Tom Snyder

I'll miss him. After Cavett was cancelled in 1975, Tom Snyder was the only antidote to Johnny Carson's, and Letterman's, and Leno's approach of Amusing Ourselves to Death. Yeah, this country needs more starlet interviews and more smirking hosts. I still remember him having Alfred Hitchcock on for an entire show at Halloween to tell ghost stories, at least one of which is still scarred on my brain. I remember him asking John Lennon about what was new in music, and Lennon predicting a big future for a sound we'd never heard called "reggae", and Harlan Ellison complaining that when he handed in a Star Trek movie script in which the universe was destroyed, the studio told him "Not Big Enough!".

As easy as he was to parody, with the laugh, and the cigarettes, and his obvious enthusiasm for talking about sex with Nancy Friday, and the other sins that televised flesh is heir to, you always felt Snyder was sincere in his curiosity. He had an endearing ability to laugh at himself and at celebrity culture, even if more people recognized the parody than had ever seen the show.

The blow-dried haircut was of his era, but he had an old-fashioned broadcaster's sense of hanging out with the old timers like Murrow and Red Barber and the rest of the journeyman. A guy who knew him remembers that Snyder celebrated his first power lunch with the big network brass in 1972 at Cassell's Hamburgers in Koreatown. He never pretended the studio furniture was anything other than foamboard and pretty colors, and for every television actor interview skipped over, there was Harlan Ellison and Ken Kesey and Joan Jett (for men of a certain age, everybody's favorite Girl You Know Would Be Bad For You) and Hitchcock and the Ramones, Sam Ervin, and the rest of the Watergate figures (and on the dark nutball, shudder-provoking side, Charles Manson and Ayn Rand and Timothy Leary).

Harlan Ellison:

Ken Kesey, Jerry Garcia, et al:

The great animator Ward Kimball:

Ingmar Bergman Passes

Ingmar Bergman passed away last night. He was 89. There were still small art house theatres in Coloma, Kamazoo and Grand Rapids when I first saw Cries and Whispers, The Seventh Seal, Virgin Spring and my favorite, Fanny and Alexander. His film of The Magic Flute put me to sleep, not because it was dull but because I'd just worked two midnight shifts without sleep and the pretty music and the images entered my dreams.

Fanny and Alexander showed me a film with as many different textures as a novel. Cries and Whispers looks like an Edvard Munch block print brought to life. Virgin Spring is as disturbing as Rorschach's Journal in Watchmen and tells some of the same secrets that might not be good for you.

When I despair in teaching, or more commonly, want to give up on a personal writing project, there's something Bergman said about adding one little stone to the cathedral that makes me get up and go back to chip, chip, chipping away. I've had a paperback script of the Seventh Seal on my shelf for more than thirty years now, given me as a birthday present by the late Dave Pschigoda, and now that I want to quote from the introduction, I find I've given it to Jef Burnham. This is right and proper in the scheme of transmitting civilization, but a damn nuisance when you want to quote something exactly and Jef's still asleep in Chicago. Happily, someone quoted it online:

"There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by lighting and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuilt the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed - master builders, artists, laborers, clowns, noblemen, priests, burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres.
Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon's head, an angel, a devil - or perhaps a saint - out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction that counts. regardless of whether I believe or not; whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of a cathedral."

My Impeachment Letter, Mark One: "Every little bit helps." said the mouse, as he peed in the ocean...

John Conyers over in the 14th Michigan District says he would consider House impeachment proceedings if he had three more Congressmen ask him to do so. There are Democratic operatives so mercenary as to put impeachment off the table in order to have Bush as a punching bag in 2008. There's a lot of exhaustion from being run ragged by the patented Rove Truth-Is-What-I Make-It Machine, a feeling that impeachment wouldn't be worth the time and money spent over the next year and six months. (While we're being honest, if we start pulling troops out of Iraq today, it will still be more than a year before we're out... and thirty years before the Supreme Court shifts.)

