Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, Dead?

Mark Sanford, off the front page.

As weird/criminal as he's been the last decade or so, there's no way to explain to younger folks how big Michael Jackson was in 1983. Heck, I think Thriller was the first LP I bought (the first 45, a couple of years later, was the Super Bowl Shuffle).

First, Farrah Fawcett goes (icon of the 70's).
Then, Michael Jackson may have gone (unconfirmed) - icon of the 80's.
Who's next?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford's New Career: Pulp Erotica Writer?

Released today, the Governor's emails to his mistress, Maria:

"Two, mutual feelings .... You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...

... In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul.”

Screw him

I've seen a few people now making positive comments about Mark Sanford, because he admitted all (or so it seems) in his press conference today.

Screw that.

He cheated on his wife for a year (which is their business, sure, but I'm not going to think of him as a stand-up guy) and left the citizens of the state of South Carolina without a governor for days. That alone should be an impeachable offense.

I don't care that he apologized, I don't care about God's laws and our laws, I care that this guy screwed around on his family and on his job (a somewhat important one, even if it is South Carolina). You don't get to mea culpa your way out of this one, bub.

Gov. Mark Sanford: Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

It seems that accepting President Obama's stimulus money was just too much for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. The Governor was not hiking on the Appalachian Trail, as his staff told the media, on Sunday Solstice NAKED HIKING DAY, but on a cruise off the coast of Argentina, without telling his wife and kids, the Lt. Governor, or his constituents. This is dedicated to the Governor (pictured below):

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The more things change...

I was listening to Thom Hartmann this afternoon, and he was interviewing a guest advocating that the U.S. ratify the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty.

I seem to remember a brilliant, thoughtful, thin and single young man who wrote an insightful article urging the same thing way back in 1981. I think you can find it at 1981 University of Illinois Law Review 762--if you happen to be near a law library!

Meanwhile, back in Frostbite Falls...

From Juan Cole:

Bombings and other violence left 30 dead in Iraq on Monday, and the three-day death toll is 100. Monday's strikes included a bombing of a mini-bus with students aboard in Shiite Sadr City.

In my own view,the Shiites won the battle for Baghdad and largely ethnically cleansed the city of Sunni Arabs, who I suspect are now only 10-15% of the capital's population. So this sort of terrorism is now more revenge than anything else, and it is hard to see what political change it could effect. It is just a way of keeping the pot boiling and challenging the ensconcing of the Shiite-dominated al-Maliki government.

In my worst GWB--Freedom..liberty. Mission accomplished.


So, when Karl Rove referred to "The Math" that was going to give the GOP the house and senate in 2006, was he referring to the kind of math that allowed more votes to be cast in many places in Iran than there were registered voters?

He's Barack Obama: YEAH!

Unique View on Iran: Would You Believe, From an Iranian Historian?

Memo to Lindsey Graham and his bellicose buddies on the Repugnant Right: The President has been “timid and passive”?

Try statesmanlike and farsighted:
Is 101 years a bit far to go back to help us understand what's happening today? Not in Iran. If there is one thing that both fundamentalists and reformers will agree on, it's that the Iranian people's long (and largely unfinished) march to freedom began during the Constitutional Revolution, or 'Mashruteh', of 1906-1909. Say that very word to a basiji thug or to one of Tehran's green-clad young twitterers today and both will tell you, insistently, that they are the true defenders of its legacy. The mashruteh is Iran's Federalist Papers and Boston Tea Party, all rolled into one; its Spirit of '76.

