Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Surge Is Working. Would Someone Please Tell the Iraqis?

Baghdad is a quieter place now than it was one year ago. Suicide bombings are down, pedestrian traffic is up, and General David Petraeus is already being asked about running for President. (Abortion? Immigration? Who cares? He has a pulse and a can-do spirit, which is more than can be said for announced-candidate Fred Thompson.)

The news about the surge though involves a curious disconnect from reality. Few doubted that adding 160,000 U.S. troops would have a quelling effect on violence in Iraq. The entire point, according to President Bush, was to buy (and not cheaply, either) "breathing room" for the feuding factions there to be able to make political accomodations.

So far, no such luck.

So, American troops continue to courageously patrol, provide security, and yes--die--while Sunnis and shiites continue to avoid making the hard, messy--and yes, courageous--concessions to national unity.

To Petraeus, plaudits. Hey, he did the job he was asked to do.
To the Iraqis, there simply isn't enough bile and disgust to spit at them.
To President Bush--no problem. And no deadlines, timelines or any other act of responsible and appropriate censure from him towards the Iraqi cowards whose continued and unforgiveable intransigence is not worth one single additional American life. Nevermind the nearly 4000 that have already been sacrificed for the sons-of-bitches.

But then, why make tough concessions when George Bush will cover your sorry ass? Oops, make that, when American soldiers will cover your sorry ass.
David Petraeus is covering George Bush's.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Have A Mysterious Christmas

The snow is falling, here in Boston, anyway. (The blizzard now is of shifting drifts of blame for the lousy plowing on local roads and highways already this young winter.) The lights are twinkling, the number of shopping days are dwindling and Christmas is nigh.

But I see mysteries that have nothing to do with who those Wise Men were, what's up with a virgin birth, and how to correctly spell "myrrh."

I mean, is that the most strangely-spelled word in the english language? Okay, "frankincense" is right up there, too.

Mystery number one: the
Mike Huckabee Christmas ad. Actually, this involves a riddle within a mystery. First, how can a politician two weeks before an election (excuse me, "caucus") air a commercial in which he actually says, "Are you about worn out with all the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics?" And yours would be about what, exactly? Oh, Christmas! It's Christmas greetings from a politician who is campaigning for votes from those same people he's asking if they are sick of politicians asking for their vote. But he's wearing a red sweater and--right there! Right over his right shoulder looks for all the world like...a white cross. Is it? Is it a quirk of the lighting? The mysteries only accumulate like the snow in my driveway.

Second mystery involves a highly unlikely trio: Dean Martin, Santa Claus, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In one of Martin's now classic contributions to the Holiday music playlist, he of course sings the "Rudolph" song. But in one chorus, he suddenly affects a German accent as Santa: "Rudolph mitt your nose so bright, vont you guide mein sleigh tonight?"

What is up with that? No one knows. One website lists Dino's Deutsch-inspired ditty as one of the worst Christmas songs ever. That seems a bit harsh. And Martin did a wonderful job with "Baby It's Cold Outside."

But Germanic Santa? Weird. 'Tis the Season to be mysterious....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is the War Over?

No, not that war. The war that the men and women fighting the real war are missing here at home. The War on Christmas. Why, it seems like just yesterday that Bill O'Reilly and the other neocon nitwits at Focks News were bursting veins decrying the secular assault on all things Xmas.

For a few seasons even, there was something strangely dependable about their declaration.

Halloween, Thanksgiving..."War on Christmas!" It was becoming something of a yuletide tradition, in its own twisted way. But this year? It's like that Faith Hill song--"Where Are You, (War On) Christmas?"

Did I miss something? Was the War on Christmas settled at that recent Annopolis summit along with the Arab-Israeli issue? Did the hated Secularists win finally? Or did Fox News and the Christmas Keepers overun the slimy Secs, run them through with sharpened candy canes, and make them into tree ornaments?

Who won, dammit?

I wouldn't want to step on Shep (Smith) who may, for all I know, be planning some sort of Secularist surrender ceremony on the deck of the mothballed Missouri, but judging from all things commercial, calendar-related and otherwise, it would appear that while minor skirmishes may continue to flare, Fox's pet Holiday is safe.

Yes, on this last night of Chanukah, it is at least reassuring to know that either way, Christmas has apparently survived. Whew....

As for actual wars.....can the troops come home now?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Can I Get An Amen?

Profile in courage?

Hardly. Mitt Romney's much anticipated speech on religious tolerance, far from being the "breakthrough" political moment some would make it, was instead yet one more pathetic profile in pandering from the man who just may be the most desperate, despicable hack I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Is there nothing this man won't do to cajole and massage some meager support from a potential niche of support? Apparrently not.

In Boston, right-wing radio talk show host Jay Severin hailed Romney's speech as a special, singular event not just in this year's campaign, but in American political history. But then, it's hard to imagine how Severin could have even heard or watched the speech, given that his eyes and ears are obscured by the cheeks of Romney's ass.

Give Severin half credit, though. The speech was a singular event--in the history of naked American political crassness. The wonder of Mitt Romney, in all his chameleon-like bobbing and weaving between stands on issues past and present, is not that he has the truly breathtaking chutzpah to do these flip-flops and panderings; it is that he seems to think that people won't sufficiently notice. In the end, I am more outraged by Romney's low regard for my intelligence than I am his own low regard for personal integrity.

As has been observed elsewhere, Romney was not calling for religious tolerance per se; he was asking rather for religious acceptance. Acceptance not for everyone, mind you, but for Mitt Romney as a Mormon by conservative Christian Evangelicals who mistrust his Christian bona fides. Sure, Romney paid lip service on behalf of other religions, but where was that plea for tolerance when he was up in the Iowa polls, and true-blue Christian conservative Mike Huckabee was safely in Mitt's rear-veiw mirror?

Once more, Romney acted only out of political expediency.
Even Huckabee, at the recent CNN/YouTube debate, had a moment that admirably blended both personal and political integrity, when he chastised Romney for suggesting that even the children of illegal immigrants should be dealt with punitively.

One wonders, where is that moment for Romney? Could there even be such a moment? On what subject would it possibly be? What significant constituency (gays, gun control advocates and Massachusetts residents don't qualify) is he willing to alienate on a matter of deep, unshakable (and non-malleable) integrity?

Keep wondering.
Keep marvelling at the most shameless hack in history.
And keep praying for poor Jay Severin--the man has to come up (out?) for air sometime...