Tuesday, September 28, 2004

And His Band's Good, Too...

Just so's y'all know I ain't the only nutball in Athens, do take a gander at my good buddy Chris McKay's feelings on the current election. Now, Chris is as self-admitted non-wonk when it comes to politics, but I gotta admit, he sums up the feeling of "Anybody But Bush" as good as any talking head or 24-hour-a-day blogger I've read. Scroll down his weekly Diary to Monday, Sept. 20, where my boy just flat-out goes off. It's good stuff.

And when you're done, peruse the rest of Chris' site for more words of wisdom, his excellent photography and his kick-ass pop-rock tunes. Chris fronts a band called The Critical Darlings, and though you wouldn't know it from his words, they're pretty rockin'. I've said they remind me of Graham Parker fronting Cheap Trick, and he likes that, so we'll run with it.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Rock & Roll Still Has Something To Say...

For the first time in a long while, I'm hung over as hell today. The reason is I went to see my buddy Will Hoge do his rock & roll thing at Tasty World last night. Will's a rock & roller from Nashville and he's awesome. Good, poppy songs with killer melodies and monster hooks from a helluva good-lucking guy with truckloads of charisma. Plus, he's one of the sweetest cats I've ever met and has a helluva set of pipes on him. Go see him if he's in your neighborhood.

However, first go to his website and buy his new album The America EP. For one, Will's recently gotten out from under Atlantic Records' corporate thumb, so you'll be supporting an artist who's more interested in making good music than being a star. Also, Will's taken a detour from his usual tunes about girls and rock & roll to make a few observations about the state of things in this country.

And he's not happy. From the soldier's story in "Bible Vs. Gun" - torn between his duty and the horror he's seeing - to the killer Springsteen-eque workin' man blues "The Other Side", this five-song disc is well worth the bucks. However, the best song on the record is "Mr. President (Anyone But You)", where Will in the voice of a working slob just trying to get by takes some pointed shots at our Boy Emperor. There's also a really nice cover of Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'", which seems to always relevant, unfortunately.

The best part of it, thanks to Will's killer vocals and his band's crackerjack performances, this spoonful of medicine goes down very smoothly. A lot of politically minded music tends to turn people off because, as my brother so wisely said once, "No one likes being preached to." That’s another mark in his favor: Will’s not preaching to anyone. Like Springsteen did with Nebraska or The River, will's just telling stories, and because of the climate we're living in today, the stories aren't particularly pleasant. They're real stories, though, just as real as the people who continue to break their necks day in and day out just to survive while the rich get richer and those in power could give less of a shit.

I'm interested in seeing how this plays out. Will generally has a younger crowd, college kids who aren’t necessarily Greeks but they sure isn’t the freaks and weirdoes I generally deal with in my day-to-day doings. Just kids trying to carve out their own path in the world and have a little fun in the process. Hopefully, some of this will sink through, because it'll be those kids who'll have to take the brunt of Bush's mad foreign policy if he gets the Big Chair again.

In any event, go buy it. Go see Will. Tell him Matt said howdy

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ahhh, My Old Mississippi Home...

As proof that some of the most insane yay-hoos in America come from the Magnolia State - as I do - I offer this piece from The Clarion-Ledger. As a part of the Mississippi State Fair, the state-based Nationalist Movement is hosting a booth to serve as a rallying point for supporters of Edgar Ray Killen.

The 79-year-old Mr. Killen, as some of y'all might know, is a suspect in the 1964 slayings of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. The infamous Philadelphia Killings, in other words. Killen was acquitted in 1967 by a vote of 11-1. Though he's still under investigation and calls the charges a lie, Killen - a preacher, mind you - says he figures whoever did do the killings was acting in self-defense. It should be noted the three men were shot and then later buried beneath an earthen dam.

Anyhow, the Nationalist Movement - which suggests selective breeding of humans to cleanse the American gene pool and says the Challenger and Columbia shuttles blew up because blacks and women were part of the crews. This lovely bunch is sponsoring a meet-and-greet with the former Klan leader, where supporters can sign a three-foot-tall card reading "Edgar Ray Killen Unreconstructed". The card features the three Civil Rights workers with a big "No" symbol for each, and identifies them as "communists who invaded Mississippi".

Well...nice to see free speech is alive and well in my home state. It's almost enough to get me to make a trip home, ya know, just to have a few words with Mr. Killen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Safe From Who?

