Saturday, August 14, 2004


Rock star, baby!

Look, over there! Governor McGreevy!

This picture needs a caption! 

Via New York's picture newspaper, the Daily News.

1. Hey, Leadfoot! Up here!

2. If I'm going to sing, Oops, I Did It Again you're going to have to slow down that karaoke machine! (alert reader brad)

Holy Relic or DNA Evidence?: The Sequel 

Remember this?
Napkin with sweat from Ambassador Alan Keyes' forehead
Blotted from Keyes' brow at Senate announcement 8-8-04

85 bids (US $0.08 starting bid)

Current bid: US $465.00
And remember how eBay, that notorious front for liberals, gays, the French, terrorists, Barak Obama, Satan, locusts, boils, Hurricane Charley and other forces of EEE-vil too numerous to enumerate, wickedly yanked the page? On some bogus grounds that their rules did not permit transactions in bodily fluids?

The Mighty Corrente fearlessly brings you the Rest of the Story.


Work-friendly unless it would arouse the wrath of supervisor S. Legree for you to laugh yourself into hyperventilation on company time.

UPDATE And speaking of bodily fluids, I can't resist adding the following:

[GEN. JACK D. RIPPER:] I can longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist perversion and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our
precious bodily fluids.

They ought to be running Dr. Strangelove in the health clubs, eh? Anyhow, got that quote from this site, which also has interesting material on winger projection, a topic to which we must return.—Lambert

And they write bad, too 

The Republicans are about to release some new campaign ads in health clubs, of all places:

In a novel attempt to reach sports buffs, [a new Republican] ad will be shown not only on cable but also in 250 fitness centers through a company called ClubCom.

Using a stirring "Morning in America" style, the ad uses swelling orchestral music and colorful footage of a female swimmer winning a race. A female narrator notes that the number of democracies in the world has increased from 40 during the 1972 Olympics to 120 now.

"Freedom is spreading throughout the world like...

Like buttah!

.... a sunrise," the narrator says.

Matthew Dowd, Bush's chief campaign strategist, said the use of the health club network is an experiment aimed at "busy" voters who, he noted, tend to be undecided. "You can deliver information to them that they may not see during the day," he said. "They may catch an article here or a news broadcast there."
(via WaPo)

"If elected as leader, I will use power like a drum, and leadership like a violin. We will work together as one—like a twin!" Oops, sorry, wrong script.

Seriously, though, how does a sunrise spread? Like butter? Like the high-priced spread? And if a sunrise does spread, does freedom spread in the same way? They're making my head explode again!

And even more seriously, the tactic is now known in advance. Where's the war room on this one? If the Kerry campaign has gone dark, where are the 527s? Maybe they could run a tape of Bush "collecting his thoughts" for seven minutes. Sure, great for the people on the treadmills. I'd sure like to watch that while running for a mile or two....

NOTE The must-read Daily Howler has a fine piece today on the Kerry campaign's weird inabilty to defend itself in the media—or your own interests in knowing the truth. Sheesh, why don't they just hire the Howler? Sometimes it seems like Kerry has Senatorial Disease—Daschle had it bad, and blew election 2002 because of it. The main symptom of the disease is the inability to see, in the face of plain evidence, that the Republicans are out to destroy the Democrats as a party and, if necessary, as individuals, in order to destroy everything Democrats have built since the Gilded Age. C'mon, guys. Show us hope is on the way!

Private Guards...For Army Bases 

THIS is how overstretched the Army is today. Thank you so much, George Bush. This story ran Thursday and has been picked up by nobody so far. Let's change that:

(via LATimes)
Stretched thin by troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and security needs at home, the Army has resorted to hiring private security guards to help protect dozens of American military bases.

To date, more than 4,300 private security officers have been put to work at 50 Army installations in the United States, according to Army documents obtained by The Times.

The work was awarded to four firms — two of which got the contracts without having to bid competitively. The contracts are worth as much as $1.24 billion.

The Army says the maneuver lets it free up more soldiers for military duty while quickly putting private guards in place to meet the need for additional security since the Sept. 11 attacks.

But the Army's action has drawn criticism on two grounds: that it compromises domestic military security, and that it amounts to abuse of a law intended to aid impoverished Alaska Natives.
Read the story for details. The short of it is, the same way a "private contractor for military intelligence" was financed through the Interior Department to keep it off the radar, this one was fronted under a law giving preference to companies run by Alaskan native people. They promptly re-outsourced it to two names we've seen in this racket before:
Unions have attacked Vance for acting aggressively against striking workers in situations where the company has been hired to protect factories and work sites.

Wackenhut has been accused by unions and government officials of allowing lapses in security at the nation's nuclear plants, many of which employ Wackenhut guards.

A Department of Energy report this year by the inspector general said current and former security guards at Oak Ridge nuclear weapons complex had complained that Wackenhut manipulated the results of drills by altering testing equipment and passing information to low-ranking guards prior to simulated attacks.

"It seems really irresponsible to have Wackenhut, which was found to have cheated on government security tests, doing security work at U.S. military bases," said Stephen Lerner, the director of the security division at the Service Employees International Union, which maintains a website critical of Wackenhut.

"This isn't about mowing the lawn. This is about guarding places that are potential terrorist targets."
Cite this the next time the guy in the next cube says "Well, Bush has respect for the military at least." And it's not like this is new behavior, it's happened in Empires before ours. As one astute observer noted in 1892:

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Ferry 'Cross the Mercy 

Alert reader Sid the Fish, down in comments to an earlier article, pointed to a story on his blog about how natural disasters follow Bush around every time he mentions God.

That's a pretty good story (if scary!) but Sid had another item lower down that is even better. This one came from a guy who goes by the name of Mephron on a Livejournal page. I never read it before, don't know Mephron, don't know if this story is true or metaphorical. Sounds damn believable to be though:
This morning, they're doing bag searches again to get on the ferry. And the guy doing the searches pulls me aside and says, "Sir, I feel that I need to confiscate this book."

I pause and say, in that tone of voice that most people would recognize as meaning, "have you lost your grip completely, chuckles?": "You need to confiscate... a book."

"Yes. I feel it's inappropriate for the other people on the ferry to be exposed to it."

Now, I had the book IN MY BAG. It was not open. And while the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile is displayed as improbably proportioned, well, this is not, as far as I know, illegal to have. I mean, there was a guy carrying a copy of Maxim, and some of the women in THAT are improbably proportioned. (All right, I admit: they're not wielding a huge sword and dressed in a bustier studded with human finger bones. But really.)

My response: "Well, let me call the ACLU and have them come down here, and see what they think about your attempt to confiscate a book that was not in the plain sight of others due to your feeling it's not appropriate." And I pull out my cell and start scrolling down the list - ACLU-NJ is at the top, actually, before 'Amanda' and 'ardaniel' since it sorts alphabetically.

He gets all pissy at me and says, "Don't you understand this is for your safety?"

"Confiscating someone's gun or bomb is for my safety. Perhaps confiscating someone's pocketknife or nailfile may be for my safety. What's so damn dangerous about my book?"


"That's NOT YOUR DECISION! I could be carrying a copy of Hustler in here, and it's STILL not your decision! You're looking for bombs and knives and guns and things that hurt people, and a book that is IN MY BAG is not going to leap out of its own damn accord and HIT SOMEONE!"

The rest of the people waiting for the ferry are watching our exchange. He realizes that they're all looking at him, and that I'm winning this one in their eyes.

He lets me go on the boat.

I'm pretty sure he made notes about me, and I'll probably get more hassling later, and if I run into him again he'll probably be more of an asshole.

But I don't care. I won this one. I'll win the next one if I have to fight it.

Today I print out the Fourth Amendment and keep a copy of it in my bag.
Good advice for us all. Oh, the book was a manual for a Dungeons-and-Dragons sort of game, featuring a woman warrior with very large proportions and a truly immense sword. Mephron has a picture for those who like that sort of thing.

Remind me never to carry my collection of "Flaming Carrot" comix on ferry trips.

Goodnight, moon 

Believe it or not, they had me dusting the interior greenhouse glass of the Zen garden at The Mighty Corrente Building today. Here's a shot of it, looking downward from the helipad....

Oh, and Orcinus eviscerates Michelle Malkin—you know, the one who wants to take back Reagan's apology for interning loyal citizens of Japanese descent during World War II.

At least Kerry can prove he served  

Orcinus points out the obvious:

Amidst all the manufactured fury from the well-funded Swift Boat Veterans for (cough) Truth, there's no doubt that Kerry did his duty to his country. There are eyewitnesses to prove that.

But nobody ever claimed the $10,000 reward Gary Trudeau posted (back) for any National Guard veteran who could step forward and prove that he had served with Bush in Alabama.

