Labor Day weekend: mixed load

September 02, 2006 by barbara

More voting shenanigans

Crooks and Liars ran a piece on the special election in California's 50th district congressional race which pitted Democrat Francine Busby against the GOP's Brian Bilbray. With plenty of reason, Busby requested a recount. But Dennis Hastert ignored that, and swore in Bilbray on June 13 (one week after the election).

In this week's court decision that curdles cream and blood, assuming one has a bias toward justice, the judge ruled that the Hastert swearing-in trumps all else. Never mind that 12,500 votes had not yet been counted or that the San Diego Registrar did not certify the election until 17 days after the swearing-in.

Do read the C&L piece. Someone left this comment after their article: "I think people should start refusing to pay taxes until they are given a paper receipt by the government showing their vote was counted. No proof of accurate vote count, no taxes." Indeed.

Anyone seen my Great Expectations comic book?

This morning, Maureen Dowd wrote about Bush's summer reading competition with Karl Rove. Dowd reports that while he was campaigning in 2000, Bush told her that he didn't identify with any literary hero and that baseball was his favorite "cultural experience." (sigh) She said Bush told Brit Hume in 2003 that he rarely reads newspaper articles, preferring to get his information through aides. And something there is in me that believes that may bring us closer to the truth in 2006. Call me cynical, but I'm guessing someone is doing Bush Notes, sure as shootin'.

Calling Bush relentlessly black-and-white (I love that!), Dowd goes on to quote a professor who looks at Bush's choice of Macbeth among his summer reads. "Bush critics might see irony in W's reading a play about a leader who makes a catastrophic decision to overturn a regime that ultimately brings his country and himself to ruin. But the president may be reading it differently, seeing shades of Saddam Hussein in Macbeth, a homicidal tyrant who gets his bloody comeuppance." Nuance is not Bush's strong suit, so I am guessing either scenario is wide of the mark.

I have a couple of suggestions for September reads for the White House's current occupant. They might enhance his understanding of irony and prescience.

(1) Franz Kafka's The Trial. Joseph K. wakes up one fine morning and finds himself crosswise of the law, having done nothing wrong and having absolutely no idea what the charges are against him. Spark Notes melts it down to a Bush-sized bite."The Trial is the chronicle of that intervening year of Joseph K.'s case, his struggles and encounters with the invisible Law and the untouchable Court. . . . (there is a) maddening feeling of inevitability that leaves a lasting visceral impression: the machinery has been set in motion, and the process will grind toward conclusion despite our most desperate exhortations. Well, then, a kind of a shadow judiciary, stay the course thing.

(2) Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is set in the futuristic Republic of Gilead. Sometime in the future, conservative Christians take control of the United States and establish a dictatorship. Most women in Gilead are infertile after repeated exposure to pesticides, nuclear waste, or leakages from chemical weapons. The few fertile women are taken to camps and trained to be handmaidens, birth-mothers for the upper-class. Infertile lower-class women are sent either to clean up toxic waste or to become 'Marthas,' house servants. No women in the Republic are permitted to be openly sexual; sex is for reproduction only. I read this book when it was first published in the mid-1980s, and again earlier this year. Brrrrrr.

(3) Finally, Peter George's novel and subsequent 1960-era film Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. If reading yet one more book seems too tedious, I commend the movie to Bush. In it, U.S. commander General Jack Ripper becomes insane but no one notices because he shows up for work every day and looks at least marginally normal. Ripper orders a nuclear bomber into Russia and what follows is the details of the frantic attempt to recall the weapon of mass destruction. This might be a good film for a Cabinet meeting.

Photos from Utah's anti-Bush demonstration. Yes, I said Utah.

NewYork Times says Rove's word is no longer GOP gospel.
How will we keep ourselves in a state of perpetual fear without Rove to blame? Ah, let me count the ways . . . .

Okay. Back to my cave to contemplate the whichness of what.

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