Monday, April 26, 2004

Answers to last week's pop quiz: 1(a); 2(d); 3(d); 4(a); 5(d); 6(a); 7(b)


Friday, April 23, 2004

Pop quiz!

Time for another round of Who Said It?:

1. "We love America but hate the cynical America of John Asscrust, President Brain-stem and National Security Advisor Fuckwit. We love the old America of plentiful jobs, zero deficits, un-draped statues, hope, international respect and peace. We long for an America where those regurgitating current White House talking points and GOP spin, following their cynical leaders down the moral slide into oblivion like lemmings off a cliff, and engaging in other pack-like partisan behavior to suck greedily at Dubya's mephitic cock & balls at any cost are unable to cause any more harm. Slurp, slurp."

a) Michael Moore
b) SA-tan?
c) Ralph Nader
d) Pat Buchanan

2. "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps."

a. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
b. President Cheney
c. Andrew Sullivan
d. Ken Adelman, assistant to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from 1975 to 1977

3. "I released myself from the commitment"

a. George W. Bush, referring to his campaign assertion that he would have a "humble foreign policy
b. George W. Bush, referring to the Kyoto Accord
c. William J. Clinton, referring to his marriage vows
d. Ariel Sharon, referring to his commitment not to physically harm Arafat

4. "Hmm. I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it."

a. Tony Blair
b. Jacques Chirac
c. Kofi Annan
George W. Bush

5. "Well, you're the -- you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase 'immediate threat.' I didn't."

a. President Cheney
b. Condoleeza Rice
c. Paul Wolfowitz
d. Donald Rumsfeld

6. "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

a. Donald Rumsfeld
b. Donald Rumsfeld
c. Donald Rumsfeld
d. Donald Rumsfeld

7. "If a Negro could be found who could parse Greek or explain Euclid, I should be constrained to think that he has human possibilities."

a. Late South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond
b. Late South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun
c. Current South Carolina Senator Jakie Knotts
d. Acidman

Answers later.


Thursday, April 22, 2004

Boy, I'll bet this guy's gonna get some hate mail.

He is the first journalist I've seen express any negative thoughts whatsoever about the Hunley service this past weekend. Now he dares to point out that the Civil War was actually about, yes, slavery:

I live in a place where those who fought to save slavery are hailed for bravery while their flawed loyalty is excused.

I live in a place where flying Confederate flags over public property is seen as a birthright.

Those who deny the horrors of the Holocaust are rightly laughed out of town.
But where I live, those who trumpet the lie that the Civil War wasn't about slavery are elected to the state's highest offices.

They even ignore the words of their heroes. After losing the war, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Vice President Alexander Stephens said it wasn't about slavery. But at the beginning of the conflict, Davis said they took up arms to beat back the North's insistence on choking off the institution. Stephens, in a March 21, 1861, speech, said this, excerpted in Kenneth Stampp's "The Causes of the Civil War":

"Our new government ... its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth ..."

Civil War revisionism - "it wasn't about slavery!" or "slavery was only ONE of the causes!" is a form of political correctness around here. One of my blog readers (I have three, globally speaking) emailed me after my last post about the Confederate-fest in Charleston last weekend, and I've been doing some thinking about it. I've been meaning to write more and will soon. I really didn't expect to see anything even mildly critical in the local papers, because all the coverage I've seen so far has ranged from neutral to gushing. This writer has guts to say publicly and in print something that is sure to get him denounced for weeks to come in the letters section of the Sun News.

He's probably kind of used to it, though, being black, which by itself is enough to get him regular deliveries of hate mail which he sometimes shares with Sun News readers.

Anyway, good on him for writing that.


Monday, April 19, 2004

Heritage, Not Hate!

So. Saturday morning I was sitting on my couch, drinking my frappucino-and-coke and eating my bacon, when I read in the local paper that Saturday was the big day - the day on which the entire city of Charleston would virtually shut down to celebrate the accomplishments of a handful of men who bombed a United States Navy ship.