I wonder why?

Isn't it about time Waura got a little scrutiny? 

After all—and imagine the furor if Hillary was doing this—Lady MacBush is giving a prime time speech at the Republican Coronation Convention:

[A]s Mrs. Bush begins several weeks of solo barnstorming in states crucial for her husband's re-[sic]election, she is becoming an increasingly visible and effective part of White House strategy, largely because she is seen as someone above the rough-and-tumble of the political fray.

And less than three weeks from now, in what will undoubtedly be her most important public moment of the 2004 campaign, she will give one of the prime-time speeches at the Republican National Convention in New York.
(via Times)

We'll leave the guy she killed in a car crash out of it. After all, She was young, and no doubt came by Her sense of impunity and entitlement honestly (back), just as Her daughters (back) have.

And we won't hold that AWOL thing against her—after all, she has to lie about that. Though we do wonder what will happen when (and if) AP wins that suit to have the microfilm of Bush's records released.

But her tendency to just, well, lie herself and to laugh it off when others lie... Well, that's just the kind of enabler Inerrant Boy would marry, right?

Sure, they're little white lies. Like the cute "lump in the bed" lie (back). Or the "never read the papers" lie (back).

No biggie, right? Except when Waura finally does tell a real whopper, will anyone notice or call her on it?

Wrong Color, Wrong Religion=Not a Terrorist 

Now I would like somebody to seriously explain to me the likelihood that if this guy were named Mohammed rather than Norman, and was brown rather than pasty pink, Tom Ridge and John Ashcroft wouldn't be on stage together doing a song and dance in top hat and tails, bragging on the capture of this fiend?

(via Michigan news service)
A man who had an arsenal of firepower at his rural compound near Cadillac, including two heavily armed "war wagons," pleaded guilty to possessing machine guns and pledged to cooperate in the hunt for other shadowy rebels.

That anti-government swagger was gone Wednesday as he explained he owned 13 machine guns, most made from kits and then modified into illegal weapons.

"Very easy to come by. You can find them on the Internet," Somerville, 44, explained.

Authorities found much more last fall during a search of his 40-acre property, about 15 miles northwest of Cadillac.

Agents discovered an underground bunker, thousands of rounds of ammunition, hundreds of pounds of gunpowder and manuals on guerrilla warfare, "booby traps" and explosives.

There were chilling pictures of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with the cross hairs of a high-powered rifle scope drawn over them.

Finally, there were Somerville's self-described war wagons: a van and Jeep Cherokee outfitted with machine guns.

"The war wagons have been rendered harmless and are now in the junk yard," Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Meyer said.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for having a machine gun, though he hopes his cooperation with authorities could reduce any punishment.

Somerville told the judge that seven of his 13 machine guns were given to other people. He said he had no job before his arrest and was living off a "substantial" inheritance from his parents.

U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist also took guilty pleas from Somerville's allies: Donald Koshmider II, 39, who had a machine gun, and Jeffrey Horvath, 24, who committed a crime by not telling authorities about the weapons.

Department of "They Made My Head Explode Again"—Dirty bomb pills! 

Yes, friends, there's good news tonight!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two new drugs designed to counter the radioactive effects of a so-called "dirty bomb."

The newly approved medications have been used for several decades as "investigational drugs" to treat people in radioactive emergencies, the agency said in a statement.

By speeding the process of removing radioactive elements from the body, the drugs can prevent certain cancers that could occur years after exposure, the FDA said.
(via Forbes)

We've already described (back) the fundamental lack of seriousness with which Inerrant Boy has approached the issue of loose nukes. There's no security for our ports, they lost a bunch of nuclear material in Iraq as a result of the postwar planning clusterfuck back), and they tried to cut back on a program to keep Russian loose nukes under control.

But let's be optimistic! After the dirty bomb goes off, Big Pharma's going to make out like a bandit!

Um, will this kind of pill go on my Mom's Medicare card? Oh. Didn't think so.

Can't Kerry figure out how to get his campaign to stay on message? 

What Atrios said:

The Kerry campaign is running an excellent air campaign but they're not focused enough on the ground war.

Basically, the campaign needs more and better surrogates....

You need people who do nothing but immerse themselves in the world of right wing media. ...

I don't know how they organize who is on deck for media appearances, but they just have to be better prepared. ...

Quality comprehensive media training exists. Have a stable of professional coaches around to help people.

Sure, the media deck is stacked, but there's no use whining about it now. Every single issue needs to be distilled down to one sentence. Every single right wing charge needs to have a bullet-point rebuttal and countercharge, at everyone's fingertips - at least everyone who's going to go in front of the cameras.
(via the essential Atrios)

Of course, the $300 million the VWRC spent buying your discourse (back) can't be countered overnight.

But Kerry could do a lot better than he's doing. And if, if, IF Kerry wins, he's going to need an apparatus like Atrios suggests even more than he does now.

I mean, if there is an election, and Kerry wins it, and then is allowed to take office, does anyone seriously imagine that the Republicans will accept his legitimacy and allow him to play his Constitutional role as President? Of course they won't, any more than they did with Clinton. It's going to be another campaign in the war for the soul of the Union we're already in now.

NOTE Why on earth doesn't the Kerry campaign read The Howler? And if you haven't, you should. It's the detail that convinces.... And the incomparable archives.

And speaking of close elections... 

Florida's not looking so good for Jebbie's slippery little scut of a brother:

A new Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters released Thursday gave Kerry a 47%-41% lead over Bush, with independent Ralph Nader netting 4% in the state. Without Nader, Kerry leads 49% to 41%.

The poll, conducted Aug. 5-10, surveyed 1,094 registered voters in the state with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The same poll in late June found a dead heat.
(via the actually-written-and-edited Los Angeles Times)

Gee, I bet the Republicans can't wait to start shovelling that so-hastily-announced Hurricane Charlie disaster money into the swing districts.

Oh, and R-a-a-l-ph!

Hang Down Your Kneepads, Judy 

This snuck in on little cat feet deep in the dark dark night, and never did make it to the front page of the website today. You don't suppose they are at all ashamed of Miss Judy, do you?

(via New Whore Times)
A reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, was subpoenaed yesterday by a Washington grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a C.I.A. undercover officer to the syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other journalists.

The subpoena to Ms. Miller was only the most recent of a series issued to journalists in a politically sensitive inquiry that has on several occasions led investigators to question White House officials.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times, said the paper would move to quash the subpoena to Ms. Miller, issued at the behest of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor heading the investigation.

The Times has not published any articles saying it received information about Ms. Plame's identity.
Interesting phrasing, wouldn't you say?

thanks to somebody on an Atrios' comment thread for spotting this, which mysteriously never made it to the NYT front page all day.

In Close Elections, Every Shot Counts 

A couple of weeks back we ran an interesting paper on the subject of how elections can be disrupted without resort to electronic voting machines. On that list was this item:

14. Cause riots or disturbances during voting hours in targeted districts...Could be perpetrated by military, paramilitary (police) or goon squads.

So we were in a suspicious frame of mind to read this in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
After losing Tuesday's runoff by four votes, Gina Carr has thought about what she should have done differently.

She's not sure, but she believes the result was affected by something no one could have anticipated — a gunbattle near a key precinct.

Frank Sheridan was killed about 3 p.m. when Deputy Patrick Neal returned fire after being shot in the face. Dozens of emergency vehicles rushed to the Towne Lake area neighborhood in Woodstock. Television news helicopters hovered overhead. The road leading to Woodstock High School — site of a polling precinct — was briefly blocked while Neal was transported to a waiting medical helicopter.

The chaos kept people away from the area, Carr said.

"There is no doubt," said Carr, "that voting at that precinct was very disrupted."
Now there is no indication that this particular shooting was in any way intentionally perpetrated with the intent of affecting a vote. A recount is planned but a recount can't pick up votes that weren't cast because of a "disruption" like this. To your election day supplies, consider adding Kevlar.

The boy in the bubble 

Self-delusion, spin, vanity? Who knows? Bush pins the bogon meter yet again:

When I travel the country, and I've been traveling a lot, there are thousands of people who come out and wave, and they are -- you know, they respect the presidency. Sometimes they like the president, but I have this -- I don't have a sense that there's a lot of anger.
(via The Larry King Show here)


Could it be that Bush—unlike Kerry—never goes before a crowd that isn't carefully screened by his operatives? A crowd that only contains His supporters?

Bush certainly has an odd idea of what "traveling the country" means. I would think it means seeing all Americans, wouldn't you? Oh, wait. Now I get it. People who don't support Bush are traitors, and unGodly. Therefore not, really, Americans. Phew!

