Sunday, February 26, 2006

Some New Links

I've added a section devoted to the war in the links section to the right. Please take a moment to visit some of those sites. It's good to keep reminding ourselves that we are not alone.

Well That's One Way to Try and Go Down Better in History

Hide the evidence. Not a bad thought Georgie boy. Everyone familiar with Executive Order #13233 raise your hands.

Yeah, I thought so. It's so easily lost amidst the ocean of troubles Bush and his boys have to deal with, and the thousands of problems they've caused the rest of us.

What Bush did with EO #13233 was turn the Presidential Records Act of 1978 on its head. Afraid that all of their dirt would be sifted through by historians, the Bush administration decided to issue an executive order leaving it up to the President and their heirs to determine what documents would be released. That's right. Even after Georgie boy has passed into his well deserved spot in Hell, the twins can decide whether or not the American public ever get to see documents relating to his presidency and decisions (or more accurately, lack thereof).

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Well Now it Makes Sense

Check out this cartoon by Ann Telnaes on the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation.

Silly Me. South Dakota DOES Care About Children and Women

And here I thought that stupid abortion law was showing the state to be a cold, represive knee-jerk conservative leave it to beaver kind of group. But no! Thank you Children's Defense Fund for opening my eyes!

In South Dakota, a child is abused or neglected only every 2 hours.
In South Dakota, a child is born into poverty only every 4 hours.
In South Dakota, a child dies before his or her 1st birthday only every 5 days.
In South Dakota, a child or teen is killed by gunfire only once a month.
Four whole states rank worse than South Dakota in its percentage of babies born to mothers who received prenatal care.
Six whole states rank worse than South Dakota in per pupil expenditures, and finally,
Nineteen states have worse infant mortality than South Dakota.

See, South Dakota is nothing if not a caring, nurturing state for its children. And now that they're going to have so many more of them, I'm betting those numbers will be jumping. Way to Go SD!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Waiting for Alito

So South Dakota won the "who will be the first to try and take advantage of Alito's presence on the bench" olympics. July 1, 2006 will mark the beginning of forced pregnancies in the state, unless the woman's life is in danger by being pregnant.

Too bad the people of SD can't abort the terms of the evil ones who are plotting their path to the Supreme Court on their way to dump R v W. Makes me wonder. Is the populace of SD overwhelmingly in favor of forcing women to remain pregnant against their will? Or is this similar to the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania, which was overthrown once people figured out that they were, yes, serious about that Intellectual Design thing.

Just where do the people of South Dakota stand?

Just Because Abramoff's Pleading Out . . .

doesn't mean that all those who are feeding off the public trough will be caught. Even that many of them will. Bill Moyers points out some depressing realities in an article called Saving Democracy.

From the article, to give you an idea, Moyers says, "It is a Dick Cheney world out there – a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests." It's worth taking a look at.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Grab Your Wooden Stakes!

The neo-conservatives are today's vampires. They push dark agendas that suck the live-blood out of people and nations in order to create conformists societies that fit their comfort zone. In Sunday's NYTimes, Francis Fukuyama (remember his end of history?) put out a piece on the failure of neo-conservatism. So, ok, we'll give Frank points for finally getting to the party, even though he's seriously late.

Frank has been very friendly and warming to the neo-cons in the past, but something seems to have triggered the logic cells in his brain and he's starting to note that just because we think everyone should live in a democracy, it's not, necessarily, the default position that nations resort to if their current leadership is removed. (Remember Kristol and Kagan's wisdom that the way the Cold War ended was proof that using American power to defeat totalitarianism would automatically pave the way for democracy?) Well Frank seems to have finally figured out that this is about as short-sighted a view of the world as one could possibly have.

No doubt Frank's next essay will share with us his personal revelation that the world is not flat.

One More Reminder of Our True National Priorities

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the admin continue to run ramshod over the constitution, their constituents civil rights, and the nation's gulf coast without being held to account in any meaningful way.

But while these boys get to play fast and loose with the nation and its laws, James Frey, the author whose "autobiography" brought great angst and turmoil to Oprah Winfrey, has been held to account. Apparently you piss off Oprah and people pay attention. He had been signed to do two more books for his publisher, and they've dropped them both.

So why isn't Oprah holding Bush's feet to the fire?

So You're Loving it Now, George?

Bush admin releaesd its The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned report today. Bush actually took a question during the Cabinet photo op about Katrina. His remark? "I wasn't satisfied with the federal response." He WASN'T satisfied with it. Does Bush think somehow that it's gotten BETTER?

