Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Good John...

Always Pays.

Good thing I don't believe in Omens

Or I'd say this photograph from Iraq is rather disturbing.

Just a reminder

The Freedom Marching has a legal disclaimer:

Legal Disclaimer: Freedom unavailable in some Hemispheres. If marching persists more than four years, please alert electoral college. In some instances marching may cause swelling and discomfort, in others it may cause painful urinary discharge, severe burns and anal leakage. Explosive devices may, on occasion be associated with freedom's march, as well as cause limitations upon democratic institutions in places where Freedom has been established. In such cases, excessive marching is advised, as well as staged rallies and the ignorance of constitutional procedures. In case Freedom's marching does not take, do not bother consulting anyone because you will not receive coverage.

You can take the Saturday NY Times outta Bobo, But you can't take the Saturday Bobo out of the NY Times!

John Tierney's column on the Clown Prince's newest, and dumbest Social Security clusterfuckerolicy is wankerdom on a level we normally only appreciate after a span of years has brought about senile dementia.

It makes me miss, I'm sorry to say, William Safiar's "kids get off my lawn" routine.

And we must now think of a nick name for Mr. Tierney. "The Tierney's of a Clown"?; or perhaps...

Effeminate Liberace?

Your suggestions are welcome.

Rush Rundown

Billmon, is back to regular posting again. Thank Goodness we have him again, along with Digby and Wolcott as writers (and let me add there are many others like Susan at Suburban Guerilla, Athenae at First Draft etc, and Steve Gilliard, etc., I've forgotten too many I know) -- and I say this even though Wolcott and Billmon have not assuaged my massively oversized, bloated, succulent ego by adding me to their blogrolls. You can tell my ego is involved here because I've just devoted about sixty words to an aside, an homage to myself.

Excuse me a minute while I go to the mirror...

I'm becoming Terrell Owens...I love me some me.

Aside from the talent, the money, and the bling, of course.

What was I posting about again?

Oh yes, Billmon has nice summary run through of the half-wit and ill-wisdom of the man who puts the "blow" in "bloviator".

Just so you know

We are now aware that if a white woman is kidnapped and found alive gets cold feet and runs away; in the short-term it gets three to five solid hours of newscoverage; though it only makes Nancy Grace's eyes bug up 3 centimeters, as opposed to the normal dozen.

How pathetic is this? SOOOOOOOOOO hopeful were our major media whores in creating, yet another, Scott Peterson or Mark Hacking, that they had this incredible media swarm of what was ultimately a HARDLY a rare case of a person doing something silly when they get cold feet.

Jesus Christ, will somebody please, for the love of God, cover some actual news?!!

But they will not. Watch our mediawhoredom create a demand for this woman's scalp because of their responsibility in going absolutely bonkers over this. She did something very stupid, it's been exposed. Now let these formerly unknown people go back to their lives.


Meanwhile, CNN and other networks have managed to devote about 15 seconds to four dead American servicemen.

You Can't Make this Shit Up

James Dobson, its enough to make you want to beat your dachshund:

COLORADO SPRINGS - Gay rights supporters from around the country, angry at James Dobson's stance against homosexuality, are expected to converge Sunday and Monday on his Focus on the Family headquarters.

A second demonstration is also set for Sunday by a handful of extreme anti-gay activists from the Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan.

Ironically, both groups will be protesting the stand taken by Dobson and his ministry on homosexuality. The gay rights advocacy group Soulforce accuses Dobson of "spreading lies about same-gender families."

Phelps' group says Focus officials are headed to hell because the ministry is soft on homosexuality.

About the only defense I can offer James Dobson is that he is not Fred Phelps.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Gestures Make The Man

See if I gesture just right and tell them they're trying to trick me, and use those really funny nicknames then ramble for a couple minutes without answering the question, they'll think I know what I'm talkin' about.


So Much Slime...So Little Time

Commenter Kerry, alerts we Hegemonians of this:

The federal probe into whether local Republican fund-raiser Tom Noe was illegally funneling money to the Bush campaign had been ongoing for months. It reached a turning point Wednesday night.

FBI agents swept into Mr. Noe’s Maumee condo about 7:30 p.m., spending three hours scouring the home of one of the most prominent Republicans in northwest Ohio. They were looking for evidence of violations of federal campaign contribution laws.

The federal probe is studying Mr. Noe’s campaign contributions to the President, and specifically contributions made by others who may have received money from Mr. Noe, possibly allowing him to exceed the $2,000 spending cap.


Brave Sir Robin Dubya

Wow, a stiff breeze must make him pee in his pants:

President George Bush was bundled into an underground bunker, Dick Cheney was evacuated to an "undisclosed location" and heavily armed secret servicemen took up defensive positions when a fast-moving cloud scudded towards the White House, it was reported yesterday.

The cloud that materialised 30 miles south of Washington on Wednesday morning was so dense it triggered radar monitors on the Domestic Events Network, intended to prevent a repeat of the September 11 attacks.

"Look, Mr. President, a large goose."

"Aw damn, and I'm wearing new underwear."

You know, I'd post the "Brave Sir Robin" song with more pictures, but I suppose the Freepers would claim it was a threat and claim they sent the Secret Service on me. And then there would be a Fox Poll like this...

Do you think Progressive Democratic, Unpatriotic, Blogger Attaturk should be...

(a) Disembowled
(b) Burned to Death
(c) Beheaded
(d) All of the Above

Vote Now

Stop Calling Him Popular

Bush's ratings spiked because of a National Tragedy that his lack of vigilance, while it may not have prevented, certainly did not do squat about preventing, and because it looked like he could win a war (looked like) that was not popular to begin with.

But throw out his good forture, over misfortune, and neither he, nor his agenda, are popular.

Friday Miscellaneous Lifeform Blogging

This week, let us salute an animal that is quite endangered because of a hideous disease that is killing off their population at their only home, on the island of Tasmania.

Today's miscellaneous lifeform is the Tasmanian Devil.

According to experts at Warner Brothers, the Tasmanian Devil eats tigers, lions, elephants, buffaloes, donkeys, giraffes, octopuses, rhinocerouses, moose, ducks and rabbits, but prefers ferrets!

Another incredible Bush Success Story

Not covered by the press, after all who amongst our national corporate media cares about people of color who don't have (R) behind their names? Certainly not FoxNews...home of "FAIR" and balanced news. I am pretty confident, if you are an individual who wants to get on a national cable news channel there is only one sure-fire way to go in order to get on television at any time:

"Dear Mr. Hannity,

I am an African-American, though I prefer the more classic term, NEGRO, of Republican philosophical bent. As such, I hate abortions, terrorists, communists, and Democrats who love all three, and "are" generally at least two out of three.

I would very much like to be on television. I am available most nights between 9 and 10 p.m. eastern. Please let me know which day this week you could use me.


Sambo O. Cookie

P.S. Really, I am a Negro.

P.P.S. But not too dark, I know that would scare you."

