Monday, February 27, 2006

Jersey shore hotel commits suicide

The Atlantic Belmont Hotel in Asbury Park was to be razed later this year anyway. There's more dignity to an end in fire. Asbury Park Press story plus photo page.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Keyport NJ

Saturday, February 25, 2006

"All I'm saying is that there are some things beyond the ken of mortal man that shouldn't be tampered with. We don't know everything, Andy. There's plenty going on right now in the Twilight Zone that we don't know anything about and I think we ought to stay clear." Barney Fife

"Son, I've seen more dead bodies than you've had TV dinners." Carl Kolchak

On the PATH train to Exchange Place Thursday evening, a middle-aged woman sitting across from me had a paperback with a familiar cover, pages yellowed with age but otherwise good condition. It was a late-50s Mentor edition of The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton. I was surprised the binding didn't snap when she opened it. I was about to comment on how unusual it was to see that book, but after the train left Grove Street a deaf guy who had been trying to hand out those annoying "I Am Deaf Give Me Money" cards started banging on the sliding doors & howling, a fitting end to a journey that began with a drunk man violently puking on the Elizabeth station platform.

I probably didn't have to attend the "mandatory" pre-marathon WFMU staff meeting, I didn't sign up for co-hosting this year, & only about 5% of the information one receives is actually new. But it's an opportunity to be dutiful & also say hi to a lot of people. & I know from the previous 30 or so marathon fund-raisers I've experienced that sometimes there are glitches, like flu epidemics or snowstorms. A good utility player, which I am now, is prepared to get off the bench on short notice & play.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Vanilla Fudge

I've always been very fond of "side one" of the Vanilla Fudge album Near the Beginning (1969). The opening six minute attack on Junior Walker's "Shotgun" is less about pulling the trigger than an experiment in bludgeoning a mortar shell with a sledge hammer. It's ace.

Only the Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood original tops Fudge's cover of "Some Velvet Morning," in which the singer promises to tell us about "Phaedra" but never does. I will. Phaedra was a half-goddess cursed with a desire for younger men who hung herself out of guilt & shame, & maybe disappointment after her son rejected her sexual advances. Lee was a peculiar genius. The Fudge do it up like soundtrack music for a Dario Argento movie, & it rates with their spooky version of "Season of the Witch." It's followed by "Where Is Happiness," a slow rumination on why not getting laid qualifies as spiritual suffering.

"Break Song" is a 25 minute long Recorded Live in Concert wrestling match in an elephant graveyard, a perfect example of the genre, but I'm sure most of the audience had passed out before Carmen Appice's drum solo. On CD you also get a slam-bang "Good Good Lovin'," "People" (an original song if not title), plus a radio edit of "Shotgun" for listeners inclined to get migraines. But if you get migraines, please don't listen to this album. Almost a pile-driving masterwork. Shotgun (Realaudio)

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Our recommendation: Unleash the untapped
power of American free market capitalism
to stop the eating of abominable
birds. We have submitted a list to
our Office of Doctrinal Policy.
(Note: eagle, vulture, osprey, kite, falcon,
raven, ostrich, nighthawk, sea gull, hawk,
owl, cormorant, ibis, water hen, pelican,
stork, heron, hoopoe, and bat.)
We find worrisome the possibility
that where these birds are not
consumed by men as food, they are
worshipped as divinities by women.
(Matter referred back to the
Sub-committee on Animism,
for further discussion.)


