Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Media round-up

Have been meaning to post about the Sydney Writers' Festival, but want to write something that takes a bit of thought. In the mean time, there have been a whole bunch of things in the media that have caught my attention (OK, made me cross).

First up was the Daily Telegraph's disgusting attack on a day care in Marrickville that dared to have a book in its library that portrays a child with two mothers. The horror! My new favourite Minister Mal Brough, has apparently branded the curriculum ridiculous.
"At that age children should be fingerpainting and having fun, not learning about social behaviour which many parents regard as way beyond their years."
Then Premier Iemma decided to jump in with his view that the use of the book was inappropriate.
"If parents feel particularly strongly about educating children on these issues there is plenty of scope for them to do so at home where they run no risk of offending other parents who may hold opposing views and who may not be able to find childcare elsewhere."
Yes, heaven forbid that we offend homophobic parents who would like to bring their children up to hate gay people. Shall racists be given these same rights too? Lets just ban all books from schools if they contain anyone who isn't white, heterosexual, christian, married, and attractive.
[More justified outrage from zoe, suzoz, and georg.]

Next, I was flipping channels last night and caught a small section of Gretel Kileen's shameful attack on a recently evicted Big Brother housemate. I was horrified by the way she used her position of power to bully someone who she clearly didn't like and whose crime was to mention that the show's producers may have edited some film in order to make it look like he had kissed someone when he, in fact, hadn't. It was really unethical behaviour and I hope that she is ashamed of herself.

[More on this subject from galaxy and kim]

Finally, and this isn't the media's fault, but I was horrified (and, sadly, not surprised) by the reports of a US military massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in November last year and the subsequent cover-up that has taken place. What would possess the Iraqi people to trust this military? How can anyone seriously believe that such a military could ever secure peace in Iraq? When are they going to admit that civilians in Iraq are less safe under the US occupation than they would be without them? Of course, now that law and order has completely broken down, they will not be completely safe regardless, but that is hardly an argument in support of the occupation.

OK, tomorrow I will start my reflections on the Writers' Festival. For the time being, suffice to say that it was very good - inspirational, entertaining and informative.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Books, books, books

As C mentioned yesterday, we're off to the Sydney Writer's Festival this weekend. C's already in Sydney catching the first couple of events today and I'll head up after work and tomorrow we'll really get into it.

Among many, many other writers we're planning on seeing speak (not that you can actually see someone speak, but you know what I mean) are Christopher Kremmer, whose new book Inhaling the Mahatma, about India - part memoir, part history, part analysis - will probably soon be adding dangerous weight to my bedside table. We're also planning to see/listen to Clive Hamilton discuss that scourge of the rich world, affluenza.

The session that we're most looking forward to, however, is Peter Singer - Australia's most famous, and notorious, philosopher.

There is no philosopher, whom I've read, with whom I find myself in more alignment than Peter Singer (it also helps that he, unlike many, practices what he preaches - tithing and veganism, to name but two examples).

Singer's new book (there's a blurb on the Australian publisher's website here - you'll have to scroll down a little), which I will soon be fighting a pitch battle over with C, is on the ethics of food production and consumption. Something that C and I are intimately interested in. We've been meaning to write a post on the ethical position that is coming to be known as ecotarianism - a "big picture" way of looking at food. I'm keen to hear what Singer has to say along these lines.

Stand by for lots of preaching next week...

*Oh, and the books above, aren't ours, we just wish they were.*

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Sydney Writers' Festival

I am off to Sydney to attend the Writers' Festival and can't wait.

Back Monday.

Have a lovely weekend.

The Karen and Burma

According to the Guardian, the Burmese Junta has launched a new offensive against the Karen people in northeastern Burma. There has been some suggestion that this new escalation of violence against Karen villagers is part of a strategy to cut off the Karen Nation Union (KNU) from civilian support in order to clear the way for a number of dams that they intend to build on the Salween River. Another suggestion (which comes from the Junta themselves) is that the Junta are clearing the areas that surround their new capital in Pyinmana. However, others claim that the offensives against civilians never stopped, despite the ceasefire agreement with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in 2004 (the KNLA is the military arm of the KNU), and that the only change has been renewed international attention.

