Monday, October 1, 2007

Farewell to The Nation

Below is a note that I wrote to my colleagues (past and present) at The Nation magazine. For more details regarding my departure from the magazine--which will go into effect at the end of this month--please see the press release below.

Dear Nation colleagues,

After twenty years and eight months of representing the country's oldest political weekly in Washington, I am leaving The Nation. At the end of October, I will become chief of the new seven-person bureau that Mother Jones has opened here.

Let me thank Victor Navasky and Katrina vanden Heuvel for having provided me with a tremendous opportunity--one that few journalists ever know. For two decades, I had the freedom to cover Washington--its policy battles, its political intrigues, its players, its scandals--by going beyond the headlines, digging beneath the surface, and asking questions overlooked or dismissed by conventional media. With the magazine's support, I was able both to break important stories and to be a participant in the critical policy and political debates of the past two decades. Also with the magazine's backing, I wrote books examining the key issues of our day. All of this, I hope, has advanced the values long championed by The Nation.

Over the years, I have enjoyed working (and sometimes arguing with) a host of Nation colleagues: Amy Wilentz, Eric Etheridge, Micah Sifry, Kai ("Mr. Pulitzer") Bird, Richard Lingeman, JoAnn Wypijewski, Elena Brunet, Elsa Dixler, Richard Pollak, Kirkpatrick Sale, Katha Pollitt, Bruce Shapiro, Maria Margaronis, D.D. Guttenplan, Max Holland, Jon Wiener, John and Sue Leonard, Mark Schapiro, David Weir, George Black, Andrew Kopkind, Roane Carey, Judith Long, Art Winslow, Jefferson Morley, Dennis Selby, Peggy Suttle, Karen Rothmyer, Betsy Reed, Laura Flanders, Lisa Vandenpaer, Joan Connell, John Nichols, Ari Berman, and Marc Cooper. In the good ol' days of the early 1980s, it was quite an education to share an office in the New York headquarters with Christopher Hitchens. (Gentlemen, don't tell.)

Through The Nation, I established some of the most important friendships of my life. And I was so fortunate to get to know some of the best writers, thinkers and politicos of the past decades, including Molly Ivins (I still miss you), Paul and Sheila Wellstone (also deeply missed), E.P. Thompson, Penny Lernoux, Abbie Hoffman, Calvin Trillin, Frank McCourt, William Greider, Barbara Ehrenreich, Hunter Thompson, Roger Wilkins, Allen Ginsberg, and Steve Earle. And for those of you who have gone to sea with The Nation, we'll always have the cruise.

Though I usually tried to stay away from the business side of the magazine, I appreciated the efforts of those who have kept our ship above water (even in that sea of red ink) and moving forward: Teresa Stack, Hamilton Fish, Neal Black, David Parker, Jack Berkowitz, Laurie Lipper, George Fuchs, Danielle Veith, Mary Taylor Schilling, Peter Rothberg, Mike Webb, Peggy Randall, Scott Klein, Ben Wyskida, Amiri Barksdale, Mary van Valkenburg, Kathleen Thomas, Arthur Stupar, Ellen Bollinger, Peter Fifield, Kathryn Lewis, Carl Bromley, Jane Sharples, Sandy McCroskey, Ann Epstein. And a tip of the hat to the old gang: Greta Loell, Shirley Sulat, and John Holtz. Plus a nod to all who served as union reps and who looked out for us workers. A thank-you, too, to Peter Meyer and Taya Kitman.

I was lucky to work with scores of talented, enthusiastic, and energetic interns and then watch as many pursued their own writing and journalism careers. They were indispensable, not only in assisting my efforts but in providing camaraderie--even at such low wages. I hope that in the long run they each got the better end of the deal. And if I left out anyone in these lists, please forgive me. My memory is not as sharp as when I first arrived at The Nation.

