Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I noticed on C-SPAN today that in the House they are debating a flag burning amendment once again. This is amazing. It is like an annual ritual that the Republican right must go through every year. They have been debating this thing since I was in college in the mid-1980s and they just keep bringing it back over and over again. I guess I should dig up the old letters to the editor I wrote about this issue back in College Station (where I was probably the only member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who was also active with Students Against Apartheid).

I guess it's not like we have anything more important to concern ourselves with. Like maybe these missing Weapons of Mass Destruction that we went to war over just a few months ago that nobody seems to care about anymore. Or how about the stagnant economy and the 2 million jobs lost since runner-up W. took office? No, the flag debate is a great distraction. Funny how I haven't noticed any flag burning during the past 15 years while our national symbol has remained unprotected by a Constitutional amendment. But I have noticed lots of people wrapping themselves in the flag on a regular basis.

I got to see the big dust-up between right-wing talkmeister Bill O'Reilly and liberal comedian/author Al Franken that was televized on C-SPAN today. I have to admit that it was never as nasty an exchange as I was led to believe. I thought that O'Reilly was pompous and kind of dry. Franken was just flat-out funny. I loved the way he kicked off his talk about his new book "Lies and the Lying Liers Who Tell Them" (with a picture of O'Reilly on the cover, by the way) by announcing that God had told him to write the book to correct the assertion by Bush that he had been chosen by God to be president. No, actually it was Clarence Thomas who chose him to be president, Franken says.

Molly Ivins was also on the bill with Franken and O'Reilly and it was wonderful to see her looking so well and nice to know that she is coming out with her own new book "Bushwhacked." I remember seeing Molly many years ago in College Station when she gave a talk at a local Unitarian Church. Back then, Bush Jr. was just a failed businessman who kept getting one incredible break after another eventually leading up to partial ownership of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Today, Bush Jr. is our president despite the fact that myself and a majority of American voters (even in Florida) did not vote for him. And so far, his presidency has been an unmitigated disaster. Josh Marshall today talks about a new poll out that shows how America's image with other countries has plummeted since the war with Iraq began. And that image will only get more tarnished if it turns out that Iraq never had the WMDs that we used to justify a pre-emptive military invasion.

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