Archive for March, 2004

Bull and Stones

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

The hostility toward the secret societies that sparked the formation of Diggers also led to teh establishment of a more threatening group. In 1866, a group of seniors, armed with the knowledge that since they had not been tapped for a secret society, they had no one left to try to impress, created a satirical society at first called Bowl and Stones and later changed to Bull and Stones. The object of the organization was to attack its skewed namesake, Skull and Bones, by roaming about the campus during and after senior society meetings. The Stones men blocked the senior socieor societies’ doorways, sang mocking songs (“Hauty Bones is fallen, and we gwine down to occupy the Skull”), and wrought general havoc. The Stones men also offered fake taps to the more naive undergraduates, often successfully persuading them that they had been elected to the real thing. In 1867, the Stones men shattered ink bottles on the front of the Skull and Bones tomb and ripped the chain from its fence. Class of 1870 members wore in public a gold pin portraying a bull standing on stones, as if it were an authentic secret-society badge. In 1870, the Stones men overtook the confectioner who was delivering food the Bones tomb for initiaion night and confiscated the ice cream that caught their fancy. (Eventually, Bones stationed a police officer in front of the tomb to discourage such behavior.) By that time, the group had become so well known that any student not elected to Bones or Keys was said to “belong to Stones.” Anti-society sentiment continued, with society members occasionally becoming the targets of violent attacks, particularly when they returned home from meetings. In 1878, a group of students painted graffiti in the tomb, [… etc etc blah blah blah …]

Alex Robbins, Secrets of the Tomb page 62

Kerry on the Dick Cavett Show on C-SPAN

Monday, March 29th, 2004

As far as I can tell, John Kerry has had two interesting moments in his more or less staid political career. No less; no more. His 1972 stint at the head of “Vietnam Vets Against the War”, and a prosecutorial stint getting the ball rolling on Iran-Contra.

This last weekend, C-SPAN aired a 1972 broadcast of with him debating the head spokesman for “Vietnam Veterans For A Just Peace” (euphemism for “Vietnam Veterans for the War”) on the Dick Cavett Show.

They’ll show it again. They’ve probably shown it before.

I suppose I might’ve gotten more out of the airing if it were not for the boorish friend of my roommate, who sat down saying “This is b-s”, “f#ing John Kerry, man!” and “This is stupid… they just keep saying the same sh## over and over again.”

But never mind — I disgress. I’m a little weird anyway. I’m boorish in my own way…

I’m not sure if I can say that I saw anything transferrable to our current political scene, even if it did feed a history-jonsing of sorts. Kerry either had an idealism that he’s since lost to career politics, or he was setting his political future. (Note that Gary Tradeau weighed in with his opinion.) Whichever one, the young Kerry was an impressive young speaker.

And the other figure managed to sneak in some “America Right or Wrong” “Support the Troops” rhetoric in his debate. Rhetoric that was easily enough smashed.

Maybe my roommate’s friend was right, and watching this was b-s… watching the same old sh$$ coming at us again and again…

That’s a Joke, Right?

Monday, March 29th, 2004

John Kerry cited a Bible verse Sunday to criticize leaders who have “faith but has no deeds,” prompting President Bush’s spokesman to accuse Kerry of exploiting Scripture for a political attack.

I don’t know. Somehow I imagine there are plenty of mailings going around to the true-believers regarding Abortion…

At least John Kerry’s biblical quotations aren’t creepy as of yet… Remember Bush’s Inaugural Address?

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?”

Much time has passed since Jefferson arrived for his inauguration. The years and changes accumulate. But the themes of this day he would know: our nation’s grand story of courage and its simple dream of dignity.

We are not this story’s author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose. Yet his purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another.

Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.

This work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.

Biblical References for you:

“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

“The Lord” is slow to anger and great in power; “the Lord” will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:3)

UPDATE: Okay. Google seaches tend to bring up interesting items…
For Your Illuminati Needs. Thank you very much, you’ve all been good.

the rise of Al Franken

Saturday, March 27th, 2004

Just about one year ago, Al Franken parlayed a Book Expo joustle with Bill O’Reilly (Molly Ivins was there; Tucker Carlson was absent) at a Book Expo panel broadcast on C-SPAN into a career advancement opportunity.

I don’t know. Prior to that event, I’d peg Al Franken as “Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live, and Conan O’Brien’s easily-scheduled emergancy guest.”

Next week, he’ll be the anchor of the new “Air America Radio” network, broadcast in a small handful of markets… its New York City affiliate made sure to purchase the “WLIB” station.

