Monday, January 31, 2005

Some Johnny Carson humor as we think about invading Iran

What's all this fuss about plutonium? How could something named after a Disney character be dangerous? - Johnny Carson

Paul Bremer "misplaced" $9B; then he was awarded the Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (OfficialWire) - 01/31/05 -- According to a scathing report by the U.S. Inspector General, the U.S. occupation authority, known as the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and led in Iraq by L. Paul Bremer III, lost track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to Iraqi government ministries, between October 2003 and June 2004.

Wow. Nine billion dollars. Maybe L. Paul Bremer should return that Medal of Freedom. He's the Dennis Kozlowski of Iraq. And he won't need that medal in prison.

Iraqi elections - a tilted look

As much as I can't stand the Bush spin on this one, it looks like Iraqis turned out in big numbers to vote. There were 30,000 polling stations open and several million Iraqis turned out to vote. Let's see what happens. Maybe we can leave there someday.

As to what to really make of it, you should ready Juan Cole on Informed Comment. Here's a summary of today's analysis, warning about the US news boosterism of George Bush's spin:
Iraq now faces many key issues that could tear the country apart, from the issues of Kirkuk and Mosul to that of religious law. James Zogby on Wolf Blitzer wisely warned the US public against another "Mission Accomplished" moment. Things may gradually get better, but this flawed "election" isn't a Mardi Gras for Americans and they'll regret it if that is the way they treat it.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraqi elections are on

Your turn to make up a headline. The first thing that came to mind for me was, "George Bush likes grape juice."

Saturday, January 29, 2005

More Iraqi violence on election eve

Eight Iraqis and five US servicemen were killed in election ramp up violence. Election day is tomorrow. Should be an interesting day. 115 candidates, most of whom are anonymous. A confusing process. Yet, George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld have the nerve to say "freedom is on the march." Right off a cliff.

Iraq: A little geography lesson

This map from the BBC shows the three sections of Iraq. And it makes one question whether a "real" election can take place when fully one-third (the top third of the map) of the country is "too dangerous to hold elections."

More about Iraq from the BBC:
More than 26 million people are estimated to live in Iraq - most of them in cities in the eastern half of the country. Most Iraqis are Muslim and are divided along religious lines (between Shias and Sunnis) and ethnic lines (between Arabs and Kurds). There are no precise figures, but the mainly-Arab Shias are thought to form a 60% majority and expect to dominate political life after the January election. Under Saddam Hussein, Sunni Arabs (about 20% of the population) dominated political and economic life. The Kurds, who are also Sunnis and represent about 17% of the population, mainly live in the north where they have enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy since 1991.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Vice President Dick Cheney Dresses Down for Auschwitz

Once again demonstrating the Bush Administration's "Ugly American Policy" is part of its mandate, Vice President Dick Cheney represented the United States at the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation as a buffoon. From The Washington Post today in an article titled Dick Cheney, Dressing Down:
At yesterday's gathering of world leaders in southern Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United States was represented by Vice President Cheney. The ceremony at the Nazi death camp was outdoors, so those in attendance, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were wearing dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots. Because it was cold and snowing, they were also wearing gentlemen's hats. In short, they were dressed for the inclement weather as well as the sobriety and dignity of the event.

The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.
(thanks to my friend at Philly for this one)

Dick Cheney visits Auschwitz; evaluates its possibilities for holding US terrorists

Vice President Dick Cheney visited the Auschwitz death camp on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. As you can see in this photo, the sign Arbeit Macht Frei, work sets you free, is above the Vice President. He later asked his hosts on behalf of Alberto Gonzalez if it would be too much work to change the sign to Abu Ghraib Macht Frei.

Violence in Iraq increases as elections loom

This isn't the Hole in the Wall Gang, this is a group of Iraqi boys looking at a hole in a school building that's slated to be used for elections on Sunday. Bombs and ballots. Great.

What do you think? Are these real elections in Iraq?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sex used to break Muslim prisoners

I don't really want to write about this. You'll just have to read it on MSNBC. What kind of people are we?

Women's right to privacy goes by the wayside with an Alberto Gonzalez nomination as Attorney General

Alberto Gonzalez looks like he;ll be confirmed as the nation's Attorney General, the highest law officer in the land. His testimony, and the position of the John Ashcroft-inspired Attorney General's office, show that a woman's expectation to medical privacy is severely compromised by Gonzalez. From ProChoiceAction:
Department of Justice Position on Medical Privacy
Defending subpoenas of women’s medical records in California, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania, the Justice Department argued in a motion filed in January with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division that “individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation their histories will remain completely confidential.”
You can do something about this. Sign NARAL's petition against Alberto Gonzalez's policies against medical privacy.

