Monday, July 31, 2006

St. Mel

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Mel Gibson is not an anti-Semite (Nixon was not a crook, Bill Bennet is not a hypocrite, and Karl Rove has never leaked):
Apparently, he went on a rampage against Jews, whom he thinks are responsible “for all the wars in the world.” Gibson also cursed and reportedly said “f****** Jews” and asked the deputy who pulled him over whether he was a Jew. Next he said "You motherf****r. I'm going to f*** you," threatening to flex his celebrity muscles to get back at the officer.

The star also harassed a female officer on the scene, telling her: "What do you think you're looking at, sugar t**s?"

By the way, George W. Bush is not a liar.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's henchman, has called for a global jihad against "the crusaders."

Things in Iraq are falling apart, and the Bush administration must increase troop strength there rather than begin any type of withdrawal.

The President's approval ratings languish at about one third, and half of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of him.

58% of Americans don't like the job Congress is doing, and more Americans (45%-35%) want a Democratic Congress than wwant a Republican Congress.

58% of Americans don't think it is the responsibility of the US to resolve conflicts between Israel and other countries in the middle-east.

The right-wing, led by Newt Gingrich (!), has decided that "the war on terror" isn't working as a marketing slogan. People lump it together with the war on drugs, the war on poverty -- just another expensive government boondoggle to waste our tax dollars. So now we are fighting WORLD WAR III!!!

It is easy to understand why the right needs you to believe this. But for the love of God, don't.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Frank O'Reilly, 192?-2006

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I got a phone call last night from my cousin Stephanie O'Reilly in Boston. She was kind enough to let me know that her father, my uncle Frank, had died about three hours earlier in a hospital in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland. He had been feeling poorly lately and was in hospital for some tests.

Frank was my mother's youngest brother, and there was a strong bond between them, despite the seperation of 3,000 miles and several decades. When my mother left Ireland to find work in New York, Frank was just a boy and over the years I got the feeling that he stood in her mind as a sort of metaphor for what she was leaving behind. For his part, I think he might have idealized his big sister Mary who left home when she was so young and was never seen again (well, not for forty years anyway).

Mary Pat and I were lucky enough to see Frank less than a month ago, during my trip to Ireland to present a paper at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I remember thinking that he had looked better -- more alert, wittier, sharper, more energetic -- but chalked it up to his age (whatever it was; there is some question). Stephanie's phone call last night came as a shock, of course, but probably not as a surprise.

Frank was a good, kind, and decent man. He was a gentle man as well as a gentleman. He was not a man to raise his voice. He was a loving father to my cousins Stephanie, Mark, Niamh, and Fergal, and a devoted husband to my Aunt Jo. I know this because they have told me that this was the case. What I know myself about Frank makes him very special to me.

When my Mom died in 1998, my Dad was left virtually alone. He was not in the best of health and would himself die three years later. Frank began calling my father on a weekly basis, and they began a telephone friendship which continued nearly to the end of my father's life in 2001. I was taking care of my father immediately after my Mom's death, and when it became clear that he was unable to care for himself, he moved in with my family. Frank's calls were very important to my Dad because, unlike his possessions, his car, his freedom, they were a part of his life that no one could take away from him. Frank's calls were important to me because -- especially after Dad was living with me -- I needed to see something make him happy, make him smile. And talking with Frank always did that for him.

Thank you, Uncle Frank. We all love you and we will miss you.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mercosur : US Free-Market a "Failure"

An update on the "New Axis of Evil"TM

Venezuela officially entered Mercosur on Friday. This both increases the trading bloc's economic power and shifts its policies further away from radical, unregulated, laissez faire-style "free market" capitalism.

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's anti-U.S. leader, urged Mercosur to put aside internal squabbles and stand against the U.S.-backed free-market policies he says "enslaved" the region in debt to the International Monetary Fund.

"Latin America has all it needs to become a great world power. Let's not put any limits on our dreams. Let's make them reality," Chavez said.

The ten countries that comprise Mercosur -- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia -- have pledged to create new jobs, increase trade, and fight poverty in a tightly regulated, but prosperous market of 250,000,000 people.
Venezuela, which formally became a full member of Mercusor at the summit, vowed to tackle social poverty and abolish capitalism in the country. "Capitalism is perverse – if you are rich you get looked after but if you are poor, you die," said the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Bush administration took no apparent notice of Latin America. They were busy building democracies in Iraq and Lebanon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Novak: Rove Leaked Plame's CIA Role to Me

What a surprise.

In his syndicated column today, Novak named Karl Rove and Bill Harlow, a CIA public information officer, as two of his sources. Novak did not name his "primary source," the second high-ranking White House official, because "My primary source has not come forward to identify himself."

It certainly wouldn't be Scooter Libby's boss, "Deadeye Dick" Cheney, would it?