Scenes from a Drawdown:
Constructed with an opinion, offered without comment:

"Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki declared Sunday a national holiday. Iraqi TV stations have been running a countdown logo — 'Two days till June 30' — on all programming."

"Fireworks continued to light up the sky over Baghdad into the early hours on Tuesday, after thousands of Iraqis, an unprecedented number for a public post-war event, attended a party in a park where singers performed patriotic songs.

"'All of us are happy - Shias, Sunnis and Kurds on this day ... the Americans harmed and insulted us too much,' Waleed al-Bahadili, an Iraqi attending the celebrations, told the AFP news agency.

"Many Iraqis ignored an appeal by Tariq al-Hashemi, the Iraqi vice president, to stay away from crowded places during the US pullback, after more than 250 people were killed in bombings over the past 10 days."

"Speaking as a military parade marking the event was held deep inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said, 'The national united government succeeded in putting down the sectarian war that was threatening the unity and the sovereignty of Iraq.' He made no mention of the American military’s involvement in fighting here for the last six years, and more than 120,000 American troops remain on Iraqi soil.

"The military parade in the Green Zone on Tuesday — at the official monument to the unknown soldier — was attended primarily by Iraqi reporters and dignitaries. The public could not reach it because of extensive security restricting access to the area. Several American news organizations were also barred, including two television news networks and The New York Times, on the grounds that they did not have the appropriate badges. This seemed in part intended to signal that the Iraqi authorities were in charge."

"On June 30 major companies - including Exxon, Shell, BP and Total - will gather at Iraq's oil ministry in Baghdad for a two-day meeting to take part in the first bidding round for oil service contracts."

"An oil consortium led by British Petroleum has won a contract to develop a large oil field in Iraq, as dozens of international firms compete for the rights to the nation's oil and gas reserves. BP, along with China's CNPC, secured the contract for the Rumaila oil field on Tuesday, the largest of Iraq's six oil fields on offer to foreign and state-owned companies."

"Later this year, Iraq is due to offer another set of fields that are even more appealing since they are undeveloped."

"The 130,000 U.S. troops who remain are now tasked with supporting Iraqi troops and police, and will be unable to launch operations in the cities without Iraqi consent. A small number of Americans will stay in the cities to train, advise and coordinate with the Iraqi security forces."


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Bowl of Soup with a 40 of Malt Liquor:

That's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner there dishing out food to the homeless at the So Others Might Eat soup kitchen in DC last Thursday.

Geithner and other Treasury officials worked there for an hour, making it, officially, the least he could do.

Feel free to supply stimulus-related jokes. Bailout humor that mentions gruel is also welcome.


Clarence Thomas Wants to Yank on Pubescent Panties:
There's porn websites devoted to what Savana Redding experienced when she was a 13-year old at Safford Middle School in Arizona. Yep, child molesters unwilling to make the commitment, you can read stories and see fantasy photos and videos (using adults as children) where some poor girl is accused of having drugs or a weapon on her and is forced to strip in front of school officials. Usually, it's followed by a spanking or a lesbian three-way because nothing, apparently, gets an adolescent girl wetter than getting naked in front of older women and (most of the time) men. However, real life ain't a porn fantasy. That little girl doesn't want to fuck you, Humbert Humbert, and, in fact, grown ups horribly scar kids all the time.

Based on the info of a single student, fearing that she was carrying prescription strength Ibuprofen, maybe even, horror of horrors, Naproxen, Redding was brought to the school nurse's office and told to strip to her underwear in front of the nurse and another administrator. She was then ordered to pull out her bra and panties and shake them to make sure she wasn't hiding pills there. One imagines that the female administrator then told the tale of the strip search to the male principal. Redding, now 19, describes the search as the "most humiliating experience" of her life. No pills, by the way, were found. Do you feel filthy yet?

Still, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas thought that not only was this search eminently reasonable, but that the courts have no right calling "bullshit" and a violation of the 4th Amendment, as an 8-1 majority did. That's right: Antonin Scalia, a man who thinks torture is cool and gay sex isn't, thought the search was unreasonable. Fuckin' Samuel Alito, who once was the sole judge of three to say that an unwarranted (in that there was no warrant) strip search of a 10-year old girl was a-okay, thought that the Redding search was unreasonable. Every other justice did by Thomas.

Dahlia Lithwick said she had "never seen Justice Clarence Thomas laugh harder" than during the oral arguments on this case when Justice Breyer said that, during clothes changing in gym, "people did sometimes stick things in my underwear." And Thomas's dissent is about as disturbing as thinking of Clarence Thomas howling at laughter at Steven Breyer's young ass being violated.

Thomas blames Redding's behavior off school grounds as one excuse as to why the search was reasonable: "Several weeks later, another student, Jordan Romero, reported that Redding had hosted a party before the dance where she served whiskey, vodka, and tequila." He then goes on to try to demonstrate that the majority is wrong in saying, in essence, "Um, it was fucking ibuprofen. What the fuck?" For Thomas, a rule is a rule, motherfuckers, and if a school district has some hysterical-ass regulation about prescription drugs on campus, then there's no difference between something that you can get over the counter (remember: prescription strength ibuprofen is just like over-the-counter, but bigger. Solution? Take more over the counter ones) and oxycontin.

And he gets off on the panties: "Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments," after which he cites a number of cases from his personal porn stash of Hanes-hideaways, ending with, "Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school." Yes, and if you can't take a glance at 13-year old snatch now, who knows what'll happen next? It's a slick slope to anarchy.

Thomas gets all DARE by talking about drug problems in school, but even he says, "Admittedly, the Ibuprofen and Naproxen at issue in this case are not the prescription painkillers at the forefront of the prescription-drug-abuse problem." And then, in a total bullshit moment, he tries to demonstrate how those drugs might be dangerous, which amounts to something like, "Well, you can sharpen them and stab someone."

"Preservation of order, discipline, and safety in public schools is simply not the domain of the Constitution," Thomas says, and yet here we are again. And, finally, after time and again saying that students have no rights, whether it was the days of locker search cases or piss tests or whatever, the Supreme Court has said that there is actually a last frontier they are not willing to cross, conservative and liberal, everyone except Clarence Thomas, who, one suspects, was sad that Redding's panties weren't presented as exhibit A.


Mark Sanford Gets Some:
If you've ever fucked an Argentinean woman, you'd understand what he was going through. (Ah, Vera, if you ever make your way up here from Cordoba again, give a call.)

Let's give a bit of credit where it's due. Unlike so many other men (and, c'mon, it's always men), not only did South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R [unless you're Fox "news," which can reassign parties based on morality]) have the obligatory confessional announcement, but he stood there and took his lumps from the press. In his epic preface to his admission that he disappeared for five days because he was balling a woman in Argentina, Sanford said, "I guess where I'm trying to go with this is that there are moral absolutes and that God's law indeed is there to protect you from yourself, and there are consequences if you breach that. This press conference is a consequence." And he lived the consequence, taking questions, pathetically trying to explain that his deep desire to plunge his cock into the cunt of a woman not his wife was based on love (which it may very well have been), but ultimately nutting up and owning his fuck-up almost as far as he could at the moment.

