The Adder's Archive
September 14, 2005
Game Over · Blaming is what you do when you have to
explain why you showed up late to work. It's what happens when your
mother finds the broken lamp and wants to know who was playing ball
in the house. You blame people for not using their turn signals
properly, or for causing the toilet to back up, or for dumping you
for someone else. This is not a game. It is a crime. So I do not
blame. I accuse.
February 2, 2005
Zero Tolerance · It isn't that the fundamentalist
right-wing rejects tolerance so much as that they simply do not
believe it really exists. 'Tolerance,' as they understand the world,
can only ever be a mask for evangelical zeal. So anything that promotes
'tolerance' is necessarily promoting recruitment and conversion,
and therefore must be stopped.
December 1, 2004
The Fat Lady Sings · If I want to change the
world I have to find a better way to deal with things as they are.
And one of the things I have to accept is that preaching to the
choir is not enough.
November 17, 2004
Living in Sin · It may not bother
Bush voters that the president's army has killed somewhere between
40,000 and 100,000 Iraqi civilians since March 2003; at least they
can still feel that frisson of outrage and righteousness every time
someone brings up same-sex marriage.
November 10, 2004
Black Box · There's more than one
way to fix an election. The vast majority of Americans vote based
on what they have seen on television - if you control what comes
out of that black box, then you control the opinions they form.
And that's what Rove has always relied on.
October 27, 2004
Wolves · This is how the Bush campaign
seems to be working these days: take one of Bush's worst features,
project it onto Kerry, and then attack him for the mistakes that
Bush actually made. And they're not just restricting themselves
to blaming their failures on the previous Democratic administration
- they're now trying to blame them on a future Democratic
October 20, 2004
October Surprise · Instead of compulsively
scrutinizing the latest opinion polls as if they were tea leaves,
I would suggest that the best omen we could possibly have is the
rising stench of desperation exhaling from Republican operatives
all over the country.
October 13, 2004
The Immoderator · I am the Plaid Adder,
and I am both hosting and moderating this debate, which is of course
not taking place anywhere except in my own overheated imagination.
Senator Kerry, President Bush, welcome to my brain.
October 6, 2004
What Your President Needs to Know About Terrorism ·
For those who will have to try to solve this problem in
spite of Bush, here in my own humble opinion, are the three most
important things for an American president to know about terrorism.
September 15, 2004
Unexcused Absence · Between the photo-ops
and the fund-raisers and the campaign appearances and the trips
to the three different vacation spots, it is perhaps not surprising
that so many of the moments of crisis that we've faced during Bush's
presidency have occured when he was somewhere other than where you
might expect a President to be.
September 8, 2004
The Politics of Whup-Ass · I suppose
it says something about us that Arnold Schwarzenegger is now being
talked about as a potential Presidential candidate, even though
it would require a Constitutional amendment to make him eligible.
Because apparently, in the Republicans' world, the only tool a strong
leader should ever need is a big ol' can of whup-ass.
September 1, 2004
So We'll Go No More A Rove-ing · Karl
Rove is in the process of self-destructing more spectacularly than
I ever could have dreamed he would, and eventually he's going to
bring his friends to rack and ruin with him.
August 25, 2004
The Old Lie · The Bush campaign knows perfectly
well that if they want to beat Kerry they will have to render him
as untrustworthy as their own candidate, and the only way to do
that is to take his medals away from him. They can't, of course,
do that by telling the truth; but if anyone on the Bush team gave
a damn about the truth, we wouldn't be fighting a war in Iraq right
now. And that's what this is all really about.
August 11, 2004
Panic Button · So, I don't know if you noticed,
but we've gone to orange alert again. I know you know the drill;
God knows we've been through it often enough before. But this one
is special. Because this time, it's clear that the terror alert
system is not simply a hugely embarrassing waste of time and money.
This time, it's clear that the alert system is actually elevating
the threat all by itself.
August 4, 2004
After the Ball (A Fairy Tale with a Happy Ending) ·
Red could do no wrong; he was always swaggering around the house
like he owned the place and then going out all night to spend the
family's money on expensive debauches with his rich friends. Any
time Blue went to her stepfather for money, he would rant about
entitlement and fiscal responsibility and tell her to go get a job.
