Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Well, I'll Be Damned...

I'm sure this is all over the networks and internets, but in case someone missed it, we now know who Deep Throat was. He was - or is, as the gentlemen in question is still kickin' - former number two guy at the FBI W. Mark Felt. I read this at MSNBC this morning and figured it was legit, but former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and former reporter Carl Bernstein have confirmed it. Mr. Felt, who recently turned 91, made the revelation in a recent Vanity Fair interview, spurned on by his children.

Bernstein and his former partner Bob Woodward long said they'd never drop the dime on "Deep Throat" until the source died. Apparently, Mr. Felt was long considered a good guess for the mysterious informant, though he always denied it and, according to his children and grandchildren, always had questions about the rightness of what he did.

Me, I don't know. There's something distasteful about a squealer, admittedly, but at the same time, what the Nixon administration did was unconscionable. I really can't think of a more deserving candidate for a serious nut-crushing, politically speaking, than Nixon in his heyday, though the Bush malAdministration is heading that way. And, apparently, Felt might've done his cloak-and-dagger thing out of spite, as he was passed over as head of the FBI - which was on the outs with Dick's folks - for a Nixon insider. Still and all, as a former journalist and as someone long fascinated with the game of American politics, this is an interesting revelation.

And it brings to mind something else. I've recently been reading Warren Ellis' top-notch comic series Transmetropolitan, and while I find it enjoyable - though a bit too crass just for the sake of being crass (much like Preacher or The Authority) - something recently struck me about what I read. The former president outlaw journalist Spider Jerusalem - based not so much on the late Hunter S. Thompson and more on the ideal of a drug-gobblin', truth-spreading, ass-kickin' Doctor Gonzo - faces is called "The Beast". He's a bastard and more than willing to bend the law to achieve his results. However, he does feel he's trying to help people, in his own twisted way, by giving them what people (he feels) truly want: each day is much like the one that follows. There's probably some truth to that.

However, somewhere along the line - I forget exactly which issue and I'm too lazy to look it up - "The Beast" loses his re-election campaign to a man Spider calls "The Smiler". The Smiler believes in nothing. He just wants to be president so he can screw with people and all he cares about is staying power, and he's much more vicious in dealing with his "enemies". I hate to read too much into it, but I can't help but feel that's awfully familiar to the guy we've got running the White House these days. If nothing else, the complete lack of any sort of acknowledgement from the Bush malAdministration of the complete lack of WMD's in Iraq or ties to al Qaeda - and the insistence on "reforming" Social Security despite most of the populace being dead set against the idea - makes me wonder if our "Smiler" really cares one way or another.

I really can't abide apathy, especially not in a president.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Personally, I'm Looking Forward To The Day My Libido Is No Longer A Concern

I'm a news junkie. And while it might not be apparent given the rather sporadic updating of this here blog, I spend most of my free time on the internets, wandering around the dark corridors looking for something to tickle my funny bone. About half the time, it's something in the news. I have to admit, one of the few things that keeps me on this planet is the myriad of dumbass things human beings do.

Now, last week, we all heard how almost two hundred prisoners in New York state - including rapists and child molesters - had received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra while serving time. This is over a five-year span, and some of the charmers included folks who’d committed crimes against two-year-olds. Now, see, that's just funny to me, that the governmental beast is so far out of whack that kiddie-diddling cons can get stay-hard pills while at the same time, Medicaid's being bled dry and almost 44 million people in this country have inadequate access to health care and insurance. Well, ya gotta laugh, don't ya?

On a related note, a couple of doctors up in New York City got busted for giving Viagra to mobsters - as in "We'll make him an offer he can't refuse" guys - for construction and auto repair work by these "legitimate businessmen". They're gettin' coming and going, it seems.

