Friday, December 31, 2004

iFlipFlop's New Year's Resolutions

10 ideas that will get us through 2005:
  1. Keep exposing Republican hypocrisy (that's a daily slam dunk)
  2. Bring more balance and research to stories (be a good, but opinionated, journalist)
  3. Eat less, workout more, drink lots of water (always a good idea)
  4. Make sure Man-on-Dog Senator Rick Santorum is held accountable (buh-bye in 2006)
  5. Celebrate Philadelphia (it's the City that Loves You Back)
  6. Be nice to our friends and incisive with our enemies (the adjunct to Machiavelli's "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.")
  7. Do our part to make the label of "liberal" a good thing again (and show "conservative" for what it is - racist, sexist, oppressive, intolerant, and ignorant)
  8. Write a book (oh, there are so many, just add one more to the heap)
  9. Turn our backs on Bush (he doesn't have a mandate)
  10. Be thankful we can do any of these things (we're very lucky - the tsunami reminded me of that once again)
Other resolutions on Technorati.

Mayor John F Street's New Year's Message

From the Mayor of Philadelphia:
A New Year's Statement from Mayor John F. Street

Philadelphia - As Americans, Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians, we have been blessed in so many ways.

As we begin a new year, it is important for us all to think about those things that unite us and inspire us to do better as individuals and a community. We should also keep the victims of this week's tsunami tragedy in our thoughts and prayers. Our thanks go out to the members of our armed services who are serving abroad and to their families who miss them.

On behalf my entire administration, we wish you and your family peace and prosperity, health and happiness in the new year.

God bless you all.

Tsunami pictures

Incredible images of the tsunami and its after effects. I'm wondering if George Bush's inner circle has him convinced that these are actually pictures of the after effects of WMD in some country he'd like to invade.

Note to George Bush: Compassion - even when the victims are non-white, non-Christians - is a moral value.

Desmond Tutu discusses George Bush's suppression of free speech

Archbishop Desmond Tutu did an in-depth interview with Arlene Getz at Newsweek. The archbishop talked about the tsunami, the moral neutrality of religion, and the Bush Administration. The entire piece is well worth reading, but here's a telling excerpt:
You said George Bush should admit that he made a mistake. Were you surprised at his re-election?
[Laughs] I still can't believe that it really could have happened. Just look at the facts on the table: He’d gone into a war having misled people—whether deliberately or not—about why he went to war. You would think that would have knocked him out [of the race.] It didn’t. Look at the number of American soldiers who have died since he claimed that the war had ended. And yet it seems this doesn't make most Americans worry too much. I was teaching in Jacksonville, Fla., [during the election campaign] and I was shocked, because I had naively believed all these many years that Americans genuinely believed in freedom of speech. [But I] discovered there that when you made an utterance that was remotely contrary to what the White House was saying, then they attacked you. For a South African the déjà vu was frightening. They behaved exactly the same way that used to happen here [during apartheid]—vilifying those who are putting forward a slightly different view.

Beam me down, bin Laden: Laser beam attacks on airplanes

Guess that Homeland Security is about to be severely tested. Six airplanes have been traced by Laser beams in the past four days. Here's a Slashdot discussion of the damage Laser pistols can do.

Do we all feel safer now?

What 117,000 looks like

Here's a graphical representation of 117,000, the number of dead from the tsunami (although the number keeps rising, and now I see reports of a possibility of 400,000 dead).


Dale Axelrod sent this one to me. Very clever, indeed. From his text:
Electile Dysfunction got you down?

VERIFYGRA is the answer. Tested and proven effective in Ukraine --- and now available in the United States.

Ask John Kerry and your Senators to get on Verifygra and stand up against the inadequate recount in Ohio (and refuse to certify the election on January 6th). Tell them, if you can't verify it, don't certify it!

See to prescribe VERIFYGRA with rallies and press conferences, faxes, phone calls and graphics.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami relief list from Google

Tsunami relief. Over 114,000 dead now.

King George the Miser (as opposed to "Wiser")

Nicked in its entirety from the NYT op-ed today in a piece titled Are We Stingy? Yes:
President Bush finally roused himself yesterday from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to telephone his sympathy to the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and to speak publicly about the devastation of Sunday's tsunamis in Asia. He also hurried to put as much distance as possible between himself and America's initial measly aid offer of $15 million, and he took issue with an earlier statement by the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, who had called the overall aid efforts by rich Western nations "stingy." "The person who made that statement was very misguided and ill informed," the president said.

We beg to differ. Mr. Egeland was right on target. We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities.

The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million, and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround. But $35 million remains a miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign aid. According to a poll, most Americans believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent.

Bush administration officials help create that perception gap. Fuming at the charge of stinginess, Mr. Powell pointed to disaster relief and said the United States "has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world." But for development aid, America gave $16.2 billion in 2003; the European Union gave $37.1 billion. In 2002, those numbers were $13.2 billion for America, and $29.9 billion for Europe.

Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually deliver. Victims of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, a year ago are still living in tents because aid, including ours, has not materialized in the amounts pledged. And back in 2002, Mr. Bush announced his Millennium Challenge account to give African countries development assistance of up to $5 billion a year, but the account has yet to disperse a single dollar.

Mr. Bush said yesterday that the $35 million we've now pledged "is only the beginning" of the United States' recovery effort. Let's hope that is true, and that this time, our actions will match our promises.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Where's W?

Tens of thousands dead in the Indian Ocean basin, and George Bush stays cloistered on his Texas ranch. We demanded worldwide self-flagellation for 3,000 killed on 9/11; George W Bush thinks 70,000 dead in Asia is a statistic. Good demonstration of compassionate conservatism, George.

Here's an idea: Stop making war in Iraq for a week and send the money to tsunami victims

The Bush Administration is upset because a UN official said the US was "stingy." Let's see, we initially offered $15 million for tsunami relief. Then we upped that to $35 million. Now Colin Powell is whining that the US will spend over a billion dollars on relief by the time it's over. I say this: It costs $1 billion a week for the war in Iraq. Let's do that Frankenstein game - where everyone freezes in their position - for a week and send that money to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and the whole area. Reports this morning show 67,000 dead. That number is skyrocketing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Donald Rumsfeld says Flight 93 was shot down in Pennsylvania

What do you think? From CNN this morning:
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A comment Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made during a Christmas Eve address to U.S. troops in Baghdad has sparked new conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In the speech, Rumsfeld made a passing reference to United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to stop al Qaeda hijackers.

But in his remarks, Rumsfeld referred to the "the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania."

A Pentagon spokesman insisted that Rumsfeld simply misspoke....

iFlipFlop Poll: Karbombala

The votes are in. And the winners...those of you who voted for 6-10 car bombs this past week in Iraq. The summary:

Karbombala Count
Sunday: 2
Monday: 1
Tuesday: 1
Wednesday: 1
Thursday: I couldn't find any, but bet there were some
Friday: 2
Saturday: 2

Here's the Google search for car bomb Iraq that resulted in 14,200 entries. I don't like playing this game, friends. It was just a way for me to pay attention to something that's happening nearly daily in Iraq and something to which I've become practically immune.

Should we postpone the Inauguration?

Heck, they righted the election in Ukraine. Whey can't we think about that here? There's mounting evidence that something is fishy in Ohio. The VLWC outlines what's happening in Election Theft 2004 Update.

Cast your vote. Inauguration: Go or No Go?

Donate for tsunami victims

There's a well-researched list of donation outlets listed on Philly to help people with disaster relief. I saw a CNN item this morning that said AmeriCares gets $3 of medical supplies for every $1 donated. They need money now to help these people. It's very bad.

Conservatives need to learn the difference between morals and immorality

Political words of the season: Immorality, Mr. Bush

Dr. Robin Meyers Oklahoma University Peace Rally November 14, 2004

As some of you know, I am minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City, an Open and Affirming, Peace and Justice church in northwest Oklahoma City, and professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years, and hold the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor.

