the chant needs a little work

You guys, guess what. Our long national nightmare is over. Okay, I know that’s what Gerald Ford said when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency — but according to some folks, we got ourselves re-nightmared when our current president was elected (if he really was). But those folks can relax now, on account of the nightmare is over again. 

Well okay, it’s almost over. It’ll be over on November 19th. That’s the day, according to Larry Klayman (God-loving Founder of Freedom Watch) when good, decent American citizens will gather in front of the White House “in the millions.” In the millions, you guys. And after they’ve gathered, decent American Larry Klayman says they’ll begin this chant:

“Mr. President (to use the term loosely), put the Quran down, get up off your knees and come out with your hands up!”

Well okay, it’s not a great chant. It lacks a certain rhythm. Well, okay, it lacks any sort of rhythm at all. I suppose you could blame the parenthetical comment “(to use the term loosely)”. It doesn’t slide gracefully into the chant. But what’s more important — rhythm or passion? I’m sure that under the leadership of patriotic citizen Larry Klayman, those millions of people will overcome their complete lack of rhythm through the power of their passion.

Larry Klayman (good, clean, god-loving American)

Larry Klayman (good, clean, god-loving, decent  American)

Now you may be wondering how that’s going to end our long national nightmare? Allow me to explain.

Here’s what happened. Muslim Kenyan Barack Hussein Obama was recently indicted by a grand jury. Well okay, it was a Citizens’ Grand Jury. Well okay, it was a group of citizens Larry Klayman (Patriotic American) gathered together in Ocala, Florida (county seat of Marion County, population 56,945) and called a grand jury. And yeah, okay, maybe they don’t have any legal authority or power or official-sounding stuff like that, but they looked at the evidence prepared by an unbiased prosecutor (Larry Klayman). And you guys, after carefully considering that evidence, these people totally issued an indictment against Gay Socialist Barack Hussein Obama.

freerepublic obama again

You’re going to find this hard to believe, but despite this indictment, Barack Hussein Obama (anti-white racist native of Muslim, Kenya) refused to submit himself for trial. You guys, he just outright refused. Can you believe that? So the Citizens’ Grand Jury had no choice; they were forced to try him in absentia. And you guys, guess what. They found Atheist Usurper Barack Hussein Obama totally guilty. What was he found guilty of? .

— defrauding the American people and Floridians by proffering them with a fake birth certificate

— tricking voters into electing him in 2008 and 2012

— also too, being Muslim, socialist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-radical gay and lesbian agenda

— also too in addition, Benghazi-gate, IRS-gate, Navy SEAL Team VI-gate, Fast and Furious-gate, and NSA-gate

Having been found totally guilty, Shari’a Law Professor Barack Hussein Obama was sentenced to “the maximum prison term for these offenses of 10 years.” Ten years! He was also “ordered to immediately surrender himself into the custody of the citizens of the United States and Florida.” But you guys, Barack Hussein Obama (Christ-hating anti-gun homo) didn’t surrender himself at all.


This, of course, came as no surprise to freedom loving Larry Klayman. He predicted that Barack Hussein Obama (African Usurper) would flout the law.

“Obama will not willingly obey the law of the people. He will attempt to hide behind the iron fences of the White House, perhaps cowering under his desk for fear that the people will rise up and demand his ouster.”

The good news is that now the millions of people who will gather in front of the White House on November 19th will know exactly where to find Negro Coward Barack Hussein Obama. Under his desk. And they will gather, those millions of people, on account of Larry Klayman (Popular Leader) has told them that this is the greatest crisis facing the American People (of whom Barack Hussein Obama is not one) since the Revolutionary War.

“[T]he tyranny that has been imposed by a new despot, one far more evil than King George III. King George III may have been a greedy “control freak,” but at least he was a Christian. The United States is being run by a Muslim bent on furthering an Islamic caliphate who seeks to destroy our spirituality and the body politic of our Judeo-Christian roots.”

King George III, control freak, Christian

King George III, greedy control freak, Christian

Barack Hussein Obama (Godless Commie Nancy-Boy) is nothing at all like white Christian control freak George the Third, no sir. Obama wants to destroy our roots, you guys. And so good, decent American Larry Klayman says all good and decent Americans need to act. He says we need to “stand tall and descend on the capitol.” If you stand low and descend on the capitol nobody will be able to see you.