The history of violence against the Karen people (and other ethnic minorities, like the Shan and Karenni) by the Burmese Junta is appalling. During their military rule over Burma, the Junta has consistently attacked, tortured and killed civilians, burnt down villages, employed a strategy of raping women, and driven villagers into forced labour (as porters for the army, and labourers for gas, infrastructure and dam projects).

To make matters worse, Thailand does not recognise the Refugee Convention, so when villagers attempt to flee torture, bloodshed, and systematic rape, they are not granted official protection in Thailand. Instead, they are either granted a place in one of few crowded refugee camps on the border, or they driven back into Burma unless they can escape notice and eek out a precarious living as an 'illegal' resident.

In 2004, I visited one of the biggest Karen refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. The Mae La refugee camp hosts some 200,000 people, in a tiny space in a valley near Mae Sot. While the people in the camp have been driven from their homes, and forced to subsist on food rations from the World Food Program, what was amazing was the level of organisation and community that existed in the camp. The Karen people have an incredible commitment to education, and every single child in the camp attends schools, which are run by the Karen people themselves (with the assistance of groups like ZOA, who provide teacher training and some resources). The schools go from preschool to the end of high school, and there was some talk of introducing the International Baccalaureate in order to give the children qualifications that they could take anywhere. I was there to talk about teaching some post-secondary courses to the children who had graduated and wanted to do some more academic studies rather than going on to the Tech courses that they had available - in mechanics, cooking, and textiles.

What struck me was that many of these children had never left the tiny area of the Mae La refugee camp, and without a change of government in Burma, might never do so. Here were thousands of children with 12-13 years education, good English, and ambition, and they were stuck in a refugee camp where their only options were to become a teacher, one of a small number of community leaders, or to weave textiles for tourist money. What kind of world allows that to happen? What a ridiculous waste.
[Photos from inside Burma from Earthrights International. Photos from Mae La are mine]

Saturday, 20 May 2006

I want my money back

A friend is in town and last night we decided to see the Da Vinci Code, knowing full well it was going to be pretty terrible. I knew because I've read the book (don't ask me why - I was doing some literary slumming at the time), and the friend (who we'll call monkey boy for reasons better left unspoken) knew because he'd been sensible enough to throw the book away after two chapters.

What we saw, however, wasn't a terrible film, it was absolute and complete utter crap. It was so bad that flew past the "so bad it was good" stage and thundered into the completely new and unchartered territory beyond.

The book, while having no literary merits whatsoever, at least stuck to a semi-coherent whodunit plot line, which Brown, clumsily, hung on some quasi-historical assertions about the nature of the Christian church. Which, while they might be accurate (who knows, certainly not me), are presented in such a ridiculous light through Brown's ham-fisted attempt at authorship.

The movie (I cannot bring myself to call it a film) couldn't even manage this. Important (and I use this word very loosely) plot-drivers were cut wholesale and large chunks of the book (which weren't well written, but gave the reader a slightly more rounded view of the central characters and the events transpiring around them) were left out or dealt with in cursory flashbacks (many of which were never explained and were therefore worse than useless and downright confusing).

Just in case you have had your ears sealed shut for the last few days and think I'm nuts, you'll be happy to know that, for once, I'm in the majority (of critics at least). The film has been universally panned. Rotten Tomatoes has a good round up of reviews here.

If you only take one piece of advice from me make it this. Do not see this film. Ever. Seriously. You'll never get the two and a half hours back and you'll wish you'd spent them doing pretty much anything else imaginable.

This is outrageous

Save Nazanin

OK, I would usually be very reluctant to take two things from the one blog in one day, but I felt compelled to mention this issue:

Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, an 18-year old girl, has been sentenced to death by hanging in Iran. Nazanin's "crime" was killing a man who ambushed and tried to rape her and her neice.
According to the Iranian daily Etemaad, then 17-year-old Nazanin and her niece had been spending some time in a park west of Tehran with their boyfriends, when three men started harassing them.

The girls` boyfriends fled from the scene, leaving them helpless behind. The men pushed Nazanin and her niece down on the ground and tried to rape them, and to protect herself, she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand.

The girls tried to escape, but the men overtook them, and at this point, Nazanin stabbed one of the other men in the chest, which eventually killed him. According to the newspaper, she broke down in tears when she told the court: "I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help." Nevertheless, the court sentenced her to death by hanging.

