Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Before I Forget My Questions

I know this article came out an eon ago in bloggy years, but there's an important nugget in here that I wanted to highlight (if only so I can find it as the 2008 campaign slogs on for another twenty-one months).

I don't really give a damn if Hillary Clinton apologizes for her Iraq war vote. Don't get me wrong -- I hope she regrets what I perceive as a craven and (yes) calculating vote for the resolution. I just don't think she's ever going to apologize and that even if she did, said apology would never be to anyone's satisfaction, including mine.

Now that that's out of the way, I want to point the place where one of Hillary's advisors discusses why she won't apologize for the vote:
Her approach to leadership and national security was forged during her eight years in the White House: She believes in executive authority and Congressional deference, her advisers say, and is careful about suggesting that Congress can overrule a commander in chief. [emphasis mine]

I have questions:
  1. Isn't Congressional deference -- specifically her Congressional deference -- partly what got us to where we are today?
  2. Does she plan to defer to the current executive if he gins up a war with Iran?
  3. Does her view of executive authority and Congressional deference comport with that of, say, John Yoo?
  4. Finally, would her views about Congressional deference remain constant if she were to lose the nomination and resign herself to a career in the Senate?

What Kind of Grown Man Calls Himself "Scooter?"

Was talking with a former professor from The Law School yesterday who said, "It doesn't matter whether Libby hangs or walks; Fitzgerald's done what he wanted to do." Which is to say, entered evidence of Cheney's malfeasance into the (very) public record. I'm not sure I can be as dispassionate about an aquittal (if that's what it comes to), but more importantly, I'm not sure there's anyone with the balls to run with that record to impeach Cheney's criminal ass. But then again, maybe balls aren't what's required. What say you? In any case, when there's something to know, you'll hear it from the lady in the upper left corner first.

Supporting the Covering Your Ass

Nice, since these injured vets were originally called whiners by the "ever-brave" likes of Jonah Goldberg via convenient found "emails", it is only logical that it ends by essentially punishing them and ordering them to shut the fuck up!

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.

Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.


You've hit Japan, Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now you drop off to see us in Oman.

AP Photo/Hamid AlQasmi

Too bad they haven't reached a verdict, you've run out of countries willing to have you.

Anyway, as I was saying, so I took the dissident and I squeezed and gave his balls a sudden sharp turn to the left..."

When "Mayberry" met the "Godfather"

No, not a comment on the Bush and Cheney, but...

One of the great television parodies:

The network insisting on the horrid laugh track is the real farce.

For four-dozen eggs

Or better the cash equivalent thereof (10,000 dinars, not quite $8) there is a virtual riot for the most minimal of governmental assistance in Baghdad.

Imagine if they were passing out govermental cheese like the Reagan Administration?


The nation's new spy chief says Iraqi troops are taking the lead in securing portions of their country.

But Mike McConnell acknowledges “they are still not” where the US needs them to be.

Virginia Senator John Warner made clear his doubts. He told McConnell he doesn't see strong evidence that Iraqi forces "are measuring up in any amount."

Earlier, McConnell reiterated the findings of the latest National Intelligence Estimate that the security and political trends in Iraq are moving “in a negative direction.”

He also described the ongoing sectarian violence as “self-sustaining.”

That's not "were" moving in a negative direction but "ARE" moving that way.

But Rich Lowry says "this time we're really winning"?

And he's only been wrong once,

and that's continuously.*

*Paraphrased from a quote by J.E.B. Stuart

This sure looks like a couple of people

capable of judging the consequences of their actions.

If the subject is ordering lunch. You can literally see Bush not choking on a pretzel -- in what passes for his mind.

If you're up for it Shaq


The far better "Original George W." is willing to team up for the double pimp-slap.


From Balloon Juice comes this link from Salon showing what "support the troops" means in Afghanistan:

[T]he troops in Nuristan have also suffered from sheer isolation and the topography of the Hindu Kush. At Lybert (altitude 6,500 feet), the 3-71’s Charlie Company had gone 70 days without a hot shower or a hot meal. They have sustained deaths and injuries from hiking and falling. Soldiers who have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan before said their current living conditions are much worse. “Leadership doesn’t care about us,” said one officer, who requested that his name be withheld to avoid punishment for his comments. “We’ve gone on mission after mission after mission where we’ve gone black [run out] on food and water. They tell us, ‘Pack light, your mission will only be four days tops.’ But then we end up stuck on a mountaintop for two weeks. We didn’t have anything, not even tents. If you can’t get us off a mountain, don’t put us on there.”

Several soldiers and officers I spoke with told me they were unprepared for their mission in the north of Afghanistan. No one, it seems, told them they would have to fight a Vietnam-style war at high altitudes. One officer told me the 10th Mountain’s limited resources and poor planning frustrated him. (He also asked that his name be withheld for fear of retribution.) “Leadership has failed us,” he told me. “They don’t give a shit about us. We’ve been shorted everything we needed. Our training didn’t prepare us for this terrain or this mission. We’re doing the best we can but we’re not getting support.” He said the summer of 2006 had been filled with air-assault missions in which Chinooks delivered 20 to 30 troops to a ridgeline with little food or water, and no plan to pick them up.

Undermanned, underfed, under-supplied in every conceivable sense, while we pour thousands more troops into a disaster of a policy in Iraq (troops there have their own problems, but frankly not on this scale). It is obvious without Iraq the situation would be fundamentally better.

