Archive for October, 2004

let’s hope it’s an omen

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

First there was the map that showed the paths of the Florida hurricanes, charging through the red counties and skipping the blue ones.

Now this. And on a night when the moon was blood red!

I think God is speaking to the President. And he’s saying, “Get your sorry ass back to Crawford.”

Maybe this makes me a bad Yankees fan, but I don’t care. This pleases me. And not just because it kept me from hitting the trifecta of cat-themed entries – though I’ll admit that was a concern.

Yay. I mean, if they’re going to bring God into this, maybe they ought to think about what he’s telling them…

Me, I’m going to. Like they say:


rise and shine

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

At four o’clock this morning, I was awakened by a soggy sock landing on my face.

See, the cat loves my socks – he loves anything that’s cashmere or wool of any kind, and I have some socks that have cashmere in them. He actually opens my sock drawer to steal them, which is an achievement in and of itself. He gets them out and goes nuts, throwing them around and chasing them, wrestling with them, generally showing them who’s boss. But what he really, really, really likes is for you to throw the socks for him. So he can fetch.

The thing is, he has another little “habit:” he likes to put his toys into his food bowl, like they’re his prey. But sometimes, if he wants to eat, he moves them – to his water bowl.

Hence my enjoyable reveille.

So then I had to figure out what to do with them, because if I put them on the ground – or, heaven forbid, threw them, he’d just think we were playing. And they’d be back, pronto. So I palmed them, and took them to the kitchen, and put them on the dish rack to dry. It worked. No more soggy sock fetch appeals.

For about 20 minutes.

This is super for my cold. He’s lucky he’s so damn cute.

See what he made me do? I have posted a picture of my cat. This is now officially a blog.

blue state indeed

Monday, October 25th, 2004

My throat hurts. It’s dreary out. J is gone. And the cat is eating my expensive new chair. The metal part, for chrissake.


I don’t dare look at the polls.

my point, proven

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

From Salon:

The blind leading the blind

Even if they don’t like to say it out loud, lots of Democrats think that George Bush’s supporters are a horde of ignoramuses. Now comes evidence that they’re right! A remarkable new report, titled “The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters,” from PIPA, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, suggests that rank and file Republicans are more benighted than even the most supercilious coastal elitist would imagine.

Analyzing data from a series of nationwide polls, the report finds that a majority of Bush supporters believe things about the world that are objectively untrue, while the majority of Kerry supporters dwell in the reality-based community. For example, Bush backers largely think that the president and his policies are popular internationally. Seventy-five percent believe that Iraq was providing “substantial” aid to al-Qaida, and 63 percent say clear evidence of this has been found. That, of course, would be news even to Donald Rumsfeld, who earlier this month told the Council on Foreign Relations, “To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two.”

Though its language is dispassionate, the report lays responsibility for this epidemic of ignorance at the White House’s door. “So why are Bush supporters clinging so tightly to these beliefs in the face of repeated disconfirmations?” it asks. “Apparently one key reason is that they continue to hear the Bush administration confirming these beliefs.”

Indeed, it says, “an overwhelming 82% [of Bush supporters] perceive the Bush administration as saying that Iraq had WMD (63%) or a major WMD program (19%). Only 16% of Bush supporters perceive the administration as saying that Iraq had some limited activities, but not an active program (15%) or had nothing (1%). The pattern on al Qaeda is similar. Seventy-five percent of Bush supporters think the Bush administration is currently saying Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda (56%) or even that it was directly involved in 9/11 (19%). Further, 55% of Bush supporters say it is their impression the Bush administration is currently saying the US has found clear evidence Saddam Hussein was working closely with al Qaeda (not saying clear evidence found: 37%).”

These people aren’t going to be swayed by the argument that Bush has alienated America’s allies and left the country isolated in the world, because they don’t believe this to be the case. “Despite a steady flow of official statements, public demonstrations, and public opinion polls showing that the US war against Iraq is quite unpopular, only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq,” the study says. Bush supporters also think that world public opinion favors Bush’s reelection. In a poll taken from Sept. 3-7, the study says, “57% of Bush supporters assumed that the majority of people in the world would prefer to see Bush reelected, 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred.”

In fact, a PIPA study released in early September found that a majority or plurality of people from 32 countries preferred Kerry to Bush. PIPA surveyed 34,330 people, ages 15 and above, from regions all over the world. A Pew poll released this spring similarly found that “large majorities in every country, except for the U.S., hold an unfavorable opinion of Bush.”

