Friday, March 31, 2006

When good news goes bad

In covering the Jill Carroll story, Howard Kurtz discovers why there's no good news from Iraq. They can't get to it. It seems that "liberal press" is trying but as Lara Logan of CBS tells it,
"You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack. Oh, sorry, we can't show this reconstruction project because then that's going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked . I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country."
What she means is the lack of security is the story and there's no way to put a pretty face on it.

Meanwhile, the Bush bloggers are already circling Jill Carroll, looking for blood. I've seen more than one reference to suspicions that the whole thing being staged to somehow benefit the "liberal media" agenda. I've also seen complaints that she didn't express sufficient gratitude to her US "rescuers" when she gave a statement that was taped while her Sunni guards were standing nearby.

Jeesh, don't these people ever wait to get the whole story before they rush in with innuendo and condemnations?
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Odd lots

Just for fun. A clever remake of an old verse. The House (of Congress) that Jack Built.

Prison rape is a largely unaddressed and all too often ignored problem in our penal system. Bad enough when it happens in the jails, but you would think they could protect a 12 year old while he was in the courthouse. Unfortunately, you would be wrong.

Under the heading, don't these people have something better to do, school officials in Agawam, MA punished 25 students when they discovered they had formed an $5 an entry basketball pool. I mean really, March Madness is a rite of passage for sports fans. The newspapers print the brackets and there must be thousands if not millions of office pools going on across the country.

As for the bragging rights only pool I'm in, I'm currently holding at 9th place out of 21. I won't win but I don't expect to drop much since the competion is all between the top five players. I'll still get bragging rights out of it though. For the first time in 20 years, I will have beat my old boss Jonathan Souweine at something.
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Deja-vu all over again

Tell me this doesn't sound familiar. Bush needs a boost and Iran is in his sights. All this posturing about diplomacy is a crock and these are the money quotes to prove it.
John Bolton. "It sends an unmistakable message to Iran that its efforts to deny the obvious fact of what it's doing are not going to be sufficient."

Russia and China urge a cautious approach while "the West has refused to rule out sanctions, and U.S. officials have said the threat of military action must also remain on the table."
And perhaps most telling of Bush strategy:
In a confidential letter earlier this month, Britain argued for including the other permanent Security Council members in talks with Iran. In exchange, they hoped to secure Russian and Chinese support for increasing pressure on Iran through binding council resolutions that could be enforced militarily.

A senior European official said on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the media that Britain's "proposal is not off the table." But a U.S. official, who also requested anonymity for the same reason, said Washington opposed including more countries in the negotiations.

"From the beginning, our position has been that we don't think it's helpful to have other countries joining the EU-3 in the dialogue because it has the potential of diluting the Western position on Iran," he said.
Right, we wouldn't want to "dilute" the Bush administration's push to pull another ass-saving military strike out of their hat. Silly me. I thought international negotiations should include everyone. Eerily similar to the run-up to Iraq, don't you think?
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Order in the court

Sorry posting has been so non-existent in the last few days. I seem to be afflicted with some kind of allergy that's affected by eyeball. Between the itchy eye and the runny nose, I've been too miserable to keep up the pace. Hoping a couple of days of rest will restore me to health. Meanwhile, this caught my good eye.

The Supreme Court is asserting its authority to hear Gitmo cases. With Roberts forced to sit it out on account of a previous lower court ruling he made, and Scalia (who should by rights recuse after this statement) and Alito clearly in the White House camp, it's up to the moderate judges to protect the judiciary.

Justice Stephen Breyer notes, ''If the president can do this, well then he can set up commissions to go to Toledo, and in Toledo pick up an alien and not have any trial at all except before that special commission.'' Souter and Ginsburg note the disturbing signifigance of withdrawing jurisdiction from this court in a pending case and retroactively closing the courts to constitutional challenges.

With Bush declaring the constitution, just a goddamned piece of paper, it's unsurprising that the administration is trying to pull this stunt. It's somewhat comforting to see the Supremes fight back against this usurping of their jurisdiction.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Melhman tells troops -- You have been assimilated

Mehlman warns the GOP drones in Congress that attacking the King will kill the whole swarm.
President Bush drives our image and will do so until we have real national front-runners for the '08 nomination. Attacking the President is counter productive for all Republicans, not just the candidates launching the attacks. If he drops, we all drop. We are now brand W. Republicans.

A lot of similiarities between the GOP and the Borgs on Star Trek don't you think?
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John McCain sings

Thanks to Ex-Pat Brian for reminding us of this video that's been making the rounds. McCain should probably keep his day job.
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Monday, March 27, 2006

The mean streets of Afghanistan

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New media

This is interesting Could the AP finally see some real competition for newswire dominance? Meet Mochila. About to unveiled at a trade conference, Mochila intends to offer a new model of news feed, featuring an a la carte menu rather than a subscription service.

Mochila, which means knapsack in Spanish, will offer a variety of sources and will act a middle man between the buyers and purveyors of content -- taking a hefty chunk of the fees. Potential buyers are interested but cautious until the service develops a track record.

I hope it works out for them. I think the format will encourage improved content and I would love to see the AP lose their monopoly besides. A little healthy competition could go a long ways towards curing what ails the media these days.
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The Rat serves up the big cheese

Well I was just saying that we haven't heard a peep out of Rove in a long time and he pops up in the news. Raw Story has a scoop. Inside and obviously unnamed sources say Rove has been the very soul of cooperation with Pat Fitzgerald's investigation, eagerly leaving a trail of crumbs that lead straight into Cheney's office. Karl has been naming names and dates to help our good special prosecutor resurrect all those 250 "missing" emails that were "discovered" in the back-up server.

Even more delicious is that Al Gonazles may go down with that rat infested ship. All those deleted emails and the mysterious 12 hour delay between receiving and relaying the order from Justice to turn over records will require some mighty tortured explanations to keep the AG out of the defendant's chair.

The bigger question is will Rove skate again? Luskin of course, denies everything saying his client did not make a deal and is cooperating simply because he's a good and patriotic American. But, as Raw Story points out, "according to last week's New York Times, associates say Rove is 'increasingly certain' he will not be indicted in the case."

Although I've always expected it, I have to admit I'll be a little disappointed if Karl doesn't do the frogwalk with the rest of the rodents in the White House, but it will worth it to see Cheney go down.
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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chertoff globe-trotting

Mike Chertoff is on a little taxpayer funded jaunt to Asia to personally view a new air cargo inspection system.
"I want to see it for myself," Chertoff told an audience at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, adding that any valuable techniques he sees would be adopted by U.S. security authorities. [...]

Along those lines, Chertoff says he has big plans to improve air cargo security. "Obviously, we screen everybody's baggage when they get on an airplane, but we have to look at the cargo as well," Chertoff said. [...]

"The goal here, as with maritime cargo, is to screen 100% of air cargo and inspect 100% of the high-risk cargo," Chertoff said, adding that TSA will deploy an automated known shipper program this summer.
It's been almost five years since 9/11 and we've spent billions to fund Homeland Security. Why is Chertoff still cruising the globe looking for ideas? Wouldn't you think DHS should have had something in place by now?
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What does it say about our armed forces when ten people are considered a mass reenlistment? Apparently this is so big Cheney himself showed up to MC the ceremony. I don't know about you, but I think a hundred could be considered a mass reenlistment. Ten people is just pathetic really.
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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Somebody needs to get a life...

The right wingnuts are really getting desperate when they tout this as "a fabulous exchange" between Rummy and the press. I would ask, "tongue pressed firmly to cheek" or foot lodged firmly in mouth? I would say the latter and one can't to fail to notice that Rummy didn't answer the question.

