Friday, February 17, 2006

How do you keep it together?

Condi Rice, who has just requested Congress fund dissidents in Iran and Syria (click here for the application form for the latter), suggests those countries “think twice” before funding the Palestinian government. The US has even asked for $50m in aid to be returned, and Chairman Abbas, in the full-on quisling mode that seems to be his response to the Hamas election victory, has agreed to do so.

Sometimes when I read a Bush speech, there’s some piece of idiocy that seems to have come from the Chimp himself, winging it. And then in the next speech, you see it again. And in the next speech. This, for example, is something he clearly thinks is clever, because it’s about the fifth time I’ve seen it:
My buddies in Texas, when they show up to Washington, after they get over the initial surprise that I’m still there -- (laughter) -- or got there in the first place -- (laughter) -- say, like, what’s it like, you know? What is the job description? What’s it like to be President? And the best way to answer it is, I make a lot of decisions.

The Italian Supreme Court, long a source of asinine and/or sexist decisions (past examples here and here) rules that a man who raped a 14-year old may have his sentence reduced because she was not a virgin.

Follow-up: Schwarzenegger denied clemency to the rapist-murderer who won that case on death-penalty drugs and who was represented by Kenneth Starr. No word on whether the question of virginity entered into the gropinator’s decision. He did say that Morales failed to use the word murder in his clemency request, or acknowledge the rape, so he had insufficiently accepted responsibility. How’s that inquiry into the allegations of sexual abuse by you going, governor?

Speaking of taking responsibility, Bush spreads his even further: “I thought there would be weapons of mass destruction -- and so did everybody else in the world”. “This man [Saddam Hussein] was harboring terrorists. He was on a state sponsor of terrorists list. I didn’t put him on there, he was put on there by previous Presidents.”

Speaking of taking responsibility, Media Matters points out a reluctance in the media to use the word “shot” in relation to what Cheney did to Whittington. Lots of passive voice, lots of “peppered,” lots of “was sprayed with birdshot” (makes it sound like Cheney was marking his territory, which, in a way...)

And back to the Bush speech again: “And we started off initially [In Iraq] with kind of these grand projects. We got the Congress to appropriate money, and we tried to build some great electricity-type renovations, and the enemy kept blowing them up. ... And so now we’ve got much smaller-scale projects that are yielding instant results for the people on the ground, so people say, wait a minute, this democracy deal is a pretty good thing, you know.” He doesn’t say what these instant results are, but I hope the Iraqis can see them in the dark. Electricity-type renovations?

He also hasn’t retired a phrase that’s always creeped me out due to its dehumanization of the enemy. “So on the security side, we’re on the hunt.” Dude, maybe you don’t use that phrase the week your veep shot a guy in the face.

The Q&A was, as ever at these events, staggering in its intensity:
Q Mr. President, I just wanted to take an opportunity to tell you I think our country is blessed to have you as our President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

Q Thank you for being our President. We are all way better off and very safe --

THE PRESIDENT: Thanks. My high honor, by the way. (Applause.)

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m glad I did it.

Q We appreciate it. How do you -- earlier you shared with us some intimacy about how you make decisions, and I felt that was heartfelt. How do you keep it together? What do you really think about when the biggest story this week was Dick Cheney’s hunting trip, and not Al Gore blasting our troops and being treasonous in his regard to this war on terror in the Middle East? (Applause.) How do you keep it together?

THE PRESIDENT: Booze and hookers.
I may have made up the last part.

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