In a western country Nazanin would probably be acquitted or at most receive a short prison sentence, as the murder was obviously committed in self-defense. Furthermore, since she was only 17 years old, she would be treated as a minor. In Iran however, the minimum age for the death penalty is 15 years for males, and 9, yes nine years for females. Although there is no record of girls that young being executed, the fact that the law opens for this speaks clearly about what kind regime Iran is.

Another point worth noticing, is that if Nazanin had let the men rape her, she could in the worst case have been arrested for extra-martial sex, which carries a maximum penalty of 100 lashes.

People are being asked to raise awareness about Nazanin in anyway they can. Suggestions include:
  • Write about Nazanin in your own blog.
  • Contact newspapers, TV-channels, blogs and other media and ask them to report her story.
  • Put a link to this page in your email signature or on your blog.
  • Put one of these banners on your website.
  • Write the Iranian government or the Iranian embassy of your country , and demand that Nazanin`s death sentence is commuted immediately. Read more
  • Contact politicians/representatives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country and ask them to pressure Iran to commute the death sentence and free Nazanin.
  • Contact the United Nations Office of Human Rights on this email-address and ask them to protest. [You can also contact them via this page.]
  • Sign and spread this petition.


I hope that when P and I have children, this is how they spend their play time.

So cute!

We call it life

Tigtog has a great post about the nutjob bastards in the US who are campaigning against environmental protection measures with the incredible slogan:
CO2: We call it life
I am particularly taken with Tigtog's wonderful accompanying image:

Friday, 19 May 2006

Scrambled Tofu

Speaking of the weekend, I have been meaning to post these photos since last Saturday.

Every Saturday we get up at 7am and go to the Farmers' Markets with my Mum. When we get home, we take full advantage of our newly acquired fresh produce (and the fresh home-made tofu that we buy there too), but having a hot breakfast of scrambled tofu, garlic mushrooms and tomatoes with sourdough toast. We also try to make fresh celery, carrot, apple and ginger juice.

It is the most delicious way that I can think of starting the weekend.

Sorry that the photos are a little dodgy. Next time I will try to resist starting my food before taking the picture...

Calling my name

K, a member of my family, has kindly lent me her sewing machine while she is overseas for the next three months. She gave me two lessons - during which I made myself a skirt - before leaving, and it was ridiculously fun.

It is currently sitting behind me, calling out my name.

At least tomorrow is the weekend.

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Discrimination and same-sex marriage

I sat down to watch Insight last night out of a keen interest over the issue of same-sex marriage. I was feeling very positive about the introduction of the Civil Unions Act in the ACT, and a perceptible shift in social attitudes towards same-sex couples in Australia (despite the Prime Minister's own revolting attitude on the issue).

As it turned out, I couldn't sit through the whole show uninterrupted. I found myself getting incredibly upset and angry at the bigoted and discriminatory attitudes displayed by members of the audience who were anti-same-sex marriage. I yelled at the television, I switched channels on several occasions in order to calm down, and I generally got quite worked up.

One of the most frustrating features of their arguments, was something that MrLefty has already summed up quite nicely:
Whenever a direct question was put to the conservatives - ie, "this is an example of the way the laws discriminate against gay and lesbian couples - are you in favour of this?" - they refused to answer it, instead immediately diverting off on an irrelevant and stupid "if you look at the tradition of marriage, it's about a man and a woman raising a child" rant.
Then there was the horrible John Heard who yelled over the top of people and made ridiculous sweeping statements to the effect that since he (as a gay man) didn't want to get married, no one else should have the right to do so. He also made the typical mistake of equating gay men with all same-sex attracted people (as though women simply didn't exist), since all his so-called facts related only to gay men.

Of course, the debate focused almost exclusively on the crap argument of "But, what about the children?" As if these hate-filled ranting lunatics really cared about the well being of children. The thing was that no one seemed capable of providing any evidence to support their claims that there was any risk to children from being raised by two people of the same gender.

For goodness sake, in a era when so many heterosexual marriages fail, and children are caught up in messy divorces, domestic violence situations, and shuttled between foster parents, state care and dysfunctional families - who are rarely provided with anywhere near-adequate government support - why are these people focusing on the children of loving couples who happen to be of the same gender? Furthermore, as John Stanhope argued last night - the two issues should not be conflated. People have children out of wedlock all the time (be they heterosexual or otherwise), and there is nothing about marriage per say that automatically generates babies.

