Or, A Totem Pole of Who Knows What

The resemblance between the perception of a news story by those who hear about it and what actually took place varies inversely with the square of the distance to the event times the number of intervening interpreters/editors divided by the competence of the recipient/reader/viewer.

The following is a “pole chart” for the dilution process.

Accurate Knowledge of What Actually Happened at Foreign News Making Events ⇓
(ranked below in descending order from highest to lowest)

Local reporters who were present
Freelance reporters who speak the language, ask questions and were present
Freelance reporters who speak the language, ask questions and visited the area
Experienced CIA field agents
Reporters who won’t leave the “green zone” or protected hotel
NSA phone intercept staff
CIA and NSA bureau chiefs
Cleaning ladies
Most editors
Washington based editors
NPR listeners
World Wide Web readers
Newspaper and magazine readers
Congressional aides and interns
Press secretaries
Most TV viewers
TV anchors
Washington Beltway Pundits
Fox News viewers and Dick Cheney
Democrat Congressmen
Republican Congressmen
National Inquirer readers
Homeland Security staff
Homeland Security director
Other Bush appointees
Autistic child
Paris Hilton
Homer Simpson
George W. Bush

Clueless Assumptions and Ignorance about What Actually Happened at such Events ⇑

(ranked above in ascending order from lowest to highest)



Or, Why Are the Neocons Acting Like Characters in a Warner Brother’s Cartoon?

Ever noticed how much the White House luminaries act like Chuck Jones or Tex Avery cartoon film characters, only nastier? Take bald headed VP Cheney. He is surely Elmer Fudd, but with expletives inserted. His Chief of Staff Rove, so large of mouth so full of teeth, could give the Tasmanian Devil lessons in rapaciousness.

If "Ambassador" Boulton and his UN sized mustache is not Yosemite Sam, then he must be at least his offspring. Meanwhile, over at the Pentagonal, Secretary of Defense (Secretary of Offense? Or, perhaps Secretary of Awful Defense?) Rumsfeld is the obvious reincarnation of Wile E. Coyote who apparently is still being supplied exclusively by ACME Manufacturing Company, no doubt a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton.

Cheering them on is Henry, the minuscule Chicken Hawk, who could be played by any of the draft dodging, but war mongering, minuscule pundits on Fox News.

The good name of Daffy Duck is being besmirched today by Preacher Robertson. If Daffy had been holding a bible in "Rabbit Season" when he kept yelling "Shoot the Duck!" it would have been an even more perfect impersonation.

Foghorn Leghorn? Why, pompous Senator DeLay of course (whose new moniker probably should be "The Chiseler" rather than "The Hammer"). He even uses some of the same "fowl" play on opponents.

Indicted "undisclosed informant" Libby could be Froggy from "One Froggy Night" who only sings when the public is not around to hear. Dedicated WB aficionados will easily recognize AG Gonzales as Gossamer, the dungeon loving hairy beast. Former FEMA failure Brown does a heck-of-a-job moving even slower than Beaky Buzzard. And seriously, are we sure Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor Rice isn't really Marvin the Martian in drag, still out to destroy Earth "cause it's in the way."

Hanging around the edge of the set and the closest to a cartoon "hero" (now that he is no longer acting the Pepe - grab anything female that moves - LePew role) is former President Clinton. He still reeks a little though.

Bush? He's just fat cat Sylvester, although much smaller of stature, not nearly as smart and surprisingly less articulate than Sylvester. He's never going to catch Tweety let alone Osama.

Sadly, since neither Bugs or even the Road Runner are anywhere in sight to save the day, I guess we'll have to wait three years to hear the much needed words, "That's All, Folks!"



Or, Too Bad Lincoln Won the Civil War

With the only two viable parties in the nation apparently swallowed by the mouths on their most extreme ends, it’s apparently no longer possible to conduct debate without hate. Compromise, consensus, cooperation and conciliation are now literally nothing but curse words. Worse, with the parties so close to equal in voter strength, no issue’s ever settled. Even elections are just excuses for recounts and recalls.

Each side’s convinced with unshakeable faith that the zealots of the other side are lying, thieving, scum intent on destroying the “American Way of Life.” Since unfortunately there is a lot of evidence they’re both correct, at least about the lying, thieving, scum part, tensions mount. “Nuclear options” are considered perfectly acceptable by our Senators. “Un-American Traitor” is the label/libel smeared on anyone daring to disagree with dogma. Four letter expletives are bandied about on the floor of Congress itself, from the VP himself no less. Come to think of it, it wasn’t much nastier in the halls of government just before the decidedly uncivil Civil War of 1860.

