Wednesday, November 30, 2005



Last night I participated in a question and answer session between bloggers and Francine Busby, the San Diego progressive Democrat with an excellent chance of turning "Duke" Cunningham's now vacant 50th CD from tyrannical red to democratic blue. I like Busby a lot and I think she's going to be an exemplary congresswoman and one of the things I liked the most on the call was when she explained how to make sure far right extremists don't get an opportunity to define the race with their demagoguery and simplistic answers to tough questions. Slogans are not what's needed to solve the country's problems-- solid programs are. Right after the call I wrote about Busby's Change Legislative Ethics and Attitudes Now (CLEAN) House Act, a perfect example of looking for real solutions to real problems rather than playing the posturing and PR game by appealing to everyone's dark side and basest instincts.

George Bush's pathetic excuse for leadership has given America 5 years of government by partisan PR. This morning's nonsensical rehash of failed old policies-- with a shiny, colorful (expensive) pamphlet, also with nothing new in it-- was more of the same: nothing by deceptive bullshit. Although some Democrats-- like Kerry and Nebraska Nelson-- have been inside the Beltway so long they've forgotten how to speak straight-forward English, the outpouring of dissatisfaction from Democrats and independents after Bush's disgraceful charade this morning, was deafening. Although the Likud's representative to the U.S., one Joseph Lieberman (disguised as a Democrat) supports Bush's neo-con con completely, actual Democratic reaction was thoughtful and stinging. Harry Reid' analysis was powerful and straight to the point. But even stronger was Russ Feingold's. "While today's speech by the President was billed as yet another attempt to lay out a plan for finishing the military mission in Iraq, the only new thing the administration gave the American people was a glossy 35-page pamphlet filled with the same rhetoric we've all heard before. Today's action by the White House isn't a step forward, it's a step back. In fact the booklet the administration released to accompany the President's speech is described as a '...document [that] articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003...' That alone makes it clear that the President seems more dug in than ever to the same old 'stay the course' way of thinking. This is not a strategy, and it certainly is not a plan to complete the military mission in Iraq. The American people, an increasing number of elected officials, and more and more military and intelligence officials understand what the President doesn't-- that our seemingly indefinite presence in Iraq, and the lack of a plan to redeploy troops, feeds the insurgency and hurts our national security. We need leadership, and we need a policy on Iraq that includes a flexible timetable for completing our military mission there, so that we can focus on our national security priority-- defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten the US The President missed a vital opportunity today. Our brave service members, their families, the American people, and the Iraqi's themselves deserve and demand more."

Even Hillary Clinton is finally coming around to understand that for the vast majority of Americans this foolish war is all but over. Yesterday, saying she would "accept responsibility" for her vote to authorize Bush to attack Iraq, she added for the first time that "[I]f Congress had been asked, based on what we know now, we never would have agreed" to give Bush the authority to go to war. By 2010 she may catch up to Feingold and every single person I know.

And opposing Bush and watching him and his political party, drowning in arrogance and corruption, fall apart is NOT enough to re-shape the political landscape. An editorial by Howard Dean in THE HILL today could.

"In 2006, Democrats will take back the House and the Senate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have done an excellent job recruiting strong candidates, and we are already investing in the local infrastructure to ensure they win. But the key to winning is running a national campaign based on our different vision and the themes that Democrats around the country have put forward."

Like Francine Busby in San Diego, Governor Dean realizes Americans are revolted by GOP corruption and over-reaching-- and that something must be done about it and that Democrats need to be as clear as a bell about this. "Americans of all political persuasions are tired of and worried about the culture of corruption that Republicans have brought to Washington and to so many statehouses around America. We will offer real ethics reform and election reform so that the Government Accountability Office can report in three years that we can have confidence in our voting machines."

Just as important-- remember that is always the economy, stupid-- is... the economy and the sorry hash Bush and his greedy, selfish policies have wreaked on the rest of us. Dean promises Democrats "will offer a program for American jobs that stay in America and for energy independence that will create jobs and wean us off of foreign oil. The only president to balance a budget in the past 37 years was a Democrat. We will do that again. We will offer a real tax-reform program that helps the middle class pay for it by eliminating the shocking waste and giveaways the Republican Congress and president have added to the budget and subtracted from revenues in the past five years. We will join the 36 other countries that manage to include all their citizens in their health-insurance systems while simultaneously balancing their budgets. We will provide a strong public education system by avoiding bureaucratic federal mandates and taxpayer-funded puff pieces. We will rely on local control while requiring real standards that work nationally."

I know what Dean would like to say about getting us out of Bush's Iraq war and occupation, but as Chairman of the DNC he is somewhat obligated to represent all segments of the party-- not counting lunatics and assholes like Lieberman. "We will offer Americans real security. We all agree that 2006 must be a transition year in Iraq. While we may have different ideas about tactics and timing, it’s clear we must change course. The vision of strategic redeployment set forward by Brian Katulis and former Reagan Defense Department official Lawrence Korb offers a likely roadmap to success that we can coalesce around. We will offer the American people a government that is honest in preparing for any deployment of American troops and honor their sacrifice when they come home."

And with America in the clutches of the Republican Noise Machine, Dean wants to remind Americans that there are real differences between Democrats and Republicans. "Most important, we will talk about Democratic values, which are America’s values. The vast majority of Americans believe it is immoral to lets kids go hungry. We agree. The other party cuts school lunches (they just can’t seem to leave that one alone.) Americans believe it is immoral that not everyone has some kind of health insurance. We agree. The vast majority of Americans believe that government overreaching into personal and family decisions is wrong. We agree. Americans believe that it is immoral to leave huge debts to our children and grandchildren. We agree." Me too.



Don't ask me how I wound up on a right-wing hate site called JEW WATCH but someone sent me an e-mail with some links and one led to another and then another and suddenly I'm in a right-wing land of make believe, a real Far Right No-Excuses-Made-World. And not unlike the way my friend A monitors Fox "News" (albeit excessively watching them all day and all night) to see what the Far Right is up to, I decided to check out these loons and see what's cooking at the logical conclusion of Bushism. Most of it is insane-- actually all of it is insane-- but there are a few little pieces worth knowing here and there. For example, for everyone who was wondering about "Scooter's" real name: Irving Lewis Liebowitz. Being a whacky far right site they also make a big deal about him being Jewish (and having made $2 million in legal fees for defending commodities trader/tax evader Marc Rich). Oh, and they claim he's possibly an Israeli agent. Most patriotic Americans realize Rupert Murdoch is a far right neo-Nazi (and only maybe re: "neo") who is willing to actually lose money in order to propagandize for right wing extremists and their causes. The loonies at JEW WATCH are scandalized because he has a bit of Jewish blood and "internationalist Jewish views"!

Wow and in their headlong dash over the cliff of sanity to slander Jews, they've got a cool story about one of the scores of Bush cronies using GOP connections to get in on the rape of Iraq (aka-- the GOP Iraq reconstruction effort). There's so much here. If you have any Jewish friends who support Bush and vote for Republicans you should make sure they see the site.

At the same time, they might want to take a look at the "writings" of Republican propagandist and BushCheney-America poster-girl, Ann Coulter. Although, for historical reasons, Jews may be somewhat more sensitive to this kind of vicious right-wing demagoguery and deceit, any and all Americans ought to play the Ann Coulter parlor game. You read a couple of paragraphs aloud and the person who identifies the most out-and-out lies wins. Here, give it a try:

In the Iraq war so far, the U.S. military has deposed a dictator who had already used weapons of mass destruction and would have used them again. As we now know, Saddam Hussein was working with al-Qaida and was trying to acquire long-range missiles from North Korea and enriched uranium from Niger.
Saddam is on trial. His psychopath sons are dead. We've captured or killed scores of foreign terrorists in Baghdad. Rape rooms and torture chambers are back in R. Kelly's Miami Beach mansion where they belong.
The Iraqi people have voted in two free, democratic elections this year. In a rash and unconsidered move, they even gave women the right to vote.
Iraqis have ratified a constitution and will vote for a National Assembly next month. The long-suffering Kurds are free and no longer require 24x7 protection by U.S. fighter jets.

No wonder some Americans get confused! Here's someone that is treated somewhat seriously by the mainstream media-- when she obviously belongs in a mental institution-- spouting off lie after lie after lie, as though they're undisputed Truth. You wonder why Bush still has over a quarter of the people in this country supporting him? The corporate mass media propagates psychopaths like Ann Coulter to keep Hitler/Goebbels "Big Lie" dictum operative.

And as long as we're on the topic of fringe right-wing Republicans, when's the last time you checked in on the distinguished Republican former-Representative from Louisiana, David Duke (also a former Grand Dragon of the KKK)? He's off on a diplomatic mission to see his pals in Syria. This crazy Republican racist, fascist and notorious anti-Semite spoke at a rally in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, did an interview on Syria TV, appeared at a press conference in Damascus-- who does he think he is, Ann Coulter?-- and met with Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmed Hassoun.