Republican Cleavage 

These are not words often seen together. The twin peaks of contemporary Republicanism are the Taliban wing, which would just as soon not even acknowledge the existance of breasts, and the Have-And-Have-More faction, which tends to pick their second and third wives on the basis of mammary size.

So far these A-versus-D cup factions have coexisted uneasily in an increasingly mismatched Victoria's Secret of mutual electoral uplift. Appropriately enough it may be in another place known for high peaks that the sag begins to set in:

(via WaPo's E. J. Dionne)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- You've probably seen those sexy twins in the Coors beer ads. Alluring women selling products is a way of life in our country. We are about to learn if the mogul who ran those ads can successfully cast himself as a friend of conservative family values.

Conservatism is a noble tradition and an intellectual mess. Conservatives say they revere both traditional and market values. But those two sets of values so often contradict each other that conservatives have to cover their eyes -- from the twins ads, for example -- if they are to pretend to be consistent.

What is the most powerful force for permissiveness in the United States? It is not liberalism. It is the free market's use of sexuality to sell products.

Do conservative politicians who care primarily about taxes and the interests of big business merely use "conservative values" as a slogan for attracting votes from the less well-off who gain little or nothing from their economic programs?

What do conservatives really care about -- their values or their incomes? The Colorado Senate race gives them an excellent opportunity to show what matters most.

Gaslight watch: The extremely non-political warnings about threats to the election 

Guess I ought to start aligning this image on the right. Eh?

The Bush administration believes...

Aaaugh! More faith-based intelligence!
...more strongly than ever that al Qaeda terrorists plan to try to influence the presidential race with a massive preelection attack, a strike that is more likely to come in August or September...

Gee, that's funny. In Spain, AQ struck three days before. Now, let me see... What even is taking place in the August/September time frame...

... than in October, a White House official...

That would be Unka Karl.

... said yesterday.

The official ratcheted up administration warnings of an election-related attack on a day when President Bush and Vice President Cheney were on the campaign trail contending that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) would be a weak commander in chief.

Coincidence? You be the judge!

Some Democrats...

And most sentient beings.

...accuse the White House of issuing repeated terrorism warnings to inspire fear so voters will hesitate to change leaders with the nation under threat.

The White House official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the government had not gleaned any new information about political motives for an attack since the spring...

So the reason this fact would be way down in the story, as opposed to the belief, which was in the lede, would be... what?

...when administration officials began saying they were concerned about an attack in conjunction with the Nov. 2 election. Nothing to date indicates "an imminent operation," the official said.
(via WaPo)

And if AQ won't do it, we'll just have to do it ourselves! Or get the Paksistani ISI to do it. Yeah, that's the ticket....

Surprise! Haves and Have-Mores Have Still More 

Tying in conveniently with both the Krugman column (below) and very possibly the black cat/Friday the 13th item below that comes yet another long overdue "D'UH!" moment of economic analysis

(via the suddenly surprisingly relevant NYT)
Fully one-third of President Bush's tax cuts in the last three years have gone to people with the top 1 percent of income, who have earned an average of $1.2 million annually, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to be published Friday.

The new estimates confirm what independent tax analysts have long said: that Mr. Bush's tax cuts have been heavily skewed to the very wealthiest taxpayers.

According to the new report from the Congressional Budget Office, about two-thirds of the benefits from the tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, went to households in the top fifth of earnings, with an average income of $203,740.

"It doesn't matter who you are, the report shows that you are better off now than you were before the tax cuts,'' said a House Republican aide. "It's showing that everybody's tax burden has gone down as a result of the tax cuts.''
Of course the Republican response/mantra is complete hogwash. A miniscule reduction in Federal taxes on the poor does not begin to make up for the concurrent increases in state taxes, local taxes, gas taxes, car taxes, fees on things which were formerly free, deterioration in services in everything from prisons to parks to libraries.

"Ownership Society" ~ the shiny bauble at the bottom of the box 

Krugman today! Required reading - (sign in not required)

Bush's Own Goal

A new Bush campaign ad pushes the theme of an "ownership society," and concludes with President Bush declaring, "I understand if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of America."

Call me naïve, but I thought all Americans have a vital stake in the nation's future, regardless of how much property they own. (Should we go back to the days when states, arguing that only men of sufficient substance could be trusted, imposed property qualifications for voting?) Even if Mr. Bush is talking only about the economic future, don't workers have as much stake as property owners in the economy's success?

But there's a political imperative behind the "ownership society" theme: the need to provide pseudopopulist cover to policies that are, in reality, highly elitist.

Michael Lind (writing in 1995), takes this stealth elitist neo-feudalist "ownership society" ploy to an ultimate conclusion. Essentially calling it out for what it really is.


The new feudalism reverses the trend of the past thousand years toward the assumption by the government of basic public amenities like policing, public roads and transport networks, and public schools. In the United States - to a degree unmatched in any other industrial democracy - these things are once again becoming private luxuries, accessible only to the affluent few.


Taken to its ultimate conclusion, the replacement of the American republic with a decentralized and privatized society would create something like a high-tech Holy Roman Empire on American soil. Conservatives, libertarians and left anarchists like to imagine the harmonious coexistence of flourishing Jeffersonian hamlets. In the absence of a strong central government financed by adequate taxation, however, the more likely result would be a wasteland of crime-ravaged slums between the fortified private neighborhoods of the white overclass, compounds connected, no doubt, by private toll roads. Protected like medieval barons by their private police forces, the affluent classes could transact worldwide business or seek diversion at their computer workstations, while only a few miles away the poor lived and died in conditions of Third World squalor. Not a Jeffersonian utopia, but a high- tech feudal anarchy, featuring an archipelago of privileged whites in an ocean of white, black, and brown poverty, would be the likely outcome of the conservative antistatist program, if it were seriously pursued. (Lind, The Next American Nation, published 1995, pages 211-213)

This is an impressive crowd, the haves and the have mores. - George W. Bush

Now watch this drive.


Feline Curio Friday 

Laureled Druidae and High Priest of the Oak Grove, Colin Powell, to entertain demon on occult holiday.

Powell, black cat to cross paths on Friday 13th Thursday, August 12, 2004 [CNN]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell will cross paths with a black cat Friday the 13th, posing for a picture with a copper-eyed Bombay male that bears his name.

Colin Powell -- the cat -- will pay a courtesy call on the top U.S. diplomat Friday Aug. 13 and the two will appear before photographers in the elegant Treaty Room outside the secretary of state's suite of offices at the State Department.

In other cat fancier related news:


Feline spirits force Orissa school to close, [India]. Also published HERE

In a bizarre incident, a girl's school here has been closed after its students started behaving abnormally.

Teachers claim that at least a dozen girls have taken ill under mysterious circumstances in the past two weeks, all fainting without a cause, only to wake up and start behaving like cats.

Dolagobind, a remote hamlet in Orissa, has since been affected by so many incidents that necromancers have been called in to remove these so called evil spirits.

According to the teachers, all the affected girls are aged between eight to twelve. They were seen clawing their own faces and shrieking like felines. Some even fainted, leaving the management with no option but to shut the school.

"First three girls fell down when they came to school. We thought they hadn't had food so we gave them something to eat but after that also they were not normal and behaved strangely," said school headmistress Manjubala Pande.

"Next day again some six-seven girls started crying, fell down on the floor making sounds like that of a cat. We immediately informed others in the village but after the faintings and behaviour repeated, we were forced to shut the school," he added.

The children have been shifted to an ashram or hermitage run by a local sage where they are being made to recite Vedic mantras and fire rituals are being performed to drive the spirits away.

Parents say the girls have shown some improvement but are unable to recall exactly what went wrong with them. (ANI)

Oh, the wonders of the invisible world.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

It's early, but I'm stunned with exhaustion. And so to bed.

But as I finished my working day, polishing the solid gold taps of the wet bar in the executive cloakroom of The Mighty Corrente building, the words of alert reader Shystee came again, unbidden, to my mind. They were:

Can you set up a Sarcophagus for me to sleep in when I visit the Mighty Corrente Building? I see it as a big ol' victorian (like the Addams') with a workspace and monster kitchen on the first floor, lounge and library on the second floor, bedrooms on the top floor and the wings. 13 bathrooms with claw-foot tubs. Zen garden and hot tub (with snow monkeys) in the back. Like the X-men HQ but with some class. But that's just my vision. I watched Miracle Home Makeover last night, that must be what it is.