And it is me, or is old Rums looking more and more like a ventriloquist's dummy every day?
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Would you believe it's a solution?

I don't know quite to make of the Russian spies who tipped off Saddam story. I tend to agree with Steve Soto's take.
...Rummy and Tommy Franks spent more time using the Russians to plant misinformation with Saddam about our battle plans than they spent in actually writing up an effective plan for the occupation and post-invasion security. This sounds typical Bush Administration to me, which is why I believe it. They are better at misinformation and deceit than they are on actually developing winning strategies or policies.
Steve also catches a more interesting development that I missed. According to Eleanor Clift's Newsweek piece, Poppy Bush is sending in the big guns to bail Junior out of the Iraq mess. Daddy at least realizes that his darlin' boy's stance of "I'm staying until I leave office and let the next guy figure out how to win it," isn't going to win any hearts and minds of Americans. Steve has the lowdown on the new congressionally mandated bi-partisan Iraq Study Group to be led by none other than James Baker, joined by such heavyweights as Vernon Jordan. But here's the real surprise. The group and its mission are being endorsed by none other than Valerie's Plame's hubby Joe Wilson.

Doesn't sound like it's going to be pretty and I'm not so sure that the Group will be able to break through the cone of silence around the Oval Office, but like Steve says, it beats the heck out of what we got now.
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WaPo winks at impeachment

The WaPo takes a ride through my old stomping grounds up north, known from Brattleboro VT to Springfield, MA as the Happy Valley. Its denizens are not so happy with the White House these days. The call for impeachment from these quarters has grown loud enough to be heard on the front page of the WaPo. Seems like only last week, the MSM was saying they wouldn't address impeachment because it too much a fringe issue. Oh wait -- that was last week.

Who knows what changed the WaPo's mind. Perhaps they feel the need to pay some penance for the Red State blogger debacle. Or perhaps they just noticed that once you leave the insulated comfort inside the Beltway, where overpaid consultants whisper words on focus groups to soothe anxious incumbents, the average Jake isn't buying the feel-good propaganda the media has been pimping for the White House anymore.

And before you write this off as just a manifestation of Yankee librul'ism, think again. Yeah, you got your academic elistists in spades in those parts but there's a solid base, even in WMA, of no-nonsense conservative independents who were solid supporters of the Iraq invasion when it started. I'd like to think I had something to do with the swing now towards common sense. G-d knows I plyed my politics at every VFW and Eagles club bar that would let me through the doors. Cranky Yankees. They may be stubborn but they not easily fooled and they've see the light.

Which makes this all the more irritating.
Democrats remain far from unified. Prominent party leaders -- and a large majority of those in Congress -- distance themselves from the effort. They say the very word is a distraction, that talk of impeachment and censure reflect the polarization of politics. Activists spend too many hours dialing Democratic politicians and angrily demanding impeachment votes, they say. [...]

"Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain't therapy," said Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts liberal who declined to sign the Conyers resolution. "Bush would much rather debate impeachment than the disastrous war in Iraq."
Polarization my ass. Iraq and impeachment go hand in hand. Iraq and the so called-war on terror is at the root of this administration's systematic destruction of not only our civil liberties but also our centuries old system of checks and balances. It's not even about succeeding at impeaching him. It's about opening a public dialogue on what "we the people" want our government to be.

Our government has been hijacked by professional politicians who worry more about re-election than they do about running the government. Impeachment is a call for accountability, not only from the White House but from the Congress as well. We have a president who went to war for political reasons and bases his war strategy on political expediency rather than practical goals. Calling him to account for that is pragmatic, not partisan and for our troops, it's a life or death question that deserves a better answer than we've received so far.

If our elected representatives fail to demand those answers, they'll find themselves answering to their constituents at the polls in November.
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Friday, March 24, 2006

Like putting lipstick on a pig - second

Well that was short. I didn't really follow this brouhaha but it goes to show you how little the major media understands left blogtopia.

The right wingers are still stuck on Rathergate and have successfully sold the myth of their superpowers to the big guys. Clearly the WaPo bought into the myth but force a wingnut to publicly defend their point and they fold like a Japanese lantern. You think they would have learned something from Jeff Gannon.
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Like putting lipstick on a pig

A good editorial at on the Senate's rush to make illegal surveillance, legal. I liked the punch line.

To us, this is mopping up after spilled milk, while the guy who spilled it, the president, gets off with a smirk.

Rather than trying to fix a law that wasn't broken until Bush decided to break it, Congress should be considering censuring the president. Otherwise the message from
Congress to future presidents will be break any law you want.

We've got your back.
So where do we find legislators that remember that's where their spine is located? I just found out about Bush's signing statement that rewrote the Patriot Act to suit himself. I mean, how much does it take before it's too much to ignore?

Russ Baker eloquently asks the same question. Who will answer?
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Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools

Greg Palast tells us, it really was about oil, but not in the way you think.
Dick and George didn't want more oil from Iraq, they wanted less. I know some of you, no matter what I write, insist that our President and his Veep are on the hunt for more crude so you can cheaply fill your family Hummer; that somehow, these two oil-patch babies are concerned that the price of gas in the USA is bumping up to $3 a gallon.

Not so, gentle souls. Three bucks a gallon in the States (and a quid a litre in Britain) means colossal profits for Big Oil, and that makes Dick's ticker go pitty-pat with joy. The top oily-gopolists, the five largest oil companies, pulled in $113 billion in profit in 2005 -- compared to a piddly $34 billion in 2002 before Operation Iraqi Liberation. In other words, it's been a good war for Big Oil.

As per Plan Bush, Bahr Al-Ulum became Iraq's occupation oil minister; the conquered nation "enhanced its relationship with OPEC;" and the price of oil, from Clinton peace-time to Bush war-time, shot up 317%.

In other words, on the third anniversary of invasion, we can say the attack and occupation is, indeed, a Mission Accomplished. However, it wasn't America's mission, nor the Iraqis'. It was a Mission Accomplished for OPEC and Big Oil.
Planned incompetence. Brilliant ploy really.
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Under the radar news

Stuff I didn't get around to blogging that I think didn't get enough attention last week.

Meet John Boehner. He wants to improve ethics in Congress but not at the expense of corporate funded all expense paid trips for "educational purposes." Like learning about the best golf courses in the world.

Vote-a Rama or ten easy steps to bust the budget.

Interchangable cronies. New Interior Secretary is as bad as Norton. And he bounces checks to his hairdresser.

The backstory on FEMA. Click this one just for the priceless photo of Bush and Allbaugh.

Meanwhile Katrina victims are still living in tents and hotel rooms while 11,000 empty trailers gather dust.
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When pigs fly

I think TTLB has it in for me. Every time the Bear changes his algorithms, I get knocked down in the ecosystem. A few months ago when there was the big brouhaha over people gaming the system with linkfests, I got knocked down from marsupial at Last One Speaks and from an adorable rodent here at The Imp and I didn't try to game the system.

I don't even track my links but I feel certain I wasn't massively delinked anywhere. The ratings change for no apparent reason that I can see. It seems a little weird that at a time I know a lot of new blogs just linked to me, that I'm knocked back down to reptile this week. I don't care so much about the ranking, but it's annoying and I can't help but note that when the right wing blogs get raised, the little lefties like me seem to get knocked down. But no matter. I don't blog for ratings.

