Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Bad Magician Cannot Gain a Purchase 

Some Memorial Day whimsy from alert reader MJS:

At the bottom of the cliffs of sleep, lying on his back, gray in the dust of the talus, the Bad Magician opens what should have been his eyes and digital cameras fly out instead. Donald Duck goes to war and shoots all the pigeons. Keine fleigen, Der Über Ducken!

Preserved in cancerous plastic, the Adventures of America press bloody legs in zip-lock prisons. Jesus eats through his birth-sac and is breeched upon the rocks. The digital cameras lengthen on necks of arcing metal; ahead the world is powdered and its hair is burned. The cliffs fall over, laughing, drunk, murderous. We are at the base of somebody else's dream.

A soldier motions America forward, and so we creep along like crabs. A sniper has been spotted exactly one hundred years ago, and now we hold the bullets in our teeth. When we view the past from the canyons, the water stops moving. It is thick like paste. A waiter offers rope. We swallow air by the glass. Later, with brandy on our lips, we sing about perfection. We offer a toast: Our cup is the moon, our night is winter. Rope is offered: we jump into the sea and drink like fish. Where are we going? ask the fish. The Bad Magician wonders why the silver that dances in the water can't be sold in stores.

Waves crash on top of the sky, and stars are surfing in electric waves. The Bad Magician cannot prove the simplest of equations. The center cannot hold, but so what?

Great headlines of our time 

Analysts Linked to Intelligence Failures on Iraq Rewarded

Well, well, chalk one up to The Department of No Shit, Sherlock. Heck, everybody else involved in fixing the intelligence and facts around the policy got a reward: Condi, Stephen Hadley, Rummy... Tenet even got a Medal of [cough] Freedom!

So a couple of humble analysts help cook the books, they should get a little blood money too, shouldn't they? It only seems fair.

Two Army analysts whose work has been connected to a major intelligence shortcoming on Iraq have received awards for job performance over the last few years, according to officials.

The two civilian analysts work at the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center - one of three U.S. agencies criticized by the presidential commission that probed U.S. intelligence on Iraq.

The Pentagon, in a written statement, told The Washington Post the awards for the analysts were to recognize their overall contributions on the job over the course of each of the past three years, and that "supervisors were encouraged to reward individuals on the basis of their annual contributions."

The analysts are former military men who are experts on foreign and U.S. weaponry.

Their work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq - the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets.

The commission deemed their agency's assessment of the aluminum tubes as a "gross failure." The agency was "completely wrong," the panel said, when it judged in September 2002 that the tubes Iraq was purchasing were "highly unlikely" to be used for rocket motor cases because of their "material and tolerances."
(via AP)

But now I've read the whole story, and, people, let's be reasonable here: Bush wanted a war, and these guys helped him make the case for it by telling Him what he wanted to hear. Was that so wrong? In what way could doing the Lord's work be construed as "a gross failure"? What could be wrong with working toward der Fuhrer?

NOTE I do like alert reader webslinger's formulation... Call 'em dildoes 'cause we got fucked (in this case, the reference being to those aluminum tubes..)

Miami-Dade ditches voting machines that leave no paper trail 

Citing a lack of voter confidence...

MIAMI - Miami-Dade County's elections chief has recommended ditching its ATM-style voting machines, just three years after buying them for $24.5 million to avoid a repeat of the hanging and dimpled chads from the 2000 election.

Elections supervisor Lester Sola said in a memo Friday that the county should switch to optical scanners that use paper ballots, based on declining voter confidence in the paperless touch-screen machines and quadrupled election day labor costs.

Fifteen of Florida's 67 counties chose touch-screen machines after the 2000 election fiasco. The machines have caused problems during at least six elections, including the September 2002 primary, when some polls could not open and close on time and Democratic primary results for governor were delayed by a week.

Miami-Dade would be the first place in the nation to ditch the iVotronics machines for paper-based balloting, said Ken Fields, a spokesman for Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., the company that makes the devices.
(via AP)

They don't work, and they quadruple the costs. Typical Republican privatization scheme, I'd say!

UPDATE Alert reader webslinger has this to say:

oh but they DID work......they did exactly what they were supposed to do. First we raise the alarm that we 'need' these fancy machines, so Jeb goes out and gets the most expensive, so that there can be no problems, only the guarantee of 100% satisfaction (no money back). Then when they are wheeled out before the election(s) there is no time to fix any errors, no money to fix the errors and no way to prove that every vote counted. The Republican contributors get paid for the contract, the Republican Secretary of State runs for congress and wins, the Republican Prezint gets re-elected, so does his worthless brother, and the Dems are left holding the bill. Thats exactly what these worthless machines were build for. They should just call them dildos - cuz we all got fucked!


Super Science Saturday (I) 

Does this not fall into the category of Much Is Suddenly Explained about a certain famously incoherent individual? I mean, the subject of brain damage is often invoked as the only possible explanation, but it's nice to have theoretical and experimental evidence to back it up:
(via Forbes of all places; the study is in the journal Neurophysiology)

-- Oh yeah, right!
No, it's true -- many of you don't go a day without dishing out several doses of sarcasm. But some brain-damaged people can't comprehend sarcasm, and Israeli researchers think it's because a specific brain region has gone dark...

"People with prefrontal brain damage suffer from difficulties in understanding other people's mental states, and they lack empathy," said study co-author Simone Shamay-Tsoory, a researcher at the University of Haifa. "Therefore, they can't understand what the speaker really is talking about, and get only the literal meaning."

The findings, Shamay-Tsoory said, could help rehabilitation centers do a better job of helping brain-damaged patients adjust to the world and understand other people.
Sound like anybody you know? Nice to know that once we get him into rehab, it may be possible to treat him. If of course he has insurance....

Reasons to Go On Living 

Hey, in these evil days you gotta take 'em where ya find 'em...
(via Comics Reporter)
Here's a really, really interesting marketing idea if it works -- newspapers will be offered a re-run package of Calvin and Hobbes strips this Fall, tied into the Christmas season release of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. A fine article at E&P goes into the details of this and other publicity efforts for the volume, made interesting because of cartoonist Bill Watterson's reclusive nature. The piece also reports that there will be an essay and new Watterson Art.
As long as we're wishin' and hopin' and dreamin' and all, a Complete Bloom County would be nice too. Berk Breathed isn't quite as reclusive as Mr. Watterson, although I had no idea he had a new Opus strip out until I happened to pick up the dead-tree Nashville Tennessean last week on a trip to Franklin. Amazing how little it takes to buck up the spirits these days. Seeing the words "Bush Impeachment to Begin Monday" would be ideal of course, but till we get there we'll take what we can.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

Is waking up screaming another symptom of B.S.S.? Or unrelated? Readers, what's your experience?