Shystee, I'm afraid you labor under a misapprehension. I have no power to grant (or to withhold) sarcophagi; the janitor, and the occasional night watchman, rarely do—even janitors at vast, globe-spanning enterprises like Corrente. And to get an idea of the sheer scale of the thing... I've attached an image (at left) of one of the guardhouses. The Mighty Corrente Building itself, of course, is quite a bit larger. It may well be that we do have a Zen garden—perhaps on the roof—I'll have to look... Maybe on the weekend....

"Homegrown Democrat"—Get up, stand up! 

More from Garrison Keillor's new book:

Democrats have changed America in simple basic ways in the last fifty years that have benefited everyone. Race has become less and less an issue in people's lives and racism has ceased to be socially acceptable anywhere. Women have moved into every realm of society and this is everywhere accepted without much comment. Equal opportunity in education, employment, and housing. There is general agreement on the right to a dignified old age, guaranteed by the state. Democrats led the way in bringing these things about. It's one thing to get into power and do favors for your friends; it's quite another to touch the conscience of a nation. The last Republican to do that was Teddy Roosevelt.
(Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat. pp. 11-12)

Powdermilk biscuits!

Heavens, they're tasty and expeditious. They're made from whole wheat, to give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done"

We love you, Walter Pincus! 

And we want to be like you! That's because you're a real reporter.

[Walter] Pincus 71, [has been] a [WaPo] staff member for 32 of the last 38 years, [and his] messy desk is always piled high with committee reports and intelligence files. "The main thing people forget to do is read documents," said Pincus, wielding a yellow highlighter.

A white-haired curmudgeon ....
(via WaPo)

Dunno about the curmudgeon part, though.


Is there anything more pathetic and pitiful than Dick Cheney trying to distort an out-of-context quote?

W and the boys essentially have NOTHING to run on, do they?

More than a year and a half ago I said on my old retired blog that when and if Bush went down it was going to be a helluva thing to see.

I contended it would be quite a show and that they would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to try and save themselves. We would see every dirty trick and nasty tactic in the book.

So -- this is just what that desperation looks like folks. They're desperate and they know they're in deep trouble. You could hear it in Bob Novak's voice today as he admitted that Kerry is ahead in the electoral college and that "things don't look good for the president."

As Atrios says, "pass the popcorn."

Pointing Out the Obvious 

While Atrios is doing a bang-up job demolishing Spinanity's hackjob on the Kerry Purple Heart pseudo-controversy, it seems that one fact continues to elude all who discuss it. It's this:

A soldier doesn't get to choose the seriousness of his wound. He only gets to choose whether to fight or flee.

It doesn't take a lot of intelligence to figure out that countless factors of varying randomness control whether a soldier in battle gets killed, gets wounded, or walks away unscathed. A millisecond too much hesitation (or too little), a centimeter to the left or right, and instead of glory, he's food for worms.

That's why the entire discussion of Kerry's wound is completely specious, because it makes the assumption that there is some correlation between the wound and the meritoriousness of his conduct. Deciding to award a medal based upon factors entirely attributable to chance would make a mockery of the values that the medal is supposed to recognize.

What the Purple Heart recognizes is a quality of character that Kerry's critics apparently can't fathom, which is not surprising, given the lifelong moral squalor of the hollow man they embrace without shame.

So how scripted are Bush's "Ask the President" sessions, anyhow? 

One hundred percent (100%):

In fact, the woman who asked about domestic violence actually coached Bush on his answer, when he left something out.

"Q And what about the Family Justice Center Initiative? Didn't you announce that last year? . . . The pilot program -- $21 million?"

"[BUSH]: Oh, I did, so thanks for reminding me. (Laughter.) How quickly we forget. It was a loaded question, wasn't it?"
(via WaPo)

Scripted or not, though, read the transcript. When Bush is inside the bubble, he's very very good. Let's not underestimate him.

Osama Bin Forgotten 

The invaluable Froomkin writes:

Reader Frank Grunder e-mailed me a while back to ask: Just when was the last time Bush did actually speak about bin Laden explicitly?

So I did some research (using the very handy and highly recommended Compilation of Presidential Documents database.)

And what I found is that Bush treats bin Laden a lot like those wizards in the Harry Potter books treat He Who Must Not Be Named.

Since the beginning of 2003, in fact, Bush has mentioned bin Laden's name on only 10 occasions. And on six of those occasions it was because he was asked a direct question.

In addition, there were four times when Bush was asked about bin Laden directly but was able to answer without mentioning bin Laden's name himself.

Not once during that period has he talked about bin Laden at any length, or said anything substantive.
(via WaPo)

Nice snark, Dan! And good data.

Of course, the Theory A, that Inerrant Boy botched capturing OBL at Tora Bora, by relying on warlords instead of our troops, and Theory Z, that the Pakistanis are holding OBL on ice for an October surprise, are not necessarily incompatible...

Don't Let Your Meat Loaf 

Especially if it's double parked on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Mike Wallace Arrested in Meatloaf Doublepark Dervish
Aired August 13, 2004 - 21:00 ET

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the shocking arrest of a television news legend, CBS 60 Minutes anchor Mike Wallace, we'll talk with 'Court TV' anchor and former prosecutor Nancy Grace to get her take on what happened and what it might mean for Mike. Joining us will be retired law enforcement official and Christian music recording artist -and the former Sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina Mr. Andy Taylor. Also joining Nancy and Sheriff Taylor and I will be Bush administration Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Barney J. Fife.

KING: Thank you all for being here. First, lets take a look at this videotape. Of what took place in Manhattan this afternoon... so just roll the tape.

WALLACE: "I said 'Hold it, officer, I just want to ask a couple of questions about what's … maybe my driver's done something wrong?' … and suddenly I found myself up against the car with this arm and that arm being hammered and cuffed. Hard."

REPORTER: Witnesses back up the 86-year-old Wallace's story. "He was taken by the shoulder, spun around, thrown against the cars, assumed the position and cuffed,'' said Luigi Militello, owner and manager of "Luke's Bar and Grill."

KING: Nancy, what do you make of it all?

GRACE: Larry, I gotta tell you, this is one of those stories that just breaks my heart. But, what was Mr. Wallace doing there interfering with law enforcement officials who were just trying to do their job and.....

KING: Nancy, he says he was just buying a meatloaf and wasn't....

GRACE: I know, I know, but that's not my point. Larry, you and I both know that this took place in New York City and because of the recent terror threats and, because, this, Larry, post 911, I think you have to....

KING: He was arrested by the Taxi cab police or Limousine Police or something.....?

GRACE: Yes, Larry, the Taxi and Limousine Commision, I understand, but that still doesn't excuse his behavior just prior to being arrested. These TLC officers say Mr. Wallace viciously attacked them - lunged at them with a five inch Guthook stainless steel outfitter knife and...

KING: Wait wait, Nancy, Mike Wallace, no one, no one has said that, that....there was no mention of a knife, and, uh, Wallace denies that he made any advances at all toward the officers, uh, he's an old man... so where.....

GRACE: Ok ok, but Larry, listen, you and i know what these people will say anything when... (crosstalk) ... and has anyone come forward and specifically stated that they didn't see a weapon? Larry, I'm telling you, I've seen this kind of thing a thousand times. Remember Robert Blake. Larry, he went into a restaraunt and ordered a meatloaf and then came out and killed his entire family in a limo and.....

KING: Whoa, wait an minute....uh, lets just slow down Nancy. Robert Blake didn't order meatloaf it was... (crosstalk)... with veal? And uhm,..Mike Wallace, lets just try to get some other opinions in here. I'd like to let some of our other guests to have an opportunity to speak. Sheriff Taylor, what do you make of what happened today - in front of Luke's Bar and Grill in New York City?

SHERIFF TAYLOR: Thank you Larry. And thanks for having me on your swell show. Well, first thing here, I gotta tell ya'll, Aunt Bea, God bless her, she used to serve up the best doggone meatloaf you has ever ett! Umm-umm! Why I remember the time that Barney and me was....

KING: Aunt Bea! She was great. I loved Aunt Bea! Boy I remember her so well. She was like an Aunt Bee to all of us.

SHERIFF TAYLOR: Yes, she sure was - and she just loved your show Larry.

KING: Passed on a few years ago didn't she? What a shame. Have you or any members of your family tried to contact here through psychic mediums or strange voices emanating from seashells or......

GRACE: Uh, Larry?

SHERIFF TAYLOR: No Larry, Aunt Bea, we remember Aunt Bea as she was - just Aunt Bea, she would have liked it best that way...(crosstalk)

DEPUTY FIFE: Andy! Andy! It's me Barney!

KING: Thats right, you and Barney used to work together, close friends, were both law enforcement officials in North Carolina?

SHERIFF TAYLOR: Hey Barney! Yes, Larry, Barney and I go way back don't we Barney?