No, silly, not the Cole bombers - I'm talking about the men who piloted the Hunley submarine and delivered a fatal blow to the USS. Housatonic during the Civil War.

"Got-damn!" I thought to myself. "If I were worth a damn as a blogger, I'd have made the 90 minute drive to Charleston and come home and blogged about my personal observations!" But that would have cut into my beach time, and in fact I am not worth a damn as a blogger. So I settled for watching part of the proceedings on Charleston's CBS affiliate, which carried the day's events live.

The proceedings started out with a funeral procession down the Battery and through downtown Charleston. It was an extraordinary sight and I'm sure television didn't do it justice: About four housand Civil War re-enactors, mostly Confederate, natch, and eight horse-drawn caissons, and groups of widows in widow's weeds and hoop skirts and veils, all marching solemnly through downtown Charleston.

Among the marchers were South Carolina state senators Glenn McConnell (who gave up his law practice a few years ago to sell Civil War memorabilia at his North Charleston store) and David Thomas, who dressed as three- and two star Confederate generals respectively. So Commander Flight Suit isn't the only politician with no actual battle experience who likes to play soldier.

McConnell was guarded by an on-duty SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) officer, also dressed up as a Confederate officer.

McConnell, the driving force behind the six-day funeral event and Hunley Commission chairman, led the procession with Randy Burbage, president of the Confederate Heritage Trust and a commission member.

Several SLED agents guarded McConnell, including one dressed as a Confederate officer. The senator at least once acknowledged friends in the crowd by raising his sword and ordering a salute by the color guard.

Not surprisingly, the event was for some an opportunity to defiantly wave their flags of heritage (not hate):

Aside from color guards, many but not all of the re-enactors kept their battle flags furled in accordance with military protocol.

Despite admonitions from organizers that the event was a funeral, not a flag rally, many along the route waved all manner of Confederate flags.

"I love my flag, and I don't abide by political correctness," said Everett Moriarty, 71, of Hiensville, Ga., as he handed out small battle flags to bystanders.

Free Confederate battle flags? Now that's Southern hospitality! But then, Charleston IS the most polite city in the United States.

It doesn't surprise me that backwards-looking Charleston would shut down for a day for a big Confederate love-fest, and I don't begrudge Senator McConnell his Civil War-re-enactor hobby. I think it's kind of interesting. But the presence of an on-duty SLED officer in Confederate officer regalia comes a little too close for my comfort to giving an official State of South Carolina endorsement to the Lost Cause. Which I find ironic, seeing as how we're in the middle of a war ostensibly to liberate an oppressed people, and the Confederacy was all about keeping an entire people enslaved - no matter what the revisionist historians say.

Revisionist historians such as the Episcopalian priest who delivered the eulogy and who said he knew the (I paraphrase from memory) "historically accurate" reason for the war. I'm betting he doesn't think slavery was part of that "historically accurate reason. (The Hunley crew were given a big incense-flinging Whiskeypalian church service. I'm not sure, but I believe it took place Friday before the procession; Channel Five in Charleston aired parts of it Saturday in a lull while the 17-block procession bottlenecked Animal-House-parade style at the Magnolia Gardens cemetery).

But I digress. Where was I? Anyhoo, it was an amazing spectacle. My favorite shots were the ones that unintentionally juxtaposed the Confederate marchers with rows of SUV's parked on the street, or with shorts-clad tourists rushing in front of the cameras to take pictures. Channel Five's coverage was seriously marred by the utterly inane, information-devoid, nonstop babbling of its "personalities." Unwilling to let any moment of the procession go unfilled with blather, lest viewers be allowed to contemplate and draw their own conclusions, the hair-sprayed commentators kept up a ceaseless stream of banal jabbering. My favorite parts were when the pompous anchor Bill Sharpe babbled on at some length about how quiet it was, and how silent and reverent the spectators were. I paraphrase again, but he said something like, "I've never seen it so quiet, it is just incredibly quiet here, the people around me, the people behind us aren't saying anything, it's just total silence, the people are being very quiet and respectful and blah blah blah blah blah." On and on and on. One can only imagine what the people in his immediate vicinity would have liked to do to him.

