The Peach

Proudly providing the reality-based community with the juice on politics, media, religion and culture

Friday, May 13, 2005

My Pet Goat Redux

The Peach thought there was something distinctly odd about news accounts of the small plane that strayed into restricted airspace over Washington on Wednesday. The plane, which came within three miles of the White House, raised immediate fears of a potential terrorist strike and set off a wave of emergency actions by homeland security authorities that included scrambling military jets, evacuating thousands from government buildings and coming very close, according to accounts, to shooting the plane down. The situation was described by White House press secretary Scott McClellan as "a red alert."

What has the Peach scratching its fuzzy head in bewilderment, is the fact that apparently, the president -- who was at that moment enjoying a fitness-building bicycle ride at an off-site location -- was not informed of anything that was taking place until after the plane was safely on the ground; nearly an hour and a half after it was first picked up on FAA radar. According to McClellan, the president did not need to know because "he was never in any danger, and the protocols that were in place were followed."

Right, The Peach is thinking. Why tell the president that the vice president and indeed, his own wife, are in the process of being evacuated from the White House? He's not personally in any danger after all. Why let the commander in chief know that an American city -- the nation's capital, no less -- is possibly under airborne attack by terrorists? Why interrupt the leader of the free world's bike ride with the unpleasant news that authorities are taking the possibility of an attack so seriously that they are considering shooting a civilian plane down? After all, the plane isn't going to hit him, is it?

The more we thought about this, the more aghast we became. Shades of My Pet Goat, after all. We could just imagine Bush, with that placid, dumb face, tootling doofishly along on his bike, ignorant and blissful as his countrymen are about to become a smoking pile of collateral damage. And after we read the transcript of McClellan's press conference on the topic, we were not sure if we should chortle along with the rest of the revelers over at Daily Kos, or simply admit that we are living in some sort of surreal movie where cynical and unconvincing PR-speak is allowed to pass uncontested for the truth.

Heartening was the fact that for once in recent memory, the SCLM attempted to hold the administration's feet to the fire on this one. John Roberts of CBS News found it "extraordinary" that the president was not informed of the situation, and in the press conference, we hear reporters pressing McClellan for a complete explanation. In reply, he uses the word "protocol" literally dozens of times, and harps on the fact that there was no imminent threat to the president's personal safety, apparently not realizing that most Americans expect their safety to be the top priority under these circumstances. As another reporter so aptly put it, "Scott, I think there is a disconnect here."

Also emerging from press conference exchanges is the fact that the evacuation, for which the government immediatly gave itself a public A+, may not have gone so well after all. And the White House may have also lied about how close the small plane got to it.

It would be nice to think that McClellan's shallow and inept defense could not possibly snow anyone. But we live in a world where our president makes speeches in which he sounds like a complete idiot, incapable of stringing a coherent sentence together, substituting lame PR-machine catchphrases for real thoughts, and 59 million of our fellow countrymen say, "I love the guy. Look how real and authentic he is." For that reason, the Peach is not that optimistic that this incident will become any kind of nail in the coffin of Republican one-party rule. But we are keeping our fuzzy fingers crossed anyway.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Poor Baby

Soon-to-be-former-Mayor of Spokane, Washington, James West, is describing the leaks of his homosexuality as a "brutal outing" and that one of the groups responsible has turned the community into one of "harassment, intimidation" and "discrimination."

He went on to claim that people like him, those who "have an internal struggle with who they are sexually and are searching for a way to come out," will now be afraid to express their sexuality.

The Peach has only this to say: puhhhhhhleeese. We're talking about someone who supported a bill that prohibited gays and lesbians from working in schools, day-care centers and state agencies, but, when discussing his date with a (HELLO) 18-year-old man, called those trying to regulate private sexual behavior "sex Nazis."

We're talking about someone who wanted to bar the state from distributing pamphlets telling people how to protect themselves from AIDS during sex, because the material was something "people go buy at dirty bookstores." This while he was offering complete strangers jobs in exchange for sex.

