Wednesday, May 31, 2006


How often have we been told that the U.S. has somehow "turned the corner" in Iraq? By Vice President/Shadow President Richard Cheney, by Bush enabling Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, by Wall Street Journal columnist/former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan? So much so that it was newsworthy that once, back in late 2004, Presidente Bush even stopped saying it for a stretch?

Now it seems to finally be the right time to say it. America is turning the corner on our debacle in Iraq. The name of the corner:


A group of Marines (a squadron?) on their third-count'em-third tour of duty lost a corporal in a roadside bombing and apparently took it out on an Iraqi family or families, slaughtering maybe two dozen men, women, grandparents and children. Then the brass over there did us all the dubious favor of attempting to cover it all up.

Americans are appalled by this massacre but, unlike Abu Ghraib (how unfortunate that I can now spell that prison's name without checking) we don't think this came as a policy directive from above, in that case all the way up to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Gonzales, if not to Cheney and Bush themselves. But we aren't surprised, as this war turned dirty a long, long time ago, and we even feel a measure of sympathy for the soldiers who will soon be put on show trial, while their superiors and all the jerks who rotated them in so many times take a walk.

It's redundant to invoke the Vietnam metaphor, as only an infant or ideologue would miss the endemic parallels. This is the My Lai Massacre we've all been waiting for, dreading, wishing we were out by now. Because when Americans start seeing shameful images like this, and imagine the inflammation the massacre will bring to our hopes for our very own safety, we're deeply, deeply over it.

The American electorate isn't interested in any more Haditha's. Yet now the floodgates open. We kill innocent pregnant women. We fire into crowds in Afghanistan. Our journalists are being blown up. Even our "ally," the new Iraqi ambassador claims US Marines 'intentionally' killed his cousin.

Things are so bad in the Anbar province, "an insurgent stronghold stretching from Baghdad to the Syrian border," that we're sending 1500 more troops, not even close to drawing down. And Basra in the south, at one point under control, has now been declared by the new Iraqi government to be "in a state of emergency."

It's over and we got our ass kicked. I've always said that the absolute biggest mistake Bush made by invading Iraq was to expose our weaknesses, rather than broadcasting our strength. Yes, we're good at breaking a lot of things very quickly, and there's some valuable intimidation there, but after that we're exposed. It would take a national draft and a heckuva lot more body armor to cover for it, but we had that in Vietnam and it never turned the tide.

November 19, 2005.

That's your corner. That's when the murder spree is alleged to have been committed.

I'm sure our Presidente has been briefed on it long ago, right?

Hmm. According the new clue-shorted White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow:
Asked when Bush was first briefed about the events in Haditha, an insurgent stronghold in western Iraq, Snow replied Tuesday: "When a Time reporter first made the call."

Sure, they'll want to put this behind them quickly. Sure, at some point the scurrilous attacks on messengers like Rep. John Murtha by dangerous GOP nuts and demagogues will spiral down a dirty toilet. Sure, at some point adults will have to take charge again, ones who talk to us like we're adults, and know the news long before it comes out.

It pains me to say that it all starts here. We've turned the corner. We're the bad guys now. So we're gonna want out, more and more, faster and faster. Watch Murtha proven right and the U.S. public decides it's not worth it to stay in and try to fix it, even if we did break it.

It's not that we don't have the stomach for righteous conflict; this one was just wrong from inception.

Expect us all to be paying the price for decades to come.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's Alive

It's on. Al Gore has lit the flame.

His global warming documentary has got hit written all over it. He looked healthy at Cannes. People are saying he's making complex issues simple to understand and has the science to back it up.

It's a non-political issue, as he says, framing it as a moral issue. Every chance he can.

But then, while the other timid, leaderless Democrats have an opponent President at 29%, an opponent Congress that they best by double-digit percentage points, yet still seemed scared of their own shadow like little groundhogs to frightened to come out of their hole on their Special Day -- "No sunlight, please! We're scared little groundhogs!" -- here's Al Gore saying what's on all of our minds.

So now the Swiftboating begins, with more than one rightwing loonbag calling him a Nazi or Hitler or whatever they're fetishizing, in their down-is-up world they so desperately want us to believe in. That link is a really brilliant report from MSNBC's Countdown, that I think is crucial to see it right now because:

- First they ignore you (helps if you grow a beard)
- Then they laugh at you (like back in 2002 when he started giving brilliant speeches like this one)
- Then they fight you (here we are)
- And then you win.

Two things are significant.

#1: The battle has been enjoined.

Gore came out with a movie, the corrupt GOP rightwing scoundrels launched their first attacks. Just watch -- the more Gore continues to assert himself, the more they will attack, slime, try to undermine any devious way they can.

So if you think there's time, there isn't. The war is on, and now is not the time to equivocate in support of Gore or the honest goal of saving our whole planet for those who come after us. It's time to stand up to these lies, particularly the ones that paint Gore as less than truthful, and aver that Al Gore is an honest man, certainly as honest as you'll find at the level of politics he's played in his career.

Which leads me to significance #2:

It's Al-effin-Gore. Not Hillary Clinton or John Kerry or Harry Reid or Charles Schumer or Rahm Emmanuel or Mark Warner or Bill Clinton. Or even Howard Dean, although he's laying the groundwork for a 50 state strategy. Everyone has a part to play, but for the past six years no Democrat has played the part of leader, at least not convincingly.

Bush claims to be a leader, or Decider or whatever you are when 71% of your constituents do not approve of your current performance in office and you act like it's their problem.

Gore doesn't waste time making insecure claims, he just leads. He's been out in front on the Iraq debacle, BushCheneyCo fiscal insanity, attack on the Constitution, NSA/FISA criminality, and now the biggest threat to earth. I mean, which guy would you want to have defending us from alien invasion? Bush? In a spacesuit?

I'm hoping Gore eventually runs, but that if he does he times it right and doesn't jump the gun just because people like me want some assurance that he will.

Al's genius is that he's done a classic Dick Tracy move. Tracy would prepare, sure, corner the outlaws, but you would never, ever, fire a preemptive shot. That's dirty, what the bad guys do.

This was the myth mid-20th Century America grew up with, the honor threshold for being a good guy. It made sure that when you used violence, all other avenues had truly been exhausted.

At the heart of it, that's our original sin in Iraq. It's not a matter of how the war was "managed", it was never a good idea. Even if you think you might have gotten away with it -- it was never moral.

So, the opposite of Crazy Pistol George, Al has put himself out there boldly and drawn fire. And sure enough, those idiots started shooting.

But like Tracy, this time Al's prepared. His shield is that he isn't running for anything. So when they attack him, they attack science (which we already know they often reject). They attack reality. They attack morality.

Like I said, they're not planning to stop. Imagine Al actually throwing his hat in the ring, what kind of ammo do you think they'll eventually try?

Al Gore, reborn as true moral compass, has lit the fuse, been fired upon and, from hereon out, sides will be drawn.

It's alive.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Happy now to have been out in front on the Al Gore craze now sweeping the nation, it's time for Nettertainment to discuss the future of U.S. Supreme Court appointed President George Bush.

Once Bush is safely out of office, will he be feted wherever he goes, able to earn multi-million dollar speaking fees like fellow Rightwing President Ronald Reagan? Or will his fate be more like disgraced President Richard Nixon's, essentially some form of exile?

It's been written that Bush seriously considers his current job a stepping stone to Commissioner of Major League Baseball. But given his horrific job performance -- disastrous judgment, pathetic administrative follow-through, terrible communication skills, massive loss of life both Americans and Iraqis, can anyone seriously want him heading up their far-ranging organization?

Every once in a while, on a slow news day or after one of his or Cheney's cronies gets Senate confirmation to some momentous job, I get the queasy feeling that it's all about to turnaround, here comes the Bush comeback, the mainstream media will rejoice like happy lemmings at the cliff.

Then it all falls apart, with news of CBS journalists killed in Iraq, a car crash turning into a violent anti-American riot in Afghanistan, a hunger strike at Guantanamo, the massacre of Iraqi civilians by over-burdened soldiers on their third tour of duty.