In George's mind, are there magic elves down in Biloxi, New Orleans and other devastated areas rebuilding homes and reenergizing neighborhoods? You know who's down there getting more work done? Volunteers. FEMA's response 6 months later isn't a whole lot better than it was during the hurricane.

We look forward to reading the report, which apparently has a list of recommendations that need to be completed before the next hurricane season.

Once again, the Bush administration is moving well to distract the public from ongoing failures. If we focus on the changes to made so it doesn't happen again, who's going to be standing up for the people and communities who are still devastated by the last time the Bush administration tried to help.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thanks for Bending Over, Now do it Again

We all know that Google sold out its soul in China (while standing strong for individual rights here at home) in order to make sure it keeps that huge market in its pocket. So how has China thanked Google for bending over and taking one for dictatorial government control?

By complaining that they're not doing enough, of course. From the WashPost -

A state-run newspaper reported Tuesday that Google Inc. is under investigation for operating without a proper license in China and quoted an unnamed government official as saying the Internet giant needs to cooperate further with the authorities in blocking "harmful information" from its search results.

The report, in the Beijing News, was published the same day that another state newspaper ran a harshly worded editorial about Google. The paper accused the firm of sneaking into China like an "uninvited guest" and then making a fuss about being required to follow Chinese law and cooperate in censoring search results such as pornography.

The unusually bold attacks in the state media suggest that the Chinese government is unhappy with Google's efforts thus far to filter politically sensitive results from its popular search engine in China, and that its ability to do business in the country may be in jeopardy.

Google's cooperation with the Chinese government in censoring the Internet has already sparked outrage from free speech advocates and U.S. lawmakers who accuse it of betraying its corporate motto, "Don't be evil." The firm announced last month that it was launching a censored search engine,, to improve its service in China, where its regular site and its search results are sometimes blocked.

Dubbed the "eunuch edition" by some Chinese Internet users, the new search engine withholds results from Web sites the governing Communist Party finds objectionable, and returns limited results when users enter politically sensitive keywords.

Google has defended its decision to launch the censored site, arguing that people in China can continue to use the Chinese version of its regular search engine, It has also pointed out that the new search engine is the first in China to inform users when results have been removed because of the government's "laws, regulations and policies."

But it appears Chinese authorities are now pressuring Google to cut off access in China to its regular search engine, and to stop telling users of the new site every time a search is censored.

"Is it necessary for an enterprise that is operating within the borders of China to constantly tell your customers you are following domestic law?" said the editorial published Tuesday in the China Business Times, a financial daily.

Both the editorial and the Beijing News accused Google of operating its new site without an ICP -- or Internet content provider -- license. The editorial also accused Google of starting a debate about censorship in China to draw attention away from its "illegal" activity. "Can Google get away with this?" it asked.

In a written statement, Google spokeswoman Debbie Frost said Google uses a license held by a local Chinese firm,, in an arrangement that is common for foreign Internet firms in China.

A source familiar with the government's position said the Ministry of Information Industries has raised the ICP license issue to put pressure on Google to comply with its demands. He said the government wants Google to make a larger investment in China and do more to censor its search results.

"The main problem isn't the ICP dispute, but the awkward relationship between Google and the Chinese government," the source said. "To be honest, the ICP dispute is a minor thing, and that's not what will get Google into trouble."

Another Chinese source said Google recently rejected an urgent request to remove from its stored Web pages information related to an internal dispute at an influential Chinese agency. That information had been posted on the Internet.

"Foreign-invested search engines must strengthen control and management of how they handle search results with Chinese information," an unnamed government official was quoted as saying in the Beijing News.

He said blocking "harmful information" from search results was a "very practical problem," and added that Google "still needs to strengthen cooperation with the government's relevant functional departments" in this area.

The Beijing News also quoted an unnamed Google official as saying it was "very likely" that all Chinese searches on its regular site would be redirected to the censored search engine because of "pragmatic considerations."

But in congressional testimony last week, Elliot Schrage, Google's vice president for global communications, appeared to rule that out. "We will not terminate the availability of our unfiltered Chinese-language service," he said.

Yup, it always pays to apease dictators, because their such good winners.

Who Protects the Ports?

Well this has become a hot issue fast. The plan that has been in the works for many months, and certainly not a secret to anyone (as opposed to many Bush admin programs), apparently got to someone's inbox who decided to pay attention to it.

As much as I enjoy watching the Bush admin. get ripped to shreds by the party faithful, this does seem, on the surface, to be a typical republican issue. I've often believed the Republicans to be the real knee jerks. So ignoring the fact that US Customs controls port security, the admin knee jerks have latched onto the idea of having arabs (ack, not arabs!) owning the company that runs the business end of some of our ports. Ok, I can buy a little of this, it could be a risk. But more of a risk than we've already got in our ports where thousands of containers come in without any inspection at all?