Posting has been light for the last couple of weeks for a number of reasons but I'm getting back on track and hope to resume my usual volume by tomorrow. To entertain you in the meantime, I just received this in my email.
As President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House, he is carrying a baby pig under each arm. The Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These are not pigs, these are authenticTexan Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-President Cheney, and I got one for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice trade, sir.
It made me laugh.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March madness

I think I might be coming down with something. I fell asleep sitting up in front of the computer last night and I feel decidedly unwell this morning. I would have liked to spend the morning in bed, but that's not happening as I have to work. I'm not sure if it'll pass or not. I may not be blogging today unless it does. Meanwhile, I hope I live through the sweet sixteen tonight. Having studied my pools' picks, although I'm in 16th place out of 21 at the moment, I'm positioned to move up again after this round. Heck, if Duke keeps winning, I could end up in 3rd place at the end. May not sound like much to you but for me it would be a personal best. I usually end up in last place in this pool full of b-ball fanatics.

Anyway, I should be back eventually.
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Monday, March 20, 2006

A refreshing headline

After being subjected to endless pronouncements on the sorry state of the Democratic Party's message, it's nice to read this. GOP Struggles To Define Its Message for 2006 Elections [Warning. Do not read quote while drinking].
"If you are someone who favors small government," Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said, "you're going to have a clear choice between someone who has cut taxes every year in office, who believes you ought to own your own health care . . . and who plans to cut the deficit over five years versus people who have consistently supported more spending, have opposed tax cuts and who oppose patients owning their own health care. The question is, who's on your side for reducing the size of government?"
Too funny for words. The GOPers will of course be hedging their bets by pulling the tried and true wedgie and will be trying to inflame that dependable homo-hatred in the troops with a new anti-gay marriage bill.

Short version of the GOP platform. "Yeah we're bad but the Democrats are even worse and at least we don't love queers." It may be the long term perception that Democrats are ineffectual will help them in 06 after all. Hard to pin the blame on the Dems when they haven't managed to do anything, good or bad in five years.

I suppose the Dems will counter with their new slogan, "We are so better." --sigh-- So far it's shaping up to be a dismal election year.
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Same old story, same old song and dance

Bush is taking his personal revival of Gypsy on the road and leading the show with that all time fav, "Everything's Coming Up Roses".
Bush, speaking on the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, assured Americans that his administration is pursuing a strategy "that will lead to victory in Iraq," an outcome about which polls show the public is increasingly skeptical.
I don't know about you but I've stopped listening to his speeches. Heard one, you've heard 'em all. He's no Ethel Merman or Rosalind Russell, but he should just belt out the song. It would certainly be more entertaining and there's an off chance somebody will listen to him. The lyrics certainly work for his message.

Momma Rose [Papa Bush]
[Speaking] Finish? We're just beginning and there's no one to stop at this time!
I had a dream, a dream about you, baby.
It's gonna come true, baby.
They think that we're through, but baby,

[Singing] You'll be swell! You'll be great!
Gonna have the whole world on the plate!
Starting here, starting now,
honey, everything's coming up roses!

Clear the decks! Clear the tracks!
You've got nothing to do but relax.
Blow a kiss. Take a bow.
Honey, everything's coming up roses!

Now's your inning. Stand the world on it's ear!
Set it spinning! That'll be just the beginning!
Curtain up! Light the lights!
You got nothing to hit but the heights!
You'll be swell. You'll be great.
I can tell. Just you wait.
That lucky star I talk about is due!
Honey, everything's coming up roses for me and for you!...
[Graphics gratitude]
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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dems come a'courting, uh huh

They're saying Democrats are courting the party's left wing. There's a big todo because Jerome Armstrong of My DD got a job as a political consultant. We'll see what comes of that, but here's the money quote that sums up what's wrong with today's political picture.
Still, if recent history is a guide, the winner of the Democratic primary will be decided more on the power of the purse than the power of the left. ''It isn't just camps and ideas that get the competition," said Rob Stein, founder of Democracy Alliance.

''As we get closer to the primary season, it's who can raise the money."

The hands-down winner on that score, even her critics concede, could well be Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I've said for months on end that Clinton would be a disaster. Early polling shows she would be a polarizing candidate but the high paid consultants think they can triangulate her with centrists that don't exist in the present day environment. Worse yet, Kerry is waiting in the wings, accumulating his war chest in the hopes of turning his also-ran status into a run again comeback. He also stands a chance to get it. He's got a lot of cash. Another disaster in the making.

Until we stop awarding the running slots to the highest bidder, nothing is going to change. It's time to consider public financing of candidates and limiting paid political campaigning to a few weeks before the election. It would open the process up to more candidates and take the fundraising aspect out of the equation.
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Separated at birth?

This guy reminds me of my crazed co-blogger. I feel sure he would agree with Zirkle's campaign promise to bring back the guillotine against pornographers.
According to Zirkle, debate could fuel discussion of his guillotine proposal but, so far, "no one will debate me."
Rather unsurprising. Who would dignify this insane proposal with an answer?
"Every adultery (sic) book store will be immediately seized and the property will be forfeited to the taxpayers without any process of law other than a hearing within 10 days of seizure to give the porn-pimps the opportunity (to) challenge the sufficiency of prostitution evidence."

Stage 2, Zirkle said, would involve "actual arrests" for those who did not learn from Stage 1. Stage 3, if necessary, calls for "super speedy public trials with severe punishment that is swiftly carried out after a rapid appeal."

Which leads to Stage 4. "If this stage is necessary, then I am willing to debate the idea of returning the guillotine and lynch mob for those who prey on children under the age of 12; however, no capital punishment will be extended without at least four witnesses."
You ever notice the most rabid moralists usually turn out to be the most depraved people? I'd bet money that they spend a fair amount of time ogling sweet, barely legally aged girls at tittie-bars and feel guilty about it.
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Make way for the theocracy

Kevin Phillips, who wrote the seminal book on the GOP, "The Emerging Republican Majority" (published in 1969), has released his 13th volume. He sees he created a monster and now warns of the theocracy currently incubating within the womb of our government. If the review is this terrifying, one can only imagine how scary the book will be, but the NYT reviewer sums up the reason you should read it anyway before the Christain Taliban manage to take over.
By describing a series of major transformations, by demonstrating the relationships among them and by discussing them with passionate restraint, Phillips has created a harrowing picture of national danger that no American reader will welcome, but that none should ignore.
No kidding. Considering what's going on in Missouri, we ignore them at our peril.

[hat tip Jules Siegel]
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Art imitates life

A game that hits a little too close to home.
"Patriot Act: The Home Version" pokes fun at "the historic abuse of governmental powers" by the recently renewed anti-terrorism law, according to its creator's Web site. But while it may be fun, creator Michael Kabbash, a graphic artist and Arab civil rights advocate, is serious about how he feels the law has curtailed Americans' freedom. The object of the game is not to amass the most money or real estate, but to be the last player to retain civil liberties.

"I've had people complain to me that when they play, nobody wins. They say `We're all in Guantanamo and nobody has any civil liberties left,'" he said. "I'm like `Yeah, that's the point.'"
Doesn't sound like that fun a game to me. No escapist value. It's too much like real life.
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Clean Sky rollbacks forstalled by court

At least some in our judiciary remember their job decription. In a sharply worded decision:
A federal appeals court blocked the Bush administration's four-year effort to loosen emission rules for aging coal-fired power plants, unanimously ruling yesterday that the changes violated the Clean Air Act and that only Congress could authorize such revisions.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with officials from 14 states, including New York, California and Maryland, who contended that the rule changes -- allowing older power plants, refineries and factories to upgrade their facilities without having to install the most advanced pollution controls -- were illegal and could increase the amount of health-threatening pollution in the atmosphere.
Practically the only cheering trend I see these days is more and more state officials willing to stop up and challenge federal irresponsibility. The industry response is predictable.
Segal said the ruling will make it more costly for plants to operate. "This is a missed opportunity for reform that would have made it easier to improve power plant efficiency and workplace safety, and that's bad news for consumers and the environment," he said. "We believe it is a step backwards for the protection of air quality in the United States."
What does that even mean? Typical corporate doubletalk and classic Bushspeak. He claims the proposed decimation of environmental controls would have exactly the opposite of its reasonably expected effect. One wonders how they get people to believe that increasing pollution contributes to workplace safety. Maybe it's the way they say it...