Kalamazoo, a little island of progressive politics in Southwest Michigan, is outvoted by five other more conservative counties in the 6th Congressional District. We are "represented" by Republican Fred Upton of the Whirlpool Uptons, who blessedly avoids making a fool of himself on the national airwaves, stays in office by voting the party line, keeping the Dutch-German farmers indifferent and mollifying the Dick Cheney Republicans of Portage. Mostly he stays under the radar and doesn't piss anybody off. Fred voted to impeach the dastardly Clinton, but wouldn't vote for impeachment now if you caught Cheney with his arm up a live boy or a dead girl. What the hell, I wrote him a letter anyway:

Hon. Fred Upton
Washington D.C. Office
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

In 1988, you voted for the impeachment of William Clinton on what I presume were well-considered, lawful reasons. I am writing you today to urge the same level of patriotism and regard for our country as regards the impeachment of Vice-President Richard Cheney, and the possible impeachment of President George W. Bush.

I am sure you are all too well acquainted with the domestic complaints against both the President and Vice-President. These might be debated point by point, and I suspect you and I would fall on different sides of the same issues.

However, both sides of the political aisle must acknowledge the extralegal actions of Vice-President Richard Cheney and President George W. Bush as regards the president’s role as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, and the appropriation of unrestrained power by Vice President Cheney. It seems clear from both the public and private record that the leaders of this administration have presumed imperial powers as regards making war and the expenditure of lives and treasure.

These constitute high crimes, misdemeanors, and abuse of Constitutional authority. The Constitution, Sir, is not going to defend itself. It is your unfortunate duty, thrust upon us by time and circumstance, to acknowledge these extraordinary circumstances and to vote for articles of impeachment when they are brought up by the House Judiciary Committee.


It's Not About the Fired Attorneys; It Was About Stealing the 2004 Election

Does anyone else think Alberto Gonzales looks like the young Peter Lorre in M? Or the unctuous "Dr. Einstein" in Arsenic and Old Lace?

Gregory Palast, the BBC and PBS Now are tracking a Republican program that used junk mail to challenge, delay and block likely Democratic voters in Ohio and Florida. The program was also used to challenge black university students and oops, keep active duty servicemen from voting in 2004. The GOP sent thousand of pieces of junk mail to registered voters in black neighborhoods, marked "Do Not Forward", and then used the undelivered mail to challenge the addressee on Election Day 2004. This included mail to students at their (predominantly black) college addresses in August, and soldiers who had left for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who ran it, and how high did it go? A person of interest is Tim Griffin, chief of communications for the Bush-Cheney campaign and protege of the lovely and talented Karl Rove, who was appointed US Attorney for Arkansas but then conveniently resigned two hours after John Conyers asked the BBC to send him the documentation for its story.

The popular press still hasn't picked this up. They're still focused on the simpler storyline of Alberto Gonzales as clumsy liar-- but this is the big story, the thread that leads into our generation's surrender to corruption. This is what I think Conyers, Leahy and Spector-- and Kennedy, on the Senate end-- are tugging at like crabgrass.

Commonplace Book: Readings, Mid-July 2007

“The coat colour of mammoths that roamed the Earth thousands of years ago has been determined by scientists.
Some of the curly tusked animals would have sported dark brown coats, while others had pale ginger or blond hair. The information was extracted from a 43,000-year-old woolly mammoth bone from Siberia using the latest genetic techniques.”
(The BBC)

“We do not mean the physical differences, more the fact that [girls] remain unimpressed by your mastery of a game involving wizards, or your understanding of Morse Code. Some will be impressed, of course, but as a general rule, girls do not get quite as excited by the use of urine as a secret ink as boys do.”
(The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden)

McCullough said that the problem starts with the training that teachers receive. "Too many have degrees in education," he said, "and don't really know the subject they are teaching."
"It is impossible to love a subject you don't know," he said, "and without a passion for history, the teaching of history becomes a matter of rote learning and drudgery."
Without personal knowledge of history and enthusiasm for the subject, "you're much more dependent on the textbook," and, with rare exceptions -- he mentioned the great one-volume American history text by Daniel Boorstin, the late librarian of Congress -- "you read these texts and ask yourself, 'Are they assigned as punishment?'
(David McCullough testifying before Congress regarding the teaching of History in American schools)

