Everything Means Less Than Zero:
(Updated below)
In Brett Easton Ellis's 1985 book Less Than Zero, after we've read about the narrator, Clay, snortin' coke 'til his brain bleeds, fuckin' meaninglessly left and right, watchin' his boyhood friend - now a male prostitute - gettin' fucked by a john, and simply allowing the entire world to decay, all of a sudden Clay walks into a bedroom where all the L.A. posers and rich boys have gathered around a nude, drugged-out 12-year old girl tied to a bed, and they're getting ready to run a train on her. Clay confronts Rip, in whose apartment the rape's about to occur. Haltingly, Clay says, "I don't think it's right."

Rip responds, "What's right? If you want something, you have the right to take it. If you want to do something, you have the right to do it."

Clay answers, "But you don't need anything. You have everything."

To which Rip says, "No, I don't."

Clay asks, "Oh, shit, Rip, what don't you have?"

"I don't have anything to lose," Rip says, before he heads into the bedroom to join in the rape. Clay walks out of the apartment. He doesn't call the cops, he doesn't rescue the girl, he doesn't even try to stop anyone. He just leaves. And in the pathetic realm in which the characters exist, it can be seen as some kind of mighty gesture of strength and character. If one wants to be blindly optimistic, it can be seen as a moment of change for Clay, a moment when he will become a different, better person. But, after Clay leaves, even if he's washed his hands of it, that little girl's stranded in a nightmare.

Today, Senators who voted for cloture are going to vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. And when Lincoln Chafee, Maria Cantwell, Herbert Kohl, Blanche Lincoln, and Jay Rockefeller, as well as all the others run for re-election, they can say, "Look, I said 'No.'" But that "no" matters so little as the very issues they say caused them to vote that way - the power of the presidency, abortion rights, the right to privacy, the favoring of corporations - are turned against them time and again. Yeah, they voted against Alito, but there's a starving, beaten prisoner in Gitmo, a pregnant teenage girl in Nebraska, a coal mining family in West Virginia who are all gonna be the ones fucked because of such cowardly courage. And when they say they voted against Alito, someone's gonna be smart enough to say, "Hey, Maria, if it's such a big fuckin' deal, why didn't you join the filibuster?"

And if someone doesn't wreck Susan Collins, Arlen Specter, or any supposed pro-choice Republican after the first Supreme Court case that limits access to abortion, then DNC consultants need to have their Blackberries shoved up their asses.

So, no, right now the Rude Pundit's not gonna join in the whole "well, at least we tried, and, shit, you knew we were gonna fail, but, hey, maybe this means momentum towards some fuckin' thing down the road" warm and fuzzy fuckin' feelin' that some are wrappin' themselves in, with that wonderful tasty tang of "Told you so" on their tongues. 'Cause, you know, we had just had a bunch of future shit decided for us, and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Tonight at the State of the Union, which promises to be one of the more tedious and odious moments in recent history, President Bush will introduce his new justices, and how many in that chamber will stand up and applaud? Hey, maybe if Joe Lieberman remains seated, he can add that to his Democratic cred reel along with his empty vote. Nah. They'd all rather stand than take a stand.

(And if you really want your stomach to do the Charleston, remember the precedent that's been set: should someone put rat poison in Justice Stevens' creme brulee, Alito's views are now the bar at which a nominee can be approved.)

Update: The vote was 58 to 42. Enough to have sustained a filibuster even without Chafee if 16 Senators believed in more than empty gestures. And Olympia Snowe voted for Alito. There is no middle in the Republican Party. There is only Democratic capitulation masking as moderation.


A Leather Slave Only Knows How To Be a Leather Slave:
Karl Rove has a funny fantasy about his leather slave.

Karl Rove keeps his leather slave in the basement of the White House, chained to a radiator right behind Lyndon Johnson’s scalp collection of "Asians What I Killed" and just across the floor from Calvin Coolidge’s novelty joke collection (including his famous “bladder of the flatulence” he used whenever Indian chiefs visited the Capital). Karl Rove pays nearly nightly visits to his leather slave, and the leather slave can tell whenever things are good or bad: if Rove breaks out the metal dildo he calls “Steely Ann,” the leather slave knows that his master has received another letter from Patrick Fitzgerald or that Tom DeLay has called, weeping, threatening; if Rove lubes up the plastic strap-on or just straight fucks him the ass, the leather slave knows that a bill has passed, a nominee’s been confirmed, or a poll has risen. Rove allows his leather slave to watch only Fox “News,” the basement television locked onto that blissful channel.

The fantasy Rove has about his leather slave (and they are legion, these fantasies, usually ending in Rove fucking Lee Atwater’s skull’s eyehole, an act Rove’s mentor would have appreciated in the pre-brain cancer days) is of releasing his leather slave. See, Karl Rove believes he’s so well-trained his leather slave that the leather slave doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t being tied down and fucked in the face and sodomized by various bottles, kitchen utensils, and items large and small. He bets that the leather slave can’t understand that life might be possible without Michael Hayden, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales coming down to the basement for an unsubtly-named “Hey, Guys, Wanna Fuck My Leather Slave?” poker night, where he’s the first ante in the pot and whoever wins him on each hand gets to take him behind Andrew Johnson’s “Cabinet o' Nigra’ Miscellany,” and whip him, jack off on him, or put his balls in a tight leather nut cozy.

Yes, Rove laughs when he fantasizes about the leather slave, out there on the cold streets of D.C., looking around, wondering wondering where the next fucking is going to come from, for all he knows is fucking, or, to be more precise, getting fucked. If one is constantly fucked, even if one is a leather slave, then of course everyone around you is a potential fucker. Indeed, it would take a mountain of non-fucking kindness to convince you the world is different, that it’s possible to exist without your ass cheeks being spread open like a butterflied pork chop every other night while a screeching insane Karl Rove, wearing an ill-fitting black leather vest, savagely plunges his demi-tumescent cock into you until he howls in a mad, gibberish-ridden orgasm as Bill O’Reilly wags his finger at you, telling you that you are not behaving correctly.

In other words, if you expect to be fucked, if you live your life thinking that fucking is just the way of things, if you think there's nothing you can do so you may as well just shut up and take the fucking, if you believe that those who want to rescue you just want to fuck you themselves, then you may as well return to the basement, chain yourself back to the radiator, and wait for Karl, just like Karl knew you would.


Filibustering Alito For Reasons Other Than Alito:
In the entire political calculus over a potential filibuster, let us for the moment remove Samuel Alito as the physical derivative. 'Cause, truth be told, despite pathetic polls and pouting presidents or putrid politicians, most people couldn't give a happy monkey fuck about whether or not Samuel Alito is on the Supreme Court. Most people aren't paying attention, and when they turn on the CNN or the Fox, no one's tellin' them that Samuel Alito rapes hobo corpses after beating them to death with beagle puppies. So if you ask average Joe, Jane, Jose, Juanita, whoever, if Alito oughta be on the court, chances are they're gonna say, "Sure, why the fuck not?" or "Si, porque la cogida no?"

For Democrats to actually fear an ad campaign that says, with low, evil music playing, "Charles Schumer wouldn't let the nomination of Samuel Alito come to a vote on the floor of the Senate" is to fear dust mites, to fear shadows. Besides, the instant comeback of "Didn't filibuster Roberts, bitch" seems to take out the whole obstructionist charge.

Then here's a brief list of reasons to filibuster Alito that have nothing to do with Savage Sammy:
- Because President Bush authorizes spying on Americans without a warrant.
- Because President Bush authorized torture by Americans and through renditioning.
- Because President Bush detains people without charge for an indefinite period.
- Because President Bush ignores whatever laws he wants, even if he signs them.
- Because President Bush lied about Iraq to get us into the war.
- Because the Army is stretched "to the breaking point."
- Because the reconstruction of Iraq is being fucked up, too.
- Because President Bush refuses to acknowledge what it's gonna take to help the people of the Gulf Coast.
- Because Ford is getting rid of 30,000 employees.
- Because Karl Rove still has a job.
- Because President Bush and the Republicans fail to fully fund the bullshit "No Child Left Behind" program.
- Because President Bush denies the existence of global warming.
- Because the Medicare prescription drug program is a clusterfuck that will end up in people dying because of its existence.
- Because President Bush denies any connection to Jack Abramoff.
- Because President Bush refuses to speak before any audience that doesn't adore him.
- Because Dick Cheney exists.
- Because Osama Bin Laden is either living free or died free.
- Because Donald Rumsfeld still has a job.
- Because the White House has stymied every investigation into its fuck-ups.
- Because President Bush calls spying "terrorist surveillance" and pollution "Clean Skies" and money to churches "Faith-Based Initiatives."
- Because Richard Scaife doesn't need another tax cut.
- Because there has to be a line in the sand, somewhere; otherwise, it's just one long desert until who-knows-when.

See, the thing about a filibuster is it says to the White House, the Republicans, the nation, that Democrats have some say left in the processes of government. The nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and the abandonment of Harriet Miers, were pure manna to the right wing base. At some point, Democrats have to give something to their base, something to keep the faithful from throwing up their hands in disgust, from shaking their heads and mumbling, "What pussies, what godforsaken pussies." And if not this, then what?