To preclude similar domestic violence from re-occurring, I propose what I call the Solomon Solution. Divide the country in half. A diagonal line drawn from, say, Monterey to, perhaps, Cape May could thereafter separate the nation with all Democrats migrating into Blue USA and Republicans heading for a totally Red USA refuse.

True, many’ll say Lincoln fought a war to prevent that very thing, but we are still paying the costs of that particular animosity yet today. Besides, have we forgotten that our Founding Fathers fought a war for this country’s creation to do the exact opposite of Lincoln’s reunion quest. To paraphrase Jefferson and Nike: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, Just Do It!

Think about it. Many good things would’ve happened if we had just let the South go back in the 1860s when it wanted. For example, we at least wouldn’t have had the last two compulsive liars as President. Granted, it would have been hard on slaves for awhile until market forces and technology made it economically unfeasible. At the same time, I seem to recall we didn’t actually begin treating the former slaves as genuine equals for about a 100 years or so anyway. Yeah, shame on us, but perhaps without a war fought for “National Union,” its sole original excuse remember, the North might have ultimately mounted a war of liberation sort of like Bush is now claiming is why we’re in Iraq.

In any event, rather than end up killing each other once again, let’s adopt what we universally allow for that other purportedly “sanctified” institution - marriage. In other words, let the two national parties divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. It’s clearly better than continuing till death do us part by bullets.

The obvious choice would be for the area north of the line to be the new Democrat paradise since north of the line includes most of the Rust Belt states, the Ecotopia wilderness and the older metropolises where most of the Demos are anyway. South of the line captures most of the Bible Belt states, the Oily states and the former plantation states which makes it wonderful territory for the Repubs who already think they own it lock, stock, slave and gerrymandered district.

There would be some dislocations of course. Hollywood, for example, except Charlton Heston, Dennis Miller and the Baldwin Brothers, would have to move to Marin County and bunk with George Lucas, but that’s where all the movie business is going to be in the digital camera future anyway. The greatest sorrow of the Bling-Bling crowd most likely would be that convertibles and tanning would be less fun in the daily fog. Similarly, the retired factory workers currently in Florida and Arizona would have to choose between warmth or comrades.

The relatively few Democrats or Republicans who are on the wrong side of the line would be asked to either relocate or remain forever silent. Yes, Yes, that seems somewhat harsh, but for every one forced to move, there will be someone on the other side needing to swap houses. Besides, what is mere freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and a home of generations compared to everyone on the respective sides of the line becoming a true unquestioned supermajority able to finally do what they want unfettered by opposition.

By the way, this proposal does not actually require that north of the line automatically be Democrat and south Republican. Perhaps Bush and Dean (or Hillary) could arm wrestle for which gets which. Better yet, perhaps the Republicans should be forced to buy snow shovels and the Democrats banished south of the line to eat grits. Wonderful irony is available with that outcome. That way, each side would be forced to try on the others’ “shoes.” Who knows, we might even discover the other side had a few good points of view if everyone is forced to move.

Whichever way it goes, there are many otherwise unattainable things that should result when the split happens. For instance:

● Blue USA would be free to unionize every job and make the minimum wage equal to CEO’s salaries.
Red USA in contrast would be free to ship every job to Mexico in return for cheaper handbags.

● Red USA would be free to install video cameras in every bedroom to insure no deviant behavior.
Blue USA would be free to broadcast live on TV the bedroom videos being made in Red USA.

● Blue USA would be free to ban all guns plus all movies and video games featuring guns.
Red USA would be free to finally arm everyone with armor piercing assault rifles so the neighbors will be more polite.

● Red USA would be free to attack any weak little country with dark hued people any time it jolly well pleases.
Blue USA would be free to let the weak but populous countries in the UN decide cows are sacred thereby making high carb diets verboten.

● Blue USA would be free to legalize all drugs (except alcohol, tobacco, viagra, steroids, or anything a Democrat campaign contributing drug company may chose to produce).
Red USA would be free to ban all drugs (except alcohol, tobacco, viagra, steroids, or anything a Republican campaign contributing drug company may chose to produce).

● Red USA would celebrate full and unfettered religious freedom for all those who want to be evangelical Protestants.
Blue USA would celebrate the first witches’ coven designated as official cleric to Congress.

● Blue USA would be free to insist on absolutely clean air and water no matter the cost.
Red USA would be free to buy all the clean air and water it felt it needed from Blue USA.

● Blue USA would be free to read anything so long as it’s the New York Times.
Red USA would be free to finally declare Fox News an official branch of government.

● Red USA would never have to listen to thin pompous hypocrites again.
Blue USA would never have to listen to fat pompous hypocrites again.

It’s time we got on with the division before we are forced to finally admit that our truly nasty, most irrational foes, the ones foaming at the mouth with zealous fervor and backed by nuclear weapons, the ones who happen to hate us the most are - - - us.