Frontier Former Editor

October 19, 2008

W.

I went to see the movie ‘W.’ It was like a five-year old sachertorte. It could have been delicious, but it was five years too late.

I just finished reading ‘Hubris’ by Michael Isikoff and David Korn a few days ago, and much of the film’s 2002-2005 moments track pretty well with that book.

Scott Glenn’s broad-brush portrayal of Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Dreyfuss’s Bela Lugosi-like depiction of Dick Cheney were enjoyable in an “I-told-you-so” way, and Thandie Newman was a well-done characature of Condoleeza Rice.

Toby James as Karl Rove; What an inspired piece of casting! Rove as a malignant Truman Capote.

Josh Brolin as Shrub – it deserves an Oscar for its depth in portraying someone so intellectually shallow.

As for Oliver Stone? Stone is pretty restrained here. Given the proven outlandishness of the real-life cast of characters inspiring, Stone didn’t have to resort (much) to methods already used in ‘JFK’ to move that version of events.

Most of the people I saw in the theater were, based on their demeanor and appearance, probably Democrat. The film’s appeal probably will be partisan and may have little if any real impact on the election.

But it still would have been better for this movie to have appeared before 2004.

October 11, 2008

Bobby May

After two years away from covering Southwest Virginia politics, it warms my heart to watch a late season election train wreck.

Except when you know some of the principals in the wreck. Then it’s a combination of laughter, cringing, headshaking, disgust, incomprehension, pity, anger, bemusement, lather, rinse, repeat.

Any of you who read the Los Angeles Times or watch MSNBC may already have digested the story of Bobby May from Hurley, Va..

I know Bobby May. I also know Earl Cole, the newspaper entrepreneur who printed Bobby’s discourse on Barack Obama.

The Los Angeles Times apparently broke the story, so go get a gander at it here.

Bobby is (and quite possibly was, if this little tempest runs its course) an entrepreneur whose stock in trade is political paraphernalia: buttons, signs, banners, stickers, key rings, change purses, pocket knives and just about any other promotional paraphernalia with political slogans or commercial advertising.

Covering politics, I got acquainted with Bobby and, I have to say, he was pretty entertaining and not all that bad a dinner guest. Of course he was a raging Reagan Republican but he came by it honest, unlike folks like Edwin Meese, Donald Regan, Newt Gingrich, Lee Atwater and a whole host of national Republicans in the Reagan, Bush pere’ and Bush fils administrations.

Bobby treated me relatively fairly, even if I was part of that mainstream media. But Bobby decided more than a few years ago that the mainstream media just didn’t get it, like many Republicans decided long before him.

And a few years ago, May got his crack at being mainstream media when Earl Cole started a little newspaper called ‘The Voice’ as his own way of being a gadfly to the political establishment of Buchanan County.

Especially the Democratic establishment.

I still enjoyed Bobby’s cracks at Democrats, if only because I knew Bobby was just being Bobby. But when someone called me over to their computer to show Keith Olberman’s meanest person in the world for Wednesday night, I – to crib a line from Charlie Daniels’ ‘Uneasy Rider’ – damn near died.

There was Bobby May of Hurley, Virginia with an honor typically reserved for Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter or some idiot congressman or Bush Administration figure.

Bobby had written his op-ed de grace. A sample:

The (clarified) platform of Barack Hussein Obama
The Voice
by Bobby May, bobbyleemay@yahoo.com

In response to criticism that I favor John McCain for president and only present “one side of the issues,” I am listing for your consideration the platform of Barack Hussein Obama as best as I can figure it out after venting all of the hot air, straining out the honey and removing the smelly substance similar to what the old bull left behind.

I think I’ve did (sic) a pretty good job of boiling his positions down to their very essence for the sake of clarity. . . .

REPARATIONS TO BLACK COMMUNITY:  Opposes before Election Day and supports after Election Day.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION: Mandatory Black Liberation Theology courses taught in all churches–raise taxes to pay for this mandate.  Put Rev. Jeremiah Wright in charge.  Condemnation of homosexuality from the pulpit will become a Class 1 Felony.

HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE:  Raise taxes.  And coddle sexual perverts.  Give tax breaks for NAMBLA membership fees. . . .

DRUG CRISIS:  Raise taxes to pay for free drugs for Obama’s inner-city political base. . . .

2ND AMENDMENT:  Under Obama will only apply to gang-bangers, illegal aliens, Islamo-Fascist terrorists, and Senator Jim Webb’s aide. . . .

FOREIGN RELATIONS:  Appoint Rev. Al Sharpton as Secretary of State, Jesse Jackson as UN Representative and let Bill Clinton handle all other “foreign relations” … as long as Hillary doesn’t find out!  And raise taxes.

THE WHITE HOUSE:  Hire rapper Ludacris to “paint it black.”  Taxes to be increased to buy enough paint to do the job plus spray-paint for graffiti.

THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES:  Raise taxes to send $845 billion, send most to Africa so the Obama family there can skim off enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream. . . .

NATIONAL ANTHEM:  Change to the “Black National Anthem” by James Weldon Johnson.  And raise taxes. . . .

U.S. CURRENCY:  Updatephotos to reflect U.S. diversity; include pictures of “great Americans” such as Oprah Winfrey, Ludacris, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson(Obama’s new Secretary of the Treasury–50 Cent refused position after learning that he would lose his crazy check if he accepted the nomination).  And raise taxes. . . .

U.S. MILITARY:  Confiscate all weapons, substitute water pistols, pea shooters, and bows with suction cup arrows.  Replace U.S. flag on uniforms with peace symbols changing uniform color grom green to pink and abolishing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, replacing it with “A queer in every foxhole and a camouflage sex toy in every backpack” requirement.  Condoms will be issued instead of bullets and brotherly love encouraged.  Barney Frank will be the new Secretary of Defence (renamed Secretary of Peace and Love) and Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Lindsay Lohan and Rick Boucher will be made 5-star generals.  And raise taxes. . . .

Whilst one part of me read it and thought, “Yep, that’s typical Bobby May,” another part of me thought of the four most dangerous words one can hear in the South: “Hey y’all, watch this!”

(Editor’s note, 11-12-08: The site where a facsimile of Bobby’s article resides, it should be noted, failed to include what accompanied it: a counterpoint piece by Ron Coleman supporting Obama’s campaign. Not that it necessarily makes Bobby’s piece any more palatable, but it should be included if only to put its appearance in context of what ‘The Voice’ was trying to present.)

If this had been all there was to the story, Bobby’s little essay might have passed relatively unnoticed. But that wasn’t all. Remember how Bobby was a diehard Republican? Well, Bobby’s beliefs not only complemented his business. They extended into his extracurricular life as the treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party and as the local organizer of Team McCain-Palin activities.

And the special sauce on this political hoagie? The Los Angeles Times happened to send a reporter to Buchanan County to sample the red state-blue state dynamic in Virginia last week – including the availability of a certain publication titled, ‘The Voice.’

And “watch this” the ‘mainstream media’ did. And, to Bobby May’s enduring discomfort, they did ‘get it.’ So did the McCain campaign machine, which officially dropped Bobby May from Team McCain-Palin.

Given the McCain machine’s rational for zapping Bobby May, however, I have to wonder why Palin is still on the ticket.

Does this mean that Southwest Virginia is a bunch of racist, stereotype-spouting idiots? No more so than any other geographic region of the Unites States. I certainly have my misgivings about Barack Obama, but they in no way are reflected in the satirical foray made by Bobby May.

But I have plenty of misgivings about John McCain, and I saw a glimmer of reflection of those in the story of Bobby May. How is what Bobby wrote fundamentally different from the stuff that has been spewed from the McCain campaign since the Labor Day weekend?

Bobby May might have been trying to be Jonathan Swift in his modest view of Obama’s political stances. He has a lot to be modest about now.

October 1, 2008

A depression is like a . . . . .