Three Texas plastic surgeons

Three Texas plastic surgeons were playing golf together and discussing surgeries they had performed.

One of them said, "I'm the best plastic surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an accident, I reattached them, and 8 months later he performed a private concert for the Queen of England."

One of the others said. "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an accident, I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold medal in 5 field events in the Olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago a cowboy who was drunk as a skunk rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat. Now he's president of the United States."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The words of Thomas Jefferson still ring true

Words of Thomas Jefferson in a message to George Bush

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt... If the game runs sometime against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."
Thomas Jefferson, 1798

(Thx Lani)

31 US Marines killed in Iraq helicopter crash

This crash of a US Marine helicopter that killed 31 soldiers brings the total number of US soldiers killed in Iraq to over 1,400. When will the outrage begin?

Condi Lies-a-Lot

Check out this funny video from SNL where Barbara Boxer puts a hurt on Condoleeza Rice on Crooks and Liars. Good stuff.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

George Bush asks for $80B more for Iraq war

From Reuters:
The Bush administration is seeking about $80 billion in new funding for military operations this year in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing the total for both conflicts to almost $300 billion so far.
Let's see: $300 billion for a wasted war in VietRaq; $15 million initially pledged to over 100,000 victims of the tsunami (tsunami, what tsunami?).

US hostage Roy Hallams pleads for his life

"I'm not asking for any help from President Bush because I know of his selfishness and unconcern to those who've been pushed into this hellhole" - Roy Hallams

What can I say that will do more justice to the situation in Iraq or to help this poor guy? Wow. Here's the rest of the story of Roy Hallams, who was kidnapped in Iraq yesterday.

Noord-Nederland als autonome regio

In the interest of watching more global new items, I post this one from a Dutch newspaper that talks about a political party in North Holland (Noord-Nederland) that is thinking of separating from the rest of the country. This piece made me think about whether the "Southern States Will Rise Again" would ever raise its ugly head in the US.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Ripping through Paris

You just have to see this film of a car driving through Paris at full speed to believe it. For those of you who don't speak French, the note at the start of the film says, "The film you are about to see was made without editing or speeding up the film." Just a little morning jolt.

January 24 is the worst day of the year

So says a British psychologist, who says January 24 is the most depressing day of the year.

What George Bush says and what George Bush does are two different things

This post on Corrente titled Coronation spewage: [WINGER] Must... resist... cognitive... dissonance... tells the story. Whew!

iFlipFlop Poll results: Nelson Mandela makes a difference

iFlipFlop readers think he's made a more positive impact on the world than George Bush by a 6-to-1 margin. Lead by example, George, not by dictate, is the lesson here.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Eagles 27, Falcons 10

E-A-G-L-E-S. Wow, what a game. It's joy in Pennsyltucky. I wore my Eagles sweatshirt today. I might not remove it until after the Super Bowl (well, maybe, but I am superstitious).

James Dobson that Horny Toad

Reality-Based Nation had this picture on its site with this text:
Dr. James Dobson is on a homophobic crusade against SpongeBob for promoting tolerance towards the gay community.

However, I clicked over to Dobson's website and onto his kiddie section called "Ribbits". Cute enough, except for the frog with the giant erect penis -- WHAT?! A purple frog with a big ol' woody. Dr. Dobson! An erect purple frog? A horny toad, if you will? Gasp!
Have a look at RBN. Good work.

What kind of classic movie and famous leader are you?

Look at this interesting post from Etherealgirl that shows quizzes for "What kind of classic movie/famous leader are you?" I'm a sucker for these quizzes. These are very good.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

It's snowing in Philly

Um, it's really snowing here in Philly. It's been great TV this afternoon; all the local stations are covering the "MAJOR SNOWSTORM." Great video of stuck cars and knucklehead drivers. Between shoveling, I'm staying in by the fire.

UPDATE: The Philadelphia Airport is closed.

For those of you who would would laugh if you heard F**k Bush shouted 10 times on CNN

Here's the video with Bob Franken of CNN reporting at the Inaugural parade while some dude yells F**k Bush a bunch of times in the background. And then Wolf Blitzer says, "Bob, it's very noisy there. I'm having a little trouble hearing you." LOL.

The Daily Show's take on George Bush's inaugural speech

John Stewart did a count of how many times George Bush said "freedom" and "liberty" in his inaugural speech. Know how many times he said "Iraq"? None. Lisa Rein has the video here.