Avian flu 

Here's an Avian flu blog.

Apparently, there's a shortage of flu vaccine.

But I'm sure that, in the event of a pandemic, the Bush administrations Dominionist owners will make sure that the vaccine is fairly distributed, just as they've done with the money to help the states on homeland security... Oh, wait...

So, a market-based solution. Is that so wrong? 

And to think I remember when "breeders" was a dirty word...

As legislatures debate giving gay couples the right to marry - 14 states have amended their constitutions to prevent it - hundreds of couples are finding ways to create families with or without marriage through surrogates like Ms. Stiller, who are willing to help them have children genetically linked to them and to bypass the often difficult legal challenges gay men face in adoption.

The exact number of surrogates who have worked with gay couples is unknown, but close to half of the 60 or so agencies and law firms around the country that broker arrangements between surrogate mothers and prospective parents work with gay couples or are seeking to, through advertising.
(via Times)

Now that's a story that will make the winger's heads explode...

FTF Update 

Well, I’m glad I got roped into going to the Muslim-Jew dinner by my friend. Apparently it’s some sort of local tradition that soon after Passover some local Jews and Muslims get together and share a meal. This happened to be in New Mexico, but maybe others places do it. It was set up by a out-of-work Reform rabbi and a Palestinian family who owns a restaurant. The family likes to keep a low profile because they’ve been harassed, so it wasn’t advertised, a word-of –mouth thing, but about 25 people came. Anyway, there was the usual talk, but the main thing that came out of it in my mind was this, and I thought it was rather interesting:

Everyone agreed on one thing, aside from the food being delicious:

The fundamentalists of ALL religions are the problem.

Fortunately there were none there. Maybe that’s why it was word-of-mouth only. I feel hopeful today and am almost ready to head home. We’ve got hay, wool and lamb buyers and sellers all lined up and the sane are beginning to recognize the fundies for what they are.

Democracy On The Move, Or In The Toilet 

On Monday, Laura Bush warned the opposition in Egypt that reform shouldn't be rushed. Well, perhaps I exaggerate: Here's what she said to the Egyptian press:
Q Mrs. Bush, a big focus of the Bush administration has been spreading democracy around the world. President Mubarak has called for new elections this year but essentially rigged the process so a lot of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and other pro-democratic groups cannot participate. Does that --

MRS. BUSH: I would say that President Mubarak has taken a very bold step. He's taking the first step to open up the elections, and I think that's very, very important. As you know, every -- you have to be slow as you do each of these steps. When you look at our country and see how long it took in our country, we had a great document but we still had slavery for 100 years after our founding. You know that each step is a small step, that you can't be quick. It's not always really wise to be, but I'm very, very happy with the idea of an election here in -- a presidential election, and I think he's been very bold and wise to take the first step.
According to the transcript, that exchange ended the press' questions and her "remarks."

Unfortunately, the opposition didn't listen to Mrs. Bush.

Perhaps they believed, with the world's attention on Mrs. Bush's visit there, and considering her husband's stated belief that President's Mubarak's call for an election in which, for the first time, he wouldn't be the only candidate, was an "historic initiative," and part of a wave of democratic reform sweeping across the Middle East, (just as predicted by the grand strategists of the Bush doctrine), that President Mubarak would hesitate to revert to his habitual response to what we in this country usually refer to as "the right to assemble."

Or, perhaps not. According to the LATimes, opposition leaders were infuriated by the first lady's endorsement of President's Mubarak's "bold step" toward democracy. Not surprisingly, considering the not entirely minor detail that Mubarak and his ruling party, added to the regulations concerning who can run against Mubarak.
But the election rules have been a disappointment to democracy advocates. An amendment approved by the ruling-party-dominated parliament in effect banned all independent candidates. Only a handful of top officials in government-approved opposition parties will be allowed to run.
It's hard to believe that Mrs. Bush could have been unaware of this development, and unprepared to handle it in a way consistent with the administration's commitment to democratic reform.
"Mrs. Bush seems to know very little about Egypt and very little about democracy in Egypt," said Gamila Ismail, wife and press advisor to presidential candidate Ayman Nour. "We thought she knew more."
Me too.

Is it even remotely possible that Mrs. Bush was unaware that she was making those remarks, and these, only a day or so before Egyptians would cast their votes in a special referendum that would change the constitution to allow multi-party elections, now guaranteed not to include any genuinely independent candidates, but sure to include some sort of Potemkin candidate, hand-picked by the ruling party, to play the part of the democratic opposition, of whom it will be said that their defeat was an honest expression of democracy?

The opposition had called upon voters to boycott the referendum, and to join in demonstrations across the country instead. Their call was sparsely answered. Here's what happened to those activists who exercised those human rights which our framers posited were aspects of the human condition, and which George W. Bush says God bestowed on all of mankind.
CAIRO; A government-backed referendum Wednesday on whether to hold Egypt's first competitive presidential election provoked an opposition boycott and violence as men shouting pro-regime slogans beat anti-government demonstrators in the capital.

Uniformed policemen looked on, and occasionally joined in, while pro-government supporters kicked and punched demonstrators and journalists covering the protests. The assailants hoisted pictures of longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and shouted vows to sacrifice their blood for him. Lines of riot police and plainclothes security officers cornered demonstrators so they could not escape.

Women were surrounded, groped and had their clothes torn. Some demonstrators were thrown down flights of concrete stairs, dragged by their hair and kicked by swarms of young men.

Egypt's security forces are known for intimidating opposition leaders and torturing prisoners. But although the last several months of pro-democracy street protests have been fraught with arrests and intimidation, they have generally remained peaceful.


The unrest erupted around midday, when a disturbance broke out near the tomb of Saad Zaghloul, a symbol of Egypt's fight for independence. A small knot of demonstrators from the Kifaya, or Enough, opposition movement was taunted, beaten and chased down side streets by about 200 Mubarak supporters.

Asked why policemen were standing by while a crowd of Mubarak loyalists kicked and beat a lone Kifaya demonstrator on a busy roadside, an officer in a white uniform said, "Let his colleagues help him out."

Magdi Allam, a member of the ruling party's policies committee, waded through the crowd in a brown suit and necktie.

"We are assuring everybody that this [amendment] is for the improvement of the political party system," Allam said, breathing heavily in the heat. "We're trying to regain the multiparty system."

