Friday, June 13, 2003

Welcome to the "New and Improved" Rhetoric & Rhythm now with a 'comments' section!
Now, underneath every post there is a link where readers can post their own comments about my latest rant. So go ahead and comment away!

Thursday, June 12, 2003

So many things to be outraged about... so little time to vent..
Here is one buried inside today's NYTimes:

The Organization of American States (OAS), which includes all the nations of North, Central and South America and the surrounding islands, has voted to exclude the United States from representation on its Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the first time in the body's 44-year history. The reason for this symbolic rebuke is because the U.S. has done nothing but harp about Cuba since the Bush administration took charge.

"In private, several nations were critical of what they characterized as Mr. (Colin) Powell's excessive and narrow focus on Cuba at the expense of other issues."

This one-note focus on Cuba was made even more clear by the Bush administration's choice for its representative on the Human Rights commission - Rafael Martinez, a Cuban-exhile with no experience in human rights issues. But Mr. Martinez is the brother of Mel Martinez, Bush's Secrectary of Housing and Urban Development, and was a leading fund-raiser for the Bush presidential campaign among Cuban-Americans in Florida.

When Bush first took office, he played up his relationship with Mexico President Vicente Fox. But that relationship has since grown cold starting with Bush's refusal to stop the execution of a Mexican national in Texas (Mexico, like most civilized nations around the world, does not have a death penalty). And then when Mexico did not buy into all of Bush's lies about the immiment threat from weapons of mass destruction and thus did not support the U.S. pre-emptive invasion, Bush dropped Fox like a hot potato. His only other venture into foreign policy on this side of the Atlantic was to encourage and support the failed coup of the democratically elected president of Venezuela. Now, Bush's sole focus for the Southern Hemisphere is to vilify Cuba so as to bolster his support among anti-Castro Cubans in Floriday in the hope that he might actually win Florida during the next election rather than having it penciled in to his column by the Republican members of the Supreme Court.

Here is Howard Dean ( via Slate ) making some points that all the Democratic candidates need to pick up on:

"When Ronald Reagan came into office, he cut taxes, we had big deficits, and we lost 2 million jobs. When Bill Clinton came into office, he raised taxes without a single Republican vote; we balanced the budget; we gained 6 and a half million jobs. George Bush has already lost 2 and a half million. I want a balanced budget because that's how you get jobs in this country is to balance the books. No Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years. …You had better elect a Democrat, because the Republicans cannot handle money. … We're the party of responsibility, and they're not."

Here is a graphic illustration to help make that point more clear.
We now have a record $400 billion budget deficit and the job losses keep mounting every week.

Why would anyone want four more years of this?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Oh goody! More song lists! This one is from VH-1 and purports to be the Top 100 songs of the past 25 years. I guess that means songs that go back to 1978 are included such as "Who Are You" by The Who and "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones. Well, here is the complete list along with my additions at the bottom (an X means I agree with the VH1 selection although not necessarily the placement) :

