The IE Smear Continues (And So This Message Is Staying On Top):
The tech problems with the blog on Internet Explorer have returned. While the Rude Pundit tries to get Blogger to fuckin' fix it, there's a couple of things you can do:

1. Hit "Stop" after the page initially loads. It seems to be fine then.
2. Give the finger to Microsoft and download Firefox.
Fucked New Orleans (A Series Without an End):
The awful news from New Orleans just starts to go on like a sickening low-frequency hum: murder, murder, murder, levee fucktardery, FEMA fucktardery, assault, assault, assault. Oh, but one hears that Jazz Fest is awfully fun this year. As long as, you know, you don't get heat stroke, alcohol poisoning, or injured in some way and need to be taken to a hospital. But, hey, all in stride, you know? Laissez les bon temps what the fuck ever.

The Rude Pundit, has been in touch with a New Orleans resident, let's call him "Jean," who describes himself this way: "a middle class, college educated professional, like my fellow friends who have left, are leaving, and in a state of confusion in a place we called home."

And this is how Jean describes New Orleans: "We are tired. Three years and counting. No place to send children to school. A police system ineffective. A hospital system that is no system. A place where leaking sewer and water lines in the streets is normal, as are rats and mice in the streets. A place where it takes 2 years to get electricity back in your house. A place where city blocks for miles after almost 3 years look like Hiroshima, Baghdad, and Haiti, all wrapped up in a blanket of bull...or shit...human shit...a place where shit, debris, mold and mildew are a daily way of life in the streets all over this dying city. And dying it is...with a cancer eating away at the soul of a people defeated. A middle class gone."

Jean, a realtor, deals with that unending hum all the time: "On Friday, 4/27/07, I finally got electricity on one of the apartments that make up my 120 year old house. I had started that process 3 weeks after Katrina hit. The painter did not show up. I still have a bunch of his money, but I am not sure if he skipped town, or got deported. One of his guys showed up while I was reading the paper this morning, sitting on my front stoop, looking at the two houses across the street slowly falling down. This guy never got paid...but hey, he gets the rest of the money if he finishes my house."

His career, of course, is particularly affected by dealing with bureaucracies small and large: "As a realtor, I do Comparative Market Analysis for the State program that has paralysis. I take pictures and figure out what someone's house was before the storm. This info helps the state decide how much money the homeowner will get. Last week they were supposed to process 8000 applications. The contractor I work for never received any applications, so I had no work and people get to wait longer for the chance of a loan or grant for their damaged property."

The exodus of middle class emigrants from New Orleans continues unabated, for, indeed, why live the rest of your short life on this earth hoping for the city to come back? If you can leave, who would blame you? Jean says he knows many people who have left: "An engineer who moved to the other side of the Lake Ponchartrain. An architect/close friend and family moved to Austin permanently. My wife's friends...teachers who have moved to Texas, North Carolina, etc." As for who's moving in, Jean says, "Brazilians, Hondurans, Mexicans, and a hodge podge of professionals from the Northeast." Carpetbaggers and aliens, legal and illegal. Seems like history just repeats itself with New Orleans.

Of course, it didn't have to be this way. Although, that's way too optimistic. Under the Bush administration, of course it had to be this way. Because sometimes a story so stomach-churning and obscene in its meaning crops up, like the article from the Washington Post about how our "government" was turning down millions of dollars in aid from foreign countries in the weeks after Katrina in 2005. This is not to mention that the United States only made the effort to collect $126 million of the $850 million that other countries wanted to give us. The Bush administration delayed so long in getting the cash that other nations just said, "Fuck it" and walked away, or they gave it to the Red Cross. The U.S. declined 54 of 77 offers of aid from, like, Canada. And that included search and rescue teams. Let's not even get into the Caligulan orgy of cash that contractors have engaged in with these funds.

Here's Jean to take us to the end: "I would like to write a book about this place...it would be called, 'It doesn't take a genius.' 99% of the issues with New Orleans can be solved in 1 week, with the right ownership of the troubles, and some follow through. To date, no one is taking responsibility for anything, from the Corps to the Mayor, to the President. As a result, we can guarantee nothing will be done right."


Because It Ought To Be Noted: Rudy Giuliani Looks a Little Too Much Like Count Orlok in Nosferatu:

Let's just let the pictures speak for themselves. No wonder he's been divorced twice. He keeps sucking their salty blood out.


Alberto Gonzales: Adónde el Amor Fue?:
Man, the last time Alberto Gonzales was in the shiny lights so brightly, it was his confirmation hearings way back in 2005. And, sweet Jesus, senators couldn't get enough of touting his Hispanic street cred as a way of saying, "All that torture shit and incomplete and evasive answers? C'mon. Look at him. He's Hispanic. Of course he's sincere and competent." It was a complete non-sequitur then, yet it was used to try to thump Democrats who didn't wanna vote for a naked waterboard-lovin' son of a bitch.

Check it out:
John Cornyn was full of the Gonzales love on January 6, 2005, when he said, ironically, now, in our current context: "Judge Gonzales is truly an inspiration to everyone who still believes in the American dream. And so his nomination as the nation's 80th attorney general -- our first Hispanic attorney general -- should by all accounts have a perfectly happy ending. But that's not necessarily how Washington works."

Here's Arlen Specter: "It is not irrelevant to note that Judge Gonzales would be the first Hispanic attorney general. It has been a long time in coming." It was a veiled threat, daring Democrats to vote against this non-white man.

Orrin Hatch's threat was a great deal more explicit: "I'm chairman of the Republican Senatorial Hispanic Task Force. I know that every Hispanic in America is watching how this man is being treated. The fact that you might differ with somebody is not justification to deprive this person the opportunity to serve, and especially somebody of this quality!" That exclamation point, by the way, is part of the congressional record of January 26, 2005.

Mel Martinez took to the floor of the Senate on February 2, 2005 to say, in Spanish, "Judge Gonzales is one of us. He represents all of our hopes and dreams -- for our children. Let us acknowledge the importance of this moment for – especially our youth. We cannot allow petty politicking to deny us this moment that fills us all with such pride. Let us all support Alberto Gonzales." In neither English nor Spanish has Martinez spoken passionately, or, indeed, at all about Gonzales lately.

Where has all that Republican love gone? Why is no one saying that they're all ganging up on this poor American dream of an Hispanic? Republicans knew from his confused and occasionally painfully incoherent confirmation hearings that he was a liar and Bush's best ball-licker. Christ, then he said he didn't recall shit dozens of times, just like in his latest congressional contempt-fest. They still voted him in (along with some Democrats). But, oh, mighty shift of winds. Now that John McCain has said Gonzales must go, the times, they are a-changin'.

Not that it's gonna happen. Nope. Gonzales ain't goin' anywhere. Why? Two reasons. First, who the hell is Bush gonna appoint? Because, second, they'd have to go through confirmation hearings in these changed times. Can you imagine all the evil and lies that Gonzales knows? What's he gonna do? Pass them on to someone not inside the circle of depravity known as the Bush administration? And, with all the attention on the office, are the Democrats gonna allow another Bush toady into the office?

Gonzo ain't gone. If anything, like the most effective evil manipulators, his chastening has just made him stronger.


George Bush Is Not Light on His Feet:
No, no, you fucker, you do not get to dance. After his speech marking Malaria Awareness Day, George Bush went up on stage with the entertainment, the Kankouran West African Dance Company from DC, and was invited to move a little with them. And the Leader of the Free World, who had declined to make jokes last week at the White House Correspondents' Dinner because of the Virginia Tech massacre, didn't just clap his hands in appreciative pseudo-rhythm. No, he did some vaguely Rovish white frat-boy moves to the music, even pounding the bongos to show how down he was with the troupe. There he was, our goddamned President, shakin' his ass in the Rose Garden, and he may as well have taken a shit at the eternal flame at Arlington.

No, he doesn't get to dance. Not his stupid mock-native dance. Did Clinton dance during the Bosnian war? He may have clapped along at a few gospel events, but not full-tilt boogie. Did Nixon dance during Vietnam? Did Johnson? Did Truman dance during Korea? Did FDR...oh, yeah, right. But you get the idea.

Bush's bitch had just appeared on the Today show to talk about malaria. Then Ann Curry asked Laura Bush about suffering Americans in this time of war, and the First Lady decided it's all about her and her man: "[N]o one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this." She followed this up by saying that people need to know about her husband, "I hope they do know the burden, the worry that's on his shoulders every single day for our troops. And I think they do. I mean, I think if they don't, they're not seeing what the real responsibilities of our president are." And later, the same goddamn day, the President danced like a lemur with cerebral palsy to show how burdened he is. Can you imagine how many scrips the First Lady must be on in order to function? Christ, every day, Sally McDonough must have to prevent Laura from waking and baking, shooting her up with amitriptyline so she doesn't run through the halls of the White House, naked and screaming, furiously masturbating with Abraham Lincoln's walking stick.