In the street, men used signboards displaying a smiling Mubarak to batter protesters about the head. A few stores down, the president's supporters had been kicking a gray-haired woman as she lay pinned against a wall. Asked about the beatings, Allam said that the ruling party was firmly against violence and would investigate any abuses.
I don't know if Julia is still giving out her "Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness Award," but Mr. Allam would surely be a worthy winner.

Of course, our President and his wife would give him some stiff competition.

Was there truly no way for the First Lady to praise Mr. Mubarak and yet not pretend not to know that the coming Eghyptian election is taking the shape of exactly the kind of phony elections of which Saddam was so fond? There had been public warnings from the government that public demonstrations would not be tolerated on the day of the referendum. Would it have been so hard for the Bush administration to issue a statement of concern that the right of an opposition to actually oppose, even by means of public demonstrations, not be compromised by organized violence?

If it had, if Mrs. Bush had expressed, politely, those sentiments, is it not possible that this might not have happened?
Yesterday's disgraceful scenes in Cairo, however, showed only too clearly what the government thinks of democracy - either the Bush or the Mubarak version. The police attacked opposition demonstrators in front of tourists and journalists or stood aside to let pro-Mubarak mobs assault the protesters, watching from the side of the street as Egyptian citizens assaulted Egyptian citizens. Members of the opposition Kifaya movement - it means "Enough!" in English - sought protection from the Cairo police but a senior officer ordered his men to withdraw and leave the protesters to their fate.

When a woman tried to leave the temporary refuge of the press syndicate building in Cairo, she was punched and beaten with batons by pro-Mubarak party men who also tore her clothes. Screaming and vomiting, she collapsed in the street, according to a journalist witness from the Associated Press. Again, the police looked on without interfering. Some plain-clothes police beat, abused and sexually groped women demonstrators.

Only a day earlier, police arrested 17 people from opposition groups, adding to the sense of outrage felt by those Egyptians who regard the referendum as a sham. "The regime is still following the dictatorial and repressive methods towards the Egyptian people and opposition," Mohammed Habib, the deputy leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood said. Gameela Ismail, a spokesman for the Ghad "Tomorrow" Party - she is the wife of the party'’s leader, Ayman Noor - condemned Laura Bush for her support for Mubarak. "What she said is really frustrating for most opposition forces in Egypt," she said. "She seems not to know enough about Egypt. I'’m really amazed."

The Kifaya Party's spokesman, Abdul Hamid Qandil, reported that two of his members were hurt. "This is the first time this sort of beating and humiliation has taken place here in Cairo," he said, pointing out that it was a common practice outside Cairo where there were no reporters or television cameras. In the countryside - in areas such as the city of Sohag - many voters said they would suffer "penalties" if they did not vote. In al-Arish on the coast, government-appointed school directors ordered their staff to vote; buses carried government employees into Cairo to participate - and to vote for the "changes".

It isn't the liberal/left who is cycnical about the possibilities for democracy in the Middle East. Everything about what happened this week indicates that there is a real desire for just such reform there, which could be helped by a genuine American commitment to stand by those internal reformers who are ready to speak truth to power, as the President promised in his much-vaunted 2nd Inaugural.

What other conclusion can one come to than that both the President and his ambassador-wife are as cynical about the true meaning of democratic reform as is Hosni Mubarak.

That last quote is from a piece by Robert Fisk; do read the whole thing. See if you can find anywhere in it a speck of cynicism about the need for democratic reform in Egypt.

I wonder how many of those right-wing lovers of democracy will have the nerve to "fisk" this Fisk, or the honesty to be critical of what was said and done in Egypt this week by the government of these United States?

We Know How You Feel, Brother 

Some days ya have mysterious fleet sailings. Then some days you have this....(actually yesterday but I was busy):

(via PittsburghPost-Gazette I think)

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- City and county attorneys are defending Wheeling police who arrested a man for wearing a Grinch mask while walking along a city street.

Norman Eugene Gray, 42, was arrested Tuesday. He was arraigned and released on a personal recognizance bond.

Officers saw Gray about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, told him to take the mask off and not put it on again. Gray removed it and asked why he could not wear it, according to Wheeling police reports. Officers told him wearing masks in public is illegal.

Gray said he felt he had a right to wear it and said it was not illegal. He put the mask back on and was arrested. The mask was confiscated.

Wheeling City Solicitor Rosemary Humway-Warmuth and Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith said masks as well as dark window tinting in vehicles can pose a safety hazard to law enforcement officers and hinder efforts to identify criminal suspects.

"When we think about masks, we don't always think of Halloween," Humway-Warmuth said.

Smith said wearing a mask or hood in public is a misdemeanor under state law, punishable by a fine of up to $500 or up to a year in jail, or both. Children up to 16 years old can wear masks. Traditional Halloween masks, safety gear used in occupations, theatrical productions, civil defense or protection from bad weather also are legal.

Hey, if the guy was wearing a mask while inside a bank, or while waving a gun around, I'd say he was "a safety hazard to law enforcement officials." Otherwise I'd say the crime wasn't wearing the mask, but walking down the street.

Watch out, Canada: The theocrats are coming for you 

The epidemic—potentially lethal, in a single generation, to Constitutional goverment—is leaping from the US to Canada. Let's hope the Canadian political system has a stronger immune system than ours did:

Christian activists have secured Conservative nominations in clusters of ridings from Vancouver to Halifax -- a political penetration that has occurred even as the party tries to distance itself from hard-line social conservatism.

At least three riding associations in Nova Scotia, four in British Columbia, and one in suburban Toronto have nominated candidates with ties to groups like Focus on the Family, a Christian organization that opposes same-sex marriage.
(via Globe and Mail)

Is this a lie...? 

"I have no knowledge of the Downing memo."

Is that a lie? That's what the host of this mornings episode of CSPAN's Washington Journal told a caller when asked to briefly explain the Downing Street memo. (Friday, May 27, 2005).

So noted informed tv-journalist host, after informing the caller that he had no knowledge of such things, then suggested the caller might try searching about on the internet to find what they were looking for.

That's our liberal media!


UPDATE Here's Google hit #1, the original story, from the Times of London. And hit #2? Why, the memo actually has its own, very informative, website. The money:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

I'd call that a smoking gun, wouldn't you?