Update: Left of Center has more thoughts, along with contact information if you would like to follow his example and let the EPA spokesman know how you feel about this decision. The graphic on his post alone is worth clicking over for.
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Quick Bytes

I've been dizzin' around the internet and working in the yard today so I'm just getting started. I'll be back with something more substantive but here's a couple of small items you might have missed.

A funny video clip from Comedy Central on the transformation of Paul Hackett by the Dem PR consultants.

And John Aravosis at Americablog started a list of every idiotic thing Bush has done in the last five years. Last I looked there were 1207 comments. I think it's going to be a very long list.
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Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Some Irish blessings for you.

May good luck be your friend
IN whatever you do.
And may trouble be always
A stranger to you.

May your troubles be less,
And your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let's all get drunk, and go to heaven!

[Graphic gratitude]
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Who's sorry now?

FAIR has a good retro-piece up collecting some of the choice quotes of the warmongers from the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. Worth a cruise through for sure. A couple of my favorites:
"Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don't call them 'elitists' for nothing." (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)

"What's he going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it's over? I mean, don't these things sort of lose their--Isn't there a fresh date on some of these debate points?" (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, speaking about Howard Dean--4/9/03)
Funny, I didn't notice Matthews of Scarborough issuing any corrections on their "mis-statements" or did I just miss the mea culpas?
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

War is hell

I'm of the mind that censure is a waste of time and the Dems should be going straight to impeachment. Nonetheless, it's good to see Tom Harkin get on board for Feingold's resolution.

Feingold may be our best hope for accountability. It appears we can no longer count on the judiciary. Spineless wonder, the Hon. David Trager of US District Court in NY, dismissed a lawsuit for damages by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. You of course remember he's the guy who was nabbed by the CIA at Kennedy airport and spent a year on an all expense paid extraordinary rendition holiday in Syria where he was tortured daily and then finally released without being charged with a thing.

Judge Trager stated in his decision, "the coordinate branches of our government [executive and legislative] are those in whom the Constitution imposes responsibility for our foreign affairs and national security. Those branches have the responsibility to determine whether judicial oversight is appropriate." So much for an independent judiciary. Heck, who needs checks and balances anyway when you can have an imperial president? And this guy's a Clinton appointee. Maybe Hillary told him to back off.

And this ought to win a lot more hearts and minds on the Arab Street. The US is launching its largest air strike since the invasion of Iraq. This will of course lead to more stories like this.
A U.S.-led raid on a suspected terror site Wednesday killed 11 civilians, including five children, according to Iraqi police. The U.S. military claimed the death toll from the strike north of Balad was four.
Four or eleven, I have a feeling those Iraqi families aren't going to be throwing roses. Not that the average American will ever see the death toll anyway. Fox News will just tell them we be bombing the bejebus out of those evil terrorists and they'll be happy enough.

Meanwhile, Iraq's newly elected (three months ago) parliament met for the first time Thursday and adjourned after 30 minutes. They swore themselves in and went home. They now have 60 days to pick a new government. I'm betting it takes them that long just to figure out the seating arrangement at the negotiating table.

Why should they be in a hurry? It's our money keeping the country together right now.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Domestic surveillance - the proof is in the FOIAs

Still thinking about the WSJ's ill-informed editorial, one needs to look no further than today's news to refute their contention there's no proof the White House spys on its political enemies.
An FBI agent in Pittsburgh photographed members of an antiwar activist group in 2002, according to documents released yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the disclosure marks the latest incident in which the FBI has monitored left-leaning groups.
The agency says it was done appropriately and within the context of an active investigation. They claimed to have destroyed the photos "once the agent determined that a person under investigation was not in attendance at the event." Yet the FOIA request turned up a memo from February 2003 noting the center was "opposed to the United States' war with Iraq" and analyzed its Web site and activities. The FBI claims it was a draft that was never included in an investigative file. Well of course not. They supposedly destroyed the file in 2002.

Even more curiously,
Heavily censored documents from 2005 also refer to information about the center from an unidentified source. An FBI official said those reports were from a separate probe that did not involve terrorism.
What are they being probed for then? Darned if I know but I would bet it's for something like calling Bush an incompetent liar and demanding an end to his dunderheaded policies. Guess we'll never know for sure since neither the WaPo, nor apparently the FBI, had anything more to say on the subject. You would have thought Dan Eggen might have asked them that question himself.

I mean the FBI is spying on a group of innocent Americans for at least three years and Dan is not even a teensy bit curious about why they are continuing to monitor the group? Isn't that the sort of thing "real" journalists are supposed to ask? Or isn't "why" part of the 4 Ws anymore? It's not only sad, it's a big part of the problem. We need responsible reporting not some robotic repetition of inadequate explanations proferred by the White House.

Forget Murrow, at this point I'd settle for a Jimmy Olsen.
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Classic obfuscations

The Wall St. Journal posts the most blantantly dishonest editorial I have ever read on their free site. Here's one choice quote.
But everyone should understand that censure and impeachment are important--and so far the only--parts of the left's agenda for the next Congress. [...] And not just the loony left either, though it's getting harder to distinguish them from the mainstream variety.
Well it might be because they're speaking for a majority of Americans that would like to see this danger to society removed from office. If that's the only thing an 06 Democratically controlled Congress does for us, it will be enough.

The editorial goes on to repeat the false White House talking points that the NSA program was fully disclosed and legal -- conveniently ignoring a mountain of evidence to the contrary. But it gets worse. a political matter, the Wisconsin Senator knows exactly what he's doing. He knows that anti-Bush pathology runs so deep among many Democrats that they really do think they're living in some new dictatorship. (...) One of our leading left-wing newspapers recently compared Mr. Bush to J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon, as if there were even a speck of evidence that this White House is wiretapping its political enemies.
Conveniently ignoring countless reports of FBI investigations of political protestors. But WSJ is just warming up to the big denouement.
Not only do they want to block his policies, they also plan to rebuke and embarrass him in front of the world and America's enemies. And they want to do so not because there is a smidgen of evidence that he's abused his office or lied under oath, but because they think he's been too energetic in using his powers to defend America.
WTF? It would take a week to describe the "smidgeon of proof" that Bush has abused his office. And didn't these same "fine minds" think it was aok to impeach a Democratic President for a freaking blow job? Oh, but he wasn't a "wartime" president. The editorialist conveniently forgets that our "war president" isn't leading us in a war, he's leading us into a war of choice that will never end as long as he's in charge of it. Feh.

I got this link from TMH Bacon Bits, (via Don Surber), who went on to make a clever little Moby Dick analogy. In reading it, it struck me how easily his words could be turned around to describe himself. Let's just try the opening paragraph.
The similarities between the liberal [neo-conservative] quest to dispose of President Bush [liberals] at all costs, and Captain Ahab’s hate-filled quest for vengeance against Moby Dick, are astounding. Let’s examine the text – keeping in mind that Bush [The Democratic Party] is Moby Dick (pure and white, of course) and the liberals [extreme right wingers] are but a clone of the venomous Ahab. The frenzied and toothy sharks, my friends, are the real [overstated] Islamofascist danger that has one purpose – to devour us all. Quotes (And comments) from Moby Dick:
I leave it to you to translate the rest. These guys like to talk about irrational Bush hate, as if wanting to protect the Bill of Rights, that has served us well for over 200 years, is an extreme position. The Bush supporters just hate us, is all. I get that. What I don't get is why they think their vicious and untenable support for the Bush administration is somehow rational?

