Monday, July 31, 2006

New Game-- The Mel Dropper?

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "Since Disney/ABC has Jew-hater Mel Gibson directing a mini-series about the Holocaust, I was wondering what other mini-series they might consider...
by John in DC - 7/31/2006 12:49:00 PM

Disney/ABC present...

Black Like Me, by David Duke.

The Harvey Milk Story, by Jesse Helms.

The American Presidents, by Squeekey Fromme.

A Brief History of Time, by George W. Bush.

The Laramie Project, by the Rev. Fred Phelps.

I'm Just a Bill, by Joe McCarthy.

The Wonderful Field of Nursing, by Richard Speck.

Kids Say the Darndest Things, by John Wayne Gacy

And of course...

The Naked Chef, by Jeffrey Dahmer. . ."

We have a whole new field here now. Check the comments here for more.

Willie on Dixie Chicks

My Way News - Willie: Dixie Chicks 'Got a Raw Deal': "NEW YORK (AP) - Willie Nelson says the Dixie Chicks 'got a raw deal' from a disapproving public following their criticism of President Bush.

'I think the fact that they were overseas and onstage had a little bit to do with it because you're speaking to other people about our business,' the 73-year-old country crooner said in an interview in this week's Time magazine.

The trio caught harsh criticism after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience in 2003 that the group was 'ashamed' Bush was from their home state of Texas.

Nelson said he was surprised his remarks about Bush a year earlier during an overseas news conference didn't incite a similar controversy.

'I said 'He's not from Texas and he ain't a cowboy, so let's stop trashin' Texans and cowboys.' It got a little chuckle, but I didn't get run out of the country,' Nelson told the magazine.

Nelson recently launched his own XM Radio channel and published 'The Tao of Willie,' in which he offers his philosophy on subjects ranging from marijuana to war. "

Maybe some Country chickenhawks were more afraid of the legendary Willie than some Chicks.

Making Lebanonaide

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Clueless Condi: Bombs, Brahms, and ‘Birth Pangs’ | The Huffington Post:

"Yet another reason to be worried about your future, courtesy of the Bush administration: our nation's top diplomat equates the death and destruction afflicting the Middle East with... labor contractions. 'What we're seeing here,' said Condi Rice before heading to the war zone, 'in a sense, is...the birth pangs of a new Middle East.' It takes a cockeyed optimist -- or a delusional zealot -- to see the good in all that suffering.

But, apparently, Rice is not alone. In Rush Limbaugh's opinion, "Bush is sitting around the White House pretty happy with what's going on in the Middle East -- there's a new paradigm going on." This sunny-side-up judgment was borne out during Bush's get-away day joint press conference with Tony Blair. "This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East," said the president, "yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity." Ah, yes... when life hands you Lebanons, make lemonade.

Birth pangs? New paradigm? Moment of opportunity? Is George Orwell alive and well and working in the GOP's messaging department?. . ."

No Chickenhawks Here

A McCain Son, 18, Joins the Marines - Los Angeles Times: "WASHINGTON — The youngest son of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam and a vocal proponent of more American troops in Iraq, will soon report for duty in the Marine Corps, Time magazine reported.

Jimmy McCain, 18, will spend three months in boot camp in California this fall and another month in specialized training. . ."

Good for you, Jimmy. I'm sure your dad, like many others, including me, is both proud and scared.

Wages of Wealth, Take Two

The Moderate Voice - GOP Says OK To Minimum Wage Increase BUT: "In many quarters they're going to say 'Hooray! The GOP has agreed to allow an increase in the minimum wage.' But wait — as the infomercials like to say — 'there's more!'

Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it's coupled with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, congressional aides said Friday. . ."

No one can accuse the GOP of not staying 'on message.' And the message they are sending to many Americans — including those who are NOT Democrats — is that they won't do something for working Americans unless they can hold a gun to legislators' heads making them pass something that will give a tax break to wealthy supporters and/or contribtors. Will this be a 'poison pill' that dooms the measure (so GOPers can then try to blame the defeat on Democrats)?"

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Iran Goes French

As it edges closer to war, it is certainly comforting to note that Iran is taking care of the "little things."

"Iranian Leader Bans Usage of Foreign Words

The Associated Press
Saturday, July 29, 2006; 9:31 AM

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported. . ."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wage of the Wealthy

"ThinkProgress reported this morning that congressional conservatives were planning to allow a vote on the minimum wage today or tomorrow, but only if it was coupled with a poison pill provision that enacted Bush’s Associated Health Plans.

New reports indicate that conservatives are ditching one poison pill in favor of another. The AP writes:

Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it’s coupled with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, congressional aides said Friday.

The estate tax — aka the Paris Hilton Tax — benefits only the ultra-wealthy. This year, the exemption level is $2 million ($4 million per couple), which means only 5 out of every 1,000 people who die will pay the tax. . ."

Friday, July 28, 2006


The Blog | Ed Hamilton: What do the Terrorists Want, and Can We Give It To Them? | The Huffington Post: ". . .President Bush says that the terrorists are not enemy combatants, and there was a point when he was right. They were just despicable criminals until he elevated them to mythic 'enemy' status by treating them with the respect of declaring war on them. A lot has been said of how Clinton was soft on terrorism, but, excuse me, weren't the bombers in the 1993 plot to blow up the Trade Center successfully apprehended, prosecuted, and put behind bars? Clinton didn't blow his top like Bush and start attacking everybody.

While it's an understandable human response to want to kill the people who seem to threaten our American way of life, it's essential to that very way of life to set a moral example in following the rule of law; to do otherwise justifies the terrorists in their actions by making us just like them. Israel's response to Hezbollah's act of provocation, to cite another example, is just what Hezbollah wants. Groups such as Hezbollah and Al Queda can't survive in a climate of openness and freedom--and neither can the religious right in our country or in Israel. Liberalism is immeasurably stronger than blind fear and hatred and superstition, and it inevitably wins--by persuasion rather than violence--in a truly free market of ideas. . ."

Do as I do. . .

Rebounding To Governor

Ex-NBA star Barkley eyes Ala. governorship - Yahoo! News: "MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Former basketball star Charles Barkley says he's switched political teams from Republican to Democrat and is again talking about running for governor in his home state, possibly in 2010.

'I really believe I was put on Earth to do more than play basketball and stockpile money,' said Barkley, known as the Round Mound of Rebound. 'I really want to help people improve their lives, and what's left is for me to decide how best to do that.'

Barkley, a Leeds native who has been an NBA analyst with cable network TNT since his 2000 retirement, has been talking about running for governor of Alabama since he was playing with the Phoenix Suns in the 1990s. In 1995, he said he was considering running in 1998 as a Republican, but that never materialized.

Barkley continued to identify himself as a Republican until recently, when he switched parties. 'I was a Republican until they lost their minds,' he said earlier this month. . ."

Scotty To Be Beamed-Up

'Star Trek's' Scotty sending ashes to space - Yahoo! News: "ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Beam me up, indeed!
James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott in the original 'Star Trek' TV series and several movies, will have a few grams of his ashes blasted 70 miles into space this fall from southern New Mexico.

Houston-based Space Services Inc. plans to have the ashes of 100 others aboard the Oct. 21 'memorial spaceflight' — among them, Gordon Cooper, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts.

Doohan died last July at age 85. His widow, Wende Doohan, said he would have wanted such a send-off. . ."

Tours Extended

My Way News: "
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday directed more than 2,500 U.S. troops who have spent the past year in Iraq to stay up to four months past their scheduled departure date, boosting the size of the U.S. force amid unrelenting violence in Baghdad, officials said.

The move, involving elements of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright in Alaska, was the latest sign that any significant reduction in the size of the 130,000-strong U.S. force in Iraq is unlikely any time soon. . ."

This sucks the big one. Bring back the draft.

