Saturday, September 30, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush (vi)

I don't want to stay out here with you any longer, George. I heard you talking on your cell phone. They're coming to get me, aren't they?...now that the detainee treatment bill has been passed by your partisans in Congress and you have a statutory foundation "to identify enemies, imprison them indefinitely and interrogate them...beyond the reach of the full court reviews traditionally afforded criminal defendants and ordinary prisoners" ("Detainee Bill Shifts Power to President," by Scott Shane and Adam Liptak in this morning's New York Times).

It's a sad, sad day. And not only are these powers in the hands of a tyrant (I'm talking about you, George), but also you're going to try to smear those in Congress (mostly Democrats, and a few honorable Republicans) who voted against the bill on American Constitutional principles.

And I understand that your Turd Blossom has actually told some of your better-heeled partisans that an "October surprise" is to be expected. And, I suspect, if none of this works, there are also some November surprises already rigged in electronic voting machines....Will Mr. Diebold be helping you again?

So take one last look at me George, I'm about to vanish off this blasted island. I can't say where I'll be the next time you hear from me, if you ever do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush (v)

Oops! Sorry, George, I didn't mean to pee on your foot. Small island. You shouldn't sneak up on a fellow like that...

George? The more evidence that comes to light that you screwed up in Iraq, the more sure of yourself you seem to become. Why do you suppose that is?

Actually, given your background—I mean your being "born again" and all—I don't think it should surprise anyone...anyone, that is, who's familiar with what happened after a 1950's prophecy that the world was coming to an end failed to materialize. As cognitive dissonance theoretician Leon Festinger wrote:
A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.

We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks.

But man's resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view.
Especially when a dimly rational part of your mind thinks that doing so will help your party in the upcoming elections? I guess it may depend on how many flying-saucer types will be voting.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Does Bush's War increase the terror threat? [yes]

I recommend yesterday's post on Barry Eisler's blog: The Heart of the Matter: Iraq War Increases Terror Threat, in which he says that the recent National Intelligence Estimate is right: "...if we maintain our current approach in Iraq, Islamic radicalism will continue to benefit. We must therefore change our approach."

And, in today's article "The Cost Of Conservatism In Iraq," at TomPaine.com, Robert L. Borosage writes: "The intelligence agencies have now officially acknowledged the inescapable reality: The failed occupation in Iraq has stoked the global terrorist threat, generating recruits for increasing acts of terror across the globe. That conclusion is in the latest classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, portions of which were leaked to the media this past weekend."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Flash! A must read about Islamism

In "The Age of Horrorism" at Guardian Unlimited, Martin Amis (English novelist and son of Sir Kingsley Amis) chillingly describes the implacable opponent we face in Islamism.

Excerpt:
Suicide-mass murder is astonishingly alien, so alien, in fact, that Western opinion has been unable to formulate a rational response to it. A rational response would be something like an unvarying factory siren of unanimous disgust. But we haven't managed that. What we have managed, on the whole, is a murmur of dissonant evasion. Paul Berman's best chapter, in Terror and Liberalism, is mildly entitled 'Wishful Thinking'—and Berman is in general a mild-mannered man. But this is a very tough and persistent analysis of our extraordinary uncertainty. It is impossible to read it without cold fascination and a consciousness of disgrace. I felt disgrace, during its early pages, because I had done it too, and in print, early on. Contemplating intense violence, you very rationallly ask yourself, what are the reasons for this? And compassionately frowning newscasters are still asking that same question. It is time to move on. We are not dealing in reasons because we are not dealing in reason.

Quiz: In what American town was Islamism "decisively shaped"? (You'll find the answer in the Part One of the article. Hint: the time was 1949.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush (iv)

Sorry, George, had to get away from you for a few hours—

Oh, you too, from me. I understand that. But I want to tell you about a young political science professor at one of the Ivy League colleges. I'd asked him what his colleagues thought of you. You want to know what he said?