What the Democratic leadership, and the Rude Pundit's talkin' to you, sexy Harry Reid, needs to realize is that the filibuster is what gets the left to the polls in November. Moderates won't give a damn about Alito when the war is still raging, the Abramoff scandal is blowing up in the Republicans' faces like an acid bomb, and the Middle East is going nutzoid. Besides, as far as issues go, what has more resonance: blocking Alito or trying to keep Terri Schiavo alive?

As Republicans fret and fume if a filibuster happens, threatening some recriminations, even the "nuclear option," remember this from everything we know about Rovean politics, the way of the wolverine: they attack when frightened. They don't compromise. They don't look for solutions. They attack and attack until they get what they want. And if they still don't get it, they try to do it anyway.

Politics is about power, motherfuckers. Use it or lose it. Sure, sure, there's easy principles to defend in blocking Alito because of what Alito believes, but there's also the pure assertion of power against those who seek to disempower the rest of us.


Katrina Isn't Going Away - For Bush, For Anyone:
Last night, on NBC Nightly News with Brian "Behold My Manly Jaw of Objectivity" Williams, a kind of extraordinary thing occurred. Williams ended the broadcast by discussing the mail the program receives about its coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "While most of the e-mails we get are from folks wanting to thank us for our coverage," Williams said, "an increasing number of them are not." Williams offered examples, like "I'm getting just plain sick and tired of hearing the constant drumbeat about New Orleans" and "Enough. We're sick and tired of THE LONG ROAD BACK." Then, perhaps because it's easy to take a stand against such stupidity, Williams fired back:

"Our Katrina coverage started before Katrina arrived onshore. We were in the Superdome for the storm and then watched what happened in New Orleans during that awful week. We have gone back many times, including this past Monday, and we've gone to Mississippi. We've covered the struggle in Florida and along the Texas coast as we cover any event that causes human suffering. Katrina, though, is different. It displaced two million Americans. It destroyed 350,000 homes. Not all the bodies have been found yet. It exposed cracks in our society. It has us talking about race and class and money and relief. It affected what we pay for gas and what we will pay in taxes. It literally rearranged the map of the Gulf Coast. There are many heroes, but no one villain. Tonight, one of the great American cities is partially in ruins, and many of our fellow citizens are hurting and have nothing left. In some places, nothing's been done yet. And so, while we are reading all the mail, and we enjoy it, we also have a job to do, and we have a big story to cover. And along with the news around the nation and the world each day, we intend to keep covering it."

It ain't the bravest thing that a newscaster has ever done, but it was just damned nice to hear a major media person say that the story ain't goin' away, despite the wishes of viewers. And, of course, despite the wishes of the Bush administration.

For earlier in the broadcast, David Gregory reported on the White House shooting down a widely-supported plan to rebuild New Orleans and said it could be done more cheaply. 'Cause, you know, that hope worked so well in Iraq. Gregory also reported on the White House's refusal to give documents to the bullshit committees investigating the response to Katrina. Indeed, the entire White House response has been the same as it was for the 9/11 Commission, the same as it was for any investigation of the "intelligence failures" on Iraq, the same as it was for any questions about NSA spying, the same as it was for the Plame affair, the same, the same, the same: the President ain't gotta tell you shit 'cause he's the motherfuckin' President, bitches.

These actions caused Senator Joe Lieberman to remove George Bush's balls from his mouth long enough to say, "[T]he White House has produced just a very small portion of the documents we requested. They have opposed efforts to interview their personnel. And they have hindered our ability to obtain information from other federal agencies regarding White House actions in response to Katrina. Almost every question our staff has asked federal agency witnesses regarding conversations with, or involvement of, the White House has been met with a response that they could not answer on direction of the White House. There’s been no assertion of executive privilege; just a refusal to answer."

When Michael "A Hundred Pounds of Shit in a Fifty-Pound Bag" Brown was testifying before a closed door session with the committee, his attorney told him not to reveal "whether he spoke to the president or the vice president, or comment on the substance of conversations." Republican Susan Collins is calling bullshit, saying that it's "inappropriate" that witnesses "have told us when we begin to ask about any communications with the White House" that they've been threatened with an ass-raping by Karl Rove's Sodomizin' Stormtroopers.

Instead of invoking executive privilege, which has some rules regarding its use, the White House is just runnin' out the clock on the investigations, or, in the common lingo, "stonewalling." This has pissed off Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter, to the point where he removed his face from Bush's anus long enough to catch his breath and say, "There is such a thing as valid executive privilege, but from what I have read, some of the withholding of information and some of the refusal to allow agency representatives to testify goes way beyond that." Then someone reminded Vitter of the Alito vote, and he stuffed his face back between those bony patrician ass cheeks.

This, of course, comes on the heels of the report that the admininstration essentially ignored all warnings, long-term and short-term, about the impact of a strong hurricane on New Orleans. The Department of Homeland Security, in a shocking display of competence, informed the White House 48 hours before Katrina hit that the levees would be breached and chaos would rein. The reports on that and the computer-simulated Hurricane Pam were placed into the bottom file drawer, between the "Holy Fuck, Global Warming's Gonna Kill Us All" file and the "People in Invaded Nations Get Pissed Off and Fight" file. It's right next to the one that says, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack U.S." It's the drawer that Dick Cheney opens and pisses in whenever he's gotta take a leak in the "situation room."

Like so many things in the grand historical fuck-up that is the Bush presidency, Bush just wants to turn away and hope it all works out fine. But, like democracy in Palestine, it doesn't always go the way you want it to. If NBC pisses off its viewers by reminding them, constantly, that there's a tear in the bottom of the nation, that it better be stitched or patched before it rips even further, then maybe those pissed off people will be moved to tell the White House to do something so Katrina doesn't have to pollute their screens anymore. Nah. Chances are they'll just tune out until American Idol tells 'em who to love.

It's Mardi Gras season soon in New Orleans, and the pathetic parades of the damned are going to be rolling, entertaining the roughly one-third of the citizens who are back, bringing in tourists who can pretend it's all normal. The krewes don't even know how many floats they'll have because of the lack of members. There's only two functioning hospitals in the city. How grotesque is it gonna be when the giant smiling Blaine Kern figures are ridin' through the streets where wreckage and ruined lives sit just a block or two away? It's the perfect metaphor, is it not? Smiling empty figureheads waving while the masked riders toss worthless beads to broken people?

Travel and Shopping Plug:
The Rude Pundit actually recommends heading up the road a piece to Lafayette, Louisiana, which has its own grubby-souled Mardi Gras. Not as elaborate as New Orleans, it's a helluva party. And no Katrina corpses to be found.

And the Rude Pundit's got friends who run a store of Mardi Gras and New Orleans merchandise and just generally cool shit. It's called Masks and Make-Believe, and, after being closed for a few months after the storm, it's up and runnin', sellin' stuff on the web (the actual store in New Orleans is still being worked on). This is their big season. Give 'em a click, especially if you're shoppin' for yer favorite feather queen or Eyes Wide Shut orgy fan.


Filibustering Alito: The Clarence Thomas Factor:
A little recent history lesson here: So back in 1991, at the end of the crazed finger-jabbin' circus that was the hearing on Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the vote was a 7-7 tie, with the odious Dennis DeConcini breaking ranks with his party to ensure that the Thomas nomination didn't go down the toilet like so many pubic hairs flicked off so many Coke cans.

The committee's chair, Joseph Biden, who voted against Thomas, all but offered to blow every black man in America in his efforts to make sure that Thomas got a vote in the full Senate, so fearful were many Democrats over some phantom backlash by African Americans that the Republicans promised to whip up. The committee could have voted not to send the nomination to the floor, but the Democrats, when they were in the goddamn majority, didn't have the stones for the fight, with all but one voting to send the nomination to the full Senate despite the fact that no Supreme Court nominee had ever gone to a full vote without the committee's recommendation. And let's remember, fondly, that the questions his opponents had weren't only about Thomas's manic desire to fuck Anita Hill; they were concerned about his qualifications and his very right wing politics.

As for the possibility of a filibuster, despite George Mitchell and others saying it was still in play, well, other Democrats put the kibbosh on that faster than Clarence Thomas could rent a Long Dong Silver porn film. Patrick Leahy declared that he was "totally opposed to a filibuster," that "we should vote for or against" Thomas. Biden was equally firm that a filibuster would not happen, saying that he had "no intention of supporting a filibuster."

Republican Orrin Hatch, who is not above using race any chance he can (hell, he's actually not above worm shit at the bottom of a grave), taunted Democrats with the idea that they might filibuster a black nominee; Hatch, who has been a seething destructive force and a favored minion of Satan for decades, reminded Senators that the filibuster had been used by civil rights opponents back in the bad ol' days. Said Hatch, "Wouldn't that be just the greatest irony of all? Can you imagine liberals talking about filibustering the second black nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States of America? Shame! I can hardly wait if that's the choice that they make."

And, of course, they didn't make it. Sure, sure, Democrats knew that Thomas wasn't qualified, that his nomination was a cynical ploy, a game of racial chicken started by George Bush I. Sure, sure, Democrats called the 52 to 48 vote in favor of Thomas a "statement" or some such shit, but, at the end of the day, Clarence Thomas took Thurgood Marshall's seat on the Supreme Court.