This AP article puts it together in a quickly digestible form:

Bush/Cheney's Teetering House of Cards

So here's my bet, two and a half years early: except on the lightest of all possible occasions and then only really attended by his remaining faithful, it will be considered an embarrassment to appear in public with ex-Presidente Bush.

Just like the killers of Civil Rights activists in the early 1960's that were declared innocent by their all-white Southern jury and then shunned by their communities, nobody likes to hang around with a murderer, and between Iraq and Katrina, that's the highlight of Bush's Presidential resume. It's just icky.

In that spirit, Nettertainment casts its vote for:


Sunday, May 28, 2006


Monday is Memorial Day, when we Americans honor all those who have fallen in the defense of our great nation. This year's celebration may be tarnished by the Haditha scandal now coming to light, but rather than link to it or explicate further, I'll just drop a rather sobering link to today's Doonesbury, courtesy of Slate:

Taps Pt. 1

Cartoonist Gary Trudeau has been with the grunts all the way on this war, as he has with all previous U.S. wars during his tenure, notably beginning with Vietnam. The storyline following B.D.'s slow rehabilitation after losing a leg in Iraqi combat is a tribute to our surviving casualties.

He has made it a Memorial Day to list the fallen in the current Iraq War, and what cuts so deep in the simple list of names this particular Sunday is that even in small type the names are overflowing at least into next Sunday's strip, and that they are only from the last year, not the entire war -- just those soliders killed in Iraq since April 23, 2005.

The most shameful canard of the pro-Iraq War crowd is that if one does not support this War, one is not supporting the troops. Another through-the-looking-glass type paradox, as those who support the war, as least in our government, are actually the ones doing the greatest disservice to the men and women bravely fighting at their behest. Last of body armor, charges for loss of weapon after being shipped home sans a limb, inadequate preparation or for the immediate post-war situation, inadequate force size for self-protection...the list goes on and on.

Nettertainment supports our service men and women in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. We would even like to see their coffins arriving, not shunted away from press cameras like repressed memories. We feel the horrible loss every morning that a photo and obit of a slain soldier appears in our newspaper, usually in groups, and quite often as we have a military base in Southern California feeding troops into the conflict.

Another guy pegged as a liberal does more to acknowledge our troops in a meaningful, individual way than all the conservative daily strips combined (i.e. Prickly City and Mallard Fillmore).

Yep. Gary Trudeau, Patriot.

Remember our troops this Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I was fortunate enough this week to have two friends join me on a cinematic excursion that not a lot of folks will be taking, to see a 1969 French film never before properly released in the U.S., Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows (L'Armee des ombres).

Melville was renown for his stylish, oft-referenced gangster films. Neil Jordan remade Melville's deliciously witty Bob le flambeur as The Good Thief with Nick Nolte, and Jim Jarmusch credits the Alain Delon starrer Le Samourai as inspiration for his Forest Whitaker led Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samourai.

This picture takes place in the early 1940's and follows several members of the French Resistance against the Nazi occupiers and collaborating Vichy puppet government. These are ordinary adults forced by circumstance and conviction to be calculating, paranoid, deft and brutal in ways they never would have been in a normal world. It is based on a novel by Joseph Kessel actually written in 1943, and Melville himself was a member of the French Underground during that period, as a very young man.

Consequently, the movie reeks of authenticity. While it has been described elsewhere as a thriller, Melville eschewed that description, and while the sustained suspense is often unbearable, the picture moves at a somewhat careful pace. By the end the viewer is forced to recognize exactly how much of a death trip these characters are on, that their reserved Gallic manner belies the enormity of their personal risk, and it continues to haunt days later.

I was reminded of three other films in particular by Army of Shadows, the first of which is Roberto Rossellini's masterpiece of Italian Fascist resistance, Rome, Open City. Rossellini made his version just moments after the war ended, and it begins with shots of marching soldiers actually taken on the sly before the Liberation. For all the wonderful critical writing on the movie I would want a potential viewer to know that it moves relatively quickly, more of an actual thriller than Melville's, a little bit like history written with lightning. Both films have that dead-seriousness of purpose, as only those who participated in the pivotal struggle against tyranny in their very own countries might know.

I was also reminded of Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain, a 1966 East-West espionage tale set in Copenhagen during the height of the Cold War. Hitchcock's picture is much less successful, but the cold dark blues in the cinematography are similar, an icy world of perilous secrets and glacial intentions, and both films have a protracted murder scene that makes the act feel far more real than 99% of movies ever made.

Lastly, I found myself thinking a lot about Steven Spielberg's recent masterpiece (yes, masterpiece), Munich. Both films take the ostensibly benign Europe of agreeable everyday culture and desirable tourism, and use these locations as the bare surface for a primal, subterranean game. In both pictures morals are by necessity compromised, in both pictures the ground can suddenly cave in under a major character's feet and does, repeatedly.

Moreover, both pictures are fundamentally honest about the cost of engagement. Just like in Munich, Melville is steadfast that the intentions of the Resistance members, the absolute need for a response, are morally justified. At the same time, both filmmakers are clear that compromises in pursuit of such goals end up being made at every level. In Munich the protagonist finds himself going off on homicidal side quests that have little to do with the original mission; in Army of Shadows the closest of comrades must be murdered for the cause to go on.

Call me incorrigible but I think that theme has a whole lot of relevance for our times. If only the folks that see this exceptional movie would be the ones who need it the most.

Friday, May 26, 2006


It seems that our newest gunboat democracy has just endorsed the nuclear plans of what's supposed to be our next.

Iraqi Minister Backs Iran on Nuclear Research

Manoucher Mottaki is the new Iraq government's foreign minister, i.e. their Secretary of State. It's like Condoleezza Rice saying it's okay for Canada to pursue peaceful nuclear technology, including (but not specifically mentioning) enrichment. Key graf:
In his statement about Iran's nuclear plans, Mr. Zebari appeared to lend support to Iran as it faces enormous pressure to sharply curb its nuclear ambitions from the United States and Europe. While emphasizing that Iraq does not want any of its neighbors to obtain nuclear weapons, Mr. Zebari said Iran should enjoy the right to "possess the scientific and technological capabilities for research" in the field of nuclear power.

In the context of the debate over Iran's nuclear plans, such language normally implies uranium enrichment, which Iran has long said it needs to create nuclear fuel.

Now's when we find out if Iraq really does have an independent government. If it's still under the control of the RNC/Bush Admin, Mr. Mottaki will suddenly retire to spend more time with his family, or get smeared as soft on terrorism, his phone tapped, and denounced by Fred Barnes, Bill O'Reilly, Hugh Hewett et al on Fox.

Spin this, George:
While Iran decided to have direct talks with the United States about the future of Iraq, "Unfortunately, the Americans tries to use this decision as propaganda and raised some other issues," Mr. Mottaki said. "They tried to create a negative atmosphere."

Meanwhile, elsewhere in America's Funniest International Mistake, two young members of Iraq's tennis team and their coach were shot to death for wearing shorts. Not a joke. The BBC says:
Two of the athletes stepped out of the car and were shot in the head, said one witness. The third was shot dead in the vehicle.

"The gunman took the body out of the car and threw it on top of the other two bodies before stealing the car," said the witness, who requested anonymity.

He said leaflets had been recently distributed in the area warning residents not to wear shorts.

It's over, folks. Whoever trusted this Administration, even an iota, screwed up. We're all responsible; it's a democracy. That's all part of the deal. If you never trusted him you should have yelled louder before the 2000 election, when he was ginning up the war in 2002-2003, and in this last 2004 election. You should have organized, given more time, maybe more money, more of yourself on the line. Even if, especially if you knew BushCheneyCo and their sad sick cronies were full of that thing that comes out of tushies, you're especially partially responsible.

That's why this fall is so crucial. Barring some sort of Poseidon-like capsizing of the government, Bush isn't going anywhere the next two-and-a-half years. If we don't manage to get a Democratic majority in Congress and/or the Senate, bare minimum, we really deserve the lousy dead-end federal government we currently have. I don't care if Nancy Pelosi bugs the helloutofme half the time, I want her as Speaker of the House. Instead of under-suspicion Dennis Hastert. Just think how cool the change will seem. My, Mr. Speaker, you've taken years off in one day. What's your secret?