The central issue in this debate is discrimination and a fundamental recognition of human rights. Why should a minority group within our society be treated as second-class citizens just because some narrow-minded intolerant people don't like the idea of gay sex? Currently people in same-sex relationships are treated like crap in our country. Regardless of the length of their relationship and the decisions that they make in terms of sharing finances and supporting each other, if one of them dies the other has no rights to their superannuation. Instead it goes into the ether, and the other partner is left with the debts that they have accrued together. That is crap. To add insult to injury, they are not given any legal rights in relation to funeral arrangements, or decisions over their partner's health if they are in a critical state in hospital.

If a same-sex couple raise a child together, only the one that is biologically related to that child is given any legal rights over them. If something happens to the relationship or the biological parent, the other parent has no legal rights to that child even if they have raised them from birth.

The list of discriminatory practices goes on and on, but another significant one is, of course, marriage. When I wanted to formalise my relationship with P, when I wanted my family to take part in a cultural ritual that would help them to understand that he was now part of the family and a permanent part of my life, I was able to get married. It was an incredibly special day for me. We wrote vows to each other and signed a legal marriage certificate, which formalised our relationship before our family and friends, before god, and under the law. We then had a big celebration and people made beautiful speeches about us and our relationship. We shared a meal and cake, and then we all danced. I will never forget the day.

Why on earth should anyone be denied the right to participate in such a ceremony simply because the person that they have fallen head-over-heels for happens to be of the same gender as them? It is so unfair that it makes my blood boil.

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

I'm never shopping at IKEA again

I don't care how cute our new bookcase is, I just won't do it.

And the reason why is this article in The Economist (which I'm not happy with either, but we'll get to that).

It turns out that IKEA is a mega-profit making (this bit I already knew) Behemoth (knew this too) not-for-profit organisation. Doesn't really make sense does it.

The Economist says:
What emerges is an outfit that ingeniously exploits the quirks of different jurisdictions to create a charity, dedicated to a somewhat banal cause, that is not only the world's richest foundation, but is at the moment also one of its least generous.
The "charitable" foundation that, in effect, owns IKEA is dedicated to “innovation in the field of architectural and interior design," but has, to all appearances, only given it's stated major beneficiary, US$1.7 million a year for the last few years, which is not even a blip on the radar of its estimated US$36 billion net worth.

Something doesn't add up here. Actually, it does add up - to enormous profits for the Kamprad family, especially since they pay a stupidly, ridiculously low amount of tax.

So screw IKEA. No more cheap (but good looking) Swedish furniture for us. Nope. From now on we'll be buying our household items from more ethical distributors, like, umm, might need to do a little more research on that front...

The reason I'm mad at The Economist is that they passed no comment on this obvious rort of the world. I know they tend to come down on the neo side of liberal, but seriously. You don't have to go that far.

I am not usually a pedant

But, I am getting more and more concerned that people cannot seem to tell the difference between these two words:
adv : in a peaceable manner; "the tenant paying the rent hereby reserved and performing the several covenants herein on his part contained shall peaceably hold and enjoy the demised premises" [syn: peaceably]

adv : in distinction from others; "a program specifically for teenagers"; "he is interested specifically in poisonous snakes" [ant: generally]
Thank you, that is all I wanted to say.

Saturday, 13 May 2006

Walmart: the high cost of low price preview.

World's biggest retailer takes on organic food. I sit on fence.

I'm feeling a little torn. I really, really hate Walmart. I think they are one of the worst corporations on the planet (also one of the biggest - go figure).

Thing is they have announced they are moving into the organic food market, so I'm torn.

On the one hand this will mean organic produce is more widely available in the US (and what happens in the US tends to happen here rather rapidly) and as the demand grows so will the number of producers, and prices are bound to drop.

On the other hand, Walmart isn't exactly known for it's polite treatment of suppliers (just the opposite in fact) and the move to organic foods could place major strain on organic farmers, many of whom already struggle to make a profit, despite pricing their goods well above non-organic produce.

Sustainablog has a pretty thorough round-up of the US media response (not all of it positive), and this Business Week story, surprisingly, lands firmly with the struggling farmers.

