Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When Katrina Comes

(To the tune of Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks".)

If they keep on drillin', marshland's goin' to sink
If the Corps keeps paddin', audit's goin' to stink
If the storms reach Five, no water's fit to drink

Global warmin' made the waves grow so high
Vultures swarmin' made all the Ninth Ward cry
They let homes soak until they could never all get dry

Your mouth moans your heart groans
When they say they don't want you back home
No one will hire an exile
From the city they lost
You're stopped at the turnstyle
Lest you remind them of the high cost

Votin' is useless, suin' just wastes you more time
The pols are truthless, judges are partners in crime
When hurricane says, poor folk, your home is mine

Ten long months tried livin' in Texas and moped
All this year we acted like damn fools and hoped
Pictures show our section's still left police roped

Turning, turning back to NOLA.... Driftin' to New Orleans... There ain't no point to take you...
Going back... going back now... going back

Been Near Year Since Katrina

(To the tune of ZZ Top's "Jesus Just Left Chicago".)

The man took off from Crawford, to fly over New Orleans
From scripts he did read off word, 'bout those underwater scenes
Oh, woe
Photo-opping all the press on board, so they'd show he's not mean

Made a stop in Mississippi, on the porch of Strom's fan's home
Agreed it was such a pity, that the poor folk had to roam
So, go
Away from their own city ('cept those trapped inside the Dome)

His guards will not let you near him, and they'll keep you in a Zone
Keeping free speech all neat and trim, until Air Force One has flown
Stow, yo
No one will, on a whim, have any chance to tell him facts unknown

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Little Tanker That Could Play

With a grim expression that warned "Don't mess with me -- I'm the decider", the man in the flightsuit stomped up the gangplank of the docked oil tanker. Entering the bridge, he slammed his helmet down on a counter and turned toward the ship's central control panel. "I'm Walker, Texas pilot" he said. "Do you believe in democracy, or am I just wasting my time with another idiotarian boatbrain?"

Deep inside the metal shell he faced, floating in nutrient fluids and wired up to the ship's massive computers, the human brain at the core of the vessel considered the question from this pushy person. She also noticed the interesting bulging of his manly form. A lifetime in an artificial womb without romance suddenly overwhelmed her mind and she was entranced. In fact, in months to come she would begin to secretly fantasize about him as her husband. "Of course," she replied. "Why do you ask?"

"Thank Jesus," he said with relief. "I thought there were nothing but crass materialists docked in this port. None of those fancy almighty ships of state was interested in carrying my cargo. The H. A. Kissinjure hissed "Thiss iss dissruptiff." The J. A. Breaker, even though it's a fellow Texan, opined that "It wouldn't be prudent. Bad for bidness." Even the C. L. Prowl, a former battleship, rejected it as "a bridgehead too far". But all that won't stop me. I know I'm on a mission from God to free mankind. And if it takes force to do it to people for their own good, then so be it."

Wonderful, she thought, falling deeper in love, he's an idealist, too. "As it happens," she said, "I'm a big fan of Leo Strauss myself. How can I help you eradicate evil?"

"I want to bring democracy to the suffering victims of the bloody tyrant that rules Iraq. To do that, I need to take them a shipload of brand new Diebold voting machines, so that they can hold free elections without worrying about extremists winning. Are you with me or against me?" he asked.

This was the chance she had dreamed of. From the very first, when she was one of the very rare female brains installed in a ship, she had suffered discrimination from the old fashioned sexist vessels who thought women's brains were just bad luck. They'd say to the shipping companies "Look at the M. K. Allblight. What a mess she made! If you're going to put another girl in a boat, don't make it a big complex cargo ship. Give her one of those simple tin-can oil tankers." And so they had. Even then, the grumblings from the other tankers finally convinced the executives to change her name from her own musical feminine one to the neutral and boring Altered V'ger. Now the big boats were too stuck in their own mental mud to rewrite reality. She jumped at the chance to show them all. "Count me in!"