It is not easy to leave the magazine after all these years--from Iran-contra to the Iraq war. But I am moving over to Mother Jones to take up a new set of challenges and to help develop the sort of journalistic entity much needed in Washington. The goal of the new Mother Jones bureau is to generate reporting-driven news and analysis of the capital's political and policy developments--matters already on the media radar screen and, most important, those that are not. At a time when many conventional media outfits are cutting back, when opinion frequently drowns out reporting, and when the blogosphere is too often loaded with rants, there's an appetite for facts-based journalism. It's my hope that I can help this team of D.C.-based reporters turbocharge the magazine’s investigative capabilities and help which will be expanding--become a daily go-to source for vital news and analysis.

When I was in college, I had several fantasies about my future. At one point, I couldn't decide if I wanted to be a Jack Kerouac, a Bruce Springsteen, or an I.F. Stone. Well, I ended up holding the title that once belonged to one of them. It's been an honor to be a successor to Izzy. I hope I did him justice. And it's been an honor to be part of The Nation's grand tradition for one-seventh of the magazine's existence.

The Nation is more than any generation of editors or writers, more than any particular content-delivery vehicle (magazine, web site, or whatever comes next). It is an idea that embodies an ideal: that the dissemination of information--honestly gathered and accurately presented--can help us move toward a world that is just and peaceful. As skeptical and cynical as I can sometimes be, I am proud to have served that idea for over twenty years. I wish the best for the present and future guardians of this 142-year-old notion.

Just as important, it's been a fun and often exhilarating ride. Again, I thank all those who shared it with me. Long may The Nation wave.

David Corn

Posted by David Corn at October 1, 2007 11:36 AM


David B. Benson said...

Aha! New thread indeed.

David Corn --- Hit'em hard!

capt said...

All Dems but Clinton oppose Iran measure

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the lone Democratic presidential candidate to support a Senate amendment that described Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity.

The non-binding amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, initiated by U.S. Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Kyl (R-Ariz.), passed Sept. 26 by a vote of 76-22. It said the Revolutionary Guards was responsible for some of the insurgent attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq and urged the Bush administration to name the group as a terrorist entity, a designation that would severely restrict the Guards to function in world markets. Bush is believed to be considering such a designation; it would be the first time the label has been applied to a wing of the armed forces of a sovereign nation.

In order to gain an overwhelming majority, Lieberman agreed to remove two paragraphs from the amendment's original language that called for a U.S. policy to "combat, contain and roll back" the Guards inside Iraq and to "support the prudent and calibrated use of instruments of United States national power in Iraq" to do so. Democrats felt that language came too close to endorsing war, even in a non-binding amendment.

The change won the support of Clinton (D-N.Y.), a front-runner in the race for her party's presidential candidacy. Two other Democratic presidential candidates voted against it: Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was absent from the vote, but later said he would have voted against it.

Clinton came under fire at a Sept. 26 debate for her vote from other candidates, including former senators Mike Gravel of Alaska and John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).

"I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on a road to war with Iran," Edwards said, commending Biden and Dodd for their votes against the amendment


*****end of clip*****

So the original Clinton vote for war with Iraq was as well considered.


capt said...

The 22 most corrupt members of Congress

Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-LA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. Timothy F. Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL)
Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-NM)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

Dishonorable mentions

Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-ID)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)


capt said...

Banks reveal US mortgage losses

A number of big investment banks have admitted major losses caused by bad investments centred on the crisis-hit US sub-prime mortgage market.

Worst hit was Swiss bank UBS which was write down losses of 4bn Swiss francs ($3.4bn; £1.67bn) as a result.

The group said it would now planned to cut 1,500 jobs and make extensive management changes.

Later, US giant Citigroup revealed its sub-prime losses would total $1.3bn, as well as $2.6bn in extra credit costs.

The news comes a fortnight after UK lender Northern Rock was forced to approach the Bank of England for short-term finance to cover the costs of running its business.

The news prompted a run on the bank and led to 80% being wiped off the value of its shares since the beginning of September.


*****end of clip*****

Of course everybody pays. It would seem more sensible to query “Qui Bono?”