So here's the question that the Rude Pundit has for Senators Daniel Akaka, Max Baucus, Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Kent Conrad, Tom Harkin, Jim Jeffords, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Barbara Mikulski, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and Paul Sarbanes, who were there then and are there now: Do you wish you had filibustered Clarence Thomas now? Do you wish you had done everything you could even against the slim majority that supported Thomas?

In 2004, Harry Reid said this about Clarence Thomas on Meet the Press: "I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court...I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice." Is there something you could have done back, say, in 1991 that might have prevented an unqualified ideologue from being on the Supreme Court? Looking back, would you have done something differently?

'Cause, see, we know now to be true what a whole fuckin' lot of us were sayin' back in 1991: Clarence Thomas supports rolling back rights and expanding the power of the Presidency, as well as in a detrimental, extreme Federalism (except, you know, in Bush v. Gore) and a pro-corporate, fuck-the-citizens approach to jurisprudence, easily the most conservative member of the Court, the only man who could make Antonin Scalia look like a wild-eyed Bohemian.

See, the debate on Samuel Alito is one of those "If I had known then what I know now" moments. It's one of those "If you went back in time and had a chance to shoot Hitler, would you do it?" moments. (No, the Rude Pundit's not comparing Alito to Hitler - that'd be Bush. And, no, he's not advocating shooting Alito - instead, use a tranq gun on Karl Rove.)

There's many, many reasons to filibuster Alito, ideologically and politically. At the end of the day, sweet Senators, look at Clarence Thomas - look at his decisions, his dissents, his deep desire to eviscerate individual rights and freedoms like they're pig carcasses in the slaughterhouse. Ask yourself if, at the end of another decade and a half, you wanna look back and wonder if you did everything you could, even if you failed, to prevent another extremist from getting on the court. Ask yourself what kind of America would you be looking from. Act like that's what's at stake.

Correction: An earlier version of this post listed Mark Pryor in the list of Senators who were sitting in that august body back in 1991. However, the Rude Pundit had confused Mark with his daddy, David Pryor, who served in the Senate until 1997. Tip of the rude hat to reader Lane.

Bloggery: Blogger's goin' down fer a bit at 7 p.m. EST. S'posed to be back at around 7:15. Enjoy the emptiness and silence.


George W. Bush, Proud Masturbator For Freedom:
Back in middle school and high school, President George W. Bush was masturbating constantly, moving from fumbling random jerker to expert pecker caresser. In the bathrooms of Andover, in the outhouses of Midland, in his pillow at nights in Connecticut compounds, wherever he could and whenever he had or could manufacture a chance, George W. Bush would whip out his stringy dick and thwack that fucker like he was taming a lion in the middle ring. It was easy enough for him to jack off - all he had to do was look in the mirror and imagine fucking himself. Sometimes he'd treat himself sweetly, caressing his face and tweaking his nipples delicately, slowly moving his hand down to his groin to lovingly yank his cock into eruption and ecstasy. Sometimes, though, he knew he'd been a naughty boy, so he'd spank himself and call himself "bitchdawg," fingering his own prostate like he was wildcattin' fer black gold. Then he'd smack his peter on the sink edge, beatin' his meat with all his might.

It was during one of these times of pure joy that his father walked in on him, having been drawn to the bathroom by Jr.'s increasingly loud threats to himself. Sr. was shocked, to say the least, staring at his son with one hand up his ass and the other treating his penis like a rolling pin at the busiest French bakery in Houston. Other young men might have run out, ashamed, scarred forever. Some may have tried to mumble a lied excuse - "Umm, a bug crawled up there while I was peein' in the sink." But not George W. He stared at his father like the old man was covered in shit. "Ya think you could shut the door? Can't you see I'm busy here?" George W. spat out at his stunned pater. Sr. closed the door quietly and shuddered as he heard W.'s yowls of ejaculatory glee.

Later, Sr. tried to talk to his first born son about masturbating. He didn't want to tell the boy that it was wrong, but just to keep it down a little and maybe come up with a few other hobbies. George W. cut off his father and proclaimed, "I don't give a shit what you say. In fact, I'm gonna jack off more. I'm gonna do it and you can't even stop me." And then he walked out on the stunned patriarch, saying, "In fact, I'm gonna jack off right now."

So it is that now that Bush has been caught authorizing secret wiretaps and electronic surveillance, all anyone wants to know is, "Why couldn't you just go to FISA or the Congress, even retroactively?" And Bush's reaction? "Fuck you. Can't you see I'm busy spyin' here?"

Or words to that effect. Here's Bush in his speech in Kansas yesterday, part of his Neverending Campaign tour: "First, I made the decision to do the following things because there's an enemy that still wants to harm the American people. What I'm talking about is the intercept of certain communications emanating between somebody inside the United States and outside the United States; and one of the numbers would be reasonably suspected to be an al Qaeda link or affiliate. In other words, we have ways to determine whether or not someone can be an al Qaeda affiliate or al Qaeda. And if they're making a phone call in the United States, it seems like to me we want to know why.

"This is a -- I repeat to you, even though you hear words, 'domestic spying,' these are not phone calls within the United States. It's a phone call of an al Qaeda, known al Qaeda suspect, making a phone call into the United States. I'm mindful of your civil liberties, and so I had all kinds of lawyers review the process. We briefed members of the United States Congress, one of whom was Senator Pat Roberts, about this program. You know, it's amazing, when people say to me, well, he was just breaking the law -- if I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?"

In other words, he's gonna jack off as much as he wants, no matter how many sores or calluses end up on his dick, no matter how much it interferes with the functioning of his daily life. Motherfucker, the President of the United States says spyin' is necessary and no fuckin' Constitution is gonna tell him otherwise: "Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn't prescribe the tactics. It's an -- you've got the power to protect us, but we're not going to tell you how. And one of the ways to protect the American people is to understand the intentions of the enemy. I told you it's a different kind of war with a different kind of enemy. If they're making phone calls into the United States, we need to know why -- to protect you."

Which is not unlike saying that if your parents give you permission to go out for the night and the keys to the car, and you snort coke off a she-male hooker's tits while drivin' and the car plunges into the neighbor's pool, taking out the hedges, the garden gnomes, and the neighbor's schnauzer, as well as causing the she-male hooker to need stitches in her tits 'cause you bit 'em when the car leaped off the road, you shouldn't be punished because your parents didn't tell you not to snort coke off a she-male hooker's tits while drivin'.

The smirk that Bush gets when he's in front of an adoring crowd is the same smirk he got starin' in that mirror, that he still gets starin' in the mirror, pretendin' that he's on television, yankin' his cock and sprayin' us all with spooge, every infantile fantasy come true.
Why Bill O'Reilly Ought To Be Sodomized With the Femur of a Dead Sudanese Child:
Briefly noted: Last night, the Rude Pundit sat down to another fine episode of The O'Reilly Factor, with noted baby seal bludgeoner Bill O'Reilly hosting. In his Talking Points Memo segment, O'Reilly started by mentioning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's criticism that O'Reilly ignored the genocide in Darfur, Sudan in favor of nonsense like the "war" on Christmas. Oh, the Rude Pundit thought, this oughta be "good," rubbin' his hands together in sweet anticipation. Did O'Reilly talk about the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Darfur? Did he talk about the Bush administration's hypocrisy in doing little to halt such horrors while still spouting off about human rights violations in Iraq?

Nope. It was all about what O'Reilly called a "gross human rights violation" that he claims neither the Times nor "any network news organization" has discussed: the sentencing of a Vermont child molester to sixty days in prison and then treatment. According to O'Reilly, the little girl victim's civil rights have been violated. See, it's like Darfur, except with less flies.

So the Rude Pundit took out his trusty laptop and did a wee lil' Nexis search of the name of the molester. Seems that not only has the case been discussed endlessly on CNNMSNBCFox, but, on January 14, it hit the big time with a story on NBC Nightly News. Seems also that ABC's Good Morning, America covered it on January 13.

But this ain't about "gotcha" bullshit. It's about anyone who would nod along with O'Reilly, thinking that the two things are even remotely comparable. It's the fact that when O'Reilly says, "Yes, things are bad in Darfur. Nicholas Kristof's right. But there's a gross human rights violation going on in Vermont. And the media and politicians could not care less. Somebody tell Mr. Kristof and his editors," well, are additional jokes really necessary?

Later this morning: why George Bush is like a serial masturbator.


The Bodies of Miners:
Sometimes being a leftist is exhausting. Essentially, these days especially, you're just reduced to a plaintive "Told you so" when the typically hideous, awful slide into corruption or calamity occurs. The stripping away of civil rights in the wake of 9/11? Told you so. The degradation of the environment to the point that it endangers the way in which humans exist? Told you so. And part of the frustration is saying, "Told you so" again and again on the same goddamn issues.

It's not unlike watching your best friend constantly going home with men, getting fucked, declaring the hope of love for the fucker, and then getting dumped within six to nine months. And no matter how many times you tell him, "You know, maybe you shouldn't emotionally commit to everyone you fuck," he'll just keep goin' along, gettin' his heart broken almost as much as he gets his rocks off. But you're a good friend. You'll be over to help delete the photos from the hard drive, wash the semen stains from the sheets, get him ready for the hope that he's learned something this time, praying that he'll at least go into therapy.

