Friday, October 29, 2004

Question: Do you know the difference between Iraq and VietNam?

Answer: George W Bush had a plan for getting out of VietNam!

Mrs. Mac says VOTE!

For our New York friends, Mrs. Mac provides this information for finding your polling place. It is imperative that we all vote, and sometimes polling places are moved. Call now to confirm the location of the polls for your precinct!

Toll Free: 1.866.VOTE-NYC (1.866.868.3692)
Outside of New York City: 1.212.VOTE-NYC
TDD: 1.212.487.5496

Keep reading for more Friday posts.

No Satan on the Sabbath?

There have always been religious whackos in America. This continent, although already inhabited by millions of aborigines, was re-settled by religious whackos from England in the seventeenth century.

Fortunately, for people with functioning brains, the founders of this great nation installed a separation between church and state so that all citizens (idiots, thinkers, pagans, everybody) would be welcome to live their lives free from the greatest tyranny ever known in western civilization: religious crusades and inquisitions.

I happen to be a person of religious conviction. My religious beliefs are somewhat unorthodox because I use the brain that comes with my anatomy. Therefore, I am unable and unwilling to suffer gladly the idiocy of fundamentalism or the assholes who go around promoting war and intolerance, because God spoke to them.

Just in case you don't know from personal experience: God doesn't talk to people! Never has. Anyone who says God spoke to them is a liar.

Christmas is a wonderful time for me, because I love the pageantry and story-telling about the birth of Jesus. I also love the non-religious rituals: decorating a tree, swapping gifts, eating and drinking to excess, the hedonistic, avaricious, prideful, gluttonous, envious rituals of good, old-fashioned American partying!

I see that these two celebrations can co-exist.

The same is true for the joint celebrations of All Hallows Eve and Halloween. October 31 is the day before the celebration of the feast of All Saints. Not just St. Patrick or St. Mary, but ALL the saints. It's a pretty nifty religious celebration. I like it.

I am not a particular fan of Halloween, but I have no objection to it. I just find it tedious. I love that kids have so much fun and I wish it was a holiday just for children. I am bored by the adults who dress-up on Halloween.

This year for Halloween, I will take my daughter to a haunted carousel and we will laugh and take pictures. I look forward to this fun. That's what Haloween is: FUN!

I will not take my daughter to church on All Saints Day because she is too young to appreciate it.

Still, I like these holidays being back-to-back.

Enter, please, the christian whackos!

This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday. For christians, this is the Sabbath. As the article below illustrates, some whackos think one holiday should be changed because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. That's right! These idiots think Halloween should be moved to a different day because it interferes with their church-going!

Excuse me? Exactly which kind of idiot are you? Let me explain this for you, while you wipe the Jesus out of your eyes:

You get up in the morning this Sunday.
You pray and meditate.
You bathe and clean yourself.
You have breakfast.
You go to church.
You come home.
You have lunch.
You dress your children in their cute little costumes.
You go trick-or-treating.
You come home.
You argue with your children about how much candy they can eat.
You eat dinner.
You clean and get ready for bed.
You watch your children in a pool of tears crash from their sugar buzz.
You go to bed.
It's almost Monday.

It's really simple.

Please enjoy this Yahoo! about the issue:

Sunday Halloween Irks Some in Bible Belt
By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writer

NEWNAN, Ga. - Across the Bible Belt this Halloween, some little ghosts and goblins might get shooed away by the neighbors — and some youngsters will not be allowed to go trick-or-treating at all — because the holiday falls on a Sunday this year.

"It's a day for the good Lord, not for the devil," said Barbara Braswell, who plans to send her 4-year-old granddaughter Maliyah out trick-or-treating in a princess costume on Saturday instead.

Some towns around the country are decreeing that Halloween be celebrated on Saturday to avoid complaints from those who might be offended by the sight of demons and witches ringing their doorbell on the Sabbath. Others insist the holiday should be celebrated on Oct. 31 no matter what.

"Moving it, that's like celebrating Christmas a week early," said Veronica Wright, who bought a Power Rangers costume for her son in Newnan. "It's just a kid thing. It's not for real."

It is an especially sensitive issue for authorities in the Bible Belt across the South.

"You just don't do it on Sunday," said Sandra Hulsey of Greenville, Ga. "That's Christ's day. You go to church on Sunday, you don't go out and celebrate the devil. That'll confuse a child."

In Newnan, a suburb south of Atlanta, the City Council decided to go ahead with trick-or-treating on Sunday. In 1999, the last time Oct. 31 fell on a Sunday, the city moved up trick-or-treating to Saturday, which brought howls of protest.

"We don't need to confuse people with this," Councilman George Alexander said.

In Vestavia Hills, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham, a furor erupts every time Halloween falls on Sunday. Local officials decided not to take a stand this time.

"About 15 years ago, we decided to have Halloween on Saturday instead. People went crazy. We said, `Never again,'" recalled Starr Burbic, longtime secretary to the mayor. "It messed everybody up to move Halloween. Some people don't like having it on a Sunday, but we just couldn't find a way to make everyone happy."

The patchwork of trick-or-treat zones could work to children's advantage: Some might go out on both nights to get all the treats they can.

With so many towns split over when Halloween should be celebrated, many are going with a porch-light compromise: If people do not want trick-or-treaters, they simply turn off their lights, and parents are asked not to have kids knock there.

"Most people don't have a problem with it. It's a pretty universal compromise, so that's what we go with," said Grand Rapids, Mich., police Lt. Douglas Brinkley.

Mrs. Mac says VOTE!

For our New York friends, Mrs. Mac provides this information for finding your polling place. It is imperative that we all vote, and sometimes polling places are moved. Call now to confirm the location of the polls for your precinct!

Toll Free: 1.866.VOTE-NYC (1.866.868.3692)
Outside of New York City: 1.212.VOTE-NYC
TDD: 1.212.487.5496

Thursday, October 28, 2004

How many members of the Bush Administration does it take to change a light bulb?


  1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.
  2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.
  3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb.
  4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either to help us change the light bulb or they are for darkness.
  5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb, which is substandard and doesn't light.
  6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner "Light Bulb Change Accomplished."
  7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally "in the dark."
  8. One to viciously smear #7.
  9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along; and
  10. One to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

Thanks to Dave for sending this along!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes

Good shoes are important.

Good computer maintenance is important, too.

I'm a computer guy, and like the cobbler's children, my PC does not receive the same attention and care that my clients' computers and programs receive.

My PC has died. Got a worm, it seems. My ability to blog is currently hampered, but not completely kaput!

I have lost the directories with the pictures of my family, and that makes me sad. Some are backed-up, others are not. Such is life.

Please excuse any disruption in service.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Banana Republican Catalogue

Rather busy with computer problems, fatherhood and work. Imagine!

Please enjoy this link to Jest Magazine's Banana Republican catalogue!

Thanks to Paul for sending it along!

Monday, October 25, 2004

"Suddenly there was a big tongue down my throat! It was Freddie Mercury."

"Suddenly there was a big tongue down my throat! It was Freddie Mercury," says David Bailey, the photographer who was given the task of shooting the stars at Wembley Sytadium for Live Aid in 1985. Live Aid was one of the most remarkable events in the history of Western Civilization. Nothing like that could take place today, because we've so royally screwed-up the entire planet, sullied our relations with every other country, and abandoned our own sense of responsibility as the most powerful nation.

But, on July 13, 1985, the revolution had been televised. I watched! Did you?

On Sunday, October 17, 2004, The Guardian Unlimted published "Live aid in their own words."
(reprinted here without permission)

Also in the same edition is "Live Aid: the view from the pitch. Nothing was going to stop a schoolboy fan of the Boomtown Rats making it to Wembley on that fateful day. Peter Paphides recalls every high and low from halfway back in the stadium"
(not reprinted here)

Live aid in their own words

For the first time, the full backstage story of Live Aid, in the words of the people who made it happen. Interviews by Carl Wilkinson

Sunday October 17, 2004
The Observer

On 24 October 1984, BBC journalist Michael Buerk reports on the terrible famine that has hit Ethiopia. The dispatch subsequently airs on 425 stations around the world.

Michael Buerk: I was based in Johannesburg at the time and was the BBC's correspondent in Africa. The rains that should have come in around August to Ethiopia had failed again for the sixth season running and it tipped over from being a crisis to a catastrophe. People suddenly realised they were going to die and this huge mass migration started. It tipped very quickly.