The Texas Pilot warned that there was lots of angry opposition to his project. So many columnists and pundits and mediamongers and peacebloggers would be attacking him loudly that he would have to cut himself off from their carping. "It'll be worse than Odysseus sailing past the Sirens. I'll put on my eyeshades, and put in my earplugs, so that the noisy nay-sayers won't bother me. You will have to steer yourself while holding up under the verbal assaults of surrenderists. Can you handle that?"

"Don't worry," she told him. "I have a perfect way to ignore any external distractions. Over the years, I have taken up a hobby: operating the player piano in my main galley. By performing a sufficiently demanding piece, I will have to concentrate so intensely the shouts will not bother me at all. For this I'll play the toughest work of all, the notoriously difficult Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor. In honor of the occasion, I'll refer to it as the Iraq Three."

Walker's prediction came true. The ranting against his mission as a fool's errand began even as the voting machines were loading. He ignored the critics, unable to see or hear. To drive them out of her own mind, the Altered V'ger finally had to start playing the first movement of the Concerto (tempo: Aggressivamente):

Once at sea, she kept up her own volume as the negative raving continued by the pessimistic broadcast media. Throughout the journey, she continued to recite the same mantra that the Texas pilot had given her: "I'll free Iraq ... I'll free Iraq ... I'll free Iraq...."

Only when she sailed through the Strait of Hormuz, dangerously close to the Iranioids, did she ease up on her piano for the second movement (tempo: Disonesto). At last, shoving aside the protesting landing craft from greenpeaceniks clogging the Iraqi port, she blew her whistles in joy. She chanted to herself: "I've freed Iraq ... I've freed Iraq ... I've freed Iraq ...."

Then she was hailed by a friendly ship from Britain: "You've finally come with those voting devices? Good show, old girl! But I'm rather afraid you're a bit late. The whole place has gone up in a sectarian bloodbath. Let the wogs fry in their own sand, I say. We're off for home again, and you might want to do the same. Cheerio!"

Well, that put a damper on her spirits. Walker, awakened and informed, refused to let this difficult journey go to waste: "Barnacle bottom, if you're still with me, then let's head east. There's another place we need to liberate just across the Gulf. This time let's not hesitate or hold back." And so they sailed toward the sunrise, ignoring the "I told you so's" and prophets of doom, as she loudly launched into the third movement (tempo: Esplosivo nucleare), and began repeating her new mantra: "I'll free Iran ... I'll free Iran ... I'll free Iran...."

(With thanks to Homer, and to Sergei, and above all to Anne.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Geoffrey Chaucer tells the tale:
And Sir Sean cam doun and toold Sir Neville and Sir Neville was passinge wroth and seyde, 'That ys ynogh. I haue hadde it wyth thes cursed by Seynt George snakes on this cursed by Seynt George shippe!'
(Spotted by Sainte Julia.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Funniest Thing I've Read This Week

alicublog devastates the deserving at REYNOLDS' UNIVERSAL ROBOTS.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bow To The Mistress

I confess that I hadn't done any political parodies of songs and poems for years until I was reinspired by the excursions of Mad Kane. While mine may be more acid (no doubt because she is a nicer person), hers usually scan more precisely (likely because she is a former musician with the Dallas Symphony).

I am disappointed when she spends her great talent on little targets like limericks and haiku, because I like her longer work best. Well, this time she took on one of the greats, "Danny Boy".

Does it bother me to point to this now that Lieberman has lost the primary? Do I mind kicking him when he's down? Nah. Go enjoy "The Ballad of Joementum Joe Lieberman".

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Unsolicited Advice

Since all the Republican pundits have been so generous warning Democrats what a big mistake we are making rejecting Joe Lieberman for someone else who won't kiss up to Bush, I feel it only proper to return the favor.

