(31 December 2005) Bush, when touring the country to promote his dumb idea of privatizing Social Security, said that his objective was “to kind of catapult the propaganda.”
I like a president who kind of does something, don’t you?
The kind of logic behind that official statement makes about as much sense as the Family Research Council's and other conservative groups’ response to the new human papillomavirus vaccine.
We can virtually eliminate cervical cancer by giving every 12-year-old girl this vaccine, yet socially conservative groups oppose it because they believe it provides an incentive to engage in premarital sex.
(Yet they called themselves pro-life.)
And now, a poem for the new year. I hope yours is filled with love and hope and creativity and passion and good health and prosperity and music.
by Kenneth Rexroth
The Earth will be going on a long time
Before it finally freezes;
Men will be on it; they will take names,
Give their deeds reasons.
We will be here only
As chemical constituents—
A small franchise indeed.
Right now we have lives,
Corpuscles, Ambitions, Caresses,
Like everybody had once—
Here at the year's end, at the feast
Of birth, let us bring to each other
The gifts brought once west through deserts—
The precious metal of our mingled hair,
The frankincense of enraptured arms and legs,
The myrrh of desperate, invincible kisses—
Let us celebrate the daily
Recurrent nativity of love,
The endless epiphany of our fluent selves,
While the earth rolls away under us
Into unknown snows and summers,
Into untraveled spaces of the stars.
Since that wonderful poem was written by Kenneth Rexroth (a poet who once sold pamphlets promising a cure for constipation), I suppose I should include a link to some jazz music here, but you’ll just have to find that new Miles Davis compilation on your own because I am far too busy pondering the fact that three poor counties in my state are apparently competing for a five-thousand-ton-per-day solid waste dump that will turn the eastern region into the fourth largest waste dump in the nation.
It sucks to be poor
(and stinks too).
So while I was sipping mulled wine and not even thinking about my New York Times electronic subscription last week, a jury ruled that Wal-Mart must pay $172 million to employees because the chain failed to provide meal breaks to nearly 116,000 hourly workers (who, let’s face it, probably purchased their uneaten lunches at Sam’s Club anyway, thus giving the Waltons even more money).
Meanwhile, word leaked out that our government has been conducting secret radiation searches in the homes and businesses and mosques of Muslim Americans (can you say guilt by association?).
Here’s a response from the Council on American-Islamic Relations:
This disturbing revelation, coupled with recent reports of domestic surveillance without warrant, could lead to the perception that we are no longer a nation ruled by law, but instead one in which fear trumps constitutional rights. All Americans should be very concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims
. . . or Quakers. Or queers. Or liberals. Or . . .
Hmm. Remember when the US attorney general labeled all environmentalists communists whom our country will weed out one by one by any means necessary?
(Damn tree huggers fucking up our social security system ...
... or something.)
And I’ve been asking myself what it means that King Bush the Younger now flaunts the fact that he so flagrantly broke the law.
Does he actually believe that he is above the law?
Or is this a desperate response from a desperate criminal who got caught red-handed?
Will distracted citizens fall for this preemptive preening?
And ’tis the season, so let’s note a not-so-stellar anniversary: on Christmas Eve 1992, King Bush the Elder (who is not often confused with a wise man) was watching over his thousand points of light when, lo, a star appeared in the east and told him what he had to do—pardon former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and five other neocons for their Iran-Contra criminal activity as American citizens focused on our eggnog.
(Your illegal actions will still be noted in the history books though, boys.)
Meanwhile, in the hopeful news department, at least 1,500 people attended a Christmas Eve mass held by an recently excommunicated St. Louis priest despite warnings from their archibishop that doing so would be a mortal sin (the definition of which sure has become pedestrian of late).
And Merriam-Webster Online reports that these are the most looked-up words in 2005: (10) inept, (9) levee, (8) conclave, (7) pandemic, (6) tsunami, (5) insipid, (4) filibuster, (3) contempt, (2) refugee—and the word most people needed defined: integrity.
(That paragraph is a found poem, really.)
And, finally, something to keep in mind as you wake up with your champagne hangover: At the first light of the new year, Buddhists all over the world will begin reciting prayers and meditating for peace.
Okay. I’ll close with something to consider as we slide into this new year.
Do you think there’s any correlation between the surprising success of that lame, feel-good, anthropomorphic penguin movie that has nothing to do with reality and how stunned we all felt as the many apocalyptical natural events of the past year wiped out so many of us?
SANG IN SHOWER: Summertime, and the Living is Easy (don’t ask me why ’cause it sure ain’t summer here)
READING: A week’s worth of the New York Times
LISTENING TO: The Holly and The Ivy, as performed by the Washington Men’s Camerata
BEST YEAR-END QUOTE: I’ve never trusted the number 10, or five, or any other multiple of fingers on a simian’s hand when it comes to recognizing excellence. (critic Byron Woods)