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NOTABLES WEBLOG (July 1-17, 2002)

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Here's where I archive my July 1-17, 2002 Notables Weblog posts. For my most recent blog postings, click here. And please don't forget to check out my latest humor columns, Dubya's Dayly Diary, and my other political humor.

July 17, 2002

  • Bush actually said the following during Monday's speech in Birmingham:

       So they started quoting these textbooks that said, when times are slow, raise taxes; when times are slow, don't let the people keep their money. The textbook I read says that if we let you have your own money, you'll decide to spend it on a good and service. And if you decide to spend it on the good and service, somebody will produce the good and service. And when somebody produces the good and service, it means somebody is going to find work.

    Quotes like that illustrate why it's so hard to satirize Bush. How can you improve humor-wise on an inarticulate paragraph like that?

    Hey Karen, please give your ol' boss a call and tell him the phrase should be "goods and services." And feel free to pass on this little exercise for him to work on while he's working out:

       Repeat the following (10 repetitions, 3 times daily):
       Good and Evil.
       Goods and Services.
       Good and Evil
       Goods and Services.
       Good and Evil
       Goods and...

    On second thought, forget it. It's surely a lost cause.

  • On Monday the Senate voted 97-0 for tougher regulation of the accounting industry and new criminal penalties for financial fraud by corporate executives -- legislation far tougher than the toothless regs proposed by Bush during his Wall Street speech. So I was amused to read USA Today's report that "President Bush applauded the Senate action for including 'all of the accounting and criminal reforms I proposed.'''

    Don't you love his cutesy attempt to take credit for the Senate's action? The sad thing is that people will probably fall for it.

July 16, 2002

  • Lots of people have criticized Bush for picking a corporate sleaze Deputy Attorney General to head up his ever so macho sounding corporate-crime SWAT team. But perhaps we're being too hard on Bush. After all, what choice did he have? Who of his appointees isn't a corporate sleaze?

  • I usually read Bush's speeches the minute they're posted at, after bracing myself with several strong cups of cappuccino. But I was feeling kind of lazy last week and fell down on my duty to read his Minneapolis "pretend to help seniors buy prescription drugs speech."

    So my thanks go to Elton Beard at Busy, Busy, Busy for his commentary on that speech:

       Bush asked a rhetorical question during his speech in Minnesota on Thursday.

       "I believe people have taken a step back, and asked, what's important in life? You know, the bottom line and this corporate America stuff, is that important? Or is serving your neighbor, loving your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself?"

       Rhetorical or not, I can't resist a retort.

       Dear Mr. Bush,
       I love my neighbor, but that does not make this corporate America stuff any less important to me as it has severely impacted my job, business and investment prospects, not to mention my retirement plans.
       Elton Beard

    Now Dubya commits Golden Rule Abuse on a regular basis, and I usually let it slide. But this time he's gone too far and inspired my own letter:

       Dear Dubya:
       I'm glad to hear you think loving your neighbor is more important than the "bottom line and this corporate America stuff." So how about getting the hell out of Gore's White House and moving back to Texas where you can devote yourself to loving your Crawford neighbors full time?
       Oh and while you're at it, since the bottom line is so unimportant, how about giving a large chunk of your dinero away? Your neighbors will surely love you for it.
       Mad Kane

July 12, 2002

  • What's a juicy political/business scandal without a song parody? Here's mine: "On Wall Street". Have fun singing it to the tune of "On Broadway." It starts:

    They say that things are really bad on Wall Street.
    They say there's much malfeasance in the air.
    But I don't want to hurt my friends.
    And tough laws give my pals the bends.
    Then donors drop right off and I'm nowhere.

    They say I have to act real tough on Wall Street.
    But regulations just give me the blues.
    And friends may have to do some time.
    Dick Cheney maybe did a crime...

    The rest is here.

July 11, 2002

  • Michael Jackson, with the support of Johnnie Cochran and Al Sharpton, is alleging that the music industry exploits minority artists. Funny, I could have sworn the music industry exploited all artists.

  • Count yesterday as a Landmark Day:'s Opinion Journal actually said something I agree with. In response to a CNN story about an air passenger who jokingly questioned whether an Americas West flight's pilots were sober and who was thrown off the plane for this heinous act, Opinion Journal asks: "What are the folks at America West Airlines smoking?" Good question!

    I think I'll stick to riding the rails.

  • My cup runneth over with negative stories about Bush's press conference and Wall Street speech. Could it be that the press is finally getting tough on Dubya? I hope I'm not being prematurely optimistic. This one by William Saletan is one of my favorites. Here's a bit of it:

    On Monday, President Bush defended his stewardship of Harken Energy, a company on whose board of directors he served more than a decade ago. On Tuesday, Bush called for corporate responsibility in a speech on Wall Street. There are standards and assumptions under which the explanations Bush gave Monday can be defended, and there are company directors whose conduct can be defended under the standards and assumptions Bush outlined Tuesday. But there's no way to square the rules Bush applied to himself on Monday with the rules he applied to others on Tuesday

    All I can say is, "Yum!" Of course, Bush can always count on Old Reliable to find lots of merit in his words and deeds.