Bush is here and the Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld machine will continue to be a threat, maybe big, maybe just a everyday decaying of infrastructure, Constitutional and physical, but Bush is here and, at the same time, Bush is over. The AP headline reads, "Analysis: Euphoria gone for Bush and Blair" and I can't help shedding zero tears that they've lost their euphoria over preemptive war and the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people in pursuit of power and theory.

I'm serious about responsibility. In a fascist dictatorship there are no real elections and the winning party gets 96% of the vote or more if elections are even held. Maybe Bush cheated like hell in both elections to squeak over the top, maybe he cheated a lot, but there needs to be an overwhelming majority of Americans against all this radical right wing teardown. And people have to get pissed about the Diebold vote-stealing machines. Get vocal. Tell your state election board no and if they already have them get a refund. Tell them to start a Class Action lawsuit. Tell them No.

So I advise you to do what you can to get a Democrat elected. No piddling around this time. This is war.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nedlines 2006-05-25

Oprah, She-Wolf of the SS
Oprah Goes to Auschwitz
Haven't the Jews suffered enough?

"The stupidest guy on the face of the earth."
Faculty's Chilly Welcome for Ex-Pentagon Official
Shame of the Nation.

D.C. Crazy
To Ease Standoff, Bush Seals Seized Files
Saving GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert?

Their Day in Court
Lay, Skilling guilty on nearly all counts
Bill coming due on GOP Culture of Corruption.

Bush says "bring 'em on" was big mistake
Just like a leader to get out in front on an issue.

Criminal Conspiracy
Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators
Dear Jesus/Buddha/Allah/Adonai...

Deja Nettertainment
Could Al Gore be the next Nixon?
Almost like CNN is reading this blog.

Wesley Commits
Clark: Begin troop withdrawals
The rock star candidate for '08.

Hello My Lai
Military Expected to Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians
Oh no nothing like Vietnam.

Up Closer
Gore galore
Read Eric daily.

George Eviscerated by Juan
Arguing with Bush and Blair
What do you really mean when you say sorry?

Late to the Party
Richard Viguerie: Bush's Base Betrayed.
Hey, I'll give Richard and the wingers a teensy clue:

Because Absolutely Nobody in the World Respects Him Anymore
Mr. Bush?


Managed to catch the new Australian Western The Proposition at the head of the week and it's an excellent, brooding, bloody picture in the cinematic tradition of The Wild Bunch and even Unforgiven, and the literary tradition of Cormac McCarthy circa Blood Meridian.

Basic plot is that it's 19th century wild west times in the outback and a proper family has been slaughtered in their home by members of The Burns Gang. Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) plays the frontier-taming Captain Stanley. At the start of the picture he captures middle and younger Burns brothers, and declares his intention to publicly hang the cowering baby bro nine days hence on Xmas, unless the moral-compass middle brother (the protean Guy Pearce of L.A. Confidential, Memento and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) kills his homicidally psychopathic older brother (Danny Huston, recently seen in The Constant Gardner). Emily Watson puts in great work as the Captain's wife, as does John Hurt as an Irish-hating bounty hunter other performers leaning on Winstone or carrying out fiendish orders for either side, but the three men are the core of the drama, as you might imagine.

Winstone is simply one of the finest actors working in the English language. Captain Stanley is actually a liberalizing influence, come from England with his cultured wife to this desolate (and ungodly beautiful) landscape. He want the elder Burns dead because it's the next crucial step to civilizing this frontier, not for vengeance or any arbitrary punishment. Thanks to Winstone we feel Stanley's pain, how it separates him from a wife he so longs to be close to, how he's burning up inside fighting the political head of the settlement.

Meanwhile the (to my mind) perennially underrated Guy Pearce makes his way to the baddest of the badlands, the place the Aboriginals won't even go, where his brother and his band of cutthroats and rapists are holed up. The question behind Pearce's steely gaze is whether he'll betray his older brother, clearly the prime mover behind the slaughter, in order to save his fear-crazed but innocent younger brother. If blood is thicker than water, who's blood do you choose?

And there's plenty of the red stuff. Like the classic Sergio Leone Westerns, there's long, languid stretches or slow-burn suspense and awful contemplation, punctuated by bravura violence scenes that leave faces, fists and other implements soaked in the red stuff, dripping off. Nothing phony or forced, just the raw brutality of frontier life at a time of heightened moral conflict.

The director, John Hillcoat, has clearly studied his masters, and achieves a terrific look, even when we're watching men with flies clinging to the backs of their heads and necks in the noonday sun. The constant insect infestations are a stark reminder of how unfriendly these lands were, how inhospitable to civilized life.

But the big props go to second-time feature film screenwriter (both with music video graduate Hillcoat) Nick Cave, leader of The Bad Seeds, musician extraordinary. I'm not as educated in Cave's work as I might be, but one of my favorite of his albums is Murder Ballads, which explores the English and early American tradition of extremely graphic, morbid barroom songs telling homicide stories; brides losing their minds, bartenders shooting down customers, matricide and patricide, you name it.

The Proposition clearly benefits from Cave's earlier research and emotional connection to our homicidal history. Nation building at its finest. Consequently despite the pleasures of myth-making and classic movie pacing, there's a reality at the heart of the story, and it's the perennial John Ford question of what kind of man you need to break the frontier.

There's the tough but liberalizing force of Captain Stanley -- repping society and the law. There's the rough allegiances and resourcefulness of the outlaw, the man borne of the landscape and somehow trying to break free but hellishly captive to it. Then there's the transfixed stare out into the Outback of the older brother, the bad man, his mind a thousand unsettling worlds away, his actions frighteningly unpredictable, a self-styled patriarch in a psycho ward world.

It's a great set-up and the picture feels like top of the genre, a great big-screen experience. If it's a genre you've enjoyed in the past, go and have yourself a memorable experience.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I don't like to dis entertainment acts or movies or shows on this blog and don't do so now, but I have to say that after watching tonight's American Idol final sing-off, the first episode I've watched this year after a number of years getting into the whole Idol rollercoaster, I just don't care if blue-eyed soul boy or knockout hard-workin' brunette wins.

Last year I got hooked when Bo performed "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers, the biggest never-expected-to-hear-that-on-Idol moment to that date. Bo continued to be the most interesting twist on the show's formula but lost to sweet-innocent Country singer Carrie Underwood, a talented singer but the most bland choice "America" had crowned so far.

That kind of took the oomph out of my willingness to invest my rooting interest, and I didn't watch this year, although I did hear good things about Chris, the bald rocker.

The fact is I was set up for a fall last season because the previous season is unlikely to ever be topped. The winner, Fantasia Barrino, was Gospel-trained single mom who sang like a more rebellious Aretha Franklin and advised the following season's contestants to "Get out there and get uuuug-ly!" right after taking one of the pop-safe engineered Idol-written songs and climaxing it with the most beautifully ugly screams and howls ever heard on the show.

A couple weeks ago the Hollywood trades reported that her NY Times bestselling dictated autobiography, Life is Not a Fairy Tale, which covers the poverty, sexual humiliation and illiteracy in her life, will be made into a Lifetime cable network movie where she'll be playing herself. (Who else could?)

From her first audition Fantasia was the real deal, with real depths of emotion and real talent. Her rendition of George Gershwin's "Summertime" is legendary; she brought herself and everyone watching in the theater and at home to tears, a song she had never heard of before that rehearsal week, but which she said spoke directly to her.

Her win was a real triumph and while I never bought her first Idol Factory album, I'm hoping that sometime soon she breaks away like Kelly Clarkson did, but comes out with an album that is anything but teenybopper pop.

Fantasia has it in her; just you watch.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I'm very interested to see how the new Superman Returns movie does. Bryan Singer is certainly the premiere choice for Director, as the first two X-Men movies are top-of-the-line comic book adaptations. I thought #1 was the first Hollywood movie to feel like it was happening in the same world as the actual Marvel comics. Costumes may have been updated but the atmosphere was all X-Men, translated seamlessly into film.

Meanwhile, there's Superman is a Dick.