Really, you don't have anything to worry about, George. You see, this guy isn't tenured, so all he was willing to say was, "I don't know anyone in my department who thinks Bush is doing a good job."

Oh, what does tenured have to do with it? He didn't want to say anything to jeopardize getting tenure! Are you thick or something? George, 73.9%1 of the people who read this blog2 are afraid to speak their mind. In fact, I think that many of my readers read it precisely because I speak mine, and they get a vicarious thrill out of finding out what I'm going to say next. Someone said that I occasionally grab an involuntary gasp very much like laughter out of his gut. He said he thinks it's the effect of his recognizing that something I've said that shocked him initially in its baldness3 will in the very next moment strike him as true. The gasp, he thought, comes from the speed with which the truth overtakes the shock. Sort of like the speed involved in a déjà vu sensation. But the young professor put disapproval of you in almost the mildest terms imaginable: "not doing a good job." No hint that they think you're a moron or a pissant. Nothing like that. Just "he's not doing a good job."

One of my readers wrote me: "Shoot! To think that..." Then she pulled herself up and commented that she really shouldn't use a word like that, should she? What might the listeners think? What might Big Brother think? And she expressed some admiration at my telling you to "break a leg" at the United Nations the other day. Admiration, plus concern for my welfare. As though I might soon be visited by a black Suburban with dark windows.

Which brings me to today's question, George. Don't you think it's crazy for American soldiers to be over in Iraq getting killed and maimed trying to prevent the Iraqis from killing each other?

Your answer doesn't surprise me. Of course, you don't think so. After all, the perpetual "war on terror" is your main strategy for scaring people sufficiently, you hope, to keep your Busheviks in office. It's fast becoming the only "issue" you've got.

And the young professor's fear for his tenure and my friend's hypersensitivity to "dangerous" words and expressions are both results of what your Busheviks are doing to prosecute their theatrical "war on terror."

Oh, why "theatrical"? Mostly show, little substance. Like the recent reports that you're reading Camus and Shakespeare.
_______________________


  1. A rough estimate.

  2. Approximately 79,000 (also a rough estimate).

  3. He cited my statement that you stole both elections. Not that this was actually news to him, but "everybody" sort of pretends that the elections weren't stolen (and that you're really our president). The fact that they were (and you aren't) just doesn't get stated often enough. This may be understandable, human nature being what it is, but the denial can't be justified ultimately, for it plants a cancer at the heart of our system of government, smack in the middle of our national consciousness.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush (iii)

You must love this headline in the paper: "Bush ascends stage at U.N."

Bob Dylan and the Eagles played at my daughter's company's birthday party yesterday. Bob Dylan sang (in "Hurricane") that he was ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game. I wonder whether he's ashamed (like the Dixie Chicks) to live in a land where a man who isn't even really the president gets headlines that suggests he's a king?

The article says you're going to address world leaders. Ironic that an election thief gets to do that. Break a leg, George.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush (ii)

So, George, you're not going down to Texas for Ann Richards's funeral today?

Ha! Rove's going? You're not serious. What's he going to do, kiss her casket and say that you and he are sorry for spreading those lies about her in 1994 so you could be elected the gubernor of Texas?

Why, George, I believe you're blushing!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush (i)

Yes, George, I mean you. I know I didn't call you "President Bush," and I'm not going to. As I wrote you before, I don't accept that you're really our president. Without your brother Jeb and Katherine Harris, Florida's electoral votes would have gone to Gore and we'd have a legitimate president.

What's that? No, I'm not going to call you "sir" either. But you may call me that. I'm older, after all—left Yale the year before you arrived...Yes, that's right. Ashcroft was in my class. And that other friend of yours, Joe Lieberman, the one you planted the Judas kiss on.