Iranians Want To Read

SFGate: Blogs: The Ross Report: "Thursday, July 27, 2006
Rush to beat the ban

Forget the nuclear program, wiping Israel off the map or going off to fight alongside Hezbollah. What Iranians really want is 'The Da Vinci Code.'

According to Al-Jazeera, Iranians are desperately scooping up whatever copies they can find of the tale of a married Jewish couple who had a child, after a government ban clamped down on sales.

'I rushed to buy the book when I heard about the ban,' said Reza Mortazavi, a 32-year-old teacher, quoted in the Al-Jazeera report. 'Now, I am more eager to know what was written in it.'

On Wednesday, Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced it was banning further printing and distribution of the book, which has already gone through 8 printings in Farsi, after Christian clerics protested against it.

Mansour Jamshir, a bookstore owner, said: 'I had several calls for purchase of the book in a bulk amount and in higher prices. . ."

Brownie vs. Taylor

Ex-FEMA head, Miss. congressman [Gene Taylor] trade barbs - The Clarion-Ledger: "“. . .I smelled death in the tsunami. I know what it’s like to lose close friends in disasters. You don’t know how many people I’ve hugged as FEMA director — rich people, poor people, all ethnicities, people who lost everything. People who didn’t think it was going to happen to them. For that little twerp to claim I didn’t understand death and suffering — he can just bite me, for all I care.”

Taylor responded today with a few shots of his own at Brown:

“Michael Brown should consider himself a lucky man. Had I known before the hearing that he was up in Baton Rouge ordering steaks on his government credit card at the same time the people of South Mississippi were resorting to police-sanctioned looting to feed themselves, I would have done more than just verbally kick his butt.

“Brown is an incompetent fool, and everyone in south Mississippi knows it. . .”"

Wow. Don't hold back, guys. Let's not sugarcoat our feelings.

From the Conclusion Jumping Department

Hezbollah was using UN post as 'shield': "Hezbollah was using UN post as 'shield'
Canadian wrote of militia's presence, 'necessity' of bombing

Joel Kom, with files from Steven Edwards, CanWest News Service, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, July 27, 2006

The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a 'shield' to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia. . ."

Maybe Israel ain't so mean after all.

"He Doth Protest Too Much..."

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » Late Nite FDL: All Republicans are Gay: ". . .Finally, I just want to point you to this University of Georgia study from 1996 which demonstrated conclusively that men identified as 'homophobic' actually displayed signs of arousal when confronted with erotic images of other men. Regular, non-homophobic heterosexual men displayed no arousal whatsoever. Not their flavor. It was the men who declared that they hated queers who felt (measurable!) stirrings in their trousers when shown images of naked men. It is their uncontrolled, deeply-denied longing that makes them so hateful and fearful. All they need is the love of a good man to help sort them out. Look at Jeff Goldstein, that poor guy. He’s like a case study for this syndrome. Sad. . ."

Al-Q Not So Scarey

Jack Cafferty via Crooks and Liars: "Another day, another tape from al Qaeda. So what? What exactly is the world supposed to do because some al Qaeda dirtbag releases a tape saying he’s going to support Hezbollah? Should we all get under the bed now? The fact is, these morons have been sending out tapes for years and
threatening all kinds of dire things, but as far as we know, the leadership of what’s left of this organization is still scurrying around from cave to cave in Afghanistan trying to keep their cooking fires lit so they can roast their goats.

It’s far more likely that they’re starved for attention. Between the war in Iraq, the war in Gaza, the war in Lebanon, the crazies in North Korea and Iran, the world doesn’t have time to pay attention to these worms anymore. So, like spoiled little brats who throw a fit in a department store because their mother is busy shopping and not paying attention to them, these idiots rush out another videotape so they can get their name in the paper.

Here’s the question. Do the media overreact every time al Qaeda
releases another tape? Email your thoughts to, or go to . ."

I'd say "Yes."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cheatin' Rich

The Blog | Rob McKay: Tax Fraud Is Not a Crime (If You're Rich) | The Huffington Post

Within the next 70 days, the IRS will permanently eliminate the jobs of half of the lawyers who audit the wealthiest Americans' tax returns.

According to internal IRS documents leaked to the New York Times by outraged IRS employees, six of whom agreed to be interviewed by the paper, the IRS is axing 157 of its 345 estate tax lawyers and 17 support personnel.

The Agency is doing de facto what the Bush tried and failed to do de jure: Sway Congress to entirely eliminate the estate tax to help the richest taxpayers in the country pay even less of their fair share.

The decision is not because the Agency's estate tax lawyers have too much time on their hands or aren't finding any tax criminals out there. By the IRS' own admission, 85 percent of the large taxable gifts they audit are fraudulent and intended to cheat the public. . ."

It's the Swiss Cross

Media Matters - O'Reilly falsely claimed Red Cross symbol was "adopted" because of "Christian philosophy": "In a discussion about a lawsuit filed over the presence of a large cross at a war memorial in San Diego, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that the Red Cross 'historically ... adopted' its emblem 'because of the Christian philosophy of giving alms and giving assistance to people in need.' In fact, according to the American Red Cross website, it was '[i]n honor of the Swiss ... [that] the symbol of a red cross on a white background (the reverse of the Swiss flag) was identified as a protective emblem in conflict areas. . .'"

A Sign of the TImes

Chicago City Council OKs 'living wage' - Yahoo! News: "
By DEANNA BELLANDI, Associated Press Writer Wed Jul 26, 7:40 PM ET

CHICAGO - Brushing aside warnings from Wal-Mart, the City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that makes Chicago the biggest city in the nation to require big-box retailers to pay a 'living wage.'

'It's trying to get the largest companies in America to pay decent wages,' said Alderman Toni Preckwinkle.

The ordinance passed 35-14 after three hours of impassioned debate.

The measure requires mega-retailers with over $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet to pay workers at least $10 an hour in wages plus $3 in fringe benefits by mid-2010. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $6.50 an hour and the federal minimum is $5.15. . ."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bedrom Follies

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth:

"Anti-Abortionist Republicans trying to jail your priest

Dems trying to stop them. Good. The Republicans have launched a war on America's bedroom and it needs to stop. Justice Scalia thinks the government regulating masturbation is a fine idea (for real). A lead spokesman for the religious right said he was in favor of outlawing all oral sex, even between married heterosexual couples. We already know the Republicans are trying to get rid of condoms and other forms of birth control. And then there's divorce. How long do you think that will stay legal?

It's high time we kicked the Republicans out of our bedroom."

Gay Bill

Coulter Comes Out Against Gay Clinton Marriage - Wonkette: "You can only bash 9/11 widows for so long before your book starts slip-sliding down the charts. Solution: Call Bill Clinton gay. A source from “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” handed us this transcript from tonight’s 10 pm ET show, during which Deutsch notes that Coulter was talking about Bill Clinton off the air and goads her into repeating what she said.

Ms. COULTER: I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality.

DEUTSCH: OK, I think you need to say that again. That Bill Clinton, you think on some level, has — is a latent homosexual, is that what you’re saying?

Ms. COULTER: Yeah. . ."

So Bill Clinton is now our first Gay Black President. If he were only Jewish...

The Too Long Haul

NYO - Von Hoffman: "By Election Day, it will have taken the Bush administration longer to fail to win in Iraq than it took the United States to defeat Adolf Hitler. An overused military is seeing more of its soldiers and marines put on trial for killing Iraqis than Iraqis and/or terrorists have been put on trial for killing Americans. Just lately, the home-front public is learning that some American deaths have come intentionally at the hands of the Iraqi soldiers whom we have armed and trained."