Oh, and as the text of the story makes clear—though not the headline, those darn editors—the word memo is really a misnomer. The right word is really minutes, a record of a meeting taken at the time by a participant ("C reported..."). The distinction may seem trival, but not (say) to a criminal lawyer drawing up an indictment; a memo could be hearsay, but minutes are evidence. —Lambert

Sweatshopland Slaughterhouse 

From the BBC:
Mexico to tackle women's murders

The UN has criticised Mexico's handling of the Juarez murders - The Mexican attorney general's office says it is setting up a unit to investigate the murders of more than 350 women in the city of Ciudad Juarez.

I remember hearing about this years and years ago. How many years ago?
The team of more than 30 will start work by reviewing 22 of the killings in the northern city, which began in 1993.

1993. 350! Gee, that's swell. I detect a "pattern" here. Has anyone guestioned Newsweek about this? But don't strain yourselves getting out of your new squad car. And why get excited now? Why not wait till it rounds off to a nice neat 400! - you dumb fucking morons.

Wanna bet it wouldn't take that long for the big plantation honcho at the shiny Levi jeans factory to have his gardener rounded up for peeing on the bougainvillea.

What a pitiful pathetic world.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Mishandling" the Koran at Gitmo 

A non-denial denial

Investigators have found no evidence that any guards or interrogators at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ever flushed a Koran down a toilet, although officials have substantiated five cases in which the Muslim holy book was mishandled, the general in charge of the facility said today.

Brig. Gen. Jay Hood declined to provide details about these five cases, saying only that the incidents "could be broadly defined as mishandling."

But he was emphatic about the allegation that touched off violent protests in several Muslim countries and prompted Newsweek magazine to retract a controversial report.

And now comes the artful wording:

"I'd like you to know that we have found no credible evidence...

So, there was evidence?

that a member of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay...

What about interrogators from "other agencies"? Or civilian contractors?

ever flushed a Koran down a toilet..."

Well, have you ever tried to flush a book down a toilet? I tried to flush my copy of The Purpose Driven Life just the other day, and it jams.

But putting a book into the toilet bowl, now, that's easy! Which I notice General Hood isn't denying at all...

Hood told reporters in a news conference at the Pentagon late this afternoon.

Hood said his review, which is not yet complete, did find 13 incidents in which prisoners alleged mishandling of the Koran by personnel at the prison. Ten were by guards and three by interrogators.
(via WaPo)

Well, I'm sure the review, when completed, will... Oh, forget it.

Suffice to say that the regulations got changed. And where there's smoke....

Yes, but no 

The Man in the Grey Turtleneck writes:

What Josh Marshall says.

Instead of hand-wringing about what they need to do the Democrats
should be out there bragging about the fact they've stopped George Bush
from trashing Social Security.

Loudly. Proudly. Daily.


But no. Not "they've stopped George Bush"—"we've stopped George Bush."


Bolton: What's that damn quacking noise? 

Bill "Hello Kitty" Frist screws the goat pooch twice in one week:

Democrats forced the Senate to put off a final vote Thursday on John R. Bolton's nomination to be U.N. ambassador...

Democrats contended [correctly! Where are the NSA intercepts that Bolton could get, but the Committee can't see?] the White House had stiff-armed the Senate over classified information on Bolton's tenure in his current job as the State Department's arms control chief, and demanded more information before the Senate can give Bolton an up-or-down vote.

Republicans needed 60 votes to end the Democrats' procedural delays and move to an immediate final vote on Bolton's confirmation. But the vote to halt the stalling was 56-42, four shy of that threshold.
(via AP)

Frist loses— but so does Bush. Bolton was Inerrant Boy's latest thumb in the eye to the Dems, and He lost.

Frist was right: Bush is a loser.

Quack, quack!

Bridges Over Troubled Earth 

Still driving, still on the road looking for deals, the usual spring ritual after planting. A guy I know who raises chickens sent me this:

Avian Flu: Are We Ready?

Dunno whether to worry about another "front" on the "war on terra" (that is, earth and the people on it) or worry about a pandemic now.

I've been invited to a Muslim-Jew bread breaking meal tomorrow, though, so bridges are being built. Between Bu$hCo's hawkish lunacy, pandemics, global warming and nukes, we may not survive, but golly, I want to have taken every opportunity to build dem bridges anyhoo.

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It.... 

...is to either put these dots together the same way they read to me, and use Any Means Necessary to keep this from happening--or else to decide that I'm paranoid screaming crazy. Hey, if I'm wrong and you can prove it, I will be grateful as hell. Or ignore it. Up to you.

Here's Dot 1. The Virginian-Pilot does good work on military stories. I haven't been reading them since the project to raise the turret of the USS Monitor was completed, but somebody in a thread over at Atrios noticed this last night and it made my hair stand up on end: Hampton Roads:
NORFOLK — The Navy has ordered five ships and 2,800 sailors to deploy on unexpected missions to support anti-terrorism efforts in the Balkans and Middle East. Four of the ships will leave today.
The deployments are in response to requests from the European Command and the Central Command and are not exercises, Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander of the 2nd Fleet, said Tuesday.

While most ships know several months in advance – sometimes a year or more – when they will deploy, these ships were given between six and eight weeks’ notice to get ready, Fitzgerald said.[snip]

The flotilla includes the amphibious assault ship Saipan, amphibious transport dock Nashville and the guided missile frigate Nicholas, all from Norfolk. The guided missile cruiser Philippine Sea will deploy from Mayport, Fla., and the dock landing ship Gunston Hall will join the group from the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach a week later.

The Saipan, Nashville, Nicholas and Philippine Sea will deploy for approximately three months, while the Gunston Hall will remain at sea about six months.
Okay, that's bad enough. I asked my Military Analyst the ex submariner* what this sounded like. Not a carrier group, he sez...too small. But at very least a task force. And if they're not mentioned as taking a submarine (he sniffs dismissively) it can't be very important.

So I goes nosing around a bit more. And run across this, dateline May 5. Call it Dot No. 2:
(via Navy Times)
SAN DIEGO — The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Nimitz will leave San Diego on Saturday, carrying 5,500 sailors and Marines and leading a strike group on a scheduled deployment to the central and western Pacific.
Rear Adm. Peter Daly will lead the Nimitz carrier strike group on the deployment, which is expected to last about six months. Capt. Gordan Van Hook commands Destroyer Squadron 23.
Capt. Ted Branch commands Nimitz, based at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado; the ship deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2003 to support combat operations in Iraq. Deploying with the carrier are the cruiser Princeton, guided-missile destroyers Higgins and Chafee, fast combat support ship Bridge and the fast-attack submarine Louisville.

Uh-oh.....that's where the submarine is!

