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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Say, isn't holding the Republican National Convention at Ground Zero City the very definition of "politicizing"? 

Just asking.

I mean, Vegas doesn't have enough hotel rooms?

Wingers planning hostile takeover of the Sierra Club 

The ever-excellent Orcinus.

And speaking of gay marriage 

Here's a level-headed letter from the Los Angeles:

Bush warned me that gay people in San Francisco were getting married to each other and that, as a result, my traditional marriage is now threatened. But I just checked with my wife of 25 years and she told me our marriage is still doing just fine. Is it possible my president is misinformed? Misguided? Mistaken?

Art Verity

Van Nuys

-- via LA Times

What should the team colors be for the Bush campaign? 

Black and white? As in "no shades of grey"? And the divisive Southern strategy?

Green and black? For money and oil?

Readers?

Say, why didn't we hear anything from Bush on the marriage amendment after his press conference on it? 

Just asking.

I mean, you'd think a man of Bush's character and moral clarity would be out there proclaiming his deeply help beliefs on this at every opportunity. Unless it was just another one of those "vision" things he picks up and drops, like Mars, the Jobs Czar, and so on.

Say, why is it that Bush always has time for a photo-op or a fundraiser, but only one hour for the 9/11 commission? 

Just asking.

Bush the disciple of Henri Cartier-Bresson 

Oh, no, wait, I'm wrong. Bush had a defining moment, not a decisive moment. My bad.

And, yeah, Bush's defining moment was when he took the Florida election by a 5-4 vote after Jebbie threw thousands of Democrats off the voter rolls. Everything after that was gravy.

Say, why is that Clinton will meet with the 9/11 commission in public, and Bush won't? 

Just asking....

Top 10 reasons not to hate George Bush [encore presentation] 

Here at Corrente, we are doing our best to restore civility to American political discourse by giving reasons not not hate George Bush. Thus we refute the vicious canard—I didn't day "duck pit" but feel free to think it—that Corrente is a "hate Bush" site.

Here they are:

10. He can wear an earpiece with the best of 'em.
9. He pronounces "nuclear" like a regular guy.
8. Say what you like about him, but he has the nicest ass of any president in living memory. (alert reader Molly)
7. No issues with dogs.
6. He's not afraid to call Condi Rice "fabulous." (Anonymous)
5. He only turns vicious when cornered.
4. George Bush omorashi!
3. He restored honor and dignity to the oval office.
2. One word: Xanax
1. You can watch with the sound turned down.

We first ran this back in September, and it's held up pretty well. But perhaps it's time to rework it.

Readers?

Definitions 

Thought I'd finish up that definition of freeper we all worked on awhile back; it's now posted below and in the lexicon.

As for "troll," the term is already defined here in the Jargon File (a.k.a. Hacker's Dictionary). No need for us to attempt to improve on it.

Freeper 

Noun. A Free Republic zealot, often distinguished by an unnatural obsession with the Clenis™ (q.v.).

Usage example: Gosh, that comments section is really infested by freepers.

Thanks to alert readers Doug Gillet and Xan.

Precinct organizing 

Nuts and bolts count.

Here's an interesting site from Alice Marshall.

Kerry: Hey, I'm starting to warm up to the guy 

Here's what he had to say about Bush using the bodies of the 9/11 dead in a campaign ad:

Speaking to a crowd of 2,000 at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Senator John F. Kerry whipped the audience into a frenzy of booing as the presumptive Democratic nominee denounced Bush for using images of the Sept. 11 attacks in his new reelection ads.

"George Bush wants this whole deal just to be about war," Kerry said. "His first advertisements had pictures of ground zero."

The Massachusetts senator added: "You're all good strategists down here; you understand why he's doing that. He can't come out there and talk about jobs. He can't come out here and talk to you about protecting the environment."

(via the Boston Glob)

I like that "good strategists" line—it isn't talking down to people, or making them afraid. It's taking the lid off and showing them the (ugly, ugly) workings of the guys in power right now.

Best of all, it might work. The American people really aren't dumb; it's just that they have lives. During the Clinton Impeachment phase of the Bushogarchy's coup, Clinton's poll numbers were never higher. The American people understood exactly what was going on. In that case, too, we were "good strategists."

If this perception of how Bush operates takes hold, Bush is toast, since everything he does will be discounted—and rightly so.

Science for Republicans: New Hope for Bush 

If only they could do for the conscience what they can do for the brain.

A handful of scientists around the world have begun cautiously experimenting with devices implanted in patients' bodies to deliver precisely targeted electrical stimulation to the brain in hopes of treating otherwise hopeless behavioral, neurological and psychiatric disorders.
(via WaPo)


"He molests the dead" 

"That is only the start of the Bush campaign. He has plenty of money and unlimited personal cheapness."

Breslin.

No matter how cynical I get about these guys—and I try really hard—it's never enough.

That stretcher they're carrying out of the WTC in Bush's campaign ad.... I sure hope Bush checked with the family to make sure it was OK to use the image in a re-election campaign. (Unless the image was faked, of course).

Bush doing warm-ups for Republican convention at a 9/11 groundbreaking on Long Island 

So, as long as he's in town, why doesn't he take that time and go testify in front of the 9/11 commission instead?

That's aWol for you: plenty of time for photo-ops, plenty of time for fundraising, no time for accountability.

Bush will participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for a memorial to Sept. 11 victims in East Meadow on Thursday during a visit to Long Island, the White House announced Friday.
(via Newsday)

He's testing the waters—and I certainly hope they prove chilly.

Translation: The Bushogarchy versus America 

The state of the economy is exactly the way Bush wants it. They changed the rules, as with everything else.

For two years now, productivity growth, a measure of how much workers produce per hour, has been at historic highs as companies rely on squeezing their existing employees to meet demand, rather than hiring more workers.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has been expecting productivity growth to slow, but the latest payrolls report implied that may not be happening yet.

"Obviously, the relationship between economic growth and employment has broken down", said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

He noted that economic growth comes from only two sources: employment and productivity gains.

"Businesses are under intense margin pressure, forcing them to rely on productivity gains," Sohn said. As a result, the risk of an economic slowdown later this year has increased.

A more typical pace of hiring this far into an economic recovery is at least 200,000 new jobs a month.

High productivity has been a boon for corporate profits, but companies are spending this bonanza on efficiency-enhancing equipment like software instead of on workers.
(via Reuters)

So, that's an explanation why the numbers look so good to the Bushogarchy, and look so bad to America. None of the gains are going to us.

Ask yourself why companies feel they can "squeeze" their workers. The answer—as with everything the Bushogarchy does— is fear:

  • Fear of losing your job, because Bush trashed unemployment protection (remember when they didn't renew unemployment compensation at Christmas?)

  • Fear of losing your job, and losing your insurance, because there's no universal health care in this country (man, those Canadians are dropping like flies, aren't they?)

  • Fear of losing your job, because the house, the car, the credit cards are all to be paid for, and now the hole looks even deeper because Bush is going to take away your overtime.


That's America. It isn't the America that Bush lives in, or his friends, or the people who have handed him money after every one of his businesses failed, or his theocratic billionaire funders, or the millionaire pundits who shill and whore for him in the rigged game to keep the Bushogarchy in power.

Ask yourself why Bush never tells America "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"? It's obvious: It is in his interest to keep America fearful.

And since we already know that the Bushogarchy will do anything to hold onto what they have, we can expect a lot more fear-mongering in 2004.


The Arnis™ to edit muscle mag 

And gubernate at the same time!

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has accepted a new role for his busy schedule, that of executive editor of "Muscle & Fitness" and "Flex" magazines, his spokesman said on Friday.

The former Mr. Universe, who took office in November with California engulfed in fiscal crisis, will officially announce his new job on Saturday when he attends the annual Arnold Fitness Weekend in Columbus, Ohio, said spokesman Rob Stutzman.

American Media, Inc., which owns the magazines, also publishes tabloids like the National Enquirer, but Stutzman said he was not aware of any deal for those publications to go easy on the governor. (via Reuters)

And California just borrowed more money... I just don't know ....

Spring winds... 

Coup a comin'? Maybe?

Bush administration official press release media spokesperson/psyops at CNN and MSGOP and Fox etc....have been breathing heavily in recent days about the rise in gas prices across our majestic God fearin' nation, go figger. How can that be!? Hey! Blame it on Venezuela (you know it's coming) and commie gym teachers from Cuba who are infiltrating every nook and cranny in Caracus. Rich white heathers from the burbs, surounded by rabble commie hillbillies, and armed with slingshots have taken to the streets in designer jeans to take back their nation for baseballo and motherhood and aerobics. Enter Commander Codpiece and the avenging Calvinist Elect of the Bush administration. Send in some private military mercenary contractor goons and some especial forces to do the surgical dirty work. Then prop President Umm in front of a TV camera and let him puff and preen and "talk tough" about Castro and turrist and fridem and grave national security dangers to 'Murica's precious bodily oil and gas fluids. What else is new. Election comin'! And nothin' gits the average 'Murican Babbitt all a hootin' and hollerin' quite like a kick in the nuts at the petrol pump. Fillin' up the pig with expensive furrin' commie erl? That just hain't rawght. Not with NASCAR season upon us.

