Barbara Kingsolver sounds out with

Barbara Kingsolver sounds out with her usual idiocy in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, republished here at Common Dreams. Most of the piece is her defending her past indefensible remarks (she was taken out of context), but she manages to squeeze in a few new gems. I have taken it upon myself to use the now famous blog practice of inserting my coments (or myself) into her original text. Much snark follows:

It’s My Flag, Too
by Barbara Kingsolver

In the four months since September, we’ve moved from our first waves of dread and rage over a massacre to the slower task of facing what has been lost. The new year is a good time to assess how we’re doing. In a thousand ways we’ve honored our dead with honorable behavior toward each other, but in some quarters we’re still captive to fear. We hurt.

We? We? As my drill sergeant used to say, “What do you mean, WE? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?” Speak for yourself, you slimy sycophant for the fringe, but I am still good and pissed. And I am not afraid. I am angry. I will leave the fear to you and the rest of your ilk- it will give you something to do between writing smarmy op-eds and promulgating all the reasons the U.S. is such a horrid place to live.

In our frustration with the impossibility of making our world safe, some are drawn to easier targets, willing to have straw-enemies set up in our midst to be shot down, to relieve the popular anger.

I guess we should just give up then, as you have deemed world peace impossible. This will no doubt cause shock waves in the next Miss USA pageant, as the guests will now have to wish to end world hunger.

Religious and political intolerance still vibrate in the national aftershock. Friends still tell me of suffering anti-Muslim slurs in what was meant to be polite company.

Religious and political intolerance still do exist. I have no tolerance for, say, you. Friends still tell me of anti-Jewish suicide bombers in Israel, although the victims were killed too quickly to suffer the indignity of a racial slur.

… I’ve watched, amazed, as some ultra-conservative journalists

For example, anyone to the right of Ralph Nader

ignited an attack on my patriotism with a stunning prevarication that blazed like a grassfire through the Internet and countless newspapers including the Wall Street Journal.

Cry me a river. At least they were not racial or ethnic slurs.

From deliberate beginnings, it roared through the fertile ground of careless journalism, where laziness can do the same work as malice. Not one editor called to verify before publishing an inflammatory misquote. The crowd wants drama, it seems.

And drama you will give them. Excuse me, that would be melodrama. Need another tissue?

For the record, I do not believe the American flag stands for “intimidation, censorship, violence, bigotry, homophobia and shoving the Constitution through a paper shredder.”

A promising first step.

I believe the opposite, and said so in a Sept. 25 op-ed piece in The Chronicle, defending the flag from men who had waved it to justify death threats against U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and the murder of a Sikh man in Arizona.

Simultaneously tarring anyone who disagreed with your approach to the Afghanistan situation (which was bombing them with bread, or kindness, or something like that) as racist and jingoistic.

I asked if these monstrous men thought our flag stood for monstrous things (that’s the source of the infamous quote, snipped from its context), and answered that I do not — for me it’s an emblem of peace, generosity, courage and kindness.

Glad to see you are not against setting up and beating down your own straw men. Whoops, that was the un-PC version. I meant ‘straw-enemies.’ I do not recall all the ultra conservatives cheering the murder of the Sikh man in Arizona. I am also willing to be that most ultra-conservatives would be alittle tougher on the punishment side of the murderers who killed the Arizonan than you would be. I guess we could force them to read all of your articles. Or is that cruel and unusual punishment?

I warned that in hard times, some confuse a nationalistic intolerance for patriotism. And my intolerant detractors chose this warning, out of all I’ve written, to turn on its head and use to bash me as unpatriotic.

Some quick Kingsolver to english translations: some = strawman, intolerant detractors = anyone who disagrees with me.

Believe me, irony is not dead.

Neither are Osama or Mullah Omar, but we are working on that

Like millions of Americans, I’m devoted to my country and also to spiritual convictions that don’t allow me to celebrate violence as the best solution to any problem.

And we thank you for your devotion, but violence has been working pretty well so far in Afghanistan. Maybe we can try a love-in when we go to Iraq.

I’ve joined a legion of writers in recent months — Susan Sontag, Wendell Berry, Alice Walker, Molly Ivins, Arundhati Roy, Barry Lopez and many more — who are addressing the complex struggle of reconciling national and moral imperatives.