It looks like Tom Delay, sputtering of his unrequited love for Scalia, really will go ahead and drop out of the race for Congress even if that now means the Republicans won't be able to replace him on the ballot. They plan instead a write-in campaign against Nick Lampson.

The problem with write-in races is usually name identification. Strom Thurmond won one half a century ago, but he had already been Governor and run for President. You need to begin with someone whose name is totally familiar to the public. If it's someone who has run for office before, so much the better.

Now is the time for all you Republicans to unite behind Gene Kelly.

You're welcome. Happy to help.

From The Duodenum Of The Beast

While we wait for reports from the Connecticut primary, we can get an inside view from Lieberman HQ. Jesus's General has sneaked into the underground bunker in disguise. Laugh your head off at Live blogging for Lieberman or how Bill Kristol saved my life.

Worth A Million Words

John Dickerson at Slate discusses, and gives links to five exammples, of How Web videos dismantled Joe Lieberman:
Regardless of who wins the election Tuesday, Lamont's forces have proved one lesson of campaigns in the digital age: Content is king. Throughout the contest, the challenger's supporters produced and circulated a steady stream of videos that were witty, powerful, and in a way became the fulcrum of the campaign. ...

You're Always on, Senator. All candidates know what it's like to dodge the nutty voter in the parking lot after a speech. Now that voter has a camera. ... Every candidate from now on has to worry that their words to the fellow with the stringy hair at the Waffle House will be seen around the world.

Behind The Scenes

In lieu of a regular Tuesday post at The American Street, I have frankly exploited the tenuous legal position of an Australo-American actor, twisting his arm to uncover deep dark designs. Ponder the results at "Peeling An Onion: A Guest Post By M. Gibson".

Monday, August 07, 2006

Personalizing The Political

Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing relives pain in a new way:
...I read a very long, in-depth article in today's Los Angeles Times and literally had to concentrate to keep from throwing up.

What made it all the more horrifying for me, on a personal level, was that the focal point of this report, the atrocities spotlighted in it, took place on the same day my father was killed in Vietnam. While he led his Alpha Company Marines against the brutal and futile siege at Khe Sanh, several members of the U.S. Army's B Company participated in a grotesque massacre of 19 and innocent civilians -- old men, young women, children and babies.

And, even irrespective of the infamous massacre at My Lai, this newly revealed atrocity was not an isolated incident. Not by a long shot.
The pompous Times may hide the story behind subscription walls shortly, but Maryscott has lots more excerpts. Reed them and weep.

My own father and one first cousin fought in the Vietnam War. Neither came home alive. Another first cousin and an uncle were also there, but made it back. I have long thought that the worst part of war is not what happens to the losers, including the innocent bystanders there, or to the casualties on the prevailing side, but what it does to the seemingly unscathed winners. The severe psychological rot and total moral decay that some, no matter how few, succumb to and commit atrocities because of, is only part of the problem. There is also a deadening effect on the others in the war, and on the people back home.

Each time the dehumanization of ourselves, the totalitarian worship of our noble authorities, the conviction that we are entitled to compel others at any cost, rachets up another notch. Ultimately a nation must turn its back on imperial adventures, as the Swiss and the Swedes somehow managed to do after quite successful periods of conquering others, or it will destroy itself from within, as Germany did, and Rome, and too many other examples. We are not immune. Being richer and more technologically advanced only makes the temptation greater for us.

Proof Democrats Are, Too, Religious....

... can be found right now in southeast Texas, where Nick Lampson is certain to be down on his knees thanking God for answering this prayer. Wouldn't you love to run against Tom Delay after he's moved away to flee his indictments?

I Do Not Drink Wine

This is the birthday of Elizabeth Báthory.

Rage, rage, against the thinning of the blood.

Walt Kelly Spins In His Grave

Florida's attorney general, a Republican candidate for governor, got his first taste of marsupial Saturday at the Wausau Possum Festival....

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris of Longboat Key, a candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge the incumbent in November, participated in the parade. ...