  • Alterman reports that "The Wall Street Journal joins Cokie Roberts, et al, in falsely claiming that the SEC appointed by Bush's daddy cleared him in 1993." As Alterman and many others keep pointing out, Bush wasn't cleared. He merely got away with it cause Poppy, his daddy, appointed the guys at the SEC who handled the case.

    Sorry, but no matter how many times Bush claims to have been fully vetted, and no matter how many times Dubya's puppets (including those in the press) say he was exonerated, it still isn't true: "The SEC eventually closed its investigation of Bush without taking action against him, although The Dallas Morning News has quoted a 1993 letter from the SEC to Bush's lawyer emphasizing that its decision "must in no way be construed as indicating that (Bush) has been exonerated."

  • And speaking of corporate misbehavior, here's something I'd forgotten all about: Back in 1996, Dick Cheney made a promotional videotape praising Andersen. The BBC has the story:

    In it, he describes how Andersen gave advice "over and above" what would normally be expected from auditors.

    In a short section of the video, Mr. Cheney says: "I get good advice, if you will, from their people, based upon how we are doing business and how we are operating, over and above the normal, by-the-books auditing arrangement."

    Special Prosecutor, anybody?

    The Andersen tape and the Klayman lawsuit make me want to burst into song. Then again if I keep this up, Cheney probably won't let me interview him again.

July 10, 2002

  • Here's some cool news: Larry Klayman's Judicial Watch has filed a shareholders suit against Halliburton and Dick Cheney, alleging accounting fraud was committed while Cheney was its CEO. So, am I gonna take back all the nasty things I said about Klayman during his Clinton harassment years? Naaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  • Back on July 3, I posed this question: "Is the right wing cleaning up its act, even as Ann Coulter cleans up in book stores?" The issue came up because of a press release I got from an organization that called itself Citizens for Principled Conservatism (CPC), whose stated goal is "to promote principled conservatism" and critique Ann Coulter. This sounded too good to be true, but I was on vacation when I posted the release and hadn't had a chance to follow up.

    The one odd thing about the press release was it didn't mention its URL. But before I had a chance to do my homework, the always edifying Tapped did it the job for me. As it turns out, CPC's Coulter Watch URL is rather tacky, to say the least: And they say my Bush diary is mean!

  • It's always nice to be appreciated. But I get an extra kick out of appreciation that comes from outside the U.S and is written in some language other than English. Perhaps it's because I lack the foreign language skills necessary to properly appreciate non-English speaking sites, and I admire those who are multi-lingual enough to enjoy my humor.

    I bring this up because several such sites highlighted my Gershwin song parody, Bloggers' Rhapsody during the last few days, and I'd like to thank them: Douze Lunes, Uren.Dagen.Nachten., Juul, and NetLexFrance.

    NetLexFrance's mention went well beyond referencing my song parody -- four French paragraphs worth. And I remember just enough high school French to ascertain, with a little help from Google's translator, that it's positive. Here's the original French. (Hey, I can be "intercontinental" too.)

    Madeleine Begun Kane est humoriste, notamment connue pour son billet d'humeur sur la politique américaine : Dubya's Diary.

    Mais ce n'est pas tant l'observatrice de la politique américaine qui a retenu mon attention que son talent à épingler le narcissisme des webloggueurs, et aussi leur passion pour ces feuilles de choux électroniques dans lesquelles ils exposent à la curiosité publique, leur regard sur le monde.

    Ceux qui ont le courage, et même le mérite de lire ce weblogs de temps en temps, se disent pour connaître les travers de votre serviteur qu'il va leur falloir encore patienter au moins jusqu'à la centième ligne de ce post pour découvrir enfin ce dont je veux parler. Et bien, non, une fois n'est pas coutume. Je ne résiste pas au plaisir de vous inviter à aller consulter sans tarder les paroles de la chanson que Madeleine Begun Kane a composée sur les weblogs qui est intitulée Blogger's Rhapsody.

    Naturellement, c'est une parodie. On ne pouvait espérer moins d'une humoriste. Mais sa façon d'épingler la fébrilité du webloggueur traquant ses lecteurs en épluchant ses logs, ou encore, l'ambitieux courtisant les liens qui pourraient lui envoyer de nouveaux lecteurs, çà sonne si juste que parfois, çà en deviendrait cruel, si le weblogging n'était un passe-temps gratuit auquel on s'adonne pour le plaisir.