The Key Question

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Maliki's Testy Visit: Is This What Our Troops Are Dying For? | The Huffington Post: ". . .So this is what over 2,500 American have died for, what over 18,500 Americans have been wounded for, what the American people have spent over $320 billion helping create: a government that makes nice with Iran, backs Hezbollah, and some of whose members think the killers of American soldiers deserve a statue? We can't bring back those lives, heal those wounds, or recoup that money, but we can say enough is enough.

In Fiasco, his damning new book about the Bush administration's tragic bungling of Iraq, Thomas Ricks quotes a colonel assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority unforgettably describing his team's mission as 'pasting feathers together, hoping for a duck.' Just how many more Americans have to die in the vain attempt to turn feathers into a duck? Especially a duck that wants to waddle side by side with Hezbollah and Iran."

Condi Flogged By Newt et. al.

Insight: "Conservative national security allies of President Bush are in revolt against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying that she is incompetent and has reversed the administration’s national security and foreign policy agenda.

The conservatives, who include Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle and leading current and former members of the Pentagon and National Security Council, have urged the president to transfer Miss Rice out of the State Department and to an advisory role. They said Miss Rice, stemming from her lack of understanding of the Middle East, has misled the president on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict. . . "

Bush Falling

The Left Coaster: Rasmussen Says Bush Dropped Five Points Overnight: "Rasmussen Says Bush Dropped Five Points Overnight

by Steve Soto
"Based on a tip from commenter Tano, I checked the Rasmussen website this morning in the aftermath of the Gallup poll showing a three-point drop for Bush in the last two weeks. Sure enough, as Tano said, Scott Rasmussen is reporting this morning that in his three-day rolling average poll on Bush’s approval rating, Bush has fallen five points overnight from 42% down to 37%. Rasmussen indicates that Bush’s stem cell veto last week is just now making its way into the electorate’s consciousness, a decision that Rasmussen finds is supported by only 26% of the electorate. If this is correct, and as Tano notes, it is possible that both Gallup and Rasmussen are the canary in the coal mines of Bush’s soon-to-be-falling-again approval ratings.

Yes, Bush isn’t on the ballot this fall, vulnerable GOP incumbents are. But those GOP incumbents will have to defend Bush and their own record on Iraq, gas prices, the stem cell decision, immigration proposals that go too far, and the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. Democrats must hammer over and over again the need to replace a rubber-stamp Congress with one that will be a check and balance to a failing administration. Hell, even the White House seems to sense that they are in danger of losing the House, and their Senate challengers don’t even want to be seen with Bush.

This is all bad enough, but things will start changing for the worse when the chattering classes begin to publicly acknowledge that the wheels have come off, that we have screwed up overseas, and that the only way to fix it is for the Congress to change hands and demand a new direction. Well, guess who did exactly that today?. . ."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fiasco Iraq

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: "Money quote from Michiko Kakutani's review of Thomas Ricks' new book, 'Fiasco':

An after-action review from the Third Infantry Division underscores the Pentagon's paucity of postwar planning, stating that 'there was no guidance for restoring order in Baghdad, creating an interim government, hiring government and essential services employees, and ensuring that the judicial system was operational.' And an end-of-tour report by a colonel assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority memorably summarized his office's work as 'pasting feathers together, hoping for a duck.'

Observing this, many of us have gone from denial to despair to grim hope to acceptance that the scale of the task was greater than even the pessimists foresaw and the means deployed to achieve it almost pathetically unequal to the goal. I guess a miracle may eventually emerge. Maybe a de facto Iraqi partition after more bloodshed and sectarian massacres may pave the way for a more peaceful future. We can hope. But Baghdad is fast turning into what Beirut once was - a cualdron of unrestrained sectarian hate and violence, fomented by a few empowered by the incompetence in Washington. I'm left with contrition at my own small contribution to the misunderstanding; and abiding, deep, and furious anger at the administration who conducted this war with such arrogance and negligence. This president's betrayal of the Iraqis, his betrayal of the armed forces, his betrayal of those who supported him, is profound. Some of his supporters will forgive him. This much I'm sure of: History won't. "

Say "No," Joe

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Memo to Lieberman: ‘Real Democrats' Don't Run as Independents if They Lose | The Huffington Post: "At yesterday's big campaign rally, Joe Lieberman took a swipe at Ned Lamont, saying 'My opponent is peddling what I would call a big lie, and that is that I'm not a real Democrat.' Let's leave aside the Third Reich, 'big lie' imagery (although it was very popular yesterday, with Sen.
Jim Inhofe also using it to slime global warming activists), and just focus on the question of Lieberman's bona fides as a 'real Democrat.' The proof that he is the genuine article would be an announcement that he, like all real Democrats, will honor the decision of Democratic primary voters -- and not run as an Independent. That's what real Democrats do. . ."

Ms. Huffington is absolutely correct, Senator.

Rush Spews

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: "Rush Limbaugh couldn't handle it. He was beside himself, fumbling over his words all morning.

The Dean of conservatism, Bill Buckley, had called George W. Bush a failure over Iraq before, but to suggest he should resign was too much for el Rushbo. Where's your meds when you need them? . . ."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "
I really think Iraq may shock the hell out of everyone come this November, in terms of just how massive an impact it could have on the election. As in, massive Democratic victory in both houses. I could be wrong, but something is brewing with the public, they're finally fed up, and Iraq is going to be a disaster from now until election day. And with Bush and Cheney trying to force Congress to run on Iraq, the daily carnage is going to force Republicans to run from the issue, and run from Bush, which is going to cause even more of a mess.

Again, anything can happen. But I think things are going to get very messy for the GOP in the next 3 months."

Insert favorite Chinese proverb here.

Bad Bill Boogie

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog: "Apparently, Sen. Arlen Specter thinks we should all go along with whatever the President wants to do. Even if the President has been secretly breaking the law for years — since before 9/11/01 — we should just all clap our hands, make the illegality go away, and be cheerful about Specter’s bill that allows the President to keep on doing what he’s doing, retroactively okay the Bush Administration’s illegal conduct (as a former prosecutor, I’m sure you know how well THAT sits with me), and the hell with the Constitutional consequences and all those other pesky accountability and oversight responsibilities. After all, a strong unilateral executive is what the Framers intended right? What we want is a President who can just do as he pleases without any meaningful oversight by either the legislative or judicial branches, isn’t it? . . ."

Liberal Definition

Problem on the Left: Kneejerk 'Liberals' and Fanatic 'Progressives': ". . .I found the same problem when I tried to participate with individuals on the 'left' in meetings, seminars, efforts to organize a platform, and the like. The participants were so occupied with tearing each other to pieces that they could not agree on a united front for social reform. Today that remains one major reason, though not the only reason, why people on the so-called 'left' (however that term may be defined) have limited influence on national and international affairs.

To be a 'liberal' means that you believe in freedom of expression and the right to disagree on issues. To be a 'progressive' means that you believe in the need to do whatever may be possible to advance the well being of humanity. No matter how you may define 'liberal' or 'progressive,' you cannot be one if you are an unyielding fanatic who develops dogmatic positions from which there can be no disagreement. This is not to say that there are no moral imperatives to be adopted. Of course there are. They relate to civil and constitutional rights, compassion, peaceful cooperation, and above all the recognition that being brothers and sisters caught in the same trap - born to live for what is no more than a snap of the fingers in geological time . . ."

No Black Hole For Stem Cells

Independent Online Edition > Science & Technology: "Hawking criticises EU states trying to ban stem cell research
By Steve Connor, Science Editor, and Stephen Castle in Brussels
Published: 24 July 2006

Stephen Hawking, the world's best-known living scientist, has attacked 'reactionary' forces in Europe and America which are trying to ban research into stem cells from human embryos.

Professor Hawking, who suffers from motor neurone disease, has criticised President George Bush and European governments who want to stop the funding of research with embryonic stem cells, which promises to revolutionise the treatment of many incurable conditions.