No room for progressives at the inaugural

From Media Matters for America:
Republican and conservative guests and commentators outnumbered Democrats and progressives on FOX News, CNN, and MSNBC during primetime inauguration coverage on January 20, just as they had done earlier in the day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, as Media Matters for America documented. Appearances made by Republicans and conservatives outnumbered appearances made by Democrats and progressives 25 to 4 on FOX, 7 to 1 on CNN (not including a Republican-skewed panel featuring Ohio voters), and 9 to 5 on MSNBC.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Bore me

You just have to watch this.

President's Inauguration Speech

The President spoke yesterday. He didn't say much, or anything, about Iraq. It was mostly fire and brimstone.

So, the best way to read George Bush's inaugural speech is with a POV. Here's the entire inaugural speech on Philly by with some excellent commentary.

Sponge Bob Gay Pants

In their ceaseless quest to root out homosexuality in all nooks and crannies, the idiots at Focus on the Family are focusing on Sponge Bob Square Pants. Watch out, kids. Watching Sponge Bob will make you gay. And listening to Focus on the Family will make you crazy. (Stream of consciousness...wonder if they're going to come up with Sponge God Square Pants.)

Dick Cheney says he's worried about the "threat" of Iran

I say Iraq/you say Iran/Let's call the whole thing off.

Dick Cheney says Iran is now the top world threat. I think Cheney is the top world threat - each time he says this kind of stuff he invokes his "pre-emptive strike" posture. Scary.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

President Mephistopheles

Satan? Xeni asks, Why is the president's daughter throwing signs?

Giant squid wash up on California beach, and, oh yeah, George Bush was sworn in as POTUS

Squid. Bush. Both slimey.

Bush: Uniter or Divider

If half of the people surveyed think George Bush is a divider, doesn't that mean he is?

Turn Your Back on Bush

Today is Inauguration Day. And it's time to Turn Your Back on Bush.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Remember that tsunami?

A week ago I asked how long before we don't hear any more about the 150,000 dead in the tsunami. The answer: One week. Scour the majors today. Nothing of substance. 150,000 dead is a page 12 item. Georgie Boy has a party to throw in Washington! Now that's big news.

Sen. Barbara Boxer Exposed Condi Rice as a Liar: And Condi Was Feisty Mad

Here's the transcript of the exchange yesterday between Sen. Barbara Boxer and Secretary of State candidate Condoleeza Rice. Condi, who is supposed to be voted in as our country's top diplomat didn't look like she could take the heat, even from one US Senator. Wonder how the world stage will be for her.

JibJab: Second Term

From the clever folks at JibJab, here's Second Term, done to She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain.

There is no crisis: George Bush's Social Security scam

This website, There Is No Crisis, tells the story of George Bush's manufactured Social Security "crisis." My favorite quote from it: Why are George Bush's goals always "crises"? This is a very well-documented site, with lots of foundation reading.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Barbara Boxer is taking Condi Rice to school right now

Wow. Great. More when the transcript is released. Look at CNN right now for the fun.

Condi Rice in the hot seat today

I promise to tell the truth...unless it doesn't suit me or my husband, er, President Bush.

Condi Rice faces questions today in her confirmation hearing. How many lies will she tell? Telling the truth isn't her strong suit.

Airbus 380

This doesn't have much to do about politics, but the Airbus 380 is a design "wow!". I'm sure I could think of somthing snarky to say here, but suffice to say the plane was created by the French. That must go over well with George Bush.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday: I Have a Dream

Excerpted from the full text of Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech:

And so let freedom ring - from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring - from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring - from the heightening Alleghenies of

Let freedom ring - from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring - from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that.

Let freedom ring - from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring - from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring - from every hill and molehill of Mississippi,
from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

What ordering a pizza might be like in a few years

An intriguing ad from the ACLU about what ordering a pizza might be like in a few years if a national identity card begins the slide down the privacy slippery slope.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Could George Bush be any more clueless?

From The Washington Post today, this story titled Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy:
President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."