These are vintage DC Silver Age (early 1960's) Superman family covers, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger classics (plus a smattering of other artists), all of which are a little bit sicko.

Superman wants to short circuit Pat Boone's pop star career. Like Peter in the New Testament, he denies knowing Jimmy Olsen, and on other covers punishes him uncompassionately to "teach him a lesson". He's cruel to Lois Lane as well, mocking her when she's old and he and Lana Lang are still young, arm-in-arm, laughing. He makes Lois think he's a blackmailer and blindfolds her. He prosecutes Lois for murder while Batman thought-bubbles, "I'm save Lois from the death house!"

The old covers all strive to have great, arresting concepts, the kind that would make a ten year-old pick it up off the news rack and plunk down his ten cent allowance. What's odd isn't just the irony of taste change over forty years, it's that some of the attitudes -- Superman looks on smiling, Lois unaware as she's forced to be Cinderella, scrubbing the floor in tears -- they just seem kinda...'50's berserk.

Is Superman the slim/trim Brandon Routh of the new movie, or is his the berserk '50's dad musclehead?

Or is he just Superduper?

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Crooks & Liars has the Fun with Real Audio: Presidential Outtakes from last night's Saturday Night Live.

Is it getting too easy to take potshots at Bush and even Cheney and (we already know it is with) Rumsfeld? Even using their very own lying words?

Every once in a while I get the feeling Bush and Co. are going to rebound, and then they get hit with another sleazy scandal or split their own base on their cross of gold.

I'm not sure the wheels can completely come off unless Karl gets indicted and Dick gets a heart attack. The whole point of "W" is to have a front man for installing the most arch-conservative crony couple, no accident, going back to when Rumsfeld hired Cheney to join the Nixon White House. With Karl hobbled and Cheney out, could the Bush/Rumsfeld axis survive to 2008?

Will George Bush be walking out of the White House with Donald Rumsfeld on his arm when he turns over the keys on Tuesday, January 20, 2009?


Between the Dixie Chicks, Neil Young, Pearl Jam and a host of others, pop music is finally getting political again in a big way. Oddly enough, the movies might have actually been ahead this round, thanks to George Clooney and a host of documentarians. Back in the 1960's, when our government lurched Right, it took a lot longer for the movies to catch up to the musicians, as the only Hollywood picture made about the Vietnam War while it was actually happening was John Wayne's ignominiously off-base The Green Berets.

I bring up musicians because I've just read McCain face-melter Jean Rohe's piece in Huffington Post on how she came to write her New School commencement speech (including the text of the speech itself) and accompanying bio. Turns out, she earned a degree in Jazz with some impressive stats for someone her age:
Since she transferred to the New School in 2002, Jean has sung in venues throughout New York City, including the Birdland, Sweet Rhythm, the Cornelia Street Cafe, Detour, Barbes, and others. She also teaches and performs music for young children at the Third Street Music School Settlement and at venues throughout the city. She recently completed her senior work at Eugene Lang, an audio documentary about her trip to Israel/Palestine during the Gaza disengagement last August. In July she will be performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

From McCain to Montreux -- not too shabby.

I'm assuming Jean knows she's probably opened a big can of whup-ass on herself, and I'm expecting some odious professional partisan like Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter to lead the sliming. But musicians always have their talent to fall back on, and an audience that doesn't really care what the crumbling old finger-waggers say.

So here's to Jean, who may seem a little impetuous in her youth, but who's heart -- and axe -- seem to be in the right place. As Jean writes:
I think we must remember that as big as this moment may seem to me today and perhaps to other supporters who are reading this article, this is a very small victory in a time when democracy is swiftly eroding under the pressure of the right wing in this country. We all have much work to do, and for the most part the media do not represent us, the small people who don't hold any special titles but who feel the weight of our government's actions on our backs each and every day. I never expected to get the opportunity to speak the way I did yesterday, but I'm so glad that I did. I hope that other people found strength in my act of protest and will one day find themselves in my position, drawing out their own bravery to speak truth.

Play it, sister.

Friday, May 19, 2006


It's a safe bet that John McCain learned a lesson on Friday, when he was roundly booed, heckled and protested at NYC's New School graduation. It was all truth-to-power (Colbert!) starting with:
The first student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, 21, said she had discarded her original remarks to talk about Mr. McCain.

"The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded," she said, to a roaring ovation. "This invitation was a top-down decision that did not take into account the desires and interests of the student body on an occasion that is supposed to honor us above all."

You can read the rest in the link, but she had a strong climax:
"I am young, and although I don't profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong," she said.

She added, "Osama bin Laden still has not been found, nor have those weapons of mass destruction."

There are only 100 U.S. Senators serving at any one time, out of, like, three hundred million Americans. And Jean Sara just spoke up to one of them in public.

Bring on the cajones!

It's easy to get all 1950's and wag the finger at the protestors -- I'm not talking about Ms. Rohe so much as about the students and faculty members who stood up, shouted or jeered. I consider standing silently with your back to the speaker a more polite and acceptable choice, since you're not trying to shout down or verbally disrupt a speaker.

Then there's the issue of John McCain's media fable role as having been smeared out of the 2000 GOP Presidential nomination in South Carolina by Bush and Rove. A racial smear, against McCain's very own adopted daughter. The lowest (modus operandi).

But the Straight-Talk Express of that campaign era has been replaced by McCain's campaigning not just for but with Bush in the crucial final days of the 2004 debacle. His criticisms of the Administration have only been remarkable by the standards of strict party loyalty, never going far enough into effective action against the spiteful deterioration of America's infrastructures by the power-grubbing BushCheneyCo GOP machine.

I'd be much happier were McCain the 2000 nominee than Bush. I don't believe we would have gone into Iraq, certainly not so recklessly, if at all. I'm sure if either Gore or McCain had been President, we'd have taken out Afghanistan, as we should have, but also stayed to finish the job.

But none of that matters because McCain did not stand up, did not make a contrary voice known, hid behind the good soldier routine just like Colin Powell and is just as stripped bare because of it. McCain harbors dreams of being the 2008 nominee, and I think he's the only GOP figure who has any real chance, a good one if Hillary Clinton buys or steals the Dem nomination (because there's no way by now with her unrepentence on her Iraq War vote that she'll ever do enough to earn it), but I think he's toast against Gore, looking like an old man next to Clark, Edwards, Warner, maybe even Joe Biden. And I'll lay odds they're all running.

It's much like that old '60's phrase, which tends to apply in stressful times: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. In this case, since McCain has definitely not been part of any current solution, he's just another cog in the machinery. Remember, Bush is a rich guy, and for him everyone is either a partner or an employee. McCain has acted for hire.

Look, I sympathize. If he wants to win the nomination, he's got to peel off some lunu fundamentalist votes, so he goes and speaks at last week's Jerry Falwell's Liberty University commencement, up at the podium big photo op with Jerry tall and huge-bellied in his kingly university robe. McCain looked small and frail next to the man he had just six years ago called an "agent of intolerance" and a figure who exercised an "evil influence" in the Republican party.

But it's times like these, like with McCarthyism in the 1950's, like when Nixon was using your Constitution as toilet paper, that true character stands the test. And McCain (like Powell) have flubbed it. Why should I rally to the side of a man who, as a Vietnam Vet and POW survivor should know more than anyone the cost of war and why not to be profligate with it, yet publicly supported the Iraq War right from the get-go.

Now the conundrum is worse for St. John. His oratory at the New School was the same as at Jerry Falwell U, something he had originally advertised so folks wouldn't think he's curtailed his tougher "straight talk" for Falwell U. ears. He received a hearty welcome by his friend and fellow Vietnam/Senate veteran, Bob Kerrey, but he reportedly didn't win over the crowd:
The Senator spoke in a dull monotone, without his usual charisma or charm. He was noticeably deflated by the crowd's harsh reception towards him. Remarks such as "I supported the decision to go to war in Iraq," were met with loud boos.

"I stand that ground because I believed, rightly or wrongly, that my country's interests and values required it."

"Wrongly!" one student boomed from the back. Sitting directly behind us, Maureen Dowd and Adam Nagourney of the New York Times, chuckled.