The ability of this Administration to have the "Merde-Touch" on everything is incredible to fathom, were it not staring us right in te face.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I didn't know that Topps was putting out metaphorical baseball cards?


As you know a few weeks ago, I went on vacation. Along with Champollion and DeDurkheim, P O'Neill and Res Ipsa Loquitur filled in. Well, the latter had no blog, but she does now as she has joined up with us.

P O'Neill, of course, already has an excellent blog and he remains there for you to observe his fine work.

Continued best wishes

To Steve Gilliard.

"I down like a case of the blue pills

And it just lays there. "

"But, on the other hand, the sight of other human beings suffering makes you stiffer than George Lucas's dialog?"

"You know that's pretty fucked up."

"That's how I roll, asshole."

(AP Photo/Fraudoon Pooyaa & Omar Sobhani/Reuters, respectively (last three))

A series of poses that explain it all

Bush spoke at one of our nation's most endangered groups yesterday, the Republican Governors Association. And contained within this one hour of talking and five seconds of proper enunciation he struck several signature poses, each of which the Secret Service has given a name.

"The Hiding from Reality and/or Mom"
(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

"The Master Shake"
(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

"The Beard"
(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

"The Short Bus"
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

And of course,

"The ineffectual war mongering tool"
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Josh Bolton by the way is chafing horribly after repeated viewings of "the Master Shake".

Watertiger had some other interpretations of some of these other pictures.

Nothing like personal experience

To help you get to the bottom of things. Part of ABC News series on the recovery of Bob Woodruff, includes these findings by the recovering reporter:

While the U.S. Department of Defense says that there have been about 23,000 nonfatal battlefield casualties in Iraq, Woodruff discovers — through an internal VA report — that more than 200,000 veterans have sought medical care for various ailments, including more than 73,000 diagnoses for mental disorders.

Nicholson plays down those figures, telling Woodruff, "A lot of them come in for dental problems. … We're providing their health care." [ME: Nicholson is a first-class GOP hack]

Woodruff reports that even these numbers may not tell the whole story: According to unreleased data from the Department of Defense, at least 10 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have sustained a brain injury during their service.

The ABC News anchor reports: "That could mean that of the 1.5 million who have served or are now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 150,000 people could have a brain injury that may be undiagnosed and unrecognized by the casualty numbers from the Department of Defense."

While everyone with symptoms of a brain injury may not need extensive treatment, Woodruff learns that the Department of Defense is not screening all returning soldiers, despite recommendations from the Defense Department's own Defense and Veteran's Brain Injury Center.

Naturally this calls for Mark Halperin and the rest of the "quality journalists" at "THE NOTE" to make some quality sarcasm about Hillary Clinton.

Gee, think there's a connection?

When even peanut butter is going bad:

The federal agency that's been front and center in warning the public about tainted spinach and contaminated peanut butter is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago.

Another quality product of Bush Administration budget outlays.

And "Wankhole" Junction says Murtha doesn't supporting the troops

This is exactly what he is trying to prevent you assholes:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rushed by President Bush's decision to reinforce Baghdad with thousands more U.S. troops, two Army combat brigades are skipping their usual session at the Army's special training range in California.

They are now making preparations to leave their home bases.

Some in Congress and others outside the Army are beginning to question whether that decision means the Army is cutting corners in preparing soldiers for combat.

The desert training was designed specially to prepare soldiers for the challenges of Iraq.

But Joe Lieberman wants us to give them the chance to be fucked over!

Last Throes

Sunni group launches suicide attack on Afghanistan military base while Cheney visits, killing at least 19 people.

Naturally, this underlies why we must continue funding such Sunni groups and attack Iran.

By the way, how long before someone discusses the bravery of five-deferment Dick, as opposed to the people who were died and injured protecting his ass? Actually, this morning some of the news reports say most of the victims were truck drivers waiting to get onto the base...waiting most likely because they were not allowed on the base until Cheney left.

Oh, it's just that one bombing a day that makes things looks so bad says First Fox Viewer Laura Bush.

Monday, February 26, 2007

For those of you wondering what Bush Looks like on his way

to second base?

via CNN.

You need no longer wonder.

Well another year

Without a great "conservative" documentary. Once again, no FoxNews or NewsCorp nominations despite a number of entrants:

-- "Liberal Bitches and their Murdering Wombs"

-- "Michael Moore took the last Sausage at Sunday Brunch"

-- "Bill O'Reilly's When Kidnapped Kids are just Askin' for It"

-- "Sean Hannity's Hour of Off-the-Cuff remarks" (ineligible because it lasted only ten seconds)

But looking through the IMDB it appears there will be some next year headed by:

Punxsutawney Joe

Every few months, one might say every "Friedman" or so, the legend in his own mind, Joe Lieberman emerges from his mirror and encourages every to glance upon his Dorian Gray military strategy.

Let us review Joe's greatest snits:

November 29, 2005:

...We have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist-controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar, and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being "held" secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and coalition forces are jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle...
If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007...

July 25, 2006:

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman believes the U.S. will withdraw a "solid' contingent of its military forces in Iraq by the end of the year because of gains made by the Iraqi armed forces.

"There really has been progress made by the Iraqi military," Lieberman said Tuesday during a meeting with the Connecticut Post's editorial board. "Two-thirds of it could stand on its own or lead the fight with our logistical support."