Is it rational to spend a whole post making sweeping pronouncements about what liberals think instead of pointing to what he thinks are the specific accomplishments his president has made that make our complaints invalid? I don't know about you, but it sounds crazy to me.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Missouri Madness

The horrible implications of this story are truly breathtaking.

JEFFERSON CITY — A year after Republicans took control of state government, conservative lawmakers are promoting a wide range of social legislation designed to rein in sex and unshackle the Bible.

From new limits on sex education classes to penalties for living in sin, the proposed laws would remake Missouri’s public life in myriad ways. They would sanction prayer in public schools, subsidize religious schools and allow the Bible to be taught in school. [...]

Other bills would:

■ Deny alimony to ex-spouses who live with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

■ Ban all abortions.

■ Provide tax credits for contributions that help kids in lousy school districts to attend private schools.

■ Propose a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to pray in schools and on other public property.

■ Allow pharmacists, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to deny treatment if the procedure or medication offends their moral values.

■ Propose a constitutional amendment to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property.
It's frightening to think we've been so fully infiltrated by the Christian Taliban that they feel they can completely set back the clock and negate a half a century's worth of political process. They worm their way into the political process, take an election win and claim it as license to remold the nation into their own image. I can't think of anything more unChristian, not to mention more undemocratic, than creating conformity by fiat. If these are really the end times, then these so-called Christians are the false prophets.

Link via GuyK. He and I differ on some really major points of policy, but he nails it here.
This kind of Taliban legislation needs to be stopped and stopped now. The hi jacking of the GOP by the Christian Right Wing is leading us down the same path that the Muslim Mad Mullahs led Islam. Who is going to speak out when they come for you?
All that being said, I have to add, if these were citizen initiatives, I would support their right to put the proposals to a paper ballot. I have to believe the good citizens of Missouri would reject that level of government interference in their lives.

If not -- fine -- let all people of like mind move to Missouri because other states will surely reject such offensive governmental intrusion. And if one or two states fall to the religious extremists, it could motivate the 63% (or whatever it really is, I made that up) of America that doesn't vote to get to the ballot box.
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Jumping into the pool

I've been invited into the Souweine family basketball pool again. These guys beat me every year. I always start out strong and then blow it at the final four. I'd like to place better than dead last this time. Anyone got any advice?
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Guinness on tap

I don't know, maybe it's just my mood, but this made me laugh.
OSLO, Norway - A woman found beer instead of water flowed from the faucets in her apartment in west Norway.
“I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks and beer came out,” Haldis Gundersen told Reuters from her home in Kristiansund, in west Norway. “We thought we were in heaven.”

Beer in Norway is among the most expensive in the world with a 0.7 pint costing about $7.48 in a bar.
Unfortunately for Ms. Gunderson, the mix-up was short-lived. Funny story and while we're doing news about brews, I liked this one too. In fact, I love Kinky Friedman as a candidate for a lot more reasons than refusing to apologize for drinking a Guinness in a St. Paddy's Day parade. If I lived in Texas, I would vote for him.

And if you've got five minutes, here's a video of a white horse named Patches that fetchs beer.
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Dump the DC Dems

The problem isn't that all Democrats have no ideas, it's as Molly Ivins puts it, the DC Establishment Dems are an embarassment and a bad joke. Read it all for yourself but here's a fair sample.
Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers.

Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief.

This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass.


So let’s go find a good candidate early and organize the shit out of our side.
You tell 'em Molly. She's the very definition of a Libbytarian and she sure speaks for me.
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The politics of fear or Fundraising by intimidation

This is a new low even for the scummiest of the GOP democracy destruction team. Via Avedon, comes this latest fraud perpetrated by Liddy Dole G-d help me. This sleazeball is my Senator now.

I guess it could be worse. At least this Uncle Tom racist scumbag is not my Congressman.
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Sunday, March 12, 2006

So much for a free press

What have we come to? Congress can't get off their corrupt butts for five years to address the multitude of gross malfeasance committed by the White House but they're pushing through this new "eavesdropping bill" to legitimitize Bush's illegal surveillance at the speed of light. Even worse, they've added a provision to the bill that would make it illegal for the media to expose White House wrongdoing.
"The bill would make it a crime to tell the American people that the president is breaking the law, and the bill could make it a crime for the newspapers to publish that fact," said Martin, a civil liberties advocate.
The bill calls for penalities where "those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both." Talk about a chill on the First Amendment. This is a deep freeze.
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Dear Mr. Feingold

Public censure is an empty gesture. Forget it. Get your shit together and just impeach the SOB.
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Our Imperial President

Shorter NYT: Bush to everybody. "Fuck you. I'm the preznit dammit and I'll do whatever the hell I want."

The money grafs:
But senior staff members insist that Mr. Bush is in good spirits, that calls from his party to inject new blood into the White House make him ever more stubborn to keep the old, and that he has become so inured to outside criticism that he increasingly tunes it out. There is no sense of crisis, they say, even over rebellious Republicans in Congress, because the White House has been in almost constant crisis since Sept. 11, 2001, and Mr. Bush has never had much regard for Congress anyway.

"You know, people say to me, my buddies in Texas, 'How do you handle all this stuff?' " Mr. Bush said at a gathering of newspaper editors Friday in Washington. "You know, it's just after a while you get used to it."
Yeah and if you stick your fingers in your ears and sing la, la, la really loud, you can't hear them anyway.
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War is hell - on the national treasury

Sixteen Apache attack helicopters have been lost in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention nine Predator unmanned air vehicles, signals-intelligence (SIGINT) sensor, a Fairchild A-10, three Boeing A/MH-6M special-operations helicopters and Boeing C-17s damaged during hard landings.

Cost of replacements and some miscellaneous safety upgrades, made as a fiscal year 2006 supplemental funding request to Congress -- $67.9 billion. And you wonder why the military/industrial complex loves war? Good for profits.
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Another corrupt crony bites the dust

Following in the footsteps of disgraced domestic policy advisor Claude Allen, Secretary of the Interior, Gale A. Norton, will resign by the end of the month. She denies her sudden departure has anything to do with being named as a major player in the Abramoff corruption scandal. Of course, that's what they all say.

I say, good riddance to this ANWR pushing, corporate crony who sold out our public lands to private interests. As Moe Udall points out, under her supervision, "The legacy of this administration has been reversing 40 years of progress on the environment."
Bush praised Norton as "a strong advocate for the wise use and protection of our nation's natural resources."
That's Bushspeak for she's been a loyal guardian of corporate interests and a useful minion in breaching the public trust.
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Invent a better headline...

I've been plagued with a relentless sense of deja-vu lately. I have this overwhelming sense of, didn't I read this before, when I peruse the news. That may be because -- they keep recycling the same headlines for the same tired White House strategies. Take this from the WaPo for example, Bush Goes on Offensive To Explain War Strategy -- Speeches to Combat Public Pessimism. Yes, it's true, the White House is launching yet another public relations offensive, and offensive is right word because I'm offended by this insult to my intelligence. Bush, joined by Cheney and Rice, will be spending our tax dollars criss-crossing the country on speaking tours, trying to turn the pig's ear of the Iraq occupation into the silk purse of a noble cause.

