Thursday, February 22, 2007


As the world turns, Iraq burns, and mold and rats besiege our recuperating veterans at Walter Reed. What does the mainstream media of America do? Smokescreen us all by marrying politics to Hollywood, which yields a narrative union that needs to be annulled quicker than Britney’s first marriage: Poliwood.

It’s hard to determine when this all began, but I’m going with the Girls Gone Wild media bonanza from a few weeks ago. And they haven’t stopped going wild—the media, that is.

Let’s start with poor Britney Scissorhands, the media’s heroine gone vile. Not only did Britney give a bad impression of SinĂ©ad O’Connor in the early days, Britney’s now blurring fact with fiction—hey, she’s on drugs, becoming the protagonist of one of her more famous ditties, “Oops!....I did it Again.” Brit’s been going in and out of rehab quicker than the revolving door at the entryway.

But the REAL culprit of “Oops!....I did it Again” is none other than a five-deferment Sith who loves to merge fiction with fiction, but I don’t “think” he’s on drugs. In the true spirit of Oscar season, this actor has assumed the highest role in a made-for-Poliwood soap opera: the GRAND Sith . Yes, that would be our beloved Vice President, whose antics the media has conveniently downplayed.

As the Coalition of the Dwindling shrinks ever so more, the Grand Sith, get this, tried to spin the British pull-out as a good thing; doesn’t he know that this particular kind of pull-out is NOT a good thing?

The “good thing” came after, though, the Grand Sith bitch-slapped Speaker Pelosi, who actually lost her brother this week, with his tried and true: “if you disagree with me, then you are unpatriotic.” And then the Grand Diva went on to bitch slap Senator McCain, who recently bitch-slapped Don Rumsfeld. With all this D.C. bitch-slapping going-on, who the hell wants to watch prime-time, Hollywood programming, let alone reading the newspaper to learn about, oh, I don’t know: Iraq, Iran, or the Taliban?

But because Americans cannot stop for death, the media had us once again gear our attention to the unburied corpse of none other than Anna Nicole Smith with a courtroom drama that seemed like a dismaying collage of Judge Judy meets the Beverly Hillbilies. Yes, the media persuaded many Americans to shift their eyes off the court case that really matters: the Scooter Libby trial, which had made-for-Hollywood drama, as Libby’s lawyer, Theodore Wells, was almost brought to tears in his closing argument. Let’s face it: The Anna Nicole, as-I-lay-dying, Hollywood story is much more entertaining than the Scooter Libby, as I kept lying and lying, Poliwood story.

The Bonnie and Clyde redux, though, better known as the Dowd and Geffen Clinton drive-by, took the Poliwood best picture award, hands down. The story goes like this: as Hollywood greeted its newest star, Barack Obama, for a tinsel-town fund raiser that media mogul Geffen hosted, Geffen teamed-up with Dowd, to cast Hillary as the fading star, Norma Desmond in Sunset, I Don’t Like You and Your Husband Anymore. But in true empire-strikes-back fashion, team Hillary struck back and bitch-slapped team Obama, and, in turn, team Obama bitch-slapped team Hillary. And I can’t recall who got the last bitch-slap in.

So as everybody tunes into the theatrics of Poliwood, leaving the real news behind, one can’t help but wonder: haven’t we been down this yellow caked road before? Oops!...we did it again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


As other CT bloggers have noted today, Senator Russ Feingold is looking to contribute to progressive candidates who will most likely face a strong re-election challenge in '08.
We all know that Congressman Courtney won by the narrowest of margins this past November. And for those of us who live in the Stonington/Mystic area and are at least 1% more conscious, we all know that Team Simmons has yet to remove their campaign signs from their office windows. So get yourselves over to the Progressive Patriots Fund--Feingold's site--to vote for Congressman Courtney; the candidate with the most votes will receive a $5000 contribution. Go now!!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

WEEKEND READING ASSIGNMENT: "From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq"

WEEKEND READING ASSIGNMENT: "From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq"

Get yourselves over to Vanity Fair to read "From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq" by Craig Unger. As my good friend Femme Fatale says, "stunning."

