular show hosts for "failings" of lacking ties and values promoting rightwing propaganda (I'm blanking on the most prominent case--ah, blank filled, Bill Moyers), and of replacing shows with rightwing screed and personalities with no pretense whatsoever to impartiality and objective observation other than to proclaim that they are the true representatives of American and correct values...

    I think that Colin Powell's rightwing bigot son got canned after egregiously offensive actions, but... take a close look at what's been going on the past several years, and the objectivity and such that PBS and NPR once have, have been SEVERELY undermined, with shows put on for intentionally politically partisan rightwing values and opinions and public opinion sways and promotion.

    Dick Cheney's revisionism and censorship is all over the airwaves....

    #18 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:24 PM:

    DeLay is rat poison scum... his profession prior to politics was that of applier of poisons for fumigation--pesticides, and/or herbicides, no chemical too noxious to use....

    #19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:28 PM:

    Robert Novak has a review of Delay's new book. If Novak's reading is correct, Delay is as angry at some of his former cohorts as he is at Ronnie Earle and the Democrats.

    #20 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:46 PM:

    #19 Linkmeister, of course he is. Most minor kings are when they find the pledges of fealty falter when they're being lead to the block.

    #21 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 02:58 PM:

    Novak, the fellow who played catamite for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Crew Politicians? His credibility level is that of used towels in houses of prostitution...

    #22 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:12 PM:

    Claude Muncey @ 8

    They might want Lieberman for the job (but would they? Remember that neither side trusts a turncoat; he's already proved he can turn against his allies), but the Bushites don't dare pull him out of the Senate. He's their ace in the hole, for when even Cheney's vote can't sway a really close one.

    #23 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:12 PM:

    #21 Be kinder to the domestic linens, Paula. They're inanimate objects lacking in free will and therefore have no choice in who purchases them or how they are used.

    #24 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:12 PM:

    Madeline@3: That was my first thought too. I mean, Dubya expressed support for Brownie, right before chucking him to the wolves. (Ditto on Harriet Myers during her nomination process--I always figured she was a throw-away nominee.)

    #25 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:13 PM:

    I'm with Serge. Pass the popcorn, I'm loving it. Yes, I know I'm racking up time in Purgatory. Gloating is unChristian. But this is what we voted for, and it is a pure pleasure to watch the law of karma working itself out in such a fine and public manner. Digby's got a great post up about this with some terrific links. Turns out the Bushies really wanted to fire Patrick Fitzgerald too.

    #26 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:24 PM:

    I love it when they document bomb: it means they're panicking and getting desperate. And that in turn means they may not be very careful in choosing and redacting the documents, so there could be something incriminating, or pointing to something else incriminating in the dump. That's how conspiracies unravel, through the mistakes of the fearful.

    #27 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:30 PM:

    Stefan Jones @ 5

    Bush will only have that feeling for as long as it takes Cheney to pull his hand out of Rove and move on to the Shrubhole. Of course it will cause a few days of confusion as Cheney learns how to work without gloves and a net.

    #28 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:31 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 7 - My paranoid worry is that the Bushies will apply the same thought (what's the point in having it if you don't use it) that they used in the US Attorney mess to our nuclear capability.

    Forget invading Iran, I'm afraid they'll nuke Teheran.

    #29 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:33 PM:

    Delay'ed Justice said "There is no evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever.

    Contrariwise, there's absolutely no evidence of right doing, a much more damning observation.

    #30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:33 PM:

    Just to make life interesting - more interesting - the White House is saying 'Sure, Karl and Harriet can talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee. But we'll only let them do it if they're not under oath and not in a public area like the committee room.'

    I can hear the subpoena printer warming up.

    #31 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:43 PM:

    Bruce Cohen #27:

    For a moment there I thought you meant that Cheney was fisting the Schmuck...

    fidelio #23

    The linens already get used for that sort of thing...

    #32 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:43 PM:

    Turns out the Bushies really wanted to fire Patrick Fitzgerald too. Apologies, Teresa. Half of your post dealt with exactly this. May I plead that zombies from the IRS have eaten my brains?

    But really, go here. This is wonderful.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070402/blumenthal

    #33 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:53 PM:

    From the link to Newsweek:

    The president is personally close to Gonzales and his family. And he owes Gonzales a debt of gratitude: in 1996, Gonzales pulled off a skillful courtroom maneuver to allow Bush to escape jury duty in a drunken-driving case. Bush's lawyer made the clever argument that the governor had a conflict of interest, since he might be called on one day to pardon the defendant (a dancer at a local strip club). Had Bush gone through the normal jury voir dire, he might have had to disclose a 1976 DUI arrest, thereby jeopardizing his presidential ambitions.

    #34 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:58 PM:

    If congress subpoenas, Bush will pull the "executive privilege" card.

    Quickly followed by news that some terrorist has confessed to killing Anna Nicole Smith, and Bush announcing the Jupiter Expedition, and the INS raiding some more slaughterhouses.

    But we'll know. We'll all know, undeniably, that we're led by scoundrels. Even the lap dog pundits will know, not that they'll admit it.

    #35 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:01 PM:

    Why does this scandal, out of so many, have traction? Not because of whether anything that was done was right or wrong--though certainly it all stinks to high heaven. No, the reason why this one has staying power is because it involves an infringement by the administration on the customary perquisites of individual senators. Even as damaged as Bush is now, Republican senators might still be willing to support him on policy issues, but not when he tries to pull a fast one on them personally.

    #36 ::: Catherine Crockett ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:04 PM:

    Teresa, you might want to do a search-and-replace. Victor's surname is Gonzalez; Alberto's is Gonzales.

    Even the Globe and Mail keeps getting the various spellings mixed up. In Toronto, the commonest spelling is Goncalves (and would have a cedille instead of a 'c', if I weren't typing in ASCII).

    I hope Victor forgives me for mentioning him in the same sentence as that shit.

    #37 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:07 PM:

    When talking about executive privilege, someone's gonna bring up Watergate. Here's an excerpt from the opinion, US v Nixon, 1974:

    However, neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the need for confidentiality of high level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. The President's need for complete candor and objectivity from advisers calls for great deference from the courts. However, when the privilege depends solely on the broad, undifferentiated claim of public interest in the confidentiality of such conversations, a confrontation with other values arises. Absent a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic or sensitive national security secrets, we find it difficult to accept the argument that even the very important interest in confidentiality of Presidential communications is significantly diminished by production of such material for in camera inspection with all the protection that a district court will be obliged to provide.

    SCOTUS ruled 8-0 against Nixon's claim of EP with Rehnquist (then Associate Justice) not participating.

    #38 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:08 PM:

    The number of crimes cannot be counted, much less be revealed. Nothing stops them or even interrupts.

    On Alternet

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/49275/

    [ "Seymour Hersh's recent report that Iran-Contra veterans working out of Dick Cheney's office are using stolen funds from Iraq to arm al Qaeda-tied groups and foment a larger Sunni-Shia war is a very big deal." ]

    The only response can be to Investigate, Impeach, Indict, Imprison.

    But instead we have public radio speaking to and of the like of DeLay as if he was respectable and honest.

    #39 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:27 PM:

    Constance #38

    Paradrop the lot of them into territory that the Shi'ite and Sunni violence-mad are fighting over... (note, far from all Shi'ites and Sunnis are violence-mad. The removal of Saddam Hussein from the equation as a check upon worse homicidal maniacal sorts than Saddam and his brutal bully sons, the maniacal sorts who use religious extremism as an excuse for mayhem and murder as opposed to being mere personal power for its own sake fanatics without making up religious pretense excuses, inspired every violence-prone Iraqi living in-country or in exile to grab unguarded munitions from the huge dumps of weaponry and munitions assembled under Saddam and left for looting unguarded courtesy of those brilliant [sarcasm] administrators put in place according to Rumseld's (completely incompetent and inadequate and inane) administering plans for post-invasion Iraa] and use the munitions to main, murder, and mangle to their full homicidal maniac delight, untrammeled by concerns of police suppression or public outrage or political anger with miltarily effective backing and suppression.... the vast bulk of the Iraqi populace does not consist of thugs, goons, homicidal maniacs, jihadists looking to die for their religious extremism and/or make hundreds of others die with or before them into death, but the Hydrocarbon Pollution Regime removed or disabled any and all effective methods of suppressing extremists when it invaded Iraq, dissolved the military with no attempt whatsoever to separate out the homicidal maniac squads and units from the involuntary soldiers and the patriotic but not homicidal career sorts, and with a complete failure to implement any sort of policing of the invaded country, and failed to quickly act to put together a civilian policing force to patrol the streets highways, to suppress antisocial behavior such as looting, destroying power distribution system, etc. ... as a result, the civilian population been under a reign of anarchy and terror for years now... how long did the Terror last after the French Revolution?)

    #40 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:52 PM:

    Lizzy@25--
    "I speak no evil
    I bear no malice within my breast
    And yet without quite wishing a man to the devil
    One may be permitted to hope for the best"
    --Piet Hein

    #41 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:52 PM:

    Paula @ 31

    Wait a minute until I can stop giggling over the image your post left in my mind ... good thing I have a strong stomach or that sound would not be laughing. Come to think of it, that sounds like the title of Charlton Heston adventure film, mountain-climbing or some such, "Fisting the Schmuck". Hey Fragano, want to collaborate on the screenplay?

    Anyhow, Paula, that's exactly what I meant, that Cheney's been operating the meat puppet indirectly through Rove, and now he's really going to have to get his hands dirty.

    #42 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:59 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 37

    And you just know that as soon as the title of that opinion comes out of anyone's mouth all the Bushies in creation will be up on their hind legs yelling "National Security."

    #43 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 05:24 PM:

    Larry Brennan @ 28

    Forget invading Iran, I'm afraid they'll nuke Teheran

    You know what scares me the most of all of this mess is what could happen if Bush gives that order and the squadron commander or the pilots tell him to stuff his illegal order up his ass. The neocons have been doing their damndest to subvert or destroy the military over the last 20 years or so and I think they've made a dent. If we ever get a Presidential order refused by a military unit, no matter how right that refusal may be, we're on the slippery slope towards the Legions installing the Emperor.

    One of the really great things we got right in this country, possibly just through luck, is to have developed a highly professional military, that on the whole is not interested in taking political power, or dead-set against doing so as a basic tenet of their professional ethics. Sure there are always opportunists and political generals like Colin Powell, but we sure don't have a triumvirate system like Soviet Russia (Party, Army, KGB) or the corporate military state like China today (the Army is the largest slaveowner in the world, to my knowledge, counting political prisoners as slaves, and has more internal industrial capacity than most nations).

    One of the worst things that could happen to this country from a political point of view is to have a "Year of 4 emperors", let alone a "Year of 6 emperors". And from any other point of view, who wants a civil war with more than 2,000 nuclear warheads to choose from? I guarantee collateral damage will go far beyond CONUS boundaries, so won't be just our problem, either.

    #44 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 05:27 PM:

    Bruce--the Constitution protects parodies.... that's something in the original document itself and not in the Bill of Rights....

    So is the screenplay to be in iambic pentameter or some other metering?

    I don't know if you were around when MacBird was published....

    #45 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 05:29 PM:

    When the USSR came unglued, there was the issue of the divvying up of the assets of the Strategic Rocket Forces. Many of the sites were in Ukraine, for example.

    #46 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 06:29 PM:

    y:

    I think the other reason is that the R's have lost control of congress, so something might actually be done about this scandal. And 9/11 is receding in memory, so the "you must bend over and spread 'em when we say the phrase 'homeland security'" routine is wearing thin. And Bush is a lame duck, who won't be in a position to reward friends and punish enemies past Jan 2009.

    But you're right, this and Plaimegate are small potatoes next to massive warrantless wiretapping in direct violation of written law, running secret prisons where people we've abducted off the streets of allies' cities are tortured, and the breathtaking claim in the Padilla case that a US citizen can be swept up off US soil and locked up indefinitely, incommunicado, on the say so of one man. Any of those should have led to an impeachment trial and mass resignations by principled people in the White House. They didn't. Republicans in Congress demonstrated that, for the most part, they don't mind scary police-state measures so long as they're done by Republicans. (They will be deeply repentant in Jan 2009, I think.)

    I seriously think we're going to look back on the Bush administration as a turning point in the history of our country. We've got a de facto national ID card in the works now (Google for RealID), we've turned Echelon onto our own people, we've proclaimed to the world that we will abduct and torture anyone who we like. Many of these are developments that were a long time coming, and 9/11 might have triggered them in any event. But this administration has accelerated them.

    I don't expect the next administration to give back those powers. It's just got to be useful to have Echelon turned on the American people, even if you have to share it with a few members of the other party to avoid anyone kicking up a fuss. The ability to get someone you think might be a terrorist and lock him up is surely nice to have, and the ability to use that to silence people about to go public about your gay affairs, drug habit, or bribe taking is even better. Making sure that only fringe extreme types and criminals go to the trouble necessary to retain any privacy at all is valuable to anyone who thinks they're going to have control of government.

    Our kids and grandkids will live in the world we've helped make, and they'll never know what they lost. Of course people get questioned by the police if they say the wrong things on their cellphone calls. It's always been that way. Don't be so old-fashioned, Mom. Of course someone checks up on which books you buy and check out of the library, Dad. How could you be so stupid as to check out *those* books. Do you want to get sent to a camp like Mr Johnson did?

    It's fun watching the bastards squirm, and they've earned it. But we'll be a long time paying the bill, I think.

