Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bush's "struggle for freedom"

From another bad news cycle

Once again, George W. Bush has zeroed in, with laser-like focus, on the key element of this intricate problem:

"I'm so tired of this liberal drivel
On my war in Iraq. Let them snivel
Over how it's defined.
You'd be out of your mind
To believe that the conflict's been civil!"

And Donald Rumsfeld thought that the war was too complex for the average Joe to understand!

White House Wages War of Words Over 'Civil' Term
By Peter Baker, The Washington Post, 11/29/06

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A matter of emphasis

As I ponder the dead and the living
I get caught up syllabically sieving.
For those serving at war
Or the homeless and poor,
Is the stress on the "thanks" or the "giving?"

Our current day of celebration probably owes more to Abraham Lincoln than to the Pilgrims. His proclamation, in the midst of the Civil War, set the tone for our national day of thankfulness and the words still ring surprisingly true.


The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Happy Tha[ng](k)s-'gi-vi[ng]
or 'Tha[ng](k)s- gi-vi[ng]
however you choose to live it

And please take in the following food for thought on this day
A feast of the ordinary
By James Carroll, The Boston Globe, 11/20/06

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The short goodbye

The director of Nashville and M*A*S*H
Leaves a legacy, brilliant, not brash.
It may be cliché,
But most movies today,
Compared to his worst, seem like trash.

And there is nothing that compares to Robert Altman's best like McCabe and Mrs. Miller, his sardonic view of how the West was really won; or Kansas City, a loving tribute to the history of Jazz and his hometown, set as a gangster movie.

His genre-busting style will surely be missed from the world of film.

Robert Altman, Iconoclastic Director, Dies at 81
By Rick Lyman, The New York Times, 11/21/06

Belling the cat?

We publish this urgent disclaimer
Of the fellow you knew, once, as Kramer:
If you get in his face,
He could pounce on your race
Like a lion that's turned on his tamer!

In case you miss my point:
It is easy for us to show shock and outrage at the actions of Mel Gibson, George Allen or Michael Richards; but who of us is brave enough to finally
bell the cat of racism in our society?

What Lies Beneath
By Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post, 11/22/06

Friday, November 17, 2006

If the show fits

Time this running back fully admitted
To the secret of just how he did it.
For those stunned by his act
There's no doubting, in fact,
Emmitt Smith, himself, deftly acquitted.

Any resemblance to any other former running back in the news
is purely intentional but does not merit further comment.

Emmitt Smith Wins ABC's 'Dancing' Title
By Erin Carlson, Associated Press Writer
The Chicago Tribune, 11/16/06

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cheers or al-Jazeers?

Do we really have reason to fear a
One-sided, unfair al-Jazeera?
Will their English report
Only tend to distort,
Or a new point of view draw us nearer?

Slick al-Jazeera aims to surprise
By Torin Douglas, BBC News, 11/15/06

Monday, November 13, 2006

Borat's new suit

Now Borat's been sued by the "scholars"
Whose drunkenness made them name-callers.
They're just two sober gents
Whose Mel Gibson defense
Couldn't possibly be for the dollars.

The Savant is not proud to admit (hence, no high five) that he saw the Borat movie over the weekend. Even more embarrassing is that he laughed loudly despite himself even without the producers getting him drunk beforehand.

I am familiar with the Borat character from watching some of the Ali G DVDs, also the product of Sacha Baron Cohen, so I can offer no defense of ignorance. And, while I'm not sure exactly where I stand on Cohen's humor, it has become a guilty pleasure for me. Unlike some comedians who deal in offensive material strictly for the shock value, Cohen usually seems to be making a point about some of our cherished institutions and beliefs. Watching Borat is how I imagine it must have been seeing Lenny Bruce, live, in the 60's: disquieting, outrageous, but often outrageously funny. I can only wish him a better fate.

Frat brothers: It's Borat's fault we said racist remarks
By Meg Kinnard, AP, Chicago Sun-Times, 11/11/06

Friday, November 10, 2006

My dilemna

The voters have got to be joking
This issue is leaving me choking
I'm doing my part
Supporting the arts
But it's killing me taking up smoking

I actually voted for Issue 18 too but not without some trepidation. I always find it a dilemna when a "sin tax" is used to support a worthwhile cause, especially when they haven't even picked my favorite sin. I also wonder what it means that voters chose to tax smoking in support of the arts but at the same time voted to ban smoking in public locations. Does the syllogism reduce to: voters want to ban art from public places?

Arts-and-culture tax apparently victorious
By Carolyn Jack, The Plain Dealer, 11/8/06

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Parting shot

As ever, the arrogant Rummy
Departs, neither gracious nor chummy.
Instead he reflects
How Iraq's too "complex"
To be fully absorbed by a dummy.