And on that note, let us reflect upon Haiti. Ah, yes, now that we managed to depose (kidnap) Aristide and eliminate that person who could not have been good, because after all he was installed through the machinations of "...the Clenis" things must be boffo in that nation right?

Um, no.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 28 (Reuters) - Gunmen kidnapped a Haitian political leader on Thursday, witnesses said, raising more doubts about the prospect for elections set for October and November.

Dr. Jean Enold Buteau, head of the Movement for National Reconstruction and brother of Education Minister Pierre Buteau, was abducted in the parking lot of his medical clinic in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, the witnesses said.

Buteau's vehicle was abandoned on the street, police sources said.

The poorest country in the Americas has been plagued by political and gang violence since its former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was ousted in February 2004.

At least 675 people have died in the violence since September, and the number of abductions for ransom of professional and business people has increased in recent months.

Wow, it's like Iraq without so many car-bombs.


Freedom is on the March*

*Legal Disclaimer: Freedom unavailable in some Hemispheres. If marching persists more than four years, please alert electoral college. In some instances marching may cause swelling and discomfort, in others it may cause painful urinary discharge, severe burns and anal leakage. Explosive devices may, on occasion be associated with freedom's march, as well as cause limitations upon democratic institutions in places where Freedom has been established. In such cases, excessive marching is advised, as well as staged rallies and the ignorance of constitutional procedures. In case Freedom's marching does not take, do not bother consulting anyone because you will not receive coverage.

Freedom is on the....[technical difficulties]....

Gee, those disorganized, deadenders managed to coordinate not 1, not 2, not even 3 car bomb attacks, but NINE! (according to CNN):

One day after Iraq's National Assembly approved the country's first democratically elected government, insurgents launched a series of attacks in Iraq on Friday, killing at least 20 Iraqis and wounding more than 60, officials said.

The worst-hit area was a district of Baghdad where four suicide car bombs exploded, hitting Iraqi soldiers and police and Iraqi civilians on a Friday, the Muslim day of worship for most Iraqis.

An American soldier also was killed and four were wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad, on Thursday, the U.S. military said.

And more brilliance

From the Intersection of I've run out of Witty Names at the Moment Street & I'll try to come up with better ones later avenue:

...start to me. But sometimes he gets tired as he goes and gets more ragged. We'll see...
Posted at 08:20 PM

Yes, Prezidentin' Hard Work. So much is 'Hard Work' it appears from last night. And all Dear Leader could do is talk about his retirement.

Oh, Yes....please, Oh, Yes....

From the usual sound polictical analysis found at the Intersection of The Misunderstood Justice Taney Avenue & We Miss LOCHNER Avenue:

UNGAG THEM [John J. Miller]
I've got some unsolicited advice for the White House regarding its unconfirmed judges: Let 'em loose. Or at least a few of them. Like Janice Rogers Brown, for instance...Yet a nominee like Judge Brown is her own best advocate. She ought to be going on Larry King and a few other shows to talk about her background -- born in the South, attended segregated schools, remembers Brown v. Board decision coming down, etc. Americans will like her.

Oh, yes, as Champollion told us earlier, they'd be crazy not to like this...California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech.

Yes, we need more WAR talk from our judges. Americans just loved the Schiavo case didn't they?

No wonder they WANT him, he's Dick's "fuck you" man

John Bolton, "the punisher"

A former senior Bush administration official told Senate staff members yesterday that John R. Bolton, the president's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, sought to punish two State Department officials for disagreeing with him on nonproliferation issues, congressional sources said. And a former CIA chief, disputing Bolton, said the nominee had tried to fire a national intelligence officer who believed Bolton was exaggerating evidence on Cuba, they said.

John S. Wolf, who served as assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation and as President Bush's senior envoy to the Middle East until last year, and Alan Foley, who ran the CIA's weapons of mass destruction office, were two of six people who were interviewed by staff members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Bolton has been Cheney's capo at the State Department, apparently well suited for the job. Nice, the Administration that lets people skate for overt "retaliation" (see Sibel Edmunds); and sends out their minions to lie about servants with a proven track record (see Dick Clark); or flat out lie about someone's military record (see Swift Boat A-holes); wants to make sure its douchebags get rewarded.

In the past three weeks, the panel has been told about four instances in which people said Bolton sought to remove officials who disagreed with him. In his own testimony, Bolton said he lost confidence in two intelligence analysts who disagreed with his assertions about Cuba and he tried to have them reassigned. He has not fully responded to questions about the cases involving State Department officials.

Wolf, who worked directly for Bolton in the current administration and in the President George H.W. Bush administration, is no longer on close terms with his former colleague. He would not comment yesterday on the substance of his 75-minute testimony, which was described by two committee staff members.

Wolf has already said publicly that Bolton, as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, targeted a young career officer who was close to former secretary of state Colin L. Powell and whom Bolton mistakenly accused of concealing a cable.

In an interview yesterday with Republican and Democratic staff members, Wolf elaborated on that incident in 2003 and told the committee for the first time that Bolton demanded disciplinary actions against other career officials who offered views that differed from his own. To protect the officials' privacy, Wolf did not name them to the committee staff or describe the nature of the views they offered.


Committee sources said he confirmed testimony provided by Stuart Cohen, the former acting director of the National Intelligence Council, that Bolton had tried to fire the national intelligence officer for Latin America who disagreed with Bolton's assertions about an alleged bioweapons programs in Cuba.

"Foley told us that Bolton's chief of staff, Fred Fleitz, called him up and said that Bolton wanted the analyst fired," one committee investigator said. Bolton has denied that he sought to fire the officer.

What a "diplomat". Will he attempt to fire the French from the United Nations?



Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dear Leader would like to ask you...

Not to laugh at him too much tonight, no matter how ridiculous he sounds.

You'll make him feel inadequate.

Bucking up for Tonight's News Conference

Dear Leader doodles himself an image for how it will go.

Culture of "Selected" Life

Meanwhile, in Texas, under a law that Dear Leader signed when Chimperor of the State:

A San Antonio hospital has decided to withdraw life support from the Friendswood invalid whose family successfully fought a Houston facility with the same plans last month.


Southeast Baptist Hospital notified the family of Spiro Nikolouzos last week that doctors plan to turn of his ventilator and stop feeding him intravenously May 3. The notification followed the hospital ethics committee's determination that continued care would be futile.

"Can you believe a hospital's trying to do this again?" Nikolouzos' wife, Jannette, said. "It's very aggravating — I never thought this would happen again."

She vowed to fight Southeast Baptist, but said she hasn't contacted Mario Caballero, the Houston lawyer whose court filings stopped St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital from pulling the plug before she could find another facility to take him.


Chalk another one up for those secular loving, godless, Florida judges. First they kill and drink the blood of Terry Schiavo, and the Schindler's favority dog; and now this. It is almost enough to have Randall Terry set off a pipebomb of love!

The Florida Supreme Court said Thursday it will not consider an appeal from conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh over prosecutors' seizure of his medical records during an investigation into whether he illegally purchased painkillers.