    #47 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 08:00 PM:

    I'd like to see this statement of Bush's widely refuted with a megaphone:

    “If the staff of a president operates in constant fear of being hauled before congressional committees ... the president would not receive candid advice and the American people would be ill-served,” he said.

    Determining whether his staff members have committed felonies in the firings of the U.S. Attorneys has nothing to do with protecting "sensitive military information" that could put the United States at risk from domestic or foreign enemies. He hid behind that questionable excuse in flouting FEMA, but he's not even trying to claim that, now. He's asserting that his agents must be exempt from Congressional oversight in *any circumstances*. The logical extension of Bush's "executive privilege" concept is a claim that his appointed officials have no obligation to operate under United States law at any time. There is no U.S. Congress, and he's not the president of the United States. He's a would-be military dictator who is threatening to overthrow the government of the United States.

    #48 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 08:42 PM:

    FEMA->FISA. Apologies from my slow sodium pump left brain for the atrophied acronym-storage brain cells.

    #49 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 09:27 PM:

    Think Progress has documented a bunch of instances when Clinton aides testified before Congress, too. Precedent runs against Bush (again).

    #50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 10:05 PM:

    albatross @ 46

    I understand a lot of states have already decided not to go with RealID, mostly because they'd have to pay for it themselves. They aren't too sure of the benefits, either.

    #51 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 11:26 PM:

    Alberto Gonzalez gone? Love the idea, personally. But... see also Chickens, counting, before they're hatched. Don't.

    Meanwhile, obfuscation by inundation--3000 documents--the Nixon corps tried the same thing, about the time that Ziegler(?) was saying "This is the operative statement." They released volume upon volume of stuff late in the day, just before deadline for the nightly news. I tried to find the passage in my two Woodward and Bernstein books, but I didn't have time. (Speaking of inundation...)

    The more things change...

    #52 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 03:39 AM:

    Paula @ 44

    Oh, yes (insert devilish glee here) I remember MacBird. But I think what I'm suggesting here is a lot dirtier (as in really explicit sexual innuendo and assigning of anthropomorphic names to body parts), so we'll have to make sure not to write it in Ohio, where they're once again fighting over who gets to pull the plug on support of the arts.

    @ 45

    As I understand it, once the dust settled and everyone had time to set up the usual mutual admiration treaties, Byelorussia and Kazhakhstan were willing to return most or all of their warheads to Russia in return for various commercial and political favors. I'm not sure about Ukraine, but I seem to recall that they kept some. This makes sense to me, since at the time Russia was probably confident that the Russian immigrant population (read "colonists"), especially in the east, would be able to maintain political control. This issue is still in some dispute, as in "we'd have a civil war, but it might piss everyone else off and screw up commerce, so we'll just have riots and assassinate each other."

    #53 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 03:43 AM:

    albatross @ 46

    And Bush is a lame duck, who won't be in a position to reward friends and punish enemies past Jan 2009.

    Yes, but he still retains one trump card that gives him some coverage for when the wheels start to come off: he has the power to pardon people up to the morning of the next inauguration. And unless I'm recalling incorrectly, it's possible for him to pardon people for deeds committed but undiscovered or prosecuted at that time.

    #54 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:18 AM:

    I first read the title as "Bush paternity in denial..."

    #55 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 07:05 AM:

    moe99 at #4: "Talking points memo has put out a call for volunteers to read through the morass. Even though it's anarchy, I rather like the idea that we can all help decipher this."

    SETI@home?

    #56 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 08:58 AM:

    “strong U.S. attorneys … who exhibited loyalty” to the administration but above “weak U.S. attorneys who … chafed against administration initiatives, etc.,”

    Like, initiatives not to prosecute corrupt Republicans, and initatives to prosecute Democrats on trumped up charges?

    The DOJ is just a tool of the current party in power. That *may* change eventually, but for now, no amount of firings are going to change the Republican strategy. If we fire Gonzales, he'll be replaced with someone who'll do the same thing as needed.

    #57 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 09:13 AM:

    Remember Nixon's eighteen minute gap?

    The document dump has an eighteen day gap. No emails from November 15th to December 4th.

    Hmmmmm....

    #58 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 09:37 AM:

    Paula @ 44

    Reread your post and realized I hadn't answered one question. Yes, I think it should be in verse, although most definitely not in heroic verse. Blank verse is probably too close to heroic. So I'm still undecided on what the verse form should be. Come to think of it, has anyone ever written a play in limericks? Bet some Restoration court hanger-on tried it once.

    #59 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 09:46 AM:

    Nina @ #57: That "gap" would be because Bush was in Texas at the ranch for Thanksgiving. Ghods alone know what the rest of the Mis-Administration was doing at that time...

    #60 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 10:05 AM:

    Bruce, #52 -- a lot of the missile fields were in territory that was originally part of Russia before it metastisized in the USSR, and that became Ukraine after. (It's ironic, that the orignal Russia had Kiev as its capital and was what today is Ukraine, while the contemporary Russia had Moscow as capital and consists of territory mostly not part of what started out as Russia). The spaceport where all the attended flights launched/launch from, too, I strongly recall as being in what today is Ukraine.

    ======

    As regards verse for plays--I wouldn't call e.g. A Midsummer Night's Dream or As You Like It, etc., "heroic". And regarding terminology which would get something banned in Ohio, are not the folks here mostly cleverer than that?

    Uh-oh, verse daemon started to rise...

    (TTTO of the [Illegitimately engendered] King of England...

    Oh Karl Rove plots with the chamber pots
    For the House and Senate floors
    In the White House rooms where he wields the brooms
    To sweep to foreign shores.

    He's got deep plans and bugged bedpans
    And a operation vast,
    The courts suborned and those who'd forewarn,
    He smears and makes outcast,

    He's dirty and lousy and full of slime,
    Besmirched all honor with his foul grime
    God save we people from the Bush Gang!

    [maybe more later...]

    [Note to Teresa, regarding conversation at Boskone -- the words/sound of word/rhythm/meter and the tune hit together, theres' a synergy involved where the rhythm/meter and the word-sounds and concepts interact/drive one another, and with the particular concatenation, there may or may not be an extant tune and lyrics pattern that is/are congruent/work synergistically... working to a specific form to forcefit something to isn't generally comfortable to me, something bubbles up that comes with a piece of pattern for any or all of rhythm, meter, intonation, and tune, and concept...]

    #61 ::: everstar ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 10:09 AM:

    Lizzie at #25:

    Gloating is unChristian.

    I'm with the late great Molly Ivins on this: "My momma may have raised a mean child, but she raised no hypocrite." This has been a long time coming, and I intend to savor it, while poking my senators to keep the ball rolling.

    #62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 10:28 AM:

    Meanwhile, when the bums get thrown out and the Religious Right loses those allies, I hope Starbucks will stop putting the following text on its cups...

    "...Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record. And the record is not pretty..."

    I made it QUITE clear that I didn't appreciate (and said something referring to anti-evolutionists as 'morons') and demanded another cup. I was much happier with the pro-evolution cup.

    #63 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 12:09 PM:

    SPECIAL BULLETIN:

    Folks, please call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to demand that Rove and Miers testify under oath.

    If you don't know their phone numbers, you can call the Congressional switchboard (1-800-459-1887 or 1-202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to their office.

    Senator Arlen Specter's office is keeping a tally on this, so if you're one of his constituents *PLEASE* call.

    (For those who remember Watergate, TPMMuckraker has discovered an 18 day gap in the email dump from DOJ...)

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled Making Light thread...

    #64 ::: Tim in Albion ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 12:19 PM:

    The worst part of this whole deal is that some of the attorneys appear to have been fired for refusing to interfere in elections. That's been pointed out a few times, but the implications don't seem to have sunk in yet. The DoJ has become an instrument of a political party, acting to ensure the elections of Republicans to various offices.

    I really hope thoughtful people start pointing that out just how scary that part really is. Maybe we have to take some of those election-rigging-conspiracy theories a little more seriously.

    #65 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 12:32 PM:

    #62:

    There is a historical connection between eugenics and evolution. Think about why you'd start worrying about dysgenic demographics. The question wouldn't even come up until you had the notion of relative fitness, right? I know Ronald Fisher was a big eugenics guy, as was Galton (who started work on IQ tests, fingerprints, and linear regression, among many other things). Given prevailing beliefs at the time, I expect they were probably mostly racist (though I think Fisher was involved in teaching and research with Indian mathematicians, so presumably he wasn't too picky about the whole Aryan purity thing).

    Of course, you don't study a scientific theory because of the moral qualities of its inventor or developers. You study it because it's useful in explaining the world and doing things you want to do. Evolution provides an enormously powerful model for understanding the living world.

    Moral objections to empirical statements are deeply stupid.

    #66 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 12:39 PM:

    #64:

    If the Bush administration gets away with this, then we can expect to see this become part of politics as usual. Only Democratic election-law violations will be prosecuted during Republican administrations, only Republican violations during Democratic administrations.

    #67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 12:41 PM:

    albatross @ 65... Maybe those 'gentlemen' used Evolution to justify the racism that was already there. Anyway, I deeply resented being forced to put up with anti-evolutionist sentiments. And if it sounds like I overreacted, one of 'them' once tried to run my wife off the road because of our minivan's Darwin Fish, and the local reinforcement did nothing about it beyond suggesting that we remove the Fish.

    #68 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 12:55 PM:

    As a Federal employee, one of the DOJ emails really annoys me:

    Rove and crew had a chart that tracked how loyal certain US Attorneys were to Bush!!!

    And guess what? The 8 that were fired weren't (and I quote) "Loyal Bushies."

    This is a clear violation of the Civil Service Act -- your party affiliation or lack of one is not supposed to have any bearing on hiring or retention.

    #69 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:04 PM:

    Tim #64

    Six and a half years after the elections in 2000 and the orchestrated campaign by Repugnicraps to remove/keep off/last-resort-confuse-or-outright-deny those in demographics seen as voting for Democratic candidates off-the-voting-rolls/from-voting, and you only know consider "election rigging conspiracy theories a little more seriously"?!!

    What's the probability that removing people who live in areas that vote heavily Democratic, from the voting rolls without informing them because their names (but not domicile/residence street addresses and Social Security numbers and jobs...) match those of convicted felons, and then refusing to reinstate them as voters without MONTHS of effort (long past election day...) is "random" occurrence? What's the probability that the butterfly ballot that misled more than 3000 elderly Jews in Florida retirement communities into poking holes in their ballots (some of them writing in Gore and having it be ignored to point out who they THOUGHT they were voting for) that did NOT match the sample ballots published in the West Palm Beach newspaper (my sources about that included my parents were were in one of those retirement communities at the time) that went to Pat Robertson? I would have seen 30 to 50 of those votes going to Robertson, but NOT 3000, particularly not those who were WWII veterans or suriving spouses or siblings of WWII veterans....

    Then there was the recount done of all the Florida ballots, paid for by a consortium of newspapers, that took what, ten or more months, to complete, after getting legal access to the ballots.. and the results clearly and unambiguously were that by the Florida laws regarding voting, Gore WON the vote for President in Florida in 2000.

    Then there were the squelched objections to allegations of vote fraud and irregularities, ballot boxes which partisan Repugnicrap hacks in Ohio took custody of between the close of voting and when the ballots were counted, there were the Diebold machines which MIT and Caltech and other computer scientists have gone on record stating that the equipment has no validity and no validity checking available and no audit trail whatsoever with regards to a) preventing tampering, b)recording instances of attempting tampering, c) record any/all instances of tampering and effects of the tampering, d) provide auditable recording and trail of voting done, and e) provide audit trail to validate results.

    One of the bases of "security" involved in e.g. safes, is to make tampering -detectable- and -obvious. Another is to have a record of what went into the safe, to be able to compare contents after break-in, with contents before the breakin... and last but not least, having the record of what have have been "compromised" that was in there that the breakers-in could have looked at... The Diebold stuff did NONE of that. The contracts were awarded presumably based on political contacts and without paying any attention to Good Security Practice, validity checking, auditing, audit trail, computer security specialists...

    It is NOT that nobody knows anything about computer security, it's that the computer security experts were apparently deliberately and intentionally excluded, despite their expressing objections and grave concerns--and the trail of "how" goes all the way to the top of the US Executive Branch of government, with its to-me-looks=deliberate complete and utter failure to implement and require the most basic computer and electronic device security measures defined by the US Goverment DECADES again to inplement "data security" and auditing...

    (note, I have some relevant professional credentials in the area, including have once been a system administator on a locked-up secure computer system, working with computer systems that included ones inside Cheyenne Mountain that handled classified data, and having done e.g. a research study/report on "trusted" operating perating systems' applicability for realtime operating systems for market research company I can't think of the name of at the moment, and wrote the draft version of what became a column in Real Time Computing on the topic based on summarizing some of the content of the study)

    #70 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:15 PM:

    Paula Lieberman writes in #60:

    Bruce, #52 -- a lot of the missile fields were in territory that was originally part of Russia before it metastisized in the USSR, and that became Ukraine after. (It's ironic, that the orignal Russia had Kiev as its capital and was what today is Ukraine, while the contemporary Russia had Moscow as capital and consists of territory mostly not part of what started out as Russia).

    Interesting. I didn't know that.

    The spaceport where all the attended flights launched/launch from, too, I strongly recall as being in what today is Ukraine.

    Pardon my nitpick, Paula: Not Ukraine, but Kazakhstan.

    Usage point 1: all my life, we referred to "the Ukraine." This seems to be changing. Here's a guy who thinks we should stop. Paula has already adapted.

