Saturday, August 07, 2004

More "Fish In a Barrel"

For the first time during his three years in office, President George W. Bush spoke the truth.

"...Thursday's grapple with grammar came during the White House signing ceremony for a defense appropriation bill. The money is crucial, President Bush said, to make sure the nation spends what's needed on military pay, equipment and benefits.

Why?

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."



Unfortunately, White House spokesman Scott McClellan couldn't hold onto the attempt at a new indoor record for the Bush Administration, so he later lied to reporters by saying:

"The American people know this president speaks with clarity and conviction, and the terrorists know by his actions he means it."


Darn. I knew it couldn't last.

Al Qaeda Endorses BUSH

A lot of famous white-collar criminals have been big supporters of President George W. Bush, (Ken Lay, et al), but the latest criminal to get behind our "Anti-Terror" President is more of a 'white-turban' kinda guy.

Apparently, Bin Laden is pulling for Bush -- and Al Qaeda is one of the President's biggest supporters.

In an article called "The Terrorist Net" (Aug. 2 issue of The New Yorker Magazine), author Lawrence Wright writes:



[four days after the train bombing in Spain] "...the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, a group claiming affiliation with Al Qaeda, sent a bombastic message to the London newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi, avowing responsibility for the train bombings.

"Who turn will it be next?" the authors taunt. "Is it Japan, America, Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia, or Australia?"

The message also addressed the speculation that the terrorists would try to replicate their political success in Spain by disrupting the November U.S. elections.

"We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections," the authors write. Bush's "idiocy and religious fanaticism" are useful, the authors contend, for they stir the Islamic world."

=== end of NY Mag excerpt ===



Bush still claims that he's the best man to fight terrorism, further polarize the world, and push the planet to the brink of Armageddon, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agrees; he said of Bush's ill-advised invasion of Iraq for non-existent weapons of mass destruction:

"Instead of having one (Osama) bin Laden, we will have 100 bin Ladens."

A recent claim by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates the war in Iraq has spurred "...a sharp increase in the membership of al-Qaeda, who now number around 18,000."

Consider other "costs" from the war in Iraq: (from a speech by Katrina vanden Heuvel, July 30, 2004)



"...20,000 US troops have had their tours of duty extended. Redeployment has been met with widespread anger among military families and active-duty personnel.

--A majority of US troops report low morale. The military is stretched thin, seriously thin. There is talk of reviving the draft.

**Consider the mounting costs in blood and money.

* More than 900 US troops have died since Bush declared "the end of major combat" in his infamous "mission accomplished' speech in may 2003. Another ugly landmark was passed early this week--the 10,000 wounded mark. Imagine--over 10,000 wounded Americans in a war our military and political leadership now say may last years. The costs to the Iraqi people have also been tragic. Over 11,000 Iraqi civilians have died in conflict so far--many of them children.

* The United States has already spent some $126 billion on the war, costing every American family about $3400 each. As the camp for am's future has pointed out, this admin has socked it to hardworking families on two fronts--Bush passed his massive tax cuts that gave a huge break to the wealthiest individuals and corporations, and then when he went to war, Bush asked the same working and middle class families who bore the brunt of the tax cuts to pay for the conflict. Meanwhile contract cronies masquerading as companies like halliburton are making a killing in Iraq after receiving no bid contracts from the federal government.

*For the $152 billion Congress has allocated for the war, the United States could have provided healthcare for 27 million Americans --or we could have spent the $151 million on food for half the hungry people in the world for two years; plus a comprehensive global aids program plus clean water for all in the developing world; plus childhood immunizations for every child in the developing world; or we could have committed to helping the middle east create the 100 million jobs it will need over next 15 years just to keep up with the youthful populations--thus addressing the root causes of instability in this turbulent world. America could once again become a source of hope and use its power in constructive, intelligent ways..."

== end of excerpt ==



Apparently, Bush and bin Laden have a lot in common:

Along with the fact that they're both helping to encourage new recruits for Al Qaeda, they're also bankrupting the US Treasury and getting thousands of innocent people killed for no good reason.

In addition, they're both fundamentalist religious fanatics, although the names of their Imaginary Wrathful Head Cats differ: "God" is on Bush's side, while "Allah" has decided to team up with bin Laden's. They both long for a clash of civilizations, a duel to the death, and the victory of the True Believers over the Infidels.