Some questions for Condi

Senator Barbara Boxer intends to ask Condoleezza Rice some tough questions at her Senate confirmation hearing in the coming days - questions the American people deserve to have answered:
  • Why did the United States go to war in Iraq based on misleading - if not false and fraudulent - evidence?
  • Why did we divert valuable resources and intelligence personnel to Iraq, taking them away from Afghanistan and the pursuit of Osama bin Laden?
  • Why did Dr. Rice mislead the American people into thinking there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida before September 11th?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Charles Graner convicted of abusing Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib scandal

I wonder if George Bush will give Charles Graner the Medal of Freedom once the US Army Specialist gets out of prison. Graner was convicted of abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners. Buh-bye, Charles. Hope that 15 years in the pokey will give you time to think about what "piling on" means.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Devil Went Down to Georgia: Cobb County Creationism Stickers Nixed

The devil went down to Cobb County, Georgia
He was lookin' for a book to steal
He was in a bind 'cause he was way behind
And he was willing to make a deal

When he came across this young man
Reading Chicken Little a whole lot
And the devil jumped up on a hickory stump
And said, "Boy let me tell you what

"I guess you didn't know it
But I'm a Chicken Little too
And if you'd care to take a dare
I'll make a bet with you"

"Now you squawk a pretty good Chicken Little, boy
But give the devil his due
I bet a cross of gold against your soul
'Cause I think I'm better than you"

The boy said "My name's Johnny
And it might be a sin
But I'll take your bet and you're gonna regret
'Cause I'm the best that's ever been"

Johnny creationism's taken a blow
So play Chicken Little hard
'Cause Hell's broke loose in Cobb County, Georgia
And the devil deals the cards

And if you win
You get this shiny cross made of gold
But if you lose
The devil gets your soul

The devil openned up his book
And he said "I'll start this show"
And fire flew from his fingertips
As he said "It's Darwin don't y'all know"

And he pulled open the Origin
And a blew a Darwinian kiss
Then a band of monkeys joined in
And evolved something like this

When the devil finished Johnny said
"Well you're pretty good, old son
But sit down in that chair right there
While I kiss my cousin for fun"

Fire on the mountain, run boys run
The devil's in the house of the Risen Son
Chicken in the bread pan pickin' out dough
Granny does your dog bite, no child no

The devil raised his head
Because he knew Johnny'd been beat
And he threw that banned book
On the ground at Johnny's feet

Johnny said "Devil, just come on back
If you ever want to try again
But I told you once, you son of a bitch
I'm the most bigoted that's ever been"

He played
Fire on the mountain, run boys run
The devil's in the house of the Risen Son
Chicken in the bread pan pickin' out dough
Granny will your dog bite, no child no

A judge (also known as the Devil in Cobb County, Georgia) ruled the "evolution is a theory" stickers unconstitutional.

Not One Damn Dime

Check these guys at Not One Damn Dime out. They propose not spending one damn dime on inauguration day. Cool. I'm sitting on my wallet that day.

WMD quotes

Uncle Horn Head has 80 WMD quotes and leads with this one:
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
Dick Cheney, Vice President
Speech to VFW National Convention

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Remember this? Alberto Gonzalez advocated torture

This picture in USA Today really struck me. Remember this? The associated poll says Americans are sick of this Bush-sponsored torture. George Bush doesn't care.

Note to Republicans: Please see Matthew 7:12: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

George Bush Gives Iraq War Two Thumbs Up

Wahoo! Yesiree, Bob, I'd do it all again.

From a Barbara Walters interview scheduled to air this Friday, George Bush said, "I felt like we'd find weapons of mass destruction — like many here in the United States, many around the world. The United Nations thought he had weapons of mass destruction. So, therefore: one, we need to find out what went wrong in the intelligence gathering. … Saddam was dangerous and the world is safer without him in power."

When asked if the war was worth it even if there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush responded, "Oh, absolutely."

Which made me think of Lord Acton's observation: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Rathergate vs. Saddam's WMD - A Quantitative Comparison

Check this out - a comparison of Rathergate vs. Saddam's WMD. It's rather sad.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

US ends search for WMD in Iraq

There never were WMD and now we stopped looking for them. "Nope, they're not here," said George Bush in that knee-slapper at the Washington Correspondents' Dinner.

George Bush will be dressing up as Captain Obvious next Halloween. Maybe at the next dinner he can say, "How'd our oil get under their sand?"

How long before we forget about the tsunami victims?

These Buddhist monks have promised to pray for the tsunami victims for 1,000 years. How long before we forget? Heck, the lead stories on the news yesterday went like this: 18 people killed in California mudslide; Brad and Jen are breaking up; the tsunami. What do you think? Two more weeks and the tsunami is shoved to Page 12?

Steve Jobs for President '08

Would Jobs '08 be too much to ask? An American president who innvovates, who leads, who wears black t-shirts and jeans? BTW: Jobs unveiled more cool Apple products at MacWorld yesterday - iPod Shuffle looks great; it's hanging around his neck in this photo. The MiniMac is just a must-have. Yes, that's the MiniMac in his hands.

Governor Dean is a candidate to run the DNC

From a letter Dr. Dean sent to supporters today. Thank goodness we might end up with a guy who can help Democrats win.