    Usage point 2: Now I know what at least one feminist space professional of my acquaintance prefers to "manned space flight." Attended.

    #71 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:16 PM:

    I'm reminded of the story in a an old Groff Conklin anthology, "Basic Right" which has the comment that one expect the vile and greedy to act vilely and greedily....

    That's why I want the US Executive Branch decapitated of the Schmuck, Cheney, Rove, Gonzales, Rice, and their legions of beholden appartchiks, and all their appointees vetted very carefully and purged if there are questions....

    #72 ::: CN ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:29 PM:

    What do you think the possibilities are that W will refuse to leave office when is time is up?

    #73 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:32 PM:

    Bill, #70... "attended was standard usage for a while in the late 1970s/early and for a number of years 1980s. When the rightwing assholes sexist shitheads of Reagan-Bush-rightwing-Christian-Dominionists-misogynists grabbed more and more power and control however, part of their revisionism and control politic was to revert "attended" to "manned" -- their goal of removing women from any position other than Kinder Kuche Kirche and the specially exempted exceptions Specially Privileged Graced Bitch Queen Bee like Phyllis Schlafly, Elaine Donnelly, Michelle Malkin, Beverly LaHaye, and what's-her-name-who-went-too-far-last-week-and-has-been-purged-as-columist-by-a-lot-of-papers hypcritical shills for the suppression generally of women as other than subservient domestic Happislaves/fulfilled housewives (there are women for whom the domestic manager is emotionally ideal and intellectually satisfying... there are also adult males that such a life is a rewarding life for... but there's a difference between fulfillment in free choice choosing a domestic life one finds worthwhile, and being forced into a life that's as comfortable and satisfying and self-actualizing as being tortured in an Iron Maiden...).

    The game of changing the words and debasing, is one that the rightwing fascists use as a lifestyle for marginalization, disempowering, removal, etc. Having been 3 or 4 years old and achieving hatred and detestation of "no women in space" in the early 1960s, I have been averse essentially my entire life, to being DEFINED out of existence and marginalized as regards interest in math, science, and spacecraft and rockets and wanting to be a space traveler. I do NOT take kindly to dream destroyers who regard PLUMBING as destiny....

    As regards the change from "the Ukraine" to "Ukraine," I recall that that country when it separated itself out of the former USSR, made it clear publically that it want the "the" gone... Though it sounded weird to me, I dutifully have made the attempt to drop the the.

    #74 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:44 PM:

    Bill Higgins @70: Usage point 1: all my life, we referred to "the Ukraine."

    Similarly, though it disappeared half a generation earlier, "the Lebanon".

    #75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:44 PM:

    Paula... In French, the word used to refer to space missions with people onboard translates as 'inhabited'.

    #76 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 01:50 PM:

    #74, John Aspinall

    Was that "the Lebanon" or "the Levant"? They're not the same thing, one's a country, the other's a region. I can't remember ever seeing or hearing "the Lebanon," it's been "Lebanon" for as far back as I can remember hearing/reading (and I've been reading for literally half a century).

    #77 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 02:08 PM:

    I remember a George Will column going on at great length about how we ought to be saying "Ukraine" instead of "The Ukraine". (Yes, an entire column! I'm sure that the following week he had a column railing about how those oversensitive liberals shouldn't be so politically correct as to worry about what people are called, but I digress.)

    At the time, the main thing I was wondering was: does he think it's a distinction that can even be expressed in Ukranian? I'm 99% sure that it can't. Russian doesn't have definite articles, after all, and Ukranian and Russian are similar enough that I'm pretty sure that means Ukranian doesn't either.

    #78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 02:28 PM:

    Matt @ 77... Correct. My Ukrainian co-worker never refers to the land of her birth as the Ukraine.

    #79 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 02:48 PM:

    Sorry Lori (#68), Civil Service protections don't apply to political appointments, which the 93 U. S. Attorneys are. They are routinely fired and replaced at the beginning of an administration, at least when parties change hands.

    However, they haven't been fired in the middle of a term before except for gross misconduct. That might lead to a conflict of interest between keeping their job and protecting the Constitution.

    The other thing that's new is that until the P. A. T. R. I. O. T.  Act, they had to be confirmed by Congress. The P. A. T. R. I. O. T. act gave Gonzales the power to appoint new U. S. Attorneys for 120 days, on the theory that tewwists might assassinate a U. S. Attorney at a time when there just wasn't time for Congressional approval. Then there was the recent change that made Attorney General appointments permanent, which some Congresscritters claim they didn't notice before voting on it. Gonzales still has right to appoint U. S. Attorneys "permanently" for about another week, but that train is heading back into the station retroactively.

    There was an interesting memo I heard about on the radio this morning asking "What good is this power if we don't use it." Apparently not everyone in the administration believes in this tewwist nonsense.

    #80 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 02:48 PM:

    This just showed up on FireDogLake, and I thought some of you might appreciate it:

    "Evidently, (the President) ...wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape, or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

    "Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

    "One gets the impression that... (the Administration) ...values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in... (the President) ...will ebb away for a simple reason:

    "Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold -- the rule of law."

    That was written by Tony Snow, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the column was published on March 29, 1998.

    Now, in light of the current situation, tell us what you really think of Executive Privilege, Mr. Snow?

    #81 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 02:53 PM:

    Paula @76:
    I think the region vs country thing is the key point. Region "The XYZ" becomes country "XYZ".

    See e.g. a diary dating from 1905 for usage of "the Lebanon".

    #82 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 03:00 PM:

    #80: Beautiful.

    If he doesn't admit he's waffling, I think we should start calling him Yellow Snow.

    #83 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 03:26 PM:

    I think I erred in (#79) on one point. As far as I can tell from Wikipedia, the 120-day appointment power predates this administration, and was not changed by the original P. A. T. R. I. O. T. Act, only the 2006 revision.

    #84 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:00 PM:

    Dan @83 -- One of Senator Specter's aides (Tolman) slipped the 120-day appointment language into the 2006 revision of the Patriot Act.

    Mr. Tolman was appointed to one of the vacancies caused by the firings, in the US Attorney's office in Utah. So now we know what his price is...

    Yesterday, the Senate voted to rescind the language regarding the appointment of US Attorneys -- 94-2.

    #85 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:04 PM:

    Romney campaign goes Godwin's Law...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17718509/

    My willing suspension of belief takes a hit, even though this allegedly really is Real Life.... bad fantasy novels have to be saner, they have to be....

    #86 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:09 PM:

    Oops, #85 should have gone into a different thread...

    #87 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:19 PM:

    all my life, we referred to "the Ukraine."

    ISTR that "ukraine" means something like "border" in Russian. Referring to "the border" kind of makes sense. Also it's pronounced along the lines of "oo-krai-in-ya."

    #88 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 07:27 PM:

    It might be because we only get the juicy bits of news over here, but is `disgraced' becoming part of the job description for working in the Bush administration? Not that I'm complaining, you understand...

    #89 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 07:46 PM:

    "Krai" - borderlands; hence also "Krajina" in former Yugoslavia. ("Crimea" is different.)

    #90 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 08:08 PM:

    Clownface declared that he wouldn't allow his honest, worthy senior adivsors to be subpoenaed. He will block any such subpoenas.

    When Nixon declared the same thing, the Chairman of the Investigative committee (Sam Irwin?) said if they didn't comply with the subpoenas they would be hauled to the committee under arrest.

    This time around there are the Blackwater mercs.

    Minds kinda tending toward conspiracy might think that is the strategy and objective behind our ill-equipped, ill-cared for, ill-paid and under staffed military. Seeing the Blackwater mercs in their spooky outfits, so beautifully supplied and cared for, so marvelously paid -- the troops join them. Already trained, training paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. Probably taking their weapons with them too.

    Blackwater guards the Big Fishies over in Iraq. There are something like over a 100 private mercenary forces there. Blackwater is just the largest -- and incidently owned by bush's really good friend and fellow-Christian.

    Mercs aren't constrained by anything other than bigger guns.

    Maybe.

    The tales we heard about those guys down in New Orleans and their behaviors there chill the blood.

    #91 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 09:58 PM:

    CN at 72, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. I base this on my Rush Limpbough listening, brainwashed right wing now-very-ex boyfriend's fear that Clinton wouldn't leave office in 2000. The Republicans fear that the Democrats may do what they, the Republicans know they would do.

    #92 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 11:43 PM:

    Constance wrote -
    Mercs aren't constrained by anything other than bigger guns.

    Maybe.

    The tales we heard about those guys down in New Orleans and their behaviors there chill the blood.

    There are other factors. Most of these guys are ex-US military (often ex-Special Operations - the pay is a LOT better). There's going to be - in some of them, at least - a hesitancy to fight guys in uniforms they once wore - in some cases (and depending on who gets called in - units that get deployed in 24 hours can also frequently get *undeployed* in 24 hours if it has to be done), they will be fighting former comrades. This won't stop some - but it will others.

    Others are just going to say 'fuck this for a game of soldiers' and head their asses on home, or to sign up with another unit - this has always been one problem with mercenary armies - past a certain level of hopelessness, they are sometimes less concerned with a positive outcome, and more impressed with saving their own ass. Again - this won't remove all of them. But it will some.

    Others will be constrained by their own personal code, or by fear of retribution, or by any of a host of other reasons. Will this be enough to remove Blackwater from the playing field - no. But it will weaken them, will cause hesitancy - and if the wrong guys were to get heroic at the wrong time, it's...problematic.

    The mistake, in looking at any hierarchical structure, is assuming it moves in lockstep. You see this with talk of revolutions (Oh, the Army will stomp it down, they're just gonna march on over and kill all the rebels), and bureaucracies, and... well, pretty much any large organization. You can talk about trends - but not absolutes.

    In this sort of situation, were it really to get that bad, it would, in fact, be the start of a second Civil War (although it might be over very quickly), and you could not - at all - count on the lure of money, flashy uniforms, or pretty much anything else dragging *all* of the military away from their oaths. Maybe not even substantial amounts - I suspect, given the situation, a lot of them would just bugger off for the hills (likely taking their rifles with them), and of those who remained, many would fight against the Administration, or work to keep the military out of the fight altogether*

    For every Pvt Steven Green, there's still a Sgt. Terry Karney - the good guys in the military might not be as loud, or as noticeable, but they're still out there.

    *(I recall a novel where the premise is a rapidly degrading fascist government in the US, where the military basically says "what goes on inside the borders of the US is the job of your secret police and goon squads - the military is defending the borders, and that's it" - unrealistic if placed in such a bald-faced manner, but it's amazing how orders can be delayed, garbled, mis-interpreted, or lost when they have to be).

    #93 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 11:57 PM:

    There's no "the" in Ukrainian. All Ukrainians I know refer to Ukraine, no the. I do as they do.

    The only reference to The Lebanon I know of is the Human League song, though if it used to be The Lebanon that title makes sense now.

    #94 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 01:16 AM:

    Stefan #82: What, and abandon a perfectly good nickname ("Tony Snowjob")?

    CN #72: I suspect strongly that the answer lies with to whom he thinks he's turning the keys over; he'll be lots less reluctant to pass the scepter to, say, John McCain than he will to Bill Richardson (the gods willing).

    #95 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 01:54 AM:

    Paula, #73: As regards the change from "the Ukraine" to "Ukraine," I recall that that country when it separated itself out of the former USSR, made it clear publically that it want the "the" gone...

    Yes, precisely. And it did seem strange back then when we were used to saying "the Ukraine," but with time and usage "Ukraine" doesn't sound odd at all any more. At least not to me, but then I have an unfair advantage: I belong to several cultural sub-groups in which it's common for people to have "use-names" by which they are generally known, and for said names to change now and then. For a country to do the same is only a matter of scale, not of kind.

    #96 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 02:45 AM:

    Scott Taylor @ 92

    I think there's another factor that makes it even more likely the troops opposing the mercs will not stand down or switch sides, and it's something that was caused by the Iraq war itself.

    For the first time since the Vietnam war, and to a degree even greater than at that time, the large majority of enlisted personnel in the military, and especially in the Army, Marine Corps, their Reserve units, and the National Guard, have recently been in combat, and are likely to see combat again soon. Even more, they've been in combat as units, fighting alongside the same soldiers they would have with them against the mercs (this was not generally true in Vietnam).

    This means that unit cohesion and loyalty is at an all time high. Unit cohesion is affected by a lot of things, but some of the most important are:

    How much you trust your buddies to save your ass.

    How much you trust your CO not to get you into bad situations, and to be able to get you out if that fails.

    How much you trust the other units you fight with.

    Being together in combat lets you find out how much you can trust your comrades. More, it provides a strong motive to be trustworthy to them. And so for the other kinds of trust. It's much more difficult to walk away from a buddy or another unit after you've developed that kind of trust (one of the reasons normally sensible people can be induced to go out and get themselves killed).

    So I suspect that the only troops that would turn coat or run away in those circumstances are raw recruits or ones who have been disaffected or corrupted by deliberate acts on the part of their commanders or other officers up the chain of command.

    #97 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 02:51 AM:

    Paula @ 60

    As regards verse for plays--I wouldn't call e.g. A Midsummer Night's Dream or As You Like It, etc., "heroic".

    Yeah, I know what you mean, but that's the technical term. Heroic verse (in English) is rhymed iambic pentameter. In Greek it's dactylic hexameter. I don't know any other languages the term is used for.

    And that may be why you sometimes see blank verse sneered at by critics and scholars. Not being rhymed, it's not "heroic."

    #98 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 03:24 AM:

    George Bush has issued a strong statement of support for his longtime friend, disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The White House also denied that it was looking into possible successors.