The three-term U.S. senator said he believes a complete withdrawal is possible by late 2007 or early 2008.

December 29, 2006:

I saw firsthand evidence in Iraq of the development of a multiethnic, moderate coalition against the extremists of al-Qaeda and against the Mahdi Army, which is sponsored and armed by Iran and has inflamed the sectarian violence. We cannot abandon these brave Iraqi patriots who have stood up and fought the extremists and terrorists.

The addition of more troops must be linked to a comprehensive new military, political and economic strategy that provides security for the population so that training of Iraqi troops and the development of a democratic government can move forward.

In particular we must provide the vital breathing space for moderate Shiites and Sunnis to turn back the radicals in their communities. There are Iraqi political leaders who understand their responsibility to do this. In Anbar province we have made encouraging progress in winning over local Sunni tribal leaders in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorists. With more troops to support them, our forces in Anbar and their Sunni allies can achieve a major victory over al-Qaeda.

And now...

February 26, 2007:

The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren't enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital.

Funny, how that's the same story he gave in November 2005.

But hey, how about ONE MORE FRIEDMAN? ...and with feeling:

Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.

"General Musharraf

you've managed to allow Al Qaeda to rebuild itself and combined with Iraq it will require my government to to spend untold billions, if not trillions on military contracts into the indefinite future...


AFP/File/Torsten Blackwood

I should add that once again, a trip by a Bush Administration official is entitled with the "S" word:

Cheney makes surprise Pakistan trip

I am sick to death of these lame "surprises", here is the headline the American People deserve:

Cheney reports to Leavenworth to Begin Serving Sentence

Dear America

Can we all agree that in the future,

We will not get our Presidents from "Overstocked.Com"?

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The NY Times takes note

Of Bush and Alberto "I found that Degree, it's mine" Gonzales playing politics with United States Attorneys:

Ms. Lam is one of at least seven United States attorneys fired recently under questionable circumstances. The Justice Department is claiming that Ms. Lam and other well-regarded prosecutors like John McKay of Seattle, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Daniel Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona — who all received strong job evaluations — performed inadequately.

It is hard to call what’s happening anything other than a political purge. And it’s another shameful example of how in the Bush administration, everything — from rebuilding a hurricane-ravaged city to allocating homeland security dollars to invading Iraq — is sacrificed to partisan politics and winning elections.

U.S. attorneys have enormous power. Their decision to investigate or indict can bankrupt a business or destroy a life. They must be, and long have been, insulated from political pressures. Although appointed by the president, once in office they are almost never asked to leave until a new president is elected. The Congressional Research Service has confirmed how unprecedented these firings are. It found that of 486 U.S. attorneys confirmed since 1981, perhaps no more than three were forced out in similar ways — three in 25 years, compared with seven in recent months.

I know Anna Nicole Smith's hearing was an unbelievable spectacle but it was just that, Bush's purge is substantive and dangerous.

It would be nice if the national media paid some sort of attention to it. Maybe the Times, picking up on Josh Marshall, will cause something to get started.

In the Washington Post

Somehow E.J. Dionne was able to slip truth into the Post's editorial page during the Libby Trial.

Whatever the jury decides, Fitzgerald has amply demonstrated that Cheney directed Libby to destroy Wilson's credibility, partly by leaking that his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a CIA operative who had suggested Wilson was well qualified to investigate the claims in Niger. For Libby, Fitzgerald said in closing his case, Valerie Wilson "wasn't a person. She was an argument, a fact to use against Joe Wilson.''

Libby-Cheney apologists have argued over and over that Cheney had a right to be angry because Wilson said that Cheney had sent him to Niger. But Wilson said no such thing. In his New York Times piece, Wilson wrote only that he had been "informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report.'' That was true.

The attack apparatus has now turned on Fitzgerald, whose record is that of a thoroughly nonpartisan prosecutor. Fitzgerald's perjury rap against Libby, Cheney allies say, is a cheap attempt to criminalize politics.

Really? Here's what Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) had to say about perjury: "Lying under oath is an ancient crime of great weight because it shields other offenses, because it blocks the light of truth in human affairs. It is a dagger in the heart of our legal system, and indeed in our democracy. It cannot, it should not, it must not be tolerated.''

Ros-Lehtinen made that statement not about Libby, but to justify the impeachment of Bill Clinton back in 1998. I have no idea where she stands on the Plame-Wilson case. But it's certainly amusing that so many who were eager to throw Clinton out of office for perjury and obstruction of justice when he lied about sex are now livid at Fitzgerald for bringing comparable charges in a controversy over the rationale for war. Do they think sex is more important than war?

Whatever price Scooter Libby pays, the country is already paying for the divisive practices of a crowd that wanted to go to war in Iraq in the very worst way -- and did exactly that. As a result, we confront the mess in Baghdad and the continued threat of terrorism as an angry, polarized nation.

This would really bother a Victoria Toensing if she had a conscience.

A common trait for most of Cheney's sycophants. Pity for all of us.

If there was ever a case

Of pathetic whining it could be found at the intersection of Lack of Talent Street & Vicarious Living Avenue last evening following the Oscars. Diva acts are always tired, but they are intolerable in those without any discernible qualities.

It's neither Al Gore's nor Ellen DeGeneres' fault you're a pathetic loser. That is your personal responsibility.a

On a personal note I didn't do any live blogging of the Oscars because, well, I blog every fucking day, usually at least 5 or 6 posts a day. I am clearly devoid of substantial social interaction with actual human beings. For the love of all that is holy, it's just past three in the morning! But there are some lines even I, sad as I am, will not cross. And that's living five minutes of Ted Casablancadom.

