I Gave Her My Heart… She Gave Me A Pen

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Kathryn Jean Lopez posts this without comment:

Bush signed the veto with a pen given to him by Robert Derga, the father of Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. Dustin Derga, who was killed in Iraq on May 8, 2005. The elder Derga spoke with Bush two weeks ago at a meeting the president had with military families at the White House.

At first you think "that's a little bit much, four years to the day after he appropriated different military imagery and it blew up in his face." And then you think—just a pen? Why not do it up proper? Drive up the road to Dover AFB, lean over a flag-draped coffin, and sign the bill with the Pen of Martyrs as 24 white doves are released into the air. Get Col. Bud Day to give color commentary. Set the whole tableau to the ringing tones of Dennis Madalone.

Then there's this:

Derga asked Bush to promise to use the pen in his veto. On Tuesday, Derga contacted the White House to remind Bush to use the pen, and so he did.

He had to be reminded?

NEXT: Hitchens Puts Down Payment on After-Life Cottage Near Lake of Fire

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  1. Why didn’t he go all the way and dip the pen in the blood of a fallen soldier to sign the veto? Politicians love to use the dead for all sorts of purposes. Why stop now?

  2. Weigel, you’re a freaking a-hole and an idiot

  3. Juilian, your a bigger a-hole than Weigel

  4. He had to be reminded?

    Considering the chronic memory problems Libby, Gonzales, Condi, and other administration officials seem to have, maybe the good father wanted to be sure. Then again, those problems usually only crop up when they’re testifying before Congress or under oath, so maybe it wasn’t necessary.

  5. John D, when you’re calling someone else an idiot in writing, perhaps you should spell “you’re” correctly, or it will be even more obvious who the real idiot is.

  6. David,

    From what you quoted

    Derga asked Bush to promise to use the pen in his veto. On Tuesday, Derga contacted the White House to remind Bush to use the pen, and so he did.

    Where do you ge that he had to be reminded other than from your all consuming illogical hatred for anything Bush?

  7. But remember, Bush is very, very cross with the Democrats for using the war as a background for political theater.

  8. I wish the president could do anything without resorting to “Support the troops” symbolism.

  9. He had to be reminded?

    Well, he’s had a lot on his mind, what with brushing up for his appearance on American Idol and everything.

  10. Somebody procedurally clever (Joe?) tell me what happens now. The Congress put together a war funding budget, that had some strings attached, that the President didn’t like. So the President vetoed the war funding budget.

    Now, if Congress chooses to do nothing, then… the war runs out of money?

    Is that a problem?

    CB

  11. Cynicism is a political position, in a democracy ; just not an honest one.

  12. Now, if Congress chooses to do nothing, then… the war runs out of money?

    Is that a problem?

    It’s not a bug–it’s a feature!

  13. Our cause is not just.

  14. I have pimped my pen, on cold Michigan nights
    and the bitch didn’t freeze up on me, when I wanted her to write it
    I have pimped my pen in the hot California sun
    and the bitch didn’t drip, smell, or run
    as she turned the trick pages, from looseleaf to zig-zags
    I have pimped my pen and she is number one in my stable
    for I have yet not got a refill, for her
    I love her that’s why she keeps, performing for me
    I have pimped my pen… and she is number one, in my stable

  15. John D IS GOATSE.

    (Urkobold almost posted the link. Consider yourself lucky.)

  16. Where did the pen come from? Did Cpl Derga liberate it from one of Saddam’s palaces?

  17. Re: …She gave me a pen.

    “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

    –Lloyd Dobler

  18. P Brooks | May 2, 2007, 9:08am | #

    Where did the pen come from? Did Cpl Derga liberate it from one of Saddam’s palaces?

    Captain Koons: The way your dad looked at it, this watch pen was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch pen up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch pen. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch pen to you.

  19. Cracker’s Boy,

    The Democrats have to pass some sort of bill, if only to pay to bring the troops and their equipment home.