Well, we'll see.

Excerpts from recent Stratfor briefing:

[Petroleos de Venezuela, owns the U.S. company CITGO.]

...a U.S. government source close to the Venezuelan situation informed Stratfor today that virtually every unit in the Venezuelan military has been seeded with Cuban soldiers. The source added that -- unlike Venezuelan troops -- Cuban troops would fire on opposition demonstrators if ordered to do so. In terms of their accents and physical appearance, Cubans are indistinguishable from Venezuelans. Therefore it would appear that the Venezuelan military had opened fire on the protesters.

If it became public knowledge that the Cubans had intervened in Venezuela, the United States could not simply ignore it. It would not be a matter of domestic politics -- although that should not be discounted -- but a strategic challenge by Cuba in an area of vital importance to the United States. Therefore, government officials who are floating these stories are setting in motion a dynamic in which the United States will have to become
more active in Venezuela. They are, so to speak, forcing their own hand.

This, at least, is clear: U.S. officials are claiming that Cubans are in Venezuela. A White House source told a Venezuelan journalist March 4 that Venezuela is the second most important problem facing the United States after Iraq. At some point, The Washington Post or The New York Times will publish that news, and the administration will be forced to make some decisions. Since they are setting up the situation in the first place, we must assume they have some idea of what they're doing. It is always possible that one faction in the administration is trying to force the situation; Washington is Washington. But our source is not the sort to go out on a limb. The source is a very sound, official leaker.

That means the administration might have decided it does not have enough on its plate -- and wants to try its hand at a new game.


I'm sure that the pantysniffers at the Washington Post and CNN and NBC/GE and the New York Times - and blah blah blah - will get right to the bottom of the whole ugly unraveling embroglio, asap. Uh-huh...shooor.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Plame Affair heats up: Effort began in WhiteWash House press office 

The grand jury has transcripts!

A transcript subpoenaed in the CIA leak probe reveals the White House press operation began efforts to personally discredit former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV days before a columnist blew the cover of his CIA-officer wife.

The efforts to discredit Wilson came after he went public July 6 with criticism of President George W. Bush for mentioning the uranium rumor in January 2003 in his State of the Union address which helped make a case for the Iraq war.

In the subpoenaed July 12 transcript of a briefing in Nigeria, then press secretary Ari Fleischer called Wilson a "lower-level official" and said Wilson had made flawed and incomplete statements. Fleischer did not return calls Friday.

One journalist, NBC reporter and "Meet the Press" host Andrea Mitchell, appears to have several connections of interest.

On July 6, she interviewed Wilson about his trip to Niger, and two days later she reported officials tried to cast Wilson as a Democratic "partisan."

And on July 16, [Andrea Mitchell's] husband, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, was honored at a White House reception held to celebrate former President Gerald Ford's 90th birthday. The grand jury subpoenaed the guest list, which has not been released.

"I shouldn't talk about it," Mitchell said Friday, declining to say if she attended the reception. Asked why the grand jury might be interested in it, she said, "I can't even imagine."

(Tom Brune Newsday)

Well, well, well. I wonder who was on that guest list? Besides Mitchell's thieving weasel of a husband, that is.

Pass the popcorn!

Dr. Freud, will you please call your office? It's about Governor Perry 

Governor Rick Perry denies all the rumors. All of them, including the one about goats.

"I'm a big, tough guy, and I have run now for four times against some pretty darned good political opponents, people who have probably gone through my background about as well as you can go through a background and written everything about me, investigated everything about my life from the time I was born until 15 minutes ago," Perry said. "And I put up with all of that and understand it. I go do my job every day. This is like a bombing mission for me. The missiles come up on a regular basis. I know they're going to come up."
(via Austin American Statesman from TBogg)

Um.

Variations of the rumor have been perpetuated on Web sites that publish unsubstantiated rumors that the mainstream media won't touch. Among those that have mentioned the rumor are the Burnt Orange Report, BuzzFlash and MadLife.

The site had its first posting about the Perry rumors on Feb. 13 under the headline "Rumors circulating about Gov. Perry."

"I've been hearing some interesting things from multiple sources about the marital relations of Gov. Rick Perry in the past day or two," the Web site's Byron L. wrote. "If anyone knows what I'm talking about and has information about the rumors, drop me a line."

Five days later, the Burnt Orange Report noted that it had received more visits in one day than it had in all of January. The traffic was credited to another Web site ...

Enter the man in the gray turtleneck

... atrios.blogspot.com, that linked to "my post on the rumors circulating about Governor Rick Perry."

Perry had no sympathy for anyone using a we-said-it-was-just-a-rumor defense.

"What's wrong is they have been a Web site that has denigrated the political process, in my opinion, to a great degree," he said. "If the future of politics is this, the future is dismal and dim for Texas, for America, for the political process."

I love it. A Texas Republican gerrymanderer and man-slut for Tom "Don't call me French" DéLay talks about "denigrating the political process."

Two words: Matt Drudge.


Monument loon Roy Moore against the Hate Amendment 

Granted, I think some of his reasoning is a little flawed ...

In an exclusive interview with the Forward, Moore, who was removed from his post as chief justice of Alabama last year after defying a federal order directing him to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state courthouse, criticized efforts to pass a federal marriage amendment. Moore, viewed by many religious conservatives as a hero, complained that an amendment would represent a misguided intrusion into legal territory historically left to the states and warned against the unintended consequences of attempting to define morality through constitutional measures.

"I don’t think you can make a constitutional amendment for every moral problem created by courts that don’t follow the law of their states,” said Moore, who is currently waging a legal appeal to get his chief justice job back. "If you do, you pretend to do what God has already done and make it subject to the courts. I think it’s a problem to establish morality by constitutional amendments made by men when the morality of our country is plainly illustrated – in Supreme Court precedent and in state-law precedent and in the common law – as coming from an acknowledgement of God.
-- The Forward

Via One38, who points out "when our President is more Conservative than Roy Moore, you know we're totally fucked."

Well ... Yes.

On to Syria! 

And the fact that the announcement helps out a Florida rep in an election year has absolutely nothing to do with it!

CRAWFORD, Texas - The Bush administration plans to impose some sanctions on Syria within weeks for its support of terrorist groups and for failing to stop guerrillas entering Iraq, congressional officials and other sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Though the White House insists no final decisions have been made, senior administration officials on Friday informed Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, that a decision was "imminent," said her spokesman, Alex Cruz.
(via Reuters)

And it's too bad the administration can't seem to agree whether the bombs in Iraq are from "outside agitators" or not. The political appointees (Bremer) are positive; the professional military aren't quite so sure. Surprise!

Bush to staff: "Sure, take the Fifth on Plame!" 

That's what "full cooperation" means at the WhiteWash House!

(via Josh Marshall)

UPDATE Alert reader anonymous points out that it's Josh Marshall, not John Marshall. While I think very highly of Mr. Marshall, I don't think that highly.

So, we spend $87 billion in Iraq and soldier's families have to chip in to buy body armor? 

What's wrong with this picture? And where's the money going?

See Kerry's address (via Atrios)

Heart of Darkness 

Up the Ayn Randistan river without a paddle;
Alan Greenspan's jungle utopia.

It is not exactly that he lies, but Alan Greenspan certainly ranks among the most duplicitous figures to serve in modern American government. Using his exalted status as economic wizard, the Federal Reserve chairman regularly corrupts the political dialogue by sowing outrageously false impressions among gullible members of Congress and adoring financial reporters. These distortions are not harmless; they become solemn writ for lawmakers and opinionmongers. Greenspan is especially destructive when he opines on public matters outside his supposed expertise as a central banker. His thinking is still anchored by Ayn Rand's brittle social philosophy: Let the strong prevail, let the weak pay for their weakness.

That sounds like manly wisdom. Greenspan was widely praised for courage. He should more properly be pilloried for gross mendacity. He is proposing a con job on ordinary working Americans--a bait-and-switch game on a grand scale--in which the payroll taxes they paid into Social Security over many years will now be diverted to other purposes, including the generous tax reductions G.W. Bush has enacted for the very wealthy and the corporations. It doesn't sound so noble when you put it that way. Greenspan knows these facts but also knows his big lie will probably endure as conventional wisdom.


continue reading...
Greenspan's Con Job, by William Greider.

*

Good question! 