Look at the end of the press conference. The poor bastard didn't want to stop talking, even after he had said,"Last question." It was as if his words would stop the bleeding, but they were not made of gauze, and eventually he had to be halted and led off by his staff, who, no doubt, were wondering what the fuck they were going to do with their lives. And Sanford looked utterly lost. If it was possible to eke out a turd of compassion for the man who was willing to starve his state's schools to make a political point, it was then. To read the emails between him and Maria the Mistress is to look at what real people say when they stumblingly, embarrassingly, try to reveal the confusing intensity of the urges of the heart and genitalia.

But, mostly, truly, fuck him. Chalk up another public dive for a repressed Christian conservative dickwad who had to have his midlife crisis in public. Republicans might as well change their motto to "We're probably fucking around on you."

It helps that Sanford was a self-righteous bag of douche about marriage all along, calling on Bill Clinton to resign, condemning gay marriage, putting himself out there as a model for husband and father. As he told closeted homosexual Steve Doocy on Fox and Friends on March 8, 2007, "My wife and I have four young sons, great little boys, but we're kind of focused on those guys. And then the rest of the day you've got your day job. And so like I say, we have our hands more than filled right here." Sounds like a man who's got his priorities straight, no?

Then there was his comment on Congressman Bob Livingston's confession of an affair during the Clinton impeachment process: "The bottom line, though, is he still lied. He lied under a different oath, and that is the oath to his wife. So it's got to be taken very, very seriously." That was from CNN's Crossfire on December 18, 1998.

And there's the very real possibility that his affair, which he says began only as a friendship eight years ago, consummated over a year ago, literally fucked away his chances to be John McCain's vice presidential candidate. On MSNBC on September 2, 2008, Norah O'Donnell asked, "You were vetted to some degree, right?" To which Sanford coyly responded, "Well, my wife and my kids vet me everyday." Yep, to push this narrative a bit further, Sarah Palin may have been inflicted on the lower 48 because Mark Sanford was busy going gaucho down on his mistress's pampas.

Yeah, he's done. For now. His wife said she tried to get him to stop fucking around. He didn't. And thus we see him, the man who thought he was confidently standing up to the bad federal government, reduced to asking for forgiveness from everyone in his life.

He should have resigned then and there not because he was advancing South Carolina's trade in his semen with Argentina, but because he abandoned his state while in office. He was willing to possibly give Livingston a pass because he didn't betray the oath of office, but, he said, Bill Clinton lied under oath and therefore should be out. Considering the violation of the trust of the people of South Carolina, who deserve to be able to at least know the governor is reachable during his brief time in office, Mark Sanford should have said that he's packing his shit up and leaving the job to the Republican lieutenant governor, who Sanford choked up for upon mention.

It's not the sex and it is the sex. All Bill Clinton asked of us when he didn't resign was to believe that he wouldn't lie about sex if ever asked under oath again. David Vitter asks us to believe that he won't be fucking hookers. Mark Sanford asks us to believe that he won't ever run off again. If you were a bettor, what's got the best odds?

There's more to this, of course. When we get to the red Corvette and the blow he snorted off Maria's tits, will anyone be surprised? Or when we get to how he misused the state's funds to keep the whole thing secret? Is any of this surprising anymore when it comes to the moral gatekeepers of this nation?


Don't Buy the Right Wing's Argument on Obama (Continuing Yesterday's Discussion):
Every day, the Rude Pundit receives a couple of emails from people writing to mythical addresses, like "suckbarackstaint@youfuckintool.net" or some such shit. They're all about how we were such blind idiots for voting for President Obama because, they say, he's busy betraying everything they want. Yesterday, the Rude Pundit advised a bit of patience with the Obama administration as it opens the windows of the White House and looks out at the destruction left behind by the Bush administration. And, of course, people took offense, as if there's nothing between silence and screaming.

Here's the deal: urging the left to pull back some doesn't mean we don't push for our causes; it doesn't mean we simply roll over like we're being attacked by grizzlies, squinch our eyes shit, and hope that when we open them, the scars and wounds won't be too bad. It's not the activism. That never ends, no matter who's in the Oval Office. It's not pointing out when Obama looks like he's heading towards "screw you guys." No, it's this early hysteria and declarations of the failure of a not-six-month-old administration that the Rude Pundit is replying to.

If, as other problems are addressed, Obama is ignoring your pet one, well, fuck, remember: when he made all those shiny promises initially, he wasn't facing down an economy that's pushing unemployment into double digits.

The Rude Pundit is not naive. He knows well how this can all go to shit. He saw it with Bill Clinton, when some on the left at first mistook the moderately conservative Arkansas governor for a liberal. Essentially, it was buying the propaganda that the right was spewing about Clinton-as-hippie, just not to the purpose that they were spewing it. We went with their storyline because we wanted it to be true just so we could say, "Yeah, fuck you; in your face, assholes." It was exactly what conservatives wanted. If Bill Clinton didn't live up to your expectations, it's because you were too inundated with shit that fed your hopes, not the reality, and it allowed the right to control the storyline.

So the Rude Pundit wasn't naive when he voted for Obama, either. He never expected everything to be solved. And if you ever thought Obama was some bleeding heart liberal, then you were just a pawn of the right's remarkable ability to define the terms of the argument. You bought into their bullshit line. He is more liberal, yes, than anyone in a long, long time, But Obama's heart ain't draining.

None of this is to give Obama a pass. There have been fuck-ups, most prominently on gay rights issues and on issues of government transparency. These are not to be taken lightly. And when Obama's made explicit promises with timelines (as with Gitmo), he should be held to them (although you can bet that every seemingly firm date he mentioned in a campaign speech had a conditional clause near it - this is politics, motherfuckers).

Declaring Obama is "like Bush" or "as bad as Bush" because he hasn't immediately rescinded everything that bastard did is foolish. Maintaining the status quo on something for the time being is not the same as making it worse. (And, again, on things like transparency, where Glenn Greenwald has argued persuasively that Obama is going down the Bush path and laying new track, we should be upset.)

Patience is not endless. It's not like the recent Ted Rall cartoon that has Obama supporters hoping year by year that Obama will change as the country slips into dictatorship. Of course, we can't be idiots. But, hell, Rall already called on him to resign. Such sentiments, at this point, this early, are useless, with so much actually accomplished, with discussions occurring on issues like health care and, yes, gay rights, in ways that were unimaginable less than a year ago.

You will not get everything you want, dear progressive Obama voter. But you need to decide what's the tipping point and when. If you've already reached it, then your support was chimeric to begin with. And the next three and a half years are gonna seem awfully long.


