Shocking Revelations as Bush "Secret Prisons" Empty

With the Obama administration planning to restore habeas corpus and close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, while Bush factotums scramble for pardons, new photographs have been released of some of the "prisoners without a name, in cells without a number" rounded up by the Bush administration.

Learning to Take "Yes" for an Answer

This is how I plan to dress if I'm ever invited to the White House. So we're sitting at the big table with the grown-ups, and Barack is choosing his cabinet, and pundits I used to think of as intelligent (smarter than a Republican anyway) are already bitching about the choices. Welcome to the difference between bitching and governing, a moral struggle the Grover Nyquists and Gingriches never grappled with at all.

I'm no fan of the Clinton years either (and a digression here to explain why I don't like them would only give the Clintons what they want)but damnit, the only Democrats younger than Clark Clifford who can find the White House washrooms all worked for the Clinton administration. So deal with it. I was going to use a Lyndon Johnson quotation here: "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in," but Sam Donaldson, comfortable millionaire and bloviator, already beat me to it, the cost of my procrastination.

The complaint assumes that a wonk who worked for President Clinton will still follow Clinton-era policies under an Obama administration. In my own small experience with bureaucracies, I've seen teachers and nurses who bitch and moan about policy as a matter of course learn to prosper and produce after a change in administration, like desert plants waiting, begging for the rain. This is a chance to shine.

I asked an acquaintance, a professor of political science with experience in city planning, economic development, and capital budgeting-- hence the only person I know with more than barroom expertise in economics-- what she thought of Obama's picks for dealing with the crisis. Her opinion, mixed with backstage talk from a relative at the Fed, was that the Obama appointments are mildly disappointing, uncontroversial, but probably politically "safe".

I wonder if the so-called "carping from the left" is real, or if this is just another manufactured pissing match invented by columnists who would rather write about sexy conflict than how in the hell we're going to budget the rebuilding of bridges and schools. Me, I'm just happy to exult in feeling that the president is smarter than I am, better organized and hipper than I am, and can be trusted to hire really, really smart and well-intentioned people. Yes, this is me, the perpetual outsider, sighing like a fractious dog who's finally had the thorn removed from his paw.

The challenge for the progressive left has little to do with who's at the top of the agency, except as they affect the climate. Here's the challenge: whether you're interested in housing the homeless or protecting our groundwater or teaching a child the difference between bullshit and biscuits, we are finally in an environment that is friendly towards problem solving instead of actively hostile. What are we going to do in the lame duck session?

How, How Did This Not Sell a Million Copies? Number One in a Series

I like the kitties, though they seem to have wandered in off a popcorn can and more interested in the fringe on her costume than in joining her crime-fighting army of the night.
I blame the haircut. It may have worked for Linda Blair in the 1980's, but did nothing for Adrienne Barbeau in Escape from New York, and it almost certainly doomed Nightcat to only one issue. Of course, the writing and art inside were total crap, even for 1991.

Letters I've Written, Never Meaning to Send

The National Enquirer and Wonkette claim that Cindy McCain was entwined with a man not-her-husband at a Tempe Moody Blues concert.
We cast no stones here. It may be, as one Wonkette reader opined, "Being finger-banged during 'Knights in White Satin' isn’t very First Ladyish"-- but hell, when I was in high school that pretty much defined my love life.

Forrest Ackerman

Forrest Ackerman, ninety-something years old, is fading away in California, body failing but alert as a cricket and taking the greatest joy in messages of affection from unofficial "nieces and nephews" around the world. It isn't too much of an exaggeration to say Mr. Ackerman is one of the people who created and sustained genre fandom, with Famous Monsters of Filmdom one of the cornerstones. I was in the third or fourth grade when I first saw a copy at Steve Noel's house, with the ads for Mole Men masks in the back-- thirty years later, when I saw the cast of Mystery Science Theater wearing those masks, it was like a secret handshake.
Forrest Ackermman must look 'round at the San Diego Comicon with a wild surmise like Balboa on that peak in Darien. He's the Mr. Chips of science fiction, comics, horror and fantasy, and if anyone asks if he has any children, tell them "hundreds and hundreds".
Cards and letters are welcome at:
4511 Russell Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

Dollar Dances for Democrats

Photograph from my online imaginary friend Drusilla, out in San Fransisco. Our secret weapon in fund raising, Dollar Dances for Democrats, sometimes known as Bluenose Backlash.

Election Night

One more thing Sarah Palin doesn't understand; we're not "ashamed to be American", we're embarrassed to share it with people who shoot wolves from planes.
"Vote Early-- Vote Often": In his memoir Groucho and Me, Groucho Marx tells a story about Tammany Hall days, when his father and grandfather, poor immigrant Jews the rest of the year, would dress in their best clothes and be chauffeured down to the Hall for the election. They would come back smoking cigars, with vest pockets full of cigars, one for every time they voted. "Democracy is a great thing, Julius," his grandfather would explain.
Gore Vidal and others are so nervous about electoral fraud, they've posted an open letter calling for Obama to not concede the election.
Pixies friendly to Wonkette have somehow, um, hacked into John McCain's website.
Friends Pat and Bill are tucking in early, Patricia having worn herself to a frazzle stumping for Barry. I suspect it was guilt made her put in an extra day.
Pat was one of the Michigan volunteers selected to receive a personal phone call from the senator thanking her for her efforts, but when she tried putting the call on speaker phone so we could listen in, she accidentally hung up on him. Howls of dismay mixed with semi-hysterical laughter. If Obama concedes Michigan, you know who tipped the scales.
Me, I voted first thing thing this morning (half an hour early, and 20th in line). I had been looking forward to the parties downtown at the Radisson and District 211, or Challie Murphey's, or whatever-the-hell they're calling it. Now I'm tempted to stay in, like New Year's Eve, and watch it all with a cat or two in relative comfort.