June 9, 2004
Coming of Age in Reagan's America · The only
thing I can think of to do this week is to offer up my own memories
of Reagan and his presidency. They aren't all pleasant; but they
are all real, or as real as I can make them after swimming back
through twenty-four years to what seems to me now like another lifetime.
May 26, 2004
Sex and Violence · 40 people blown up at a
wedding - whether deliberately or by accident - by U.S. forces does
not seem to bother most of my fellow-Americans or indeed my Congressional
representatives anywhere near as much as the images from Abu Ghraib
do. I'm not sure exactly why that is, though of course I have a
few crackpot theories. One of them is that we are simply much less
tolerant of sex than we are of violence.
May 12, 2004
Accountability Lapses · If what really mattered
to the people running this prison was getting information that would
be of some use to their comrades in the field, wouldn't it have
been more useful to update the change sheets regularly so they knew
who was in what cell than it was to wire up some random prisoner's
genitals and stand him on a box with a bag over his head?
May 5, 2004
The Pictures from Abu Ghraib · Last week, the
Bush administration was throwing its weight around trying to censor
pictures of the flag-draped coffins of American soldiers being shipped
home from Iraq. This week, you would think, the Bush administration
would be scrambling to splash flag-draped coffins on front pages
around the world, because at least those images are marginally less
disturbing than the pictures from Abu Ghraib.
April 28, 2004
The Woman Who Could Have Been Me · I'm sitting
here in a clean office with working power and a relatively new computer
typing in thoughts that have been shaped by a Godawful number of
years of higher education, with a view of blue skies and green grass
out my window. Somewhere else, at exactly this moment, a 35 year
old woman who could have been me is watching American bombs shatter
the city she grew up in.
April 21, 2004
Things Fall Apart · Bush cannot handle
the 'pressure' of being in front of a group of people who are asking
him questions. He also cannot think on his feet, and is incapable
of coming up with a response to a problem that he has not had time
to study 'ahead of time.' In addition, he appears to be incapable
of ever admitting that he was wrong, and quite willing to leave
reality, plausibility, and logic behind in order to make it look
as if he was right all along.
April 14, 2004
This Is What Democracy Looks Like? · If
we ever want to get ourselves out of Iraq, we are going to have
to abandon some of the illusions that got us there. Above all, we
must give up on the idea that we are ever going to bring democracy
March 31, 2004
Stop It, You're Killing Me · George
W. Bush's WMD jokes are not funny. He was the one who got us into
this mess in Iraq, and he's the one who should have prevented it.
To have created this colossal waste of time, money, and human life,
and then to stand back and go "aw, shucks, I'm such a bonehead"
and expect us to forgive him for it by laughing with him is not
only ludicrous but infuriating.
March 25, 2004
Anger Management · Anger is not necessarily
born out of hatred, selfishness, and aggression. It is also born
out of our better natures - out of love and compassion for those
who are being hurt, out of despair and grief in the face of suffering
that is unjust and unnecessary, or in Richard Clarke's case out
of a sincere commitment to the country he believes his superiors
March 17, 2004
Can't Buy Me Love · Yes, the Bush administration
is crooked. It's worse than crooked. It's corrupt to the core; and
we have got to get that under control, because - as the news from
Madrid emphasized this week - corruption is killing us.
February 25, 2004
True Confessions · So, Ralph Nader
is running for president again. I know you're upset. Everyone is.
So perhaps this isn't a good time to finally come clean about my
dark past as a Nader voter. But I'm going to do it anyway, because
a) I'm a lunatic who doesn't know what's good for me and b) it is
my fond hope that by the time you all are done reading this column,
you'll be less worried about Nader costing the Democrats the election.