Barack Obama Is Not Afraid of You and He Will Kick Your Ass:
Disagree how you will with Barack Obama on some pretty serious issues (are we really debating whether or not to release a Gitmo detainee held because we mistook the video of him being tortured by al-Qaeda for him being trained as a suicide bomber?). Wonder who the fuck he's pleasing when it comes to some other issues (dude made some pretty explicit damn promises on the campaign trail when it came to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, among other shit). Accuse him of whatever you like, yell at him about whatever you like, call him a dirty smoker. But the man is trying to be a goddamned alchemist in transforming a vat of shit into a gold bathtub.

We're impatient, yes, yes, we are. The deluded who thought they were getting beautiful Barack to ride in on a giant stallion and slay the big, bad Bush machine are impatient. The realists who knew they were getting a really damn smart, slightly left of center guy in Obama and not an avenging liberal, they're impatient, too.

What the Obama administration has to do is the governing equivalent of having a threesome with hot-looking conjoined female twins attached at the vagina. Before you can even get to the fucking, you gotta separate them, make sure they have functioning pussies, and wait for them to heal. In other words, you gotta get back to "normal" before you can get to "awesome."

Or, in even otherer words, it's gonna take a fuck of a lot of work to get us back to zero, to the way things were before George W. Bush came in and pissed on our beds, raped our dogs, tied us up, set the house on fire, and left without calling 911. And then, once it's back to zero, we can talk about how it gets better. Doesn't make any of us less impatient and it doesn't excuse some of the shit Obama's doing (like continuing to argue the Bush administration side on cases left over from it), but we gotta recognize that the circumstances are: "We're fucked - can we be un-fucked?"

So at his news conference today, we got the Obama we elected, the cool, can't-be-fucked-with man who has answers up his sleeve that will make you wonder how the fuck he did that. To listen to his takedown of whiny ass insurance companies is to think that the man really does want to trick Americans into universal health care. And his exchange with Major Garrett of Fox "news" was a model for anyone going on that network: reject the premise and tell them how and where they can go fuck themselves.

Immediately after, on the CNNMSNBCFox, they were talking about how the man should have shown more anger when condemning the violence in Iran. But that misses the point entirely. By not getting all unhinged and finger wagging and stumblefucking into saying stupid shit like "With us or against us," Obama maintains strength.

We're five months away from the worst presidency in our history, heading in the opposite direction, thank Christ, Allah, whoever, or no one. But objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, motherfuckers. This ain't apologia and it ain't deluded belief. Just like we can yell that Democrats who oppose Obama's policies are forgetting that people who voted for the man knew what they were getting, so can we say to the jittery on the left that, despite the fact that getting fucked over is a very real possibility, we need to remember that we who voted for him also did so on the basis of trusting his judgment.

Time and again today, Obama kept telling us to be patient - that the health care debate was ongoing, that "we don't know yet how this thing is going to play out" in Iran, that we need to see how the first stimulus works out before talking about another one. Or, to put it simply, chill the fuck out.
Late Post Today:
Back in a bit with Obama's news conference in the very soggy Rose Garden.


Photos That Take Us Beyond Neda:

Near the Iranian consulate in Istanbul yesterday, protesters show photos of the now-famously dead Neda and others killed and injured during protests in Tehran.

From a purely American perspective, selfishly so, this uprising in Iran has stabbed a hole in heart of any and all arguments for bombing that member of the axis of evil. Indeed, if it succeeds, nearly the entire raison d'etre for much of the right wing in this country, from the colonialist neocons to the "bomb Iran" yahoos, will be gone, flushed away like blood on the pavement of Tehran.

If, as George W. Bush says endlessly, freedom and democracy are what people desire, what Iran is showing that it has to come from the citizens, not from the imposition of conquerers in denial. Even if they fail, the marches will have humanized a people who have been demonized by our leaders for decades. And once that happens, the discussion of murdering thousands of them by us is over.


A New Gig for a Rude Favorite:
Yeah, yeah, it's a rare thing to give special linky goodness here, but the Rude Pundit's been reading DarkSyde at various and sundry blogs for years now. He's still the science writer at Daily Kos, and now he's got another gig, writing science policy posts over at the Examiner.com. It's geeky (and smart) as hell, but it'll get your head straight on shit what you hear in the news. And, hey, it's got his real name.

Check him out.


Finally, the End of the Tale:
The final part of this year's Rude at Bonnaroo epic, "Dawn of the Roo," has been posted. The horror, the horror.


The Osborne Decision: You Don't Want to Inconvenience Alaska, Do You?:
To be sure, William Osborne is something of a motherfucker. Six months after he was paroled from prison for the 1993 rape, kidnapping, and assault of a woman in Alaska that was the focus of his case before the Supreme Court, he was arrested for a vicious home invasion. So if you're arguing, as Osborne was, that you're entitled to prove your innocence with a post-conviction DNA test on the semen found in the condom used at the rape despite the fact that you live in Alaska (state motto: "Suck our pipeline, you sub-Canadian bastards"), one of the only states that doesn't allow for such tests, it'd be way better for everyone involved if you weren't a mega-asshole. But, alas, this ain't a movie and rights are complicated shit, as we are forced to learn again and again.

So when the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision (known in legal circles as the "Yeah, that was totally unexpected" count, with a big eye roll on "totally"), said, more or less, "Proving this cocksucker innocent or guilty would just be a big ass inconvenience," it ain't as if anyone's gonna weep a tear or two for Osborne. And, hey, Osborne's first DNA test confirmed that because he's black, there was a one in seven chance it'd match him, such was the sophistication of the test used.

Ultimately, though, this ain't about Osborne. Really, fuck him. He was a craven opportunist looking for the easiest way out. When he applied for parole, he was told he'd have to confess to the crime in order to get it. So, being the man of principle that he is, he confessed. We can argue all kinds of shit about Osborne, about what one's state of mind might be if one was innocent and offered a chance to get out, about whether he was innocent. Or if he was a guilty man who finally found a way to game the system to get out. But it doesn't matter.

Because, see, what the Supreme Court did yesterday was to say, one more time, that we can't burden the poor states with rights they're not ready to give. In an appropriately pussy statement, Chief Justice John Roberts writes, "DNA evidence will undoubtedly lead to changes in the criminal justice system. It has done so already. The question is whether further change will primarily be made by legislative revision and judicial interpretation of the existing system, or whether the Federal Judiciary must leap ahead--revising (or even discarding) the system by creating a new constitutional right and taking over responsibility for refining it." In other words, DNA is so very awesome, so awesome that 47 states and the federal government already allow its use post-conviction on previously collected evidence, but we wouldn't want to make Alaska, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts stop being such dicks about it.

By the way, fun fact: the District Attorney's office opposing Osborne said that a new DNA test would conclusively prove his innocence or guilt. So even for the DA, Osborne was beside the point. Another fun fact: Osborne, with help from the Innocence Project, was going to pay for the test, but Alaska would not give him access to the evidence.

Rights are abstract things and messy when they're implemented. That's the way it goes. You want freedom of speech? You're gonna get pornography and some fucking blogger making jokes about Clarence Thomas hungrily gobbling Antonin Scalia's cock while Samuel Alito fucks him in the ass because Thomas loves to be the meat in an Italian bread sandwich. You want a justice system that tries its best to make sure that innocent people aren't imprisoned? Then you don't fucking lock them up without charge and you don't deny them the chance to prove innocence.