“In their book, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression, Peter Stallybrass and Allon White write a great deal about representations of the body. Citing Bakhtin, they discuss the difference between the body as represented in popular festivals (low culture) and classic statuary (high culture). The high culture body "has no openings or orifices whereas grotesque costumes and masks emphasize the gaping mouth, the protuberant belly and buttocks, the feet and the genitals (Stallybrass and White, 22). The classical body is a perfect closed system, unsullied by the world around it. It is pure and self-contained, whereas the grotesque body with its various orifices and protrusions is constantly excreting or consuming.”
(William Meyer)

“We all, broadly, adhere to the same principles of what a man should cover up. But it goes without saying that there are massive cultural differences in what is considered decent for a woman. And it ought to go without saying that the more repressive a culture is, the more it restricts its womenfolk, the more clothing it requires them to wear.... Nose, faces, ankles, we can all agree on. Decolletage, all of a sudden, seems to be a battleground.... It seems to me that cleavage perfectly bifurcates the old and new misogyny. Old school feminism doesn't allow decolletage, new school feminism requires it - or at the very least, requires us to defend it. Maybe we could bridge this by showing one at a time.”
(Zoe Williams in the UK Guardian)

How Hello Kitty Commodifies the Cute, Cool and Camp: 'Consumutopia' versus 'Control' in Japan

“Asked about Hello Kitty, respondents judged those interested in this 'character good' within a framework of freedom/self-autonomy versus coercion/compulsion. The former is associated with what may be termed 'consumutopia' (a counter-presence to mundane reality fueled by late capitalism, pop culture industry, consumerism), while the latter is connected to 'control', a critical view of self/collective relations that also comments on Japanese ethno-identity. Hello Kitty also demonstrates the need to focus not just on different tastes within a society, but also on ambiguous and diverse attitudes within the same individual. Such diversity allows Sanrio, Hello Kitty's maker, to link within one individual different modes of self-presentation, chronologically corresponding to girlhood ('cute'), female adolescence ('cool'), and womanhood ('camp'). Thus, as people mature, appeals to nostalgia encourage a reconnection with the past by buying products united by one leitmotif; same commodity, same individual, different ages/tastes/styles/desires.”
(Brian McVeigh , Tôyô Gakuan University, Japan in the Journal of Material Culture, Vol. 5, No. 2, 225-245 (2000)

“Going into Iraq was, in effect, punching our fist into the largest hornet’s nest in the world.”
(David Halberstam)

“In a world where darn near every corporation known to man wants to tie in to the children, teen-ager and 18-34 male categories more than anything else in the world (only could explain the baby driving sketch commercials that British Petroleum is running, eh?), the comic book industry seems to be going away from them, and I'm not even sure if they know why.”
(posted by “miyaa” on the blog philosophical snarks, on the increasing sexualization of female characters and dearth of comics for younger readers.)

“...The Walter Mondale fiasco in the mid-eighties prompted a few shrewd Washington insiders to create the notorious “pro-business” political formula of the Democratic Leadership Council, which sought to end the party’s dependence upon labor money by announcing a new willingness to sell out on financial issues in exchange for support from Wall Street. Once the DLC’s financial strategy helped get Bill Clinton elected, no one in Washington ever again bothered to question the wisdom of the political compromises it required.

“Within a decade, the process was automatic – Citibank gives money to Tom Daschle, Tom Daschle crafts the hideous Bankruptcy Bill, and suddenly the Midwestern union member who was laid off in the wake of Democrat-passed NAFTA can’t even declare bankruptcy to get out from the credit card debt he incurred in his unemployment. He will now probably suck eggs for the rest of his life, paying off credit card debt year after year at a snail’s pace while working as a non-union butcher in a Wal-Mart in Butte. Royally screwed twice by the Democratic Party he voted for, he will almost certainly decide to vote Republican the first time he opens up the door to find four pimply college students wearing I READ BANNED BOOKS t-shirts taking up a collection to agitate for dolphin-safe tuna.”