Despite all this, George W. Bush says he's the best man for The Job (whatever that is?!) and that the invasion of Iraq WAS NOT, as an anonymous CIA agent stated, "A Christmas gift to bin Laden".

It now appears that the invasion of Iraq was a wonderful gift to bin Laden. A fruitcake have been better, but that would have meant sending Dick Cheney to some cave in Afghanistan.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Tom Ridge Defines His Job

Tom Ridge: "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security. Our job is to identify the threat."

Maybe he should just hold up a "WANTED" poster of the entire Bush Cabinet.

YOU MEAN I'M NOT ALONE?!

Gawd bless Howard Dean, apparenty the only Dem with the balls to Rage Against the Machine, question the Bullshit, and speak the Truth.

-- Excerpt below --

"I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism," Howard Dean...told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

"His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me,' and then out comes Tom Ridge," Dean, the former Vermont governor, added, referring to the homeland security secretary. "It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it."

-- end of excerpt --

I miss Howard Dean. I wish he were running instead of Kerry. And after watching the "don't be negative" love-fest/Democratic convention, it would be a breath of fresh air to see Dean screaming, "Fuck Bush, fuck his God, fuck his facist buddies, fuck 'the family', fuck patriotism, fuck Iraq, fuck Cheney, and FUCK YOU!"

... Cause that's sorta how I feel at this point.

(Other than that, have a nice day.)

=================


Also posted at Blogcritics -- so you can check out the opinions of your fellow Americans.





You're Safer, But You Could Die. ...Go Figure.

DATE: Sunday, August 1, 2004
PLACE: Orwell's Nightmare (aka "Bush's America")

Make no mistake; these cynical Republican bastards will win the election in November '04. After today's little stunt, there is no doubt about it. Anyone who opposes them is just pissin' in the wind.

They will hold onto power by hook or crook. (Probably crook.) They not only own the building, the room, and the table -- but they own the deck, stack the cards to their liking, and deal them at their leisure.

Gloom, doom, and paternalistic authoritarian reassurances.

(A slap followed by a pat on the head.)

"Daddy! Don't go!"

Today, we witnessed yet another 'preemptive' strike by the Bush administration, a 20 minute nationally televised campaign commercial for Bush, delivered via our esteemed Director of Homeland Security, that combination of Barney Fife and Hermann Goring, Tommy Ridge, whose job seems to be a unique combination of scaring the American public into voting Republican -- while assuring us at the same time.

"You could die, but you're so much safer. They're going to attack, but keep shopping."

Um, and there WERE weapons of mass destruction.

Welcome to marketing in the Kingdom of Fear.

And this is only the first in a series of nationally televised (terror alert) commercials that you'll be seeing over the next few months.

-- Excerpts Below --


RIDGE: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. [yeah, and have a nice fucking day, eh?] President Bush has told you, and I have reiterated the promise, [we don't lie!] that when we have specific credible information that we will share it. This afternoon we do have new and unusually specific information about where al-Qaida would like to attack.

And as a result, today the United States government is raising the threat level to Code Orange for the financial services sector in New York City, northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

[...]

...Now, this is the first time we have chosen to use the Homeland Security Advisory System in such a targeted way. Compared to previous threat reporting, these intelligence reports have provided a level of detail that is very specific.

The quality of this intelligence, based on multiple reporting streams in multiple locations, is rarely seen, and it is alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information. Now, while we are providing you with this immediate information, we will also continue to update you as the situation unfolds.

As of now, this is what we know: Reports indicate that al-Qaida is targeting several specific buildings, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the District of Columbia, Prudential Financial in northern New Jersey, and Citigroup buildings and the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Let me assure you -- let me reassure you, actions to further strengthen security around these buildings are already under way. Additionally, we're concerned about targets beyond these and are working to get more information about them.

[...]

Now, senior leadership across the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the White House, the CIA, the FBI and other federal agencies have been in constant contact with the governors, the mayors and the homeland security advisers of the affected locations I've just named.

But we must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terror, the reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas, as well as strong partnerships with our allies around the world, such as Pakistan...



=== end of Newspeak excerpt ===



"...we must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of THE PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP in the war against terror..."

Got that, America? Clear enough for ya? Is "Read My Lips" too explicit?


"...the reports that have led to this alert are the result of offensive intelligence and military operations overseas..."

Offensive. Preemptive.
Overseas. Iraq.