Prosecutors seized Limbaugh's medical records in 2003 for an investigation into whether he illegally purchased prescription painkillers, but they have remain sealed, pending the outcome of Limbaugh's appeals.

Limbaugh, who has not been charged with any crime, lost at the appellate court level and wanted the Florida Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that would open his medical records and possibly allow prosecutors to build a case against him.

Soon, I'm sure that Jeb will send the National Guard into Rush's compound to keep the feeding tube, otherwise known as his gaping maw, operating on 10,000 milligrams of glucose a day.

I wonder if Daryn Kagan has called in for a sick day?

Hum the climax of the "1812 Overture" during this post...

And you get a feeling about just how much BIG OIL loves Dear Leader and just whose interests he is looking after.

Shell Profit Beats All Forecasts

Royal Dutch/Shell comfortably beat analysts' forecasts to report a 28 percent rise in first-quarter profits on Thursday, helped by surging oil prices and strong refining margins...


Shell's result follows similar strong, and forecast-beating, earnings earlier this week from larger European rival BP and U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips.

Echoing the experience of BP and ConocoPhillips, Shell's profit rise was mainly down to bumper earnings at its exploration and production division and much better refining margins than expected.

The strong upstream performance came on the back of record oil prices, although lower output of hydrocarbons and higher costs, partly due to the weaker dollar, ate into earnings.

Shell said high oil prices would continue to buoy profits.

So many oil barons would love to be John McCain

I Miss Him So Much Dick...So very, very much!


Look at me,
I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree
And I feel like I'm clinging to a cloud
I can't understand,
I get misty, holding your hand.


His little beard, his flowing robes, his petroleum cologne. You should have stood behind him when he prayed toward Mecca...oh la la!

His soft hands...

His sweet smile...

His good natured way...

His six-pack, how in the world does he maintain those abs?

Maybe I should talk to Lump about it, fess up...

But bein' truthful has never really been my deal.

No, I'm going to do what I want to do.

No, if lovin' him is wrong, I don't wanna tell the guy on the right.

Mein Popenmeister,

The other day, I had an old friend over to my place (it's really lovely, bucolic actually you should come visit). This is a distinguished gentlemen, who is getting up there in years and has been a family friend for some time.

On occasion, he and I had met at various social functions, including some at exotic hotels.

When those events happened, I found myself stragely drawn in his direction and when I did, I almost always met his simultaneous gaze. Clearly, both he, and certainly I, felt an electricty in the air. But other than these furtive glances, and an occasional touch, not much came of the matter. However, I could feel that he had an interest.

On those occasions when we have been apart, I allowed the matter to be dismissed from my thoughts, something I have always been particularly adept at doing. I think one of the reasons may have been that we are from vastly different cultures, a culture that frankly, I am rather disdainful of otherwise.

Nonetheless, a few days ago, this gentlemen came to my home. I must tell you, Your Holiness, there was a stirring in my loins I handn't felt since the first time I got in the hot tub with my deputy President.

I was a little embarrassed and afraid, and the loose fitting nature of his attire made it hard to know just how he felt, but he caressed my hand and said he had been waiting for a private moment with me for some time. Then he led me into my flower garden and away from prying eyes and, well, being a man of the world, I'm sure I don't have to draw you a picture, though I found my crayolas so I will.

The problem is, your holiness, I'm sort of trapped in a marriage; and I know that you guys often speak against being "the gay"; and also, I've heard it said that you guys also consider them muslims sort of, well infidels.

But can a love that feels so right, really be so wrong?

My friend Karl says it is; and I'm afraid to tell my AA sponsor "Dr. Dobby"; can you provide me some words of comfort?


An Experienced Fighter Pilot (Really, I am)

Successful Idiocy

Amazing how the Bush Administration has managed to so ham-handedly handle Central American policy that it makes prior Administrations look downright subtle and open to such nations. Bush thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt, and he is, about a century out of date.

From the Scotsman (since American papers, as usual don't cover it)

Political allies Cuba and Venezuela began weaving their economies more tightly together yesterday as scores of business people from the South American nation opened a trade show on the communist-run island.

The opening of offices for Venezuela’s state oil company and a government bank were among other major events planned for this week’s trade and business meetings between the two left-leaning developing nations – a growing alliance that has increasingly alarmed Washington.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who considers himself an ally and personal friend of Cuban President Fidel Castro, was expected to at the activities here today.

And then the pimp-slapping:

A communique from the Venezuelan presidency said the two leaders this week planned to sign 10 new cooperation agreements, covering areas including energy, health, education, infrastructure, housing and culture.

The new moves are aim to cementing Cuba and Venezuela in a new “Boliviarian Alternative for the Americas” – a trade pact they announced in December in opposition to the US-supported Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA. The name refers to South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, frequently invoked by the Chavez government.

Venezuela in 2000 began selling 53,000 barrels of crude a day to oil-import-dependent Cuba under preferential terms, allowing the island to survive tough economic times that began with the Soviet Union’s collapse more than a decade ago.

In turn, communist Cuba has sent 13,000 Cuban doctors to work in Venezuelan state-run clinics located in poor neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile President Chavez yesterday rejected US criticism of his plans to buy 100,000 Russian assault rifles, accusing Colombia’s Defence Minister Jorge Uribe of parroting Washington’s concerns as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived for a visit in Bogota.

Chavez pointed out that Colombia has received massive military aid from the US as it fights rebels in a four-decade-long civil war.

He didn’t refer by name to Rice, who has criticised what US officials call an erosion of Venezuela’s democracy. But Chavez said there appeared little coincidence in Uribe’s comments.

“The imperial lady arrived, and so a pawn said what the lady wants to hear,” Chavez said.

The Bushistas have completely fucked up relations with Chavez, they tried to pull an Allende on him, failed, and have done nothing but rattle swords (vaingloriously and emptily) ever since.

The problem is, they are essentially powerless to do anything now, they have no diplomatic clout and can only sit there and bitch. Meanwhile, Chavez forms an alliance that helps keep Castro afloat.

If there is a less logical, more rapacious, and less viable diplomatic alternative than what the Bush Administration has done toward Venezuela it would be hard to fathom.

Davey, the Historian

Not finding any thing that he could get his little nads behind to lie about in the United States, like a good little conservative Bobo finds a way to bash the Russians and point the finger at the commies.

But the fact is the man knows as much about history as Jenna Bush, and without the added benefit of being the kind of person that would buy you a drink so as to have some leeway later when they barf in your car.

Bobo just comes right into your head and pukes all over it.

Now, far be it from me to defend the crooked racket that followed the tyranical rule of Lenin and Stalin, but one must understand the actual nature of pre-Soviet Russian history as well. Read this little nugget of historical analysis from babbling Brooks:

When totalitarian regimes take control of a country, they destroy the bonds of civic trust and the normal patterns of social cohesion. They rule by fear, and public life becomes brutish. They pervert private and public morality.