As usual, Leonard Pitts of The Miami Herald makes scary sense. The current meme that The Boy Emperor and his Big Iraqi Adventure is keeping us "safe from terror" is not only a bit naive but incredibly foolish. No, there haven't been any "major" attacks on the U.S. since 9/11 - lots around the world, but they aren't Americans, so we really don't care - but that don't mean much. The people we're fighting - or, rather, who're fighting us; we're busy fighting people who had nothing to do with 9/11 - are more than content to sit and wait it out. I hate to paint anyone with such a huge brush, but these are people who know how to hold a grudge, and whatever bug's up their collective nose, I imagine they think is sufficient to put a little time and effort into things. Like Pitts points out, the whole issue of terrorism and "keeping us safe from it" is a bit more complicated than most people think.

And on that note, The Nation's David Cole points out in this Alternet piece that despite over 5,000 arrests and Elvis alone knows how many detainees, the Ashcroft Justice Department has so far failed to get a single, solitary conviction since 9/11. However, Tommy Chong, Martha Stewart and some New Orleans streetwalkers are off the streets, and I know we all feel safer for that.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

There Is No Pain You Are Receiving...

rorschach turned me onto this. He said blog it, so I am. It needs to be read.

It's a piece from Bob Harris via Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World site. It's called "Our Savage Numbness". Heavy duty stuff.

And he's right, we are numb. I was having a conversation the other day with a cat who defended the death of Iraqi civilians because - and I quote - "the bad guys were on the run". Seriously. And I know he's not alone in that thinking, especially in this country. As long as it's a war, "they" are the enemy and it doesn't matter how many of "them" are killed as long as "our" goal is reached. Which, I guess, has been man's attitude since time immemorial.

My brother and I were engaged in philosophical discussion this evening on a roller-coaster ride of topics, as we are wont to do on occasion. The subject matter drifted from public image and how far one will go to maintain said image to the very possible chance that music in Ancient Egypt all sounded like John Prine because we simply have no way of knowing for sure. It's a lot of fun, really, because we agree just enough to stroke each other's egos and strengthen each other's points, but we disagree just enough to keep the conversation lively and force ourselves to sharpen our own logic.

Anyhow, my brother firmly believes that we're about due for one of the Big Dyings, like when the dinosaurs were wiped out. He says as soon as The Powers That Be figured out to have a nuclear war that won't cost them money, there'll be a full-gollywhopper of one. More likely, he continued, there'll just a series of smaller nuclear tussles. We'll either adapt, or like the heartbreaking tale of the kakapo, it'll simply be just too much for us. That's it, he says, for the human race. And in all that time, we really haven't changed much. The only thing that's really evolved is our art; everything else is the same. Our government, for example, has always been, will always be and currently is that them that got tell them that don't how things are and, generally, the bigger a bastard you are, the more likely you'll be among them that got.

Me, I take a slightly different view. It's true, I think, that the "them that got/biggest bastard" theory holds, but I think we have adapted some. In every dead society, there's always been one guy who's head desperately needs chopping off. Each time, though, the people as a whole get less and less inclined to spit on their hands, hoist the black flag and start, as Henry Louis said, slitting some throats. We get complacent or we're told, "Hey, you're actually free, now". At the same time, we're kept at a basic level of development that were we ever to get true freedom - whatever the hell that is - we'd probably wipe ourselves through ignorance, greed, fear, hatred and sheer bloody mindedness by lunchtime.

In the post below, an anonymous comment left a link to an interview radio host Alex Jones did of former Dole Chief of Staff Stanley Jones, who's bringing a lawsuit against the U.S. government over 9/11. More information here if you're curious. I don't know how much of it I swallow, really. Like I said, call me naive, but it's still hard for me to believe my government would kill 3000 of our own citizens to further political goals. I may be naive, but if it is true, I gotta admit... I wouldn't be too surprised.

Which brings me back to the original point of Bob's story I linked above. If it's not Americans, we don't care. And if it's done by Americans and it's horrible, we pretend it didn't happen. Unless, of course, it was done by our ideological opposites - or at least a group with the merest hint of similarity with our ideological opposites - that way we can make political hay out of it or, even better, money. A kid I work with was asking me, during a discussion on fascism, how could modern Germans live with the shame of Nazism. It was a purely rhetorical question, of course, but I immediately answered her, "The same way we live with the shame of slavery or what we did to the American Indians or our involvement in other countries' governments to further business goals. We pretend it didn't happen or we pretend it wasn't a big deal. Either way, we ignore it and I'd be amazed if most modern Germans or Japanese or anyone whose did horrible shit years ago didn't do the same thing."