It's the unending goddamned arrogance that infects every gesture, every move, made by the President and his administration. When Karl Rove recoiled after being touched by Sheryl Crow at that Correspondents' Dinner, saying, "I work for the American people" (to which Crow should have responded, "No wonder you don't recognize us"), he was cowering under the mock power he has always been granted, cowering from a genuine confrontation, and he reacted with bluster and bullshit.

What is worse arrogance than Paul Wolfowitz, who helped create the subhuman judicial treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo (as well as the "interrogation techniques" used there and elsewhere) whining because the directors of the World Bank won't allow Wolfowitz's attorney to make a presentation about why his client should keep his job after making sure his piece of ass gets paid? Here's Bob Bennett: "It's grossly unfair to Mr. Wolfowitz. To the world, it gives the appearance that he is being railroaded." Huh. Wonder if the driven-mad Gitmo detainees would have sympathy for Wolfman Paul?

Bush is dancing, man, dancing while Iraq burns, while soldiers are blown up in Diyala,
while young men and women lose their dancing legs and arms, people who could probably dance a little better than some skinny old fuck who acted like he always does, like he's master coming down to play with the servants. It's a gesture that shows nothing penetrates that overly thick inbred patrician skull.

Then again, some dances from places like Senegal, there are drumming dances that are meant to heal the sick soul of a member of the community. Maybe Bush should never stop dancing.


Harry Reid and Alec Baldwin: Teaching Lessons to Rude, Thoughtless Little Pigs Everywhere:
The Rude Pundit has not met one parent who believes that Alec Baldwin should be condemned for getting angry at and yelling at his daughter in a phone message. The general consensus was, "Was he a dick? Sure. Welcome to parenting." Now, the Rude Pundit doesn't know a whole lot of parents of that new school "oh, isn't precious so precious for her preciousness" bullshit that passes for parenting among a population of adults who are filled with guilt for having jobs and lives that don't begin and end with little precious. Every mom and dad with whom the Rude Pundit brought up Baldwin's end-of-his-fuckin'-rope blast at his 11-year old daughter reacted by saying, "Jesus, you think that's bad? Lemme tell you what my dad said to me." Followed by some story of how a father called his son a "spoiled prick" or, in the funniest case, just by the sound of a raspberry (as in, "Hey, (raspberry), pass the salt") for a full week.

All of the grown-ups seemed well-adjusted and not horribly scarred and rendered impotent or some such shit for the verbal abuse. Most even agreed that, even if Baldwin was paying a visit to Assholeland, sometimes a kid needs a verbal beatdown, especially if that kid's being a "rude, thoughtless little pig."

And that's just what Harry Reid's been doing to the Bush administration and congressional Republicans. See, up until now, the Bush White House has been allowed to let their worst childishly indulgent ids run wild and unchecked, with the Republican Congress merely occasionally shaking its collective head and shrugging in a kind of "Well, what are ya gonna do?" way when, say, Alberto Gonzales downgraded the meaning of "torture." At that point, a functioning Congress would have brought Gonzales in, had him drop his pants, and spanked his cheeks bright red.

Reid's become the Supernanny to the bullshit passivism of the previous Republican Congress. In a take-no-shit way, Reid has responded, time and again, to attacks by the White House and the GOP, not allowing them to get away with it, thinking, like John Kerry with the Swift Boat assholes, that if you ignore the behavior it'll go away. Nope. It doesn't work with kids. If you let them get away with one thing, then they'll just keep pushing until they see where the line is. It's called "testing the limits" in good parenting terminology. Reid's laid down the limits, and he's keeping the administration on the kiddie leash.

Check out the throwdown between the gelatinous globule of evil known as Dick Cheney and Reid yesterday. Cheney gets in front of the microphones to say, in essence, that Democrats are pussy little traitors who wanna get ass-fucked by al-Qaeda operatives on the floor of the Senate. Reid, whose office was nearby, responded almost immediately (indeed, he could have come out, whipped out his belt, and chased Cheney out of the building), calling Cheney an "attack dog" who is "sent out" by President Bush, and then dismissing him with "I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating." Goddamn, Alec Baldwin couldn't have done it any better.

What Reid has done is pull the Iraq debate back to the center from the right, back to where one can actually talk about the endgame rather than talking about whether to stay the course or add more troops. His declaration that, under the current policies, the war is lost and that the war cannot be won militarily have merely been reflections of the public. And Reid's anti-war remarks (and it's time we start labeling them that) have not, despite the best efforts of the White House and Fox "news," caused the backlash against Democrats they thought would occur, simply because, for so long, all the administration had to do was throw itself on the ground and scream and roll around and it would get its way.

Democrats are slowly learning what real power is, like the parent who says, "No," firmly, who walks into his teenager's room and tosses the TV and Wii out of the window and says, "Now do your fuckin' homework." They're learning that to be leaders means they have to lead, and Reid is giving a goddamn master class on how to do it.

(Full disclosure: the Rude Pundit was once punched by Kim Basinger. But that's a story for another time.)


Postponed Posting:
The Rude Pundit's been going non-stop today, servicing both Lois Lane and Lana Lang. But here's a preview of upcoming posts.

Tomorrow: Harry Reid fucks Dick Cheney and George Bush.
Later: A New Orleans resident gives the Rude Pundit the inside scoop of what it's like to live in that hole of hell.
Later still: The war gets a wee bit closer to the Rude Pundit.

Back in the a.m.
Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down Three Xanax With a Fifth of Scotch:

Does he need another goddamned hat? Why keep reinforcing an image that's not true? It's like telling your gay lover that his cock is huge when, really, it's at best on the small side of average. All you're doing is fucking him over for the next relationship he's in when he drops his pants and gets unexpectedly sad sighs in response.

Update on the IE Situation: It's all good again.

More later on Bush, Reid, and Who's Fucking Whom.


Blog Tech Problems on Explorer:
Since the Rude Pundit was switched this weekend to the new version of Blogger, the blog has been fucked on Internet Explorer. He has contacted the fine, hot, young techies at Blogger, who he hopes are not too tainted by their Google overlord, and awaits an answer. Firefox and Safari seem to be untouched. If you're using IE, just pause for a moment or two and it'll load eventually without the bizarro smeared lines. If anyone is a good Blogger poin with advice on this, please contact the Rude Pundit - rudepundit at yahoo dot com.
It's All About the Delusionality, Part 1: The Vatican, Iraq:
We know how this shit actually went down. A bunch of cardinals, bishops, the Pope, other hangers-on in man-dresses gathered in Rome and said, with their various cute accents, "Damn, we gotta do something to make people think we're not a bunch of hatemongering bullshit artists who only wanna fuck little boys and engorge our golden coffers with the money of the poor." So, now, there's only a little bit of wriggle room in Catholic teachings to do something that won't completely fuck with people and cause a schism, a la those heathen Episcopalians. What do you do, motherfuckers? What do you do?

You say the babies ain't floatin' in limbo no more. Yep, that'll take care of the bad PR. For centuries, Catholics have believed that dead babies (and fetuses) wouldn't be allowed into God's creepily wide open arms because no one in a man-dress had poured on the babies' heads a goodly dose of holy water, which, as near as the Rude Pundit can tell, means water that the Pope has dipped his balls in. (Followed, of course, by the dude in the man-dress smearing lubricant on the baby's head. Followed, of course, by the baby crying because some dude in a man-dress just tossed water in her eyes and then made her ready for cooking.)

Apparently, this was done after a great deal of "study." Says the document the Vatican put out, "The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation." How does the babies gets them some salvation? Well, suffering is always a good way, by "saving conformity to Christ in his own death." So crucified babies are in, as are other victims of "violence." And then there's the chance that God'll just give 'em a pass.

It's really part of the ongoing upgrading in the status of the dead babies since St. Augustine, that repressed fuck, declared that the babies is headin' to hell to burn because babies make Satan's fires glow more brightly. That was in the fifth century. In the 1200s, they upgraded the babies to limbo, but they held the bar awfully low. Now it's all the way to heaven for them babies. Although the Catholics are hedging their bets in an amazingly honest statement: "It must be clearly acknowledged that the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die."

Seriously, how is this any different than slicing open a goat and reading its entrails to see what's what?

Meanwhile, over in Mosul, Iraq, gunmen, probably Sunni, separated people by religion, letting the Christians go, and keeping a bunch of Kurds who belong to the Yazidi faith (not an Islamic sect) on the bus they were riding in. Then they, you know, drove 'em somewhere, lined 'em up, and killed 23 of them. The reason had something to do with revenge for a Yazidi woman who converted to Islam for a Sunni lover and then was stoned to death by the Yazidis for it. And there's some shit about Yazidis believing in some angel who some Christians and Muslims believe is the devil and...ah, fuck it.