Oh, yes do we not all fondly remember the civic trust and wonderful social cohesion that reigned under the Romanovs?

What a lunkhead. Although the necessity of saying that Communism as it existed in Soviet Russia was the worst government EVER! is so much an unchallenged mantra that he will probably get away with it. Indeed, for little neoCons, one simply cannot point out larger, more corrupt and venal regimes, to do so means that you are a commie, and that includes all of the fascist hit-parade too.

Finally, Something Funny Again on NBC

Why not hold this at 8 p.m. Eastern, then, at least, he can do the nation the favor of preempting "Joey" for something that is actually funny?

President Bush will hold a prime time press conference on Thursday night, his first in over a year, to offer more details about his plans to overhaul Social Security, the White House announced.

The 8:30 p.m. EDT East Room press conference comes at a time when Bush is facing some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency.

I know that they are now passe on our broadcast sitcoms, but shouldn't this come with a laugh track.

Sad, that they are in such a state that that have to trot out Chimpy McMarblemouth to try to explain his policies in order to boost his flaccid approval ratings. You think they'd try one of their old tricks like a terror-alert, or additionally claim they also captured Al-Zarqawi's IPOD.

Thursday Miscellaneous Pope Blogging

Yes, time to plumb the depths of the 265 former Bishops of Rome. People did not used to necessarily rename themselves when they became Pope. They often kept their own names. So we could be witnessessing the reigh of Pope Joseph right now. But strangely, there has never been a Pope Joseph. Weird huh? Not exactly a rare name, it's even (kind of) in the Bible. But nonetheless there have been as many Pope Josephs as Pope Marys. Twenty-Three Johns, no Josephs.

Go figure.

BUT, we have had a "Pope Conon: The Thracian"

He was pretty damn old, for his day, at the time he became Pontiff and served only for not quite a year (686-687, you remember the 7th Century right?)

Conon it is believed was the son, of an officer in the Thracesian troop (Thrace was an ancient geographical region often battled over, at the time of Conon it was part of the Byzantine Empire, but has now been divided between southern Bulgaria, north-eastern Greece, and European Turkey).

His age, and simple character caused the clergy and soldiery of Rome, who were in disagreement, to put aside their respective candidates and to elect him as pope. He was consecrated (21 October, 686) after notice of his election had been sent to the Exarch of Ravenna (i.e. essentially the Governor of Italy under the Byzantine Empire), or after it had been confirmed by him. He received the Irish missionaries, St. Kilian and his companions, consecrated Kilian bishop (and thereby one cannot drink an overrated not-actually imported mid-priced beer without thinking of him...right? Well, right?...alright, from now on, think of Pope Conon). He was in favour with Byzantine Emperor Justinian II (also knows as the "Split Nose", but that will have to wait for "Wednesday Miscellaneous Byzantine Emperor Blogging", you all want that right?) who informed him that he had recovered the Acts of the Sixth General Council, by which, he wrote, it was his intention to abide (In case you were wondering, and you know you were).

And thus ends this edition of "Thursday Miscellaneous Pope Blogging".

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

We may already have a suspect

Poor Chimpy put a mean ol' racing stripe in his underoos this afternoon.

Fears that an unidentified aircraft had entered restricted space near the White House prompted security officials to move President Bush from the Oval Office to an underground shelter Wednesday.

The brief scare lasted only a few minutes before officials determined it was a false alarm...

But wait, there's more...

Vice President Dick Cheney was not at the White House at the time but arrived minutes after the scare ended.

*Beep, Beep, Beep*

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, leading a Republican retreat, said Wednesday he stands ready to "step back" on new ethics rules.


Progressive bloggers of influence are apparently debating what the Democratic Party should have as a slogan or mantra.

As a progressive blogger of minimal influence, I don't see anything necessarily wrong with "We aren't as big a fuckups as those dumbasses", but your mileage may vary.

Bush to Unveil 5 New Energy Initiatives

According to CNN, they are:

1. Ease Nuclear Plant Licensing Process
2. Build More Oil Refineries (hey doesn't Halliburton do that?)
3. Give the Government more control over Natural Gas Reserves
4. Expand tax credits to cleaner burning diesel fuel
5. Pretend to have interest in international protocols for efficiency

Of course, I would imagine the 5 Proposals he wants to make are:

1. Collective Amnesia
2. Blame Clinton
3. Invade Iran
4. Invade Venezuela
5. Reduce Crippling Burrito Tax

Hate Immigration Week

So-called "immigration activists" are descending on Washington, D.C. this week to try to force lawmakers to close our borders to the south. The event is being billed as "Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2005," and is being sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which has connections to extremists and white supremacist organizations.

FAIR spokesman Rick Oltman says America's government leaders need to be motivated to address this issue. "It was Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois who once said 'When they feel the heat, they see the light.' And 'Feet to the Fire' is an excellent example of making elected officials feel the heat," Oltman remarks.

These groups see demonstrations this week, including protests across from the White House in Lafayette Park, as an opportunity to get the word out about what they see as immigration problems in the U.S. But lets be honest about what is really driving these efforts... racism.

One of the so-called anti-immigration activist explains the effort in this way: "The whole idea is that we have people lobbying our elected officials and we have radio talk-show hosts there -- they're all going to have a radio row right up on Capitol Hill -- broadcasting out. And when our activists run into elected officials who don't treat them right, or aren't receptive, or aren't thinking the right way on immigration reform, we're going to bring the activists back. They will be guests on the radio talk shows." And we all know that these activists are never racist when it comes to talking about how bad immigrants are. Bob Grant would be proud.

"Immigration" will be the main issue of the far right in years to come. We just need to be prepared to decode what it really is all about.

Christian Science Monitor Snark

By now many of you may have heard it claimed that the United States almost arrested Emanuel Goldstein, er, Zarqawi in February.

Well, how do you like this headline from the Christian Science Monitor?

US at least seizes Zarqawi's laptop

That's it you rat bastard, no more internet chatting and looking at boobie pictures at FARK for you!

Culture of Life Death March

The death machine produced by the 'culture of life' marches on unabated. Just take a look at the most recent numbers:

A study released in The Lancethas estimated that the actualy number of dead could be over 100,000!!

...the risk of death by violence for civilians in Iraq is now 58 times higher than before the US-led invasion.

Bush and the culture of life keeps on lying and soldiers and innocent Iraqis keep dying. Just think about these numbers for a moment. Because of Bush's folly over 25,000 people have died and over 11,000 have been seriously hurt and there is no end in sight.

And surprise, surprise that yet again there is another report that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. The CIA's final report is in and there was nothing, no evidence of WMD's!

In fact, the report goes on to note that there is -- and was -- no Syria connection to 9-11 or these illusory weapons of mass destruction that Iraq supposedly possessed. The report demonstrates that there was nothing that would lead a credible leader to conclude that war against Iraq was justified.