Which isn't to say we're bad. We're just human beings, and I'm not even saying human beings are bad. Or good, for that matter. Both in bunches and as singles, human beings can exhibit enormous kindness and gut-churning brutality, sometimes with barely a breath in between. But when we've lost the ability to feel sympathy for some caught in the middle of a really poorly planned war, when the death of an innocent no matter his/her nationality or skin color no longer outrages, have we lost what it is that makes us, well... human?

I'm not so sure one way or another that we - as a nation or, really, as a species - have lost that spark and become so savagely numb. Hell, I sometimes think it's highly unlikely we had it in the first place.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Osama Definitely bin Forgotten

Say, y'all remember how often 9/11 came up during Bush's speech? I don't remember the exact number, but it was quite a lot. Oddly enough, however, the name of the cat that the U.S. government's told us was involved in the horror of that bright, cool morning three years ago, one Osama bin Laden, didn‘t come up once. Funny that. And, remember some reporter at one of Bush's rare press conference - specifically, March 2002 - why he wasn't gunning as hard for Osama as he was for Hussein, and the Boy Emperor said - and I quote - "I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him... I truly am not that concerned about him." And let's not forget, Bush fought the creation of an independent 9/11 commission for almost four months until widows of WTC victims shamed him into. And, hell, he tried like hell to keep the commission from getting an extension, and his "testimony" to the group - one hour, with Dick Cheney and off-the-record - was a joke.

Which is another thing. If Bush is the “honest man” and a “straight shooter” his supporters claim, why didn’t he go on-the-record with the commission? I mean, seriously. His whole hook is that he's a "good man", right? All the good men I've known - good women, too, of course; just good folks in general - have never needed to keep what they've said and done a secret. Me, I'd think a "straight shooter" would go on-the-record... unless, of course, he had something to hide.

Anyhow, I digress. I was talking about Osama bin Laden and how he's forgotten. Now, I've never been among them who thought the Bush people (governmental and otherwise) knew what would happen and let it happen, or that they were the instigators of the attacks. Frankly, the only reason I feel so generous is that it sickens my heart to think my government would allow 3,000 innocent civilians to die for political reasons. Kill other people for political reasons, yes, but I guess I'm still in a bit of my youthful idealism to think that the people entrusted with the ship of state wouldn't do it. I fully admit I might be, in the words of Screamin' Jay Hawkins (okay, and Tom Waits), whistlin' past the graveyard.

I have, however, long been of many questions concerning that fateful Tuesday morning in September. I won't go into all the details and questions here and now, but the one thing that's always bothered me about the government's reaction to 9/11 is that no one outside of Richard Clarke has ever - ever - said, "Ya know what? Somewhere along the line, we made a mistake. Sorry about that."

Oh, sure, plenty of blame's been tossed around. Clinton's a popular target for wingnuts for everything from the "downfall of morals" to the “heartbreak of psoriasis“, so he gets his lumps. Some folks go back as far as Reagan and even Carter, and while I'm sure there's valid thoughts in all that, it's always a case of "they screwed the pooch, not us". In the college football atmosphere of modern politics, it’s more important that the other side is to blame that a serious flaw in our security allowed a group of raving maniacs to kill 3,000 people, apparently.

Fact is, our government, when you get right down to it, has one job and one job only: protect us for folks who'd want to hurt us. Be it an unscrupulous corporations or frothing dingbats with delusions of a new Caliphate, the government’s supposed to keep folks from mucking up our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On Sept. 11, 2001, the government failed us and we've not gotten so much as a sympathy card out of the deal.

And the thing is, I wonder if the Bush people even care. According to this New York Times story, I don't think they do. In essence, it says the CIA unit tasked with hunting down Osama bin Laden - you know, the man responsible for 9/11 - is horrifically under funded and understaffed. The lede is the money quote:

"Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency has fewer experienced case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden than it did at the time of the attacks, despite repeated pleas from the unit's leaders for reinforcements, a senior C.I.A. officer with extensive counterterrorism experience has told Congress."

