Wednesday, October 29, 2003

It's been about a week since I did any blogging so I'll try to catch up here with some shit from the notebook journal I've been busying myself with in the 8 hours stretches between cities.
10/24: It's about 12:30 am and we're finally on the road out of Brooklyn. My writing at this point is jagged and scrawly because the BQE and every other road in NYC is riddled with potholes and divots, and at least until we're on the highway, I'm keeping the overhead light off so it's easier on the driver.

It's has been a big plate of suck to be away from the internet; I have no real idea of what's going on in the world (the horror of having one's news filtered by the New York Times, or worse, the corporatized bullshit press), although in some aspects it's probably for the better. I'm just glad to finally be out of New York City. For the past week, I've been needing to write these words: NEW YORK CITY IS UNBEARABLY LOUD.
You cannot escape it. The noise is everywhere. If it's not carhorns, it's shrieking brakes. Or people yelling.

10/25: And on top of the auditory overload, there's visual noise too, and ads on fucking everything. There's no middle ground in New York, just extremes, stark extremes.
We're on I-95 outside of Baltimore as I write. This guy Jason (aka Boogie) is roadying for us, and he's cracking us all up. He's 25 or so, covered with tattooes (including his shaved head), about 5'11", skinny, and the funniest motherfucker I think I've met in years. Just keeps going on with this nasally Bronx-as-fuck voice. I don't know if I believe him or not, but yesterday he claimed A) to have modeled for Calvin Klein, B) to have been hit twice by cars, and C) to have never been out of New York, not even toi Queens more than twice. He brought along a shitload of 80s hair-metal, everythijng from Dio to Warrant. We drove until 3:00 AM or so, rocking out to and laughing at "Shame on the Night," Ronnie James' epic tirade at the evening hours for giving him "the straaaaaangest dreams." Boogie was freaking out the minute he saw a dead deer on the side of the road. "No shit, I nevah saw dat kinda shit before!"

I have the Bubba George String Band on my cd player, really superb old time music. I never used to really dig old time before: the chord changes are so crazy and almost unnecessary, the melodies are so repetitive (I've heard that some old time musicians won't improvise at all). But now I guess I hear the music differently, if "hear" is the proper word. Izzy's said before, "How can you stand playing rhythm guitar for old time bands? It just seems so boring." But the truth is it's not boring at all. I understabnd what the old timers mean by the groove now.

There a rally going on in DC today, another A.N.S.W.E.R./ United for Peace action. I have no idea how many people are going, but I have no doubt it will be underattended and underreported. As much as I'd like to be there, I can't help but think the peace movement, at least as envisioned by A.N.S.W.E.R., is getting irrelevant. I do not know what's to be done in its place.
On the cd player: Elzic's Farewell, played by the Bubba George String Band.

10/26: Georgia Pines reminding me of the Osborne Brothers and their less-than-stellar song "Georgia Piney Woods," but thankfully I can't remember the melody which sucks in two ways: not only is it an insipid melody, it gets stuck in your head. Forever.
We slept at Amanda's place last night; she's a friend of Izzy and Katy. Leave it to Boogie to find the porno in her collection, which was just as nice a way to start out the day as any other, but not quite as good as coffee. We let Jamie wake up to a screen filled with all manner of cocksucking, buttfucking, what-have-you.
Speaking of coffee, Boogie and I set off to find just that as everyone got out of bed. We got directions from a cute little blode to the Dunkin Donuts. DD doesn't have the best coffeee, but it was closer than the vegan place and at least they use whole beans. It's funny how important that sort of thing becomes on the road: a cup of good coffee; a place to shit and piss in peace and quiet; your own room or bed....

So anyway, we got back to the house and after a while, Katy, Izzy and Jack began picking in the back yard, while I rolled up a joint and had a couple of hits. I got up and walked to the front yard to call melissa. I was a good 5 minutes into the conversation when I noticed the neghbor woman taking pictures. At first I thought she was taking shots of the fall foliage (the leaves turn in georgia too), but it became clear she was taking photos of... well, me, and then our van as surreptitiously as possible. I thought to say something, but was busy talking to Melissa and trying to pack at the same time. Trying to do both at the same time became impossible so I cut off the conversation and started loading. As I said goodbye, I turned and saw trhe woman hidig behind the SUV in full "Harriet the Spy" mode. George cam outside; like boogie he's covered with tatoos and has half his head shaved. I pointed out the lady to him, as she disappeared into the house. This was no old bag, nosy old lady. She wasn't any older than 35 or so. I was telling Jack about the incident as she and her boyfriend came out and scuttle into the SUV. he shot me a ithering glanc e, and rolled up the window about halfway. That's abut when Izzy reminded me that Amanda's house had been robbed recently. "Maybe she thinks we're ransacking the house," said Jack. "Yeah," I snorted. "We'll just roll up to your place, in broad daylight, with a giant trailer in tow, and just start carting out the goods...." The image was too funny, like something out of CHiPs. The woman had probably smelled my pot, seen a bunch of strangers, including 2 NYC punks, invading the apartment downstairs and assumed the worst. "Herman, hide the good Corningware, the hottentots have invaded!"