    If they hold together and ram the same bill, or even a harsher one, down the president’s throat, he will have to sign it, because the Pentagon will literally run out of money this summer. Right now, our country is having a debate over the war, and whether the Democrats can put together a large enough coalition to pass such a bill again will be determined by that debate.

    Other possibilities include a series of small appropriations bills every few months – basically a stalling tactic until one side or the other wins the debate – or the Congressional Republicans working with the Democrats to pass a compromise bill and producing a veto-proof majority.

    In theory, it is possible that the War Party could win the debate, and Congress will pass the sort of Stay the Course bill that they have passed for the past four years, but seriously, that’s not going to happen.

  20. The pens used to sign bills and vetos have been political theater for fity years or more. Sometimes, the president will sign a bill with 10 or 20 pens so he can give them out as souvenirs to the special interest groups who lobbied for the bills.

    Weigel, were you really bothered by the pen theater thing? Did you expect Bush would veto the bill with fingerpaint or something? I can understand being worked up about the war, but to get all worked up over the political theater seems a little silly.

  21. Thanks Joe. I suppose I had a “Civics” class but it was a long time ago.

    To override the President’s Veto requires… what, 60%. I assume there’s not enough support for that. A “new” bill would provide another opportunity for veto, right? Which basically accomplishes the same thing as “do nothing”.

    Budget Stalemate. And Americans and Iraqis continue to kill each other. I guess that means the President wins.

    Crap. Not even 10am and I’m bummed out again. I don’t know why I keep coming here.

    CB

  22. He had to be reminded?

    It’s the drinking.

  23. Good grief. You have become ever more irritating over the last year and a half Mr Weigel, less snark, more analysis please.

  24. Cracker’s Boy,

    A veto override requires a 2/3 majority in each house. You’re thinking of the 60 votes required in the Senate to stop a fillibuster.

    If a bill isn’t passed and signed, Iraqis and Americans don’t continue to kill each other past this summer, because it becomes illegal to send Americans supplies or even paychecks to kill Iraqis. Or, you know, food and gas.

    A bill of some sort has to pass. There is not a single person in Congress or the White House who is willing to leave the troops physically stranded without supplies. It’s just a question of what the appopriations bill contains.

  25. You have become ever more irritating over the last year and a half Mr Weigel

    Weigels will wobble but they won’t fall down.

  26. Bush and the War Party will be the big winners (politically) if the Dems manage to shut this war down (which they will not). If they managed to do it, Bush can tag them as the defeatist losers. He can claim for eternity that he was on the brink of total victory before the Dems snatched it away. The GOP candidates can breath a sigh of relief since the war is no longer an issue. Limbaugh and Hannity have their “Democrats own defeat!” rant for the next 20 years, blah blah blah?.

  27. Well, on a professional note, my new job in “the Orient” is being delayed because of this Congressional monkey business.

    In the process, security at several air bases in a NATO theater is being degraded due to this project being delayed.

  28. Wow, Guy, you must furious at the President for his veto of the necessary funds.

    I agree with bb. And also, please don’t throw me into a briar patch.

  29. “Where did the pen come from?”

    He just had to Say Anything

  30. Maybe we could just encourage the troops to become “self-financing.” That was the original plan, wasn’t it?

  31. Actually, the folks sitting here bitching that the USians are beating up helpless people can go over there and help the helpless.

    Something like the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. I suggest an equally fitting name would be the Jefferson Brigade.

    David Weigel can be Minister of Propaganda Information and Radley Balko can be Field Marshall of Tanks. I am sure there is plenty of room at the top for David Corn and that guy Mary Matlin married. Don Imus probably wants a job there too, he had an important job in the Marines before he got that important job as radio host for the Democrat party.

    Speaking of radio guys, all of those Air America folks would make great human shields.

    Have at it ‘patriots’!