Look, I don't really want to be spending time with you either. But we need to do this. A friend of mine suggested that I ought to imagine that you and I got shipwrecked together on an island so we were forced to spend some time together. So, why don't we both pretend? No one else to talk to—

Yes, that's right. No military guys to waterboard me, no Alberto Gonzales to provide a rationale for them to do it, no Dick Cheenie to scowl at me and try to scare the bejesus out of me, no McLean lobbyists with seven-figure salaries to surround you with adoring campaign contributors, no Laura to protect you if I take a swipe at you. Just you and me.

Hey, stand back! Don't touch me, George. I saw what you were about to do. Throw your arm around my shoulder and call me Turd something or other. That's why I didn't invite you over for my Fourth of July barbecue. I knew if I did you'd try to seduce me into liking you. It wouldn't work, George. It would just make me throw up. You don't want me to vomit on you, do you?

I don't know about you, but I've already spent enough time with you today. Let's continue this tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On Bush-supporting letters to the editor

"Did you see," I asked my friend Keith S. this morning, "the array of letters in the [Raleigh] N&O today on the Point of View article 'Competence might have foiled the plot' on Sept. 11? The diametrical opposition of the reactions is startling, some of the detractors even referencing Rumsfeld's article the same day in rebuttal! My heart sank. The opinion divide in this country is so stark, I despair for the country's ever being mentally healthy again. There are so many people who buy Cheenie's, Bush's, Rumsfeld's insane stance on the war, how can the country ever get over this?"

Replied Keith:
Read carefully those rightwingnut letters to the editor in the N&O. It's usually the same few gadflys spewing the latest sewage from Turdblossom's daily edict. There are plenty of blow-hard die-hards still chanting in unison with Turdblossom, but they are a strident minority. And they become more strident as they see each set of the latest polling numbers come in.

One thing that I've noticed lately is that fewer people are buying the R-istas' [Republicans'] mantra that they can keep the country safer than the Democrats. This is the blow-hards' last card to play, and they're seeing it trumped by reality. That has them scared sick, which couldn't happen to a more deserving pack of muttonheaded sycophants. After all the fear that they have sown in this country and around the world for the past two decades, it's time they experienced a bit of fear themselves. And to think they are so afraid of just losing control of Congress. Makes you wonder what they don't want a Pelosi-led majority setting committees to investigating, doesn't it?

Good question from today's Maureen Dowd

“It was the right thing to do,” Vice insisted of the war in Iraq, “and if we had to do it over again we would do exactly the same thing.”

After all the miscalculations and billions wasted, projects screwed up, lives and limbs lost, foreign enemies made, American stature squandered, Taliban strength regained, North Korean bombs and Iran-Iraq alliances built (visiting the American-hating, Holocaust-denying Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq called Iran “a good friend and brother’’) Dick Cheney wouldn’t do anything differently?
From today's column by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Retrieving a Childhood

In response to my 9/10 post, a friend wrote to me: "You got a post out of [that speech], but you got so much more. You were fortunate enough to be able to retrieve a tangible piece of your childhood. That's priceless. Hang on to it, always."

I think the speech occasioned even more than the retrieval of part of a childhood. When I read those 3x5 cards, I was struck perhaps most of all by the indication of the kind of civic indoctrination that was surely going on in the community where I had attended the eighth grade. The graduating class (and everyone present, probably) recited "The American's Creed" that evening, and my speech was extremely patriotic. While all that is positive, I was also struck by the impression that the 13-year-old boy who wrote and delivered that speech could very well have grown up to become an active member of the Republican Party. I even wondered whether George W. Bush could have given a similar speech at HIS eighth-grade graduation....

Provocative.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"The American's Creed"

This morning I came across the text of my eighth-grade graduation speech. Typed single-space on seventeen 3x5 cards, its opening paragraphs say that the graduating class has just recited "The American's Creed," written by William Tyler Page. [I later found out that Page wrote it in 1917 for a contest, which he won, in competition with over 3,000 other entrants.] The eighth-grader I was says he's privileged to speak on the second of the creed's two paragraphs: "I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its Flag; and to defend it against all enemies.