Bush supporters are also mistaken about the president’s own positions (a pattern of misapprehension that an earlier PIPA report also documented). “Majorities incorrectly assumed that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues — the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%); 51% incorrectly assumed he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty — the principal international accord on global warming … Only 13% of supporters are aware that he opposes labor and environmental standards in trade agreements — 74% incorrectly believe that he favors including labor and environmental standards in agreements on trade. In all these cases, there is a recurring theme: majorities of Bush supporters favor these positions, and they infer that Bush favors them as well.”

According to the report, this reality gap is something new in American life. “So why do Bush supporters show such a resistance to accepting dissonant information?” it asks. “While it is normal for people to show some resistance, the magnitude of the denial goes beyond the ordinary. Bush supporters have succeeded in suppressing awareness of the findings of a whole series of high-profile reports about prewar Iraq that have been blazoned across the headlines of newspapers and prompted extensive, high-profile and agonizing reflection. The fact that a large portion of Americans say they are unaware that the original reasons that the US took military action — and for which Americans continue to die on a daily basis — are not turning out to be valid, are probably not due to a simple failure to pay attention to the news.”

The analysis says that the roots of this denial could lie in the trauma of 9/11 and people’s desire to hold on to their image of Bush as a “capable protector.” It offers no guidance, though, on how ordinary Republicans might be coaxed back to reality.

And while “The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters” may be perversely satisfying to Democrats in its confirmation of blue-state prejudices, it carries a pretty disturbing question for all rational Americans: How can arguments based on fact prevail in a nation where so many people know so little?


So, as I said earlier this week, if you vote for Bush, you are wrong.

Sadly, this also suggests a weird ironic corollary: Maybe when Bush answered all questions – whether about taxes, or healthcare, or whatever – with stuff about No Child Left Behind, he wasn’t so far off. Maybe a little education really is what this country needs most.

Either that, or a President who isn’t a deluded pathological liar.

Yeah, I pick the second one.

united church of [your name here]

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004

Watching Jimmy Carter on the Daily Show last night, I couldn’t help but think about how different he, our last born-again President, is from our current born-again president. Carter, at 80, still builds houses for the poor. He travels the world to monitor elections in strife-riven countries. His faith has made him humble, a servant of the powerless.

And when I saw Desmond Tutu speak recently, it was the same. A man of deep religious feeling, who finds in that faith a wellspring of compassion and charity, driving him to be the voice of the voiceless.

And then there’s W. His faith makes him arrogant – he claims he is on a mission from God. (If you haven’t read Sunday’s New York Times Magazine profile about this, please do. It’s devastating.) Somehow, his much-touted piety drives him to be a king, rather than a servant.

I’m pretty sure the Bible wouldn’t approve, but what do I know? As far as I can tell, I wasn’t chosen by God for much of anything.

So what all this makes me think is, it seems to me that when you find “God,” all you really find is your truest self. So a gentle, thoughtful, kind man like Jimmy Carter, or a generous, wise, strong man like Desmond Tutu, finds in faith a framework for living out the noble, world-improving life within him.

And a cosseted ne’er-do-well who has been “saved” time and again from the consequences of his own shiftlessness and incompetence; a narcissistic, willful, closed-minded son of privilege; a megalomaniacally entitled Texan like W – well, he finds the conviction that his perfect self should rule the world, unquestioned and unquestioning. The same pigheaded crudeness that made him piss on cars at the cushy Alabama fundraising job his daddy got him to keep him out of Vietnam, long before Jesus saved him, drives him still. Only now it’s the fate of the world he’s pissing on.

Anyway, that’s my thought for the day: Seek God and you may only find yourself. Do with it what you will.

Personally, I’m going to see about writing some hymns for the God I’m finding in me – like, “Blessed are the Shiny Things,” and “Tremble, Tremble at the Polling Data.”

it’s only a flesh wound

Monday, October 18th, 2004

How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness!

(credit to John Cleese, via William Gibson)

If it weren’t for the people who can still make me laugh about this, I don’t know what I’d do. Thank you, John Cleese. And God save Jon Stewart.

i don’t want to think about politics any more

Friday, October 15th, 2004

So I googled “happy.” And what did I find? The Happy Tree Friends! Yay! Little cartoon critters! They’re “cute, cuddly…”

…and “horribly wrong?”

