Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut dies

This guy had a bearing on life that was a big influence on me from the time I started reading his books when I was 12. Like the AP copy below says, he spoke out about many destructive things- things others just blindly accepepted. The AP copy does not emphasize something else: Vonnegut was a VERY FUNNY GUY. Humor was interlaced in every book he wrote.
Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died Wednesday. He was 84.
Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.
The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic.
He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.
"I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations," Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.
A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view.
He also filled his novels with satirical commentary and even drawings that were only loosely connected to the plot. In "Slaughterhouse-Five," he drew a headstone with the epitaph: "Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."
But much in his life was traumatic, and left him in pain.
Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life, and in 1984, he attempted suicide with pills and alcohol, joking later about how he botched the job.
His mother had succeeded in killing herself just before he left for Germany during World War II, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge.
He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs created a firestorm that killed an estimated 135,000 people in the city.
"The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am," Vonnegut wrote in "Fates Worse Than Death," his 1991 autobiography of sorts.
But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other POW's inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

I was always shaken, inspired, enlightened by every book of his I read. No matter what age I was, each Vonnegut book meant something very big to me and I read many of them a few times. They say he had depression- but here was one guy who didn't spread depression, as I believe so many others do, he spread humor instead.

Monday, April 09, 2007

BushCo hiring grads from Pat Robertson's "Christian" law school

Regent University School of Law, Pat Robertson's attempt to change the world through intertwining "Christian values" and the Law, has had 150 of its graduates hired by the Bush administration since 2001. The attorney who recently resigned as part of the Gonzales scandal, Monica Goodling, who looks like a cast-member from the Lawrence Welk show circa 1973, was a Regent grad. Goodling had graduated from the "law school" 2 years earlier and had been part of BushCo's effort to dump U.S Attorneys who were doing too good of a job. Goodling was involved in importing Karl Rove's pal Timothy Griffin to fuck things up in Arkansas.

Way to go BushCo. The attempts to pack the U.S. Circuit courts with rightwing zealots for judges, label all other judges "activist judges," subvert the law in a million other ways, promote creationism, destroy habeus corpus, the Bill of Rights, and so on, is now joined by a transparent and gutless attempt to give legal muscle to fucking morons who can't separate church from state, who are apparently unaware of the tyrannical actions taken throughout century after century in the name of religion, and are stupid enough to go to a school founded they King of Dorks, Pat Robertson.

Furthermore in an act that surly must be illegal, BushCo placed a Dean from Regent in charge of hiring at the U.S. Government's Executive branch. The hiring of the 150 moronic followers of Pat Roberton's insane and prejudiced social views began immediately after. According the Globe article we can thank the psychopathic John Ashcroft, who put a curtain up so nobody could see the breasts on a statue representing Justice, for the lowering the hiring standards at the DOJ:
"John Ashcroft , then attorney general, changed longstanding rules for hiring lawyers to fill vacancies in the career ranks.

Previously, veteran civil servants screened applicants and recommended whom to hire, usually picking top students from elite schools."

Naturally, Ashcroft is now a professor at Regent University School of Law.

Details are here in the Boston Globe's story by Charlie Savage.

And yes I read about it here in the venerable and great Raw Story.