On the other hand, I am going to enjoy watching Bushie get ripped to shreds by his own too much to try and stop them.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Historical Insight

A survey taken two years ago by George Mason Univerity's History News Network revealed that 8 in 10 historians rate Geo W's presidency an "overall failure." Now mind you, those numbers came in BEFORE Katrina. BEFORE oil prices soured. BEFORE even folks in Bush's own party started questioning the man's actions.

Leave it to the historians to be spot on.
Of 415 historians who expressed a view of President Bush’s administration to that point as a success or failure, 338 classified it as a failure and 77 as a success. (Wanna take any bets on where most of those 77 are now leaning?)

Twelve percent of all the historians who responded rate the current presidency the worst in all of American history. Another number that I am betting is very different if this poll happened today.

A Financial Dynamics Poll of 12/12-13, 2005 asked registered voters how history would judge W's performance. Excellent job, good job, fair, job, or poor job.
Poor 36%
Only Fair 27%
Good 26%
Excellent 8%

So Poor and Only fair - 63%; good and excellent, 34% - - must be those billionaires.

So take heart Geo W., the way you're heading now, history may rank you at the bottom of this list:
Nixon, Harding, Hoover, Buchanan, Coolidge, Andrew Johnson, Grant, and McKinley.

Personally, I already do.

Bush Must Love the Poor, He's Created So Many of Them

In George Bush's America, 37,000,000 people live in poverty.
That is
12.7 percent of the population.
It is
one in 10 of America's citizens.
That is also
the largest percentage of poor in the developed world.
There are
46 million Americans who live without health insurance.

Does anyone think that W or his crew even give a moment's thought to these numbers? But the good news is, Bush's proposed budget offers some great tax breaks for the rich.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

What Left Wing Media Bias - Are You as Tired of This as I am?

Well Peter Daou is demanding that conservatives show their proof. In his "Daou Report" column, he's calling them on this utter nonsense. What annoys me so much is the same folk who defend Fox News as "fair and balanced" are among the first to go crying about the media's liberal balance.

Not stopping there, he backs up his contention that there is a conservative bias in the media beyond the brainless heads on Fox. For instance - on Cheney's recent gun mishap --

EXAMPLE: NBC News quoted ranch owner Katharine Armstrong as saying Cheney's pre-hunt picnic may have included "a beer or two." The MSNBC website has since been scrubbed to remove the quote with no explanation for readers.

Or on whinny Democrats --

EXAMPLE:The Washington Post recently stated that "some Democrats argue that Bush is breaking the law by spying on people in the United States without a warrant and without congressional or judicial oversight." This spin mirrors the GOP effort to paint this as a partisan controversy, but that dog won't hunt. Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have raised serious questions about the program's legality.

Or Boehner's housing arrangements --

EXAMPLE:CNN's Jack Cafferty asked viewers if they saw any problem with Majority Leader Boehner renting an apartment from a lobbyist whose clients have business before Boehner.
He got over 700 responses, nearly all of which questioned the arrangement. Wolf Blitzer stuck up for Boehner, telling Cafferty, "But you did hear Ed Henry say it is a basement apartment, which is not necessarily all that desirable, and he's paying the fair market value."

Or the new is old again state of the union --

EXAMPLE: On ABC's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson embraced the administration's spin and said, "[I]f there was anything new in the [State of the Union], it was his call for an end to America's addiction with foreign oil, a calling for a reduction on America's dependence on Middle Eastern oil of 75 percent in 20 years." The truth is, there's nothing new in Bush's proposal except slightly different rhetoric.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Kudos to the creative mind behind the new Harry Whittington blogsite. I'm sure if Harry wasn't deep in some sort of freaky love fest with Chenster, this is what we'd be hearing from him.

Wait, Don't Look Over There, Look Over Here!

Ignore those pesky issues from global warming to Katrina response to economic downturns to health care management catastrophies. Look at the Long War (aka our favorite distraction from the other things we're screwing up on a regular basis). It's positively Orwellian.

What's amazing is that in the minds of the administration loonie tunes, Cindy Sheehan is a bigger threat to our future than melting ice caps/rising oceans, thousands of displaced Americans still struggling to find a home, or health care "reforms" that screw the poor while handing the rich another of those helping hands they so desparately need.

I keep coming back to it just has to be that they're stupid. No functioning brain could work that way, could it?