I’ve just about had it with analogies today.

For the last 24 hours, it seems that damn near every congressman and senator who can walk and chew gum at the same time, every pundit, and half the people I spend time with at work have uttered most possible variations of the phrase, “The financial crisis is like a . . . .” Just before I started typing this, I heard former Tennessee Governor and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander enlighten me by saying “The financial crisis is like a car wreck.”

Lamar, pal. The financial crisis is not like a car wreck. A car wreck involves state police, ambulances, tow trucks, body bags . . . wait, if you’re on sidewalk level in the New York financial district, maybe it is like a car wreck, but not in the way Lamar meant.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post (thanks, Sledpress!) still has my eternal admiration for dressing up like Elmer Fudd when he appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Countdown’ after the Cheney lawyer-shootin’ scandal broke. And, like me, Milbank also seems bemused if not addled at the range of analogy and metaphor emanating from Congressional mouths (or sphincters – it’s really hard to tell even on HD TV).

“The verbal misfires ricocheted across the chamber: Asleep at the switch!. . . The worm turns! . . . Russian roulette . . A financial gun to the head. . . Pull the trigger!. . .Take the bullets! . . Jumping off this precipice. . . Get our house in order.”

Not to mention the fecal sandwich analogies I’ve heard ad nauseum.

Someone at work said, “This is just like the Great Depression!”

She was 19. What the f**k does she know about the Great Depression? I’m 46, a history major and have read about the Great Depression in historical and economic contexts and I don’t know what the f**k it was like during the Great Depression. I’ve got a fair idea what it might have been like, based on stories from my grandparents, but I know some ways in which it wasn’t like the Great Depression.

  • A. Herbert Hoover was smart and had experience in humanitarian disaster and food relief after World War One.
  • B. You can’t hardly buy stocks on margin anymore, unlike 1929.
  • C. A dumbass of the astrophysical magnitude of George W. Bush hadn’t been created yet, although a megalomaniacal putz exceeding Dick Cheney’s mathematical quantification was on work release in Munich.
  • D. Al Jolson a fraction less repulsive in blackface than was Ted Danson.

Being a fundamentally mean person at heart, I joined the “It’s like a . . .” bandwagon when prompted, merrily spouting, “No, it’s like the South Sea Bubble or the Dutch tulip depression!”

There’s nothing I enjoy more than an uncomprehending look from someone half my age.

Anyway, if you have to listen to every Tom, Dick and hairless tell you what the current financial crisis is like, at least relieve yourself by this bit of creative analogy:

September 24, 2008

Wonder why Bush begged for public support on the bank bailout Wednesday night?

I knew there was something up when Bush’s deer-in-the-headlights look was more stunned than usual. Here’s a hint:

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

 

The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.

 

“The decree appears to be Beijing’s first attempt to erect defences against the deepening U.S. financial meltdown after the mainland’s major lenders reported billions of U.S. dollars in exposure to the credit crisis,” the SCMP said.

 

A spokesman for the CBRC had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Alan Wheatley and Langi Chiang; editing by Ken Wills)

They didn’t sell us the rope. They merely bought the paper funding the rope. And now, let’s hear Sarah Palin tell us this one is a task from God . . .

September 11, 2008

Seven years after . . .

Filed under: 2001, Afghanistan, colonialism, doomed to repeat, God, history, old times, politics, scumbags, Sept. 11, support our troops — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 9:04 am

The television and radio are full of remembrances today. You’ll probably see no shortage of Sept. 11-themed photos on the web today, and public figures will make no end of references to what happened seven years ago.

I, like so many others, mourn the dead. But I also mourn that a nation has such a short-term memory and an unwillingness to understand more than the sight of a burning building.

Yes, we should well have invaded Afghanistan. We had a moral obligation to go in there and clean the place out like the rat-infested barn that it was.

After all, we created the rats. We funded and armed the groups that became the Taliban and al Qaida because we wanted to give the then Soviet Union the same kind of headaches and heartburn that we suffered in Vietnam. And after they helped send the Red Army home, they felt they had the same sort of license to begin oppressing their own. Eventually, they did what any well-conditioned Doberman would do – turn on those who fed and raised it.

