Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hey, a Promotion!

There's this site I've recently stumbled across called Overheard in New York. It's basically what it sounds like: people send in stuff they've, well, overheard in New York. I found this today:

Queer: Where does Dusty work?
Girl: At a church by Spring Street.
Queer: What does he do?
Girl: He's an administrative assistant.
Queer: An administrative assistant to God?

Check it out. It's a scream. Here's another:

Guy: ...if my wife and I spit at the kids, nothing happens...but if a llama does they burst into tears.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

One of the Masters Has Passed On....

Crime Fiction Dossier: Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), R.I.P.: "Ed was one of the greats of the mystery genre -- his 87th Precinct novels were the standard for police procedurals. I don't know how many
books he wrote over his long career (100? more?) but he was one of the most important influences in crime fiction over the latter half of the 20th century."

Hear, hear...McBain/Hunter was always one I could depend on for a great read.

Words Fail Me

Paul Harvey apparently believes we've gone all soft and squishy because we haven't used nukes, biological warfare, or, apparently, slavery in the War on Terra. I thought it was a hoax till I heard the tape. It's at about 12:20.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, America!

Declaration of Independence in American, H. L. Mencken, 1921:
WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don't interfere with nobody else. That any government that don't give a man them rights ain't worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don't do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum's rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don't mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain't got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn't a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.'s would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain't hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won't carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them. This is the proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have got tired of it, and won't stand it no more. The administration of the present King, George III, has been rotten from the start, and when anybody kicked about it he always tried to get away with it by strong-arm work. Here is some of the rough stuff he has pulled:

He vetoed bills in the Legislature that everybody was in favor of, and hardly nobody was against.

He wouldn't allow no law to be passed without it was first put up to him, and then he stuck it in his pocket and let on he forgot about it, and didn't pay no attention to no kicks.

When people went to work and gone to him and asked him to put through a law about this or that, he give them their choice: either they had to shut down the Legislature and let him pass it all by himself, or they couldn't have it at all.

He made the Legislature meet at one-horse tank-towns, so that hardly nobody could get there and most of the leaders would stay home and let him go to work and do things like he wanted.

He give the Legislature the air, and sent the members home every time they stood up to him and give him a call-down or bawled him out.

When a Legislature was busted up he wouldn't allow no new one to be elected, so that there wasn't nobody left to run things, but anybody could walk in and do whatever they pleased.

He tried to scare people outen moving into these States, and made it so hard for a wop or one of these here kikes to get his papers that he would rather stay home and not try it, and then, when he come in, he wouldn't let him have no land, and so he either went home again or never come.

He monkeyed with the courts, and didn't hire enough judges to do the work, and so a person had to wait so long for his case to come up that he got sick of waiting, and went home, and so never got what was coming to him.

He got the judges under his thumb by turning them out when they done anything he didn't like, or by holding up their salaries, so that they had to knuckle down or not get no money.

He made a lot of new jobs, and give them to loafers that nobody knowed nothing about, and the poor people had to pay the bill, whether they could or not.

Without no war going on, he kept an army loafing around the country, no matter how much people kicked about it.

He let the army run things to suit theirself and never paid no attention whatsoever to nobody which didn't wear no uniform.

He let grafters run loose, from God knows where, and give them the say in everything, and let them put over such things as the following:

Making poor people board and lodge a lot of soldiers they ain't got no use for, and don't want to see loafing around.

When the soldiers kill a man, framing it up so that they would get off.

Interfering with business.

Making us pay taxes without asking us whether we thought the things we had to pay taxes for was something that was worth paying taxes for or not.

When a man was arrested and asked for a jury trial, not letting him have no jury trial.

Chasing men out of the country, without being guilty of nothing, and trying them somewheres else for what they done here.

In countries that border on us, he put in bum governments, and then tried to spread them out, so that by and by they would take in this country too, or make our own government as bum as they was.

He never paid no attention whatever to the Constitution, but he went to work and repealed laws that everybody was satisfied with and hardly nobody was against, and tried to fix the government so that he could do whatever he pleased.

He busted up the Legislatures and let on he could do all the work better by himself.

Now he washes his hands of us and even goes to work and declares war on us, so we don't owe him nothing, and whatever authority he ever had he ain't got no more.

He has burned down towns, shot down people like dogs, and raised hell against us out on the ocean.

He hired whole regiments of Dutch, etc., to fight us, and told them they could have anything they wanted if they could take it away from us, and sicked these Dutch, etc., on us.

He grabbed our own people when he found them in ships on the ocean, and shoved guns into their hands, and made them fight against us, no matter how much they didn't want to.