So much for southern hospitality, I muttered. More like southern paranoia.
The fact is that the south's reputation ofr hospitality is overblown. There are a lot of friendly people here, but for the most part the hospitality is really a thin sheen of courtesy and manners. But "please" and "thank you" isn't real hospitality. What would have been wrong with simply coming up and saying "Hi... are you friends of Amanda's?" or even "There was recent;y a robbery here, so just to mnake sure..."
But no. The woman was totally unwilling to engage another human being. Ooooh, strangers. I'd better hide and capture them on my polaroid. That's so much more approprite than actually talking to them and seeing what they're up to.,/i>
Suspicion breeds more suspicion: the woman's behavior was weird enough that I felt compelled to hide my weed even deeper in my travel bag lest we get pulledover as travelling bandits.

I feel bad about stereotyping southerners, and as I've said, many people down here are very nice. It's just that in many ways, the south embraces the artficies that hide the raw meat of the country. Underneath all our contraptions and clapboard buildings, this country is just raw and brutish. That's why i like old time music so much and reading about people like Jean Rictcie and Ralph Stanley. The meat is totally exposed, it's not colore with the pastels of the mall of America.
Last night was the first night in years in which I have't had a drop of booze.

10/26 continued: I guess I should be writing about the whole MSI show: let's just say that was a piece of work.
Right off the bat, things went wrong. My brand new patch cord was dead. Izzy's amp completely fried; he had to use Katy's amp for the first show. We sold only 5 cds; something must be off with the way the merch guy kept records, which is what I'm going to believe unbtil we get a chance t go over our inventory and see if we're getting scammed. The merch guy seems pretty decent, and I doubt that he'd do anything deliberate.

Most of the kids I met were pretty cool: we got one bottle chucked at us, and some kids gave us the finger, but in general I had a good time. MSI is pretty nutty to watch. Super loud, but super tight as well. The way they worked with tape loops reminded me a lot of Roger Miller's No Man wor, especially in terms of jarring time signatures and weird sounds.

10/27: I started wriuting all of the above last night around 1 AM, and since then it's been a straight shot through the night to Fort Lauderdale, a 12 hour trip. I'm writing now from a gas station off I-95 just south of jacksonville. it's 7:30 AM. My neck and eyeballs hurt. I think Boogie just crashed for good about 1/2 an hour ago. Like me and jack, he'sbeen up all night. I'm surprised I'm still awake and not fucking seeing shit. Boiled peanuts and Caca Culo for breakfast....
5:00 PM: We're heading back to Boca raton to [pick up Izzy's amp: Ray Martin was able to find us an amp tech right outside of Lauderdale. Right now, 'm riding the very fine line between exhasted and overtired. I dodn't go to sleep from about 3:00 am until... maybe 11:00 or 12:00 this afternoon. We pulled into a hotel (forget the name) about 2:30 or 3:00. Took a shower, followed by a HUGE SHIT, jumoped in the crappy pool, shaved and drank some real coffee (picked up a 1/4 pound oif organic coffee in Atlanta).
So despite the fog of exhaustion and tinted windows, Boca raton is kinda cool in a cheeesy way. i like the 50s and 60s architecture.
Almost to the joint... god almightty, I could use a drop of nose candy riht now. Just one teensy, weensy little line to keep myself going.
10/27 still continued: Last nights gig was incredible. Good gig, good crowd, and great kids.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

It's been awhile since I did any blogging, and it;'s b een equally long since I got a chance to keep up with my lefty news sources. That's because I'm in New York, getting ready to go on UncleFucker tour. We're hoping to get our hands on a laptop, so maybe I'll be able to savbe stuff to disk and cut-and-paste it to the blog later, but I have a siniing feeling that this year's tour diary, like every other one I've kept, will be in longhand.
Tour diaries fucking suck anyway. Anytime I've gone cross-country, my writing quickly becomes a litany of perceived slights from bandmates or dull-as-wood descriptions of "pinon dotted hillsides." gimme a fucky wucky break.
That said, preparations for tour are off to a lovely start. I've been getting more and more irritated with Izzy, our bandleader, before finally erupting today, about 10 minutes ago. This is aggravated by the fact that everyone else is kinda pissy with him too, and so it snowballs. It's not like anyone's at each other's throats, but there have been a couple of hairy situations.