Tonight, I join ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian. We’ve heard a lot lately about so-called “moral values” as having swung the election to President Bush. Well, I’m a great believer in moral values, but we need to have a discussion, all over this country, about exactly what constitutes a moral value — I mean what are we talking about?

Because we don’t get to make them up as we go along, especially not if we are people of faith. We have an inherited tradition of what is right and wrong, and moral is as moral does. Let me give you just a few of the reasons why I take issue with those in power who claim moral values are on their side:

When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if your deceptions are justified because you are doing God’s will, and that your critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not only not moral, but immoral.

When you live in a country that has established international rules for waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of the world, you are doing something immoral.

When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount stuff like that we must never return violence for violence and that those who live by the sword will die by the sword), you are doing something immoral.

When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing something immoral.

When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question the patriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero, you are doing something immoral.

When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which says that the way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test, by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker, you are doing something immoral.

When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called “enemy combatants” of the rules of the Geneva Convention, which your own country helped to establish and insists that other countries follow, you are doing something immoral.

When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys and the evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you, or with the terrorists—and then launch a war which enriches your own friends and seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, instead of helping us to kick the habit, you are doing something immoral.

When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for a war with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormous deficit that hangs like a great millstone around the necks of our children, you are doing something immoral.

When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that was once the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn’t matter what others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you have done something immoral.

When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out record numbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool of discrimination, you are doing something immoral.

When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower of Jesus, who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of the kingdom, you are doing something immoral.

When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protect the earth which is God’s gift to us all, so that the corporations that bought you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while our children breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have done something immoral. The earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.

When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a “compassionate conservative,” using the word which is the essence of all religious faith-compassion, and then show no compassion for anyone who disagrees with you, and no patience with those who cry to you for help, you are doing something immoral.

When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, but do nothing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see a doctor, even if she doesn’t have a penny in her pocket, you are doing something immoral.

When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set women back a hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preachers who say gays ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral.

I’m tired of people thinking that because I’m a Christian, I must be a supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay rights I must not be a person of faith. I’m tired of people saying that I can’t support the troops but oppose the war.

I heard that when I was your age, when the Vietnam War was raging. We knew that that war was wrong, and you know that this war is wrong—the only question is how many people are going to die before these make-believe Christians are removed from power?

This country is bankrupt. The war is morally bankrupt. The claim of this administration to be Christian is bankrupt. And the only people who can turn things around are people like you—young people who are just beginning to wake up to what is happening to them. It’s your country to take back. It’s your faith to take back. It’s your future to take back.

Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t back down when your friends begin to tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should be wrapped around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut. Real Christians take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and real Muslims, and real
Hindus, and real Buddhists—so do all the faith traditions of
the world at their heart believe one thing: life is precious.
Every human being is precious.

Arrogance is the opposite of faith. Greed is the opposite of charity. And believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of a deluded man, not a man of faith. And war—war is the greatest failure of the human race—and thus the greatest failure of faith. There’s an old rock and roll song, whose lyrics say it all: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. And what is the dream of the prophets? That we should study war no more, that we should beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Who would Jesus bomb, indeed? How many wars does it take to know that too many people have died? What if they gave a war and nobody came? Maybe one day we will find out.

Time to march again my friends. Time to commit acts of civil disobedience. Time to sing, and to pray, and refuse to participate in the madness. My generation finally stopped a tragic war. You can, too!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Phuket tsunami

Wow. Here's a photo gallery of the tsunami in Phuket.

Votes dead in Ohio

There's so much reading to be done about the 20 electoral votes from Ohio that are highly suspect. Today the NYT called for setting standards for fair elections and said the votes cast should match the votes tallied. In Ohio that's just not been the case.

Lani sent me a set of good reading materials, which I'll post here in its entirety:
Candidate asks federal court to preserve evidence
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - One of two minor-party presidential candidates who paid for a recount of the Ohio vote has asked a federal court to control access to voting machines and election records used in the recount.

Green Party candidate David Cobb made the request in U.S. District Court in Columbus on Thursday.

"It is time for the federal judiciary to step in and ensure the integrity of the recount in Ohio," Cobb said in a statement.

Ohio and its 20 electoral votes were the difference in the presidential race. On Dec. 6, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell declared President Bush the official winner in the state by 119,000 votes over Democrat John Kerry.

The recount, for which Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik paid $113,600, began the week of Dec. 13. With 87 of 88 county boards of election reporting, Bush had picked up another 346 votes and Kerry an additional 494. Lucas County was expected to release its recount totals next week.

The court filing claims that "voting machines in multiple counties may have been tampered with during the recount."

Friday, December 24, 2004
Vote Recount Fight 'Is Not Over'
By Andy Lenderman

Advocates for a recount of the presidential race in New Mexico continue to underscore discrepancies in vote totals as reasons, even though the state Supreme Court has denied their request.

Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb of Eureka, Calif., said Thursday he might appeal the New Mexico court's decision to the federal level.

Cobb's attorney, Lowell Finley, said advocates might still post a $1.4 million deposit that Gov. Bill Richardson and New Mexico election officials demanded for a recount, but a state lawyer says the deadline has passed.

"We can still go back to the state Canvassing Board with $1.4 million and say, 'Let's go,' '' said Finley of Berkeley, Calif.

However, Assistant Attorney general Dave Thomson said earlier this week he believes that's no longer an option.

State officials had posted a deadline of Dec. 16, which came and went with no deposit from the recount proponents.

But Finley and Cobb are still pushing the issue.

"As far as we're concerned, this is not over," Finley said by telephone. "And we are going to continue pursuing every reasonable, available option to see that there's a meaningful audit of this election."

Researchers working on behalf of Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik point to "undervote" issues and so-called "phantom votes" as evidence of the need for a recount.

Their reports, with arguments from supporters, were included in state Supreme Court filings before the court denied the request for an immediate recount.

"Presidential undervotes are ballots that report no vote for president," wrote Ellen Theisen, director of, a nonpartisan group focusing on the accuracy of electronic voting technology.

In other words, some people voted in local races but didn't vote for president.

New Mexico's "excessive" undervote is 2.45 percent, Theisen argued. "Small numbers of undervotes are common, but undervote rates of over 2 percent are generally considered high enough to warrant investigation," she wrote.

Theisen's report also discusses more than 2,000 "phantom votes" coming from 250 precincts.

"Phantom votes are found when the number of votes is higher than the number of ballots cast," she wrote.

" ... Even a single phantom vote indicates an error of some kind. Either the number of ballots or the number of total votes for the office was misreported.

"For example, Theisen listed an apparent discrepancy in Bernalillo County precinct 512. There, the county recorded 318 absentee presidential votes but reported only 166 absentee ballots, she said.

Theisen said in an telephone interview from Port Ludlow, Wa., that she based her report on certified results provided to her by the state Bureau of Elections in New Mexico.

Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron pointed out that the undervote was higher in the 2000 election than in the 2004 election. And so-called phantom votes are not possible, Vigil-Giron said.

Independent auditors that looked at the state's canvass, or final report, did not find any problems like that, she said. "They didn't find any irregularities like that," Vigil-Giron said.

Election results are checked at the county canvassing board level, the state level and later by the independent auditor, Vigil-Giron said.

"Listen," she told a reporter. "I'm a Democrat. If I would have found some irregularities, believe you me I would have brought them out and questioned them."

Democrat John Kerry lost New Mexico to President Bush by almost 6,000 votes.

Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff, president of Research and Polling Inc. in Albuquerque, said that the undervote in the presidential race has been higher in the previous three elections. It was 2.9 percent in 2000, 4 percent in 1996 and 3.5 percent in 1992, he said.(Source)

Kerry votes switched to Bush and ballots pre-punched for Bush
by Dr. Werner Lange
December 24, 2004

Pre-punched ballots; touch-screen vote switching; more absentee votes than absentee voters; unfair provisional voter deletions; change of voting sites on Election Day. voter suppression; voter intimidation; double voting; malfunctioning machines; recalibrated machines; evidently rigged machines; and even 25 million negative votes registered in some races in Mahoning County!