And then some walkouts and I mean, harsh! I remember him with Chris Matthews on a college stage with students enthusiastically, organically, cheering him. The last thing I would have imagined in 2000 was a pair of lead New York Times reporters chuckling at McCain's humiliation at a goddamned college graduation.

So what does the Senator do now? He's lost the students, they're not coming back unless he does some Delta Force action on Bush in his bed with a hunting knife. This President is rapidly becoming pariah, and I doubt many world leaders want to be photographed with him. It's fascinating when someone voted by half the country to run it morphs over a year or a summer into untouchable, unwantable, mass scale detested, but that's what's happening to rich idiot George. Why take responsibility for vomititious 29% approval ratings when you can blame everyone else. Literally, everyone else.

I can't imagine what it's like for David Gregory to interview this President at this time. Was it like talking to a sociopath in prison?

And there's John McCain, still after all this time propping up a bankrupt ideology led by a remote, unrepentant killer.

So if you don't have the kids and you don't have me, you won't ever get me anymore, do you just dance with the date that brought ya and you're hopin', pretty soon, will have bought ya? And that's the GOP religious right, my friend, that's who you've been targeting so they better be who you got. Because independent does not mean "without followers" it means respected for your independent thought and action.

If you're McCain, do you use the student protest as a rightwing rallying cry? Do you trot it out at key press or public moments?

Or do you revamp your rap to include staunch support for free speech, what you fought for and spent five years in a deadly Vietnamese POW camp for?

Either way, I don't want anybody who so unequivocally supported the Iraq War to be my President. I don't trust that person to make perhaps an equally or more crucial national security decision in the future.

I want someone who is his own man. I think that's what the country will be looking for. Whether that's what the stratagems of men or Gods deliver is still so very clearly, so very dearly up for grabs.

Unlike our President, McCain is not by nature a foolish man. He's a guy who knows how to learn. So I wonder, what lesson did he learn at the New School?

Did he learn it might be tough? Did he learn not to come back to this crowd?

I'm hoping he learned how very real, how very deep, and how very contagiously now the people of this great nation are angry with this President and every mechanism that supports him. It is boiling over at the points where the two worlds collide. People are more aware than ever, and they don't want any more Karina or Abramoffs or Plames or NSA transgressions or Iraqs.

For everyone's sake, I pray that the lesson John McCain learned today was to stop being part of the problem.

Like, right now.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


A little break from the political world, the infuriating Hayden confirmation dance, the hatred of the world due to our U.S. soldiers' massacre of an innocent Iraqi family, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter holding non-public hearings where he cast the decisive vote to allow an anti-homosexual marriage Amendment to hit the Senate floor even though he claims he's against it.

There. Relaxed?

Treat #1 is datajunkie, by a guy named Hyperdave in S.F. As in Science Fiction/San Francisco. His pleasing yet disturbing online collection of pop geek memorabilia includes Outer Limits episode/monster trading cards, covers of vintage Popular Electronics and Psycho Comics.

Go, enjoy. Me, I'll sit here alone. In the dark. With the heat off. But don't you feel guilty, you, go enjoy yourself.

I'll wait.

Now if you really want a geekgasm check out Comic Book Cover of the Week Club. If you happen to go the week I'm writing this, the choice of the week is the bizarre and omnisexual Boy Comics No.9. Don't stop there, be sure to enjoy the touching nuclear tableau (boy, dog, A-bomb), the classic Dell comics Brain Boy cover, or "Buckskin Battles the Banshee" in Super-Mystery Comics.

Treats for the treat.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Some members of the press are fawning over newly installed White House Press Secretary Tony Snow because he came in wearing his vulnerability on his sleeve, but he's just another overachiever in the Bush Administration, just like El Presidente, but instead of connections and guile to get promoted he had looks, height and some actual experience in his chosen field. I just can't help feeling Snow is something like a Republican contemporary version of the handsome-but-empty newsman played so vulnerably by William Hurt in Broadcast News.

Yesterday Press Secretary Snow fell into the briar patch. I gave him two weeks. But then I thought, hey, if he entertains the Press Corp, they'll help to keep him around. Better than whoever's the next douchebag they cajole into the job. And if Tony Snow feels the good vibes from us, he'll go stronger. Get increasingly engaged. In this completely meaningly sideshow debate we call the White House Press Briefings.

I flexed. Maybe he'll be the star who rides it out to the end. And then...

At the Press briefing today he reveals that, beyond whatever mere coordination some of us had ever expected, it turns out Fox News and the White House are one and the same organization (hat tip as always to Crooks & Liars):

Tony Snow confirms: FOX News is the White House Network

Thank goodness we don't have think about that anymore. Settled.

Now I'm thinking, maybe he makes a gaffe a day, maybe we even wait for it, press corp catching up a bit later, of course, but even then enjoying the daily anticipation and sudden release when he pops that day's boner. One of the complaints has always been how inaccessible they've made el Presidente. We only get one of his gaffes when he has some other big thing for which he's been scheduled and has to talk to the press, but it's right after one of those freak mountain-biking, perch-catching accidents and his face has these funky bruises with bandages hanging off. Now it's like having a handsomer, more idealized version of el Presidente Hombre Blanco doing that surrogate boil-popping (gaffe) every day.

Or maybe Fox's Tony Snow is just Baghdad Bob for the twilight of the Bush Administration. I mean, they're under siege, people are still a little bit scared of them but not nearly as much as a year ago, and whatever information Baghdad Snow gives out is untethered from any real policy, or pathology, that is actually being practiced anywhere else in the building.

It's where the GOP tend to win on entertainment, the theater of politics. We cringe when our guys do something stupid. They act like it's all okay, you only have a problem if you try to point it out, and then they go ahead and promote their dummy because they've got a place they need him to stand. For now.


Nothing of any real importance is likely to ever happen at any Tony Snow press gaggle. You'll get more out of a Paris Hilton newsflash in People.

So even if Silly Tony lasts, I'll just say, "Move along folks, nothing to see here."


Yul Love It

Here's another reason God created YouTube:

Ten Commandments


I'm giving the new White House Press Secretary, Fox News' Tony Snow, two weeks.

Anther nod to Crooks & Liars for this footage of his first on-camera press gaggle. Snow's earnest, I'll give him that, but absurdly tries to "reason" his way through the lies rather than just stonewall like his predecessor Scott McClellan. See how it's akin to watching one of those Broadway musicals based on, like, Stephen King's Carrie, where everyone kind of already knows it's a crazy idea but the property is big enough you just might take a chance opening night. Then it's just embarrassing in the theater, train wreck jollies at best.

Sadly yet humorously, Snow made what might charitably be called a verbal gaffe when he said:
Having said that, I don't want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program... the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm or deny.

Hug the tar baby?

Y'o.k., Unca Remus.

So it's disaster after scandal for BushCheneyCo, today featuring Tony Snow's unintentional racism, i.e. ignorance At least he's not willful, like Confederate flag fetishist Senator George Allen (R-Va.). And you know nobody wants Snow's job anyway. Who would?

Who in their right mind would want any job with this Administration?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I love when Conservatives bash Liberal as "elites". Especially the wealthy Conservatives:
Bushes' Assets May Top $20 Million; Cheneys', $94 Million

That's the headline from an article in the Washington Post that states:
President Bush and his wife, Laura, had assets valued between $7.2 million and $20.9 million last year, up from as much as $18.1 million a year earlier, annual disclosure forms released last night showed.

And, on the Cheneys:
The couple's total income in 2005 was $8.8 million, largely as a result of stock options Cheney, 65, received before stepping down as chairman of Houston-based Halliburton Co., the world's largest oil-field services company, to run for vice president in 2000.

Nice how those options worked out. Glad he had no vested interest in starting a war to add to Halliburton's coffers. Thank goodness no one is holding him accountable for that conflict of interest.

And Praise the Lord that the President and Vice President are not among the elites.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Devo is back with a new album of their old songs but performed by children, the ingeniously titled Devo 2.0. Tonight, I'm thinkin' El Presidente George Bush is going through some devolution of his own.