So, who will pay for the lies and lost lives? Who will pay for this march of death? Who will pay? Apparently not Bush or his 'culture of life.' He does not even worry about these matters anymore... he has admitted that he does not give it much thought and he will never admit that he was (or is) wrong. That is the height of arrogance my friends, isn't it?

And now a rarity, I defend the Gropinator

Schwarzenegger has pissed off some Turkish interests groups by making a statement that makes them apoplectic.

A Turkish group uniting hundreds of businesses and organizations demanded Tuesday that Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies are banned from Turkish television to protest the California governor's use of the term genocide to describe the massacre of Armenians by Turks at the time of World War I.

Schwarzenegger, a former actor best known for his role in "The Terminator," declared April 24 a "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide." California has one of the largest populations of diaspora Armenians.

An umbrella organization grouping some 300 Ankara-based associations, unions and businesses and led by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, said it launched a petition to try and get the governor's films banned in Turkey.

I know that my anonymous moniker is similar sounding to Mustafa Kemal, and there was much admirable about him. But there was also much that was not, and while there is little evidence that Ataturk perpetuated the Armenian Genocide, there is no dispute he played an active role in denying it occurred and in trying to cover up the evidence and bully those who claimed otherwise.

Ironically, as it is one of germanic (in this case Austrian) descent getting in trouble for recognizing it was a genocide, it was also a german, Armin T. Wegner, who provided concrete proof of the genocide of the Armenians during the First World War.

Wegner, was the first, of what would become known as "the good germans" who stood up to Hitler:

Wegner used a simple camera to photography hundreds of images of the Armenian Genocide, including photgraphs of deportation camps, hangings and mass graves. His photographs served as visible proof of the first systematic genocide of the Twentieth Century.

In December, 1915, Wenger's activities were discovered. At the request of the Ottoman rulers, Wegner was arrested by German authorities and sent to Germany.
Wegner was able to save the photographic plates by hiding them in his uniform. Hidden in his belt were his photographic plates with images of the Armenian Genocide.

The tragedy of the Armenian people to which he had been eyewitness in Ottoman Turkey haunted him for the rest of his life.

In preparation for the 1919 peace conference, Wegner wrote an open letter to the United States President Woodrow Wilson. In his letter, Wegner protested the atrocities perpetrated by the Ottoman army against the Armenian people, and he appealed for the creation of an independent Armenian state.

In the 1920's, Wegner reached the height of his success as a writer. Wegner became a celebrity with his Russian book, Five Fingers Over You, which foresaw the advent of Stalinism.

In the 1930's, Wegner's was one of the earliest voices to protest Hitler's treatment of the Jews in Germany. Wegner was the only famous writer in Nazi Germany ever to publicly protest the persecution of the Jews.

In 1933, Wegner published an open letter to Hitler protesting the state–organized boycott of the Jews. He was immediately arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned. Wegner was incarcerated in seven Nazi concentration camps and prisons before he successfully escaped and fled to Italy.

A quick summary of the genocide is this:

On April 24, 1915, the Young Turk government arrested hundreds of Armenian intellectuals, most of whom were quickly executed. This was quickly followed by orders for the relocation of hundreds of thousands, possibly over a million, Armenians from across all of Anatolia (except parts of the western coast) to Mesopotamia and what is today Syria, many to the Der El Zor Desert. The government did not provide any facilities to care for the Armenians during their deportation, nor when they arrived. Rather, the Ottoman troops escorting the Armenians as a matter of course not only allowed others to rob, kill, and rape the Armenians, but often participated in this activity themselves. The forseeable consequence was a significant number of fatalities. Most Western sources maintain that at least one million deaths took place.

Here are some of Wegner's photographs:

Because the genocide was not nearly as well documented as the subsequent Nazi Genocide of the Jews and other ethnic groups twenty plus years later, this clamping up of history has had some success:

Though soon after the Armenian Genocide, the world was well aware of the "extermination of the Armenians", which was openly discussed by Turkish government officials, and trials of Ottoman officials were held in regard to the events, after a period of quiet, a new policy of silencing and denial began. Eventually, a policy that is considered by many historians as official state denial emerged. Mention of the Armenian Genocide almost anywhere in the world was met with rebukes from Turkish Ambassadors, while mention of it in Turkey itself led to jail terms or worse on many occasions - ironically often prosecuted under a law against inciting ethnic hatred. Turkey began to spend large amounts of money on lobbying firms in Washington D.C. to counter genocide allegations, and improve its image. It also began to spend large amounts of money on endowed chairs of Turkish or Ottoman history in different U.S. universities which had conditions that the professors who were hired must be on "friendly" terms with Turkey. Some of their efforts to establish such chairs were met with student and public resistance and not all were eventually successful in being established.

The campaign of what is considered as denial was met with mixed success. Some governments, notably Turkish allies the U.S. and Israel will not officially use the word genocide to describe these events, though some government officials have used it personally.

So, on this issue, I defend Schwarzenegger. The United States has purposely taken the policy of not speaking the truth on the issue (bipartisanly). Nearly a century, on, Turkey cannot start healing until it comes to grips with its past, it would be good for them as well.

Dammit, I said things are getting better!!(cont.)

From the Washington Post:

Top Pentagon officials yesterday acknowledged a recent jump in insurgent violence in Iraq but described the escalation as nowhere near the peak levels of the past year and disputed suggestions that it represents a lack of progress.

At a news conference, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the level of attacks is about the same as it was a year ago, with the insurgency retaining the ability to surge.

As Juan Cole noted, last year was April 2004, the most active month previously of the insurgency. This makes Myers assertion palpably dishonest.

It is still like that? On NPR, I heard Rumsfeld try to suggest that things are pretty good in Iraq, given that the US forces have for the most part stopped even engaging the guerrillas and have turned to training Iraqi forces instead. He said what? The US troops probably can't carry out any big missions against the guerrillas, because the new Iraqi government would not put up with another Fallujah-type operation. So apparently they are just fighting a holding action while Gen. Petraeus frantically tries to stand up an Iraqi army (which would probably take at least 5 years). If Myers and Rumsfeld were trying to reassure us, they dismally failed, at least in my case.

Meanwhile, Reuters tells us that the "C" word (and we are not talking the "Deadwood" C-word...unless we are talking the Bush Administration) is being used in Iraq with frequency, as opposed to its former taboo state:

Yet now, with no government formed three months after elections, and tensions deepening between Iraq’s Muslim sects and other groups, it’s on many people’s minds. Several clashes between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in events apparently unrelated to the two-year-old anti-US insurgency have highlighted the danger in recent months.

Whereas once politicians were not willing to utter the term for fear of dignifying it, it is no longer taboo. “I do not want to say civil war, but we are going the Lebanese route, and we know where that led,” says Sabah Kadhim, an adviser to the Interior Ministry who spent years in exile before returning to Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow. “We are going to end up with certain areas that are controlled by certain warlords ... It’s Sunni versus Shiite, that is the issue that is really in the ascendancy right now, and that wasn’t the case right after the elections.”