Those were among the problematic incidents shared at a 3-hour public hearing on vote irregularities in the Mahoning Valley held on December 21 at the Warren-Trumbull Public Library. Panelists taking voter testimony included Rev. Rick Judy of Mahoning County; Rev. Werner Lange of Trumbull County; Ray Nakley, an officer of the Arab-American Community Center in Youngstown; and Russ Buckbee, Green Party coordinator for NE Ohio.

Many panelists and testifiers wore orange ribbonos symbolizing the ongoing fight for democracy. “The color orange was chosen to remember Florida, where the wishes of the voters were ignored in order to place George W. Bush in the White House in 2000”, read the attached explanation, “Here were are in 2004 and we allege it is happening again” Evidence that this was indeed, once again, a stolen election even comes from published reports regarding curious developments in the Mahoning Valley on Election Day. A December 15 article in The Washington Post reveals that Jeanne White, a manager of the Buckeye Review, an African-American newspaper in NE Ohio, pushed the button for Kerry and watched her vote jump to the Bush column. “We’ve never seen anything like this before” Mark Munroe, Chairman of the Mahoning County Board of Election is quoted as saying in the November 3rd edition of The Vindicator. Munroe confirmed that vote switching problems occurred in at least 16 precincts and
involved some 20 to 30 ES&S machines that “needed to be recalibrated during the voting process because some votes for a candidate were being counted for that candidate’s opponent”.

One Mahoning Valley resident at the hearing stated she knew of at least two voters who, like Ms. White, saw their vote switch from Kerry to Bush. Similar problems occurred in neighboring Mercer County in Pennsylvania, which, like Mahoning County was among only a handful of BOEs in either state to use these problematic ES&S machines produced and managed by Bush supporters. Prof. Victoria Lovegren of Case Western Reserve University, an expert in computer programming, came to this hearing and cast very serious doubt on the validity of the Ohio vote recorded by any BOE using these electronic devices. Everyone present seemed to agree with this assessment of the problem which was read into the record:

“One pattern that has been documented based on the experience of voters in Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and elsewhere (especially in swing states) is the machines appear to have been set with a default to Bush. Then if the voter successfully punched the ballot for another candidate, Bush was replaced by that candidate.”

The exact number of votes officially given to Bush and stolen from Kerry by such means is unknown. No explanation has, to date, been given and no serious investigation into this outrage against democracy has been launched.

Nor has there been any defensible explanation provided for the documented absentee vote inflation in Trumbull County. A careful review by Werner Lange and Maggie Hagan of nearly 200 precincts in Trumbull County revealed a considerable discrepancy between the number of certified absentee votes and the number of registered absentee voters identified in the poll books. The poll books are to contain not only the name of every registered voter, but also clearly identify who voted (either by regular, absentee or provisional means) and who did not. The Trumbull County investigation showed some 650 more absentee votes than there were absentee voters identified in the poll books examined. If the absentee vote inflation rate there were consistent statewide, then over 63,000 votes were up for grabs in Ohio. This unexplained problem would have been brought to light much earlier had it not been for an unlawful directive by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to prevent any public
inspection of poll books prior to vote certification. A case filed in mid-November with the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas challenging the validity of this official denial of access to public records has not even been given a hearing date, let alone a ruling, from Judge Peter Kontos. Justice delayed continues to be justice denied.

A number of other irregularities came to light on this longest night of the year.

The unusually high number of Ohio votes discarded for double-punching remains unexplained. A possible reason was shared at this hearing by a voter from Cuyahoga County who stated that she inspected her paper ballot prior to voting and was shocked to notice that it was pre-punched for Bush. She also noticed another ballot had the same tampering problem. A voter from Niles came to the polls and noticed someone else had signed their name into her signature box. A voter in Precinct D of Warren Township came to the polls and discovered that someone else had already voted in her name. John Williams of Niles stated that after the election officials in Mahoning County refused to give him a precinct breakdown of the vote. Russ Buckbee noted that there seems to have been a pattern of expunging inactive registered voters from inner-city precincts but not the suburbs. Several testifiers complained about long lines at the polls causing many voters to leave in frustration. Maureen
Lauer-Gatta, who observed the vote recount in Trumbull County, wondered how many votes where lost due to a last-minute change of voting sites on Election Day itself. She said there were “several” such voting site changes on November 2. Ariel Vegosan, who observed the vote recount in Mahoning County, noticed baskets full of votes not counted and wondered if there were “missing baskets of votes” in Mahoning County. She called this to the attention of election officials who seemed unconcerned about this irregularity. The legitimacy of the whole recount was called into question by Prof. Lovegren due to malfunctioning machines and other problems.

An email from a Cuyahoga County voter shared at the hearing echoed many of the problems discovered in the Mahoning Valley: “The election wasn’t fair, but trying to prove that any one method of fraud or ‘errors’ has caused a false outcome will be nearly impossible. Instead I feel that a combination of frauds or ‘errors’ has given Bush the tiniest of advantages in our winner-take-all system. Simply from surveying the 12 polls in Westlake the general climate of the roving bands of partisan police officers backed by Republican public officials who were threatening Democratic supporters and poll workers, removing legally posted Democratic messages, and chasing Democratic supporters from the polling places with the threat of arrest, all of this amounted to a fraud. The process was also tainted at the poll with militant Bush supporters serving as the Board of Election Poll Judges”

Finally, note was taken at the hearing of the curious fact that exit polls showed Kerry with a 4.2% lead over Bush in Ohio, but the vote results gave Bush an alleged 2.5% victory over Kerry, a 6.7% final vote tally percentage shift toward Bush. The chances of this enormous shift being legitimate and the exit polls so wrong are infinitesimal. Another explanation is much more likely, plausible and real. It was clearly expressed well before this rigged election by the CEO of Diebold, Walden O’Dell, brother of the top executive at ES&S: “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral vote to the President next year”.That sentiment and intent were undoubtedly shared again on Election Day itself with President Bush personally by key Ohio election officials, including the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio who doubles as Ohio’s Secretary of State, when Bush came to his state headquarters on High Street in Columbus, site of what may be the crime of the century. It is
unlikely that anyone there on that crucial day invoked the spirit of Joseph Stalin who is reputed to have said “those who vote determine nothing; those who count the vote determine everything”. But whether explicitly invoked or not, that anti-democratic spirit was clearly invited to Ohio.

Viktor victorious

Here's what an honest election can bring. Viktor Yuschenko looks poised to win the rightful Ukrainian election by 14 points. I hope someday the US election will be this proper.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

On my way to Las Vegas

I'm flying from Philadelphia to Las Vegas today. I'll be offline for a bit, most of it searching for my bags in the Las Vegas airport. US Airways baggage handlers are having the "blue flu" and bags are piling up in Philly. I packed with the idea that I'd be able to buy things to replace my lost items. I'm hoping not, but I do understand what's going on here - they just had to vote a 13% pay reduction for themselves two days before Christmas.

A real mess hall in Iraq

More about the mess hall bombing in Mosul.

Conservative university students say "Why bother learning?"

Look at this article titled Conservative Students Target Liberal Profs. Why do they bother? Being a conservative doesn't require any thinking, just petulance.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

David Letterman in Iraq

David Letterman is still cool. He spent Christmas Eve in Iraq entertaining the troops.

Christmas: Badger Style

Presents, presents, presents.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas

I'm sitting in O'Hare Airport on my way back to Philly. I thought I was going to be there early this evening; the weather said differently. Looks like I'll get home by 2am. I will get to see my guys open their presents in the morning. Yeah.

Yes, Merry Christmas. I'm going to look for things we all agree on today.