Convicted Satanist Barack Hussein Obama needs to look out from under his desk on November 19th and be able to see the tall-standing millions of good, decent Americans, and hear them chanting. And when he does, then…then…I guess he’ll, what, resign?

I don’t know…maybe this plan needs a little work. I’d suggest Larry Klayman begin by meeting with a good chant consultant. Then somebody should remind him of this quote by Christian King George the Third:

“I wish nothing but good; therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor and a scoundrel.”

Great minds think alike…and so do greedy Christian control freaks.

just another afternoon by the river

The Des Moines River is a little over 500 miles long. The section I spend most of my time on is maybe a mile. Probably a little less than that. It’s an urban section of river; there’s nothing ‘natural’ about it. There aren’t any real river banks, there are no trees lining the water, there are no organic eddies or sandbanks or mudflats. There are concrete walkways and arched bridges and dams and promenades and buildings. You can buy a coffee (or a beer or a glass of wine) in a small kiosk and sit and watch the water roll on.

I do that fairly often. When I do, I usually  find myself looking at the river and wondering what it must have been like before. City Hall Before, this was French territory. Most folks think of North America as a former British colony, which is a limited version of the truth. In fact, the British were largely confined to a relatively narrow strip of land along the Atlantic coast. Most of the interior was held by the French. Well, actually it was held by the native tribes who lived there before any Europeans made their way across the ocean. But history was written by Europeans, so it’s mostly concerned with what Europeans did.

My point, if you can call it that, is this: Iowa used to be part of Nouvelle-France. New France was fucking HUGE. It stretched west from Newfoundland all the way to the Great Plains (and, eventually, clear to the Rocky Mountains). It included all the land south of Hudson Bay down to the Gulf of Mexico. The entire drainage basin of the Mississippi River comprised a district called Louisiana, which was divided into Haute Louisiane and Basse-Louisiane. Upper and Lower Louisiana. Sort of like North and South Dakota, only with the benefit of not being either of the Dakotas. new france Of course, the native peoples didn’t give a moose’s ass what the French called the land. I suspect they just stood around grinning and snickering to themselves while these odd white guys kept ‘discovering’ places and renaming them. The first white guys set foot in what eventually became Iowa in 1659. Pierre-Esprit Radisson and his brother-in-law Médard des Groseilliers. Despite their poncy names, these guys were tough. They were coureurs de bois — runners of the woods. Unlike voyageurs, who were licensed to do business by trading companies (in other words, capitalist lackeys), coureurs de bois were independent, entrepreneurial fur-trappers, traders, and explorers.

Radisson and des Groseilliers explored and mapped a big chunk of the North American interior. Radisson eventually had three or four towns named after him, and a hotel chain, and even a Canadian Coast Guard vessel. Nobody named anything after Médard des Groseilliers. This is what happens when you partner up with a guy whose name is more cool than yours. But even though these men made their way to Iowa, they almost certainly didn’t travel up the Des Moines River. steps up holga Nobody really knows which European made the first trip up La Rivière des Moines. It could have been Michel Accault, Antoine Angel, and Father Hennepin in 1680; they were in the area. Or maybe it was the cartographer Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin a few years later, though it’s more likely he copied some other guy’s map of the river. The Baron Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce de Lahontan said he traveled up the Des Moines, but most historians think he was lying about it. We know that Pierre Charles Le Sueur made his way up the river in 1700, but he probably wasn’t the first. A few years after Le Sueur, Father Peter Francis Xavier de Charlevoix wrote this:

[T]he river Moingona issues from the midst of an immense meadow, which swarms with Buffaloes and other wild beasts

Swarms of buffalo where there are now coffee shops. How cool is that? The buffalo are gone now, other than a few small herds kept in parks so sticky-fingered children can look at them. The buffalo are gone, and so are the French. underbridge holga We know why the buffalo are gone. Because we were well-armed murderous bastards and we slaughtered them for our amusement. But why did the French leave? They had a massive presence in the New World — not just all that territory in North America, but throughout the Caribbean. That’s why pirates in the movies (the ‘bad’ pirates, not the good Errol Flynn pirates) always speak with a French accent — because they fucking owned Hispaniola. So why did the French leave? Give some of the credit to François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, a slave born on Hispaniola.

