August 30, 2005

Jokes I Wish I'd Made

Dennis Perrin has posted his material from Sunday's event with him and Juan Cole.

It's all good, but this is my favorite part:

Condi Rice: Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, the President of the United States.

Bush: Thank you, Condi. My fellow Americans, and Helen Thomas, I've given many reasons why I won't meet with Miss Sheehan, but none of them seems to have satisfied you. So, I've come up with a few more reasons why she and I will never meet.

1. Miss Sheehan didn't vote for me. As you know, I don't talk to anyone who doesn't vote for G. W. I mean, that would be plum crazy! I'd have to be a crazy man to do that!

2. Miss Sheehan's for peace. I'm for war. Lots of it. See, there's a disconnect there. We wouldn't understand each other. It'd be like a killer robot trying to talk to the Ambassador from Pluto. Just doesn't make sense.

3. Gotta have my Me Time. Need my Me Time. Me Time's important to a prez'nit, and last time I looked, I'm the prez'nit! I meet with Miss Sheehan, no time for Me Time. Me Time becomes She Time. Then the Next Person's Time. Before long, it becomes America's Time. I can't govern like that.

4. If I let Miss Sheehan into my home, she might steal something. I'm rich, she's not. You do the fuzzy math.

There are many more reasons why I won't meet with Miss Sheehan, but I'm late for a GOP fundraising veal calf slaughter. And to the terr'sts watching, I simply quote my man MC Hammer: "Can't try to touch this." So keep bringin' it on! Feels good!

Favorite line: "My fellow Americans, and Helen Thomas..."

August 28, 2005

Thank God No One In America Reads Books

Last year the journalist Russ Baker wrote an important article about evidence George Bush et al had wanted to invade Iraq before Bush became president—and about why they may have wanted to do so. Baker had interviewed the writer Mickey Hershkowitz, a Bush family friend hired to write Bush's 2000 campaign autobiography A Charge to Keep:

Herskowitz was given unimpeded access to Bush, and the two met approximately 20 times so Bush could share his thoughts. Herskowitz began working on the book in May, 1999, and says that within two months he had completed and submitted some 10 chapters, with a remaining 4-6 chapters still on his computer. Herskowitz was replaced as Bush’s ghostwriter after Bush’s handlers concluded that the candidate’s views and life experiences were not being cast in a sufficiently positive light.

Here's what Herskowitz said about the views of the Bush inner circle on war:

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: "They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches."

So... is this credible? Here's some evidence from On Bended Knee by Mark Hertsgaard. It was published 16 years before Baker's article, in 1988:

The propaganda windfall [from Reagan's 1983 invasion of Grenada] was such that some Washington reporters later speculated privately that it had been Michael Deaver who dreamed up the Grenada operation after observing how the 1982 Falklands-Malvinas war had bolstered British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's sagging popularity. One Reagan press aide later confirmed in an interview for this book that "there were a lot of discussions by some White House people about what the British had done in the Falklands."

Huh. Well, thank god no one in America reads books.

August 27, 2005

Here In The Republican Party, We Only Know About Six Words Total

Cindy Sheehan is, of course, angry that Bush has been saying the Iraq war is a "noble cause."

This might make you wonder: what other presidents have used that exact term—"noble cause"—to describe what other wars?

Here's one:

Ronald Reagan accepted the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars today... Defending American motives in past and recent wars, Reagan called the Vietnam War "a noble cause"...

"Reagan: 'Peace Through Strength,'" Lou Cannon, Washington Post, Chicago, Aug. 18, 1980

(Reference via the excellent book On Bended Knee by Mark Hertsgaard.)

August 26, 2005

The True Face of the Pro-Kitten Left

After 9/11, America discovered that The Left loves only three things:

1. Osama bin Laden
2. Saddam Hussein
3. Kittens

The prime offenders are obviously The Editers at The Poormen—along with their henchman Hizloy of Obsidian Wangs. Every post they write is either (1) an oath of fealty to Islamofacism, (2) a spew of shameless kittenism, or (3) both.

Then there are Moonbat heavy-hitters Echlathon at his site "Adios" and Kevin Dram of Political Animals. True, they are not as blatant as The Editorials, tending to concentrate on the more "moderate" celebration of adult cats. But ask yourself this simple question: where do cats come from? Can you be pro-cat without being objectively pro-kitten?