Take worker safety. No, let's get even more specific: let's say mine safety. No, let's get even more and more specific: let's say mine safety in the administration of George W. Bush. Back in September 2001, another of the great disasters of that time was the series of explosions at a coal mine in Brookwood, Alabama on September 23, killing 13 people. The mine's owner, Jim Walter Resources, had been cited more than 250 times in three years by the Mine Safety and Health Administration for "allowing combustible materials...to build up underground," according to the November 12, 2001 In These Times. The MSHA, in December 2002, said that the company was at fault for the explosions and deaths at Brookwood, because of a botched evacuation and rescue effort and for the aforementioned build-up. It was fined $435,000.

This was shortly after the time that President Bush was proposing cuts in the budget of the MSHA, specifically targeting its safety enforcement funding. This was around the time that Elaine Chao's Department of Labor halted work on proposed mining safety regulations, started during the Clinton administration (according to In These Times, September 16, 2002.) This was around the time that Bush stood and took photos with the 9 rescued men at the flooded Quecreek coal mine in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

The United Mine Workers of America conducted its own investigation of Brookwood, and concluded in January 2003 that not only shows that "JWR did not comply with the Mine Act...It reveals that MSHA's failure to fully enforce the law contributed to the operator's non-compliance and the hazardous conditions in its No. 5 mine." But, of course, by then Republicans were firmly in control of both houses of Congress, and whatever hearings occurred on mine safety before the 2002 midterms were forgotten and whatever hearings occurred after were a show, and, by the way, no body of the government was left that gave a flying batfuck about what a union had to say.

Oh, and the date the UMWA issued its report, there was an explosion at a West Virginia mine that killed three workers: "MSHA had never gone underground to inspect the site where the accident occurred."

So let's be clear here: whatever neglect during the Clinton administration led to the Brookwood accident, Brookwood was the wake-up call to the Bush White House and the Republican Congress to fucking do something instead of getting in bed with the mining corporations like a twenty-buck a fuck meth whore. If you buy a house and the goddamn hot water heater breaks two weeks later, you can't go back and get the old owner to fix it.

This ain't about theories of deregulation and laissez-faire economics and budget cutting and safety enforcement capabilities. It ain't about political ass-covering (which is what the MSHA is engaged in). It's about workers' bodies, as it ever is, since the charred corpses at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, since the mines of Monongah. Real alive and dead bodies of miners, who do a shitty job for increasingly shitty pay. And after Brookwood and after Quecreek, those bodies were violated again and again by the failure of both Washington and state legislators to do a thing, as, no doubt, the bodies of the workers at Sago and Alma will be.

The Sago disaster is so much like Brookwood in its cause that one can only stand back and shake one's head, wondering when the next pathetic "Told you so" will have to be intoned.


The Settling Darkness, Part 2 - The Dusk in Washington:
Dick Cheney's gout is acting up this night in Washington, D.C. Forced to spend the night at the Vice President's home rather than his palatial Maryland estate, Cheney feels the pain in his big toe, the crystallized uric acid settling in the joint there. The ache is tremendous, no matter how many anti-inflammatories he downs with a Chateau Petrus Bordeaux. Lynne's remarked that Cheney's been really hitting the claret and the single malt lately, that perhaps it's contributed to the spiky crystals now stabbing his toe joint. Cheney dismisses her with, "Go write another happy fuckin' kids book, make 'em feel good about the war, call it 'Operation Freedom Fries' or some such shit. And tell the maid to bring up a bottle of le Bon-Pasteur. My fuckin' toe hurts."

Cheney, the news blazing in the background featuring the charred remains of Iraqi vehicles and homes, stares at the mantle, at the trophies he has, the skulls of ex-Ba'athists; the jar of Punjab testicles floating in formaldehyde like so many figs, taken from their owners in the sheds and cells of Baghram Air Base; the photo montage, cut and pasted by his grandkids, of the Abu Ghraib pictures the public hasn't seen - the raped children, the nude women, the beaten and dog-bitten men. The TV flashes constant images, of the Iranian President declaring that his nation won't back down, and of Bin Laden. The future and the past, right there, always present. Cheney puts his foot up on a stool that had been owned by Benjamin Franklin, borrowed from the Smithsonian.

"Benjamin Franklin had gout," Cheney muses to himself. The fight for freedom in this world is rugged, and those who fight it deserve the rewards of the rich life. But the body fights back, says you're not virtuous enough, stabs you in your fuckin' toe joint for the act of relaxation. Cheney's cell phone rings. It's the President. Cheney answers, wincing at the sound of the voice on the other end.

"I took your advice, Dick, but it didn't work," the pinched, patrician whine, so effete, so effected, says. "I put on the Bin Laden speech and dropped my pants. I took out my peter and tried again and again to imagine jackin' off on Osama's beard, but it didn't work. I...I couldn't even get a hard-on. I hate this impotence."

"Mr. President," Cheney says, his stomach turning at the very words, "you need sleep. It's hard for me to talk now. My toe, it's buggin' the fuck out of me."

"Doesn't seem fair."

"How's that, Mr. President?"

"Your name's 'Dick.' Seems like you should have the erectile dysfunction."

"I do have erectile dysfunction, Mr. President."

"Oh. Does it have anything to do with Osama Bin-Laden?"

"No, it has to do with my heart condition. Pull up your pants and go to bed, George." And the President hangs up.

Cheney is tired. His heart, his toe, his mind. His speech in New York yesterday was another affair where he defended everything the administration is doing. He's sick of the bob and weave on the past. Cheney's a man of the future, a man who makes plans. Yesterday is detritus, shit residue on his shoe, to be wiped on the carpets of the Vice President's residence.

Ben Franklin never looked back, he thinks. We revolutionaries are always thinking forward. Cheney smirks, thinking about Iran, about Syria, about so much that can be done in a little less than three years, when there's no one to answer to. Franklin would have wished for such complacency, Cheney thinks. Ben Franklin and me, he ponders as he falls asleep, spilling his glass of Bordeaux all over Franklin's stool.
The Settling Darkness, Part 1 - France Says It May Nuke "Terrorist States":
The Rude Pundit realizes that miners, kidnapped reporters, and Bin Laden are important news. But when the President of France says that "terrorist states" should not have doubts "about our will and our capacity to use nuclear arms," while at the same time Syria says that Iran's nuclear pursuits are a-okay, is it not time for concern and perhaps a moment or two in the mainstream media to look up and say, "What did you just say, Jacques?"

Jacques Chirac was speaking at the L'Ile-Longue Submarine Base when he made the shift in France's defense doctrine, a way of saying to critics that he was not about to give up its nuclear arsenal, no matter how much it costs the cash-strapped, but still romantique, nation. As a way of outbastarding George W. Bush, Chirac said that nuclear protection was for "vital interests," including allies and "strategic supplies," which anyone paying attention took to mean "oil." This is mauvais, tres mauvais. In Washington, the White House reacted with, "What a minute-we could maybe just nuke some dark people for oil? Fuck, that'd save time."

Actually, so far the reaction in Washington has been along the lines of, "C'est la vie." At yesterday's State Department briefing, when spokesperson Sean McCormack was asked about the speech, he responded straight from Scott McClellan's script: "[D]ecisions and actions that involve use of force and the military are the greatest decisions any leader can take in defense of a country and defense of a people. But those decisions are for that country to make and those leaders to make." McCormack said he hadn't seen or heard about the speech, so it would have been easy to say, "Dunno." But then he wouldn't have been offering an ass slap to the administration's policies.


The FRC Says That Jesus Wants Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court:
The Rude Pundit's been catching up on his mail under his nom de rude, the moniker he uses to subscribe to splendiferous newsletters and informative spam from the right. Mostly what he's learned from doing a little bit o' molin' about is that, for the conservatives of this country, a)wiretapping is good; b) George Bush is good; c) liberals are bad; and d) who wouldn't wanna fuck Dick Cheney? Really, the level of most of this occupies some foul nether region between "ridiculous" and "bullshit."

However, none are as absolutely filled with entertaining directives than the updates from the Family Research Council's Super-Duper Prayer Team, which you can join, too. The FRC sends a weekly "Prayer Team Target" e-mail, telling all of us fine, fine Super Prayerers what we need to make sure God and/or Jesus hears it in large numbers. It's the annoyance theory of deistic intervention: so many people pray about something so often that God says, "Okay, okay, fuck, whatever you want, just shut the fuck up already." Last week, the Rude Pundit was given daily marching orders on how and what to pray for when it comes to the nomination of and hearings for Samuel Alito.

Along the four-day journey that was the impenetrable lightness of being Sammy Alito, the Super-Duper Prayer Team was constantly implored to reach out to God and/or Jesus to throw down in the confirmation hearing:

On Day One: "Please set aside time daily to cry out to God that His will be done. God, alone, knows the heart of men. But we are charged with making the best decision we can with the data at hand. Judge Alito, by every reasonable measure, is a man who cares about the Sovereignty of God, constitutional integrity, marriage, the family, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom - things any judge should revere," we were told, even after our Prayer Target letter opened with "While FRC has not officially endorsed Judge Sam Alito," which is not unlike saying, "I'm not sure I like sucking cock" while deep throating a 10-incher. No one can hear you 'cause your mouth's so full of cock.