Two unrelated stories, right? A continent apart--one on the North American east coast, the other on the west. No possible relation. Tinfoil hat time. Or else it's Dot No. 3....

Because what did Sy Hersh tell us was a dead-on guaranteed event in June 05? Back around the first of the year he predicted this. Google "Sy Hersh Syria attack" and guess what's the first hit to come up: very grim dKos diary.

Maybe we let the Israelis hit Iran while we keep Syria pinned down with these naval forces (the Army and Marines being a bit preoccupied at the moment.) Maybe it's the other way around.

Don't let Sy Hersh be the 21st century's first Cassandra, doomed to see the future, and be able to tell it, but never to be believed. Maybe he's full of shit, totally mistaken. Misinformed. Paranoid. Not wearing enough tinfoil on the cranium. Happens to the best of us in these evil days.

But lemme tell ya, I read that story out of Hampton Roads and I was stricken with a certainty that comes but few times in a life. This is it.

"Every one that doeth evil, hateth the light," Jesus to Nicodemus, John something or other. Start talking this story up. What are these deployments for? Ask questions. Crank the big spotlights over this way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

And as I turn down the oil lamp and lie down on my cot in the tiny room under the stairs in The Mighty Corrente Building....

Damn, what't that hammering?

It sounds like they're renovating, or something...

Gee, I sure hope we don't lose a city to a loose nuke during election 2006 

Especially since we don't have the color codes anymore to tell us how bad that would be.

It's hardly news, at this point, that Inerrant Boy's maladministration has totally botched the issue of protecting port cities from loose nukes generally, and especially in shipping containers (See Reckless indifference to the nightmare scenario. But the dog continues to bite the man:

Government programs aimed at keeping weapons of mass destruction from entering U.S. ports are flawed and could actually be counterproductive, congressional investigators have found.

The Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations conducted its own review, visiting eight foreign ports, ranging from Hong Kong to Hamburg, Germany. The subcommittee concluded that only 17.5 percent of high-risk cargo from these ports is inspected overseas, and less than 1 percent of all containers are inspected.
(via AP)

Well, come on now, let's be reasonable. The port cities are mostly in blue states, so they can hardly be considered worthy of Dear Leader's protection. And there aren't any mega-churches there, so what's to protect anyhow?

Besides, the cities are full of gay people.

So, a little cleansing fire from Heaven—what's not to like?

NOTE Why haven't the Dems been screaming about this?

Dems now holding online hearings 

Here, for example (via AP)

Of course, in our One Partei State, these aren't official hearings... But it's an interesting innovation nonetheless.

Even more interesting would be to fund a court reporter-style "live text" of the hearings, so we in the blogosphere could link to them in real time. That would make the hearings much more newsworthy, or should I say blogworthy. Very different from just posting the statements of the witnesses; much more dynamic.

TECHNICAL NOTE: Be sure to give each HTML paragraph its own anchor, so we can target the text precisely.

Bolton down the booby hatch! 

Voinovich sends a message on Bolton nomination. Really, literally, he sent a message. It was addressed and everything:

G.O.P. Senator Issues Letter Urging Vote Against Bolton
Published: May 25, 2005

WASHINGTON, May 24 - The Ohio Republican whose opposition to John R. Bolton nearly stalled his nomination in committee circulated a letter on Tuesday urging colleagues to vote against Mr. Bolton when his name reaches the Senate floor, possibly this week.

The renewed opposition from the senator, George V. Voinovich, was addressed to all his colleagues, but it was aimed particularly at fellow Republicans in a chamber in which the party holds a 55-to-44 majority. At least five Republicans would have to join Mr. Voinovich in opposing Mr. Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador in order to defeat it.


"In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation's ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective ambassador to the United Nations," Mr. Voinovich wrote. He urged colleagues to "put aside our partisan agenda and let our consciences and our shared commitment to our nation's best interests guide us."

I wonder if Voinovich found a big horse wiener in his bed last night?

More at NYTimes (login not required)


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

"When your enemy's drowning, throw 'em an anvil!"

Simple, simple truths....

But will our "responsible," "centrist" Dealmaker 7 remember this simple truth when push comes to shove on dismantling Social Security?

Or will they piss away all our hard work?

The Deal: Then again, maybe the optimists are right 

Frist (R-Dobson) may push the button again on Thursday:

Senate Majority Leader Frist will file for cloture on President Bush’s nomination of William Myers to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later this week, according to sources on and off Capitol Hill, wasting no time in testing the resolve of 14 Republican and Democratic senators who forced at least a temporary halt to the battle over Democratic filibusters of President Bush’s judicial picks.
(via Think Progress citing Congress Daily PM)

I certainly hope this doesn't happen, because that would mean I could never trust a Republican again. Damn.

The Deal: Maybe, God help us all, the pessimists are right 

Anyhow, reading this story by Ron Brownstein gave me the chills:

Some participants in the talks expressed hope that the agreement would create momentum for compromise on other knotty issues such as Social Security and immigration.

"Watch this group [the Dealmakers] when it comes to major problems that the nation faces like Social Security," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the deal's supporters. "I think we have created momentum for the idea that if you constructively engage each other, the political reward is high."

Please. Stop. Could the Democratic 7 Dealmakers possibly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on Alpo Accounts? Am I really ever going to have to watch Whiney Joe sell FDR's legacy down the river so Bush can plant another fat wet kiss on his tiny little head? Oh nooooooooooooo....

When your enemy's drowning, throw him an anvil! With Bush, that's the responsible thing to do!

But the deal, in which seven Republicans agreed to oppose the filibuster ban while seven Democrats agreed to use the procedural tool against judges only in "extraordinary circumstances," could prove short-lived if future court nominations provoke the same partisan conflicts as the judges now under dispute.

If Bush chooses a highly polarizing nominee for that vacancy, the seven Democrats on the deal would face enormous pressure to support a filibuster — and that would instantly pressure the deal's Republican supporters to reverse direction and back the filibuster ban.

Both Graham and Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), another of the deal's supporters, indicated in interviews today that they would support a filibuster ban if Democrats launched a filibuster they did not believe met the "extraordinary circumstances" standard.

With the arrangement balanced so precariously, the critical factor in its survival may be Bush's reaction to the group's request that he consult more closely with senators of both parties on his future court appointments, especially any choices for the Supreme Court.