    My first thought was, this means he'll be gone in a week. Wasn't it yours? Don't these guys always put their arms around your shoulder so nobody will see them stick in the shiv?

    #99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 10:15 AM:

    Apparently, Democrats are the ones in denial, according to one of the... er... 'news' items on Comcast.net's web page.

    "...Believing they have been given a clear mandate from voters, Democrats are trying to challenge President Bush on the Iraq war while struggling to find enough votes to do it..."

    #100 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 10:27 AM:

    Tehanu @ 98

    Don't these guys always put their arms around your shoulder so nobody will see them stick in the shiv?

    You've got to hug and kiss the victim so the assassin can identify him for the kill.

    You know, maybe finding out just how disgusting these bozos are when you pull the rock up so you can see will persuade people to stop romanticizing vileness like the Mafia.

    #101 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 10:39 AM:

    Tehanu @ 98: Well, another week would just about get them to the March end-of-the-month Security Incident in Boston.

    #102 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 10:57 AM:

    The juxtaposition of comments 8 and 9 was kind of amusing.

    #103 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 11:24 AM:

    I'm fond of this quote:

    Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

    Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

    One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold -- the rule of law.

    The author? Tony Snow. Wonder if anybody in the press room will call him on it.

    #104 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 11:43 AM:

    #96: Aren't you assuming that the CO won't turn and take the unit with him? If there's enough doubletalk and reasonable-sounding propaganda, soldiers who aren't lawyers may not even know which side is in the right. All they know for sure is which side the Praetorian Guard, er, Blackwater is on.

    And that's assuming he can't get 5 votes on the Supreme Court to stay in office - he got them to *get* in office, didn't he? If Bush suspends elections someone will take it to the SC, but if they rule in favor of Bush, then he can point to two branches of government that are on his side (even though one of those branches is him and the other is mostly people appointed by him, his dad and his dad's then-boss).

    Granted, there's his immense unpopularity, and the soldiers all know that he's the guy who stuck them in Iraq without adequate equipment, support or even a clear military mission, and most of them probably know it was based on deliberately falsified intelligence too.

    But on paper they still take orders from him right up until someone else is elected and sworn in or he is impeached and convicted or dead, so I wouldn't count on a general mutiny while the lawyers are still arguing about whether or not he's exceeding his authority (let alone if he gets SC imprimatur). I think you may be underestimating military training and indoctrination's ability to instill commitment to the chain of command. The people at the top of that chain are there because Bush *put* them there, and after the US Attorney scandal, I don't think we should have any doubts about *why* he put those particular generals in charge.

    And that's *without* another Reichstag fire to lend him the appearance of legitimacy and stampede people into following his lead "during the present crisis".


    Yes, it all sounds like conspiracy-theory stuff. Discrediting conspiracy theories is awfully useful to people who really are conspiring to subvert the Constitution...

    #105 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:13 PM:

    Chris @ 104

    Judges tend to get unhappy when politicians start telling them how to do their jobs. It isn't a sure thing that Shrub would get 5 votes from the Supremes this time around.

    #106 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:31 PM:

    I don't think we have to go back to statements made back during the Clinton Years to find illogic. I mean, if the President feels that nothing wrong happened, and that nobody was lying, why should his people fear to be put on record, under oath, and in front of cameras. After all, don't they keep telling us that we shouldn't worry about the various eavesdropping and spying revelations because we aren't criminals?

    Oh, there's a whole host of petards being hoisted this season.

    #107 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:38 PM:

    "[this may be the] tip of the iceberg" -- Sen Edward Kennedy interviewed on WBZ radio this morning.

    #108 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:48 PM:

    Compare and contrast with the events and activities and commentaries and actions leading into and occurring during the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton....

    HYPOCRITE CARCAJOUS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!

    And nebbishish Democrats....

    #109 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:52 PM:

    I want hearings into the investigations terminated with the removals of the investigating attorneys--e.g., the termination of the investigation of Abramoff's dealings regarding the Marianas and the essentially slave labor factories there and Republican national legislators, the termination of the investigations leading out of Cunningham, what about Ney wasn't there an investigation touching on him that got suddenly discontinued?

    Where's the House Ethics Committee looking into all the issues that DeLay and associates squelched investigation into?

    #110 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:52 PM:

    I want hearings into the investigations terminated with the removals of the investigating attorneys--e.g., the termination of the investigation of Abramoff's dealings regarding the Marianas and the essentially slave labor factories there and Republican national legislators, the termination of the investigations leading out of Cunningham, what about Ney wasn't there an investigation touching on him that got suddenly discontinued?

    Where's the House Ethics Committee looking into all the issues that DeLay and associates squelched investigation into?

    #111 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:52 PM:

    I want hearings into the investigations terminated with the removals of the investigating attorneys--e.g., the termination of the investigation of Abramoff's dealings regarding the Marianas and the essentially slave labor factories there and Republican national legislators, the termination of the investigations leading out of Cunningham, what about Ney wasn't there an investigation touching on him that got suddenly discontinued?

    Where's the House Ethics Committee looking into all the issues that DeLay and associates squelched investigation into?

    #112 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:52 PM:

    I want hearings into the investigations terminated with the removals of the investigating attorneys--e.g., the termination of the investigation of Abramoff's dealings regarding the Marianas and the essentially slave labor factories there and Republican national legislators, the termination of the investigations leading out of Cunningham, what about Ney wasn't there an investigation touching on him that got suddenly discontinued?

    Where's the House Ethics Committee looking into all the issues that DeLay and associates squelched investigation into?

    #113 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 01:28 PM:

    http://kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom/press_release.cfm?id=5e4fa397-a364-4633-8e6b-9605ba16ff0d

    "Statement By Senator Edward M. Kennedy Committee Statement on U.S. Attorney Firings
    (As Prepared for Delivery)
    "March 22, 2007
    "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    "Mr. Chairman, it is high time that Congress investigate how this White House has played politics with the Department of Justice.

    "The Department of Justice used to be respected as place where politics stopped and prosecutors were allowed to do their jobs. Not any more. You need only to glance at the front page of today’s paper to see the damage being done to the public interest and public confidence in our government.

    "Today we will take a critical step towards playing our critical role in making certain that the office of US Attorney does not become a partisan tool. But this latest issue is just the tip of a much larger problem.

    "The front page of today’s paper contains not only a story about the firing of eight US Attorneys, but another alarming story of politics intruding into the Department of Justice. In it, a career attorney at the Department says that political appointees dictated that she pull her punches in a lawsuit that sought to hold big tobacco responsible for their lies to the American people. Two weeks before closing arguments, and after years of trial preparation by career attorneys, political appointees ordered her to reduce the damages request from $130 billion to just $10 billion....

    "Incredibly, Bradley Schlozman, the inexperienced political appointee who oversaw approval of the [ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court] Georgia ID law and the retaliation against the career staff, was rewarded with an appointment as interim U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. He has served in that capacity for a year without Senate confirmation.

    "Mr. Schlozman is a good example of the new regime at our Justice Department. His professional resume is a short one. He practiced law for about one a year at a large firm before joining the Bush Administration in a series of political jobs at the Department of Justice. He had no experience prosecuting cases. But he was a loyal Bush supporter who was willing to use the power of federal law enforcement to benefit the Republican Party.

    "....He failed to authorize the filing of a single affirmative voting rights case on behalf of African American voters, but he jumped at the chance to sue African American officials in Mississippi for discriminating against white voters. On the eve of the 2004 election, he orchestrated the filing of two extraordinary amicus briefs [which included] individuals who wanted to get their provisional ballots counted were simply out of luck. This extraordinary partisan intervention by the Civil Rights Division weeks before a national election in battleground states to suppress the votes of predominantly Democratic voters was unprecedented....

    "....We should press ahead vigorously with the investigation of the U.S. Attorney firings and expose the deeper problems that corrupt the enforcement of federal law by this Department of Justice."

    #114 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 03:48 PM:

    72, 91, 94, ... I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist. --TNH

    #115 ::: Seth Morris ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 06:31 PM:

    A great perspective on the current administration's behavior: http://www.avgeeks.com/pivot/entry.php?id=420 (10 minutes)

    If AvGeek is to be believed--and I have no reason to think it isn't--this is a 1946 educational video on the contrasts between democracy and despotism. It says it was produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films in collaboration with Harold D. Laswell of Yale, but doesn't say anything about Laswell. The "expert" they refer to is described only as someone who "makes it his job to study these things."

    Their distinctions are interesting. They define a despotism as having (1) restricted respect between people and between those in power and the populace and (2) concentration of power; I wouldn't have thought to include the first, but the second sounds pretty definitive to me.

    They warn that America is not immune to despotism and give some rubrics for identifying a society headed that way. Their warning signs are (1) unevenness of economic distribution and (2) restriction of information and reduced critical analysis, including both education that discourages critical thinking and media controlled by government and/or corporate interests.

    What a change since 1946. I think unanalysed corporate/government media, concentrated power, "just learn the book" education (always called "back to basics"), and centralized power are considered the defining strengths of democracy, at least by the administration.

    #116 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 12:01 AM:

    The Prelinger Archive has the companion film to Despotism, plus modern remashes:

    Prelinger Archive Rocks

    #117 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 01:06 AM:

    No way will Bush refuse to leave office. Much too obvious. The public may or may not be stupid, I can argue it either way, but Washington and the two terms is ground into every school child. Diddling the results so that the Republican nominee is elected is marginally possible, but just at the moment, bailing and letting the war be lost under Democratic leadership is not their worst strategy. I don't expect them to let it go without a fight, but I'm figuring they won't pull out the big guns until 2012. Going for a split government is much smarter. Regain the Senate and the House, or as close as may be, and they'll be in much better political shape than if they take the White House and naught else.

    As for the Praetorian Guard scenario, again, I don't believe it. It would require a major restructuring of the military, one which the top military brass would resist. It could be possible, but I don't see enough inroads, yet, in the organization to make it credible.

    #118 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 03:37 AM:

    Re Ukraine:

    They had missiles, they used them to enforce the separation, in effect they said they would keep them until the restof the world (to include Russia) recognized them.

    When that happened they arranged to dismantle them.

    As far as the name goes, "The Ukraine" is gauche. In Russian the article is different, and having it in the name makes Ukraine part of someplaces else, sort of like saying, "The colonies". It mandates a subordinate nature.

    And Russia wants to make it "the Ukraine" again, which is why they poisoned Yeshenko.

    #119 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 10:00 AM:

    The top brass that disagreed with Bush got purged from the ranks of those holding command or staff positions, they no longer hold positions of authority in the US military structure. (Note, there is a level where even though "retired" general officers of certain rank technically are still on active duty.) What's left are the bootlickers and willing tools and those of ambition who dumped being the citizen in favor of regime leadership and avoiding being purged.

    Compare that Kheristian bootlicking bigot Boykin, to some of the generals who got the boot for not "getting with the program" but who instead disagreed that Rumsfeld and Feith etc.'s "plans" for invading Iraq involved way too few boots on the ground and failed to provide any credible administrative and reconstruction planning and program....

    ===========

    On a different focus--Schmuck and Gonzales are adamantly opposed to Executive Branch appartchiks and themselves and their aides testifying under oath and for the record... HOWEVER, they are completely insistent regarding raping the Bill of Rights and expecting Congress to laud them for "surveilling terrorists" using all those tools and secret dealings and spying on people including US citizens without warrants and collecting records without due process of law and subpoenas...

    {sarcasm...} I got it, Congress should just send some Capitol Hill Burglars in at 2 AM to search the White House and Cheney's offices and the Department of Justice and those secret rooms at the telecom corporate operations offices to collect records and blackmail all involved in violating the most basic directives in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights regards citizen rights of no searches and seizures without warrants, habeas corpus, life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not being forced to incriminate oneself, torture and inhumane treatment, etc. etc.

    Even Bob Shieffer (Schaeffer? Sheiffer? .. something like that...) of CBS this morning on WBZ radio (which is part of the little-pretence-of=fairness-and-impartiality-so-opposed-t-=helping-cheerlead-and-shill-for-the-fascists in editorial tone and word choice and questioning style) said, that something stinks majorly regarding Gonzales and his boss and the firing of the US Attorneys... and it got mentioned that there was testimony by a former US Attorney who quit out of essentially conscientious objection.

    #120 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 10:59 AM:

    Seth Morris (#115): What a change since 1946. In the US, *maybe*, but in England Orwell was writing about 1984 in 1948....

    As for the Bush regime turning into outright tyranny, I'm one of those who don't think so (despite my general pessimism about most things). Bush is visibly worn down by his years in office, Cheney at least is mortal -- I'm not so sure about Rove -- and today's Democrats won't willingly cede the power they're starting to regain. Obama's rock-star popularity doesn't mean he'll burn out a la Jim, Janis and Jimi, and if anyone tried to off him he might just get beatified in the public eye. (I'm not an ardent fan myself, but those who are won't be easily put down.)

    #121 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 11:19 AM:

    Lenin could use some company, from a certain fascists currently domiciled in DC?

    #122 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 01:13 PM:

    Faren Miller @ 120

    I'm not as much worried about a long-term Orwell style totalitarianism as I am about a downward spiral through corruption, adventurism, hegemony, and increasingly-uninhibited power-grabs a la the Roman Empire. This is a scenario I was sure wouldn't happen, until the resurgence of the Violent Moronity in the '96 elections convinced me that the birth rate of suckers had increased drastically since Barnum's time.

