Sunday, December 31, 2006


"The time has come, the walrus said, "to [cease] talk[ing] of many things." At least, this blog must now go the way of the passenger pigeon where the woodbine twineth.

In order to seize on certain linguistico-artisanical possibilities that have been stubbornly lying fallow within the keyboard, Br'er Slangwhanger has to shut up this particular shop. Accordingly, as the sun sets in the west we wish the fine natives of Lower and Upper Bloggovia a fond farewell and set sail for greener fields and pastures new.

Occasional public snark will still emanate as Br'er Slangwhanger finds it impossible not to comment at Wonkette's fine online slangatorium and marching society. And an old and dear friend of his will show up from time to time at the stalwart print-and-online midwestern leftist thought-emporium called The Progressive Populist.

With a year's blogging behind him, the Slangwhanger-in-Chief would like to thank those who have accompanied him across the frozen ASCII tundra, through the fetid jungles of HTML, and beneath the purple majesties of the "series of tubes" that are the internets. Without you, none of this would have been necessary.

The number of mixed metaphors herein may strike purists among you as excessive. The humble, heartfelt reply is, "They were deliberate." No point composing a farewell message if you can't play with the form. The opportunities are so few they had best be taken full advantage of.

One final plea of advocacy: help draft Al Gore. More here!

And may the deity at hand drop great gobs of good things on all who have sailed herein.

Ah has spoken.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Seasonal Jollility

When going to the grocery store on Christmas Eve Eve, the Macbeth rule is apt: "If 'twere done, 'twere well if 'twere done quickly." Hence an unaccustomed 8:30AM trip today. The failure of the store muzak to play the following seasonal song is lamentable.

Walt Kelly (1963)

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker n' too-da-loo!
Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!

Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloup, 'lope with you!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarum bung-a-loo!

Duck us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an' Polly Voo!
Chilly Filly's name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, Woof, Woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, Goof, Goof!

Tickle salty boss anchovie
Wash a wash a wall Anna Kangaroo
Ducky allus bows to Polly,
Prolly Wally would but har'ly do!

Dock us all a bowsprit, Solly --
Golly, Solly's cold and so's ol' Lou!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Deathwatch 2006

The AP reports 2,949 US military dead in Iraq to 12/18. With only thirteen more killing days left before the end of 2006, it will take 3.92 soldier deaths per day to hit 3,000.

Now, we (these United States) are fully capable of doing our part. We have doomed them with crackpot, juvenile civilian leadership. We have sent them over there with insufficient body armor. We have extended their tours of duty so fatigue and despair may have their chances to add to the toll of violence. And we have staked our Army out where homemade weapons delivered by men on foot can damage the highest-tech equipment and the lowest-tech bodies.

But can we expect the Iraqi insurgents to do enough to meet the goal of 3,000 American dead by 12/31? Are they organized enough and dedicated enough to kill 51 more men and women out of the 140,000 soldiers in 112 US brigades engaged in combat?

Let's look at the record. One hundred three US deaths in October. Seventy-six in November. And fifty-six to a date in December not given by the casualty-counters over at Global Security.

So on a crude measurement, if the Iraqis can perform up to their October standard there is no doubt the count will reach 3,000 by the end of the year, but if they backslide to November's rate the count will fall short.

Now some either humorless or otherwise overly solemn speedreaders are likely to conclude that I am somehow dishonoring our serving men and women by adopting the breezy, jocular tone with which this diary has striven to entertain you. Or that I am not taking these deaths seriously. Or that in some fundamental way, differing from their fundamental way, I just don't get it.

Pshaw, pshaw, I say unto you. I am incandescent with rage over every one of the almost 3,000 admitted US deaths, not to mention the tens of thousands of US wounded and their disrupted families, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, wounded, displaced or exiled. And the only way I can find to highlight the appalling, dismal, disreputable, disgusting, demeaning, disgraceful and wretched hideousness of all this death and suffering is by using the tiny tools of humor God gave me. I don't feel like getting a heart attack from trying to express the justifiable anger I bear toward those who started, fomented, supported, and, most importantly, failed to speak up against and resist this idiot war. And yes, I do mean you, Hillary Clinton and the Washington Post.

Let's hear it for six years of the Bush Administration, twelve years of the Republican Congress, endless Democratic pusillanimity and almost four years of useless war: you've broken the US military, committed war crimes hand over fist and besmirched the name of America. These almost 3,000 dead patriots and their families did not deserve to be exploited by slime such as this Administration and their allies among the 101st Chairborne Fighting Keyboardists. In fact, they did not even deserve to die.

