Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ends'n'Odds - II

Way Down Yonder

It snowed in New Orleans today, which was of no solace to me because I came back from the Big Easy last night after a quick business trip sicker than I can remember being. Fuck flu shots!!

After I arrived, I walked a little through the southern edge of the French Quarter, then took a nap before heading to Preservation Hall for some Dixieland. I slept pretty much through the night and missed the culture.I did gamble a little, seeing as how convenient it was for Harrah's to put the city's only casino right across the street from my hotel.

One thing about New Orleans that struck me is the gallows humor about Hurricane Katrina, as expressed in a tee-shirts, saying, “Drove My Chevy to the levee but the levee was gone.”

And silly tee-shirts that provoked a laugh anyone, like “I got bourbon faced on Shit Street.”

And the following sign in the window Hard Rock Café.

Bush Wacko

I really wanted Bush to go with some dignity, but basically I just want him to go. He must consider himself lucky not to be hanging from a lamp post (that’s a metaphor, Officer.) Yet his farewell tour of media interviews is portraying him as one crazy Blagojevich bleep. Most recently, when asked about evolution and biblical inerrancy, he demurred, "I'm just a simple president." No truer words hath he ever spake.

He has said the Iraq blunder was due to “a failure of intelligence.” Duh!! His intelligence, maybe. The real intelligence that there were no weapons of mass destruction was there but he ignored it in order to show his father was a wuss back in 1992. Yet as Charles Gibson followed up, Bush actually seemed to be saying that he hoped the intelligence would show WMD, a bizarre logic that by itself condemns him to the lowest circle of hell.

Then, in another interview, using the time-worn evasion of “As I’ve said,” – a dodge to make people believe you aren’t winging it when you are— Bush actually said he knew there was no Al Qaeda link to the Iraqi resistance. A total lie, as proved by multiple videotapes.

So now, he admits he was wrong on the two major rationales for upsetting international stability and, in my opinion, is personally responsible for premeditated murder of 4,000 American troops.

I have been reading a book about the Weimar Republic, the 14-year government of Germany between the end of World War I and the legal ascension of Hitler.

Yes, it is boring and ineffective to keep comparing Bush to Hitler, but the speeches and writings of the Nazis in that period have often been echoed in the speeches and writings of American conservative Republicans.

The values promoted by Hitler and his boys were the same as Bush’s: nationalism; scapegoating; elevating the role of woman, not in terms of making decisions but as breeding stock inculcating sons to fight for the Fatherland (and just where do you think Bush got the concept of “homeland); subjugating religion to the needs of the state; subordinating teaching, music and the other arts to the glory of the state (OK, Bush did kiss Barbra Streisand the other day); and denouncing too much free speech lest it help enemies of the state.

Although considered historically as a “good Nazi,” I was taken aback by a speech Chancellor Frits von Papen in which he denounced “unlimited freedom of thought” and “the corrosive poison of negative criticism.”

Ubi Est Mea

I am willing to give Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich a break. Sure he is crooked, stupid and crazy, but he didn’t do anything any other politician hasn’t done. Because it was done so crudely, however, he faces conspiracy charges.

I detest conspiracy as a crime. It was used historically to go after political opponents of the regime in power – as in the Rap Brown Act of the late 1960s that made it a crime to conspire to cross state lines to incite a riot.

I strongly believe no one should be charged or convicted of conspiracy if the act didn’t actually happen. And if it did happen, the go for the act, not the thought behind it.

This comedy in Illinois reminds me of a journalistic
hero, the late Mike Royko, who chronicled Chicago
corruption in his column for two of the major papers,
at a time when there were actually four papers in
. He suggested that the city’s motto be changed
from “City in a Garden” to “"Ubi Est Mea”--Where's Mine?"

Busman's Holiday

I am privileged to have made the acquaintance of a bus driver. Now, usually you don't attribute humor to that profession, but I feel I ought give him credit for this recent observation:

You pull up to a school and load between 70 and 80 screaming, destructive, sullen, snotty little assholes. They cut the bus seats, pull the advertising off the frames and tear it apart, set paper on fire, scream, fight. And that's just the senior citizens going to bingo. Middle school kids are far worse.

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