Tell me, dear hearts, does it make sense to you? We're sinking something like $200 million a day into Iraq - which we know without a doubt had neither WMDs or any ties to 9/11 - but we can't fund the cats and kittens who're supposed to be looking for the guy who not only actually gave us the suckerpunch but still heads up an organization that actually is a threat to us. What's more, in this Washington Post story, Bush's budgetary plans for 2006 call for massive cuts in domestic projects, including education (from the No Child Left Behind guy, now) and Homeland Security. That's right, the group that we spent so much money setting up to decrease our vulnerability to terrorist attacks... is getting it's budget slashed after the guy who's running on his toughness on terrorists gets re-"elected". Of course, money to the Department of Defense will still flow freely, like a brook through a meadow, so we can continue to go on the offense in other countries.

Now, this is what I don't get. Bush fought tooth-and-nail any investigation into the hows and whys of 9/11, is under funding the people trying to find bin Laden, ignored intelligence on the build-up to Iraq, used forged intelligence to make his case for war, went into Iraq with no exit strategy, left Afghanistan to the whims of the warlords and revitalized Taliban, and finally, he plans on cutting funding for the very domestic programs he says are his triumphs. What I don't understand is how anyone with two brain cells to rub together would even imagine considering the idea of even thinking about perhaps casting a vote for him come November 2.

Oh. Right. He's a "good Christian man" who "loves Jesus" and "family values". Forgot about that.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Update...

Say, kids...remember that Alabama woman who got canned for not removing the Kerry/Edwards sticker from her car? Well, apparently she's got a new gig. According to Timothy Noah's "Chatterbox" column in Slate, she's got an as-yet undefined job in the Kerry campaign. Apparently, John Kerry himself called Ms. Gobbells and offered her the gig. Now that's class, beloved.

Props to the A-Man for the heads up.
Well, Now He Tells Us...

According to a story in Reuters, Sec. of State Colin Powell said Monday that it's highly unlikely that any WMD's of any size or amount will be found in Iraq. This comes on the heels of the upcoming report by the CIA-named leader of the hunt for such nasties in Iraq, Charles Duelfer. It should be noted that Duelfer's predecessor, David Kay, said pretty much the same thing. Still, according to the president, we "did the right thing" by invading, because we toppled a nasty man who was killing innocent Iraqis. And, oddly enough, we did it in a way that's killed tens of thousands of very similar innocent Iraqis, as well as over a thousand U.S. soldiers.

Funny, isn't it. When Saddam kills "innocent Iraqis", it's just cause for invasion. When we do it, it's "collateral damage". Figure that out.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Man, I Need To Get Me Some Of That Sweet Ole Miss Weed

According to the Observer, the Bush malAdministration is gearing up to take a strong stance against the biggest danger facing today's youth: marijuana. That's right, it's not the economy or the education system being in tatters that is a threat to kids, nor is a looming war that'll kill even more kids in some old bastards fool war. No, it's pot. The stuff that, at it's worst will make you watch waaay too many cartoons if you smoke it. Funnily enough, they're diverting funds from fighting kids' access to stuff that can actually kill your ass like heroin or cocaine or, hell, even tobacco and alcohol. I guess Todd Snider - who's newest record, East Nashville Skyline is awesome, and you should buy it right now - was right: "It's not which drugs you're strung out on that matters so much as who's."

Now, granted, Kerry's been something of a drug war hawk in the past, but this is foolishness. However, it isn't unexpected. Check out the take on Drug Czar John P. Walters from Cursor's Media Transparency. The money quote:

"Walters also was president of the New Citizenship Project, which (according to the New York Times) "promoted the role of religion in public life," and was co-author with John J. DiIulio and Bennett of the hysterical and wildly inaccurate 1996 book titled Body Count, which predicted a wave of young "superpredators" would soon terrorize the nation, and was used to spur a new wave of juvenile incarceration.

This appointment looks to be another blow to civil liberties, as another New York Times report says that "Walters has stressed the importance of criminal penalties for drug users" and that the new effort will focus (to a greater degree than in the past) on the demand side of drug use."

Now, don't get me wrong, beloved. I don't think young'uns should be smoking pot, just like I don't think they should be drinking booze or smoking cigs. Difference is, more people die from the effects of smoking every month than, umm, ever from marijuana use. And as for drinkin' and society? Well, you ask any cop who they'd rather pull over, someone who's drunk or someone who's stoned. You ever notice you never seen two stoned assholes get into a fight? You wanna know why? It's impossible to generate the energy to punch out some guy because he says the Phillies suck.