Got it, America? Do you need me to repeat it?

Don't worry, it'll be repeated. Over and over and over.

These motherfuckers will stop at nothing to hold onto power.

Nothing.

Top Secret GOP Convention Plans!

Thanks to a few well-placed bribes (aka "Lobbying efforts"), inside informants, and some stealth volunteer work by yours truly, I've been able to get my hands on the highly secret overall plan for the upcoming GOP Convention. It's a remarkable document that shows the minute-by-minute scheduling of what promises to be one of the greatest parties since Albert Speer lit up the sky that night in Nuremberg.

There is nothing particularly controversial about the things in this secret document, but one thing it makes explicit: the Bush people might not know how to plan an occupation of a conquered nation in the Middle East, but they sure know how to plan a big bash.

Enjoy,
SHARK

==============

GOP CONVENTION SCHEDULE

(FOR YOUR EYES ONLY! Destroy after use! If asked about contents,
pull the old "national security" bit like we did on the 9/11 testimony; hey, it worked!)


NOTE to Madison Square Garden Staff:

* make sure all concessions have changed the following signs:

-- "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries"
-- "Hot Links" to "Liberal Weinies"
-- "Hot Black Coffee" to "Warm Inclusive Drinks of Color"
-- "Men's Restroom" to "Heterosexual Males"
-- "Women's Restroom" to "Supportive Wives and Stay-at-Home-Moms"

BEFORE national TV coverage begins:

* check inventory of flags, size 38 thru 60, required for all speakers to wrap themselves in;

* pass out "no-bid" Iraq contract applications to all attendees who are rich business owners, ie. all of them;

* announce that "inclusive" GOP look will include many pesky minorities who have been given front row seating in sight-line of TV cameras only for the duration of national network coverage -- and will be moved to appropriate spots in back of auditorium before and after said coverage begins; apologize for the inconvenience;

* announce that any donors of $100,000 or more will be given special tour of backstage cages to pet, feed, and visit with Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, and Tom Delay. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT allow them out of their cages during TV coverage! You all know what can happen when Buchanan speaks!?)


CONVENTION SCHEDULE

Opening Prayer - by Reverend Billy Graham

All-Black choir sings "God Bless America"

COLIN POWELL's Powerpoint presentation proving Democrats have weapons of mass destruction hidden in their headquarters. He ends on slide showing New Axis of Evil, which lists Iran, North Korea, and the "blue states".

Cut to: VIDEO FEED of Osama Bin Laden from an unknown cave in Pakistan; he praises John Kerry as an American Patriot and declares that he fully supports Kerry; vows death to all Republican males over the age of 12. Ends by singing an Arab version of "Johnny B. Goode".

WILLIAM BENNETT speech on "Loss of Morals in America" -- (btw: Vegas odds are 2 to 1 that it will go over the 20 minute time limit)

DICK CHENEY lectures on "Civility in American Politics" (Note: urge networks to use 15 second delay just in case he tells Democrats to 'go fuck yourself'. If that's not possible, have them get in touch with Justene at BLOGCRITICS.org and have her trigger finger surgically attached to the 'delete' button.)

All-Hispanic Choir sings "God Bless America" (in ENGLISH only, goddammit! This is a "One Language Under God" nation!) (Note: make sure the choir returns to their convention center janitorial jobs before lights-out! And don't let them steal their gowns, they're known for that kind of thing!)

RUSH LIMBAUGH gives an update on Bush's success in "The War on Drugs". Also points out that Afghanistan is so safe that he'll volunteer to go there to do inventory of current poppy crop. (Note: He's scheduled so early because he has to return to rehab by 9:00 p.m.)

LAURA INGRAHAM, author of "Shut Up and Sing" gives speech on the evil, unfair influence and advantage of Hollywood liberals in the American political process.

LAURA INGRAHAM then introduces Republican Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger... of Hollywood.

The "GOVERNATOR" gives speech entitled, "Republican Inclusiveness and the Role of Women in the GOP" (Editing Note: please have him change "grope and fondle" to "reach out to...") (Note to Convention Security: Keep him away from the Bush twins!)

NEWT GINGRICH gives speech entitled "Maintaining the Sacred Sanctity of Marriage" (Note: can we find alternative seating for his fourth wife somewhere off-stage?)

All-Asian Choir sings, "God Bless America" while bowing and kowtowing in time to the music.