But They Already Have FOX (sorta)News

Rumsfeld bemoaned the advantage al Qaeda has in the mid-east media the other day by saying that "Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but for the most part we — our country, our government — has not adapted." ok, grammar issues aside, ("we . . . has?"), Rummy, you've got an entire network (aka FOX sortaNews) at your beck and call. I say send those Fox boys and girls into Iraq and start pumping your version of the truth at everyone you can see.

Because if there's one thing that'll work, it's people hearing one thing when they know the opposite to be true.

Condi, Condi, Condi. Didn't Rumsfeld Teach You to Lie Better?

Condi Rice testified to the Senate budget committee on the state of Iraq, that hey, we're winning the war, and Iraqi daily life is doing better, even though she admitted that crude oil & electricity levels were still below pre-war levels. She also told the Senators that "many more Iraqis" were getting potable water and sewage services these days.

Unfortuately for Condi, someone on Senator Kent Conrad of ND's staff had apparently had read the reports because he got her to admit that when she said "many more Iraqis" were getting those services, she actually meant to say that "fewer Iraqis" were getting them.

Many more / fewer -- almost the same thing. I can see how she'd get the confused. After all these years down the rabbit hole of the Bush administration where up is down and down is up, it probably made sense to her.

Either that or they just lie to us as a jerk reaction to the answer of any question.

It Just Has to be That They Are This Stupid

I keep trying to find other explanations, and none really make any sense. Time and time again, I'm left with stupidity, plain and simple. Who? The morons who continue to argue that global warming isn't happening, or my own particular favorite, "needs more study."

Personally, I'm looking forward to the days when my DC 6th floor apartment becomes ocean front property. But I don't think the folks on the first to 5th floors are going to like it so much. Not to mention everyone living between here and the ocean.

Well maybe even these idiots (are you listening Geo W?) will take some notice in the latest study that shows that Greenland's glaciers are not only melting, but melting twice as fast as we thought they were. You're right Geo W. & Chenster and the rest of the head in the sand crew. Global warming needs more study. Because climate change is happening. And it's happening now.

What does Geo W. care, odds are good he'll be dead by the time Houston is long gone and Dallas is ocean front. But you'd think he'd give a damn about his kids. Hope the twins can swim.

The More Things Change . . .

The more they stay the same. A great old French saying that came to mind this afternoon. I was listening to my Chad Mitchell Trio downloads, including the Sinking Of The Reuben James, a US Navy ship sunk during World War II.

There's a line in the song that makes me think of this administration and what it's doing to this generation of young men and women

"Many years have passed and still I wonder why --
The worst of men must fight and the best of men must die."

Well we certainly know it's the worst of men in the administration who have taken this course.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Maybe He Thought it Was Bin Laden

The 78 year-old lawyer Dick Cheney shot yesterday is in stable condition. Cheney was hunting quail in Texas when apparently Harry Whittington magically took on the appearance of a quail. Sure, I can see that. Quail / 78 year old man / quail - easy mistake.

Chenster was shooting at a flushed out bird and Whittington, who apparently had come up behind the VP without announcing his presence, got, "peppered pretty good" in the words of Katherine Armstrong, owner of the property and long-time shotgun pepper expert. She continued by saying that Whittington's injuries were quite minor. "It broke the skin. It knocked him silly. But he was fine. He was talking. His eyes were open. It didn't get in his eyes or anything like that."

Ok Chenster. Say it slowly and repeat after me. Quail - a small brown bird. Whittington, a 78 year old lawyer. Bird. Man. Bird. Man. Even if you're not into the whole evolution thing, you have to admit there is a difference.

And I Thought Only Democrats Fed on Themselves

But apparently even some Republicans in Congress have begun to get a tad upset over the administration's use of the US Constitution as a napkin.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina: "When I voted for it, I never envisioned that I was giving to this president or any other president the ability to go around FISA carte blanche."

Three Republicans - Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Mike DeWine of Ohio— will probably vote with Democrats to demand more info from the administration on these programs.

And as today's game of who told what to whom and when, Gonzales testified that a "bipartisan group of leaders" was consulted in 2004 as to whether or not to make a new law, the consensus was that they couldn't offer legislation on it without exposing the secret taps. And while the administration can point fingers all they like at the Dems who say they weren't fully informed, what do they do when it's one of their own? (Republican representive and new GOP chair of House Intelligence Committee, Peter Hoekstra said that the issue never came up when he got his briefing by Cheney in 2004.

Guess nobody told Hoekstra or Graham that Cheney & crew intend to use their warrantless wiretap history to win votes for Republican candidates in the fall campaign.