What Would the Billy Goat Do?

We have within the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field a real moral dilemma: if the much-despised Barry Bonds were to hit a historic home run into the Bleacher Bums at Wrigley Field, would you throw it back at the son-of-a-bitch, as is usually the case? Or keep it and take the money?


Who lost Iraq? Why, you did, you cowardly terrorist-loving liberal traitor. We would have won if you'd supported the invasion from the beginning. It's your fault, you and that quisling appeasement Congress, undermining our Commander-in-Chief and deserting our brave men and women in harm's way.

I am expecting another attack on the continental US-- I refuse to use that Nazi phrase, "the Homeland"-- but not for any of the administration's fearmongering reasons. I think it's going to happen because Bush has INCREASED al-Qaeda membership faster than the Marines can kill 'em. As far as I can tell, the only candidates to say these honest but forbidden words are Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Every politician who accuses war opponents of supporting al-Qaeda should be immediately confronted with the unpleasant facts about just who has been strengthening al-Qaeda for the past five years.

I wish the the neocons and the terrorists were better shots, and would only kill each other, leaving the world a better place, but a lot of innocent people are going to die again, both here and in the poorly aimed retaliation overseas.

Most infuriating of all, Bush and company won't take the blame for enabling the next attack-- they'll blame you and me, the opponents of the war, for emboldening the terrorists. It's Michael Moore's fault that we lost in Iraq, for not supporting the invasion from the get go; it's Cindy Sheehan's fault for undermining our troops. It's Congress' fault for not spending another 3,000 lives.

Al-Qaeda, in the meantime, are as happy as pigs in shit with the war in Iraq. An attack on U.S. soil will inspire more repression, which will provoke resentment, which will incite rebellion, which will lead to more repression, which will... It's working for them in Pakistan, it works in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, they've opened new training facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan-- five bucks says somewhere in Osama's secret lair, there's a sign posted over the desk that says LET GEORGE DO IT.

They Won't Quit. They CAN'T Quit.

So the Senate's going to pull an all nighter; it seems the least they can do, considering the sleepless nights imposed on Iraquis and the untenable position of our troops. The Democrats proposed a pull out starting in 120 days. The Republicans threatened a filibuster. The Democrats, in a bit of jiu jitu, said, fine,let’s sit up all night and talk about it.

The Texans think this is silly, a "slumber party": aid and comfort to the enemy, support our troops, wait until September, you know the drill. Does anyone else feel that the Arabs and the Texans truly deserve each other? The odious Lieberman, standing tall with Mitch McConnell and McCain, thinks this is a terrible idea, all this fussin', 'sides, all this commotion might upset Marse' George. At least one of the soldiers thinks the members of Congress ought to serve a rotation: "they don't have to do anything, they just come hang out with me and go home at the times I go home, and come stay here 15 months with me." Update: The timetable didn't get the 60 votes needed to pass, but it did win 52 votes, up from 39 votes a non-binding withdrawl resolution got last year.

John Mc Cain, bless his heart, keeps talkin’ ‘bout the "chaos": “Failure will lead to chaos, withdrawal will lead to chaos.... I believe that a withdrawal, or a date for withdrawal, will lead to chaos in the region.” The chaos is already here, John. They've already followed us home: George Bush's invasion of Iraq was a recruiting bonanza for al-Qaeda. Sigh... always the last to know.

Carl Levin, one of our senators from Michigan since forever, just wants this open-ended commitment to end: "What we have is a glass called Iraq that has a hole in the bottom, and whatever we put into Iraq, goes right through that hole." I've been puzzled by the dead enders like William Kristol or the mad monk Norman Podhoretz . I'm infuriated by the administration's willingness to keep throwing good lives after bad.