Get those same two guys shit-faced, however, and watch the fun begin!
Ahhh, Alabama; Truely, The Heart Of Dixie

In other charming news, A Moulton, AL - which is near Decatur, if you're curious - woman got canned from her job because - and this just kills me - because she refused to remove a sticker supporting Kerry/Edwards from her car. Seriously. Apparently her boss - who refused to be interviewed for the story - told her to take the sticker off her car. The lady, Lynne Gobbell, naturally assuming her employer could not tell her to vote for, said so and refused. The boss - a bankruptcy lawyer named Phil Gaddis who runs a cellulose insulation company where the lady worked - told her, and I quote, "I own this place". Well, that's as maybe, but Gobbell still insisted she had the right to vote for whom she chose, silly woman. He told her to "get out of here", and in short, she got fired.

Well, thank goodness Gaddis isn't one of them nasty trial lawyers, or this would have been a big deal. Oh, and for the record, Gaddis apparently had no problem stumping for Bush, including flyers in employees' paychecks. Welcome to Bush's America, dear hearts, where people are not only sufficiently stupid, they're borderline fascist.

Love supreme to kent for the heads up. I hope Ms. Gobbell sues that jackass for every penny he has.
So The War's Over And The Economy's Running Smoothly, Then?

According to the Washington Post, the Republicans in the U.S. Senate are trying to resurrect the anti-flag burning amendment. It's already passed the House, and the GOP leaders of the Senate are trying to push it to a vote (even though they apparently got time to let the Assault Weapons Ban lapse).

This nothing more than a cynical attempt to provide another wedge issue into the election, since the anti-gay marriage hate amendment fell through. Here's the money quote from the Washington Post:

If Kerry and Edwards vote against the amendment or fail to show up for the vote, "they're going to have to explain why," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a key backer of the proposal.

Right now, it's figured there's 64 of the 67 votes that would need to pass it onto the next stage (ratification by two-thirds of the states). In the past, both Kerry and Edwards have voted against this clear infringement on the First Amendment right to free speech, and insiders figure that unless it's a close vote, they won't show (as been their habit during the campaign).

So, yeah...glad everything else is so hunky-dory in the world that our elected representatives can waste time with this nonsense. Much love to Atrios for the heads up. And don't forget to read further down the article for some more proof of how much the GOP loves the troops and America. Apparently, two Democratic members of the House are trying to set up some sort of memorial to the over 1,000 dead soldiers in Iraq, but it seems House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) wants to wait until Nov. 11, so it can be a memorial event for Veterans Day. Yeah, that's nine days after the election. Wouldn't want to distract anyone with meaningless and wasteful governmental action, now, would we?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Another heads up from one of my buds...

Here's a neat little piece of dark gonzo poetry from Michael Manville. It's a bunch of reasons why Bush and his cronies should be bounced out of office come November 2. Eight reasons, to be precise, and eight very good reasons. It probably won't convert any of the True Believers or the Defenders From Islamofacism - it's a toss-up between who's nuttier, mind you - but hey, them folks is a lost cause anyhow.

Like I've said over and over, the re-election campaign of a sitting president is always, always, something of a report card on how well the first term went. What with Bush running on what he promises to do for America rather than what he's done to America, I think we can all agree that, even being charitable as hell and grading on a curve, the Bush malAdministration doesn't quite make the grade.

Anyhow, read it and dig it.

Friday, September 03, 2004

A Quick One...

Do check this out, beloved. It's a piece about how the concept of "framing the issues" has come to define the modern American political process. It also gets a pretty good handle on how the GOP has managed to buffalo a whooole lot of folks into voting against their own self-interests through the judicious use of a few well-chosen, smartly worded piles of horse feathers.

Quick example. Polls say Americans are against gay marriage, but they're also against discrimination against homosexuals. Loggerheads, right? Not really. For most people "marriage" equals "sex" - poor bastards - therefore, to be pro-gay marriage implies one is for gay sex. And, apparently, people don't want to seen as "for gay sex", though I can't imagine why. I, for one, hope gay folks get to have as much sex as straight folks.

In any event, check it out. It's pretty neat. Much love and squirrels to my buddy Jenny for point this out to your humble scribe.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Thirty Pieces Of Silver Or A Book Deal, What's The Difference?

As odd as it may sound coming from a political junkie like myself, I haven't watched any of the Republican National Convention. There are a couple reasons for this. One, I don't have cable. Neither my brother nor I watch much television, so we figure it's a waste of money. Two, I don't really like conventions that much. To me, they come off as little more than big rah-rah fests with very little substance. For the record, I didn't watch the Democratic National Convention either for the same reasons, but the final reason I boycott Republican speeches in general is I don't really care to watch a bunch of rich white yay-hoos tell me everything I believe in and every ideal I fight for is "evil" and "un-American" and such nonsense.