FILM PRESENTATION: show 5 minute clip of George W. Bush landing on USS Lincoln in flight suit. (Note: please digitally remove the "Mission Accomplished" banner in the background.) Add collage of "Dead or Alive" speech, and "Bring 'em on!" remarks. (Note: do we have rights secured for Morricone soundtrack to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" yet? If problem, try for "High Noon" or "Star Wars Theme" -- John Williams? On our side, or just another fag Hollywood composer?)

All-Jewish Choir sings "God Bless America" lyrics to "Hava-Nageelah" music performed by The Wolfowitz Family Band, featuring Paul on the Freshly Licked Comb.

Commercial Break: 30 minute program of 1 minute video spots provided by the Pharmaceutical Industry, the NRA, HMO Administrator's Association, Exxon/Mobil, Wal-Mart, CityBank, NYSE, Halliburton, ClearChannel, Disney, Shearson-Lehman Brothers, et. al.

Light-Hearted Funny Musical Skit with entire Supreme Court singing, "I Got No Strings" from Disney's Pinnocchio, with choreography by Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, and Oil Industry representatives.

POPE JOHN is lowered onto stage on a wheelchair atop a gigantic, winged canned ham; he performs medieval ceremony that canonizes the late Ronald Reagen as the Patron Saint of Naps; then lip-syncs a pre-recorded speech warning against the evils of feminism, abortion, working moms, birth control pills, women who vote -- and how uppity women are destroying the value of the nuclear family. He wraps it up by asserting that an entire life spent living among brooding closeted homosexual men, an 80-some odd year celibacy, and the fact that he's never been within spitting distance of a woman OR a nuclear family gives him a huge amount of authority to scold the world concerning women and their families. (NOTE to TV camerman: on closeups, the proper "dutch angle" will make the pope's tilted head appear to be perpendicular to the floor. Thanks in advance.)

El PAPA then introduces NANCY REAGAN, who thanks the Pope, who is then resealed in the gigantic winged-Spam can and reascends into a manufactured cloudbank of theater-fog.

CUE special 'spooky' lighting and Theramin music:

NANCY REAGAN dons Astrological robes and channels the spirit of Ronny, who asserts that abortion is evil and that he's no longer interested in stem cell research -- since he's dead. "He" also denies that he's the father of Ron Junior, implicating the late Democratic shill, Frank Sinatra in that regrettable birth. Adds that Ron Junior might be the ONLY moral justification for abortion, but agrees not to pursure it from his spot in the afterlife.

CUE "I Did It My Way" to biographical collage of Reagan's life on Diamond Vision Screen; intercut him in cowboy hat with chain-saw mixed with pictures of George W. in cowboy hat with chain-saw. (Note: During collage, Photoshop out all images of Bonzo the Chimp, Jane Wyman, and Dick Cheney -- for public relations purposes.)

HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR TOM RIDGE gives speech about how much safer America is since George W. Bush took office. Recounts all the actions taken in the 'homeland' for Homeland Security -- such as the invasion of Iraq and the winnowing down of important international allies. (NOTE: delete any references to shipping containers, international ports, nuclear plants, trains, subways, and chemical plants -- just in case the terrorists hit one of the above between now and November; it's always best to be on the safe side when it comes to asserting safety!) Close with line: "Bush makes America Safe!" to coincide with entire audience holding up "Bush Makes America Safe!" signs.

SECRETARY JOHN ASHCROFT once again warns Americans that a terrorist attack on American soil is imminent, implies possibility of cancelling the upcoming election -- but asserts that there's no need to up the "terror alert" color code. He closes with his own song, "The Eagle Flies" -- (NOTE: make sure orchestra knows to transpose score up two octaves! Geez, who knew the guy was a castrotti!?)

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR GALE NORTON will announce that due to various "weather-related problems", Bush has declared all swing-states "natural disaster areas" and has made available interest-free loans to all citizens in those states -- good through November of 04.

Mixed Race Choir sings, "God Bless America" while signing for the deaf.

As yet unidentified "scientist" (to be provided by Exxon/Mobil) will assert that global warming doesn't exist, and that if it does, it's only because there's an imbalance of ozone layers hovering over the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Powerpoint presentation will prove that oil drilling actually reduces ozone problem by balancing the distribution of various non-carcinogenic side products produced by drilling. End with short video of Arab dressed in full bedouin regalia laughing and mockingly pointing at camera while drinking large glass of fresh oil.

