Kevin Wolf (that's his name, don't wear it out) and I agreed to keep a count of the *specifics* in W's speech tonight. We were all promised yet another road map, a very detailed strategy, leading us to complete and ultimate victory in this God-forsaken war, which is Iraq.
We'll here's my take. It sounded a lot like this beer looks. Did W pour this beer? Probably. He totally (frat talk, you know) seems like the kind of guy -- no matter how many times he's done it in his life -- he just does not get it that all he has to do is tilt the glass just a little so that he doesn't end up with so much flippin' foam.
I actually took notes throughout most of his speech tonight, waiting for the *specifics.*
Well, this is where I started taking notes: "The Mission is Clear" (Ok! Wait for it! Let's all become enlightened)
1) Keep hunting down the terrorists
2) Keep helping to build a stronger Iraq
3) Be committed to advancing freedom
4) Keep laying the foundation for peace
I've never been anyone's secretary, at least not a good one anyway, but here are the other notes from W's speech tonight:
He mentioned bin Laden several times (I counted 3)
He mentioned September 11 several times (I counted 3)
I wrote down that when he said "converged" he treated it like he had just said a "big word" that he had just learned. You all know what I mean by that. Leaning forward, looking proud.
Ooops! Just found my second page of notes -- and that's got the "SPECIFICS" written down:
1) Hand authority over to Iraqis
2) Continue to help them
3) Encourage international support
4) Support responsibility
Here's another three points that I thought important enough to have written down.
1) Partner coalition units within Iraqi units
2) Embed coalition teams within Iraqi teams
3) (this is vague) -- Help the Iraqi Ministries with their anti-terrorist activities
And then, I've written down: "8:21 p.m. - Enough of you already." And I think that was after my husband started throwing popcorn at the TV.
So, Kevin. This Bud's For You. It's all I've got! No specifics, no plan, no strategy.
My slave sayeth I speaketh of being an average temptress. He-eth knoweth not of what he speaks.
Average? Please, child.
High two figures? Whattaya, nuts? You get $0. Notta. Total zero-eth.
And Jeez-Louise. You cave so easily. You cried, "Uncle" before the gameth even began.
And, oh, by the wayeth, I figured you would look way more like Doctor Johnson as imagined by William Hogarth during a particularly irksome episode of gout than the photo that I so elegantly displayed. (Damn you for adding the bubble words --so, 21st century of you. Of course the one word isn't a word at all, now is it?)
You are now set free! I need to have a slave for life that I can freaking understand!
And I never wanted to be one when I was little. When I was 12, I wanted to be a Mary Tyler Moore type and live in Georgetown, stopping at the corner store to buy flowers for my townhouse on my way home from work. I never had clearly defined goals. It was always a more abstract lifestyle I was pursuing. But I did always know that I wanted a child like Lucy in The Goodbye Girl. A smart little wipper-snapper, who most times seems like the only adult in the house. And, voila! I got one, only the boy version.
I digress (and so easily too!). The goal of this post is not to talk about my long lost youth and all of my dreams that have been crushed by the outrageous cost of real estate. No, the point of this post -- the clearly defined goal of my Monday blogging activities -- is to write about a column from the NYTs on Saturday. And to let you know how a real Western Historian and an Abstract Thinker In Search of More thought about the very same column.
Erik Loomis, my new friend, a Western Historian, has an interesting post stemming from two columns that appeared in the NYTs Saturday. One written by John Tierney -- and that’s all I can bear to say about that one, because I’ve discovered I am allergic to John Tierney and need my good health today to get some work done. Let’s just say Erik calls Tierney’s column “total bunk.” Go, Erik, go.
The other column, the one I loved really, was written by Patricia Nelson Limerick. I was taken with her column and have kept it on my night table since I read it the first time Saturday. (I’ve read it countless times since.) I would have assumed not too long ago that all of you had read this column. Not so I guess. As Lance has recently called The New York Times dishonest and Res has called it loyal to Bush and hostile to Democrats to the left of Lieberman.
Can’t help myself though. It’s still my blue jewel that awaits me every morning in the driveway.
Limerick’s column, “Dining With Jeff” begins:
Founding a democracy, rather like living in a democracy, can be very tough on friendship.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson began as friends. The tensions and frictions of the early Republic took care of that. Then, after years of silence between them, a mutual friend persuaded them to write to each other. In 1812, they launched into a correspondence that continued until it was ended by their deaths.