It continued, "May our Senators and the American people, especially Christians, be fully engaged in getting to know this man, and may Your people cry out in prayer to you during the next 21 days for mercy." The Rude Pundit's gotta catch up on his crying out fer mercy, since he's behind on his 21-day obligation, the first week taken up with a pot and tequila binge that left him, more often than not, praying to gods more porcelain than divine. The Rude Pundit blames the Democrats' performance at the hearings. And, well, shit, why not, Jesus.

On Day Two: we're told to "Pray for Judge Sam Alito, that he will rest well tonight, and that he will arise refreshed to face the new day. This has been a grueling day for him and his family," and, apparently randomly seeking the word "sleep" in the Bible, the e-mail cites Psalms 127:2. And then we're told to pray for higher ratings for the cable news networks: "Pray that the American people will watch the proceedings on TV and that they will see just how out of control the judiciary has become and how determined some in the Senate are to see the court impose public policy upon America that could never be enacted by Congress."

On Day Three: It is the Day of Martha's Tears. Get it? Martha wept. Just like...well, fuck, you know. And the FRC's Tony "You Know I Played Other Parts Than Norman Bates" Perkins wants us to remember dear Martha: "Pray for Alito's Family: his wife Martha, college-age son, Philip and younger daughter, Laura - that they may have supernatural peace and strength to endure." That's right. We "Praying Friends," as Perkins calls us, need to give Alito's family superpowers - not cool superpowers like flying or heat vision or bone-breaking vaginal walls. No, just super peace and super endurance, like makin' some kind of meditating monk an ultra-monk. Seems like a waste of valuable prayer time.

On Day Four: Perkins informs us that Democrats are bad. He's been doing it all week, citing verses that talk about liars or evil people to support his point of view, which is "Democrats are bad." And then there's the request to we Praying Prayer People: "Pray that the Democrats will allow the process conclude as planned; that a Committee vote will occur on the 17th and a full Senate vote on the 20th. May Alito be easily confirmed as our newest Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court." D'oh. Guess the Rude Pundit should have checked his e-mail earlier. Perkins cites Psalms 75:5-7, which, after talking about "promotion" coming not from any direction, concludes, "But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another." Which would seem to put aside the whole idea of "Supreme Court" and thus nullify the entire affair, but the Rude Pundit ain't Tony Perkins; he's but a simple Praying Prayer guy.

On Day Five: Easy prayers for the end of the hearings - "Pray that there would be no delay and no filibuster...Pray that Alito will be overwhelmingly confirmed when the Senate votes. May he be on the Court by the time President Bush delivers his State of the Union Speech...Pray for Revival and Reformation among the American people, without which gains toward righteous government will be short-lived." Yes, for the FRC there is no righteousness without revival. We wallow in filth, pigs at unholy troughs, when we attempt to be a secular nation.

The Family Research Council declares in ads that Alito is "one of us." In other words, the prayers have been answered, as they were with John Roberts. Jesus loves Alito. If you don't love Alito, you must not love Jesus. Simply syllogisms for illogical times.

The Super-Duper Prayer Team is now at rest, to be ready, one assumes, for the titanic amount of prayin' we're gonna have to do when the debate over Alito begins. For if we deny Alito, we deny God, the FRC is saying. And if we deny God, well, then we haven't got a prayer. Who'll bless America then?


Why the Democrats Have To Filibuster Alito:
Let us say, and why not, that you're a guy who has a favorite bar- you're not a strong guy, just kind of average, but you're someone who has a lot of friends who'll forgive you your faults. And let's say that your favorite bar used to be a quiet place, especially early in the evening, a place for yuppies like you, where you could bring your dates, your women, hell, you'd even welcome the occasional gay couple. It's one of those great off-the-map bars, the kind that don't get mentioned on Citysearch or some such shit because it's kept alive by you, your after work crowd, your parties. It ain't a depressing corner bar, but it ain't an oh-so-stylish in-crowd kind of place.

Let us say that the bar is "discovered," one of those little places that, overnight, it seems, gets the reputation as the last hip place in the city, and once that happens, well, it's all changed. The crowds, the jacked-up prices, you name it. The worst, though, is that the former frat guy assholes show up. It changes the whole zeitgeist, you know? When twenty-something jerk-offs with MBAs and no scruples start downin' Heinekens or Coronas, ready to try to continue to pathetically act as if life is like the DKE house. You tolerate. You complain, you try to have a good time with your friends, but you tolerate. Except, you say, one thing. If one of those assholes starts hittin' on your girlfriend, that's it. Yer gonna go apeshit. Oh, you talk a good talk, a rap that entertains the shit out of the office gang, sayin' all the ways you're gonna take out a jerk-off, how you're gonna grab him by his tiny balls and slam his face into the refinished bar, how you're gonna get all Gitmo on his ass. The owner overhears you and tells you that if you start a fight, he's gonna throw your ass out - for good. Everyone laughs, but you're serious, you tell them, you don't care. There's only so much a man can take when someone walks into his bar and takes it over.

Then, of course, it happens. Anonymous Asshole #2 not only hits on your woman when she's gettin' another round for you, he does it slyly, caressing her arm, putting the coy-but-hard sell on her. She's lookin' over at you, like, "Well, what are you gonna do?" And everyone at your back table's lookin' at you, like, "Well, motherfucker, put the fuck up or shut the fuck up."

If you're the Democrats in Congress, faced with filibustering Samuel Alito, you apparently throw up your hands and say, "Hey, c'mon, he wasn't grabbin' her ass or anything'. Yeah, he's an asshole, but he's a nice asshole." As Tim Grieve writes in Salon, "[F]or years now, Democratic senators like [Dianne] Feinstein have justified their existence by warning voters about the possibility of a court full of Scalias: Send me back for another term in the Senate -- send money to get me there -- and I'll stand up for an independent judiciary and protect a woman's right to choose. So here we are, confronted with another Supreme Court nominee who shows every sign that he'll roll over for the executive branch and roll back Roe the first chance he gets, and the Dianne Feinsteins of the world say the nomination doesn't rise to the level of a filibuster." Or, in other words, put the fuck up or shut the fuck up.

The Rude Pundit has said it before and he'll say it again: Democrats need to think of themselves as an organized resistance, an insurgency against a dictatorial government, an uprising with popular support among the citizens of the United States. A resistance doesn't succeed unless it actually, you know, resists. And if not on Alito, then what? Dianne Feinstein-leaning Democrats need to take a page from the anti-abortion movement: if you believe it's about life and death, then act like you wanna save lives.

But the flaccid Alito battle ain't just about Roe v. Wade, although, as so much else in this country, the story of Alito on the Supreme Court will be written on women's bodies. No, it's about the spine of the Democratic Party and the legs of democracy itself. To say that unless one finds out something horrendous about a nominee to the Supreme Court, like, say, they eat puppies alive (did anyone ask Alito that?), then a President ought to "get" who he nominates to the Court is to willingly give the Executive branch more power. "Advice and consent" means, like every parent will tell you, that the answer can be "No." It also misreads the purpose of the Supreme Court. The Court ain't about a single president. It's about the nation and its history and its future. If Democrats allow it, the Court will become another political arm of the White House.

Doesn't the Democratic leadership understand what's going on in the nation outside of Washington? The majority of the country is behind them. We want the fucking fight. We want to see the bullies get their comeuppence. We want some smashed nutsacks and some kicked asses and some bloodied noses. Resistance is not only noble, it's the most goddamned American thing you can do. So what if Alito was soft-spoken and not a raging lunatic? The scariest lunatics are the quiet ones - at least a screaming Bork'll let you know he's gonna shiv you when you turn your back. Creepy-ass Alito stares at you blankly and makes you think he's benign. Those're the nutzoids who'll gut you the second they get the chance.

In the end, if you don't stand up and fight for the one thing you've said you'll throw down on, then you may as well say that you don't actually believe in anything. You gotta be willing to get up out of your seat and tap that asshole on the shoulder and tell him to step outside.

(And, by the way, the same thing goes for so-called "moderate" Republicans. You're either tools of the President or individuals elected by the citizens of your state for your "moderate" beliefs.)


While Gore Walks Upright, Gonzales Hunches in the Ditch:
Man, someone spiked Al Gore's coffee with spinach yesterday, 'cause he went all Popeye on the Bush administration's Bluto ass. Here's the Rude Pundit's favorite section from Al Gore's erection-inspiring speech yesterday:

"The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

"Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

"Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march -- when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

"It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same."

Goddamn, it's such in-yer-fookin'-gob rhetoric, innit? Here's Bush, who in speech after speech makes some variation on the same stupid statement, as he did on January 11: "[I] said that after September the 11th, that oceans no longer protected us. You know, when I was growing up, or other baby boomers here were growing up, we felt safe because we had these vast oceans that could protect us from harm's way. September the 11th changed all that." And then here's Gore, calling complete and utter bullshit on that idiotic line, that the oceans couldn't even protect us from the wind-driven ships of the British, let alone Soviet ICBMs.