Kissing up to the Syrians, he started out by declaring that he had come "to Syria to express my support to the Syrian people and their just stances... It's the duty of every free man to reject the conspiracies and threats Syria is exposed to," adding that both the U.S. and Syria were both occupied by the Zionists and went on to say that the Zionists had also occupied "Washington DC, and New York, and London, and many other capitals in the world." He then went on to explain the real cause of the failed Iraq war. I've been warning Jews-- especially Jews who supported Bush in this idiotic and unjust war and occupation-- that all one has to do is look at History to know that when it all goes wrong the Right will blame "The Jews" for the whole thing. And here's Duke, on the cutting edge, just a year or two ahead of his Party.

"Well, you must understand," he explained on Syrian TV, "that the chief architects of the war were Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl, Daniel Feith, Mr. Wurmser, Elliot Abrams, in the United States. They were the architects of this war. Mr. Pearl, as well as Mr. Wurmser and Feith, wrote a paper called 'A Clean Break: Securing the Realm,' a paper for Israel, for Benjamin Netanyahu. That paper said that the way to Damascus was through Baghdad. I believe that this is part of the ongoing Zionist effort, in their control of American foreign policy, to dominate the entire Middle East, and I believe, dominate the world. I think America is occupied in many ways the way the Golan Heights is occupied, the way the West Bank of Palestine is occupied... They are Jewish fanatics, extremists, they are not normal people... The people who are pushing Jewish supremacism, Zionism - they are absolute evil and they are crazy. All they know is more power, and so there is a real danger, I should say, for Syria, and a danger for Iran at this point."

How long will it be before other craven Republican hacks will be echoing what Duke already told the Syrians? This is Duke speaking but how hard is it to imagine Coulter or, eventually, Orrin Hatch, Tom Coburn, James Inhofe or either of those two nutcases from Texas? "Well, as a patriotic American - and I come here not as a Syrian partisan, but as an American patriot - it's more shocking for me than it should be for you, because our sons and daughters are being killed in Iraq, are being wounded, innocent Iraqis have died, America is being hurt, and yet we have this policy which is only for Israel. This war is completely about Israel, and I would like to suggest to people in the Middle East... Sometimes I believe that the Zionists run a mystification on us. I find, with some of the leftists around the world who say this is a war for oil or this is an American imperialist war - No, this is a case of the Zionists using America to fight their war with our blood and our money... every major Jewish organization in the United States, including the Council of Presidents of Jewish Organizations, supports this Iraq war. The largest and most powerful lobby in the United States government is the Israel lobby. Now as an American citizen, I find it pretty strange that a foreign country would have the most powerful lobby in our government... The number one problem, political, economic, and social, on this planet now is what we call Zionism and more specifically, Jewish supremacism. These radical, extremist Jewish elements such as Ariel Sharon, such as the neo-cons in Washington, believe this strange [idea] that they have a right to control the world - not just Palestine, not just Syria, Iraq, and Iran and the rest of the Middle East, but also London, New York, and Toronto. All over the world you see the same pattern of control over the media, the same pattern of influence."

And Duke is also getting ready to blame Israel and the (largely Jewish) neo-cons not just for the war but also for Bush's possible (probable?) impeachment: "The Zionists created the lies of this war. In fact, Steven Cohen was the CIA person who manufactured the evidence... Even Israel's CIA, even Israel's Mossad actually put forward evidence to the United States about weapons of mass destruction. Israel itself basically [knows] that they lied, they know Bush knows that he lied, so now they say to Bush: OK, either you continue on with this program, with securing the realm, with this war, either you continue on with this or we will have you impeached."

I can't believe someone as smart as Henry Waxman could have fallen into the right-wing trap. But he did. Waxman and all the southern California Jewish progressive congressmen voted with DeLay and Bush and against the majority of Democrats and progressives in Congress to give Bush authority to invade Iraq. It was a terrible mistake for America and for Iraq, of course, but it may also turn into a catastrophe for American Jews.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005



Francine Busby has been living in a San Diego area represented by one of the half dozen most corrupt and contemptible parasites to afflict American electoral politics, confessed crook Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Cunningham is going to prison until Bush pardons him in 2008 (unless Bush is impeached before then). But what about the 50th congressional district? Francine has basically been running a campaign geared for the law to catch up with Cunningham for 4 years. She is poised to win this seat.

Last week, even before Cunningham confessed to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors (who were selling shoddy and useless products to the Pentagon for our fighting men), Francine unveiled a Clean House Act. And it's no coincidence that something like this is coming from someone living in a district represented by pure and unmitigated filth like Cunningham (one among dozens of grotesquely corrupt Republicans, but one lame and greedily overreaching enough to get caught red handed). Calling it the Change Legislative Ethics and Attitudes Now (CLEAN) House Act, it is an ethics proposal more ambitious than any currently introduced in Congress. These are the 4 main parts:

• Ban All Outside Financial Relationships With Government Contractors
• Ban Members Promoting Specific Businesses For Government Contracts of Regulatory Favors
• Eliminate Anonymous Appropriations
• Ban All Privately Funded Congressional Travel

Watch the Republicans squeal like stuck pigs when Francine tries getting this modest, common-sense proposal legislated after she becomes the first Democratic congressperson elected in a tsunami of outrage against Republican extremism, incompetence and corruption. She is demanding that WE THE PEOPLE "hold members of Congress to the same standards that we demand of ourselves. The need for ethics reform has become obvious to Americans who have witnessed Congress treat itself more and more as an exclusive club where members make rules, bend rules and break rules to protect one another and the culture of corruption that has emerged as the norm." Makes complete sense to me and a really good reason to support Francine in the special election Schwarzenegger will have to call to fill the seat from which the disgraced Cunningham resigned yesterday.



With all the hubbub over the Reagan-era Salvadorian death squads poppin' up in newly democratizing (take note Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mark Warner) Iraq and with poor Congressman Cunningham admitting to a few million dollars in bribery to cover-up a Republican culture of corruption that should demolish the GOP's iron grip power in Congress and the White House, who has time to pay attention to a little old fashioned Georgia racism? Your pals at DWT, that's who!

Now if you thought Mean Jean Schmidt was an evil and vile crack whore you would be correct but that's like shooting ducks in a barrel because she looks like an evil and vile crack whore. Georgia GOP legislator Sue Burmeister, on the other hand isn't all haggard and perpetually frothing at the mouth. Appearances can be deceptive. This religionist fanatic, whose ideas are more akin to the thinking of the early Middle Ages (or to to that in moderne theocracies like Iran and Taliban-era Afghanistan), has personally carried much of the GOP's most divisive and highly charged, super partisan issues in this year's legislative session-- with a smile and what passes for charm in GOP circles. (Think, if you dare, of that Coulter monster.)

Another far right loon down there, Georgia's House Speaker Pro Tem, Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta) can think of no better compliment for the somewhat deranged Burmeister than to refer to her as "just a great woman warrior for conservative causes." Her latest "conservative cause" is an attempt to reinstitutionalize racism in Georgia's voting system. Her photo ID requirement legislation has alarmed African-Americans, at whom it is aimed, and everyone who even learned about and understood why this country fought a Civil War. Many Georgia legislators have pointed out that Burmeister's vicious little bill is nothing more than a racist attempt to disenfranchise minorities (not just African-Americans but also the elderly, particularly the poverty-stricken elderly) who are less likely to drive than white people.

OK, that basically is the background. I'm not going to tell you that Burmeister was caught at a neo-Nazi rally in Decatur or that someone tackled a torch-brandishing KKK freak and when the sheets and pillowcase came off it was charming and smiling Sue Burmeister. Instead there's a little secret memo that got released that has people going bonkers. You see Representative Burmeister is fast to always point out that she was born and raised in "racist free" Wisconsin of "racist-free" Finnish parents and that she's never had a racist bone in her body and so on.

In any case, a couple weeks ago, after Burmeister's racist bill was passed-- and was then over-turned by a judge saying we don't do poll taxes to prevent people from voting in America anymore-- a memo leaked out of the Justice Department that was as good as taking off Burmeister's sheet and pillowcase hood.

According to the memo, Burmeister told the Justice Department that she was "aware of vote-buying in certain precincts" and detailed one episode in which she said former Augusta Mayor Ed McIntyre (now, conveniently dead) offered to put her name on a card and then round up black voters and "pay them to vote for the candidates on the card in exchange for $2,000." Burmeister then went on to say that "if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud." She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls. See? No racism there! And if there is any she didn't get it from Finns or Cheeseheads. I wonder how long you have to live in Georgia before you catch it?

A quick postscript on Bill Moyers


I'm not much given to hyperbole, but DWT's "revered" seems to me a good word for Bill Moyers as a journalist. "We were biased, all right—in favor of uncovering the news that powerful people wanted to keep hidden," he says, and boy, does he have a body of work to back it up.

Can you imagine what a different place this country would be if working journalists took Bill Moyers as a model--as opposed to the Bob Woodward-Judith Miller ("You too can be an insider!") model?

The only reason I'm putting this in the form of a blog entry rather than a "comment" is that it connects all too directly with the point I've been trying to make about the substitution of "reality substitute" for the real thing in our public discourse. It's what allows Fox News to get away with calling its wholesale, unremitting and utterly conscienceless perversion of truth "fair and balanced." A loathsome slug like Kenneth Tomlinson, whose every word is a blatant lie and who has only contempt for the truth and suckers who honor it, can pretend to be a champion of "balance," a crusader against "bias." He probably doesn't have an honest cell in his diseased carcass.

