Thursday, May 27, 2004

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers
If you haven't read Al Gore's speech at NYU yet, the text is here. It's quite a contrast to the bilgewater George W. Bush spewed out on Monday night--a measured, reasoned case for the utter incompetence of the Bush Administration--and as a result, unlikely to resonate beyond the already convinced, or get much notice from the bought-n-paid-for media. CNN's Judy Woodruff (how does somebody so obviously dim keep a network TV job year after year?) dismissed it yesterday as mere partisan politics sponsored by an anti-Bush group (MoveOn.org, which she didn't mention by name). As I read the transcript, I wondered again--where was this impassioned, hard-hitting Al Gore during the 2000 campaign, the recount battle, and the first year of the Bush Administration?

There's additional heavy reading at Counterpunch this morning, too, with Marc Estrin's review of David Ray Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Griffin disputes nearly every sentence of the official 9/11 storyline, and Estrin observes that the 9/11 Commission's mandate is to make sure it never happens again. Which means that the many unanswered questions about what happened on that day will never be answered at all.

But if all that's too heavy for you, there's a piece by Kurt Vonnegut that's been whizzing around the Internet since being published at In These Times earlier this month. If, like me, you need a periodic fix of Vonnegut's self-described Hoosier shitkicker act, "Cold Turkey" will provide it. But as he's always done, Vonnegut leaves you thinking while you're laughing. He wonders why conservatives who claim to love Jesus so much want the Ten Commandments posted everywhere and not actual words of Jesus, like the Beatitudes. (Could it be that the Beatitudes are all about compassion and connection and not enough about obeying and smiting?) And in two sentences, he condemns us for our failure to feel the often-painful reality of the world in which we live: "One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us."

Lighter still, Eric Idle is the last of the Monty Python troupe still making a living primarily at comedy. He whipped up a little song recently while duck-hunting with a judge, a tribute to the FCC, and he says, "if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars." You can download the MP3 here. It's definitely not safe to listen to at the office.

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