Now comes the unsurprising news that the kittens have mounted a genuine fifth column—moving from quiet sedition to open terrorism against America. Of course, you will wait in vain for The Poormans or Atriot to disavow this kitten. Indeed, if you were to rely on the Left Blogosphere or the MSM, you wouldn't even know this had happened. As of this morning, there's only one man with a large audience who's been both intelligent and honest enough to mention it. That man is Sean Hannity.

Now, as horrifying as all this is, you might think it can't get any worse. But it can: much, much worse.

First, the facts:

According to homicide detectives, on Dec. 13, 2004 at 1:00 a.m., 4 month old Fluffy entered the bedroom of her owner, 79 year-old Thomas Jerry. The kitten sat on the night-table beside her sleeping master and, after several minutes, rose on her little cat feet and pushed a heavy lamp onto Mr. Jerry's head, killing him.

"That cat knew what she was doing," said Bernard Jerry, the grandson of the victim. "She didn't even try to call 911."

Now, the implications:

Many of you are understandably reluctant to accept that your fellow Americans want to destroy our country and turn it over to a combination Taliban-Ba'ath-Kittenist Regime. You cling to a hope that The Poorperson is merely a fringe group with no real influence.

Sadly, you couldn't be more wrong. The Modern Liberal Mainstream is not just supportive of kittens generally—they are longtime allies of FLUFFY HERSELF. Indeed, this Terro-Kitten dwells at the very heart of the Democratic Party. Just take a look at these completely genuine photographs:

Anti-war rally, 1971

Little Rock, Arkansas, 1983

Fluffy the Kitten shaking hands with Saddam, Baghdad, Iraq, 1984

As horrible as it is, we must accept the truth about our opponents. They are not anti-kittens-murdering-people. They are just on the other side.

The Semi-Collected Wisdom of William Greider

I'm a big, big, big, big (big) admirer of the journalist William Greider. He's now Political Affairs editor of the Nation; before that he wrote for Rolling Stone and before that was a reporter and editor at the Washington Post.

I've been deeply influenced by his books, particularly Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy. So sometimes I harass him with email, filled with complaints about life on earth.

Here are some of these emails from this past June. I believe they illustrate why you should read all his work and also send him a box of money.

I started off with this. I particularly wanted to gripe about the Washington Post to him, given his history there:

From: Jonathan Schwarz
Date: Sun Jun 19, 2005 1:25:14 PM US/Central
To: William Greider
Subject: god, the Washington Post sucks

What a awful paper it is. I'm doing some work with the people at, and the Post's coverage has been truly appalling. The level of contempt they have for normal people is extraordinary.

America seems more and more like Venezuela. As you may know, the last attempted coup against Chavez was organized with meetings in the office of one of their media conglomerates. If there's ever a progressive president in America again, the same kind of thing will probably happen here.

Then after some consideration, I sent this:

From: Jonathan Schwarz
Date: Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:36:22 AM US/Central
To: William Greider
Subject: but on the other hand...

On the other hand, it's been quite an experience to be part of After Downing Street. We get about an email a minute from people all over the US. Having been raised in cynical, sneering Bethesda, I'm almost embarrassed to say this... but it's genuinely moving to find out how many people truly care about the idea of this country. There may be more life left in this old Republic than I thought.

So, fuck the Washington Post. So much the worse for them that they lead such pinched lives with such neutered imaginations.

Here was his wise and encouraging response:

From: William Greider
Date: Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:14:40 PM US/Central
To: Jonathan Schwarz
Subject: Re: but on the other hand...

Dear Jon -- This is breakthrough knowledge you have obtained. It took me 20 years plus as a reporter to understand what I was learning about Americans at large -- they are terrific, smart, serious, generous, funny, willing to share and sacrifice in circumstances that demand it. ETC. It is the platform for my political optimism. Now all you have to do is close the gap between the reality you see about Americans and what represents them in formal politics.

Congrats. Go to work.

Best, Bill

August 24, 2005

Who Would Jesus Assassinate? Also: Juan Cole & Dennis Perrin

Mike watched Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, and has these thoughts: me assassinating someone (even a foreign leader you don't like) seems to be the exact opposite of Christ's message. For which, it must be remembered, he was assassinated...

[But] I skimmed through the New Testament, and you know what? Robertson's right! Christ is constantly offing people, usually for political gain. The dude's a one-man killing machine. "For He so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten sniper." "Blessed are the hitmen." "Do unto others, but cover your tracks, to minimize blowback." The whole thing reads like a study packet from The School of the Americas.

I encourage you to read it all.