And yet he has the power to defame Bill Moyers. And it's only because his arrogance (and, probably, his stupidity) is so sociopathically over the top that he allowed himself to get caught actually breaking the law. There's some comfort in his downfall (though he has far from disappeared!), but in truth, not all that much. If he hadn't overreached so grotesquely, Moyers' unimpeachable record of accomplishment would have provided him with no protection against Tomlinson's assault on him and public broadcasting.

One of the astonishing features of David Brock's Blinded by the Right, the book in which he chronicled his rise as a right-wing media hit man and then his falling away from the movement, is Brock's own (wildly belated) discovery that what he and all the other right-wing so-called journalists practiced has nothing to do with actual journalism. He came to understand that actual journalists set out to find out what the story is, whereas what he and his peers did was start with some premise, driven purely by extremist ideology, and then go out and find whatever dressing they could--factual or otherwise--to deck it out.

The shame Brock felt seems to have helped convert him to something of a zealot for truth. Actual truth, that is. Of course now hardly anyone listens to him. When he was a professional liar, stitching together vicious fabrications that too many Americans seem to want to hear, he was a media star.

If nothing else, my guess is that he sleeps better now.



Well, we couldn't ask the fish, but according to a just released Zogby poll Ohio voters rate Taft lower than any governor has ever been rated by anyone... anywhere. "I'm not aware of anyone who's ever sunk lower," pollster John Zogby told the TOLEDO BLADE. The only other governor to ever come close to Taft's dismal ratings was Illinois Republican Governor George Ryan, also caught up in a financial and bribery scandal.

Taft, who heads up a political organization so riddled with corruption and fraud that it is far more appropriate to call it an organized crime syndicate than the Republican Party, although in the eyes of more and more voters the two things are practically synonymous. Remember this is the... well, whatever you want to call it: party... mob, crime organization... that spawned Tom "CoinGate" Noe, Bob Ney, Deborah Pryce, Mike DeWine, "Mean Jean" Schmidt, Ken Blackwell, Jim Petro, Betty Montgomery and dozens and dozens of some of the most corrupt and venal politicians in America. Taft's approval ratings have now sunken so low that they are in single digits! Only 3% of Ohio voters rate him as "excellent" and, overall, his approval rating is 6.5%, making even the much hated Dick Cheney look like a winner!

Taft, recently convicted of ethics violations-- though as yet uncharged for his role in the theft of the 2004 presidential election or for his very key role in the systematic looting of the Ohio Workmen's Compensation Fund, two continuing investigations-- has steadfastly refused to resign. 61% of Ohioans think he should have. The particular charges on which Taft were convicted stemmed from the vast on-going scandal-- touching nearly ever elected Republican in the state (including most of the state Supreme Court, both U.S. Senators, and half a dozen congressmen)-- involving Noe, the former Republican chairman/fund-raiser/Taft golfing partner who was recently indicted on charges that include laundering money to Bush's 2004 campaign.

Although poll respondents have Bush a relatively high approval rating of 46% (most states rate him in the 30s and he's starting to slip into the 20s), approximately half of those same respondents believe Taft is running a "purposely corrupt" regime in Ohio. Taft's only comment was that he "doesn't govern by polls." Yes, we have all become painfully aware of just exactly how Bob Taft does govern!

Monday, November 28, 2005



There are so many Republican crooks running around loose that it's difficult to keep up with all the stories. And hard to image it was just a couple weeks ago that Kenneth Y. Tomlinson was roasting in his moment of infamy after being kicked off the Board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I'm sure he's been very relieved every time someone brought up DeLay and Abramoff and Scanlon and Frist and Ney and Noe and Burns and even his close friend and benefactor Rove, and Libby and every Republicrook hittin' the headlines lately. And today... Cunningham pleading guilty to conspiracy, to taking millions of dollars in bribes, to tax evasion, etc and then breaking down and crying like a little girl on TV... well... who's gonna care that Kenneth Y. Tomlinson was caught wrecking the country's public broadcast system?

Well... Bill Moyers was interviewed by John Eggerton in BROADCASTING & CABLE today-- and he had plenty to say about Rove's sinister but slovenly-looking Goebbels. And Bill wasn't pulling any punches! In response to a question about Tomlinson having charged that Moyers-- one of the most, if not the most, revered broadcast journalists in the country-- was "liberally biased," Moyers correctly pointed out that "right-wing partisans like Tomlinson have always attacked aggressive reporting as liberal. We were biased, all right— in favor of uncovering the news that powerful people wanted to keep hidden: conflicts of interest at the Department of Interior, secret meetings between Vice President Cheney and the oil industry, backdoor shenanigans by lobbyists at the FCC, corruption in Congress, neglect of wounded veterans returning from Iraq, Pentagon cost overruns, the manipulation of intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq. We were way ahead of the news curve on these stories, and the administration turned its hit men loose on us. Tomlinson actually told THE WASHINGTON POST that he was irate over one of our documentary reports from a small town in Pennsylvania hard-hit by outsourcing. If reporting on what's happening to ordinary people thrown overboard by circumstances beyond their control and betrayed by Washington officials is liberalism, I stand convicted. It is an old canard of right-wing ideologues like Tomlinson to equate tough journalism with liberalism. They hope to distract people from the message by trying to discredit the messenger. NOW threw the fear of God into Tomlinson's crowd because they couldn't dispute the accuracy of our reporting."

Moyers also talks about Tomlinson threatening to de-fund PBS if they didn't "deal" with Moyers and about how Tomlinson repeatedly refused to debate him as he scurried around in the dark, reporting only to KKKarl Rove and busy as a beaver wrecking a great institution by populating it with Republican political hacks and cronies ala that freak Bush installed at FEMA who oversaw the destruction of New Orleans.



For as long as I've known Helen-- very long-- she's been getting upset about little things that could ruin peoples' lives. Of all my friends at college she was most eager to come with me to get arrested at the first big draft card burning. Today she was upset about the unregulated hand of credit card companies reaching into our wallets. She sent this in a little while ago:

A couple of nights ago, on CBS News, I saw a little segment about credit cards that got my blood boiling. Aha! A piece for DWT for sure!!

An older woman was seated at a desk with piles of papers all over it. She runs her own small business and she uses credit cardits to pay her bills. She views herself as an impeccably responsible business woman. She has always paid her bills on time; she has never been late with a payment. She always pays at least the minimum amount. Suddenly out of the blue, the interest rate on one of her cards skyrocketed, up to 28%! When she contacted the company about this, she was informed that because she was now borrowing more than the bank felt comfortable with, she is now a considered a high risk customer. Voila! They raised her interest rate significantly. Apparently, banks now have their own rules about how much debt you take on that are not related to the loan limit on your account. Apparently, banks now have their own guidelines, likely laid out in actuarial tables and charts, which they have not shared with us. Or have they? Maybe this data is buried in the tiny, tiny print on those pages we receive occasionally about our credit card accounts. The woman in the story is pursuing this matter legally, but at this point, she is required to pay this exhorbitant interest rate. (I wonder what the numbers would look like if you owe say $5,000 and were paying 7% and now you are paying 28%? It would not be pretty.) 

Wow. You could wind up in a real bind financially. Imagine having your family's financial picture, which is dependent on certain rules, suddenly shift because the rules have changed. You now need to pay out a lot more money every month to cover your debt. This would certainly tighten many people's budgets. What if it put you over the brink?

Too bad. Probably, if you are middle class, you can no longer claim bankruptcy. Because of the new law recently passed by the Republican Congress, with too many Democrats voting for it, I might add. This horrendous law was passed due to tremendous pressure from lobbyists for the credit card companies, who courtesy of indicted GOP Crime chief Tom DeLay and his K Street Project allowed the lobbyists to participate in the actual drafting of the law's provisions. How surprising and shocking.

I remember some other news segments I've seen that are related to this matter. If you are late with a credit card payment, even just one, you could be headed for BIG financial trouble. The interest rates could go up on ALL of your credit card accounts. I also saw a news segment about someone losing his homeowner's insurance because of one late credit card payment.

Usury laws vary among the states. What is interesting is banks have separate rules-- they can ignore state usury limits! Isn't that interesting?  

So what will happen to all of the people who find they are now borrowing more than they should according to the banks, even though the banks have been happy to loan the high amounts to them? We will have a lot of folks living in tremendous debt and working only to chip away at paying it off. A debtor class!! Another low for America a la BushCo.

My brilliant cousin Rachel, a professor in San Diego, sent me this article, "Burying College Grads in Debt," which describes college graduates as joining the ranks of the new debtor class. The average student borrower now graduates with $27, 600 in debt-- three and a half times more debt than ten years ago. According to the Department of Education, 39% of these borrowers have unmanageable levels of debt. In addition, young people's average credit card debt is $4, 000. This adds up to a lot of debt! How awful to be young and starting out and having so much debt. This is an unfair burden and morally reprehensible. And Republican-controlled Congress is chomping at the bit to cut even more student aid to finance even more tax cuts for multimillionaires and corporations.