David B. Benson said...

cui bono

capt said...

Religious right may blackball Giuliani

Christian conservative leaders privately consider supporting a third-party, antiabortion candidate should Rudy Giuliani win the GOP nomination.

A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination.

The meeting of about 50 leaders, including Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who called in by phone, took place at the Grand America Hotel, during a gathering of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a powerful shadow group of mostly religious conservatives. James Clymer, the chairman of the United States Constitution Party, was also present at the meeting, according to a person familiar with the proceedings.

"The conclusion was that if there is a pro-abortion nominee they will consider working with a third party," said the person, who spoke to Salon on the condition of anonymity. The private meeting was not a part of the official CNP schedule, which is itself a closely held secret. "Dobson came in just for this meeting," the person said.


*****end of clip*****

A great day indeed. Nothing is more fun than to watch the Reich-wingnuttia eat their own.


Hajji said...


Congrats on your new position. I am confident that you will build MoJo's DC shop into a political news powerhouse.

I wish you many great days ahead!


capt said...

cui bono

Is correct - my bad.

It must be the New Mexican influences.


David B. Benson said...

Capt --- Wikipedia calls it Dog Latin. :-)

The only reason I know is that I had to go look it up.

I would had to look up cui bono as well...

Carey said...

David Corn as chief. This is going to be good. Very good.

Congratulations David C.!

I very much treasured your homage to The Nation. I too, feel very deeply about the journal and its history.

It's onward and upward for you Mr. Corn!

capt said...

"Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think, and this they consider freedom.": Oswald Spengler - (1880-1936) Source: The Decline of the West, 1926

"A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it." -- John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861

"...There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. ... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing." : Daniel Webster, June 1, 1837


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Court Rules Delay in Release of Presidential Papers is Illegal

Fails to Address Authority of Former Vice Presidents to Hold Up Disclosure of Papers
For more information contact:
Meredith Fuchs: 202/994-7000<

Washington DC, October 1, 2007
- A District Court in the District of Columbia has ruled that an Executive Order issued by President George W. Bush in 2001, which severely slowed or prevented the release of historic presidential papers is, in part, invalid. In a carefully constructed decision, the court held that the Archivist of the United States acts arbitrarily, capriciously, and contrary to law by relying on the Executive Order to delay release of the records of former presidents. The court did not reach the issue of whether it was permissible for President Bush to extend the authority over disclosure of presidential papers to a former president’s heirs or to former vice presidents.

The underlying lawsuit, which was filed in November 2001 by the National Security Archive and other plaintiffs, challenges President Bush's Executive Order 13,233 that gave former Presidents and their heirs (as well as former Vice-Presidents for the first time) indefinite authority to hold up release of White House records. In finding that the plaintiffs have standing to pursue the claim, the court specifically referenced the delays experienced by the National Security Archive for requests pending at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. As the Archive’s Director Thomas Blanton testified in Congress this past March, those delays have grown from 18 months in 2001 to “an estimate of 78 months (six and a half years!) [in 2007].”

Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs commented, “The court is enforcing procedural standards, but has avoided the hard questions about the role former presidents, former vice presidents, and their heirs can play when it comes to disclosure of presidential records.” She noted, “Unless the Executive Order is reversed or withdrawn, decisions about the release of records from this administration may ultimately be made by the Bush daughters.”

The decision comes at a time when a bill that would overturn Executive Order 13,233 is stalled in the U.S. Senate, reportedly due to a hold placed on the measure by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY). The bill, H.R. 1255, was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2007 by a vote of 333-93. The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it is passed in the Senate.


The Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA) emerged from the scandals of the Nixon presidency to require former presidents to release their records no later than 12 years after they leave office. Under the PRA, as amended, the U.S. government asserts complete "ownership, possession, and control" of all Presidential and Vice-Presidential records. Upon conclusion of the President's term in office, the National Archivist is required to assume custody of the records, and to make them available to the public when permissible under the PRA. Access to the records can be denied after the end of the 12-year embargo only if a former or incumbent president claims an exemption based on a "constitutionally based" executive privilege or continuing national security concern.