This "American's Creed" didn't sound familiar to me now, so I looked it up on the web. The Daughters of the American Revolution page I consulted revealed a first paragraph that was familiar:
I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed—a democracy in a republic, a sovereign nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable, established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
The DAR informed me that Mr. Page described the creed as "a summing up, in one hundred words, of the basic principles of American political faith...as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions, and by its greatest leaders."

I was rather shaken to read, a few cards, further on: "To me, the most heart-warming gesture of American youth takes place each morning when they place their right hand over their heart, stand at attention, and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. When I think of what the Flag stands for, a thrill runs through my being."

When I wrote and delivered those words fifty years ago, I'm sure I must have meant them. I hadn't developed any of the cynicism that I subsequently learned from Watergate, El Salvador, Chile...the ascendancy of the ultra-partisan Republican Party. And especially from the reality that an overprivileged, underdeserving, intellectually challenged, morally hypocritical incompetent can occupy the White House.

Addressing Page's "respect for the Flag," the eighth-grader that I was goes on to describe what its colors stand for, what its stars and stripes signify. Then he lists the wars in which many paid a price in blood to defend the Flag from its enemies. Nearing the conclusion, he asks, "What is the greatest enemy of freedom-loving people of the world today?" His answer, in 1956, was, of course, communism.

And, fifty years later, I think I may have discovered why I feel such loathing and disgust for George W. Bush—the man who wraps himself in the Flag and desecrates language for partisan advantage while he savages our government of, by, and for the people to favor the superprivileged and sends the sons and daughters of the unprivileged off to die in a conflagration onto which he, out of ideological blindness and lack of understanding, smugly tossed the match.

Friday, September 8, 2006

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Sept. 5, 2006. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann: "Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama Bin Laden and others seek—a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the comforting illusion of safety."

DO click on the video and see Mr. Olbermann delivering his statement.

By the way, the answer to the title question seems to be "no." "President" Bush indeed does not seem to have a sense of decency, his friendship with his "father above" and with Billy Graham notwithstanding. Remember, his closer and far more influential friends include Dick Cheenie, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove....

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

"A Despicable, Irresponsible Fraud"

As if yesterday and today's shitstorm of Bush propaganda about keeping America safe from terrorism weren't enough, I received some other disturbing news today, from Tom McMahon, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, and I'm using today's post to share it with my readers as a sort of public service announcement:
Does a major national broadcast network want to stain itself by presenting an irresponsible, slanderous, fraudulent, "docudrama" to the American public?

Not if you and I have the last word—but either way, we're about to find out.

The ABC television network—a cog in the Walt Disney empire—unleashed a promotional blitz in the last week for a new "docudrama" called "The Path to 9/11". ABC has thrown its corporate might behind the two-night production, and bills it as a public service: a TV event, to quote the ABC tagline, "based on the 9/11 Commission Report."

That's false. "The Path to 9/11" is actually a bald-faced attempt to slander Democrats and revise history right before Americans vote in a major election.

The miniseries, which was put together by right-wing conservative writers, relies on the old GOP playbook of using terrorism to scare Americans. "The Path to 9/11" mocks the truth and dishonors the memory of 9/11 victims to serve a cheap, callous political agenda. It irresponsibly misrepresents the facts and completely distorts the truth.

ABC/Disney executives need to hear from the public and understand that their abuse of the public trust comes with a cost. Tell Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger to keep this right-wing propaganda off the air—we'll deliver your message:

http://www.democrats.org/pathto911

This story is breaking quickly. The bias of the "docudrama" only became known when ABC began circulating previews recently. Less than two weeks ago, 9/11 Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste confronted a lead writer of "The Path to 9/11" after watching the first half of the miniseries at a screening, but most of what we know amounts to bits and pieces because ABC chose to screen the miniseries to conservative bloggers and right-wing media outlets exclusively. Almost none of the Democrats portrayed in the film have even been asked for their thoughts.