DEPUTY FIFE: Oh, heck yes Andy! Andy, you're not gonna believe this - but - I'm a Dee-fence policy expert with the Bush administration now - Andy - and they let me keep a whole drawer full of bullets or carry as many bullets as i want in my pocket and , Andy, we got that Saddam fella we did -- pulled him right up outa that hidey-hole we did. Andy, you followin' me Andy?

SHERIFF TAYLOR: I'm following ya Barney. I've read all about you in the Mount Pilot News and ....

GRACE: Larry, fellas, I don't mean to be rude but can we get back to the subject of....

KING: Ok, Nancy is right, lets take a break here. Lets do a commercial and we'll be right back - I'm speaking with Nancy Grace, Sheriff Andy Taylor and Bush administration Deputy Undersecretaty Barney Fife on the arrest of Mike Wallace --- we'll be right back after this message.

(commercial break)

KING: We're back with my guests and we were talking about the arrest this afternoon of Mike Wallace in New York City and what that might mean and what role a suspicious meatloaf may have played in the entire incident. Nancy?

GRACE: Larry, the meatloaf is very interesting, afterall has anyone located the meatloaf?

KING: Mr Wallace says that apparently the meatloaf was delivered to his home and he later placed it into a microwave oven, heated it up, and ate it.

GRACE: I've heard that one before. That sounds like an intentional attempt to destroy evidence if you ask me Larry....

KING: What are you getting at here Nancy?

SHERIFF TAYLOR: This reminds me of the episode where Aunt Bea was called for jury duty and....

GRACE: Mr. Taylor, no disrespect but weren't you a single father who was dating a school teacher named Helen Crump and wasn't it a well known fact that the very young and sexy Charlene Darling had quite a crush on you? You both shared an interest in music and there was a undercurrent of sexual tension in that relationship which was always kind of glazed over by the quaint homespun family spin placed on Mayberry by well, even Mayor Stoner, and even you yourself Mr Taylor, and all I'm trying to say Mr. Taylor is ...has Miss Crump's body ever been found and how much effort did your office expend in an effor to....

KING: Mayor Stoner has been on this show!

SHERIFF TAYLOR: Hold on, Miss Crump was never.....

DEPUTY FIFE: Andy! Andy! Remember that time those two homosexuals Howard Sprague and Floyd Lawson got into a fight and Howard tried to strangle Floyd with a pair of women's pantyhose and Floyd lunged at Howard with a 44 caliber 1851 issue Confederate Navy sidearm pistol!

KING: What's this......?

GRACE: Oh come on now, Larry, Mr Fife is just trying to.......

SHERIFF TAYLOR: Miss Grace, are you suggesting that I...

GRACE: Larry, Larry! I've seen this kind of behavior before!

KING: But what about Mike Wallace and the meatloaf and the Taxi cab gestapo and the....

DEPUTY FIFE: That meatloaf could'a been a fertilizer bomb! We don't know! Thats the kind of weapons of mass destruction Saddam and the terrorist... they had programs, recipes, fertilizer bombs, meatloaf fertilizer recipes and computer CD programs on meatloaf preparartion, shown on Al Jazeera!

SHERIFF TAYLOR: Oh c'mon now Barney.... you've been talkin' to Goober again....

DEPUTY FIFE: Andy! Ya gotta believe me Andy!

KING: You know Deputy Fife has a point, the terrorist could have been video taping Mr. Wallace for years on CBS and all this time carefully reproducing an exact living plastic surgery replica of him which they could plant in a limo and drive around Morningside Park or south of 57th street or gain access to any facility, hello, I'm Mike Wallace, and I'm from CBS News and.........

GRACE: Larry! Larry! I would like to know why Sheriff Taylor spent so much time with his young son fishing in that pond and if that pond has ever been dredged. To think he would take his young son Opie along with him on such visits to that pond, which may contain the murdered and dismembered body of Miss Crump and her lover Otis Campbell, well farnkly, that makes me sick to my stomach Larry, just sick to my stomach.

SHERIFF TAYLOR: What in the fuck?

KING: Ok, ok, folks, unforunately we're out of time. Great conversation, BUT! Tomorrow night, right here, on this program, we will be speaking with the famed cabaret star Margo Lion, star of pre war Nazi Germany Berlin's Wilde Buhne cabaret theater, who sang, "Are you for or are you against? Are you against or are you for? And why are you against and what are you for?", she'll explain what all of that that means tomorrow night. Thanks folks, good night, see you tomorrow.



Mea Culpa, Mea Fucking Maxima Culpa, WaPo 

It's more than the New York Times has done yet, I'll give 'em that. And THIS one they put on Page A-1.

(via WaPo)
Days before the Iraq war began, veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus put together a story questioning whether the Bush administration had proof that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

But he ran into resistance from the paper's editors, and his piece ran only after assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, who was researching a book about the drive toward war, "helped sell the story," Pincus recalled. "Without him, it would have had a tough time getting into the paper." Even so, the article was relegated to Page A17.

"We did our job but we didn't do enough, and I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder," Woodward said in an interview. "We should have warned readers we had information that the basis for this was shakier" than widely believed. "Those are exactly the kind of statements that should be published on the front page."

As violence continues in postwar Iraq and U.S. forces have yet to discover any WMDs, some critics say the media, including The Washington Post, failed the country by not reporting more skeptically on President Bush's contentions during the run-up to war.

An examination of the paper's coverage, and interviews with more than a dozen of the editors and reporters involved, shows that The Post published a number of pieces challenging the White House, but rarely on the front page. Some reporters who were lobbying for greater prominence for stories that questioned the administration's evidence complained to senior editors who, in the view of those reporters, were unenthusiastic about such pieces. The result was coverage that, despite flashes of groundbreaking reporting, in hindsight looks strikingly one-sided at times....

Whether a tougher approach by The Post and other news organizations would have slowed the rush to war is, at best, a matter of conjecture.

"People who were opposed to the war from the beginning and have been critical of the media's coverage in the period before the war have this belief that somehow the media should have crusaded against the war," Downie said. "They have the mistaken impression that somehow if the media's coverage had been different, there wouldn't have been a war."
I'm still too boiling mad to do any deep analysis of this. Go read it for yourself. But keep in mind it's still just about WMD, not the rest of the horseshit BushCoInc was shoveling about the great Runup to War. About five more pieces like this covering all the other garbage they fell for and why and I might feel they have made full confession.

Forgiveness is not mine to grant. The families of the thousands of dead and maimed have that privilege, not me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Well, the guy with the submachine gun they had outside The Mighty Corrente Building here in Philly seems to have been told to stand down; probably because Bush won't help with the overtime....

Not that I really mind the submachine guns, of course; if it's good enough for Paris and London...

What I do mind—what really makes me crazy—is the combination of gaslighting and the feckless, reckless indifference to real threats that Bush exhibits on a daily basis.

Exhibit A being Iraq, exhibit B being not protecting the ports, and Exhibit Z being the latest fiasco: outing the AQ mole as part of the gaslighting.

UPDATE No! It gets better. Here's the real Exhibit Z: Bush nominates Florida House Republican Porter Goss to be CIA head, for no apparent reason other than to help pick up Florida twelve weeks from now, and it turns out that Goss thinks he's not up to the job. In fact, Goss said "I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified", on tape, to Michael Moore. (Matt Gunn, via Atrios).


Life's little ironies, eh?

Republican looting: Charter school folds, after taking $100 million of your money 

Not that this little episode will stop the ideologically driven Republicans from continuing to destroy public education, along with every other aspect of the social compact (back).

Nearly 10,000 California students must look for new schools after the state's largest charter school closed amid a government audit of its operations.

Charter schools are public schools that are freed from many restrictions in the hopes that having more flexibility will improve student achievement.

The academy, headquartered in Victorville, had sites across the state, from San Diego to Gridley in northern California.

But it drew the attention of state and local officials who questioned the organization's finances, among other things. Also under scrutiny is C. Steven Cox's dual role as CEO of the academy and CEO of a private firm that managed the schools.

Investigations by The Associated Press into California Charter Academy over the last two years have detailed the school's questionable enrollment records, its practice of having small school districts oversee dozens of remote campuses, and its use of the private management firm to avoid disclosing school executives' salaries and other expenses.

In March, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell launched an audit of the schools. On Monday, he expanded the probe to include an authority created by Cox to buy health insurance for school employees.

Larson said the authority didn't pay its June and July premiums, leaving teachers and staff without health benefits.

The California Charter Academy received more than $100 million in state money since 1999 to educate students.
(via AP)

Oops! After lying, looting is what the Republicans do best!

