Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Granny Franny's Unified Theory of Everything

Reading Elizabeth de la Vega's January 18th piece at www.TomDispatch.com gives me hope that my own theories are not as crazy as some may think. If Congress, Justice and the Courts can let GWB get away with his "Unitary Executive Theory of the Presidency," I should be able to get away with what my friend T. calls "Granny Franny's Unified Theory of Everything."

Granny Franny's Theory is still a work in progress but basically it involves connecting the dots -- all the dots, everywhere. I began to connect the dots in late-2000 when the Supremes handed GWB the presidency, continued through 9/11 and its aftermath when my phone line would automatically begin dialing in the middle of the night and I would hear my computer or fax machine make the noise that we used to call "shaking hands", when long-distance calls to friends would suddenly be interrupted or begin to echo on only one side of the line, when mail arrived late (or opened by accident), when I had to sign HEPA forms to get my oxygen, my prescriptions, see my doctor or dentist but no one had actually read the forms which were being signed, especially the part about the government being able to access one's medical records in case of (undefined) national emergency (it's only paranoia if no one is actually watching you!!).

More dots evolved as the Mission was Accomplished in Iraq and the war against a few dead-enders escalated to the point where the insurgency was "in its last throes", when "the L word" began to mean Liberal and "the P word" Progressive, when comparing someone to Michael Moore became an insult rather than a compliment, when Terry Schiavo was pronounced medically viable by the Senate and the President, when Cindy Sheehan became "anti-American", when athletes on steroids and gang activity warranted mention in State of the Union addresses, but the Downing Street Memo didn't warrant the same concern, when Abu Ghraib fell off the radar and no one in the media seemed concerned that any one of the many hurricanes heading toward the U.S. were projected to pass right through Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when free elections in Iran, Palestine, South American and the Caribbean were called into question even as our own 2004 election passed muster (though votes were still uncounted in Ohio, Florida and New Mexico) and "Brownie" was doing a "heck of a job" for FEMA -- well, the dots began to form a pattern. (Whew! That was one heck of a run-on sentence!)

As we enter the sixth year of the Orwellian world of the propaganda and disinformation machine variously called "The Media" or "The Administration", I continue to connect the dots. If I ever get all the dots connected and "Granny Franny's Unified Theory of Everything" is published, it will come with a free yellow bumper sticker which will read "Semantics Matter."

Monday, January 16, 2006

I have a dream

If The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive today, could he, would he make a speech beginning with the words: "I have a dream." Or would he revisit his speech of four decades past and say, "I had a dream ... and it is unfulfilled." I still have trouble listening to the speech in its entirety because every year I start sobbing part way through and then have to turn away in shame and embarrassment because we have failed King so terribly, so completely. And each year it is only worse.

I wonder what King would make of Guantanamo, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, talk of crusades and waterboarding, unfettered presidential or executive power, the wretched masses left behind by FEMA in New Orleans, the uninsured and underemployed, the idea of school vouchers and no child left untested, the disenfranchisement of black voters in Ohio and Florida, the redistricting of Texas, the various scandals and inquests and investigations and the notion that high crimes and misdemeanors can be used for sexual misconduct but ignored for graft and corruption and abuse of power and people. (That's one hell of a run-on sentence but this is, after all, a blog.)

If I knew more young people I might be more optimistic. My grandchildren seem upbeat; by children less so. Is this pessimism a byproduct of age or has our age become so bad that one can't help but be pessimistic.

I'm not framing these thoughts as questions because I expect no answers. But, the pacifism of King and Gandhi and Nelson Mandela aside, I sure would like to see heads roll.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I'm a horrible person. All my good intentions and resolutions for the new year -- down the drain. Heard the "news" about Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to felony charges in exchange for testimony against his friends on The Hill and my face lit up like a Jack-o-Lantern. (Never mind that the Abramoff story was two and a half years in the making ((www.sourcewatch.org)) and that commentators and Washington insiders claimed to be "shocked, just shocked I tell you.")

Add the Abramoff story to the NSA/FISA scandal, the ongoing CIA leak investigation, the unresolved Downing Street Memo/Impeachment hearings and a dozen other open questions making their way through the halls of Congress and the White House, and I'm experiencing extreme Schadenfreude.

It's not the war in Iraq, Osama bin Laden or our dwindling status on the world stage that will bring down the Bush Administration and the GOP; it'll be domestic issues like bribery, incompetence, cronyism, FEMA, the rigged Medicare drug plan with its nonexistent savings and Washington's infamous revolving door.

My friends may get their Schadenfreude fix by watching sitcoms or reality TV or American Idol; I watch Washington. As I said, I'm a horrible person.