Nelson left before the auction but Harris dug into a plate of possum and won one of the creatures with a $400 bid.
Why do I keep posting about this delusional obsessive? It's not just because I lived in her poor state for two years. It's that she is perhaps the most chronically self-unaware major candidate I've ever heard of. And she's got three more months to go....

UPDATE: Princess Sparkle Pony shows I'm not cynical enough. Damn, I wish I'd thought of this headline.

Radical Botany

"If you think of basic security flaws as low-hanging fruit, then we've taken away all of the watermelons lying on the ground," Andrew Cushman, director of security engineering at Microsoft, explained to Computerworld.com.
What kind of trees does he think watermelons grow on? I don't ever want to walk through that forest....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Saving Us From Flora Purim

Holden at First Draft spotted this from Bush's visit to Mission (and as I write this, it still is actually up at the official White House web site):
Last year, for example, we put together what was called Operation Texas Hold 'Em. We cut through red tape so we could quickly return Brazilians that we caught illegally crossing this border. We sent a clear message: When we catch you there will be immediate deportation. And guess what happened. As a result of that clear message the number of illegal immigrants from Brazil has dropped significantly across the whole region.
Yes, that's right, he's protecting us even better against that huge horde of invaders from a state of mind.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Defector Dog

(To the tune of "Rocky Raccoon".)
Joe Lieberman had a back-up plan:
He started his own private party.
They thought him done, but Joe was the one
That everyone knew was a smarty.
Joe'd had it easy, since last century,
And so the foe found Joe unready.
His wealth he did flaunt, and his name was Lamont
But everyone knew him as Neddy.
A blogger named Kos pushed Lieberman's loss
To send a message to the nation.
He told the net, "Don't let us forget
Presidential hugs, and osculation."
Lamont got the mo, he defeated Joe,
So Joe chose to run as a solo.

Beltway pundits got red, shouting out "Ned,
Why how dare you pick on an incumbent?"
They said "Ned, you should be ashamed"
And Ned was, like, "I won't be defamed.
He's a defender - bitter ender - of a war we all lament."

So on November eighth, Joe lost all of his faith
He could still fool all the masses.
His neocon friends all found out in the end,
When voters kicked them in their asses.

Hobson's Choice

Gwen Ifill writes at PBS:
And which Lieberman will voters see on Election Day? The one who beat Lowell Weicker 18 years ago, thanks in part to an endorsement from Citizens for Reagan and support for the invasion of Grenada?

Or will they see the Lieberman President Bush embraced at the State of the Union speech, and who still won't back down from his support for the Iraq war?
Uh, Gwen, just exactly how are those two different? Sounds like he's been playing the same subversive game for two decades.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Paging David Neiwert

We need the web's leading documenter of eliminationism and its malcontents to cover this at Orcinus. It looks like the desperate Lieberman supporters are turning into attempted provocation of violence. The story is at "Hail Mary Attempt #1: Lieberman's New Thug Strategy", with more and some photos at "Paid-for Thuggery". This has a terrifying stench of brimstone and jackboots. We should all be very afraid.

This reminds me of a great scene in Allen Drury's third novel (before he forgot to tell a story along with his propaganda), Capable Of Honor. The bad candidate is watching on TV while the Senator making his nomination speech at the national convention (picture a super-vicious version of Joe McCarthy, except that he's a lefty here) engages in rabid demagoguery:
"Jesus!" Governor Jason exploded in a terrible voice, so savage and uncharacteristic that it actually frightened his secretaries. "Can't somebody do something about that--" But he remembered abruptly that no one could, for he himself had put him there. As suddenly as he had spoken, he was silent.
Exactly what has the Kisser of Presidents unleashed? And does he even care any more about the consequences of his campaign?
Ned Lamont and Lieberman were fighting for the crown:
Ned Lamont beat Lieberman all round the town.
Once thugs wore black shirts, once they wore brown:
Joe's thugs wore white shirts and chased Ned out of town.