But they will not, they cannot, stop the war in Iraq. All the twenty-years olds in the world will not be enough to feed that maw. To quit would be to admit that everything they've done, and the dollars and the lives they spent, were a waste. We will be in this war until the grownups take the wheel away from the crazies, and then for the next thirty years, Bush and Kristol and the rest will blame the grownups for "losing" Iraq, because we weren't willing to spend a thousand lives more.


Came across this picture of Moms Mabley (Loretta Mary Aiken) at the UN, setting Castro and Nikita Khruschev straight (and Johnson and Nixon too-- she died in 1975), and it made me miss her. Got to looking around on YouTube to see if there were any recordings available, and found some posted by a fellow calling himself riesen2b, blessings be upon him (some Redd Foxx, too).

Wolf Kills Are Good for Other Living Things; Beaver Population Up 10%

Certain unreported events in the natural world have at least as much effect on my spiritual well-being as the solipsistic concerns of the cannibals in Washington or the public masturbators in Los Angeles. With 22 minutes to describe reality, Katie Couric thinks that I give a shit whether Senator Fred Thompson is still dating Lorrie Morgan. The local "news" broadcast in Kalamazoo includes movie clips and "Survivor" updates. Everyone except Mika Brzezinski insists on telling me the affairs of a drunken heiress I've never met. The networks keep entertaining themselves, their audience share is mysteriously dropping, we have a talking chimp for a president, and children want to be celebrities instead of doctors or firemen.

This might be why Thoreau tells us to read not the times, but the eternities. The BBC, NPR and the Daily Show keep me informed of human affairs, leaving us sadder and afraid but not wiser. CBS' Sunday Morning broadcast is one of the few to acknowledge a larger reality outside our concerns, by broadcasting nature scenes every week without narration. This is a blessing to us all, and might restore the nation if practiced more widely. Dick Cheney grunts and frets his hour upon the stage, and we all pray for a defective microwave-- but meanwhile, in spite of his efforts, grizzlies go on fishing in a river somewhere with the water rushing past them and neither gives a shit about Donald Trump. Honeybee hive collapse is an important story. Tuvalu sinking is an important story. Ask me for local news, and I'll tell you about the feral cat in my backyard, the raccoon family schedule, or the osprey I saw taking a fish in the Allegan forest.

Anderson Cooper continues to score points around here by including regular reports on animals: not just the stars of the moment, like Butterstick the DC panda or Knute the polar bear, but endangered animals in Bangkok markets and stray dogs in New Orleans. The video clip here includes an unexpected side effect (unexpected by me, anyway) from the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone. Wolves keep elk on their toes; with a big predator in the area, elk don't eat up all the young willow and birch. More willow stands, more cover for smaller wildlife of all kinds, and an increase in the number of beaver families that keep the landscape engineered and irrigated-- and I do love the beavers.

I heard about a Sicilian immigrant who thought that the woods around his daughter's house weren't really a forest until the arrival of a black bear in the neighborhood: now the patch of trees had attained wildness, some of the ancient magic. For some people it's wolves or cougars. For me it's the arrival of beavers and all that they represent in a happy landscape. News comes from New York City that an adolescent beaver has started building in the Bronx, the first beaver on John Jacob Astor's island in more than 200 years.

Senator, Sycophant, Apologist, Torture Victim, Keating Five Member, Campaign Reformer, Flatterer of Princes

I puzzled over John McCain's smile, until I realized why it seems so familiar: that's William B. Williams, John Candy's show business sycophant from The Sammy Maudlin Show on SCTV. Are these new friends, Falwell and Bush and Rove, what three generations of his family fought for?

Now McCain's campaign is in trouble and the "Straight Talk Express", a creation of journalists' wishful thinking, is reduced to a tatty carnival.

He might have been a happier man if, instead of becoming an apologist for some of the worst people in America, he had remembered the words attributed to Hollywood writer Henry Slesar: "Success in Hollywood is like climbing to the top of a mountain of manure to pluck one perfect rose-- only to discover that you've lost your sense of smell."