Gaslight watch: Bush outs AQ mole, surrogates hold critics accountable 

Remember the noxious little meme (spread by, of all people, Kevin Drum, back) that somehow Bush's critics are to blame for blowing the cover of an AQ mole, because they "panicked" Him?

I mean, sheesh! Everybody knows Bush listens only and exactly to the base, so how the heck were critics going to panic him?

Anyhow, this noxious little meme is now being spread by none other than Dick "John" Morris:

Besieged by critics who claimed that it was raising the terror threat to staunch Kerry's momentum as he emerged from his convention, the Bush people felt obliged to release the fact that the British and Pakistanis had arrested al Qaeda computer guru Mohammed Nasin Noor Khan in Pakistan on July 13.

This unfortunate release of information reportedly crippled ongoing British efforts to use Khan — or at least his computer and e-mail — to communicate with, and therefore identify, his al Qaeda colleagues.

Once the terrorists read in the newspaper or saw on CNN that Khan was in Western custody, his usefulness to our intelligence services was fatally compromised. One British intelligence figure explained, in classic understatement, "It made our task more difficult."

Why did the Bush administration feel obliged to reveal the source of the intelligence that impelled it to ratchet up the terror alert? Because the Michael Moores of the world would not respect the terror warning without proof — even if this evidence compromised efforts to get more intelligence.
(via the just-another-organ-of-the-VWRC New York Post)

Really, isn't this the silliest thing you've ever heard? Bush is trying to get Michael Moore to respect him? I don't think so. It would take a lot more than trashing a priceless intelligence asset to do that!

Welcome to the accountability society! Oh, wait... Accountability is for other people. People who aren't Inerrant Boy. I forgot.

It takes leather balls to play rugby, 2 

Herewith part of the transcript from The Amazin' Froomkin's chat today:

Damascus, Md.: Tom Tomorrow and Kos had a picture from GWB's college yearbook, taken from yesterday's LA Times print edition, which shows W seemingly trying to punch someone in the face during a rugby game. There seems to be some controversy as to what's going on in the photo.

Do you think it's an actual punch in the face, or an illegal high tackle, or perhaps a failed tackle that his opponent is ducking out of?

Dan Froomkin: Here is the picture the reader is writing about.

I have no idea! Any rugby players out there? To be fair, this should be judged by rugby standards, which I gather are exceedingly low when it comes to roughhousing.

Boca Raton, Fla.: Dan, On the Rugby picture...... it looks like GW is trying to tackle the player with the ball.

But GW is not going about it the right way and in all likelihood, the player was able to get away.

Pretty much looks like he is a novice to me.

Dan Froomkin: Thank you. So it was a fair (but bad) hit?

Philadeplphia, Pa.: re: rugby...

"High tackles" are illegal in rugby.

"Leaving your feet while tackling" is illegal in rugby.

As you note, rugby has lots of physical violence...and given that Bush was clearly violating two prohibitions, there is really no reason to suspect that he wasn't attempting to punch the other guy in the face.

What I want to know is why the picture is in the 1969 Yale yearbook---Bush graduated in 1968.

Dan Froomkin: Thank you. And thank you for giving birth to a brand new conspiracy theory.
(via WaPo)

I love it! aWol claims he's on the varsity, (lying, duh, back), and then, on the intramural squad, breaks two rules and punches a guy in the face. Sounds like He had anger management problems even back then, doesn't it? Funny how it keeps coming down to character....

And, "Philadeplphia"—great job! Stop by The Mighty Corrente Building anytime!

Turning the corner—down! Tech spending tanks 

Gee, it's too bad the CEOs aren't "optimistic." Not that they'll ever be outsourced:

Technology spending appears to be faltering, judging from cautious comments, rising inventories and a weaker-than-expected sales outlook at Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , as well as bad news from other technology companies.

"It was not just Cisco. National Semi preannounced weakness in handsets. We saw in the last month or two, software companies preannounced earnings shortfalls. Generally, guidance from a lot of companies are more cautious into the third quarter," said Bear Stearns analyst Wojtek Uzdelewicz.

"There is a major deceleration in technology spending, although (the growth is) still healthy."

"The recovery in spending we thought we were seeing early signs of might not come to fruition," J.P. Morgan analyst Ehud Gelblum said in a research note.

Cisco also said its inventories rose 9 percent from the previous quarter, more than Wall Street had been expecting. Company officials said they were not concerned, but a rise in inventories was one of the first signs of trouble before the telecommunications bubble burst in 2001. Cisco took a $2.2 billion charge in 2001 to write off excess inventory.

Investors see Cisco as a benchmark for corporate and government spending because about 75 percent of its revenue comes from those customers.
(via Reuters)

Oh, man.... I've already been through one Bush tech recession. I have to go through a second one?

Alan Keyes; guardian of our precious national bodily fabrics 

"Grandiose governmental schemes to redistribute wealth or accomplish other noble sounding goals are so dangerous -- governmental intervention in the fabric of wealth creation is almost by definition a tyrannical disruption of our efforts to care for ourselves and each other." -Alan Keyes, September 23, 2000

Just listen to this dangerous tyrannical scheming:

The property of this country is absolutely concentred in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as 200 domestics, not laboring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers and tradesmen, and lastly the class of laboring husbandmen. But after all there comes the most numerous of all classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are undisturbed only for the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the increase of their revenues by permitting these lands to be labored. I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable, but the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not, the fundamental right to labor the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment, but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state. ~ Thomas Jefferson - letter to James Madison, Oct. 28, 1785

What?!!! Did I detect an affirmation of progressive taxation in the text above? Wealth redistribution?! Great scampering sacrosanct apostles of Christ! Hide the women and hirelings! Alert Robert Welch! Who cares if he's dead. Man the belltowers! Signal the Fire Brigade! Warm the National Rifle Association and get me the World Anti-Communist League on the crank radio-phone! To the hedgerow battlements cavaliers!


Eeek! Under the Bed, a Red! 

The Farmer down below notes the VRWC's curiously quaint obsession with trying to tie the Heinz Foundation to support of EEEvil COMMIES in Cuba.

Now we have another case of a Republican getting all atwitter, nearly collapsing from the vapors, because his opponent (again in Pennsylvania, what's with it with this hotbed of radicalism?) has TIES to, you guessed it, EEEvil COMMIES!

(via Philly Inquirer)
[State House Speaker John] Perzel yesterday called for his opponent in November to "sever his ties with the Communist Party."

In a news release, Perzel, a Republican from Northeast Philadelphia, said "samples of Kearney literature [were] featured prominently on the Communist Party's Internet home page."

On the home page of the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, there is a link to a Kearney campaign fund-raising letter. However, Kearney's name is misspelled on the link.

Perzel called on [PA] Gov. Rendell [also a Dem, which is practically the same thing as RED a we all know!] to "denounce" Kearney for "his ties to the Communist Party" and asked voters to reject Kearney's "politics of extremism."

Kearney acknowledged that he is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of the Communist Party. He also said he did not know about the Internet link until a reporter called him. He added that the fund-raising letter was written in November.

"My guess is that someone from the Communist Party put it on their Web site," he said.

Rendell's response to Perzel's charge was: "I'm stunned. I thought the Communist Party was totally defunct."
Yeah, that's what those pinkos always say! They want you to graze, sheeplike, while they pollute your precious bodily fluids!
Kearney said that he had "no problem" with the link and that "some of the most active and progressive citizens of Northeast Philadelphia, Germantown, Mount Airy, Center City and West Philadelphia" belong to the local Communist Party.

The House speaker "is sensitive to my campaign portraying him as a failed leader... . Mr. Perzel is grasping at old ghosts from the 1950s because he realizes he is in a close and difficult race against a progressive and new candidate, just like Mark Chilutti in 2000," Kearney said.

Chilutti, a Democratic newcomer, lost by 92 votes to Perzel four years ago.
They're everywhere, I tell you! Defenders of Truth, Justice and the American Way should take notes of all messages received on your dental fillings about this fiend and transmit same to Perzel's office.

It takes leather balls to play rugby 


Varsity mendacity?: With all the controversy about John Kerry's Vietnam medals and ribbons, who'd have thought that loyal George W. Bush aide Karen Hughes would be the one to catch the President fibbing about a supposed varsity letter? In her new book, "Ten Minutes From Normal," Hughes recounts a conversation with Bush after Russian President Vladimir Putin grilled him on his Yale days.

"President Putin knew you had played rugby, but he didn't have the context. I mean, you just played for one semester in college, right?" Hughes said.

Bush corrected: "I played for a year, and it was the varsity."

Yesterday, a Yale spokeswoman confirmed that there's no such thing as varsity rugby at Yale - not when Bush was an undergrad in the 1960s and not today.
(via Lloyd Grove in New York's picture newspaper, the Daily News, via Atrios

Nothing is too small for Bush to lie about, apparently. It really does come down to character, doesn't it?