Josh Marshall asks:

We've been after bin Laden for more than two and a half years. Why the rush of new ground forces and high-tech gizmos in the lead-up to the presidential election?

Hmmm.... I wonder why?

It would really be A Good Thing if "Kenny Boy" Lay was indicted and convicted 

But for now we'll settle for Martha. A small fish, a show trial, but better than nothing.

-- via CNN

Investment done right 

This may be the most important story of this week, or the year.

In the long term, that is. Why allow huge corporations to handle the investment decisions for your community, if you can do it yourselves?

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - When this rural town's clothing store closed, residents like Ken Witzeling put up money to start their own shop, ensuring that they wouldn't have to leave Powell to buy a dress shirt for work or trendy jeans for school.

Hundreds of people bought shares in the business, believing they were investing in more than just a clothing store.

"We sold this as, 'You're investing in Powell,'" said Witzeling, a retired pharmacist and member of the board that oversees The Powell Mercantile.

Community mercantile stores are slowly appearing in other parts of the West, where communities with small populations and uncertain economic futures struggle to attract new businesses, and where shopping centers are often a long drive away.

People in Ely, Nev., plan to sell shares in their own community mercantile, and leaders of existing stores in Montana and Wyoming say they field calls from people around the country interested in the idea.
(via AP)

This sounds an awful lot like the Solari concept developed by Catherine Austin Fitts.

The Solari concept answers, in a community driven and pertinent way, the question that the Bushogarchy does not want you to ask: Where is the money?

Now, if we could apply the same idea here in Philly, but to neighborhoods ....

Bush: "9/11 commission testimony worth 0.13% of my vacation time" 

Do the math!

Polling data this week indicates the majority of Americans are a little ticked off that the president's vacation will last some 4 1/2 weeks, and I guess they're right, inasmuch as that there aren't a lot of places where you accrue 31 vacation days after six months on the job.
(via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette)


(31 days * 24 hours) / one hour = .00134 = 0.13% (Back on the "one hour")

Funny thing, too. This quote is for Bush's 2001 vacation—the one just before the WTC attacks ....

UPDATE Got a decimal point wrong. Thanks, alert readers! I just couldn't believe it was as bad as it was!

Bush: "9/11 commission testimony worth 66% of the movie Elf" 

Do the math!

The president said that he did not watch "reality" television but that the Bushes watched lots of sports on television and were hoping to see the movies "Something's Gotta Give" and "Elf" over the holidays.
(via NewsMax, ha ha)

Running time of Elf: 95 minutes.

one hour / 95 minutes = 66% (more or less. It's the same math Bush uses for the budget.)

(Back on the "one hour")


Bush: "9/11 commission testimony worth three of my elliptical trainer sessions" 

Do the math!

He also uses an elliptical trainer for 25 minutes, three times weekly,
(via FUX, heh heh)

3 x 25 minutes = one hour (back) By Republican math, anyhow ...

Say, what's an "elliptical trainer," anyhow? Dick Cheney? No, I'm sorry. That would be a rotund trainer.

Bush: "9/11 commission testimony worth three of my three-mile runs" 

Do the math!

In the past year, [Bush] shaved several seconds off his best time for running 3 miles, now routinely doing it in less than 21 minutes.
(via USA Today)

3 x 21 minutes = one hour (back )Hey, it's Republican math!

Say, what's he running from, anyhow?

Bush: "9/11 families worth one of my knees" 

Do the math!

Bush spent about two hours having his knees examined at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. An MRI, a magnetic-resonance imaging scan, showed signs of arthritis in Bush's right knee.
(via USA Today)

2 hours / 2 = one hour (back)

Of course, his knees weren't under oath, so maybe that's the source of the discrepancy ...

No, come to think of it, Bush won't be under oath before the 9/11 Commission either! Why not, I wonder?

392,000 discouraged duckies 

Reading beyond the headlines, the jobs news is even worse.

Moreover, the job gains in January were revised to show a pickup of just 97,000 positions, down from the 112,000 first estimated a month ago.

Nevertheless, the overall seasonally adjusted civilian unemployment rate stayed at 5.6 percent in February as thousands of prospective workers gave up looking for a job. Approximately 392,000 people left the civilian work force in February from January.
(via AP)

So when the apologists for the Bushogarchy say the unemployment rate is unchanged, remember it's just spin, as usual.

Just when things seemed to be going so well in Iraq 

Those darned Shi'ites!

The scheduled signing of a previously approved interim constitution for Iraq was delayed indefinitely today after five Shiite members of the Iraqi Governing Council rejected wording that dealt with the Kurds and the proposed setup of the presidency.
(via Times)

Question for readers 

Can any alert reader compare Bush's campaign materials on 9/11 to Clinton's campaign materials (if any) on the Oklahoma City bombing and the first WTC attempt? The operative word being "politicized." Our trolls—and I think it's great that we have them, it's a real sign of success—raise this point, and I think it's a good one.

Readers?

It's a bird... It's a Plame... 

Yes, the plane in question being Air Force One ... Seems that the grand jury in the Plame Affair is reviewing the call logs.

The federal grand jury probing the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity has subpoenaed records of Air Force One telephone calls in the week before the officer's name was published in a column in July, according to documents obtained by Newsday.

The subpoenas underscore indications that the initial stages of the investigation have focused largely on the White House staff members most involved in shaping the administration's message on Iraq, and appear to be based in part on specific information already gathered by investigators, attorneys said Thursday.

It requested records of telephone calls to and from Air Force One from July 7 to 12, while Bush was visting several nations in Africa. The White House declined Thursday to release a list of those on the trip.

That subpoena also sought a complete transcript of a July 12 press "gaggle," or informal briefing, by then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer while at the National Hospital in Abuja, Nigeria.

That transcript is missing from the White House Web site containing transcripts of other press briefings. In a transcript the White House released at the time to Federal News Service, Fleischer discusses Wilson and his CIA report.
(via Tom Brune in Newsday)

Interesting. That African trip was also the trip where the WhiteWash House slipped up on the 16 words, and the press went bonkers, finally having nailed a Bush lie. Looks like all was not well on the Bush team at the time, eh? More:

Also sought in the wide-ranging document requests contained in three grand jury subpoenas to the Executive Office of President George W. Bush are records created in July by the White House Iraq Group, a little-known internal task force established in August 2002 to create a strategy to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

It met weekly in the Situation Room, the Post said, and its regular participants included senior political adviser Karl Rove; communication strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson,/span>; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; policy advisers led by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy Stephen J. Hadley; and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Round up the usual suspects.... Wonder which one of these is the "senior administration official"? That is, which one is the criminal who destroyed Valerie Plame's cover as an act of political vengeance?

Ashcroft down 

gallstones.

What are gallstones?

Gallstones form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. The liquid, called bile, is used to help the body digest fats. Bile is made in the liver, then stored in the gallbladder until the body needs to digest fat. At that time, the gallbladder contracts and pushes the bile into a tube--called the common bile duct--that carries it to the small intestine, where it helps with digestion. (via the NIH



5:00 Horror Show: What will it be today? 

Readers, we know how our the exquisitely media-conscious malAdministration always releases the really bad news at 5:00PM on Friday, hoping that people will ignore it until they can spin it properly with their MWs on the Sunday talk shows.

Any candidates for today's 5:00 Horror? Readers?

YABL, YABL, YABL 

Speaking of 9/11 in January 2003, President Bush told The Associated Press that he had "no ambition whatsoever to use this as a political issue."

--via The Times.

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff...


Vacuous headline of the day  

"Job Growth Surprisingly Slow in February." Who was surprised? Not us!

The U.S. economy created just 21,000 jobs in February, far fewer than the 125,000 new jobs expected, government data showed today.


And a tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to Izvestia on the Hudson!

200-300,000 new jobs a month are needed to keep pace with population growth. So relative to what we need to do, Bush is falling behind.

With the expected 125,000 created out of 200,000 needed: 50%. Let's call that a C, like the kind of grade Bush got at Yale.

With 21,000 out of 200,000: 10%. I'd give him an F, like the kind of grade he's going to get in November. Wouldn't you?

Maybe we didn't cut taxes on the rich enough?

Bush sinks to new depths of shamelessness 

Isn't wrapping one's self in the flag banned by yet another amendment the wingers always try to get the rubes to fall for round election time?

One 30-second spot, "Safer, Stronger," features a series of images fading in and out including one of the World Trade Center wreckage with an American flag waving in front and then a shot of firefighters apparently at Ground Zero carrying a flag-draped stretcher. The ad touts Bush's "steady leadership in times of change."

It's also angered the nation's largest firefighters union, which yesterday delivered a letter to the suburban Washington headquarters of Bush-Cheney '04 demanding the ad be pulled - a request the campaign rejected. "That's absolutely disgraceful," said Harold Schaitberger, president of the 260,000-member International Association of Fire Fighters, which is supporting Kerry. He said the flag draped on the stretcher being carried by firefighters in the ad "means that's one of our own." He said the Bush administration has not adequately supported firefighters with money to improve service and increase staffing.