We owed the world a cold, focused rage to go clean up a mess we had created two decades earlier.

And we botched it. We failed to give the troops who went there adequate numbers and materiel. We failed to maintain the focus on our responsibility, which allowed so many other countries to jump on a bandwagon of revanche against other groups and nations. We failed to tell other countries to stay out of our way in one small corner of earth.

And we failed to remember why we were doing it. We let evangelical and neo-colonialforces in our society twist and mutate it into an old-fashioned capital-C Crusade in which we were leading the world into broad, sunlit pastures. We failed to remember that we were, in fact, going back to clean up a nasty, brutal mess that we let fester and mold and spread.

And then we as a nation allowed a small group of people with visions of an American empire of resources twist the vision of a ‘war on terror’ into an excuse to go into Iraq. Forget all those who still say that there was evidence that Iraq wanted to sow terror in the U.S. After seven years, any semblance of connected, systematic evidence of such an Iraqi effort simply isn’t there.

And after five years of what is – and yes, it really is if you study the history – another damn Vietnam, we’re finally realizing that we lost sight of what we were supposed to do in Afghanistan. Except that, unlike Vietnam, we may very well have destabilized the region we were trying to uplift and control.

We have allowed our government to misuse our armed forces, stretch them thin, and then ask them to go back and do what we didn’t allow them to do – scrub Afghanistan with a wire brush. Assuming, of course, that we would have any better luck than Afghanistan’s previous occupiers.

Seven years after, the memory of all those dead people in New York and northern Virginia and Pennsylvania has been besmirched because we allowed a third-rate political scion and his Nixon-era handlers to corrupt an opportunity to make good on one of many errors of judgement.

The next time you hear someone say that we’re on a mission from God, please, please demand that they show a receipt or a work order or a certified letter from God. If they can’t, tell them to go to hell.

September 7, 2008

What’s the difference between . . . .

Sarah ‘task from God’ Palin and James K. ‘Manifest Destiny’ Polk?

The glasses and lipstick make Polk look more butch.

Donna Brazile, in her previous guises as a Democratic presidential campaign strategist, generally leaves me with the same taste in my political mouth as did Roger Ailes, Lee Atwater and others. But Brazile made an interesting response Sunday on Wolf Blitzer’s Sunday morning gabfest about Sarah Palin’s mockery of community activists. This is a very close paraphrase if not a perfectly accurate quote:

“Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius was a governor.”

Great news from the U.S. Treasury Department!

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=auCiw0BP4Fyk&refer=home

“Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government will take control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after the biggest surge in mortgage defaults in at least three decades threatened to bring down the companies making up almost half the U.S. home-loan market.

“It is necessary to take action,” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who engineered the takeover along with Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James Lockhart, said in a statement today. “Our economy and our markets will not recover until the bulk of this housing correction is behind us. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are critical to turning the corner on housing.”

The FHFA will take over Fannie and Freddie under a so-called conservatorship, replacing their chief executives and eliminating their dividends. The Treasury will purchase up to $100 billion of senior-preferred stock in each company as needed to maintain a positive net worth. It will also provide secured short-term funding to Fannie, Freddie and 12 federal home-loan banks, and purchase mortgage-backed debt in the open market.

The takeover of Fannie and Freddie is the biggest step yet in officials’ efforts to grapple with a yearlong credit crisis that has caused more than $500 billion of losses and writedowns. The government is taking an increasing role in financial markets, after the Federal Reserve six months ago provided $29 billion of financing to prevent Bear Stearns & Cos.’s collapse.”

Sucks to be those who didn’t own senior preferred stock or who are U.S. taxpayers, but George W. Bush thanks you for your sacrifice for the greatest nation in the world!

September 6, 2008

Manifest Destiny, as manifested by Sarah Palin . . .

Apparently, Sarah Palin seems to agree with Jake Blues . . . .