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Trouble down on the docks

No surprise that the Dubai port operations deal turned so quickly into a lose/lose issue for GWB. Faced with a bipartisan opposition, unprecedented since he took took office in 2001, the best spin his handlers could put on the matter was to say he didn't know about it. This is easy enough to believe of a man who didn't know about Hurricane Katrina until it had become a tropical storm over Tennessee. But if he didn't know about the deal, why did he so stubbornly defend it so quickly? To be sure, it's the kind of arrangement his people assumed he would eagerly approve, given the close business alliances between the Bush Family & the UAE sheikdoms - the small Emirate nations are extended family businesses. The elder Bush may have known about the deal all along, if only through casual golf course conversation. The plan included greasing the machine by moving Dave Sanborn from his position as DP World Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America to a job as Maritime Adminstrator at the Dept. of Transportation, the sort of appointment no one outside maritime industries even notices. This sweetheart deal was in the works for a long time. Well, the tale is now being investigated & told, & it'll be more of what we've come to expect of the Bush Junta: profit disguised as patriotism. Our port operations would probably be just as secure from terrorists if they were handed back to the mafia, because living in New Jersey it's obvious that hardly anything here is really safe from attack. There may be few logical reasons at present for denying DP the ports contract. But given its record to date, we're better off doing the opposite of whatever the Bush Administration proposes. & it's very good that the important matter of our port security is on the front pages.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Beginning to think about getting a new computer. "New" for me means what was a reasonably good plug it in & go PC three years ago. So I have to get up speed on speeds & memory. & why is so difficult to locate an inexpensive CD boombox that isn't a complete piece of crap? It doesn't have to look like it was designed for the original Star Trek series. I don't need it to boom. I'm not sticking 8 D cells in it & taking it to the park. It's just something I turn in whatever direction I happen to be, & leave the radio tuned to WFAN for the Mets games. (Every station I regularly listen to has its own radio.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Nucular Hummers & Cattle Fart Furnaces

Could a Texan be more full of Texas cowshit than GWB? He just discovered we're on the verge of energy technological breakthroughs that would "startle" most Americans:
One of Bush's proposals would expand research into smaller, longer-lasting batteries for electric-gas hybrid cars, including plug-ins.

During his trip, Bush is also focusing on a proposal to increase investment in development of clean electric power sources, and proposals to speed the development of biofuels such as "cellulosic" ethanol made from wood chips or sawgrass.
Are you startled? We were on the "verge" of these "breakthroughs" during Bush the Elder. Fabulous fortunes in bad ol' oil profits have been earned since then, while the American auto industry drove past the "verge"of collapse. But the big & getting bigger by the hour news in New Yawk is how the White House Junta was surreptitiously trying to hand over our major port operations to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, also known as Big Wahabi Sheiks & Extended Families, Inc. & the cowshit's hittin' the fan now.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Dream

Last night about 1 am I happened to glance at the calendar icon on my start page. There in red letters was "radio show tonight." I briefly panicked, but quickly remembered I had accepted an overnight WFMU fill-in for tonight, not Saturday, & then traded it almost immediately for one next month, before I scheduled the automatic e-mail reminders.. But it was enough of a shock to give me The Dream.

The Dream comes in many forms but it is always exhausting & like not sleeping at all. I'm somewhere doing something when I realize I have to do a radio show & I won't get to the studio on time. Or I'm at the studio & the configuration of the control board is changed, maybe there's only one turntable & one CD player, & then a song ends & I have nothing cued up & even if there's 1000 CDs in the room I can't get it together to pick one. The dream I had early this morning was just another variation on a theme. I was having a fine time with familiar friends at a wedding reception, no idea who was the happy couple. Suddenly I remembered I had a radio show at 2 am. I looked the clock: 1:40 am. No way I'd make it, but if I phoned the on-air DJ right away that I could get there by 2:30, maybe I wouldn't be in big trouble. I asked someone to call for me as I frantically looked for any kind of music to throw in my bag & get me started. Oddly, the wedding reception was near my music shelves. I randomly got some stuff together & was about to race out to a car I had 20 years ago when I looked at the clock again: the time was 4:20 am. How the hell did that happen? I felt an almost paralyzing anxiety. I woke up. As I said, like not sleeping at all.

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The week's Carnival of NJ Bloggers is hosted at The Opinion Mill.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

License: Class "C" (for "Covert")

Our Department of Heimat Security wants to turn school bus drivers into neighborhood spies.
NORFOLK, Va. - The war on terror has a new front line — the school bus line. Financed by the Homeland Security Department, school bus drivers are being trained to watch for potential terrorists, people who may be casing their routes or plotting to blow up their buses.

Designers of the School Bus Watch program want to turn 600,000 bus drivers into an army of observers, like a counterterrorism watch on wheels. Already mindful of motorists with road rage and kids with weapons, bus drivers are now being warned of far more grisly scenarios.
As if those long yellow time bombs aren't carrying their own underage jihadists:
MARYLAND USA - Prince George’s County school bus drivers packed the school board hearing room in Upper Marlboro Feb. 16 to protest what they said was constant misbehavior by, and lack of respect from, rowdy students.