Also—if you're anywhere near Ann Arbor, Michigan, DO NOT MISS this Sunday's event with Juan Cole and Dennis Perrin. Word on the street is that Dennis may mention Robertson himself. But you'll have to hurry, because tickets are almost gone:

August 22, 2005

A Funny Little Story About The Media

Some time ago, while witnessing the blathering about Valerie Plame, Karl Rove, Judith Miller, Matt Cooper, etc., Digby asked this: it normal that members of the press know the answer to a major mystery but they withhold it, as a group, from the public?

Based on my own experience, I'd say the answer to Digby's question is: yes.

I grew up in the Washington area and went to school with lots of children of government and media types. Then I went to Yale, which is also full of such offspring. What I saw was that the corporate media—places like the New York Times, Washington Post, the networks, etc.—and government figures are blatantly, brazenly in bed with each other. And not just metaphorically; it's often literally true. There's Andrea Mitchell & Alan Greenspan; James Rubin & Christiane Amanpour; Judith Miller & a cast of thousands; and so on.

In any case, whoever they're shtupping, they share a mindset: the government and corporate media self-consciously see themselves as a governing elite that runs things hand in hand. That's why Nicholas Kristof is anxious that if hoi polloi keep calling George Bush a liar, it may make America "increasingly difficult to govern." And it's why Katherine Graham famously said this, in a speech at the CIA to new recruits:

"There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."

William Greider explained the perspective of people like Graham and Kristof and their political cuddlebunnies in his book Who Will Tell the People:

In many private quarters of Washington, Alexander Hamilton's derisive dictum—"The People! The People is a great beast!"—has become an operating maxim. Survival in office requires a political strategy for herding "the beast" in harmless directions or deflecting it from serious matters it may not understand. Now and then, to the general dismay of political elites, Hamilton's "beast" breaks loose and tramples the civility of the regular order, though this usually occurs on inflammatory marginal issues that have little to do with the real substance of governing.

Weirdly, in fact, the media may be more invested in the status quo, and more concerned about "the people" going berserk, than actual politicians. Officeholders come and go, but the Washington Post is eternal.

So anyway, here's a funny little story illustrating all this:

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen came to talk at Yale in 1988, just after I arrived. Following schmancy Yale tradition, he had tea with a small group of students and then ate dinner with an even smaller group. I weaseled my way into attending.

Gary Hart had recently flamed out in the '88 presidential race because of Donna Rice. And at dinner Cohen told all us fresh-faced, ambitious, grotty youths this:

The Washington press corps had specifically tried to push Hart out of the race. It wasn't because Hart had had extramarital affairs—everyone knew this was the norm rather than the exception among politicians. So Hart wasn't at all unusual in this respect. Instead, Cohen said, it was because the press corps felt that Hart was "weird" and "flaky" and shouldn't be president. And when the Donna Rice stuff happened, they saw their opening and went after him.

(I wish I remembered more about what Cohen said about the specific gripe of the press corps with Hart, but I don't think he revealed many details.)

At the time, I remember thinking this:

1. How interesting that the DC press corps knows grimy details about lots of politicians but only chooses to tell the great unwashed when they decide it's appropriate.

2. How interesting that the DC press corps feels it's their place to make decisions for the rest of America; ie, rather than laying out the evidence that Hart was weird, flaky, etc., and letting Americans decide whether they cared, they decided run-of-the-mill citizens couldn't be trusted to make the correct evaluation.

3. How interesting that Cohen felt it was appropriate to tell all this to a small group of fresh-faced, ambitious, grotty Yale youths, but not to the outside world. And how interesting that we were being socialized into thinking this was normal.

Now, this doesn't mean Gary Hart wasn't weird and flaky. I assume he was. To me, the desire to be President of the United States in itself means you're a psychopath who should never be President of the United States. Unfortunately, of course, this desire is a job requirement. You have to be Catholic to be Pope, and you have to be dangerous and sick to be president.

But the point is the powerhouse media and their politician lovemates truly do feel there are things normal, grubby Americans simply can't handle. Moreover, it has nothing to do with political parties. Everything I've seen in my life confirms that, with few exceptions, they feel this way across the (extremely narrow) political spectrum.

If you're not part of their little charmed circle, believe me, all your worst suspicions about them are true. They do think you're stupid. They do lie to you. They do hate and fear you. Most importantly, they think you can't be trusted with the things they know—because if you did know them, you'd go nuts and break America. They are Thomas Jefferson's aristocrats:

Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object. The last appellation of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.

Interestingly, in my endless years of school, this Jefferson quote was never once part of the assigned reading.