Between the C-SPAN broadcast and the liberal radio network release, Bill O’Reilly convinced Fox News to sue Franken for the use of the phrase “Fair and Balanced”. A judge threw that out, saying that “there are easy cases and there are hard cases” and that “this case is wholly without merit.” Fox News declined to appeal.

This lawsuit propelled every blog that gave a damned to rename their blog “Fair and Balanced”, and shoved the release schedule of Franken’s book up…

Last December, Bill O’Reilly made the absurdly easily verifiably false claim that “his book is outselling Franken’s book and is almost catching up with Hillary Clinton’s book.

Al Franken has evidentally gotten under Bill O’Reilly’s skin…

And now Air America Radio

Just what the nation needs. To combat the right-wing dominance of the talk radio airwaves, disseminating Republican talking points, a couple liberal radio programs to disseminate Democratic talking points…

I wonder if the Kerry administration will follow the Bush II administration’s lead and schedule “Talk Radio Day”, White House tours for synchoprantic hosts where they get to have soft-ball interviews with White House staff…

Deborah Deborah Quotes America’s NewSource.

Friday, March 26th, 2004

Deborah Norville’s Friday, March 12 show on MSNBC:
NORVILLE: Finally tonight, if you were watching the show earlier this week, you heard Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson encourage Americans to work out and watch what they eat.

Good advice, because it turns out most Americans are watching their workouts.

Yes, according to a new study by Thompson’s department, 58 percent of all the exercise done in America is broadcast on television. For instance, of the 3.5 billion sit-ups done during 2003, two million, 30,000 of them were on exercise shows on Lifetime or one of the ESPN channels. Put it another way, according to the study, 99 percent of the time that someone is using one of those Soloflex machines, it’s when it’s being broadcast on one of those late-night commercials.

I guess the secretary knew what he was talking about when he recommended most of us begin an exercise program by walking. It might be all most of us are able to do.

Thanks for watching. I’m Deborah Norville.

The source?
Where else?

The Bush Joke

Friday, March 26th, 2004

A lot of hubbub has been made concerning a joke that George W. Bush made at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner

Nope, no weapons over there. (Laughter and applause.) Maybe under here. (Laughter.)

Poor taste? Meh, I say, meh…

But not enough has been made, except perhaps in certain corners, of the next joke out of his mouth:

Oops, this photo wasn’t supposed to be in here. This is the Skull and Bones secret signal. (Laughter.)

Names that Keep Coming Up

Thursday, March 25th, 2004

The names keep popping up.

Bob Kerrey, former Senator from Nebraska, is being talked up as a possible John Kerry running mate option.

His “star” just “rose” after his 9/11 Investigation performance this week, where it is said he was tough, judicious, and fair (bi-partisan in his criticism toward both the Bush and Clinton administrations).

There were two moments from yesterday’s questioning that it is at least possible to imagine that Kerrey was telegraphing political messages, seemingly at odds with one another:

All of us who have provided background briefings for the press before should beware. I mean, Fox should say ‘occasionally fair and balanced’ after putting something like this out, because they violated a serious trust.

Fox News is, of course, the RNC News Network… and this criticism does not go unnoticed with the Democratic base.

Quote #2, just asserting a hawkish stand that John F. Kerry will more than likely want to attach himself toward:

And secondly, I don’t see it as you do, that the war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism. I honestly don’t.

Unless you say that the threat of terrorism in Iraq is unquestionably gone up as a consequence of Al Qaida feeling even more opposition to freedom in Iraq than they do in freedom in the United States.

They feel much more threatened by having an Arab democracy than they do by having a democracy in the United States.

Second figure to watch for.

AND… Zbigniew Brzezinski might be telegraphing his desire to be part of a Kerry administration, travelling the lecture circuit in support of his new book… Brzezinski of this fame.

Confidence-inspiring, ain’t it?

Flashback to 1936

Thursday, March 25th, 2004

About “Democrats for Landon”…

Alfred Smith, the Democratic Party’s 1924 and 1928 nominee for president, was the most prominent Democrat opposed to the then current Democratic party leadership, and the most important Democrat who voted for Landon in 1936.

To quote Al Smith, “The regulars were out on a limb holding the bag, driven out of the party because some new bunch that nobody ever heard of in their life before came and took charge and started planning everything.”

And he was trotted out by various Republicans and Business leaders to make speak out against FDR.

Parallels with Zell Miller? Well, there is one key difference: In Smith’s case, there was a shift in the Democratic Party that one could easily oppose or support. In the case of Zell Miller, it’s hard to tell what Miller’s beef with Clinton is.