I'm under a shitload of stress right now: I'm broke and need to get a road case lest my equipment gets damaged. I've spent the last of my money getting up to New York, and have had to borrow $200 from Izzy as it is. He's been riding my ass about getting a road case, and now says he can't loan me the money to get it because he already gave me $200. I'm pretty pissed right now, because the cat has been riding my ass about it. As it is, I have about $160 to take me through next Thursday when my brother deposits my paycheck in the bank. This is gonna have to be one of those occassions, I can already see, where I will have to beg my parents for money. Again. And I'm fucking 33 years old with a kid on the way.

One of the things that's most annoying about Izzy is that he acts as if everyone is unexperienced except him. It drives me nuts. I don't feel like I'm talking shit about him here either because I pretty much told him as muc to his face earlier this evening.

So anyway... there's not going to be too much posting here for the next few weeks, a pretty catch-as-catch can kind of situation. We're gonn abe a doing a lot of driving and working like crazy, something like 24 gigs in November alone. In fact, here's the itinerary:

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Letter to the State Attorney in Florida: Lock up Limbaugh
I wholeheartedly urge the three or four people that read my blog to send a similar letter.

Barry E. Krischer
The State Attorney's Office
401 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach Florida 33401

Main Telephone Number: (561) 355-7100
FAX Number: (561) 366-1800
Email Address:

Dear Mr. Krischer,

As a Philadelphia resident, I know a lot about the tragedy of oxycontin trafficking and its effects on the community. Here in Philly, we lost many young people in our poorer neighborhoods when "hillbilly heroin" started making the rounds: we lost these people to overdoses and to the bullets that inevitably come with increased drug dealing.

With that in mind, it is imperative that you prosecute Mr. Rush Limbaugh under the trafficking statutes, as would be any other citizen found in possession of a large amount of Oxycontin (oxycodone). If I'm not mistaken, the articles I have read in the NY Post, the Washington Post, and elsewhere describe crimes such as conspiring to deliver unprescribed narcotics across State lines. This is a Federal felony. According to MSNBC, he was sending his drugs across state lines via Federal Express. This is also a felony if I am not mistaken. Mr. Limbaugh seems to have criminally coerced his maid to acquire these drugs, by threatening to fire her.

Such behavior cannot be allowed to stand. In addition, I strongly urge that you invoke our nation's forfeiture laws, which require no conviction: it is clear from the articles I have read that Mr. Limbaugh used his cars and home to illegally procure these controlled substances.

I will be forwarding the email to others concerned about the moral decay of our country. As Mr. Limbaugh himself has said, "And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

Indeed. Mr. Krischer, in America, there is no one more equal than anyone else. Mr. Limbaugh must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law: his celebrity is of no consequence. I look forward to your response on this matter, and will call early next week if I don't hear from your office.

Brendan Skwire
Philadelphia, PA
hey, here's a good way to win friends in Iraq: bulldoze the farms of people "as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops."
Isn't "collective punishment" a war crime, according to the Geneva Convention?
$aint $tupid the Fearmonger.
My friend John Salmon sent me the original photo from yahoo today, but I like buzzflash's take a lot better.
I don't really like the New York Post since it became a conservative shriek rag, but now i have more reason to hate them.
Look what they did to this poor little baby lion. Look how cute that little guy is! And then read about the shitheads at the New York Post, their little publicity stunt, and how angry their reporter, Al Guart got when the Daily News called bullshit on him.
I'm looking for his home phone number now. If I find it, I'll post it.
yay! Slushpuppies for everyone!!
Oh wait... I meant Slush Funds for Rumsfeld. my bad. no, his bad actually.
Waaah waah waah. Rush admits being a drug addict, and Newsweek gives us an article that I think is supposed to make me sympathize for Rush, but just makes me gloat. Turns out he's a fat yutz who's socially awkward, no kids and two ex-wives.
I hope he goes to jail.. recent budget cuts in Florida may make that a reality, and may make it harder for him to quit for good.
I hope so. As much as I sympathize with addicts (it is after all a disease), I would much rather see fat Rush scrounging change outside the 7-11 to feed his hillbilly heroin habit. I want rehab to fail, I want him to get locked up, and I want him to die alone, cold, and homeless in a dumpster.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Eric Alter gets it right when he talks about "insincere sympathy"
for Rush.
except a number of us on the left, Alter included, want the fat fucker locked up.
He's guilty of a felony, caught on tape, with eyewitnesses.
He's admitted it publicly.
And a sweetie from Bill McClellan, copied in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
This is priceless: John Kerry wants BushCo. to apologize for misleading the country into war in iraq.