You wanna know why the war is lost? Because it could never, never be won. We're asking people who live in a state of religious delusion to calm the fuck down and not respond to their delusions. Delusional reality. Delusionality, if you will. We in the West just think our delusionality is so much more civilized than theirs.

But if the great and wondrous West is still trying to figure out if some invisible sky wizard lets the ghosts of dead babies into his invisible sky cloud city, if this is something that grown-ups have to have a "study" about, whether for reasons of public relations or theology, then we are not so far down that historical road from stoning for conversions.

We're not gonna win this war because we're in the middle of the Better Butter Battle. Hell, the Zooks and the Yooks even built a goddamn wall.


In Brief: Another Observation Regarding Alberto Gonzales Yesterday:
A generous observer might call Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "a fucking retard" after his performance yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. So much has already been said, but the Rude Pundit has a couple of things to add.

In that gut-wrenching realization that American citizens are having on a nearly continuous basis, the reaction of the Bush White House to Gonzales's testimony was another reason for the electorate to run to the toilet, shitting themselves while thinking, "What have we wrought?" In addition to yesterday's statement of how splendiferous Gonzales performed, today we get White House Deputy Press Secretary "Delicious" Dana Perino saying of Gonzales, "[H]e has done a fantastic job at the Department of Justice. He is our number one crime fighter. He has done so much to help keep this country safe from terrorists." Regarding Gonzales's flailing and drooling in front of the Senators and the world, flopping around to explain the firing of the U.S. Attorneys, Perino added, "[T]he Attorney General has apologized for how it was handled, and that he has a job to do, and he's been doing it very well. And the President has full confidence in him."

It's one thing to not be a jerk about things when it comes to a pal accidentally dropping his pants and showing everyone his tiny dick and peanut balls, to maybe say, "Well, we wish he had done better, but we're satisfied" or some such shit. But the White House is going out of its way to tell everyone how super-good Gonzales is and how everyone should just shut the fuck up now and go about their business. It's like when you introduce your bald boyfriend to your family and then talk about how much you love his hair. Do you think everyone's gonna humor you?

It wasn't just that Gonzales was worthless, lying so much that it was a wonder that Satan didn't reach a claw into the hearing room and drag Gonzales to be eviscerated in Hades. It was that Gonzales was a goddamned embarrassment, a pathetic toadie, out of touch in a way that screams, "Plausible deniability," told what he should believe and do. In olden days, people like that would be flailed and then forced to run naked through the streets. Instead, he'll just go on napping at the foot of the President's ottoman.
The Rude Pundit on Al Gore Myths:
It's a fun interview in the Calgary Herald in advance of Gore speaking in that fair Canadian metropolis. The Rude Pundit was asked to comment on various lies and half-truths regarding Gore.
Alberto Gonzales: If You're Gonna Be a Toadie, You May As Well Look Like a Toad:
The Mexican burrowing toad can also be found in the United States, or, really, just in Texas. It's survival would be in doubt anywhere else in this country. It's a strange looking toad, this one. It's got no noticeable neck or external ear, and it doesn't have teeth. A stocky little bastard, it can burrow with the best of the animal kingdom, digging into the ground with its hind legs and disappearing, ass first, into the soil, puffing itself up and down, before its covered in dirt. It spends very little time above ground, only coming out in rainy weather to breed. Otherwise, it's just an underground toad, one that the people of southern Texas probably walk over every day.

It's a fairly sociable amphibian, but only, really, with other toads. And when it's threatened, it will "grossly inflate" its body, hoping that the sudden change in size will scare the shit out of predators. If it doesn't, then it may have noxious skin secretions it can ooze out. And if that doesn't work, well, then it's probably time to be a snake's lunch.

In Texas, the species has been given the status of "threatened." The federal government has made no such declaration. But it is considered a fairly popular pet, as far as toads go.

More later.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down Three Klonopin With a Fifth of Tequila, Part 3:

Yeah, that's Jimmie "JJ" Walker with Ann "KKK" Coulter. If someone told her who he was, she'd probably accuse him of being a suicide bomber.

Good times. Good times.
The Carhart Decision: Keeping Women Moral:
One should always - always - check out what Dahlia Lithwick over at Slate has to say about Supreme Court decisions. So in the Gonzales v. Carhart case upholding a Congressional ban on the intact dilation and extraction abortion procedure, check out Lithwick for her insight and cutting wit on Anthony Kennedy's bizarre majority opinion. As Lithwick points out, Kennedy's biggest problem seems to be that he finds the procedure gross - as in "eww." Icky and disturbing are sort of part and parcel of being a medical professional, but Kennedy focuses in, like Eli Roth with a gavel, on the disgusting details.

The text of the decision is mildly creepy, with its patronizing tone of patriarchal authority in support of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act: "Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child. The Act recognizes this reality as well. Whether to have an abortion requires a difficult and painful moral decision. While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow." Or, in other words, bitches is crazy. Kennedy also twice uses the medically-unaccepted, but pro-lifer beloved term "partial-birth abortion," with its inflammatory oversimplification. But it plays to the emotions, you know.

Further down, Kennedy says, "Medical uncertainty does not foreclose the exercise of legislative power in the abortion context any more than it does in other contexts." So, in the face of no data, the Supreme Court affirms that Congress has the right to decide what behavior is moral, based on majority notions of morality: "No one would dispute that, for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life. Congress could nonetheless conclude that the type of abortion proscribed by the Act requires specific regulation because it implicates additional ethical and moral concerns that justify a special prohibition."

Beyond abortion politics, the breadth of that idea is stunning. It's some profoundly scary shit. Kennedy is saying that Congress can decide that "moral concerns" can "justify a special prohibition" on an act. Not to get all slippery-slop, domino-effect here, where does that end, once you stick morality into the equation? Are there First Amendment moral concerns that would require a special prohibition? Like saying and printing that some Supreme Court decisions are "models of fucktardery that seem as if they were written by mad geezers who are grumpy from taking so long to take a decent piss in the Judges' washroom"? For all you right-wingers proudly declaiming "Victory" today, dancing around with your model fetuses and frozen embryos, are there Second Amendment moral concerns that might result in a ban on certain kinds of guns?

President Bush and Vice President Cheney are fond of saying that the Congress is acting like 535 Commanders-in-Chief when it comes to war funding. But the Court yesterday affirmed that each member of Congress and every bugfuck nutzoid Christian gobbledy-gook spouter on a state legislature can be a woman's doctor: "Considerations of marginal safety, including the balance of risks, are within the legislative competence when the regulation is rational and in pursuit of legitimate ends." That "legitimate end," in the weird logic of the decision (as Ruth Bader Ginsburg points out in her dissent), is saying not to off the fetuses that way - off them some other way.

Or, in other words, Congress is now in the operating room with the doctor, who used to have to make the decision between the dilation and extraction method (the "partial-birth" abortion) and the dilation and evacuation method (the use of forceps to dismember an anesthesized fetus in the womb). The woman there has already made the decision to be there - it might have been a rugged, hard-thought decision, it might not have been - but the doctor now has had the procedural decision made for him or her, no matter what might be more medically sound in the circumstances. And that should frighten you no matter where you stand on abortion.

Anti-abortion activists always want pro-choice people to remember the gruesome details of what happens in an abortion. But they don't want to think about the implications of the government making laws abridging freedoms. Fundamentalists and others don't give a shit about implications - just shootin' some freebased political gratification to soothe that Christ jones runnin' in their veins. The best part for 'em is that they see this as just the beginning, that the overturning Roe v. Wade slope is slippery, and we're gonna tumble down giggling, sliding onto a cushion of women's corpses.

(By the way, for unintentional larfs, check out Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion, where he says, "Yeah, and fuck Roe v. Wade, too." It's a model of the yapping little bitch school of jurisprudence.)


The Candidates Feel Sad:
For big fun, check out the campaign websites of virtually every major candidate for President and their "statements" on the shootings at Virginia Tech. They fun part is in seeing how they can say how bad they feel without seeming self-serving and not repeating what other candidates said (or might say). But the most fascinating part is how completely each statement reflects each candidate's projection of him or herself.

Like John McCain's is the basic, simple template: "I am shocked and saddened to hear the news of today's events. This inconceivable tragedy was a horrific act of cruelty that took the lives of so many innocent young people, cutting their lives short and inflicting tremendous pain on all of those who loved them. Cindy and I extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the students, faculty, friends and family of the Virginia Tech community." Get it? Straight talk, no glitter, no rhetorical flourishes.

Hillary Clinton is the everymother now, and her statement says she wants to give the families a big ol' bear hug: "As a parent, I am filled with sorrow for the mothers and fathers and loved ones struggling with the sudden, unbearable news of a lost son or daughter, friend or family member." It's on her campaign site's blog, clever tech savvy woman that she is, so the comments section allows us all to keep that proverbial conversation going.