On February 8, 2001, shortly after President Bush came into office, he was notified of a scheduled release of Reagan presidential records (68,000 pages of records). His legal counsel requested two successive 90-day extensions of time to review the records prior to their release followed by a third request for an indefinite extension of time so that the White House could evaluate the legal framework and process that would govern release of the records. This was followed on November 1, 2001 with the issuance of Executive Order (E.O. 13,233) that gives the White House and former presidents uncontrolled discretion in deciding whether to deny the release of documents requested by journalists and scholars.


capt said...

Senate approves $150B in war funding

WASHINGTON - Thwarted in efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats on Monday helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 92-3 vote comes as the House planned to approve separate legislation Tuesday that requires President Bush to give Congress a plan for eventual troop withdrawals.

The developments underscored the difficulty facing Democrats in the Iraq debate: They lack the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home and are divided on whether to cut money for combat, despite a mandate by supporters to end the war.

Hoping the political landscape changes in coming months, Democratic leaders say they will renew their fight when Congress considers the money Bush wants in war funding.

While the Senate policy bill authorizes the money to be spent, it does not guarantee it; Bush will have to wait until Congress passes a separate appropriations bill before war funds are transferred to military coffers.

"I think that's where you're going to see the next dogfight," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of the upcoming war spending bill.

Democrats say their options include directing that the money be spent on bringing troops home instead of combat; setting a date when money for the war is cut off, and identifying a goal to end the war to try to pressure Bush to bring troops home.

Similar attempts have been made but fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate.

"Many of us have reached a breaking point on this," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "I've done this for too many years. I've waited for the president to start bringing this war to an end. I'm not going to sign up for this any longer."

In the House, Democrats are pushing for a bill that would require the administration to report to Congress in 60 days and every 90 days thereafter on the status of its redeployment plans in Iraq.

The bill, sponsored by Democrats John Tanner of Tennessee and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, was initially cast aside as too mild by Democratic leaders focused on tougher proposals ordering troops home this fall.

But after Democrats were unable to peel off Republican support, the Iraq debate stalled and some four dozen rank-and-file Democrats demanded a vote on the Abercrombie-Tanner bill.

"This will be the first time since the war in Iraq began that we are working together as a Congress instead of one party or another to be a constructive voice in the civilian management of operations in Iraq," Tanner said in a statement e-mailed to the Associated Press.

In February, Bush requested more than $140 billion for the war, and is expected to ask for another $42 billion to cover costs in the 2008 budget year, which began Monday. The Senate's defense policy bill authorizes Bush's initial request, plus an additional $23 billion for the purchase of bomb-resistent vehicles.

In addition to war money, the Senate's defense policy bill authorizes more than a half trillion dollars in annual military programs, including such big-ticket items as $10.1 billion for missile defense.

Republicans predict the bill is on track to be vetoed by President Bush because it includes hate-crimes legislation by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. The White House has said Kennedy's proposal, which would let federal law enforcement help states prosecute attacks on gays, is unnecessary.

The House passed its version of the defense authorization bill in May by a 397-27 vote. That $646 billion measure would trim hundreds of millions of dollars from some weapons modernization programs and use the money instead to aid troops in combat.

The House bill has drawn a veto threat from the White House because of provisions insisting the military rely heavily on American-made products and proposed changes to the Pentagon's personnel policies.


capt said...

Press Pass: Not Necessarily Reporting the News

Near the end of beowulf, there is a scene that may be the earliest description of war reporting in the English language. The eponymous hero lies dead on the battlefield with only faithful Wiglaf remaining at his side. This is bad news for the Geats: It spells the end of Beowulf's era of protection and means years of affliction at the hands of their enemies. Nevertheless, Wiglaf summons a rider and orders, in Seamus Heaney's brilliant translation, "the outcome of the fight to be reported" from a high cliff so all can hear. The messenger accepts the onerous task and earns the poet's praise, because "he told the truth / and did not balk, the rider who bore / news to the cliff-top. He addressed them all."

