Tuesday, January 20, 2009

D Day

(Somewhere, someone who is blogging this day just went to grab some dinner. The Sky will take it for a few minutes.)

OK, we're in mid-parade, with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Group doing their kick-ass dragon dance, no doubt rehearsing for New Year. I don't think the VIP reviewing stand is as warm as it's supposed to be -- Michelle hasn't taken off her gloves, and everybody is moving around in that kind of hey-I-can't-feel-my-feet dance you see at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade sometimes. The Marching Utes are playing my least favorite piece of "music" so I'll mute the Utes. Some day, huh? Glorious sunshine, even more glorious Bush exorcism. Like most wise-ass bloggers, I'm not buying the official account of Cheney's back injury while "moving boxes" -- yeah, cases of Glenfiddich maybe. Did VMI just sneak in a few bars of "Dixie"? Well, Lincoln said it was his favorite tune. The Obamas have had their first lesson in appearing to be interested, excited even, when you're cold and hungry and one band looks just like another. You have to be on the job for at least fifty years to be really good at it, like Elizabeth II. That's it, they're out of here.

Thanks to C-SPAN I managed to dodge most of the commentary (dysentery?) from Chris Mathews, Wolf Blitzer, and the rest of the compulsive chatters. They're showing highlights now -- what was in the box Michelle Obama handed to Laura Bush? I'm hoping crullers. Why couldn't the Bushes drive to the airport like real people for once? They have to learn to be real people now, if possible. Apparently Bush has never seen the new house in a "white only" enclave of Dallas. Laura chose it so Condi would stop hanging around her husband. The only way Dr. Rice can visit him now is to dress in a maid uniform and leave before sunset. Change? I don't believe so.

After all the invocations, it was very warming for the atheists to get a shout-out in The Speech. I may start a petition to have Richard Dawkins read an anti-invocation in 2011. Something from Darwin or Mark Twain.

When Roberts flubbed the oath, I said to myself, hello, some wingnut will claim it's not official. Thank you, Chris Wallace. For the record, I never liked your father either. By the way, Diana Spencer repeated her husband's names out of order at their wedding in 1981, and that was official. What do you say to that?

When Aretha Franklin sings "America," no one could confuse it with the British National Anthem. God save the Queen of Soul. Magnificent hat, too. In fact, there were outstanding hats everywhere today, Sherlock Holmes deerstalkers, Russian furred numbers, cherry red fedoras, berets, ski caps, flat caps, and that's just the men. Some of the women should have worn hats -- Dianne Feinstein looks like she shares a stylist with Rod Blagojevich.

Clearly the vice-presidential oath was not written by the fine writers who composed the Constitution. It sounds like chamber of commerce boilerplate. But it was flawless, so at least we have an unchallenged vice president. Hang in there, Justice Stevens, help is on the way. Soon you can retire without fear.

I'm not sure we needed another version of "Simple Gifts," but it was beautifully played. I always feel sorry for musicians who have to play outdoors, especially in the cold. Music blows around, stringed instrument go out of tune, and as Jean Shepherd once said of windy weather, "One minute you're playing the Sousaphone, the next minute the Sousaphone is playing you." Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Anthony McGill toughed it out; Gabriella Montero wore fingerless gloves. But it only took a few minutes. This is, after all, the instrumental layout of Messiaen's "Quartet For the End of Time." There would have been few survivors.

The President -- I haven't typed that word in ages without feeling queasy -- cited Ecclesiastes to the effect that it's time to put off childish things. The first test will come in a few hours, when the funny funny men get to say "balls" over and over, giggling like nine-year-olds. And so I'm out of here.

Hillary Clinton's confirmation as Secretary of State is being held up by some Republican asshat from Texas. It begins.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Give us a sign!

That's it! That's it! The dazed people standing on the wing of an airbus, the frigid waters of the Hudson River licking at their feet, looking around for help...that is exactly how I feel after eight years of George W. Bush. Perfect. Many people expressed thanks to various gods for their safe deliverance. I want to thank the god who directed the geese into the engines. You, sir, are an artist in metaphor. You knew the last thing we needed was another disaster, and you made sure of the calm competence of the pilot and the swiftness of the rescue boats. You even saw to it that the geese didn't suffer. I love your work. Call me.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Send out the clowns

Score one for Blagojevich.

The Embattled Governor of Illinois enjoyed a measure of amusing revenge this week, when Roland Burris became the junior senator from Illinois. People look at the Embattled Governor's hair and assume he's an idiot, but this was a masterful choice. Burris, the former Illinois attorney general, comes with an impeccable reputation -- if there were anything against him, someone would have dug it out by now. He's also African-American, replacing the only African-American in the Senate, so opposing him looks very like racism. Sure, he's a little eccentric (that pharaonic mausoleum), but he'll fit right in. There's an Oklahoma senator who thinks frozen embryos are tiny little people, to name but one. The US Supreme Court ruled forty years ago that Congress may refuse to seat a member only if the member fails to meet the Constitutional requirements, not because they don't like the way he got there. Somebody finally pointed this out to Harry Reid, who spent two weeks blustering that Mr. Burris would not be seated, then backed down. The bluster-and-backdown is Harry's signature move, like a Jordan jump shot, so he's really good at it. Even after Al Franken takes his seat, we're in trouble, aren't we? Harry would find a way to wimp out if there were ninety-nine Democrats and one friendly independent.

