Friday, April 20, 2007

Exit Doors Await More "Heckuva Job" Guys

In a blistering editorial, the New York Times today called Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch."

This came a day after his latest lackluster, deer-in-the-headlights testimony before a Congressional Committee investigating the firing of eight federal attorneys. Gonzales's shifting explanations, selective memory, and claims of non-involvement (contradicted by others' sworn testimony) even infuriated some Republican members of the committee, who joined the chorus of voices calling for his resignation.

Given that his boss, President Bush, continues to express support for his ol' Texas buddy (one can see why these two vacuous men became friends), Gonzales really doesn't seem to get that he's finished. Kaput. Hasta la vista, baby! Maybe even as early as today. He's like "Brownie," who professed to be clueless about folks suffering in the New Orleans Super Dome. His boss thought he, too, was doing a heckuva job, but within a week or two "Brownie" was history.

It took a heckuva, er, excuse me, helluva lot longer for the incompetent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign - six years! And the havoc he wreaked and the lives he destroyed across the globe are of truly historic war-crimes-trial proportions. But our Commander-in-Chief, (the fabled "Decider," who is now looking for a "Czar" to oversee the war he started and cannot stop), gave Rummy a lavish, ceremonial goodbye tribute, with jet fighters flying overhead, an army band blaring martial music, and gun salutes. Farewell to the Mighty Rumsfeld!

The exit door is also open wide and awaiting another worthy Bush player, Paul Wolfowitz. Wolfie, as his detractors call him, was a major architect of the Iraq invasion and - what do you know? - just when things started going terribly awry, he was rewarded for his "heckuva job" by being appointed to the Presidency of the World Bank. Wolfie's pushy neo-con pieties haven't been received well in this den of international financiers, and his emphasis on standards and ethics among World Bank staff has rung particularly hollow since the press exposed the sweetheart deals he arranged for, well, his sweetheart, who worked until recently at the bank. The World Bank's staff association has called for Wolfie's ouster and individual board members have also said it's time for him to go, to restore, in one finance minister's insistent phrase, the bank's "credibility, credibility, credibility."

Meanwhile, our befuddled Commander-in-Chief-in-search-of-a-Czar is expressing his full confidence in Wolfowitz, a sure sign the Wolfman will soon be on his way.

Man, it's getting crowded at those exit doors!

UPDATE, Friday evening:
True to form, White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino today expressed President Bush's complete faith in Gonzales, declaring of the beleaguered AG: "He has done a fantastic job in the Department of Justice."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On Pimps and Plug-Uglies

So CBS finally decided to fire Don Imus. It's about time.

Hopefully, all the recent talk about "ho's" will fuel a larger and necessary discussion about the pimps -- yes, pimps -- who enrich themselves by sponsoring and participating in the racist, misogynist, immigrant-bashing rant-fests that dominate the AM dial nationwide. This includes networks, advertisers, shock jocks and their PR flacks, and the all-too-eager 'celebrity' guests who enable the defamers in order to puff their own egos or to sell their books, policies, or whatever to listeners. Here's a prime example. On the morning Coach Stringer and her Rutgers team members made their dignified, moving remarks about how they had been maligned, a spokesman for "Talkers" magazine, quoted on CBS radio news (11 a.m. CST), had the audacity to complain that 'Now everybody is getting into the act. Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame.' He said this about the Rutgers team, the offended party! What an appalling example of greed and twisted values! The man's paycheck (and that of many, many others) depends on promoting these hateful bullies.

The mean-spirited pronouncements of these supposedly "entertaining" shock jocks degrade the culture and divide us as a people. To conservatives and libertarians who were so happy to see the Fairness Doctrine abolished in the 1980s, claiming it would free the market and usher in broader content on the airwaves: I hope you can swim in the sewer you've created.

Since I don't feel bound by the dignified restraint of the Rutgers women, let me ask (and answer) an Imus-like question that's been on the minds of women this past week: Why are all these shock jocks so physically repulsive? (I warned you it was Imus-like!) If Don Imus, Howard Stern, Michael Savage and Milwaukee's own Mark Belling were women (scary thought), there's NO WAY they'd ever have gotten onto radio or TV! They're like The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde's classic, in which the protagonist's portrait deteriorates and grows more grotesque as he casts aside moral qualms and sinks into depravity. I think Imus and his ilk wear their inner corruption like the picture of Dorian Gray. Given their casual cruelty and the damage they've inflicted on so many, they are likely to end up just as miserable.

Definition of "pimp" - procurer; panderer; one who exploits the weaknesses of others; one who profits by exploiting others, especially sexually
Definition of "plug-ugly" - thug; tough; one hired to intimidate others; someone who bullies weaker people