A terminal at New York's Kennedy Airport may seem like an odd place to be contemplating Beowulf, but as I sat watching the images flit across the frenzied television screen, high above my head, I couldn't help thinking of Wiglaf's weighty charge. It was June 2, 2007—a day long since forgotten in the churn of the never-ending news cycle, but at that moment the airwaves bristled with reports of the "jfk bombers," who had been caught red-handed while hatching their plan for a terrorist attack "worse than 9/11." The television showed long security lines snaking through the outer terminal, armed guards in riot gear manning the screening stations, and handlers with bomb-sniffing dogs probing every corner and alcove.

The problem was that none of what the TV showed was actually happening. The terminal was quiet, calm, overtaken by the usual lassitude of travel, but nothing more. In fact, it took longer to get a stromboli in the food court than it did to have my bags checked by tsa. Still, I pulled up the cnn website and found more of the same: a long line of passengers looking harried and worry worn. Below this picture, however, was a tiny credit line that read "File photo." These images of airport chaos were leftovers from some previous crisis—maybe from August 11, 2006, when a foiled bomb plot in the United Kingdom really did cause trouble at jfk, or just as likely from this past March, when the terminal was packed with passengers held hostage by nothing more sinister than an unexpected spring snowstorm.

Defenders of the media have long posited that showing stock footage and file photos is simply part of the language of modern journalism and that savvy viewers understand it as a subdialect of truth. If this isn't exactly what's really happening, the rationale goes, it is at least a rough approximation. There's no direct fakery, no outright lying, just a clever sleight of hand to make up for a lack of current footage. Unfortunately, the compromise of "good enough for now" has steadily shortened to "good enough, period"—and it has had a corrosive effect on the way all news is reported.

Consider, for example, the case of Sarah Chayes, npr's correspondent in Kandahar in late 2001. Early in her memoir The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban (released by The Penguin Press in paperback in June), Chayes explains that a "reporter's first imperative upon landing in a beat is to develop 'sources,'" and hers was "a small-time commander" with Gul Agha Shirzai's militia named Mahmed Anwar. He told Chayes about an astonishing battle that he had led for control of the Kandahar Airport, and, she explains bluntly in her book, "I relied on him for my account of it."

Her report aired on npr over ambient recordings of Afghan fighters gathering weapons and supplies from a captured stronghold, while Chayes solemnly intoned, "Anwar says he lost 55 men during the final assault on the Kandahar Airport, where many Al Qaeda fighters were dug in. He says they detonated a huge explosion just as his forces attacked, killing 250 of their own fighters, a suicide defense, says Anwar. The bodies were only collected for burial today."

Nearly five years later, Chayes was interviewed by Melissa Block on "All Things Considered" about the incident and admitted that there was one nagging problem: It didn't happen. As Chayes had written, "The vaunted ground battle at the airport never took place. It was part of the fiction Gul Agha was concocting—with tacit U.S. approval, I came to understand—to secure his future reputation." A fiction, Chayes neglects to adequately ponder, that she reported as fact. She didn't ask to see the bodies of the 250 dead Al Qaeda, didn't ask to see the blast hole from the explosion. Instead, she recounted one person's story, without an effort to corroborate or discredit his version of events. In so doing, she served the ends of an Afghan warlord and the American handlers hoping to prop him up with fake tales of bravery. Yet Chayes remembers wistfully that her source "pulled my leg with a charming shamelessness back then, recounting the events not as they had actually transpired, but as Shirzai and his American advisers wished people to think they had."