In 1791 Louverture took the island away from the French by leading a successful slave rebellion. That pissed off the French and a decade later Napoleon Bonaparte sent a sizable military force to New Orleans to support an effort to re-take Hispaniola. The United States was only about 15 years old at the time, and having the French military camped out in New Orleans made the government nervous. Almost half of the goods imported into the U.S. passed through the port of New Orleans. So even though the French failed to retake Hispaniola (which is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), President Thomas Jefferson thought it might be a good idea to find a way to get the French off our stoop.

along the river holga

In 1803 Jefferson decided to try to buy the city of New Orleans from the French. He figured he’d offer France a cool US$10 million for the city — and what the hell, maybe some of the surrounding land. Why not? France would get a little cash in the bank, the U.S. would get a nice port and party town, everybody would be happy.

But Bonaparte was dans le pétrin — in a pickle. He’d lost the income from the sugar grown on Hispaniola, he was facing another war with Britain, and his nation was close to bankruptcy. So before the U.S. made its ten million dollar offer, Bonaparte proposed to sell ALL of Louisiana for 50 million francs (plus canceling a debt of about 18 million francs). That amounted to about 15 million dollars. Jefferson had planned to offer ten million just for the city; now he could get the entire French enchilada (yeah, I know, let’s not get bogged down in national cuisine here) for another five million. A bargain, right?

dam holga

Congress opposed the purchase. Seriously. Jefferson was about to double the size of the nation — to pick up around 828,000 square miles of territory at a cost of about three cents an acre — and Congress opposed it. They said the president didn’t have the authority to make or accept the offer. They disliked the idea of granting citizenship to the French, Spanish, and free black people who lived in the territory (nobody even considered citizenship for the native peoples). They worried about the political effects of bringing in all those farmers when so much of the power of Congress depended on the wealth of the merchants and bankers along the coast.

In other words, Congress — primarily the House of Representatives — were dicks about the whole thing (sound familiar?). But the sale squeaked through in the House and was passed by the Senate, and hey bingo, the United States was suddenly bigger and in a position to start seriously fucking over the native peoples west of the Mississippi.

river so quiet holga

So I walk beside the Des Moines River. I sip my coffee and watch the water pass by. And I think about those courageous coureurs de bois (and they were courageous; it took some massive balls to go wandering in unexplored and often hostile territory), and I think about the European politics that eventually led the United States to the genocide of the natives who lived in the Americas (and the French were just as guilty in this; in 1729 Louis XV authorized the extermination of the Fox Indians because they were interfering with the fur trade). Half a mile south of where the photograph above was taken you can still find the remains of an old fort constructed to protect the French monks who’d come to the New World to force Baby Jesus down the throats of the natives.

So many wonderful and horrible things happened along this river. And the only thing that’s been consistent throughout is the river itself. The river doesn’t care. The buffalo were here, the Indians were here, the French were here, now I’m here.

Given that history, I don’t think this ends particularly well for me.

truckers to shut down america

I love a good protest. There’s nothing more American than a protest (except maybe guns or football — you know what would be SO COOL? If they played a football game on a field surrounded by trucks filled with guns). I’m a huge fan of the right to assemble freely and openly, to speak out against…well, almost any damned thing. It always makes me proud, even if the protest is something I disagree with. Even if the protest is stupid and pointless. And you guys, this IS that protest.

A million truck drivers are planning to show up in Washington, CD in their trucks and shut down America.


They’re not going to shut America down forever, of course. They’re only going to shut it down for three days in October. Just long enough to prove their point. And just what IS their point? I’m glad you asked.

According to, “There are so many reasons we need to rise up.” SO MANY REASONS, you guys. And they listed a few of them, including:

Fuel prices are unnecessarily high. Every American is now paying $4-$5 per gallon because the rich say so. The USA can drill for oil TOMORROW and bring the price of gasoline and diesel under $1.00 a gallon but we are slaves to a bunch of Saudi’s.

We now support Al Qaeda. This must end immediately.

Obama must be impeached for the crimes he has committed while in office. Period. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is a fact. The only reason why he has not been impeached is because Congress refuses to.