Thursday, February 15, 2007



For the high school teacher, especially for those of us who teach English, a winter storm emphasizes the other storm we must endure: the realization that we have about half a year to go, with endless piles of papers, or, in some cases, piles of shit; whiny students, who don’t want to do much of anything; their parents—even worse, who often en/(dis)able their students not to do anything; and some of our crazy colleagues who get a little cagey in the cold Ethan Frome of winter. A snow day can thus be a beautiful thing, for it provides us teachers with a shelter to brave all those slings and arrows of the mid-school year maelstrom that’s underway.

Rather than rejoice in my “snow-day” shelter, though, I braved the outside world with gusto; I tortured myself with President Bush’s late morning press conference. It really was like a trip back and forth to the future. Hey, I had just finished watching an episode of Little Einsteins with my three-year old, so I was feeling a little adventurous. And I couldn’t get the Little Einstein ditty out of my head: “we’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship, zooming through the skies, little Einsteins.”

All aboard and ready to explore just like little Einsteins, I couldn’t help but notice that Chimpy was indignant and as arrogant as ever. In fact, he was doing what he does best: not telling the truth while possibly laying the groundwork for a coming war.

In a revealing exchange with the ever ballsy David Gregory of MSNBC, Chimpy conflated yet another accusation: whether or not the Iranian government was supplying Shiite fighters with explosives targeting American soldiers. Sort of sounds like whether or not there was a connection between Saddam and Osama, doesn’t it? Hence, my little Einstein journey back and forth to the future.

As Editor & Publisher has noted, ever since these claims about the Iranians, which began last weekend, skepticism has quickly grown, even from the likes of General Peter Pace.

But if we really have a countdown to our truth mission in the spirit of those Little Einsteins—5,4,3,2,1: we find the real news involving the Shiite fighters and their use of explosive devices on our soldiers and their vehicles. It appears that yet again, our brave troops and their humvees have NOT been equipped with the necessary FRAG Kit 5 armor to sustain a new powerful roadside bomb, which may or may not involve supplies from the Iranian government. And while the U.S. military plans to armor all unarmored vehicles as quickly as possible, that mission won’t be accomplished until sometime this summer.

Hoping that the Little Einsteins would make my listening to the Bush conference more of a magic carpet ride than a dance on the deathstar of neocon foreign policy, I eerily thought of “Gimme Shelter”: War, children, it's just a shot away.

Saturday, February 10, 2007



This is the dawning of the age of transparent, alternate realities—the hell with Aquarius, no pun intended. Just take a look at the headlines this week to see why we must rescue ourselves from the “girls gone wild” narrative to focus on what really matters—the Iraq war and how we got ourselves into this mess and how we must get out.

Like a monster from which we can’t liberate ourselves, Iraq slouches into even more chaos, with American soldiers dying, helicopters dropping, and more news about manipulated intelligence de-emphasized. 1, 2, 3: Can we say Downing Street Memo everyone? But in the collective un-consciousness, this real news pales in comparison to the alternate news—girls gone wild.

Shifting our focus away from reality was the story about the grand diva of them all, Mommy Dearest Pelosi who, according to our beloved media, went wild. How dare she demand what her male predecessors routinely requested: a government plane and a non-stop flight home. Whom does she think SHE is? Third in charge? In a desperate attempt of distraction, the mainstream media jumped onto this story quicker than Krystle Carrington jumped onto Alexis in one of their many girl fights. I can almost here the Dynasty theme song ringing in my ears along with the media’s new moniker for Pelosi: bitch.

Pushing us further away from the truth into what the government calls “perception management” was that pathetic feature in Newsweek magazine this week—lo and behold, a feature about girls gone wild. Paris and Britney (dis)graced the cover; meanwhile, in terms of our relations with Iran, all sorts of things may go wild—but that doesn’t REALLY matter. Does it?

In a culture that is so supersaturated with an interest in the female gender, from Desperate Housewives to The Real Housewives of Orange County to Tyra's thoughts on weight, to Hillary’s joke about an evil man, an amazing disparity exists between how much the media fixates on and emphasizes female (mis)behavior compared to how the media turns away from and simply downplays the (mis)behavior of men. Take, for instance, Captain Lieberman’s insane request this week for a war tax. And Captain Lieberman’s indignant behavior on the senate floor to one of the senate’s long-standing patriarchs: Senator John Warner. You thought Joe was just flipping off us Ned Lamont supporters and CT bloggers? You know he’s become the ultimate madman when he tried to tangle with Senator Warner, not only a veteran of a war but also a veteran of Liz Taylor, the penultimate girl gone extremely wild.