Last May/June there were two news stories the media was completely unwilling to cover and those two stories-- Ohio's CoinGate scandal and Duke Cunningham's myriad bribery cases-- are why I started DWT. Although Tom DeLay beat him to the punch indictment-wise, Cunningham was the first of the current crop of Republican congressional bad apples to actually plead guilty for what dozens and dozens of them have been up to: bribery-- taking money in return for favors done in regard to their official capacities. When I sat down a few months ago and talked with San Diego Democrat Francine Busby she was 100% positive that Cunningham would not last until the '06 election and she's been campaigning tirelessly and effectively as though he resigned when he first announced he wouldn't be seeking re-election and it became obvious that he would try to cut a leniency deal with the authorities. Busby will make a GREAT congresswoman in the 50th but a leniency deal is not what we should be looking for here.

From the first article I ever posted on The Dukester, I had no doubt he wasn't working alone. (At the time DeLay was calling him a hero and a man of "high integrity" and, perhaps compared to DeLay and his other close associates... no, even among that crew, Cunningham was a lowlife.) DeLay's handpicked and very crooked "Ethics" Committee Chairman, "Doc" Hastings, refused to allow any investigations of Cunningham.) Randy "Duke" Cunningham is very much a part of more than just the pervasive Republican Culture of Corruption. He is part of the Tom DeLay Crime Machine and the last thing anyone should want is just to see this turn into an open-and-shut case (which is exactly what Bush and DeLay want to see). First of all, crooked Republican Congressloon Jerry Lewis was in on the majority of Cunningham's bribes. The two of them operated as a pair when it came to shaking down defense contractors. But I haven't heard about Lewis being dragged away to be fingerprinted. I haven't heard a peep about the Big Bear extremist in the Mainstream Media.

But that is the least of the real Randy "Duke" Cunningham story. If anyone ever had a reason to feel certain about getting a presidential pardon out of Bush on his way out, it would be Cunningham. That's because Cunningham was selling advance pardons for Bush to dependable GOP crooks. In fact, this is the most interesting-- and, of course, least covered-- part of the Cunningham saga.

Thomas "Gus" Kontogiannis is a very wealthy, very corrupt and very convicted Republican criminal from Long Island, a felon-- and a business associate of Cunningham's, but one who is rarely mentioned in the press. TOO DANGEROUS-- way too dangerous. That's because this is the one that touches Bush directly. Kontogiannis is a big time GOP donor (he even financed his own candidate for Congress, who lost and who was later indicted with him for cheating the NYC public school system on a fraudulent computer deal). Almost 3 years ago to the day, Kontogiannis pleaded guilty in a bid-rigging, bribe and kickback scheme. Using Cunningham's long time modus operandi, Kontogiannis bought an inexpensive boat for a great deal of money, as a way to funnel almost half a million dollars into Cunningham's pockets. But unlike dozens of other rich Republican "businessmen," Kontogiannis wasn't looking for fat, padded contracts from the Defense Department and Intelligence agencies Cunningham had oversight of. Nope; what Kontogiannis needed was a presidential pardon. And he paid $400,000 for Cunningham to be the middleman between him and Bush. Cunningham can't grant pardons; neither can Rove or Cheney, nor Bush's old dad nor Bill Clinton. Only George W Bush can grant a presidential pardon. My bet is that he's already promised one to the Dukester in '08 if he just keeps his trap shut. So instead we'll hear about lots and lots of little bribes that amount to a tiny fraction of the real criminality in the Duke Cunningham Criminal Caper.

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If the Dukester admits to taking $2.4 million in bribes, how much do you suppose he actually got?


It appears that being caught dead to rights by prosecutors has inspired an outpouring of atonement from DWT fave "Duke" Cunningham. "I can't undo what I have done, but I can atone," he says. Gosh, that's a lot of years' (and millions of smackeroos') worth of "doing" he's now regretting he can't undo. Do you suppose he ever considered, like, not doing it?

Also, as far as I can see there is still no mention of DWT's pet question regarding the Dukester: the presidential pardons he claimed to be selling. Don't we still need to know who if anyone besides the Dukester had any involvement with or knowledge of this?

Congressman Quits After Admitting Bribes
Republican Lawmaker Pleads Guilty to Tax Violations


WASHINGTON (Nov. 28) - Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges and tearfully resigned from office, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators.

Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.

Cunningham answered "yes, Your Honor" when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties.

Later, at a news conference, he wiped away tears as he announced his resignation.

"I can't undo what I have done but I can atone," he said.

Cunningham, an eight-term Republican congressman, had already announced in July that he would not seek re-election next year.

House Ethics rules say that any lawmaker convicted of a felony no longer should vote or participate in committee work. Under Republican caucus rules, Cunningham also would have lost his chairmanship of the House Intelligence subcommittee on terrorism and human intelligence.

The former Vietnam War flying ace was known on Capitol Hill for his interest in defense issues and his occasional temperamental outbursts.

After the hearing, Cunningham was taken away for fingerprinting and released on his own recognizance until a Feb. 27 sentencing hearing. He could receive up to 10 years in prison.

He also agreed to forfeit to the government his Rancho Santa Fe home, more than $1.8 million in cash and antiques and rugs.

In a statement, prosecutors said Cunningham admitted to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes paid to him by several conspirators through a variety of methods, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.

"He did the worst thing an elected official can do - he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there," U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said. The statement did not identify the conspirators.

The case began when authorities started investigating whether Cunningham and his wife, Nancy, used the proceeds from the $1,675,000 sale to defense contractor Mitchell Wade to buy the $2.55 million mansion in Rancho Santa Fe. Wade put the Del Mar house back on the market and sold it after nearly a year for $975,000 - a loss of $700,000.

He drew little notice outside his San Diego-area district before the San Diego Union-Tribune reported last June that he'd sold the home to Wade.

Cunningham's pleas came amid a series of GOP scandals. Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas had to step down as majority leader after he was indicted in a campaign finance case; a stock sale by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is being looked at by regulators; and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was indicted in the CIA leak case.

Associated Press reporter Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this report.

11/28/05 14:55 EST



For all his decades of vile reactionary blovating, when Pat Buchanan is finally on the way to his rightful place in DanteWorld, the only thing for which he'll be worth remembering, will be the starring role he played in inadvertently helping Bush win the presidential selection of 2000 (Google: butterfly ballots + elderly Jews in Palm Beach voting for Nazis). Still, 5 years later, on this day, Buchanan made some excellent points-- though I suspect he doesn't understand how excellent-- in a piece he wrote about Bush's failed war in Iraq.

The article is about the "cut and run" concept, an age-old right-wing straw man that helps shift blame for their failed hubristic, self-righteous, imperialistic and nationalistic adventures onto democrats (or, in this case, Democrats). I bet you didn't know that more Communards were butchered in the fascist aftermath of Louis Napoleon's imbecilic-- and catastrophic-- war against Prussia than all Parisians, aristos and otherwise, during the entire Terror of the previous century!) But the cutting and running nonsense I'll leave for the talking heads on CNN and Faux. There was something else ole Pat talked about which is far more important.

I like his sneering mention of John McCain's stupider-than-Bush call for sending 10,000 more troops human sacrifices into Iraq (although I wish he had mentioned that Hillary, Warner, Biden and Clark are all on the same page, more or less) and how that proposal "has been met with polite silence, while all signals out of this city point to withdrawal, beginning in 2006, of scores of thousands of U.S. troops, whether the insurgency has been defeated or not, whether an Iraqi democracy is assured or not."

Yep, it's a post Murtha-world now and if Americans have to choose between sober veteran congressman and much-decorated war hero John Murtha (D-PA) and psychotic, fabricating, foaming-at-the-mouth, freshman witch and crack whore Jean "Piece of" Schmidt (R-OH), the troops are on their way home.
As ole Pat puts it "the argument suddenly seems over and the nation appears to have reached a consensus: earliest possible withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, consistent with the avoidance of a strategic disaster."

But there is a rub (as Pat points out, a rub that was absolutely inevitable but one we, as a People, deserve for electing someone as utterly ignorant of history as George W. Bush-- or for allowing ourselves to be bamboozled into acquiescing to his 2 patently transparent coups). "We are not," explains Buchanan, "going to get out of Iraq without suffering terrible consequences for having gone in. And when we come out, we no longer control what goes on within." I don't think a Wes Clark militarist mentality or a Hillary Clinton/Joe Biden "we're-tougher-than-Republicans political posturing will be able to come to terms with that. But they'll have no choice. It's just a matter of how many more Americans and Iraqis have to die for their stupidity.

"Once we depart, there is no guarantee the insurgents will be defeated, no guarantee that thousands of those who cast their lot with us will not be massacred, no guarantee Iraq will remain one nation, no guarantee there will not be chaos and civil war," says Pat. He's being sweet. There is a guarantee-- it's inevitable and it will be far, far worse than what happened after the kind of REALITY BushCo so vehemently abhors forced the American invaders out of Vietnam. It will be worse because Vietnam is a real country (despite our efforts and those of the colonialist French to divide it) and Iraq is not a real country (despite our efforts and those of the colonialist French and British to stitch one together for their own convenience). And because the Vietnamese are inherently sweet people and the Iraqis... aren't.