Media Matters: Top Ten Most Outrageous Statements of 2004

Media Matters published their top ten list of the most outrageous statements in the media this year:

Rush Limbaugh on the Abu Ghraib photos: "I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?"

Ann Coulter: "[Senator John] Kerry will improve the economy in the emergency services and body bag industry."

Tony Blankley called philanthropist George Soros "a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."

Michael Savage: "When you hear 'human rights,' think gays. ... [T]hink only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son."

Oliver North: "Every terrorist out there is hoping John Kerry is the next president of the United States."

Pat Robertson on gays and lesbians: "[S]elf-absorbed hedonists ... that want to impose their particular sexuality on the rest of America."

Pat Buchanan: "[H]omosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism."

Bill O'Reilly to Jewish caller: "[I]f you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel."

Bill Cunningham (Clear Channel radio host who appeared as a guest on The Sean Hannity Show): The election is over because "Elizabeth Edwards has now sung."

Jerry Falwell: "And we're going to invite PETA [to "wild game night"] as our special guest, P-E-T-A - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We want you to come, we're going to give you a top seat there, so you can sit there and suffer. This is one of my special groups, another one's the ACLU, another is the NOW -- the National Order of Witches [sic]. We've got - I've got a lot of special groups."

Donald Rumsfeld visits troops in Iraq; eats crow for dinner

Thank you for your sacrifice. Now I have to get back to the U.S. for Christmas. See you in a couple years.

Extending the Bush Administration's Big Lie to new heights, one week after Donald Rumsfeld looked to be road kill, now he's visiting the killing zone. Rummy visits troops in Iraq and "thanks them for their sacrifice." As you notice in this picture, he's not riding in an unarmored Humvee or eating lunch in an unsecured cloth tent. Hmmm. Might this be a photo op?

Recounts work: Christine Gregoire wins as Washington governor

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Democrat Christine Gregoire expanded her lead over Republican Dino Rossi to 130 votes to win the race for Washington state governor in a recount seven weeks after the election, officials said on Thursday.

King County, the northwestern state's largest county, finished counting most of its previously uncounted votes on Thursday, boosting Gregoire's lead over Rossi from 10 votes to 130 votes.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Another Bushism

One morning, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush were having brunch at a restaurant. The attractive waitress asks Cheney what he would like and he replies, "I'll have a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit." And what may I get for you, sir?" she asks George W. He replies, "How about a quickie?" "Why Mr. President," the waitress says, "How're starting to act like Mr. Clinton." As the waitress storms away, Cheney leans over to Bush and whispers, "It's pronounced quiche'."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A succinct analysis of the election

My buddy, Bill, sent this one:

The Democrats' mistake was in thinking that a disastrous war and national bankruptcy would be of concern to the electorate.

The Republicans correctly saw that the chief concern of the electorate was to keep gay couples from having an abortion.

The Torture Files: FOIA Release

Here's an ACLU file from an FOIA request that outlines Iraqi prisoner torture. Incredible reading. Yes, Donald Rumsfeld is doing a fine job.

Ten Things President Bush Doesn't Want You to Know About Scalia and Thomas

SCALIA OPPOSES EFFORTS TO DESEGREGATE SCHOOLS: In his concurrence on Freeman v. Pitts, Scalia indicated he would favor stripping the authority of Federal courts to regulate school desegregation, "even for those schools that remain significantly segregated." [Freeman v Pitts 1992]

THOMAS FAVORS STATE-SPONSORED RELIGION: Thomas has "advanced the position" that constitutionally mandated church/state separation applies "to the federal government, but not to individual states – a position that would allow Virginia, for example, to declare a state religion." He would allow individual states to "adopt particular religions and use tax money to proselytize for them." [Elk Grove v. Newdow, 2004]

SCALIA SUPPORTS SEX DISCRIMINATION: Scalia dissented from the Court's 7-to-1 decision that rejected the Virginia Military Institute's male-only admissions policy. He called the male-only admissions standard at the school a "well-rooted" tradition. [U.S. v. Virginia, 1996]

THOMAS WOULD ALLOW THE PRESIDENT TO EFFECTIVELY WAIVE DUE PROCESS RIGHTS: In last term's confrontation over detainees in the war on terror, eight of the nine Justices squarely rejected the Bush administration's sweeping claim that it could detain citizens indefinitely as enemy combatants based merely on the executive branch's assertion of enemy combatant status. "Only Thomas supported the Bush administration's position." He claimed "due process requires nothing more than a good-faith executive determination." [Rasul v. Bush, 2004]

SCALIA AND THOMAS OPPOSE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: The Family and Medical Leave Act "guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one." Last year, the Court upheld the law, but Scalia and Thomas voted to strike it down, arguing that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003]

SCALIA AND THOMAS SUPPORT EXECUTING THE MENTALLY RETARDED: Scalia and Thomas dissented from the Court's 6-3 ruling that executing mentally retarded convicts constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." [Atkins v. Virginia, 2002]

SCALIA AND THOMAS SUPPORT BRUTALITY AGAINST PRISONERS: A recent case considered a Louisiana inmate who "was shackled and then punched and kicked by two prison guards while a supervisor looked on." The beating left the inmate "with a swollen face, loosened teeth and a cracked dental plate." The Court ruled the inmate's treatment violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, but Scalia and Thomas dissented, arguing "the Eighth Amendment was not violated by the 'insignificant' harm the inmate suffered." In another case last year, Scalia and Thomas dissented from a 6-3 decision to ban the Alabama practice of chaining prisoners to outdoor ''hitching posts'' and abandoning them for hours without food, water, or a chance to use the bathroom. [Hudson v. McMillan, 1992; Hope v. Pelzer, 2002]

SCALIA AND THOMAS SUPPORT CRIMINALIZING CONSENSUAL SEX: Scalia and Thomas dissented from the Court's 6-3 decision to strike down a Texas state "sodomy" law, "banning private consensual sex between adults of the same sex" and approvingly cited the execution of homosexuals during colonial times. Scalia lashed into the decision for pandering to the "so-called homosexual agenda." [Lawrence v. Texas, 2003]

SCALIA AND THOMAS OPPOSE FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION OF POLLUTERS: Scalia and Thomas voted to strip the EPA "of the authority to prevent damaging air pollution by industries when state agencies improperly fail to do so." They dissented from the Court's decision that the EPA could make polluting companies use the "best available control technology" to limit pollution when they built new facilities. [Alaska v. EPA, 2004]

SCALIA AND THOMAS WOULD ALLOW STATES TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE DISABLED: After a Tennessee man was arrested for failure to appear in court because he was unwilling to crawl or be carried up the stairs to his second-story courtroom, Scalia and Thomas argued the state was right to arrest him because the Americans with Disabilities Act could only be enforced at the federal level. [Tennessee v. Lane, 2004]

(via The Center for American Progress. Full links at the site.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bomb kills 22 American soldiers in Mosul

Yes, Donald Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. 22 soldiers killed this morning eating lunch.

Majority of Americans want Donald Rumsfeld out

52% of Americans say they want Rummy gone. I'd call that a mandate. Buh-bye, Donald.

George Bush authorized torture in Iraq

NEW YORK -- A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up. (via ACLU)

Note to the Mandate Mafia: Torture is not a moral value.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Carbombala Count: Monday, Dec. 20

Carbombala Count
Sunday: 2
Monday: 1

Okay, just one car bomb today in Iraq. The over-and-under on 6-10 for the week just got more valuable. Vote>>>>

A Not So Wonderful Life

Maureen Dowd did a great parody of It's a Wonderful Life in her piece about Donald Rumsfeld being visited by Clarence, Angel First Class. Well worth the read (as is almost all her stuff.)