A veritable nit-wits Who’s Who. Ahhh. The complex issues. I was wondering when we would get to that. I have so many things to say, but James Lilek said it best:

“Charlie Manson’s plan of starting an apocalyptic race war by fusing Beatles lyrics and celebrity stabbings was complex, too.

“You know what? A big towering plate of spaghetti is complex, and you can solve it with a simple fork. Especially if you stab hard and turn it repeatedly.”

Extremists who won’t tolerate this kind of dialogue


have attacked us mightily in print, without quoting our actual words or ideas,

Consider yourself quoted AND attacked mightliy in print

but rather, declaring us un-American for fabricated reasons — in my case they invariably haul out that one misquote about the flag — and pronouncing direly that no one had better listen to us, they’d best play it safe and just hate us.

I think everyone should listen to you. Closely. That way your silly notions and bizarre political statements will not go unchecked.

A few citizens have obliged by sending me a brand of vitriol previously unthinkable to me, in my many years of receiving mail from strangers.

I did my best. Thank you.

But I hear in much greater numbers from readers who’ve read me — not just read about me — and who appreciate words expressing the complexities that have tormented them since our horrible September.

Those damned complexities. For example, right now I don’t know whether to snort at your folly or fart in your general direction. Complex indeed. I think I shall do both.

If anyone believes ambivalence about war needn’t be given a voice, because it’s such a miniscule component of the American conversation, they should see this mountain of supportive mail.

Please Babs. Scan both post cards and post them on the web for us. Make sure you use a color scanner so we can get the full effect of the crayon.

Thoughtful readers like these know enough to roll their eyes whenever anyone tries to claim sole custody of our flag and wield it as a blunt instrument.

Although truly thoughtful readers of yours might have a couple of better ideas for using blunt instruments around you.

They’ve responded to the assaults on writers of conscience by purchasing our books in record numbers; they’ve risen above fundamentalist thinking by reading voraciously about Islam and relevant political history.

Ahh, the ‘Islam is a peaceful religion chorus.’ I need to hear that ever day, particularly after I read the Arab newspapers and listen to their plans to OBLITERATE Israel.

Many Americans understand patriotism as a higher calling than gossip-mongering.

And at this very minute, they are bombing the living shit out of the miscreants in Afghanistan.

If anyone else still thinks patriotism demands resolute obedience to the majority, let’s go to Exhibit B. I have two American flags in my house. Both were gifts; one was handmade by a child, a few stars shy of regulation but nonetheless cherished. Each has its place where I can look up and remember: That’s mine. It protects and represents me only because of Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony and countless other women who risked everything so I could be a full citizen.

I am woman. Hear me Bore!

Each of us who is female, nonwhite or without land would have been guaranteed in 1776 the same voting rights as a horse. We owe a precious debt to Americans before us who refused to believe patriotism just meant going with the crowd.

Although if they had met you, they may have changed their minds. At any rate, your Nader vote didn’t hurt the election anyway.

Our history is one of courageous flag-wavers who risked threats and public ridicule for an unpopular cause: ours. Now that flag is mine to carry on, defending freedom and justice for all.

Thanks, but the Marines beat you to it.

As we rebuild ourselves from the most terrible assault we’ve ever known, we raise our flags for what we love, declaring that heartlessness can’t steal heart.

But, can bad prose damage brain cells?

No insult can touch the fact that we care enough about our country to work for what’s best in us.

Don’t think I won’t try, though.

We’ve declared ourselves solidly behind New York and every victim of Sept. 11, vowing that an injury to one of us is an injury to all. If our hearts are in that pledge, we can take the next step and dedicate ourselves to a mindful protection of religious and political minorities in our midst.

And I will do eveything in my power to keep you a political minority.

There are as many ways to love America as there are Americans. Our country needs us all.

Unless you are a right-wing, ultra-conservative, jingoistic flag-waver who thinks dropping bread on terrorists is a bad idea. Then you can bugger off.

More Enron: Found this link

More Enron:

Found this link from the red-baiters at Front Page Magazine, and it provides 35 reasons why the Democrats are hypocrites regarding Enron.