Short Funny Musical Skit - starring the once-funny Dennis Miller dressed up as Paul Bunyan; he performs a song, "A Forest Is Healthier When You Cut It Down." (Note: Radio City Music Hall Rockettes will be dancing trees that happily tumble under Bunyan's singing chain-saw. Music accompaniment provided by Ted Nugent, choreography by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, with special assistance by ex-Reagan Secretary of Interior James Watt.)

Billy Graham returns to introduce "God" (Charlton Heston) -- who appears on the gigantic digital Diamond-Vision screen via a live video feed from his hospital bed; surrounded by a fake cloud produced by a fog machine, "He" announces that George W. Bush has been specially chosen to lead the free world toward Armageddon, and then Heston reads from "The Book of Revelations". (Note: while he holds the Bible, hang his matchlock rifle from his IV tube stand; Chas has never been a multi-tasker!)

-Short Break for-

RECORDED MUSIC INTERLUDE (Note: Tell all six Log Cabin Republicans in the far upper deck that there's NO DANCING allowed! Many Southern Baptists are present (approx. 88% of conventioneers)

* "God Bless the USA" - by Lee Greenwood

* "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue" - by Toby Keith; accompanied by Diamond Screen display of lyrics "You'll be sorry you messed with the U.S. of A -- cuz we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way!" -- while showing collage of dead Iraqi and Afghanistan civilians that morphs into a 3-D spinning technicolor globe showing Toby aiming pointy cowboy boot at western Europe.

* "Fry a Dixie Chick In Hell" - by Donny & Marie Osmond

(Followeed by SHORT BREAK to allow everyone to catch their breaths -- and VP Dick Cheney to check his pacemaker.)

MEL GIBSON will be wheeled out spread-eagle and attached (via fake nails) to a gigantic golden Oscar statue. He'll "break" the nails, toss off the bloody crown of thorns, and descend to the podium -- where he'll speak on "Hollywood's Lack of Support for Faith-Based Films"

-- Gibson will close with a prayer (in Latin)

(Note: Diamond-Vision disclaimer will read:

"This isn't Latin, folks, and he's not Catholic; he's Pentacostal and is speaking in tongues!"

-- after which MEL GIBSON will introduce...

REV. JERRY FALWELL - who will deliver speech on the evils of the Taliban, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia -- and the danger posed when governments support fundamentalist religious fanatics. He'll then introduce...

RALPH REED - who will speak on the importance of Bush's ties to American fundamentalist religious fanatics; he'll close with a summary of the billions of dollars that have flowed into private partisan religious coffers thanks to Bush's "Faith-Based Initiatives."

Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for:

Mr. Reed will introduce VP Cheney--
who will introduce Laura Bush--
who'll read a short excerpt from "The Pet Goat"--
(apparently, that always gets her husband's attention)
--and then she'll introduce President George W. Bush.

PRESIDENT BUSH (wrapped in the flag) is lowered to stage in a golden winged chariot (courtesy Mercedes) drawn by the Four Horses of the Apocalypse (courtesy Budweiser), accompanied by "We Are the Champions" by Queen (courtesy of Clear Channel). He'll open with a prayer (courtesy Southern Baptist Convention), thanking God for appointing him Master of the Universe, (courtesy of Hanna-Barbera) -- paying special thanks for the Supreme Court (courtesy of Bush, Sr.) -- and beseeching the Lord to protect his brother Jeb and the Diebold programming team from any harm between now and November.

His speech -- the culmination of an entire lifetime of intellectual research, accumulated wisdom, and life-experiences -- will last, oh... about 2 minutes.

Cue "Movin' On Up" theme from the "The Jeffersons" to be blasted over the sound system.

Cue red, white, and blue balloons to fall from ceiling like acid rain.

Bring out the families.

(Note: keep that Cheney dyke off camera if possible. Put her and the Bush twins near the back (remember the "tongue sticking-out episode"?), but not TOO near each other; the dyke might remember the "tongue episode" too! -- and you know how those lebians are: they can't breed, so they recruit!)

(Hopefully, audience tries to clap in time to "Movin' On Up" music.)