Almost every state grants the request that Osborne made. They all seem to be able to handle it without the foundations of justice tumbling. As Justice Stevens writes in dissent, "The arbitrariness of the State's conduct is highlighted by comparison to the private interests it denies. It seems to me obvious that if a wrongly convicted person were to produce proof of his actual innocence, no state interest would be sufficient to justify his continued punitive detention. If such proof can be readily obtained without imposing a significant burden on the State, a refusal to provide access to such evidence is wholly unjustified."

But, no, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and sometimes Kennedy pull out the states' and legislative rights card when it's convenient, when a case makes them feel ooky (check out Alito's concurring opinion for a creepy dwelling on the facts of the crime). Because we certainly wouldn't want the United States to act like we're states that are united.


George W. Bush: Tan, Rested, Still a Total Dick:
Sometimes in this life you don't know whether you want someone to shut the fuck up or talk themselves blue. For instance, when your ex-husband is trying to tell some hot chick at a bar why he broke up the marriage. That fucker's gonna dig himself a deeper and deeper grave. Only a wave of very human pity would make you wish him to just be quiet, to not reveal things about your intimate moments, but as he describes how he felt stifled in the marriage, how he was looking for other "experiences" with other people, how he makes himself seem more and more like a selfish cockhole, there's just pleasure in experiencing the way he's burying himself alive.

That horrible, dirt-choking death spiral was on display last night in Erie, Pennsylvania, as former President George W. Bush (a phrase that's still worth savoring) spoke to the Manufacturer and Business Association meeting about...well, shit, something or other about how he sees the world. Bush vowed not to criticize President Barack Obama, which would be true if he hadn't criticized President Barack Obama.

Yes, in that squinty, smirky, cuntish way of his, Bush told the crowd, regarding the health care plan debate, "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care." About Gitmo, he said, "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that -- persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind." And when asked if Obama's policies were socialistic, Bush hemmed and hawed and said, "We'll see." You see what he did there? He said, "I'm not going to criticize my successor," which makes him seem like a mensch, and then he makes vague policy attacks that mask the criticism. It's lummox magic, the hoodoo of the mildly brain-damaged, like tricking a cat with a feather, and the crowd lapped it up like so very much spilled milk.

Others are already taking apart the fucktardery and general hypocrisy of Bush's speech and Q&A. There were other lines that were head-shake worthy, like the un-self-aware, ""Clearly, there's a level of frustration on the Iranian streets. It looks like it's not a very fair election." Yep, if anyone knows an unfair election when he sees it...

Mostly, though, what should frustrate all of us is that without the threat of prosecution hanging over his sunburnt head (seriously, dude, melanoma much?), we're going to have to deal with his nattering little passive-aggressive swipes. He doesn't have the guts to go full force into debating the policies because that would require knowledge of more than just the executive summaries, or "shit-what-people-told-me." He feels free when he should feel pursued. People paid $1500 a table for this shit. It's like rewarding a fat lion for wiping out an entire herd of gazelle.


Why Doesn't Jesus Want Us to Have a Health Care Plan?:
The Rude Pundit continues to be a member of the Super-Duper Prayer Team of the Family Research Council (motto: "The voices in our heads tell us that queers are icky") under a nom de rude. Every week, he receives orders on what he should spread his prayer seed on, and this week is especially meaty. Amidst all the prayers about us needing to afear the gays and their unholy desire to get married just like real people, there's this: "Last week, Senate Democrats began circulating the first draft of Sen. Kennedy's proposal for a sweeping government health care system. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is scheduled to hold public 'markup' sessions to finalize details on the bill in mid June. Of particular concern are the provisions for 'reproductive health services,' which is code language for federally funded abortion. The Senate Finance Committee will have its say, then the full Senate."

This is followed by how we need to pray: "May those who pray mount a prevailing effort to prevent this socialistic plan to take permanent control of over 17% of the American economy. May the American people and their representatives wield their power to reject this effort, as they did in 1993-94." Now that's a goddamned precise prayer. It makes a soul wonder what percentage of the American economy is the upper limit for we prayer warriors. And watch for abortion payments to become the screeching right's last stand on health care until they demand that all fertile women must carry frozen embryos before Orrin Hatch agrees to let the government pay for a few people's antibiotics.

This is followed by a list of bible verses that give us guidance on our prayers, a way to put more sticky notes in our home gospels. Like, on stopping health care reform, we should read Hosea 6:1-3, which says, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up/ After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight/ Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." Or, in other words, the FRC seems to be saying that we shouldn't give a shit about doctors because an invisible sky wizard will heal us if we're willing to let his voice be in our heads. Why is it always three days with this bastard?

One might think that Jesus would want doctors for the poor because he's only one dude with the superpower of healing. And that shit's gotta wear a guy out.


In the Ten Minutes Between Jet Planes:
The Rude Pundit is between flights and only has time for a few words before being trash compacted into his seat.

This morning, driving to the Nashville airport, he was listening to mad, mad Glenn Beck's radio program. Here was the first half-hour of the show: Beck reading a letter from a listener in Arizona listing the dozen or so things that need to be done to make America a good place "again" - by the time the Arizonan got to some nutzoid babble about the threat to America posed by ACORN and the repetition of the phrase "we are coming for you," while insisting it wasn't about violence, the Rude Pundit was ready to give Arizona back to Mexico. ("Fuck it, here, have fun.") This was followed by an ad for Beck's forthcoming book, which he has titled, in a move so hubristic it made Donald Trump go, "Goddman, that fucker's a narcissist," Common Sense, a la the Thomas Paine revolutionary pamphlet. This was followed by Beck warning us about the collapse of civilization and the need for gold, which was, of course, an ad for a company that wants to sell you gold. And the Rude Pundit was a half-hour older.

And the Rude Pundit wondered: is this how we were during the Bush administration? Prostrate to our anger? Unwittingly giving our opposition as much ammunition as they needed?

The answer to that, and more, starting tomorrow. Fuck, gotta get to the plane.

Correction: In a previous incarnation, this post contained a screw-up in saying "Obama administration" instead of Bush. That's what you get when you're in a sweaty North Carolina airport.
Late Post Today:
Sending a love message from this phone. Gotta see a man about a jet plane. More unsustainable rudeness this afternoon.


A Moment of Peace Before Wading Back Into the Shit:

On a two-lane country road, some-fuckin'-where in small town Tennessee this morning, on his way back from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, the Rude Pundit encountered this man walking alone. After driving past him once, we turned around to find out what the hell was going on. Why? Because that's what you do. Because you are human. And when an old man with patchwork robes, long white beard, and a homemade crucifix on a staff crosses your path twenty miles out of any place you've ever heard, you stop and find out what's going on.