That ending point was on their minds and drove their correspondence. As Mr. Adams wrote Mr. Jefferson, “You and I ought not die, before we have explained ourselves to each other.”
Oh, wow. How I love that. I can fall hard for words and I did for these. Limerick also fell in love with these words, only 30 years ago and goes on to explain how her recently deceased husband, Jeff had made “explaining himself” into an art form. She said that, “Jeff had a genius for listening and giving people the best opportunity to explain themselves and to become his friend.”
My reaction to that part of the column, as Nancy Nall would say, “made my bottom lip pooch out.” Obviously she had lost her soulmate and I gave her a ton of credit for being able to write so movingly in a period of her life where she must be grief stricken.
When I find myself puzzled and even vexed by the opinions of beliefs of other people, I invite them to have lunch.
And she has done just that. She has invited Bill Moyers and James Watt, Reagan’s first secretary of the interior to lunch so that they all can discuss a certain point Moyers was trying to make about the Bush administration’s environmental policy in a speech last Winter by using a quote from James Watt from years ago.
Basically Moyers’ said that there is, “a belief in an imminent Second Coming, and is the driving force behind these policies.” Then he went on to quote Watt as saying, “(Watt) told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. And that Watt also said, “After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”
Well I guess Watt never said such a thing and Moyers has admitted to making a “mistake.” Nevertheless, they are not friends and Limerick wants to change that. She wants to bring them together; she wants to have lunch with them, “in a setting where a transcendent Western landscape both stirs our souls and reminds us of the economic, aesthetic, biological and spiritual riches at stake in our conversation.”
That description of eating lunch together was a little deep for me, but I can forgive her for deep thoughts in trying times. As she is still struggling with her husband’s death, she “(wants to) find comfort in the company of people of faith....in order to let friendship redeem the Republic.”
Limerick's piece is a little more disturbing because I expect more from her. As I said before, she wrote The Legacy of Conquest, one of western history's most seminal works. This was a founding book of the New Western History which emphasized violence, conquest, and conflict as key measures of understanding white history in the American West. She was widely vilified by conservatives for this book. Somehow though over the years she started making friends with these conservatives, including the bete noire of American environmentalism, James Watt. Watt, the former Secretary of Interior for Ronald Reagan, wanted to eviscerate environmental regulations, privatize government services in National Parks, and turn the West into a giant mine. In other words, he is the teacher of Gail Norton, who is in fact Watt's protege. Limerick's friendship with Watt has led to some disturbing statements, including her editorial today where she takes Bill Moyers to task...
Limerick claims that Watt never actually said that. And this is of course possible. I have a lot of respect for Moyers and I would hope he would check his sources carefully. But even if he didn't actually say it, he said many things like it that do make him an enemy of the environmental movement. And given today's climate, how valuable is it to attack Moyers in defense of Watt? Limerick makes good points about the need to not demonize evangelical Christians when it comes to the environment and the need for people like Moyers and Watt to talk to each other. But while we shouldn't demonize evangelicals for no good reason, if Watt or if other political or evangelical leaders do make such statements, they should be demonized. We need to watch these kind of statements carefully. We also need to make sure that when we are not demonizing evangelicals and conservatives for being anti-environment, that we also are not coddling them either.”
I myself had detected that she was taking Moyers to task. And I thought it was strange to pick on him given so many people out there she could pick on with such a powerful megaphone. I also had a nagging feeling that this might be the sort of thing that Lance and Res find disparaging about The New York Times lately.
But I believe that the point of her column was more of a healing message than an attack on Bill Moyers. Maybe once you have lost your soulmate, the “bitter contests of values and political rhetoric that characterize our times” that Limerick writes of are great luxuries that those living are lucky enough to work through to resolve.
Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be surrounded by interesting people with interesting ideas. And there all of you are! How lucky I am to have discovered you. Still no Georgetown townhouse though (bottom lip pooching out again).
So, what do you all think? Erik and I have started this discussion, so join us! I’ll get the cheese, you bring the wine and we’ll hash through all of this together. Like Mr. Adams said, “You and I ought not to die, before we have explained ourselves to each other.”
Someone out there, and you know who you are, is not as loyal as they have previously claimed to be. Simply blogrolling blue girl does not get you off the hook so easily.
And any number of spoonerisms that you may come up with will not even begin to get you out of this mess.
You thought Paul O’Neill suffered for his disloyalty? Ha! You thought Richard Clark got the short end of the stick? Believe me, an apology in front of a Congressional Committee is only the beginning of what you are going to have to do.
Your punishment will become more and more severe with each passing hour.
