Was away on a much needed vacation. Didn't open a newspaper or watch the TV The last thing we saw was on the television monitors at George Bush International in Houston was that a likely suspect in Chandra Levy's murder/disappearance was found. I didn't stay to see if Gary Condit had a comment. Maybe Gary Hart did. Ah, ancient history. Time to board the flight.
I caught myself unconsciously singing "Eve of Destruction" in the shower yesterday morning. If you know the tune, you may correctly infer I had momentarily hit rock bottom of my internal Wurlitzer. It's a function of having a chronically deep catalog that is set to random play. Barry McGuire, the former member of the New Christy Minstrels and one-hit folk-rock bad boy. The song was written by P.J. Proby, but in all likelihood, no one would take credit for it now. Then again, they're doing a revival of Hair on Broadway. Now, that's relevant! Anyway, the line that came to me, post-vacation, was...
You can leave here
for four days in space
but when you return
it's the same old place
Space, Belize... what's the difference?
The point is, the news and the events in the world just keep on running themselves out, so far beyond sublime and too real to be termed ridiculous. The humor found within is dark. Very dark. I can't seem to laugh out loud. There is something caught in my throat. It's palpable and I can't seem to kick it. Last night, I downloaded Bing Crosby's "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Welcome to the world, as we're getting to know it. Comeuppance for laughing at those "when I was a kid" stories from my old man. That'll never happen in my lifetime... hmmm.
I like this one. It was reported in the Oregonian. None of their readers saw fit to spit out a letter in outrage. This story and Mr. Madoff irritate me to no end. First of all, for his crime(s), the Ponzi scheme just one of them. His hubris is criminal to such an obscene extreme so as to outrage, irritate and ultimately reinforce an age-old and despicable cliché. It's okay, I'm Jewish. I can say it.
This is the story, from the AP:
Madoff seeks to keep NYC penthouse, $62M in assets
NEW YORK (AP) — Bernard Madoff is seeking to keep a $7 million Manhattan penthouse and an additional $62 million in assets, saying they are unrelated to the fraud that authorities say cost victims more than $50 billion. In court papers filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Madoff and his lawyer claim the apartment, $45 million in municipal bonds and $17 million more in a separate account all belong to Madoff's wife, Ruth. The bonds in an account held by Ruth Madoff at COHMAD Securities Corp. and about $17 million held by her in a Wachovia Bank account "are unrelated to the alleged Madoff fraud and only Ruth Madoff has a beneficial interest in these assets," Bernard Madoff and lawyer Ira Sorkin said, according to the papers.
Then, there's the little matter of AIG, America's Insurance company. Literally, at this point. When all is said and done, the public will own 78% of the company. In honor of this unbelievable blip in the news cycle, I thought I'd recycle the montage I created in response to AIG's first blatant infraction-- the infamous executive junket to the Monarch Bay Resort in... Dana Point. Dana Perino's presence in it is not prescient so much as admittedly gratuitous. I actually loved her press briefings. She always had a twinkle in her eye and a tight smirk when she dodged questions in the briefing room. When I am done here, I'm going to check out Dana's Facebook page. Bloggo has a book deal. Does Dana? Will there be pictures?
Clearly, our country has changed a lot in the almost 40 years since Watergate. Back then, public officials were tried and convicted on high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, they go back to Texas or Wyoming. John Yoo is an interesting character. Not only is he a former assistant to the AG, he is a law professor... of Berkley College, no less! Does he teach as he writes memos that the 1st and 4th amendments are as arbitrarily malleable as Silly Putty. It seems he wrote endless memos suggesting the President of the United States has the power to break any law and ignore any statute inconsistent with his line of thinking and governing in time of war, regardless of the fact that the war was declared and fought on an unprovoked and unsubstantiated enemy. Evidently, Mr. Yoo is still on the faculty at Berkeley. The famous line from Seth Brundle rings in my head. "Be afraid. Be very afraid." Then again, so do the chorus from a Steely Dan song...
Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew
Are you crazy are you high
Or just an ordinary guy
Have you done all you can do
Are you with me Doctor
It gets worse. The Bush administration and the CIA denied the presence of any video tapes of terrorist "interviews" (to be read: torture evidence). Then, they admitted to two. Months later, there were 92 tapes that were made, admitted to and destroyed. As of this writing, reports indicate no one will be held accountable or face any questioning in regard to the tapes or their subsequent destruction. Paging Mrs. Woods... Rosemary Woods... please report to your Dicktating Machine--
I could go on. There's John Boehmer's perpetual tan. Rush Limbaugh's ascendency to the throne built on hollow stilts.Bobby Jindal, an alleged candidate for the aforementioned throne, who possesses the brilliant statesmanship to refuse any bailout money for the state he represents-- a state still reeling from the worst national disaster on record and an educational system tanking among the bottom of the rankings. Tell the 9th Ward why you have said "no," Bobby. Alas, stupidity, like misery, loves company. Trash talking Bobby is not alone. Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina says no to any emergency relief money for his state and has started a website for support as well as airing his public stance, www.CAB.org-- Crackers Against the Bailout. And then, there's A-Rod, as he admits stupidity and claiming he needs to "take his medicine." A quote that was just ripe for ridicule. It's bad enough that the country is in the crapper. We need someone making about 52 million a year to undermine the National Pastime.
As is often is the case, I turn to Mr. Zimmerman to make sense of it all...
Feel bad this morning, ain't got no home.
No use in worrying, 'cause the world gone wrong,