His attack comes on the day that an attempt will be made in Brussels to prevent any money from the European Union's €54bn (£37bn) science budget being spent over the next seven years on research into human embryonic stem cells.

Germany is leading an attempt to change the way the EU science budget can be spent by individual member states. The plan to block stem-cell research has been bolstered by Mr Bush's use of a veto last week which prevents US federal funds being spent on research into embryonic stem cells. 'I strongly oppose the move to ban stem-cell research funding from the European Union,' said Professor Hawking. . ."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Clinton Ruins Neighborhood

"Harlem to Clinton: you're ruining us

Gentrification since former president moved in sees rents rise by 100 per cent, forcing poor black families out

By Nicholas Wapshott in New York

Published: 23 July 2006

Bill Clinton's decision to site his office in the largely black Manhattan neighbourhood of Harlem, as a gesture of solidarity with African-Americans, appears to have backfired.

Dozens of angry blacks demonstrated last week outside the building that houses the former president's staff, claiming that his move had led to the gentrification of the area and increased the price of homes beyond their reach. ."

You just can't let the rich go anywhere. .

Judge Catches-up With Public

"The Judiciary Strikes Back

The government fails to kill off a court challenge to NSA snooping.

Until Thursday, the NSA wiretapping scandal had gone remarkably well for the Bush administration. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission opted not to investigate, and after some initial alarm, much of the public seemed untroubled as well. By confirming allegations that he had authorized eavesdropping within the United States, President Bush managed to turn the story into a tough-on-terrorism example and dare critics to explain just what it was about fighting terror that made them so uncomfortable. It was masterful politics.

But that all changed when a federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday issued a ruling on an obscure procedural point in a court case between the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit, and AT&T. Judge Vaughn Walker rejected the government's claim that because of the doctrine of state secrets, traditionally used to prevent the introduction into court of specific evidence that might compromise national security, he should dismiss EFF's entire case against the phone company. It's almost unheard of for a judge to shoot down a state-secrets claim, and in that respect, Walker's decision represents a setback for the administration. But the Walker opinion signals something more significant, as well: a rejection of the Bush administration's vision of a wartime executive that can govern unchecked. The judiciary is striking back. . . "

Joe Loses Ally

"No More Joe

`Dead Wrong' On The War And Defense Of Bush, White House Excesses


July 23 2006

Joe Lieberman and I have been friends and colleagues for 38 years. We ran for and won seats in the Connecticut legislature as a team of reformers in 1970. He was my state senator and I was his state representative. He rose to Senate majority leader as I became speaker of the House. With others, we formed the Caucus of Connecticut Democrats, a progressive coalition, to further the causes of peace in Vietnam and justice at home.

I have supported him in every election he has had - until now. This year I am supporting Ned Lamont to unseat Joe. Almost four decades of friendship with Joe has made this a wrenching decision for me.

As Joe points out, his record on a number of issues, such as the environment, is good. But on the two biggest issues of our times, he is dead wrong.

His blind support of the Iraq war, begun illegally and a continuing catastrophe, is monstrous.

And his defense of an incompetent president, a vice president who fits the dictionary definition of fascism and an extremist administration that has perpetrated torture, illegal eavesdropping and a general shredding of the Constitution is insulting to the people who elected him in the first place. ."

Matthews Flogs Neocons


We’ve killed 50,000 Iraqis in a war that was supposed to be a two-day wonder. When are we going to notice that the neocons don’t know what they’re talking about? They’re not looking at this country’s long term interest. They’re bound up in regional and global ideology and they have had no experience, I’ll say it again, in even a schoolyard fight. They don’t know what physical fighting is all about. They went to school and were intellectuals but they want our government to be their big brother. I don’t get it. I don’t know why we keep falling for it. And the President, you say, is he free of these guys or not?

No Shame Here

Andrew Bard Schmookler' via the Smirking Chimp:
. . .On the same weekend that Kristol was showing undiminished enthusiasm for the kind of disastrous adventurism he helped to bring about three years go, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on TV showing that she, too, is unchastened by any sense of failure. Regarding the administration's supposed designs to transform the Middle East into a bastion of democracy, Secretary Rice declared it to be "shortsighted" to use a mere "snapshot" taken just a "couple of years" into the process to judge the efficacy of the administration's project to remake the region.

So maybe these people have mastered the art of never having to confront failure. Maybe if one postpones judgment long enough, it seems, one need never confront failure. Maybe they've induced amnesia in themselves regarding how they expected things to go, so they can remain untroubled by the enormous discrepancy between those expectations and the real consequences of their actions.

Maybe these Bushite lie to themselves even more than they do to us.

Andrew Bard Schmookler's website --

Fantasty Land Is Still Open

Think Progress:

The White House released a fact sheet yesterday entitled, “Setting the Record Straight: President Bush’s Foreign Policy Is Succeeding.” The sheet declares not once but four times that the administration “is rallying the world behind its policy,” and claims that “a consensus is building behind the President’s foreign policy approach.”

Actually, U.S. standing in the world has plummeted under the Bush administration, as John Bolton tacitly admitted yesterday. Asked who he would choose as Kofi Annan’s successor at the United Nations, Bolton acknowledged, “If I told you who I thought we thought the best candidate would be, it would probably be the kiss of death for that person."

Re: para 1: must be some serious happy pills floating around D.C.

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's Still the Unliberal Press

Media Matters - Third time's not the charm: Sunday-morning talk shows still imbalanced: "In Media Matters' third examination of guest appearances on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, and NBC's Meet the Press, research demonstrated that Republicans and conservatives outnumbered Democrats and progressives from April to June of 2006. . ."

The Making of a Zealot, Part II

Once Upon a Time...: The Roots of the Monsters They Became: How People Murder Their Own Souls: "If you had any remaining doubts about the veracity of Miller's analysis, consider the following excerpt from Jerry Falwell's book, Strength for the Journey: An Autobiography:

There were times that Dad's pranks bordered on cruelty. One of his oil-company workers, a one-legged man he nicknamed 'Crip' Smith, complained about everything. Dad and Crip's co-workers got tired of the old man's bellyaching and decided to take revenge. One morning Crip called in sick and Dad volunteered to send by lunch to his grateful but suspicious employee. Dad and his chums caught Crip's old black tomcat, killed it, skinned it, and cooked it in the kitchen of one of Dad's little restaurants. They called it squirrel meat and delivered it to Crip on a linen-covered tray. When Crip returned to work the next morning, Dad and his co-conspirators asked him how he liked his meal. They knew he would complain even about a free home-cooked lunch, and when Crip called it 'the toughest squirrel meat' he had ever eaten, they were glad to tell him why.

Consider once again that first sentence: "There were times that Dad's pranks bordered on cruelty." "Bordered on cruelty." That is the strongest condemnation that Falwell can offer -- Falwell, supposedly a "man of God," devoted to spreading a gospel of love, compassion and kindness -- with regard to an act of indescribably horrifying cruelty. Try to make real to yourself the psychology of a man who would kill a man's pet, cook it, and then serve it to him for lunch -- and no doubt get a good laugh out of it. And he did all this because he was tired of the other man's complaints. To call it monstrous does not begin to capture the deeply evil nature of such a psychology. Furthermore, Falwell still feels compelled to refer to it as a "prank" -- thus minimizing its authentic, almost ungraspable horror.

But in this passage from Falwell's autobiography, provided you appreciate the underlying psychological dynamics (which you can also see in many people you know, although hopefully not with regard to this extreme an example), you see the first denial, the denial that makes all the others possible and necessary -- the denial of the monstrous cruelty and inhumanity of our parents (when that is true, as it is in this case), so that we will not have to question their goodness or the "kindness" of their intentions, or the fact that whatever they might have done to us as children, they were doing it "for our own good." And all of this is done to avoid the further necessity of questioning authority, and to maintain the mechanism of obedience."