  32. I’m surprised he didn’t have the bill reprinted on the cured flesh of Saddam Hussein.

  33. I’m surprised he didn’t have the bill reprinted on the cured flesh of Saddam Hussein.

    Mr. Weigel is a powerful emerging force in journalism, but I don’t think he is that well connected yet 😉

    Just be patient until after he and the Jefferson Brigade liberate Iraq. Then you will see some REAL changes!

  34. Well, on a professional note, my new job in “the Orient” is being delayed because of this Congressional monkey business.

    Have you considered private sector employment. It is the true libertarian way.

  35. Can I contact the White House to remind the president about things too?

  36. I know this is as big a mistake as the last time I responded to you Dave W., but I do work in the private sector. The firm that employs me is even publicly traded on the NYSE.

    Yes, this is something else that I am not bright enough to explain to you.

  37. It’s the People’s House, Jesse.
    I suggest you go right up to the front door and knock.
    Better yet, scale the fence and make a dash for the Oval Office.
    Video on YouTube. You’ll be frikkin’ famous!

  38. Should we take up a collection to put Guy Montag on a one-way flight to a country of his choice?

  39. Jesse Walker,

    Just give them a call. While you are in (or on the phone with) the San Jose folks at KION check if there are any 2600 folk there who might be able to get you some non-published White House phone numbers.

    Might want to borrow a cell phone from David or Radley, maybe even use Nick’s desk phone for your calls.

  40. Way to unhinge, Weigel. Jeebus. Its a pen. Presidents and governors use goofy “symbolic” pens all the time.

  41. I know this is as big a mistake as the last time I responded to you Dave W., but I do work in the private sector. The firm that employs me is even publicly traded on the NYSE.

    Yes, this is something else that I am not bright enough to explain to you.

    If you really worked in the private sector, then your work assignment would not be contingent on the appropriations bill.

    You work in the faux private sector, but I am pretty sure most readers here were savvy enough to pick up on what I was driving at in my previous comment. You are not fooling anybody, Guy.

  42. I know this is as big a mistake as the last time I responded to you Dave W., but I do work in the private sector.

    There’s a difference between “working in the private sector” and working in the market economy.

  43. “Actually, the folks sitting here bitching that the USians are beating up helpless people can go over there and help the helpless.”

    I thought that was the job of the new War Tsar.

  44. thoreau,

    Should we take up a collection to put Guy Montag on a one-way flight to a country of his choice?

    Might want to scroll up a bit. I am waiting for the free flight to the country of my choice as we type. Reading a little might not hurt your head so much thinking of solutions that are already solved you know 🙂

  45. There’s a difference between “working in the private sector” and working in the market economy.

    Ah, unless one is tilling soil and the produce never makes it to the government then they are not in the private sector. Thank you Mr. Marx.

  46. Thoreau –

    I’d like to send him to Norway. He’d have to learn two languages, he’d get confused if he’s invited to a Lapp Dance, and he probably can’t do a decent Telemark turn.

  47. Yea, Dave W, I knew you would come up with some nonsense like that.

    I guess when I was doing the same job supporting the NFL for the Super Bowl that did not count as private sector either because Dolphin Stadium is not private, or something.

  48. VM,

    Norway is not one of my choices, until vacation time comes around, maybe. But thanks for playing.

  49. Everyone, contact your representative and tell them to pass the bill so that Guy can leave the country. Then ask them to rescind the remainder of the funding, so he can’t get back.

  50. Man picks on Thoreau for misreading then can’t keep names straight.

  51. I am waiting for the free flight to the country of my choice as we type. Reading a little might not hurt your head so much thinking of solutions that are already solved you know 🙂

    Yeah, but you said you’re waiting, and implied that something is interfering with the process. I figured we could help things along.

  52. Everyone, contact your representative and tell them to pass the bill so that Guy can leave the country. Then ask them to rescind the remainder of the funding, so he can’t get back.

    Too bad I will not be getting paid as well as KBR food service folks handing out cokes in the Green Zone (I am not going there, but according to a self-informed Liberal at my favorite sports bar, those guys get over $220,000 per man-year*) then your plot would be foiled.