Don't you get it Republicans? Your bosses think people will jump up and down with enthusiasm for them spitting on the constitution as long as they keep saying "who Bin Laden is calling in the US" enough times.

So the question is -- are you as dumb as the Republicans think you are, American public?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Forget Those Photographs, Bush Just Needs Abramoff to Shut Up

But apparently shutting up is just not part of Jack's plea deal. While the White House pulled all the strings they needed to in order to keep those photographs of Abramoff at the White House under wraps, Jack was out there chatting about his meetings with Bush.

When asked about meeting Abramoff, Bush has maintained that he can't remember ever meeting him, and if it was in a meet & greet, it was so brief that who'd remember. Yup, the old I just can't remember answer. Always a winner.

But, apparently Jack doesn't like that answer. No doubt his ego is brused by the leader of the free world denying having even said more than hi to him. What to do? Well write to Kim Eisler of Washingtonian Magazine, of course (what, that wasn't your first thought?). In an email to Eisler, Abramoff said that Bush "has one of the best memories of any politicians I have ever met." (ok, so grammar isn't his strong suit). "The guys saw me in almost a dozen meetings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids."

More Abramoff Friends in the Spotlight - Against Their Wishes

It must be rough being a friend / acquaintance / bribery client or even neighbor of Jack Abramoff. Just waiting around for that other shoe to drop when the press notices you seem to have a connection to the future convict that you haven't acknowledged.

So you sit, quietly, and wait, hoping that nobody notices the signature on the back of a check, or the name or number of an account, or even your name on an Abramoff email, that you can make it through the next election without being pulled into "Abramoff World."

Well, unfortunately for Republican Representatives Steve LaTourette (Ohio), Don Young (Alaska) and Shelly Moore Capito (W. Virg.), their time has come. They've all been named in recent filings related to the Abramoff case. LaTourette & Young wrote to the General Services Agency (GSA) in September 2002 asking them to give preferential treatment to groups such as Indian tribes when evaluating development proposals for the Old Post Office Pavillion in DC. Capito tried to help Abramoff get a GSA lease for land in Silver Spring for a religious school.

Capito immediately blamed her chief of staff (that's what underlings are for), the other two have remained mum.

As Vile as Abramoff is (More Below) Think He's the Only One?

Charity is in Abramoff's blood. As, apparently, is stealing from them. But it's ok, because they're the charities he set up in the first place for funneling money.

Like the American International Center. What an impressive name for a beach house near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The "Center" was used by Abramoff and his chrony Michael Scanlon, to funnel money from lobbying clients to their personal accounts. We should have have such wonderful International Centers at our disposal!

For more nationally oriented covers, there was the National Center for Public Policy Research here in DC that Abramoff used to funnel over $2 million back to himself and Scanlon.

For those who prefer sports charity, there was the Capital Athletic Foundation, a youth charity created by Abramoff that also served to funnel money.

And don't worry, Abramoff made sure that his charities helped benefit religion as well. There was the Mercer Island, Washington charity Toward Tradition, that promoted "traditional Judeo Christian values" by letting Abramoff funnel $50,000 to one of DeLay's aides.

And the people in some of these charities? The real ones, that is? What did they know of Abramoff's schemes? Well the head of Toward Tradition, Rabbi Lapin, apparently did not suspect a thing when his anti-gambling organization received money from Abramoff's client, "eLottery." No doubt in the Rabbi's mind, eLottery was an acronym for something in line with those traditional values.

I think I'll stick with my apparently non traditional values that don't include bribery and kickbacks. I'm soooooooo old fashioned!

Man, the Things These People Are Scared of!

Time magazine online is running a photograph of one of the Bush / Abramoff meet and greets. You remember that the administration has gone above and beyond to keep these photographs from seeing the light of day. The one provided to Time magazine came from Raul Garza, chairman of the Kikapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and an Abramoff client. You can barely see Abramoff in the picture, he's off to the side, the magazine has to circle him in red to point him out.

That's what they're afraid of? A guy standing off to the side, not even getting eye contact from Bush?

Then again, no surprise. Given the way these folk operate, fear of everything first, sort it out later does seem to be SOP.

Oh Lord, They're Crying Again

For an administration and crew that has helped cause untold suffering across the globe, these folks are whitehouse flowers! First we get supreme court nominee Alito's wife who cried during his hearing (by the way, she cried when a friendly senator was saying nice things about her husband, not during any hostile questioning, but why let facts get in the way of a good story), now we've got Laura Bush crying foul over Hillary Clinton's comment that the Bush administration is the worst in history. Apparently thinking that since the Clintons have experience in being attacked while serving in the White House, they should lay off the Bushes. "We know what it's like to live in that house. We certainly know what it's like to have your husband criticized. So I think there's a certain empathy that we might have for each other that we wouldn't have maybe for somebody else who said something like that."