X1. Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
X2. Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean"
X3. Guns N' Roses, "Sweet Child O' Mine"
X4. Eminem, "Lose Yourself"
X5. U2, "One"
6. Run-D.M.C., "Walk This Way"
X7. Prince, "When Doves Cry"
8. Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You"
X9. The Police, "Every Breath You Take"
X10. Madonna, "Like a Virgin"
X11. Van Halen, "Jump"
12. Alanis Morissette, "You Oughta Know"
13. TLC, "Waterfalls"
14. Sinead O'Connor, "Nothing Compares 2 U"
X15. Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"
16. No Doubt, "Don't Speak"
X17. Def Leppard, "Photograph"
X18. R.E.M., "Losing My Religion"
X19. Public Enemy, "Fight the Power"
X20. AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night Long"
X21. U2, "With or Without You"
22. Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time"
X23. Prince, "Little Red Corvette"
24. Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On"
25. Rick James, "Super Freak"
X26. Bon Jovi, "Livin' on a Prayer"
27. Grandmaster Flash, "The Message"
28. Britney Spears, "... Baby One More Time"
X29. Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the U.S.A."
30. Janet Jackson, "Nasty"
31. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang"
X32. Pearl Jam, "Jeremy"
X33. Tina Turner, "What's Love Got to do With It"
X34. Peter Gabriel, "In Your Eyes"
35. The Sugarhill Gang, "Rapper's Delight"
X36. Joan Jett, "I Love Rock 'n Roll"
37. Alicia Keys, "Fallin'"
X38. The Clash, "London Calling"
X39. Tom Petty, "Free Fallin'"
X40. Michael Jackson, "Beat It"
X41. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Under the Bridge"
42. Blondie, "Heart of Glass"
X43. The Go-Go's, "Our Lips Are Sealed"
44. Gloria Gaynor, "I Will Survive"
45. Aerosmith, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
X46. Queen and David Bowie, "Under Pressure"
47. Shania Twain, "You're Still the One"
48. Naughty By Nature, "O.P.P."
49. Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'"
50. Lenny Kravitz, "Are You Gonna Go My Way?"
51. George Michael, "Faith"
X52. The Rolling Stones, "Start Me Up"
53. Marvin Gaye, "Sexual Healing"
54. Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"
X55. Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"
56. Sheryl Crow, "All I Wanna Do"
57. Eric Clapton, "Tears in Heaven"
58. The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy & Mase, "Mo Money Mo Problems"
59. Meat Loaf "Paradise By the Dashboard Light"
X60. Santana feat. Rob Thomas, "Smooth"
61. Backstreet Boys, "I Want It That Way"
X62. Pretenders, "Brass in Pocket"
X63. Beck, "Loser"
64. The Knack, "My Sharona"
65. Nelly, "Hot in Herre"
X66. Squeeze, "Tempted"
X67. John Cougar Mellencamp, "Jack and Diane"
68. Chic, "Good Times"
69. Mary J. Blige, "Real Love"
X70. Culture Club, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me"
71. Dave Matthews Band, "Crash Into Me"
X72. John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
73. LL Cool J, "Mama Said Knock You Out"
X74. Hall & Oates, "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)"
75. The Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated"
X76. Eurythmics, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
77. Missy Elliott, "Work It"
78. Green Day, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
79. Destiny's Child, "Say My Name"
X80. Duran Duran, "Hungry Like the Wolf"
81. OutKast, "Ms. Jackson"
X82. Soft Cell, "Tainted Love"
83. Band Aid, "Do They Know It's Christmas"
84. Radiohead, "Creep"
85. Eminem, "My Name Is"
X86. Tracy Chapman, "Fast Car"
X87. The Who, "Who Are You"
X88. Metallica, "Enter Sandman"
89. Pat Benatar, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
X90. The Police, "Roxanne"
91. Melissa Etheridge, "Come to My Window"
92. Salt-N-Pepa, "Push It"
93. Nine Inch Nails, "Closer"
X94. Cheap Trick, "Surrender"
95. Oasis, "Wonderwall"
X96. Beastie Boys, "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)"
X97. Devo, "Whip It"
98. Hanson, "MMMBop"
99. Norah Jones, "Don't Know Why"
100. Madonna, "Ray of Light"

Songs that did not make the list that should have include:

The Police, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
Van Halen, "Running With the Devil"
Paul Simon, "You Can Call Me Al"
David Bowie, "Let's Dance"
J. Geils Band, "Centerfold"
Queen, "Another One Bites the Dust"
Asia, "Heat of the Moment"
ZZ Top, "Legs"
Loverboy, "Get Lucky"
Tears For Fears, "Sowing the Seeds of Love"
Peter Gabriel, "Sledgehammer"
Rush, "Tom Sawyer"
Foreigner, "Juke Box Hero"
Smashing Pumpkins, "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"
Stone Temple Pilots, "Vaseline"
Tom Petty, "You Got Lucky"
The Black Crowes, "Remedy"
Billy Joel, "Allentown"
Cheap Trick, "She's Tight"