The drivers complained they had had enough of breaking up fights, dealing with unruly children and asking for help from administrators who they claim ignore the dangerous environment on school buses
Count Basie Boogie Woogie (RealAudio)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Took a late afternoon train to Rahway (kept my ticket) & walked up to St. Georges Ave. where there's a stretch of highway much more useful to most Rahwayans than the actual downtown. In a three block stretch are two banks, Drug Fair, CVS, Walgreen's, Dunkin' Donuts, a produce market, & a large liquor mart, plus other stores. Even when I drove I often parked & walked it. Took care of bank business & strolled past Beana's Mexican place (at what age is a child ready for refried?) , to Walgreen's. Two for one sale was worth two year's supply of Tylenol PM. Stopped into CVS, by far the most popular women's cosmetics section of the three, perhaps it's the lighting. On past the overstuffed used bookstore I no longer patronize. Skipped Dunkin' Donuts today; the sweet Filipino lady who gives me a senior discount on cappucino wasn't working. Quick browse around Drug Fair, short-sightedly bought small bag of chips but no cold beverage. For all the weird stuff these drug palaces stock, none sells a small air pump for bike tires & basketballs. Back at train station, a cop was giving the platform a once over for no reason but that it's part of his beat, & the guy cleaning the closed waiting room unlocked so a pregnant woman could use the bathroom - right there are two differences between Rahway & Elizabeth. While I never get bored with the short trip between both towns, seeing the empty freight yard behind the shut Linden GM plant is a bummer; lots of well-paying jobs gone through no fault of the workers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Brokeback Barbie burka beatific strawberry banana blues

Yesterday, Willie Nelson debuted his version of Ned Sublette's gay cowboy song, "Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond of Each Other)." Says Willie, "The song's been in the closet for 20 years. The timing's right for it to come out." Perhaps a tad late: Willie's manager came out two years ago. But excellent timing for Brokeback Oscar fever. WFMU Music Director Brian Turner comments, "Too bad 45s aren't on the scene much in the mainstream, Willie could have covered Ned's 'I Ain't Afraid of Girls' for the B-side." Or Patsy Cline's "Why Can't He Be You?"

Dick Cheney calls his recent hunting accident one of the "worst days" of his life. Oh how I wish he could say that of Election Day 2000.

So I woke up early today but later had to push myself out of reveries that had somehow wandered from full black burkas to Dante's idea of a beatific vision. I was thinking about burkas because I despise them, & last night gave out only my second ever "troll" rating on a discussion thread to someone who was defending them in very devious way; by attacking Barbie dolls. Actually, he got "trolled" not because of Barbie or even burkas but because he was an American man living in Qatar who frequents a so-called progressive website, & I'm sick & tired of men defending the oppression of women on the grounds of an absolutely true patriarchal religion, take your pick, there's a bunch of 'em. Perhaps there is a time & place for a burka, although you couldn't convince the hip Catholic nuns I used to meet occasionally in the Sixties (my girlfriend's aunt, for one) who had been liberated from their similarly medieval garb & allowed to become approachable human beings rather than dark icons endlessly tormented with prickly heat that one was afraid to engage personally, & discovered they were better & definitely more comfortably clothed teachers, social workers, & peace activists for it. If the Pope were like the Dalai Lama, we'd have some hope of seeing John XIII's kindly face again in this world. & it is impossible now for me to freely imagine Dante's visions of heaven, hell & in-between without thinking of Gustav Dore's wonderful illustrations, & that is a pity in a way. The Classics Illustrated comics version of Moby Dick didn't have that effect when I got around to reading the unexpurgated text-only version.

So I headed for the little downtown, & it was a beautiful day with the sun radiating genuine heat as it starts to do in mid-February. But at the library I couldn't match up the I.D. & password to my online bank account - did I ever? - & have to journey to a branch office tomorrow for some important printouts. I checked out a couple of books indifferently chosen, & paid the utility bills, picked up a frozen chicken paita bowl & Tabatchnik soup & strawberry banana yogurt at the supermarket. My landlord is at last delivering on a promise of two years ago when I moved in, installing a coin-operated washer & dryer in the basement, but only one of each, which is almost guaranteeing failure of this experiment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More More More, How do ya like it?