Now, the really funny part. The same boondoggle has apparently happened in Florida, Ohio and now Georgia, where Gov. Sonny Perdue just announced he's nailing down a plan to radically overhaul the state's Medicaid program but didn't bother to tell any doctors, patients advocate or key legislators. Apparently, these instances of inmates popping the little blue pills of manliness is rather common across the country, so much so that state governments are hurriedly making sure they don’t look as dumb as New York, Ohio, Georgia and Florida (which would be quite a feat.)

Luckily, the Bush Administration is on the job, and that just fills me with confidence. As always, it's nice to know our elected representatives are on the ball and spending our tax dollars wisely, isn't it. It's also nice to know that middle-aged assholes who can't deal with the passing of time - and the flagging of boners - in a mature way can get a little pick-me-up, but right-wing busybodies can kill access to a "morning-after" pill because it "encourages people to have sex". I have no idea what they think Viagra - which, as we've seen, is covered by Medicaid and extremely accessible - encourages. Nor do I have any idea why Medicaid covers Viagra or, for that matter, why in the bloody blue hell inmates, much less convicted sex offenders, would have any reason for the drug.

Nice to know the folks who're supposed to be looking out for us are on the job, ain't it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Maybe It's Not The Big Guy's Good Side

Well, I guess I'll have to renounce my secular humanism, my love of science and my need to see credible proof before accepting any theory. No longer do we need to spend nights agonizing about man's place in the cosmos, the underlying meaning of it all and, especially, the existence of God. The latter particularly because, well, here's his picture. Or it's the Sun peaking out behind the clouds, if you must be skeptical.

Well, anyway, it's a nice picture. Dunno if I'd pay 50 bucks for it, though.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Personally, I Wouldn't Put So Much Emphasis On A Word The President Can't Pronounce Properly...

The always two-gunnin' Grand Moff Texan has a rather nifty entry over at Daily Kos concerning some of the rather distressing repeat judicial nominees Bush keeps trying to shoehorn in, resulting in this whole filibuster brouhaha. It's pretty damn thorough and there's not much I can add to it, though I must, it's rather disconcerting to see just how unabashedly pro-corporate and anti-individual rights some of these folks are, considering how hard the party that's supposed to be for smaller government is pushing for them. It's also a little tedious that the whole thing is being wrapped up in questions of religion and "holding true to the Constitution", when the whole affair has absolutely nothing to do with either.

But, of course, that's American politics in a nutshell. Hey, look! Newsweek may have reported something that might not have been 100% accurate, even though it came from a governmental official and, of course, no one in the media will think of outing an anonymous source that burns them! It ain't a runaway bride or a missing white girl or a celebrity on trial, but it'll do for the time being, I reckon.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Declare Those Pennies On Your Eyes...

This is interesting. What it is, basically, is a breakdown of how the average tax dollar from Athens, GA, from the 2004 year was spent. The average household in Athens paid $3,512 in federal income taxes in 2004. Of that, $1,052 was spent on military and defense, compared to (for example) $121 in veteran’s benefits, $129 on education, and $14 on job training. Rather telling, I think.

The PDF document also gives a few interesting facts on how tax money is spent as a whole. For example, despite the hullabaloo about the Bush malAdministration "protecting us from terrorism", only three percent of money spent on security and just five percent on the much-vaunted Homeland Security. Interest payments on the national debt consume almost 19 cents of every tax dollar, and again despite much yowling from the Bush folk, only half a penny per dollar is spent on energy conservation. You might think we'd be pumping more money into that, since we're all interested in divesting ourselves from "foreign oil", but well... you'd be wrong.

The above link comes from here, the National Priorities Project. It's a pretty neat site all around, as it not only tells you how your tax money is spent by our elected representatives, but ways said money might be spent better. For example, that $224 billion in tax cuts that's making folks wet themselves could be channeled into health care. It would, in fact, provide over 51 million people via different state and local programs. Now, apparently, there's something in the neighborhood of 44 million Americans who go without health insurance. Ain't that an interesting thought.

Maybe it's just me, but I sometimes wonder just exactly what we're paying our elected representatives for. Oh, yeah...cheerleaders dirty dancing. I forgot.