The Rude Pundit jumped out of the car and walked up to him. He said his name was Pilgrim George and that he walked the world, that he'd been through 41 countries, and that he was on his nonstop walking pilgrimage because God had told him to do it. He talks to all who wish, he owns almost nothing, he lives off the kindness of strangers.

After asking to take his picture, the Rude Pundit handed Pilgrim George some money. George asked if we had water, and we handed him two, a cold one from the ice chest and another one for later. He thanked us, blessed us, and went on his way.

In an era when all the fake Christians palm off their violence, their bigotry, and their hateful speech as being a case of God-mind reading, whether it's in shootings at clinics or Glenn Beck trying to convince us that small violence is an indicator of the hellish endtimes to come, and no matter where you stand on religion and Gods, it's encouraging to know that a man can put on tire tread bottomed sandals and wander the earth in order to ask us to be better people.

(Still feeling the hippie vibe and deep, bone-rattling exhaustion from the fest. Tomorrow, fuck peace and love.)


Personal Day (Music Festival Edition):
Right now the Rude Pundit is in a hippie cooperative mudpit paradise surrounded by towns where there's as many Confederate flags as American. Yesterday he led a group of sweaty, half-dressed, half-painted campers in creating a machine that makes the sun. Today he'll lead them to the fountain to act out "taking a shower." He's half-mad from lack of sleep, good dope, and better beer. He was more or less held hostage by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at 2 a.m. while the puppet ass raped Ernie from Sesame Street. He's not sure that was real, which is scary. What's scarier is that if it's not real, then he's hallucinating buttfucking puppets.

So while the Rude Pundit is incredibly enraged at what's going on with the right's reaction to the Holocaust Museum shooting, he'll wait 'til Monday to offer anything more than a barely articulate "Whafuck?"

And he'll defer to his Rude at Bonnaroo blog for the day. That'll be updated all weekend.


A Few Random Observations on the Killing at the Holocaust Museum:
1. Damn, James W. von Brunn hit the nutzoid racist trifecta: he killed a black security guard at a museum about the slaughter of Jews run by the federal government. Somewhere in southern Idaho, they're already building a statue to that motherfucker.

2. In a statement that was instantly condemned by the Society of American Retards as "so stupid that it raises the bar for us - we hope Michele Bachmann comes through again," Von Brunn ally John de Nugent said, "The responsible white separatist community condemns this. It makes us look bad.” On a quick glance, there's about five things wrong with that comment, but mostly it just makes you want to dye de Nugent's skin and toss him naked on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande and tell him, "Okay, make it home."

3. You can read from many others how much Republicans are hominah-hominah-ing to cover their asses about attacking the DHS report on right-wing extremism. Instead, let's leave with this, from Storm Front, the go-to white nationalist forum. It's a little poem. The poem is really a "who give a fuck" kind of thing. But the comments will make your stomach turn inside out:
A poem from user Meadman:
"Stand up and be counted
for race and for nation
awake the Lion heart
and damn all integration.

"Stand up and be counted
Defenders of the right
And proud we`ll stand in this great land
Through history and might."

Comment from NederlanderJurrien: "Powerful poem. Did you right this one yourself? If so, good job!" Misspelling all NJ's.

Response from Meadman: "Yes I wrote it some years ago and it sounds fantastic when the kids recite it as a song!"

Thus it all continues.

(The Rude Pundit is at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. You can follow his adventures among the hippie zombies at Rude at Bonnaroo. And on Twitter.)


In Brief: Quotes That Reassure the Rude Pundit That We're Fighting Idiots:
From yesterday's Washington Times (motto: "Moonies, Republicans, what can we say? We love authority"): After a ranting litany of much-repeated generalities about Democrats and how they're oppressing the poor, poor Republicans who just wanna do their jobs, Andrew "No, the Hollywood Gossip Shit Is Just to Make a Living" Breitbart wrote, "[I]n a two-party system, the GOP will not survive if it doesn't accept the fact that the Democrats are its enemy and that it must begin to play for keeps. That means finding another Lee Atwater - only meaner - and not apologizing when we get him."

The Rude Pundit doesn't begrudge the advice - he gave much the same to Democrats. But, Andrew, dude, you motherfuckers had another Lee Atwater. His name was Karl Rove, and he made his mentor Atwater look like a fluffy kitten caressing Democrats with a dandelion. Rove fucked up your precious GOP, man, by preventing Republicans in Congress from acting like they were in Congress and not just open mouths for Cheney's dick. So, maybe, and, really, take this advice as if it's coming from someone who thinks your party is as worthless as a used condom on a gravel road, you should probably figure out how to claim a post-Bush ass kissing identity before you give the party over to Atwater III.

(Bonus quote, from Frank "My Bald Head Is My Mood Ring of Rage" Gaffney, on Obama's speech in Cairo: "[T]here is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself." That's from today's Washington Times. It's like a newspaper written from under a giant lunatic's taint.)

(Tip o' the rude hat to Fark's politics page for the heads up on the quote.)


The Rude Pundit, Teacher of Hippies:
Starting Thursday, the Rude Pundit will be teaching theatre exercises to the unwashed, barely-clothed concertgoers at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN. He'll be working with three other teaching artists out of the Academy tent in Planet Roo (where you can also do drumming, painting, and loads o' stuff when you want to give your ears a break).

The theatre classes are:
Thursday, June 11 from 4-5:30 pm
Friday, June 12 from 6:30-8 pm
Saturday, June 13 from 10:30-noon
Sunday, June 14 from 3-4:30 pm

If nothing else, c'mon by and give a hello and maybe some water, for Chrissake. Or maybe stay and play.

(Still figuring out if/when to do a beer tent rude hook-up.)
The Lakhdar Boumediene Case: Why Incremental Change Is Politics Over Ethics:
From the prepared testimony of paranoid journalist Steven Emerson, who sees angry Muslim terrorists everywhere he looks, and general paranoiac Jonathan Levin to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, July 31, 2003: "According to one news report from Sarajevo, Boumediene Lakhdar and Nechle Mohamed, two Al-Qaeda members arrested in 2001 for planning terrorist attacks against the U.S. and British Embassies in Sarajevo, were administrators for the Red Crescent." Several times in other situations, it was stated as fact that Lakhdar Boumediene was an al-Qaeda member, which would be true if he had been an al-Qaeda member. But he was not. And he wasn't planning jack shit.

But he was sent to Gitmo for almost eight years to be interrogated in our delightfully enhanced way after a year in custody in Bosnia. It's a little like being kicked in the nuts and then being put into a small room with hungry rats. In fact, it was almost exactly like being kicked in the nuts and then being put into a small room with hungry rats. The rats in this case would be the enhanced interrogators (which sound like they have chemically-enlarged dicks, but probably the exact opposite is true).

The Gitmo torturers weren't even looking for him to confess to what he had been arrested for in the first place. No, they decided he knew something about Osama bin Laden and were gonna abuse him until he gave something up. He eventually lied to stop the mistreatment. And then, after court decision after court decision, including a by-the-fingernails 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, Boumediene was freed. He's living in France now, with his family and his kids who are learning just who the fuck he is, which you can be damned sure ain't who the fuck he was nearly nine years ago.