I posted on this same effect previously here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blame Game

Martini Republic » The Captain and Howie punch at straw men: ". . . Obviously, fault for the current conflagration must lie squarely at the feet of those who started it, Hamas. They crossed the border and killed and kidnapped the Israeli soldiers, apparently to precipitate the current fighting. To the extent that Israel’s actions were excessive (this point is being argued to death, and it is not the point of this post to address this argument) one can apportion to Israel responsibility for widening the conflict. And surely Iran and Syria have responsibility as well, to the extent they are fomenting attacks within Israel’s borders.

But that apportionment of blame does not absolve the Bush administration of its contributions to the crisis. To a considerable degree, Bush’s policies have depleted our diplomatic, economic, and military resources in the region by invading Iraq, a move which has created a highly unstable state in the Middle East, and which has become a training ground for terrorists, even as our occupation is a rallying cry for jihadist recruiters. As I detailed here, our creation of a Shiite Islamist dominated state friendly to Tehran on Iran’s border in the place of a hostile, secular dictatorship — at enormous cost to our treasury, military and diplomatic assets — has strengthened Iran’s position vis-a-vis our allies and our own, and may have emboldened Tehran in terms of its willingness to push the current conflict, even to the point (reportedly) of providing military advisors to Hezbollah. Just as surely, the isolationist approach Bush has taken with disfavored regimes in the Gulf has dissipated already limited diplomatic avenues which might be used to intervene. . ."

Cher's Helmets

The Blog | Burt Bacharach: To Cher with Love | The Huffington Post: ". . .I want to salute Cher, who has all my respect and my love for not only what she has done, but the way she has done it. Her campaign for 'Operation Helmet' - done quietly and putting the cause, not herself, out front - is great. She has chosen this issue of trying to eliminate any more of the head and brain injuries our military in Iraq sustains by explosive devices because their helmets aren't good enough to protect them. 'Operation Helmet' is a non-profit public service organization that provides our troops with upgrade kits to make their helmets safer.

For some soldiers, it is too late. Some have suffered brain damage and other serious injuries because their U.S. military-issued equipment isn't effective enough to protect our young men and women. Cher tells us the fact that most of these injuries are happening to the Marines because their helmets don't have proper padding. Also, their helmets are often too loose, leaving them vulnerable to even more head injuries. The military is fighting for us, and Cher is fighting for them. It's hard to believe that private citizens need to provide helmet upgrade kits, but it's necessary and being done. Cher's support has brought badly-needed attention to the situation, and every day more soldiers are being equipped with better helmet padding . . ."

Amen. And thank you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush Oldie

Hullabaloo: ". . .Update: I had vaguely remembered this and finally tracked it down. Bush has always had such bad manners that he couldn't be trusted to behave properly in the White House when his father was president.

'Even as an adult, George was so out of control that his mother, then the president's wife, removed her eldest son to the opposite end of the table at a state dinner for the Queen of England. Although sober by then, the First Son had introduced himself to the Queen as "the black sheep of the family."'

George W. Bush was then 44 years old.

He's almost 60 now."

Taylor Hits The Big Blog Time

Don't you love it when a local boy does good? Our own local Congresscritter has emerged on the national scandal stage via appearances on The Hill and Marshall's Talking Points Memo.

You go, Chuck!

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: "This sounds solid, doesn't it? From The Hill ...

Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) used earmarks to create an overseas study program for Russian business students coordinated by his friend and business partner, an ex-KGB general’s wife and onetime English teacher.

The International Trade and Small Business Institute, created last year and funded through a Taylor earmark to the Small Business Administration (SBA), uses federal money to send seven Russian students to eight North Carolina schools for business courses. Two of the students hail from Ivanovo, the depressed textile city where Taylor is majority owner of the local bank and a frequent real-estate investor.

Taylor, you'll remember, is also the guy with the Abramoff fundraiser bamboozle. And before that, he was the one who said he didn't cast a vote on CAFTA because his voting card broke.
-- Josh Marshall"

Attacking Democracy

The Smirking Chimp: ". . .Where Albright was critical of the 'disaster' in Iraq for distracting from the dormant Mideast peace process, Rice was shrilly defensive.

'For the last 60 years, American administrations of both stripe--Democrat, Republican--traded what they thought was security and stability and turned a blind eye to the absence of democratic forces, to the absence of pluralism in the region,' she said Sunday. 'That policy has changed.'

While this is certainly a dramatic sound bite, the words have no logical meaning: The U.S. continues to embrace the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, as has been the case for sixty years. In fact, Bush has added Libya to the 'approved' list. Meanwhile, Israel is attacking elected governments in the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon with U.S. support. . ."

Leaders and Managers

Take Me to Our Leader: "by Bob Burnett

It's a famous cartoon setup: aliens descend from a space ship, walk up to a human, and demand, 'Take me to your leader.' If aliens actually did land in Washington DC, they'd probably be taken to meet George Bush. After all, he's the nominally elected President of the U.S. Ah, but is he our leader?

No. Most of us believe that President Bush has failed as a leader. That's the crux of the problem facing the U.S. as we gaze into the eye of the Middle East maelstrom: there's civil war in Iraq; Israel is rampaging in Gaza and Lebanon; Iran grows more belligerent by the hour and seems determined to have nuclear weapons; and India and Pakistan are at each other's throats; and George Bush cannot be counted upon to guide us through this tempest

Management theory teaches there are two types of leaders: one is a person who occupies a position of authority and the other is a someone who people go to for counsel because of his or her wise decision making. This theory argues that people want to respect their elected officials; that we gain or lose confidence in our leaders based upon two traits: trust and communication. As President, George Bush occupies a position of authority, but he has lost favor with Americans because he has proven to be an unwise decision-maker, untrustworthy public servant, and unreliable communicator. . ."

Attention Needed About Rightblogostan

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Journalists: It's time for some articles on the pro-Bush blogosphere: ". . .The important point here is that the liberal blogosphere has received substantial -- really, endless -- media attention over the past few months, coverage which has included everything from the upsetting use of bad words to petty bickering to rank Internet gossip. But the pro-Bush blogosphere is all but ignored by the media, and it is long past time for a substantive, thorough examination of the extremist rhetoric and violence-drenched imagery which composes the backbone of their dialogue. . ."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More Investigating

Will Plame vs. Cheney, Libby & Rove Unearth New Info?:

"Several years ago, I was talking to a Democratic senator on the intelligence committee about the CIA leak case. I asked if Democrats had any intention of pushing for a congressional investigation of the administration leak that appeared in Robert Novak's column and that outed Valerie Wilson as a CIA operative. The senator noted that a special counsel (Patrick Fitzgerald) was already on the case. That's true, I said, adding that it was not Fitzgerald's job to tell the public about his findings. His task was to investigate (secretly) a crime and then mount a prosecution if he could. Any information he would unearth would only become public were he to mention it in an indictment or a subsequent prosecution. He would not be issuing any report. And at the end of Fitzgerald's inquiry, I said to the senator, there might no prosecution (or merely a limited prosecution) and that the public might not learn all there was to know about the case. So, I asked this legislator, if Democrats cared about the leak, shouldn't they push for a non-criminal investigation? The senator replied in an exasperated manner: 'You want us to investigate everything?'"

The Merkel Massage

Majikthise : Bush gropes Chancellor Merkel: ". . .Every woman will recognize the guy who sidles up and starts 'casually' giving you a backrub without even looking at you, because he wants to preserve deniability in case you freak out. Like any practiced groper, Bush stares right past Merkel as she recoils from his touch. . ."

Folks, I may have finally reached a tipping point. My humiliation is such that I may take some time off from blogging. One begins to need a break from the never-ending cycle of... of... of soul searing embarrassment.