I could post stuff like this every day:
If enacted, the 2007 budget would eliminate federal programs that support inner-city Indian health clinics, defibrillators in rural areas, an educational campaign about Alzheimer's disease, centers for traumatic brain injuries, and a nationwide registry for Lou Gehrig's disease. It would cut close to $1 billion in health care grants to states and would kill the entire budget of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center.

In a $2.8 trillion budget, the amounts involved may seem minuscule, but proponents argue that the health care projects Bush has singled out are the "ultimate homeland security," as Vinay Nadkarni put it. The spokesman for the American Heart Association said he cannot fathom why the administration has recommended eliminating a $1.5 million program that provides defibrillators to rural communities and trains local personnel on how to use the machines to restart hearts that go into cardiac arrest.
We can always save money by postponing the next discretionary war.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Yesterday's snowfall/blizzard set a "record." But unless one was traveling, it won't be a particularly memorable storm (WFMU's Glen Jones had a horrible morning). Ten years ago we had a true blizzard in effect as well as by definition, with heavy drifting, followed by arctic temps. I have photos of that one. Back in, I think, 1978, a friend & I waded down the middle of Route One in Linden where the wind was whipping snow out of Wheeler Park & piling it up on the highway, & several 18 wheelers were stuck, drivers inside talking to each other on CB, waiting for the plows. Heavy rain causes far more problems in over-developed New Jersey in terms of sheer human misery, with localized flooding that is often unpredictable. On a summer day you can drive out of blue skies & into a torrential thunderstorm that sends small creeks over the roads & turns highway underpasses into lakes. Get few days of steady rain & entire neighborhoods have to be evacuated. I'm trying to find an amazing satellite photo from Sunday, the nor'easter so intensely wound up off the coast that it generated an eye, but this one from about 3 am shows the developing power. We are very lucky the storm didn't stall.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Newark New Jersey

photo by V.J. Siehl

Saturday, February 11, 2006

She wrote a Book of Love

               "The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double."
Elizabeth Barrett (Sonnet VI)
The other pulse was Robert Browning's; Elizabeth Barrett, steered into a Victorian spinster's semi-invalidism by a domineering father, was left alone with the voice of her heart when Robert was not there. Poets take a perverse delight in suffering their emotions.

Yet, Elizabeth & Robert are a nonpareil love couple. Love carried them out of her dysfunctional home, all the way to Italy & into the Book of Love. Love healed her body somewhat & likely added years to her short life. Elizabeth's great heart & intellect transformed Robert's poetry. They risked everything for each other. She was past age 40 when she had a baby, especially dangerous in that era. We try to be practical, we say "love is never enough." Love was about all Elizabeth & Robert had for much of their time together.

Who these days outside of a writer's imagination willingly gambles so much & with so much drama on such elemental emotions? The stupid, battered souls populating afternoon talk shows ruin love. They are fools who talk too much, complicate their lives absurdly, & have no comprehension of the poetry that can write itself in anyone's life. In the beginnings of their "relationships" they make promises they can't keep. In their tormented endings they say terrible words & commit regrettable acts. It is amazing that more of them do not kill each other.

The finest love stories are told in the middle pages of the book & rarely have the content of romantic literature. These stories build upon an accumulation of shared sacrifices & upon celebrations of daily life. Fidelity is the predominant theme. When Elizabeth wrote:
                 "What I do
And what I dream include thee, as wine
must taste of its own grapes."
she was experiencing the fires of a beginning. Attribute it in part to pheromones if you like. But she really meant it, proving it through the fifteen years she spent with Robert. She saw beyond the heat, to the steady flame. Their life together began in scandal, but in matters of love her poems still carry a depth of authority. Love is a difficult enough thing without piling on the proscriptions of ignorant religion, the cliches of reactionary politicians preaching "values," or the frightening example of freaks victimizing themselves on television. We can reassure ourselves that love is sometimes worth a hefty wager, even if the game seems fixed. Elizabeth & Robert did.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sliding through the Olympics