Some Sept. 11 survivors were particularly angered that Bush would use the event politically after he has fought with the independent commission investigating the attacks.

"It's mind-boggling to me that he can see this event as a positive reflection on his administration," said Mary Fetchet of New Canaan, Conn., whose son Brad died in the trade center. She criticized Bush's insistence on limiting to one hour his testimony before the federally mandated commission, which rejected the terms.

"We've had such challenges with this administration on all the issues that impact the families - to then in turn use the death of our loved ones as a political platform, I think is disgusting," Fetchet said.
(via Newsday

Steady, my AUnt Fanny. "I'm a hypertense, death-dealing fiasco!"

Lost in the Sequoias 

Creepy thought of the day

Nobody pretends that democracy is perfect or at all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. - Winston Churchill, November 11, 1947

What's creepy about this quote is the context in which it appears on the homepage of a company that manufactures touch screen voting machines in California.

See quote here: Sequoia Voting Systems (bottom of page)

It's as if they are telling us that any security imperfections in their computerized voting crap is ok because, hey, nobody's perfect. That Winston Churchill dude said so much, so fuck off whiner. In typical creepy smirking corporate PR style they are already shrugging at any accountability in the event their product is nothing but a lie machine. (Read: A Deafening Silence, link below, for further context.)

Last night, I experienced the illusion of casting my vote on a state of the art touch screen "DRE" (direct recording electronic) computer voting system. The poll workers were helpful and showed me how to vote. However, when I asked them a detailed question such as, who is the vendor that makes these voting machines, all I got was a blank stare. Do you have any information on these machines? No answer. I had to examine the machines myself to find out who made them. I didn't know that my most basic question was going to be a rhetorical one.

The particular model I went through the motions of voting on was an "AVC Edge" with a software (firmware) version of 4.2.4 (according to the label on the back), manufactured by Sequoia Voting Systems of Oakland, California. However, the software version number displayed on the touch screen was 4.2, not 4.2.4. (Should I be concerned that the software running didn't match the label on the back?) You can even view a demonstration of how the AVC Edge works on their company web site. ~ continue reading A Deafening Silence by Brian D. Barry


More on past Sequoia problems: HERE

Via Alice at GOTV
The Fairfax County Democratic Committee will vote on the following resolution at its March 23rd meeting:

WHEREAS, the right to vote, and to have that vote properly counted, is fundamental to democracy; and

WHEREAS, the integrity of the electoral process requires transparency and verifiable trust that elections cannot be accidentally or purposely manipulated; and

WHEREAS, the ability to conduct recounts and audits is necessary for verifying the integrity of the electoral process, and meaningful recounts are not possible with electronic voting machines, nor is it possible to determine whether errors have occurred during balloting; and

WHEREAS, any machine is subject to many forms of accidental error or intentional fraud, and software driven voting machines enable such errors or fraud to a much larger extent than previously possible; and

WHEREAS, computer security experts overwhelmingly agree that no amount of testing or certification can demonstrate the absence of errors, and that the only way to ensure accuracy, and prohibit tampering, is to require machines to produce an audit trail that the voter can verify and seal at the poll; and ~ continue reading: Resolution Supporting Voter-Verifiable Audit Trails



Resource index of links on topic of: Black Box Voting

*

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Maybe Bush could hold a town hall against prejudice in his "home town," Crawford 

Yep, the loons are boycotting the girl scouts.

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Some families are boycotting Thin Mints and Do-si-dos and other Girl Scout cookies. Troop 7527 is down to just two members after the other girls were withdrawn by their parents. And Brownie Troop 7087 is no more.

Parents were upset to learn that the local Girl Scout organization had given a "woman of distinction award" last year to a Planned Parenthood executive. And they were disturbed to find out that the Girl Scout organization has been giving its endorsement for years to a Planned Parenthood sex-ed program in which girls and boys are given literature on homosexuality, masturbation and condoms.

"It's not that we're a bunch of activists. We're just a bunch of moms who care about their kids," said Lisa Aguilar, who took her 10-year-old daughter out of her eight-member Girl Scout troop. "For us, it's the morality. Where is Girl Scouts going?"

The two troops in Crawford, population 700, decided not to deliver the cookie orders that they had already taken.

But cookie sales have skyrocketed this year as many people bought cases just to show their support for the Girl Scouts, said Becky Parker, a troop leader who is the cookie distributor for Waco area troops.

Excellent!

"People thought the boycott was ridiculous and was one man's extremist views," Parker said.

While the cookie boycott may have backfired, the furor prompted the parent leaders of the two Crawford troops to quit.

"You're telling these girls to raise their fingers up to pledge to honor God and country, and yet you're handing out materials saying homosexuality is okay," said Brownie leader Donna Coody, who disbanded her five-member troop.
(via AP)

See, here's how Bush could show a little leadership right in his home town. He could explain that you can honor God and your country, and be a homosexual, all at once! You know, I bet he's planning to do that right now....

Southern "heritage" losers call for boycott of Atlanta  

The cry of the loon:

Southern heritage groups called for an economic boycott of Atlanta yesterday, a day after Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved a state flag without the Confederate battle emblem.

"Large segments of the Georgia General Assembly have more regard for the Yankee dollars ... than they do for the wishes of their constituents," said Ray McBerry of the Georgia League of the South. "We encourage Southerners to cease doing business within the city-state of Atlanta."

With neither flag inciting strong emotions, many voters were swayed by aesthetics.

"It's a better-looking flag," John Buchner, a graduate student from Athens, said of the banner voters approved.

(via AP)

Man, I'm a Yankee and I wish I had some dollars....

When is it OK to show R-rated movies in the public schools without parental permission? 

Why, when it's The Passion, of course! (WaPo).

Sigh....

Pop this, Mr. Greenspan! 

Get a load of this quote: "[GREENSPAN:] We could get a pop in employment at any time," Greenspan said last week (via AP). You know, if Greenspan lost his job—or even knew anyone who lost their job—I don't think he'd be calling making up some of the 3 million jobs we've lost under Bush a "pop."

Why don't we outsource Greenspan?

And, oh yeah, the Bushogarchy is generating jobs at about a third of the rate it should be.

Analysts believe the nation's payrolls grew by a net 135,000 jobs in February, which would be an improvement from the 112,000 jobs added in January but would still mark a fairly lackluster pace. The employment report for February will be released Friday. Economists want to see the economy generate around 200,000 or 300,000 net jobs a month on a consistent basis before they declare a recovery in the fragile labor market.

Man, if I go 20 miles an hour in a 60 mile an hour zone, I get arrested! But Bush seems to think it's OK ...

Pickle report lets Republicans heave staffers over the side for theft of Democratic files 

"[STAFFER:] Here's a secret Democratic file, Senator Hatch! I found it under a cabbage leaf."

"[SENATOR HATCH:] Keep up the good work, son!"


The [Pickle] report said 4,670 files were found on a GOP aide's computer, "the majority of which appeared to be from folders belonging to Democratic staff."

"I am mortified that this improper unethical, simply unacceptable breach of confidential files occurred," said Hatch, R-Utah. "There is no excuse that can justify these improper actions. I have to say that none of us would walk into another person's office and take papers from their desk - this is, in a sense, exactly that." (via AP)


Or voting papers from citizens, as in the Florida disenfranchisement of thousands of likely Democrats .... Oh, wait, that's entirely, entirely different...

A report released by the Judiciary Committee and authored by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle's office faults two former GOP aides: Manuel Miranda, who worked for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, before resigning, and Jason Lundell, a clerk who worked on nominations for Hatch before leaving last year.

n addition to the thousands of documents that Democrats say were breached, Hatch said more than 100 of his computer files were "improperly accessed and transmitted outside the Senate."

Democrats want to know if the White House or the Justice Department got copies of the memos and used them to coach Bush's nominees for confirmation hearings.

Well, that's just conspiracy theorizing. I can't imagine that anyone at the White House would want to know Democratic strategy on preventing the courts from being packed by wingers. Let's get serious!

Department of No Comment Required 


The government has eased Clinton-era oil and gas drilling restrictions on a large tract of desert grassland in New Mexico in a decision that benefits a large Republican donor in the state.

The donor, George Yates, says his contributions and fund-raising assistance to Vice President Dick Cheney had nothing to do with the decision.
(via AP)

Move along people, move along! There's no story here!

Please don't tell me it's Bush's hemorrhoid that's forcing him to give the 9/11 commission only one hour 

Because I don't want to know.

But could it be that he can't sit down any longer than that?

WLIB: Would it have space for The King of All Media? 