Here are the gory details, the supporting documents for the impeachment of Vice-President Richard Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Dennis Kucinich has been dismissed by the media as a "fringe" candidate of the loony left, even though this action is eminently sane compared with the prevarications of the Congressional leadership. I myself have called him a "vegetarian vampire" and considered him too twee for the blue collar vote, even though his support for polka and kielbassa (and cute third wife) should prove his bona fides as a populist, when compared with Bush's playing cowboy on a hastily remodeled pig farm with a manslaughter suspect.

So far these 14 Representatives support H. R. 333, Articles of Impeachment Against Dick Cheney:
Yvette Clarke
William Lacy Clay
Keith Ellison
Bob Filner
Jesse Jackson Jr.
Hank Johnson
Dennis Kucinich
Barbara Lee
Jim McDermott
Jim Moran
Jan Schakowsky
Maxine Waters
Lynn Woolsey
Albert Wynn

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's phone number is (202) 225-0100, but as the daughter of a Baltimore politician, she thinks impeachment a waste of time . The House Judiciary Committee can be contacted here.


PRINCETON, NJ–According to the latest Gallup Poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday of this week, nearly three out of four Americans can no longer believe this shit.
(The Onion)

"It's very interesting to me that some ex-communists in the Labour party have been able to shift from Stalin to Blair and it hasn't been much of a shift... the shift from Stalin to Blair is a minor adjustment."
(Tony Benn)

“Like most premodern societies, the Maya conceived of history not as the linear passage of time but as a series of cycles — they called them “world age cycles” — that would repeat over and over. To capture these cycles, the Maya employed what scholars call the long-count calendar, a five-unit computational system extending forward and backward from their mythical creation day, which is calculated to have fallen on either Aug. 11, 3114 B.C. or Aug. 13, 3114 B.C. All the current hoopla is due to the mathematical fact that the current world-age cycle on the long count, which began in Aug. 3114 B.C., is about to reach its end, 5,126 years later, on a date given in scholarly notation as — which falls, not quite exactly, on Dec. 21, 2012.”
(Benjamin Anastas, on what’s inspired current millennial fever among “New Age” personalities )


“There is a huge trapdoor waiting to open under anyone who is critical of so-called "popular culture" or (to redefine this subject) anyone who is uneasy about the systematic, massified cretinization of the major media. If you denounce the excess coverage, you are yourself adding to the excess. If you show even a slight knowledge of the topic, you betray an interest in something that you wish to denounce as unimportant or irrelevant. Some writers try to have this both ways, by making their columns both "relevant" and "contemporary" while still manifesting their self-evident superiority. Thus—I paraphrase only slightly— ‘Even as we all obsess about Paris Hilton, the people of Darfur continue to die.’"
(Christopher Hitchens)

Do Rome and Carthage know what we deny?
Death only throws fixed dice, and yet we raise
the ante, and stake our lives on every toss.
(Robert Lowell, "The Ruins of Time")

“It's a little-studied chapter of Reagan's career, but perhaps the most formative. As chronicled in Thomas Evans's The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years and the Untold Story of His Conversion to Conservatism, Reagan was employed by GE first as a spokesman and later as a kind of employer-to-employee ambassador. With management facing a restive labor force, an obscure PR guru named Lemuel Boulware hatched the idea of using the emerging techniques of public relations to turn factory-line workers against their own unions. Reagan would be the vessel for this message, and it was in the hours he spent propagandizing the working class about the benefits of free markets that he forged the distinctive Reagan appeal: hard-right economics delivered in the sunny cadence of an amiable uncle.”
(Christopher Hayes)

“Lucidity is the wound closest to the sun.”
(Rene Char)

“... Most women didn’t know how to interpret the wildness of men... These women weren’t looking for danger, they were looking for the alpha male. They were looking for the guy who would subdue the other males, rule the pack. The man with initiative, drive, a will to power. The trouble was, civilized men didn’t express their drive the same way the brutes did, and a lot of women never caught on to that. They saw the masculine display, the casual violence, and thought they were seeing just what the estrous baboon wanted. What they got was another baboon. While the real men, the kind who built things that lasted, who cared for those under their protection, those men had to search long and hard for a woman who would value them.”
(Orson Scott Card, Homebody)