With blogs suddenly influencing the mainstream media, particularly the center-to-left bloggers, there's a Mahatma Gandhi quote that's been popping up here and there around the blogosphere, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." You could actually say that about the post-Goldwater U.S. Conservative Movement. At least on the East Coast they used to laugh at Ronald Reagan. Then they helped elect him President, twice.

Now Darwin seems to be working in reverse, in double-time. Bush gives a speech on immigration and the only people who take it seriously are entrenched in that very same Conservative Movement, the ones who hate whatever it was he said he was going to do. Don't ask me -- I've stopped listening, watching, whatever it was we used to do with Presidents back when they talked to us like adults.

These outraged Right Wingers range from the xenophobotic Michelle Malkin (ironically the daughter of Filipino immigrants) calling Bush's troop show "theater," to the World Net Daily "Christian libertarian" referencing Hitler for immigration solutions:
If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.

And they say young people today have no sense of history.

In a brilliant column today Glenn Greenwald exposed the hypocrisy of the Conservative came which screams bloody murder over Democratic calls for Bush's impeachment should they win in November (a complete straw man, as no prominent Dem has done so) but is hyperventilatiing to impeach Bush over immigration.

So tonight Bush goes on the air and I'm far from the only American ignoring him. Nobody believes his act anymore, not the Left in 4 years, not the Middle in 2 and not the Right as of this year. Nobody thinks he's going to say anything where he'll do a damned thing about any domestic issue -- after all, it's his first Oval Office address on a domestic policy issue in the entire six years of his Presidency.

No commentator has to tell most Americans that Bush is out of touch.

Wait, I did, I did watch a little of the President's address tonight. Actually, that's not exactly true, I just watched a few seconds of his rehearsal. Maybe not a perfect substitute, maybe not as >chuckle< substantive, but undoubtedly the only part that will be remembered.

Crooks and Liars has it up, as always. Oh, SPOILERS, what happens is in the middle of Wolf Blitzer's scintillating pre-speech panel the pool camera or CNN accidentally switches on Bush rehearsing, but Bush is somehow cues that he's on live and freezes; yes, that "My Pet Goat" deer-in-the-headlights look. You can tell he's wanting to drop the mask but being just smart enough to keep fixed, wannabe fierce, same old smug.

I'll bet that a sizable percentage of the population will be with me. Bush has been completely Colbert-icized. While he was once a winner, while we used to fight him, we're mainly just laughing at or ignoring him. There's a lot going on around the President, the Rove/Cheney Plame Affair, the Rumsfeld squandering, the Delay/Abramoff/Cunningham/Foggo corruption daisy chains, daisy figure-eights, but unless he's ginning up another war, we don't want to hear what comes out his piehole. By now we all know, even the Conservatives: it'll always be a lie.

It's the Devo "Are We Not Decider?" George Bush devolution.

I wouldn't even be surprised if some technician flipped it on for a gag. Or maybe everyone's just getting sloppy around him -- he doesn't care about collateral damage, why should some guy in a switching room?

I'd like to think that the regular America worker is a heckuva lot better than Bush's heckuva-job cronies. I'd like to think it was actually on purpose, someone's idea so we could once again see what a clown his is, with duty on his face.

It's your turn, America. Whip it good.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Last night I received an email from a regular reader that he has kindly permitted me to excerpt.

This reader is particularly knowledgeable about where Wall Street meets D.C., and was warning me for years about how the major brokerage firms have been backing Social Security privatization because it would be the biggest boost in brokerage fees since the creation of the stock market. He also predicted the dotcom crash from reading books about the stock market...the stock market of The Panic of 1893.

Here's his take on the NSA database leak, beginning with his well-earned, uh, modesty:
1) Since you know I'm always right about these sort of things, understand that I offer the following as something i believe to be true: the USA Today story yesterday about the huge nationwide wiretapping effort was INTENTIONALLY leaked by the admin.


This is their last-ditch Hail-Mary attempt to stop the inside info being passed from insiders to the press (commonly referred to as leaks). As the Cheney Junta becomes vulnerable, the flow of sensitive & damaging info from patriotic whistleblowing insiders, disgruntled civil servants, and ax-grinding careerists has become a tidal wave that Cheney & Co can't stop, and the info is becoming hugely damaging, both in scale and scope. (Forget about mere impeachment: we're talking about treason & war crimes -- hanging offenses and Hague/Nuremberg kind of stuff.)

Their only hope is to make sure everyone everywhere knows their communications are being tracked, and that every insider must consider the possibility that s/he can be tracked down, arrested, and disappeared. (PS: ask yourself: when's the last time USA broke any kind of story that didn't involve a celebrity or a rogue housepet.)

I'm wondering what the Nettertainment readers think. Whistleblower or intentional leak?

At this point, I'd believe anything, as I often say that when the truth comes out (if it ever does) it will be much, much worse that whatever you're already imagining.

The email continues:
2) I'm beginning to think that Cheney is actually "Yuri", the mole placed inside the US gov't by the russkies who would rise in power & ultimately destroy the country.

Back in the early 1970's my father used to say, only half-joking, that Nixon was actually a Commie agent, since he had done so much wreckage to our Constitution starting with his big role in the anti-Communist witchhunt of McCarthy era. Dad explained how that made him the perfect mole, giving Nixon the most perfect unassailable cover. Then the opening of the door to China and subsequent visit was Tricky Dick returning for regrooving, new orders.

Funny how the big four Constitutional crises of the past sixty years have all been GOP powergrabs:

1. McCarthy - Red Scare
2. Nixon - Watergate
3. Reagan - Iran Contra
4. Bush - NSA

Have to admit, they've got a knack.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


In the Truthout site tonight Jason Leopold, former Los Angeles bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire and author of the book News Junkie, writes: Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators.

Bush is evidently speaking to the nation Monday night, and new White House Press Secretary Tony "Fox" Snow is doing his first press conference on Tuesday, rather than the expected Monday, so maybe Monday, May 15, 2006 is really the day where Karl gets his frog-march as Joseph Wilson has requested for two and a half years.

Here at Nettertainment we take stands but try to avoid wishful thinking predictions. While we occasionally get a little excited over possibilities like an Al Gore Presidency, we rarely expect the best, as it is against our nature. We may hope for it, but expectation is presumption, and pride goeth before a fall.

However, with this salivation-inducing story from Truthout, maybe it is time for prayer. After all, our President does it.

Nettertainment prays as he expects many readers do, i.e. when he's really worried and wants something to pretty please go right. It can be momentous, like praying for a family friend to recover from dire illness. It can be self-serving, i.e. please let my family be able to eat through the end of the year. We hope, however, that it is never prayer for something petty.

With this in mind, and our commitment to diversity of religious belief, along with the desire to cover all bases in case one religion really is the one and only true path to getting cut a break in the afterlife, we offer the following prayers to a few different major deities:

Dear Jesus,
I may be a Jew but I still believe in your basic teachings regarding peace, brotherhood, charity, love, and keeping usury capitalism out of our houses of prayer. So I think we're on the same page, not to mention that you're Jewish like me. Please, Jewish Jesus, please make it true that Karl Rove is indicted and, if it is indeed true that he helped lie to America in order to bring war, death and destruction to innocent civilians in an irresponsible manner all completely antithetical to your teachings, please make sure that he is removed from the field of U.S. political power and influence forever.

Dear Buddha,
I may not be the most peaceful man on earth, especially when I yell at one of my kids for really getting on my nerves and I know I know, empathize then problem solve together, but I've rubbed the belly of your surrogate icons more times than I can count and think you're a really cool religion, maybe the one I'd switch to if Jewish guilt didn't prevent me from leaving the Jewish faith, plus I like that you enjoy a good laugh. So in that spirit and, again, the spirit of peace and enlightenment that I've admired in your teachings, I ask that you please pretty please help send Karl Rove to a not-so-nice prison for at least a few years, okay ten, although I don't want to be greedy in your beneficent presence, and let's nail Cheney as well don't you agree. Thanks, Buddha, peace out.

