Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Iraq Study Group Report? The Dog Ate It.

As I surf around the 'net on this post-Christmas day, I find some of my fellow bloggers actually referring to the report of the Iraq Study Group: How can Bush talk about escalating the war after the recommendations of that august group?

It's easy. Reports were written to be ignored by presidents who are made to look bad by their findings. It's what presidents do--especially Republican ones. Nixon, Reagan, and now Junior have all received such reports courteously, then bided time till their unflattering contents faded from the collective American memory.

They're lucky we have such a short attention span, along with an all-volunteer military. We're much too busy buying stuff for Christmas and then taking it back in the days after to keep 79 recommendations in mind.

The Prez and Princess Condi, along with Liar-in-Chief Cheney have simply made a series of mysterious comments about The Way Forward in Iraq. It's going to be all new. You won't recognize it, it's so cutting edge. We're drawing on all sorts of expertise that we can't reveal right now. And, by the way, Rummy is the best Secretary of Defense that this country has ever had.

They have reminded me of a troop of Brownies, singing:

I have something in my pocket
That belongs across my face,
I keep it very close to me
In a most convenient place.
I'm sure you wouldn't guess it
If you guessed a long, long while,
So I'll take it out and put it on--
It's a great big Brownie smile.

You bet.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Stumbling into Christmas

It was a decidedly borderline season. The bronchitis that I complained about a couple of weeks back has bedded down in my chest and left me gasping at the end of every work day. I came to moments of understanding with myself about what I would and would not be able to get done before Christmas Day. When Ellen and I discussed getting The Tree, I begged off, laughingly noting that if we went out and bought it, we would have to decorate it.

We finally did decorate the tree in a burst of energy while listening to A Prairie Home Companion. Yesterday I had a couple of gifts to deliver, and out we went for a drive.

This isn't a white Christmas, somewhat unusual for Vermont, but the light was lovely as we drove through a succession of mountain valleys. The town hall of Strafford seemed to pull all the late light to it in its place on the green. We drove up the first branch of the White River to the village of Chelsea, then headed back along a stream-bordered road. The birches stood tall and white on the mountains like witnesses, like silent ancestors. I thought of the aboriginal artists of Australia and wondered if those trees wouldn't have spoken to them, too.

Darkness drifted slowly downward in the form of deepening blue, and I was grateful for the strings of lights that illumined lonely farmhouses along the way. They warmed the landscape somehow, and as the last bit of color eased from the sky I began to feel what I'd been unable to feel before: the impulse that the birth of a child is infinite cause for hope.

We came home to a performance of Handel's Messiah on NPR. I have been known to sit impatiently through the recitatives and arias, awaiting the grand release of the Hallelujah Chorus, but this night I was present for the whole performance. I was moved as I hadn't been before:

He was despised, despised and rejected, rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: He hid not His face from shame and spitting. Surely, surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows...

The clouds had left the sky, revealing the bright bowl of the heavens, by the time I gave Maddie-dog her last walk of the night. My neighbor Marilyn's fir trees once again wore their shimmering mantles of white lights. A hush suffused the neighborhood.

There it was again: the blessing of Christmas. I entered in.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Bush Taps Cub Scouts for Iraq 'Surge' Forward

Tapping into talent pool that he called "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed," President Bush today called on a significant number of Cub Scouts to supplement the current war effort in Iraq.

"The enthusiasm and patriotism of this group are without peer," said the President as he greeted the surprise recuits at the Toys for Tots drop-off in Falls Church, VA. The Cubs had originally planned to hand out toys with the Marines who were sponsoring the drive, but wound up committing to boot camp instead.

"He's cool," said Tommy Tucker, 7, of his new Commander-in-Chief. "His arm farts are the grossest and the best."

White House insiders said that the initial Cub recruits had been linked to the administration's "No Child Left Behind" education policy. Students scoring in the bottom quartile of tests given to first and third graders were the first to be tapped. "Students who don't excel at pencil and paper tests often possess other talents at 'hands-on' activities, such as breaking down doors and exploding ordnance," said an aide to Mr. Bush. "Participation in the war effort after years of academic frustration can turn into a real boost for self esteem."

Critics of the plan have cited the lack of military gear available for soldiers the Cub Scouts' size. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, an early proponent of the program, who is continuing his six-month farewell tour of American and international military bases, repeated, "You go to war with the army you have." Rumsfeld pointed out that the younger, smaller soldiers would be able to wear gear from Toys R Us at a significant savings to the American taxpayer. "Those plastic helmets are surprisingly sturdy. And remember, bicycle helmets are manufactured to meet strict federal standards."

The President made the first-of-a-kind move on the Cubs when recruiters from around the country indicated that even the glut of skinheads willing to make themselves available to the war had dropped off, calling for what he called "a fresh, creative approach to the way forward." He warned that not even the Brownies would be safe if they didn't keep their grades up.

Bush restated his need to "enter the new year clear-eyed about the challenges that remain in Iraq" and brushed aside criticism that the Cubs were too young to be away from home.

"We're only talkin' short-term surge," he said. "They'll be home in time to greet the Easter Bunny."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Not Too Wild about Harry

Okay, I know we were all exhilarated when Dubya got his head handed to him in the November election.

However, don't let the new Democratic majority get you complacent. These dorks, too, are going to require supervision. Lots of it.

Email to remind Harry Reid, who exhibited political dementia on one of the weekend talk shows when he said that he'd consider supporting Bush's sending additional troops into Baghdad to "stabilize" (actually, he said to "pacify") it. Like a cranky child?!

Poor, dumb Harry. What about end the war that we had no right to wage in the first place don't you understand? Forget about saving face. There is no face to save.