"Big Box Blowback"

thatcoloredfella notes: " Whether it is local municipalities adhering to their own version of the Kyoto Treaty and setting like-minded environmental standards, many local governments are now addressing the economic disparity caused by the refusal of Congress to raise the minimum wage. And so the Chicago City Council is set to mandate wage increases for employees working for so-called ‘big box’ retailers (Wal Mart, Target) located within the city.

In response came a veiled threat from Target to shutter all twenty-two Chicago stores arguing that the minimum set at $10.00 per hour plus $3 dollars in benefits (for stores over 90,000 square feet and annual revenues over $1 billion) would ’devastate’ the company.

TCF would advise the Chicago alderman to go ahead and call Target’s bluff.

Each one of Sam Walton’s offspring is a billionaire and I suspect that Target shareholders are not scraping by like most of their sales associates. This is not an attempt at redistribution of wealth, but offering hardworking people a living wage to support their families. Contrary to the expected retort from the Republicans, Target and Wal-Mart are not small businesses vulnerable to incremental labor costs. In fact, Wal Mart just saw it’s (sic) stock downgraded this week because of the adverse effect rising gasoline prices are having on the very wage earners they employ."

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sploid Goes All Consipracy Theory

With nary a shred of evidence, save some connect-the dots- stuff,  Sploid says:

Yet another person connected La Familia Bush has been visited by unspeakable violence. The latest -- and most tragic -- victim of the Bush juju "committed suicide" just moments after he murdered his own son.

William H. Lash III, 45, was the classic Ivy-pedigreed D.C. insider. He worked under Reagan and taught at George Mason University Law School in Arlington. From 2001 until last year, Lash worked at the Commerce Department. . .

. . .

When Lash was at Commerce, he headed a task force on the reconstruction of Iraq, in which he dealt with businesses seeking contracts.

Nobody was a bigger winner in the Iraq reconstruction lottery than Halliburton. For years they had reaped massive profits, as have stakeholders Vice President Dick Cheney and pinko propagandist Michael Moore.

All that changed earlier this week when the Pentagon announced Monday that they were terminating Halliburton's sweetheart no-bid deal. After years of overcharging and providing U.S. troops with tainted water, Halliburton's free pass at the trough of government waste was over.

Three days later, Lash and his young son were dead.

I'm sure the Right, if it is paying attention, is foaming with indigination at such ridiculous implications. However, I have a two word reminder: Vince Foster.

Karma, karma, karma, karma...

Recipe For Revolt

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics:

". . .Gingrich said he is 'very worried' about Republican's facing fall elections and says the party must have the 'nerve' to nationalize the elections and make the 2006 campaigns about a liberal Democratic agenda rather than about President Bush's record.

Gingrich says it's World War III"

The last time I heard something like that was Nixon on the Watergate tapes worrying about McGovern and Commies. Don't even think about not having elections, which is what the term "nationalize" implies; we fought World War II without such hysteria, and the Axis powers were ten-thousand times more powerful and dangerous than all the assorted murderers and crazies running loose today combined and squared.

Start that nonsense and, Newt, the war will be in the streets of America, brought to you by Americans.

The Loon Never Cries Alone

Once Upon a Time...: "A Gift to the World": "A Gift to the World'
Still one more time, I knew that Limbaugh would be spewing his dishonest, vicious, murderous neocon vision of the world today. (He was on vacation last week. Here's my account of the last time I listened.)

He opened this morning's program by announcing that 'what's happening in the Middle East is a gift to the world.' He is repeating the phrase endlessly: 'a gift to the world.'

Many of us have been pointing out why monsters like Limbaugh say this for some time:

They are apocalyptic crusaders, who seek redemption and a 'purified' new world through worldwide devastation and death.

They want the widest war possible. As Chris Hedges and others discuss, the view of the neocon imperialist crusaders and that of militant Islam are mirror images of each other: 'the other' must be demonized -- and now 'the other' must be destroyed. . ."

Re: previous posts today-- neither Rush nor his kin will be slogging the dirt in the roll into Iran-- they will be basking safely in regal neocon splendor in a South Florida oxyviagara biovalating haven contemplating 'gators and cool glasses with little umbrellas all asplendor in the evening twilight of the imperial gods last gleaming on distant torpedos whilst crying "Stay! Stay! Ever the course!" Be rendered unto 99 and 44 one-hundreths percent pure Ivory O'Grand Gasbag! (quite obscure for the young'uns I'm sure).

Bush's Brain

Jonathan Chait: Is Bush Still Too Dumb to Be President? - Los Angeles Times: ". . .Oh, sure, a few of us have brought it up from time to time, but we have generally been dismissed out of hand as wacky Bush-haters. By 2004, the question had been turned around completely. Democrats had almost nothing to say about Bush's lack of intellect, while Republicans joyfully and repeatedly attacked John Kerry as an egghead. Anti-intellectualism was triumphant.

Yet it is now increasingly clear that Bush's status as non-rocket scientist is a serious problem. The problem is not his habit — savored by late-night comedians — of stumbling over multisyllabic words. It is his shocking lack of intellectual curiosity.

Ron Suskind's new book, 'The One Percent Doctrine,' paints a harrowing picture of Bush's intellectual limits. Bush, writes Suskind, 'is not much of a reader.' He prefers verbal briefings and often makes a horse-sense judgment based on how confident his briefer seems in what he's saying. In August 2001, the CIA was in a panic about an upcoming terrorist attack and drafted a report with the title, 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.' When a CIA staffer summed up the memo's contents in a face-to-face meeting with Bush, the president found the briefer insufficiently confident and dismissed him by saying, 'All right, you've covered your ass, now,' according to Suskind. That turned out to be a fairly disastrous judgment.

Bush loyalists like to dismiss Suskind's reporting, but it jibes with the picture that has emerged from other sources. L. Paul Bremer III's account of his tenure as head of Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority depicts Bush as uninterested in the central questions of rebuilding and occupying the country. . ."

Uygur on the Head Chickenhawk

The Smirking Chimp: "Bill Kristol has never seen a war he didn't like. No, that's too soft. A war he didn't love and lust after. Here's a wolf in sheep's clothing pretending to be serious, sober minded analyst on television when in reality he is trying to get us sucked into horrific wars that other people will die fighting.

Will he ever put on a uniform and fight any of the wars he so desperately wants to start? Hell no. Will anyone in his family or friends? Hell no.

They love to start wars, not fight them. That's for the poor schmucks who don't know any better and sign up to run the fool's errands Kristol wants to send them on. On Thursday, we had Ben Barnes, the former Lt. Governor of Texas on our show talking about how he got all the rich kids of Texas out of the Vietnam War, including George W. Bush. There was something about hearing him say it that struck me. It isn't just theoretical; they really do get their kids out of war while they send poor kids to get ground up by the war machine. There is something infinitely sick about that. . ."

Flogging Congress

M. Kane Jeeves » The axis of weasels: "The axis of weasels
Filed under: Constructive Criticism — MrBogle @ 8:02 pm

Is this the worst Congress ever? Yes, it is. Think about what both houses are doing right now. The Middle East is exploding. Afghanistan is going down the tubes. Iraq is so far down the tubes, their recently-elected government is face to face with the Tidy Bowl Man. The deficit is soaring. People are losing jobs. The stock market is plummeting. Oil is grasping at the $80 per barrel mark. Violent crime is rising across America. So, what are they doing?

They’re coming down hard on flag burning, gay marriage and internet gambling.

Yes, they are. . ."

Yes, the mind reels...

Neo vs. Neo?

Think Progress: "Williams Confronts Kristol: ‘You Just Want War, War, War, And You Want Us In More War’ »

This morning on Fox News Sunday, William Kristol argued that the Bush administration’s “coddling” of Iran had “invited” the latest outbreak of violence, and that the United States should join in the current fighting. Juan Williams pushed back:

You just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East. … You’re saying, why doesn’t the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don’t talk to anybody. We don’t talk to Hamas. We don’t talk to Hezbollah. We’re not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?