The strangely beautiful opening ceremony featured a Botticelli clamshell & acrobats dangling from surreal balloons & a fat old opera singer. This is Fellini's Italy. But my interest in the Winter Olympic games consists almost entirely of watching people slide as fast as they can down steep frozen inclines. On skis, on bobsleds, on skeletons, on cafeteria trays. That's what I loved doing whenever my parents deposited me at snowy, frigid Galloping Hill Golf Course & I told them not to come back until I called from a public phone. I walked home a few times. I'd bring one of the several classic Flexible Flyers my family had, or gather a crew for our superfast old toboggan, which we'd race against all challengers; I did not fear Suicide Hill even when it was a sheet of glacial ice, & I was utterly without compassion if I ran down some idiot dragging a flimsy aluminum saucer up the middle of the slope. As a teenager, I really wanted to try bobsledding, but not enough to hitch hike to Lake Placid in January. Not for me is any sport where judges hold up cards with numbers. Even the so-call "Xtreme" sports. Those competitions are obviously fixed. The opponent must be defeated head to head, by the clock, or because one side is better at manipulating & controling some loose object.

I blew it by not establishing legal residence in a tropical nation & becoming the entire Men's Singles Luge Team.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


A sale on Wise crunchy cheez doodles at the store around the corner coincided with a craving for that particular product, or maybe instigated it, & I'm doodled out of my desires. Last time this happened was with an Edy's "limited edition" ice cream flavor, Boardwalk Waffle Cone. Hear the Divine Sarah Vaughan of Newark NJ sing Doodlin' (RealAudio)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I like the possibilities in this quote from an AP article.
"I hear these parents saying, 'Well, my children aren't doing very well, so you must not be a very good teacher,'" said Mike Randall, 48, who teaches abstinence-based health courses in Montgomery County, Ind. "Wrong. Sorry. It's more like, 'If your child would follow the curriculum, open the book and apply himself, you would see how good this could all be.'"
How about: "He passed the standardized exams, but because of your stupid class he didn't have a condom when he flunked the chastity test."

Letter from a law firm in mail caused great anxiety, since I have had some problems with debt collection. But before I opened it I signed on to the public library website for the first time & easily renewed a book due today. Then I walked over to CVS, air was crisply & comfortably cold, my prescription was filled immediately & the co-pay was very modest; went on to the supermarket, got everything I wanted & it all fit perfectly into my backpack. These, I concluded, were good omens. So I read the letter & it was something I can settle & I have a month to do it.

The pharmacist said that a lot of elderly & Medicaid customers were being hurt under the new drug plans. "It's food or medications, & some of them very ill."

Overheard, two women stocking shelves at CVS.
Woman #1: What happened to that guy you're seeing.
Woman #2 (with Harley tattoo above her butt): Oh, Greg. You'd think he'd return phone calls from a girl he's boinked.
Me, to myself: That's the last thing I'd probably think about Greg.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Coretta & Martin: Absent but represented

We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there,
But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here.
The Rev. Joseph Lowery
So, President George W. Bornagain had to share a podium in a venue before an audience he didn't choose. Almost a novel situation for the fellow. But it was a funeral. There was the casket covered with flowers. Considering what could have been said, he was ever-so-mildly upbraided on his outrageously uncompassionate policies. Iraq. Katrina. Civil liberties. Poverty. Health insurance. Violence in many forms. He shook his head at the inappropriateness: Are they referring to me? He only came to sentimentalize the deceased, not to acknowledge the substance of her life & beliefs. Fortunately for Da Prez, neither Coretta nor Martin were there to speak.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Charlie Watts Bowl

In 1997, I attended a Tupperware party on Super Sunday so I could write about bowls in my newspaper column. Ever since then it's been my tradition to go shopping during the Superbowl. Today I went to the Super Market. I was so annoyed at being overcharged for a box of wheat crackers that I took both the box & the erroneous shelf tag to customer service & went home with free crackers. Just in time to watch The Stones, with Mick prancing through three rough numbers, 500 shills corraled in the tongue-shaped pit, jumping around to Gramps & the Geezers. I was rooting for the Geezers. I turned off the set as soon as the meathead commentators came back on, summing up what must have been a dreadfully dull first half.

I'm already mulling over possible NCAA basketball cinderellas, men's & women's tournaments. How good is Bucknell? Pitchers & catchers report soon. I barely notice the NHL but I can tell you the Rangers are a good team & so are the Flyers. The Nets are lucky to be in a weak NBA conference this season. NASCAR? Sure, I'll watch a few laps. I still miss Jerry Gerard on WPIX, a local sportscaster who used to end every report with a horse race, even if all he had were trotters. There's something about pro football. It's big. It's a smart game that acts stupid. It has very little fluidity in time. When play stops, which it does on every down, the entire game halts, & without replaying every single one there would not be much of it all. Baseball is paced for conversation, I understand why many people don't enjoy it. Basketball is poetry when the refs stay out of the way. But pro football action is what's left over after the SUV & beer commercial time is sold. It doesn't get me. Never did.