Iran's constitutionalist uprising was the first great revolution of the 20th century -- an expression of spontaneous rage against a corrupt and bankrupt monarchy. Much like today's movement, it didn't demand a fundamental overthrow of the prevailing system. Instead, it unified the country's merchants, intellectuals, and (yes) clerics in demanding nothing more than an elected parliament and a constitution. The result? A remarkably progressive charter that enshrined the principles of equality, personal rights, universal public education, and freedom of the press. It was the first document of its kind in the Middle East, and it has formed the basis of Iran's political debates ever since.
John Ghazvinian, Historian, University of Pennsylvania

Does History repeat itself? Fortunately for us, we have a student of History as our President:
Despite a wave of indignation and demands for tough action from the United States (driven, no less, by politicians with close ties to the evangelical Christian movement and its missionaries living in Iran), official Washington maintained a dignified distance from events on the ground, and refused to take sides -- at least not overtly. The US minister in Tehran was sympathetic to the revolutionaries, but projected an aura of quiet detachment. The State Department did the same. And all this during the rambunctious presidency of the original rough rider himself -- Theodore Roosevelt. When William Taft took the oath of office in 1909, his inaugural address expressed optimism about the possibility of improved trade relations with Iran, but said nothing about the turmoil on the streets.
Read full article here.

Professor Ghazvinian gives his appraisal of President Obama’s position:
President Obama is taking the long view, and he is dead right. This is Iran's struggle, not America's. And when the dust has settled, the Iranian public (for whom the spectre of foreign interference is a longstanding obsession) will remember the note he struck this week.
It should be noted that the Graham-“bomb-bomb Iran” McCain view is not universal among Republicans and conservatives: Count Peggy Noonan, George Will, Sen. Richard Lugar (the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee), Henry Kissinger, and even Pat Buchanan among those supporting the President’s position.

Re: Teddy Roosevelt –- that he would take such a measured position on the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1909 is not as surprising as John McCain holding T.R. up as his “hero.” Either McCain is self-delusional (a possibility), or he’s less familiar with T.R.’s presidency than with the heroic snapshot of the Rough Rider that defined T.R.’s popular mystique.

Republicans today like to perpetuate the myth that they’re worthy descendants of the “party of Lincoln,” the GOP. That is a false presumption. The “party of Lincoln” died a less than honorable death when Teddy Roosevelt bolted the Republican Party, after irreconcilable differences with Taft, to form the U.S. Progressive Party, aka his “Bull Moose” third party. Roosevelt made an unsuccessful run for president in 1912, splitting the Republican vote and assuring Wilson’s election. The “Bull Moose” Progressive Party was short-lived, but it remains the most successful third party in American history, garnering 27% of the vote to 23% for Taft's big business Republican Party in the election of 1912. Woodrow Wilson won with a 42% plurality for the Democrats.

Teddy Roosevelt demanded vigorous government intervention to "destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics" as "the first task of the statesmanship of the day" -- hardly the candidate and policies John McCain and BFF Lindsey Graham would be comfortable with in 2009. Even by today's standards, the Progressive Party platform was true to its name, including a plank for national health insurance. Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to call for universal health care.

Hell, T.R. sounded downright Obamaesque!

The progressive “Lincoln Republicans” who followed T.R. to his “Bull Moose” party would eventually find a home in the Democratic Party of Wilson and T.R.'s cousin Franklin, later joining with progressive Democrats to propel FDR’s liberal New Deal policies.

So much for the GOP and the “party of Lincoln.”

Mark Sanford joins the list

The wandering gov just kissed his reported presidential hopes goodbye, and gets in the failed GOP contender line behind Bobby Brady Jindal et al.

You can already hear the negative ads...

"It's 3 AM and somewhere in the White House, a phone is ringing. WHERE THE HELL IS THE PRESIDENT???"

Apparently Jesse White is NOT Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan said that he majored in geography "because I like to know where things are."

Apparently Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White could use a refresher course from MJ, because his office, that of the Illinois Secretary of State, now offers this:

Hmm, Jesse, I believe that particular institution is located in INDIANA??? WHY is it on Illinois plates?

[or at least if state lines no longer matter, can I get one?? ]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pete's Trip

I thought for sure we were going to play "Where in the world is Mark Sanford?"

Edit: I did not see this before I posted.


Back from Quebec City, what a lovely place. A two hour flight but a world away. French, but VERY friendly and manageable, and I ate like a king!

The girls before Pete and Peg's big anniversary dinner date:

The view up from lower town, with the funicular railway to the upper city

The impressive Chateau Frontenac


and a carriage on the square

Loved loved loved it!!!! But I promise, I will be back to my usual cranky self soon.