Saturday, August 22, 2009

An Odd Story; Ending is Happy

This is the story of how two childhood friends drifted apart, as one of them thought, while the other believed for over twenty years that her friend was dead: shot in the face in Ohio in 1989. He was very much alive, and two days ago, she found out. I'll write more later today.

Tom Ridge Lets Us Know What We Kind Of Knew All Along

Tom Ridge is a former Pennsylvania Governor, ex-Director of Homeland Security and an old-school Republican (he's pro-choice and created a billion-dollar 'rainy day' fund for his home state, to be used during tough economic times).

He also, in my opinion, sort of resembles Dick Tracy, and in 2001, barely a month after September 11th, he accepted the offer of Director of Homeland Security from President George W. Bush.

I managed to get a brief (maybe 90 seconds?) interview with Ridge about his appointment to the new monstrosity (can you imagine what marrying more than 40 federal agencies into one coherent outfit must be like?) and he was a kind and gracious man over the phone.

Perhaps that apparent kindness and graciousness is present in his upcoming book, "The Test of Our Times." In the book, he reveals that a few days before the 2004 Presidential election, former Hallelujah! Attorney-Pentecostal-General, Pastor John Ashcroft, and former "Fuck You All I Got A Big Gun" Secretary of Defense Field Marshal Donald Rumsfeld, pressured Ridge to change the terror alert warning up a notch or two, from, say, alarming to maybe utterly terrifying or even to vote for George Bush.

In other words: it seems that this nation's senior public servants used 9/11 (which happened on their watch) to try to scare the public into voting for that blood-stained monster thief and criminal George W. Bush. Ridge resisted the pressure and then after the election, resigned his Homeland Purity gig (I'm not the first person to wonder why this government department was given a name straight out of Nazi Germany).

Now, isn't that a shocking piece of news?

Kind and gracious, I said above, but words as always are slippery things: my overriding thought since I heard of Ridge's news has been: why didn't he resign and tell us this back then? I guess he was being kind and gracious to his boss.

The Bush era was weird and frightening and always horrid to live through, and sometimes I felt as if some great, unheard-of unhinging was about to take place: I predicted Bush would invade Iraq before 9/11, yet right up until the U.S. went in, I could not believe the invasion would happen, because it seemed like insanity. Now I guess, from the safety of the moral high ground of retirement, the likes of Ridge can spill the beans on their sordid and vicious master, and finally be kind and gracious to us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Robert Novak Stops Smoking

It is late and there's not much to say after this my day, which sprawled across the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in fierce, bright sunlight through to this evening's thunderstorm.

Robert Novak (above) died. A minor complaint: the New York Times described him as a "pugnacious columnist," when "obnoxious fascist" would have been the better description.

Some years ago, I started looking into a possible story about influential Irish Americans in and around Capitol Hill, and I came across the estimable Father John McCloskey, who, along with Novak, was, is, considered a powerful voice for in-yer-face conservative Catholicism (Kansas Senator Sam Brownback is another, also former Senator Prick Santorum).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thanks, former President George W. Bush!

BBC -- Gay Iraqi men are being murdered in what appears to be a co-ordinated campaign involving militia forces, the group Human Rights Watch says.

It says hundreds of gay men have been targeted and killed in Iraq since 2004.

So-called honour killings also account for deaths where families punish their own kin in order to avoid public shame.

The report says members of the Mehdi Army militia group are spearheading the campaign, but police are also accused - even though homosexuality is legal.

Witnesses say vigilante groups break into homes and pick people up in the street, interrogating them to extract the names of other potential victims, before murdering them.