New York

Morning Report 1/13/051,467 Days and Counting


It could be worse. Honest.

Nearly 70 years ago, Time stood still for a proper caning by Wolcott Gibbs. In a 1938 New Yorker piece, Gibbs parodied the newsmag’s tortured syntax by writing:

“Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind.”

Our minds are reeling decades later as the Bush regime’s New Barbarism agenda, explained to us by Fearful Leader’s tortured syntax, pushes us farther and farther back in time, even beyond that galaxy far, far away and long, long ago.

Like other Midwesterners, we used to say back in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. But the Bush regime won’t let time stand still.

Need more evidence? My colleague James Ridgeway, sneaking dispatches to us from heavily guarded pre-inaugural D.C., riffs on Michael Chertoff, Bush’s putative Homeland Security czar, as yet another example of the regime’s penchant for creating bad solutions to its self-inflicted problems:

There is no mercy. The Constitution? Forget it. Bush’s hard man in the war on terror, Chertoff stands behind deployment of all the tools in the Patriot Act, a position he made clear as a prosecutor in John Ashcroft‘s Justice Department.

As we hurtle back backwards at a rate that’s harsh on our delicate Constitution, you can forget that theory about a stopped clock being right twice a day. Not applicable under this government.

On the other hand, the judicial branch seems to finally be squaring off against the executive ranch. The latest news on that front is the possible end of ridiculous federal sentence rigidity.

Another Voice colleague, fedora-beat columnist Jarrett Murphy, parses the way the daily papers are parsing that hopeful development—hopeful because even though there’s confusion about the sentences of the new sentencing guidelines, it appears that most of us will be able to stay of federal prison.

In addition to that seemingly good news about our backward sentences, the people at have just given us a more optimistic way to look at our nation’s current four-year bid.

Manhattanite Vince Ponzo and crew are hawking a digitally enhanced (no, not just by the middle finger) key chain that continuously, joyously, automatically, and hopeably calculates the time running out on the Bush regime.

As I write this, George W. Bush has 1,467 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes, and 9.3 seconds left in office. Oops, I spoke too soon. It’s actually 1,467 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes, and 2.1 seconds left in office. Wait, it’s even less. (You get the idea.)

After extensive testing by the Village Voice Political Laboratory, we have given this our seal of approval. That’s because the key chain seems to keep an accurate countdown—at least time’s not standing still. As Ponzo puts it:

“While carrying a BackwardsBush key chain won’t change the fact that W. is our president, it reassures us that with each passing second we are one step closer to the next election. . . . More importantly, it stands as a defining symbol of unity for the more than 57 million of us who did not vote for him.”

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