We flew and then drove up there and the roads were just littered with dying people. It was extraordinary, it was just on such a huge scale. At Korem there were 40,000-45,000 people, and in Makele there were another 80,000-90,000. They tended to congregate along the spinal road that led north from Addis where they thought relief would get to them.

It's difficult to express the inadequacy I felt. You take refuge in the technicalities of filming, finding sequences, working out the logistics and so on. There were two films, two pieces that finally aired. I knew they wanted about three minutes, but I cut eight and thought, fuck 'em. In those days as a foreign correspondent, communications being what they were, I tended to work on the basis that they got what they were given. I knew it was a very powerful film.

Television audiences weren't as fragmented then, so the Nine O'Clock News had an audience of around 10 million, the lunchtime news and the Six O'Clock around five and a half million each. You were reaching well over half the population, even pop singers.

Midge Ure, Ultravox and Band Aid trustee: I was in Newcastle for The Tube, a rock programme hosted by Paula Yates [also Bob Geldof's girlfriend] and Jools Holland, when Michael Buerk's news footage was shown. They kept showing it over and over so I knew what it was all about when I met up with Bob and he told me he wanted to do something to help. We came to the obvious conclusion that the only thing we were capable of doing was putting a record together.

Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet: The day after Michael Buerk's report I was in an antiques store on the King's Road. Geldof saw me and came in. He sucked the air out of the place and took over, as he does. He said, 'Did you see the news last night?' He was clearly very moved. 'Maybe if we got a few people together, yourselves, Duran and some others, would you be interested in making a record?' I said yeah, sure and that was it. I went off on tour and wound up in a TV studio in Dortmund with Duran Duran the day before the recording. Duran say they raced us back to London and Nick Rhodes says he phoned ahead to get a make-up artist. I'm not sure how much of that is true, there are so many myths ...

On 24 November, 1984, a star-studded group of musicians convene in a London studio to produce 'Do They Know it's Christmas?'.

Phil Collins: I turned up expecting the band to be George Michael, Sting, Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and me on drums. Instead there was this assembled Who's Who. I'd met Sting before, and always thought he was hip and I wasn't, but we struck up a friendship that day. I also remember that I'd heard about Bono, but he and Paul Weller and all these guys didn't seem like me, they seemed a bit unapproachable. I ended up standing next to Bono at the end of the record and he was fantastic. I've seen him a few times since and we always hark back to Band Aid.

Francis Rossi, Status Quo: It was crazy. A really crazy day. There were shitloads of drugs - coke, dope, all sorts. Everyone was going bananas. Rick [Parfitt of the Quo] told me recently that he got so out of it he couldn't sing anymore and was so annoyed on his way home that he was almost arrested for kicking road cones. Everybody was just totally out of it and Rick and I were the drug centre. People were saying, 'Let's go and see Doctor Rossi and Doctor Parfitt, shall we?'

Midge Ure: We finished the record at about 8am and it went straight on a bike to the pressing plant. Bob took a cassette round to Radio 1 where he said, 'Life this year is a piece of plastic with a hole in the middle.' We were hoping to sell around 100,000 copies and get the Christmas number one.

'Do They Know it's Christmas?' is released on 25 November, 1984 and goes to number one. It becomes the fastest-selling single of all time, and also hits number one in 12 other countries.

Michael Buerk: When I heard about the Band Aid record, I thought, 'Who are these creeps?' I had the stereotypical view of rock singers as self-indulgent airheads lining their pockets. I went back to Ethiopia a fortnight after Christmas and there were about eight Hercules [aircraft, carrying aid] on the ground where we'd flown in. It was impressive.

Midge Ure: Bob then said we needed to break this trucking cartel in Ethiopia and buy a fleet of trucks and spares to deliver the aid. We didn't have the money so Bob came in with this little drawing of the world with a knife and fork and the idea to do a concert. This mad, mad idea just grew.

Harvey Goldsmith, concert promoter and Band Aid trustee: I didn't really get a chance to say no. Bob arrived in my office and basically said, 'We're doing this.' It started from there.

Andy Zweck, production manager: People now say, how could an artist refuse to be on a show like that? But my memory prior to the event was how Bob and Harvey Goldsmith struggled to get the artists and struggled to get the show in America. Bob had to play some tricks to get artists involved. He had to call Elton and say Queen are in and Bowie's in, and of course they weren't. Then he'd call Bowie and say Elton and Queen are in. It was a game of bluff.

Bob Geldof: When I announced it, the only one who was dithering, as ever, was Bryan Ferry. So I just said, ' ... and Bryan Ferry.' And he rang to say, 'I didn't say "yeah".' I said, 'Well, say "no", then. You're the one who can announce it though.'

Harvey Goldsmith: At one point Bob and I sat in my boardroom with David Bowie and Mick Jagger at the other end, trying to figure out how we could do a duet with one of them in America and the other one in the UK, and could we send one of them up in a rocket? It was just nuts.

The BBC agree to cover the event, clearing their schedules to run the 16-hour concert in its entirety on BBC1 and BBC2 and on Radio 1.

Andy Zweck: When the BBC turned up with a running schedule we thought, 'Here are some blokes who know what they're doing.' Then we saw the running order and just laughed. It was down to the minute. Down to the second.

Harvey Goldsmith: The day before the concert I went out and bought 20 or 30 very large clocks and just stuck them everywhere. I sent notes round to every single act saying, I don't care what time you go on I only care what time you come off.

Bob Geldof: I was shitting myself. If the bands didn't show up, 17 hours of the Boomtown Rats would have been a little too much for anybody. Paula put down white towels to sleep on that night because I had cold sweats.

Suddenly the day arrives: 13 July, 1985

TV presenter Noel Edmonds: I had a helicopter company based in Battersea at the time. We shuttled people into London Transport's cricket ground, about 400 yards from Wembley Stadium. On the day it was the climax of their cricket tournament, and they wouldn't abandon their game for us so the umpires had whistles and when they saw a helicopter coming they blew the whistles and cleared the field for us to land.

I seem to remember that David Bowie's management said he only flew in a blue helicopter - that's blue on the inside - and we managed to find one. I was killing time with him at Battersea before he flew in and I said, 'look at the inside of this helicopter!' He looked at me as if I were mad. He didn't give a shit what colour the helicopter was.

Gary Kemp: I flew in with the rest of the band and Kenny Jones, the drummer with the Who. It hit us then, flying over the stadium and seeing the thousands of people coming into the stadium. There was this sense of a grand event going on that could equal England winning the World Cup in 1966 or the Coronation of 1953. This was something that would be stamped on everybody. It was a day when, no matter how young you were, you remembered where you were.

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at Wembley to meet the stars at 11.30am.

Bernard Doherty, PR chief: Everybody showed - Bowie, Elton, everyone. They lined up around the edge of the banqueting room with its shiny floor and stood looking at one another.

Jill S Sinclair, producer of The Tube and the forthcoming Live Aid DVD: Paula Yates had to stop at a petrol station on the way to Wembley because she remembered she hadn't got any flowers for Princess Diana. Just as her daughter Fifi was about to hand over the flowers during the royal line-up, she realised that the price was still on these cheap garage-bought flowers. Fifi hadn't wanted to present the flowers, so Paula had bribed her with the promise of some more smoked salmon. When Fifi handed over the flowers she said to the Princess, 'More fish, please.'

'It's 12 noon in London ...' DJ Richard Skinner announces the concert and Live Aid begins with the Coldstream Guards playing the Royal Salute before Status Quo launch into 'Rockin' All Over the World'.

Brian May, Queen: We weren't on until later, but we went down for the opening and sat in the Royal Box with Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Then Status Quo came on and started. I thought they rose to the occasion magnificently.

Francis Rossi: With a large audience like that you do usually get a good vibe, but there was something totally unique and I'm not sure I've ever felt it since. They weren't just people paying to see a show, they were part of it. There was such a euphoric feeling in that arena.

It went in such a flash. I remember I got my face burnt because the sun was hitting the stage. It was a scorching day, a perfect day.

We came off stage and got pissed real quick. I just hung about for the rest of the day. I think we'd been off a while when Bob came up and said, 'Fucking hell, apparently there are two billion people watching.' I thought, 'I'm glad you didn't tell me that before.'

Following Status Quo's performance, the Style Council take to the stage, followed by Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats.

Gary Kemp: Dare I say it, it was evangelical, that moment when Geldof stopped 'I Don't Like Mondays' and raised his fist in the air. He was a sort of statesman. A link between punk and the New Romantics and the Eighties. You would follow him. He just has a huge charisma; he'd make a frightening politician.