But we still know enough, thanks to news accounts and crack research, to fact check "The Path to 9/11" as a biased, irresponsible mess. Here's what you need to know:
  • Richard Clarke—the counterterrorism czar for the Clinton administration, now himself a consultant to ABC News—describes a key scene in "The Path to 9/11" as "180 degrees from what happened." In the scene, a CIA field agent places a phone call to get the go ahead to kill Osama Bin Laden, then in his sights, only to have a senior Clinton administration official refuse and hang up the phone. Sandy Berger, President Clinton's National Security Advisor, called the same scene "a total fabrication. It did not happen." And Roger Cressey, a top Bush and Clinton counterterrorism official, said it was "something straight out of Disney and fantasyland. It's factually wrong. And that's shameful."

  • Another scene revives the old right-wing myth that press reporting made it impossible to track Osama bin Laden, accusing the Washington Post of blowing the secret that American intelligence tracked his satellite phone calls. In reality, responsibility for that blunder—contrary to "The Path to 9/11"—rests with none other than the arch-conservative Washington Times.

  • The former National Security Council head of counterterrorism says that President Clinton "approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda," and the 9/11 report says the CIA had full authority from President Clinton to strike Bin Laden. Yet chief "Path to 9/11" scriptwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh, a friend of Rush Limbaugh, says the miniseries shows how President Clinton had "frequent opportunities in the '90s to stop Bin Laden in his tracks—but lacked the will to do so."

  • ABC asked only the Republican co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean, Sr., to advise the makers of "The Path to 9/11". The producers optioned two books, one written by a Bush administration political appointee, as the basis of the screenplay—yet bill the miniseries as "based on the 9/11 Commission Report."
This is a picture of bias—a conservative attempt to rewrite the history of September 11 to blame Democrats, just in time for the election.

Tell Walt Disney president Robert Iger that you hold his company responsible—and that this community demands that ABC tell the truth:

http://www.democrats.org/pathto911

ABC is trying to use of the airwaves—airwaves owned by you and me, and loaned to broadcasters as a public trust—to slander Democrats and sell a slanderous, irresponsible fraud to the American people, and they're shamefully doing it just weeks away from Election Day.

The Walt Disney Corporation could have given Americans an honest look at September 11. Instead, the company abandoned its duty to the truth—and embraced the fiction known as "The Path to 9/11."

But ABC isn't the only company pushing this gross revision of history. ABC has enlisted the reputable education and children's entertainment company Scholastic, Inc. to send 100,000 letters to high school teachers, urging them to show students "The Path to 9/11". Scholastic has also created a discussion guide for teachers to use to encourage students and their families to watch this irresponsible fraud and then discuss it in school. The discussion guide does not in any way point out the concerns and criticisms that have been raised about the validity and accuracy of the film.

We've got to stop this now.

ABC/Disney must face an accountability moment. You can ratchet up the pressure on ABC by sending your own letter to Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger—tell him to keep this propaganda off their air.

http://www.democrats.org/pathto911

Tom McMahon
Executive Director
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bush, Rumsfeld and the Nazis

In Donald Rumsfeld's August 29 address to the American Legion1, he likened critics of Bush's War to those who “ridiculed or ignored” the rise of the Nazis in the 1930’s and tried to appease Hitler. He said they suffer from a “moral or intellectual confusion.”

In the photo, Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad in 1983. As a result of his visit with Nazi Hussein, within a year Iraq and the United States resumed diplomatic relations for the first time since Iraq severed them after the U.S. backed Israel in the Six-Day War (1967).

Could Rummy be a bit confused?