It's too darn hot today to do much of anything. So between watching our new kitten, Oliver attack the couch pillows and catching bits and pieces of the movie "P.S." starring Laura Linney and Topher Grace (has anyone seen this movie? is it any good?) Well, between all that, I've been reading about George Bernard Shaw. I'm not sure how I came upon him. You know, you link and then you link and then you link. Who can remember how the whole thing ever gets started.
Anyway, I wanted to post some funny and romantic (and odd) *stuff* he wrote. (Would George Bernard Shaw ever use the word "stuff" when writing? I didn't know him and stuff, but my guess would be: no.)
NOTE TO WINSTON CHURCHILL:
Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend -- if you have one. (note inviting Churchill to the opening of Saint Joan)
Churchill was more than a match for this one. He replied asking if it would be possible to have tickets for the second night -- "if there was one."
I like flowers. I also like children, but I do not chop off their heads and keep them in bowls of water around the house.
....veddy intadesting (I'm not sure how you'd spell it but you get it right?)
LETTER SHAW WROTE TO BRITISH ACTRESS, MRS. PATRICK "STELLA" (BEATRICE) CAMPBELL: If I read correctly they were married to other people at the time. Shaw wrote the part of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion for her. Considered one of the greatest stars of her generation, she was also known for her beauty and wit.
Shaw to Stella:
I want my rapscallionly fellow vagabond.
I want my dark lady. I want my angel --
I want my tempter.
I want my Freia with her apples.
I want the lighter of my seven lamps of beauty, honour,
laughter, music, love, life and immortality....I want
my inspiration, my folly, my happiness,
my divinity, my madness, my selfishness,
my final sanity and sanctification,
my transfiguration, my purification,
my light across the sea,
my palm across the desert,
my garden of lovely flowers,
my million nameless joys,
my day's wage,
my night's dream,
my darling and
I think the movie, "P.S." is supposed to be a love story, yes? But from what I've seen of it today, it doesn't hold a candle to this love letter.
Once again Res hits it out of the park with his post, "On supporting our troups." You've got to read the entire piece yourself, but here's some bits and pieces:
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History
teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This
administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President
began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered
questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There
are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is
no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for
mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to
bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining
what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan
for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no
plan today" -Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American
servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter
have to give up their life?" -Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." -Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
"Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with
vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The
international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly." -Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
These statements were all made in the context of the 1999 U.S. interventions to stop the genocide in Kosovo. As
you can see, the Republican class of 1999 had absolutely no interest in
the sort of fanatical "support our troops" rhetoric in which they so
love to wallow today. Was the news media of 1999 full of SCANDLE!!! and OUTRAGE!!!
over Tom Delay’s inappropriate questioning of the president in the
middle of a war, or over the Republican leadership’s complete and utter
failure to "support our troops"? Was Republican disloyalty the big story of 1999?
To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite blogs: Sadly, no. In 1999, our "liberal media" were extremely busy. They had spent several years already working closely with the right wing OUTRAGE!!!
machine to take down a popular second-term president in a
journalism-major circle-jerk of unimaginable proportions, culminating
in the president’s acquittal in his impeachment trial. As Sally Quinn’s November 1998 editorial in the Washington Post (entitled "Not in Their Back Yard") made perfectly clear, the Washington politico-journalistic establishment regarded the Clintons as low-class hillbilly interlopers in their genteel and rarified world. They
needed to make an example of these crackers, lest the great unwashed
west of the Potomac get the notion that just anybody can come to Washington. They were defending their class interests, and had no time at all for silly distractions like supporting America’s troops.
Surfing the Internets today, I came across this photo. Not sure who this guy is, but to me, he looks dashing. Like a wordsmith who's grumpy because there are just too many words in need of smithing and can't he catch a break, already?!
I love this sort of smart-detective-professor-Oscar Madison-curmugdeonly type. Like a character that Neil Simon would concoct. He would live in New York City and walk the streets at night. I somehow feel that I wouldn't even be disappointed when he had to do the big reveal. What is or is not under that hat, I don't think would matter at all. But what's inside that head underneath that hat definitely would.
Something about this guy is very familiar. I don't know what it is. And since they say a picture's worth a thousand words, it just might be words that I have read that I am making this ethereal connection. Clever words, profane words, words that are not even words!