At least Chayes can claim to have been misled; no such justification can be offered in defense of Fox News, according to a stunning new book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (forthcoming from University of Chicago Press in November), by Iraq war photographer and reporter Ashley Gilbertson. Gilbertson describes how he and another reporter were nearly blown to pieces by an errant Air Force bomb in northern Iraq in the late days of the American invasion. They finally withdrew from the front because, as Gilbertson himself concedes, "The risk was too high, the payoff too low." And yet when he returned to his hotel in Erbil, he switched on the television and found Fox's correspondent "crouching in front of sandbags, wearing a flak jacket and a helmet. He was supposedly on the front lines, reporting via a scratchy video phone. He had to whisper, he said." But as Gilbertson studied the screen, he could discern, over the correspondent's shoulder and above the sandbags, the "distinctive architecture of our hotel." Fox's man in the field was reporting live from a foxhole he had built in his hotel room. The outraged Gilbertson dialed the correspondent's in-house phone and then hung up, allowing just enough time to send a single ring over the airwaves.

The incident with the Fox News correspondent might seem funny—like the Daily Show correspondents mugging in front of a green-screen projection of Baghdad—if it weren't so successfully outstripping the satire. "Television reporters rarely travel from their hotels," Gilbertson writes. "Often when a network cuts 'live to Iraq,' the reporting is from the network's permanent spot on a Baghdad hotel rooftop." There are exceptions, he is careful to note, "but on the whole, television crews are too busy doing 'live updates' to actually go out and report."

Thankfully, we have writers and photographers like Gilbertson, now working primarily on contract for the New York Times, who have not given up on the idea of real reporting. The photographs in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot convey a clear-eyed fidelity to the facts. They include pictures of corpses and bleeding soldiers, pictures of officers practicing golf swings and enjoying saunas, and pictures of incarcerated prisoners and brutal interrogations. The lurid and the ludicrous share equal space, often to dizzying effect. The text is refreshingly direct and self-deprecating—whether revealing Gilbertson's embarrassment at wetting his pants under fire or his agony and post-traumatic stress after being splattered by the brains of the man in front of him on a patrol. This is the kind of reporting we so desperately need: free of false bravura, free of agenda, free of inflated urgency. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot may lack the panoramic scope of George Packer's The Assassins' Gate or the impassioned critique of Thomas Ricks' Fiasco, but Gilbertson gives us something simpler, more essential, and, I think, more needed. He shows us personally and incontrovertibly what it has been like for him coming of age in Iraq during the last five years.

For this reason, the book belongs less with other histories of the war than on the same shelf with Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. This is not trumped-up news coming live from Iraq but the straight story with harrowing snapshots of the American soul. When future generations look back and wonder where we went wrong, where we failed ourselves and them, it will not be hours of television and radio broadcasts that they pore over. It will be a select few texts, and Gilbertson's book deserves to be one of them. He has accepted his charge and climbed the cliff-top. He has told the truth and does not balk.


capt said...

Obey: No Iraq supplemental until course change

President Bush will not get an Iraq war supplemental spending bill until he changes course on the war, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said Tuesday. The powerful lawmaker also voiced his support for a “war tax.”

“As chairman of the Appropriations Committee I have absolutely no intention of reporting out of committee anytime in this session of Congress any such request that simply serves to continue the status quo,” Obey told reporters.

He wants a war spending bill to end U.S. involvement in combat operations by January 2009, allow more rest time for troops between deployments and start a “diplomatic surge.”

Obey also came out in favor of Rep. James McGovern’s (D-Mass.) war tax proposal.

“If you don’t like the cost, then shut down the war,” Obey said in a news conference.

The tax would be intended to raise roughly $150 billion for the war. It would be a surtax of 2 to 15 percent of income tax. A 2 percent surtax means that a person who would otherwise pay $100 in taxes would pay $102.


*****end of clip*****

I hope the D’s stick to their collective guns. Maybe there is a spine or two in the caucus.


David B. Benson said...

Obey Obey.


capt said...

Bush's Hopeless Heirs

The conservative age in America is coming to an end. The president is in a seriously weakened position, and the Republican candidates vying to take his place in the White House all look like minnows in comparison.