That is just a sampling. I could come up with many more. I won't even comment on the order of the songs other than to say that placing "Born in the USA" out of the Top 10 is an unforgivable sin.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

The Associated Press has determined that 3,240 Iraqi civilians were killed during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Or perhaps we should say that they were "liberated." Oh well, it was obviously unavoidable considering that Saddam Hussein was sitting on this huge stockpile of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to the security of the United States. At least, that's what the Bush folks claimed before the war...

From the NYTimes: "President Bush said today that he was "absolutely convinced" that the United States would find proof that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons programs."

We will find weapons! We will! We will! We will! We will! Bush said stamping his feet.

Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, 138 U.S. soldiers were killed during the war and, more disturbingly, 41 have been killed since May 1 when runner-up for President Bush declared the military action had ended. So what is going on?
Now the AP is also reporting that Saddam Hussein is rumored to still be alive and well in Iraq and paying a bounty for every U.S. soldier killed with the billion or so that he looted from the Iraq treasury prior to the U.S. invasion.

No WMDs, No Saddam Hussein, the Oil Ministry looted and in ruins (according to today's NYTimes). Can things get any worse in Iraq? They're not getting any better at home. Maybe Bush can start another war somewhere else to distract us from all of these problems.

Monday, June 09, 2003

While on the topic of Republican senators from tiny states like Idaho there is this fresh outrage from today's New York Times (Still the best newspaper in the country, hands down).

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is blocking the promotion of more than 850 Air Force officers, including young pilots who fought in Iraq and the general nominated to bail out the scandal-plagued U.S. Air Force Academy. His price to free the frozen promotions? Four C-150 cargo planes for the Idaho Air National Guard.

Senate rules give its members the power to hold up federal nominations and promotions, but no one has been stupid enough by my recollection to use this power to hold up military promotions which are typically whisked through the approval process. I would be just as upset with Sen. Craig if he were a Democrat and I would expect his fellow senators and party officials to knock him upside the head. But Sen. Craig is one of those politicos whose radical right views make it difficult to justify labeling him a "conservative." I guarantee that Craig voted for each and every one of Bush's budget-busting tax cuts, and now he turns around and demands a bigger piece of federal pork for his state. This is a fine example of why I often refer to the Republican Party as the Hypocricy Party.

I just wonder how many of my old Corps buddies in the Air Force are caught up in this mess that Sen. Craig has created. It's bad enough that the Bush administration is slashing veteran's benefits for the military personnel coming back from Iraq, but now they have to sit around and wait for their promotions while this Republican senator tries to blackmail the Air Force into giving his state more federal largesse. Never mind whether it is necessary for the security of our nation or even if the military can afford it today with all the pending budget cuts coming down the pike. The NY Times article spells it out pretty clearly that Craig is trying to bulk up the military base in Idaho with more aircraft so it will not be a target for closure during the next round of base closings gearing up for 2005.
I hope the Air Force officers don't have to wait much longer and I hope that the voters in Idaho will find a more honorable person to represent them in the near future.

Here is an interesting observation from blogger Nathan Newman about the U.S. Senate.

"If Senators had voting power proportionate to their state's populations, Democrats would have a significant majority in the Senate. Assuming that each Senator got one vote for every person in their state (as of 2000), the totals would be as follows (remembering each state has two Senators):
Democratic Votes: 301.5 million
Republican Votes: 246.8 million "

But Republicans control the Senate by a 51 to 48 margin (and 1 Independent) because tiny little states like Wyoming, Utah and Idaho with a combined population of slightly more than 4 million can send 2 Republicans each giving them the same voting power as California, Florida and New York whose Democratic senators represent states with a combined population of nearly 70 million people.