Is this man a man of music? And would his words sing:
Grand Funk Railroad sucked longer, louder and with more consistency than any band in the history of Rock and Roll. By a moonshot. By a light-year. By a parasec. Take three REO Speedwagons, four Golden Earrings, eight Nazareths, two Starships, and three Status Quos, mix 'em up in a big-assed blender, toss in some Olson Twins videos for crunch, and you will still have only a small jigger-load of what you'd need to make up a bowlful of brand-clean Grand Funk Suck. When the the Great Scorer comes to mark against their name, he writes not that they won or lost, but how much they just plain Sucked.
Is this a man who is an expert in many fields? Would he be considered a leading authority on such hot topics of the day as:
Hmmph. Not sure, as I am not on that level, but still trying to get up there.
I wonder, is he a good guy fighting the good fight on the side of the good? Would his words reassure you that he is:
But here's what's got me worried. In my interior monologue I am making this guy a scapegoat for every goddamned avaricious, mendacious, soul-destroying crime against sanity perpetrated by beauty-hating, know-nothing, land-raping, Iraq-invading, home-schooling, Christ-insulting, religion-perverting, Kerry-slandering, Abu-Ghraib-denying, history-mangling, language-destroying, WMD-inventing, plutocrat-tax-relieving, wingnut-judge-appointing ASSHOLE in the last five years.
Do you know, this morning a woman drove past me with a personalized license plate that said GOP GIRL and some frother bumperstickers -- and I flipped her the finger?
Ahhh. No need to worry about that. I somehow feel he'd get along much better with BLUE GIRL than GOP GIRL. Until, of course, GOP GIRL took off her shoes and made him a homemade patriotic apple pie to show off her 1950s cooking skills. She might have me there. My microwave abilities may not mean squat to this wordsmith. Who will ever know?
Well, I will continue my search to find out who this gentleman reminds me of. It may take awhile but if I ever do make that connection, he's going to be my slave forever!
I just received the email message below from Mike DeWine, one of the "Senate's 14" who ultimately
helped get Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown confirmed.
Unfortunately, Mike DeWine must have *skimmed* the email I sent him regarding the filibuster mess awhile back.
If I get put on some GOP mailing list and end up getting direct mail from the NRA, I'm going to shoot myself.
June 25, 2005
Dear (blue girl):
Thank you for contacting me regarding President Bush's federal judicial nominees. I appreciate knowing your views on this very important issue.
Recently, the Senate confirmed six of the President's judges for the federal bench -- Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, David McKeague, Richard Griffin, and Thomas Griffith. These confirmations are the result of an historic, bipartisan agreement that I helped negotiate,
along with 13 of my Senate colleagues. I became involved in the negotiations because too many circuit court judges were not being voted on in the Senate and the filibuster was being abused to block these nominations.
While we clearly needed to change the way the Senate was conducting business, I also felt that it was really not in the best interests of the Nation or the Senate to completely change the rules and totally eliminate the filibuster, though I was prepared to do that if nominations continued to be blocked. We needed, instead, an alternative that could restore the Senate to where it was when I entered the Senate a decade ago -- a Senate where the possibility of a filibuster for judicial nominations was there, but rarely used.
That is what our agreement achieved. We agreed that a filibuster for a judge should not be used unless it was under extraordinary circumstances. Furthermore, we made sure the agreement included a provision that, if the terms of the agreement were violated and a judge were filibustered in circumstances that an individual Member considered not to be extraordinary, then that Member has the right to pull out of the agreement. That Member has the right to go back and use what has been called the constitutional option to change the practice and the precedent of the Senate. I insisted that this be part of the agreement.
As evidenced by the judges the Senate confirmed recently, the agreement, so far, is working. It has cleared the field for the President's judicial nominations, some of whom had been waiting over four years for a vote in the Senate. Not only that, the agreement also has allowed the people's agenda to move forward. Already, since the agreement was reached, the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed out of the committee the Asbestos bill, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has passed the Energy bill, and the full Senate is debating it.
Enclosed to provide further details is a copy of a speech I gave on the Senate Floor recently regarding the Senate's use of the filibuster regarding judicial nominees. Again, thank you for informing me of your views. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.
Very respectfully yours,
United States Senator
I won't copy and paste that wonderful speech here. I think you've all suffered enough.
From the July 4, 2005 issue of The Nation, a little *phoowack!* from Calvin Trillin:
Cheney Says Iraq Insurgents Are In 'Last Throes'
When rockets fly and battle smoke is thick, It's good to hear from "Four Deferments Dick." He's always sure. He knows what warfare is -- Enough to know it's not for him or his. Insurgents somehow, though they're in the throes, Kill more GIs -- but no one Cheney knows.