    Now, I get depressed everytime I watch an episode of the BBC series "Rome" because the parallels are just too close for comfort.

    #123 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 01:47 PM:

    re Ukraine, as grammatical object.

    U = Preposition: toward
    Krai= Borderlands.

    Russian (and Ukrainian, in common with all slavic laguages [to the best of my knowledge]) is declined.

    the preposition u takes the (masculine) ending, a

    So, "the area toward the border" is u+krai+a = ukraina (the "n" shows up as it does in English, when a vowel bumps a vowel, a la a/an).

    It has been a regional idea for so long that it is now a word of it's own, and declines as a feminine noun.

    Russian (and Ukrainian) does not have definite articles in the way Romance, and Germanic languages do. It does use indicative/partitive articles. So one does not say, "the" house, but one does say, "that house", this house.

    Making it, "The Ukraine" would translate it back to being, "that area of the borders" and makes it, grammatically, property of some other nation.

    re a coup: I don't want to think about it. Lee had a tough problem. I know where I'd stand, but heaven help me if it got ugly, and secessions started to happen.

    The question of someone holding the White House by fiat, past two-terms, is a no-brainer. My oath (and every other) is to the Constitution, not the office; nor the person, of the president.

    So I can refuse, with prejudice, any order to support someone who tries to refuse to leave it; be they elected out, or trying to hold on past their term.

    The ugly part would be the scenarios floated (in light of requests from the DoJ, and the NSC) about "postponing elections.

    #124 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 02:06 PM:

    Did or did not Livia poison Octavian (or is that one of the Mysteries of History?)

    [And just what are the current rumors with regards to the domestic relationship and future of such with the oaf in the oval orifice's personal domestic arrangements?]

    #125 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 03:27 PM:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17753123/

    "Former deputy Interior secretary to plead guilty
    "Griles is the highest ranking official caught up "in Abramoff probe

    "WASHINGTON - Former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles will plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, The Associated Press has learned...."

    Even under oath they lie....

    #126 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 04:30 PM:

    "Blowback from Ohio's 2004 Stolen Elelction is Escalating"

    The wheels of Justice are moving in Ohio, where nearly 100,000 vote in Cuyahoga County, which overwhelmingly was an area voting for Kerry, evaporated in the 2004 Presidential election, where nearly a quarter of registered voters had been removed from the voting rolls prior to the election denied even the opportunity to cast one of the disappeared votes...

    Ohio's Secretary of State asked the Board of Elections in that county to resign, including a Rove operative, and there are two people serving prison terms found guilty of election tampering....

    (TTTO of Crosby, Stills, & Nash's Ohio)

    Vote fraud in Ohio,
    Vote fraud in Ohio...

    #127 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 07:56 PM:

    I hope nobody minds if I put my big foot into the Ukraine/The Ukraine debate. My wife is Polish and her mother's family originally come from Lwow, and they all refer to it as Ukraine.

    #128 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 01:45 AM:

    I had an EEG Tuesday and the tech wanted me to stay awake which was hard, so I started reciting Shakespeare in my mind. She said "What are you doing?" I said "Reciting poetry in my head" and she said "Stop that." I wouldn't have guessed Shakespeare would have changed the EEG.

    #129 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 02:09 AM:

    Marilee @ 128

    Which play were you reciting? Some of Shakespeare is more psychoactive than the rest. I imagine the closing lines of The Tempest would really make my delta waves dance.

    #130 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 04:25 AM:

    And L'vov/Lwow is pronounced L'viv, in Ukrainian.

    I've been there twice, it's a beautiful city.

    TK

    #131 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 07:38 AM:

    What's even scarier? At least one of the dismissed AGs has said that when appointed, Ashcroft made it clear that their job was to stay out of politics, and the pressure only began when Gonzales took office.

    Things have gotten so bad that Ashcroft looks good in comparison.

    I wonder if it is deliberate? Pick people who are terrifying, but not completely corrupt, at the beginning of the administration, so that the Senate and everyone else will see them as so bad, and be so eager to see them go, that they'll not take the time to investigate the potential replacements. Which leaves things open for moving up from merely leading the country to disaster into the realm of overtly corrupting the system for political benefit.

    I think I'm joining Teresa's sentiment about resentment and conspiracy theories.

    #132 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 08:43 AM:

    Also in the vein of political suppuration, Pentagon IG fingers 4 generals in friendly fire coverup. This investigation gets higher and covers more military units than the entire Abu Ghraib circus, for an event that resulted in one death, and probably wasn't malicious (though the coverup might have been).

    #133 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 04:53 PM:

    Document bombing worked so well for Saddam, didn't it?

    And how 'bout that eighteen day gap? Do any of the early December memos refer back to memos after mid-November?

    #134 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 07:42 PM:

    Terry Karney@130 - And L'vov/Lwow is pronounced L'viv, in Ukrainian.
    And, I understand, was once known as Lemberg, back in the days of Austria-Hungary. I've heard it's a nice town.

    #135 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2007, 10:30 PM:

    For anyone who needs a quick rise in blood pressure:

    NY police spied broadly before GOP convention.

    Major spying on everyone, and as usual wouldn't be known but for someone leaking papers.

    (I happen to know one of the people in this story. My only quibble with the article is that while he got his computer and cell phone back after one year, he never got his bicycle back.)

    #136 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 02:20 AM:

    Bruce, #129, it was Macbeth. No, I'm not superstitious.

    #137 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 02:25 AM:

    Marilee @ 136

    Good for you. That "Scottish Play" nonsense is one of the reasons (one of many) that I dropped the idea of a show business career before it ever even got to the point of possibility. And I'm not sure that it made that much difference: I can't find much to choose between an engineering manager and a producer.

    #138 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 09:09 AM:

    Marilee 136, Bruce 137: that applies only to saying "MacBeth" in a theatre.

    Judy Harrow says that a lot of nasty energy gets raised in that play, especially but not only by the Weird Sisters, and none of it is ever earthed. Productions of it are often plagued by accidents and other misfortunes—which may be partly because it has that reputation, and people are nervous.

    On the other hand, she also knows an actress and priestess who went backstage after every rehearsal and performance of a production of it in which she appeared, and earthed all the nasty energy. That production had no problems at all.

    But even if you believe that productions of MacBeth have (toil and) trouble because of the power of the WS' words, saying its name shouldn't do more than raise unpleasant memories in people who've been in it. Thinking it does more would just be a superstition, indeed.

    On the other hand, it's often been said that 'superstition' is what we call the religious beliefs of others.

    On the other hand...fingers.

    #139 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 09:24 AM:

    Xopher @138
    Sorry...I think of ways to deal with the bad luck from Macbeth and always end up with

    Hot potato,
    Orchestra stalls,
    Puck will make amends
    .

    #140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 09:25 AM:

    Are you sure, Xopher? There was an episode of the Regency-era Blackadder where Blackadder meets some actors in the Palace and refer to 'the Scottish play'. After they explain, he, being the kind soul that he is, keeps saying 'Macbeth' any chance he gets, just to watch them go again and again thru some silly routine that's supposed to cancel out any possible bad luck.

    #141 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 09:29 AM:

    Beatcha to it, Serge.

    #142 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 09:40 AM:

    Nyah nyah nyah, abi...

    #143 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 12:33 PM:

    Xopher @ 138

    It's not just that particular superstition; if it had been it wouldn't have bothered me. Or if it had been presented in anywhere near as rational a manner as you did, again, it wouldn't have bothered me. It was the rampant superstition about nearly everything that drove me batty.

    OK, I understand that if you work in a profession where damn near any little thing can spoil a performance, and the fortunes of actors and companies comes and goes, often for no obvious reason, you're going to be a tad jumpy. I just had a lot of trouble working like that. My problem, not theirs.

    #144 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 12:42 PM:

    Murders, witches, ghosts, and all that shit
    over five acts, we recollect the lot;
    remembering stray lines and burnished wit
    we keep in mind the threads of the hard plot.
    It's not the kind of thing that we'd forget,
    this play that actors fear, but must produce
    since audiences love it for the strong purge
    of all our senses; still it will seduce
    even those most fearful, for all have the urge
    to take their turn upon that tragic stage
    and show the limits of ambition. There's hope
    in all of us that when we turn the page,
    we'll find another Scot, one who will cope
    when all is said and done, with lord and wife,
    and bring our fears to such huge, vivid life.

    #145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 01:27 PM:

    I have a poster from the Bay Area's Shakespeare Festival usually held in the hills near Moraga. It asked: "Are you sick and tired of violence and profanity on TV and at the movies?" It then added: "Experience it live!"

    #146 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 05:55 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 144

    We'll find another Scot, one who will cope
    with situations dire and distressed.
    When ask'd for all he has, he calls for hope,
    delivering much more than he's assessed.
    He fusses with the things in his domain.
    Moves the widget left a jot or two.
    On framistat, first thinks, then ups the gain,
    satisfaction comes after a try or two.
    His words are practical for he will not
    use poesy. There never can be letup
    in his work, or stay, as he was taught
    that all must function when told "Beam me up!"
    It's not the kind of thing that we'd forget.

    #147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 06:09 PM:

    Bruce Cohen @ 146... Let's hear it for Mister Scott. Hip, hip, hurrah!

    #148 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 07:01 PM:

    Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #146: Bravo!

    We find out pretty early that the tech
    sustains us but provides no moral core;
    the journey is not one we've done before,
    to reach the stars will take us a long trek.
    We're not to be summoned, not at the beck
    of any caller; our mission needs much more
    than mere devotion, but we do not get sore;
    the captain sits and ponders on the deck.
    Below the engineer thinks squares and cubes,
    gets everything the engines give and yet
    can coax more from them, that's the noble thing.
    He clambers with agility through narrow tubes,
    does not despair though others get upset,
    and finds more lift than can be got by wing.

    #149 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 07:17 PM:

    Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) - #143
    I believe there's a lot of 'superstition' in sport as well, probably for a similar reason to that you gave. It may be more personal and idiosyncratic than systematized, though.
    I do wonder, however, if quite a few of the established coaching ideas are more superstition than not — OTOH, once someone believes strongly, that can be powerful in itself, like the placebo effect.

    #150 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 07:31 AM:

    The Road Goes Ever On

    More generations fly out to the black.
    Bigger ships and longer treks and still
    we need to see the far side of the hill.
    Now we carry counselors to stay on track,
    partners and children who share the knack
    of making space a home. We always will
    meet other beings as friends and still
    we carry guns; some won't be friendly back.
    So we have moved our lives to space in full,
    no reason now for going back to Earth.
    From time to time we find that our thoughts go
    back to our species' home, we feel the pull
    of life like ours. The feeling passes as re-birth
    of yearning for the sky says, "Make it so!"

    #151 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 10:24 AM:

    One of the wonderful (in every sense of the word) things about this blog is the way *any* thread, at any moment, can turn into a sonnet-off.

    There's just something about sonnets - perhaps the way they're the very opposite of "playing tennis with the net down". More like playing tennis with the Berlin Wall in place of the net.

    #152 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 11:30 AM:

    Our enterprise has no limits in time
    nor any in the space that we can reach;
    our task, today, is both to learn and teach
    as humankind begins the steepest climb,
    up from our world, and onward with the prime
    directive as our guide. There is no beach
    for us to rest on, and we know that each
    sapient species can learn to be sublime.
    Encounters rich and strange, future and past,
    the names of entities have magic force
    but cannot long detain us, we are on our way
    to the furthest destination. The die is cast.
    No godlings and no cyborgs can bend our course,
    we seek the furthest star and its last ray.

    #153 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 11:38 AM:

    Chris @ 151

    Actually, sonnets kind of flow off the brain, as if iambic pentameter were the natural rhythm of brain waves. That surprised me, because I hadn't written a sonnet in 40 years, and back then it was like pulling hen's teeth. But then abi dared me to write a sonnet out of a comment I'd made, and who can refuse a dare in cyberspace?

    Sestinas now, they're like playing Pong against Deep Blue. Instead of playing with a net, it's more like acrobatics without one (you play by Gravity's rules or you don't play).

    #154 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 12:13 PM:

    Chris #151: A sonnet is actually pretty easy, once you've got the pattern(s) down. Iambic pentameter is a pretty natural rhythm in English, and if you're willing to let the language take you where it will, the results can be surprising.

    #155 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 12:37 PM:

    Fragano @ 147

    I have to head out to work now, and given my current schedule, I probably won't be able to re-enter the lists until tonight. So let me take this opportunity to say what a delight it's been bouncing my verse off of yours. Aside from fun, I've learned a lot. Thank you.

    #156 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 02:15 PM:

    Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers): Thank you!

    #157 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 02:56 PM:

    Sonnet form doesn't tend to stick in my my, ballard form is one of the forms more natural to me, or rather, having to remember what a form is, is one of the places that my verse daemon chokes at/the neural net drops connections at.

    #158 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 04:21 PM:

    Xopher@#138:
    The one production of Macbeth I was involved in didn't even make it to opening night before crashing and burning.

    #159 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 04:23 PM:

    "Out, out, you damn spot!"

    #160 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 04:47 PM:

    I'm glad I got Bruce a-sonnetting; he does a good job of it. And Fragano has been in fine form of late. I almost don't need to get involved.

    (Actually, having just left my job and being neck-deep in preparations for our trip to California, I am out of time to add to this for a couple of days more. But you guys have it handled.)

    Iambic pentameter is a habit of mind. Setting up the rhymes just right is another layer of planning, and getting a deeper structure to the poem yet another.

    But that last magical moment, when the sum is greater than the parts...that's the joy of writing sonnets.