Yes, my search led me to a site where the adventures of adorable animated forest creatures end in maiming and death. Sigh.

I guess it’s back to Krugman. At least I can count on him for a little sanity. Someday, when I am King, he will be my Prime Minister. And my palace will be a treehouse in a birch grove, and a silver pony will carry me…

Um, okay. I’m back. Like I said, Krugman’s in charge of sanity. I’m just here to hold the magical sceptre.

Wow. I don’t know if I’m going to survive three more weeks.

zen master

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

Apparently, I am more like W. than Kerry.

I don’t know how Kerry stays so calm in the face of the crap being pulled by the Bad Guys. This morning, a friend sent an email called “The Burden of Being a Republican” listing all the impossible things one has to believe in order to support Bush. Cute, and a pretty good wrapup for a bulk email. But then someone on his list sent a reply that was an RNC talking points screed, and I just lost it. Lost. It. It was about Kerry’s Senate votes, supposedly an attack on his record, but it was of course a complete distortion and parade of ignorance. Yet instead of ignoring it (it was a “Reply All” from someone I don’t really know) I went ballistic, dismantling it point by point in a nearly-1000-word response. And I wasn’t nice about it. I was like some scary hybrid of W. in Debate 1 – scowling, hunched over my keyboard – and W. in Debate 2 – yelling and going after Charlie Gibson.


Talking about a vote against a particular version of a bill as meaning someone is “against” the issue related to it displays a lack of understanding of how Congress works. Say there’s a bill to protect puppies. But say that the bill says that in order to protect puppies, what we have to do is kill babies, because sometimes babies pull puppies’ tails. Is a Senator who votes against the “Defense of Puppies Act” anti-puppy? Of course not. And when you talk about Kerry not voting for these things, that’s often exactly the situation. To use the most famous example, Kerry voted against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation for Iraq. Because he didn’t think it should be funded by adding to the deficit even more; he thought the president should have to give up part of his tax cut for wealthy people and corporations to pay for it. There was a competing bill that would fund things differently, and Kerry wanted that one. This is how legislation gets made. The President himself threatened to veto the $87 billion – because an amendment was being considered that he didn’t like. Does that mean the President didn’t want to fund the troops? Of course not. Everyone wanted to fund the troops. There was debate about how. So when you talk about the appropriations bills, it doesn’t mean anything. Welcome to the real world.

A little mean? Yeah. Sorta condescending? Yup. And that’s not the harshest part. But you know, I’m just not going to take it anymore. I’m not going to stand by like Wolf Blitzer and let lies be given equivalency with truth. As Unamuno put it, “At times, to be silent is to lie.”

I ended by saying that there is a right way and a wrong way to vote in this election, and that Bush is the wrong way. Apparently some people thought that was excessive. But they’re wrong.


Vote Kerry. Or I will tell you you are wrong.

there is nothing they will not do

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

My god, we have to win. This is not America.

I trace this line all the way back to the crazed Clinton haters. Drunk with the delusion that they were on God’s mission, they were the first, I think, with this “by any means necessary” mindset.

It’s a straight line from Whitewater to Florida to the shameless evil of this year.

I saw Joe Trippi speak, and he said he thinks the whole discussion this spring about delaying the election in case of a terror attack was just to lay the groundwork for phonebanking minorities on Election Day and telling them “Stay home, there’s a terror warning, the election has been postponed until next week.”

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But then there are the shenanigans in Ohio and Colorado. And a high-ranking Michigan Republican saying on Monday that “we’ve got to make sure we suppress turnout in urban areas.” I mean, good lord! How can you talk about suppressing turnout with a straight face? You’re supposed to be getting your people to vote, not stopping others! What country is this?

They don’t even hear themselves. Too busy listening to the angelic chorus, I guess.

I hear Lucifer has a lovely singing voice.

r.i.p., superman

Monday, October 11th, 2004

I am curiously affected by this one. Usually I have no patience for the bathos that erupts over celebrity deaths, but this one really got me. Maybe it’s because I was little enough to half believe he really was Superman, and that there might be someone out there who would save us.

Maybe it’s that I feel like W. killed him.

I got really mad, watching the news. Just thinking, congratulations, Mr. President. Osama’s just fine, but you killed Superman. Another victory for truth, justice, and the American way – Oh, wait. Oops.

Goodbye, C.R. You’ll be missed.