Gawd! Harry's email address is

Email: Susan_McCue@reid.senate.gov (chief of staff)


Creating in Dreamtime

Ellen and I hustled into Dartmouth's Hood Museum a couple of Saturdays ago to catch a show of paintings by Australian Aboriginal women, Dreaming Their Way. What a show it was.

Aboriginal religion is translated into English as Dreaming or the Dreamtime. The term refers less to slumbering than the stories and totems as they come to descendents from ancestral beings. It's been described by anthropoligists as "a way of knowing and a way of being," or more simply as "everywhen."

The paintings were on stretched linen and on eucalyptus bark. The one I've posted here is Leaves, by Gloria Tamerre Petyarre. I stood before her paintings for a long time, caught up in the color, rhythm, and flow of them. Many of the painters haven't had a great deal of formal training. Some of them began their work in their 50s and 60s.

I never fail to be amazed at what the creative impulse can achieve. It will find a way. Louis Armstrong didn't have a trumpet of his own till Bix Beiderbecke gave him one, and Mississippi John Hurt was given a guitar of his own for the first time at the Newport Folk Festival. Like them, many of the women in this exhibit produced world class art without a host of bourgeoise advantages.

Follow the link in the header to the Hood Museum to see more remarkable art.

This exhibit is on the move, by the way. Keep an eye out for it. It's one of the most satisfying shows I've ever seen.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Gore Dumps Global Warming Campaign to Devote Energy to Lindsay Lohan

According to Lindsay Lohan, Al Gore is seriously considering giving up his traveling show on global warming in order to rehabilitate her image.

The beleaguered actress said that Gore had approached her. "I guess he realizes that it's more important to make a difference in one life than it is to try to save the world."

Lohan is also hoping that Hillary Clinton will abandon her presidential run and that Bill Clinton will drop his world AIDS campaign.

"I'm faced with so many hard decisions, and I need input. Should I be like, blond or brunette? What about shoes? How about a charity? They could be like, so much help, if they cut back on some of their other commitments. I'm feeling pretty needy right now."

"I've also gotta release my politically/morally correct, fully adequite [sic] letter to the press."

"I've gotta tell everyone how our society should be educated for the better of our country. Our people . . . because I have such an impact on our younger generations, as well as generations older than me. Which we all know and can obviously see."

Lohan has expressed interest in help from leading politicians because she sees herself as a "national treasure."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Baby on Board

We're all a-twitter about Mary Cheney's happy news this week, almost as excited as the Dickster is about welcoming a sixth grandchild into the family. (That's Cheney code for, We have five others conceived in the Normal Manner).

Of course, everyone has to weigh in on Mary's Blessed Event. James Dobson and Focus on the Family don't see it as all that blessed. Gay rights advocates in Virginia remark that it is a pity that Mary and her partner, Heather, a former forest ranger, reside in a state that withholds gay rights from committed spouses.

What should Mary care? Do the rich need the same rights as we peons do? Halliburton profits being what they are, it's doubtful that Mary will want for much of anything in her new role as lesbian mom. It is interesting that Heather's occupation is listed as only "former forest ranger," Republican code for I don't have to work, you schmucks. Even Mary, a not-best selling author and a vice president of AOL, probably hasn't had to worry about maternity leave.

It's as Scottie Fitzgerald said, long ago and in different circumstances, the rich are very different from you and me. Papa Dick coaxed Mary back on the campaign trail after she balked at the virulent anti-gay theme of the '04 race; there were "other" important issues being addressed. Easy to distract a good scout like Mary with that line. After all, she sees her dad as a man of Unimpeachable Integrity. (How we long to impeach that integrity, and a few other things, too...)

A little kindness from Mom and Dad (for which I offer to them my only congratulations) and a whole lot of money ought to keep Mary distracted a while longer.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Scalia Selects Science Consultant for Global Warming Case

Acknowledging that his love for pursuing the limits of the law has interfered with the development of his scientific literacy, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia introduced his science consultant, Bobby Bixley, 7, who will assist him in preparation for the global warming case to come before the nation's highest court. Scalia admitted that he had found his own public statements on global warming "lacking" in recent interviews with the press.

"It's so cool," enthused Mr. Bixley, whom Scalia recruited from the P.S. 47 Science Fair. "I've wanted to be an expert since I was 3."

"Since most scientists belong to Satan, I'm relieved to have found an expert who is as yet untainted," commented Scalia.


Bush Suspends Iraq Study Group, Forms Iraq Pep Squad

President Bush today suspended the Iraq Study Group guided by his father's old friend, James A. Baker III, and launched his newest initiative, Operation Cheer 'Em On, an effort to boost both military and civilian morale.

"The President is drawing upon his cheerleader background," Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters at a hastily convened press conference. "It's a natural."

It is indeed a natural. From his prep school days on, the President realized that in sports a fella could get hurt out there, while the greatest danger to a cheerleader would only be a sprained ankle from hopping around the sidelines and maybe a bum toe from a dropped megaphone.

"We don't need more troops in Iraq. We don't need more body armor. What we need is the perfect cheer," said the Exciter-in-Chief to his newly formed troops.

"I have worked hard to find the perfect cheer," objected Karl Rove, relunctantly drafted into the squad.

"Sorry, Turd Blossom... this is my territory," the president is said to have said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is said to have protested. "I am fundamentally an academic."

"You are fundamentally a pom-pom girl, if I say you are," he is said to have replied.

"The Lord moves in mysterious ways," commented conscript Tom DeLay.

Contrary to expectations, the President has no plans to take the pep squad to Iraq.

"A fella could get hurt over there," he is said to have said.

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