“’Sukeban Deka’– literally translated as ‘Juvenile Delinquent Girl Detective’–is essentially the Japanese version of ‘21 Jump Street’, except that instead of sending Johnny Depp to high school to deal with teen pregnancy, it’s about the Dark Director recruiting a teenage girl to battle sinister high school-based terrorism by beating the living hell out of people with a huge metal yo-yo. It is, therefore, infinitely superior.
(Chris’ Invincible Super Blog)


A lot of the right wing's agenda seems inspired by resentment, and one of the things they resented the most was the Supreme Court tenure of Earl Warren. In their mythology, this was when the country went astray socially, just as the focus on economic rights under Teddy and Roosevelt era took us down the wrong path economically.

Nixon couldn't do it, Reagan did his best, and now a presidential popinjay has creamed the impossible dream. This is what the appointment of Justice Roberts and Alito has finally accomplished for the far right: a reversal of the Warren Court in all its rulings for 2007, steering the rights of uppity poor people back to sometime between 1955 and 1969.

I might say, "we ain't going", but these days everybody's afraid of losing their jobs and their health care if they stand up for themselves. Society is so stratified, high from low, with the greatest inequality since 1928, that the Justices, with the exception of Ginsberg and Souter, simply do not see a problem from the height of the social circles in which they dwell, or in the case of Scalia and Thomas, the insulation of their self-regard. Justice Kennedy is the swing vote now instead of Sandra Day O'Conner, and he dwells in the middle of that road where Jim Hightower observed there ain't nothing but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.

I Now Have an Answer for That Question, "If You Had a Time Machine..."

I have never regretted my escape from childhood until this moment: Shelly Fabares and Barbara Eden on a beach blanket together in 1964. Oh, to be nine years old again, or 19 years old in 1964...


"Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man." Dick Cheney regarding Lewis "Scooter" Libby, June 5, 2007.

No surprise here that Libby was pardoned, and lest we get too sanctimonious, let's not forget the Clinton pardons for Bill's brother Roger and Hillary's brother Hugh. I won't waste my breath sputtering over the pardon, which is of course scandalous. More interesting is whether this pardon sparks a debate over our two-tier justice system, or a great national shrug. It's not as if Bush's standing can get any lower in the polls, and it's not as if Congress is actually going to impeach anyone over this.

The people in charge of the Democratic party now belong, for the most part, to the same social class as the Republicans. And although the poorest among us have things a tiny bit easier under Democratic administrations, that social class doesn't do Hard Time unless one of them is caught with a dead girl or a live boy,

In a better world, we would see a presidential candidate using the Libby pardon to talk about the forgotten men in prison. If there are 2 million Americans in prison, that's a city as big as Houston or Chicago. And in the best of all possible worlds, we will have no more public sanctimony about the American justice system, unless we're talking about what it MIGHT be.

What Muppet Are You?

You are Scooter.
You are a loyal, hardworking person, better known
as a doormat.

Going for stuff.
"Go For Broke!"

"15 seconds to showtime."

"300 New Ways to Get Your Uncle to Get You a
Better Job "

Coffee, clipboard, and Very Special Guest Stars.

How Mississippi John Hurt Stole Music

TWILIGHT TALES TONIGHT: "Better to be Loved Than Feared"

Fantasy, science fiction, horror and detective fiction by members of the Twilight Tales Writers Group.
Open Mic for July at the Red Lion Pub, in Chicago, at 2446 North Lincoln Avenue, starting at 7:30pm, 20 minutes for fiction, 10 minutes for poetry.

I'll be reading a complete crime story, "Better to be Loved Than Feared". A social reformer discovers that the reason for his success in city government is due to a serial killer protegee who takes Machiavelli just a little too much to heart.

Read about the Twilight Tales Writers' Group here, the only literary group in the Great Lakes Region that would have me as a member!