If we do hit 3,000 US military dead by New Years' Eve, let us not mourn a meaningless total. Let us mourn each individual life snuffed out on the bloody but gaudy imperial altar. And resolve to stop the carnage without fail and without delay.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

A Tasty Speculation

One of the Slangwhanger-in-Chief's old colleagues from the McCarthy campaigns and at the Progressive Populist has knocked the ball out of the park with a charming fantasy about the removal of the pustulous Dick Cheney from office. With insufficient regard for the copyright law, it is reprinted here.
Cheney Riding for Fall?
by James McCarty Yeager

Turns out I can't exactly source my third-favorite LBJ story. The other two I'm sure about. One comes from Gene McCarthy and the other from Hunter S. Thompson. But those are for other occasions.

This one came to me from a guy supposedly on the elevator at the time who told my friend, but damn if I can remember who. Might have been either longtime Houston liberal lawyers Ed Cogburn or Marc Grossberg, or one of the Texas Observer people.

Seems Lyndon had been working on Mr. Justice Arthur Goldberg to resign from the Supreme Court so he could appoint one of his bagmen to the job instead. Offered to swap Goldberg the United Nations ambassadorship.

Right. A lifetime super-substantive job with the most comfortable chair in the imperial capital traded for a temporary seat in a cosmetically-relevant American satrapy in the cold winds by the East River.

Goldberg, no dummy but afflicted with loyalty, resisted Lyndon's blandishments with increasing anguish. And to Lyndon, the attractive part of persuasion was captured by the Rolling Stones in their anthem, "Under My Thumb." He got off on domination.

Lyndon worked on him and worked on him and worked on him. Nothing. So Lyndon decided to go nuclear.

Had a way of hauling people along with him on his route to somewhere else. When he couldn't feed his phone fetish in those pre-cellular days he had to always be conversing somehow. So he quasi-casually invited Goldberg to ride along with him while he ran over to the State Department for something.

Thus Goldberg's in the gaggle along with the president; they go up to see Rusk or somebody; then they're coming down in the elevator, Lyndon, Goldberg, my informant's informant and whoever was the body man that day. Maybe Moyers.

Lyndon turns to Goldberg in the elevator and grips him by the elbow and looks him in the eye from about three inches away and says, "Arthur, there are boys dying over there in Vietnam right this minute for their President. I need your help just like I need theirs. Now, all I want you to do is, when we get off this elevator there's a press conference called where I'm going to announce you've accepted the nomination to the United Nations. Are you going to let me and those boys down?"

Whew. Struck breathless, Goldberg can't say a mumbling word. The elevator door opens and they stride out and the rest is history.

In current presidential history, Bush Minor is too shallow for persuasion, too unsubtle for domination. What he likes is having the fix put in for so long in advance that he thinks nobody's going to notice it's been fixed. Like being a Yale legacy, or being let into and then skipping out on the National Guard.

So when Bush finally realizes he needs to persuade Cheney to leave for the good of the country, it will be done an entirely different way. But rest assured Cheney's defrocking cannot fail to reveal the kind of sly idiocy this administration customarily mistakes for fancy footwork.

About the best thing Bush can do to appear to refurbish his pluperfect irrelevance is to dump Cheney and appoint John McCain vice president. Safe move, Senate's already gone Democratic. One less vote isn't going to matter.

McCain's the heir-apparent already. That's his reward for caving into Bush on torture and warrantless wiretapping while giving the dimmer bulbs among the media glare the impression of not having done so.

Cheney's going to have to go as part of the Iraq policy realignment anyway. The one that dare not speak its name. The one that takes until the next presidential term because the situation is so ineffably infundibulated that the best bipartisan military and civilian minds in America will have to take that long to work it out. By comparison, extracting an army in the field from the midst of civil war took Napoleon the better part of four years, and he at least had the merit of being a military genius.

The only real question for now is, do they need to pull a Bill Casey on Cheney or not? Some will recall that new Defense guy Bob Gates was Casey's deputy CIA Director when Casey had a sudden brain aneurysm the day before he was supposed to testify to Congress about linking Reagan to the Iran-Contra scandal of fragrant memory.

Completely unexpected. Nobody had any idea. Why, Casey was in perfect health. Old, but, you know, perfect health. Took one for the Gipper, perhaps.

Well, Cheney's never been in perfect health since his first heart attack, much less his last one. So if he disappeared into an ambulance and failed to emerge vigorously on the other end of the ride nobody, nobody, would be surprised.

It may not come to that. Cheney may prefer to take his dour and impervious self-righteousness back to Wyoming where he can drunkenly shoot endangered species, pollute his ranch, and count his money all he wants.