Oh fantastic.

Operation "Save our Asses" has begun

From Reuters:

U.S. House Republican leaders have decided to roll back a rule change that has left the ethics committee in a stalemate for weeks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Top House Republicans met on Tuesday to discuss restarting the committee and acknowledged that ethics disputes have taken a toll on the party's image, the newspaper said citing officials who participated in the talks.

And I'd Like to add, Jeff Gordon will soon be banned too

Ah, Alabama, keeps up its long-term battle with Missisippi to be comprised of the dumbest bunch of legislative baffoons in the nation, and with this they are pulling ahead:
Legislators continue to debate a bill that would stop schools from spending state funds on books that recognize or promote homosexuality.


[The] bill originally would have banned all schools and public libraries from buying novels with gay characters and other materials that depict a gay lifestyle. He has narrowed it to instructional materials and books for libraries at K-12 schools.

Allen said the new version excludes classics, like some Shakespeare, and would allow college theater groups to perform popular plays like "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams.

I'm sure this is a reaction to public displays of affection between men that so many conservatives find offensive. I mean those sorts of things are what the religious right finds to be destroying America's moral fibre right?

Of course, they could also ask, "What no tongue with a Christian?"

Political Capital

Now that half the nation has joined together to believe that Bush deceived them regarding Iraqi WMD's and his ratings stink Dear Leader has taken a two-track approach to exerting political power.

First, he's decided to spend more millions of tax payer dollars to continue the Potempkinpalooza Tour (renamed from Josh Marshall because it's hard to use bamboozle when it clearly isn't doing so to the populace at large). Bush likes hand-picked, filtered, adoring crowds telling him what a stud he is, that he needs more of that "sweet, sweet adulation baby". It helps him continue the illusion that all love him and bow down before him. Kim Jong Il has less staged irreleality shows.

Second, he's decided to continue the raw exercise of political power in forcing unpopular matters down the throat of the Republicans in the Senate. He cannot allow any sign of weakness in having his henchman (Rove & Cheney) browbeat folks until the breakdown. Frankly, a perfect job for the man they are trying to force through the body at the moment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Nice job Einstein!

"...the world is safer....the world is safer...the world is safer...the world is safer....the world is safer...the world is safer...the world is safer."
-- July 13, 2004


The U.S. count of major world terrorist attacks more than tripled in 2004, a rise that may revive debate about whether the Bush administration is winning the war on terrorism, congressional aides said Tuesday

Hold off on the Applause

My father used to have a saying. "No applause for doing what you should, it ain't nothing but the right thing to do."

It seems these days that we are heaping praise on the democrats for doing what they are supposed to be doing. Standing their ground and holding onto principles that they should have been fiercly advocating since before the impeachment of Clinton. I, for one social and political critic, believe that instead of giving the democrats multiple "atta boys" and "atta girls" that we should be reminding them that taking a stand and fighting the neo-conservative Bush agenda every damn step of the way is what they have to do on a regular basis.

Some see this as the democrats growing a spine. Maybe. Look at what Consortium News is saying:

The biggest political mystery in Washington is what's caused the surprising change in the Democrats, who are demonstrating uncustomary courage in battling George W. Bush and the Republican congressional majority. The Democrats were supposed to cower and compromise after the disastrous Election 2004, but they have started to find their voice, perhaps because they have new chances to speak on "progressive talk radio."

I hope they are right but I also heard on NPR this morning that the dems are signalling a compromise over the fight against extremist right-wing judicial appointments. This is especially galling since they were turned down by Congress in previous years. This is a backbone?

Democrats must fight and fight and then fight some more. You will not win every battle. You will lose more than you can win. But you will reveal the agenda that this out-of-touch with the mainstream right-wing is advocating without thought, reflection, and of course -- compromise.

Democrats must be equally bold. They must not concede or accept the vocabulary and definitions used the right. They must establish themselves with their own clearly articulated and ACTED UPON vision. Look at how Kerry lost because he did not do that. See how Gore was damaged by a weak ability to establish a democratic vision that was meaningfully different than the republicans.

Democrats cannot be Republican-lite. They must go back to the values and actions of the party that matter: Human values not church values (spiritual and religious values are different!), compassion -- real compassion for fellow human beings which translates into education, welfare, infrastructure, environmentalism, feminism, equality before the law, fair taxation, common community. When Democrats fight for the rights of people to live their lives free from governmentally produced right-wing tyranny, we all win. Even the Republicans.

Gee, what could we have done to piss him off?

Dubya doesn't like them "Mexicans down in Venezuela".

The United States is considering a long-term strategy that could deal more harshly with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, after concluding that a reasonable relationship was practically impossible, The New York Times said.

"We offered them a more pragmatic relationship, but obviously if they do not want it, we can move to a more confrontational approach," a high-ranking Republican congressional aide who works on Latin America policy told the daily.

US officials said a multiagency task force has been developing a new approach that top-level policy makers said would likely adopt a harder line towards Venezuela, which is a major oil producer.

Measures under consideration include increasing US support to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela and to urge Venezuela's neighbors to distance themselves from Chavez, who next year could be reelected to another six-year term in office.

Golly, pragmatism like this?
The U.S. government knew of a plot to oust Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chávez, in the weeks before a 2002 military coup that briefly unseated him, newly released CIA documents show, despite White House claims to the contrary a week after the coup.

Yet the United States, which depends on Venezuela for nearly one-sixth of its oil, never warned Chávez, Venezuelan officials said.

The Bush administration has denied it was involved in the coup or knew one was being planned.

"This is substantive evidence that the CIA knew in advance about the coup, and it is clear that this intelligence was distributed to dozens of members of the Bush administration, giving them knowledge of coup plotting," said Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C.

However, he said that while the documents show U.S. officials knew a coup was coming, perhaps implying tacit approval, they do not constitute definitive proof the U.S. was involved in ousting Chávez.

The Bush administration and Chávez, a fiery former paratrooper, have clashed repeatedly, with Chávez accusing the United States of backing the coup against him.

The documents were obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by Eva Golinger, a Long Island attorney and pro-Chávez activist who also is investigating U.S. funding of groups opposed to him.

Chávez was arrested and overthrown April 12, 2002, after military dissidents blamed him for violence at an opposition protest march that left 19 people dead and 300 wounded. He was returned to power two days later.

But the April 6, 2002, CIA document states that "dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chávez, possibly as early as this month."

And if somebody doesn't think that the Bush Administration's fingerprints were all over this coup they are living in fantasy land.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

There is no doubt that the issues of judicial independence, separation of church and state, and freedom of religion are all issues that deserve open debate, especially in these times. I can only presume, based on this recent speech, that Janice Rogers Brown has abondoned all hope of higher judicial office and now wants to be a darling of the SpongeBob haters of America.

WASHINGTON — Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech.

Brown's remarks come as a partisan battle over judges has evolved into a national debate over the proper mix of God and government and as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) ponders changing the chamber's rules to prevent Democrats from using procedural moves to block confirmation of conservative jurists such as Brown.