No doubt Laura Bush was at the forefront of the group asking people not to attack the Clintons during their time in office.

No doubt.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Well, Duh

Can there really be anyone in the universe at this point who is surprised by this "revelation" by ex CIA official Paul Pillar that the administration was so intent on going to war in Iraq that they nevere even bothered to request "any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."?

I mean, thanks Paul for coming forward and all, but I can't imagine there's anyone out there who hasn't realized by now that the administration and its neo-con brainless trust wanted a war in Iraq more than just about anything in the universe, and wasn't going to let anything stop them. If anyone had foolishly asked for an intelligence report, then they'd have information they didn't want. And then they'd have to go to the trouble of ignoring it. Isn't it much easier to just not learn the information in the first place?

Sour Brownie

No doubt attempting to save his professional life (as regular readers know, after watching while New Orleans & Mississippi fended for themselves and being moved out of the federal government (slowly, and with lots of money), Michael Brown has set up shop as a consultant for preparedness.) Brownie used his time in front of the Congressional investigative committee to pass the buck up to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Michael Chertoff was unavailable to reporters today because he had "a busy schedule." (good job PR flack). But he gets to take his turn next week to push the pile back onto Brownie. So while these two boys point fingers at each other guess what.

Neighborhoods in New Orleans are still disaster zones with no relief in sight. But I'm sure they and those in trailers across the Mississippi coast are far more concerned with the Brownie-Chertoff face-off than with getting their lives back.

Keep your eye on the ball, administration, blame game is much more fun for the press to follow than rebuilding houses.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Timing is Everything

Wonder why the administration is telling us all about the 2002 attempted plane into building attack now? Could it be that Bush wants to tell us yet again that we should not be lulled "into an illusion that the threats to our nation have disappeared."

Because it can only be that we've been lulled into such a state of illusion that we're picky about protecting the Constitution of the US against domestic attacks.

It's the lack of warrants, stupid.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Who Are You Calling Unrealistic?!

Apparently Wall Street was so excited about Bush's new budget figures that Goldman Sachs' econonomists told their clients that the deficit forecasts in the budget are "unrealistic."

Stanley E. Collender, federal budget analyst at Financial Dynamics Business Communications said, "Of all the budgets I've seen recently, this is the one going nowhere the fastest."

Come on guys, you call this supporting your president? Anybody want to take bets on how many of them voted for Bush/Cheney both times around?

Bush Announces an End to Iraq War ... Kinda

In his just released budget for fiscal year 2006, Bush lists only $50 billion (vs. previously thought $120 billion) for the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan (you remember Afghanistan, right? That was the war we fought to find al-Qaeda, before we decided it was easier to knock off Saddam.).

And in the plan, NO MONEY is alloted or requested for war spending after 2006. So, I guess either Bush is trying to sneak a fast one by folks who don't like deficits (nah, this president wouldn't lie to the American public!), or the wars will be over and our kids back by September 30, 2007, (the end of fiscal year 2006).

Monday, February 06, 2006

No, THEY'RE the Polorizing Ones!

One of my favorite poll results from some months back was "do you think Bush polorizes America" and almost exactly half the respondants voted yes, the other half no. LOL. The man can't even be in a poll without polorizing the population.

But in Right Wing's world, it's those evil Democrats (you know, the ones who haven't been in power in ages, but apparently are responsible for most of the administration's problems). The Chenster was interviewed by everyone's favorite junkie, Rush, who said this about the State of the Union speech, "the Democrats refused to applaud the ideas of victory, freedom, security, those kinds of things. This is being positioned today as the result of the President's polarizing partisanship. In other words, the Democrats refusing to stand, refusing to applaud is the President's fault."

Then again, maybe Rush & Cheney were sharing some drugs during the interview, because just a few minutes later, Cheney said, "But if you look at the President's speech last night and the themes and the ideas that were in it, these are concepts that all Americans ought to be able to support. It shouldn't be anything partisan."

"Concepts that all Americans ought to be able to support." Really? That's what was in that speech? Man, our Chenster has been in hiding too long if he thinks all Americans support Bush or his themes.

Except for No Abortions, No Gays Getting Married, No Protesting at Halliburton . . .

We need to be careful about having government come in, for example, and tell people how to live their lives.