Dear Frank,

As I have traveled across our country, I have talked to thousands of people who are working for change in their own communities about the power of politics to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Every group I have spoken to, I encouraged them to stand up for what they believe and to get involved in the electoral process -- because the only sure way to make difference is to step up and run for office yourself.

Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state and we must be willing to contest every race at every level. We will only win when we show up and fight for the issues important to all of us.

Another integral part of our strategy must be cultivating the party's grassroots. Our long term success depends on all of us taking an active role in our party and in the political process, by volunteering, going door to door and taking the Democratic message into every community, and by organizing at the local level. After all, new ideas and new leaders don't come from consultants; they come from communities.

As important as organization is, it alone can no longer win us elections. Offering a new choice means making Democrats the party of reform -- reforming America's financial situation, reforming our electoral process, reforming health care, reforming education and putting morality back in our foreign policy. The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions. We must say what we mean -- and mean real change when we say it.

But most of all, together, we have to rebuild the American community. We will never succeed by treating our nation as a collection of separate regions or separate groups. There are no red states or blues states, only American states. And we must talk to the people in all of these states as members of one community.

That word -- 'values' -- has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.

We cannot let that happen. And we cannot just mouth the words. Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party -- and the vast majority of Americans -- together.

All of this will require both national perspective and local experience. I know what it's like to lead hands-on at the state level and I know what it's like to run for national office.

With your help, this past election season, Democracy for America, already started creating the kind of organization the Democratic Party can be. This past election cycle, we endorsed over 100 candidates at all levels of government -- from school board to U.S. Senate. We contributed almost a million dollars to nearly 750 candidates around the country and raised millions of dollars for many more candidates.

Together, we helped elect a Democratic governor in Montana, a Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and an African American woman to the bench in Alabama. Fifteen of the candidates we endorsed had never run for office before -- and won.

I also have experience building and managing a local party organization. My career started as Democratic Party chair in Chittenden County, Vermont. I then ran successful campaigns: for state legislature, lieutenant governor and then governor. In my 11-year tenure as governor, I balanced the state's budget every year.

I served as chair of both the National Governors' Association and the Democratic Governors' Association (DGA). And as chair of the DGA, I helped recruit nearly 20 governors that won -- even in states like Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.

All of these experiences have only reaffirmed what I know to be true. There is only one party that speaks to the hopes and dreams of all Americans. It is the party you have already given so much to. It is the Democratic Party.

We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe.

Thank you and I look forward to listening to your concerns in the weeks ahead.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Free elections in Iraq: What a joke

From the BBC: Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has admitted for the first time that violence will prevent some parts of Iraq voting in this month's election.

"There are some pockets that will not participate in the election, but they are not large," he said.

He spoke on a day when at least 15 people were killed across the country.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Rock falls out of George Bush's head; road blocked

President Dumb-as-a-Bucket-of-Rocks shook his head and a boulder fell out. The roadblock will continue for four more years.

Armstrong Williams is sorry he got caught

Armstrong Williams issued an apology for being an apologist for George Bush's Leave No Child Behind initiative. Of course, Williams is sorry only because he got caught. He wasn't sorry last week or when he took a quarter-million dollars of our money. I guess Williams and Bush were two children left behind when their schools studied ethics.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Patriots Against Senator Santorum

The Rittenhouse Review pointed us to this PASS site under the title, It's never to early to beat the beast. Rick Santorum must go. Patriots Against Senator Santorum gets that motor started. I'm thinking we also need to register MODASS (Man-on-dog against Senator Santorum), GLASS (Gay lovers against SS), and ERASS (Everybody is really against SS). If you have other ideas, please leave a comment.

Inauguration's machinations

Philly has a cleverly named piece titled Security Super Bowl. He says, "No, it's not like the Bud Bowl or anything, it's the inauguration on January 20th." Read about the extraordinary measures the Bush Brownshirts are using to keep protestors away from the most expensive presidential inauguration in US history.

Baghdad's deputy police chief slain

Iraq continues its descent into the maelstrom. Baghdad's deputy police chief was assassinated yesterday. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration says "everything's fine" and that "free and open" elections will take place at the end of January.

It's our money. Give it back.: Armstrong Williams leaves no payola behind

This picture is from paradox1x, Karl's excellent blog (he's also the originator of and brains behind Philly Future). He outlines the story of Armstrong Williams and how the Bush Administration paid him to shill for the No Child Left Behind initiative. We might also want to call it, $240,000 To Kiss Some Behind.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Fahrenheit 9/11 win the People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie

Wow. And Michael Moore looks like a New York Dieter glasses. He's being very gracious. I dedicate this award to the [mothers and fathers of soldeiers in Iraq].