Let's guess what they're going to tell us. The Iraq army is training quite nicely to take care of themselves. ( Please ignore the downgrading of combat ready battalions.) That the terrorists hate freedom and want to force us out. (As if it's not in their best interests to taunt us into staying. They're looking like winners here so far.) That we have to stay the course so that the almost 20,000 soldiers who already died or have been permanently injured won't have died and fried for nothing? (As if another 10,000 ruined soldiers will give some meaning to a failed strategy?) That our brave troops are making progress by clearing out insurgents from the towns. (Never mind that the only way to maintain control of an area is with a permanent military presence.) The only true word that will escape Team Bush's lips is that our troops are indeed brave. They have to be to face that horror everyday, knowing their tours may be extended more than once.

But back to my deja-vu problem. I think it would be less acute if the media would change their headlines once in a while, so let's help the WaPo out and write a new one for this item. I suggest, Bush Pimps Well Practiced Propaganda on the Public Dime - Again -- Seeks to Overcome Reality with Rhetoric.

Got any better suggestions?
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Late look at the Oscars

I didn't blog about the Oscars because frankly I haven't been to a movie in five years and I don't watch them at home. I had them on in the background but I only watched to see what the women were wearing this year. Certainly I found the rabid right's response to them more interesting than the awards themselves. I found it rather ironic that they were complaining about the lack of political commentary at the ceremonies. I mean aren't they always bitching about how the stars have no business making political statements in their personal life?

However, of everything I read on the subject, I thought my co-blogger at the Detroit News, Mako Yamakura had the best take on the right wing's trashing of the "Hollywood Liberals." Mako is hard to pigeon hole politically. I'm not sure he's defined his ideology to himself. He tends to be more reactive than reflective but this was one of his best posts.
And maybe it's just TOO LIBERAL to share and be helpful to others. Next time you hear about a tax cut, think about all those rich n' fat Hollywood Liberals who obviously benefit, thanks to the work of the Republican Party.

Send the GOP an email, and thank them for directly helping those "Hollywood Liberals Who Are Out-of-Touch".
Good point, don't you think?
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Judge him by the company he keeps

I just fell apart yesterday. The weather has been so nice, I've spent a lot of time outdoors and all that fresh air and sunshine wore me out. I barely blogged and I crashed early. But it's a new day and the news never sleeps. I found this item to be amusing, albeit a sad commentary on the current state of what passes for leadership in the White House.

Claude Allen, former domestic policy adviser to Bush, was arrested for swindling two department stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scam. Apparently it's an tried and true ploy for the integrity impaired. You buy a bunch of stuff and get a receipt. You then return to the store and collect the same items without paying for them and go directly to the courtesy counter to get a refund for the items based on the former receipt.

Allen, who was making $161,000 a year at the time he was perpetrating the crime, was finally caught out in January. In February, he resigned his position -- without explanation -- at the White House. What could he say?

Bush, who had nominated Allen to be a federal appeals court judge in 2003, (Democrats blocked his confirmation at the time), called him a "trusted adviser" who helped "develop policies that will strengthen our nation's families, schools and communities" when he announced Allen's resignation. Of course Bush says that about all the indicted criminals in the White House.

I'm expecting he'll award Allen a Medal of Freedom, any day now.
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Friday, March 10, 2006

Progressive's Progress

Oliver Willis confesses, I am a Progressive and tells us how embracing progressive principles could save our system of government. He begins, "There Are Only Two Choices. You can go forward or you can go backward" and suggests the Democrats embrace this mantra: Protect. Improve. Unite.

As Oliver reminds us, we can be Mr. Potter who made money on the little peoples' misfortune or we can be George Bailey who enriched himself by investing in his fellow man. I know who I'd rather emulate.
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Space - the final frontier

I love this stuff. I still remember the first orbit around the earth in those clunky space capsules. Who would have thought then that I would live to see pictures like this of Saturn's moon Enceladus.

Scientists have discovered geysers of water are erupting along those stripes at the bottom and postulate there's a lot of water, maybe boiling, under the icy surface. How much more they will learn depends on whether they can get their funding restored for further study. Like every other agency of our government, NASA has seen funding cuts in order to finance Bush's military follies in the Middle East.

Me, I'd rather finance exploration in space than domination on earth with my tax dollars.
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Daily reading list

I'm working all day and only have a moment to post so here's what I've been reading this morning.

I have too much to say about the latest GOP machinations that will effectively let Bush off the hook for the illegal secret surveillance on Americans under the NSA to say anything at the moment. All I can do is point you to this tepid overview of this mass sellout from the NYT and an editorial from WaPo that falls fair short of condemning this latest White House bailout but at least expresses some degree of disapproval.

Here's a really interesting debate at WSJ on economic inequality. Needless to say, I agree with Heather Boushey.

Rick Santorum needs a 12 step program. After swearing he would quit his habit, he's apparently still conducting weekly meetings with the K Street lobbyrotti.

A Veteran's letter to the President.

Another failure of "intelligence." Fresh dirt on the Dubai port deal.

And dissent in strange places. Joseph Farah of the right wing World Net Daily, gets the quote of the day. "While the Democrats will impeach Bush for the wrong reasons, I can't deny that in a righteous country that honored and lived up to its Constitution, Bush would surely deserve to be impeached."
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Another fifteen minutes of fame

This was pretty cool. Thanks to Melissa McNamara of CBS News' weekly feature Blogophile for linking to The Impolitic's post on the dream town of Dominos Pizza's founder.
(CBS) With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by's Melissa P. McNamara.
How about that. They called me a must-read blog. Beats the heck out of what I'm usually called...
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Drugs and thugs

I'm done for the day but here's the links to my DetNew's posts of the night. I think Ambien explains everything about this walking nightmare we've been living in for the last five years. And it's a funny thing about ABC's alleged exclusive on Iranian IEDs. Cernig remembered, it's a very old story that didn't play very well the first time.
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Quick hits

Think Progress deconstructs Rummy's latest press conference to its basic element.

Meanwhile, Rummy claims that US and foreign media are exaggerating the bloodshed in Iraq and that it's not as bad as they say. He claims the security security is really quite good. He should tell that to the family of the Iraqi general that was gunned down yesterday. Rummy says everyone else is "misreporting" the numbers and we should trust the administration to tell us the truth. If it wasn't such a deadly lie, it would be funny.

Congress signed off on the destruction of our civil liberties and renewed the Patriot Act with some cosmetic changes. The vote was a little less depressing than the Senate tally of only 10 votes against this roadmap for fascism. It passed 280 to 138 in the House. I've had it with this den of thieves and liars. I'm pledging to work towards unseating every candidate that voted for this atrocity. And don't even get me started on how absolutely lame the cold medicines provision addition is. Not only do they want the unlimited ability to spy on your every movement, now all Americans will be treated as suspected criminals for coming down with a cold.

Why does the Cato Institute hate Bush? Because he's "unconscionable," "irresponsible," "vindictive" and "inept." I love it when they talk like that.
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Security and accountability

I'm sorry didn't get here yesterday. I just faded away when I got home last night. Didn't blog a thing all day except for this item on homeland security. The kings of prison profiteering, Wackenhut, are guarding our DHS headquarters. According to some former employees, it's not going very well. Anybody could waltz in off the street and blow the bloody place up and they wouldn't know what to do about it much less prevent it from happening in the first place.