"There is no guarantee that after having invested* $200 to $300 billion and the lives of thousands of splendid young Americans, we will not end up with an Iraq that is a strategic ally of Iran and a Sunni Triangle that is a base camp and training camp for terrorists larger than the one we destroyed in Afghanistan." Well Pat's being kind again; I'd say that's pretty well-guaranteed too. Bush will be remembered as the president-- if History allows itself to call him that in the future-- who made the single worst strategic blunder in the history of war. And it's our fault for not understanding that that is inevitably just what happens when you allow a narrow-minded, insular moron steeped in ignorance and arrogance to assume stewardship of the nation.

*"Invested," of course being an operative word here. Americans and Iraqis, America and Iraq, may suffer mightily for Bush's... well, let's call them "blunders" for now... but the payoff on his investment will be in the creation of generational wealth for lots of little Bushes, Cheneys, Rumsfelds and the heirs of Halliburton and of all the other foul components of BushCo.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Here's some holiday inspiration from America's most inspirational philosopher, Homer Simpson


As far as I know, there's no official name for the Monday immediately following Black Friday. For most of us, it's just the first workday in the annual solemn religious commemoration known as the Official Holiday Shopping Season.

I don't know about you, but I was moved almost beyond words by this year's TV-news footage of all the "mall rage" that erupted this Black Friday among disgruntled shoppers presumably thwarted in their efforts to procure the divinely promised bargains. To me, nothing says "holiday spirit" more eloquently than the moving sight of brawling shoppers.

(Incidentally, "TV's Craig Ferguson" offered an interesting perspective on this annual orgy of shopping. On Thanksgiving Day, he pointed out, we give thanks for all that we have, and then the next day we're out frantically buying new stuff.)

Anyway, judging by how much I'm looking forward to being back at my desk in the morning, I thought we could all use some holiday inspiration.

Strictly speaking, the holiday in question is Halloween, since it's taken from this year's Halloween episode of The Simpsons. I have to confess that I'm not a Halloween kind of guy, and I finally watched this episode primarily to be able to wipe it off my DVR. But then came this incandescent exchange between that greatest of homespun American philosophers, Homer Simpson (well, maybe it's a tie between Homer and Dilbert's consummately bone-idle coworker Wally), and little Lisa.

While I'm in a confessional mood, I might as well admit that for many years now my cubicle wall (or whatever you call the thing that fails to enclose a cubicle--a "partition," I guess; ah, once upon a time I was a person who had actual walls!) has been adorned with a pair of quotes that are joined in my mind as "The First Step: East vs. West."

There is, first, the famous quote attributed to Mao Zedong: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Then there's the Western view articulated by Homer: "Trying is the first step towards failure." (One of my proudest moments came the day a coworker I'd hardly exchanged two words with stopped at my cubicle and announced excitedly that he'd just seen the episode in which Homer delivers this timeless utterance.)

Homer of course is no stranger to deep thinking. I cherish the time, for example, when he and Bart visited Springfield Airport--which greets visitors with a sign boasting of the number of days since its last crash, unfortunately just reset to zero--and Homer was accosted by a grubby Hare Krishna-like kid croaking, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Homer shot back, "That'll work!"

Anyway, here was Homer making one of his infrequent attempts at caring parenting, taking Lisa to the zoo. Unfortunately, and naturally unbeknownst to dear old dad, the environmentally hyper-aware Lisa isn't a zoo kind of toddler:

LISA: I hate going to the zoo. I feel so sorry for the animals.

HOMER: Lisa, the zoo opens up a whole new world for the animals. In the wild, they would never experience boredom, obesity, loss of purpose--you know, the American dream!

Now tell me that doesn't get your week started off on an appropriately celebratory note! Don't forget now: Shop till you drop!



Thanks to DAILY KOS for pointing out this incredible and horrific story in the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (London).

Last July I ran a little piece about Hessians, paid military mercenaries, and how central to Rumsfeld's vision of the American military they are and how detrimental they have been to a- that same military and b- the U.S. efforts in Iraq. Today's TELEGRAPH piece goes way further in reporting how dangerously out of control this whole mess is spiraling.

The gist of the story is that a "trophy video" has turned up on a web site related to one of Rumsfeld's mercenary company's web sites (Aegis Defense Services)-- set to Elvis' "Mystery Train"-- showing private security "contractors" (ie- mercenaries) randomly shooting innocent Iraqi civilians, perhaps for sport. Rumsfeld's mercenaries are subject to virtually no laws in Iraq and virtually no oversight in the U.S. or Britain. (Rumsfeld pays these guys close to half a billion dollars... to... shoot up Iraqi civilians apparently. Oh and they also helped collect ballots in the recent so-called "elections" over there. (See and you thought there was nothing worse than Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell when it came to screwing around with elections, didn't you?)

The videos showed up on and, of course, once they were reported in the press, were immediately taken down. Instead this is a warning from one of the comapny's managers: "I am concerned about media interest in this site and I remind everyone of their contractual obligation not to speak to or assist the media without clearing it with the project management or Aegis London. Refrain from posting anything which is detrimental to the company since this could result in the loss or curtailment of our contract with resultant loss for everybody." (The guy who wrote that, a former mercenary/war criminal active in Sierra Leone, is also in charge of the investigation.)

The Iraqi authorities are none too pleased for some reason. According to the TELEGRAPH "Capt Adnan Tawfiq of the Iraqi Interior Ministry which deals with compensation issues, has told the Sunday Telegraph that he has received numerous claims from families who allege that their relatives have been shot by private security contractors travelling in road convoys. He said: 'When the security companies kill people they just drive away and nothing is done. Sometimes we ring the companies concerned and they deny everything. The families don't get any money or compensation. I would say we have had about 50-60 incidents of this kind.'"

OK, does this mean Bush and Cheney get turned over to a War Crimes Tribunal? Or just Rumsfeld? Oh, and speaking of Rumsfeld and Iraq...

For years I only bought American cars but last year I had had it with the always-breaking-down, expensive-to-repair Cadillac and I bought a classic Mercedes from my friend Dan's mom. It runs great. I wish I could quote more American newspapers but I find myself about to embark on yet another piece predicated on a foreign paper. (Actually when I woke up at 4 or 5 this morning, but before I had my eyes open, I heard someone on CNN mention this and then I searched around for it til I came up with an article in THE GUARDIAN. Basically all CNN reported was that former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (once an obedient Rumsfeld puppet) is now claiming that the U.S. occupation in his country has become worse than even the detested Saddam Hussein's deprecations!

"The Observer" reports that "Allawi told them that "People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse. It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things."

Allawi talks at some length about Iraq's escalating human rights catastrophe and accuses fellow Shias in the government of responsibility for death squads and secret torture centres. Sounds like somebody's been taking Dick Cheney a lot more seriously than John McCain does (at least on torture issues). I know senators and congressloons have a dozen reasons why we should stick it out and stay the course and all that crap, but I'm as certain that we should leave Iraq immediately as I was that we should never have gone in. EVERY SINGLE DAY THINGS GET WORSE AND WORSE AND WORSE THERE. And it is ALL Bush's fault, everything.



If Bush was serious about finding actual leakers, he might start with the cabal inside the White House and led by his own vice president which broke the law by leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent as revenge against her husband disagreeing with Regime propaganda. But Bush, who I've always been pretty sure was in on that one (or at least the cover-up that followed it), has no interest in the Valerie Plame case, other than to minimize the political damage to his regime. The leaks that have been driving him to distraction are leaks inside the White House about how depressed everyone is there. Now that he wants to get to the bottom of and find the traitor (not the traitors to our nation and our security but the traitor/yenta to his faltering regime!

I've come a long way since the first time I mentioned NY DAILY NEWS Bureau Chief Thomas DeFrank on this blog. The guy knows his stuff and has incredible inside-the-heart-of-the-beast connections. Today's column "All disquiet on West Wing front", pictures an embattled White House with no credibility, no leadership whatsoever, an evaporating agenda and lots and lots of paranoia.

"Two sources," according to DeFrank, "said Bush has not only lost some confidence in his top aides, as the Daily News has previously reported, but is furious with a stream of leaks about the mood within the West Wing. 'He's asking [friends] for opinions on who he can trust and who he can't,' one knowledgeable source said... The problem for Bush, advisers admit, is that the ongoing leak probe reinforces allegations that the White House allegedly hyped prewar intelligence to justify a war most Americans no longer support."

The White House is rudderless, with Bush-- at best-- moping (some say hitting the bottle) and lashing out and screaming at people. They've circled the wagons and no longer reach out to anyone outside a very inner circle. "A card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House recently encountered several senior presidential aides at a dinner and came away shaking his head at their 'no problems here' mentality. 'There is just no introspection there at all,' he said in exasperation. 'It is everybody else's fault-- the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They're still in denial.' Not ready to throw in the towel and declare the boss a lame duck, the Bushies are hoping two issues can help firm up their base and perhaps make inroads with centrists who voted for Bush: the anticipated confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and a plan to reinforce the border with Mexico to help stop illegal immigration. This week Bush will begin to press the border security issue, while Alito's Senate confirmation hearings start early next year. Aides hope those issues will draw attention away from the war and leak probe."

Yes, I'm sure they do. But they've made their bed (of nails); let's hope they don't drag all the rest of us through it for 3 more excruciating years.