Other than noticing that Nicole Kidman last night was either wearing a noose or a convenient handle, I took note of no fashion (this of course is my normal mode). I'm like most men, I check out those red carpet pre-shows partly appalled and partly to see who is the closest to being completely naked. That's right, I'm in it for the nipple exposure. Sadly, the winner last night was Martin Scorcese -- and I don't mean as best director.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Star Wars Marathon

On HBO today. Not that I'll watch it, but it gives me a reason to put this clip from "Robot Chicken" up:

Makes you think...

The L.A. Times reports:

Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.

The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services had provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic was developing illicit weapons.

"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."

In accurate information about Iran's nuclear program from the United States.

You know the United States could probably have used qualified W.M.D. specialists working in the area of Iran.

You know people like say, VALERIE PLAME, and other former covert operatives of the type that were employed by say BREWSTER JENNINGS.

But somehow Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer and Dick Armitage all decided to publicly gossip about Joe Wilson's wife and how she worked for the CIA and what's more, expose the fictional business that she and several other CIA employees supposedly worked for.

David Shuster: While the heart of the CIA leak investigation is the Bush administration's agressive defense of the WMD case for war in Iraq, there is new evidence now the defense may have undermined intelligence efforts on Iran.

The key player in the CIA leak story is Valerie Wilson, a CIA operative whose identity was outed by white house officials.

As MSNBC first reported yesterday, Wilson was not just undercover... but was, according to intelligence sources, part of an effort three years ago to monitor the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson's cover was blown, part of the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.

And now, the Bush Administration is pushing Iran's nuclear program and peddling the same bullshit intelligence it always does.

Funny that.

Bush fucks up and the threat returns

It's been said before often here, and even more often at all levels of the blog world but the Iraq War was a disastrous diversion before it was the incredible clusterfuck that it has become. The George Bush foreign and military tactics have failed at every level. And ultimately the invasion of Iraq has been the greatest saving boon for Al Qaeda.

Entitled Extremist Threat Assessment ... [the document] says that al-Qaeda's influence extends from North Africa, including Egypt, through to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, and into Somalia and Sudan. Al-Qaeda is "resilient and effective" in Iraq, its "operating environment and financial position" in Pakistan has improved and a new group had emerged in Yemen.

"With violence in Afghanistan intensifying, and therefore receiving greater media attention, the country may well become more attractive as a venue for foreigners wishing to fulfil their Jihad ambitions", the document states.

Two years ago, western intelligence said that al-Qaeda was virtually a spent force, disrupted by counter-terrorist operations around the world.

In July 2005 the Pentagon obtained a letter written by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's deputy leader, stating that the organisation had lost many of its leaders and that it had virtually resigned itself to defeat in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda's lines of communication, funding and structure had been severely damaged.

Dr Jonathan Eyal, the director of international security at the Royal United Services Institute, said that the al-Qaeda revival was down to the West's inability to kill or capture Osama bin Laden and that wars in Afghanistan and Iraq made matters worse.

"This document clearly demonstrates a marked shift from the mood of western government only a year or two ago," he said. "It is a clear admission that the organisation is re-emerging and the reasons are that none of al-Qaeda's top leaders have been killed or captured."

Dick Prepares to leave Australia and Join the "Mile High Club"

Flight crew will be expected to bring him the "bat" and the "Koala Bear" after take off.

AP Photo/Mark Baker

Golly, this story seems familiar


A suicide bomber struck Sunday outside a college campus in Baghdad, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens as a string of other blasts and rocket attacks left bloodshed around the city.

Most of the victims were students at the college, a business studies annex of Mustansiriyah University that was hit by a series of deadly explosions last month. At least 44 people were injured in Sunday's blast.

The wave of attacks around Baghdad came a day after [Baghdad Nouri] Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lauded the progress of an ongoing U.S.-Iraqi security operation seeking to cripple militant factions and sectarian killings in the capital.


From David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo:

We're learning more about Sue Ellen Wooldridge, formerly the Justice Department's top environmental official whose boyfriend, former Interior Department official and lobbyist Steven Griles, is caught up in the Jack Abramoff scandal. In an otherwise soft-pedaled story, her hometown Sacramento Bee quotes Wooldridge as claiming that "when I was growing up I used to castrate sheep with my teeth." Oh, my. I didn't realize that was how it was done.

I think I speak for most men when I say, I'd be far less intimidated if you just said you could do the whole cherry-stem thing.


The NY Times Editorial:

Almost five and a half years ago, America — united by the shock of 9/11 — understood exactly what it needed to do. It had to find, thwart and take down the command structure of Al Qaeda, which was responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent people on American soil. Despite years of costly warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, America today is not significantly closer to that essential goal.

At a crucial moment, the Bush administration diverted America’s military strength, political attention and foreign aid dollars from a necessary, winnable war in Afghanistan to an unnecessary, and by now unwinnable, war in Iraq. Al Qaeda took full advantage of these blunders to survive and rebuild. Now it seems to be back in business.

As our colleagues Mark Mazzetti and David Rohde reported last week, American intelligence and counterterrorism officials believe that Al Qaeda has rebuilt its notorious training camps, this time in Pakistan’s loosely governed tribal regions near the Afghan border. Camp graduates are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq — and may well be plotting new terrorist strikes in the West.