Look, I'm all for publicly embarrassing Chimpy and his Legion Of Doom (speaking of which, with a bad dye job, don't you think Chimpy would look like Bizarro, and Cheney kind of like Dr. Doom? Rumsfeld could definitly pass for Captain Cold).
But the fact is Kerry voted for the war. Maybe George owes Kerry an apology, but it's not an apology we need. IT'S IMPEACHMENT.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Cry me a river, Pigboy

"I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model.

Sure you are Rush. What do you think you are to all those "dittoheads"?

I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes.

Believe you me Fuckface, I don't think you're doing anything great. In fact, i think you're being a big fat hypocrite. What you SHOULD be doing, if you want to live up to your long history of commentary about drug users, is go right on down to the police station an dask for your orange jumpsuit.
And by the way, I haven't forgotten anythign you've said about people facing similar odds. It's just too bad that you didn't OD. The world would be a better place without you, Rusty, you fat drug-addicted draft-dodging piece of shit.

hey everyone!

I wonder if, under USA PATRIOT, this makes him a terrorist. God I hope so: what I wouldn't give to see that Howdy-Doody looking motherfucker marched off to Guantanamo in leg irons. (and he DOES look like Howdy (no disrespect to the puppet intended, and by the puppet I mean Howdy).
Dear Senator Specter,

On September 16, 1997, the following quote is attributed to you:

The fundamental purpose of appointing an independent counsel was to have someone in charge who was not allied with the administration, not beholden to the administration, and not motivated in any way to favor the administration.

You were speaking about an investigation into possible campaign finance shenanigans on the part of the Clinton administration. I would like to know why in 2003 you don’t believe an independent counsel is needed in the investigation into which Bush administration official outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, an act which has not only destroyed the career of an employee of the US government, but may have put our nation in even more danger.

Mr. Specter, I have written you three letters this week alone about naming an independent counsel, and I expect an answer. At the very least, I think your statements of 1997, when compared to your actions in 2003, expose you as a partisan hypocrite. I realize this is a difficult question to answer, but as I am a constituent and my tax dollars pay your salary, it is your obligation to respond to this issue. I await your speedy reply.
Margaret Cho's blog is just fucking funny.

I am so angry, I don't want to just rip up a picture of the pope. I want to rip him a new asshole, wearing a condom, and I don't even have a dick, but this is the one time I wish I did. Fuck you John Paul whatever the fuck your fucking name is you fucking gold vestment tall ass hat wearing shit head. Why don't you just fucking die already? Doesn't God need a personal assistant?
Oh, and by the way, here's that Buzzflash chart.
Oh, and a fine article at Asia Times about the problems the US is having in financing the the occupation. Oh did I say "the US"? I mean to say "my country." I would say "my government" but conisdering it's the working class and middle class that will be paying for this, I'll have to say "my country." Hey who's excited for a gasoline tax?

By the way, I don't agree with this "let the Iraqis pay for reconstruction" bullshit. It's not like they asked to be bombed into the fucking Stone Age. And despite the happy horseshit coming out of the assho-- I mean the mouths-- of Rumsfeld and the Clown Brigade, the fact is that the Iraqis are living in worse squalor than before. As our newly liberated friends and guerilla attackers like to say "At least with Saddam we had electricity, water, and security." "Let's make it a loan," as Arlen Specter thinks, is stupid and unfair.
On the other hand, I don't think the American taxpayer should pay for this, at least not thos of us that were completely against the war. I think Bush should commit political suicide and rescind that offensive tax cut he gave his rich cronies.