August 21, 2005

Actual Journalism

The Los Angeles Times has been running some actual journalism, thanks to their reporter Steven Bodzin.

One of Bodzin's most interesting recent stories is about the repeal of an obscure but genuinely important law regulating utilities:

What enabled the regulators to shield Portland General Electric from the Enron debacle was the Public Utility Holding Company Act, a New Deal-era federal law requiring companies that owned electric utilities either to incorporate in the state where they sell power or to accept tight regulation by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission...

But after more than 20 years of agitation from industry financiers and free-market advocates, the 1935 law will be repealed when President Bush signs the energy bill, which he is expected to do Monday at a ceremony in Albuquerque.

Wall Street analysts and energy industry observers expect the repeal to accelerate the industry's consolidation, with more utilities being bought by national — and even foreign — electricity companies and by oil, construction and service companies.

Basic utilities like electricity aren't commodities like apples or DVD players. People can choose to buy oranges instead of apples, or choose not to buy a DVD player. But hospitals can't choose not light their operating rooms, and grocery stores can't chose not to refrigerate meat.

That's why, left to their own devices, corporations will use their leverage to gouge their customers as hard and long as they can. That's just good business. If you read any books about the early 20th century before the New Deal, you'll see this type of good business happened regularly.

Sadly, after the New Deal's regulation of utilities, the rape and pillage dropped off dramatically. But Wall Street never forgot how much fun the raping and pillaging had been. So they've patiently waited seventy years until everyone else forgot why utilities were regulated in the first place.

Enron was one of the first great achievements of deregulation, but there are certain to be many more. Eventually, once enough billions have been stolen and enough people have died, we'll reregulate everything. Then we'll slowly forgot why we did it and deregulate everything again around 2075.

Yes: I am an old, grumpy man. But you should still read all of Steven Bodzin's article.

Also on the Bodzin front, Tom Dispatch picked up a Bodzin article about whether Bush administration has ever actually articulated what "victory" in the "Global" "War" "on" "Terror" would be. Guess what the answer was?

I wanted to know the administration's vision of victory in the GWOT. So I dug up tens of thousands of pages of strategy objectives from government agencies and think tanks filled with negative goals like "disrupt and destroy terrorist organizations," "conquer this enemy," and "defeat the forces of evil wherever they are."

But a definition of victory was nowhere to be found. Even the word "victory" was surprisingly rare in documents from the National Security Council (NSC), the CIA, the State Department, and the FBI. Dozens of on-line databases, articles, and speeches brought me no closer to discovering the war's goal.

August 18, 2005

Last Night's Vigils

There are some great reports on the vigils last night on the After Downing Street site.

There are also further reports and pictures on the Moveon site.

Nat Parry, friend of this site and son of Bob Parry of Consortium News, was at the White House vigil. There's a Malaysian Times article about it, including a teeny-tiny picture of Nat, here.

August 17, 2005


For Christopher Hitchens, every day is an opportunity to sink to a new low. His latest milestone in self-degradation is his claim that Cindy Sheehan said the Iraq war was started by "a Jewish cabal."

Dennis Perrin gives him a beautiful smack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, here.

August 16, 2005

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Cindy Sheehan wants to ask the president some questions. I want to ask: how can someone make money off Cindy Sheehan wanting to ask the president some questions?

Now there is an answer from Evansville Magazine: by selling "The Official Peace Flower."

"The Official Peace Flower" kit includes:

• One flower pot
• Dirt from Crawford, Texas
• Peace flower seeds
• A letter of authenticity
• Eternal damnation for Evansville Magazine

August 14, 2005

We Must Protect Our Precious Creek-Based Fluids

Cindy Sheehan has been asking why her son died in Iraq. It's very simple:

Many Bush supporters say the president has little to gain politically by meeting with Sheehan. "I have no problem with what these people are doing here. This is America, and that's their right," said Elliott Mattlage, who owns the 300-acre cattle ranch next to the intersection where Camp Casey has taken shape.

Wearing a "Bush-Cheney 2004" shirt, the retired 67-year-old said he worked for defense contractors for nearly 40 years. "I sympathize with anyone who's lost a child. But nobody asked this guy (Sheehan) to join the service," Mattlage said.

Then he pointed over a rise in his 50-head ranch. "If we don't stop these terrorists over there, then they're going to be right there in that creek."