The US Constitution is being torn apart. We must arrest and try all legislators who violate the US Constitution.

There are so many cover-ups it is almost impossible to list them here.  Benghazi, Seal Team 6 Six, Osama Bin Laden death, drug running (CIA) and gun running by the US Justice Department.

There you go. The truckers just want the US to drill for oil tomorrow so we can stop being slaves to the Saudis. Is that so unreasonable? Also, they want the US to stop supporting al Qaeda and impeach President Obama (which is totally NOT a conspiracy theory — or any sort of theory at all, but mostly not a conspiracy theory). The truckers also want us to know the only reason Obama hasn’t been impeached yet is because Congress hasn’t impeached him yet. So clearly, the truckers think Congress ought to be arrested for violating the Constitution by not impeaching Obama yet.


Also Benghazi (clearly we don’t know the whole truth there on account of Hilary Clinton isn’t in prison). And Seal Team Six (I guess Obama made their helicopter crash, which is totally an impeachable offense). And Osama bin Laden (who, it seems, died ten years ago and his body is being kept in liquid nitrogen so it can be used as a propaganda tool at a future politically expedient time — frozen Osama, you guys). Plus some other very serious issues, all of which can be dealt with by driving 1,000,000 trucks into the District of Columbia.

The truckers want your support in their effort to shut down America. You, the ordinary non-al Qaeda-supporting citizens of America. They not only want your support, they demand it.

 If you are a fed, a member of the US Military, a law enforcement official, or a member of the judicial system, you have sworn an oath.  You will either join us in upholding you oath, or you will immediately be considered our domestic enemy. The choice is yours.

We want a peaceful resolution.  We don’t even want this event to take place.  If on October 10th, all congressman and senators agree to follow the US Constitution and the law, the event is not necessary.  If they REFUSE to do so, they will be personally responsible for collapsing our system of commerce. The choice is theirs.

They’re really going to do it, all those truckers. They don’t want to, but they’re being forced to because nobody else will enforce the Constitution. So it’s up to truck drivers to deal with it.

It’s totally going to happen. They’re absolutely no-shit going to shut down America. I know this for a fact because somebody told this guy it was going to happen. And this guy, who I’ve never met or heard of, has never lied to me before.

So if you’re like me — if you love a good protest — then you won’t want to miss it when one million trucks jam themselves into downtown DC. Or maybe not a full million. I mean, there are only about 3.5 million truckers in the entire United States, and fewer that 400,000 of them are independent truckers. The rest drive for trucking companies. But I’m sure those companies will be willing to give their drivers a couple days off, and pay for the fuel to get their trucks to DC and back again. They’ll be proud to give up those profits because that’s the American way. And no doubt all those independent truckers will be delighted to give up a couple of days of their time and drive their own trucks to DC at their own expense.

And when they do, they’ll totally shut down America. Because…you know, freedom. It’s what Chuck Norris would want.

trucker chuck norris

that’s why everybody does everything

Last week we almost had a U.S. Science Laureate. You know, an American scientist who’d travel around the nation talking to folks, giving interviews, speaking at schools, fostering a greater understanding of science and the scientific process, trying to inspire more young people to enter the sciences. It would have been an honorary position, like the U.S. Poet Laureate. Well, mostly honorary. The Science Laureate would have received a stipend of US$35,000, which is also the amount provided to the Poet Laureate. In fact, this is possibly the only time in U.S. history when a poet earned as much as a scientist.

Anyway, we almost had one of those. The Science Laureate bill was on the fast track because members of both parties considered it innocuous. Everybody expected it would pass easily.

But no. Congressional Republicans decided to quietly pull the bill creating the Science Laureate position. Why? Because some conservative Republicans thought President Obama might appoint somebody…

“…who will share his view that science should serve political ends on such issues as climate change and regulation of greenhouse gases…. [It’s] a needless addition to the long list of presidential appointments.”

In other words, Republicans had two concerns. First, there was the danger that a Science Laureate might deliberately and willfully talk to people about actual science. Second, it was necessary to kill the position because Obama wanted it. 