    #161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 05:01 PM:

    As for me, my sonnet moment today consisted of sneaking one into the Operational Acceptance Testing (OAT) Test Completion Report. It's in a section on lessons learned for future testing, and was included without line breaks or disruptive capitalisation. (I've added slashes here to highlight the line ends.)

    A lesson to be learned from OAT / is that the planning which assumes a test / will only run just once requires the best / environmental outcome, that there'll be / no faults to find, and that the personnel / will be available to run as planned. / This doesn't happen - often tests are canned, / the system breaks, or scripts aren't running well. / each test should be assumed to run at least / two times, with some days left aside to do / investigations, and to test the new / code fixes some before they are released. / It's no good planning that we'll hit a date / if known retesting means that we'll be late.

    I put a pointer to it into the document properties, including instructions on where to break the lines to reconstruct the sonnet. And I told one or two people - just enough to make sure that the rather awkward phrasing doesn't get rewritten (and so that word spreads, now that I am gone).

    #162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 05:09 PM:

    Abi #161: I am reminded of the Victorian mathematics text which orated: 'And so no force, however great,/can stretch a cord, however fine,/into a horizontal line/which shall be absolutely straight.'

    #163 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 05:52 PM:

    abi @ 161

    Now that's Literate Programming!

    #164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 06:10 PM:

    abi @ 161... It's no good planning that we'll hit a date / if known retesting means that we'll be late.

    That sounds like the story of my life until recently.

    #165 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 06:55 PM:

    While looking over the Recent Comments list, my eye skipped from the end of one line to the next, and thus for a brief moment I read that Bruce's comment above was on "Bush patently in denial on zombies'.

    #166 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 07:18 PM:

    He probably is, too. But Zombie Patrick Henry will set him straight in the end.

    #167 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 07:43 PM:

    Today's word is "Ipleadthefifthamendment."

    Can you say that?

    How about "sweetjesusdon'ttellmeyousentthatoverwhitehouseemail!"


    * * *

    One whistle-blower. One. That's all we need. One Loyal Bushie who realizes that his or her loyalty to democracy and the republic trumps his or her loyalty to the administration.

    Then it will all be over except for the messy job of swabbing up Rush Limbaugh's studio after his head explodes.

    #168 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 07:52 PM:

    One Loyal Bushie who realizes that his or her loyalty to democracy and the republic trumps his or her loyalty to the administration.

    This strikes me as a contradiction. In fact, a "Loyal Bushie" with ANY sense of loyalty to democracy or the republic seems, at the very least, unlikely in the extreme.

    #169 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 08:50 PM:

    Abi @160, a question *:

    so, where in California will you be-
    the cities of the fog chilled gated bay?
    near ricelined contours of flat central clay,
    or northern redwood rainlands by the sea?

    in swamps turned farms that plant a housing spree?
    (five rivers joined to sloughs, salt held away
    by strong levees, but crab cracked berms decay.
    for now the orchard workers watch us ski.)

    Will you go east to Muir mapped granite trails?
    Or south, where faultlined hills each stop the fall
    of rain: first trees, then grass then dust prevails
    the rivers fail for golf in LA's sprawl

    Yet here we millions live, so when you're near
    consider Making Lunch with fluorosphere?

    -----------
    * and by gum, you're right. all it took was seeing that my inital question scanned. If I wasn't procrastinating I'd smooth out the bumps, but instead I'll post now.

    #170 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 12:22 AM:

    Susan, #158, the production of Macbeth I was in wanted me to play Lady Macbeth nude. I explained that it was a really drafty old castle so she would have been covered in blankets. The producer said it would an avant garde production and I said it would be without me. In the end, he was unable to find anybody to play it nude and I played it clothed.

    #171 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 12:43 AM:

    abi @ 160

    Oh how embarrassing. I just did a fast scan of the comments on my last pass because I was in a hurry, and I missed this one. Belatedly, then, but heartfelt: thank you for the compliment, abi.

    Bruce

    #172 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 12:50 AM:

    For generations we expanded from the core.
    Now in deep space we find ourselves immersed
    in plots, intrigues with gods, revenge, and war.
    The future that we valued seems accursed.
    Must our long trek be held back, changed, coerced
    into a trial of arms, holding in store
    a long and bloody slide that ends in first
    much misery and death, then slams the door
    on all our upward progress? There's no more
    evil outlook we can see. We have traversed
    the realm of gods; we think that with their lore
    we can transcend the fate that's on us burst.
    Assuming we prevail, it's not the end,
    then maybe next with zombies we'll contend.

    #173 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 02:09 AM:

    One whistle-blower. One. That's all we need.

    We may have to settle for "flipper". I'm OK with that.

    #174 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 07:05 AM:

    This is a form I know of as the 'soneto con falda' ('sonnet with skirt').


    Beyond the stars in deepest hard vacuum
    all journeys end or so we have been told;
    our job, however, requires us to be bold
    so to the deepest spaces we'll presume
    to go, not because there's no more room
    on Earth for courage, but in spite of cold
    equations that would moor or hold
    us in one place. Space is not a tomb.
    Other continua we know we'll find
    where arbitrary powers still hold sway
    who wish to subject us to greatest pain.
    Still we move forward, with each mind
    determined to keep our vessel on its way;
    and even androids seek the human stain.
    Now, Borg or zombie, it has been quite plain,
    will seek to make us from our true path stray
    and our desires assimilate and bind.
    Yet, we believe that we must win the day,
    our virtues keep, and greater wisdom gain,
    knowing that vision comes even to the blind.
    Captains are bold, and make us understand
    that hope and justice are at our command.

    #175 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 08:24 AM:

    (Ported over after accidentally posting in the wrong thread. Don't ask.)

    Thinking that the sonnets are referencing "O Captain! My Captain!" as well as Star Trek in this thread leads to mild-to-moderate cognitive slagging.

    #176 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 08:50 AM:

    #167--Stefan, I agree withh mythago (#173). I think a flipper is more likely, anyway, because sooner or later one of these people is going to notice what others have noticed. Karl doesn't get fired. Karl doesn't go to jail. Other people get fired, other people go to jail, because they did things Karl suggested they do. I can see one of these opportunists saying "If I go down, Karl goes with me" a lot faster than I can see "I'll Tell All, for truth, justice, and the American Way!"

    Genuine conservatives are jumping, and have been doing so for a bit now--they liked the idea of being on the winning side, but now find they don't like that side so much after all, as it displays its incompetence and disinterest in things like checks and balances. But they were never given as much trust in the inner circle as those whose principle identification was Bushista, and while they may sell short now, I'm not sure most of them have the sort of Good Dirt we want to see out in the open.

    #177 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:11 AM:

    Marilee @ 54
    I first read the title as "Bush paternity in denial..."

    ... Satan: "He's not my son".

    "I don't care what anyone says," blustered the Prince of Lies in an exclusive statement to the Times today, "I have nothing whatsoever to do with *that*. I mean, come on, remember 'fairest among angels' and all that? There is no way I could have anything to do with any of the Bush family."

    "If you're looking to blame anyone for this," stated Lucifer, "I'd suggest looking at the other side first, y'know? No smoke without fire and all that, and let's face it, He has a reputation for getting women knocked up without much warning, right?"

    When questioned on this matter, the Divine spokesbeing known as the Metatron would not be drawn. However, a confidential source did mention the names of several Cthonic beings which might have been connected (on a non-attributable basis) with the situation.

    Other pantheons remained silent on this matter in public, although according to two people in the region of Mount Olympus, there were several thunderclaps in the area, accompanied by a noise which sounded like "Damnit, Woman, Not *Every* Crossbreed With The Mortals Is My Fault!"

    #178 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:31 AM:

    #177--Meg, you win the internets. Hands down.

    #179 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:37 AM:

    As far as I remember, Loki's offspring were Fenris the Wolf, Jormungand the World-Serpent and Hel, ruler of Niflheim, the Realm of the Unvalorous Dead.

    I'm just sayin'.

    #180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:48 AM:

    Meg @ 177... I seem to remember that Zeus, about to be - again - caught in flagrante delicto by Hera, turned his girlfriend into a bush. What does he have to say about that?

    #181 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:13 AM:

    Serge @ 180

    What does he have to say about that?

    "Oops"

    #182 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 12:25 PM:

    fidelio #176

    How many years did it take of James Bulger and Steve Flemmi (I think it was Flemmi) ratting out their subordinates and owning FBI people (including apparently having something on J. Edgar Hoover himself..) before anyone turned evidence against Bulger and Flemmi?

    For decades Bulger told his subordinate associates in crime to never be informers to cops, etc., at the same time that Bulger was being protected by the FBI and on their payroll as informer, while, with John Connolly (Connally? Connelly?) and other FBI agents and executives, on the take from Bulger. Bulger arranged for people he was annoyed at to go to prison, including death row, who weren't necessarily guilty of the crime the courts convicted of (false testimony from various Bulger associates providing the "evidence" for the convictions, and the crooked FBI agents knowing that the testimony was lies).

    The Boston cops and the state cops, for decades tried everything they could think of to arrest Bulger, but time after time after time for literally decades he was tipped off ahead of sting operations, investigations, and even forewarned about law enforcement bugging (done with supposedly sealed court warrants) of establishments hosting criminal activity that Bulger frequented. He taunted the law enforcement people listening to the bugs, saying things that quite clearly demonstrated he knew that the listening devices were there.

    It wasn't until J. Edgar Hoover was dead, the crooked FBI agents dead or retires, Reagan and Bush I were OUT of the White House, AND various convicted felon former associates of Bulger's realized that they were doing hard time because Bulger had ratted on them, that the warrants and charged against Bulger started showing up.. and even then, he was still tipped off with sufficient time to depart before the law enforcement types arrived warrant in hand for his arrest, and he become the name at the top of the Ten Most Wanted List (he made chumps out of the entire FBI, that's not the usual case...]

    Anyway, Bulger murdered a lot fewer people, and made life a lot less miserable for a lot fewer people, than the Schmuck has (Bulger's a homicidal sort, and apparently enjoyed making other people -hurt-. But he's not the cause of hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq, dozens of dead people, yes, and lives and careers destroyed, property damaged, blood in the streets... but he didn't destroy and entire -country-, and his actions didn't start a war that directly has gottens tens of thousands killed, and indirectly, hundreds of thousands--and a lot MORE people turned into refugees fleeing for their lives.

    #183 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 12:50 PM:

    Paula--your points about Bulger are not irrelevant.
    BUT: Despite the damage he's done, Bush isn't Bulger, and neither is Karl Rove, although Rove probably comes closer.
    It takes brains and a certain type of guts to do what Bulger did, to manage to manipulate and intimidate people the way he did for so long. George W. Bush doesn't have it. He doesn't have the wiliness, the imagination to see the possibilities in a situation or to figure out which buttons to push to make people jump the way he wants. He doesn't have the plain brass balls. He might tell people to question a suspect with "extreme intensity" but I don't think he'd be able to do his own dirty work. He's a weak man. Bulger would hurt you himself, in cold blood, with his own hands if he felt he had to--and people knew it. Bush might as well be playing with toy soldiers on the lawn.

    As I said above, Rove comes closer--but who's going to protect him, other than the Bush family? The faster the disasters pile up, the more his grip is loosened. As more Republicans (as opposed to Bushistas) see their party imperilled as a result of his efforts, the fewer there are to cover for him. He may be a harder man than Bush, and in many ways he's smarter, but he hasn't yet built that perfect network/cocoon/bomb shelter--and right now not many people are inclined to help him out. It's 2007, not 1992, 1997, or 2002. Karl's sell-by date is showing. They loved him when he was a winner--but he's not a winner any more. Iraq is worse than the LaBrea tarpits, the Chinese and others hold a gazilion dollars in US Treasury paper, and there's plenty of other termite damage they can lay at the feet of this administration. And the 2006 election went Really Badly. Unless Karl is in a position to directly spill the beans on them, they'll be just as happy to see him gone. Those House and Senate votes on US Attorney confirmation requirements were a warning shot.

    And that attempt at the sheltering behind the Fifth Amendment? I hope she's not holding her breath on seeing that one hold up.

    #184 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 01:04 PM:

    Paula Lieberman #182

    he made chumps out of the entire FBI, that's not the usual case...]

    Um, actually it is. Think of Robert Hansen and the 3/11 fingerprint fuckup for just 2. The FBI is a far cry from the lean, efficient justice machine they love to portray. What they are is a very good PR machine with a genius for picking the cases they can solve easily that will make them look good. Unfortunately for them they also have a genius for screwing up the cases they don't get to choose.

    #185 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 01:09 PM:

    fidelio @ 183

    I don't see Rove as the evil genius of the Bush cabal. Evil, no question. Wizard dirty political ops planner, sure. But not the guy in the big chair. That's Cheney in my view. Here's a guy who can publicly pander to people who would be happy to see his daughter painfully dead. That's cold.

    So all Rove has to do to be cool after Bush falls into the setting sun is keep faith with Cheney, and he'll have a nice, cushy job at Halliburton HQ in Dubai.

    #186 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 01:23 PM:

    You want irony?

    AG Gonzales is parading about the US mouthing off about protecting the children...

    In the meantime there's a breaking story about boys being abused in the Texas juvenile prison system while Bush was Governor. IIRC, Gonzales was AG there too.

    #187 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 01:27 PM:

    The Schmuck is a willing figurehead and proponent for vileness. He's a willing tool, and in his position as official front and theatrical foil public figure....