Would you want to drive over a bridge built by a student of "Christian physics"?


Did you know that there is such a thing as Christian physics?

Or that good Christians should just say no to Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson?

Or that Theodore Roosevelt and his fellow Progressives were guilty of ignoring the fact that "man is sinful by nature (Ephesians 2:1-3)" and that "the fallible men who built the corrupt institutions that they attacked" were just like us other sinners?

(Huh? But what about their, you know, "corrupt institutions"? Isn't this like saying that pimps and drug dealers and murderers are just like regular folks--except maybe for all that pimping and drug dealing and murdering?)

Now, did you know that the godless satraps of the University of California system have been discriminating against good Christians by refusing to give in-coming Christian high school students course credit for having acquired such "knowledge"? Read on.

[Note: When I shared these tidings with DWT, he expressed the hope that believers in Christian physics aren't building bridges. Later, when I read with some approval on my part this "Christian" take on slavery, he wondered whether the stern attitude toward the sin of greed carries over to the other depradations of American capitalism run amok. Perhaps someone out there could fetch your copy of United States History for Christian Schools, check the index under "greed," and pass along the relevant citations.]

November 27, 2005

Word for Word | Church v. State U.

Here's the Problem With Emily Dickinson


INTELLIGENT design isn't the only flashpoint in the battle over religion in the nation's classrooms. On Dec. 12, the Federal District Court in Los Angeles will hear a lawsuit filed by a consortium of Christian high schools against the University of California system for refusing to credit some of their courses when their students apply for admission.

Among those courses are "Christianity's Influence in American History" and "Christianity and American Literature," both of which draw on textbooks published by Bob Jones University of Greenville, S.C., which describes itself as having stood for "the absolute authority of the Bible since 1927."

The plaintiffs, the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 schools in California, and the Calvary Chapel Christian School of Murrieta, Calif., contend that their students are being discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. The university system counters that it has the right to set its own standards. Here are excerpts from the disputed texts. THOMAS VINCIGUERRA

"United States History for Christian Schools," written by Timothy Keesee and Mark Sidwell (Bob Jones University, 2001), says this about Thomas Jefferson.

American believers can appreciate Jefferson's rich contribution to the development of their nation, but they must beware of his view of Christ as a good teacher but not the incarnate son of God. As the Apostle John said, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (I John 2:22).

Slavery, which most historians look at politically or economically, is seen as "an excellent example of the far-reaching consequences of sin."

The sin in this case was greed - greed on the part of African tribal leaders, on the part of slave traders and on the part of slave owners, all of whom allowed their love for profit to outweigh their love for their fellow man. The consequences of such greed and racism extended across society and far into the future. It resulted in untold suffering-most obviously for the black race but for the white race as well. ... The Lord has never exaggerated in warning us of sin's devastating consequences - for us and for our descendants (Exodus 34:7).

The book also criticizes the progressive movement championed by Theodore Roosevelt, and the Progressives themselves.

On the whole, they believed that man is basically good and that human nature might be improved. ... Such a belief, of course, ignored the biblical teaching that man is sinful by nature (Ephesians 2:1-3). Progressives therefore also ignored the fact that the fallible men who built the corrupt institutions that they attacked were the same in nature as those who filled the political offices and staffed the regulatory agencies that were supposed to control the corruption.

On the other hand, the "devout Methodist" H. J. Heinz is praised for his fine products and humane treatment of workers, which set him apart from the typical 19th-century robber baron.

Heinz illustrates the Christian's response to the challenge of business management: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23-24).

"Elements of Literature for Christian Schools," by Ronald Horton, Donalynn Hess and Steven Skeggs (Bob Jones University, 2001), faults Mark Twain for calling God "an irascible, vindictive, fierce and ever fickle and changeful master."

Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless. Denying that he was created in the image of God, Twain was able to rid himself of feeling any responsibility to his Creator. At the same time, however, he defiantly cut himself off from God's love. Twain's skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel.

Emily Dickinson, too, is criticized for her lack of faith.

Dickinson's year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary further shaped her "religious" views. During her stay at the school, she learned of Christ but wrote of her inability to make a decision for Him. She could not settle "the one thing needful." A thorough study of Dickinson's works indicates that she never did make that needful decision. Several of her poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life.

By contrast, the piety of Christina Rossetti, the 19th-century British poet, gets high marks.

The loneliness she faced is often reflected in her poems. But stronger than her loneliness was her total confidence in and submission to her Lord and Savior. Rossetti filled her mind and heart with Scripture. She gained from it a unique appreciation of the sustaining and sacrificial love of God. Her poetry and uplifting devotional literature are the natural overflow of her complete dependence on God.

"Physics for Christian Schools," by R. Terrance Egolf and Linda Shumate (Bob Jones University, 2004), addresses the question, "What is Christian about physics?"

Some people have developed the idea that higher mathematics and science have little to do with the Bible or Christian life. They think that because physics deals with scientific facts, or because it is not pervaded with evolutionary ideas, there is no need to study it from a Christian perspective. This kind of thinking ignores a number of important facts to the Christian: First, all secular science is pervaded by mechanistic, naturalistic and evolutionistic philosophy. Learning that the laws of mechanics as they pertain to a baseball in flight are just the natural consequences of the way matter came together denies the wisdom and power of our Creator God. ... Second, physics as taught in the schools of the world contradicts the processes that shaped the world we see today. Trying to believe both secular physics and the Bible leaves you in a state of confusion that will weaken your faith in God's Word.

Even the abstract laws of energy and matter, the authors write, reflect the hand of God.

You are about to embark on an adventure. The study of physics reveals the wonderful orderliness of God's creation - so orderly that it can be comprehended in terms of relatively simple principles (mathematical formulas). ... Physics is important because through it mankind learns how creation actually works. It satisfies our God-given curiosity about nature. Seeing that God does "great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number" (Job 5:9), men have dedicated their lives to unraveling the rich mysteries of creation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thomas Vinciguerra is deputy editor of The Week.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company



You know how sometimes on weekends I run a non-Bush-bashing-article or two? Sabbath and all... So I sit down to purge the Bush scourge from my mind and do a nice innocent movie review and... well, look what happened (ma). I took some time off from Blogostan duty Friday to go see a movie. A few friends whose tastes in movies I totally trust had been suggesting that THE SQUID AND THE WHALE would be one I'd love and how I couldn't miss it. And the reviews were good. Years ago, whenever I'd go see a film with Roland he'd always go buy the tickets and say "One regular and one for gramps" and nod in my direction. I was always happy to save the money on a senior citizen ticket but I always marveled at how a 20-something airhead can't tell the difference between someone in their 40s and someone in their 70s. I guess it was all the same to me at one time too. Anyway, now I just routinely ask for a senior citizen ticket; no one has ever asked me for ID. So it's pretty cheap to see movies for me.

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE was excruciating. I found myself leaving the theater several times and nosing around the other theaters in the cineplex to see if anything looked good. Finally I stumbled onto the opening of BEFORE THE FALL. Oh, now that was a really good film. Alas, though, as easy as it would be to talk about THE SQUID AND THE WHALE without alluding to Bush, Bush is hard to avoid for anyone thinking about BEFORE THE FALL.

It's not the kind of film any right-winger is going to be able to enjoy or, in all likelihood, understand. I bet I can sum the plot up in one sentence: an ideal, albeit maybe a little less than intellectually-oriented son of an anti-Nazi working class family in 1942 Germany gets the opportunity to enroll in an elite Nazi school where he comes face to face with the visceral reasons why his (now) discarded father hates fascists. There; not even run on! So what does this have to do with Bush, you're wondering?

Well, the movie has a little subplot. See it's not just about the coming of age of a hunky Aryan boxer, It's also about how a tiny but dedicated band of fanatics and extremists can manipulate, over time, a whole nation of basically decent folks and turn them into murderous fiends capable of... well you know what the Germans did in the 40s. Do you know what the Americans are doing now? I mean, the whole world reviled the Nazis for torture, right? Do you think the whole world doesn't revile us for torture now?

I don't know about you, but I had a lot of disdain and contempt for Germans who let Hitler put one over on them. But let me tell you, the Germans had a lot more historical reasons to fall in behind Hitler-- as unforgiveable and repulsive as that was-- than we had for allowing Bush to steal two national elections and then lead our nation down the catastrophic path we're now on, a path we hear other political "leaders" (from Republican John McCain to Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Wes Clark, Joe Biden, and Evan Bayh) and almost the entire punditocracy (and mass media) telling us we have to keep going down.

BEFORE THE FALL is about one brave 17 year old-- well 2 actually-- awakening in the belly of the beast and saying "no more. It's wrong. We have become monsters." He gets the shit kicked out of him in every way for it too-- literally and figurately. I know Bush's approval ratings in the polls-- now in the hitherto unheard of high 20s-- are sinking like a stone, but are these people coming to grips, however slowly with how we have been made into a pariah nation of monsters? Are they ready to punish the criminals-- or even recognize that there are criminals? Or are they only angry cause gas prices are too high? I only saw one or two polls that even mention impeachment, let alone war crime tribunals.