We're talking about someone who supported a bill criminalizing teen sex. The bill would have made any sexual contact a misdemeanor for unmarried teenagers 18 or younger. Hey, Jimbo, how old were some of the, er, men you were doing the humpty-dance with?

So, excuse The Peach, Mr. West. Our fuzzy eyes will not shed a tear for your pains. If the outing could be even more "brutal" in exposing your hypocrisy, then lash away.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Toto, Thank God We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Has Kansas' primary goal become surpassing Florida as America's flakiest state? The Peach suspects so. For starters, like an episode right out of The Twilight Zone, the Kansas School Board put Charles Darwin on trial attempting to debunk his proven "theories" on evolution in order to implement their unproven "theories" on (un)intelligent design. The ultimate purpose is for the bible-thumping members of the board to personally rewrite science so it better reflects the science-fiction/fantasy world they currently reside in.

Now, Kansans have taken a "Kansas for Kansans, Outsiders out" approach to democracy by attempting to eliminate tuition breaks for illegal immigrants.

Students suing the state claim it is unfair to give tuition breaks to illegal immigrants and not to legal residents. According to the "legal" Kansas students' attorney, the state's reading of the current law would create a "giant semantic loophole" and subvert federal immigration laws' intent. The law in Kansas basically reads as follows:
Illegal immigrants who wish to qualify for the program must have attended a Kansas high school for at least three years and graduated or earned a general education development certificate in Kansas. Also, they must actively be seeking legal immigration status or plan to do so when they are eligible.
The Peach is nothing short of perplexed as to where the "giant semantic loophole" is. Is this another one of them "intelligent design" phrases? Or are we devolving into another one of those brain numbing discussions over the word "nuance?"

It seems, in order to keep God's land for God's people, Kansans are not only requiring their offspring to become "children of the corn," they must also adopt the rule "once an illegal immigrant, always an illegal immigrant." In any case, if dumber is as dumber gets, then Kansans are one step away from being, hmmmm, nothing but a bunch of dumb apes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

There is a God

And maybe He'll make sure that reason and good sense ultimately prevail after all, or at least that's how it seems to The Peach upon reading this AP story on North Carolina's East Waynesville Baptist Church. It seems that the church's pastor, Rev. Chan Chandler, has resigned following the public outcry that ensued when he demanded that all Democratic-voting church members leave the church.

Apparently, it was not enough for Rev. Chandler to be a Bush supporter himself. He felt the spirit moving him to endorse the president from the pulpit for weeks before the election last year, and then to boot from the church any member who had voted for John Kerry. Nine church members were thus "excommunicated" last week, followed by Rev. Chandler's surprise resignation today.

For its part, the Peach is first of all somewhat surprised (albeit gratified) to learn that nine Democrats (let alone nine Democratic Baptists) can be found in a place like East Waynesville, N.C. The Peach is even more surprised (and even more gratified) to see that even in such a place as we imagine East Waynesville, N.C. to be (and yes, what we're imagining is downtown Wingnuts-burg) , ultimately good sense -- not theocracy -- prevailed. Even there, a critical mass of good people recognized lunacy when they saw it.

Thank you, Jesus. And thank you, East Waynesville. For the moment, anyway, Blue America salutes you.

"Francis? Ain't That A Girly Name?"

The anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley admitted to Fox listeners of the Alan Colmes show that he, now get this, had sex with mules. That's right, the founder of abortioncams.com and the Nuremberg files, which listed names and addresses of abortion doctors leading to several shooting and bombing deaths, said in no uncertain terms, "When you grow up on a Georgia farm, your first girlfriend is a mule."

When Colmes asked if Horsley was suggesting that "everybody who grows up on a Georgia farm has a mule as a girlfriend," Horsley responded by pointing out that it was a historical fact and that people like Colmes "are so far removed from reality." Horsley then went on to rationalize his actions by saying, "If it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it."

The Peach wonders if this would include a bowl of freshly cooked pudding gently jiggling on top of a vibrating clothes dryer? How about chicken noodle soup? Maybe some oatmeal? Goulash? Gee Neal, the possibilities are endless.