Cue Diamond-Vision collage of Kennedy-Zapruder film, Robert Kennedy lying on floor in California hotel kitchen, National Guard attack at Kent State, Martin Luther King lying dead on hotel balcony -- mixed with extreme close-up of smiling images of Bush, Cabinet members, Supreme Court Justices, and Katherine Harris (courtesy Tammy Faye Bakker Cosmetics Corp).

Diamond-Vision screen: Dissolve to new BUSH/GOP campaign slogan:

"You're Either With Us or Against Us"



Thoughts on the Democrats' Convention

Well, let's start with Music: that's how I decide most important things -- from my religion to my politics.

(As Bill Hicks once opined, given the choice between partying with a Fundamentalist Christian family listening to Pat Boone -- and a den of devil worshippers bangin' heads to Ozzy, I’d have to go with the devil worshippers, hands down.)

So John Kerry entered to Bruce Springsteen and departed to U-2!? Well, the Dems might be losers, but they've got the best music. No doubt. End of that debate.

BOSTON: Jeez, who knew America had a Revolution 231 years ago, a revolution that began in Boston Harbor and was about Freedom, Democracy, Liberty, Justice, and a deep commitment to a Separation of Church and State? Who knew Boston was home to a daring bunch of Liberal crazies who had the audacity to defy an authoritarian cabal of Conservatives that only wanted to preserve a Monarchy, an Aristocracy, and a few centuries of various religious wars and persecutions waged by violent religious Fundamentalists who thought they had an exclusive on God's Truth? Who knew that people who believed in a government by and for the people were once called liberals, radicals, and unpatriotic traitors? Who knew?

Nice history lesson. Let's hope Americans were paying attention.

STEM-CELL RESEARCH - ahahaha. heh. heh. Ahahahah! Sorry, I can't stop laughing. Ahahah. This is the GOP's "gay marriage" issue.

WHAT?! You're against research that might save millions of lives in the future -- based on some medieval concepts that value a little collection of molecules over the happiness and health of people like... RONALD REAGAN, that god among men who also happens to be a future Saint of the party? What?!"

Yeah, Bush can be smart and logical and compassionate and visionary and say "YES" to Stem-Cell Research, but that means saying "NO" to his looney rich fundamentalist hard-right base. Stem-cell research. Little globs of goo, Yes. Lots of dead people who could have been saved, No. Stem-cell. Gay marriage. Stem-Cell. Ahahahahaha. Ahahahaha. Um, Mr. President, Would you like some more paint to go with that shrinking corner? Ahahahah.

Okay, so much for the biggest laugh of the entire convention: Let's move on:

Now, if one compares the 'FAMILIES' of the Democratic and Republican candidates, Bush and Cheney had better be calling an adoption agency this morning. They can't touch the honesty, integrity, beauty, intelligence, and downright squeeky-clean confidence in the Edwards-Kerry households. Both mens' daughters could probably run for office tomorrow, right after they posed for the cover of Vogue.

And when the camera panned the convention center hall, what did you see? The great and beautiful diversity of America; a rainbow of skin colors, age groups, nationalities, and economic levels: black, white, yellow, red, green, and even gothic pale; young, old, older -- and boomers galore, the generation that was one of the last in America to think they could change the world just by showing up and Doing The Right Thing.

There were Beautiful people, homely people, poor people, middle-class people, yes, and even a few rich people. Teachers, soldiers, nurses, veterans, firefighters, cops, ironworkers, autoworkers, students, Union organizers, a few Hollywood types, but mostly just people without a capital "P". The little people. The workers, not the CEOs. Diversity. Yes! A roomful of tolerant people concerned about their closest neighbors and even total strangers that might be less fortunate. There were Gays. Lesbians. Heathens. Pagans. Christians. Atheists. Jews. Arabs. Environmentalists... No, wait, was that an entire building filled with folks concerned about the earth, the air, the water, the natural beauty of our national lands!? Concerned about the future we'll hand off to our progeny? People who don't think, "Fuck the future, I've got mine..."? People who would rather walk or carpool or ride a bike or invest in some collective creativity and invention now rather than send their kids off to fight and die in another war for a finite resource? Yeah, man, what's not to like? Those are my people, and I'm not alone. I'M not alone! YOU'RE not alone. WE'RE not alone.