    *Self-described Liberal and History Major whips that fiction out to demoralize soldiers. I have never seen a KBR job posting with a pay rate of $125/hr for a food line worker.

  53. Jim Henley,

    What are you talking about?

  54. If you’re into skiing, there’s some fantastic places. And you can order whale meat!

    pic of whale meat dish – isn’t Norwegian a cute language – hvalbiff –> hval biff — whale beef…

    that’s a great call – it is a good vacation spot.

    so…. not Norway…

    how about…
    hier?

    (with good accomodations, of course)

    maybe… hier

  55. Yeah, but you said you’re waiting, and implied that something is interfering with the process. I figured we could help things along.

    Actually, that might be a good idea. Let me run it by the boss and see if he wants me on-site with free transportation before the bill is signed.

    First you have to fly me to Georgia for some training, then to Germany, then to Kuwait and then on to “the Orient”. A stack of postal money orders will do just fine. I will cash them as I need them.

    You guys are great!

  56. If you’re into skiing, there’s some fantastic places. And you can order whale meat!

    Actually, can I pass on the meat and just take the fat? Was going to buy a Dodge 3500 with a 6.7 L Cummings Diesel and I hear that whale oil makes a great biodiesel. Natural AND renewable!

  57. The girls at work all stare disapprovingly when I use the phrase “panties all in a wad.” I suggest we change it to “montag(ed).” As in:

    “What’s with Kevin today? He’s been complaining and whining about everything.”

    “Oh, just ignore him. He’s got his montag all bunched up.”

    Or

    “Oh, just ignore him, he’s got his montag this week.”

    Or

    “Someone sure weigeled his montag.”

  58. Correction a couple of posts above, that should be $250,000 per man year. Would not want to have a bad typo mistaken for a math error.

  59. “Should we take up a collection to put Guy Montag on a one-way flight to a country of his choice?”

    Don’t other countries have intertubes? Oh, I get it. You hate him.

  60. Ah, I see.

    Good catch. Now you totally don’t come across as a complete montag.

  61. It’s the People’s House, Jesse.
    I suggest you go right up to the front door and knock.
    Better yet, scale the fence and make a dash for the Oval Office.
    Video on YouTube. You’ll be frikkin’ famous!

    How about he writes out all of his objections on a long piece of paper and nails it to the front door? He could become the Libertarian Martin Luther!

  62. “Say Senator Webb. Does that son of yours in Iraq have any pens I could use for vetos? Heh heh.”

  63. Jon H,

    Um, we can’t mention Senator Webb here unless it is in that sloppy drooly wet kiss way.

    Don’t even get near his aid getting away with the Steve Martin defense: “I did not know I had a gun in DC.”

  64. Jon H,

    It works better as a telephone conversation.

    “Say Senator Webb. Does that son of yours in Iraq have any pens I could use for vetos? Heh heh.”

    “Now that was just rude.”

  65. Nice ride!

    And an environmental statement to boot! me likey!

  66. Alex, I’ll take the Penis Mightier for $1,000.

  67. Don’t other countries have intertubes?

    We’ll flame him over there so we don’t have to flame him over here.

  68. Nice ride!

    And an environmental statement to boot! me likey!

    ty

    I was on the Dodge website picking out options and got over $50,000 in short order. Had to back up and got it down to something reasonable (around $35,000). Not looking for one of those Texican trucks you know. I is only there to cart around the hybrid Charger after it gets resto-modded (now delayed by a year).

  69. Why didn’t he go all the way and dip the pen in the blood of a fallen soldier to sign the veto? Politicians love to use the dead for all sorts of purposes. Why stop now?

    Look at this carefully my son. I don’t know what it is, but it’s the only part of the soldier we don’t use.

  70. Dave W vs Guy Montag?

    I…I…¡AY AY AY!

    Send Guy to Canada.

    Send Dave W to “the Orient.”