The same officials point to more frequent and more current videos as evidence that Al Qaeda’s top leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri — once on the run for their lives and unable to maintain timely communications with their followers — now feel more secure. Al Qaeda is not as strong as it was when its Taliban allies ruled Afghanistan. But, the officials warn, it is getting there.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Stuck all day at Chicago's Ohare International Airport, and let me tell you, it sucks. Good lord get me out of this place. I barely made it in (at 11 a.m.) ahead of the storm, sat here as my scheduled flight to Baltimore (2:20 p.m.) was cancelled because the inbound plane couldn't get here. I figured a couple of margaritas would make the stay more tolerable and it did. But the plane that I was put on, scheduled to depart at 5:50 p.m. was loaded then taken out of service, so we de-planed. As I write this we wait for a plane in from NY LGA which is itself late. It is 7:00 pm and I am losing hope that we will get out of here. They still say we are going to go but the plane loaded and ready to go to Philly is blocking my gate, so my plane has nowhere to go. I've had enough of ORD to last me a lifetime.

Disgusting, Unforgivable

And who speaks for these people without being mocked and treated like a virus because the poor are treated like they are less than human?

So the reporters at McClatchy snapped on the rubber gloves, plunged into the dark cavities of the Census Bureau, and pulled out a stunning statistic: "Nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty"--a category that includes individuals making less than $5,080 a year, and families of four bringing in less than $9,903 a year. That number, by the way, has been growing rapidly since 2000. The article itself hits the usual refrains--noting that the United States spends less on anti-poverty programs than any other industrialized country outside of Russia and Mexico

Meanwhile, your Bush Administration at work:

As David K. Shipler reported in The Working Poor, welfare agencies spend a great deal of effort dissuading people from applying for assistance. They'll ask single mothers who come in a few perfunctory questions and then--illegally--refuse to give them an application. Or they'll design "Kafkaesque labyrinths of paperwork" that turn any attempt to obtain benefits into a full-time job. Anything to ease pressure on state budgets. Luckily, the Bush administration has taken note of all this and proposed to... eliminate the Census's Survey of Income and Program Participation, so that nosy researchers can no longer figure out how many eligible families are receiving assistance. Problem solved!

Disgusting, Unforgivable.

Oh My God...

It's dueling Cheneys!!

REUTERS/Will Burgess

Adapted from AP Photo/Torsten Blackwood, Pool

Mr. Straight Talk

I think we might have found out the cause of Roger Simon's (and others) John McCain love:

After the speech, McCain was asked by an audience member if he was "sucking up to the religious right." He drew laughs by responding: "What's wrong with sucking up to everybody?"

Best Wishes to

The irreplaceable Steve Gilliard for a fast recovery.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A message for David Brooks

It's when things like this become evident:

Among Religious Groups, Jewish Americans Most Strongly Oppose Iraq War

That I say to David Brooks who once accused war critics of being anti-Jewish:


It's been a while

Since we visited the untouched body and mind of Kathryn Lopez, but it is good to know she is always there and never fails to deliver on inadvertent material.

Today comes a story of how "Money-Obsessive-Compulsive" Suze Orman describes herself thusly.

This inspires Solomon to ask Orman if she is married.

Orman says she "has a relationship with life," so Solomon presses her, and Suze then reveals that her "life partner" is Kathy Travis and, "We're going on seven years. I have never been with a man in my whole life. I'm still a 55-year-old virgin."

This defines virgin in a rather literal fashion of course.

But on to the unmistakable unintentional comedy we expect from K-Lo:

Suze Orman [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Now we know why she snatched up the Saturday night slot.

02/23 03:14 PM

Blogging With Attitude

Atrios links to Jay Reding, who apparently stands for conservativism with attitude, whatever that is. Reding knows that bloggers like the overlord kos are going to drive the Democratic party bus over the cliff by insisting on idealogical purity. The proof is in the Ellen Tauscher pudding, according to Reding:

Politically, the netroots are probably the worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party. They got lucky in 2006 — endorsing Democrats in a Democratic year will guarantee you win, but for the long-term future of the Democratic Party they’re only going to push the Democrats farther and farther to their radical leftist vision. You have a group of people who have absolutely no sense of compromise and will try and destroy anyone who doesn’t meet their ideological purity tests now grabbing the Democrats by the hair and screaming if they so much as protest.
So that's it--we just got lucky. Reding's idea of good politics means compromise and avoiding idealogical purity. I happen to believe compromise is a good thing at the right time and place. I do not believe in compromising one's values, which many politicians (e.g. Biden, Clinton, Tauscher, Lieberschmuck, et al.) have been doing for years but have now in the Bush era refined it to a high art. Tauscher, in supporting the anti-citizen bankruptcy reform law, in supporting rollback/repeal of the estate tax, among other decisions demonstrate she deserves a push from the left. Those votes prove Tauscher is a representative in the pockets of the financial institutions and the wealthy right. There is no defense of those votes. But that isn't all.

Here are some more sage words for us to take to heart:

There’s no question that the “netroots” can do what they’re doing. If they want to drive the Democrats over a cliff, that’s their prerogative. However, the question that the “netroots” should be asking is whether they should be engaging in activities that alienate their own moderates.