    #188 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 04:37 PM:

    Sadly, I'm not sure you can really lay the blame for boys being abused in juvenile prisons on Bush or Gonzales. Boys are *always* abused in juvie. There was a story about it happening locally in this weekend's Seattle papers. The way they're run pretty much guarantees it.

    Please understand that I'm not claiming this is a good thing. It's just that this particular horror predates Chimpy and all his advisers. They haven't done anything to improve things, but that statement applies to ... I think everything.

    Feh. Now I've gone and thought about it. Six YEARS of this presidency, and not one bit of good done. What kind of person gets hold of that much power, and does absolutely NOTHING worthwhile? Even Timurlane and Caligula at least had some nice buildings erected.

    #189 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 05:44 PM:

    mjfgates @ 188: I think the point was not that Bush et al. created circumstances for the abuse, but that they did nothing about it when they could have, had it actually been a concern instead of frantic hand-waving at a politically precarious time. Which conclusion you seem to have come to as well.


    Even Timurlane and Caligula at least had some nice buildings erected.

    Well, we got Trent Lott's house.

    #190 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 06:30 PM:

    Bush has done great damage because he's been given great power and isn't competent to use it, not because he set out to do evil. This seems pretty distinct. I mean, it's hard to imagine he set out to make a disaster of Iraq, given what it's done to his reputation, his party, and his family's standing within the party. When is anyone going to nominate Jeb after this performance?

    As an aside, I think we are going to get a chance to empirically test whether Patrick is right about Bush casually tossing aside people when they become inconvenient. Gonzales has kept his job for longer under Bush than he would have under many presidents, I think. But it will be interesting to see if Gonzales suddenly feels the need to spend more time with his family in the next couple months....

    #191 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 06:53 PM:

    There have been at least a couple positive things resulting from the Schmuck's tenure.

    One that I can think of at the moment is that the dam which diverted the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates, which turned the marshes at the Persian Gulf where the waters had flowed before the damn into dry land, is gone. That's one of the few positive things that the Schmuck's tenure did.

    Going into Afghanistan to get Taliban and Taliban rules out was INITIALLY a postive step, but the failure to do a competent administrative and reconstruction and oversight, and the promotion of Taliban-except-in-name-just-as-despical-and-vile misogynists fanatic warlords, turned that promise of improvement, into another nightmare.

    #192 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 07:39 PM:

    albatross #190: Bush has done great damage because he's been given great power and isn't competent to use it, not because he set out to do evil.

    It's funny you should say that, because I honestly didn't believe "evil" existed until I witnessed this administration & its actions. Now, I believe in evil.

    #193 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:18 PM:

    albatross @ 190: Bush has done great damage because he's been given great power and isn't competent to use it, not because he set out to do evil. This seems pretty distinct.

    Evil consists of actions not taken as well as those taken. Evil can consist of truly not giving a damn how many people are hurt, how much damage is done, as a result of your actions and non-actions. You don't have to set out to do evil things in order to do evil; refusing to stop doing harm because you simply don't give a sh*t is just as evil as setting out to do those same things with the intention of causing harm.

    #194 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 09:46 PM:

    My new theory is that President Bush really does hear the voice of God directly. Unfortunately, he's also dyslexic. So when God says what God is always saying -- that politics must be shaped by justice -- Bush gets this mixed up and decides that the Department of Justice must be shaped by politics.

    So the firing of eight U.S. attorneys for not allowing partisan politics to determine their priorities may have been the result of Bush trying to obey God's will. (It's just a theory.)

    Fred Clark at slacktivist. -- he shoots, he scores!

    #195 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:24 PM:

    albatross @190:

    As an aside, I think we are going to get a chance to empirically test whether Patrick is right about Bush casually tossing aside people when they become inconvenient.

    Not necessarily. In the case of Gonzales, whom Bush has backed publicly, the impulse to ditch someone inconvenient is in conflict with the impulse to never admit a mistake. The latter is an especially powerful force in this administration.

    #196 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 10:49 PM:

    One thing to remember - Gonzales knows where several of Bush's skeletons are stashed (like that drunk driving incident). If Bush fires Gonzales, he has to make sure that Gonzales is 'safed', or it *will* come back on him. If I were Gonzo, I'd recommend being paranoid, and telling all to the friendly committee as soon as possible.

    #197 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 02:35 AM:

    Serge @ 180

    Zeus In Shock Bush Woman Probe

    In shock theological news tonight, it has been revealed that the leader of the Greek Pantheon, the god Zeus, has been involved with the Bush family, leading to new questions regarding the parentage of the US President. Theological Times reporters in Athens were unable to get any comment from the deity in question, although the patron deity of the city did mention that "it did sound a lot like one of [her father's] escapades."

    Sources at Olympia say that no statement has been released by the Sky God as yet, although their report was distorted by the unexplained rain of crockery and saucepans which accompanied a sudden thunderstorm in the region.

    In other news, Loki of the Norse pantheon released a statement from his place of imprisonment to deny any involvement with the birth of the US President.

    "I wish to point out that I have been tied in the company of my wife for centuries now. I am in no way responsible for the engendering of the current president of the United States, and strongly wish to disclaim all responsibility in the matter. My wife and I are miserable enough in each others' company - why would we possibly wish to add adultery to our problems?"

    #198 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:05 AM:

    Fragano @ 174

    Cool!

    #199 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:08 AM:

    Paula Lieberman @ 192

    the failure to do a competent administrative and reconstruction and oversight

    Not the mention the botched operation to get aid to the victims of an earthquake that left thousands freezing in a mountain winter.

    #200 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:11 AM:

    Sorry, I meant Paula @ 191

    #201 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:14 AM:

    ethan @ 192

    I honestly didn't believe "evil" existed until I witnessed this administration & its actions.

    Pol Pot and Slobodan Milošević didn't convince you? You are a hard sell!

    #202 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:34 AM:

    Bruce Cohen #201: You got me. I guess I was just in denial.

    #203 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 03:38 AM:

    There's some would have our ship bear a new name:
    "Ahasuerus", "Falkenberg", some name of strife.
    The space ahead is vast, unknown, not tame:
    our getting home will take ten years of life.
    We'll visit stars and planets strange and fair
    and dangerous to any passing through. We might
    find one-eyed shepherds or a tempter's lair,
    savor feast, bear famine, have to talk or fight.
    Our captain sits the bridge, takes watch and watch,
    so each alert will find her poised to deal
    with what impedes our flight. We know
    that weird as what we've seen, it's not a patch
    on what comes next. Looking forward still we feel
    the less for those we lost who cannot go.

    #204 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 06:59 AM:

    Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #198: Thank you!

    #205 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 07:11 AM:

    The voyage will depend on a mixed crew
    who must learn to live and work as one,
    to voyage home is all they wish to do.

    Strange and uncanny things will come in view,
    they'll grow into a family before they're done;
    the voyage will depend on a mixed crew.

    Love will bind them all before they're through
    and they won't lose their spirit on the run --
    to voyage home is all they wish to do.

    Crises will come and be resolved on cue
    yet from their purpose they will not be spun;
    the voyage will depend on a mixed crew.

    Carpers may speak nonsense till they're blue
    but the bold captain duty will not shun;
    to voyage home is all they wish to do.

    Over the years their spirits will renew
    in spite of threats from tractor beam or gun.
    The voyage will depend on a mixed crew;
    to voyage home is all they wish to do.

    #206 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 07:41 AM:

    Fragano @ 205

    Three comments:

    1) Very nicely done. I wouldn't have thought a villanelle would work well with a narrative subject; you finessed that neatly.

    2) If you get any faster at producing these poems I'll be reading them before I post the poems they're replies to.

    3) See 1)

    #207 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 10:56 AM:

    Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #206:

    Thanks!

    (I must point out that it is Dave Langford, and not I, who has the Ansible...)

    #208 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 05:01 PM:

    Can't let the ink get too dry and the pages get lost under other news, the pressure has to stay on and increase> :

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/032807A.shtml

    "Abramoff Emails Raise New Questions in Attorney Firings
    " By Matt Renner
    " t r u t h o u t | Report
    " Wednesay 28 March 2007

    " A Congressional probe into the dismissals of eight US attorneys last year has raised new questions about the role that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff played in the 2003 demotion of Frederick Black, the former US attorney in Guam...."

    [note, material quoting Rep Waxman is public domain, he was speaking as a member of Congress at the time...]


    " Furthermore, Waxman said, "The investigation also found that Barry Jackson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy to the senior adviser, used a 'georgewbush.com' email account to communicate with Neil Volz, an Abramoff associate who has been convicted of public corruption charges."

    "In one case, Mr. Abramoff sent Ms. Ralston an email on her RNC account asking her to 'pass on to Karl that Interior is about to approve a gaming compact ... for a tribe which is an anathema to all our supporters,'" and requesting "some quiet message from WH that this is absurd," Waxman wrote, quoting from the Ralston and Abramoff email exchange. "This email was forwarded to Jennifer Farley in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, who apparently then warned one of Abramoff's associates about the dangers of leaving a record of their communications. According to an email Mr. Abramoff received from his associate Kevin Ring: 'Your email to Susan was forwarded to Ruben Barrales and on to Jen Farley, who read it to me last night. I don't know what to think about this, but she said it is better not to put this stuff in writing in their email system because it might actually limit what they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits, etc.... Just letting you know what she said.'" ..."


    ============

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=179787

    "The Cunningham Scandal: A White House Link?"

    "....What's intriguing about the contract Wade received from the White House is that its amount equals the price Wade paid in August 2002 to buy the Duke-Stir, the yacht Cunningham lived (and partied) on in Washington. ...Cunningham himself negotiated the $140,000 purchase price of the boat in the summer of 2002. This raises the intriguing possibility that Wade that summer needed money to buy Cunningham the yacht and--presto--a White House contract materialized.

    "...this contract was Wade's first prime contract with the federal government. The firm had been incorporated in 1993 but had pulled in no revenue through 2001. ...did a White House contract help launch Wade on his felonious ways, and was this contract legitimate?

    "The modest contract reportedly covered supplying computers and office furniture to Vice President Dick Cheney's office. By the time it was signed, MZM, which had become an approved federal contractor only two months earlier, was already bribing Cunningham, a member of the influential defense appropriations subcommittee. Two months later, in September 2002, MZM hit it big, scoring a $250 million, five-year contract with the General Services Administration...."


    #209 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 05:19 PM:

    Congress until the recent political balance changes in Congress, blocked all attempts to remove the lids and rocks that were surrounded by evidence of vermin tracks and excreta. Rep. Waxman's every attempt to investigate/effect investigations met with Congressional and Executive Branch door slamming and stonewalling and deflection.

    Now he's the head of the committee instead of a marginalized ostracized powerless committee member, and all those rocks and lids he wanted looked under, are getting attention....

    #210 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 06:06 PM:

    Gonzales knows where several of Bush's skeletons are stashed (like that drunk driving incident). If Bush fires Gonzales, he has to make sure that Gonzales is 'safed', or it *will* come back on him.

    Attorney-client privilege. I doubt Bush is worried.

    #211 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 06:25 PM:

    Attorney-client privilege. I doubt Bush is worried.

    Some of it may not be, like the drunk-driving thing. Bush is pretty secretive, even with stuff that's already public. Think of his papers as governor, which he wants locked up until after he's dead. Having anyone who knows anything available to talk must be pretty high on his list of nightmares.

    #212 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 07:23 PM:

    Blank verse, I'm afraid. No rhyme schemes for me this time.

    Act I, Scene I: A starfield in the Alpha quadrant.

    Enter Kirk, in motley.

    KIRK:
    These are the voyages of this our crew,
    And also of the starship Enterprise.
    Its mission: Five long years in deepest space.
    Its purpose: Seeking out new life and strange
    new worlds, civilised and savage too --
    To boldly go where none have gone before.

    I shall note well these journeys in my log,
    The stardate, aye, and also the locale.
    And offer them to you, both geek and nerd,
    That you might spy a Gorn before we're through,
    Or swarthy Klingons clad in pencil pants
    And stripes, their foreheads smooth except for paint.
    Note well the authors' names and then reflect
    That after all, 'tis but a TV show and
    We but actors on a grainy cathode tube.

    Find here whatever slender joys you can.
    Compulsive viewing will reward the rabid fan.

    Enter Uhura, Spock, Sulu, and Red Shirts

    What news, Uhura? Why call me to the bridge?

    etc.

    #213 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 08:48 PM:

    O commemorate me by the transporter,
    The gold one, preferably, so shimmery
    Glittery, on deck 7 forward. Brother
    Commemorate me thus beautifully
    Where by a desk diaphonously chimes
    The beam for those held in molecular confinement
    Of pattern buffers. They cannot help but rhyme
    Who find their way to these Kirkadian decks
    Yeomen go by, skirts short, with false eyelashes,
    Fantastic light looks through transparent aluminum-
    And look! a shuttle comes bringing from Vulcan
    And other far-flung worlds mythologies.
    O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
    Tomb - just a transporter-room seat for the passer-by.

    #214 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 09:00 PM:

    (Can't...Resist...)

    This Is Just To Say

    I have scattered
    the atoms
    that were in
    the buffer

    for which
    you were probably
    needing
    a backup

    and we are
    out of dilithium
    so you
    can't go bold

    #215 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 11:09 PM:

    RODLMAO ... the poetry (and the prologue to the play) is wonderful!