There’s a third reason Republicans opposed creating a U.S. Science Laureate:

explain this to me

Explain something to me. A couple of guys in Wisconsin decided to sling their AR-15s over their shoulders, strap sidearms to their belts, and then stroll down to the Appleton, Wisconsin farmer’s market. The farmer’s market, for fucks sake. Where the biggest threat they’d likely have to face would be a smoothie made with kale.

But that’s not what I want you to explain to me.

Even before these yahoos got to the farmer’s market, concerned citizens were dialing 911 to report them. That’s what you do if you see a couple of armed guys approaching a crowded public venue. Why? Because of the mass murder of movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado. Because of the mass murder of first graders in Newtown, Connecticut. Because of the mass murder at a Congresswoman’s meet-and-greet in a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Arizona. Because of what’s happening right now at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC.

You call the police because people carrying guns are likely to be fucking nuts. And the police, if they’re smart and cautious, will respond with weapons drawn — because they know that people carrying guns are likely to be fucking nuts. And that’s what the Appleton police did. They stopped the two guys at gunpoint, handcuffed them, and detained them. Eventually the guys were released, and their weapons were returned.

But that’s not what I want you to explain to me either.

Legal to openly carry in Appleton, Wisconsin

Legal to openly carry in Appleton, Wisconsin

Why would these guys tote weapons to the farmer’s market? Because they’re dicks. Because they were looking to cause a fuss. Because that’s how dicks behave. One of the men, Charles Branstom, said:

“We never did it to prove a point, I carry every day for my safety.”

For his safety. In Appleton, Wisconsin. Where there’s been one murder in the last five years, and only about a hundred robberies. In five years. Yeah, he and his buddy are carrying two weapons each for their safety. Oh, and he’s videotaping the entire thing as well…but no, he’s not trying to prove a point, of course not.

But that’s not what I want explained to me.

On the video you can hear one of the responding police officers explain why these two dolts were stopped.

“I get what you guys are trying to do. … But when you grow up a little bit and you’re a parent and have kids at an event like this and you see someone walk through with guns strapped to their back, your first inclination is going to be, ‘All right, what’s this guy up to? Is my child going to be safe?'”

These two guys are upset, of course. Because the police pointed guns at them. One of them is talking about suing the police department.

“I’m still kind of shaken. I was one nervous twitch away from having a bullet put in me.”

Gun rights advocates all over the Intertubes are horrified that any professional police officer might see a couple of heavily-armed white guys heading toward a public event as some sort of threat. Had they been, say, wearing hoodies or black…well, you know you can’t be too careful. Had they looked Middle Eastern or maybe like somebody from the Indian subcontinent — like, say, Miss America — then sure, the police would have to respond; it might be a terrorist situation. But these guys were white.

But that isn’t what I want explained.

This incident has nothing to do with the right to bear arms; it has everything to do with being a dick. And of course they were trying to prove a point. And hey, they succeeded. The law in Wisconsin (and almost everywhere else in the United States) allows fuckwits like this to openly carry their weapons.

But even that isn’t what I want explained to me.

Illegal to openly carry in Appleton, Wisconsin

Illegal to openly carry in Appleton, Wisconsin

You know what they don’t have the right to carry in public? A Hello Kitty AR-15. No, I’m not making this up. Appleton, Wisconsin has a municipal ordinance that states:

No person may carry or display a facsimile firearm in a manner that could reasonably be expected to alarm, intimidate, threaten or terrify another person.

There. That’s it. Somebody, please, explain that to me.

UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me that the Hello Kitty AR is actually a real weapon, not a toy. So hey, good news — you could legally carry it over your shoulder in Appleton, Wisconsin.

served with pride

So this morning, in an effort to avoid doing the work I really need to be doing, I decided to wade through rabidly conservative again. I usually do this once a week or so.