Anyway, I'm working a long day today so it's a short summary kind of morning, Starting with this depressing failure of oversight by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Republicans on the committee say they have reached agreement with the White House on proposed bills to impose new oversight but allow wiretapping without warrants for up to 45 days. In other words, they have caved into White House pressure and will underwrite Bush's illegal surveillance retroactively. This will head off a vote on a full investigation of the four years worth of illegal surveillance already perpetrated under the NSA program. Our best hope for accountability, Hagel and Snowe, after all their fine rhetoric, let us down.
"We are reasserting Congressional responsibility and oversight," Ms. Snowe said.
What a crock of crapola. As Glenn Greewald put it, "Could our government be any more broken? ...Whether the Administration is held accountable for its actions will ultimately be determined not by whether the GOP-controlled Intelligence Committee votes to hold hearings, but will be almost exclusively a function of whether the public demands accountability and consequences."
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Monday, March 06, 2006

The next miserable failure?

I don't know how I missed this one. Mikevotes always makes the graphic catch of the day and a quick check shows the numbers on that google search are still rising. 6,100,000 when I just checked.
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Timeless prose

From my email today: Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. He is generally considered to be among the most talented, ambitious, and admired novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. Doctorow has received the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howell Medal of the America Academy of Arts and Letters, and the residentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

E.L.Doctorow wrote this about a year and a half ago. His words are still timely and powerful. I'll give you the opening and closing grafs and urge you to read the rest for yourself.

The Unfeeling President

I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.


The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

[hat tip JZS]
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White House reaps what it sowed

Bush is losing middle America. The latest polling in Indiana reflects the nationwide dissatisfaction with the preznit's performance. The propaganda and comforting sound bites can no longer hide the reality on the ground.
Kay Melloy, a 64-year-old independent voter from Chandler, finds nothing to approve of in Bush's job performance. She's especially distressed by the amount of money Bush is spending overseas in Iraq, when there are so many needs in the United States.

She works in a bank, she said, and sees elderly people with very little to live on. "It goes through me like a knife," Melloy said.
The WaPo seeks to explain to the tanking numbers.
The problem for President Bush is a growing perception that he simply isn't competent. [...]

The predecessor whom Bush has begun to resemble isn't, as many liberal Democrats seem to believe, Richard Nixon. It's Jimmy Carter. Carter's political demise began when the American people, including many Democrats, started to perceive him as in over his head in the Oval Office. That's what may be happening now to Bush.
The Rovian strategy of "divide and conquer" that has worked so well for the White House in the last five years has finally riven the GOP itself in the face of an increasingly arrogant and disconnected administration that no longer bothers to pretend their loyalty is to anything other than the industrial/military corporate complex.

Guess they never figured the loyal "nutcases" and other useful fools that could be tricked into pushing for every inane policy decision they put forward, would someday wise up. At least not before they could divvy up their spoils and slink out of office -- leaving the next administration to clean up their mess.
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Truth stranger than fiction

Enigma4ever has a story of corporate malfeasance that's just waiting to become a movie. Here's the preview I can't wait to read the book.
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Sunday, March 05, 2006

White House: Free press free, only to agree

The White House is pissed and they're gunning for the whistleblowers who have exposed their overarching and illegal abuse of power. In a mind numbing display of hypocrisy, they're bringing out the heavy artillery to quash the independence of the press, while at the same time they're pulling out all the stops to coverup their own politically driven, national security compromising leaks to further their self-serving agenda. It's simply evil.
"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."
Indeed, but then promoting freedom and democracy at home doesn't enrich the coffers of their corporate cronies. They trot out the same tired soundbites to justify this craven vendetta.
"We need to protect the right to free speech and the First Amendment, and the president is doing that," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. "But, at the same time, we do need to protect classified information which helps fight the war on terror."
Yeah, the administration that invented chain link fenced free speech zones and routinely arrests people for bumper stickers and tshirts are real champions of free expression all right.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said last month that he is considering legislation that would criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than what is now covered by law. The measure would be similar to earlier legislation that was vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and opposed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft in 2002.
Well that should be handy since they've been busy reclassifying information that's been in the public domain for over fifty years. With a White House that's taken secrecy to such a high art, if they get their way the only thing the citizenry will be allowed to read or talk about is American Idol reruns.
The Espionage Act makes it a crime for a government official with access to "national defense information" to communicate it intentionally to any unauthorized person. A 1950 amendment aimed at Soviet spying broadened the law, forbidding an unauthorized recipient of the information to pass it on, or even to keep it to himself.
The White House threatens to prosecute the press under this act for disclosing their malfeasance while simply ignoring their own breaches of the public trust.
[V]ice chairman of the same committee, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), complained in a letter to the national intelligence director last month that "damaging revelations of intelligence sources and methods are generated primarily by Executive Branch officials pushing a particular policy, and not by the rank-and-file employees of the intelligence agencies."

As evidence, Rockefeller points to the case of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose identity was leaked to the media. A grand jury investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald resulted last year in the jailing of Judith Miller, then a reporter at the New York Times, for refusing to testify, and in criminal charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. In court papers, Libby has said that his "superiors" authorized him to disclose a classified government report.
The White House has zero credibility on this issue. They drag their feet over investigating internal leaks in their highest circles but jump right on the stick when the leaks don't serve their agenda. If the administration continues on this thinly disguised pursuit of revenge for having had their misdeeds exposed, one hopes and expects the blowback will blow the GOP out of contention for generations to come.
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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blogger promote thyself

Wampum has opened voting for Round One of the Koufax awards. This is the elimination round for the finalists. If the category was "blog most in need of encouragement", I would urge you to vote for me.

But The Impolitic is up for Best New Blog and the list is chock full of bloggers with a lot more traffic and who are more focused, better informed and more articulate than me. I know half of these blogs well and I can't even choose. Nonetheless, if you feel like encouraging my folly, you can do it in comments here or if you prefer to do it anonymously -- and who could blame you -- you can email it directly here.
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It's his kind of town...

Gotta love the ownership society. If you don't like the America you have, you can just build a new one for yourself. This has to be the ultimate in gated communities.
Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan, who is helping to bankroll the birth of a Florida town and university, backtracked Friday from comments that he'd like the community to be governed by strict Roman Catholic principles.

His ideas about barring pornography and birth control, he said, apply only to the Catholic university.
That's right. Tom is building himself a whole town in his own image.
Monaghan's comments Friday contrasted with statements he made last year to a Catholic men's group in Boston that pornographic magazines won't be sold in town, pharmacies won't carry condoms or birth control pills, and cable television will carry no X-rated channels.

"I would say I just misspoke," Monaghan said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. "The town will be open to anybody."
One expects his tempered views are a result of his attorneys' review of legal issues surrounding "his original ideas." I'm sure the threat of ACLU suit had nothing to do with it.
"The misconception we're trying to clarify is that this is not going to be a strictly Catholic town. ... I think it would be boring if in fact it was all Catholic," Marinelli said.

He said the town would welcome "synagogues as well as Baptist churches."
You'll notice mosques and Unitarian Universalists didn't make the list. However, "homosexuals will be welcome despite the church's belief that homosexuality is a sin." Welcome sinners. Can't get a warmer invitation than that, can you?
"We're just trying to create an environment where children will be safe on the streets, where they can ride their bikes and play ball in the park," he said. "We're truly just trying to create a town with traditional values."
Why am I reminded of that old story, The Lottery?
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Breathtaking arrogance by Frist

Just when you think they can't possibly get any more audacious, Bill Frist comes up with this bit of thuggery.
Short version: Dear Senate Intelligence Committee. If you persist in this evil attempt to uphold your sworn duty and hold the president accountable for his illegal surveillance of American citizens, I will be forced to destroy this check on imperial presidential power by restructuring the Committee to its proper role as a rubber stamp for the Bush administration.