Bushogarchy canned Stern?

Stern himself went on the warpath, weaving in among his familiar monologues about breasts and porn actresses accusations that Texas-based Clear Channel -- whose Republican CEO, Lowry Mays, is extremely close to both George W. Bush and Bush's father -- canned him because he deviated from the company's pro-Bush line. "I gotta tell you something," Stern told his listeners. "There's a lot of people saying that the second that I started saying, 'I think we gotta get Bush out of the presidency,' that's when Clear Channel banged my ass outta here.
(via Salon)

Nah. They would never do that!

9/11 families: How long will they take it? 

Bush exploiting 9/11 for political gain? Who knew?

Many families of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack expressed anger Thursday at President Bush's use of ground zero images in his new campaign ads, accusing him of using the attack for political gain.

The ads do not mention Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry but instead focus on improving Bush's image after lengthy attacks by Democrats in recent months.
(via Newsday)

Image is everything ....
And via the SF Chronicle here:

"It makes me sick," Colleen Kelly, who lost her brother Bill Kelly Jr., in the attacks and leads a victims families group called Peaceful Tomorrows, said Thursday. "Would you ever go to someone's grave site and use that as an instrument of politics? That truly is what Ground Zero represents to me."

Sure you would—if you were Bush!

Say, what's this I hear about Bush giving the 9/11 commission only an hour of his time? You'd think he'd have a little more respect for the dead than that....

Report drafted on Republican theft of Democratic files  

But not yet released.

Senators met privately Thursday to review a report on how Democratic computer memos on judicial nominees ended up in GOP hands before resuming public debate on who's to blame for the computer intrusion.
(via AP)

And it gets better!

In addition to the thousands of documents that Democrats say were accessed, Hatch said more than 100 of his computer files were also "improperly accessed and transmitted outside the Senate."

Good heavens! Why, I wonder who else would have been interested in Democratic strategy for preventing Bush from packing the courts with wingers?

Pass the popcorn!

Microsoft backing SCO 

Who knew? To the tune of $100 million .... Hey, can you say "frivolous lawsuit"? Oh, wait a minute, Microsoft is a giant monopoly, so it's OK. Phew!

-- The Register

Leadership Marketing Inc. 

BUSH-OIL 2004





*

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Bring back The Big Dog! 

Clinton for VP!

Not such a bad idea ....

I remember one quote about Clinton, and though I can't remember the source, I'm sure it's Arkansas politics: "He can shake hands with you while pissing down your leg." Just what we need to deal with the House Republicans.

In addition to the competence factor, of course.

Just one hour?! 

I bet Neil Bush gave those prostitutes more time than his brother is going to give the 9/11 Commission. I wonder why?

WhiteWash House continues to stonewall the 9/11 commission 

Bush won't testify under oath, won't talk to the entire panel, and the extra time the commission got, by the grace of Denny Hastert, is to be used to "close down the commission." And even Condi Rice is stiffing them.

The federal commission investigating 9/11 continues to reject the conditions President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have set for giving testimony, but panel members gave no indication yesterday how they would proceed if the White House did not change its position.

The commission, meanwhile, obtained a commitment from House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to bring up legislation as early as this week that will give the panel an extra two months, until July 26, to issue its final report on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. The Senate approved the time extension Friday.

Following a commission meeting yesterday, its chairman, Thomas Kean, said the White House is insisting Bush and Cheney will submit only to closed-door interviews of one hour each. Kean also said they want to meet with only him and vice chairman Lee Hamilton, not all 10 members of the panel.

Kean stopped short of outlining the commission's options if the White House continues to turn down its requests. Asked what would happen if the White House remained adamant, Kean said, "We'll see."

Uh, I think I already see.

Neither Bush and Cheney would be under oath, and much of their testimony might be classified and kept secret.

Commission member Timothy Roemer said the panel is urging the White House to "offer full and complete cooperation." Roemer, a Democrat, said if the White House has nothing to hide, Bush and Cheney should be more than willing to tell their stories to all the commissioners without limitations.

Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, said the panel also is planning private interviews in the near-future with former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore, without such restrictions as those demanded by Bush and Cheney.

Gosh. I wonder why Clinton and Gore will testify without limitation, and Bush won't?

In addition, the commission has asked national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to reverse course and testify at a public hearing later this month. Rice testified in private session on Feb. 7 but has declined an invitation to appear in an open session.

The White House said the issue of Rice's testimony concerns the constitutional principle of separation of powers. "As a matter of law and practice, White House staff have not testified before legislative bodies," National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said. "This is not a matter of Dr. Rice's preferences."

Kean said he gave Hastert assurances "July 26 is the absolute limit."

Giving up his leverage....

"We hope to get it out before that, but in no case after that," said Kean.

As part of the negotiations with Hastert, Kean and Hamilton made a commitment that the extra 30 days would be used to close down operations and not continue the inquiry.

Roemer said that for all to go according to plan, the White House and administration agencies would have to cooperate and "not stonewall" the commission. He said this will include discussions with the White House over release of important classified documents.
(via the Newark Star Ledger)

What a farce.

Why do the families stand for it?

WLIB: Check out Randi Rhodes 

For example, The 9/11 Timeline.

Food for thought ....

Thanks to alert reader lurch.

The scum also rises 

SCO starts suing linux users.

Here.

Freeper [draft] 

Noun. A Free Republic zealot.

Usage example: Gosh, that comments section is really infested by freepers.



Alert reader Xan asked for a definition of freeper, but look, I'm not too strong on the freepers so the above is a first cut.

Readers, can you help improve the Lexicon of Liberal Invective by refining this post?

Is it true that the freepers sparked the bourgeois riot in Florida 2000?

WLIB on your radio dial 

Wonder how long before the call-ins are infested by freepers?

The long talked-about liberal talk radio network has finally found an affiliate in New York - WLIB-AM, The Post has learned.

Air America, as the network will be known, is also expected to announce that outspoken comedian Janeane Garofalo will join pit-bull humorist Al Franken in its line-up.

The network could be up and running later this month or early April.

Backers of the network are eager to get on the air as quickly as possible in order to play a role in the upcoming presidential elections.
(via The New York Post here)

Just-in-Time smearing: Winger attack machine starts in on Kerry on day one 

I wish the wingers would consider these immortal words: "I don't mind where people make love, so long as they don't
do it in the street and frighten the horses."

Kerry dated Gilbey, a British gin heiress, in the late 1980s before she dumped him for Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. This was prior to Kerry marrying ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz and Gilbey getting hitched to Keller. But the dishier details of the Gilbey-Kerry fling are just now leaking out.

In the new issue of the American Conservative, co-editor Taki Theodoracopulos, another former flame of Gilbey's, imparts a naughty new morsel about the Gilbey/Kerry romance:

"People do tend to tell each other secrets, and one of her's was that she was involved with JFK Mark II [Kerry], the man who is now running for president," Taki writes. "More details followed, and then it was time for a White House correspondents' dinner.

"I had had much too much to drink . . . and when John Kerry lumbered by I heard myself yelling, 'Senator, do you like to have sex in limousines?' Well, he didn't look best pleased, but then he's a politician and knows how to roll with the punches. He also knew that I knew and left it well enough alone." (via the New York Post's Page Six)

Of course, there's no truth to the rumor that Bush likes goats in the same very special way that Santorum likes dogs, but if he did, what conceivable relevance would that have to his performance as President?

Film at 11:00: WhiteWash House to enter campaign mode 

When have these people not been in campaign mode?

[Bush] plans to be in full campaign mode by summer.
(Mike Allen in WaPo)

Seriously, we know from DiIulio that there's no policy operation at the White House—all that stuff's been outsourced to Grover... We remember very well that the war wasn't "marketed" until Bush returned from vacation ...

So, how will we be able to tell the difference?

Now gay marriages in Oregon 

Good for them!

Gay and lesbian couples started tying the knot in Portland on Wednesday after the county issued same-sex marriage licenses, joining the rapidly spreading national movement from San Francisco and upstate New York. (via AP)

They didn't listen to us! And they'll pay.... 

Yes, the Republicans are rolling out the new campaign slogan: "Steady leadership in times of change." And we all know the anagram (back) for that, right? "I'm a hypertense, death-dealing fiasco"!

I know which one I prefer!

And which one is closer to the truth!

$120 million can buy a lot, and it bought a campaign slogan that's, well, about as good as the candidate....

Let's play fill in the blank! 

Can anyone guess what country he's talking about? "It is an absolutely failed state — no institutions, no rule of law, no spirit of compromise, no security," said Robert Pastor, director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University (The Times).

Actually, this connects with a profound point that alert reader pansypoo makes in comments (paraphrasing): When democracy is sick in this country, we can't expect to make democracy healthy in other countries.