Yes, this has been the plan of the Islamofascists since the beginning:

Drive U.S. out of Middle East

Reestablish Caliphate throughout Muslim world

Attack a small creek on Elliot Mattlage's property in Crawford

Use creek as base of operations to conquer a sandbox on a playground in suburban Phoenix


August 13, 2005

Grim And Non-Grim

I've found it pretty grim to witness the right wing slime machine go after Cindy Sheehan. The depth of the hatefulness is terrifying. It makes me understand how every horrible thing in history has happened.

But then I took a walk around the block and cheered up. Here's some stuff that is also non-grim:

1. Colin Whitworth at the Gainesville Report has done something I'd been meaning to do for a while—transcribe the dialogue on the television in the bombed window at the beginning of Brazil. Take a look and learn again why there is no such thing as satire.

INTERVIEWER: Do you think that the government is winning the battle against terrorists?

HELPMANN: Oh yes. Our morale is much higher than theirs, we're fielding all their strokes, running a lot of them out, and pretty consistently knocking them for six. I'd say they're nearly out of the game.

INTERVIEWER: But the bombing campaign is now in its thirteenth year...

HELPMANN: Beginner's luck.

2. Chris Floyd says there's a fancy new version of Empire Burlesque on the way.

Also, check out this about Dennis Hastert:

One of the grubby little secrets of the Great Potomac Grease Pit – otherwise known as the government of the United States – is that the massive amount of bribes given and taken there often has little effect on the final outcome of policy decisions and legislation...

The plain fact is, most politicians take bribes to push policies they already support. With very few exceptions, you are just not going to achieve a place of prominence in national politics unless you are already the kind of person happy to do the bidding of rapacious elites, whatever the cut of your rhetorical jib ("progressive," "moderate," "conservative," etc.). Like Macbeth's spectral dagger, bribery merely marshall'st the politician in the way he was going...

Talk of bribery in high places leads us, of course, to Representative Dennis Hastert of Illinois...

And Mr. Floyd's take on how the US government will avoid embarrassment while putting Saddam on trial is worth reading too.

3. Finally, why not some Ecolanguage from Lee Adam Arnold?

August 11, 2005

Bill Mitchell

Bill Mitchell founded Gold Star Families for Peace with Cindy Sheehan. His son Sgt. Mike Mitchell was killed in Iraq on the same day—in fact, in the same battle—as Cindy Sheehan's son Casey. He's just as impressive a person as Cindy, which is saying quite a lot. He arrived in Crawford yesterday to be with her.

Here's a little bit of an interview with him in the Lone Star Iconoclast, but it's well worth reading the whole thing:

ICONOCLAST: How are you dealing with this?

MITCHELL: Not very well. My life's been devastated. It's been turned upside down. Very few aspects of my life have a similarity to the past. It just kind of churns you up, shakes you out, and drops you off. I'm doing much better than I have been.

ICONOCLAST: Does it help to bond with other people who have had similar experiences?

MITCHELL: Extremely. Extremely. I come to events like this and I really get empowered from being with other people and working for the cause. I met Cindy shortly after our sons' deaths. We did some military speak-out events together. I realized there was a power in her speaking and in her stories. Even those people who don't agree with the war, or our opinions, see this...

I'm here in Crawford, Texas today to support my friend, Cindy Sheehan. I appreciate what she's doing. I was against the war beforehand. I wish I could sit here and tell you how much you should appreciate my son for your liberty and freedom, but, you know, I didn't believe that before the war, and when my son died I surely couldn't grab that and cherish that feeling, because I know it's lies that got us there.

George Bush Makes It Clear

Presidential news conference, March 6, 2003

Q What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: That's a great question. Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.... it's very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won't change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated.

Presidential address at Fort Bragg, June 28, 2005

THE PRESIDENT: Our mission in Iraq is clear. We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.

We can't be certain what exactly the mission is that's led to the deaths of Cindy Sheehan's son and 1,800 other U.S. soldiers and god knows how many Iraqis. But whatever the mission is, we do one thing about it for sure: it's clear.

August 08, 2005

George Bush's Priorities

Bob Harris asks:

Osama Bin Laden or Cindy Sheehan:

Which one will George W. Bush have arrested first?

Read the whole thing.

Do You Have Time On Your Hands?

Of course you do—you're visiting this site, which only seems to be updated every couple of years. So, why not use some of your time to:

1. Write your representative and ask him/her to go to Crawford to support Cindy Sheehan in person... and if he/she can't do that, at least publicly call upon President Bush to meet with her. Then call his/her office and say the same thing.