    Have them meet in Alaska.

    Nome or further north.

  71. I was on the Dodge website picking out options and got over $50,000 in short order. Had to back up and got it down to something reasonable (around $35,000). Not looking for one of those Texican trucks you know.

    Go for the $50,000 MSRP truck. You should be able to get that for $40,000 or so.

  72. I think this Derga guy has taken the cliche “misery loves company” a little too seriously.

  73. Send Dave W to “the Orient.”

    Much better to just stick me in a spam filter, innit. Here are some pictures of what happens when steel rebar collapses from fire:

    http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/compare/windsor.html

    (and to think Rosie said that fire couldn’t melt steel)

  74. Have them meet in Alaska.

    Nome or further north.

    That is another vacation destination. I love their concealed carry deal.

    Might be some fun hunting there too, but still saving that for Florida and Texas. Actually, wild pigs hunt the humans, so I might not be phrasing that properly.

  75. “I was on the Dodge website picking out options and got over $50,000 in short order”

    the sure sign of a fun time shopping for extras! cool!

  76. Go for the $50,000 MSRP truck. You should be able to get that for $40,000 or so.

    Idunno, I noticed that I was adding a lot of car crap to it and those options were most of the over-my-like in the price.

    Will look again whenever I am to return from “the Orient” and see what is available. Who knows, by then Al Gore might have purchased and converted the whole MOPAR line to that tree-hugger hybrid crap that I can’t stand.

  77. Why should I give a rats ass about what pen he used?

    I think extremely little of Bush, but when people start nitpicking the pen he used to sign a veto, you start sounding like you need a life.

  78. Even by Weigel’s generally low standards this is an inane post. The seventy-odd comments following it prove it.

  79. Guy Montag | May 2, 2007, 12:08pm | #
    Idunno, I noticed that I was adding a lot of car crap to it and those options were most of the over-my-like in the price.

    Like what? The sunroof? DVD player? The leather trimmed seats? The big brown baby seal eye headlights?

  80. 250K Per man-year seems like a billing rate not a pay rate. My local auto shop charges $60 per hour, but the mechanics make less than $20 per hour. I suspect that “those guys” getting the cash are the KBR stockholders, not the Filipino KBR hired to prepare/serve food.

    Guy Montag wrote

    “…Too bad I will not be getting paid as well as KBR food service folks handing out cokes in the Green Zone (I am not going there, but according to a self-informed Liberal at my favorite sports bar, those guys get over $220,000 per man-year*) then your plot would be foiled.

    *Self-described Liberal and History Major whips that fiction out to demoralize soldiers. I have never seen a KBR job posting with a pay rate of $125/hr for a food line worker.”

  81. Somewhat OT, but I have seen enough fiction on the tax breaks for working overseas that I am going to post it here anyway. When you need to refute dome Democracy Now contributor, or help correct them to make their real point more clear, this can be a good start point.

    The only applicable tax break for contractors that I have found is for the first $82,400 of foreign earned income. Everything over that is taxed as usual. This only applies to federal income tax, not Social Security or Medicare. Check your State for their rules, but I think most have the same exemption.

    On SS and Medicare you cap-out around $90,000 and stop paying on income above that.

    So, there is no such thing as a US contractor getting “tax free” income, although many print writers like to imagine one.

    Uniform military personnel there is a

  82. Like what? The sunroof? DVD player? The leather trimmed seats? The big brown baby seal eye headlights?

    Laramie package, 4 door, I think leather seats, fancy stereo, other silly interior junk like that.

  83. “but according to a self-informed Liberal…and History Major”

    argh! neiiiinnnn! not him!

    Dude! Sorry – we kicked him out of our bar. Sorry he ended up there.

    And he doesn’t even understand sports!

    ohnoes!

  84. 250K Per man-year seems like a billing rate not a pay rate. My local auto shop charges $60 per hour, but the mechanics make less than $20 per hour. I suspect that “those guys” getting the cash are the KBR stockholders, not the Filipino KBR hired to prepare/serve food.