Dear Allah...
I know you may be the most problematic of the deities I'm praying to tonight, but I hear from my Islamic friends that yours is actually a message of peace, it has just been perverted by some violent types in order to inflame the Islamic masses to their purpose, much like some corrupt evangelical ministers have hijacked the Christian faith. Plus...I'm a Jew, and we both know our peeps have issues. However, I offer this prayer in the spirit of reconciliation. While some of those who have perverted your message may actually be wishing Mr. Rove well in order to keep the foolish Bush regime strong and able to make more inanely radicalizing moves around the globe (how else to explain Osama Bin Laden dropping a videotape on us the weekend before the last Presidential election, giving Presidente Bush a boost that may have been just what he needed to defeat Senator Kerry), I'm thinking that you'd rather see more of your adherents live rather than die or watching their families get blown up, and want this Rove guy out as much as I do. So with that in mind, Allah, please help make this Truthout article the God's honest truthout, and inshallah to you, my new friend.

Dear Adonai,
You know I've said your name thousands of times just counting Bar Mitzvah's alone. You're my guy (or gal or "presence") and you know it. We go way back. May the words of my blog and the meditations of my html tags be acceptable to you, oh Adonai, and for the sake of the country, for the sake of the world, for old times sake, please oh please take Karl out with the big Patrick F-bomb straight to perjury city and obstruction-of-justice landfill. Thanks in advance, and see you at Yom Kippur.

As Mario Cuomo once said, back when he nominated Bill Clinton for President in his electrifying 1992 Democratic Convention speech:
Prayer is always a good idea; but our prayers must be accompanied by good works.

There's the prayers. Now work it, Patrick.


Here's the smoking gun indicating that U.S. Vice President Richard B. Cheney is at the center of the CIA covert agent Valerie Plame outing affair, and that he has a good chance of being a subject of investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who filed it in court yesterday, May 12, 2006.

Thanks and props to the Talking Points Memo Document Collection.

Yes, that is Richard B's handwriting the top margin of the New York Times op-ed by Joseph Wilson that so infuriated the Administration by popping the lid off their keynote State of the Union Presidential Address lie.

This means not only did Cheney know about the treasonous effort to smear Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, the specific idea about how to smear Wilson came from him. Which now implies that he directed the entire scumbag operation.

Does the "B" in Richard B. Cheney stand for "B student"?

Because he's sure doing a heckuva job...


It's been almost two months since I started Nettertainment, and am proud to say I've posted at least once daily. This is actually post #100, tra-la-la.

To our consistent readers as well as the casual visitors I offer thanks for making it all worth it.

In honor of this dubious event, I've added a way for readers to email me with feedback, leads, suggestions, rants, burnt (lingual) offerings in the sidebar. Please note that the address is provided with a little spam protection, so you'll need to carefully remove CUT and OUT to make it reach me.


For the uninitiated, E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo held every may for a week in Los Angeles. Today was the last day, and I'm exhausted. I had two days at the three-day expo, and saw some brilliant stuff. Only have time for a short observation, which I share as it was passed to me by the actual observer on this:

Three console makers at a game of high-low poker.

This week was final declaration.

Sony and Microsoft both go high (graphics and interconnectivity battle on PS3 for $600 and Xbox for $400). Their games have to look the best. Sony has the much more powerful chip, but it's two years before we'll see the first games that are correctly programmed to take advantage of it. Microsoft has an extablished, robust online service structure, Xbox Live.

Nintendo said fine, we'll take half the pot, and just went low.

Their new Wii (rumored) at $250 (all of these numbers are before peripherals and a first real game), a cost roughly 60% less than the PS3. It de-emphasizes graphics, since theirs are the weakest of all on advance over current gen (Gamecube), in favor of innovative gameplay designed to bring a whole new audience to gaming.

The Xbox guys are breathing a sign of relief and feeling like winners this week. The Sony teams are likely getting hardest to work on Monday morning.

Nintendo, as a company, is about to have a helluva lot of fun.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Two More GOP Culture of Corruption Scandals Thursday
Rep. Lewis Subject of Federal Probe
The House Appropriations Committee Chairman, no less.

Fletcher indicted
Governor of Kentucky. Nice one.
What on deck for Friday?

Shame on Us
U.S. Marines go hungry
You know, private sector charity, to our, like, soldiers in this, like war, you know, Compassionate Conservatism.

Moron Administration
President's Itinerary Ends Up In Trash
Paging Maxwell Smart.

Nobody Likes Bush, Dwindling Base
Bush, GOP Congress Losing Core Supporters
Some Americans may be slow to catch on, but once you've lost the benefit of the doubt, they can't get rid of you fast enough.

Bush Doesn't Care What You Think
Froomkin: Bush Blames Polls on 'Battle Fatigue'
Bush takes no personal responsibility.

Now, back to the news.

V for Vendetta
Security issue kills domestic spying inquiry
NSA won't grant Justice Department lawyers required security clearance

F for Fascism.

Um, This Doesn't Help
On Domestic Data Collection
We Americans like our privacy. We may argue over the definition of reasonable, but we give a lot less latitude if we think we're personally affected.

Would any other Administration ever try this? Would they maybe do it slightly differently, more transparently, and get away with it? Is there a strong enough national defense argument for tracking overall calling trends, or do we just not trust that these guys didn't use it to spy on anyone who disagrees with them?

It's Actually Illegal
Glenn Greenwald: Legal issues governing the Administration's newly disclosed surveillance program
No, really.
Former NSA lawyer Johnathan Turley at ConyersÂ’ NSA Hearing: Bush Committed a Crime
Fourth scandal of the week, counting the HUD contracts only to GOP supporters revealed Monday.

Not Everybody's Crazy
Ford Rejects Motion To Remove LGBT Benefits
Buy American.

Using Nixon Against Nixon
America's new "silent majority"
Catch the meme, make it so.

Resistance is Futile
Bush’s Approval Rating Drops
Twenty-nine percent.



Comments fix

I received some notifications about comments not getting posted immediately, which I believe is now corrected.

As always, comments are highly welcomed -- thank one and all for contributing your thoughts and reactions to my postings and each other's comments!


There was a Campbell's soup ad years ago where this kid kept asking “Is it soup yet?” while his mom cooked up the Campbell's soup. Finally she goes, "Yes, it's soup."

I often ask the question in this blog, "Is this fascism?" I'm not trying to be glib, I'm just trying not to jump to conclusions. So I ask you, gentle reader, that question again tonight.

The headline says it all, and in USA TODAY, not the Workers Daily:
NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

Lede graf:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

So the article says they're not really listening, they're just creating the largest database in the history of the world, to analyze for trends (reasonable, right?),
"to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders...

And it's not like they're collecting additional personal information about us:
With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

Well, not exactly.

So how much do you trust those who have the authority to yank all the big levers these days?

50 percent?


Is it soup yet?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


That's the new meme, the new catchword in the media.

I'm extremely cautious over whether the Democrats can win back either house of Congress in the fall. There's too much that can happen between now and then, too many button-pushing moves that Karl Rove has planned, too many chances for the D.C. Democratic elite to snub the growing grassroots/netroots radical middle that threatens to actually bring common sense and accountability back to U.S. government.

Yet...did something happen while I was out of the country over the weekend?

Here's ABC New with "Bush Presidency Floundering":
According to a new Gallup/USA Today poll, that capital is dwindling. The poll found that the president's approval rating stood at 31 percent — a record low. His disapproval rating is 65 percent, just a point away from President Nixon's days before his resignation in 1974.

Hellooo, ABC, it's my job to compare this Administration to Richard Nixon's.

Democratic stratigist-pundit Paul Begala gets heavily quoted in the second half of the article, after Bay Buchanan lies that Nancy Pelosi keeps talking about impeachment on TV. (Pelosi doesn't, she just talks about investigations, but the GOP is hoping to scare the Dems off of that tactic because it just might get people out to vote.) Begala on the man Bush once dubbed "Boy Genius", Karl Rove:
Rove may be facing indictment in the CIA leak case, he said, and he "is the guy that brought Bush down from 91 percent to 31 percent."

I guess Bush's other appelation for Rove, "Turd Blossum", is finally starting to...bloom?

Again, with Colbert as the turning point, now none of us have to pretend to listen to this fool, as Begala closes out the article:
"The question, I think, is the fear that the guys in the White House and the gals and the White House have. I think the risk is the fear for the Republicans that the country is trying to tune out this president," Begala said. "The fear is that people are looking at this guy and saying he's a failed president."