July 7, 2002

  • Here's a surprise: Wal-Mart did something that the NRA doesn't like. It's actually imposing tighter restrictions on gun sales than required by federal law. According to an internal memorandum obtained by The Los Angeles Times, Wal-Mart executives "told store managers five weeks ago to stop selling firearms in cases where authorities were not able to determine whether the would-be buyers should be banned from owning a weapon."

    Will the NRA sue over Wal-Mart's self-imposed "don't know, don't sell" policy? Will Ashcroft act true to form and take the NRA's side? Stay tuned.

  • Molly Ivins has another great column about Dubya a/k/a Shrub a/k/a the Pepster. She presents a handy list of things Bush can do to fulfill his purported new role as the "Scourge of Corporate Misbehavior." Will he do any of them? We should live so long.

    If only we'd paid attention to Ivins' body of work, perhaps Bush wouldn't have been elected President. But then again, he wasn't.

July 4, 2002

  • I wonder how many more times Bush will change his Harken story.

    Which reminds me -- July 6th is Dubya's birthday, and I have a pretty good idea what he wants.

  • Happy 4th everyone! And please heed War Liberal's response to our government's helpful vigilance suggestion:

    So, as you're going around playing with your explosives, keep an eye out for anyone who looks like he's planning to blow things up.

July 3, 2002

  • Is the right wing cleaning up its act, even as Ann Coulter cleans up in book stores?

    I pose the question because of a "media advisory" concerning Coulter that arrived in today's email from an organization identifying itself as Citizens for Principled Conservatism:

    Here's most of what it has to say:

    A conservative political group whose goal is to promote principled conservatism rebukes Republican pundit Ann Coulter. In a new publication entitled Ann Coulter, Exemplar of Extremism, the group critiques Coulter's policy positions and rhetorical excesses.

    Representatives of Citizens for Principled Conservatism (CPC) are available for interviews and commentary in order to refute the extremist views, flawed analysis and hateful rhetoric permeating Coulter's book. They want to emphasize the contradictions and conundrums in Coulter's arguments and explain principled conservatism to moderate, liberal, and conservative audiences.

    "Ann Coulter defames the Left through unsubstantiated allegations, outright lies, and stereotyping. She defames the Right by claiming that her extremism embodies the best of conservatism and she defames the whole of America by proclaiming hatred our patriotic duty," said Daniel Borchers, Executive Director of CPC.

    I haven't had an opportunity to check into this as yet. Hey, what do you want from me? It's a vacation!

  • Tomorrow's holiday awakens memories of a very different July 4th back in the mid-Eighties. It was the year the Statue of Liberty was rededicated, and New York City celebrated extra hard with parades, tall ships, and more. Naturally, any spot with a Statue of Liberty view constituted prime real estate, especially if it was air conditioned.

    And so it was that my husband Mark and I plus a couple of friends picnicked in my husband's private office on the 83rd floor of World Trade Center Tower 1, high above the huddled masses.

    Mark's office had a fantastic view of the Statue. So, as we munched cheese and crackers and sipped smuggled-in champagne, we eagerly awaited the fireworks.

    There was just one problem -- his office didn't have a light switch. (Back then they thought eliminating individual light switches would save big bucks.)

    Have you ever tried to enjoy fireworks while sitting under bright fluorescent lights? Can't be done.

    Undaunted, my resourceful spouse climbed atop his desk, stood on the tips of his toes, and somehow managed to remove the nearly impossible to reach bulbs, as we held on to his legs to keep him from falling.

    At the time, we thought the show was unforgettable. Little did we know.

July 2, 2002

  • It's vacation week at Chez Kane. So, what does that mean exactly? That hubby Mark and I will be hanging out in a tiny cottage near a lake at ... uuuuh ... an undisclosed location.

    But don't worry. I won't be reporting back on how many times we've gone swimming (none) boating (zero) and fishing (zilch). No, I know where my duty lies and/or lays. I will be continuing to follow the news and will comment as necessary, just as soon as I finish sipping this delicious margarita.

    Yum! That was great! Okay, back to business. It sure looks like Gore's planning a 2004 run, although he says he hasn't made up his mind yet. He also says that if he runs again he'll speak from the heart and won't rely so much on consultants and polls. But what I want to know is whether he's planning to reprise that humongous kiss.

  • While we're on the subject of elections, here's some fun news about the Florida Congressional race: Katherine Harris has some dogged competition: Percy, a border collie mix. And he could be quite the challenger, with an impressive campaign bio that describes him as a "compassionate conservative who takes a hard-line with social parasites, particularly fleas and worms. His past is free of sex scandals, due to 'timely neutering.'" Thanks to Boingboing for that amusing item.

  • One last thing before I go back to vacationing. I just discovered another fine site: Evil GOP Bastards Who can resist a site with a name like that?

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