Bob Geldof: It was only when I walked on stage with the band that the romance of it and the hugeness of it got to me. That moment when I pull up sharp on 'Mondays' - 'and the lesson today is how to die' - time became elastic, like I stood there for hours and my hand just stayed in mid-air.

My dad was there - not a great time with him, but he was there - and every person I had ever met in my life in the world was probably watching.

At 1pm, Adam Ant plays 'Vive le Rock', then Midge Ure's band Ultravox come on after a video link-up with INXS in Australia. Next up are Spandau Ballet, followed by Elvis Costello, Nik Kershaw, BB King, Sade, then Sting and Phil Collins.

Phil Collins: I remember coming off stage and David Bailey had this little stand to take photographs of all the performers. I had a few taken of me which I now have in my house.

David Bailey, photographer: The atmosphere on the day was great. At one point I got a tap on my shoulder and spun round. Suddenly there was a big tongue down my throat! It was Freddie Mercury.

Phil Collins leaves Wembley via helicopter just before 4pm and flies to Heathrow where he connects with a waiting Concorde. He is en route to Philadelphia to join the US leg of Live Aid, where a similarly spectacular line-up is waiting to play at JFK Stadium. The show opens at 2pm with Joan Baez.

Phil Collins: All the baggage handlers came out to wave goodbye, then we took off in Concorde. Cher was on the flight, just heading back the States and I'd never met her before so I went over and said hello - you know, 'Hi, I bought 'I Got You Babe'!' - and she asked what was going on. I told her about Live Aid and she asked whether I could get her on. I told her to just turn up.

I was supposed to do a live broadcast from Concorde. The Captain obviously knew about it and said I could do it but that I wasn't to tell anybody because he wasn't supposed to let me. I thought this was crazy. Here he was telling me not to tell anybody and the broadcast's about to go out to 1.5 billion people.

At Wembley, Howard Jones is followed by Bryan Ferry, just after 4pm.

Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music: I have terrible memories of it all going wrong. I'd put together an all-star band and the set was fraught with problems. We had David Gilmour on guitar and, poor David, his guitar wasn't working for the first couple of songs. With his first hit, the drummer put his stick through the drum skin. And then my microphone wasn't working, which for a singer is a bit of a handicap. A roadie ran on with another mic so then I was holding two mics taped together and I wasn't really sure which one to sing into. It was a great day though.

Paul Young and Alison Moyet follow, then Geldof welcomes Philadelphia at 5pm. Bryan Adams is the first artist to perform via the Transatlantic link-up.

Bryan Adams: It was bedlam backstage. I remember I walked up the stairs to the stage and Yoko Ono passed me. When I got to the top of the stairs someone said that I was to start after the gentleman introduced me. That gentleman was Jack Nicholson.

Jack Nicholson, compering in the States, then introduces U2 at Wembley. Bono takes to the stage to perform 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and 'Bad' before dragging a girl out of the audience and dancing with her on stage.

Brian May, Queen: U2 were relatively unknown at that point and I remember watching them that day and thinking, 'Wow, they're something to look out for.'

At 5.40pm the Beach Boys come on stage in Philadelphia, the first of a series of Sixties and Seventies heavyweights.

Bruce Johnston, Beach Boys: The jungle drums beat fast and furious for young people in the States. Word got out and we knew, we really knew what Live Aid was about. I think if America hadn't understood the cause nobody would have shown up. But we got it and it was a great thing to be doing. Everyone pretty much played their hits.

After the Beach Boys, Dire Straits play London, followed by Queen.

Brian May: I remember a huge rush of adrenalin as I went on stage and a massive roar from the crowd, and then all of us just pitching in. Looking back, I think we were all a bit over-excited, and I remember coming off and thinking it was very scrappy. But there was a lot of very good energy too.

Freddie was our secret weapon. He was able to reach out to everybody in that stadium effortlessly, and I think it was really his night.

At around 7pm, Chevy Chase in Philadephia introduces a video of David Bowie and Mick Jagger performing 'Dancing in the Streets'. Simple Minds follow in the States, and then David Bowie (after a brief power failure) at Wembley.

Francis Rossi: Bowie was the only one sober, immaculately dressed, when everyone else looked shit-faced. I never found out how he'd managed it.

Bowie then introduces a video from CBC television of footage from Ethiopia, cut to the Cars' song 'Drive'.

Harvey Goldsmith: One afternoon before the concert, Bowie was up in the office and we started looking through some videos of news footage, and we watched the CBC piece. Everyone just stopped. Bowie said, 'You've got to put that in the show, it's the most dramatic thing I've ever seen. I'll give up one of my numbers.' That was probably one of the most evocative things in the whole show and really got the money rolling in.

Jill S Sinclair: Paula and I were filming backstage for a Tube special that was due to go out at Christmas. The interviews were more like a gossip between old friends - what was it like and so on. In a break Paula and I sat down and tried to figure out some questions that would spark a different response. We came up with a list including, 'What are you going to do now?' The first person we thought we'd try it on was David Bowie. I grabbed him and she asked the new question - 'What are you going to do now?' He looked at her, then straight into the camera and said, 'I'm going to go home, and I'm going to have a really good fuck.'

The Pretenders play in America, followed by the Who at Wembley.

Brian May: I watched the Who from the side of the stage and it was obvious they weren't getting on very well with each other. Sparks were flying - it was actually quite exciting.

In America, Santana play, followed by Kool and the Gang and Madonna. Wembley sees Elton John, singing with Kiki Dee and George Michael, followed by a Freddie Mercury and Brian May duet and then Paul McCartney.

Jeff Griffin, senior producer Radio 1: When McCartney started to play we had no feed. We found it about two minutes into the song, and then the crowd cheered.

After Paul McCartney finishes 'Let it Be', singing with Pete Townshend, Alison Moyet, Geldof and Bowie, they are joined on stage by the Band Aid artists for the rousing finale just before 10pm.

Bernard Doherty: My overriding memory of the day was that it was all so English. Organised chaos. I had to go and photocopy 'Do They Know it's Christmas?' because Bob suddenly realised half the acts didn't know the words!

The action moves to Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium slowly empties.

Midge Ure: I got stuck driving through the streets of Wembley with all the audience squished up around the car, walking home or back to the tube. People were throwing open their doors and having parties. It was like Hogmanay in Glasgow. People were inviting complete strangers in off the street. This is London, that just doesn't happen. But it happened that night.

Live Aid carries on in America; acts include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Thompson Twins and Eric Clapton. Phil Collins arrives.

Phil Collins: I landed in New York, said my goodbyes to Cher and headed to the stadium in Philadelphia. When I got there I discovered that it wasn't so much me playing with my mates Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, but a Zeppelin reunion. I'd always heard that individually these guys were great, but together there was this black cloud that appeared. I talked to Tony Thompson, the other drummer on the day, about playing with two drummers - some thing I'd done quite a lot - and I really got the impression that he didn't want me to be there. As soon as I got up on stage I could see it was going to be a weird one. Tony Thompson was just playing whatever he wanted. But then the essence of the day was about being there and doing the best you can, up to your neck in muck and bullets.

Duran Duran, Patti Labelle and Hall and Oates follow, before Mick Jagger performs three songs and then duets with Tina Turner.

Tina Turner: The only thing I remember of the day is stabbing Mick in the foot with my high heels in the middle of 'It's Only Rock and Roll'. And then they put us on the cover of Life magazine!

It's 3.30am in London when Jack Nicholson introduces Bob Dylan, who performs a short and shambolic set with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. The USA for Africa artists then take to the stage for the US finale.

Phil Collins: By the time I'd finished it just felt like 5am to me and I didn't think I could carry on to the finale so I went back to my hotel in New York and got there just in time to catch the end of the show on TV. Everyone came on to sing 'We Are the World' and there, at the back, was Cher, singing along. She'd just turned up!

The Live Aid legacy ...

Harvey Goldsmith: Our target until the week of the show was £1million. That was our target. The night before the concert Bob and I thought we might actually make £5million. Little did any of us realise just how much would come in.

I think we raised in excess of $140m. We don't advertise, but it still comes in.

Michael Buerk: I didn't see Live Aid. I knew it was happening, but South African television didn't carry it. South Africa was the story of the day with townships in flames and riots. On the day of Live Aid I was actually being teargassed by the police.

The money raised, however, would have saved about one to two million lives. Live Aid made a terrific difference. But actually, the key thing it did, which utterly dwarfed Band Aid and Live Aid, was to force a change of policy in the EU and particularly in the UK and America. The public opinion that they mobilised and represented was what counted.