Kristol threw up his hands and didn’t answer. Watch it:"

Columnist Alfred E. Neuman

Novak on "Meet the Press" Claims He Didn't Out Plame: "NEW YORK Columnist Robert Novak, after submitting to a pair of interviews on his friendly home turf -- Fox News -- traveled to an away field on Sunday, appearing with Tim Russert on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' where he found himself on the hot seat at times.

There, among other things, he reversed course in his dispute with 'Newsday,' now saying that the paper did not not misquote him on a key point but rather that he misspoke. He continued to claim that he did not really 'out' covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. And he defended not only talking about sources with the prosecutor, but also refusing until now to confirm he had testified.

Yet, asked if he'd do it all again, he said he wasn't sure. But he clearly did not regret outing Plame, in fact, arguing, with little evidence, 'I don’t think I outed her. I think she was outed by Aldridge Aimes before. I don’t think she was a -- a covert operative. . .'"


All The World's A Stage

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Bush on the World Stage: While Events Heat Up, the President Hams it Up | The Huffington Post: ". . .Look, it's not that I don't appreciate the president's frat boy sense of humor. I like a chuckle as much as anyone. But given the tragic feel of recent events, his tone couldn't have been more false.

It's a very sinking feeling, watching this all-hat, no-cattle puppet who was put in power by the GOP elite back in a very different time, when all it thought we needed was a CEO to help manage the good times, suddenly finding himself presiding over a series of cataclysmic events.

Watching Bush meander around the world stage is like watching an amateurish production of Shakespeare. We need Olivier and all we've got is this community theater ham.

And he can't wait to slice it."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Creation of a Zealot

The Carpetbagger Report:

Have you ever wondered why Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is such a nutcase? Why is he so obsessed with the sex lives of people he doesn't even know? Why does he hate gay people so much? Why does he claim to love Jesus so much, and then behave in a vicious manner so unlike Christ?

A recent profile of Dobson sheds some light on these questions. As it turns out, Dobson's parents physically and mentally abused him as a child, and he once got beaten up in school by a kid even Dobson admits was widely acknowledged to be a "sissy."

The article in a Denver magazine called "5280" makes Dobson's mother, Myrtle, sound like a real piece of work. Notes writer Eileen Welsome:

Myrtle Dobson was an amiable and social woman, but she didn't hesitate to whack her son with a shoe or belt when she felt it was required. Consequently, Dobson writes, he learned at an early age to stay out of striking distance when he back-talked to his mother. One day he made the mistake of mouthing off when she was only four feet away and heard a 16-pound girdle whistling through the air. "The intended blow caught me across the chest, followed by a multitude of straps and buckles wrapping themselves around my midsection." The girdle incident did not dampen his defiance, however. One evening, after Dobson's mother forbid him from going to a dance, the recalcitrant teenager told her that he was going anyway; she picked up the telephone and called her husband. "I need you," she said.

The article continues: "'What happened in the next few days shocked me down to my toes,' writes Dobson."

Years ago, on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, Carson had a long discussion with a Harvard Ph.D. who recounted a horrific childhood that included abuse, mutilation, and the compoundment of the man's various physical ailments. Their discussion focused on how he "made it" when so many in less horrific but similar circumstances ended up in prison. So Dobson had a tough childhood; well, welcome to the damn club. While his difficulties may explain his behavior, that does not excuse the behavior. No excuse will suffice for the inhumane positions that Dobson has espoused. Dobson and his kind would well to quit thumping the Bible so much and actually try reading it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Deficit Reduction Boogie

Earlier this week, the Republicans celebrated a reduction of the federal deficit to $296 billion (as opposed to the $400 billion projection in February) for the upcoming fiscal year. (ed. note: What a surprise. They botched an estimation. Business as usual in the Bush White House.) While members of the GOP did endzone dances in celebration of the fourth highest deficit — ever — there were some interesting developments this week with government spending on Bush’s misadventure in Iraq and the underworld of war profiteering.

On Not Being A Tool

". . .A new element of courage in journalism would be for editors and reporters to decide not to cover the President's statements when he -- or any public figure -- repeats essentially what he or she has said before. The Bush team also has brought forward another totally PR gimmick: The President stands before a background that highlights the key words of his daily message. This tactic serves only to reinforce that what's going on is public relations -- not governing. Journalistic courage should include the refusal to publish in a newspaper or carry on a TV or radio news show any statements made by the President or any other government official that are designed solely as a public relations tool, offering no new or valuable information to the public."

Kristol Goes Krazy

From Crooks & Liars:

"Bill Kristol writes his typical neocon column and says "It’s Our War," What’s happening in the Middle East right now is exactly what men like Kristol have dreamed about. Kristol has contributed to the chaos our world is in today and for anyone to take anything he says seriously having to do with issues of foreign policy have not witnessed what has happened in Iraq. 

William the Bloody:

The right response is renewed strength–in supporting the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, in standing with Israel, and in pursuing regime change in Syria and Iran. For that matter, we might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions–and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.

Healthy repercussions? What the hell is he talking about?"

Friday, July 14, 2006

On The Head Butt

The Blog | David Wallechinsky: The Head-Butt Felt 'Round the World | The Huffington Post:
". . .Fortunately, after days of ignoring Materazzi's remarks, FIFA has agreed to open a disciplinary hearing regarding what he said. Until then, here is FIFA's lesson for those hundreds of millions of children who watched the match and to whom Zidane apologized: You children should not head-butt your opponents and you should not pull their shirts, but if you want to call their mothers and sisters whores, that's alright."

So why did he head-butt Materazzi? Wouldn't a pop in the mouth have been more satisfying? (Remind me to post about soccer in America-- I am a fan.)

Here is a core tidbit from the above post that gets at soccer's difficulties in the U.S.:

"The flow of play was repeatedly halted so that the referees could punish shirt-pulling, hard bumping and kicking an opposing player's toe. Unfortunately, the referees' crackdown did not include the much-despised practice of diving (collapsing to the ground while pretending to have been fouled). At the last World Cup in 2002, the referees did punish diving, much to the delight of soccer fans the world over. This year, however, diving was rarely punished, and outraged fans fumed as this form of cheating proliferated. The BBC even compiled a montage of the World Cup dives of Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course, FIFA did not even consider punishing players who verbally insult their opponents, a practice which is apparently considered nothing more than good clean fun."

US Ranks 150th on Jolly Index

Vanuatu is world's happiest country: study - Yahoo! News: "LONDON (AFP) - The tiny South Pacific Ocean archipelago of Vanuatu is the happiest country on Earth, according to a study published measuring people's wellbeing and their impact on the environment.

Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama complete the top five in the Happy Planet Index, compiled by the British think-tank New Economics Foundation (NEF).

The index combines life satisfaction, life expectancy and environmental footprint -- the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption.

Zimbabwe came bottom of the 178 countries ranked, below second-worst performer Swaziland, Burundi, the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine.

The Group of Eight industrial powers meet in Saint Petersburg this weekend but have not much to smile about, according to the index.

Italy came out best in 66th place, ahead of Germany (81), Japan (95), Britain (108), Canada (111), France (129), the United States (150) and Russia, in lowly 172nd place. . ."

That about says it all.

Major GOPer Busted For DUI - Pete Coors apologizes in drunk driving case: "Beer magnate and former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Coors was arrested on a drunken-driving charge and is due to appear in court next week.

A Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled Coors over after he saw him run a stop sign around the corner from his home in Golden at 11:25 p.m. on May 28, according to Coors spokeswoman Kabira Hatland and the citations. . ."

At least he wasn't overtly looting the Treasury.