I even thought I saw an elderly black woman who appeared to be old enough to remember a grandparent talking about slavery; and when Al Sharpton raised the roof with his speech that recounted a history of oppression followed by liberty, freedom, equality, and accomplishment -- when he spoke of marches and church bombings and then referred to the current strength of African-Americans in the Democratic Party -- well, that elderly black woman, who knew what it was like to be part of the most marginalized race and gender in American history -- she had tears in her eyes, the legitimate kind of moment that gives life to these scripted affairs where we are finally able to encounter the people behind The Abstractions.

TERESA HEINZ - Meet the new "Hillary" for the Right. She's smart, articulate, opinionated, demands intellectual, social, and political equality, and she's strong, in other words, the antithesis to Laura and Lynn. To a liberal, Heinz comes across as the kind of woman to admire, the kind you want in your organization, the kind you want on your team because she'll look you in the eye and tell you the truth; she's got a mind of her own and speaks it without hesitation. To a Conservative, she's yet another uppity woman who wants to talk and act like a man; she's a bleeding heart hypocrite, and the Righteous Right's idea of Satan Incarnate -- which means the Gigantic Right-Wing Smear Machine will make her as important of a target as the Democratic candidates themselves; they know that a smart-ass confident #2 woman gives the GOP the willies. Thing is -- she's equal to the task, so this should be fun.

BARACK OBAMA - Wow. We might have seen the future of the Democratic Party. A young, intelligent, articulate man who just happens to be from a mixed-race marriage and is not afraid to call himself a "liberal". And what's not to like here? Put him next to that ball-less Steppin'-Fetchit Colon Powell and let's compare! With Obama, we witnessed a rising star, a future mover and shaker, a glimmer of hope. Let's just hope he makes it farther than Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and other 'bright lights' of the Democratic Party that were snuffed out way too early.

(Which reminds me of a history trivia question: Why is it the Right has all the assassins? When was the last time "the left" produced a political assassin who combined fanatical insanity with being a decent shot?)

JOHN EDWARDS - handsome, articulate, compassionate, fiercely intelligent; a true Horatio Alger narrative, the kind Americans love, the dirt poor child who becomes a world-class trial lawyer, the David who makes a career by defending other defenseless little Davids against abusive, arrogant, all-powerful Corporate Juggernaut Goliaths. A guy who could have joined a rich law firm, but yet chose to work with the poor and the helpless. That's called Integrity, and it’s something rare in American politics.

JOHN KERRY -- Well, let's hope George Tenet doesn't characterize his speech as a "slam dunk", but he apparently hit one over the Green Monster at Fenway park. He pulled every rhetorical rug out from under the GOP before the battle has even begun. He requisitioned the flag, asserting that it was the property of all Americans. He proved his potential for bravery and leadership in a time of war; he volunteered to go to Nam while W. was guarding the border of Texas from a Mexican invasion. He's got medals to prove it. He produced his "band of brothers", more than a few who've voted Republican most of their lives, but who, thanks to Kerry's bravery and integrity, have been inspired to help see that he leads the country over the next four years.

Kerry took that pesky "patriotic" word away from the GOP, gave it real meaning with real stories of blood, sweat, and sacrifice, and then handed it back to them with a capital "P" that includes all Americans who love their country.

He undermined their ubiquitous "love it or leave it" attitude, pointing out that one is not unpatriotic because one criticizes the President and his actions, but because one tries to intimidate or suppress contrary opinions in a nation dedicated to The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He reminded the GOP of those two precious documents and talked about what they really say and mean -- which contradicts much of the implicit and explicit crap coming out of so many conservatives mouths in recent years.

He showed that Democrats can be tough, aren't afraid to fight (see, sometimes they even volunteer!) and laid out the big differences in social and economic policies. He made it safe for Democrats to praise the military, to show their patriotism, and to threaten to protect the nation from terrorist attacks. He hinted that he'll out-Right Bush when it comes to Iraq and the military. Ahahah. (Good plan!)

He negated their arguments and attacks before they could even get out of the box; jobs, health care, budget, defense: he set 'em up, knocked 'em down, and completely disarmed virtually every area of attack the GOP had in their play book -- BEFORE the whistle blew to start the game. Slam dunk, home run, check and mate.

And lastly, at the end there, when you see the Kerrys and the Edwards families up there on stage together -- and you think about George and Laura and the twins... and Dick and Lynn and their um... brood... ya gotta ask yourself:

"Who do I like?"

"Who do I trust?"

"Who would I rather be stuck with in an elevator?"

"...For four years?"

No contest.