If you want to hit an American conservative where it hurts, just mention the names of the three great Republican presidents: Abraham Lincoln, the president who held America together despite the Civil War; Dwight D. Eisenhower, the World War II general who, as president, defied communism; and Ronald Reagan, the man who supposedly defeated the Soviet empire.

The men running for the Republican nomination for the most important political office in the Western world seem like political minnows by comparison. It would be no exaggeration to say that none of these men can even measure up to the current president, George W. Bush.

Not even their personal lives conform to the values they preach. With only one exception, the candidates currently leading the Republican pack have all been married more than once. The frontrunner, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is on wife number three.

Giuliani, who seeks to market himself as being tough on terrorism, also has another problem: He has appeared in drag at a number of parties in the past, appearances that are naturally available for public viewing on the Internet. He campaigned in favor of abortion while running for New York mayor, because it was opportune in that race -- now he is seeking to reverse his stance on the issue.


capt said...

Goodbye George!


George W. Bush may be presiding over the White House for another 14 months, but judging by the mood among his friends, you would think it was the last 14 hours. Based on the official list of campaign donors published last Friday, it seems that Big Business has also turned its back on the Republicans. Sixty corporate CEOs who had previously donated primarily to the Bush campaigns -- including John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorporation and Terry Semel of Yahoo -- are now giving more money to the Democrats.

Indeed, it's already time for goodbyes at the White House. In recent weeks, some of the president's closest advisors have been so quick to have their names stricken from the government's personnel files that one might think some deadly disease had broken out in the Oval Office. It started four months ago when the speechwriter who invented the phrase "axis of evil" gave his notice. He was followed by the White House press secretary ("It's time for me to make money again"), the budget director, the director of strategic initiatives, and chief political advisor Karl Rove, a man Bush, in better days, referred to as the "boy genius." Two cabinet secretaries have also bid the president farewell -- followed last Wednesday by the secretary of agriculture.

Visibly Dissipating

It is all too apparent that the political energy is seeping out of the West Wing of the White House, which forms the heart of the US adminstration with the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room. Gone are the days when a buoyant president, when asked to name his favorite philosopher, cheerfully declared it was "Jesus," or when first lady Laura Bush would poke lighthearted fun at the neoconservative dream duo. "George's answer to any problem at the ranch is to cut it down with a chainsaw," she said at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2002, "which I think is why he and Cheney and Rumsfeld get along so well."


*****end of clip*****

It’s not over until it’s over. Seems the same risk as counting your chickens before they hatch.


capt said...

And speaking of counting chickens . . . .

Chicken Farmer: Howdy, there. Is this Chattanooga Charlie's Chicken Hatchery?

Hatcheryman: Sure is, and I'm Charlie. What can I do for ya?

Chicken Farmer: Well, I've been farming beets and spuds for the past 10 years and just haven't been making any money. I read that chicken prices are going up so I'm gonna start farming chickens instead. I need me 10 dozen chicks to get started.

Hatcheryman: Great, that'll be $100. Have your men load em up from right here.

Chicken Farmer: OK, men - load em up!

(A week later)

Hatcheryman: Well, what's that I see coming down the road? Hey, its that new Chicken Farmer's truck. It's only been a week since he was here, I wonder what he wants?

Chicken Farmer: Howdy, Charlie. I need another 10 dozen chicks.

Hatcheryman: Well, you got in the business at the right time. Prices keep going up. That'll be $120 this time.

Chicken Farmer: OK, load em up.

(Another week later)

Hatcheryman: Well, looky there! That Chicken Farmer's back. Now what?

Chicken Farmer: Howdy, Charlie. I need another 10 dozen chicks.

Hatcheryman: Man, you must have a pretty good size chicken farm going now. That's a lot of chicks.

Chicken Farmer: Well, I'm not too sure yet. I think I'm either planting them too deep or too close together 'cause they just aren't growing too fast.



David B. Benson said...


capt said...

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