Interestingly, this article in The Guardian mentions that the pulling power of Walmart is making several major processed food producers (not that many of them produce food) sit up and take notice.

Kellogg and Kraft are already working on organic versions of their products, Pepsi is planning organic products for later this year, and General Mills, which makes cereals such as Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs, will follow suit.
Organic Pepsi! Seriously, just because it has organic ingredients doesn't mean it's food.

The other worrying trend is that US mega-corporations are attempting to water down the standards that govern what can and can't be called organic. According to Business Week, several large US-listed companies have already had some success.

And large companies have tried to use their muscle in Washington to their advantage. Last fall, the Organic Trade Assn., which represents corporations like Kraft, Dole, and Dean Foods, lobbied to attach a rider to the 2006 Agricultural Appropriations Bill that would weaken the nation's organic food standards by allowing certain synthetic food substances in the preparation, processing, and packaging of organic foods. That sparked outrage from organic activists. Nevertheless, the bill passed into law in November, and the new standards will go into effect later this year.
Great, so now we'll have cheaper, not-quite-but-almost organic foods available in the world's largest retailer, which, among other things, drives competition out of business, pays workers below poverty level wages, and destroys inner-city vibrance by creating strip-mall cultures.

I think I might have just come down off that fence.

If you're in the US, go and see Robert Greenwald's (maker of Outfoxed) new documentary, "Walmart: the high cost of low price." If not, check out his blog, and lobby your local cinema to lobby their distributors to pick the title and give it an Australian run.

Hypocrisy thy name is Europe

I love the hypocrisy of Europe lecturing Venezuela and Bolivia on the dangers of rejecting free market ideology.
Sure, we subsidize our agricultural industry, but we don't want to pay more for energy resources and would like to continue to own everything of value in the South ourselves, so you'd better jump on the neoliberal bandwagon.

It's the only path to growth, don't you know. Didn't you see how well it worked for Argentina?


What crash?

Friday, 12 May 2006

thinking about meat-eating environmentalists (and other impossibilities)

After I posted the meat-eating flyer last night C said that she thought it was a little harsh just sticking it up with no commentary. I thought it would be fine, but as it turns out it offended someone.

So, here's the text of a comment I posted in response, just to assure you that I simply liked the flyer (which we picked up from a stand at some markets) and wasn't intending to start an argument with the world - though I'm prepared to have it if anyone is keen.
No offence intended, just like the flyer a lot. It is basically impossible to eat meat in our society and be an environmentalist that's for sure, but we're all contradictory in the extreme.
C and I have all sorts of bad habits (particualrly the international flights), eating meat just doesn't happen to be one of them.

I love the flyer and if it starts a conversation or gets someone thinking, then all the better.
Perhaps you could make one that says "think you can be an international jet setter environmentalist..." That would be pretty good too, and would certainly make me think more about the positive effect I have when I travel overseas versus the impact that travel has on the environment.

So that's what I was thinking when I posted it and I probably should have spent the two minutes it would have taken to say that at the time, but we were in the middle of making masal dosas for dinner (well C was making them and I was making a mess) and I figured it wouldn't matter anyway.

The Bomber Replies

P and I sat up in front of the TV last night to watch Beazley's budget reply. I have to admit that I wasn't feeling very optimistic and didn't actually expect to be inspired.

As the speech went on, however, I allowed myself to get my hopes up. I kept thinking that, at any moment, the speech would pick up and that Beazley would say something dramatically different. I started to dream that Labor would spell out a vision for Australia's future that I could relate to, that could inspire me.

Alas, it was not to be.

The high points were some rather random pot shots at the new IR laws, massive HECS debts and the war in Iraq, plus a focus on childcare and technical training, and quite a nice little pokie machine analogy.

The low points were the attack on foreigners, the reaffirmation of the joys of tax cuts, the emphasis on 'middle-Australia' and 'Australian values', and the moments of truly crap delivery (where Beazley stumbled over his words and sounded like a git).

The recurring one-liner also really annoyed me:
"When you put in, you get back."
(i.e. "We don't care about dole-bludgers or foreigners either.")

Of course, I want the Coalition out of government and currently this means the election of a federal Labor government. However, I cannot get very excited by that prospect.

Other 'Budget Reply' round-ups available from MrLefty, Suki, and Polemica.