What we've learned about Barack Obama as our President is that he works incrementally, bit by bit. It's sort of like the way you can act when you're fucking some guy's virgin ass. The kind, caring lover does it gradually, shoving his lubed, condomed cock in bit by bit, taking several fuckings to actually get to the point where the muscles are stretched and ready to take the whole sausage.

So Obama gets us used to something slowly, holding back and holding back while moving ever so intently forward. Obama operates on the idea that we'll get used to shit as we go along. Look at what's happened today. An accused terrorist has been brought to the United States from Guantanamo. He's here now, on our soil, looking all dark and third-world, like he just wants to fillet him some 'Mericans. Ahmed Ghailani is a safe choice because he's not associated with 9/11 or any attack on U.S. soil. If all goes well, if he's convicted and locked up without doing movie shit like breaking his chains, grabbing a gun, and going on a multi-state killing spree, then Obama will have thrust enough to allow more prisoners to be brought over and really tried. And at some point it will just be boring and we will have moved on to whatever is going on with Jon and Kate, tuning out the news noise.

Again, it's the way Obama governs, for the most part. Very deliberately, with gathering momentum. It's the way he operated his campaign. It's what he's doing with gay marriage and other issues. You render the unusual quotidian so that nobody notices that change has occurred until it's pointed out to them. Rather ingenious in its own reluctant way, mitigating political opposition and building support for a policy by dint of its ordinariness and obviousness.

We can (and will) argue about this approach. But there's times when you just need to bend some willing but nervous partner over, shove your cock in, and get to fucking. Sure, there'll be that gasp, the pain, but, goddamn, sometimes it's just the right moment, and for both of you, there's nothing but good times ahead. Pop that cherry - don't slowly drip the juice out.

And when it comes to Gitmo, the number of Boumedienes is unknown. The Algerian himself was only released, finally, last month, well, well after he had been described repeatedly as among "the worstest of the worstest that ever worsted a worst" or whatever torture lovers are saying now about people who have been convicted of nothing.

The moral, ethical, and legal imperatives of action far outweigh the political risk in just fucking closing Gitmo already (Obama's got less than eight months to do it to live up to his stated goal post-campaign). As Boumediene said, "The first month, okay, no problem, the building, the 11 of September, the people, they are scared, but not 7 years. They can know whose innocent, who's not innocent, who's terrorist, who's not terrorist. I give you 2 years, no problem, but not 7 years."

It's hard to argue with a man who can say that to us after how we treated him.


In Brief: Gingrich Among the Pagans:
What a pandering sow fucker is Newt Gingrich. Somebody actually told this tubby bottom feeder that people want nothing more than a Newt Restoration. Those people have lied to the former Speaker of the House, who was run out of the Congress like a whipped whelp. But there he was, white-capped like a snowy turd mountain, at the Rock Church, which is not, sadly enough, a church for, you know, rock, but has the motto of Jesus, the Drama Queen Campfire Singalong Christ: "Growing in God's Word together, we worship, we serve, we laugh, we cry, we learn and we reach out to our world with life-transforming truth."

And Gingrich was appearing at a forum called "Rediscovering God in America," as if God was discovered here once before. Gingrich said, "I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history. We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

Fucking great going, you manipulative cockmonger. Gingrich told a bunch of people who get off by masturbating with Christ's toes that American is pagan, which can only lead to missionaries heading out into the pagan jungles of the USA to convert people like us with bones in our noses. But, fuck, if the economy continues its header into the void, it might be time to break out the giant pot and put it on the fire and get ready to dance around the stew.

(Today the Rude Pundit is traveling to Tennessee, to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.)
Late Post Today (Pagan Edition):
The Rude Pundit is busy worshiping mad deities and will be back after he's finished sacrificing this virgin right here (not to any volcano, you know).


Weekend Housekeeping: Bonnaroo, Book, Etc.:
1. The Rude Pundit will be returning to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival as part of the Academy. He'll be teaching the good hippies guerrilla theatre, as he did two years ago, when he helped create an uproar at the mushroom fountain over the gouging price of lemonade. (As odd as that sounds, it's totally real and not acid trip residue.)

No, he won't be performing this year. But if you're there, come on by the tent at Planet Roo and get your activism on before heading off to that TV on the Radio set. Schedule for the Academy to be posted soon.

Which means that the Rude at Bonnaroo blog will be active again, starting on Wednesday.

And, for those so inclined, he'll be doing the Twitter thing from the festival, probably mostly talking about drugs, bugs, and tits.

Send an email if you'll be there. If there's enough readers hanging out, maybe we'll do a Rude meetup at the beer tent.

2. This week, the Rude Pundit announced his first book, Staged Action, an edited volume of plays from the workers' movement of the 1920s and 1930s. It's available from Amazon. Buy it to learn about a part of American and theatre history that's been forgotten and to read some kick-ass plays.


Updated - ADD Friday (Or "Are You Conservatives Fucking Kidding?"):
To end another bipolar American week (shootings over here, calls for peace over there, unemployment up, unemployment claims down), the Rude Pundit's just got a couple of random things related to how the right views Barack Obama:

On the one hand, you've got this from John McCormack at the blog of The Weekly Standard (motto: "Providing steady income for the Kristol family for decades now") on how the Obama administration reacted to the shooting at a U.S. army recruitment center vs. how it reacted to the shooting of Dr. George Tiller: "The contrast between Obama's statements is striking: He's 'deeply saddened' by the murder of a U.S. soldier, but 'shocked and outraged' by the murder of an abortionist? The murder of a U.S. soldier is a 'senseless' act of violence but the murder of an abortionist is a 'heinous' act of violence?

"Obama musters up moral outrage to denounce the wicked deed committed in Kansas, but seems almost resigned to the tragedy or 'man-caused disaster' that occurred in Arkansas."

Really? No, fuckin' really? McCormack quotes Michelle Malkin to back himself up, but fuck her. So you're apparently obligated to make moral equivalencies where none exist, and, if you said something about the Tiller murder, you have to comment on the shooting of Private William Long, who was killed, and Private Quinton I. Ezeagwula in Little Rock, Arkansas, by Abdulhakim Muhammad, who is, you know, Muslim. So here goes: the Rude Pundit just thought that Muslims all around the country slapped their foreheads in unison and yelled, "Oh, c'mon" upon hearing of the shooting.

So Obama doesn't condemn a shooting fast enough for some conservatives, and yet there's this horribly frightening essay from David Horowitz, a man who loves the smell of his own shit so much that he's bottled his filthy toilet water to spray on himself during the day. In Salon, the piece, titled, "Fellow conservatives, admit it: Obama gave a great speech," almost seems to be subversive in how much Horowitz aligns Obama with George W. Bush. The Rude Pundit has never been under any illusions that Obama was anything but a vaguely center-left politician, and he'll say more soon about what's driving some on the left to near madness. Still, and all, reading Horowitz's piece gave him a clenched, nauseous feeling he hasn't had in, oh, nearly five months.