    #216 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 11:11 PM:

    What god descended from Olympian height,
    perhaps from some vast distances of space
    to give to Barbara his divinest grace;
    or, perhaps, rose from the most Stygian night
    to create for us some quandary or plight
    and teach us all our proper servile place?
    (We'd love so much this paternity to trace.)
    We cannot know, and that we don't think right.
    Perhaps great Thor from garth of Aesir came,
    or Brother Anansi from far Afric land;
    perhaps some half-remembered god of war
    gave to our George the dark celestial flame
    (not Agni's but much like it), so from his hand
    might one day come the bright atomic star.

    #217 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 04:00 AM:

    PJ@215 - Assuming that RODLMAO is deliberate.
    I love it.

    It's been a distressing day here in Harbour City, and that helped balance it out a bit.

    #218 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2007, 09:24 PM:

    Epacris - sure was deliberate. At the time, you should pardon the expression, it seemed the logical thing to do.

    I was following today's hearing (and yesterday's, too). Gee, there are sure a lot of administrative types in Washington who don't seem to know where information is coming from or how decisions are made. Or can remember what they ate at lunch four months ago, but not who was there or what the presentation was about. Can someone explain why the f*ck we're paying them six-figure salaries if they're doing work at the skill level of trainee stock clerks? (I'd also like to do something unfortunate to several GOP congresspeople who seem to think that asking questions of people is a severe hardship for both the questioner and the questionee.)

    #219 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 01:51 AM:

    A five year mission to the sky,
    to trek beyond our ken, see what abides
    where stars amid the blackness cause
    our wonder. We seek out and befriend beings
    most unlike us, who also answer to the force
    that pushes us. Alliance is the best result.

    The next generation enlarges the result
    of the past. We trek still further in the sky
    to make more friends. We've found that force
    is not the only way to deal. Earth abides
    in peace and learns from all the beings
    we find. As time goes on we join in common cause.

    Out in the deep, old tensions may cause
    war. To pick a side could choose the wrong result,
    adding strength to actions of the beings
    who seek to rule us. But still the sky
    holds wonders beyond telling: our hope abides
    in gods in other space. We pray their force.

    A ship in peril, thrown through space by force
    unknown, two crews opposed must now find common cause.
    The trek to home is long, our hope abides
    in speed and not accepting any bad result.
    We meet new folk who also roam the sky;
    while some are allies, some are hostile beings.

    We look back at how some other beings
    first found us, to start us on the trek. The force
    that drives us shapes our way into the sky;
    we set forth using our own skills. The cause
    of strife comes out of time. The best result
    comes only with great trial, if strength abides.

    Now look beyond the space where peace abides
    and plan new treks to find new beings
    unlike us as may be. If the result
    is good or bad, does not matter to the force
    that drives us on, no matter what. The cause
    we follow is to make a culture in the sky.

    The force that pushes life beyond the sky
    can cause some single beings much woe.
    The long result at last is what abides.


    #220 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 03:04 AM:

    ::applause::

    #221 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:50 AM:

    Kathryn @169

    Belatedly, what with travel and jet lag:

    Across the Bay from storied Babylon
    Surrounded, but apart from, London's town
    I know before the airplane touches down
    It sits unchanged, though I am decades gone.
    Oh Highland Avenue, they still parade
    Each Independence day, the men in close
    Formation mower drill, lest grass that grows
    Too high permit that England re-invade.
    When I describe it, I say, Sunnydale,
    Without the vampires. They'd have long since fled
    To Berkeley, where it's cool to be undead.
    (Among the ski-tanned, only geeks are pale.)
    So I've returned to where I had begun
    My grand adventure. 94611.


    My email here is my email.

    #222 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:51 AM:

    And Bruce? Wow.

    #223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:13 AM:

    Welcome back to America, abi!

    #224 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:36 PM:

    I don't have enough time to work out a sestina, alas. However:

    Across the distance messages return
    from star-dates long forgotten by the stars;
    the symbols in the crystal glow and burn,
    embers of Klingon and Romulan wars.
    And now we all such strife and conflict spurn,
    and settle our disputes in spaceport bars.
    Although some memories still rankle and vex
    we celebrate, each in their turn, these treks.

    From former neutral zone and wartime front
    come tired heroes; they've been to and fro
    from Picard's calm to some old Kirk-like stunt
    they'll continue with their mission, make it so
    whether they're diplomatic or they're blunt;
    for the primal imperative is to boldly go.
    And atoms, like infinitives, smash and split
    yet, somehow, on each voyage, there is wit.

    To distant quadrants of which nothing's known
    by dynamic forces which they can't control
    but which can't overcome them, they'll be blown;
    alien and cyborg each find a human soul
    and Vulcan shows his heart is not a stone.
    To broaden human knowledge still the goal.
    What, though we wonder, will their journey find
    more wonderful than the frail human mind?

    On deep space station there's another cause
    controlling diverse species passing through;
    aliens and humans finding common laws
    are not enough, and yet each gets their due.
    Each faces and comes to master normal flaws,
    and each comes to take the other's point of view.
    What binds them all together is the start
    of shared understanding in each sapient heart.

    And even pioneers, on their first enterprise
    shocked and delighted by the things they found;
    warmed, hurt, or frozen under alien skies
    but still determined to stand on human ground.
    Learning to sort hard truths from the soft lies
    and ears attuning to the sphere's great sound.
    No quantum leap this from earth to deep space
    and yet we know this is their rightful place.

    #225 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:48 PM:

    Abi, as Serge said, welcome back to America.

    #226 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 12:49 PM:

    Abi, as Serge said, welcome back to America.

    #227 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:26 PM:

    Tania, abi

    I am thrice-blushed. Thank you.

    #228 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 06:35 PM:

    abi @ 221

    Abi, the one who knows just what to test,
    and binds books beautifully (or not, in jest),
    the Lady of the Lady of Khazad-dûm,
    is moving on. She's jumping blind, no room
    for error, a bit of fear, but lots of zest
    for what comes next. As for the rest,
    she carries it with her; I would assume
    it will be easy finding where she will resume.
    Jet-lagged, but glad to see the old home ground,
    she has returned to Oakland in the Bay
    from Scotland, still she'll miss the Bank.
    Now we in cyberspace who've talked and clowned
    while she grew weary on the way,
    have heard that she is there, Great Ghu be thanked.

    #229 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 08:05 PM:

    What we want is new horrors for the old,
    enough of zombies, vampires, or trolls,
    there aren't enough of them to fill the holes
    that have appeared when it stops being cold.
    The ones who want to fight them are so bold
    and eager to go out on swift patrols;
    they are the ones with well-developed souls,
    who've done the job for more than mere gold.
    New monsters are now needed, that's the case,
    but ones that aren't just squamous or rugose,
    monsters that will last beyond this year.
    We want some monsters that will set the pace,
    that won't be taciturn, nor yet verbose,
    but will inspire some deep, gut-clenching fear.

    #230 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:14 AM:

    With absolutely no apologies to Rudyard Kipling.

    I shambled down the avenue to get myself some brains.
    The people holding chain saws said "Begone, with your remains."
    The girls with cans of gasoline just giggled and looked on.
    I slunk back up the avenue, as it was almost dawn.

    Oh it's zombie this and zombie that, and zombie go away,
    But it's "Pass the brains you lifeless thing," when we start to decay.
    We all start to decay, my boys, we all start to decay,
    Oh it's "Pass the brains you lifeless thing," when we start to decay.

    I went down to the graveyard, to hang out with the ghouls.
    They won't eat the living, and so I called them fools.
    Then on down to the theater where the living sit around;
    they're watching the Omega Man while zombies cruise the town.

    Oh it's zombie this and zombie that, and zombie go away,
    But it's "Organs are the nicest food," when we start to decay.
    We all start to decay, my boys, we all start to decay,
    Oh it's "Organs are the nicest food," when we start to decay.

    #231 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:00 AM:

    94611? We're in the same ZIP code, abi? I'd really like to meet you.

    (I'd email, but I can't find an address either here or on the blog you link to. "My email here is my email" sounds like you've entered it into the posting form -- but the rest of us don't get to see that, it gets overwritten by your URL.)

    #232 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:13 AM:

    Well, what would Pope have said?


    Behold, where Thamesdoth make his stately turn,
    Zombies in noisome rags flare up and burn;
    Where poets chant, and where Belinda sings
    We see the evils such foul Magic brings.
    What wickedness hath such creatures in its train
    We know not, but we know it seeketh healthy brain;
    and 'Brains!' we hear, the Zombie's rallying cry,
    Proclaiming that great evil draweth nigh.
    They shamble onwards, shaking bush and tree,
    And from them all the decent people flee.
    Oh, woe betide the day, and rue the hour,
    That gave such eldritch beings life and power.

    #233 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:57 PM:

    David @231
    I sometimes assume that everyone is a software tester. Sorry about that.

    How to obtain anyone's email from ML, if they have a website blocking the mailto address, is simple. View All By (all praise) is indexed by email address, so click on VAB (ap) and take a note of the email address in the resultant URL.

    You obviously figured out that my email is my name here @ my domain.

    #234 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:21 PM:

    Bruce, thank you for the sonnet. I do have a bad case of nerves about changing jobs; this holiday in California should settle some of them.

    I hope.

    #235 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 01:21 AM:

    abi,

    You'll do fine. Take a break, don't worry about the future, and write a sonnet.

    #236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 08:04 AM:

    abi @ 234... I do have a bad case of nerves about changing jobs; this holiday in California should settle some of them.

    Oh, it will, it will...
    Bwahahahah!!!

    #237 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 03:27 AM:

    abi@233: Actually, Mez kindly wrote to inform me of the feature you note. I don't think I ever would have figured it out on my own.

    #238 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 11:54 AM:

    How the world has changed, and over how long....

    (I went to Con-Bust at Smith College over the weekend. The vast majority of attendees were female college students. Lynn Flewelling, Patricia Briggs, and Allen Steele were among the Guests. The anime track pulled fewer people than the panels. I didn't look in the gaming rooms. Some of the panel discussions had more people in the rooms than there were seats.

    (However, the reason for me mentioning Con-Bust, is that the changes that the SF/F world has gone through regarding the representation of women in SF/F since the 1950s, is mostly unknown history and unknown past to the people who were at the convention. The 1960s and 1970s have little to no visibility to them--the college students weren't alive then, they've never lived in a time that women were -banned- from commercial airline cockpits as pilots and flight engineers, never lived in a time when women were banned from Caltech, Princeton, Dartmouth, etc., never lived in a time when women were banned from military cockpits, and locked out of nearly all the gates necessary to enter medical school, executive suite as other than clerk-typists, law school, national politics as other than unpaid campaign workers, most churches as anything other than the women's auxillary raising funds and doing work but getting no real credit for it, and locked out of writing SF/F with female characters as other than trophies and Evil Bitch Queens....

    (And the times of the 1960s and 1970s were very different socially and in mindshare... Compare Watergate with all the crap pulled by the Schmuck and the military under his "leadership"... and notice that his advisors who aren't Queen Bees (have Miers and Rice done anything to promote opportunities for other women and girls and encourage them to enter politics, the military, law school, medical school, etc.? as compared to nominating a VETERINARIAN to be head of women's health at NIH and putting in a hatemonger anti-abortion crank who just got removed of removed himself from a high position in an agency concerned with social and medical issues involving women, appointing a QUACK Surgeon General who tells women they should pray to God for relief from menstrual cramps, AND elevating lice like Elaine Donnelly to control committees about women and the military and giving her totally bogus "Center for Military Readiness" big fat federal study contracts--it's no diffeerent than the appointments the Schmuck's made e.g. putting industry lobbyists for the mining industry, in charge of Mine Safety [making a fence the Chief of Police and giving the fence the keys to every house in the community and giving the fence encouragement to put every thief in the region on the police payroll...])

    ANYWAY...

    http://www.jonboles.blogspot.com/2006/10/bush-reported-to-have-purchased-99000.html

    "Bush Reported To Have Purchased 99,000 Acres In Paraguay
    "UPDATE--Monday, 10/23/06

    "Originally posted on Wayne Madsen Report: http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/

    "October 23, 2006 -- George W. Bush's Paraguay land deal. WMR's Paraguayan sources have confirmed that George W. Bush recently bought 42,000 hectares (over 100,000 acres) of land in Paraguay's northern "Chaco" region. The land sits atop huge natural gas reserves, according to sources in Asuncion. Moreover, the land deal was consummated in a dinner meeting between Bush's daughter Jenna and Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte....

    "Why might the president and his family need a 98,840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret U.S. military base manned by American troops who have been exempted from war-crimes prosecution by the Paraguayan government? - Wonkette"

    "five hundred U.S. troops ... arrived in Paraguay with planes, weapons and ammunition in July 2005, shortly after the Paraguayan Senate granted U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court jurisdiction. Neighboring countries and human rights organizations are concerned the massive air base at Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay is potential real estate for the U.S. military...."

    That the major news media has completely ignored the, leaving it to weblogs to notice, is utterly appalling....

    The 1960s and early 1970s were times of intellectual ferment and questioning, of cultural change and demands for social justice and decent treatment of all... the contemporary situation, this is fascist Amerika, the media controlled by conglomerates interested only in power and money, or control as in the Moonies' Washington Times...

    #239 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 04:45 PM:

    the Lady of the Lady of Khazad-dûm,

    I read this as "The Lady of the Lake of Khazad-dûm"

    ... I like it.

    *offers sword in tentacle*

    #240 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 09:43 PM:

    I'm a zombie! Who are you?
    Are you a zombie, too?
    Then there's a pair of us—don't tell!
    They'd chainsaw us, you know.

    How dreary are the living folks!
    They feel their aches and pains,
    And scream and yell and shoot their guns
    —until we eat their brains!

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