Update: Another good round-up at Modia Minotaur.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

The times they are a-changing

I joined a gym last week. Well, my mother transferred her membership to me due to her impending move to Darwin. I really needed to get fit again and so this whole joining up thing was well over due.

The thing about this gym, however, is that it is located in a venue that has previously hosted a significant number of nightclubs in Canberra. The first place that I can remember being there was Mystiques - a fairly dodgy place from all accounts in which someone I know was once busted for underage drinking. It was replaced by Asylum - a club that was somewhat ahead of its time and hosted Smile on Wednesday nights and was one of few venues in which Canberra's early rave scene took off. Asylum only lasted about 18 months, and was replaced by another club. I can't remember its name, but it was very cool for about 2 years or so and I spent a lot of time there in first year uni. Finally, the Gypsy Bar took up residence until it too went under after many years of providing live music to Canberra and some pretty funky retro nights. The reason that I mention this is that these clubs (well, except Mystiques) featured strongly in my early adult life and while my new gym has refurbished the place, the structure of the building and the ceiling have remained unchanged.

This was significant when I attended my first class. The class was a sort of combination yoga/pilates/tai chi and was held in a section of the building that used to be one of the two main dance floors. At one point we were lying on our backs doing some kind of twisting action and I had the chance to look around the room. Three of the people in the class were extremely familiar. I had known them at school, and they had often been out at these nightclubs-of-old back in the day. Since I was on my back, the view of the ceiling brought back the memories of the place quite vividly and I was struck by the changes not only to the place, but also to my life. There we all were, dressed in trackies rather than sparkles, rolling around on the floor to love ballads rather than dancing to techno, and it was midday rather than midnight.

I think that says it all really.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

New straw to kill disease as you drink

Was just browsing on the BBC website and came across this article.

In a world where one person in six in the South does not have access to drinking water, and 6,000 people a day die from water-borne diseases, something like this could make a huge difference. Or could it? Wateraid say that at US$3.50 a day the device is actually quite expensive, especially for families earning less than a dollar a day. Additionally, the straw won’t lessen the hours of walking that people all over the South have to do every day in order to collect less water than they actually need.

Food for thought (bad pun, I know).

Friday, 5 May 2006

I've never wanted to travel to a toilet before...

until now.

The toilets in the Singapore airport are quite nice - with their aromatheraphy scents and mood lighting - but these new German loos sound amazing. I hope that everyone who is heading over to see the World Cup puts these toilets on their itineraries.
  1. Watch soccoroos
  2. Drink in several local pubs
  3. See Brandenburg Gate
  4. Check out Berlin Film Museum
  5. Hang out in very cool new toilets
I wonder if the queues are long?

Thursday, 4 May 2006

A century between them

I just wanted to quickly share with you the day's strangest news stories:

First, the very young: Budhia Singh, a 4-year-old slum resident from Orissa, India ran 40 miles to enter India's Limca Book of Records. It took the little guy 7 hours and 2 minutes. To think that I was impressed when I ran the city-to-surf...

Second, the more mature: Wook Kundor, a 104-year-old woman, recently took her 21st husband. Muhammad Noor Che Musa, who is 33, said 'he found a sense of belonging after meeting Wook Kundor'. She is his first wife (and, in case you were wondering, she is poor - so it wasn't about money).

OK, back to work.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Public Humiliation for Bush Jnr

I am actually feeling quite inspired at the moment and am writing up weeks of research, so I don't have much to say here.

However, I just had to mention the story of Bush's humiliation at the White House Correspondents Dinner that has been doing the rounds. The Daily Kos has a fairly complete version of Stephen Colbert's routine here, for those of you that want to savour the moment. My favourite part is the second paragraph:
Wow. Wow, what an honor. The White House correspondents' dinner. To actually sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper -- that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face. Is he really not here tonight? Dammit. The one guy who could have helped.
Although this little dig at Fox was also pretty good:
As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.
The only confession that I have to make is that when I first read the transcript I actually found myself feeling sorry for Bush and his wife. I hate watching public humiliation; it makes me feel nauseous (which is why I cannot enjoy slap-slick comedy). Of course, in this case, I was forced to give myself a good talking-to. If anyone needs a wake-up call, it has got to be Dubya.


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