I will of course be acting in the interest of national security by derailing this purely partisan witch hunt for truth and accountability from our infallible chief executive.
Fire Dog Lake and Glenn Greewald have the smart posts on this unparalled affront to our system of checks and balances.
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New Mexico mandates paper ballot

Via Cadillac Tight, I wish we were seeing more news like this. Good for Richardson for taking such a strong and sensible lead on election reform.

There's no reason why every other governor in the US shouldn't follow suit immediately. The paper ballot has served us very well for many decades and a single nationwide verifiable voting mechanism would go a long way towards restoring voter's confidence in the system. It's clear we can't expect anything out of the cesspool of corruption inside the beltway except more stink, so why not have the states clean up the mess on their own. It's about time they started standing up for their rights against federal meddling run amok. What a perfect place to begin.
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Quick hits

I'm fooling around this morning, but here's a couple of links to keep you occupied until I get back.

I haven't been following the O'Reilly / Olbermann flap but it's clear from this that the Big O is in serious meltdown. Perhaps an old fashioned duel is in order. I suggest falafels at ten paces.

What is it with our federal government and tshirts? My thoughts on our Federal Efficiency Manglement Agency here.

Sad but true. We're losing the war on terror big time.
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Hu's on first...

Apparently I'm not the only who's been thinking about Abbott and Costello this week. Great minds think alike. Make sure your speakers are turned on before you click the link.
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Everybody's a critic

How about that? Should I be insulted or flattered? I've been dissed by the Colombia Journalism Review. Felix Gillette links to my post on Sludge from Drudge and has this to say.
Given that kind of bile, we hesitate to imagine what wrath Bush might have wrought had he reversed course and bashed bloggery (as it's fondly referred to here at CJR Daily World Headquarters).
If the kid considers that bile, he must lead a very sheltered life, probably living off some trust fund.

If you read the CJR link you'll notice the favorable quotes all come from the pajamadeen who appear to have made a pact with the administration. And one wonders what kind of education they're receiving at Colombia these days. Apparently Felix's reading comprehension isn't that great either.

Drudge's sludge did bash bloggers, leftie bloggers, approvingly quoting Rove and Andy Card who practically accused us of sedition for daring to point out our president is a hapless sad sack, too incompetent to run a corner convenience store, much less a nation, without screwing it up.
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Long time coming...

I've known the Bostonian Exile for a long time now and we've engaged in many a vigourous debate about politics. I've waited a long time for this.

It makes me sad in a way that it happened, but it gives me hope for the future of our republic.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Think it's time for a change

I'm serious about starting my own party. I've had the name for a long time, the LibbytarianTM Party and tonight I discovered the perfect mission statement for it, The Lone Ranger Creed.
The Lone Ranger Creed!
By: Fran Striker

"I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.

That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

That 'This government, of the people, by the people and for the people' shall live always.

That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

That sooner or later... somewhere...somehow... we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever. In my Creator, my country, my fellow man."
Maybe it's just my mood tonight, and the language is very 50s, but it sounds like a nine step program for political change. What do you think?

Update: Think I'll ask Don Surber for his thoughts.
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Patriot Act passes like a tropical breeze

The good for nothing Senate passed the Patriot Act today. "The renewal package would make 14 of 16 temporary provisions permanent and set four-year expirations on the others." They don't say which ones. It was an 89-10 vote with some token attention thrown towards civil liberties concerns. Not enough.
"This bill will allow our law enforcement officials to continue to use the same tools against terrorists that are already used against drug dealers and other criminals, while safeguarding the civil liberties of the American people," Bush said in a statement from India.
Great. The threshold for drug dealers is already so low that a kid with a couple of joints in his pocket qualifies and they've effectively suspended Fourth Amendment rights for drug cases, so what exactly did they protect here? It's another victory for the GOP extremists and their drug war thugs. I've had it with Reid.
"Our support for the Patriot Act does not mean a blank check for the president," said Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who voted to pass the bill package. "What we tried to do on a bipartisan basis is have a better bill. It has been improved."
What a crock. The changes were cosmetic and they threw in the ill-advised anti-meth provision which now means you can't buy a cold remedy in your local convenience store if you happen to get sick outside of pharmacy hours, among other unrelated to terrorism provisions. This is just business as usual. Our attention was distracted so they pushed through objectionable policy mandates as amendments.
The "no" votes came from Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Feingold, Byrd and seven other Senate Democrats: Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Carl Levin of Michigan, Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
Keep that list handy. They may be the only incumbents worth supporting. Where are the rest of the names of those who have been obstensibly opposing this administration.? Where's Kerry; where's Kennedy; where are all those symbolic signers against the Alito nomination? News alert to the Democratic party. You can't just pretend to fight when people are watching. You either fight for principles or you have none, in which case you don't have my support.

I've had it. I've thought about this for a long time and I'm starting my own damn party.
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Separation of State and Church is so pre-Alito

This strikes me as singularly inappropriate. Raw Story reports Alito sends a mash note to Dobson and his Christian extremists.
Dear Dr. Dobson:

This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months.

I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me they were praying for me and for my family during this period.

As I said when I spoke at my formal vestiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force.

As long as I serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.

I hope we'll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future. In the meantime, my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how much we appreciate all that you have done.

Sincerely Yours, Samuel Alito
Isn't a SCOTUS justice supposed to demonstrate some kind of neutrality? What is this supposed to mean anyway? Does Alito believe he was confirmed because they prayed for him? Is this a little nod and wink to let them know they don't have to worry about his upholding any pro-choice decisions? And where's his thank you note to the Dems for failing so miserably in challenging his nomination?
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Stay the bourse

We've seen a fair amount of news on the Iran's proposed oil bourse but this is the first news I've seen of Norway proposing one that would also trade in euros. This is what got Saddam in trouble and what really put Iran in the Bush administration's crosshairs. But it's going to be a lot more difficult for the Bush administration to think up a credible reason to invade Norway to prevent it.
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The latter day lessons of Iran-Contra

This is a little scarier than usual. You remember the contract that was just awarded to KBR for the construction of new detention camps in case of an "immigration emergency." In the fine print, these camps would also be available for "new programs" which remain open ended and unspecified.

Peter Dale Scott suggests this is all part of the ENDGAME program first proposed in theory by Oliver North during the Reagon administration. Furthermore, "[p]rominent among the secret planners of this program in the 1980s were then-Congressman Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who at the time was in private business as CEO of the drug company G.D. Searle.
It is relevant that in 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be "enemy combatants." On Feb. 17 of this year, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country's security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called "news informers" who needed to be combated in "a contest of wills." Two days earlier, citing speeches critical of Bush by Al Gore, John Kerry, and Howard Dean, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro called for "legislation to prosecute such sedition."

Since 9/11 the Bush administration has implemented a number of inter-related programs, which had been planned for secretly in the 1980s under President Reagan. These so-called "Continuity of Government" or COG proposals included vastly expanded detention capabilities, warrantless eavesdropping and detention, and preparations for greater use of martial law.


When planes crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Vice President Cheney's response, after consulting President Bush, was to implement a classified "Continuity of Government" plan for the first time, according to the 9/11 Commission report. As the Washington Post later explained, the order "dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington, activating for the first time long-standing plans."


North's exercise, which reportedly contemplated possible suspension of the United States Constitution, led to questions being asked during the Iran-Contra Hearings. One concern then was that North's plans for expanded internment and detention facilities would not be confined to "refugees" alone.

Oliver North represented a minority element in the Reagan administration, which soon distanced itself from both the man and his proposals. But that minority associated with COG planning, which included Dick Cheney, appear to be in control of the U.S. government today.
Not to mention Poindexter and Negroponte among other Iran-Contra thugs currently drawing a paycheck from the taxpayers' funds. To quote my hero Yogi Berra, it looks like deja vu all over again.
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