Friday, August 22, 2008
The big Carnival Parade in Provincetown was yesterday. What a great time. The Cape Cod Times had this to say:
PROVINCETOWN — A colorful roundup of "cowboys" saddled up for yesterday's "Wild, Wild West!" Carnival parade through town.
On the float for the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, first-time parade participant Patrick Dwyer of Boston, dressed in a tiny pair of shorts, worried that his bare stomach muscles wouldn't cut the mustard compared with others around him. And next to him, sitting at a fake saloon, summer resident John Comerford joked about global finances.
"I'm worried that the stock market is going to crash and I'm not going to be able to afford this hat," said Comerford, a second-year parade participant wearing a cowboy hat.
During the third week of August every year, the somewhat raunchy Mardi Gras-like festivities here known as Carnival were highlighted in a Thursday afternoon ruckus of a parade that ran from the east end of Commercial Street to the west end.
In its 30th year, Carnival is sponsored by the Provincetown Business Guild, a nonprofit group that focuses on enticing gay tourists to town. Provincetown is well-known nationally as both a year-round home and a vacation destination for gay men and lesbians.
This year, the parade took about 25 minutes to pass by the throng of onlookers and had about 40 entries, including pedicabs outfitted as stagecoaches, men dressed in adult versions of Little Bo Peep, convertibles with drag dignitaries, the League of Drag Queen Voters, antique cars, local Democrats, jazz singer Lea Delaria, women with fake horse heads on sticks, a smoking teepee on a flatbed truck, rolling advertisements for personal lubricants, and a seemingly endless supply of gyrating young men clad in varying amounts of Western duds.
Several bars, restaurants and liquor companies sponsored the bigger floats, with booming sound systems that rattled the wood-frame houses and businesses along the parade route. Generous handfuls of beaded necklaces, candy and bubble gum were thrown from the floats into the crowd.
Provincetown Police Chief Jeff Jaran said this year's crowd may have reached record proportions.
"From what I've heard, the traffic on Route 6 was much heavier than ever before," he said.
One person was slightly injured when a float ran over the spectator's foot, Jaran said.
Bob, Tobin, Sally, Buzzy and I had a grand time as usual. This is our 5th year on this annual outing. We can't wait for the next one!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
In all the discussion of John McCain's recently recovered memory of a religious epiphany in Vietnam, one thing has been missing. The torture that was deployed against McCain emerges in all the various accounts. It involved sleep deprivation, the withholding of medical treatment, stress positions, long-time standing, and beating. Sound familiar?
According to the Bush administration's definition of torture, McCain was therefore not tortured.
Cheney denies that McCain was tortured; as does Bush. So do John Yoo and David Addington and George Tenet. In the one indisputably authentic version of the story of a Vietnamese guard showing compassion, McCain talks of the agony of long-time standing. A quarter century later, Don Rumsfeld was putting his signature to memos lengthening the agony of "long-time standing" that victims of Bush's torture regime would have to endure. These torture techniques are, according to the president of the United States, merely "enhanced interrogation."
No war crimes were committed against McCain. And the techniques used are, according to the president, tools to extract accurate information. And so the false confessions that McCain was forced to make were, according to the logic of the Bush administration, as accurate as the "intelligence" we have procured from "interrogating" terror suspects. Feel safer?
The cross-in-the-dirt story - although deeply fishy to any fair observer - is in the realm of the unprovable. But the actual techniques used on McCain, and the lies they were designed to legitimize, are a matter of historical record. And the government of the United States now practices the very same techniques that the Communist government of North Vietnam once proudly used against American soldiers. When they are used against future John McCains, the victims will know, in a way McCain didn't, that their own government has no moral standing to complain.
Now the kicker: in the Military Commissions Act, McCain acquiesced to the use of these techniques against terror suspects by the CIA. And so the tortured became the enabler of torture. Someone somewhere cried out in pain for the same reasons McCain once did. And McCain let it continue.
These are the prices people pay for power.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
"He will leave office with the country $10 trillion in debt, fighting two wars, our international reputation in shambles, our government cloaked in secrecy and suspicion that his entire presidency has been a litany of broken laws and promises, our citizens' faith in our own country ripped to shreds. Yet Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been.
I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him."