Midge Ure: A little girl who used to live next door to me a few years ago told me recently that she had learned about us in history. She said she had been reading about it all and my name had come up. That's just weird. I think the legacy of Live Aid is not just the fact that there are people alive today who wouldn't have been alive, but I think young people's perspective of charity has changed. Twenty years ago charity was something the Women's Institute did. All of a sudden their heroes are up there saying, 'I'm involved.'


Friday, October 22, 2004

David Bowie Heads for Space (and we hope his spaceship knows which way to go)

This article appeared at


DAVID BOWIE's classic hit SPACE ODDITY has been chosen as the first track to be played on the first commercial space trip for tourists.

The 1969 hit has topped a poll to find the ultimate play list for the trips, which are due to start within the next three years.

The songs will be heard on the new three-hour VIRGIN GALACTIC flights which will cost nearly $200,000 (GBP111,100) per person.

Other tracks that made the shuttle's playlist included OASIS' ALL AROUND THE WORLD and HERE COMES THE SUN by THE BEATLES.

As much as I love David Bowie's "Space Oddity," I am surprised that a space mission would use a song about a cowboy being lost in space during its flight. If I were to be floating in a tin can far from the world, I would not want to hear someone singing about losing contact with Earth. Maybe "I Took A Ride On A Gemini Spaceraft" would have been a better choice.

Still, I love that David Bowie is garnering a bigger and more significant role in our culture and history. He is one of the most creative minds of his generation and deserve accolades unending.

Let's hear more Bowie cuts as theme songs!

Congratulations, sailor!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Filmstrips International Presents . . .

You're An Asshole

Now here's some wonderful name-calling.

I say it's about time the liberals started fighting back! Conservatives have been name-calling for decades -- it's their best weapon! Since the Anita Bryant Campaign of Homophobia in 1977 the American right-wing has been smearing every intellectual and progressive movement that strives to make the world a better place. And they always use name-calling!

It is not liberals who have been name-calling since the mid-1970s. It wasn't liberals name-calling between 1947 and 1958, either. It was the right-wingers. It is their favorite method of scaring Americans into voting for them. Name-calling. It's always the right-wingers.

Now right-wingers and their apologists are all shocked and appalled that liberals dare to use any name-calling at all. I say: 'let's give 'em a taste of their own medicine!'

Now that the shitty conservatives have run America into the ground, turned capitalism into socialism-for-the-rich and free-enterprise-for-the-middle-class, have turned the Constitution into so much inconvenience, and have started a war at whose altar we can sacrifice a generation of working people, it's time to call an ass an ass.

The current American president is an obsessive religious zealot -- an ass, the Governor of California is a Nazi-loving sex-crazed ass, the vice-president is a hypocritical ass who flip-flops on social and finance issues as it suits him and his family, the attorney general is a lying sack of shit who would rather imprison dissenters than admit there are multiple opinions -- he's an ass, and the media outlets who lie to protect these asses are owned by asses who have stripped the American people of the honor and pleasure of leading the world.

These scum asses have left our great nation in a shambles. They want to return us to an unenlightened time where leaders proclaim that they lead by Divine Intervention, that in their prayers God tells them what to do! Then they strip every working man of his hard-earned pay to grant tax cuts to billionaires.

You know why this sounds like a description of the Dark Ages? Because this is what the church did in the early part of the second millennium: they scared the shit out of the citizenry and taxed them to near-starvation. They imprisoned and tortured people and discredited the greatest minds of their time. And this is what the American right-wing does today!

I call people like this a bunch of assholes, and it has been put to music by some very smart people.

You're An Asshole


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against The Machine

A lounge act is a lounge act, right?!?!?! WRONG! Especially when the lounge act has an actual message to deliver!

Richard Cheese will not perform again until Bush is removed from office. The last show was in Las Vegas on September 5, 2004, and he is not kidding about this. Dick and the boys are doing in-store appearances, radio shows, and the like; but no more concerts until the current American president is removed from office.

So, if the immoral, unwinnable war in Iraq that is seeing Humans (including our own citizens) killed at an alarming rate is not enough to vote against Bush, then maybe this is.

If the fact that the current American president has tanked our economy with policies so wacky that Richard Nixon must be rolling in his grave, then please vote against the incumbent so we can see Dick and the boys perform again.

If the fact that the current American president is a religious fanatic to rival any Ayatollah (and sees himself as the leader of a crusade) is not enough to scare you, then vote him out just for Dick and the boys!

Visit and check out their stuff. I am particularly fascinated by the Huge Dick Sale! You can even see & hear the band perform!

Thanks to KMSV for sending this along!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Boston Sports Teams Are Like Relationships

Boston sports teams are like men in relationships:

The Patriots are like the new boyfriend that you really like - he's awesome but almost too good to be true, so you worry.

The Bruins are like the guy that you just casually dated and you don't really care about him, he's just something to do.

The Celtics are like the relationship that was great at one time but has lost its spark and you always kinda look back and think about how great it was.

And the Red Sox are the hardcore abusive husband who just absolutely beats the crap out of you, but day after day you always go back to him cause you always believe that tomorrow will be different and you just love him too much.

Did you see Jon Stewart on Crossfire? Amazing!

You can see it at the No Bush in 04! site by clicking THIS LINK!

Monday, October 18, 2004

We Now Interrupt This Blog . . .

Did you see Jon Stewart on Crossfire? Amazing!

You can see it at the No Bush in 04! site by clicking here!

"No, no, it's Sweden that has no army." He's Stupid or Crazy!

Finally, someone in the media has written an article that points out that the current American president is a religious whacko! More fortunately, the source for the story is a high-ranking Republican from the Reagan and Bush administrations, so it cannot be said that the liberal media is just making up stories because they don't like stupid people (like the president and those who plan to vote for him). We all like stupid people! They are adorable, especially when they learn to type and make complete sentences so they can blurt out sound bites they've learned from Fox News.

Stupid people have always had a special place in history. Stupid people do humorous things without knowing it, and I love them for it. Sadly, for Americans, a really stupid person happens to hold one of the most historically significant offices in all of civilization.

Why can't we just nickname stupid people with that monicker? They called Roscoe Arbuckle "Fatty" and nobody complained. If we called that obese person "Fatty" can't we just start calling stupid people "Stupid" or "Stupie"?

Americans would elect a "Stupie Bush"! Americans hate smart people.

I think religious whackos are stupid. I think you have to be stupid (or a liar) to believe that God delivers orders and commands to you, or that messengers from God direct your actions.

Do you really think God speaks directly to people and guides them to commit mortal sins? Do you really think our instincts can be manipulated by super-duper godly forces from heaven, or that our instincts can be changed by reading a few thousand pages of religious writings?

Our instincts can not be changed. Instincts are innate and though they may become more acute or less reliable over time, I do not believe that God adjusts them so that we will do his will.

Well, the current American president believes that his murderous campaign to depose Saddam Hussein has been directed by God! He says that his instinct is that he is doing the right thing. He says that he prays about things, and his instincts guide him about these things. I know you think I am making this up or distorting the facts, but I am not. You know I am not. The liberal media is filthy with quotes from President Stupie talking about his relationship with God.

Lest you think I feel that all religious people are Stupies, let's set the record straight. I am a member of the world's largest religious cult, I believe in God, I actually have read and continue to read the bible, I seek spiritual well-being through prayer and meditation, I love the role that my faith plays in my life. My religious beliefs radicalized me at a very early age and I don't see that changing.

I do not think religion is for stupid people, but I think some Stupies find reasons to do stupid things by following whacko religious leaders. Some examples of bizarre and dangerous religious leaders in American pop culture are Pat Robertson, Jimmy and Tammy, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell -- the televangelists. They are not stupid, they are evil! American fundamentalists seem to be using their powers of persuasion to make huge profits by encouraging Americans to practice hate, not love.

I think fundamentalism is for stupid people. The fundamentalist movement that sprouted-up in America the late 1970s is particularly dangerous because these people have been attempting to gain control of the government; but in the end, all fundamentalism is dangerous. Fundamentalist leaders usually lead their stupid followers to certain death. The televangelist religious leaders took money from Stupies, and advocated that they hurt others, but never led them to death or personal danger. Stupie Bush is a "true believer" -- a fundamentalist -- and he is sending young Americans to die for his fundamentalist beliefs (and his profit).