But if you think I’ve gone wild with my “girls gone wild” analysis, just take a look at what’s dominated the news cycle these past 48 hours: Anna Nicole Smith, a girl who went too wild and died. Yes, an untimely death is certainly tragic, but when you take a look at the media’s treatment of this event, you’ve realized that we are a nation who’s gone wild, wildly away from what really matters. Ever since the announcement on Thursday of Smith’s death, the mainstream media has treated this event as “breaking news,” giving it “special coverage” status. The sub-narrative about the paternity of Smith’s 5-month old baby girl has only intensified the story even more; now Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband is claiming to be the father? Wild, very wild.

In a week when the pandora’s box about the build-up to the war—the Scooter Libby Trial/Plamegate narrative—has been opened once again and the expected tensions with Iran have escalated to suggest that there may be a coming war, our beloved media has done what? Focused on the girls gone wild. There is one exception, though: the media left a really wild girl alone who made a complete fool of herself, yet again, this time on the Imus show. Who’s THAT girl? Mary “Cruella” Matalin. Why was SHE left alone, you ask? Perhaps because Mary isn’t just a girl; she’s part of a men’s group that has gone absolutely insane. And I’m not talking about the fact that her cake-up resembles a drag queen’s. Imagine if the media were to focus solely on this group of men? Imagine if the focus were on...what really matters? Wild--I know.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


A TAXING NIGHTMARE: Captain Lieberman

Like a recurring nightmare, Captain Lieberman is back again and scarier than ever. In addition to relying on the tried rhetoric of "if you oppose Bush's plan then you embolden terrorists" (did you get a chance to see his senate floor speech yesterday?), he's now embarking upon a whole new chapter of why so many despise him: a war tax. I kid you not. I feel like we are in the midst of a VERY strange permutation of Cartesian doubt: "I can't believe Captain Lieberman is doing this; he IS doing this."

Saturday, February 03, 2007



The National Intelligence Estimate report that came out yesterday is scary. It confirms that things are rather dreadful in Iraq. But just like American Education, Katrina, our troops and the proper equipment they need, the lead-up to the war, that damning NIE report has been, it seems, left behind. Certainly, Chimpy and his ilk have either not read it or not read it carefully.

But if you don’t do your homework, how would you know anything about this report?
For those interested in learning more, read today’s front page of The New York Times, or better yet, get yourselves over to Drinking Liberally to read a better than Sparknotes overview of things.

This report has been sort of tucked away along with other news; hence, the reason I’m still “channeling” Carol Anne from the other side—check out my "Poltergeist" post below. The media has grown so adept at what to emphasize and what to smokescreen.

This is why we’ve been overexposed to the madwoman-in-the-attic, male fascination with Hillary lately. The New York Post this morning has a picture of Hillary, with fists in the air, and a subtitle reading, “pumping her fists and shouting to the rooftops, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed yesterday to bring an immediate end to the war.” Now I’m not a big Hillary fan, as I’ve criticized her on this blog and others, but can we PULEEZE move beyond the Bertha Mason, hysterical female references? Yes, the media needs them as part of their smokescreen. Even porn-star named Mitt Romney has chimed in with his suggestion yesterday that Hillary is too “timid,” sissy-like in her comments on Iran. Enough is enough, though.

Other non-news to take our eye off the NIE report include the typical stuff about the Super Bowl, which is more than understandable; a headline about why the sea smells; the winners at the professional eating competition, which you’re all dying to know about; and other random kibble and bits, including the latest buzz from the Hollywood set—Kevin Federline, folks, has a Super Bowl commercial.

Meanwhile, for those of us who try to stay wide awake in dreamland, terrible tornadoes ripped through Florida yesterday, and many are dead; at least 95 are dead in a suicide attack in Baghad today, which is more evidence why we shouldn’t send additional troops into what Senator Hagel calls a grinder; and there was serious flooding in Indonesia. In the age of George W. Bush and his “No Child Left Behind,” it seems oddly routine, then, that some news remains in the foreground, and some is, well, left behind.

Lately, I’ve been wondering why W. won’t come to the inevitable conclusion about Iraq: we need a change in course, a complete change, not an adjustment, not an escalation, but an entire new plan. All of his posturing, symbolic gestures like firing Rummy, ignoring all his father’s men—the Iraqi study group, suggest not only a stubbornness to do the obvious but an unwillingness to face what he’s (un)done. In this respect, he’s becoming more and more like Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock, who remains almost trapped in front of his mirror with his behind to everyone else, “etherized” while the world crumbles around him, listening to the people come and go—leave and die—talking of “michaelangelo.”