Failed President. Think about it.

The relatively unanimous call by historians is that (in order) Abraham Lincoln (R), Franklin Roosevelt (D), George Washington (Federalist/Non-partisan), Thomas Jefferson (D-R) and Theodore Roosevelt (R) were "Great" Presidents, and we were lucky to have them.

At the bottom are James Buchanan (D - failed to prevent the Civil War -- ruined his Party) and Warren Harding (R - corrupt administration -- big oil).

Worse than Nixon?

Nixon...Nixon...Nixon. Why is former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough putting Richard Nixon's photo in the middle of his Scarborough Country earlier this week?

Oh, it's because he's doing a report entitled, "Free Fall".

It opens with, "But first up tonight, the President in meltdown mode." Joe tells us Bush as a 45% disapproval rating among Conservatives, and that "1 in 3 Republicans want their Party to lose control of Congress."

Bush is under 50% approval with stock investors, NASCAR fans and gun owners.

Holy fuck, he's lost the NRA rank and file membership?

Joe brings up the problematic nomination of Gen. Hadyn to run the CIA (it's a civilian agency, what are they living in at the White House, 24?) and the gathering storm over Karl Rove's central involvement (mastermind?) of the Valerie Plame covert status leak.

Holy fuck, am I going to have to start watching Scarborough Country?

Joe acknowledges the old adage that a week is a lifetime in politics, but he also calls the poll numbers unprecedented, particularly the 1/3 GOP deathwish stat.

And speaking of 24 and deathwishes, I'm finally realizing the genius of this season. They're doing the cover-up, not the crime! And here's Tricky Dick again -- actor Gregory Itzin as President Logan is made up to look crazy close to President Nixon.

Even Fox is getting it right?

The climax of this week's episode was President Logan, fearing that his complicity in the cover-up of the assassination of President Dennis Haybert is about to be revealed, spends the last fifteen minutes of the show preparing to blow his own brains out -- to commit suicide.

For the record, Warren Harding was the only President ever rumored to have committed suicide while in office.

It's all getting a little heady.

I've always said that Bush wasn't stupid, he understands brass knuckle electoral politics. What he has no clue about is how to govern. He never had to. Governing involves making decisions, but in a funny way it's not actually about being "The Decider", not in a real democracy. That's only for monarchies.

There's a zeitgeist in the air. Maybe 30% or 31% of all Americans want things to stay the way they are, but the other 69% to 70%, I think they've woken up.

I think they want their government back.

That makes the big question:

Freefall through November?


Finally, someone in the traditional mainstream media, in this case print journalism, finally gets it.

Doug Elfman at the Chicago Sun-Times has more than a clue. His May 7th article, Did media miss real Colbert story? is a perfect explanation of why I can go to a club and every young person I meet not only knows about Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner, not only loves it, but they actually compare notes about which site they watched it on.

For those of us who have long ago realized that any liberal bias the media might have, as endlessly whined about by conservatives, is long gone thanks to corporate news consolidations and rampant "journalist" careerism, here's Elfman with the 411:
The media's implosion of silence could be one of the final reasons many liberals use to not turn on TV news. It's not like they feel a vested interest in the industry anyway, since it has been bought and parceled by conservatives.

There is Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, that Pravda of GOP propaganda and breeding ground for Bush appointees. There are the networks' Sunday news shows that give more face time to Republicans. There are cable news channels like MSNBC, where Republicans have programmed the shows and hired on-air Republicans and conservatives-lite, from Tucker Carlson to Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews.


Elfman is primarily doing the media critic's job of telling the media he covers why they are losing business and what they might do to correct it. Since liberals and open-minded moderates are generally big consumers of National Public Radio, newspapers and potentially televised news, why isn't the traditional media covering stuff like Colbert properly? Must be ideological or power-driven, because even Elfman doesn't know:
To liberals, this must be somewhat puzzling, since the rest of the conservative media primarily sides with a president whose approval ratings stand at 32 percent, a whisker better than Nixon's before he resigned in disgrace.

Someone please tell Chris Matthews that el Presidente is not actually well-liked. Except by maybe a die-hard 31% of Americans.

Most importantly, Elfman nails why the rest of us are so happy, relieved, rejoicing about Colbert's breakthrough huevos grande performance:
It was perhaps the first time in Bush's tenure that the president was forced to sit and listen to any American cite the litany of criminal and corruption allegations that have piled up against his administration. And mouth-tense Bush and first lady Laura Bush fled as soon as possible afterward.

He fucking chased them out of the room.


Monday, May 08, 2006


So it is fascism when el Presidente Bush tells even the supposedly non-political agriculture department is forced to include positive "War On Terrorism" spin in their announcements?

Sunday, May 07, 2006


One of the pleasures of radio has always been the unexpected. Kind of like pre-Internet blogging, a radio D.J. is ideally someone whose personality you like and whose taste you like even better. That way, when you get the unexpected, it's more likely to be something you'll enjoy.

There's a new (to me, at least) Web-based radio service that I am happy to recommend. It doesn't exactly deliver that same kind of unexpected pleasures described above; it actually is part expected and part unexpected. It's called Pandora.

The way Pandora works is that you enter in the name of a band with the idea that you want to hear some music by that band and some similar music. Then Pandora builds a "radio station" for you.

I don't know all the details behind the music linkage, but assume it emanates from some sort of affinity program, like how your rating of DVDs on Netflicks leads to a surprising auto-appealing suggestion list.

There's some bands Pandora can't play, like the Rolling Stones, although they'll tell you why if you want to click there. However, you'll still get a radio station with a lot of Stones-esque music. And you can always skip a track you can't stand.

As for what they're now calling terrestrial or free radio, everyone in Los Angeles knows the best D.J. currently broadcasting is Steve Jones, founding member and lead guitarist of the Sex Pistols, whose Jonesy's Jukebox plays on Indie 103.1 FM Monday through Friday from Noon to 2pm PST.

Figure out what time that is in your neck of the woods and listen to the man with the greatest taste and awesome interviewing technique streaming live here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


A friend and reader writes:
I remember the day after the 04 election, you told me that the scandals would overwhelm the administration even without any Dems making it happen, and I didn't believe you.

Hats off, man.

Your devoted blogger always appreciates being told that he's right about something. In fact, being right may be his greatest pleasure in life. And there's some worthy competition for that #1 spot.

Here's one more for you, and by now it may not be a surprising prophecy:

If and when the truth ever comes out about all of the dirty dealings of the BushCheneyCo Administration, if will be worse, much much worse, than anything that you currently imagine.

For example, from's February 6th post, "Bush Is Spying on His Political Opponents", with examples for each:
Bush Administration uses U.S. Army to spy on war critics.

Bush Administration uses FBI to spy on war critics.

Bush Administration forced to turn over records revealing FBI is spying on Bush critics.

Bush Administration uses Pentagon to spy on Bush critics.

The Bush Administration may have wiretapped a CNN reporter.

And best of all, Dick Cheney's new man slated to run the Central Intelligence Agency:
Gen. Michael Hayden refused to answer question about spying on political enemies at National Press Club. At a public appearance, Bush's pointman in the Office of National Intelligence was asked if the NSA was wiretapping Bush's political enemies. When Hayden dodged the question, the questioner repeated, "No, I asked, are you targeting us and people who politically oppose the Bush government, the Bush administration? Not a fishing net, but are you targeting specifically political opponents of the Bush administration?" Hayden looked at the questioner, and after a silence called on a different questioner. (Hayden National Press Club remarks, 1/23/06)

Remember, this last one like the others is from early February, so it's not like some sudden hatchet job on Gen. Hayden. The guy is part of the whole machinery -- in the lead up to BushCheneyCo screwing the U.S. into an upcoming, pre-election October Surprise war with Iran.

It's especially imperative for the Admin to shift attention as an actual sex scandal starts raining down. Have to stop what Steve Gilliard calls the scandal free fall.

These crooks and liars will stop at nothing to keep these scandals from toppling them, no matter my kindly noted prediction back in November 2004, even if it means ginning up World War III.

Like I said, much, much worse.