What's George Bush's favorite river? Denial

George Bush held a press conference today in which he continued on his single-minded track to support Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Several Republican lawmakers recently have criticized Secretary Rumsfeld. What does he need to do to rebuild their trust?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, when I asked the Secretary to stay on as Secretary of Defense, I was very pleased when he said "yes." And I asked him to stay on because I understand the nature of the job of the Secretary of Defense, and I believe he's doing a really fine job.
Wow, "a fine job." Let's see: 1,304 Americans solders killed as of today; 9,844 soldiers seriously injured; under-armored military vehicles; signs soldiers' death notices with an "auto pen"; and thinks bluster beats competence any day. With this kind of a "fine job," imagine what a poorly performing secretary of defense could do.

Time Person of the Year: George Bush

George W. Bush was named Time's Person of the Year. So many things to say, and so little time to say it. The Big Lie works.

For a good view of what Time really should have written, look at this piece in Philly.

Carbombala Count: Sunday, Dec. 19

The first day of the iFlipFlop poll about how many car bombs will explode in Iraq this week before Christams started with a bang, so to speak. Two car bombs on Sunday killed over 60 people and wounded over 120.

Carbombala Count
Sunday: 2


Sunday, December 19, 2004

iFlipFlop Poll results: Favorite Phrase this Week

The results are in. iFlipFlop readers overwhelmingly chose the question of Spc. Wilson this week as your favorite. George Bush's endorsement of Bernard Kerik for head of Homeland Security came in a distant second, and the phrase that hoist Donald Rumsfeld with his own petard came in last.
Why do we have to use hillbilly armor?: 65%
You go to war with the army you've got.: 15%
Bernie Kerik is one of the most accomplished and effective leaders of law enforcement in America.: 20%
The new question this week is a little game. How many car bombs do you think will explode in Iraq this week? I'll keep count using NYT, WaPo, and USAT as sources. Keep in mind, we've already had two for the day today, so that's a pretty good start for the week. I'll give a daily tally.

Sure those Iraqi elections are going to proceed as scheduled

A suicide bomber killed 13 and wounded 30 in the holy city of Karbala today. (I was going to write Karbombala, but thought better of it...but then I did it anyway.)

In other news, a car bomb exploded in Najaf, killing 10.

Donald Rumsfeld was heard to say, "Our plan is working perfectly. If the insurgents blown themselves up along with a bunch of Iraqi civilians, eventually all the Iraqis will be gone. And then, our oil will be under our sand."

Rummy's greatest hits

I love Mark Fiore's stuff. This cartoon of Rummy's Greatest Hits is a laugher.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Scary News Saturday: 44% of Americans favor curbing Muslim-Americans' rights

In a page right out of the Japanese internment of World War Two comes this story in the USA Today titled Nearly Half of Americans Favor Limiting Muslim-Americans' Rights:
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide poll.

The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious.

The survey found 44% favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way.

The survey showed that 27% of respondents supported requiring all Muslim-Americans to register where they lived with the federal government. Twenty-two percent favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats. And 29% thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund-raising.
This is scary information, friends. Our "Christian Right" betheren believe that active discrimination is warranted because of a person's religion (read: not "Christian"). What's next? Will the Immoral Majority call for suppression of atheists' rights if an atheist questions the enforcement of the separation of church and state? Will they start listening in on Jews' telephone calls because they vote primarily Democratic? Will they want to round up the Buddhists because their "Eastern mumbo-jumbo doesn't acknowledge the true Cheez Whiz"? Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty couldn't be more true during these times. It should remind us all about the words of Pastor Martin Niemoeller, who was jailed several times by Hitler during the 1930s and spent eight years in concentration camps during World War Two:
In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.
And in an associated piece, Stephen Rohde wrote They came for the Muslims, and I didn't speak up. We have to speak up, friends. Because I don't want to be the last one and realize "by that time there was no one left to speak for me."

George Clooney: Straight-talking liberal

I read an interesting George Clooney interview this month in Esquire titled Curious George. Clooney has some definitely progressive political views that I thought were particularly pointed:
Being a ruthless liberal
We don't have to put the word compassionate in front of liberal the way conservatives do to prove we give a shit about people. I think we should change what we call ourselves. I think we should be ruthless liberals. We need to show that we're tough, that we really give a shit about people.

About gay marriage
Now what's the argument about? Who really thinks the sanctity of marriage works? What is there, a 50 percent divorce rate? So the argument about gay marriage becomes "What's next? Can you marry a goat?" And you come back with "Okay, let's make marrying a goat legal. Let's make it legal! If you're some backward jackass who wants to marry a goat, go right ahead!" It's illegal to jump a building. Now, if you made it legal, there wouldn't be a rush of people wanting to jump off a building. But you get these people saying, "This is destroying our morals." What? Because two people love each other and want to express it?

Diamonds are forever; Oil isn't
So, okay, this is a war? Let's take the other side's weapons away. Their weapon is oil. Ten years from today, we're not going to have cars that run on internal combustion engines. At some point, we're going to have to do it anyway, because oil is finite. So why don't we take the leap right now?...If we take oil off the table right now, suddenly all those little countries that really didn't come into power until the thirties - and did so only because there was oil under their sands - will go back to the sort of power structure that they were originally designed to have. They don't get to control our economy...We take away the thing that makes them so powerful, and we create new technology along the way. It's a new day.

Comic Saturday: Make them Happy

The President, the First Lady and Dick Cheney are
flying on Air Force One.

George looks at Laura, chuckles and says, "You know,
I could throw a $100.00 bill out the window right now
and make somebody very happy."

Laura shrugs her shoulders and says, "Well, I could
throw ten $10.00 bills out the window and make 10
people very happy."

Cheney says, "Of course then, I could throw
one-hundred $1.00 bills out the window and make a
hundred people very happy."

The pilot rolls his eyes, looks at all of them and
says to his co-pilot, "Such Bigshots back there.....
hell, I could throw all of them out the window and
make millions happy."

(thx Bill)

Friday, December 17, 2004

George Bush's Financial "Challanges"

One of our "challanges" is finding out where that damn budget surplus went.

President George W. Bush and Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua Bolton (C) talk to conferees, above a misspelled sign, at the White House Conference on the Economy in Washington, December 16, 2004. The White House went all out to showcase the advantages of U.S. President George W. Bush's ambitious financial agenda this week, but in the end the 'challenges' proved too much. The word 'challenges' - a main theme of a two-day White House economic conference that ended on Thursday - was misspelled on a large television monitor that stood in front of Bush during a panel discussion. (via REUTERS/Reuters TV)

Donald Rumsfeld's getting the shock-and-awe treatment

Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me? ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? You must be, because I'm the only one here.

I was going to title this piece, "Na,na, na, na/ Na, na,na,na/ Hey, hey/ Good Bayh" because Sen. Evan Bayh D-Ind., is adding his voice to the call to oust Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Senator Bayh, in a a radio interview said:
Regrettably, I think enough mistakes have been made of enough significance that I don'’t” have confidence in Rumsfeld, Bayh told NPR. “I have lost confidence in him.
Rumsfeld, whose "You go to war with the army you have" swipe at a soldier during a q&a in Kuwait, is hearing it full barrel from all sides. I wonder when he'll start calling United States Senators and Congressman "insurgents" for daring to question him.

In a related note, President Bush is considering a Medal of Freedom for Rummy this week. Bush was overheard saying, "Hell, let's give 'em all medals. Then lets have a parade with lots of banners where we stand on a podium and salute them. We could make a movie and call it The Triumph of the Willing."

Bernard Kerik quote of the day

From Uncle Horn Head: Bernard Kerik is one screw-up away from receiving the Medal of Freedom.

Election fraud in PowerPoint

Check out this PowerPoint presentation about election fraud in 2004.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bush by the numbers

Check out this excellent piece in The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy titled Bush By the Numbers. SMD does a great job of showing that Bush doesn't have a mandate by a long shot.