Thursday night, at the same (friendly) American Legion convention, Karl Rove (disquised as "president" George W. Bush) said that we're engaged in the “ideological struggle of the 21st century.” "One more drop in the polls," wrote Frank Rich in Sunday's New York Times, "and he may yet rebrand this mess War of the Worlds."2

Or, as Rami G. Khouri wrote on Friday at TomPaine.com:
There is something sad about a grown man playing children's make-believe war games in a tree-house in grandpa's back yard—which is how George W. Bush came across Thursday night in his speech on the importance of winning the war in Iraq in the global battle against terrorism. Rarely does a leader of a great country like the United States malign history, his people's intelligence and the dignity of over a billion Muslims in one speech. But Bush did that Thursday night and will probably keep doing it for a while.3
________________________
  1. Address at the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention, Salt Lake City, Utah

  2. "Donald Rumsfeld’s Dance with the Nazis"

  3. "Bush's Terror Tales"

Monday, September 4, 2006

Billy Graham

A letter to the editor in the current issue of Newsweek reminds me that forty some-odd years ago a nephew of mine (then eight years old) went to a Billy Graham crusade and got saved.

The letter writer, Ernest J. Zenker of Mandeville, LA, was responding to the magazine's August 14 cover story, "Pilgrim's Progress":
Billy Graham has caused more damage to the United States than any [other] man of his generation. He has made fundamentalism socially acceptable. As a result, we have a president and a religious right that think loving Jesus Christ excuses any action....
This nephew is today an unshakable Bush supporter.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

"President Cheenie"

The fact that Dick Cheenie* would succeed Bush seems to be overlooked by those commenting on the new British mockumentary, "Death of a President," which will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival next week. Scary thought.

But Robert Kuttner, writing in the Boston Globe on August 26 ("The Cheney Presidency"), contends that it would be useful for us for Cheenie to get the greater media attention that such a happenstance would entail.
If Cheney were the president, more of [Cheenie's backstage manipulations] would be smoked out because the press would be paying attention. The New York Times' acerbic columnist Maureen Dowd regularly makes sport of Cheney's dominance, and there are plenty of jokes (Bush is a heartbeat away from the presidency). But you can count serious newspaper or magazine articles on Cheney's operation on the fingers of one hand. One exceptional example is Jane Mayer's piece in the July 3 New Yorker on Cheney operative David Addington ["The Hidden Power: The Legal Mind behind the White House’s War on Terror"].

...Why does this matter? Because if the man actually running the government is out of the spotlight, the administration and its policies are far less accountable.

...If Cheney were the actual president, not just the de facto one, he simply could not govern with the same set of policies and approval ratings of 20 percent. The media focuses relentless attention on the president, on the premise that he is actually the chief executive. But for all intents and purposes, Cheney is chief, and Bush is more in the ceremonial role of the queen of England.
_______________________
* A.F. Flogger (or somebody) has taken control of my computer. When I'm writing in "my own voice" I can't type Che— Che— Cheenie's name with the correct spelling, but am compelled to spell it disrespectfully. But if I'm quoting someone else (like Kuttner) I can type it as it usually appears.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

1,263 / 155.2

Today is the 1,263rd day of Bush's War, a war our boy "president" has characterized as a hunt for WMD, as a war on terror and now as a war on fascism. What will Rove, Cheenie and Rumsfeld think up next for Bush to say? Kudos to Edward Neuwirth for his letter in today's News & Observer out of Raleigh (Propaganda Machine). Mr. Neuwirth points out that Bush and his gang:
must know full well that the Nazis rose to power by employing a massive propaganda machine to sway and mislead the masses of a nation. By manipulating modern media, 24-hour global news channels and the Internet to its fullest advantage, the Rumsfeld and Bush administration has engaged in the greatest propaganda effort in the history of man.
(Well, maybe Cheenie and Rumsfeld know it, but Bush likely doesn't have a clue, having majored in Great Comics of the Western World.)

But life must go on. The number 155.2 was my weight this morning (in pounds, dressed). I have to avoid simply "eating as little as possible" everyday, however appealing and satisfying that regimen has proven to be. Otherwise I might drop below 150, which I don't think would be good for me. So...when a colleague brought around some humongous oatmeal and raisin cookies yesterday, what could I do? I took one and ate it. Though I didn't feel quite so good ten minutes later as I had before enjoying the cookie (it did taste good), I realized that I "had" to eat one.