Saturday, November 26, 2005



I was contemplating the parallels between the Bush Regime and Romania's former Ceausescu Regime this morning and started wondering if the Bushes could ever end up like Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, quickly tried after attempting to flee, and then shot by a firing squad. Yesterday, just one day short of his 90th birthday, Chile's former CIA-installed, right-wing dictator, Augusto Pinochet was arrested on tax fraud (not a few pesos misplaced, but $27 million hidden in Swiss banks) and human rights charges (actually 7 specific political murders, which were referred to by the judge as "permanment kidnappings"). Like Cheney, Pinochet was a big advocate of torture-- and, like Cheney, only when it was important, of course. During his nearly 2 decades in power, at least 3,000 Chileans were...permanently kidnapped by his corrupt, fascist regime (installed at the insistence of Nixon and Kissinger) which also tortured tens of thousands of Chilean citizens (but only for the very best of reasons, I'm sure).

Recently, when the judge who is working on this case, Victor Montiglio, questioned him, Pinochet said he regrets losses that people suffered during his rule but doesn't believe he had had gone too far in his fight against Communism-- but if he did God would pardon him. If the court does in this particular case, however, Pinochet is about to lose his judicial immunity in a case involving torturing politicians from other parties. Pinochet keeps getting off because he's been diagnosed as senile and every time he's about to be sentenced he has a convenient "life-threatening medical emergency" and they let the old fascist off. I sure hope we won't have to wait 20 or 30 years before Bush and Cheney and the many criminals they've surrounded themselves with to be brought to justice.

The tens of billions of dollars stolen by BushCheney cronies should be recovered for the nation and all of their ill-gotten wealth should be expropriated. The idea of these bums and crooks and their families having to work for a living would be the greatest justice ever meted out. But, I suppose if things get hairy enough, Bush could skip off to Bahrain or Qatar like Michael Jackson and evade justice (like Jackson does).



John in DC over at AmericaBlog is reporting that he was watching Fox "News"-- like my friend A, he likes to keep an eye of what the fascists are telling people they're doing-- and lo! and behold!: they reported that Bush's approval rating has now sunk to 28%. I knew it was just a matter of time before his horrendous and destructive and FAILED policies would force his approval ratings into the 20s. But in reality, his policies have a positive (short term) effect on about 7-8% of the population and ill-effect everyone else. (As for long term-- not that he could care less, like most CEOs-- he is a complete catastrophe for America, along the lines of how his pal Ken Lay impacted Enron.) So why are his ratings still above 8%? Some people are slow. And not everyone who watches corporate mass media realizes it's basically one big Republican-controlled propaganda outlet.



Today's MISSOULIAN has a brief story on Republican crook Conrad Burns and his scandalous relationship, including kickbacks and scams, to Tom DeLay consigliere Jack Abramoff. Although dozens of Republican House members are involved in the scandal-- as well as several Bush cronies from the Executive branch-- Burns is the first U.S. Senator to be swept up by the investigation. It is unlikely that Burns will be alone for too long since other corrupt GOP Senators have been on the take from Abramoff for many years.



According to the always reliable DAILY KOS, this one isn't a photo-shop job. But someone, or even a conspiracy of someones, must have a had a real sense of humor. If not... wow!



Helen's back and she's in the process of agreeing to learn how to post her own blog pieces and write more frequently. I'm crazy about the comment she wrote this morning on the piece just below this one (about Democratic hawk Norm Dick seeing the light). She just sent this outrageous report in about Bush's EPA doing the unthinkable :

My close friend, Cathy, sent me a piece on this. At first I thought it was a sick joke, but no. I spoke to a nurse I work with, an extremely knowledgeable professional whom I hold in high regard, and she nodded and smiled sadly at me. She had already heard about it. Actually, upon doing a little research, it turns out that this has been public knowledge for a few months. I find it astounding that the EPA's new proposed rule and its glaring shortcomings are not in huge bold faced print on the front page of every newspaper in the country. On the other hand, DWT readers are well aware of the poor job our press is doing these days in informing the public.

Here is the scoop. Earlier this year, August 2, 2005 to be exact, Congress had mandated the EPA to create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on children and pregnant women. (Gee, this indicates that this is already being done and should be stopped! I did not know this. Did you?) So, the EPA has proposed a new rule; however, it has GAPING HOLES in it that allow for government and industry scientists to treat children as "human guinea pigs."

Here are the three conditions under which chemical testing for the sake of research may occur with children:

1. Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as orphaned newborns or those who are mentally handicapped, as long as permission is given from the institutions or guardians.

2. Children who are abused or neglected, no parent consent necessary.

3. Children outside the U.S.

Apparently this violates the Nurenburg Code, an international treaty that mandates assent of test subjects as absolutely essential and that test subjects must have the "legal capacity to give consent" and be able to "exercise free power of choice." This is too much! First the Geneva Conventions are out the window, and now the Nuremburg Code! Did we learn anything at the end of World War II? Are there parallels here with the Nazis? Inconsistencies among the three scenarios abound. For the first scenario, permission is needed, but for the second, for children unfortunate enough to have unfit parents, none is needed. For the third, testing on human subjects is fine as long as it is done on subjects outside the U.S.A.: no permission necessary from anyone, thank you very much.

Sadly, this proposed rule is one more nail in the coffin of America's dying morality. Our lack of respect for human beings is appalling. BushCo is destroying our soul, our humanity. GW has to be the most pompous hypocrite on the planet, recently espousing human rights to the Chinese (which they frankly ignored, who could blame them), while flagrantly violating human rights in so many actions. The list is getting longer each day. From Abu Graib to Guantanamo to the newly discovered gulag, we are condoning torture. I thought Saddam was a "monster" who had to go-- well, what do our actions make us? Why bother to count Iraqi deaths in this war? We need only count American soldiers' deaths, though mind you, we cannot look at the coffins, as this would be too upsetting, too reality based. And the wounded? Few to be seen or heard, with an almost total media silence. The poor in New Orleans? A momentary sound bite, with their stories fading away in the news, soon to be forgotten.

The new victims are our own children.

Who are we? What have we become? Is this who we want to be? Were issues such as this discussed at your Thanksgiving dinner yesterday? Not at mine, unfortunately. I did learn, however, that The Apprentice with Martha Stewart was cancelled for Wednesday, November 23.

Friday, November 25, 2005



Washington Congressman Norman Dick is a hawk, very pro-military-- and not in a we-love-'em-so-bring-'em-home kind of way. Like his pal John Murtha, Dick was as gung-ho as a Republican when Bush and Gephardt came up with a request for Congress to authorize Bush using force against Iraq. Dick's on the House Intelligence Committee and he believed everything the Bush Regime fed him. Like Murtha and almost half the Democrats in the House, he voted with DeLay and against Pelosi and a majority of House Democrats.

Today Dicks told the SEATTLE TIMES that "it was all a mistake — his vote, the invasion, and the way the United States is waging the war... Dicks says the intelligence was 'doctored.' And he says the White House didn't plan for and deploy enough troops for the growing insurgency. 'The insurgency has gotten worse and worse,' he said. 'That's where Murtha's rationale is pretty strong — we're talking a lot of casualties with no success in sight. The American people obviously know that this war is a mistake.'"

And like Murtha, if Dick knew then about all Bush's lies and deceptions he would never have voted to allow him to send American troops to Iraq.



Channel 4 is now reporting the whole scandal around the latest revelation of Bush war crimes: his bombing of Al-Jazeera offices in Baghdad and Kabul, his desire to bomb the headquarters in Doha, Qatar, and the ensuing cover-up. Today's BradBlog has a well-done video of the report. The report is not a CNN/Fox style soundbyte piece made for people with 2-digit IQs. It's the kind of news story U.S. television news used to routinely do all the time. If you watch this short, pointed piece you will walk away with a good understanding of what this-- and George Bush's corrupt, illegitimate regime-- are all about.


Not every Briton is taking Blair's outrageous attempt at 17th century censorship lying down. (I guess it's particularly galling to Britons that Blair is going to these absurd lengths to protect the almost non-existent credibility of the same Bush who nearly caused him and his party to get kicked out of government.) One Member of Parliament, Boris Johnson, says he'll publish the forbidden document even if it means going to the Tower of London. I heartily recommend you read Boris' whole statement but this is how he ends: "we now have allegations of such severity, against the US President and his motives, that we need to clear them up. If someone passes me the document within the next few days I will be very happy to publish it in The Spectator, and risk a jail sentence. The public need to judge for themselves. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If we suppress the truth, we forget what we are fighting for, and in an important respect we become as sick and as bad as our enemies."

By the way, Boris is a Conservative.

Do you find it strange that U.S. corporate media is supressing this story?

Do folks know that the Salem witch trials really happened? (Or is it just as well? Maybe it would just give them ideas)


I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.

By the time I got around to trying to catch up on several days' worth of DWT posts, I was able to multitask with a Thanksgiving edition of The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. If you haven't been watching The Late, Late Show, you may still remember Craig as Drew's loony English boss Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show. Unleashed now as himself--not the least bit English, incidentally, but quite gloriously Scottish--he's hilarious in a giddy, anarchic and often subversive way.