Fake bomb makes it on a flight to Amsterdam

Feel safer yet? The TSA was testing bomb detection in the Newark Airport. A supervisor put a fake bomb, with wires and a detonator in it, on the belt for a flight bound for Amsterdam. Apparently the bomb was detected - then lost. Dutch authorities found the fake bomb when the flight landed in A'dam.

Great. First Tom Ridge tells the terrorists that he's surprised they hadn't attacked our food supply; now we've given them an opening on bombing airplanes through the cargo hold. And, that Osama bin Laden guy issued another tape this week. Which makes giving Medals of Freedom to Tenet, Bremer, and Franks all the more ironic.

Kerik's nanny? My fanny.

Josh has the lowdown on the missing nanny at Bernard Kerik's house. There were women there alright, but they weren't nannies. Kerik's favorite phrase: That's no lady, that's my wife.

Osama bin Laden is getting more active

Recognize this guy? He issued a new videotape in which he praises militants who attacked the US Consulate in Jiddah on December 6. Remember that ceremony the other day when George Bush gave George Tenet the Medal of freedom for his "excellent" service at the CIA? Great. Osama Bin Laden is getting stronger while George Bush noses is getting longer.

Bernie Kerik's Ground Zero Love Nest

Most people go to Ground Zero as a pilgrimage. It's quiet there. People are moved. Some are more moved than others.

Bernard Kerik, the Bush Administration's disgraced Homeland Security appointee, went to Ground Zero to get it on. Kerik, who apparently viewed the former site of the twin towers as his Viagra, used an apartment overlooking Ground Zero as a love nest. Even more astonishing is that "The apartment is said to have been one of several in the neighborhood donated as space for emergency service, rescue workers and Red Cross personnel to use for rest in the weeks after the 11 September tragedy."

Bernard Kerik withdrew his name from consideration with a story about not paying taxes to his nanny. The Bush Administration knew about this other stuff, they just thought the American public would go with whatever they say. Guess that "mandate" thing might just not be.

Lying is not a Moral Value.

900 American children have lost a parent in Iraq

The lazy blogger in me just wants to say, nice. That seems to be the trend to get traffic. But this story was just so sad, and then I read this quote from a little boy in the story:
I don't want to be a daddy because daddies die.
And that made me think of all those Iraqi children who lost parents. Then nice just didn't seem to do it.

Parents say Intelligent Design isn't

Thank god someone has the guts to challenge the Cheez Whiz cult.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ohio vote stolen

Ever heard of that deal where the guy with the fake gas company badge says he needs to enter someone's house to "check for a reported gas leak" only to have him steal the family jewelry? That's what happened in Ohio. Triad Systems' technicians "repaired" punch ballot voting machines...and lots of irregularities ensued. Read the whole story in truthout.

Medal of Freedom Rogue's Gallery

Okay, who cut one?

George Bush continued The Big Lie today by awarding the Medal of Freedom to the guys who f**ked up 1) WMDs, 2) The Iraq War, and 3) The Iraq aftermath. Fellow Americans, meet George Tenet, Tommy Franks, and L. Paul Bremer, your "Medal of Freedom" winners. I'm so proud.

The best quip of the night came from Chris Matthews: If you give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a guy who failed in his job, what do you give a guy who's a success?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Entertaining bumper sticker this week

Seen in Chicago: My karma ran over your dogma.

As I think about the Intelligent Design push by the Cheez Whiz Freaks, this one works.

The only think intelligent about Intelligent Design is the name

The ACLU filed suit in Pennsylvania today to challenge the teaching of Intelligent Design. The Dover Area School District is the first in the nation to mandate teaching that the world was "created by some higher power."

Um, these are the people who think the world is only 4,000 years old. They don't call my home state "Pennsyltucky" for nothing.

It's a Wonderful Life in 30 Seconds, with Bunnies!

Not everything is serious. This made me laugh. Watch it here.

George Bush: There's still a lot of Queens in George Tenet

George Bush, in a speech today honoring George Tenet, said, "There's still a lot of Queens in George Tenet." The audience laughed. I'm thinking that laughter was more about CIA and FBI directors who have had a lot of queens in them, rather than having a lot of Queens in them. (Think J. Edgar Hoover.)

Gonorrhea Lectim

The Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of sexually transmitted disease. This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior. The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him"). Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially troublesome disease. Cognitive sequellae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to:

1. Anti-social personality disorder traits; delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor;
2. chronic mangling of the English language;
3. extreme cognitive dissonance;
4. inability to incorporate new information;
5. inability to accept responsibility for actions;
6. exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado;
7. uncontrolled facial smirking;
8. ignorance of geography and history;
9. tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies;
10. and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or nothing behavior.

The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years ago in a Texas Bush.

(thx Guillaume)

Monday, December 13, 2004

George Bush recommends quilting bees for amputees

WASHINGTON (iF) - President George W Bush unveiled his Quilting Bees for Amputees program today in Washington D.C. at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital.

"This country is a patchwork quilt of Christians, and um, Christians, and lots of other guys," said the President. "That's why we created Quilting Bees for Amputees. We're stitching together a coalition of the willing. As my father says, 'It's a good thing.' Heh."

Quilting Bees for Amputees is an innovative program designed to employ the thousands of amputees created by the Iraq war. "Just because they dropped an arm doesn't mean they have to drop a stitch," said Mr. Bush.

New quilt makers are being created daily. To keep track of when the next patchwork quilt maker will be available, click here.

Bernard Kerik story comes out; you mean it wasn't about the nanny?

Oops. So, the story about Bernard Kerik had a little more to it than "I forgot to pay taxes for the nanny." What a surprise.

Green Zone slides into anarchy

A suicide bomber killed 13 people in what all journalists call "the heavily fortified" Green Zone in Baghdad. (Great journalism hasn't been the hallmark of this war; the same words turn up in every story - insurgents, heavily fortified, IEDs.)

It's time to stop being hit

Read the letter from Michael Moore. It's an analysis of the abuse doled out by Republicans, and the citizens who roll over and take it like victims. Moore is rallying people to stand up and not take it:
Even if you do everything right, they'll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education.

And they don't even know they are being hit.

How true. And that is our challenge over the next couple of years; to hold out our hand to those being hit the hardest and help them leave behind a party that only seeks to keep beating them, their children, and the kid next door who’s on his way to Iraq.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

iFlipFlop Poll results: Scary stories of the week

iFlipFlop readers have spoken. The hands-down winner of "scary story of the week" goes to the evolution is a theory stickers being pasted into the front of science textbooks in a Pennsylvania school. More entertaining stickers can be found here.

Yuschenko was poisoned; so was US election

Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yuschenko was poisoned by dioxin that was slipped into something he ate or drank. A lab in Amsterdam discovered dioxin levels in Yuschenko's system that were 1,000 times the natural levels expected. The dioxin caused Yuschenko's face to be disfigured by chloracne, a result of the poison accumulating under the skin.

In a related story, Republicans will still not admit that the 2004 presidential election was poisoned, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Funny when the Ukraine outstrips the US in election transparency.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

US soldier put an Iraqi civilian "out of his misery"

A US soldier was convicted of murder for killing an Iraqi civilian who was severely injured. From ABC News:
Staff Sgt. Johnny M. Horne Jr., 30, of Wilson, N.C., pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of unpremeditated murder and one count of soliciting another soldier to commit unpremeditated murder.

His sentencing included a reduction in rank to private, forfeiture of wages and a dishonorable discharge.

The charges relate to the Aug. 18 killing of a 16-year-old Iraqi male found in a burning truck with severe abdominal wounds sustained during clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished neighborhood that was the scene of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and Shiite rebels loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

A criminal investigator had said during an earlier hearing that the soldiers decided to kill him to "put him out of his misery."
I wonder if the Bible-tumpers who are so rapidly pro-war remember that wacky 10 Commandments part of Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Murder is not a moral value.

Bernie Kerik forgot to pay taxes for the nanny

Thank you, Mr. President, for scaring people so that I could get $6.2 million in stock options from my consulting contract with Homeland Security.