No offense to the wingers, but wasn't the salacious Starr Report a lot worse than Janet Jackson's boob? 

I mean, all, and I mean, all the details were in there....

No offense, but do all theocrats not get how democracy works, or only some of them? 

Getting proselytized on my way to vote? No thanks—but it's happening.

It is kind of the good neighbors at the First Christian Church to open their doors to voters. Their kindness, however, deserves a hearty thanks, but no thanks. Churches are the wrong venue for voting, especially at a time in our country where so-called faith-based organizations have become major players in the political arena.

the moment I stepped into the church building I faced a sign-up sheet to join the church group on a trip to watch Gibson's controversial "The Passion of the Christ." Bible passages also greeted me and other voters, reminding us that Jesus loves us. This we know, because our polling place told us so.

With church staff milling about, I wonder how members of this particular congregation felt when a precinct worker loudly asked if they were voting Republican or Democrat. Would they have dared "out" themselves to following the less popular party before their pew mates? I can tell you that the entire experience was more than a little unpleasant.

I wonder also how my church-going neighbors would have felt about voting in a mosque, forced to walk the gantlet of Allah hu-Akbar signs along the way to the brand new voting machines.

The reality is that voting in a church, mosque or synagogue should simply not happen. We would not place our voting machines in the offices of a political party, the ACLU, an anti-abortion or pro-abortion organization, or any other organization aiming to influence our political views. As it happens, our tax dollars have provided plenty of public buildings. Within walking distance of my new polling place is a large post office, for example. The school where I used to vote is still there, just across the street.

Setting up voting machines in places of worship and the facilities they manage means that voters must be exposed to proselytism on their way to the polls. It allows churches to use Election Day as a membership drive. A government-sanctioned political activity as sacred as voting cannot take place in a house of worship, because the separation of church and state cannot take a day off on Election Day.

(via Frida Ghitis in the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Yes. Shouldn't this be obvious?

Vacuous headline of the day 

"E-voting smooth on Super Tuesday." Uh, how do we know?

And a tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to CNN!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

BloggerCon 

Free, April 17.

See you there?

New York State Mayor who married gays arrested 

Newsday

Four days after presiding over a slew of same-sex marriages in his quaint Hudson Valley village, the mayor of New Paltz was charged Tuesday with 19 criminal violations and faces a court hearing Wednesday night, injecting the state's debate over gay marriages with increasing drama and urgency.

Mayor Jason West, 26, of the Green Party, is scheduled to respond in town court to charges that he broke the state's domestic relations law by solemnizing 25 marriages without a license, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine or up to a year in jail.

With other New York officials considering following West, Spitzer has said his office will soon offer a clarifying opinion on gay marriages and the mayor's actions, but local New Paltz officials acted first.

West plans to plead not guilty Wednesday and said he will perform more same-sex marriages Saturday. "I'm incredibly disappointed," he told the Associated Press.

West's lawyer, E. Joshua Rosenkranz of Manhattan, said his client did not break any laws. "Jason West does not belong in a criminal prosecution any more than Rosa Parks," he said.

West and his attorneys have said that New York law is gender-neutral and that he has the authority to solemnize marriages without a license.

Guess the Greens are good for something!

Edwards out 

Too bad.

I thought his "Two Americas" meme was not populism—just a sober description of the true state of affairs in the country.

I don't know why everyone's all worried about some kind of coup in Haiti 

I mean, it's not like the Republicans don't have experience...

Cheney's flip flop on the Hate Amendment 

WaPo:

During the 2000 campaign, Cheney said the issue of same-sex marriage should be handled by the states ("I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area"). Cheney's daughter Mary, who works for the campaign, is a lesbian, as has been widely noted by those upset with Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

CNN just sent out a transcript of the pre-taped interview, and Blitzer asked the veep if he still believes what he said in 2000 about marriage being up to the states.

"Cheney: The president's made a decision, partly because of what's happened in Massachusetts and San Francisco, that the administration will support a constitutional amendment -- and uh, that's his decision to make.

"Blitzer: And you support it?

"Cheney: I support the president.

"Blitzer: I don't hear you say you believe there should be a constitutional. . . .

"Cheney: I support the president. Wolf, my deal with the president is that I get to advise him on the issues of the day. I never discuss the advice I provide him with anybody else. That's always private. He makes the decisions. He sets policy for the administration. And uh, I support him and the administration."

Moral clarity, yeah, that's the ticket, moral clarity ...

Bush asking for transition money now as if he were already re-elected! 

AP:

President Bush is making an unprecedented request to use up to $1 million budgeted for a possible presidential transition to train top officials who would join his administration if he should win a second term.

The proposal, which will require Congress' approval, is the first time a president has sought to use public transition funds to prepare officials to enter a re-elected administration, White House officials and others say. Critics say the money should come from existing agency budgets, especially as Bush is proposing to curb spending for many programs because of soaring federal deficits. (via No more Mr. Nice Blog)

This from a government that forgot to fund Afghanistan and asked for a supplemental $87 billion for the war!

They sure know how to take care of themselves, though! And Waura's already picking out new curtains....


Janklow to stay in jail 

Good. Good to see the media all over a Republican convicted of manslaughter. Oh, wait... Of course, if it had been something important, like an intern ....

WhiteWash House continues to stonewall 9/11 Commission 

AP:

The federal panel reviewing the Sept. 11 attacks has scheduled interviews with former President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore this month but is struggling to get similar cooperation from President Bush and administration officials.

Members of the bipartisan commission said they were considering a subpoena to force the public testimony of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. She has declined to appear at the panel's two-day hearing later this month.

Interesting. Our last elected President is willing to testify, but Bush isn't. I wonder why?

And how long will the families stand for it?

No offense, but are all wingers sex-obsessed loons, or only some of them? 

Just asking.

Say, how's that "trip to Mars" thing coming? 

Just asking.

Via alert reader reef the dog,

Fun, isn't it?

Say, how's that "hydrogen car" thing coming? 

Just asking.

Via alert reader reef the dog.

Courage is a virtue 

And these young Baylor students have it. Good for them. (Via Atrios).


Patriot Patrol 

Tamara Baker at American Politics Journal visits the subject of an earlier Atrios (Order of the Gray Turtleneck and Perfect Martini ) blog-post.

The subject in each case being one Susan Sanford, anxious guardian of some remote belles-let'tres titled the Alabama Daily Mountain Eagle, -n- High Priestess for the sulfur and sin set; and other grand wizardries perched in the pines among the hooting klaxon horns of the Yellowhammer State.

Lady Sanford had the following to say with respect to, well you know, whatever little devilkin happened to scamper up her pious pantaloon at the time.

We now have activist judges, mayors, governors, etc., who go against the will of the great majority of citizens in this nation (forget that it is against the law in most of the nation!) and declare that it is the "right" of homosexual men and women to "marry."

Christians need to come up with some ammunition against this grievous sin, and soon. As it stands now, our heads are, as it were, spinning with all the degrading developments that have taken place in the past few weeks.

Where will we get this ammunition to fight against "spiritual wickedness in high places"? From the Word of God - the only place that, in the end, will matter. ~ Susan Sanford, Jasper, Alabama Daily Mountain Eagle, February 20, 2004/ jasper@mountaineagle.com.


So sayeth prophet Sanford, speaking on behalf of generous helpings of blessed ammo and the final bitter solution.

Dear Sue,

If I were to construct a God I would furnish Him with some way and qualities and characteristics which the Present lacks. He would not stoop to ask for any man's compliments, praises, flatteries; and He would be far above exacting them.

I would have Him as self-respecting as the better sort of man in these regards. He would not be a merchant, a trader. He would not buy these things. He would not sell, or offer to sell, temporary benefits of the joys of eternity for the product called worship. I would have Him as dignified as the better sort of man in this regard. He would value no love but the love born of kindnesses conferred; not that born of benevolences contracted for. Repentance in a man's heart for a wrong done would cancel and annul that sin; and no verbal prayers for forgiveness be required or desired or expected of that man.

In His Bible there would be no Unforgiveable Sin. He would recognize in Himself the Author and Inventor of Sin and Author and Inventor of the Vehicle and Appliances for its commission; and would place the whole responsibility where it would of right belong: upon Himself, the only Sinner.

He would not be a jealous God -- a trait so small that even men despise it in each other. He would not boast. He would keep private Hs admirations of Himself; He would regard self-praise as unbecoming the dignity of his position. He would not have the spirit of vengeance in His heart. Then it would not issue from His lips. There would not be any hell -- except the one we live in from the cradle to the grave. There would not be any heaven -- the kind described in the world's Bibles.

He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when he could have made him happy with the same effort and he would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy." ~ Mark Twain, famous dead person.


*

Monday, March 01, 2004

Say, how long are the 9/11 families going to stand being dissed by Bush stonewalling their commission? 