But the other thing Gore is doing is good ol' locker room politics: he's calling Bush a dickhead. "You want threats?" Gore is saying. "Dude, you only gotta keep track of a couple hundred goatfuckers who shit in holes on the side of a mountain. Try dealin' with a few million Soviets. God, stop being a dickhead about it and just do your job without fucking up the joint too much, a'ight?"

Gore's historical logic could also be extended to this: as repressive as the United States government could be to its citizens during the Cold War, fuck, the Rude Pundit doesn't wanna imagine what Nixon or Reagan would have been like if they'd followed Bush's logic of the power of the president during "war." It'd be like the difference between being gang-raped in prison and being gang-raped in hell by forked-dicked demons with four balls, shooting torrents of fiery spooge into your lacerated asshole.

The rest of the speech is Al Gore representing the injured citizenry of this country, speaking as someone who is not only disgusted by the treatment of a loved one- like the Constitution is in some horrid, rat-infested state-run nursing home -but as someone who is being hurt himself, as, indeed, we all are, every day, by the rampant, anti-American power grab the White House is engaged in, with the complacent Congress just along for the ride. The government is spying on Americans without a warrant or any oversight other than by the spies themselves, Gore says. What the fuck, you know? What the fuck?

Unlike so many of Gore's barnburner speeches of the past, this one had more of an effect than the usual flea fart at a System of a Down concert resonance of his previous efforts. For one thing, Attorney General Alberto "Where's Your Fucking Neck?" Gonzales appeared on Larry King's Zombie Live last night, where Larry King's zombie asked Gonzales about the speech. Gonzales took out the Bill of Rights and said, "Amendments? We don't need no stinkin' amendments" before setting the document on fire with his cigarillo.

King's zombie then asked Gonzales if it was that big a fuckin' deal to get a judge to "sign off on a warrant." Gonzales replied, "Larry, whenever you involve another branch of government in an activity regarding electronic surveillance, inherently it's going to result in some cases in delay." Then he distracted King by offering the zombie host the fresh brains of Sunni children, which King's zombie gratefully engorged. His work there done, Gonzales slunk off, hunched over like a beaten bellringer, to give Sean Hannity's manly jaw a stiff workout.

Gonzales used the much discredited "Clinton did it" excuse to defend the warrantless spying. These were called "black-bag jobs," and they involved physical searches of property without a warrant. The major difference is that, according to the Christian Science Monitor of August 31, 1994, "Unlike their predecessors, Mr. Clinton and [Janet] Reno have encouraged Congress to clear up legal uncertainties over black-bag jobs." This, of course, led to the expansion of FISA to cover physical property searches, passed by Congress. It was not simply done and Congress was informed and told to go fuck itself.

But that's the difference, isn't it? One President respecting the checks and balances of government, another flushing them down the toilet like so much used tissue. One speaker yesterday offered a path back to respect, another continued to advocate stuffing the toilet to overflowing.

Haven't things come to a strange pass when to be "radical" is to merely ask that the government of the nation respect its own laws?

Michelle Malkin's Cuntistry, Briefly Noted:
If one is going to rage against USA Today for distorting a picture of Condi Rice, then perhaps one should not distort a photo of Ted Kennedy for comedic effect on one's own blog.

The Year of Living Rudely Now On Sale at Tower Record Online Store:
In case you don't trust CDBaby.com for some bizarro reason, you can get the Rude Pundit's CD at Tower.com now. Buy, love, drink, buy more.


Martin Luther King Would Fuck Bush's Shit Up (2006 Edition):
Today isn't only Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, oh, no. This year, King's day falls on Religious Freedom Day. "What the fuck?" you may ask, and, indeed, you'd be correct. See, Religious Freedom Day was ostensibly established to celebrate the passage of Thomas Jefferson-authored Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786.

Jefferson's words are particularly poignant these days because Jefferson posited this: "that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint...That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical...that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right." It's a remarkable document, an amazing expression of the meaning of (and, indeed, the foundation of) the separation between church and state. Indeed, its celebration is rightly noted and all too forgotten, a none-too-prescient exultation of free will as a "natural right."

So, of course, the religious right has to fuck it mericilessly into a meaningless heap.

They're such skeevy bastards, the fundamentalist right, like cretinous little dirt eaters who covertly masturbate in the closets of their sisters, jackin' it like crazed lemurs all over Sis's school skirt and gigglin' about it later when she asks Mom where that stain came from. For them, Religious Freedom Day is just another opportunity to try to use freedom against itself and secret them some Jesus into the public schools.

Think that's an exaggeration? Here's some news from James Dobson's Focus on the (Financial Success of My) Family's Citizenlink: Luis Gonzales, a band teacher, wanted to celebrate Religious Freedom Day at his school. "For many years I have pondered the effect of my Christian walk on my students," he said. "I wanted to be able to give my students some concrete information so they, in turn, can make knowledgeable decisions on their beliefs and actions in the school setting." (What is a "Christian walk"? Is it like a sexy sashay? Or a goose step?)

The website for Religious Freedom Day handily offers oodles of RFD merchandise, as well as guidelines for how students can bring them some Jesus to school, like a teddy bear or an imaginary friend. Oh, how it oozes with sweet, viscous contempt for the act it purports to celebrate. It gives a handy paraphrase of the Statute, for those who can't follow all those conjunctive adverbs and subordinate clauses. And what a fine paraphrase it is. For instance, it takes this unclear Jeffersonian phrasing - "finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them" - and translates it into this: "Truth is a wonderful thing. Truth can defend itself if you just let it be told. People need to be free to talk about what they believe is the truth about God." And the truth shall set you free, no?

And what does this have to do with Martin Luther King and how and why he would fuck George W. Bush's shit up? Because King was like Thomas Jefferson (yeah, yeah, the Rude Pundit knows, but go with it) in his belief that religious worship is part and parcel of freedom. And that religion used oppressively is not genuine faith. Bush has to hide his true faith, except in very specific circumstances, for his Christianity is about condemnation, not celebration.

Check out King in a January 1965 interview with Alex Haley in Playboy:
"PLAYBOY: Can you recall any other mistakes you've made in leading the movement?
"MARTIN LUTHER KING: Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned. As our movement unfolded, and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands -- and some even took stands against us.

"PLAYBOY: Their stated reason for refusing to help was that it was not the proper role of the church to 'intervene in secular affairs.' Do you disagree with this view?
"MARTIN LUTHER KING: Most emphatically. The essence of the Epistles of Paul is that Christians should rejoice at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believe. The projection of a social gospel, in my opinion, is the true witness of a Christian life. This is the meaning of the true ekklesia -- the inner, spiritual church. The church once changed society. It was then a thermostat of society. But today I feel that too much of the church is merely a thermometer, which measures rather than molds popular opinion."

King tells Haley that it's specifically the "white church" that has failed: "As the Negro struggles against grave injustice, most white churchmen offer pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. As you say, they claim that the gospel of Christ should have no concern with social issues. Yet white churchgoers, who insist that they are Christians, practice segregation as rigidly in the house of God as they do in movie-houses. Too much of the white church is timid and ineffectual, and some of it is shrill in its defense of bigotry and prejudice. In most communities, the spirit of status quo is endorsed by the churches."

And if you wanna blather that "that-was-then-this-is-now" kind of nonsense, check out what King had to say about the Supreme Court outlawing school prayer: "I endorse it. I think it was correct. Contrary to what many have said, it sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right. I am strongly opposed to the efforts that have been made to nullify the decision. They have been motivated, I think, by little more than the wish to embarrass the Supreme Court." It's statements like this that make King such a shifting figure for the religious right - they wanna embrace him 'cause he talked about Christ, but they can't take his whole large frame in their bony white arms because he simply didn't believe in the same Jesus they do.

The entire interview is pretty amazing - and there's a few free lady nipples on the page for the so-inclined men and women in the house - with King giving his plans for massive government spending on programs for blacks and for the poor in general, as well as memories of the disgraceful Bull Connor and his hoses and dogs out in the days of Bombingham.

For Bush, religion is a language of trickery, a way of fooling people into believing that the evil that he does has some holy meaning. For Dobson, the attempt to center Jesus worship in the public arena is essentially a civil rights movement. When someone blows up Dobson's mansion and then tells him he can't vote, maybe we could talk.


You Can Take the Pom-Poms From the Man, But You Can't Take the Man From the Pom-Poms:
What a strange, bifurcated world our distressingly small George Bush appears to live in. Here he is, our goddamn President, sitting just to the west and south of miles and miles of ruined houses, businesses, and neighborhoods in New Orleans, and here's what he says, under a backdrop of a hideously smiling Mardi Gras jester: "It may be hard for you to see, but from when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to come to visit. It's a heck of a place to bring your family. It's a great place to find some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun. And I'm glad you got your infrastructure back on its feet. I know you're beginning to welcome citizens from all around the country here to New Orleans. And for folks around the country who are looking for a great place to have a convention, or a great place to visit, I'd suggest coming here to the great -- New Orleans."