Senator Rooster Clucks

Rick Santorum Called "Rooster" Before His Days In The Senate... | The Huffington Post: "Rooster to the rescue?

On the name-calling scale, this doesn't come close to that red-faced guy in Glenside. But U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's re-election campaign keeps calling Democratic opponent Bob Casey Jr.'Bobby.'

This diminutive nickname makes Casey sound inexperienced, lightweight and without the substance of his father, the late Gov. Bob Casey.

In other words, it's smart for Santorum to keep doing it.

The Casey camp could fight back by referring to the incumbent as 'Ricky,' but Clout has a better idea.

Santorum's high-school nickname was 'Rooster.' Why not have a staffer (where's Philly Press?) dress up as a rooster to attend Santorum's public events?"

Anyone who is surprised that Ricky's nickname was "Rooster" raise your hand.

Fire Over Voting Right

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog: "I have been watching the debate over the renewal of the Voting Rights Act on C-SPAN and to say it is a friggin’ bigot parade is an understatement. One white GOP cracker after another coming up and trying to parse attempts to gut the bill as common-sense measures of 'restraint.' Really, it is Jim Crow all over again

Everyone who goes nuts any time the word Diebold is mentioned should be screaming loud and long over this. The attempt to disenfranchise voters, particularly African American voters (consistently reliable Democrats) has had a long and ugly history within the Republican party and there are four really nasty wingnut amendments being debated. Steve Gilliard has more on Rep. Steve King (who is trying to disenfranchise non-English speaking voters like American Indians) and Tracy Russo covers the topic well at the DNC website. . ."

Read on, but prepare to be outraged (or at least irritated):

Pots and Black Kettles

Political parties clash over Iraq video - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional Republicans attacked Democrats on Thursday for an Internet video featuring flag-draped coffins of U.S. casualties in Iraq, saying it 'crossed the line' by exploiting troops and politicizing the war.

Democrats questioned their outrage, noting Republicans have used images related to the September 11 attacks in their fund raising and White House political adviser Karl Rove has urged candidates to emphasize the Bush administration's record on security and the war.

The political spat was sparked by a Democratic House campaign committee video claiming "Things Have Taken a Turn for the Worse" that features images of the coffins, a makeshift grave in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Republican lawmakers condemned the video as "revolting" and "disgusting," saying it insulted military families, politicized the war and should be removed from the Web site.

"For the Democrats, everything is about politics, so nothing they have done over the last three years to shamelessly politicize the war in Iraq has shocked me, but this crosses the line," said Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, chairman of the House Republican campaign committee. . ."

Stealing For Jesus

Evangelist arrested on tax evasion | Local News | "A Pensacola evangelist was arrested Thursday and indicted in federal court on 58 charges that include income tax evasion, making threats against investigators and filing false complaints against Internal Revenue Service agents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Miles Davis handed down the indictment against Kent Hovind, who operated a creationist theme park Dinosaur Adventure Land, off Old Palafox Road. . ."

...and not rendering to Caesar either!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fox Reports On Kos Flaming

MyDD :: Fox News Reports on Sub-Par Dailykos Flame War: ". . . .This is hysterical--in every sense of the word. Fox News is seriously dedicating time to a Dailykos flame war? Could they grow any more obsessed with the progressive netroots? I've been around since the very beginning, and I have seen all of the flame wars. As far as flame wars go, this ranks somewhere between the fight over no extended entries on front-page posts, and the fight over the Brown--Hackett Senate primary in Ohio. If you think this is a flame war, then your obsession with the progressive netroots is clearly new and you have really come late to the party. If our flame wars are news, why not rank them? Basically, I mean, if you really want to talk about flame wars, then why didn't touch the whole early 2003 Nader thing (#4 all time) the great 2005 pie-fight (#3 all time), the post-election kurfuffle over election fraud (#2 all time), or even the dreaded all-time flame war: SYFPH (Best. Flame. War. Ever.). But somehow the first major post-Yearly Kos flame war is news to Faux News. . ."

But then that does burn air time which they would otherwise have to use, you know, maybe like reporting, say, the news, like, say, the Middle East erupting in flames, corruption in Katrina contracting, nonsensical Senate votes on flags, gays, water buffalos and elves, blondes disappearing on tropical islands. . .

Censorship Fighting In Kentucky

The Blog | David Sirota: Lawmakers Take on Right-Wing Gov, Intro Landmark Anti-Internet Censorship Bill | The Huffington Post: "It's early morning down here at in Lexington, Kentucky and I just finished drafting remarks for a press conference I will be attending in Frankfort where state lawmakers will announce landmark legislation opposing Internet censorship, and fighting back against extreme right-wing Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R). Recently, Fletcher blocked state computer access to the Bluegrass Report, run by political strategist and Fletcher critic Mark Nickolas.

In response, Nickolas filed a federal lawsuit. Now, the Progressive States Network is helping lawmakers launch state legislation to address the situation - legislation that will be a national model to fight back against right-wing power grabs. . ."

Conservatives Demand Coulter Be Booted

Cedar Rapids Newspaper Drops Ann Coulter's Column: "Cedar Rapids Newspaper Drops Ann Coulter's Column

By Sarah Weber

Published: July 12, 2006 5:05 PM ET

NEW YORK Ann Coulter is no stranger to controversy, but her latest adventures have several newspapers questioning whether carrying her syndicated column is worth the trouble. The Shreveport (La.) Times is currently leaving the decision of whether or not to keep Coulter up to its readers. But the first newspaper to officially drop Coulter’s column since the latest uproar began seems to be The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she had appeared for about 14 months. .

A Well-Earned Filleting

Alterman: Robert Novak, traitor - Altercation - "The upshot here appears to be that Novak lied to everyone in order to betray his country on behalf of Rove and company. First he revealed the name of an active CIA officer, blowing any and all operations with which she has ever been involved, costing the country millions, and possibly endangering lives despite the specific request from the agency that he not do so. That'’s all here. . ."

Read on for the entire crucifixion.

Enronians Dropping Like Flies

BBC NEWS | UK | Enron witness found dead in park: "body found in north-east London has been identified as that of a banker who was questioned by the FBI about the Enron fraud case.

Police said they were treating the death in Chingford of Neil Coulbeck, who worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland until 2004, as 'unexplained'. . ."

Insert conspiracy theory here.

Rummy Sez "No!"

The Huffington Post: "Rummy's Disease: The Delusions Are Highly Contagious

There was a time when Don Rumsfeld's surrealistic take on things was quaint and quirky -- chewy nuggets that could be appreciated, if not enjoyed, as the mental musings of a sui generis mind. But those days are long gone, buried beneath a cascade of body bags and on-going horrors. When asked during his surprise trip to Iraq when he thought the Iraqis would be ready to meet the security needs that would allow for the reduction of U.S. forces, Rumsfeld said, 'I don't talk deadlines' -- a snappy rejoinder we can add to the list of other Rummy don'ts: 'I don't do numbers.' 'I don't do predictions.' 'I don't do diplomacy.' 'I don't do quagmires.' Too bad for the rest of us that Rummy also doesn't do resignations. . ."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rewarding Torture

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: "Haynes, by all accounts, is a genial fellow who simply told the president what he wanted to hear. But no man who has endorsed waterboarding as an interrogation technique should be allowed near a federal bench. War criminals cannot be judges. The Senate must deny Haynes a 'reward' for following the law. If Hamdan hadn't forced his hand, torture would still be policy. You don't reward such criminals; you ostracize them and keep them for ever from public office. One further caveat: we still have no assurance that the CIA won't still be authorized to torture in secret sites beyond our purview. we know how deeply attached Cheney is to the torture policy. He may still be trying to find a way to get around the law, as he has so doggedly in the past. We have evefry reason to be thrilled this morning, but history cautions skepticism as well."