A lot of my friends think I’m masochistic to read FreeRepublic, but I don’t think so. It’s true that I often find myself offended, or even pissed off, by what I read. And sometimes I find the comments funny in a ‘holy shit, can people really be this stupid’ sort of way. But I should also say that every time I read that site, I find a few people who make logical and valid points. I almost always disagree with those points, but it’s sort of comforting to know that even on FreeRepublic there are rational conservatives.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case this morning. I was most discouraged by a discussion thread grounded in an article in The Guardian: Gay marine bids farewell with show of support from colleagues. I fully expected to find anti-gay comments and slurs in the discussion, but the universal depth of the hatred surprised me. Here are some of the comments:

I support heterosexual troops only. maddog55

The site of that flag dishonored in that way, makes me want to throat punch this homosexual. svcw

You can’t be gay and a Marine. It’s an Oxymoron. It’s like saying you can be a Homosexual and be a Christian. Sorry, direct opposites. Just because the deviant-in-Chief, and his sycophants have (hopefully) temporarily allowed it, does not make it right, correct, or good. SoConPubbie

This is actually a desecration of the flag. You might as well have the queer stripes on our national flag! Disgrace and dishonor. Viennacon

Gay marine bids farewell with show of support from colleagues fellow faggots… Chode

Probably glad to get this c**ks***er out of their unit. Well, he is isn’t he! Ruy Dias de Bivar

United States Maureens. twister881

Fag. servo1969

i wanna puke but working here in faggotland, my puke levels have reached the bottom. americana

Another daily reminder of what a sick, utterly deviant country this has become. A disgraceful abomination. greene66

I’m a veteran. I served four long full years as a medic. I come from a Marine Corps family (I was the only member of my family NOT to serve in the Marines). I may not always like what the military does, or how they do it — but anybody who puts on a uniform and serves the nation deserves a certain amount of respect.

Bryan Eberly, U.S. Marine

Bryan Eberly, U.S. Marine

Not to get dramatic, but there are occupations in which you have to rely on your comrades. Police officers, firefighters, military troops. You don’t have to like the person you’re working with, you don’t have to agree with them, you don’t need to be friends with them, but you goddamn better be able to rely on them. And they goddamn better be able to rely on you. Religion doesn’t matter, sexual orientation doesn’t matter, race doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter — not when you need a hand. When you need a hand and that hand is extended, you grab hold. When somebody else needs a hand, you extend yours and you hang on tight. It’s just that simple.

The military depends on unit cohesion. Bigots like maddog55 or SoConPubbie argue that openly gay troops are a threat to unit cohesion. The fact is, they are the threat. If you’re unwilling to extend your hand to help somebody because of some immutable aspect of that person’s being, then you make the unit weak.

The marine in the article, Bryan Eberly, needed courage and trust in order to come out as gay. That’s what you look for, courage and trust. I’d much rather serve in a unit with Bryan Eberly than any of the so-called ‘patriots’ above, who apparently believe only certain people deserve respect.

Addendum: And just to prove my earlier point about, there’s this new comment in the discussion thread:

I’m grateful for his service. onona

The odds are I probably wouldn’t agree with onona on many issues, but he now has my respect. I’d extend my hand to him. Hell, I’d even extend my hand to maddog55 — but I wouldn’t trust the hateful bastard to extend his to me.

straight to the heart

A little over a year ago, while taking a walk along the river, I noticed a sketch of a woman’s face on a bridge abutment. To my surprise, it turned out to be a sketch of Louise Brooks.

Sketch of Louise Brooks, August 15, 2012

Sketch of Louise Brooks — August 15, 2012

Last Thursday I found myself walking along that same stretch of river again. I’d walked by that bridge abutment several times over the last year, but it was almost always inaccessible. In the winter, ice made that part of the riverwalk unsafe, and it was blocked off. Then for several weeks in the spring, the area was flooded and much of the riverwalk was under water. At one point the river covered half the balustrade. The area was also closed much of the summer to complete the final phase of the multi-year riverwalk redevelopment project.

Ice, flooding, weather, construction work — it seemed unlikely the sketch would have survived the events of last year. But it did. Barely.

Louise Brooks -- September 5, 2013

Sketch of Louise Brooks — September 5, 2013

All that remained was a faint trace of the original sketch. Just the suggestion of eyes and lips, just a hint of the shape of her hair — that distinctive flapper bob. It would be easy to overlook the sketch, if you didn’t know it was there.