2. Repeat these steps with your Senators.

I realize this kind of stuff sometimes seems useless. Surprisingly enough, it's not. I've seen a lot of convincing evidence about this in the past week.

Will Bush Arrest Cindy Sheehan?

David Swanson just spoke with Cindy, and everyone in Crawford is concerned they're going to be arrested soon. I can't believe the Bush administration would be so stupid as to actually do this, but I thought that about them and other things before and been wrong.

In other news, After Downing Street and the new site David just put together Meet with Cindy are inaccessible because of heavy traffic. This is irritating, though also nice in some abstract way. In any case, both should be back up soon.

Meanwhile, Google News has 680 stories about Cindy.

August 07, 2005

Bob Harris Now Pronounces You Man And Wife

I've said before and I'll say it again: Bob Harris has the most peculiar life of anyone I've ever met. I really have no higher compliment than this.

What unusual escapade has he been involved in most recently? Let's consult the New York Times Wedding section:

Dara Hellman, an adjunct instructor of English, and Daniel Frederick Melia, an associate professor of Celtic studies and rhetoric and a former "Jeopardy!" contestant, were married on Wednesday on the set of the game show at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif. The ceremony was led by Bob Harris, a friend and former "Jeopardy!" contestant, who was named a deputy commissioner of civil marriage by Los Angeles County.

I'm not going to pretend I'm not jealous about this.

Cindy Sheehan

All my time in the past few days has gone to two things: (1) deleting a flood of spam advertising a new brand of mango juice, and (2) supporting the protests Cindy Sheehan is leading in Crawford, Texas outside Bush's "ranch."

I hope you've been following this—it isn't hard to do, since it's currently the #1 U.S. story on Google News and AOL. As you can see, Cindy Sheehan is asking Bush to meet with her and other members of Gold Star Families for Peace at some point during his five week vacation so they can ask him basic questions about the war that's killed their children. She's pledged to camp out at the side of the road until Bush agrees to do so.

Anyway, I've posted a bunch of stories about this on the After Downing Street site. If you are a good person, you will read all of them:

AP: "Mom of Slain Soldier Stages Bush Protest"
Reuters: "White House Officials Meet Anti-war Protesters"
Update from Celeste Zappala, Co-Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace
Cindy Sheehan: "The Secret Service is Trying to Intimidate Us"

With any luck, there will be much, much, much more of this to come.

August 03, 2005

Lee Tyler And Ian Dallas Are Funny

I highly recommend Lee Tyler's advice on "How to Tell If Your Teen Is on Drugs."

Also, Ian Dallas has a series of weekly pensées here, including:

• Nothing makes you feel more unemployed than having to buy your own pens.

• It's a shame that the only things that are sexually transmitted are diseases and babies.

• I wonder how much "sell by" dates are about health and safety, and how much of it is just about supermarkets setting goals for themselves.

• Product idea: Careless Annie's 98% Meatless Patties

August 02, 2005

Best. Comments. Ever.

Right now there's a spirited debate in the comments to this post from September, 2004 about the relative merits of Roman consuls Sulla and Marius. I don't think it's in any way diminished by the fact that—going by IP addresses—everyone participating in the argument is the same person.

Big News From Hugo Zoom

Hugo Zoom is planning to go back to Iraq, where his mother's family is from and he attended kindergarten, and make a documentary:

I've avoided overt discussions of politics in this blog for some time, even though I started blogging way back when rather explicitly because of my political preoccupations. In my case the avoidance has not been so much about political fatigue as a sense of failure...

I want to be hopeful, and start over, trying to do something useful... With that in mind, I've decided to stop blogging under a pseudonym and discuss some of my future plans, and how I want to utilize this blog for those plans. As some of you may already know, my mother's family is from Iraq, and although I was born here, I lived abroad, primarily in the middle east, from the time I was one until I was 10 and a half...

Anyway, my name is Jonathan Versen and I'm going back to Iraq... my intention is to go in the summer of 2007, to stay for about 3 months, and make a documentary. My intention is to try to be unbiased, my intense disapproval of George W. Bush and the rest of the neocon horde notwithstanding. You can judge for yourselves, irrespective of your political predispositions, how successful I will be. And I mean to use Hugo Zoom (I'm keeping the name of the blog, as I'm fond of it) to raise money for the trip. I haven't posted a Paypal or other donate button just yet, but I will, soon. I'm going to try posting 6 days a week from now on, about politics, my plans, and other things on occasion.

More Zoom news as things develop. I myself will certainly support his efforts, not least for his excellent taste in first names.