Here's a cool cover at Time magazine: Mission Not Accomplished.
So i was just gettin gready to put up this nice buzzflash chart that compares Chimpy's words to reality, but... well, ever find yourself at the wrong URL because your finger slipped?
I was typing in the url for my bloggity-blog , but I must have missed something because this website about so-called "partial birth abortion" came up. WARNING: REALLY GRAPHIC AND UGLY SITE PUT UP BY RIGHT-WING CHRISTIANS. PHOTOS GUARANTEED TO INDUCE NAUSEA.
Their politics page is particularly stupid, as are the songs. I'm gonna save "Think of the Baby" and "Silent Cry" to my hard-drive.
And for a real gag, check out "Birth Control Causes Abortion."
I reiterate my point made a couple of weeks ago about Christians:

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Speaking of letters to Specter, here's the one I wrote him last week, after he backed down from his statement that John Ashcroft should recuse himself from the Wilson-Plame investigation.

Dear Senator Specter,

Your staff suggested I write if I want a personal response, and I hope you will take time to respond to this constituent’s concerns.

I read on the morning of October 3, 2003 that you believed Attorney General Ashcroft should recuse himself from the Wilson-Plame investigation because of his close ties to Karl Rove and the White House. Later that day, I read that you had backed away from this statement, claiming to have been “misquoted.”

Mr. Specter, our national security apparatus is what keeps Americans safe. It is widely acknowledged, even by administration officials, that Ms. Plame and her work on weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed by a member of the Bush administration for the political goal of discrediting her husband, Joseph Wilson; Wilson, as you know, angered the White House and members of your party by “blowing the whistle” on the administration’s uranium claims (a/k/a Yellowcakegate). Instead of advocating an independent counsel, it seems that you would prefer that the president be investigated by his own political appointees: if this was not allowed to stand under Clinton, why is this allowed to stand under Mr. Bush?

Mr. Specter, I need this question answered, and answered clearly without political doublespeak. It is my fervent belief that loyalty to the commonwealth of the country trumps any allegiance to a political party or ideology: in fact, I would go so far as to argue that putting loyalty to a party before loyalty to the country is the very definition of treason.

To that end I ask, Mr. Specter, that you please answer the following questions for me, clearly and in plain English:

• Is your refusal to support an independent counsel motivated by partisanship?
• If this is the case, please explain to me why you believe political partisanship is more important than making sure our intelligence professionals, who are trying to protect our nation and citizens, aren’t targeted for political reasons by the very government they serve.
• If this is the case, please also explain why finding out the facts behind Mr. Clinton’s illicit dalliance with Ms. Monica Lewinsky was a more important national security issue (important enough to warrant an independent counsel) than finding out the facts behind the politically-motivated exposure of a deep cover CIA agent working on nonproliferation issues.
• Given that you supported an independent counsel to look into the Clinton scandals but do not support an independent counsel to look into the Wilson-Plame affair, do you believe that protecting Republicans from political embarrassment is more important than protecting American citizens from weapons of mass destruction?
• Does your loyalty to the party trump your loyalty to the country? Please square this with your refusal to support an independent counsel for Wilson-Plame.

I realize these are complicated questions, and perhaps some smack of polemic. However, as I am a constituent and I pay you to represent me in the Congress, I deserve a response, which I hope will be speedy and personal: a “form letter” is unacceptable. I am a tax-payer, a homeowner, and a parent. If my personal safety, or my family’s, has been put in jeopardy by the outing of Ms. Plame (and I believe we are all less safe now) then it is you as my representative that owes me an explanation. I look forward to your prompt response.

Brendan Skwire

I was supposed to meet with Senator Arlen Specter or one of his aides today as part of a MoveOn action to attach some strings to Chimpy's request for $87 billion for Iraq. MoveOn arranged the meeting and advised us to use their talking points. Using their guide, I wrote myself the following script:

Mr. Specter,

Earlier this year, you and Congress gave Mr. Bush what amounted to a blank check to wage war on Iraq. We were promised that the war would be a “cakewalk” (Wolfowitz) and that the Iraqis would meet us with “flowers and cheers” (Dick Cheney), that the war could be won with significantly less troops that the Powell Doctrine dictates (Rumsfeld), and that the war would cost $20 billion, and probably less.

We now know that none of these claims were true: I won’t even begin to go into the conclusions of the Kay report, other than to say one 10-year old vial of botulin in the back of someone’s refrigerator (probably behind that old bottle of Ranch dressing no one’s touched since 19985) does not a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction make. And now Mr. Bush wants the US taxpayer to pony up $87 billion this year alone, for a war that was supposed to cost $67 billion less? With no exit strategy? While our troops go on year long rotations, and then some? While our own people have decaying roads and highways, poor schools, no health insurance? With tax cuts for the ultra rich subsidized by my property taxes?