Smiling. Way to go, Michael!

Scary times for women

Read this startling post on etherealgirl about frightening news affecting women. Be aware: George Bush & Co. thinks they are in charge of your body.

How to Lie and Get Away with It: The Alberto Gonzalez Story

Alberto Gonzalez is getting away with gonzo lies and will soon be our top law enforcement official. Remember when our parents told us that lying was bad and "cheaters never win"? They were wrong.

Note to Republicans: Lying is not a moral value.

Moral Values Sunday: A little jail time for sergeant who drowned Iraqis in the Tigris River

Note to Evangelical Republicans: Drowning prisoners is not a moral value.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins was charged with drowning Iraqi prisoners by forcing them to jump into the Tigris River. His penalty? Six months in military prison and a step down in rank. Heck, he should have drowned a whole bunch of Iraqis, because then he could have been eligible for the Medal of Freedom like George Tenet, Paul Bremer, and Tommy Franks.

Sgt. Tracy should have learned his lesson: screw up a little and kill a few Iraqis; get a teensy penalty. Screw up a whole bunch and kill a whole bunch of Iraqis; get the Medal of Freedom.

More hearts and minds bombing: 14 dead innocents in Mosul

The US military bombed the wrong house in Mosul. 14 innocent Iraqis, including seven children, were murdered. Hearts and minds were scattered everywhere.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

There's no fiction better than the Bush White House reality, says Paul Krugman

I know I'm a little late in the game on this one, but Paul Krugman's piece still deserves to be read. I nicked it in its entirety for those of you who don't want to log onto the free NYT site (BTW: it's worth signing up).

Worse Than Fiction
by Paul Krugman

I've been thinking of writing a political novel. It will be a bad novel because there won't be any nuance: the villains won't just espouse an ideology I disagree with - they'll be hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels.

In my bad novel, a famous moralist who demanded national outrage over an affair and writes best-selling books about virtue will turn out to be hiding an expensive gambling habit. A talk radio host who advocates harsh penalties for drug violators will turn out to be hiding his own drug addiction.

In my bad novel, crusaders for moral values will be driven by strange obsessions. One senator's diatribe against gay marriage will link it to "man on dog" sex. Another will rant about the dangers of lesbians in high school bathrooms.

In my bad novel, the president will choose as head of homeland security a "good man" who turns out to have been the subject of an arrest warrant, who turned an apartment set aside for rescue workers into his personal love nest and who stalked at least one of his ex-lovers.

In my bad novel, a TV personality who claims to stand up for regular Americans against the elite will pay a large settlement in a sexual harassment case, in which he used his position of power to - on second thought, that story is too embarrassing even for a bad novel.

In my bad novel, apologists for the administration will charge foreign policy critics with anti-Semitism. But they will be silent when a prominent conservative declares that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular."

In my bad novel the administration will use the slogan "support the troops" to suppress criticism of its war policy. But it will ignore repeated complaints that the troops lack armor.

The secretary of defense - another "good man," according to the president - won't even bother signing letters to the families of soldiers killed in action.

Last but not least, in my bad novel the president, who portrays himself as the defender of good against evil, will preside over the widespread use of torture.

How did we find ourselves living in a bad novel? It was not ever thus. Hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels have always been with us, on both sides of the aisle. But 9/11 created an environment some liberals summarize with the acronym Iokiyar: it's O.K. if you're a Republican.

The public became unwilling to believe bad things about those who claim to be defending the nation against terrorism. And the hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels of the right, empowered by the public's credulity, have come out in unprecedented force.

Apologists for the administration would like us to forget all about the Kerik affair, but Bernard Kerik perfectly symbolizes the times we live in. Like Rudolph Giuliani and, yes, President Bush, he wasn't a hero of 9/11, but he played one on TV. And like Mr. Giuliani, he was quick to cash in, literally, on his undeserved reputation.

Once the New York newspapers began digging, it became clear that Mr. Kerik is, professionally and personally, a real piece of work. But that's not unusual these days among people who successfully pass themselves off as patriots and defenders of moral values. Mr. Kerik must still be wondering why he, unlike so many others, didn't get away with it.

And Alberto Gonzales must be hoping that senators don't bring up the subject.

The principal objection to making Mr. Gonzales attorney general is that doing so will tell the world that America thinks it's acceptable to torture people. But his confirmation will also be a statement about ethics.

As White House counsel, Mr. Gonzales was charged with vetting Mr. Kerik. He must have realized what kind of man he was dealing with - yet he declared Mr. Kerik fit to oversee homeland security.