Just asking.

UPDATE Alert reader radish comments that posts like this are:

like potato chips...

Bet you can't eat just one? Seriously, effective rhetorical tools (see start of post back here) are like that—they're easy and fun to use. As Frank sang, Start spreadin' the memes....

And cherry-picking a few more that radish added:

Say, when do we find out who participated in Dick Cheney's energy task force and whether they discussed invading Iraq?

Say, when is Tony Scalia going to recuse himself from that case?

Just asking.

Giggle, indeed. And grins.

Say, how's that criminal investigation into the WhiteWash House leaker in the Plame Affair coming? 

Just asking.

Say, how's that criminal investigation coming on the Republican theft of Democrat's files? 

Just asking.

Sorry, which "Reich" was that again? 

Republican Pat Roberts has a few words.

From the Lawrence, Kansas Journal World here:

U.S. policy toward Cuba is dominated by one man, a scandal-plagued Cold War relic who has no business being President Bush's chief adviser on Latin America.

That's what U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, has to say about Otto Reich.

"He's known as a hard-liner, not only with regards to Cuba, but Colombia, Venezuela and other areas in the hemisphere," Roberts told the Journal-World. "I just don't think Mr. Reich is the man for the job. Mr. Reich, I think, is still back in the Cuban Missile Crisis era."

[Reich] first gained national attention in 1983 working at the State Department, reporting directly to Oliver North. Reich was in charge of the propaganda effort aimed at winning support for Reagan's policies supporting the Contras in Nicaragua. His office was shut down after the U.S. Comptroller General concluded it had "engaged in prohibited, covert propaganda activities," using tax dollars for illegal public relations and lobbying.

"Virtually every country in Central and South America and Mexico has complained officially or unofficially" about Reich, [investigateive reporter Anne Louise] Bardach said. "The guy is very, very far right, and Latin America has had a very decided shift. All of Latin America is lurching to the left, and who do you have handling Latin America for the administration? Otto Reich. You've got to say to yourself: What is this administration thinking of except a few votes in Dade and Broward counties?"

Say, Otto wouldn't be up to his old tricks, would be? So much for Cuba.

Now for Haiti—and Venezuela. Newsday reports:

The departure of Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a victory for a Bush administration hard-liner who has been long dedicated to Aristide's ouster, U.S. foreign policy analysts say.

That official is Roger Noriega, assistant U.S. secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, whose influence over U.S. policy toward Haiti has increased during the past decade as he climbed the diplomatic ladder in Washington.

"Roger Noriega has been dedicated to ousting Aristide for many, many years, and now he's in a singularly powerful position to accomplish it," Robert White, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay, said last week.

Working hand in hand with Noriega on Haiti has been National Security Council envoy Otto Reich, who, like Noriega, is ardently opposed to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, say analysts such as Birns. Washington diplomats have seen Aristide as a leftist who is often fierce in his denunciations of the business class and slow to make recommended changes such as privatizing state-run industries.

"On a day-to-day basis, Roger Noriega [has been] making policy, but with a very strong role played by Otto Reich," Birns said.

Reich is a controversial Cuban-American criticized by some who have lingering concerns about his contacts with opposition figures who plotted a short-lived coup against Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chávez, two years ago. Reich also is linked to the Iran-contra scandal of two decades ago that was part of President Ronald Reagan's policy of defeating Marxists in Central America.

In their various foreign policy postings during the past several years, Noriega and Reich became behind-the-scenes leaders of "a relatively small group of people" who developed strategies toward Haiti, Maguire said.

Reich and Noriega had no comment. State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said Noriega "likes to stick to the business of the department," and requests for comments from Reich made by fax to Fred Jones, a National Security Council official, were not answered.

Right. The business of the department being, if the past is any judge, the arts of disinformation and the overthrow of Latin American governments who aren't "business-friendly."

Is it any wonder that some are looking more closely at the SCLM's narrative of Aristide's departure?

UPDATE OTOH, as Pandagon points out, it sure is weird that, if the Marines kidnapped Aristide, they didn't take his cell phone away. OYAH, it's seems reasonably clear that howeverM Aristide left, it wasn't under the friendliest circumstances. (Heck, we could have asked those do-gooder Canadians to do it; after all, they're on the spot). So why would the Marines, under any circumstances, leave Aristide with a cell-phone and the chance to call his lawyer?

Sauce for the goose... 

AP

The crisis in Haiti has been growing since Aristide's party won flawed legislative elections in 2000, and international donors froze millions of dollars in aid.

Funny, that's not the flawed election in 2000 that springs to my mind....

Enron prosecutor stepping down 

To pursue "unspecified opportunities".

No charges have been brought against the company's former chairman, Kenneth Lay.

Hmm.....

Antonin "Duck You" Scalia gets recusal request 

Reuters:

The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it referred to Justice Antonin Scalia a request that he remove himself from a case about Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force because their recent duck-hunting trip raised questions about his impartiality.

The Sierra Club environmental group, which sued Cheney for the task force papers, filed a motion last week asking that Scalia disqualify himself from the case because the January trip had created "an appearance of impropriety."

It said Scalia's removal would "restore public confidence in the integrity of our nation's highest court."

The justices said in a brief order, "In accordance with its historic practice, the court refers the motion to recuse in this case to Justice Scalia." It was not clear when Scalia would respond to the request.

He has defended his decision to go on the trip and said his impartiality could not be reasonably questioned.

According to the motion, Scalia and his daughter were Cheney's guests on Air Force Two on a Jan. 5 flight to Louisiana. Cheney and Scalia were guests of the president of an energy services company on a duck-hunting vacation.

Cheney is being sued by the Sierra Club and another group. They want him to release documents about White House contacts with the energy industry in 2001. The vice president has appealed to the Supreme Court a ruling ordering him to produce the documents.

In mid-December, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Cheney's appeal. Oral arguments are expected in April.

If Scalia removed himself from the case, it would raise the prospect of a possible 4-4 vote. When the high court deadlocks, the lower court's ruling -- in this case the U.S. appeals court decision that went against Cheney -- is upheld.

We won't say "duck pit" but feel free to think it...

It's starting to look like Aristide was pushed 

CNN:

"The State Department refused to put me in contact with my client," [Aristide's attorney, Ira Kurzman] said. "I have found out today everything that was my worst nightmare. Today I have learned that the president of the Republic of Haiti was kidnapped by U.S. Marines, taken forcibly from his home, put on an American aircraft," he said.

The White House issued a statement denying the claim.

That would never happen.

Now, this Council of Elders thing. What's up with that?

Dunno about all this. Aristide was no saint. But sending the Marines to Haiti looks very familiar. Too bad we can't trust the SCLM to cover the story...


The mark of the beast [was "Ha ha"] 

USA Today:

Tickets at one movie theater screening Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" are being deemed decidedly unholy.

The number 666, which many Christians recognize as the "mark of the beast," is appearing on movie tickets for Gibson's film at a Georgia theater, drawing complaints from some moviegoers.

The machine that prints tickets assigned the number 666 as a prefix on all the tickets for the film, said Gary Smith, owner of the Movies at Berry Square in northwest Georgia. The 666 begins a series of numbers that are listed below the name of the movie, the date, time and price.

"It's from our computer and it's absolutely a coincidence," Smith said. "It has nothing to do with the film company or any vendor. It's completely in our computer."

In the Bible, the book of Revelation says 666 is the "number of the beast," usually interpreted as Satan or the Antichrist.

Then again, perhaps the Mark of the Best is entirely appropriate, seeing as how the movie is making a profit from religion, which I seem to recall that Jesus took exception to (back here).

UPDATE Alert reader Beth comments:

I don't normally put much stock in that sort of thing, but I can't help seeing the hand of God in all of this. Gibson has made a spectacle of Christ's suffering. When critics complain that all the blood obscures the deeper meaning of His ministry, Gibson's defenders argue that the essense of Christ is in his macho endurance of pain, not in the pussified platitudes that fill the Gospels. They transform His message into its own antithesis. Gibson's Passion is not about love but hate, not healing but torture, not forgiveness but revenge. I cannot think of another movie more worthy of the mark of the Beast than this bestial paean of torture and death.

Damn. Now I have to go see the thing to decide for myself. More money in Mel's pocket! I wonder how the popcorn sales are during this thing?

Bush trades Pakistan a wrist slap on nukes for OBL in an election year 

Seymour Hersh here.

A former senior intelligence official said to me, “Musharraf told us, ‘We’ve got guys inside. The people who provide fresh fruits and vegetables and herd the goats’” for bin Laden and his Al Qaeda followers. “It’s a quid pro quo: we’re going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with [A. Q. ] Khan.”

Say, I hope none of those nukes get lose and we lose a [Democratic-voting, gay-friendly, terrorist-supporting, sinful, evil] Blue State big city, or something....