Buh, bye, Bernie. Homeland Security appointee Bernard Kerik has withdrawn his candidacy for the position. He says he just remembered that he should have paid taxes for the nanny he employed for years. Oh yeah, that little thing about exercising $6.2 million in stock options he got for a few months' work for Rudi Guliani's "consulting firm" that was being paid by the Department of Homeland Security? Hmmm.

Friday, December 10, 2004

In the Bush White House, either you're with us or you're against us still applies

From ABC News comes this story of a government official who criticized the Office of Homeland Security and found himself out of a job:
The man who has issued many critical reports about the mismanagement and security flaws at the Department of Homeland Security was told Wednesday night that he was out of a job.

Clark Ervin made himself very unpopular by issuing a series of stinging reports on security programs that he said had failed, officials he called inept, and fraud that he suspected. His year-end report, out today, alleges that millions of dollars have been wasted or are unaccounted for by the department.
Just because they make the person go away doesn't make the problem go away. This is the Ostrich Doctrine of Homeland Security come to roost. Yikes. The next thing you know, the Secretary of Homeland Security will tell terrorists that he's surprised they haven't hit America's food supply because it's so vulnerable. Oh, heck, that already happened.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Fighting our way off the ropes: Howard Dean's our fighter

Howard Dean is a fighter. See Dr. Dean's speech yesterday and hear about his plan to fight our way off the ropes.

Don't believe what the Army recruiter tells you

The Army and National Guard are using the "get a great education" pitch to lure kids into the killing machine. Read the cautionary tale of what happened to one young recruit.

Caring for the wounded in Iraq

This is graphic evidence of what it's really like in Iraq, wounds and all. Please note, this is not for the squeamish.

Ah, the delusions

Interim Iraqi president says insurgents will be gone from Iraq in one year. Exactly, he said. Let's see how the media does next year from now on calling this one. December 9, 2005. I'd take any and all odds with him that insurgents will be in Iraq. And ruling the country if we don't watch out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Vote for Fahrenheit 9/11; a note from Michael Moore

December 8, 2004

Dear Friends,

May I take a break from our post-election despair to share with you a little piece of happy/silly/cool news?

"Fahrenheit 9/11" has been nominated by the People's Choice Awards as the American public's "Favorite Film of the Year." The five nominees were chosen from a poll of thousands of Americans in mid-to-late November. The other nominees for best film are "Spiderman 2," "The Incredibles," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (with Jim Carrey), and "Shrek 2." It is the first time ever a documentary has been nominated for best film by the People's Choice Awards.

The People's Choice Awards are considered, among all the awards shows, to be the one which most accurately reflects the "mainstream" public opinion in the United States.

OK, now, here's the best part: YOU get to vote! Online. Now. Just go to, click on the little circle next to "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the "Favorite Movie" category and press the "vote" button. Voting is going on now and continues only through this coming Monday, December 13, at 3:00pm ET, so send an e-mail to your friends and let them know they can vote, too. Winners will accept their awards live on CBS on January 9.

Now, normally I wouldn't make a very big deal out of something like this. It's nice and I'm honored, but it's not exactly the number one priority on any of our minds these days. In fact, when we found out we were nominated over a week ago, I didn't even think to tell you about it or put it up on our website.

But then a group of top Republicans took out a full page ad in USA Today (and placed a similar one in the Hollywood trade magazine, Variety) proclaiming that "An election is over, but a war of ideas continues." The point of the ad was to say that while they, as right wing conservatives, were proud of getting rid of Kerry, there was still one more nuisance running around loose they had to deal with -- me! They also issued a not-so-subtle threat to the Academy Awards voters that, in essence, said don't even THINK about nominating "Fahrenheit 9/11" for Best Picture. And Bill O'Reilly recently bellowed that if the Oscars recognize my work this year, Middle America will boycott Hollywood.

Oops. I guess he spoke too soon. Because now along comes Middle America's favorite awards show, the People's Choice, and the People's Choice this year, along with a Spiderman superhero and a lovable green ogre, is a film that apparently continues to resonate throughout the country. The truth about Iraq, Bush, terror and fear. The election has not altered or made irrelevant, unfortunately, a single one of these issues. That they (and the film that dealt with these issues) are still at the forefront of the majority of the public's minds should give serious pause to Mr. Bush as he brags about a nonexistent "mandate" and begins to spend his "political capital."

He may have been (barely) the people's choice on November 2 (Ohio recount excluded), but now the people get to vote again, this time for a movie. It's about the best we can do right now, and, trust me, it won't be long before we start the real work we need to do to get our country back.

Again, go to if you want to vote for our film. I promise, if we win, to give a nice and polite speech.


Michael Moore

P.S. Please feel free to post or forward this to your friends...
P.P.S. Yes, it's true, I'm on the Barbara Walters people of the year special tonight. Did I cry? You'll have to watch to find out! :-)

Prisoners Abused; Observers Threatened

Via a Yahoo! News article titled Memo: Workers Threatened Over Prisoner Abuse:
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. special forces accused of abusing prisoners in Iraq threatened Defense Intelligence Agency personnel who saw the mistreatment, according to U.S. government memos released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The special forces also monitored e-mails sent by defense personnel and ordered them "not to talk to anyone" in the United States about what they saw, said one memo written by the Defense Intelligence Agency chief, who complained to his Pentagon bosses about the harassment.

In addition, the special forces confiscated photos of a prisoner who had been punched in the face.

Prisoners arriving at a detention center in Baghdad had "burn marks on their backs" as well as bruises and some complained of kidney pain, according to the June 25, 2004 memo.
Lying is not a Moral Value.

Soldiers have hard questions for Donald Rumsfeld

Everyone who's with me, raise his right hand.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld got an earful of discontent from troops about to be deployed to Iraq. In a question-and-answer session with troops in Kuwait, Rumsfeld was caught off guard when Army Spc. Thomas Wilson asked about having to scrounge for supplies:
Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson said after asking again.
More blustering came from the Secretary. The troops are unnerved, but had the nerve to question the Secretary of Defense right in front of TV cameras and the chain of command. The downward slide has started.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Programmer Built Vote Rigging Prototype at Republican Congressman's Request

From The Brad Blog, this powerful story of a Congressman's request to build hacking software to manipulate the vote in Florida:
In stunning revelations set to rock the vote from Tallahassee to Capitol Hill -- and perhaps even a bit further up Pennsylvania Avenue -- a Florida computer programmer has now made remarkable claims in a detailed sworn affidavit, signed this morning and obtained exclusively by The BRAD BLOG!

The programmer claims that he designed and built a "vote rigging" software program at the behest of then Florida Congressman, now U.S. Congressman, Republican Tom Feeney of Florida's 24th Congressional District.
Read more.

Thx Lani.

Lone Activist Group Submits 99.8% of FCC Complaints

From CowboyNeal at Slashdot:
Mediaweek is reporting that complaints to the FCC are rising. Powell spoke before congress, detailing that the complaints are up from 14,000 in 2002, to nearly 240,000 in 2003. There were only 350 complaints during 2000 and 2001. Powell failed to mention however that 99.8% of those complaints came from PTC (Parents Television Council). The article does mention he may have been unaware of this fact. Jonathan Rintels (president of the Center for Creative Voices in Media) commented, "It means that really a tiny minority with a very focused political agenda is trying to censor American television and radio."

George Bush Irony Alert

George Bush, commenting about terrorists who bombed the US Consulate in Saudi Arabia said, "They want us to grow timid and weary in the face of their willingness to kill randomly, kill innocent people. That's why these elections in Iraq are very important."

Hmmm, "willingness to kill randomly, kill innocent people." George Bush has no sense of irony. I guess shooting into buildings, killing over 100,000 Iraqi citizens, and blasting Pat Tillman to death with "friendly fire" don't count in George Bush's world.