That’s the problem with extremists. They never bother to examine the consequences of their actions, and in a party motivated by the most base hatred of the opposition, disagreement is treason and moderation is evil. It’s interesting how much projection is involved in all the critiques of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that float around the left-wing of the blogosphere.

Sooner or later the Republicans will wake up to the fact that moderates define elections — and when they do, the result could well be a political realignment the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long while…

There is no litmus test or requirement for idealogical purity, there is only policy which is good for people or bad. If attacking those that supported the abysmal Bankruptcy reform law loses us some moderates then they weren't going to stay with us anyway. If attacking on principle those that support rollback of the estate tax--one of, if not the single biggest piece of shit law proposed by the Bush administration, loses us some "moderates" well then we don't want them.

You see, Jay, what we in the netroots are building is real democracy. It isn't the shitty pandering phony-baloney democracy of Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, James Carville, Terry McAuliffe, the DLC, Charles Schumer, Rahm Emanuel, Ed Gillespie, et al. They are all the same and they stand for nothing but the accumulation of power and pandering to the great center in an effort to hold on to it--power (they don't really care about the center). The problem is, in the process of accumulating and hanging on to that power, they stand for nothing for fear of alienating the squishy middle.

We don't want them pandering to us, we want them responsive and responsible. And the fact is, if we stand firm on some core principles, we'll get most of those so-called moderates. And while we're doing it, we won't lie to them so they support horrible policies like invading and occupying foreign countries that pose no threat to us, we won't support repeal of the estate tax so that multi-millionaires can pass along their estates tax-free. When we can afford them, we will not support tax cuts more generous by an order of magnitude for the wealthiest among us over those who have the least. We will not alienate our allies by bullying. We will not appeal to the lowest common denominator by playing on people's fears.

And I would say, in closing, it takes a lot of guts for any conservative to lecture any of us on the left about base hatred of the opposition. Karl Rove and the Swiftboaters really took our political discourse to a new low. And as to his prediction for realignments, that train already left the station. Let's hope that by insisting on accountability it takes the Democratic party a few generations to do to the political discourse what the Republicans did in less than a decade.

Dimmer Twins

(To Street fighting Man)

Ev'rywhere I hear the sound of crying, an exploding screech, boy

'Cause the wars bein' lost and I'm on the Right and I'm desperate, oy!
Well then what can a dumb slob do
Except to go on a hideous rant

'Cause in the war-crazed right-wing
There's just no time for me to be an Iraq fighting man

Hey! Think the time is right for some fascist elocution
'Cause where I live the game is uncompromising retribution

Well then what can a dumb slob do
Except to go on a ridiculous rant

'Cause I'm a right-wing asshat and
There's no way I'll be an Iraq fighting man

Go down

Hey! Said my name is called disturbance

I'll shout and scream, I'll crown the king, I'll rail at civil servants
Well, what can a blogboy do
Except to link to sexless creeps

'Cause Bush has lost this fucking war
There's no way I'll go and become an Iraq fighting man
Go down

The man hasn't trembled with such anticipation since...


This happened...

Bush was right

Not often of course, if hardly ever...

Seriously, or snarkily, I'm trying to put together some sort of list of what George W. Bush has been correct about in six years, one month, and three days.

I mean there have to be some things, like a stopped clock.

I can only come up with one thing off the top of my head he has said that was undeniably correct:

1. "Being President is Hard."

Can anybody supplement this list?

George isn't the only one in the family...

who enjoys a good fart joke.

REUTERS/Lee Celano


The usual

From the team that brought you...

-- "That deal that Clinton made with North Korea sucks, I'll force 'em not to make nuke-you-lahr weapons." (Summer 2001)
-- "But ah'm on vacation" (August 8, 2001)
-- "Ah he'll never get off that mountain" (December 2001)
-- "There won't be any casualties" (March 2003)
-- "We know where the weapons of mass destruction are..."(March 2003)
-- "Mission Accomplished" (May 2003)
-- "Ah don't wanna talk to Iran" (Fall 2003)
-- "We're making progress" (June 2003 to present)


When Israeli officials asked Secretary Rice about the possibility of exploring the seriousness of Syria in its calls for peace talks, her response was unequivocal: Don't even think about it.

....Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has so far adopted the strict American position not to respond to the Syrian feelers.

On the other hand, at the Foreign Ministry and within the defense establishment, there is a greater degree of openness to the offers, and the overall view is that the door should not be closed entirely to the Syrians. Similarly, many believe that the Syrian offers should be tested for their sincerity.

Oh Bush Administration, is there nothing you can't make worse?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I guess they'll give anybody a blog

As if I haven't proved that every damn day for nearly three years.

Nevertheless, who's this guy, what's he ever done?

A Big Day for P.Z. Myers

Giant Squid Captured:

The world's sperm whales mourn.*

Thanks to Nitpicker for noticing the typo.

Wrap your head around this quote

What's this guy's nickname at Little Green Footballs?

Ahmed Abdullah, 29, a Sunni from Zaiona, had doubts. "I don't believe that Iraqis will rape a woman. We don't have such a culture. We might kill, behead or do torture, but rape — I don't think so," he said.

Thanks to Kingweasil for the email to this USA Today article.

To use one of the most used phrases in the blogosphere:

What Digby says:

Here's crazy Dick Cheney articulating his sophisticated foreign policy philosophy again:

"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the al-Qaida strategy," the vice president told ABC News. "The al-Qaida strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit."