Continuing his embodiment of bald opportunism with a chilling reptilian smile, Rudy Giuliani slyly slips in one of his unending 9/11 references by saying, "On this day of national tragedy, when we lost some of our finest to a senseless act, we stand together as a country to mourn those who lost their lives." Did you see that? "Some of our finest"? Ain't that straight outta the WTC talk?

Mitt Romney not only offers condolences, but, as befits a man desperately trying to shore up his street cred among conservatives, he also offers a shout-out to the cops: "Our full support is behind the law enforcement officials who are involved with stabilizing the situation and conducting an investigation."

Bill Richardson's statement befits a man who still actually goes to work every day, issuing a statement as a governor, not a candidate (although it's posted at his campaign website).

For quality, stylish, nearly artistic grieving, where else do you think you'd go? Bring it home, Obama: "In Blacksburg, they were daughters. They were sons. They were our nation's new leaders. We mourn them. We will miss them..." It's practically a goddamn haiku.

But the heart and soul, really, belong to John and Elizabeth Edwards, who, as they do everything these days, released a joint statement. They evoke their own tragedies without naming them: "We know what an unspeakable, life-changing moment this is for these families." After quoting a Methodist hymn, they say, "Our dearest wish is that this day could start again, with the promise of these young people alive." At some point, we're all gonna grow weary of the moral authority of the Edwardses, much as we've moved on from John McCain, ex-POW, but for now, it'll do.


No, This Thing Is Not Like That Other Thing:
Something's been pissing off the Rude Pundit in some of Left Blogsylvania's response to the Virginia Tech massacre. Yeah, it sucks that shit blows up and people die in larger numbers every day in Iraq and in a hundred other places. It's horrible and a nightmare and a goddamned shame.

But we're not in Iraq. We're not in a war zone. It's okay for this to be awful, in and of itself, without saying, in essence, "Well, if you think that's bad, look over here." 'Cause, you know, if you're stabbed in the leg, it ain't gonna make you feel that much better and it sure ain't gonna stop your bleeding to see the man who was run over by a truck.
The Virginia Tech Massacre and the American Attention Span:
The Rude Pundit was at a rest stop off the New Jersey Turnpike yesterday, joining the rest of the travelers munching on chicken and Whoppers and pizza, when he saw the news of the massacre at Virginia Tech on one of the twenty or so flat screen TVs mounted to the walls of the dining area. All of them were tuned to CNN. The volume was off.

The place was packed, filled with truckers and high school kids headed from Boston to DC and a family or two. The Rude Pundit wasn't going to stay - he had intended to just grab some burnt coffee, a prepackaged sandwich, maybe a cupcake, if the mood was right, and then head on back on the road. But he is drawn to cable news like a mosquito to the comfortingly warm violet light of the bug zapper. So he looked. At that point it was 22 dead, a horrible enough number, to be sure, but fifty percent short of the final death toll.

As he stared, trying to get details, he noticed something. Nobody else there was watching. To be sure, people would glance, maybe react with a head shake, maybe tell someone else about it, but then each person would turn back to their french fries, to their Spongebob toys. The Rude Pundit turned to a man at the table next to his and said, uninsightfully, "Twenty-two people were killed." The man nodded, pointed it out to his dining partner, and then their attention was caught by the chemically-induced mouth-watering scent of their burgers. The teenagers off the bus to DC were loud.

The Rude Pundit remembered another time he was in a public place when something horrible happened, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing six astronauts and a schoolteacher. Then, everyone stopped, everyone, except those with the most pressing business, gathered around the screens to watch, to learn, to join in the mourning.

And then he remembered something from a long time ago, something that he had forgotten until this moment. Not a repressed memory, no, but just an incident that mattered at the time, but was faded in the mishmash of personal and public history that encompass our memories.

The Rude Pundit was a freshman at college, and he was walking across campus on a warm autumn day, leaving his dorm to go to class, tired, not noticing anything other than how humid the air was, when he was grabbed by a campus security officer and pulled behind a car. The officer's gun was drawn, and then the Rude Pundit saw that other campus cops were around and other students were crouched down, some cowering, some glancing to see what was going on. And then came the pop-pop of gun fire and the yells from officers of "Get down" and then, for just a moment, the gunman running, firing behind him. After he was out of sight, he carjacked a passing driver and escaped. He had robbed the bursar's office, getting away with thousands of dollars.

The campus police chief told the Rude Pundit in an interview for the college paper that the city cops claimed they would have "taken him out." But, the sad-eyed, thin old man said, "Our people didn't want the students caught in the cross-fire of a shoot-out."

No, this was not really anything like the nightmare at Virginia Tech yesterday, with its calculated moves and chained doors so there would be a high casualty count. But for a moment the Rude Pundit knows that gut-wrenching fear of being in an ostensibly safe place, not a war zone, and having it turned into something else.

But that's not why the Rude Pundit paid attention at the rest stop. It was because, to him, it mattered. We're so filled with stories, local crimes and small incidents, celebrity lives and deaths, animal attacks and house fires, that it's hard to discern anymore when something really matters. For everyone that the Rude Pundit saw in that fast food dining area, it was more of the noise of information. They had places to be. They had cell phones and Blackberries and GPS systems, and all of that technology told them that their lives were more important, always more important, than the lives of others.

Surely, when they arrive at their homes or hotels, they will be told to feel sorrow by the news networks. And maybe they will allow for something like sympathy, an approximation of emotion, the simulacrum of grief, to creep into their hearts and minds. After all, we will be told, we are a nation in mourning.

But mostly we are a dead-souled country, so inured to horror that even when something of incredible violence occurs on our soil, well, heck, we've been reminded of 9/11 so often that anything lesser hardly seems worthy of time in our Palm Pilots. For to pay attention means that we must feel compelled to act, and, as we've been taught by our government, our media, our culture, what good comes of acting?

What action? Well, for starters, doing something about the madness of the gun laws in the United States. No, guns didn't make this student wreak violence on Virginia Tech any more than a microphone makes Rush Limbaugh a blowhard. But guns sure made it easier for the violence to occur on such a large scale. As the Rude Pundit's said before, no one ever heard of a drive-by stabbing.

But to act is anathemic to our war and terrorist-influenced American mindset. God, if we were told to just go about our business after 9/11 and that they only thing we can sacrifice for the war is our peace of mind when we happen to tune to the wrong channels on our digital cable systems, why in the world would we want to do anything for this?

Oh, yeah, there is something we'll be asked to do. Pray. To whomever. And then continue to eat your fried chicken strips and drink your Diet Cokes. After a while, not feeling in the mood for that cupcake, the Rude Pundit hit the road, too.


For the Family Research Council, Only Sex Matters:
It may be the saddest Prayer Target e-mail that the Rude Pundit ever received from the Family Reseach Council (motto: "Simmering with barely sublimated sexual repression for over a decade"). The Rude Pundit is a member of the FRC's Super-Duper Prayer Team, and every week he receives his prayifyin' orders from FRC President Tony Perkins, giving the SDPT ways to focus our random spray of godly beseechings. Usually, Perkins gives us the targets of our prayer arrows with smarmy self-assurance. Not this time. No, the whole thing smacks of desperation, for indeed, the religious right is flailing around like a just-caught trout in a dry bucket in the sun.

See, maybe, just maybe, the Rude Pundit thinks, we oughta be ejaculating our Jesus jizz on the mountainous tits of the war dead and wounded, of the poor and uninsured, of the victims of genocide, of the ongoing man-made destruction of the God-created earth. Nope. With one exception, for Perkins and the FRC, it's all about the fucking. Same song, next verse with these people, all the time.

"It is a wonder that educated men and women, ambitious to serve their country, can be blind about issues like the sanctity of human life, marriage and the family, the Islamist and homosexual threats," Perkins whines. "This is an hour in which God-fearing Americans must be extremely alert and stay very close to the Lord." The headlines have been against conservative Christians lately, with the public deciding, in large numbers, that the shit evangelicals care about is worthless, and Perkins is goin' hardball: "Our nation is in serious jeopardy. God will separate the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day, but here and now each of us is called to be a lover and advocate of Truth." And then Perkins gives the Super-Duper Prayer Team a good reacharound: "Your ministry as a prayer warrior could not be more important."

Aw, yeah, motherfuckers, the Rude Pundit's a prayer warrior now, sportin' his mighty Glock o' God's Love. And, according to Perkins, it's time to go out on the shootin' range and blow holes in those who use their holes and blowing abilities for un-Jesusly purposes. We gotta stop the homosexual agenda, like we do every week (no, really, every goddamn week the SDPT is told to pray that God'll stop the "homosexual threat" to America. At some point, after years of this prayerturbation, it should probably occur to someone that God doesn't really give a shit about who's fuckin' who.), and we gotta make sure that the fucking stops and that all the little babies is bornified.