Connecting the Dotty Dots and the GOP Plots 

This episode should serve as a warning shot to the Kerry campaign and to all organizations seeking to hold this Administration accountable. The far-right smear machine is saying: We will do anything--up to and including McCarthyite attacks on 9/11 widows and orphans--to insure victory in November. We are on the cusp of something extremely ugly in 2004. ~ Eric Alterman, The Nation, March 25, 2004

See the latest example of what Alterman is talking about via John McKay at archy, read: Just when you think they couldn't get any lower | The GOP surprises us again.

[snip]...Teresa Kerry's foundation has "connections" to and has helped finance "Fidel Castro's Internet network." [snip]

John McKay writes:
This is a repeat of an already debunked slander produced by a group of Richard Mellon Scaife funded hit men called the Capital Research Center and repeated by the freepers, the usual talking heads, and Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

As a further note: The CRC (Capital Research Center) JM mentions above is an organization essentially devoted to the old right-wingie wet dream of "defunding" non profit organizations it considers "liberal". As CRC President Terrence Scanlon told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2001 (speaking about "liberal" non-profit organizations):
...for the first time we have an opportunity to go after these groups and take away their federal money." [1]

Some of the "groups" (including labor unions) Scanlon and his CRC creatures consider too liberal to live include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. (according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report [1])

However the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Hoover Institution (theres a legacy to celebrate) are held up as true examples of the American "conservative" way. Lets hear it for the movers and shakers of the "new feudalism".

[1] See Disinfopedia for more on info on the CRC.

Heres what the Tides Foundation has to say with regards to Teresa Heinz Kerry or Heinz endowment connections to any attempts to provide internet access to Cuba. Via Business Wire:
August 10, 2004 02:13 PM US Eastern Timezone

Tides Foundation Statement Regarding Planned News Conference by Florida Congress Members

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 10, 2004--According to a news advisory, three members of the United States Congress are planning to hold a news conference today claiming that money from the Heinz Endowments granted to Tides Foundation or Tides Center projects has gone to support internet connections to Cuba. These claims are entirely false.

Those three Congress members are Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Business Wire/Tides statement continues...
No one from the offices of these Congress members has contacted Tides Foundation or Tides Center in an attempt to verify these false claims. These claims are also clearly refuted by a statement on our website clarifying our relationship with the Heinz Endowments--a relationship that has been repeatedly mischaracterized.

Specifically, claims that money from the Heinz Endowments granted to Tides Foundation or Tides Center projects has gone to support the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) or any of its associate organizations are entirely false. IGC is a Tides Center project. IGC has also received funding support from Tides Foundation--exactly $12,700 between 1993 and 2002.

None of these transactions have anything to do with the Heinz Endowments whatsoever.

A detailed statement about the relationship between Tides and the Heinz Endowments can be found at www.tides.org.

A complete list of all Heinz Endowment grants to Tides Foundation and Tides Center projects can be found at www.heinz.org; specifically at www.heinz.org/files/HP_Digit.pdf.

Once again the Right demonstrates it's inability to accurately "connect the dots" in almost any honest context. Not that honesty is a big priority with these folks. One does sometimes have to wonder if many of these Republicans driving these kinds of smears are little more than well pampered pathological liars, or, perhaps, just simply altogether dotty themselves.

And speaking of Lincoln Diaz-Balart and connecting dotty dots and what have you nots...in related news:
What Bush did was announce, in June, new measures against the government of Fidel Castro. At the last moment he added a provision: From now on, exiles can visit their families in Cuba only once every three years. Previously, one visit was allowed per year. Those journeys will be restricted to 14 days, when before there was no maximum stay. The government also announced new restrictions on the amount of money that can be spent in Cuba and sent to family there.

Those changes, championed by Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, were seen as a concession to the far right Cuban Liberty Council, which has evolved as the Bush administration's closest ally in the Cuban community over the past four years and part of the president's Florida base. The CLC wants fewer visits so that Castro will collect fewer dollars — cash that the CLC says helps him survive.


"Bush did this for purely electoral purposes and took erroneous advice," says Ramon Saul Sanchez, leader of the Democracia Movement, which includes many of those post-1980 exiles. "Bush isn't strangling Castro, he's strangling families. We Cubans believe that family reunification is one of our human rights. - SEE: "Law restricting Cuban exiles may cost Bush votes" Palm Beach Post, Aug 09, 2004.

Uh oh. Hey, look over there! Teresa Heinz Kerry and a commie plot!!!!!


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

You know, so much shit is hitting the fan that it's not possible to keep track of what's flying where. Just today, Iraq is moving rapidly into failed state territory, the Plame Affair seems to be grinding toward some kind of hideous climax, the puppet Iraqi government is after neo-con man slut Ahmed Chalabi for murder and fraud...

And we still have 12 weeks to go before the election—assuming there is an election—so things haven't really started to heat up.

Of course, we're still waiting on the AP suit to (finally) reveal the microfilm of aWol's military records, and then Hersh's book is coming out in September....

Pass the popcorn!

Gaslight watch: Condi tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube 

Yesterday (back), Condi told us it was OK that the administration outed a mole in AQ, because his name was revealed "on background." Well, now she's had a little time to think, and of course the story has changed:

Blitzer asserted: ''He was disclosed in Washington on background."

Rice replied: ''On background. And the problem is that when you're trying to strike a balance between giving enough information to the public so they know that you're dealing with a specific, credible, different kind of threat than you've dealt with in the past, you're always weighing that against operational considerations. We've tried to strike a balance."

Later in the show, Blitzer said this exchange meant Rice had confirmed that the administration released Khan's name to a reporter on background -- an interpretation repeated in later news accounts. But Sean McCormack, a National Security Council spokesman, said yesterday that Rice did not say the leak came from American officials.

[Condi]''was in the middle of making a point and he interrupted her, and she reflexively repeated 'on background,' but she was not confirming it and went on to complete her thought," McCormack said.
(via The love-that-dirty-water BostonGlob)

Oooh. "Reflexively repeated." Great line, I'll have to use it. "No, I didn't really supersize my Happy Meal, I just 'reflexively repeated' 'Supersize that!' So you'll just charge me for the regular size, right?"

Sheesh. You know, first people start apologizing for Bush because he "panicked" (back), and now Condi "Stepford Wife" Rice starts acting like she's in a hypnotic trance, or something. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was flop-sweat time in the WhiteWash House....

Bush nominates Porter Goss to head the CIA! 

What state is Goss from?



Gee, we've been fighting these guys in Najaf for six days 

I thought all these problems were supposed to go away, now that the Iraqis are sovreign and really have their freedom. What's up, anyhow?

Gaslight watch: Flaming tourist helicopters of death, part 2 

Yes, all in a day or two, Inerrant Boy's small government, anti-union, privatizing administration has put unionized government employees from the TSA in charge of security for New York's tourist helicopters, taking the job away from private businesses. Phew! I'm feeling safer already!

The Transportation Security Administration is taking over security checks of passengers and baggage at city heliports, following warnings that al Qaeda had considered using tourist helicopters as bombs.

Tour operators will be required to appoint an on-call security coordinator to answer security questions from the government, the directive said.

Heliport security had formerly been overseen by private security companies. our operators will be required to appoint an on-call security coordinator to answer security questions from the government, the directive said.

Heliport security had formerly been overseen by private security companies.
(via Washington Post)

Gee, I wonder why?

Could it be that there are going to be a lot of Republican tourists in New York just in time for the coronation convention and an extremely non-political 9/11 anniversary?

To the base—many of whom have probably been in a large city like Sodom New York for the first time, and will find it very frightening, if they leave their suites—Bush is sending two messages: (1) You are in danger, and (2) I am protecting you.

That the real danger is elsewhere (say, ticking away in a shipping container) or that Bush's protection is worthless (see blown AQ mole, Iraq clusterfuck, WMD intelligence fiasco) will not occur to this crowd. In fact, Bush's gaslighting will give them warm fuzzies.

"Homegrown Democrat"—Republicans and the social compact 

More from Garrison Keillor's new book, Homegrown Democrat:

[M]life depends on the social compact that the Republicans are determined to cripple by cutting taxes so as to starve government and kill off public services through insolvency and reduce us to a low-wage no-services plantation economy run by an enclave class that I do not wish to be part of. I don't want to move to a high-security building with a doorman and closed-circuit TV surveillance or a privat suburban community with a guardhouse at the entrance and regular patrols by a private security force. I want to stay here in St. Paul where anyone can walk up to my front door, Jehovah's Witnesses or Boy Scouts selling Christmas wreaths or candidates for city council or firewood salesmen or cat burglars casing the joint, and I want the freedom to walk the streets and enjoy the civility of the city, and for that, the Republicans must be fought before their success destroys the neighborhood. When the coyotes become too numerous and bold, then in defense of small children you must go and deal with the coyotes, whether you want to or not.
(via Homegrown Democrat, pp 206-7)

Seems obvious to me. When does the polemic begin, anyhow?