Her comments to a gathering of Roman Catholic legal professionals in Darien, Conn., came on the same day as "Justice Sunday: Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith," a program produced by evangelical leaders and simulcast on the Internet and in homes and churches around the country. It was designed to paint opponents of Bush's judicial nominees as intolerant of believers.

Though unrelated to that program, Brown's remarks sounded similar themes.

"There seems to have been no time since the Civil War that this country was so bitterly divided. It's not a shooting war, but it is a war," she said, according to a report published Monday in the Stamford Advocate.

"These are perilous times for people of faith," she said, "not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."

A spokeswoman for the California Supreme Court, Lynn Holton, said no text was available because "it was a talk, not a speech." Brown's office did not dispute the newspaper's account.

The Advocate quoted Brown as lamenting that America had moved away from the religious traditions on which it was founded.

"When we move away from that, we change our whole conception of the most significant idea that America has to offer, which is this idea of human freedom and this notion of liberty," she said.

She added that atheism "handed human destiny over to the great god, autonomy, and this is quite a different idea of freedom…. Freedom then becomes willfulness."

Brown's remarks drew praise Monday from one of the nation's most prominent evangelical leaders, Gary Bauer, president of the socially conservative advocacy group American Values.

"No wonder the radical left opposes her," Bauer wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "Janice Rogers Brown understands the great culture war raging in America. That is why the abortion crowd, the homosexual rights movement and the radical secularists are all demanding that Senate liberals block her confirmation."


Democrats blocked Brown's confirmation by the full Senate, charging that she held extremist views that interfere with her ability to render objective judgments. She has a history of delivering provocative speeches.

Democrats have questioned speeches in which she called the New Deal the "triumph of our socialist revolution." She has described herself as a "true conservative" who believes that "where the government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates…. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."

Questioned in 2003 about her comments, Brown conceded that she was blunt when addressing conservative audiences.

"I don't have a speechwriter," she said. "I do these myself. And it speaks for itself."

As the article describing Brown's remarks was circulated Monday on websites and in e-mails, one advocacy group opposing Bush's nominees charged that her remarks were a timely reminder of why the California judge should not be promoted.

"It's so shocking that in the middle of this battle she would say such extraordinarily intemperate things," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"She caused all of us to reflect more profoundly on the intersection between law and morality, and on the role of religion in shaping those virtues and values, which are crucial to our democratic way of life," said Bishop William E. Lori, the head of the Bridgeport diocese, who invited Brown to address the group.

Obviously she has the right to her express her views, and I'm sure every reader of this blog would fight to protect that right. But holy crap, what was she thinking?

So today let's all raise a glass in her honor and say a toast to whatever stupidity or courage moved her to make those remarks at a time like this. We can further the debate and keep her from being confirmed to a federal judgeship.

Birds of a Fleather, Fly Together

From the AP:

In a show of support, President Bush will give embattled House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay an Air Force One ride to Washington from Texas on Tuesday, a White House spokesman said.

...Why not just take him to the circus, or bake him a cake?

Dear Leader: Gee, Tommy seems kind a down in the dumps, maybe if I take him for a plane ride he'll be hap, hap, happier?

I'd like to point out that similar charity got Tom Arnold cast in 'Soul Plane'.

But what makes it EVEN better is this:

Far from trying to distance Bush from DeLay's troubles, the White House has responded to criticism from Democrats with steadfast support for the majority leader. Now, with Tuesday's joint appearance, the White House is taking that loyalty to a new level.

Part of the reason is pragmatic. One of the most influential and effective conservatives on Capitol Hill, the man known as the Hammer is regarded by the White House as someone who gets things done — and the administration has proposals, such as changes to Social Security, that need an effective shepherd.

My god, they are taking DeLay out in public to sell Social Security reform.

That's like taking Paris Hilton out to sell the estate tax.

Flowers for Algernon

"Dick, now that I have you alone, I have to tell you something. I'm seeing someone else. Someone more...oh, muslimy"

I don't want anybody else, when I think about crude I touch myself...

Yes, I love you more than Sharon too.

"Man, I thought we'd be safe on Fire Island"

Well, how great is it to be a Conservative War Supporter

You get to be wrong repeatedly, say bad crap about those who say you are wrong, have it proven those folks are absolutely correct and you'll still draw a paycheck.

Welcome to the wacky world of Cliff May.

Meanwhile, American soldiers continued to die in ones and twos, and Iraqis die in bunches.

From the AP:

Wrapping up his investigation into Saddam Hussein's purported arsenal, the CIA's top weapons hunter in Iraq said his search for weapons of mass destruction "has been exhausted" without finding any.

Nor did he find any evidence that such weapons were shipped officially from Iraq to Syria to be hidden before the U.S. invasion, but he couldn't rule out some unofficial transfer of limited WMD-related materials.

He closed his effort with words of caution about potential future threats and careful assessment of this and other unanswered questions.

The Bush administration justified its 2003 invasion of Iraq as necessary to eliminate Hussein's purported stockpile of WMD.



Somehow I am on the mass mailing list of the Republican National Committee. Perhaps some reader signed me up as a joke, or maybe the good folks at the Office of Information Awareness (Hi!) have signed me up. In any case, I have to admit, I never expected Ken Mehlman to have the genitalial fortitude to write a spam that started like this:

"Hypocrite - noun, one who pretends to be what he is not or to have principles or beliefs that he does not have."

So many reasons this is humorous.

Monday, April 25, 2005

This Just In...Iraq Is A Dangerous Place To Be Stationed

There is still a war going on in Iraq and our troops were not afforded all the protection they need to do their job as safely as possible.

On May 29, 2004, a station wagon that Iraqi insurgents had packed with C-4 explosives blew up on a highway in Ramadi, killing four American marines who died for lack of a few inches of steel.

The four were returning to camp in an unarmored Humvee that their unit had rigged with scrap metal, but the makeshift shields rose only as high as their shoulders, photographs of the Humvee show, and the shrapnel from the bomb shot over the top.

"The steel was not high enough," said Staff Sgt. Jose S. Valerio, their motor transport chief, who along with the unit's commanding officers said the men would have lived had their vehicle been properly armored. "Most of the shrapnel wounds were to their heads."

Among those killed were Rafael Reynosa, a 28-year-old lance corporal from Santa Ana, Calif., whose wife was expecting twins, and Cody S. Calavan, a 19-year-old private first class from Lake Stevens, Wash., who had the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis, tattooed across his back.

They were not the only losses for Company E during its six-month stint last year in Ramadi. In all, more than one-third of the unit's 185 troops were killed or wounded, the highest casualty rate of any company in the war, Marine Corps officials say.

In returning home, the leaders and Marine infantrymen have chosen to break an institutional code of silence and tell their story, one they say was punctuated not only by a lack of armor, but also by a shortage of men and planning that further hampered their efforts in battle, destroyed morale and ruined the careers of some of their fiercest warriors.