My other favorite moment was when Channel Five's man-on-street stopped a young guy in the distinctive gray-with-black-stripe Citadel uniform and asked him what branch of the armed services he was in. Bejus.

I missed Senator McConnell's homily, delivered at the gravesite, 'cause I didn't want to stay inside all day watching this orgy of Confederate sentimentalism. I went to the beach.

Next time something worth blogging happens in Charleston, readers, I will go down there and view it in person, unless it happens on a gorgeous Spring day with blue sky and a bright warm sun and no humidity and a cool breeze that would caress me if I were to go to the beach instead.


Monday, April 12, 2004

"President" Bush is holding a news conference tomorrow. A source very close to the Bush White House tells us that Bush intends to give the evil regime in Iraq 48 hours to release the hostages and get out of Iraq, or else Bush will re-invade the country.


Thursday, April 08, 2004

Answers to pop quiz: 1(a), 2(b), 3(d), 4(a), 5(a)


Tuesday, April 06, 2004


For each of the following statements, identify the person who made the statement:

1) "We have problems, there's no hiding that. But basically Iraq is on track to realize the kind of Iraq that Iraqis want and Americans want, which is a democratic Iraq,"

a. President Bush
b. Donald Rumsfeld
c. Ahmed Chalabi
d. Paul Bremer

2) "Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected."

a. Jay Garner
b. Tommy Franks
c. Donald Rumsfeld
d. Baghdad Bob

3) "We will slaughter them, Bush Jr. and his international gang of bastards!"

a. Osama bin Laden
b. Saddam Hussein
c. Baghdad Bob
d. Michael Moore

4) "The operation in Iraq was a tremendous success"

a. Baghdad Bob
b. Richard Perle
c. David Frum
d. President Cheney

5) "Gaarrrggghhh!!! RAAAAARRRRRRRGHHH!"

a. President Cheney
b. President Cheney
c. George W. Bush
d. Andy Sullivan

A new market research study shows low carb dieters are eating a lot more carbs than they think:

Adults who have cut their carb intake are still eating about 128 grams of refined carbs a day on average - about 20 to 25 grams higher than a low-carb diet recommends for weight loss, the report said.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the proliferation of low carb versions of foods that would normally be off limits on a low carb diet, such as bread and yogurt. I'm a little suspicious of these products. How do you extract carbs from something that's mostly carbs? The sign on a bagel shop near here advertises "low carb bagels." Aren't bagels ALL carbs? How the heck can you have a low carb bagel? That's like a low-meat steak.


Thursday, April 01, 2004

FALLUJAH, Iraq, March 31 -- Four American civilians were ambushed and shot or beaten to death here Wednesday by insurgents, witnesses and U.S. officials said. Townspeople mutilated the bodies of at least two of the men, dragged them through the streets, suspended them from a bridge and burned them while crowds danced and cheered.

Two hours earlier, 12 miles away near the town of Habbaniya, five U.S. soldiers were killed when their armored vehicle ran over a roadside bomb that left a 10-by-15-foot crater. It was the deadliest roadside bombing against American soldiers since the invasion of Iraq one year ago, and it made March the second-deadliest month for the U.S. military since the beginning of the war.


From Reuters:

An emotional former President George H.W. Bush on Tuesday defended his son's Iraq war and lashed out at White House critics.

It is "deeply offensive and contemptible" to hear "elites and intellectuals on the campaign trail" dismiss progress in Iraq since last year's overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the elder Bush said in a speech to the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association annual convention

(Latter story by way of Josh Marshall)


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