But there are two kinds of craziness infesting the top of the Bush-Cheney cluster-failure. One of them is Cheney's insistence that he alone interprets the world correctly and anybody who says different is a sissy. The other is Bush's stark operating principle that words have no inherent meaning.

The divorce from reality that these habits of thought engender is so severe that you have to wonder if their practitioners were ever married to actuality at all. Or even went out on dates.

Given the complex psycho-daddy relationship Cheney has with Bush Minor, it is not too far-fetched to think Bush may want to remove Cheney for non-political reasons too. Remember what the prison shrink says to the condemned murderer Williams in the Lemmon/Matthau remake of The Front Page? The shrink asks Williams to tell him about his youth; Williams says it was wonderful, happy, no tension. "Completely normal childhood." The shrink says, "I see. So you wanted to kill your father and sleep with your mother."

Since we know nobody on the face of God's good earth wants to sleep with Bar, and Poppy still has Secret Service protection, taking out Father-Figure might be the only avenue to psychic relief left for poor little Georgie, especially if he hasn't already started drinking again.

Nobody as frantically concerned with his legacy as Bush is could omit an opportunity to wipe away the appearances of the past and substitute the illusion of progress while, in fact, altering nothing of substance whatsoever. The frat boy who would do anything crude to be the center of attention at parties hasn't changed.

McCain's replacing Cheney. Don't know how, don't know when. But it makes more sense than the war in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich, legislation for sale, or gay Republicans. Oh, but wait. Maybe that's why it won't happen after all. Makes too much sense.

James McCarty Yeager, an original contributing writer to TPP from Washington, D.C., also occasionally appears on Caroline W. Casey's Visionary Activist Show on KPFA-FM Pacifica Radio, Berkeley Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2006

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Southfork on the Potomac

The American genius is not for perpetuation but for exploration. Hence our general disdain for history. A New Yorker cartoon of two svelte Upper East Siders, one protesting to the other, caught our national approach to genealogy best: "But you know people from California have no ancestors!"

The weeping of George the 41st over the disastrous legacy of George the 43rd, sufficient to taint the Bush name to Jeb's future electoral detriment forever, does not permit sympathy for a doomed dynasty. Yet there is an actual dynasty the Bushes most resemble. It is (drumroll, please) the odious Grimaldis of Monaco.

Venal, sleazy, dim but cunning, the Grimaldis resisted every social movement in Europe for a century and ended up with the ultimate gated community: their own kingdom, run by gamblers, offshore bankers and real estate speculators, for whom the Grimaldis cheerfully front while pursuing lives of great personal excess. The late Grace Kelly was perhaps an improvement in the Grimaldi bloodline, being merely shallow, egotistical and sex- and publicity-addicted.

These Bushes are a hazy, alcoholic trailer-trash TV-starer's vision of aristocrats. The country-club squalor exuded by these cheesily-overdressed twits induces antipathetic shuddering even at a distance.

The only one to be pitied is Bobby Koch, the tubbo in the pink bow tie. He'll probably have to work for a living and, being an ugly male whose mom has little he can inherit, he won't be able to evade it on his back like most of his better-endowed cousins.

Oh, the final dynastic similarity? Unlike the substantial Windsors, Bourbons, Romanovs, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns, Adamses, Kennedys or Roosevelts, the Grimaldis and the Bushes are bush league wannabe dynasts at best.

Bush Family Photo President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and former President George H. W. Bush sit surrounded by family in the Red Room.

Also pictured are, from left, Georgia Grace Koch, Margaret Bush, Walker Bush, Marvin Bush, Jenna Bush, Doro Koch, Barbara Bush, Robert P. Koch, Pierce M. Bush, Maria Bush, Neil Bush, Ashley Bush, Sam LeBlond, Robert Koch, Nancy Ellis LeBlond, John Ellis Bush, Jr., Florida Gov. John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, Mandi Bush, George P. Bush, and Columba Bush.

Not pictured: Neil’s Thai whore, ex-wife Noelle and daughter Lauren; George H.W.’s State Department mistress; George W.’s State Department mistress; or 3,293 American servicemen and women dead in Afghanistan and Iraq as of 7 Dec 06.

White House photo by Eric Draper 2005

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

Of all the media sacred cows whose flatulence assails the populace, the editorial board of the Washington Post emits the most consistently repellent methane afflatus. It trades on a reputation for liberalism that does not pass anywhere with a greater population density than Podunk’s. Yet the Post’s local involvement is often even more egregiously wrong-headed than, say, its continuous cheerleading for the US’s Iraq military debacle.