February 18, 2004
The Pursuit of Happiness · The first
lesbian couple married by the renegade mayor of San Francisco had
been together for fifty-one years. That's since 1953, folks. Imagine
what they've gone through to stay in love for that long. And yet
somehow, according to the religious right, they don't deserve to
have their relationship legally recognized, and Trista and Ryan
February 11, 2004
Cassandra's Curse · Cassandra was doomed
to prophesy with 100% accuracy, but only bad news which nobody would
believe until it came true. Those of us who were working against
the war in the months before it began often felt ourselves laboring
under Cassandra's curse. But now it's Bush who seems to be operating
in a world of his own.
January 28, 2004
Lipstick on a Pig · I know they knew
the risks when they signed up; but still, I have to pity Bush's
speechwriters. Any of them who retain even the smallest vestige
of what must have at some point been a love of the written word
and an allegiance to the basic principles of logical argument must
feel exquisite pain when they sit down at the big conference table
and look wearily up at the giant, hairy, snorting pig standing on
top of it.
January 21, 2004
This Is Not An Endorsement · I've been avoiding
the primaries for a long time now. Partly it's because, let's face
it, nobody is out there waiting with bated breath for the Plaid
Adder endorsement. In fact, I imagine that if I did endorse
a particular candidate, and that candidate somehow found out about
it by chance, his staffers would just put up a little notice on
their explaining that it wasn't his fault and they hope nobody will
hold it against him.
January 14, 2004
Oversold · In a Christmas newsletter that
I just could not bring myself to spam my near and dear with, I began
my description of 2003 in politics with the line, "I think I will
always remember 2003 as the year when the gloves came off." Well,
so far, 2004 looks like it's going to be the year when the wheels
January 7, 2004
All That We Can Be · We raised the structure
of our democracy on the foundations of an empire; and yes, at certain
times in American history, the mismatch between these two structures
becomes so obvious and severe that the whole thing looks like it's
about to crumble. But an empire is not all we've ever been.
December 10, 2003
A Day That Will Not Live in Infamy · December
7, 2003 will not live in infamy, but it will be remembered by the
survivors of nine Afghan children, who will mark it as the anniversary
when they lost their son, daughter, niece, or cousin. We, those
of us who are too removed and too blinded and too scared to understand
that they were members of our family too, will just lurch on to
the next day, and swallow its load of death just as we have swallowed
today's and yesterday's.
December 3, 2003
Safety First · The bottom line is this,
folks: Bush's handlers feel that he is safer on a military base
in the middle of a bloody war zone than he is walking the public
streets of a free city. And this is a problem, because it suggests
that free cities - and free citizens - are a serious threat to the
Bush they really care about protecting.
November 26, 2003
Eight Simple Rules · I've been a lesbian
for almost 15 years now, and I've had a lot of experience defending
myself and what I love against the religious right. For my Thanksgiving
special, I would like to give the Democratic Party and its presidential
hopefuls the benefit of that experience, and offer them some advice
about how to make this issue an asset instead of a liability.
November 19, 2003
The Sterile Zone · Today, Bush is in England,
where according to the terms of a deal worked out after much wrangling
with the British authorities, he will be enclosed in a region of
space which will be uncontaminated by human life - with the exception,
of course, of the members of the official British welcoming committee,
and Bush's own enormous entourage.
November 12, 2003
Wrong to Life · I guess once a person
is born, that person is liable to grow up to do things that might
interfere with George W. Bush's plans for the world, and at that
point that person can no longer be considered innocent. After all,
according to the gospel of preventive war, even a babe in arms could
be construed into a potential threat that requires massive military
November 5, 2003
Taking Our Country Forward · Nobody
in the establishment wants to consider doing what it would take
to get the people who are most endangered by that violence onto
the voter rolls and into the polling booths. Because that would
involve giving them some kind of stake in the outcome; and that
would involve making changes to our society so that it no longer
excludes, deprives, and exploits them.
October 29, 2003
The Hate Us Because of Our Freedoms ·
The Republican party has decided that gay marriage is going to be
a major issue in the 2004 election cycle. Apparently, they
feel that preventing me from ever legally solemnizing the most important
relationship in my life is very important. Much more important
than finding out whether or not the Bush administration lied about
their reasons for going to war, or turning the economy around, or
finding a solution to the current stalemate in Iraq, or making health
care affordable to the increasingly huge number of Americans who
are going without it.