"It totally depends on Bush," said Ron Klain, who helped guide two Supreme Court nominations for President Clinton as deputy White House counsel and Justice Department chief of staff. "If Bush picks someone for the Supreme Court who is middle of the road ... that person is going to get confirmed easily and then this agreement will hold. If Bush chooses a different course, and picks someone of an ideological stripe like these more controversial appellate court nominees, this agreement ... will unravel very shortly after that."
(via LA Times)

Well, one thing we know: Never give Bush the benefit of the doubt. He will certainly fuck us, and in an uglier and more damaging way that we can possibly imagine (no matter how hard we try).

Bottom line, though, for me, is that The Deal has no strategic significance at all. It does give us some minor tactical advantages, and that's good. Still, it's hard for me to believe that the filibuster would have been the right ground for a strategic battle; not enough people understand it. I do think that the Dems need to stop respecting [cough] Frist's ability to run the Senate immediately, drop the comity, and start pushing our own agenda. Let's make the Republicans vote down what the majority of the country wants. Very visibly, and starting now.

So, now can we please get a Rovian operative alert? 

From the great state of Texas:

People can now get "sex offender movement alerts" sent to their e-mail, cell phones and other Internet-enabled devices when sex offenders update their addresses with authorities in three states.

Houston-based SCAN USA, which already provides information about weather, natural disasters and Amber Alerts, began the sex offender alerts Tuesday in California, Texas and Florida, with plans to expand it nationwide.
(via AP)

Yes, it would be Houston. Of course, in Bobo's world, it's always The Other. The ol' "outside agitator"!

What I'd like would be a "Rovian operative alert"... Especially in swing states in 2006.

NOTE What am I thinking?! The next move is to have real-life Gaydar! Email alerts whenever a gay person moves into A Red Zone.

Not the the end, not even the beginning of the end 

But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

I sympathasize what Riggsveda says:

If the nominees being given a pass by the compromise include Pryor, Brown and Owens, who are probably the most objectionable of the lot, I don't know why the Dems should bother even putting up a fuss on the rest.

And before the compromise was reached, I would have said (probably did say) the same things. The thing is, though, there is even more at stake than the judges. If the nuclear option had gone through, what would have happened is that the entire winger agenda would have been rammed through, with no Democratic opposition at all. And it would have been very hard to undo all that damage, even if captured one of the electable branches of government again.

Bad as the three are, I'll trade that for (say) Alpo Accounts going through on a 51 vote majority (which you know is exactly what they would have pulled next). Plus, it looks like the rest of Bush's whacko judges won't go to a vote, and that's a victory too.

So, like so much else in politics, I'd rather eat half a shit sandwich semi-voluntarily, then be forced to eat a whole one, and then be forced to ask Please sir, can I have some more?

Here's what the Princeton filibuster team has to say:

It is a strange sort of victory, isn't it? If you believe that Senator Frist's nuclear option would have been illegal and unprecedented - as we do, along with many constitutional scholars and political analysts - then the Republican leadership should not have considered it in the first place. Is it a victory when the world is returned to what it should be? Do we celebrate normalcy?

We are not, however, ready to thank Senator Frist or his allies for their distasteful and ill-considered threats. They used the integrity of our system of governance as a bargaining chip to accomplish their short-term political gain. Because of their actions, the system of checks and balances has been tarnished. The federal bench may now have on it three judges who could not win the support of a mere 60 Senators. This is the moment when all of us as citizens must inform ourselves about the nominees and communicate our conclusions to our elected officials. This is the beginning, not the end, of this particular democratic process.

The Princeton team also makes an excellent point on "extraordinary circumstances":

The procedural mechanism of the filibuster is designed for extraordinary circumstances. If the circumstances are not extraordinary, the laws or nominees in question will be able to win the supermajority needed for cloture.


So, we didn't get everything. We need to exercise our victory muscles a bit, and learn to recognize a win when it happens. This fight was Bush, Frist, and Dobson's to lose—and they lost it.

Damn, what's that quacking noise?

NOTE So, I'm still wild about Harry, and I like his site. However, these magnificant talking points on the six rules that the nuclear option violated were only put up on May 20. They should have been put up much, much earlier. This is the best material I've seen, so why not let us in the blogosphere propagate it?!

Compromising Positions 

"COMPROMISE, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due." ---Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

handchains Sorry to be away, but my real life has been interfering with blogging here and elsewhere, and will continue to do so for another week. But I wanted to get in here while I could and note that I saw the compromise deal brokered by McCain that Lambert wrote about yesterday, and I'm not so sure it's a good thing. If the nominees being given a pass by the compromise include Pryor, Brown and Owens, who are probably the most objectionable of the lot, I don't know why the Dems should bother even putting up a fuss on the rest. Here's just someof what The American Progress Report had to say about Owens last week:
"Owen has a long record of radical judicial activism and overreach. She has unfailingly voted to throw out jury verdicts against corporations and denied workers recompense for job-related injuries and unfair employment practices. Texas newspapers have flatly stated that "Owen...seems all too willing to bend the law to fit her views," is "less interested in impartially interpreting the law than in pushing an agenda" and "demonstrates a results-oriented streak that belies supporters' claims that she strictly follows the law." The San Antonio Express-News summed it up: "The senate should not block a judicial nominee simply because he or she is more conservative or more liberal than the Senate's majority party.… But concerns about Owen go to the heart of what makes a good judge."
The Report goes on to outline numerous past ethical and legal outrages committed by Owen, such as ruling for Enron against a school district right after receiving an $8600 contribution, making an unconscionable favorable ruling for Halliburton against a worker who had been framed by the company's management, dragging out a case brought against Ford by the family of a severely injured and disabled boy until the child died from lack of care, and since here election to the Texas Supremem Court in 1994, she has decided in favor of corporate interests over consumers in 197 out of 243 cases, or 81% of the time.

This is the broad even Alberto Gonzales had qualms about, until it became his job to help his boss make her sound good.

Just shoo them all in and be done with it. I don't need representation anymore than the poor schmucks in Iraq.

Difference is, I pay taxes for the privilege of this kind of anal rape.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

Bush couldn't muscle the 51 He needed.

Quack, quack.

UPDATE Reid was right. Bush is a loser.

Highwater mark of the theocracy? 

I think the deal is a win for us, and a win for Reid. It's also a win for McCain, and a big loss for Frist and Bush.

The text (Capitol Buzz via Kevin Drum) includes this on "extraordinary circumstances" on page one:

Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgement in determining whether such circumstances exist.

And on page two, get this:

We believe, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word "Advice" speaks to consultaion betweem the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President's power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive Branch of government to consult with memnbers of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judidicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.

Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.

Tell me that's not a slap at Bush for acting unilaterally.