As it worked out, while I tried to keep pace with the antic adventures of Rep. Jean "The Crack Ho" Schmidt in the DWT posts, there was "TV's Craig Ferguson" (as he often styles himself--in part to distinguish himself from Colin Ferguson, the unfortunate fellow who shot up a Long Island Rail Road train some years back, with unfortunately lethal results) talking about witches! Come on now, are you going to tell me it never occurred to you that our Jean looks and talks like she should be auditioning for the Wicked Witch of the West in some regional-theater production of The Wizard of Oz?

Craig had noted in his lilting Scottish accent that he loves Thanksgiving. "It's a very big holiday in Scotland. They celebrate the time when the Pilgrims left. 'Thank God those people are out of here.'"

Now he came back to the Pilgrims. "Actually," he said, "you've got to ask yourself about these Pilgrims. This is a bunch of people who left medieval England, right, because religious practices weren't strict enough. [Long astonished pause.] This was medieval England. How strict do you need it to be?

"This is a society, they had the witch-burning. I mean, that's pretty strict.

"They had this system of how you tell someone's a witch. It was always a woman, and how you tell someone's a witch, you threw a woman--this is true!--you threw a woman in a lake. If she drowns, innocent--not a witch. If she doesn't drown, she's a witch--burn her! That's what they did!

"This strikes me as a flawed system. I'm just saying."

The audience found this hilarious, but in a way that suggested that, despite Craig's repeated insistences, the folks were blissfully unaware that, allowing for some blurred detail ("medieval" England?), the story is true.

"I've been reading up on this," Craig explained, "because I want to be an American citizen, and you have to know all that stuff or you're kicked out. If you're born here, you don't have to know any of it. You don't even have to know the national anthem. But if you come in, whoo! You have to know it."

It's a shame this isn't AOL, or we could run one of those famous polls to see how many people know that the all-powerful Puritan religious loons of the day actually did deal with suspected witches this way. Or better still, we could ask people whether they believe it. After all, haven't we now taken to determining truth by voting? ("Sorry, evolution fans, but your theory just didn't cut it in the polls. Well, it was just a theory anyway.")

I hate to be recommending Arthur Miller's wheezy old play The Crucible, which in any case was less concerned with witches than with the terror campaign being waged against Americans who deviated from right-wing orthodoxies by that loathsome bully Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Now Karl Rove--not to mention Rep. Jean the Crack Ho--has shown us that the only problem with Joe McCarthy, apart from his uncouth style, is that he didn't go far enough.

Maybe what we need, I'm thinking, is an updated version of The Crucible. And I think I know just the man to do it.

I figure along about now Governor Schwarzenegger must be spending more and more time looking at scripts and script proposals, knowing that he's apt to have a goodly block of time free for new projects in the not-too-distant future. With Arthur Miller himself no longer around to raise a fuss, maybe his literary executors are prepared to authorize a crowd-pleasing updating.

I'm thinking: The Crucible as a Rambo- or Terminator-style action drama!

The soon-to-be-former governor could play that stern judge, the Rev. John Hale, who comes to appreciate too late in the game the injustice of the witch trials. Now here's the twist: Instead of resigning himself to this injustice, the way Hale has always done in the lame-ass old fuddy-duddy version, he'll come out with automatic weapons blazing and right the injustice, the way only automatic weapons can!

And this might even be used to provide good career cover for our Jean the Crack Ho. Surely Arnold's screen adapter can find a use for a hideous. loathsome, brain-dead old crone.



I just got back from my morning walk-- so invigorating! I lived so many years not really understanding that there was so much more to life than... than... than... Hey, did you ever listen to "Krafty" on THE SIREN'S CALL by New Order? (Morel's Pink Noise Vocal Mix is one of my favorite pieces of music of the last year-- fantasy solution of all the world's woes.) Anyway, it starts out like this:

Some people get up at the break of day
Gotta go to work before it gets too late
Sitting in a car and driving down the road
It ain't the way it has to be

But that's what you do to earn your daily wage
That's the kind of world that we're living in today
Isn't where you wanna be
And isn't what you wanna do

But don't worry, this isn't gonna be a story about New Order (or even about Elton John). I learned something today, as Kyle or Stan might say (always say): If you're driving cross country in an RV you can park at WalMart for free and hook up to all the stuff RVs hook up to. I didn't learn if you have a time limit or if WalMart allows you to stay weeks or months or years. But I've never been to a WalMart. I mean now no one wants to go near a WalMart -- at least no one I know-- but I remember when WalMarts started and the whole idea just repulsed me from the start. I never went to one. And there were no MacDonald's when I was a kid and I've never been to one of them either (nor a Wendy's or a Burger King or any of those other fast food places, except once Sandy Pearlman schlepped me to a White Castle with The Dictators). And I never tasted a beer or smoked a cigarette or liked the kind of music "everyone" else liked. And, as you may know, I only watch SOUTH PARK on the tv.

I remember some neighbors when I was in elementary school who were kind of shunned by everyone else. I don't remember exactly why but in retrospect I think they were some kind of suburban freethinkers. Their daughter was kind of a beatnik, which is why I was at their home, and they weren't all anal about "cleanliness" and I remember seeing ants in their house. Later I used to take a subway from Brooklyn into The Village to see if I could hear Bob Dylan and not long after I hitchhiked to California and stowed away on a ship to go to Tonga (never got to Tonga) but I did find some beatniks who took me in and let e smoke pot with them for a week. Anyway, anyway, anyway... conformism is something that never seemed like something to aspire to.

I even thought that being gay was the ultimate foray into bandit territory-- an unforgivable nonconformism so grave that you never had to worry about falling prey to any kind of Stepfordism. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I moved back to America and washed up in San Francisco and discovered The Castro and the whole concept of gay clones. My world was shattered. No one wanted to be a bandit? I brought DEVO to-- or told them about; can't remember-- Mr. B's Ballroom.

they know the limits 'cause they cross them every night
the dull sensations as it turns real hot
why, the guys in the back with their heads on the floor
surrounded by their buddies they're all hollerin' for more
whoa whoa whoa
it's mr. b's ballroom

At least there was that kind of banditry. Not exactly theoretical enough for my tastes after a short time-- but still, better than clones... I mean hundreds, thousands of gay guys from all over the country living in their own ghetto, dressing alike, talking alike, liking all the same (dreadful) music, dancing alike, thinking alike. I fought it. I was one of the first, if not the first rock guys to review music in gay publications and the editors were so uninterested that they let me say whatever I wanted so there was never anything about Barbra Streisand or Donna Summer or Gloria Gaynor... just stuff about Patti Smith, The Clash, the Sex Pistols, Metallica... Willie Nelson... anything that would give young gay people a chance to know that just because you were attracted to someone of your own gender it didn't mean you were doomed to a life of listening to the Village People.

So today I woke up and found out that Elton John is getting married to filmmaker David Furnish on December 21, the day the U.K. Civil Partnership Act takes effect. I think 1973 (GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD) was the last time I ever voluntarily listened to an Elton John album (although I have to admit that since then I have ripped a couple of old songs-- "Daniel," Your Song" and "Rocket Man"-- onto my iTunes).

I have noticed that even as he seemed to be turning more and more into a freakish clown, pasteurized and homogenized for the new family-friendly Las Vegas, there was always a (sometimes subtle) subversiveness, even banditry to ole Elton. I could never not like him and admire him for it. Just when you thought he has turned into Liberace, there he was, gay as wrapping paper, telling ROLLING STONE he was "bisexual." When no one did. He also seemed to be one of the most genuinely generous of all the successful show biz people I'd ever met. I'm sure you know about the Elton John AIDS Foundation and that all (like 100%) of the royalties from his single sales go to AIDS research, but Elton gives to every charity I ever heard of.

And today, November 25, 2005, I admire him too. I mean I think gays are insane and idiotic to be lusting for more freaking conformity all the time. First they want to be in the military (and here I was, always thinking that not having to go to the army was a way God told you it was good to be gay) and now this whole marriage crap. (I am positive both of these things were thrust on the gay community by gender-confused femmes who picked it up from the lesbians but now the cat's out of the bag and you gotta support them... as annoying as the whole thing is.) I mean I hate that it plays right into the hands of Karl Rove and the Amen Choir and the whole bigoted religionist Right-- and even makes progressives lose elections-- and I hate that it threatens the most wonderful of institutions: bachelorhood. But... but... but... if they want it, who are they hurting? Spare me having to go through all the arguments about equality under the law and so on-- I agree with every single one of them wholeheartedly. So someone has to fight for this (current) most despised of initiatives. It's today's race-mixing. Or, if you wanna go back even further, it's what Jesus Christ was talking about with all the stuff about lepers and prostitutes. And of course that's always been the whole point for the anti-Christs who run satanic "churches" in Jesus' name (the Dobsons, Phelpses, Robertsons, Falwells, et al), who seek only to spread hatred and bigotry and destroy Jesus' message-- and use Jesus as cover for it. Oh, those right-wingers are so cagey! (Or people are so dumb.)

So anyway, Elton John's a hero of the revolution and we all owe him a moment of respect and I'm listening to my meager stash of Elton John mp3's as I write these last few words. I even realized how Elton is just like Frederick in BEFORE THE FALL, though not as hunky... a freethinker like my old neighbors (and maybe with ants).