So I've missed Arnold's "economic girly men" nonsense - yeah, unemployed factory workers and steelworkers are gonna love being called "pussies" for not liking the state of the economy - and the Bush daughters blithering idiocy. From what I can gather, the vast majority of the RNC isn't a big celebration of all the great things Bush has done in office - okay, show of hands, who's shocked? - but more a big bash on Kerry fest. And, from what I can tell, even the most Republican of pundits - not lulu's like Ann Coulter, mind you, but reasonable guys like Tucker Carlson - are trying desperately to put a positive spin on the goings on...and failing miserably.

Frankly, at this point in the game, I think most people are set in who they're gonna vote for or, for some, who're they're gonna vote against. The all-powerful "swing voter", I believe - and I'm no expert at such things, mind you - won't be as big a deal as in past election. I think most people are either such slavish Bush idolaters or can't wait to get the nitwit and his mendacious cronies out of office - plus the usual assortment of straight-party cats - that you could have the election today, and the result wouldn't be that different from November.

Still, the conventions are part of the political season and a big deal, and this year's Republican Convention is especially interesting thanks to the inclusion of one of the senators from Georgia, Zell Miller. As you all should know, Zell's spent every second since 9/11 singing hosannas about Bush and spitting on the Democratic Party. It's all cumulated tonight, with what was apparently an unhinged speech at the Convention and pathetic showings on CNN and MSNBC's "Hardball" program.

A lot of folks have wonder just why Zell has gone over to the Republican Party. They've also wonder why he's officially stayed a member of the Democratic Party. His voting record is straight Republican, even on stuff like the recent sweeping changes in federal rules deciding overtime pay or a recent decision, backed by Miller and Republican Senator of Georgia Saxby Chambliss to allow big chicken factories like Tyson to emit more pollution with less regulation or fine damage. So, yeah...Zell's really a friend of the poor workin' man, just like he claims in all his homespun, "aw shucks" homilies about growing up in North Georgia. By his deeds we shall know him.

Some say he's merely a traitor. Some say he's going loco or suffering from Alzheimer's. Some even say he's bucking for a sweet ambassador's gig with a re-elected Bush regime or, given a Bush loss, a punditry job with Fox. Maybe he can be the Andy Griffith universe of gutless wonder Alan Colmes. But I think I got it figured out.

Here's the thing with Zell. Whether he really, truly feels what he's saying is legit or not is irrelevant. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. Frankly, the man's been involved with Southern politics so long, he'd come out for skinning yankees alive if it won him votes in Americus.

So here's a guy used to being the biggest catfish in the pond - former governor and lt. governor - but in Washington, he's just another senator. Now, were he to go far liberal, well, the good folks here in Georgia would hang him by his toes. So, seeing the massive, fear-driven support of Bush The Lesser in the past two years - fueled by a bought and paid-for mainstream media - Zell decides to go the other way. He's voted for Republican interests without fail every time it comes up, and despite his good ol' boy persona, against the very interests of the people he's supposedly representing. Remember, he's ga-ga for Bush's Big Iraqi Adventure, and to paraphrase Steve Earle, it's white trash - along with minorities and urban poor - who get drafted first 'round here.

Now, if he changes to a Republican - which he should do, as it would help the party out tremendously - he'd still just be another senator in Washington. Ahhh, but stay a Democrat, and brother, you got something interesting there. Remember, dear hearts...Zell's trying to sell a book. If he swapped parties, the media's interest would last about three days, if that. But stay on the Donkey, ahhhh...now, that's a story.

So it isn't that he's gone crazy or has Alzheimer's disease, or even that he's a traitor to the Democratic Party. It's never been about the party or, for that matter, Georgia or the United States. He doesn't give a shit about the crackers that vote for him, believe you me. It's all about Zell. His political career is over, so all he's got is punditry, and as I said, who the fuck cares to hear from yet another right-wing Republican crank who's got nothing to say but hate for Democrats and liberals? But a right-wing Democrat crank who's got nothing to say but hate for Democrats and liberals, well...there's money to be made and books to be sold.

Call it the modern equivalent to thirty pieces of silver and remember what Dante said happened to those who betray their kip and kin.