In its defense the Post’s news department doesn’t always succumb to the editorial department’s lines. But the editorial department quite frequently ignores the news. Aside from that systemic failure, specific instances of mis-, mal-, sub- and non-feasance in Post editorials are sufficiently common that they crush anyone still awaiting leftist domination of multimillion dollar organs of public opinion.

Some may say that editorially the Post is at least better than the Washington Times. Unfortunately, such an assertion implies that the Times either values or practices objectivity, fairness, or dedication to any cause other than the greater glory of the Republican party. The Post’s mistakes are at any rate consistently bipartisan. They get both parties wrong whereas, giving color to suspicions of collusion, the Times is always right about the Republicans.

The Post’s latest editorial disfigurement of public discourse (“Without Further Delay,” Tuesday, December 5, 2006; Page A28) comes disguised as a good-government plea. In its plodding, misguided way, however, the Post imagines it is favoring a full vote for one District of Columbia member of the House of Representatives when it would also forever prevent DC’s US Senate representation.

Asking smugly, “Which congressional leader cares to explain why District voters should remain disenfranchised?” the Post also forgets that the 109th Congress’ Republican leadership has long adhered to the line that DC cannot be represented in either House or Senate because that is the way the District was set up 225 years ago. It is an article of Republican faith that, with full legislative power over DC vested in Congress, somehow Congress must not exercise that power in any way other than preventing a commuter tax, preventing DC referenda on legalized marijuana, preventing a needle-exchange program, or preventing DC firearms legislation.

The Post starts off grandly but soon stumbles. “THE PEOPLE of the District of Columbia shouldn't have to wait another minute, let alone another month, to get the full voting representation in government that is their due as Americans.” Only one problem. The DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act (H.R. 5388) does not provide “full voting representation in government.” Full voting representation would be a US House member (based on a 2000 Census population of 600,000) and two US Senators. In addition there would have to be a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Legislature (bi- or unicameral) and whatever other constitutional officers might be provided under the terms of admission as a State. There might even be a City government under the State, if the State decided to create one. But the Post’s use of the term, “full,” to modify “representation,” is obviously one with which the rest of the world is unfamiliar, plainly meaning as it does in this case, “partial.”

DC needs Statehood to achieve proper voting representation. One House member is a degrading and deficient compromise that prevents rather than implements complete political involvement. Remember H.R. 5388 was a Republican compromise intended to protect the party from Democratic Senators. After its inexorable demise while the 109th votes on the vital question of fetal nerve endings, Democrats should not waste any time rescusitating it in the 110th.

Instead, under its otherwise tattered and threadbare Home Rule Charter the existing DC Mayor and Council should boldly act. Receive a petition from their citizens to incorporate (as the Territory of New Columbia) all of DC except a quadrangle surrounding the Capitol, the Mall and the White House. That quadrangle would remain the Federal District. The existing District Government would transfer all its functions and personnel to the Territorial Government. The Territory of New Columbia would then petition Congress for admission as a State.

The current DC Government certainly has the power to receive citizen petitions and to act on them. As long as Congress does not explicitly forbid DC to reorganize as a Territory, it could entertain the subsequent Statehood petition with a clean conscience. Excluding a rump Federal District for both Constitutional and practical reasons (the House and Senate District Committees, not Territorial taxpayers, would have to pay for future police and fire protection within the rump area) makes the scheme not only workable but pleasantly sardonic. Meantime, contributions from a Territorial commuter tax toward permanent funding for Metro operations and Chesapeake Bay cleanup could shame Maryland and Virginia into following the Territory’s fine lead on the two largest, longest-term problems confronting the entire region.

The fight for Statehood would be harsh but would be clearly based on equal justice under the law. As an act of civic consciousness the Territorial Constitution could allow voting only for Territorial officers, leaving the Electoral College to draft Electors if it felt it needed any during the period prior to full Statehood. The fait accompli of Territoriality would change the Statehood discourse forever and avoid the shameful and shoddy minimalism of having just one Congresscritter. The DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act is neither fair nor equal, merely convenient.

--The Slangwhanger-in-Chief has advocated DC Statehood since 1974.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Linguistic Augmentation (No Surgery)

Got you a new composite all-purpose political term. Comes from the otherwise odious Andrew Sullivan, the invariably wonderful and the powerfully snarky Glenn Greenwald.

"Christianist rightards."

Calling 'em "Christianists" is a parallel construction to "Islamists" justified since both have hijacked religion and turned it into a weapon with which to bludgeon the multitudes whom they regard as lost, irredeemable sinners.

Also real brilliant, both of them. "Rightards" does a disservice to the mentally ill everywhere but has a better ring to it than the almost unpronounceable "New Reichght."

So there you have it. Coinages du jour. Spend them well in your discourses henceforth.

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