I've written a ridiculous amount about this and yet it always shocks me when I hear him put it so plainly. He believes bin Laden's trash talk and has fashioned this country's national security policy around it. This was the king of the "grown ups."

Not surprisingly there hasn't been a lot of effort to rank this nation's Vice Presidents. In fact, if you can name, say 15 of our nation's 46 Vice-Presidents, without naming the ones that actually became President then I'd guess you cheated and looked someplace like this.

The reason is fairly obvious, we generally have tended to rank Vice-Presidents in terms of their relative power within an Administration. Usually without demeriting them for the policy's of their actual President. Mondale and Humphrey are considered up there on the VP Meter because of influence, but are not really castigated for their bosses shortcomings of policy -- though in the immediate history they suffered at the polls when they ran. But forty-years on no one blames them, they measure their influence. Though mostly they measure them for their other accomplishments (Mondale was an effective Senator, Humphrey one of the true giants of the Senate).

It's hard to rank the "worst" Vice-Presidents because most of them did nothing of any real note during their tenure. Spiro Agnew had a lot of vile rhetoric, but his real accomplishment was being a crook while he was Governor of Maryland. Aaron Burr showed some real flair by getting himself indicted for treason.

But, at the end of the day, we finally come to the ultimate pairing of disasters.

The worst President of all time, meets the worst possible pairing of all-time as Vice President. The Bush Administration is sort of how George Wallace & Curtis LeMay would have worked had the former somehow been elected and then decided to go on a vacation for four years.

For Cheney has all the keen geopolitical acumen and desires of Curtis LeMay, without the military medals or the admission that he might be a war criminal. There could not be a worse pairing for the weak-brained but messianic Bush than the strong-willed and ideologically crazy Cheney. Combine that with a national disaster that sets them loose and you have the worst combination of events we could have had for this pairing. It's like Squeaky Fromme and Charles Manson ran for office. In fact, I suggest Bush name his pamplet, I mean memoirs, "Helter Skelter".

Oh, they have talented and unrelenting spinners, and as Glenn Reynolds and the gang at "The Corner" demonstrate everyday they have a whole host of enablers that have foolishly bet on their policies (relying upon their base bigotry against "strange people" in another part of the world that have a slightly different but similar religious faith) to such an extent that they can no longer help themselves but go "all in". But, at the end of the day, that is all they have. They are assisted by a media that while never wholly buying all they say, never was adequately critical and has gone from fearful to stunned and ineffective. At first they couldn't believe they'd lie to them and they still cannot believe they're still being lied to. No the fault is laid upon those of us who never believed them.

Let's just hope we get the chance to recover.

Such is the tragedy of our times

Mr. Analogies

Fred Kaplan on the 20th summed up Bush's bankruptcy pretty well (I've been mulling over doing something similar but I'm lazy and this is better than I would have done):

On Feb. 19, to celebrate George Washington's birthday, President Bush gave a speech at Mount Vernon comparing himself to the father of our country and the Iraqi war to the Revolutionary War.

In the past, George W. Bush has likened himself to Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy...

..."On the field of battle," Bush said at Mount Vernon, "Washington's forces were facing a mighty empire, and the odds against them were overwhelming. The ragged Continental Army lost more battles than it won" and "stood on the brink of disaster many times. Yet George Washington's calm hand and determination kept the cause of independence and the principles of our Declaration alive. … In the end, General Washington understood that the Revolutionary War was a test of wills, and his will was unbreakable."

Sound familiar? It's obviously meant to, but it shouldn't. Here's an awkward question: By Bush's own description, which side in the Iraq war most resembles the "ragged Continental Army" and which side the "mighty empire"? I don't mean to draw moral (or any other sort of) equivalences, because there is nothing at all equivalent about those two wars, or these two presidents, and it degrades the serious study of history to pretend there is.

But dragging Washington into Iraq is especially perverse because it's hard to imagine a war that he would have found more dreadful. Bush quotes him as having once said, "My best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever in any country I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom."

Yet Bush leaves out the context in which Washington made this remark. It was when the French foreign minister presented him with France's new tricolor flag. That is, it was in celebration of the French Revolution.

It was not, in any way, an endorsement of going to war to "spread freedom" around the world. To the contrary, in 1793, during France's subsequent war with much of Europe, Washington issued a Proclamation of Neutrality, forbidding American citizens from taking any action that would help one side or another.

Nor did Bush say anything about Washington's Farewell Address of 1796, in which the first president, stepping down from two terms, elaborated his views still further. Washington urged his fellow citizens to avoid "overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty." He cautioned against "excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another." And he advised, "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible."

Washington "first in war, first in peace, first to have his legacy tortured and abused by an idiot".

Bush likes to throw out the particularly inappropriate statement when discussing his legacy that "historians are still evaluating George Washington".


You know, Georgie, first, that's what historians do. The reason historians study Washington as opposed to say, James Monroe, in abundance is because like Caesar, Napolean, et al, there is something to study, a gigantic and generally auspicious legacy.

Second, unlike say, um, you, few people in their own time are ever as admired as George Washington. There is a line from, I believe Gary Wills, that describes Washington's effect on his contemporaries. In a room that contained Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison when Washington was around there was no doubt who dominated the room by his very presence. Everyone understood at the time that George Washington was a great figure. They knew that then, they knew that now. People are not re-evaluating Washington's legacy they are merely refining it.