So, just fer the record here, hundreds of thousands of people who used to live in New Orleans have been scattered to the American wind and those who wanna rebuild not only don't know if they can because of a lack of public services, not only don't know if FEMA or insurance is gonna come through, not only don't even know if their neighborhoods will be allowed to be rebuilt, but, even if they overcome those hurdles, don't know that a year after rebuilding if they're neighborhoods will have reached a kind of critical mass that allows the resurrection of a neighborhood to continue or be halted, according to the new rebuilding plan.

The President praised the progress in New Orleans after viewing it from the interstate on the drive from the airport to the Convention Center. Just about every article about the President's trip and CNN this morning noted Bush's lack of actually looking around the city. Said Ed Reams, WDSU reporter on CNN's American Morning, "When you talk about the president saying that he's seeing pretty dramatic change, it's hard for people who are not back in their homes to think anything is pretty dramatic down here, other than the fact that they're not back in their homes. A lot of people still just trying to get back into the city, trying to figure out exactly what's going on with insurance, trying to figure out what's going on with any kind of grants, just trying to figure out the master plan of the city. Right now people are not getting a lot of answers. So when they hear the president saying that he's seen a pretty dramatic change, a lot of folks who want to come back here and that are here right now just don't see it that way."

But that ain't gonna stop Bush from encouraging everyone, like a pathetic refugee from a Wayne's World video festival, to "Party on." But it's par for the course, is it not? For, as we fondly remember, Bush told us after 9/11 to go shopping. So, like, basically, Bush's solution to major disasters is not unlike the reaction of the members of Deltas in Animal House who, when facing failure or expulsion, responded with "Road trip" or "Toga party." In other words, Bush wants everyone to second line dance on graves, piss hurricanes on ruins, and toss shrimp tails into the toxic streets.

And while Bush's speech in New Orleans was a mercifully short recitation of meaningless numbers just to make him look good, in Mississippi later, Bush was rambling like a Ritalin-snortin' teenager playin' with his XBox 360 while talkin' on his cell phone. Here's a great "what the fuck" moment: "And so what can we do? Well, first thing is we can focus on repairing homes. That's not going to do you very good down here in Waveland. I understand that. Tommy and I and the Governor and Marsha just drove by -- there's no homes to repair. It's just been flattened. That's what the people of America have got to understand." Yet, Bush had said earlier, the people of this flattened area have more hope now: "[T]here's a little bounce in people's step," which might be from dodging all the rubble still on the ground, but, still, and, c'mon, what a bizarre thing to say.

The man was a cheerleader back in his days at Andover. Such formative experiences follow a man through his life, where he knows he's not someone who can do, but only someone who can watch and yell support, even when the score is 35 to nothin'. Someone who can shake his groove thing and lead a chant when his team is being squashed. Cheerleaders have to live in a state of unreality for pyramids would fall and waves would flounder if they lost their enthusiasm. And even when their team's defeated, they just come back, again and again, and cheer for lost causes, hoping everyone in the stands goes along. It's what we see in Bush time and again, on Katrina, on Iraq, on the economy: a failure to demonstrate an understanding of reality, just endless smiling and leading a chant of "Defense" whenever the opposition attempts to say differently. The sad delusion of the cheerleader is believing he or she is actually having an effect on the outcome of the game.

(By the way, for real laughs, check out the New Orleans Time-Picayune's photos of Bush's visit. Look at the last one there. Why the fuck is Bush tenderly caressing the face of Boysie Bollinger, chair of a shipbuiding company? Is he gonna kiss him? Poke out his eyes? Just fuckin' weird.)

(And, by the way, again, here's a couple of places to donate to do some real good for the region: The Northwest Louisiana Food Bank, the Mississippi Food Network, and, of course, Habitat for Humanity.)


Alito Tears:
Oh, sweet Martha-Ann Bomgardner, you who would not take the name of Alito as your own, come over here and dry your tears on the Rude Pundit's shoulder. Yes, yes, it is a shame that Sammy had to endure such harsh questions in his hearing, questions like "What do you think?" and "Did you mean it when you said?" and "Why did you do that?" It's so sad, isn't it, that big mean Ted Kennedy wanted to know why Sammy joined the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

Shhhh, dear Martha-Ann, we all know that you sign up for groups to pad the resume', and, with Sammy applying for a job with the Meese Justice Department, any extra right wing padding would be welcomed. Hell, back in high school, the Rude Pundit briefly belonged to the 4-H Club so he could put it on his college apps. Then he realized he'd have to touch goats and chickens. And when Lindsay Graham sarcastically asked if Sammy was a "closet bigot," well, who could hold back the floodgates for all the implication? It's brutal, the Rude Pundit knows.

Aww, you cry so deliciously, poor Martha-Ann. The Rude Pundit bets that you cry more bravely than that ten-year old girl when she was strip-searched by cops as they probed her ten-year old vagina and anus for packets of drugs. The Rude Pundit bets that you cry more loudly than that mentally disabled guy whose co-workers sodomized him with a broom handle. The Rude Pundit bets that the tears of everyone ever affected by your husband's decisions now and in the future pale in comparison to the tears that streak your face right now.

Hush, Martha-Ann, and let the Rude Pundit comfort you. Let the Rude Pundit love you and make love to you. Cry again when you come. And if you should get pregnant, remember that your husband isn't on the Supreme Court yet.
Samuel Alito for the Government:
Quick post because Clark Kent duties are slamming the Rude Pundit today:
Here's one of the main reasons that Samuel Alito shouldn't be on the Supreme Court. Check out his bio: motherfucker has only ever worked as an advocate for the government or as a judge. Not once in his career did he have to defend the rights of an individual or group of citizens against the strong arm of the government or the vicious vicissitudes of corporate malfeasance.

It's the Allegory of the Cave, man. Read yer goddamn Plato, that old Greek sodomite. If all you know are shadows, then how will you know what it means to deal with real, actual humans?

More later.


Rude Raleigh Interview:
The North Carolina alternative monthly, the Raleigh Hatchet (get it? A shout out to the Southern rockers in the house), has an extended interview with the Rude Pundit (only available in PDF form for now - click down to page 25). Marco Soto does the writing. Check it out in between banging your head on the wall as if you're a Democrat and the wall is Sammy Alito. (Link fixed.)

CD Update:
Initial sales of The Year of Living Rudely have been sweet, and for everyone who left comments on the CD Baby page, rude thanks. If you've heard the CD and wanna add a word or two (and haven't done so already), toss it into the pile.

If sales are strong enough, Mouth Noise wants to do a second CD for later this year, featuring live tracks and maybe even a radio friendly cut or two. So click on the tongue photo and buy those fuckers for friends, for relatives, for Teddy Kennedy, who could use a larf or two.
Democrats Are Pussies and They're Getting Fucked:
The Rude Pundit's not nearly as old as Sammy Alito, but he remembers the day a couple of hot Socialist college girls walked into the university newspaper office and asked to talk to whoever would listen about subscribing to The Militant, the Socialist Workers Party newspaper. So the Rude Pundit and a male friend went out for drinks with the hot Socialist college girls, who were touring regional universities to drum up business for the Socialists. At the end of an evening of teasing, pleasing, and free love, the Rude Pundit, who not only flirted with socialists, but with socialism, gladly signed up for a few months of The Militant. Someone told the Rude Pundit that simply subscribing to the newspaper assured the Rude Pundit a file with the FBI - it was the late Reagan era. Which the Rude Pundit took as a badge of honor (and probably wasn't true). After the months were up, the Rude Pundit had moved on to The Nation and mainstream liberalism, and, well, the memory of the evening dimmed when the re-subscribing bill came in the mail.

The point here ain't that the Rude Pundit was blown into socialism. The point is that if someone asked him why he signed up for The Militant, he'd fucking remember it and remember why he did it. So when Sammy Alito says of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton that he has "no specific recollection of that organization," but then says why he may have joined it, he's a fuckin' weasel at best, a craven liar at worst. In fact, why not follow up with, "Well, Judgey, since you have no recollection of the CAP, a racist, sexist organization, might it be possible that you have no recollection of other groups you may have belonged to? Like the KKK? Or the White Aryan Resistance? You are a skinhead, Judge Alito. What about forgotten events? Like that ecstasy-fueled evening where you drove into Philadelphia and pissed on the Liberty Bell after jacking off on Independence Hall, screaming, 'Hey, Sam Adams, here's your beer back'? I mean, c'mon, who'd recollect that?"

But that kind of interrogation would take more than the dull, monotonous, barely comprehensible half-dribble of questions and speechifying the Democrats engaged in yesterday. (Would someone please tell Joe "Behold My Combover of Integrity" Biden to shut the fuck up if he's not gonna ask a goddamn question?) What we got from virtually every Democrat (and the allegedly "moderate" Republicans) was the sight of generously lubricated orifices just begging for a fucking from Republicans. Even Ted Kennedy was reduced to droning sonorously about the cases he wanted to discuss with Alito. Only Russ Feingold and Chuck Schumer got anything from Alito, with Feingold causing Alito to back into a corner like every mob stoolie Alito ever cut a plea deal with. Feingold got Alito to admit that he was wrong when he said that a "computer glitch" caused him to take on a case involving Vanguard companies, with whom Alito had nearly $400,000 invested.