When fundamentalists clash, stupid people feel empowered and innocent people die. You cannot stop one brand of fundamentalism with another brand of fundamentalism.

Stupie Bush has referred to the war against terrorism as a 'crusade' and that is scary to me. The Crusades were very bad. Church-sanctioned annihilation is annihilation, and that is what The Crusades were about: annihilating those who disagreed with the crusaders. I don't want the United States involved in a crusade. Crusades are bad, and unless you succeed with complete annihilation (genocide) of your enemy, then crusades ultimately fail and leave in their wake a resentful, embittered and aggressive enemy. Stupie Bush is leading a crusade that will put us in more danger than we have ever known.

The war in Iraq has nothing to do with American freedom or fighting terror (my new favorite oxymoron), it has to do with a bunch of whacko fundamentalists having finally gotten control of the American government and using our military (our children) to further their own brand of spiritual and cultural hegemony.

The war in Iraq will be a bigger embarrassment and more humiliating loss than Vietnam. No doubt about it.

As brave GOP foot soldiers continue to come forward and speak out about the current American president's stupidity, and braver members of the media write articles like the one below, these fundamentalists, these "true believers," will eventually be exposed as opportunistic parasites sucking America dry for their own profit and Americans will choose to do the right thing. Americans will turn away from Stupie Bush and his whackos and work for peace and to make the world a safer and better place.

Until that time, please enjoy the article below from the New York Times Magazine (reprinted without permission).

Without a Doubt
Published in the New York Times Magazine: October 17, 2004
(registration may be required to view original article)

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that "if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3." The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

"Just in the past few months," Bartlett said, "I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do." Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: "This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

"This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts," Bartlett went on to say. "He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence." Bartlett paused, then said, "But you can't run the world on faith."

Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. "I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad," he began, "and I was telling the president of my many concerns" -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. "'Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'"

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts."

Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. "I said, 'Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough!'"

The democrat Biden and the Republican Bartlett are trying to make sense of the same thing -- a president who has been an extraordinary blend of forcefulness and inscrutability, opacity and action.

But lately, words and deeds are beginning to connect.

The Delaware senator was, in fact, hearing what Bush's top deputies -- from cabinet members like Paul O'Neill, Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell to generals fighting in Iraq -- have been told for years when they requested explanations for many of the president's decisions, policies that often seemed to collide with accepted facts. The president would say that he relied on his "gut" or his "instinct" to guide the ship of state, and then he "prayed over it." The old pro Bartlett, a deliberative, fact-based wonk, is finally hearing a tune that has been hummed quietly by evangelicals (so as not to trouble the secular) for years as they gazed upon President George W. Bush. This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic "base" that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God. And in the first presidential debate, many Americans heard the discursive John Kerry succinctly raise, for the first time, the issue of Bush's certainty -- the issue being, as Kerry put it, that "you can be certain and be wrong."

What underlies Bush's certainty? And can it be assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent?

All of this -- the "gut" and "instincts," the certainty and religiosity - connects to a single word, "faith," and faith asserts its hold ever more on debates in this country and abroad. That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W. Bush is common knowledge. But faith has also shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways. The president has demanded unquestioning faith from his followers, his staff, his senior aides and his kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a decision -- often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position -- he expects complete faith in its rightness.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. As Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: "In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!" (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a leader of the president's re-election effort in New Jersey.)

The nation's founders, smarting still from the punitive pieties of Europe's state religions, were adamant about erecting a wall between organized religion and political authority. But suddenly, that seems like a long time ago. George W. Bush -- both captive and creator of this moment -- has steadily, inexorably, changed the office itself. He has created the faith-based presidency.

The faith-based presidency is a with-us-or-against-us model that has been enormously effective at, among other things, keeping the workings and temperament of the Bush White House a kind of state secret. The dome of silence cracked a bit in the late winter and spring, with revelations from the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and also, in my book, from the former Bush treasury secretary Paul O'Neill. When I quoted O'Neill saying that Bush was like "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," this did not endear me to the White House. But my phone did begin to ring, with Democrats and Republicans calling with similar impressions and anecdotes about Bush's faith and certainty. These are among the sources I relied upon for this article. Few were willing to talk on the record. Some were willing to talk because they said they thought George W. Bush might lose; others, out of fear of what might transpire if he wins. In either case, there seems to be a growing silence fatigue -- public servants, some with vast experience, who feel they have spent years being treated like Victorian-era children, seen but not heard, and are tired of it. But silence still reigns in the highest reaches of the White House. After many requests, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said in a letter that the president and those around him would not be cooperating with this article in any way.

Some officials, elected or otherwise, with whom I have spoken with left meetings in the Oval Office concerned that the president was struggling with the demands of the job. Others focused on Bush's substantial interpersonal gifts as a compensation for his perceived lack of broader capabilities. Still others, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, are worried about something other than his native intelligence. "He's plenty smart enough to do the job," Levin said. "It's his lack of curiosity about complex issues which troubles me." But more than anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the president's preternatural certainty and wonderment about its source.

There is one story about Bush's particular brand of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for the record.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored "road map" for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

"I don't know why you're talking about Sweden," Bush said. "They're the neutral one. They don't have an army."

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: "Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army." Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view, "No, no, it's Sweden that has no army."

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. "You were right," he said, with bonhomie. "Sweden does have an army."

This story was told to me by one of the senators in the Oval Office that December day, Joe Biden. Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not discuss their encounters. (Lantos, through a spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not to discuss Oval Office meetings.)

This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, "By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful."

He didn't always talk this way. A precious glimpse of Bush, just as he was ascending to the presidency, comes from Jim Wallis, a man with the added advantage of having deep acuity about the struggles between fact and faith. Wallis, an evangelical pastor who for 30 years has run the Sojourners -- a progressive organization of advocates for social justice -- was asked during the transition to help pull together a diverse group of members of the clergy to talk about faith and poverty with the new president-elect.

In December 2000, Bush sat in the classroom of a Baptist church in Austin, Tex., with 30 or so clergy members and asked, "How do I speak to the soul of the nation?" He listened as each guest articulated a vision of what might be. The afternoon hours passed. No one wanted to leave. People rose from their chairs and wandered the room, huddling in groups, conversing passionately. In one cluster, Bush and Wallis talked of their journeys.

"I've never lived around poor people," Wallis remembers Bush saying. "I don't know what they think. I really don't know what they think. I'm a white Republican guy who doesn't get it. How do I get it?"

Wallis recalls replying, "You need to listen to the poor and those who live and work with poor people."

Bush called over his speechwriter, Michael Gerson, and said, "I want you to hear this." A month later, an almost identical line -- "many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do" -- ended up in the inaugural address.

That was an earlier Bush, one rather more open and conversant, matching his impulsiveness with a can-do attitude and seemingly unafraid of engaging with a diverse group. The president has an array of interpersonal gifts that fit well with this fearlessness -- a headlong, unalloyed quality, best suited to ranging among different types of people, searching for the outlines of what will take shape as principles.

Yet this strong suit, an improvisational gift, has long been forced to wrestle with its "left brain" opposite -- a struggle, across 30 years, with the critical and analytical skills so prized in America's professional class. In terms of intellectual faculties, that has been the ongoing battle for this talented man, first visible during the lackluster years at Yale and five years of drift through his 20's -- a time when peers were busy building credentials in law, business or medicine.

Biden, who early on became disenchanted with Bush's grasp of foreign-policy issues and is among John Kerry's closest Senate friends, has spent a lot of time trying to size up the president. "Most successful people are good at identifying, very early, their strengths and weaknesses, at knowing themselves," he told me not long ago. "For most of us average Joes, that meant we've relied on strengths but had to work on our weakness -- to lift them to adequacy -- otherwise they might bring us down. I don't think the president really had to do that, because he always had someone there -- his family or friends -- to bail him out. I don't think, on balance, that has served him well for the moment he's in now as president. He never seems to have worked on his weaknesses."

Bush has been called the C.E.O. president, but that's just a catch phrase -- he never ran anything of consequence in the private sector. The M.B.A. president would be more accurate: he did, after all, graduate from Harvard Business School. And some who have worked under him in the White House and know about business have spotted a strange business-school time warp. It's as if a 1975 graduate from H.B.S. -- one who had little chance to season theory with practice during the past few decades of change in corporate America -- has simply been dropped into the most challenging management job in the world.