Indeed, Washington was so rich in greatness both at the time and later that historians actually work at trying to humanize him and emphasize his flaws because otherwise he is dull and the public takes him for granted. That's right, they work to point out his flaws. Even in regard to Washington's greatest flaw (slavery) he turns out to have been greater than his peer group. I mean, shit, it's just not fair. George Washington is so much better a human being, so much greater a leader than you, for you to even try to compare yourself to him, makes you seem even less of a person than you were previously, no mean feat.

Let's get down to basics. You can be compared to some former Presidents, and indeed in many ways you have exceeded them.

Their names are Buchanan and Pierce. In fact, you are a guy who started an illegal war like Polk, and then ran it like you were Buchanan. This makes you, the worst President ever.


"All mine"

Enjoy your beans.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Very Nice

The Freeway Blogger strikes:

Thanks to Scarlet P. who put it up.

Attacker Mentally Ill?

Carrier Clinic, a psychiatric and addiction treatment center.

"I think this is a medical problem, judge," Addis said. "I am concerned for his mental well-being."Hunt faces charges in California including attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime, according to San Francisco police.

Arrested Development

Glenn Greenwald and Fubar have more, but it breaks down this way and the truth comes out accurately in the end:

January 24, 2007:

"It would be deeply irresponsible to set a time-table for withdrawal."
- Tony Blair

February 21, 2007:

"I am deeply irresponsible."
- Tony Blair

Support the troops use of them as props

Once again, Cheney can only appear before a captive audience. And man do they love it.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Like looking at an Museum Diorama

Mike Allen, who always approaches Bush as if the latter has Werther's Originals in his pockets and if he plays his cards right, just might get the wrapper, interviews Helen Thomas.

This paragraph reflects all that is wrong with Thomas' peers and Allen in particular:

I pointed out that there is a school of thought that questions are worth asking even if the president won’t answer them. “At least the public’ll know you’re doing your job,” she said. “Questions should be out there, because the American people have seen us become so compliant and complicit. You were there for the run-up to the war. Where were the questions? Who asked why, what, what do you mean? We drop bombs and we accuse the enemy of meddling? We attack a country that did nothing on us? We dropped bombs on innocent people and started this war. You were there. Nobody said why.” When she paused and I filled the silence with “fascinating,” she continued: “It isn’t fascinating. It’s rid– it’s, it’s sad.”

"Fascinating"? That's your response Mr. Spock?

Someday, when Mike Allen succeeds David Broder as "the Dean" our world will look something like this:

One often gets the feeling

That Jonah Goldberg & Glenn Beck were both runts of the same litter (off the same pod?). And when you compare their shallow intellects, lazy dispositions, and easy-going ill-manners and offensive timing it is hard to argue otherwise.


the 'freak flag'.


"We're Winning"

Via Josh Marshall we find this article from Peter Bergen (well known go-to guy on all matters Al Qaeda in the media) and Paul Cruickshank.

I believe the headline may grab you -- in regard to the success of the "Let's Bomb us a Secular Country" strategy to fighting terrorists:

The Iraq Effect: War has increased terrorist seven fold worldwide

Our study shows that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.

We are not making the argument that without the Iraq War, jihadist terrorism would not exist, but our study shows that the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus, as shown by a rising number of terrorist attacks in the past three years from London to Kabul, and from Madrid to the Red Sea...

... Our study shows just how counterproductive the Iraq War has been to the war on terrorism. The most recent State Department report on global terrorism states that the goal of the United States is to identify, target, and prevent the spread of "jihadist groups focused on attacking the United States or its allies [and those groups that] view governments and leaders in the Muslim world as their primary targets." Yet, since the invasion of Iraq, attacks by such groups have risen more than sevenfold around the world. And though few Americans have been killed by jihadist terrorists in the past three years it is wishful thinking to believe that this will continue to be the case, given the continued determination of militant jihadists to target the country they see as their main enemy. We will be living with the consequences of the Iraq debacle for more than a decade.

Read the whole, depressing, thing.

If the goal wasn't decreasing terrorism, but creating a permanent boost in the spending of armaments and the creation of a perpetual war that will continue beyond our lifetimes, then mission accomplished.

Some people don't like to be called Douchebag

But if you're Michael Medved you embrace your douchebagosity. For only Medved would take the statements of Tim Hardaway and say, "I feel ya'".

In fact, Medved gazes around and decides he's going to show Tim Hardaway how it is done and bring in another group of people:

Tim Hardaway (and most of his former NBA teammates) wouldn’t welcome openly gay players into the locker room any more than they’d welcome profoundly unattractive, morbidly obese women. I specify unattractive females because if a young lady is attractive (or, even better, downright “hot”) most guys, very much including the notorious love machines of the National Basketball Association, would probably welcome her joining their showers. The ill-favored, grossly overweight female is the right counterpart to a gay male because, like the homosexual, she causes discomfort due to the fact that attraction can only operate in one direction. She might well feel drawn to the straight guys with whom she’s grouped, while they feel downright repulsed at the very idea of sex with her.

Over to you K-Lo.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Outward Bound

Thers is a man of the world, and he knows the passions that drive Roger Simon's coverage of John McCain.


Cheney looks warily

"Well, here I am."

"Get no closer my little nipponese friend."

"Stand back. Behold the Cheney!"

Is the Japanese army about?

Seriously, are they coming?

Okay, here we go!

Wait about 45 seconds to play second audio

Cheney he is really mean, his breath smells like ass & kerosene, but we love Gamera!