We gotta pray "that a strong majority of Americans will come to reject the use of human embryonic stem cells for research but favor the use of adult stem cells," we gotta make sure that the FRC's lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration over the morning-after pill is successful, and we gotta pray for abstinence. Oh, yeah, Perkins is all upset that a study said that the kids are gonna fuck no matter how much you tell 'em, "Don't you be fuckin', you kids, you."

Perkins admonishes, "This is spiritual warfare." That would be the funding of abstinence education programs, not, you know, the treatment of veterans. "Pray that truth will prevail over faulty studies. May the common sense of parents prevail over the agendas of social engineers! May abstinence programs, which require, not a few years, but a permanent commitment to work, be increasingly, not decreasingly funded."

The only non-fuckin' prayin' we gotta do this week involves "The Islamist Threat Abroad," where Perkins, in attacking Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer for going to Syria and Egypt, conveniently avoids the fact that Republicans have been talkin' to the Islamicals. No, it's only Democrats whose "outrageous trips undermined the President's authority and raise constitutional questions." The SDPT is ordered to "Pray for our troops on the foreign field who are being 'stabbed in the back' after offering their lives in the service of our country."

In other words, you heathen bitches, no prayers for peace. Just war and no fucking. It's enough to make Jesus wanna tell 'em to roll that stone back and let him stay dead.


Firing Don Imus Stinks:
No, no, for the Rude Pundit, this doesn't pass the smell test, this whole Don Imus thing. You know the smell test - when you pick a pair of panties up off the floor and sniff them to see if they're not too rank to wear. If they smell okay, then you put 'em on, confident in your decision and able to go about your day. But if they stink and you still wear 'em, well, hell, then you'll just wonder when people are gonna sniff the air around you and know that you are foul.

We'll leave this topic behind next week for loftier discussions of Stuff That Matters (you shall know them by their numbers: 5 million lost e-mails, 15 month deployments, John McCain's poll data). But the Rude Pundit's gonna rassle with the implosion of Don Imus for a few minutes here.

The Rude Pundit fuckin' hates Imus. His show was boring - filled with guests who would ram their heads so far up his bony ass that they could talk to his desiccated liver. His cohorts, McGuirk and who-the-fuck-cares, were boobs who acted as if the show was their own private school for infantile boys, giggling at their farts and burps. And Imus himself, with his vocal intonation that was somewhere between a brain-damaged cowhand who's been kicked in the face too many times by jumpy steers and a drag queen with balls in his mouth, was virtually incomprehensible and definitely unlistenable. (One of the great ironies of the whole situation is the clarity with which Imus spoke the phrase "nappy-headed ho's." Most of one's time spent listening to Imus was chewed up wondering which words the mushmouthed bastard was saying.) And then there was Imus's charity work, his goddamn ranch, his fundraisers, other such confession booth absolution shit. It's like the frat house that says it's okay to rape passed-out co-eds because they have blood drives once a year.

So, like, on a very basic level, the Rude Pundit doesn't give a happy monkey fuck about Imus. And that's what's so fucking frustrating about not rejoicing in his firing from MSNBC and CBS. Man, what fun it would be to stand there while Imus's jugular is cut and then dance around in the spraying blood with all the others, like natives worshipping mad gods who must be appeased. But the Rude Pundit can't. And he feels a bit like the guy who can't find a free orifice to penetrate at an orgy.

Because, ultimately, what happened to Imus happened because of his speech, and if you wanna, say, giggle when the Rude Pundit attacks someone, then Don Imus gets to say his non-FCC violating insults. Yes, the Rude Pundit's aware that there's a qualitative, historical, and ethical difference between calling white conservative evangelicals nasty names and calling a women's college basketball team "whores," but it's still speech. Hate speech is speech; yes, sadly, angrily, we must call it "speech."

The Rude Pundit's concern can be divided into two incompatible areas with cliched names: the slippery slope and the sacrificial lamb.

The slippery slope is that we start getting 'em all fired, de-advertised, whatever. And this is where the Rude Pundit's grappling with this fucker like he's trying to put snakes in a bottle (yeah, yeah - it's early, the Rude Pundit hasn't slept yet, fuck off). No, of course MSNBC and CBS don't have to give Imus a platform for his speech. But this point is that they did. And they knew, they fucking well knew, what Imus was about. Just because this time his bullshit, sad, I'm-down-with-poor-man-lingo fucktardery got noticed by Media Matters and others, that doesn't mean that they didn't use Imus and profit off him and, to be sure, egg him on for ratings.

Advertisers, too, knew where they were putting their ad dollars. Like the lefty blog that gets Ann Coulter book ads (and doesn't decline them, it should be noted, because the blogger doesn't want to be seen as "endorsing" the products that advertise on the blog), companies know exactly who they are trying to reach and why. They knew the demographics of the show. They knew the content. No one involved is innocent or clean. And, to turn this shit around another way, yeah, if all the advertisers pull out, then, yeah, good capitalist society that we are, that's a reason to take Imus off the air. But that's not the reason we were given, even if it is the real cause.

But once Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, et al are chased from the air, what next? Television shows written by white people that portray women, gays, or non-whites negatively? Will conservatives turn this shit around to say, "Oh, look, that one guy with a blog called us 'tiny-dicked prison bitches'"? (And they are, you know.) Whose hurt feelings aren't allowed to get salved by uncomfortable silence? Who gets to decide?

The real solution is to use speech to combat speech, not silence. Rather than getting Imus fired, why not get people to stop listening? And if they don't, if they wanna listen, well, fuck, you lost then. But you need to keep trying to get people to shift away from one way of thinking. Just because you got rid of Imus doesn't mean the sentiments go away. Just because you come up with some pussy voluntary ban on the word "nigger," or you say "the n-word" instead, doesn't mean the word or the feeling goes away. Civil discourse? Fuck that. It's not possible. You don't change hearts and minds by silencing people. (The Rude Pundit has called for Ann Coulter to be kicked out of newspapers, but not for her pathetic little wet spaghetti slap insults - it's because she says things are facts that are, in fact, lies.)

Then there's the sacrificial lamb. That Don Imus is just a surrogate for our own inability to articulate a dialogue about these issues without yelling at each other on Fox "news." That, yes, admit it, it isn't possible to think about what Imus said without thinking about the rampant sexism of hip-hop (that, yes, Al Sharpton, showboating glory hog he may be, is also working to address). That Imus is taking the hit for the place of that speech in our culture and the endless degradation that cuts across race and class lines. And that, now that Imus is off-the-public-air, we can, like this blog will, move on to other things rather than get down to the nitty-gritty of curing the diseases that have plagued this nation since it began.

Imus is gone, yes, and, really, at the end of the day, who the fuck cares? Another asshole takes a dive. Wheeee.

But, see, like that bleeding sacrifice mentioned earlier, the Rude Pundit's afraid that once again we're going to think we've pleased the volcano god. The lava's still bubbling, and that fucker's gonna blow. The only sure way to save ourselves is to move the village. Chances are, though, we'll just wait for the next rumble and earthquake and toss in another virgin.


Vonnegut Gone:
The one time I saw Kurt Vonnegut speak, it was an evening about writing, featuring John Updike and Vonnegut. He was already pushing 80, still verbally lively, but a bit subdued compared to the days of old. Still, there was one memorable, audience gasp-inducing moment, when Vonnegut was asked about writers growing older. Vonnegut said, and this is a paraphrase from a distant memory, "More writers need to be like Zelda Fitzgerald, who had the good sense to die in a fire in an insane asylum before she got old." A cruel statement, yes, but Vonnegut believed it. He didn't blithely toss off bon mots, but he said what he meant. He would talk about his own aging with the same bitter intensity.

For a man so very famous for his cynicism, he was incredibly hopeful, otherwise he wouldn't have been so actively involved in the world around him, whether it was heading to Biafra to do relief work in 1970 (after Slaughterhouse-Five had come out) during the Nigerian civil war, chronicled in "Biafra: A People Betrayed"; or by his work with PEN, his constant writing and speaking on issues of war and peace, and his devotion to teaching.

He was a huge supporter of dissidents and political prisoners around the world, especially those who did not have cause-celebre status. As he wrote in the Washington Post on March 31, 1989, regarding an imprisoned Czech writer, "If you are mistreated by your own government, your chances of being helped at least a little bit by foreigners are greatly increased if you have won a Nobel Prize or are recognized internationally as a good candidate for one." But his subject was not a superstar, and thus it was left to people like Vonnegut to speak for him: "God bless Ivan Martin Jirous, and God bless all the others like him in South Africa and Chile and Indonesia and Turkey and both Koreas, and on and on."

So much of what he wrote and said was prescient about our neverending stupidity, or, as he put it, our "nitwit primitive" ways. In 1992, he wrote in the Guardian, "[A]s a German-American I may be, although not necessarily, more sensitive to similarities between some of the attitudes and enterprises of my own government and the Nazi thing than are some of the other hyphens." Sensitive he was - and he cut to the goddamned point. "If you invade someone’s country,” Vonnegut said about the current war, “they’re going to fight back. Evidently that wasn’t taught at Yale."