There are conservatives the Rude Pundit wouldn't mind being in bed with. But he doesn't want Horowitz to even touch the corner of the sheets.

Update: Hey, McCormack, suck on this: "President Barack Obama has tapped an anti-abortion activist to a senior Health and Human Services 'faith-based' position just a week after the murder of prominent abortion doctor George Tiller." You win, cockbreath.

Given the choice between words of outrage over a shooting or an appointment with real policy significance, which one would you choose for your side?


An Email About George Tiller's Killer (Non-Obscene for the Kids):
In today's post, attracting much warranted attention was the letter from rude reader JC, who is from Wichita. Here it is in a profanity free entry so blogs with delicate sensibilities can link to the fascinating information contained therein:

"For some few years I volunteered as an escort at Dr. Tiller’s and several other clinics. I didn’t know the good doctor well, but met with him on several occasions and was impressed with his kindness and the care he obviously felt for the women who needed his services.

"Of course I have been heartbroken by his assassination, but I’m not so full of hate towards his killer. I’ve seen too many of his kind on the lines; in fact I remember seeing him. We knew Mr. Roeder as 'Prom Queen' from the flowers he usually carried there, and the screaming fits he would throw when approached by escorts. He was one of many not-too-bright mentally ill recruited by various self-appointed fundie leaders who groomed them to scream the threats they themselves were so careful not to utter aloud.

"I’m pretty sure that he has been exploited again to shoot Dr. Tiller. I don’t know who is using him this time- when I saw him, he was in Troy Newman’s stable of nuts, but the fundie leaders are an incestuous bunch who tend to swap followers as needed.

"According to papers Roeder filed today, his possessions amount to a 16yr.-old Taurus and $10, and he only works occasionally at minimum-wage jobs. Yet he managed to finance several 400-mile round trips to Wichita from the KC area in the last month to case the church and know Dr. Tiller by sight, bought a handgun, gas and meals etc. Also, he asked- begged- for bail to be set today, despite his total lack of assets. Obviously, the poor bastard expects someone to post it, all of which leads me to believe that he is not the solitary nutcase the fundies claim he is.

"Somebody had to put him up to it, help him plan it and pay his expenses, and will now feed him to the sharks. Hopefully, and maybe with a bit of psych help, he will realize how he was used and name names."
Why Ann Coulter Is a Cunt, Part 20,122 (Murder Advocacy Edition):
Here's how the Rude Pundit pictures evenings at Ann Coulter's home: Coulter, wearing only a spiked dog collar and a leather bustier with swastikas on the nipples, watches Tivo'd interviews of herself on Fox "news," the only place that'll have her anymore, photo of Joe McCarthy gazing at her from the mantle, a dildo made of her father's femur next to it, her laptop on the glass coffee table in front of her on a bookmarked Amazon page of her latest "book," the better to keep hitting "refresh" so she can manically see the rise and fall of her rankings, sucking down straight scotch from a tumbler, snorting coke off a copy of Godless. She's rubbing her pussy with a riding crop until she's gotten herself good and soppy, and that just sets something off, triggers some impulse in her brain, and she fuckin' loses it. She turns up the volume all the way and she wails like a banshee in the fog at the ceilling. She slams her glass against the table, shattering the top, she grabs one of the larger shards, and she goes to work on her thighs. Fuck, yeah, over just-scarred-over previous wounds, she cuts with one hand and fucks herself with the handle of the riding crop, sometimes taking it out to slap her ass, eventually shoving it in her asshole until she comes and shits and bleeds all over her leather sofa, yelping and barking the entire time, and then laying there in her shit and blood, she grabs the scotch and pours it over her legs, the burn giving her one more sphincter-puckering orgasm. And then she picks up her laptop, brushes the splinters and pieces off it, and gets to work writing.

For in her latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "see the above"), Coulter doesn't "imply" that doctors who do abortions should. She pretty much says they should be: "If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, then don't shoot one." See? Isn't Coulter's cuntistry clever? She's turning around a pro-choice motto to say that shooting abortion providers should be legal and safe.

As ever, it's useless to argue with Coulter, who in most of the column repeats everything we've heard before, about how recently murdered Dr. George Tiller contributed money to Democrats (which apparently is wrong to Coulter, although we wouldn't want any rules on campaign funding, would we?), and speaks of Tiller as running an "abattoir" to murder babies. For how do you argue with someone who makes this logical leap:

"For years, we've had to hear about the grave threat that Americans might overreact to a terrorist attack committed by 19 Muslims shouting 'Allahu akbar' as they flew commercial jets into American skyscrapers. That would be the equivalent of 19 pro-lifers shouting 'Abortion kills a beating heart!' as they gunned down thousands of innocent citizens in Wichita, Kan."

The levels of the piquant mixture of hate and crazy there are off the chart.

And correcting Coulter is like correcting a cat. Cat don't care, man, cat don't care, and cat owners just think that's endearing, like Coulter's readers. So when Coulter says of Tiller's church (where he was, you know, shot), "The official Web page of the ELCA instructs: 'A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born,'" you can try. You can say, "Well, actually, the context of the quote is a discussion of rights, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America website makes this morally complex statement:

"The language used in discussing abortion should ignore neither the value of unborn life nor the value of the woman and her other relationships. It should neither obscure the moral seriousness of the decision faced by the woman nor hide the moral value of the newly conceived life. Nor is it helpful to use the language of 'rights' in absolute ways that imply that no other significant moral claims intrude. A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy. The concern for both the life of the woman and the developing life in her womb expresses a common commitment to life. This requires that we move beyond the usual 'pro-life' versus 'pro-choice' language in discussing abortion."

(The whole page is actually a pretty amazing discussion of abortion within a fairly conservative Christian church.)

No, no, all of this is rather useless, other than to say that at some point, someone is responsible for Scott Roeder's act beyond the simple savagery of an individual. Hell, if not O'Reilly, why not Coulter? Especially when she says, "As long as we're deciding who does and doesn't have an 'absolute right to be born,' who's to say late-term abortionists have an 'absolute right' to live?"

Let's end this with a letter from rude reader JC, who is from Wichita, Kansas:
"For some few years I volunteered as an escort at Dr. Tiller’s and several other clinics. I didn’t know the good doctor well, but met with him on several occasions and was impressed with his kindness and the care he obviously felt for the women who needed his services.

"Of course I have been heartbroken by his assassination, but I’m not so full of hate towards his killer. I’ve seen too many of his kind on the lines; in fact I remember seeing him. We knew Mr. Roeder as 'Prom Queen' from the flowers he usually carried there, and the screaming fits he would throw when approached by escorts. He was one of many not-too-bright mentally ill recruited by various self-appointed fundie leaders who groomed them to scream the threats they themselves were so careful not to utter aloud.

"I’m pretty sure that he has been exploited again to shoot Dr. Tiller. I don’t know who is using him this time- when I saw him, he was in Troy Newman’s stable of nuts, but the fundie leaders are an incestuous bunch who tend to swap followers as needed.