Then there's Alito himself, who, if this was about 18 months ago, would be called a "flip-flopper." To quote Maureen Dowd (from today's column), "Is he the old Sam, who devised ways to upend Roe v. Wade and crimp abortion rights? Or the new Sam, who has great respect for precedent and an 'open mind' about abortion cases?

"Is he the old Sam, who plotted ways to tip the balance of power to the executive branch? Or the new Sam, who states that 'no person in this country is above the law, and that includes the president'?

"Is he the old Sam, who said Robert Bork 'was one of the most outstanding nominees of this century' and 'a man of unequaled ability'? Or the new Sam, who shrugged off that statement as the dutiful support of one Reagan appointee for another?"

Or, in other words, Alito is the typical conservative little bitch, who will lie openly about his beliefs in order to achieve power because he knows that the majority of the country (and the Senate, if so-called "moderate" Republicans actually existed) disagree with them. Goddamn, Ruth Bader Ginsburg fuckin' laid it all out there, love it or leave it, man. The crazed Robert Bork was willing to say, "Yes, I do fuck mothers," which took guts. And Alito is about as nutzoid as Bork; he just spits less when he expresses it. Or he claims he doesn't believe what he believes, which makes him a little yapping bitch.

The most absurd statement came from Senator John Cornyn, who claimed to Alito that Democrats "have already decided to vote against your nomination and are looking for some reason to do so." It's like saying, "Democrats have decided not to shove cucumbers up their asses" while you desperately try to get that green gourd all the way to your anxious prostate.

How about this for a Democratic strategy now and in the debate after - act like the general public is fuckin' sick of the Republicans and how they've led the nation. Act like Americans are begging for someone to stop the crazy train we're on. 'Cause if you can't pull the emergency brake, then you need to get thrown onto the tracks. Slam this motherfuckin' Alito for being the weaselly bastard he is. Stop making him into some noble, nice guy - fucker defended a warrantless strip search of a ten year-old - what more do you need? Remember: no one gives a shit beyond CNNMSNBCFox how badly Republicans slam Democrats for being "obstructionists." No one cares when Bush says the same thing. What the public will remember in November is that Democrats stood for something, that they drew a fuckin' line, man.

Dry yourselves off and slap those hard Republican cocks out of the way, or it's just gonna be another sad right wing rape.


The Stinking Corpse of Tom DeLay:
Would someone please call Haley Joel Osment so that he can tell Tom DeLay that he's dead? 'Cause, really, and, c'mon, there's few things in this world more genuinely disturbing than watching a corpse decay, although it's awfully hard not to wanna pull up a lawn chair, break out the Bud, and watch Tom DeLay rot.

Sure, sure, one could prop up the corpse of Tom DeLay, seat it in a chair, near an air conditioner in a congressional committee room, perhaps even, if one has a sense of irony, in the same chair as the deceased Duke Cunningham, soon to be starring in "Let's Repeatedly Sodomize Duke Cunningham's Corpse" at a California prison.

But, still, Washington gets ridiculously hot in the spring and summer, so before long, no matter what, Tom DeLay's corpse is gonna end up stinkin' up the joint even more than when Tom DeLay was still alive. Tom DeLay's corpse is gonna go through all the horrific processes of decomposition. The enzymes and chemicals left in Tom DeLay's corpse will essentially chew up his organs and spit them out. Yeah, it's gonna be shocking when Tom DeLay's corpse is in the House Appropriations Committee meeting room and it starts to liquefy, as corpses do, leaking his large intestine all over, say, Kentucky's Anne Northup. And what's John Murtha, who is, without a doubt, a badass motherfucker, gonna do when, perhaps, Tom DeLay's corpse spills his spleen? One good kick in the gut from Murtha, and there's a good chance that Tom DeLay's bloated cadaver would explode, expelling gelatinous rot over the entire Congressional body.

Yes, corpses are filled with bacteria that eat the tissues of the body after death and eventually Tom DeLay's not just gonna bleed out through his orifices, but through the broken down skin tissues. One tear on the corpse of Tom Delay's tender, thinning skin, and Tom DeLay's corpse will leak like a water balloon jabbed with a knife.

There's a good 20 or so gallons of viscous goo that'll bleed out of Tom DeLay as his stinking corpse putrefies. And that's not to mention the other unpleasant and downright disgusting shit that's everyone's gonna have to watch if Tom DeLay's corpse stays above ground: Phorid flies are gonna get into that rotting meat of Tom DeLay's corpse, feeding on it and laying eggs, which will hatch and devour parts of Tom DeLay's corpse. And if those flies bite others in Congress, the diseases of Tom DeLay's corpse may spread, leading to madness, diarrhea, and more corpses. Yep, flies, maggots, beetles, ants crawling out of Tom DeLay's eye sockets. It's only natural, you know.

Otherwise, there's only the smell of Tom DeLay's corpse, which, burst open or just sitting there, will permeate the whole capitol. Tom DeLay's corpse will have the shit smell of hydrogen sulfide, of methane, of other gases. Just catch a whiff of Tom DeLay's corpse and you'll understand the corruption of the body.

The only solution, then, is to embalm that fucker and put Tom DeLay's corpse in the ground. Bury it so that at least it can fall to pieces where we don't have to watch it anymore.


Samuel Alito Had No Problem Removing Other Judges From Cases:
Man, it must be so fuckin' great to be Sammy Alito. Motherfucker can say anything and conservatives'll have his back en masse. Alito can say to Diane Feinstein about his statement on a job app that he hates him some Roe v. Wade, according to Feinstein, "I was an advocate seeking a job, it was a political job and that was 1985." And the right wing acts like he lied that he had french fryer experience on a Wendy's application - c'mon, it was twenty years ago, who cares, he was a kid, Ed Meese's jowls hypnotized him, what do ya want from the boy?

Sammy Alito can write in his questionnaire for his circuit court nomination in 1990, stating plainly, clearly, that he'd "disqualify himself from any cases involving the Vanguard companies," which seemed reasonable since Alito had, like, hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with Vanguard funds. Then he can rule in favor of Vanguard in 2002, a case he got "due to a computer error" that should have warned him that Vanguard was involved. Sammy went ahead to rule on the case, even though Vanguard was the defendant, which means he either lied to the Senate or he didn't read the list of involved parties at the top of the brief, which says, "The Vanguard Group Inc., Vanguard Fiduciary Trust Company, and Vanguard/Morgan Growth Fund Inc." But the White House says that if you dare question Sammy's ethics, you are just a tarnisher to the shiny essence of Alito, you tarnisher, you.

It's sort of like promising your brother that you won't fuck anyone who ever fucked him and then you meet a hot blonde in a bar who you take back to your place, and during the foreplay, she says that you look just like your brother, who she fucked. And then you fuck her anyways. In the morning, you gotta look in the mirror and admit, "Well, fuck, guess I was full of shit on that promise." This ain't even to say the deep pit of shit you stepped in when you gotta face your brother, who's gonna find out, oh, hell, yeah, he's gonna find out. And you'll have to decide if you deserve the ass-kickin' you're gonna get.

Sammy Alito, though, he's an ethical man. On the Third Circuit Court, he had no problem forcing lower court judges off cases where there was an appearance of bias. Take the 1992 example of District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who for eight years oversaw a tobacco litigation case, Haines v. Liggett Group. According to the November 1992 ABA Journal, Sarokin, ruling on a technical matter on document discovery in the case, was a bit too forceful in his language, saying, "[D]espite some rising pretenders, the tobacco industry may be the king of concealment and disinformation...All too often in the choice between the physical health of consumers and the financial well-being of business, concealment is chosen over disclosure, sales over safety, and money over morality" Which is like saying that if one sucks cocks, one is a cocksucker, but it was enough for the Third Circuit Court and Sammy Alito to force Sarokin off the case, perhaps rightly so, but this ain't about that action. It's about the man who was part of committing it.

The standard by which the Third Circuit Court ruled was "the appearance of impropriety," which seems pretty clear-cut. It was the same standard Alito and the Third Circuit used when they removed U.S. District Court Judge James Kelly from his assignment over a class action asbestos case that same year, according to the October 19, 1992 Pennsylvania Law Journal. It seems Kelly had attended a conference about the health dangers of asbestos. According to the decision to remove Kelly, "To put it succinctly, he attended a predominantly pro-plaintiff conference on a key merits issue, the conference was indirectly sponsored by the plaintiffs, largely with funding that he himself had approved; and his expenses were largely defrayed by the conference sponsors with those same court-approved funds." Again, cut and dried. But the appeals court wasn't passing judgment on Kelly's bias: "Although we believe that Judge Kelly acted with integrity at all times, we also believe that the circumstances surrounding his attendance at (a plaintiffs-oriented) conference created an appearance of partiality that required disqualification." So wrote Circuit Court Judge Edward Becker in a decision joined by Alito.

Let's get this straight: attend a conference connected with the case - disqualification. Have a financial stake in a company that's a defendant in a case you're judging - a-okay. Man, Alito is like duck-huntin' Antonin Scalia in his personal standard for "appearance of partiality."

Contradictions are part of life. We are never totally who we say we are, we are never totally who other people believe us to be. We are measured by our actions, and our motives are always open to questioning. The fundamentalist Christian who molests children. The megawealthy CEO who steals from the company. The righteous judge who lies.