Did Mr. Gonzales defer to the wishes of a president who wanted Mr. Kerik anyway, or did he decide that his boss wouldn't want to know? (The Nelson Report, a respected newsletter, reports that Mr. Bush has made it clear to his subordinates that he doesn't want to hear bad news about Iraq.)

Either way, when the Senate confirms Mr. Gonzales, it will mean that Iokiyar remains in effect, that the basic rules of ethics don't apply to people aligned with the ruling party. And reality will continue to be worse than any fiction I could write.

Proof that gay marriage is ruining the family: Brad and Jen are splitsville

See, gays getting married are ruining it for all the straights. Look at what's happening - first San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome and his wife Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsome, are splitting up. And now Brad and Jen are splitting.

Now we have proof that gay marriage is causing the breakup of the American family. Oh, there are also a over a million other divorces every year in this country. (There are almost 20 million divorced people in this country - some like Rush Limbaugh, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, and other family values guys, have done their share to contribute multiple times to the cause.) Let's blame those on gay marriage, too.

Friday, January 07, 2005

iFlipFlop poll results: Presidential inauguration

This one was almost a tie after starting out with the first 20 or so voters saying "What about Ohio?" Certified, yes. Mandate, no.

Why Nelson Mandela continues to be a hero

Nelson Mandela announced that his only surviving son, Makgatho, 54, died of AIDS. In a country where over 600 people die of AIDS each day, but is a social taboo to say so, Mandela publicly said what is never said. Imagine if we had a leader who could speak the truth.

Heck, George Bush can't even think of a single mistake he's made. We often say that the American president is the most powerful man in the world. Really? Who would you say is the most powerful, George Bush or Nelson Mandela?

Bush is certified as the presidential winner; Barbara Boxer and Stephanie Tubbs Jones are the real winners

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Sen. Barbara Boxer are stronger than all the chickenhawks on Team Bush.

The Bush Junta was called on the carpet, at least for a few hours. Yesterday, George Bush was certified as the winner of the 2004 election, but not without a fight. Rep. Tubbs Jones and Sen. Boxer worked together so that we didn't have a repeat of the scene from Fahrenheit 9/11 where not a single US Senator would certify objections by the Congressional Black Caucus. This time the House was sent back to chambers for four hours to debate the merits of the objections to irregularities in Ohio.

Way to go, ladies. We're proud of you.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Box their ears, Sen. Boxer

Sen. Barbara Boxer is going to challenge the vote results today. Maybe then we won't have a repeat of the start of Fahrenheit 9/11, where no US Senator would stand up and let the Congressional Black Caucus have its say.

Guy aims laser pointer at airplane; gets caught; blames 7-year-old daughter

If you're thinking of shining your laser pointer into the cockpit of an airplane, maybe this cautionary tale might just be the cure. This guy's charged with a terrorism felony that could be punishable by life in prison.

The Army Reseve is on the verge of breaking

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army Reserve, whose part-time soldiers serve in combat and support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, is so hampered by misguided Army policies and practices that it is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force," the Reserve's most senior general says.

Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, wrote in an internal memorandum to the Army's top uniformed officer that the Reserve has reached the point of being unable to fulfill its missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and to regenerate its forces for future missions. (via USA Today)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Do the math: When $350 million equals 42 hours

From a very clever calculation at pseudorandom:
According to this story in the Chicago Sun-Times, the war in Iraq has cost $130 billion to date (per the Office of Management and Budget). Given that we invaded Iraq 20 March 2003, that comes to 656 days since the invasion, which in turn equals $198,730,732 per day.

In other words, the total amount committed by the US government to date for tsunami relief - $350,000,000 - equals 42.27 hours of the cost of the war in Iraq. Just to put things in perspective.
Have a look at the original story to see all of his links and calculations. Very nicely done. I had proposed a week or so ago that we should put the Iraq War on suspended animation and send the billions dollars a week to the tsunami victims. This calculation shows why $350 million OF OUR MONEY (Bush acts like it's his to give and should get credit for it) is still a pittance.

Jesse Jackson says Senators should object to Ohio vote

The Rev. Jackson has written a very compelling argument for US Senators to object to the Ohio vote:
The grounds for the objections are clear: The irregularities in the Ohio vote and vote count are widespread and blatant. If the Ohio election were held in the Ukraine, it would not have been certified by the international community.
The votes for the inauguration going forward on Jan. 20 are getting close here on iFlipFlop. Let us know what you think by voting on the upper right of this site>>>.