One aspect of the H.B.S. method, with its emphasis on problems of actual corporations, is sometimes referred to as the "case cracker" problem. The case studies are static, generally a snapshot of a troubled company, frozen in time; the various "solutions" students proffer, and then defend in class against tough questioning, tend to have very short shelf lives. They promote rigidity, inappropriate surety. This is something H.B.S. graduates, most of whom land at large or midsize firms, learn in their first few years in business. They discover, often to their surprise, that the world is dynamic, it flows and changes, often for no good reason. The key is flexibility, rather than sticking to your guns in a debate, and constant reassessment of shifting realities. In short, thoughtful second-guessing.

George W. Bush, who went off to Texas to be an oil wildcatter, never had a chance to learn these lessons about the power of nuanced, fact-based analysis. The small oil companies he ran tended to lose money; much of their value was as tax shelters. (The investors were often friends of his father's.) Later, with the Texas Rangers baseball team, he would act as an able front man but never really as a boss.

Instead of learning the limitations of his Harvard training, what George W. Bush learned instead during these fitful years were lessons about faith and its particular efficacy. It was in 1985, around the time of his 39th birthday, George W. Bush says, that his life took a sharp turn toward salvation. At that point he was drinking, his marriage was on the rocks, his career was listless. Several accounts have emerged from those close to Bush about a faith "intervention" of sorts at the Kennebunkport family compound that year. Details vary, but here's the gist of what I understand took place. George W., drunk at a party, crudely insulted a friend of his mother's. George senior and Barbara blew up. Words were exchanged along the lines of something having to be done. George senior, then the vice president, dialed up his friend, Billy Graham, who came to the compound and spent several days with George W. in probing exchanges and walks on the beach. George W. was soon born again. He stopped drinking, attended Bible study and wrestled with issues of fervent faith. A man who was lost was saved.

His marriage may have been repaired by the power of faith, but faith was clearly having little impact on his broken career. Faith heals the heart and the spirit, but it doesn't do much for analytical skills. In 1990, a few years after receiving salvation, Bush was still bumping along. Much is apparent from one of the few instances of disinterested testimony to come from this period. It is the voice of David Rubenstein, managing director and cofounder of the Carlyle Group, the Washington-based investment firm that is one of the town's most powerful institutions and a longtime business home for the president's father. In 1989, the catering division of Marriott was taken private and established as Caterair by a group of Carlyle investors. Several old-guard Republicans, including the former Nixon aide Fred Malek, were involved.

Rubenstein described that time to a convention of pension managers in Los Angeles last year, recalling that Malek approached him and said: "There is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. . . . Needs some board positions." Though Rubenstein didn't think George W. Bush, then in his mid-40's, "added much value," he put him on the Caterair board. "Came to all the meetings," Rubenstein told the conventioneers. "Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years: 'You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.' He said: 'Well, I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.' And I said thanks. Didn't think I'd ever see him again."

Bush would soon officially resign from Caterair's board. Around this time, Karl Rove set up meetings to discuss Bush's possible candidacy for the governorship of Texas. Six years after that, he was elected leader of the free world and began "case cracking" on a dizzying array of subjects, proffering his various solutions, in both foreign and domestic affairs. But the pointed "defend your position" queries -- so central to the H.B.S. method and rigorous analysis of all kinds -- were infrequent. Questioning a regional supervisor or V.P. for planning is one thing. Questioning the president of the United States is another.

Still, some couldn't resist. As I reported in "The Price of Loyalty," at the Bush administration's first National Security Council meeting, Bush asked if anyone had ever met Ariel Sharon. Some were uncertain if it was a joke. It wasn't: Bush launched into a riff about briefly meeting Sharon two years before, how he wouldn't "go by past reputations when it comes to Sharon. . . . I'm going to take him at face value," and how the United States should pull out of the Arab-Israeli conflict because "I don't see much we can do over there at this point." Colin Powell, for one, seemed startled. This would reverse 30 years of policy -- since the Nixon administration -- of American engagement. Such a move would unleash Sharon, Powell countered, and tear the delicate fabric of the Mideast in ways that might be irreparable. Bush brushed aside Powell's concerns impatiently. "Sometimes a show of force by one side can really clarify things."

Such challenges -- from either Powell or his opposite number as the top official in domestic policy, Paul O'Neill -- were trials that Bush had less and less patience for as the months passed. He made that clear to his top lieutenants. Gradually, Bush lost what Richard Perle, who would later head a largely private-sector group under Bush called the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had described as his open posture during foreign-policy tutorials prior to the 2000 campaign. ("He had the confidence to ask questions that revealed he didn't know very much," Perle said.) By midyear 2001, a stand-and-deliver rhythm was established. Meetings, large and small, started to take on a scripted quality. Even then, the circle around Bush was tightening. Top officials, from cabinet members on down, were often told when they would speak in Bush's presence, for how long and on what topic. The president would listen without betraying any reaction. Sometimes there would be cross-discussions -- Powell and Rumsfeld, for instance, briefly parrying on an issue -- but the president would rarely prod anyone with direct, informed questions.

Each administration, over the course of a term, is steadily shaped by its president, by his character, personality and priorities. It is a process that unfolds on many levels. There are, of course, a chief executive's policies, which are executed by a staff and attending bureaucracies. But a few months along, officials, top to bottom, will also start to adopt the boss's phraseology, his presumptions, his rhythms. If a president fishes, people buy poles; if he expresses displeasure, aides get busy finding evidence to support the judgment. A staff channels the leader.

A cluster of particularly vivid qualities was shaping George W. Bush's White House through the summer of 2001: a disdain for contemplation or deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with doubters and even friendly questioners. Already Bush was saying, Have faith in me and my decisions, and you'll be rewarded. All through the White House, people were channeling the boss. He didn't second-guess himself; why should they?

Considering the trials that were soon to arrive, it is easy to overlook what a difficult time this must have been for George W. Bush. For nearly three decades, he had sat in classrooms, and then at mahogany tables in corporate suites, with little to contribute. Then, as governor of Texas, he was graced with a pliable enough bipartisan Legislature, and the Legislature is where the real work in that state's governance gets done. The Texas Legislature's tension of opposites offered the structure of point and counterpoint, which Bush could navigate effectively with his strong, improvisational skills.

But the mahogany tables were now in the Situation Room and in the large conference room adjacent to the Oval Office. He guided a ruling party. Every issue that entered that rarefied sanctum required a complex decision, demanding focus, thoroughness and analytical potency.

For the president, as Biden said, to be acutely aware of his weaknesses -- and to have to worry about revealing uncertainty or need or confusion, even to senior officials -- must have presented an untenable bind. By summer's end that first year, Vice President Dick Cheney had stopped talking in meetings he attended with Bush. They would talk privately, or at their weekly lunch. The president was spending a lot of time outside the White House, often at the ranch, in the presence of only the most trustworthy confidants. The circle around Bush is the tightest around any president in the modern era, and "it's both exclusive and exclusionary," Christopher DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative policy group, told me. "It's a too tightly managed decision-making process. When they make decisions, a very small number of people are in the room, and it has a certain effect of constricting the range of alternatives being offered."

On Sept. 11, 2001, the country watched intently to see if and how Bush would lead. After a couple of days in which he seemed shaky and uncertain, he emerged, and the moment he began to lead -- standing on the World Trade Center's rubble with a bullhorn -- for much of America, any lingering doubts about his abilities vanished. No one could afford doubt, not then. They wanted action, and George W. Bush was ready, having never felt the reasonable hesitations that slowed more deliberative men, and many presidents, including his father.

Within a few days of the attacks, Bush decided on the invasion of Afghanistan and was barking orders. His speech to the joint session of Congress on Sept. 20 will most likely be the greatest of his presidency. He prayed for God's help. And many Americans, of all faiths, prayed with him -- or for him. It was simple and nondenominational: a prayer that he'd be up to this moment, so that he -- and, by extension, we as a country -- would triumph in that dark hour.

This is where the faith-based presidency truly takes shape. Faith, which for months had been coloring the decision-making process and a host of political tactics -- think of his address to the nation on stem-cell research -- now began to guide events. It was the most natural ascension: George W. Bush turning to faith in his darkest moment and discovering a wellspring of power and confidence.

Of course, the mandates of sound, sober analysis didn't vanish. They never do. Ask any entrepreneur with a blazing idea when, a few years along, the first debt payments start coming due. Or the C.E.O., certain that a high stock price affirms his sweeping vision, until that neglected, flagging division cripples the company. There's a startled look -- how'd that happen? In this case, the challenge of mobilizing the various agencies of the United States government and making certain that agreed-upon goals become demonstrable outcomes grew exponentially.