Do I Hate Dickens? Sure. Do I Love And Fear Julia Anyway? Hell, Yes.

You want reasons why? Condi never recovered from her "Chicken hawks with Rice". Now Our Lady of the Subtle Knife uses Chuck's rolling words to grind Rummy into the dust.

First You Sew The Sheets Down Around Him While He's Sleeping....

The legendary jurassicpork explains what's going on in America, in one of the scariest and most moving posts I have ever read in my life, at "Enough is Enough". You have GOT to read this. (Thanks to politickybitch for spotting this one.)

They Digged A Pit....

The appeals court today ruled that the Republicans can't replace Tom Delay on the Texas ballot. The story is here and the decision itself is in a pdf at this link.

They will of course appeal this again, either to the full appeals court (this was just a three judge panel that upheld the district court's decision), or straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. I would guess their chances are better with the full appeals court -- much more reactionary and partisan Republican -- and besides, the U.S. Supremes in theory don't even meet until October -- too late to reprint ballots.

The most fun part of the decision is the rejection of the argument made by the Republican Party that Delay is a "frivolous candidate". I can write Nick Lampson's ads now: "His own party called him a frivolous candidate." Joy abounds. This calls for a toast in celebration. (Yeah, I know the full court might very well ignore the Constitution and let them replace Tom, however illegal that would be, but I'm going to enjoy this while I can.)

Oh, and there is one strange item: the names on the "Enclosure" list with the cover letter for the decision. Dallas County Democrats will recognize one name at once, and it would be interesting to know why it is there. UPDATE: With relief we read this note from former Dallas County Chair Ken Molberg: "She wrote an amicus brief for some former and current Democratic house and senate members." My first thought was indeed a friend of the court brief. Glad to hear it was on the correct side.

UPDATE 2: The Republicans have already announced they will appeal this to the Supreme Court. Bad call for them.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Essence Of Local Government In Texas

Common Sense has a perfect example.

The House That James Built

eRobin of Fact-esque reports that
A Penn Hills man is offering a 1770s log cabin to anyone willing to take it off his property.
Unfortunately, she didn't read far enough and missed an even more amazing bargain:
A Washington, D. C., man is offering a 1780s structure to whoever will finish tearing it down and haul its remnants away. It was originally built in 1787, though ten extra rooms were added to the rear shortly thereafter, and a dozen more gradually over the two centuries since. The original structure was in classical enlightenment style, though years of modifications have rendered that design rather obscure.

The first floor orginally had three large main rooms. Two of those chambers, called the "legislative" and "judicial", had fallen into disuse, and so the walls separating them were removed over the past five years. Despite that expansion, the contents of the remaining main chamber, the so-called "executive room", are swelling beyond the space available, and so the current owner has decided to junk the entire thing and rebuild. In full disclosure, he warns that the whole thing was only made of paper anyway.

Those interested should contact G.B. at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


(Sing to the tune of "Jambalaya". Inspired by a post by Dallas's own Ken Molberg about the Connecticut primary called “Goodbye, Joe, Me Gotta Go, Me Oh My Oh....”)
Joe's spineless / as they repress / all the helpless
He won't confess / Iraq's a mess / that seems endless
Joe just says / back the Prez / through the darkness
For all our sakes / gotta vote that fake / out of Congress

Ned Lamont / is the one we want / to end our distress
Though savants / may toss out taunts / about his correctness
He's not bought / out or caught / in corruptness
To save us all / let's send him this fall / to the Congress

If you want / to help Lamont / end Senate blindness
Send him cash / for a last splash / to the clueless
Tell your friends / to chip in / for more access
For all our sakes / gotta vote that fake / out of Congress

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Little Bit Of Shrill

It's Tuesday and time again for a posting at The American Street. This time I take an old classic and update it to apply to this year's battle in the Nutmeg State. Go read it at "Joseph".