    Sounds high even for a billing rate, but not way high.

    Prior to this job (that I am not going to discuss much) the best rate I was approached with for working in the Green Zone was $120,000 – $160,000 “plus perdiem” for one man-year. Never found out the perdiem rate. That was for operating some sort of secure database. I have heard that some firms have tax-free perdiem, but I have never seen that in person. It all goes into taxable gross income for any job I have been approached with.

    The billing rate for that might be up around base x 1.25 or so, but I have forgotten a lot of that muntiplier stuff from the DFAR and FAR, if it was even a cost plus contract.

    Don’t forget, all of the spread between billing and pay rate does not go to the shareholders. A bunch of it goes for overhead.

  85. Laramie package, 4 door, I think leather seats, fancy stereo, other silly interior junk like that.

    Go for it. Buy a truck like that and the dealership should throw in a few free pens.

  86. And he doesn’t even understand sports!

    Could be him! He admitted to me, before he launched into full forest raping orchid thief mode that he read up on sports and knows a lot of trivia because guys in bars don’t like talking to him about history!

  87. Go for it. Buy a truck like that and the dealership should throw in a few free pens.

    I don’t even like all of that in my cars, actually. Just went a little option crazy.

    Plan on upgrading the Charger interior to all power and leather, but like OEM as if leather were available (not sure if it was in that car in 1972). Will be the first power windows/locks I have ever owned.

    I hear baby seal would make nice seat covers 😉

  88. “Plan on upgrading the Charger interior to all power and leather[!]….”

    But will there be an integral twelve-volt air compressor in the glove box for the Daisy Duke inflate-a-date?

  89. But will there be an integral twelve-volt air compressor in the glove box for the Daisy Duke inflate-a-date?

    If that darn DC prosecutor would stop messing with free market dating then the AMEX card in my pocket could be used for live dates on short notice.

  90. Can I contact the White House to remind the president about things too?

    I think his e-mail address is w@aol.com, but be careful what you write because Laura has had to keep the parental filters set pretty high.

  91. THE PUNISHMENT SEEMS TO BE TAKING ITS TOLL.
    IT IS HORRIBLE TO WATCH.

  92. If that darn DC prosecutor would stop messing with free market dating then the AMEX card in my pocket could be used for live dates on short notice.

    Poor Guy. The only teat he gets to suck on is the government’s.

  93. I think his e-mail address is w@aol.com, but be careful what you write because Laura has had to keep the parental filters set pretty high.

    For that method I suggest using a workstation at The New Republic or The Nation. Perhaps even a public library.

  94. Poor Guy. The only teat he gets to suck on is the government’s.

    There are plenty of non-NEA funded female full contact erotic artists out there. If your jack-booted thugs would just leave them alone and stop protecting your monopoly the world would be a much better place.

    Speaking of, I think I will be supporting my favorite Women’s Interpretive Dance Theater (warning: not work safe for prudish workplaces, like nOW HQ) after work today. Need to get a roll of $5 bills on the way because the artists work for tips and tips alone.

  95. “Poor Guy. The only teat he gets to suck on is the government’s.”

    He shoots, he scores!

  96. I am not going to Scores! I am going someplace completly different.

    Yes, I finally stopped ignoring you for one post and will go back to my rule.

  97. Wow. Urkobold? is heartless. But what can you do? The actons of Urkobold? are just aright.

  98. Urkobold?

    Let’s see what the server squirrels do what that cut-n-paste.

  99. Hmmm, “Urkobold?” works in mysterious ways.

  100. I was just curious to see if I could cut and paste the “registered trademark” symbol.

  101. “I think extremely little of Bush, but when people start nitpicking the pen he used to sign a veto, you start sounding like you need a life.”

    He probably stuck it up his ass (where he keeps his purple heart) before giving it back to the soldier’s parents.

    That’s just how he rolls when it comes to the troops.

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