Mr. Specter, I am a homeowner, a father-to-be, and voter. I can see far better uses for this money: for Americans. I don’t want you to authorize ANY of this funding until: Mr. Bush gets rid of the people responsible for this mess, and I’m speaking of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Rice; the administration develops a realistic plan for reconstruction, with a transparent and open bidding process; until our own social services are funded (as a father, I am extremely concerned about the state of our schools in Philadelphia).

Mr. Specter, it is widely acknowledged that the administration played games with the truth (I know that politicians have an allergic reaction to the word “lies”). It has been clearly demonstrated that Bush and his people were wrong about everything regarding this war: there are no weapons of mass destruction; there were no flowers and cheers, only rocket powered grenades and bullets; we are facing a guerilla war with no end in sight; the international community did NOT get on board when we “won,” as promised and now American taxpayers (or rather, middle-class and working-class taxpayers) are footing the bill (given your income senator, I must assume that you were one of the lucky ones who got a tax break: how much are YOU paying toward the war effort?). With all these mistakes, how can anyone trust the adminsitration’s current team to get it right in Iraq? At the very least, Mr. Rumsfeld must go. And you must get push for an independent counsel into the Wilson Plame affair: we all know Mr. Ashcroft has close ties to Mr. Rove and can’t be trusted to investigate the White House.

Sadly, when we got to Arlen's Philadelphia office, there was no one to meet us. In fact, said the old man who was nervously collecting letters from irritated MoveOn members, "No one told us about this..."
Riiiiiiiiiiiight. MoveOn, who I have volunteered with for about a year now, "forgot" to set up the appointment. Strange, they were very efficient when we met with Fattah a month or two back. Strange that a Republican who voted for the war and for tax cuts wasn't informed of his upcoming meeting with constituents who disagreed with both. Strange how the old man tried to shoo us away.
I got tired of waiting, so I left. And wrote the following letter to Mr. Specter, which will be mailed as soon as I go downstairs and buy a stamp:

Dear Mr. Specter,

On October 9, 2003, several Philadelphians and I, constituents all, came to your office at 600 Arch Street to meet with you or a staff member about the proposed $87 billion dollar budget for Iraq. This meeting, which was to coincide with others organized around the nation by MoveOn, a liberal PAC, was announced on October 5. However, when we got to your office, not only was no one available to talk to us, the one employee who met us at the elevator collected our letters and attempted to shoo us away. While I later heard that someone met with two of our group, this response is inadequate: we took time from our lives to meet with you, and you stood us up.

Mr. Specter, I took time away from my job to meet with you or your aides. I am not a wealthy man like you. I do not, like you, have the kind of high-powered job in which I can vote myself a pay-raise or take summer off. It was difficult for me to make the time to meet you, and I lost time at work. I am angry and offended that I was treated this way. You are my representative in Congress: you are obligated to listen to your constituents.

Mr. Specter, there are some who like to say “the government should be run like a business, and the citizens should be seen as our customers.” If this is the case, your customer service department is lousy. The result is that I feel disenfranchised, that you don’t care about talking to and hearing from your constituents. Perhaps not hearing the opposing point of view makes your life a little easier, but Mr. Specter that is not what your job description is about.

I expect an apology for this treatment, and I expect you to explain why you decided you didn’t need to discuss this matter with your constituents. A form letter will not do, and I will be following up this letter within 1 week with a phone call if I do not get a personal response. My opinion matters, Mr. Specter, and I will not be treated in this manner by a public servant, even if you do hold the title “Senator.”

This is the second letter I have written Mr. Specter this week. I don't expect a response any time soon, so I will have to start sending more letters, making more phone calls.
A real coup would be to hear an aide tell me "I'm quitting my job because of you." fat chance, I guess.

From the LA Times:
In the early '90s, I worked as a personal assistant to Schwarzenegger for over a year. I was single, in my 20s and found myself alone in the office (or his trailer) with him on more than a few occasions. I can assure you I have never witnessed a single instance of inappropriate behavior on Schwarzenegger's part, toward myself or any other woman. In my experience, he was a consummate gentleman at all times. Arnold is one of the most intelligent, generous and professional men I know. He is extremely loyal to his family and friends. He does possess a great and sometimes playful sense of humor, which I only found refreshing and never inappropriate. As a mother of two young daughters, I'm as sensitive to issues of sexual harassment as anyone. The Arnold The Times presented in its articles is clearly not the man I know.