So, all in all, a marginal win for our guys, but a win:

1. No rules changes (at least this session) by 51 votes.

2. Frist is going to be hung out to dry by Dobson because he couldn't deliver on all the nominees (see Drum, it looks like there's an unwritten codicil that not all the judges go through.

3. Bush gets slammed for not consulting in advance: That means the Republicans have no stomach for a brutal fight on Rehnquist's replacement.

4. Bush couldn't muscle 51 Republican votes. Quack, quack.

NOTE: Yeah, the judges, the judges. But ya know? Sometimes they do grow in office. After all Judge Greer in the Schiavo case was a good man, in addition to being a Republican and a Southern Baptist.

A deal? Yes. 

CNN says "Senators announce deal on judicial nominees, aimed at averting showdown vote over filibusters. Details soon."

Please, Dear God, don't let it be Whiney Joe... No, apparently it's Ben "Dover" Nelson:

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush's future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances."

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.
(AP via FUX

I don't get it. The Republicans have taken away everything but the filibuster (blue slips, etc.) So what good is a "right" to block votes with no power to enforce it? Especially when what was once "extraordinary" is now routine, as the theocrats consolidate their control?

More from Ben "Dover" Nelson:

“I think it’s a positive step to be able to set aside the nuclear option and also get as many judges as we can in these circumstances an up-or-down vote,” said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., at the news conference.
(via MSNBC)

Really? Why? The "up-or-down vote" thing is a Republican talking point. Why mimic it, and what's good about it?

Of course, the bright side is that the deal was brokered in McCain's office. So McCain (2008) fucks Frist (2008) over big time, which is righteous.

Another bright spot is that it still takes 67 votes to change the rules. If "breaking the rules to change the rules" is the essential issue, the truly gross abuse of power, then this is a Dem win, hands-down. It also means that the Republicans will be less able to ram through their agenda, yes?

And one more bright spot: I didn't hear any Dems promise not to push our agenda. In fact, aren't the bills to do that on the floor already? Heck, we promised not to filibuster in extraordinary circumstances. We didn't promise not to fuck Frist's ability to control the floor (which obviously he can't do anyhow).

Dunno. If I were any good at politics, I'd be a politician! The warrior in me wants to take the fight to the enemy, and go down fighting, rather than live a life not worth living. Perhaps that's not the best way to win elections, though.

I think I'll wait to see what Reid says. But right now I'm thinking this fight was the Republicans to win, and they didn't win.

The highwater mark of the theocracy?

Reid has 49 votes: Here are the numbers to call, and be polite 

Of course, Correntians are always polite, what am I thinking?

Cutting and pasting from Kos, since it's an emergency:

According to today's Roll Call (as quoted in ABC's "the Note"), Reid has 49 votes to maintain the filibuster (including Snowe, Chafee, McCain, and Collins.)

He needs 2 more votes. Roll Call identifies Warner, Specter, Hagel, and Dewine as the "swing" votes.

If you go over to Free Republic, they are organizing telephone campaigns to contact the affected senators.

We need to be calling as well, and making sure that the right-wing noise machine doesn't drown us out.

Expect to be asked where you are calling from. And be sure to sound reasonable. I try to sound like a "moderate" voter who might pull the lever for a Republican under the right circumstances.

Tip: remember that *67 blocks caller id to most offices.

Diaries :: nhc1978's diary :: :: Trackback ::

Contact info:

Arlen Specter: (Pennsylvania)
DC Office:

Philadelphia Office:

Pittsburgh Office:

John Warner: (Virginia)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2023

Richmond Office:
(804) 739-0247

Norfolk Office:
(757) 441-3079

Mike Dewine: (Ohio)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2315

Cleveland office:
(216) 522-7272

Columbus office:
(614) 469-5186

Chuck Hagel: (Nebraska)
DC Office:
(202) 224-4224

Omaha Office:
(402) 758-8981

And don't forget to remind Mike Dewine that he's up for reelection in 2006.


From the Road 

Just a quick note from the road to reassure everyone I’m not in prison (yet) but will be traveling for a little while yet so if I don’t post that’s why. And this observation. Blue state, red state, there’s good people everywhere you go. Assholes, too. But by and large, even in the most podunk little red white and blue sticker God Bless America village, there’s someone who’ll buy me a beer or honk their horn when they see my librul and Kerry stickers (no, I never took them off). I am feeling somewhat hopeful therefore although sick of this insta-mix, SUV driving “Christians” who are also omnipresent. Last night I got invited to a barbecue potluck at a Baptist church, an AME church, they were at a park I was at, and these folks are real Christians—feed the hungry, help the poor, visit the prisons, sing about freedom, comfort the sick folks. Long may their banner wave. And may the frauds soon be shown for what they are. More soon. Keep up the good fight. There’s allies out there in the weirdest places.

The Ted Thing 

I'm not positive what's up with this but apparently "Ted" or someone named "Ted" has been running around an Eschaton thread like a blind clog in a meat locker. Apparently.

See HERE. Which won't help much since it'll basically send you to here: Friday, November 19, 2004 Inside Ted's Head

Which probably won't help much either if you have no idea what exactly the hell is going on or who exactly "Ted" is. In that case just never mind. Although I'd advise you, if your name is Ted, to change it to Ed, or Ned, or Fred, or Jed, or just plain old Baldhead Red. Anything... doesn't matter. Change it to Clyde - or Charlene - if you'd like. But whatever you do, if someone comes to your door and claims to be a gay teenager who looks like a movie star, don't open the door!

Because it's probably Ted!

I'm glad I could help straighten all that out for you.


Tuna in the raw 

Chef P-Niss Genitalia's Guide to International Fine Dining: From the department of "hey pal, that ain't smoked salmon you're pokin' at down there!"

Courtesy the BBC:
China outlaws 'naked sushi' meals [...] The Chinese government has banned restaurants from serving food on the bodies of naked women. [...] ...serving food on women "insults people's moral quality".

Yeah ok, speak for yourself mackerel breath, but what about the ambiance! Listen, just wrap her up in some damned seaweed to go and we'll have dinner in my hotel room.

This post is dedicated to the hedonistic legacy and international diplomacy of Neil Bu$h. Without whose inspiration it would not have been made possible.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

So if the joke is dead, why's Leadfoot telling horse cock jokes? 

Just asking...

It's a matter of faith among professional comics that jokes - the kind that involve a narrative setup, some ridiculous details and a punch line - have been displaced by observational humor and one-liners. Lisa Lampanelli, who describes herself as the world's only female insult comic, said that in the business, straight jokes were considered "the kiss of death."