Check out Detroit Blog for some excellent writing on that city's preparations for the game, including the razing of the Motown Building. (thanx to The Opinion Mill)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

New Brunswick New Jersey

Friday, February 03, 2006

Which Far out 60's-70's band are you?

Here's the myspace page for Jake Jekyll a.k.a. Jacob Robida, the all-american boy who allegedly hacked & bludgeoned his way through a New Bedford MA gay bar.

He sure liked quizzes. Jake proudly posts that he tests out as a nazi demon antisocial acidhead Pink Floyd fan.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

We haven't had much of a winter so far in New Jersey - one of the mildest I can recall.
But the jet stream caused it. The series of nor'easter storms that passed through
in January could have dumped plenty of snow & pulled in single digit temps
if the stream had been looping south & flowing north up the coast. When it does
that later in season, we can have winter here all the way to April Fools. I noticed a tree had shed the protective shells from around its buds. That tree won't blossom well.

I always think of joel oppenheimer on Groundhog Day. He loved the occasion, loved all the small "holidays" & celebrated a few that aren't generally observed, like the Anniversary of the Death of Jesse James, & made poems for them. For Joel, Groundhog Day was when it was OK to think about Spring & look forward to a new baseball season. I suppose he figured that dwelling on these during December & January was just tormenting himself. Joel considered Groundhog Day an unofficial poet's day. He would never have observed an official poet's day, the kind of event where some politician issues a "proclamation." Because politicians - even the competent ones - don't know shit from shinola when it comes to recognizing poetry in anything. The rare exceptions only prove the rule. There's one good reason why the world still needs poets.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

a bush league protest

Gotta get this off my mind.
I have great respect for Cindy Sheehan as a person, but as a leader in the war opposition she's made one damned foolish tactical choice after another. Standing alone on a hot road outside Bush's holiday retreat her position was nearly unassailable. Everyone listened to her. She was speaking directly to America. She was family, & we knew it. Then came the "movement," Camp Casey & the iconic elevation of her son. She began preaching to the already-converted at dKos & MoveOn. Last week she was cozying up to Hugo Chavez, coming at us from the outside. Last night she had the opportunity to make it all good again if she'd just dressed for the occasion, gone inside the Capitol, sat down, let her silent presence speak in a way that elected Democrats are afraid to do. She would've stolen a large piece of the spotlight from the President. & afterward, a swarm of media. In August I thought she was a great missionary. Because she didn't have to put the numbers on her shirt to make us remember the dead & wounded. Last night she made the issue freedom of expression - a freakin' dress code, not the Iraq War.

"Nobody loves me but my mother, & she could be jiving, too."

So what did we learn? That George W. Bush is a compassionate conservative again like he was in 2000? That instead of ramming policy & appointments up our collective butts he'll now ask us to open up & say "ah" as he spoons them in? That his concerns about energy consumption are not four years & at least 36 billion dollars (Exxon's 2005 profits) late? Health care? ("Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility.") Iraq? ("On Sept. 11, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country." Uh, which state is that?) Tax cuts for mansion dwellers? New Orleans? ("In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country." Hey cowboy, their HOMES ARE GONE!) Global warming? Education? ("Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative...." Multiple choice plus essay.)

Do you see any changes in his staff or advisors that might reflect or bring about a shift? Yes, it's comforting to imagine Coretta Scott King now in heaven with Martin. One less moral voice in the world Bush has to ignore. This man has been up to no good since before he took office. He intends to dismantle, render ineffective, or sell off every part of the government he can get his hands on - even the military, if you've noticed how combat support is done nowadays. (Well, his Security Apparatus will do fine.) He is, like Sheik Auda abu Tayi proclaimed in Lawrence of Arabia, a River to His People. His people! Should we think he's changed in the 24 hours between Tuesday & Wednesday mornings? Don't be daft. His side needs only to mesmerize the Opposition into "cooperation" & then win one more presidential election to make all this permanent. & they're gonna do it by any means necessary.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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