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Undertaker Slays Chimp! 

And George Wallace is living in Mint Hill

I came away from last week's Presidential debate with the troubling realization that President Bush will never, in fact simply cannot admit that his big Iraq adventure is a disaster. I don't just mean that he can't admit it publicly for all the obvious political reasons; he literally doesn't seem to be able to admit to himself that the one thing he wanted to be remembered for has turned into a huge mistake. His Iraq policy, which was initially bought into by most Americans, has been based almost entirely on wishful thinking and, unfortunately, it still is, judging from Bush's rosy view of Iraq as compared to current news reports.

Now that the whole costly enterprise has become a national tragedy, we're about to see a fascinating test of the American people: will they have the fortitude to admit they allowed Bush to lead them down the wrong road? We all know there are few things harder than admitting you've been duped, but, to my mind, there's nothing shameful about the way many Americans went along with Bush & Co. People want to believe national leaders in times of danger and turmoil, and more times than not, Americans have been lucky. Think of FDR during World War II, or JFK in the Cuban missile crisis. This time, though, we ran out of luck. It happens. What would be shameful is if we turn away from the truth, pretending that this miserable war has been worth the lives and the billions lost, and keep going about our business.

A lot of people, myself included, were taken aback by the Friday Observer's "Too Close To Call" post-debate editorial, which claimed (ostensibly with a straight face) that no clear winner had emerged. Not that the O was alone -- most mainstream US papers did the same thing, at least until later in the day when it became obvious that American voters, unlike their daily papers' editors, were able to tell shit from Shinola. The mainstream press is so accustomed to being whipping boys for the right wing during the past two decades, these kinds of journalistic flinches are now almost expected. Here is what's more troubling in the Observer's case, however: considering that the folks on its editorial board are a bright bunch, you can almost smell the influence of publisher Peter Ridder, a staunch Republican who took over supervision of the editorial pages in July.

Deep thoughts during the debate:

What the hell's wrong with Bush? Maybe he has to pee. . .no, he looks like he's in pain . . . I bet it's irritable bowel syndrome. . .no, the way he's twitching and making faces, he's gotta be itching really bad or something. . . piles! That's it, it has to be piles. You gotta feel for the shmuck.

Wow, Kerry's really kicking butt -- hey, W, think you could sweat just a little bit more? Kinda like Kerry during his acceptance speech. . .or was that when he had spittle in the corner of his mouth the whole time? Can't keep the different speeches straight.

If Bush says "mixed messages" one more time I'm going to scream. . . .did he just say "mexed missages"?

Hmm, I can see what that website was talking about. I don't know, though, not really a chimp. . .maybe more like a lemur. . .no, their snouts are too long for Bush. . .Jesus, is this almost over? It's getting to be painful to watch.

OK, here come the wives -- oh, and the Bush twins, too. . . Maybe it's true that the Democrats' presidential nominees are required to marry women with big butts. . . .Hey, the Bush twins look pretty steady on their feet -- at least W's got that going for him tonight.

George Wallace Lives!

In the past, County Commissioner Bill James at least tried to couch his mass e-mail rants in a way that would allow him to deny charges of racism. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that shit's over. Last week, after months of messages that have gradually become more virulent in their attacks against gays and blacks, James's latest missive criticized school board member George Dunlap (who is black) for voting to eliminate a board policy condemning teenage pregnancy. Even though the policy was eliminated with the help of three white board members, James ranted that "Dunlap's vote appears to simply reflect the predominant view of those he (and [former school board chair Wilhelmenia] Rembert) represents -- Inner-city Blacks. That view is that it is "ok" to have sex and get pregnant in school. After all there is always welfare, right?"

This came a couple of months after James wrote a letter to the editor of the Charlotte Post that quoted a racist joke from a movie: "Most blacks think monogamy is some kind of wood."

Do Mint Hill citizens actually support this kind of hateful rhetoric? If so, are they aware that this is the 21st Century? If yes, is there some way to de-annex them from Mecklenburg County?

A Couple of Things You May Have Missed:

The price of oil rose to over $50 a barrel for the first time last week. As pointed out in Arianna Huffington's column, the five biggest oil companies reported a 16 percent, or $5.5 billion, increase in profits during the first half of 2004 compared with the same period last year.

Public interest groups like Judicial Watch finally got hold of some of the records from Dick Cheney's energy "task force." As suspected, energy industry lobbyists actually wrote most of the administration's energy policy. Also obtained were the task force's maps of Iraqi oil fields and a list of "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts." The dates on those documents? March 2001. Kind of throws a different light on Cheney's clamoring for an attack on Iraq from Day One of the Bush administration.

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