Monday, December 06, 2004

World is more dangerous because of Iraq war, says Pervez Musharraf

Nice. Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf says the US-led war in Iraq has made the world less safe. It will be fun to watch the Bushies heads spin today. Predicted response: Uh-uh.

Pat Tillman's death by "friendly fire"

The US Army lied about Pat Tillman's death. Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinals professional football player, left behind his $3 million annual salary to join the Army Rangers in Afghanistan. He was killed in the line of duty and was awarded the Silver Star for combat bravery posthumously. Unfortunately, the facts of his death don't quite meet the legend the Army created. In an initial statement, the Army said:
He ordered his team to dismount and then maneuvered the Rangers up a hill near the enemy's location. As they crested the hill, Tillman directed his team into firing positions and personally provided suppressive fire. . . . Tillman's voice was heard issuing commands to take the fight to the enemy forces.
No. The truth is that his platoon split up. Some Rangers disobeyed orders. And then he was killed by fellow Rangers when they started blasting away at an "enemy" they couldn't see. From the Seattle Times:
Smoke drifted from a signal grenade Tillman had detonated minutes before in a desperate bid to show his platoon members they were shooting the wrong men. For a few moments, the firing had stopped. Tillman stood up, chattering in relief. Then the machine gun bursts erupted again.

"I could hear the pain in his voice," recalled the young Ranger who had been near him. Tillman kept calling out that he was a friendly, and he shouted, "I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" His comrade recalled: "He said this over and over again until he stopped."
Pat Tillman sacrificed for his country. For that we should be thankful. But he was killed by fellow soldiers, and whether we choose to use euphemisms like "friendly fire" or not, he's just as dead. It besmirches his memory, though, to make his death by Army incompetence into a G.I. Joe action hero story.

Lying is not a Moral Value.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

US military says new prisoner abuse photos will be used as propaganda

Is it propaganda if Navy SEALS did, in fact,torture and abuse prisoners? Photos here on Al Jazeera. The US government is suppressing the photos elsewhere. Because, with the Big Lie, if you deny it and don't have photos to prove it, the torture just didn't occur.

Torture is not a Moral Value.

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah

I love Richard Branson. That guy has the cajones that Donald Rumsfeld only wishes he had and George Bush has only when he's wearing his codpiece. If you haven't seen this ad for Virgin Mobile you have to check out Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah.

Inclusiveness is a Moral Value.

Origami peace bombs

In a gesture that made me wonder What Would George Do?, the Thai government is dropping 100 million origami peace bombs over a Muslim region in turmoil. The little figures have messages of peace written on them and are designed to start a dialog. Hmmm. Maybe we should drop a few hundred million origami peace bombs on George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. They could be in the shape of chickenhawks.

Peace is a Moral Value.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Tommy Thompson: Quote of the Day

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do. - Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services. (via NYT)

State of the Coalition

The US will soon have 150,000 troops in Iraq. This summary of coalition "partners" in Iraq is telling.

Putin says US is pursuing dictatorial policies

George Bush's "Vladimir" isn't happy. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the US is pursuing dictatorial policies. He cites the US chasing Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan while saying that Chechnya should be independent. Nice to be called on the carpet about policy duplicity by the Russians. If George Bush continues along this path maybe he can get us back to the Cold War before his tenure ends.

Donald Rumsfeld is staying; miles of torture to go before he sleeps

You have to have cajones about this big to lie like I do.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been asked by George Bush to stay on in his Cabinet. The President cited the great job Rummy has done. Yeah. Let's see: $200 billion to fight the war in Iraq; 1,262 American soldiers killed so far; thousands of Iraqi civilians killed; Abu Ghraib prisoners tortured; no prospect of things getting better in Iraq. Some job.

Incompetence is not a Moral Value.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Count the Vote Rally in Philly

The folks at dragonballyee posted this announcement about a Count the Vote Rally that will happen on Independence Square in Philly this Saturday from 1-4. Check it out.

Tommy Thompson waves good-bye

It's not a good week for guys named Tom in the Bush Administration. First Tom Ridge resigned, now Tommy Thompson is waving buh-bye. That brings to 8-out-of-15 Bush Cabinet members to resign. Um, thanks to Tommy for the flu shot that I didn't get because the serum wasn't available.

Donald Rumsfeld says US didn't anticipate insurgents

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that it might have been a stretch to anticipate US troops would be greeted as liberators. Rummy says:
If you're asking, 'Was there any kind of understanding or agreement that there would likely be a long insurgency afterwards?', I don't believe ... if you dropped a thumbline through all that intelligence, that anyone would say that.
In English, he said, "No, we blew it. When we said 'Mission Accomplished' we meant it. We thought that damn dustup in the desert was over."

What prompted Rumsfeld's unusual bout with honesty was a day in which 26 people were killed in Iraq in two bombing attacks. The "safe" Green Zone was bombed and in another attack 12 Iraqi policemen were killed by a group of rebels.

Honesty is a Moral Value.

Ken Starr says he shouldn't have investigated the Monica Lewinsky affair

After wasting countless millions of taxpayers dollars, Kenneth Starr now says he shouldn't have been involved in the Monica Lewinsky investigation. Thanks Ken.

Bearing False Witness is not a Moral Value.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

No Child Left Unrecruited

Just when we thought the Patriot Act was the fascist high water mark of the Bush Administration, we now discover that No Child Left Behind requires schools to turn over students' names to military recruiters. From Mother Jones:
Sharon Shea-Keneally, principal of Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont, was shocked when she received a letter in May from military recruiters demanding a list of all her students, including names, addresses, and phone numbers. The school invites recruiters to participate in career days and job fairs, but like most school districts, it keeps student information strictly confidential. "We don't give out a list of names of our kids to anybody," says Shea-Keneally, "not to colleges, churches, employers -- nobody."

But when Shea-Keneally insisted on an explanation, she was in for an even bigger surprise: The recruiters cited the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's sweeping new education law passed earlier this year. There, buried deep within the law's 670 pages, is a provision requiring public secondary schools to provide military recruiters not only with access to facilities, but also with contact information for every student -- or face a cutoff of all federal aid.

Iraq terror alert system

The Onion created a new terror alert system for Iraq. Tom Ridge is as proud as a peacock. (BTW: We hear that Ridge is going to apply his color-coding expertise as Chief Creative Officer at Garanimals.)

US boosts troop numbers in Iraq to record numbers

In anticipation of the "free" election upcoming in Iraq, the US has sent more cannon fodder (I mean, troops) to Iraq. The number of troops will be at a record level of 150,000 soldiers, up from 138,000 this month. Since November tied the record for soldiers' deaths at 135, perhaps sending more there will give George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld a record month of American soldiers maimed and killed along with a bonus of untold numbers of Iraqi "insurgents" and civilians.

Killing is not a Moral Value.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. AIDS and HIV are still a massive worldwide problem that is growing in Africa and other developing areas. Do you know how many people have died from AIDS worldwide? I didn't. It's 20 million people. Last year, almost 5 million people died of the disease. And there are 37.8 million people living with HIV or AIDS worldwide.

Another interesting statistic: AIDS researchers and activists estimate that $20 billion could significantly alter the course of this disease through education and prevention. $20 billion. The US spent over $150 billion blowing Iraq to smithereens already. If we genuinely believe that all life is precious, this is where we should be investing our money. And, as a bonus, we'd get a bargain versus the price of an unjust war. Imagine that, using the power of the US government to do good. Interesting notion.

Caring is a Moral Value.

George Bush visits Canada; still clueless

George Bush visited Canada yesterday, where he was greeted by thousands of anti-war protestors. In typical George Bush style, when he had a chance to be humble, he instead showed his hubris:
I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right, and will continue to do what I think is right. I'll consult with our friends and neighbors, but if I think it's right to remove Saddam Hussein for the security of the United States, that's the course of action I'll take. And some people don't like that; I understand that.
Charming. Enchante, as the French-Canadians say.