Karen Weaver

Sherman Oaks

That's probably because you weigh 600 pounds.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Hey Beinart,

If you're going to go around writing public letters to your readers, the least you could do would be to publish your email where people can respond to you.
And for god sakes, your plea for cash at the end was just nauseating. I wouldn't give you any money if I had it, schmuck.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I have never cared for Orrin Hatch, but once upon a time i thought my disagreements with the man were based on his priciples versus mine.
No more: Orrin throws his principles right out the window.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

You can tell the conservatives are freaking about the Wilson scandal. Check out National Review (I don't link to them because they're lying liars and there's no need to give them yet ANOTHER outlet, certainly not my blog) editor Clifford May's reponse to Spencer Ackerman in The New Republic.
Red herring, get your red herrings!
As you say, The Washington Post has reported--based on anonymous sources--that six other reporters also were leaked to by the White House. So why did those reporters not report anything about Mrs. Wilson? Shouldn't they come forward now to help us sort out what actually happened? I know reporters protect their sources--but should they even protect criminals or those with criminal intent?

May assumes that because these reporters haven't spoken yet, they won't speak. he also assumes that all reporters have the same lack of ethics as Robert Novak. Besides, now that Alberto Gonzalez has named a few in his latest White House memo, May's point is moot.

Well, which journalists told him that? Why won't he say? Again, I know journalists have an obligation to protect their sources. But this is the first time I've ever heard that sources have an obligation to protect their journalists. (On "Nightline" Tuesday, Mr. Wilson told Ted Koppel that he would reveal the names to FBI investigators--but why not tell Ted?)

Cliff, have you ever heard of playing hardball? Of "either you fess up, or I'll spill the beans"? Wilson has no obligation to protect his sources, May is just making that up as a distraction. Just grasping at straws, left and right. Like the guy who's about to get mugged saying "look out behidn you!" and running. Look, here's more:

Ambassador Wilson told The Washington Post that he took a call from a reporter who quoted Mr. Rove as saying: "Joe Wilson's wife is fair game." Memo to Washington reporters: Has Karl Rove ever spoken like that in front of you? If not, isn't it time you directed a little of your famous skepticism toward Ambassador Wilson?

I think Ron Suskind could answer that one for you. here, I'll quote:

Eventually, I met with Rove. I arrived at his office a few minutes
early, just in time to witness the Rove Treatment, which, like LBJ’s
famous browbeating style, is becoming legend but is seldom reported.
Rove’s assistant, Susan Ralston, said he’d be just a minute. She’s very
nice, witty and polite. Over her shoulder was a small back room where
a few young men were toiling away. I squeezed into a chair near the
open door to Rove’s modest chamber, my back against his doorframe.

Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in
some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him.
I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to
ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging
parked cars. "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him.
We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!" As a reporter, you get around—curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable
events—but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations
were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a
minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen,
and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments,
looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in."

Rove's temper is legendary in Washington.

On a personal note, I did learn back in July that Mrs. Wilson worked for the CIA. That information was not leaked to me by the White House or anyone serving in government. Based on the way it was mentioned to me, I inferred that this fact was rather widely known.

Let's see, you're the editor of the National Review, you have close to ties to Republicans and Conservatives. What exactly about her employment were you told? I see you don't mention the fact that she was under deep cover? Why? Because she was undercover. And Novak and the White Hosue exposed her, and you know it, and you know it's illegal and indefensible and here you are flailing away like the marionette you are, you stupid stupid man.

You also need to explain to me why telling journalists that Ambassador Wilson's wife works for the CIA represents a "smear" of Mr. Wilson.

They were suggesting nepotism, implying that he wasn't qualified in and of himself. And that, as you know, is not the case. Just as you know exactly how this was a smear. And an intimidation campaign as well.

Shouldn't some investigative reporter try to find out how Ambassador Wilson has been earning his living since he left the Foreign Service (saying he's a "consultant" is not really adequate), whether any of his clients might have had an interest in U.S. policy toward Iraq, and whether there is any possibility of a conflict of interest?

When in doubt, fall back on yelling "traitor." Because that's what May is doing here. Cliffy, Norm wants to know why you're implying that Wilson spent the last few years building up startegic partnerships with Saddam Hussein while his country was under economic sanctions.
I think they're having a flag sale at Wal-mart, Cliff. You might want a few to shove up your ass to give your head some company.