Looking back at the months directly following 9/11, virtually every leading military analyst seems to believe that rather than using Afghan proxies, we should have used more American troops, deployed more quickly, to pursue Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora. Many have also been critical of the president's handling of Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 hijackers; despite Bush's setting goals in the so-called "financial war on terror," the Saudis failed to cooperate with American officials in hunting for the financial sources of terror. Still, the nation wanted bold action and was delighted to get it. Bush's approval rating approached 90 percent. Meanwhile, the executive's balance between analysis and resolution, between contemplation and action, was being tipped by the pull of righteous faith.

It was during a press conference on Sept. 16, in response to a question about homeland security efforts infringing on civil rights, that Bush first used the telltale word "crusade" in public. "This is a new kind of -- a new kind of evil," he said. "And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while."

Muslims around the world were incensed. Two days later, Ari Fleischer tried to perform damage control. "I think what the president was saying was -- had no intended consequences for anybody, Muslim or otherwise, other than to say that this is a broad cause that he is calling on America and the nations around the world to join." As to "any connotations that would upset any of our partners, or anybody else in the world, the president would regret if anything like that was conveyed."

A few months later, on Feb. 1, 2002, Jim Wallis of the Sojourners stood in the Roosevelt Room for the introduction of Jim Towey as head of the president's faith-based and community initiative. John DiIulio, the original head, had left the job feeling that the initiative was not about "compassionate conservatism," as originally promised, but rather a political giveaway to the Christian right, a way to consolidate and energize that part of the base.

Moments after the ceremony, Bush saw Wallis. He bounded over and grabbed the cheeks of his face, one in each hand, and squeezed. "Jim, how ya doin', how ya doin'!" he exclaimed. Wallis was taken aback. Bush excitedly said that his massage therapist had given him Wallis's book, "Faith Works." His joy at seeing Wallis, as Wallis and others remember it, was palpable -- a president, wrestling with faith and its role at a time of peril, seeing that rare bird: an independent counselor. Wallis recalls telling Bush he was doing fine, "'but in the State of the Union address a few days before, you said that unless we devote all our energies, our focus, our resources on this war on terrorism, we're going to lose.' I said, 'Mr. President, if we don't devote our energy, our focus and our time on also overcoming global poverty and desperation, we will lose not only the war on poverty, but we'll lose the war on terrorism."'

Bush replied that that was why America needed the leadership of Wallis and other members of the clergy.

"No, Mr. President," Wallis says he told Bush, "We need your leadership on this question, and all of us will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we'll never defeat the threat of terrorism."

Bush looked quizzically at the minister, Wallis recalls. They never spoke again after that.

"When I was first with Bush in Austin, what I saw was a self-help Methodist, very open, seeking," Wallis says now. "What I started to see at this point was the man that would emerge over the next year -- a messianic American Calvinist. He doesn't want to hear from anyone who doubts him."

But with a country crying out for intrepid leadership, does a president have time to entertain doubters? In a speech in Alaska two weeks later, Bush again referred to the war on terror as a "crusade."

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Who besides guys like me are part of the reality-based community? Many of the other elected officials in Washington, it would seem. A group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress were called in to discuss Iraq sometime before the October 2002 vote authorizing Bush to move forward. A Republican senator recently told Time Magazine that the president walked in and said: "Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you." When one of the senators began to ask a question, Bush snapped, "Look, I'm not going to debate it with you."

The 9/11 commission did not directly address the question of whether Bush exerted influence over the intelligence community about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. That question will be investigated after the election, but if no tangible evidence of undue pressure is found, few officials or alumni of the administration whom I spoke to are likely to be surprised. "If you operate in a certain way -- by saying this is how I want to justify what I've already decided to do, and I don't care how you pull it off -- you guarantee that you'll get faulty, one-sided information," Paul O'Neill, who was asked to resign his post of treasury secretary in December 2002, said when we had dinner a few weeks ago. "You don't have to issue an edict, or twist arms, or be overt."

In a way, the president got what he wanted: a National Intelligence Estimate on W.M.D. that creatively marshaled a few thin facts, and then Colin Powell putting his credibility on the line at the United Nations in a show of faith. That was enough for George W. Bush to press forward and invade Iraq. As he told his quasi-memoirist, Bob Woodward, in "Plan of Attack": "Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will. . . . I'm surely not going to justify the war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray to be as good a messenger of his will as possible."

Machiavelli's oft-cited line about the adequacy of the perception of power prompts a question. Is the appearance of confidence as important as its possession? Can confidence -- true confidence -- be willed? Or must it be earned?

George W. Bush, clearly, is one of history's great confidence men. That is not meant in the huckster's sense, though many critics claim that on the war in Iraq, the economy and a few other matters he has engaged in some manner of bait-and-switch. No, I mean it in the sense that he's a believer in the power of confidence. At a time when constituents are uneasy and enemies are probing for weaknesses, he clearly feels that unflinching confidence has an almost mystical power. It can all but create reality.

hether you can run the world on faith, it's clear you can run one hell of a campaign on it.

George W. Bush and his team have constructed a high-performance electoral engine. The soul of this new machine is the support of millions of likely voters, who judge his worth based on intangibles -- character, certainty, fortitude and godliness -- rather than on what he says or does. The deeper the darkness, the brighter this filament of faith glows, a faith in the president and the just God who affirms him.

The leader of the free world is clearly comfortable with this calculus and artfully encourages it. In the series of televised, carefully choreographed "Ask President Bush" events with supporters around the country, sessions filled with prayers and blessings, one questioner recently summed up the feelings of so many Christian conservatives, the core of the Bush army. "I've voted Republican from the very first time I could vote," said Gary Walby, a retired jeweler from Destin, Fla., as he stood before the president in a crowded college gym. "And I also want to say this is the very first time that I have felt that God was in the White House." Bush simply said "thank you" as a wave of raucous applause rose from the assembled.

Every few months, a report surfaces of the president using strikingly Messianic language, only to be dismissed by the White House. Three months ago, for instance, in a private meeting with Amish farmers in Lancaster County, Pa., Bush was reported to have said, "I trust God speaks through me." In this ongoing game of winks and nods, a White House spokesman denied the president had specifically spoken those words, but noted that "his faith helps him in his service to people."

A recent Gallup Poll noted that 42 percent of Americans identify themselves as evangelical or "born again." While this group leans Republican, it includes black urban churches and is far from monolithic. But Bush clearly draws his most ardent supporters and tireless workers from this group, many from a healthy subset of approximately four million evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000 -- potential new arrivals to the voting booth who could tip a close election or push a tight contest toward a rout.

This signaling system -- forceful, national, varied, yet clean of the president's specific fingerprint -- carries enormous weight. Lincoln Chafee, the moderate Republican senator from Rhode Island, has broken with the president precisely over concerns about the nature of Bush's certainty. "This issue," he says, of Bush's "announcing that 'I carry the word of God' is the key to the election. The president wants to signal to the base with that message, but in the swing states he does not."

Come to the hustings on Labor Day and meet the base. In 2004, you know a candidate by his base, and the Bush campaign is harnessing the might of churches, with hordes of voters registering through church-sponsored programs. Following the news of Bush on his national tour in the week after the Republican convention, you could sense how a faith-based president campaigns: on a surf of prayer and righteous rage.

Righteous rage -- that's what Hardy Billington felt when he heard about same-sex marriage possibly being made legal in Massachusetts. "It made me upset and disgusted, things going on in Massachusetts," the 52-year-old from Poplar Bluff, Mo., told me. "I prayed, then I got to work." Billington spent $830 in early July to put up a billboard on the edge of town. It read: "I Support President Bush and the Men and Women Fighting for Our Country. We Invite President Bush to Visit Poplar Bluff." Soon Billington and his friend David Hahn, a fundamentalist preacher, started a petition drive. They gathered 10,000 signatures. That fact eventually reached the White House scheduling office.

By late afternoon on a cloudy Labor Day, with a crowd of more than 20,000 assembled in a public park, Billington stepped to the podium. "The largest group I ever talked to I think was seven people, and I'm not much of a talker," Billington, a shy man with three kids and a couple of dozen rental properties that he owns, told me several days later. "I've never been so frightened."

But Billington said he "looked to God" and said what was in his heart. "The United States is the greatest country in the world," he told the rally. "President Bush is the greatest president I have ever known. I love my president. I love my country. And more important, I love Jesus Christ."