We’re on a mission from God.

I know all you all look down on National Public Radio as the last refuge of a liberal, but sometimes they have a nasty habit of running factual information:

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=94332540&m=94332496

An excerpt:

“Palin now goes to a nondenominational Bible church when she’s in Wasilla, but her years attending Pentecostal churches, including the one she currently attends in Juneau, have no doubt shaped her faith and, possibly, her view of world events.

“For example, at the same service, Palin talks about the war in Iraq.

” “Pray our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country — that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” Palin said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

“Poloma says some people might hear that and say Palin believes this is a holy war, or that Pentecostals think this is a holy war.”

Now I know who else Palin reminds me of . . .

 

James K. Polk, Manifest Destiny exponent extradordinaire. From Wikipedia:

“As a Democrat committed to geographic expansion (or “Manifest Destiny“), he overrode Whig objections and was responsible for the second-largest expansion of the nation’s territory. Polk secured the Oregon Territory (including Washington, Oregon and Idaho), amounting to about 285,000 square miles (738,000 km²) then purchased 525,000 square miles (1,360,000 km²) through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican–American War.”

The only difference between Polk and Dubya? Polk was arrogant and competent.

Maybe Palin should remember that many a nation has claimed a holy alliance with God, as a central European nation once proudly declared . . .

 

Belief in God doesn’t make me nervous, despite or maybe because of my avowed agnosticism. What makes me nervous is politicians tossing around the concept of God as a symbol of support and justification as certain as the current day’s Gallup/CNN/MSNBC polls

Good night, Sarah, and remember the ark.

August 10, 2008

Talk about news . . .

First, go see Raincoaster for great material and even better links on the propane facility explosion in Toronto earlier this morning. You’re not going to see this on Drudge Report as of 0752 US Eastern Time, but you may want to watch gas prices or your stock portfolio in a few hours.

And, while I offered admiration for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s patriotism a few days ago, I still think Russia has the capabililty to be just as dumb and imperialist and paranoiac as Russia has been on its worst Communist or Tsarist days.

What great timing for the Olympics and the cause of world peace, especially with the People’s Republic of China as a host. Does irony get any better than that?

July 31, 2008

And I thought a chicken fryer fire was bad . . .

Filed under: doomed to repeat, dumbasses, old times — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 7:55 am

These two guys managed to forget a Navy institutional memory as fundamental as breathing:

From Mike Mount
CNN Pentagon Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Navy fired the captain and executive officer of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington on Wednesday because of a massive fire that damaged the ship in May, Navy officials said.

Both the captain and executive officer were relieved of duty Wednesday after a fire damaged the ship in May.

Both the captain and executive officer were relieved of duty Wednesday after a fire damaged the ship in May.

Capt. David C. Dykhoff and his executive officer, Capt. David M. Dober, were relieved of duty while the ship is in port in San Diego, California, for repairs.

The two were fired because of practices on their ship that Navy investigators believe led to the fire, Navy officials said.

The Navy officials said investigators believe the fire was started when a cigarette ignited material stored in an engineering room.

Investigators found flammable liquids stored in an engineering area of the ship, which is strictly prohibited. Investigators also found that sailors were allowed to smoke in the same engineering areas, considered another violation.

It is estimated that the damage to the ship will cost about $70 million to repair, the Navy officials said.

The carrier was due to replace the aging USS Kitty Hawk, which is forward-based in Japan, this summer, but the fire delayed the handover. The incident also worried the Japanese government, which had agreed to have the nuclear-powered George Washington replace the diesel-powered (Not diesel-powered. Oil-fired, steam turbine-powered – there’s a big difference – ed.)  Kitty Hawk despite the country’s long opposition to allowing nuclear ships dock there.

Navy officials said they expect the George Washington to be fully repaired and in Japan by the end of September.

And if one might think that this was just a slip up, here’s a few reminders why it wasn’t:

I heard enough sea stories at my dad’s metaphorical knee about shipboard fires to know better than these two dumbasses.

 

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