That case remains troubling. Consider: Whether Saddam Hussein had purchased or was seeking to purchase uranium in Africa was a matter of vital national security. But the CIA did not send its top spy to get the answer. Evidently, they didn't send a CIA agent at all. Instead, they chose to send a retired Foreign Service officer, with no experience whatsoever as an investigator.

Some things you have to explain over nad over. Wilson had extensive experience with uranium and with Niger. We all know this.

And because Ambassador Wilson harbored strong partisan feelings--early this year he wrote that the Bush administration has "imperial ambitions" and that "America has entered on of its periods of historical madness"--don't you think he should have turned down the assignment? Wouldn't that have been the principled thing to do?

Dude, he gave to Kerry, he gave to W's campaign in 2000, and he gave to Gore: this is now common knowledge. He wrote both those comments in the original Times article, which you conveniently leave out. Why? Because you're a dishonest writer, grasping at straw trying to defend the indefensible, and you figure that because the people who read the National Review have are brainless sluggards, everyon else must be too.

According to Ambassador Wilson himself (writing in The New York Times) his "investigation" consisted of "eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business." At TNR, what would be the reaction to an investigative reporter who based his dispatches on such a probe? More to the point: Is this any way to run an intelligence organization? Doesn't that puzzle you? Why isn't anyone investigating this question? Isn't this the issue that should concern a serious journal such as TNR?

What, that he drank tea while interviewing people pertinent to the case? Cliff, why are you focusing on the tea instead of the people he interviewed? Oh, right: because it's another distraction. When you have no defense, distract distract distract. And no, my shoes aren't untied. You'd rather he was drinking gin, I suppose?
Red herring, more red herring!

Leaving those questions aside, the fact is that Mr. Wilson did undertake a mission on behalf of the CIA. Did he not sign a confidentiality agreement committing to the same level of secrecy as other agents of the CIA? If not, why not?

Maybe umm... because he wasn't a CIA agent? And umm... maybe because it wasn't a covert mission?

If so, did he violate that agreement? Was it not a breach of confidence when he wrote an op-ed for The New York Times accusing the administration for which he had undertaken this mission of exaggerating and misrepresenting evidence--in essence accusing the president of lying to get us into a war where Americans would be killed?

How is that a breach of confidence? Nice little sleight of hand: first May ponders whether Wilson signed an agreement of confidentiality, then writes as if such an agreement existed and was broken. Nice try. Too bad "almost" only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.

By the way, it turns out Mr. Wilson was dead wrong. If Saddam had managed to illegally purchase uranium from Niger that would have been very bad news. Mr. Wilson says he found no evidence of such a purchase on his week-long visit to Niger. Fine--let's stipulate that his conclusion was solid. But even if Saddam was merely window shopping for uranium in Africa, that had to be seen as a problem--evidence of an active and on-going nuclear weapons program.

yes, but Saddam didn't purchase weapons from Niger. He wasn't window-shopping. You're right that if he was shopping around, it would have been a problem, but outside of a mental insititution, conjecture isn't reality.

And what President Bush said in his State of the Union was not that Saddam purchased uranium in Niger, only that British intelligence believed that Saddam had sought uranium in Africa. British intelligence did believe that. British intelligence continues to believe that. And last month an independent British parliamentary commission issued a report finding British intelligence's belief reasonable based on the evidence. (Predictably, most of the media took no interest in this report.)

Do we really have to get back into these Clintonian words games? We all KNOW what Bush meant when he talked about the uranium. And we all KNOW how much the speech was vetted just in case somethign came up so it could be blamed on the British. Besides, since when is MI6 the US's intelligence service? Our own CIA said the claims were false.

What information did/does Mr. Wilson have to refute British intelligence's conclusions? Don't you think someone ought to at least ask him?

They did you stupid shit. Wilson talked to everyone involved with Niger's uranium industry, including another US ambassador and an Army colonel, both of whom told him that the story was dead in ther water. And you KNOW that Cliff, you just figure that because not many other people do you can get away with bullshit polemic like this.

Now will you agree with me that it also would be wrong to take an issue of vital national security like this and attempt to turn it into a political football in order to score partisan points? And will you agree that there is some credible evidence to suggest, distressingly, that that is precisely what is happening here?

A crime was committed. By senior member of the administration. The criminal must be rooted out and prosecuted. And you know damn good and well how you conservative republican shit-eating, child-molesting fuckfaces used scandal as a political football.
Now go take some meds Cliffie and have a nice little dream about the antebellum south.