Company E's troubles began at Camp Pendleton when, just seven days before the unit left for Iraq, it lost its first commander. The captain who led them through training was relieved for reasons his supervisor declined to discuss.

"That was like losing your quarterback on game day," said First Sgt. Curtis E. Winfree.

In Kuwait, where the unit stopped over, an 18-year-old private committed suicide in a chapel. Then en route to Ramadi, they lost the few armored plates they had earmarked for their vehicles when the steel was borrowed by another unit that failed to return it. Company E tracked the steel down and took it back.

Even at that, the armor was mostly just scrap and thin, and they needed more for the unarmored Humvees they inherited from the Florida National Guard.

"It was pitiful," said Capt. Chae J. Han, a member of a Pentagon team that surveyed the Marine camps in Iraq last year to document their condition. "Everything was just slapped on armor, just homemade, not armor that was given to us through the normal logistical system."

The report they produced was classified, but Captain Royer, who took over command of the unit, and other Company E marines say they had to build barriers at the camp - a former junkyard - to block suicide drivers, improve the fencing and move the toilets under a thick roof to avoid the insurgent shelling.

Even some maps they were given to plan raids were several years old, showing farmland where in fact there were homes, said a company intelligence expert, Cpl. Charles V. Lauersdorf, who later went to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency. There, he discovered up-to-date imagery that had not found its way to the front lines.

Seems pitiful, doesn't it, how thoroughly fucked-up the mess is in Iraq and we hear almost nothing about it until some brave Marines decide to break their unwritten code of silence. I'm sure Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice et al. have lost a lot of sleep for their roles in causing the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent lives.


Court Fight

I know that the big fight over the courts are important. And I too am confused that religious right activists who argued that the physical world is corrupting (fairly common argument up until the late 1970s when they were courted by the extreme right of the republican party because they saw them as unfaliably controllable bloc of voters) is dead now that they believe that they have the power to remake the constitution with an attack on the third branch of our government. This is an important fight. And we cannot allow the religious right and their lap dogs on the political right to win this one!

If they do, they will set the agenda of the religious and political extreme far right deep into the very fabric of the constitution. Imagine this, the religious rightists hold the legislatures in several states, they influence congress -- in some cases directly (how ya doing Mr. Frist?) -- they shape the preznit, if they take control directly or indirectly of the judiciary then there will be no ends to the theocratic litmus tests that we all have to pass.

This is about more than abortion. This is about civil liberties, crime and punishment, welfare, health care, education, the death of remotely fair taxation, an end to enviornmental controls (who needs clean air while they are waiting for the rapture?), and so much more.

This is bigger than Georgie Bush. This is bigger than Mr. Charisma Dick Cheney or even I-don't-need-to-sign-the-letters-to-families Duckin' Donald Rumsfeld. This is about our society and our culture. And the religious righties hate modernity. They despise equality (don't even think about anything remotely egalitarianism).

Imagine what they could do to our music. Too far to the center or left, they will shut your music down. Forget about protests, they will remove the impediments holding back the police state (no more Mirand... its all "good faith" searches from now on). Consider what your kids might learn in school or maybe that is not learn in school (its more than going after evolution... that's just a good starting place).

I tell you friends, I am scared to pieces of these religious right zealots run amok. And I suppose the Democrats are going to help us? Yeah, right.

Your future controlled by people like:

Reality... its a gas, gas, gas

Russ Rymer understands that the republicans, actual conservatives, neo-cons, and religious righties do not want to have a conversation. They do not care what other people think. They do cannot fathom why we all don't love their man, Georgie. They are confused that we don't embrace their little pot luck of governmental control called culture o' life.

And what reason can explain such a disparity between those on the right and everyone else? The folks on the right deny and ignore reality. Ah, imagine you don't have to worry about what other people think. No one from the other parts of the political transum can tell you that you are wrong.

Those people who cannot see the right-wing perspective, well they are heathens or evil or misguided for they cannot see what is "real" and "true" because they bother themselves with all this reality, facts, and historical nonesense. The course of those on the right is an ahistorical, acultural path. It is like the ultimate parental statement: "We are right simply because we say so! And if we say it often enough and loud enough, only fools will disagree." Come on now, tell me that I am wrong here.

Ah, the American political right... the true extreme post-modernists...
(apologies to any actual postmodernists out there in Internet land)

The Revolution will not be Televised!

But the Rapture?

Will be on 'Pray-per-View'!


I know nothing about morning television newsprograms, I'm up and off to work (or blogging) before they are ever on. I have not seen the Today Show or Good Morning America for more than a decade. So I am hardly qualified to judge just who is worth my time -- though I am guessing the answer is easily none of them.

But this article from the NY Times is just as catty as can be, apparently, according to this author, the Today Shows ratings are decreasing because of Katie Couric:

For more than a decade Katie Couric has reigned as the Everywoman of morning television. NBC considered her so critical to restoring the pre-eminence of "Today" after the disaster known as Deborah Norville that in 2001 the network gave her a $60 million contract over four-and-a-half years to keep her from defecting. Inevitably, Ms. Couric's on-air persona changed, along with her appearance and pay scale. But lately her image has grown downright scary: America's girl next door has morphed into the mercurial diva down the hall. At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights.

Now, again, I don't watch these shows, and the "Joker-like" perkiness of Katie Couric is much too Laura Bushian for me, but was not the cause of this decline over familiarity?

After all, once we've seen Katie Courics magically scat-free colon where else could we really go with her?

So, how did you like Frist's Speech to the Rapture Brigade?

Dew claw down apparently.

More reasons to be "Proud" to be an American...

Where at least I know I'm abuse others if I do so abroad...

From the Independent:

The UN's top human rights investigator in Afghanistan has been forced out under American pressure just days after he presented a report criticising the US military for detaining suspects without trial and holding them in secret prisons.

Cherif Bassiouni had needled the US military since his appointment a year ago, repeatedly trying, without success, to interview alleged Taliban and al-Qa'ida prisoners at the two biggest US bases in Afghanistan, Kandahar and Bagram.

Mr Bassiouni's report had highlighted America's policy of detaining prisoners without trial and lambasted coalition officials for barring independent human rights monitors from its bases.


The UN eliminated Mr Bassiouni's job last week after Washington had pressed for his mandate to be changed so that it would no longer cover the US military.

Just days earlier, the Egyptian-born law professor, now based in Chicago, had presented his criticisms in a 24-page report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.

The report, based on a year spent travelling around Afghanistan interviewing Afghans, international agency staff and the Afghan Human Rights Commission, estimated that around 1,000 Afghans had been detained and accused US troops of breaking into homes, arresting residents and abusing them.

Are we not special? If only a sign from the Almighty would tell us who is responsible for this.

Damn! The guy with the red-tie and white hair?

An Appropriate Place for an Earthday Speech

I kid you not.

He flew his 747 to an airport hanger in order to talk about conservation and environmentalism.

I cannot come up with something more ridiculous than that.