I was ridiculously pleased to see it again. It’s not just that I’m fond of the sketch, though I am. It’s that I feel some sort of strange connection with whoever made the sketch. I’ve no idea what prompted that person to make a portrait of a once-famous figure on the abutment of that bridge, but I can’t help feeling as if I was the intended audience. Not me specifically, of course, but surely the artist must have hoped somebody would see the sketch and recognize that face and appreciate it.

louise brooks2

It’s all so improbable. Improbable that somebody would sketch a portrait of Louise Brooks on the side of a bridge in Des Moines, Iowa. Improbable that I’d recognize her face. Improbable that Louise Brooks lived the life she did. Improbable that the sketch would still be there after a year.

It’s all so improbable — and it’s so perfectly poetic. In 1989, four years after her death, biographer Barry Paris wrote this about Louise Brooks:

Nobody burned more bridges than Louise Brooks, or left prettier blazes on two continents. People around her scrambled for cover, but she watched the flames with a child’s pyromaniacal glee…. With the advent of talkies, her name would largely disappear, but her face would not: a girl in a Prince Valiant bob, with electrifying eyes that drilled straight to the heart from the silent screen and left you weak when you met their gaze. Eyes that beckoned not so much ‘come hither’ as ‘I’ll come to you.’

Her name would largely disappear, but her face would not. Barry Paris was right. It’s still there, fading gradually.

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks

damn that obama

If there was any humor to be found in the Syrian situation (and really, there isn’t) it would come from congressional Republicans. Let’s hear from North Texas Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe (the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee) back on May 9th:

“At stake for U.S. national security, our partners in the region and for the future of the Syrian people are over 1,000 tons of chemical weapons that could end up in the hands of terrorists….  A solution to Syria will not be easy. Enforcing a no-fly zone, even a limited no fly zone, has many risks including ineffectiveness against low flying attack aircraft, misidentifying civilian aircraft, and the potential for escalation. Boots on the ground could accelerate the growth of extremist influence and create more support for Assad rather than hasten his removal. But just because the choices before us are hard doesn’t mean the United States has the luxury of sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing.

It’s more important now than ever that President Obama step up and exhibit the leadership required of the commander in chief. It’s time he clearly articulate a plan to help stem the violence, lead the international community, and demonstrate to Assad that his barbaric actions have consequences. Continued inaction by the president, after establishing a clear red line, will embolden Assad and his benefactors in Tehran to continue their brutal assault against the Syrian people…. Doing nothing encourages bad actors to take larger gambles in an unstable region. Assad, and the rest of the world, must clearly understand that crossing an American red line has consequences”

Damn that Obama, he just won’t step up to protect Syrian civilians and do what’s necessary for freedom.

Senator James Inhofe, Pro-Intervention Republican

Senator James Inhofe, Pro-Intervention Republican

Then, of course, President Obama started exhibiting “the leadership required of the commander in chief” just like Inhofe demanded. And since Obama was for intervention, then it clearly had to be not only the wrong thing to do, but also a reckless, dangerous, anti-freedom thing to do. Here’s Inhofe yesterday:

“We know that an attack on Syria could have repercussions on Israel, but no one is talking about the decimation of our military. Today, we can afford to launch 30 cruise missiles into Syria, but we cannot ignore that such an attack on another country is an act of war. The state of our military today cannot afford another war.”

Damn that Obama, he’s not willing to protect our fragile military and do what’s necessary for freedom.

Senator James Inhofe, Anti-Intervention Republican

Senator James Inhofe, Anti-Intervention Republican

Anybody can change their mind, of course. Sometimes, after consideration and reflection, a person might realize that their earlier position was flawed. So maybe Senator Inhofe simply had a change of heart; maybe his response wasn’t just a partisan attack on the president.

Senator James Inhofe, Uncomfortably Confused Republican

Senator James Inhofe, Uncomfortably Confused Republican

But nope. After supporting some sort of military action, Inhofe now opposes some sort of military action…except that he believes we have a responsibility to engage in some sort of military action.

“As a superpower, we have a responsibility to follow through on what we say and ensure the security of our allies and partners. We must also ensure our military has the means to fulfill those responsibilities. Our president has failed to live up to those responsibilities.”

Damn that Obama, he’s…he’s…damn him.

There are principled arguments to make against any military strike in Syria. There are principles arguments to make in favor of it as well. Then there’s the modern Republican argument, which makes up in passion what it lacks in principle. They are fervently, ardently, zealously opposed to anything Obama is for.