He stirred up the Indians, and give them arms and ammunition, and told them to go to it, and they have killed men, women and children, and don't care which.

Every time he has went to work and pulled any of these things, we have went to work and put in a kick, but every time we have went to work and put in a kick he has went to work and did it again. When a man keeps on handing out such rough stuff all the time, all you can say is that he ain't got no class and ain't fitten to have no authority over people who have got any rights, and he ought to be kicked out.

When we complained to the English we didn't get no more satisfaction. Almost every day we give them plenty of warning that the politicians over there was doing things to us that they didn't have no right to do. We kept on reminding them who we was, and what we was doing here, and how we come to come here. We asked them to get us a square deal, and told them that if this thing kept on we'd have to do something about it and maybe they wouldn't like it. But the more we talked, the more they didn't pay no attention to us. Therefore, if they ain't for us they must be agin us, and we are ready to give them the fight of their lives, or to shake hands when it is over.

Therefore be it resolved, That we, the representatives of the people of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, hereby declare as follows: That the United States, which was the United Colonies in former times, is now a free country, and ought to be; that we have throwed out the English King and don't want to have nothing to do with him no more, and are not taking no more English orders no more; and that, being as we are now a free country, we can do anything that free countries can do, especially declare war, make peace, sign treaties, go into business, etc. And we swear on the Bible on this proposition, one and all, and agree to stick to it no matter what happens, whether we win or we lose, and whether we get away with it or get the worst of it, no matter whether we lose all our property by it or even get hung for it.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I'm So Confused....

Latest Newspaper Column

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not some fancy Washington political operative. I’m just a simple country lawyer.

There’s a lot about politics I don’t understand. And I have to confess, a lot of the things coming out of the White House lately have only deepened my confusion.

Take, for example, President Bush’s speech this past Tuesday over at Fort Bragg.

First off, I thought the speech was going to be about Iraq. But Dubbya kept talking about 9/11, mentioning it no less than five times in the 28-minute speech. What’s puzzling about this is that President Bush said in September 2003 that “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11 [attacks].”

And I’m still trying to figure out why, in a speech that was supposed to be about our war on “terra” as Bush pronounces it, he quotes the man behind 9/11, Osama bin Laden. All this does for me is point out the most glaring failure of that war: the fact that that murdering scumbag is still running around loose. (Bin Laden, not Bush. Unlike some Republicans during the Clinton years, I would never refer to the president as a “scumbag” or accuse him of murder without good evidence. I may be a little rough around the edges, but I have some class.)

Speaking of 9/11, the attacks of that grim day seem to be on the administration’s mind a lot these days, which I suppose is a good thing. But recently, Presidential henchman Karl Rove said something that left me scratching my head. Rove rather nastily remarked that after 9/11, liberals “saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” Conservatives, “he said, “saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.”

Here’s what I don’t understand about this. Three days after the terrorist attacks, the Senate voted 98-0 and the House voted 420-1 for a resolution authorizing Bush to use force against those responsible. Teddy Kennedy voted for the resolutions. John Kerry voted for them. John Edwards voted for them. Every single Democrat in the Senate and all but one in the House voted for them.

No one in Congress called for therapy or indictments. So is Karl Rove, of all people, saying there are no liberals in the Senate and maybe only one in the House? That even Teddy Kennedy isn’t liberal? And why hasn’t this amazing reversal of position not been more widely reported?

Anyway, back to the puzzlers in Tuesday’s speech.

When President Bush was discussing whether or not we need to set a “timetable” for bringing the troops home, he had this to say Tuesday night: “Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out.”

But back in 1999, when the subject was Kosovo, Bush said this about timetables: “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.” So you can see why I’m a little bit confused. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 53 percent of Americans now think that going to war in Iraq was a mistake, and 51 percent wanted a timetable for withdrawal.

So Bush’s speech was supposed to rally Americans behind the war. Except that they tried sending Dubbya out to push Social Security reform. And the more Bush talked, the less support his plans got, until 64 percent of those responding to the Gallup Poll disapprove of the way the administration is handling Social Security.

The problem is that George Dubbya Bush in the most uninspiring and inept public speaker since — well, since his dad. He comes out with howlers like, “I enjoy taking on the issue [Social Security]. I guess, it’s the mother in me,” and “[Terrorists] never stop thinking of ways to hurt this country, and neither do we.” And this is the man you send to make the case?

It’s like these people don’t know what they’re doing. But that can’t be the case, can it? So I guess I’m confused.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage. Since he didn’t want therapy or indictments for Osama and his boys after 9/11, we guess he’s not a liberal either.