"You don't tell joke jokes onstage ever," she said. "Because then you're a big hack."
(via Times Style section)

Hey, now wait just a minute! Are they calling the Frist Lady a hack?!

NOTE Just in case you missed it, Laura's horse cock joke—Eew!—is back here.

Goodnight, moon 

Asparagus, the first tomato of spring tonight. Thank God for the Reading Terminal Market!

Meanwhile, guess who's leaving the Army? All the officers who've been fighting in Iraq.

KILLEEN, Texas — Army Capts. Dave Fulton and Geoff Heiple spent 12 months dodging roadside bombs and rounding up insurgents along Baghdad's "highway of death" — the six miles of pavement linking downtown Baghdad to the capital city's airport. Two weeks after returning stateside to Ft. Hood, they ventured to a spartan conference room at the local Howard Johnson to find out about changing careers.

Lured by a headhunting firm that places young military officers in private-sector jobs, the pair, both 26, expected anonymity in the crowded room.

Instead, as Fulton and Heiple sipped Budweisers pulled from Styrofoam coolers next to the door, they spotted nearly a dozen familiar faces from their cavalry battalion, which had just ended a yearlong combat tour in Iraq.

The shocks of recognition came as they exchanged quick, awkward glances with others from their unit, each man clearly surprised to see someone else considering a life outside the military.

"This is a real eye-opener," said Fulton, a West Point graduate who saw a handful of cadets from his class. "It seems like everyone in the room is either from my squad or from my class."

More than three years after the Sept. 11 attacks spawned an era of unprecedented strain on the all-volunteer military, it is scenes like this that keep the Army's senior generals awake at night. With thousands of soldiers currently on their second combat deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan and some preparing for their third this fall, evidence is mounting that an exodus of young Army officers may be looming on the horizon.

These officers have, in most cases, more counterinsurgency experience than any of their superiors. And they are the people the Army most fears losing.

"The undefined goals of the war on terror [translation: No WMDs] are making it really hard for the Army to keep people right now," Fulton said.

Yet Tuohey, who was promoted to captain upon returning to Ft. Hood, said he was not sure whether he would stay in the Army when his commitment ended next year. He said he was tempted to work on Wall Street.

It's not the money he's after. It's the fact that an Army that was gutted after the Cold War was promising him a future of perpetual deployments fighting a war that could last for decades.

That is not a future he is sure he can commit to.

"What's the end point?" he asked. "When do you declare victory?"
(via LA Times)

Man, if only the 101st Fighting Keyboarders would sign up. Or Jonah Goldberg.

Seriously, though, how on earth could the "planners" of the "Global War on Terror" have forgotten that an endless war, with no path to victory defined, and "no clear goal" might not be what the soldiers who signed up to serve their country volunteered to do?

Has Barney Frank been replaced by a winger replicant? 

I mean, WTF?

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, one of the House's leading critics of Mr. DeLay, said Sunday that Dr. Dean's remarks were unfair and counterproductive.

"You don't have to be unfair to be tough," he said. "And you don't have to overstate and really be unfair to people to get your ideological allies energized. It's just inappropriate."
(via Times)

The odd thing is, that it when the Republicans were trying to overthrow Clinton that Frank made the prophetic remark (can't Google it, alas) that we were moving toward a Parliamentary form of government, equating the impeachment proceedings with a vote of no confidence. And a parliamentary government is what we are moving toward now, with the theocrats owning the Republicans, the Republicans running the House with no input from the Democrats (50% of the country) at all, and the Republicans poised to make the Senate just like the House.

Frank saw this coming, and now he's trashing someone who's trying to put a halt to it? WTF?!

Yeah, like we're so mature 

One of the Bush Family characteristics—and it's very WASPy, isn't it? Some things never change—that really spikes my B.S.S. is the effortless way they combine an air of sanctimonious superiority with narcisstic indifference to the existence of humans unlike themselves. Leadfoot gives the Middle East a full dose of it

[LAURA "LEADFOOT" BUSH:] "It will take a lot of baby steps and I'm sure that there will be a few steps backward on the way, but I want to encourage the people I met with earlier, the women I just met with, that the United States will do what they can in this process."
(via LA Times)

"Baby steps," forsooth... Subtext: All the actors in the Middle East are children, to be tutored by Dear Leader and His Consort. Jeebus.

And I suppose the Bush Family stole Election 2000 and lied their way into Whack like they're, you know, so totally mature.

NOTE The Downing Street Memo (back) proves that "Bush lied, soldiers died" is not rhetorical excess or Bush-bashing but a sober description of the actual methodology employed.

The ordinarily sane Michael Getler almost loses his mind 

Getler must be getting a awful lot of pressure from the suits. Otherwise, he would never write junk like this:

Now along comes Newsweek magazine with what may be the biggest and most comprehensive journalistic nightmare in a long time. But people emerge from nightmares, so maybe this one will wake up editors everywhere.
(via WaPo)

Well, c'mon. Judy "Kneepads" Miller wrote stories that helped get us into Iraq and cost thousands of lives. Michael "Spikey" Isikoff, in the Monica days, helped facilitate an attempted coup by the VRWC (which, bottom line, is exactly what the whole Whitewater saga was).

But, thank God, by the end of the column he's regained his sanity:

The Newsweek blunder gave a loaded pistol to one of the most secretive administrations of recent years, one that makes frequent use of anonymous officials to brief reporters and that has serious credibility problems of its own regarding the foundations for the war in Iraq. And the White House pulled the trigger.

Yep. Of course, at this point, writing about Bush's credibility problems is almost a thumbsucker, isn't it?

For the media, the only antidotes are accuracy and attentiveness. This means editors, especially, and not just the ones at the top, must do their jobs better. Otherwise, the hemorrhaging of trust will not stop. Reporters dig and gather, but editors get paid to sort it out and preserve the trust. The worst prescription would be to rein in the reporters and pull in our horns.


However, it would be irresponsible not to speculate that Isikoff was deliberately played by the anonymous source, so as to bring about exactly the result that has so benefitted the Bush administration; Killian redux, in other words. Cui bono, after all, and what do a few Afghan rioters who aren't even Christian matter?

However, WaPo apparently has an extremely powerful Department of No! They Would Never Do That! that employs all the editors (the same editors who buried Walter Pincus's latest bombshell on—wait for it— page A26.

Why not mail Michael Getler and ask him to put the members of WaPo's Department of No! They Would Never Do That! on the masthead?

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