Veep Chenster, February 3, 2006 on the Laura Ingraham Show

You would think that maybe Cheney had a revelation. That he decided government really didn't have a place in determining that there are ways we should live our lives. But no, in fact, Cheney wasn't talking about society, but economics.

Although apparently it IS the government's business to tell us what to do as a society, it's not their business to tell us to stop driving SUVs because we're killing the planet. Here's the rest of that quote.

". . . that the market does work, that people make adjustments and make decisions for themselves in terms of what kind of vehicle they want to drive, and how often they want to fill up the tank, and from the perspective of individual American citizens, this notion that we have to "impose pain," some kind of government mandate, I think we would resist. The marketplace does work out there. People do make decisions, for example, to use less energy when it gets expensive, and to find ways to be more efficient."

Could Bush BE Any More Predictable?

Here he comes with his efforts to balance his budget by cutting programs already poorly funded for poor and middle class, while looking to make his tax cuts permanent, helping our struggling multi-millionaire class continue their efforts to make ends meet.

What's going to get a slash or an ax under Bush? The usual. Money for health, schools, food stamps, veterans and other domestic programs, would be slashed $3 billion and frozen for four years. Yup, you read that correctly, even veterans are in the slash pile. While the administration loves to send its boys and girls overseas into danger, it's not much on taking care of them when they get back.

Thomas H. Corey, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, accused Bush of waging "a budget war on America’s veterans. . . . The president is mistaken if he believes 58 percent of veterans voted for the Bush-Cheney ticket last year to give his administration a mandate to cut funds for veterans.” [Note to Corey, sorry man, but that's EXACTLY what this administration thinks. And let's face it, that 58% of vets should have seen it going into the voting booth.]

But don't worry America's Vets, Bush is out to screw over the kids who haven't yet grown up and become soldiers as well.

Bush's proposed cuts in food stamps would "terminate food stamp aid for 200,000 to 300,000 low-income people, most of whom are members of low-income working families with children,” according to Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Fortunately, our nation's richest children won't be threatened by these cuts. Because Bush wants to get some new tax cuts in there as well, cuts for his friends in the top 1% of the American taxpaying public. In his budget, Bush will be able to give them back almost $130 billion over five years; $1.4 trillion over ten.

So if America's vets and poor children want to be treated with respect in Bush world, let them become multi-millionaires first.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Unintelligent Design

Kudos to The Abstract Factory for this very amusing take on the "The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject" from October 2005. And from which I reproduce it here.

Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

(Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

(Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)


Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

Scientist: Frankly, I personally find it completely implausible that the random actions of a scientist such as myself could cause pain of this particular kind. I have no precise explanation for why I find this hypothesis implausible --- it just is. Your knee must have been designed that way!

Intelligent Design advocate: YOU BASTARD! YOU KNOW YOU DID IT!

Scientist: I surely do not. How can we know anything for certain? Frankly, I think we should expose people to all points of view. Furthermore, you should really re-examine whether your hypothesis is scientific at all: the breaking of your kneecap happened in the past, so we can't rewind and run it over again, like a laboratory experiment. Even if we could, it wouldn't prove that I broke your kneecap the previous time. Plus, let's not even get into the fact that the entire universe might have just popped into existence right before I said this sentence, with all the evidence of my alleged kneecap-breaking already pre-formed.

Intelligent Design advocate: That's a load of bullshit sophistry! Get me a doctor and a lawyer, not necessarily in that order, and we'll see how that plays in court!

Scientist (turning to audience): And so we see, ladies and gentlemen, when push comes to shove, advocates of Intelligent Design do not actually believe any of the arguments that they profess to believe. When it comes to matters that hit home, they prefer evidence, the scientific method, testable hypotheses, and naturalistic explanations. In fact, they strongly privilege naturalistic explanations over supernatural hocus-pocus or metaphysical wankery. It is only within the reality-distortion field of their ideological crusade that they give credence to the flimsy, ridiculous arguments which we so commonly see on display. I must confess, it kind of felt good, for once, to be the one spouting free-form bullshit; it's so terribly easy and relaxing, compared to marshaling rigorous arguments backed up by empirical evidence. But I fear that if I were to continue, then it would be habit-forming, and bad for my soul. Therefore, I bid you adieu.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Screw the Poor & Middle Class, it's the Republican Way

In a topsy-turvy world, it's always good to know there are some things we can rely on. The earth revolves around the sun (oops, sorry, I spoiled the surprise for the creationists), trees lose their leaves in the fall, it's cold here in January (ok, so global warming is messing that one up), and Republicans love to screw over the poor and middle class while leaving their well financed supporters alone..

