March 25, 2004

being in Florida has done a number on my blues

* Joe Conason: Loyality to Bush, means lying for Bush. an excerpt:

"But during the past two years of international crisis, Dr. Rice has been dispatched to prevaricate repeatedly in defense of her boss. She was caught spreading a false story about Sept. 11, claiming that Air Force One flew the President to Oklahoma after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon because "intelligence" indicated that terrorists were aiming for the White House and the Presidential jet. Later she testified that the U.S. government had never anticipated an assault by airliner, when in fact there had been many warnings of exactly such tactics—most notably during the summer of 2001, when Western intelligence services set up anti-aircraft batteries around the Genoa summit to protect the President.

"Memories are short in this country, so Dr. Rice escaped those embarrassing incidents with her reputation more or less intact. Then last year, as the determination of the White House to wage war on Iraq became plain, she began to promote dubious stories about Saddam Hussein’s regime. As national security advisor, she had access to all of the sensitive intelligence about Iraq, so the press and Congress took her pronouncements seriously.

"More than anyone other than the President himself, Dr. Rice stoked fears about a "mushroom cloud" rising over an American city unless the U.S. waged war on Iraq. To promote such dread, she warned that a shipment of aluminum tubes purchased by the Iraqis could only be intended for a uranium-enrichment device. Long after the International Atomic Energy Authority debunked that claim, the national security advisor continued to insist that it must be true.

"Still, she had gotten away with those whoppers as well, thanks to the complaisant national press corps. Lately, however, she has engaged in deceptions that are too obvious and too simple to ignore. Not only is she responsible for the false allegation about Niger uranium in the State of the Union address, but she dishonorably forced C.I.A. director George Tenet to say that was his fault rather than hers.

"Dr. Rice knew that the C.I.A. had questioned the veracity of the Niger uranium tale. She knew because Mr. Tenet had warned her deputy, Stephen Hadley, of its dubious quality three months earlier. Yet she permitted that sentence to be uttered by the President. Now she tells us that those 16 words were "accurate" because the information was attributed to British intelligence. She wants us to believe that until last month she had never heard about the mission to Niger undertaken by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who reported back to the C.I.A. and the State Department that the Niger uranium story was a fake."

* Article from the Los Angeles Times on David Berman.

an excerpt:

"If the indie rock movement has created a David Byrne figure -- an oddball intellectual with a creative afterlife that grows out of his music career -- it's the wry troubadour David Berman. The only permanent member of the puckish, twangy Silver Jews, as well as an acclaimed poet, the
Nashville-based Berman writes inventive, oddly homespun songs and verse about sudden bouts of high-fiving, about a 'community college in the rain,' about 'mounds of dead Ataris' clogging the hillsides.

"But while Byrne is a media-obsessed New Yorker concerned with performance and celebrity, Berman is a Southern recluse who resists strong statements and has no interest in world domination. 'I force myself to travel periodically like other people force themselves to go to the gym,' he says by e-mail, the only way he'll do interviews. 'I get bored in other cities. Usually the postcards in the airport satisfy my curiosity.'

"The closest he'll come to a credo is when he sings that 'a lot of what I say has been lifted off of men's room walls.'"

* I can't; can anyone make sense of this?

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