Say No to Gonzo: Alberto Gonzales must not be approved for AG

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- A dozen former military officers, including retired Army General John Shalikashvili, are opposing the nomination of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to be U.S. attorney general because he endorsed detaining suspected terrorists without protections accorded prisoners of war.

The officers want lawmakers to question Gonzales about his 2002 legal opinion that the Geneva Conventions for war prisoners don't cover combatants captured in Afghanistan or al-Qaeda operatives seized around the world since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Besides Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the group includes retired Brigadier General James P. Cullen, who was chief judge of the U.S. Army's Court of Criminal Appeals.

Iraqi insurgents

Iraq has 200,000 insurgents says the country's security chief. Why would it be, then, that the Bush Administration keeps telling us there are just "small pockets of resistence" and "one or two thousand people bent on disrupting elections"? George Bush is certainly no mathematician, but being off by a factor of a hundred just seems downright sloppy.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ryne Sandberg in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Nonsense news, but Ryne Sandberg made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame today. I have a Ryne Sandberg mitt that I still use and was telling someone a while ago about what a big deal he was for a hometown Chicago boy. Fun stuff to read this today.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested

This hasn't hit the majors yet, but it looks like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been arrested in Iraq. He's the Number One bad guy in Iraq. If it's true, it's great news.

GOP gets an ethics tic: Will soon get over it

Tom Delay (R-TX) is pouting. The House Majority Leader has been admonished three times by the Ethics Committee and is facing a grand jury for campaign finance improprieties. A CNN article says:
The ethics panel said DeLay's attendance at a June 2002 golf fund-raiser for his leadership political action committee created an "improper appearance." The event was attended by energy company officials and held as House and Senate conferees were about to hash out energy legislation.

The committee also found that DeLay's office improperly contacted the Federal Aviation Administration in May 2003 to track a plane carrying Texas Democratic legislators, who had fled the state in an attempt to thwart a Republican plan to redraw the state's congressional district map.

The committee said the contacts amounted to an improper use of governmental resources for a political undertaking.
As a solution to the GOP's dilemma, which was brought on BY THEIR OWN RULE that required House leaders to step down when they're indicted by a grand jury, was for them to just remove the rule. The hell with ethics. This is Delay ethics. But they heard from their constituencies.

Now the House GOP has changed its mind. They will be ethical - for a moment. Tom Delay said he'd step down as House leader if he's indicted in Texas. Republicans are lauding him like a conquering hero. 'he took one for the team<' is what they're saying, as if doing the right thing is so surprising (it is for Delay).

What an upside down world. I now know who has those "My son beat up you honor student" bumper stickers: Republicans.

Governor of Baghdad Assassinated

As we said the other day, violence is escalating in Baghdad. The governor of Baghdad was assassinated yesterday in an ambush. No wonder Paul Bremer and Bernie Kerik snuck out of there under cover of darkness. Who could blame them? The only thing that doesn't ring true is whey they, and the Bush Administration, continue to insist that these rebel actions are just a "bump in the road."

Oh, just a little footnote: At least 11 others were killed and 60 seriously wounded by a car bomb yesterday in Iraq. We've just become immune to hearing about it anymore. From what I could tell on Fox last night, the big story was a Bill O'Reilly piece about Michael Jackson saying his court case was all about money.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami relief: There's a big difference between a pledge for aid and actual delivery

This article in The Guardian details what's happened with previous natural disasters. There's a breach between what countries pledge and what they actually deliver. In most cases, it's less than half of what they said they would do.

Voter fraud

Freewayblogger is still going strong. Representative John Conyers is still a strong - but lonely - voice calling for transparency about the Ohio election. If you have a strong opinions about whether we should hold a presidential inauguration on January 20 or wait until we find out what happened in Ohio, cast your vote in the upper right of this site.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Due process dies a slow death in a jail cell

Imagine this: You're charged with "terrorism against the state." But the US government doesn't have enough evidence to bring you to trial. Yet the government keeps you jailed for the remainder of your natural life. This isn't a horror movie, friends, this is your government in action.

The US government is considering lifetime imprisonment without due process for prisoners who they consider "terrorists":
As part of a solution, the Defense Department, which holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask the U.S. Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence, defense officials told the Washington Post.
Fortunately, not everyone is going along with the Bush Administration's plan:
"It's a bad idea. So we ought to get over it and we ought to have a very careful, constitutional look at this," Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on "Fox News Sunday."
It's a scary, scary dream. The office of Bush Newspeak in action.

Violence is increasing in Iraq

Oliver Willis pointed me here. Violence is increasing in Iraq. See for yourself. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration tries to paint the happy-happy-joy-joy picture. Yikes.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Cheers, friends.