From his strange and angry play, Happy Birthday, Wanda June, here's what ought to become the epitaph for our nation in the new millenium: "What kind of a country has this become?" asks Harold Ryan, a hunter and soldier who was lost in the Amazon for seven years. "The men wear beads and refuse to fight--and the women adore them. America's days of greatness are over. It has drunk the blue soup."

He explains to his wife, Penelope, that it's "An Indian narcotic we were forced to drink. It put us in a haze--a honey-colored haze which was lavender around the edge. We laughed, we sang, we snoozed. When a bird called, we answered back. Every living thing was our brother or our sister, we thought...All the time we were drinking more blue soup, more blue soup! Never stopped drinking blue soup. Blue soup all the time. We'd go out after food in that honey-colored haze, and everything that was edible had a penumbra of lavender."

When Penelope tells Harold that it "Sounds quite beautiful," he explodes, "Beautiful, you say? It wasn't life, it wasn't death--it wasn't anything! Beautiful? Seven years gone--(snapping his fingers) like that, like that! Seven years of silliness and random dreams! Seven years of nothingness, when there could have been so much!"

"Like what?" Penelope asks.

Harold responds, "Action! Interaction! Give and take! Challenge and response!" Harold's a vulgar, violent asshole, bent on destruction, having killed 103 people for the hell of it. He embodies the extremes of America - murderous rage and vile complacency. So of course, in Vonnegut's world, he's dead-on.

Vonnegut was right,too , of course. We are lost in our haze of blue soup, electronically-mediated, information-controlled, politcally-spun honey-colored penumbrae. We've lost one of the only people who was willing to tell us so. There's precious, precious few left.

Let's leave with a remark from a commencement address Vonnegut gave in 1999 at Agnes Scott College. He distrusted technology and why not? What had technology done except destroy shit? "Don't try to make yourself an extended family out of ghosts on the Internet," he said. "Get yourself a Harley, and join Hell's Angels instead."


Ah, Fuck:
Vonnegut's dead.

More tomorrow.
Hump Day White House Idiocy:
The Rude Pundit doesn't have the attention span right now for any long posts. Instead, let's make a couple of random observations...

A History Lesson: Here's President George W. Bush speaking yesterday at a Virginia post of the American Legion: "How about after the Korean War? Some of you are Korean vets, I know. I bet it would have been hard for you to predict, if you can think back to the early '50s, to predict that an American President would say that we've got great relations with South Korea, great relations with Japan, that China is an emerging marketplace economy, and that the region is peaceful. This is a part of the world where we lost thousands of young American soldiers, and yet there's peace."

Bush was trying to make the point that democracies flourished in nations that the U.S. fought in previous wars and that it brought peace to those nations. He delivered this bit of news to the vets: "And so today, I can report to you that Japan is a strong ally of the United States." Which came as a great relief to Crazy Sid "GI Jew" Kernberg, the last Fairfax Pacific theater veteran, who took grenade shrapnel to his head at Guadacanal, which left him thinking, looking around the town, that Japan had conquered the United States.

Bush's real message, though, was that "Liberty can transform enemies into allies. The hard work done after World War II helped lay the foundation of peace." He was right about World War II. But then that strange revisionism about the Korean War.

Now, the Rude Pundit isn't questioning the fact that 34,000 Americans died in the Korean War. But, like, the United States, with the blessing of the United Nations and in agreement with the Soviet Union, created South Korea because Truman was afraid Stalin would take over the whole peninsula. And the first national assembly was elected , democratically, in 1948. And we've kept tens of thousands of troops there since then.

So, with his history lesson, what exactly is Bush saying? That we should be glad we held the line, the 38th parallel, with South Korea? That we didn't lose it? In other words, it'd reflect pretty damn badly on the United States if we didn't have great relations with South Korea. We bought and paid for it.

But, hey, if the President wants to fluff a bunch of seventy-something year-olds in ill-fitting military clothes into thinking that one more utterly useless war, with its nearly 100,000 wounded in addition to the dead, was a wonderful victory, then let 'em all gather around our Leader and unzip.

Good Thing They Wanna Reduce the Bureaucracy: What exactly would a "war czar" do? No, really, and, c'mon, the White House wants to appoint a war czar to run its great and mighty Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. A Commander-in-Chief, if you will, who is not the Commander-in-Chief. The lucky person who takes the job would be "a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies."

Is listening to all these people just too fuckin' much for the President? Are they looking for another fall guy, one more barricade to put up so that when it all falls apart, Bush is defended?

Considering how often Bush has insisted on his "Commander-in-Chief" status, it seems like a real dick move to pawn off the wars on some other sucker. (And no one wants the job, it seems.)


Why Glenn Beck Ought To Be Repeatedly Cock-Punched (Imus Edition):
The Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit about Don Imus. Everyone all of a sudden realizing that he's a racist, sexist asshole now is a little like waking up after an acid and whiskey-fueled fuck night, looking across the bed, and realizing that the incredible three-way you thought you had was just one really fat guy. Imus was a vestige of a post-Watergate media moment, when the jerk-off, loudmouth DJs were cool, when a few of them, like Imus and Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh, were given chances just to talk and shitcan the tunes. Now, the only reason anyone should care about Imus is that Stern's take on their ongoing feud was viciously hilarious.

Imus has said worse than "nappy-headed ho's." What's most offensive about the comment is that a) it's not funny, and b) it was a pathetic attempt at imitating black English, the joke equivalent of lisping to make fun of gay guys. The sad part is that so many people would find both the comment and the lisp hilarious. The sadder part is how long people in the media gave Imus's sub-retarded rantings the imprimatur of respectability by appearing on his show.

But no one's going after Glenn Beck, though. The radio and TV host who presents himself as Mr. Wholesome Aw-Shucks was offended by Imus's words. Or so he said on Anderson Cooper's Dick Can Turn 360 last night on CNN. What follows are Beck's comments to Cooper interspersed with quotes from Beck himself (from Media Matters):

To Cooper: "Let the people decide. If the people -- people can decide if it's offensive or not by listening or not listening. I personally find it reprehensible."

On his radio show, March 21, 2007: "Do you know how many oil lamps we could keep burning just on Rosie O'Donnell's fat?...Think about how much perfume we could make out of Rosie O'Donnell."

To Cooper: "I haven't found Imus -- I used to find Imus funny. I haven't found Imus funny in a while. He seems to be just mean and offensive."

On his radio show, September 9, 2005, regarding Hurricane Katrina victims: "[A]ll we're hearing about, are the people in New Orleans. Those are the only ones we're seeing on television are the scumbags -- and again, it's not all the people in New Orleans. Most of the people in New Orleans got out! It's just a small percentage of those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay in New Orleans, and they're getting all the attention. It's exactly like the 9-11 victims' families. There's about 10 of them that are spoiling it for everybody."

To Cooper: "[T]here are certain things that we don't -- we choose, as a society, not to say...look, I would never say what Imus said. I find it offensive."

On his CNN Headline News show, August 14, 2006, regarding the arrest of three men in Texas: "Three guys with names I could never pronounce, basically Mohammed, Mustafa, Abdul, or something like that, they were all cell phone dealers from Texas."

It's a fascinating study in sociopathic behavior that Beck was able to talk about how offensive Imus was with a straight face. The deepest thing Beck managed to say to Cooper is his belief that if people of one race can call insult themselves, then people of another race should be able to do the same thing: "That would be like me saying, the Duke lacrosse team, nothing but a bunch of toothless hicks, and then Jesse Jackson coming on and saying, well, look at them, they're a bunch of toothless hicks, and then me saying, how dare you say that? What -- if I can say it, why can't he say it? If he can say it, I should say it." Which is the last resort of verbal scoundrels.

The Rude Pundit's problem here is not with insults or any such shit. The Rude Pundit would be a hypocrite of Beck-like proportions if he dared to say anything against the art of derision. It's with the targets. See, Imus and Beck use insults to attack the powerless. Yeah, yeah, they called Hillary Clinton a "bitch" and "Satan," but there's a huge difference between going after politicians and attacking illegal immigrants, as Beck did, by saying they come to America because: "One, they're terrorists; two, they're escaping the law; or three, they're hungry. They can't make a living in their own dirtbag country."

The line Imus crossed was not just racial. This time, he went after people who didn't have their own microphone to defend themselves (well, at least until today). Normally, he left it to his "producers" and others to attack people like Jill Carroll, the journalist kidnapped and later released in Iraq. Sure, there's something of an over-reaction going on, but, hell, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Imus is done. He's fucked the goat. He'll always be remembered for this, not his ranch, not anything else. But Beck? Motherfucker is brought on as an expert. Well, shit, of course he would be. Who else would you go to?


