Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hell is your house-bound husband on house arrest with you serving the sentence

Hell is your house-bound husband only more so.

Following his ludicrous claim that Bully Boy was entering his third term, Thomas Friedman is on vacation. That's the pretty way of saying it. The ugly truth is he was placed on vacation by Gail Collins who told him, "Friedman? Try Free-Bland! I can't take anymore of the hate mail, the yelling callers. You can't get your facts right? You're on vacation!"

"You can't bench me!" Thomas Friedman bellowed. But obviously Gail Collins can.

What lit the fire under Ms. Nonsense & No Sensibility?

Davy Brooks came into her office ("In his shiny ass pants, Betinna! In his shiny ass pants!") and had a vacation request of his own that he repeatedly dropped on the floor necessitating that he repeatedly bend over in front of her. ("It was as though I had died and gone to Mansfield Park, Betinna! Mansfield Park!") With no lines cupping his butt and no lines near his upper thigh, Gail was convinced he must be wearing his sock. ("In another life, Betinna, I'd like to come back as that sock!")

Gail says she played it cool so I'll assume that besides sweat dripping from her forehead and her hands shaking, she managed to pull it together. She signed the request, granting his time off. Davy stood by her desk grinning. Then he asked her if she'd ever seen Disclosure.

Poor Gail, I had to explain that film to her. If it's not a book at least a hundred years old or something airing on Pax, she's lost.

Her idea of a pop culture ref is, "Betinna, what's wrong! You look like Beth on her death bed!"
I keep trying to explain to her that Jo and Marmie hardly trip off the tongues of kids today but she swears Kayne West's "Gold Digger" says not "When I'm in need" but "When I'm a reading Little Women." I've tried playing the song for her repeatedly but some people hear only what they want to. (Which does explain her editorials.)

Davy stood there grinning for a second and when she had no response because she didn't catch the movie reference, he turned to walk away.

"I touched it!" Gail gushed on the phone. "I was reaching out to stop him and I touched it!"

Go, Gail!

That's what I said. But she didn't touch his crotch, it turns out. So I was thinking she meant his butt. Wrong there as well.

"He has the most dainty wrists. I can't believe it. Then I noticed his hands, Betinna. ee cummings hasn't seen hands this tiny."

Lost? I was too.

"Point, Gail?"

"There was a spark. He was looking at me. I was looking at him. Then it's Bill Keller on the phone! I swear his nose picks up romantic tension."

Keller wanted her in his office. Yesterday!

So she had to leave Davy standing there ("in those magnificent ass pants!") to meet with Keller.
When she got back, Davy had split.

And what did Bill Keller want? To yell at her because he'd been getting calls all day. Complaints over Thomas Friedman's false claim that presidents in this country have three terms.

"Don't you fact check these things!" Keller roared at her.

"I have never felt so alone in my life," Gail told me. "I felt as if I were Gloria Gilbert."

"Do you mean the actress in Sudden Fear?" I asked referring to the old Joan Crawford film that also starred Gloria Grahame.

It's an old movie but it could be "hip" to Gail.

"No, Betinna, Gloria Gilbert. F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Beautiful and the Damned. Goodness, you must have been the awkward one at your high school dances!"

What's so sweet about Gail is that she honestly believes that in high school boys are checking out your ... literary references.

So Gail stormed out of Keller's office, found Davy had left her office and was big time pissed ("I was, honestly, forgive my French, ticked off"). That's when Thomas Friedman happened by and Gail tore into him.

I'm glad she's showing a spine. Truly, I am. Elaine and I really need help her work on her pop culture references. (For starters, get her to quit calling them "pop cultural references.")

But as happy as I am for her, I'm more than a little bummed at having to look at Thomas Friedman's face twenty-four seven. I'm really not interested in sitting around pondering the "global complexities" of Simon & Simon. (Thomas Friedman has convinced himself that the blonde brother represents America and that the one with the mustache represents "the Arab world." He started crying when I explained to him that Jameson Parker's career goes nowhere, but the other guy ends up starring in Major Dad.)

It's always drama with Thomas Friedman. Hell is your house-bound husband on house arrest with you serving the sentence.

Found in the paper:

"Target: the 9th Circuit (The Republican war on the judiciary continues)"

From the December issue of The Progressive, Ruth Conniff's "The Progressive Interview: Bernie Sanders:"

[Bernie Sanders]: In my view this happens to be one of the most dangerous moments in American history. These guys are not just reactionaries. They are changing the rules of the game so they will stay in power for the indefinite futere. We see this abuse of power on the floor of the House. They kept the voting rolls open for three hours to pass the Medicare prescription drug bill. I had an amendment, which won, on the Patriot Act. They kept the voting open twenty minutes longer to defeat it. They break the rules. It's like having a football game go into the fifth quareter because you don't like the results at the end of the fourth quarter. We know what DeLay did in Texas. They have taken chairmen -- yanked them out -- because they defy the leadership of the House. They are now attempting to destroy the judiciary system, which will have profound implications for the future of this country.

Note Sanders' last sentence, "They are now attempting to destroy the judiciary system, which will have profound implications for the future of this country." (The article's from the latest issue of the magazine and it's not available online at present.) Why note the last sentence? Zachary Coile's "A quiet move in House to split the 9th Circuit" (San Francisco Chronicle):

A little-noticed provision in the massive House budget bill would fulfill the longtime goal of conservatives to split the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, creating a new 12th circuit appellate court and allowing President Bush to name a slate of new federal judges.
Conservatives long have claimed that the Ninth Circuit is too liberal, and that reputation was reinforced by the court's 2002 ruling that reciting the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
But legal observers say the outcome of such a split is likely to be a more liberal court making decisions for California, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and a more conservative court serving seven other Western states now part of the Ninth Circuit -- Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.

In the article, Reagan appointee Judge Alex Kozinski is noted as testifying before the Senate last month:

Dividing a circuit should only take place when: one, there is demonstrated proof that a circuit is not operating effectively, and two, there is a consensus among the bench and bar and public that it serves that division is the appropriate remedy. Neither of those conditions exists today.

The article also notes that: "Of the 28 active judges on Ninth Circuit, only three have expressed support for splitting the court."Though Diane Feinstein opposes the plan, Bully Boy has signed on to it.

And who would pack the newly created circuit? (You know the answer.) It's thought that one of the states effected would be Oregon. (We have several members in Oregon.) Oregon hasbeen very active with measures that Bully Boy's Justice Department has opposed. For instance,Oregon's physician-assisted suicide. From CNN's "Federal judge upholds Oregon assisted-suicide law" (April 17, 2002):

In his ruling, Judge Robert E. Jones criticized U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for seeking to nullify the state law, saying he "fired the first shot in the battle" and had sought to "stifle" a debate on the matter through a Nov. 6 directive.
Jones ordered the federal government to halt any efforts to prosecute Oregon physicians, pharmacists and other health-care providers who participate in assisted suicide of terminally ill patients under Oregon's law.

How bothered is the Bully Boy's Justice Department over this law? When the Ninth Circuit upheld Oregon's law, the Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court. The case that began as Ashcroft v. Oregon became Gonzales v. Oregon and the Court heard testimony on it in October. (Oral arguments before the Court can be found here.)

The article in the Chronicle focuses on the effects to California. This would impact much more than California. Bully Boy's Justice Department has often proved successful in circuit shopping their cases.