Rumsfeld defiant to the end
Defense Secretary quits, says war 'not well-understood'
By Lolita C. Baldor, The Chicago Sun-Times, 11/9/06

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Time's awastin'

The journey begins

Now that Democrats garnered the vote,
This isn't the moment to gloat.
Unless they deliver,
They'll find they're up river
With no paddles, and out of the boat!

Democrats Promise Broad New Agenda
Now in Control, They Plan to Challenge Bush
By Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray
The Washington Post, 11/8/06

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Be in the heard, not in the herd

Got a grievance that's stuck in your throat?
Want a proven and safe antidote?
Awaken your voice
By makin' a choice
Or mute it by failing to vote!

Proven safe and effective when used as directed.
Best results are obtained by twice yearly administration.
May be obtained over the counter with proper I.D. Some restrictions may apply.

Side effects may include: headaches; confusion; long lines; nausea; double vision;
irritation; feelings of déjà vu; disappointment; and euphoria.
Best when used in combination with a regimen of political activism and community involvement.

We must vote, even if choices aren't choice
By Dawn Turner Trice
The Chicago Tribune, 11/6/06

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Learn and spurn

For the voter who's tried to unscramble
Issue 3, I’ll provide this preamble:
We don’t need any slots;
They serve "haves" not "have-nots"
And Blackwell’s made voting the gamble.

Thought it was about time the Savant comment on local elections. For a more erudite argument, visit Writes Like She Talks for Jill Miller Zimon's series of 57 reasons to vote no on this flawed issue. At last count she was up to number 3.

As to Blackwell and his ilk, consider the Secretary of State Project. Time is short but it's not to late to vote for the right candidate.

If you believe you have been the victim of voter suppression tactics, contact the ACLU toll-free voter hotline, 1-877-523-2792. It will be available on election day from 6:30 AM to 11:00 PM.

If you are worried about long lines on Tuesday, you may still be able to vote early by "absentee ballot in person." Check for your state's requirements.

See NPR's Early Voting: Getting the Jump on Election Day for more info.

No on Issue 3
Proponents pitch the message of Learn and Earn.
What they are really selling is the false promise of gambling
Akron Beacon Journal, 10/18/06

Friday, November 03, 2006

Embracing our diversity

For bloggers from near and from far,
The blogosphere is the Bazaar.
The concept, ubuntu,
's the wavelength we tune to,
Where others define who we are.

Yes, I know I was mixing my metaphors or, to be more exact, my similes and metaphors. I'm afraid I haven't taken Ogden Nash's literary advice to heart (see Very Like a Whale and don't miss the link to the Byron poem, The Destruction of Sennacherib, which it lampoons).

Not being of Nash's caliber as writer or humorist, I found it necessary to abuse those tools to express my excitement over the discovery of the Bantu concept of ubuntu, "I am because we are." Suddenly, it seemed the perfect way to express my experience of the blogging phenomenon. Ubuntu seems to capture how the blogosphere (I hate that term) has created interconnectedness among many individuals, worldwide, who share their similarities and differences in a generally civilized way through posts and comments on those posts. Maybe that makes us all mixed metaphors of a sort? I know that the longer I do this the more, what was once, a solitary activity has become a conversation.

As often happens, a confluence of events led me to this post. Firstly, I caught the story about ubuntu on PRI's "The World" during my evening commute. Then, I belatedly read about Ronni Bennett's "Elderblogger PhoneCon." Ronni's recap made me sorry that I missed the telephone meet-up but hopeful for the opportunity to participate in January. If only she will schedule part of it during evening hours for those of us for whom blogging has to take a backseat to other duties. Ronni, if you do, I promise a recitation of a limerick composed especially for the occasion. Ronni's conference call and her blog, Time Goes By, in general, voice that spirit of ubuntu that I sense many of us bloggers are striving toward. Thanks, Ronni, for making the world a smaller, closer, and (greenhouse gas emissions aside) warmer place.

The Africa Report
The World, PRI, 10/26/06

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The elephant's rejoinder

Self-awareness? What mumbo(dash)jumbo!
Any true pachydermal Columbo,
Would need no reflection
To raise an objection
As to why you keep calling us Dumbo!

Elephants pass mirror test
By Washington Post writer, Rick Weiss
The Chicago Tribune, 10/31/06

Mr. Kerry's rejoinder

Even elephants found at the zoo,
Mr. Bush, knew the joke was on you.
If you'd shown self-reflection,
You'd know this election's
About you, but you haven't a clue.

[N.B. The expressed views are solely those of John Kerry and do not represent the opinions of the Limerick Savant, his minions, or this blog. The Savant, in fact, believes that the president and his cronies are fully aware of their predicament and are, as usual, using any means available to divert the public's attention from the real issues of importance in this election. The public, of course, will not be fooled because they (well most of them) are smarter than your average elephant.]

Bush Calls Kerry Remarks Insulting to U.S. Troops
Senator Says President, Not Military, Was Target of Botched Joke
By Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post, 11/1/06