Powdermilk biscuits! They're tasty and expeditious!

"Homegrown Democrat"—some red meat 

Mild-mannered Minnesotan radio comedian Garrison Keillor has a new book out, and it's choice. Here's one quote:

[St. Paul, Minnesota is] a city of yellow-dog Democrats, so there is a high value placed on public services. If you call 911 in St. Paul, the cops or the EMTs will arrive within four minutes. In the Republican suburbs, where No New Taxes is the beginning and the end of politics and emergency services depend on volunteers, the response time can be anywhere between ten or fifteen and thirty minutes.

This is the difference between Democrats and Republicans in 2004, when it comes right down to it: Republicans are all about Old Glory and school prayer and the sanctity of marriage and the Fatherhood of God but when it comes down to actually needing help from them, you shouldn't get your hopes up. They might send an ambulance or they might just send a Get Well card.

Because we Democrats feel that the people of St. Paul are entitled to the best when it comes to what's crucial. You can be a Christian, athiest, Buddhist, nudist, and the rescue squad will be there for you within four minutes.

Republicans have perfectly nice manners, normal hair, pleasant smiles, good deoderants, but when it comes down to cases, you do not want them to be monitoring your oxygen flow: they will set it to the minimum necessary to sustain basic brain function, and then they will recite a little prayer for you. They are a party that is all about perceptions, the Christian party that conceals enormous glittering malice and is led by brilliant bandits who are dividing and conquering the sweet land I grew up in. I don't accept this.

We Democrats are deciduous. We fade, lose heart, become torpid, languish, then the sap rises again, and we are passionate. This is a year for passion.
(Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat. pp. 11-12)

Damn straight.

Powdermilk biscuits! They're tasty and expeditious!

Republican Family Values 

So this schmuck was on course to win his primary by 80 percent, and had no opposition in the general. But he's not the one whose fingerprints and mug shot will now be on file forever with the Georgia police:

(via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

State Sen.-elect Chip Rogers, who first denied involvement in the theft of his opponent's signs before the July 20 primary, now admits he approved the plan.

Rogers said Monday his decision was borne of frustration after dozens of his signs had been taken.

"I told my campaign manager I no longer cared what happened to my opponents' signs and that everything was fair game," said Rogers, a Republican who served in the state House for a term before his run for the Senate seat.

Two Marietta teens, including the son of a Woodstock Baptist Church pastor, confessed to stealing campaign signs belonging to State Senate District 21 candidate Craig Dowdy.

Cobb County police continue investigating, but no additional charges nor other arrests had been made as of Monday, said police spokesman Cpl. Dana Pierce.

After the boys' arrest Rogers said he paid the two teens about $8 an hour to work for his campaign, but denied that Taylor Dorner, 19, and Barry Rutherford, 17, were told to steal.

Police reported finding 12 "Craig Dowdy for Senate" signs in the Dodge Durango that Dorner was driving.

Dorner and Rutherford, now facing misdemeanor theft charges, told police that Rogers paid them to remove Dowdy signs "from certain locations," a police report said.

Rogers said he had a change of heart after approving the thefts and told his campaign manager to call off the plan. In a news release, Rogers said Dallas White never got the word to Dorner and Rutherford.

When asked about Rogers' comments, White said the "press release is right."

Rutherford did not return calls seeking comment on the allegations.

Dorner's father, the Rev. Dan Dorner, said Rogers was right to admit his and his campaign manager's involvement.

Rogers, who got 81 percent of the vote in the GOP primary and has no Democratic opposition in November, said he decided to admit his involvement out of concern for the two teens.

"I unfortunately had somebody working for me who told somebody else to do something stupid and somebody else did something stupid and now we're in this situation," Rogers said Monday.
Yeah, I'd say the word "stupid" is applicable here. I would also apply it to the Georgia Democratic Party (once they get out of their meeting in the Dr. Who phone booth) if they can't come up with at least a token name on the ballot to oppose this jerk in November.

Holy Relic or Future DNA Evidence?  

I swear to God I am not making this up. Click the link if you don't believe me, it was still up at 1:30 p.m. CDT 8-1004. Do be sure and read the fine print (noted in bold below for your convenience) before bidding on this bit of political ephemera:

(via eBay, thanks to the ever-invaluable ArchPundit:)

Napkin with sweat from Ambassador Alan Keyes' forehead
Blotted from Keyes' brow at Senate announcement 8-8-04

85 bids (US $0.08 starting bid)

Current bid: US $465.00

GOP Senatorial Candidate Keyes was sweating profusely after his stem-winder speech and the sweat was collected from a napkin at approximately 3:02 pm Central Time just outside the Wellington Restaurant in Arlington Heights, Illinois, under the watchful eye of multiple news reporters including multiple television cameras.

Current plans are to donate proceeds from this sale to the Keyes for Senate campaign, pending a legal opinion. Due to Federal Election Campaign Laws, we might have to stop the bidding at $999.99 to avoid having to form a political fundraising committee. This sale is on behalf of an individual Alan Keyes supporter but not affiliated directly with the Keyes' campaign.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

How to make a link in HaloScan comments. Here are a couple of random tutorials:

1. W3 Schools

2. HTML Goodies

Readers—can you suggest better ones? Thanks.

Plame Affair: Why doesn't Bush just do the right thing? 

So now journalists are risking jail to protect the administration officials who outed CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame as an act of revenge against her husband, Joseph Wilson, who caught the administration lying about Iraq.

federal judge in Washington held a reporter for Time magazine in contempt today and ordered him jailed for refusing to name the government officials who disclosed the identity of a C.I.A. agent to him. The magazine was also held in contempt and ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 a day.
(via the "see no evil" New YorkTimes)

So, rather than send some fine journalists to jail, why doesn't Bush just come clean and tell the truth all on his own? Why doesn't Bush just come out and say himself who the administration officials who outed Plame were? I can't imagine... (back).

Oh, and the guy Bush lawyered himself up with on this one has been accused (of suborning perjery (back).

But I'm sure that had nothing at all to do with Bush choosing him.

Gaslight watch: Condi, Condi, Condi.  

Inerrant Boy's chief enabler speaks up:

[RICE]``We did not, of course, publicly disclose his name,'' Rice said on Sunday, adding that it had been given ``on background.''
(via letting-nonsense-pass-without-remarkTimes)

Isn't that "of course" rather fine? I think it is.

Condi: I don't know how long you've been in official Washington, but even a six-year-old knows that giving a briefing "on background" means that the briefer's name is not disclosed. If the briefer, as this briefer did, reveals the name of a priceless intelligence asset on background, the press is perfectly free to print the name, by the rules of the game. In fact, they're quite likely to do so—given that it probably never occurred to them that this administration is as feckless, boneheaded, and incompetent as it truly is.

Nice to see the press all over Bush blowing a priceless intelligence asset, just like the were all over Berger for mishandling xeroxes of documents he had the clearance to read and may even have written. Oh, wait...

Gaslight watch: Flaming tourist helicopters of death 

Well, here's the latest. The lead:

Pakistan has given American officials what they regard as credible and specific information indicating that Al Qaeda has considered using tourist helicopters in terror attacks in New York City, domestic security officials said Sunday.
(via the sadly unskeptical and panicked Ny Times)

And now we read all the way to the end:

The possible use of chartered helicopters in a terrorist attack has also attracted fresh scrutiny from the F.B.I., officials said. Helicopters "are on the list with everything else - it's another one of the areas we're concerned about," a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Sunday.

Well. So we have to read all the way to the end to see that helicopters are "on the list with everything else." I hope to God they are. It took BushCo three years to figure this out?

Anyhow, it does make you wonder, doesn't it? Why cherrypick pick tourist helicopters off the list?

Could it be that in a few short weeks there are going to be a lot of Republican tourists in Manhattan? Tourists from Red (i.e., not front line) states? And that Bush wants to make them, well, feel part of it all?

UPDATE Xan writes:

I saw Bloomberg on the NY news tonight talking about this..."Are they [in Washington] not aware that we have had some experience with people using aircraft as weapons???" with his voice getting higher on every word. Not really with anger as much as stunned incredulity. Okay, PLUS just a tad of anger.

Ha ha. Bloomberg seems to think they are talking to people actually on the front line, instead of tourists from the base. What a maroon!

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