The Republican controlled House of Representatives yesterday approved budget cuts of nearly $40 billion over five years in Medicaid, welfare, child support and student lending. Fortunately, it's for a good cause overall, these cuts, while in programs that are already under funded will, slice less than 1/2 of 1% from the budget over the next five years. So take heart when you can't get your student loan, because of your sacrifice, almost 1/2 of 1% of the budget is being reduced! Say it loud, say it proud!

And the government NEEDS those savings. Bush needs an additional $90 billion in this year's budget that he hadn't asked for before. That's $70 billion for the wars and $18 billion for Katrina. And don't worry, you know that under this President & Veep, that money will go where it's most badly needed - into contracts with companies owned by their friends and supporters.

After all, without those funds, some of those CEOs might have been forced to accept bonuses under $20 million dollars this year. And that might mean they couldn't buy that second jet! And what family can survive on only one jet!

Friday, February 03, 2006

In Defense of Marriage

Ok, so if preaching tolerance and love for all doesn't work (you know the religious right, never met a Christian teaching they really liked), let's jump on the bandwagon and take this fight to its logical conclusion.

If we're really going to get serious about defending the institution of marriage, we need to deal with the number one threat to it -- divorce.

S0, before we can even begin to get into gender, let's get that no-divorce legislation going. We are going to make it illegal to obtain a divorce, no matter what. Some of our older Congressmen will have to forgo the new trophy wife, but it's for a good cause, so I'm sure they'll be ok with it.

The next time you hear someone giving you the "defense of marriage" anti-gay marriage speech, hit them with the #1 threat to marriage and ask them to start legislating on THAT.

After all, you're either serious about this problem or you're not.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Psycho Religious Righteous

Good to see somebody in the Republican party speaking out about these nuts who have been taking over their party. John Danforth isn't in the Senate anymore, and probably wouldn't be speaking out on it if he was. But he did a good interivew in the Post's Style section today. Here's a part of it. It's worth reading:

As a mainline Episcopal priest, retired U.S. senator and diplomat, Danforth worships a humbler God and considers the right's certainty a sin. Legislating against gay marriage, for instance? "It's just cussedness." As he sees it, many Republican leaders have lost their bearings and, if they don't change, will lose their grip on power. Not to mention make the United States a meaner place.

Danforth is no squalling liberal. He is a lifelong Republican. And his own political history shows he is no milquetoast.

A man of God and the GOP, he is speaking out for moderation -- in religion, politics, science and government. The lanky figure once dubbed "St. Jack," not always warmly, for the perch he seemed to occupy on Washington's moral high ground, expects people will sour on the assertive brand of Christianity so closely branded Republican.

"I'm counting on nausea," he says.

In a political year that promises a fresh battle for the national soul, religion is emerging as a tool and a test, with Danforth's words marking a fissure within the GOP. The conservative evangelical Christian movement that helped propel President Bush and congressional Republicans into power has become a big, fat target, even as Democrats and GOP moderates agonize about how to capture more votes from the faithful.

"The Republican Party has been taken over by something that it's not," Danforth says over a suitably austere lunch of steamed vegetables in a well-appointed 40th-floor St. Louis club overlooking the Mississippi. "How do traditional Republicans put up with this? They put up with this because it's a winning combination, for now. It won't last."

Well I'd say I'm counting on nausea too, but the Religious Righteous made me sick to my stomach years ago. At this point I'm ready to see God call them all back. Or really, I think it would be Satan. These idiots who claim to know "what Jesus would do" live lives that are in utter contradiction to his teachings.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Did Bush Lie, Bend the Truth, Offer Misdirection, or is He Just Stupid?

Ha, trick question. The answer is all four! All in all, an interesting state of disunion speach by Bush. I'm now waiting for the "well, I'm sure what I mean to say now that I can see you've got the facts is . . . " speech. Ok, so won't happen. But can always hope.

Bush: "Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending." True, true. Note the key phrase -- NON-SECURITY DISCRETIONARY. So, as long as you don't count the war, and the war on terrorism, he may have reduced growth. No, oops wait, there's that Katrina thing. Oh well, I'm sure he didn't intentially mean to mislead the American public.

Bush: "America is feeding the hungry -- more than 60 percent of international food aid comes as a gift from the people of the United States." 60%. Not bad. And what percentage of Bush's own Americans, including a high percentage of children, go hungry on a regular basis?

Bush: "We are meeting that responsibility [of providing health care for poor & elderly]." Well, he HAS met his responsibility of creating a system that noone can decipher and thus can't use. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that the number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 5 million since Bush singed up as prez. Two-thirds of these are in low-income families.

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