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Like Carol Anne Freeling, the adorable blond girl from 1982’s Poltergeist, I have had my hands spread across the television screen lately, trying to make sense of the white noise, trying to endure the voices from the dead and undead, struggling with all the fear, uttering ever so terrifyingly: “they’re b a c k.”

It started last week, during the State of Delusion address. Chimpy couldn’t help himself; can he ever? He dealt the ol’ terrorist line better than a drug dealer at the Haight at the height of ‘68. Half way into his speech, a trip down a rabbit hole, Chimpy kept on repeating the words “terrorist,” “attack,” “enemy” as if he really did have a bad acid trip—if only. Foolish me: I thought that “fear factoring” was something of the past; after all, Fear Factor had been cancelled—thank goodness—in September 2006.

But didn’t Chimpy realize that Keith Olberman delivered a special comment on this very topic? Hadn’t he figured out that we now know the parallel between “terrorist” warnings and, let’s say, the effort to suppress real news? Did he not know that the bad “candy-land” inspired terrorist color chart was now comic relief? No. Because like the poltergeist that reached out from Carol Anne’s family’s television to blast a whole in her parent’s bedroom wall, fear factor has been infectiously resurrected this week: version 2007, with a vengeance.

Back and better than ever is Captain Lieberman—a scary monster indeed. Since we must deal with Joe and his shit for 6 more years, dropping acid seems ever more appealing. On Fox News Sunday, interviewed by Bill-Clinton-bitch-slapped Chris Wallace, Captain Lieberman not only threatened to vote for a Republican in the next election, he went on to fear factor by saying, “…the Islamist terrorists who we are fighting don’t distinguish between Americans based on party affiliation. They hate us. They want to kill us.” That-a-boy, Joe; terrify us with your “embolden” the terrorist scary rhetoric. Too bad you haven’t closely looked at the other side: (multiple choice option--pick one) A. the American casualties, B. the record number of Iraqi casualties, C. the millions wasted in Iraq reconstruction, or D. ALL OF THE ABOVE. When it comes to truth checking ol’ fearful, Captain Joe, go with all of the above. They’re back.

Getting jiggy for 2008—a scary image indeed that would make anyone do acid, Chris Matthews and his “vagina dentata” fear of Hillary also hit critical mass this week. We’ve witnessed Matthews’ interest in a Hillary run quickly develop into an OCD fascination, a psychic collage of male frustration, wishful fantasies of being spanked hard by a dominatrix, and an obvious displaced fear of women smarter than he. On Tuesday’s edition of Fearball, Chris dedicated practically an entire show, get this, to Hillary’s joke about evil men and her “pitchy” rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which would make Paula Abdul sober. Fear of Hillary? Fear of women in…positions of power? Who knows? But check out the Hillary segment, the Hillary analysis, the Hillary update on the hour, the Hillary minute—courtesy of the very fearful Mr. Matthews. They’re back.

The 2007 fear factor resurrection washed ashore other scary matters this week, including spirits from American Foreign policy past: Henry “secret-plan-for-exit” Kissinger. Obviously, he still hasn’t recovered from the acid tabs that Grace Slick snuck into the White House a long time ago. Could it have been that Kissinger’s reemergence from the undead was prompted by the real terrorist threat in Britain and the faux terrorist threat in Boston this week—a single shot of semi-real and fake fear? Or maybe the Kissinger crossover was summoned by what many of us feared most: Joe Biden’s big mouth, which, once again hosted his foot along with a racially insensitive remark? THEY ARE BACK!

While I longed to channel Carol Anne Freeling, spreading my hands across the TV screen to combat this terrifying, recurring poltergeist we Americans must confront, courtesy of the Bush administration and a media without a backbone (except Keith Olberman, of course), I wondered about what was unfolding on the other side of reality this week: our soldiers, their heroic efforts, the ground game in Iraq, what the hell is going on with Iran, the Libby trial, the passing of the great Molly Ivins, and much more. Could the other side be what triggered the redux of the fear-inducing poltergeist? Is the other side the reality we Americans must embrace more? How do we Americans break on through? Let’s take a cue from Carol Anne and run to other side where the light is.