"According to papers Roeder filed today, his possessions amount to a 16yr.-old Taurus and $10, and he only works occasionally at minimum-wage jobs. Yet he managed to finance several 400-mile round trips to Wichita from the KC area in the last month to case the church and know Dr. Tiller by sight, bought a handgun, gas and meals etc. Also, he asked- begged- for bail to be set today, despite his total lack of assets. Obviously, the poor bastard expects someone to post it, all of which leads me to believe that he is not the solitary nutcase the fundies claim he is.

"Somebody had to put him up to it, help him plan it and pay his expenses, and will now feed him to the sharks. Hopefully, and maybe with a bit of psych help, he will realize how he was used and name names."


Updated: The Rude Pundit Put Together a Book (and It's Not the One You'd Expect):
Indulge a moment of shameless self-promotion:

So, in his Clark Kent life, the Rude Pundit is a tenured radical. And Cornell University Press just put out his first book. It's called Staged Action, and it's a collection of ass-kicking, pro-union plays from the 1920s and 1930s, when theater was used to recruit workers to unions and to cheer on strikers.

Some of the plays are violent and brutal. In plays that take place in a North Carolina mill town and in the coal-mining areas of West Virginia, strikers are gunned down by the owners and the National Guard. In Upton Sinclair's Singing Jailbirds (from which the cool cover photo comes), a union organizer is put into solitary confinement for months on end, until it drives him insane. And there's Hollywood Ten rebel John Howard Lawson, whose Processional is a mad combination of jazz music, KKK meetings, and bombers (and has a scary bit of dialogue predicting the first black president). All of the writers in the volume, well-known and unknown, walked the walk, and they were rude in the best sense of the word.

The Rude Pundit is the good scholar throughout, providing introductions and context. It's history, it's literature, it's drama, and it's a reminder of how distant we've gotten from our predecessors who literally fought and died trying to get union members a fair break in a time of economic insanity.

And, hey, look, acclaimed British film director Ken Loach liked it: "These plays are not only an important part of our theater history but also will have a lot to say to us today. The war between employers and those they employ, the exploiters and the exploited, will last as long as economies are dominated by private capital. But the stories are personal, humane and heroic, the essence of good drama. As our economic difficulties increase, what are the chances of a new wave of writers defining today’s struggles?"

In last month's American Prospect magazine, Richard Byrne wrote, "Staged Action may not contain many practical lessons for the playwrights and writers of today, but it does rescue a valuable part of the cultural history of the left. It suggests that when our writers and artists with a popular audience do wake once again -- after this three-decade slumber -- to the dramas of labor and its struggles to organize in the face of powerful force, there are resources from which they may draw inspiration." (Byrne continued his discussion on his blog.)

The Rude Pundit will be appearing in various places over the next few months to lead readings of some of the works, including San Francisco on July 26. More details on that soon.

So grab a copy (and if Amazon runs out, just order the damn book 'cause they'll get more. Or get it from Barnes and Noble).

Update: Damn, rude readers, look at what you've done already on Amazon:
Amazon.com Sales Rank:
#2 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Anthologies
#10 in Books > Nonfiction > Politics > Labor & Industrial Relations
#14 in Books > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts > Theater > Stagecraft

Not to mention a leap of a million and a half in the overall book rankings. That kicks all kinds of ass. Just a little push more and the Rude Pundit'll have a book hit #1 on several narrow subcategories. (And Amazon's got more in stock.)

Later, back to your regular scheduled rudeness.
Late Post Today:
The Rude Pundit will be back this afternoon with more loquacious rudeness.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Drive a 1958 Bonneville Off a Cliff:

Those workers are leaving the Pontiac assembly plant in the now bitterly ironically named Pontiac, Michigan. They will not have their jobs after October. Any UAW members who still have doubts about the need for nationalized health care should talk to their local's retirees. The workers in closing plants who are not union members will discover how valuable the union would have been to them. All of them should feel lucky that a much more worker-friendly adminstration is in Washington. All of them should want the Obama administration to become even more so.

Indeed, despite the cutbacks, the GM bankruptcy should be a warning shot over the bow of the working class in this country, that however much is given, it can all be taken away.


Wichita Is Familiar with the Insane:
The Rude Pundit doesn't know if Scott Roeder was in the crowd outside the Women's Health Care Services clinic, where Dr. George R. Tiller was working, on that godawful hot day in Wichita, Kansas in late July 1991, during Operation Rescue's Summer of Mercy protests, but the Rude Pundit was there. He had been driving across the country pell-mell, stopping where he had the whim, and he was on his way across Kansas, driving all night from Limon, Colorado, when he veered off track into the Wichita morning to see what this Randall Terry fucker was up to.

He didn't need a map of the town. He just followed a car plastered with "Jesus Loves Fetus"-type signs off the interstate and right into town to the crappy-looking little building, the clinic that was, for all intents and purposes, the Alamo. Parking a few blocks away to make an easy exit if it was needed, the Rude Pundit walked the sidewalks over to the street near the gate surrounding Tiller's place of work. Moving through the scene was like watching a long tracking shot in a Fellini epic.

When he wasn't stepping over praying families, including children with their eyes scrunched tightly closed, the Rude Pundit was having papers shoved in his hands, gruesome descriptions and photographs, as if he thought any medical procedure was a clean, bloodless act. The signs all around, "Tiller the Killer" (popular before Bill O'Reilly started saying it), "Baby Killer," and other variations on murder, as well as the condemnations to hell. The Rude Pundit's been around angry, hateful people before, but he's rarely ever been around hundreds of deluded assholes who were screeching, speaking in tongues, and calling out to God to smite others. Imagine being on a street with a thousand people tripping on bad acid trip. And they're also on angel dust. You can punch them if you want, and, oh, the Rude Pundit wanted to, but it's about as useful as punching a wall of Jello.

Occasionally the cops would arrest someone for crawling to block the gate. More often one or more of the anti-abortion protesters would get into a screaming match with the pro-choice supporters, who were holding signs about what a fucktard Randall Terry was (is). The Rude Pundit hadn't slept. The President was George H.W. Bush, and he was trying to avoid doing jack shit so as not to piss off the base for next year's election. The Operation Rescue zealots were arrested for loitering. The only way to win was for the clinic to goddamn open.

The Rude Pundit got back on the road, getting the fuck out of Wichita, drive until he could find a Stuckey's or something. He knows dozens of women who have gotten abortions. For every single one of them, it was a significant decision, not taken lightly. For most, it is just a circumstance of their lives as women. For some, it is a burden they must bear. Almost none regret the act.

The Rude Pundit left before the clinic opened, which it did. Tiller had gone inside (he thinks). No, he never got a look at the now-dead doctor. But he remembers thinking that nearly every person he walked past had the potential to commit violence, that violence is never far from those who believe that another is committing an act against a voice in their heads. Randall Terry made Wichita into a war zone. He pushed it to this moment of crisis all those years ago. And, finally, now he has another scalp he can hang from his belt.