So the Embattled Governor had a little fun even as he was being impeached. Of course, he had to get up and complain that it was all his good works for the disenfranchised that turned the legislature against him, and he had to top it off with Tennyson -- somewhere, an English teacher is beaming -- but you win a few, you lose a few. Probably the Illinois senate in its majesty will turn him out, but I can't see where Patrick Fitzgerald is close to a criminal conviction. The case has yet to be presented to a rubberstamp grand jury, much less tried. Where is the money shot? Where is the video of the bag labeled SWAG being handed to the Embattled Governor? You know, for a Midwestern Boss Tweed, Blagojevich doesn't live very large. Either his freezer is full of cash like William Jefferson's, or he's just not very good at corruption.

George W. promises a heart-tugging farewell on prime time Thursday. Since William Petersen's last CSI is also scheduled for that night, I hope he doesn't dawdle. There can't be much to add to the smirking self-congratulation of the farewell interviews and the farewell press conference, unless he's planning to sing "My Way." Columnists and TV pundits have worn themselves to a frazzle refuting all the lies, damned lies, and fantasies of success purveyed by Bush and his courtiers, but this is like yelling at your dog. It makes you tired and the dog doesn't remember it. Of course their worst crimes need to be addressed through legal means, but I'm not very sanguine. A pass on torture and murder may turn out to be the price of Eric Holder's confirmation as attorney general. That's how the game is played by Republicans.

The level of shamelessness is breathtaking. Alberto Gonzales whines that no reputable law firm will hire him, and in the next breath proposes himself for baseball commissioner. Well, that might not be such a bad idea -- most of them have been shits. Not on Gonzorrhea's level of criminality, of course, just your basic racists, union busters and knuckleheads. They work for the owners, and if there's one thing 'Berto can do, it's truckle to power. I'm no fan of Maureen Dowd, but she justified her Pulitzer when she nailed him with the phrase "legal lickspittle."

At this point, Sarah Palin seems to be a media junkie, a less articulate version of Paris Hilton. If she isn't interviewed once a week her hands start to shake, which affects her aim, and who wants wounded caribou staggering around the tundra? She had nothin' to do with losin' the election, it was all the fault of the McCain people, the mainstream media, the non-mainstream media, the bloggers, the Aurora Borealis and of course, Caroline Kennedy. Huh? I got lost in there someplace, too. It's all about class, and because she's workin' class, they hate her. Did you get that? Now she's Tonya Harding to Kennedy's Nancy Kerrigan. This will play well with people who think Barack Obama is the Sheik of Araby and Joe Biden went into politics because he was tired of overseeing the Biden Family Foundation. When the nut-right discovers Class, watch out.
But it's a small price for letting Sarah hold high the banner of Republicanism until they pry it from her cold, dead fingers. When people think of the GOP I want them to think of this ignorant, screeching housewife, not somebody who could plausibly be sold as a leader, like Mitt Romney. Or Jeb Bush.

Jeb Bush? I didn't pull that out of my -- I mean, I didn't think of it myself, it was planted in my brain a week ago, when 41, old Poppy Doc himself, turned up on a Sunday chat show to float the idea of a Jeb Bush presidency. It's never easy to pinpoint the moment when a rightie succumbs to full-blown Alzheimer's, but Poppy seemed as compos mentis as ever, and this is a patriarch with deep pockets, so I suppose we have to listen. Jeb -- of the infamous Florida "recount" and the unconscionable intrusion into the affairs of the Schiavo family -- is usually described as "the smart Bush," but that's like being the tallest rider in the Kentucky Derby. It may be a distinction, but it's hardly an achievement. Jeb does have the advantage of not physically resembling either of the Georges. Perhaps only Bar knows who his biological father was. (Perhaps not. I always give a Lady the benefit of the doubt.) Anyway, I figure we have about six months before the 2012 campaign powers up, plenty of time for Jeb to change his surname to something that fills Americans with less revulsion, like Manson or Hitler.

Shakespeare liked to drop a drunken porter or a philosophical gravedigger into his darkest tragedies. Sometimes life imitates art. This week life (actually Pajamas Media) dropped Joe the Plumber into the horror of the Chanukah War in Gaza. Concerned that the Israeli side of the conflict is not being heard in the American media, which tends to get distracted by all those mangled children and pulverized apartment houses, Joe put his musical career and his cold fusion research on hold and went to Israel to bring us his unique insight. He then decided that the media should not cover wars, but there should be newsreels. I was hoping his giant glowing head would give Hamas something to aim the rockets at, but so far, no. I just checked. No. See, the porter has only one scene in Macbeth and then he's gone. You don't get sick of the sight of him. See where I'm going with this, Joe?

It's January 13, the last full Tuesday of the Cheney-Bush regime. Most presidents have been mediocrities. All those Hail to the Chiefs between Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt run together into one portly man with facial hair, named Harrison. I think it's safe to say George W. Bush will never fade into the wallpaper. If we ever have a president worse than this one, the country will simply cease to exist. The dumpster of history is waiting. Say goodnight, Georgie.