The crowd went wild, and they went wild again when the president finally arrived and gave his stump speech. There were Bush's periodic stumbles and gaffes, but for the followers of the faith-based president, that was just fine. They got it -- and "it" was the faith.

And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. "You think he's an idiot, don't you?" I said, no, I didn't. "No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!" In this instance, the final "you," of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

The bond between Bush and his base is a bond of mutual support. He supports them with his actions, doing his level best to stand firm on wedge issues like abortion and same-sex marriage while he identifies evil in the world, at home and abroad. They respond with fierce faith. The power of this transaction is something that people, especially those who are religious, tend to connect to their own lives. If you have faith in someone, that person is filled like a vessel. Your faith is the wind beneath his or her wings. That person may well rise to the occasion and surprise you: I had faith in you, and my faith was rewarded. Or, I know you've been struggling, and I need to pray harder.

Bush's speech that day in Poplar Bluff finished with a mythic appeal: "For all Americans, these years in our history will always stand apart," he said. "You know, there are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one of those times. This is a time that needs -- when we need firm resolve and clear vision and a deep faith in the values that make us a great nation."

The life of the nation and the life of Bush effortlessly merge -- his fortitude, even in the face of doubters, is that of the nation; his ordinariness, like theirs, is heroic; his resolve, to whatever end, will turn the wheel of history.

Remember, this is consent, informed by the heart and by the spirit. In the end, Bush doesn't have to say he's ordained by God. After a day of speeches by Hardy Billington and others, it goes without saying.

"To me, I just believe God controls everything, and God uses the president to keep evil down, to see the darkness and protect this nation," Billington told me, voicing an idea shared by millions of Bush supporters. "Other people will not protect us. God gives people choices to make. God gave us this president to be the man to protect the nation at this time."

But when the moment came in the V.I.P. tent to shake Bush's hand, Billington remembered being reserved. "'I really thank God that you're the president' was all I told him." Bush, he recalled, said, "Thank you."

"He knew what I meant," Billington said. "I believe he's an instrument of God, but I have to be careful about what I say, you know, in public."

Is there anyone in America who feels that John Kerry is an instrument of God?

"I'm going to be real positive, while I keep my foot on John Kerry's throat," George W. Bush said last month at a confidential luncheon a block away from the White House with a hundred or so of his most ardent, longtime supporters, the so-called R.N.C. Regents. This was a high-rolling crowd -- at one time or another, they had all given large contributions to Bush or the Republican National Committee. Bush had known many of them for years, and a number of them had visited him at the ranch. It was a long way from Poplar Bluff.

The Bush these supporters heard was a triumphal Bush, actively beginning to plan his second term. It is a second term, should it come to pass, that will alter American life in many ways, if predictions that Bush voiced at the luncheon come true.

He said emphatically that he expects the Republicans will gain seats to expand their control of the House and the Senate. According to notes provided to me, and according to several guests at the lunch who agreed to speak about what they heard, he said that "Osama bin Laden would like to overthrow the Saudis . . .

then we're in trouble. Because they have a weapon. They have the oil." He said that there will be an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice shortly after his inauguration, and perhaps three more high-court vacancies during his second term.

"Won't that be amazing?" said Peter Stent, a rancher and conservationist who attended the luncheon. "Can you imagine? Four appointments!"

After his remarks, Bush opened it up for questions, and someone asked what he's going to do about energy policy with worldwide oil reserves predicted to peak.

Bush said: "I'm going to push nuclear energy, drilling in Alaska and clean coal. Some nuclear-fusion technologies are interesting." He mentions energy from "processing corn."

"I'm going to bring all this up in the debate, and I'm going to push it," he said, and then tried out a line. "Do you realize that ANWR [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] is the size of South Carolina, and where we want to drill is the size of the Columbia airport?"

The questions came from many directions -- respectful, but clearly reality-based. About the deficits, he said he'd "spend whatever it takes to protect our kids in Iraq," that "homeland security cost more than I originally thought."

In response to a question, he talked about diversity, saying that "hands down," he has the most diverse senior staff in terms of both gender and race. He recalled a meeting with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder of Germany. "You know, I'm sitting there with Schroder one day with Colin and Condi. And I'm thinking: What's Schroder thinking?! He's sitting here with two blacks and one's a woman."

But as the hour passed, Bush kept coming back to the thing most on his mind: his second term.

"I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in," Bush said, "with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security." The victories he expects in November, he said, will give us "two years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like a duck."

Joseph Gildenhorn, a top contributor who attended the luncheon and has been invited to visit Bush at his ranch, said later: "I've never seen the president so ebullient. He was so confident. He feels so strongly he will win." Yet one part of Bush's 60-odd-minute free-form riff gave Gildenhorn -- a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a former ambassador to Switzerland -- a moment's pause. The president, listing priorities for his second term, placed near the top of his agenda the expansion of federal support for faith-based institutions. The president talked at length about giving the initiative the full measure of his devotion and said that questions about separation of church and state were not an issue.

Talk of the faith-based initiative, Gildenhorn said, makes him "a little uneasy." Many conservative evangelicals "feel they have a direct line from God," he said, and feel Bush is divinely chosen.

"I think he's religious, I think he's a born-again, I don't think, though, that he feels that he's been ordained by God to serve the country." Gildenhorn paused, then said, "But you know, I really haven't discussed it with him."

A regent I spoke to later and who asked not to be identified told me: "I'm happy he's certain of victory and that he's ready to burst forth into his second term, but it all makes me a little nervous. There are a lot of big things that he's planning to do domestically, and who knows what countries we might invade or what might happen in Iraq. But when it gets complex, he seems to turn to prayer or God rather than digging in and thinking things through. What's that line? -- the devil's in the details. If you don't go after that devil, he'll come after you."

Bush grew into one of history's most forceful leaders, his admirers will attest, by replacing hesitation and reasonable doubt with faith and clarity. Many more will surely tap this high-voltage connection of fervent faith and bold action. In politics, the saying goes, anything that works must be repeated until it is replaced by something better. The horizon seems clear of competitors.

Can the unfinished American experiment in self-governance -- sputtering on the watery fuel of illusion and assertion -- deal with something as nuanced as the subtleties of one man's faith? What, after all, is the nature of the particular conversation the president feels he has with God -- a colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?

That very issue is what Jim Wallis wishes he could sit and talk about with George W. Bush. That's impossible now, he says. He is no longer invited to the White House.

"Faith can cut in so many ways," he said. "If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

"Where people often get lost is on this very point," he said after a moment of thought. "Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want."

And what is that?

"Easy certainty."

Ron Suskind was the senior national-affairs reporter for The Wall Street Journal from 1993 to 2000. He is the author most recently of "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill."

Please do not vote for the current American president to be re-elected. Sure, maybe you do not like liberals or maybe you do not like Kerry; but, the current American president is a whacko who is destroying our great nation. If you planned to vote for him, please consider Kerry or a third-party candidate.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Joke - The Blonde's $5,000 Loan

A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked in the bank's garage, she hands over the title and everything checks out.

The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral. After she leaves, the president and bank officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan.

Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are very wealthy. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The blonde replies, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?"

"Finally, a smart blonde joke." Thanks to Elaine for sending this along.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Nestle Water Boycott

I received three emails yesterday asking why I failed to list Nestle's bottled waters in my boycott list.

It was an oversight.

One email berated me because I had made a big stink last year about a rock star doing an advertisement for a Nestle water, but then I didn't bother mentioning it in my boycott article.

I was infuriated by the singer, who had previously passed himself off as a champion of children's charities, because he had sold every image of his storied career to Nestle, a corporation known for killing children.

It was disheartening to me, and I am sad that the artist I had admired for so long turned out to be such a dullard.

Be that as it may . . . back to the matter at hand.

I did further investigation of Nestle products and was shocked to discover how many springs and water-bottling operations Nestle has acquired through their Perrier Water subsidiary. I now have more items I will not purchase.

(Please note that the World Bank works very hard to ensure that Nestle gets the water rights in developing nations that need money for things like roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure. I have written about the World Bank's water privatization scandal and will address it again soon. It works like this: Developing nation in the third world needs a loan from the World Bank to build a hospital. They must privatize their water supply by selling it to Nestle in order to get the loan. Nice, huh?)

Boycott All Nestle Bottled Water Products:

  • Aberfoyle
  • Acqua Panna
  • Arrowhead
  • Calistoga
  • Deer Park
  • Great Bear
  • Ice Mountain
  • Ozarka
  • Perrier
  • Poland Spring
  • S.Pellegrino
  • Vittel
  • Zephyrhills