The info is all from, so read with a grain of salt and do your own fact checking (like I need to tell this to the blogging community)….

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. Jonathon

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. Jonathon Alter was just on MSNBC claiming that this is not a political scandal, but a corporate scandal. And he then just as quickly said they(the Bush administration) are not off the hook yet, as “there are important questions which need to be answered.” None of those questions is “Who pays Jonathon Alter and why?”

Stay tuned for more vacillating by our favorite talking heads.

Even more Enron. Officials are

Even more Enron. Officials are looking for an insider to blab to help them do their homework.

More Enron- This time from

More Enron- This time from Victor Canto.

“Before the Democrats start throwing

“Before the Democrats start throwing around accusations, shouldn’t they at least agree on what would constitute a scandal?” Exactly, Mr. Taranto.

Quick Saudi links (lost the

Quick Saudi links (lost the others- thought I had saved them in Word, but they now are in the great data graveyard in the sky):

Overview from the Center for Defense Information (never heard of them, so can not make any claims about thecredibility).


Mary McGrory, in yesterday’s WaPo,

Mary McGrory, in yesterday’s WaPo, pens a column titled Classic Overkill. And no. She is not referencing her specious arguments.

Just don’t have much to

Just don’t have much to say today, and I think my red death wine hangover is partially to blame. The students are back in town, so I feel like my town has been taken over, and I am in a lousy mood. On a positive note, my grocery store started carrying San Pellegrino, which is a plus. I will post more tomorrow.

I have a couple more

I have a couple more Saudi links to post, but I will get them tomorrow. I am well into a great bottle of wine, and doubt I will make much sense if I continue to type (although that is assuming that I normally make any sense). I am not much of a wine connoisseur. Since I do not even drink white wines, wine labeling for me breaks down into good and bad, and even then I am not capable of describing the taste very well, as I do not know all of the terms used. Indeed, I still believe that brushing my teeth counts as ‘cleansing my palate.’

At any rate, the most important thing about a bottle of wine to me is how it makes me feel, and I must say that 3 glasses of Black Opal Cabernet (an exceptionally inexpensive Australian wine) scores high marks on thaT account. It doesn’t have a hideously bitter aftertaste that many Cabernet’s have, and I look forward to the next sip. The subsequent ‘buzz’ is light, and my cheeks and knees are numb. There you have it. Wine tasting by ogres. Go get some Black Opal and try it yourself.

I would also like to thank Gregory Hlatky for adding me to his link list. Please check out his site, A Dog’s Life, if you have time.

More Enron: A lot of

More Enron:

A lot of column inches from the Economist, and it appears that the Bush Administration is still only being tarred with guilt by association.

If the Bush Administration or members in it did do anything for Enron, despite reports that they turned them down when asked for help (unlike Clinton officials), they should immediately be canned and Bush et al. should suffer the repercussions. However, it just apears right now that there is no there there.

News Flash. Yasser Arafat is

News Flash. Yasser Arafat is a terrorist.

Lanny Davis in the WaPo,

Lanny Davis in the WaPo, in a piece called Enron? We’re Missing The Point.

Gail Collins, Voice of Reason?????????:

Gail Collins, Voice of Reason?????????:

It is going too far at the moment to call the collapse of Enron a scandal for the Bush administration. The head of Enron was one of the president’s biggest campaign donors, and we now know that he called two cabinet officers last fall to warn them that the company was in terrible trouble. But none of that was necessarily improper, and there is no indication that those calls or other conversations between Enron executives and administration officials led to any action by the government.

Oh… Never mind. It is just another veiled attempt to push for the Large Newspaper Monopoly Empowerment Act (also known as McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform), after all:

There are plenty of things Mr. Bush can do to inoculate himself against any taint from the Enron disaster. He should embrace campaign finance reform, demand a severing of ties between Enron and those around him and cooperate with all Congressional investigations on the issue.

Enron might seem less threatening to Mr. Bush if his presidential campaign had not received huge contributions from the company and its top officials. The best way for Mr. Bush to minimize such taint is to work with Congress to ban unregulated party donations by corporations, unions and rich individuals, known as “soft money.”