Every Day, More Bug Bites From the Bush Administration:
It's hard to suss out the multiple layers of irony in the fact that President George W. Bush almost car bombed himself, Dick Cheney, and (still ironic, but for another reason) Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford. See, Bush was about to plug an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of a hybrid auto when Mulally dodged in front of the Commander-in-Chief to stop him from causing the car to explode, the searing, sharp metal and large flames immediately tearing the Leader of the Free World and the Vice-Leader into barbecued chunks and bits. Let's see which way we could go: Bush fucking up on how the whole thing works and causing shit to blow up? Two oil guys being taken out by a car that might mark the beginning of the end of their industry? This is not to mention that a pretty large part of the White House would have been destroyed. And the crater in the lawn. Yep, endless symbolism, even in the fact that a private citizen stopped Bush from wreaking death and destruction at the nation's home.

It's always in the details that you see the real mindset, the real modus operandi, the real intelligence of the Bush administration. Yes, there are the "little lies," as Paul Krugman goes into today over at the pay-for-it-you-fuckers section of the New York Times. But there's also the little actions, the little words, the little deeds by which we can know them.

Take, for instance, Bush's proclamation for Easter. Sure, sure, he talked yesterday at Fort Hood, after churchifyin', sayin' that he "had a chance to reflect on the great sacrifice that our military and their families are making. I prayed for their safety, I prayed for their strength and comfort, and I pray for peace." 'Cause, you know, when you're in a chapel at a military base, it's pretty hard not to reflect on the military. Still, hey, he prays for peace, which is dandy and all. But fear not, warmongers. In his Easter Message for 2007, Bush got all Resurrectiony and asked us to "remember that in the end, even death itself will be defeated." That's a sentiment that, if you are in the military, should make you sick to your damn stomach: "Oh, shit, this motherfucker thinks death is just another war. Fuck, I've already been deployed three times. Now he's gonna have me pack up and fight after I die? God, I hate this Army."

Or take, as another example, this no-shit-Sherlock line from Bush's proclamation of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown: "Much has changed in the 400 years since that three-sided fort was raised on the banks of the James River." Ya think? Remember, someone wrote that. It wasn't spoken off the cuff. It was given consideration, revised, and signed off on. This is not to mention the tilt of the entire thing - would it have killed 'em to mention Powhatan and the Algonquin, maybe even fuckin' Pocahantas in the President's official commemoration of Jamestown?

Words aside, take the nomination of Michael J. Kussman to be Under Secretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Presumably someone who's supposed to help clean up the shame of the vets' hospitals and health care clusterfuck, Kussman, in his position as acting Under Secretary, said to a House committee that he was surprised by all the PTSD and brain trauma cases coming from Iraq and Afghanistan. But don't worry: "We're ideally poised to take care of [it]," he told the skeptical members of Congress. He's also the official who said that the majority of building condition problems at VA hospitals were "normal." So naturally, the unprepared apologist gets a promotion.

It seems so small, no? Compared to the neverending stream of explosions from this administration, these are barely mosquito bites. But if you get enough blood sucked out of you, god, how weak you become.


Ann Coulter Taken Apart By a Swedish Mathematician:
Just damned brilliant. In "The Coulter Hoax: How Ann Coulter Exposed the Intelligent Design Movement," Peter Olofsson tears off Coulter's legs and beats her to death with them.

Olofsson deserves mucho fellatio for his politely brutal evisceration of Coulter's work: her writing in Godless on evolution that doesn't even rise to the level of pseudo-science. Read the article like you'd eat a meal at Babbo, slowly, savoring the fact that you're eating the cow's face and innards.

(Tip o' the rude hat to Fark Politics.)


In Brief: Cheney, Iraq, and Al-Qaeda: What Kind of Fuckery Is This?:
Could someone please, once and for fuckin' all, define "harboring terrorists"? Because, see, if all we're really talkin' here is that some terrorist's ass is seated on a chair at the local Starbucks, then what goddamned country ain't harboring them? And if said terrorist, with his ass in a Starbucks, downing the sweet American devil of frappuccino, makes a cell phone call to another Starbucks-ass-squatting terrorist across town to say something like, "Hey, wanna blow some shit up," does that meet the threshold of "operating" within a country? As the Rude Pundit has said, can we not assert that America was harboring the very terrorists operating and planning the very attacks that started the great and mighty war? And nobody suggested bombing Florida. Although...

When Dick Cheney says, as he did yesterday on Rush Limbaugh's Extravaganza o' Scrips and Sausage, "Rush, remember Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, al Qaeda affiliate; ran a training camp in Afghanistan for al Qaeda, then migrated -- after we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq; organized the al Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene, and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June...this is al Qaeda operating in Iraq," well, what the fuck does that have to do with the mighty invasion and occupation we're involved in? 'Cause, see, if Zarqawi had fucked with Sunnis while Saddam was in power and he was caught, motherfucker would have been chained in a dungeon while rat kibble was glued to his nutsack.

'Course, nothing fucks with a good cover story like facts. Although, certainly, that's never stopped Cheney before. If that vile bastard was shot in the face with the facts, he'd just stand there bleeding and deny that buckshot exists.
Ann Coulter's New Misinformation (Clean Version):
In her latest "column", Coulter claims that Darfur is "a country from which no one anticipates terrorism anytime in the next millennium."

First of all, Darfur - not a "country." It's part of Sudan. Sudan gave al-Qaeda the support - in allowing terrorist training camps there, among other things - to carry out the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. Osama bin Laden once had headquarters in Khartoum. There is no doubt that Sudan is deeply enmeshed in terrorist financing and other activities. It's pretty much the polar opposite of pre-war Iraq.

Doesn't anyone fact-check or even read her columns before they're published?

(And, on another subject, why is Mitt Romney proudly touting his bunny-hunting abilities just before Easter?)


Why Ann Coulter Is a Cunt, Part 3741 (Darfur Edition):
Because in her latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "the shit swirls and coloring book scribbles of a deranged, spasmodic demi-infant"), she actually says that Darfur is "a country from which no one anticipates terrorism anytime in the next millennium." It is the kind of statement, published in hundreds of newspapers and websites, gleefully repeated by troglodytes with no actual opinion to call their own, that ought to have a person permanently banned from all writing and speaking gigs unless they involve a wooden box and a street corner. While we shouldn't give a fuck about the context of such a blatantly batshit nutzoid statement, Coulter was saying that Democrats would rather invade Darfur to stop the genocide than invade Iraq. Did that make a difference? Not really.

Let's do this quickly, shall we? Darfur - not a "country." It's part of Sudan. Sudan gave al-Qaeda the support - in allowing terrorist training camps there, among other things - to carry out the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. Osama bin Laden once had headquarters in Khartoum. There is no doubt that Sudan is deeply enmeshed in terrorist financing and other activities.

Leaving out that any editor worth a happy monkey fuck should have caught the error in Darfur being called a "country" in a nationally-syndicated column, it truly boggles the fuckin' mind, as it always does, as to why this ridiculous clown of a cunt beast is allowed to fart her babblings into the air.
Pictures That Make the Rude Pundit Want To Down Three Klonopin With a Fifth of Tequila, Part 2:

Little Rae Leigh Bradbury was the first child saved as a result of an AMBER alert way back in 1998. Why is the First Lady sodomizing her with a hidden strap-on?

Back later with more rudeness.


America, If We're Not Careful, Democracy Might Break Out:
We're not used to it; that's the problem. It's been so long since we behaved like a real, active democracy here in the United States that it's like learning to ride a bike after you've lost a leg and have a prosthetic one in its place. Sure, you know cognitively the rhythms and actions, but it's kind of alien to your newly-remade body. See, we'd become a bullshit democracy, pretending, like estranged, emotionally separated parents staying together for the kids, so the rest of the world can learn from our mighty institutions o' greatness. But the kids always know. No matter how hard you try to hide it, the kids always know.

In a real democracy, the citizens are ready to send their leaders to the slammer, whip them out of town like the angry mobs of old. To wit, when Karl Rove was heading out last night after speaking at American University in DC, he was met with pitchforks and torches, more or less. Twenty or so students threw things at him and his car, and then they laid down in front of the car until they were were moved by police (and not arrested, for, truly, who ought to be arrested in this situation?). By the way, the protest, projectiles and all, was described as "peaceful." Again, it's all a question of degrees of what's deserved. If someone shoots whipped cream at Nelson Mandela, that's a violent assault. If a crowd burns Karl Rove's car and chases him through the streets of DC until he has to cower, weeping, shitting himself, in a filthy alley with the other rats and feral beasts, well, that's barely a misdemeanor.