Naah. Never happen. And heck, it's an election year!

Robert Gallucci, a former United Nations weapons inspector who is now dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, calls A. Q. Khan “the Johnny Appleseed” of the nuclear-arms race. Gallucci, who is a consultant to the C.I.A. on proliferation issues, told me, “Bad as it is with Iran, North Korea, and Libya having nuclear-weapons material, the worst part is that they could transfer it to a non-state group. That’s the biggest concern, and the scariest thing about all this—that Pakistan could work with the worst terrorist groups on earth to build nuclear weapons. There’s nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons. The most dangerous country for the United States now is Pakistan, and second is Iran.” Gallucci went on, “We haven’t been this vulnerable since the British burned Washington in 1814.”

Tell me again why the Robbin' George and His Merry Men are good on national security?

UPDATE Pakistan denies everything.

So, what's the extra dollar for? 

The New York Daily News here:

"A domestic partnership is the union of two people, but it's not marriage," the very nice clerk behind the plexiglass said yesterday.

The clerk was unable to explain an odd disparity in the posted fees.

Marriage License - $35

Domestic Partner Registration - $36

The clerk does try to present the bright side.

"To break up a domestic partnership only costs $27," she noted yesterday. "Marriage, you have to go through a divorce."

So, if as a matter of social policy, we want to encourage stable relationships, we should be encouraging marriage for everyone. Right?

Portrait of a man walking away from his own mess 

With Teddy Roosevelt in the background, no less.

How ironic. Or not. Elizabeth Bumiller of The Times writes:

White House officials say that Mr. Bush will not speak out about the amendment banning gay marriage in his political trips around the country and will leave his five-minute Roosevelt Room announcement as his major show on the issue.

That was obvious at a political fund-raiser in Louisville, Ky., last week, when Mr. Bush never once used the words "gay marriage" in his stump speech.

So, after fluffing the base, Bush is AWOL on this, like on everything else.

Richard Cohen got it exactly right: Moral cowardice (back here).

UPDATE And, oh yeah. Bumiller also writes that some of Bush's best friends are gay. Yawn ...

Dress rehearsal in Texas? 

Hmmm....:

LAKE JACKSON, Texas ... After taking off, the [single engine] plane severed a series of power lines about two miles southeast of the airport, cutting power to customers in the Lake Jackson area, and then crashed into a field. The impact sheared off the plane's tail and folded back its wings.

"No pilot was found at the crash site," Lisa Block, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the Houston Chronicle.

Investigators found tracks leading from the wreckage.

Heavy haze and fog limited visibility and may have contributed to the crash, authorities said.

Good thing it was Texas, and not Manhattan ....

Computer Science now being sold as a branch of the humanities 

The Times Here:

Nationally, there is a similar trend. The Computing Research Association's annual survey of more than 200 universities in the United States and Canada found that undergraduate enrollments in computer science and computer engineering programs were down 23 percent this year.

M.I.T., like other universities, is seeking to counter the trend by emphasizing that computer science is increasingly a collaborative discipline, involving work with experts in other fields of business and science to solve all kinds of economic and social problems. "What we have to emphasize is that a good computer science education is a great preparation for almost anything you want to do," Professor [John V. Guttag, head of the university's electrical engineering and computer science department] said. "It's a terrific time to be a computer scientist."

Just what they used to say about a degree in English Literature....

That, and a dime, will get you a cup of (non-Starbucks) coffee...

So, after we export knowledge, what's left?


So, consumer income growth falls, and consumer spending increases, and this is somehow good news 

AP here:

While spending remained healthy, consumer incomes grew by only 0.2 percent in January, compared with 0.4 percent for December. The income reading fell short of the 0.6 percent growth forecast by Wall Street, but the spending number appeared to hold more weight with investors.

To some it's good news, maybe. Credit card companies? Money changers?

And, once again, where it matters to you—jobs, money in your pocket—the numbers turn out to be "over-optimistic" (synonym: cooked) yet again, as they have been throughout the Wecovery.

Stupidity is the new irony: part one million 

Beautiful. So a scholar can't add a footnote to an Cuban scientific paper (back here), but The Arnis™ can smoke a Cuban cigar. Hypocrites. (via Atrios)

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Did Aristide fall, or was he pushed? 

AP:

The United States helped Aristide safely leave the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, but it was unclear where he was headed, although a U.S. official said South Africa was the country most often mentioned as Aristide's destination.

"Helped," eh?

Black History Month - epilogue 

Oscar DePriest: 1871: Born in Alabama, the son of former slaves.
1928: Becomes first African American, in the 20th century, to win a seat in the US House of Representatives. First black American elected to Congress from a Northern State. 1915: First African American to be elected to Chicago's city council. 1933: Legislative accomplishments include the anti-discrimination amendment attached to the bill establishing of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Fought for federal anti-lynching legislation.

DePriest was also the subject of national scandal when, in 1929, his wife was invited to the Hoover White House to attend one of Mrs. Hoover's congressional teas. A great hem-n-haw ensued with respect to Mrs. DePriest's invitation as citizens and editorial cluckings condemned the visit and held forth with grave exhortations of unforseen perils in the event of such luncheon madness. Windy forecasts of menacing clouds gathered on the horizon, imminent threats to our Anglo-Saxon institutions, Christianity, and the evermore fragile dignity of Southern sensibilities, sir, all awaited our nation should such an insult be allowed to cross the threshold at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And blah blah blah. Mrs DePriest attended the tea despite the foul weather, and needless to say, the wheels of industry did not come flying off the wagon.

Nordic Furies, zany Fundamentalist Christian crusaders, and the fragile dignity of the Lost Cause were not heaved into the Lake of Fire or pounced upon by a plague of angry boils. Or any other number of similar enviable consequences. Each, unfortunately, lived to fight another day. Darn it.

To emphasize the point above, with respect to galvanic reactions to the crimes of Hoover-DePriest, behold the following examples.

I hope the Georgia Legislature will pass a resolution condemning the Mrs. Hoover-DePriest tea party. I think that every Southern State should set aside one day to fast and pray for the preservation of our pure Anglo-Saxon race, for it is plain that if the South does not preserve it, that it will soon be a thing of the past.

I think that every wheel of industry should stand still and every head bow in prayer and shame at one o'clock the same day we pray for the preservation of the white race of America.

I hope that no Southern Senator or Southern Congressman's wife will darken the doors of the White House as long as Mrs. Hoover is its mistress.

When Mrs. Hoover has vacated the White House I hope our government will see the necessity to dynamite the White House, remove it from the face of the earth, build another one in its stead, that its walls may not be contaminated with the odor of Mrs. DePriest.

P.S. I would rather that the Catholic had control of our government than the African race.
~ W.R. Blease[*] [Barney, GA., Macon Telegraph, Macon GA, 1929.]


(*Note: I have no idea if the signer of this letter is any relation to Coleman L. Blease, then Senator from South Carolina. Sen. Blease (SC) was an unapologetic bigot and white supremacist who, upon arriving in Washington DC, introduced legislation to prohibit interracial marriage.)

Editorial from the day. Jackson, Mississippi - 1929.

Several weeks ago it was announced that President and Mrs. Hoover intend to visit several Southern States during the Autumn and early Winter.

For their own sakes and to save Southern people from embarrassment, it is sincerely hoped they will not do so.

The DePriest incident has placed President and Mrs. Hoover beyond the pale of social recognition by Southern people.

As tersely remarked by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the White House reception to a Chicago Negress did not establish the social equality of the Negro race, but it did establish the social status of President and Mrs. Hoover.

A Southern visit by President and Mrs. Hoover at this time - or any other time in the future - would mean social ostracism for them. We do not practice social equality and we refuse recognition to people who do practice social equality.

Anglo-Saxon men and women of the South have no desire to bring the President and Mrs. Hoover face to face with the enormity of their offense. Its is wise, therefore, that plans for the Southern visit be cancelled. [~ editorial: Jackson Daily News, Jackson Mississippi. 1929]


Well, there goes the retirement getaway on Hoover Lake.

Anyway, on a related note with respect to today's gay marriage debate, I wonder if any of this kind of past overwrought fore-doom bellowing makes any impression on latter day scoldpottle busybodies like Sandy Rios or Louis Sheldon or our storied national soap liniment salesman George W. Bush. I wonder if they recognize themselves in old canards like the ones above. In their own dour modern day predictions of enormous offenses against purity and preservation and the certain fall of western civilization should the gay marriage menace come to darken the doors of the matrimonial sanctum. And blah blah blah.

Nah, probably not. Guess you'll have to visit the link below and help remind them.

All Facts and Opinions My goal is to recruit 1000 people to the Million for Marriage effort. Please join us.

*

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

corrente.blogspot.com
~ Since 2003 ~


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