And then there's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the man with the most pornographic name in Congress since at least Dick Armey (although Pennsylvania robber baron and Senator Jasper T. Cockswallow - elected in 1884 - probably still takes the prize). Reid must have special pants made to accomodate his gigantic balls. Really. There's legends around Las Vegas of mob bosses, ready to have Reid whacked back in the day, who were shown pictures of his balls and, in deference to such titanic testicles, called off the hits. It's said that Reid's already had his soccer-sized nuts molded in 24-carat gold and sent to the President with a note that read, "Suck on these." Ken Mehlman, in the Oval Office at the time, passed out.

Each and every time Bush has tried to pathetically swing a right hook at his face, the Nevada Senator's bent back so that Bush hit only air. Reid's danced and then returned a left uppercut to Bush's chin. The Senate passes an Iraq funding bill with a timeline for troop withdrawal and benchmarks. Bush goes all batshit and says he'll veto it, doesn't wanna talk about, dadadadadamyfingersareinmyearsIcanthearyou. What does Reid do? Does he talk about compromise and "working with the White House"? Fuck no. He grabs his pendulous balls and says, "Eat shit and die," and then says he'll back Russ Feingold's bill that cuts off funds for the war except for a narrowly defined mission.

Reid's been to Iraq, been to Walter Reed - here's what he said about that visit: "To say, Mr. President, that I left Walter Reed depressed is an understatement. We've all heard the stories about Walter Reed...Go to Walter Reed. Listen to the parents. Listen to the people that are hurt." Reid describes how private contracting is destroying the hospital and the military, as well as how the lack of resources is affecting the patients there.

Yesterday, in his pissy little press conference, Bush tried to attack back, saying that Democrats are playing games and are delaying his funding request for the troops. Not missing a fuckin' beat, Reid slammed back, "Democrats will send President Bush a bill that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy in Iraq worthy of their sacrifices. If the President vetoes this bill he will have delayed funding for troops and kept in place his strategy for failure."

That's how this game is played. For years, Bush has been the pampered only child, given the easy questions, the soft pitches, the free run to the endzone. He got all the presents, all the love and attention. And then, all of a sudden, like every overprotected manchild, he's gotta face the real world, and the real world doesn't give a fuck what he thinks he's entitled to. Democracy, even though it's so often a dance among well-connected rich people, is a goddamned fight to the finish. Reid and Nancy Pelosi are schooling Bush, and, indeed, the rest of America, on what it means to live in a democracy.

Said Reid, "[Bush] should become in tune with the fact that he is President of the United States, not King of the United States...He has another branch of government, namely the legislative branch of government that he has to deal with." He may as well have hitched up his Goliath-sized jock strap and said, "Welcome to 'Co-Equal,' bitch. That's what the people want."

Of course, you know, the problem is there's always a Cheney heaving through the foliage, inconspicuous, malevelolent, prepared to leap out at a moment's notice and tear us all apart.


Live Vodka-Shot Blogging the President's War Funding Hissy Fit:
It's that time, yes, it's that time. Breaking out the Chopin from the freezer and the ice bucket with shot glasses. President Bush is givin' hisself a presser, and this time it's all about how he got his dander up over Congress not giving him the bill he wants for "emergency" funding for his big ol' war on terror. (By the way, all quotes should be double-checked, since this was typed as Bush was blathering.)

10:07 - Damn you, CNN, you missed the first couple of his words.

10:09 - He says, after lining up his cabinet and having them hold their hands in front of them so he can count fingers, that it's been 57 days since he asked the Congress for his emergency supplemental funding for his war. He wants a "clean" bill, goddamnit, not one hooked on heroin, not one used as a coffee cup coaster, and one with no fuckin' deadlines and no pork.

Yeah, about that whole "pork in a bill" idea. Here's a little somethin' on last April's "emergency supplemental," from a Heritage Foundation document: "[T]he (Republican-controlled) Senate Appropriations Committee has loaded the measure with $14 billion in new spending, most unrelated to national security or hurricane recovery. Still not satisfied, Senators are now readying floor amendments to add as much as $10 billion more in spending, which would push the price tag to $24 billion above the President’s request." By the way, the Rude Pundit added that "Republican-controlled" adjective there because, you know, that's who was in charge of the fuckin' Senate. That bill? Hunky-fuckin'-dory for Bush to sign. So, sure, he can get his knobby spine twisted about deadlines and benchmarks, but getting upset about additional spending in the bill is a little like the bacon calling the ham "pork."

10:11 - He says that if Congress fails to act in the next couple of weeks, it will have "serious consequences." First up for cuts will be equipment, "quality of life" issues, and training, as well as extending tours. In other words, everything possible to make sure that more Americans die. In other words, everything short of bringing troops home.

10:12 - D'oh, there's a fire truck passing by the White House. Rove is gonna have someone at the DCFD sodomized. Buildings must just burn if Bush is speaking.

10:13 - Ooh, he's gettin' mad. Says Congress's failure to fund troops will make troops have to stay longer or go back sooner. Again, no mention of "or I'll have to send them home."

10:13 - And he says that Congress can debate its widdle head off as long as, at the end of that debate, he wins.

10:14 - He gets a question about Nancy Pelosi in Syria. Bush thinks this makes the Syrian leadership think its part of the international community, which is, one presumes, a bad idea to him. No, no, let's isolate it (except when we need them to whip our renditioned detainees with metal cable).

10:16 - Bush says he's not getting any action from Assad.

10:19 - Reporter Bill is "cute-looking." Thus marking today's homoerotic reference.

10:20 - Hey, he believes his decision to send more troops is a good idea. And, whoa, "suiciders" are willing to kill innocent people, but it's just a public relations thing, since he says they're blowing themselves up to "send a message" that things aren't hunky-dory in Baghdad. It's kind of like if marketers sent people with explosives attached to them to scream, "Buy pants at the Gap" before pushing the button. Bet if you're nearby, you'll remember what they said.

10:21 - The thing about Chopin vodka is it's damned smooth. And it's a Polish potato vodka, made by organic spuds being gently squeezed between the firm thighs of hot young women in Podlasie who devote their lives to its manufacture. Until you've tasted fresh vodka off the thighs of a Podlasian potato presser, you've never really tasted it at all.

10:22 - Bush mumbles, "I understand it's hard work," his Tourette's in full swing.

10:23 - Asked about Matthew Dowd's dissing of his policies, Bush says that he didn't talk to Dowd about his concerns. Bush threatens that Dowd's son in the military is "deployable" to Iraq. Still, Bush doesn't want Iraq to become a "cauldron of chaos," thus proving once again that half the things Bush says comes from comic books.

10:25 - Boo-yah - first 9/11 reference. Apparently, it showed us that people can plot against the United States. One would think that would have been a self-obvious kind of thing, but, still, and all, it's nice for Bush to catch up.

10:26 - Bush talking about anything being "seriously de-stabilized" is like a chicken talking about something having too many feathers.

10:27 - Boutique fuels? Is that what they're calling gas that doesn't totally fuck up the air? Like some people are pouring Moet and Chandon mixed with Chanel #5 into their tanks?

10:29 - A short play:
David Gregory, sometime reporter, sometime Pip: Didn't voters in 2006 say they want Congress to manage foreign policy?
George W. Bush: Voters want Congress to fund the war.
Voters: Uhhh, no.
Bush: Congress shouldn't tell generals what to do.
Voters: Uhhh, no, we don't want you to tell them what to do. Hello? Anyone there?

10:31 - Man, they really wanna push this whole "they voted for Petraeus but don't support his policy" thing. It's got no legs, gang.

10:33 - On greenhouse gases, Bush says that "Anything that happens cannot hurt economic growth." Adds Comrade Bush, "I support the worker." Man, when did we become such pussies when it comes to inventing shit to help the world? Ain't that good ol' American know-how?

10:35 - He totally dodged the question, "Do you believe homosexuality is immoral?" God, that's so gay.

10:39 - Boo-yah - second 9/11 reference. See, they planned and trained and came here and killed us. (Although, really, didn't the 9/11 hijackers come here and train and plan? Does that mean that the United States is a "safe haven" for terrorists? The Rude Pundit's mind is blown. He'd rather it were his cock.)

10:42 - Sweet - 9/11 reference #3. Bush was asked how the terrorists will follow us here. Damn, nice fuckin' question, man with Asian accent. And all man with Asian accent gets is a lecture on how mean terrorists are.

10:43 - Once again, Bush will tell us the "Lesson of September 11" (#4): "It's hard to protect a big country...there's still an enemy that would like to do us harm... safe havens are bad...Iraq" and the rest is just a garbled series of monosyllables that, decoded, would probably say, "Me want cheeseburger."

10:44 - Motherfucker understands. Don't you ever accuse Bush of not understanding, for he will, indeed, say, "I understand." In fact, even if you don't accuse him of a lack of understanding, he'll, pre-emptively, if you will, say that he does understand. We are just too simple (and, at this point, a little too drunk) to understand all things splendiferous and nightmarish that he understands.