Saturday, March 5, 2005

Up is down

Well, mostly. Pauly and his Little Sister have some fun with numbers.

We're #49!

Unlike the Retard Right (© Gordon) who look at our position in the world through Bush-colored glasses, this is where we really stand in comparison to the rest of the world:

More below the fold . . .

Wolcott on Greenspan

We have to cross the mighty mountains to go shopping this A.M., so I'll be brief. Read the article, but here's the punch line:
Alan Greenspan, pompous hack. Harry Reid, blunt hero.

Sometimes even wordy ol' Wolcott cuts through the shit.

Hmmm . . .

This via RDF at Corrente:

In a case with implications for the freedom to blog, a San Jose judge tentatively ruled Thursday that Apple Computer can force three online publishers to surrender the names of confidential sources who disclosed information about the company's upcoming products.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg refused to extend to the Web sites a protection that shields journalists from revealing the names of unidentified sources or turning over unpublished material.

[. . .]

Makes you wonder, especially after hearing this earlier in the week [link via Sis]:

In just a few months, [Bradley Smith, one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission,] warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.


The Repubs know we're standing between them and their complete takeover of the media and the information services. While they have us watching Social Security, they're working on destroying free speech. Watch.

As for trying to collect fines from my ass. Good luck. As the sign says: 'Hell with the dog, beware of Owner.'

Saturday Cattle Dog Blogging

Dad, I have to go OUT!!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2005



Cannon fodder

WASHINGTON, March 3 - The Army is so short of new recruits that for first time in nearly five years it failed in February to fill its monthly quota of volunteers sent to boot camp. Army officials called it the latest ominous sign of the Iraq war's impact on the military's ability to enlist fresh troops.

"We're very concerned about it," Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday when asked about recruiting shortfalls in the active-duty Army and Army Reserve. "When people ask you what you worry about the most, I say there's just two words: people and money."

[. . .]

Link via Melanie.

Guard and Reserve recruiting has been down for months. Now the active duty folks can't fill their quotas. So, are they gonna extend tours again? What if the influx of new recruits continues to drop off? Ya think they're gonna pack it up and leave Iraq? Me neither. Hey Gord, get yer wrenches ready to travel. If Harry and I get there first, we'll save a rack in the tent for ya. And one last question. Ya think Jonah Goldberg will finally sign up for duty?

Hey, Seventh Cross, Listen Up!

Go read A Fascist America by Justin Raimondo at You folks can do more justice to this one than I can, and besides, I'm tired.


I don't care who was wrong or right. This:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was injured and another person killed on Friday when "multinational forces" fired on a speeding automobile at a military checkpoint in Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

makes us look like a buncha fucking idiots.

Reid Blasts The 'Span

In today's WaPo:
"I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan," Reid said when asked about the Fed chairman's testimony this week urging Congress to deal quickly with the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare. "I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington."

"Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration [has] created?" he said. "We had a $7 trillion-dollar surplus when Bush took office. Now we have a $3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit. That's, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people."

In his first months as successor to former senator Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), Reid has proven to be a pugnacious and sometimes unpredictable leader. He has given the administration no quarter, and his comments sometimes have caused an uproar among fellow Democrats.

An uproar of approval, at least to this pajamahadeen. For a kid from from East Slagheap, Nevada, Reid seems to be going in the right direction. Keep punchin', Harry.

Neocon Amorality

Here's a good article in our ongoing discussion of "moral values" as a distraction for the unwashed masses and how this administration actually uses them. From the Consortium News.
For a government that wraps its actions in moral absolutes about good versus evil, while deriding liberal relativism, the Bush administration may rank as the most committed in modern American history to an ends-justify-the-means ethos.

Indeed, to understand the administration’s neoconservative foreign policy, one must recognize how this moral framework works: First, it sets out worthy-sounding goals – freedom, democracy, security – and then it applies whatever tactics are deemed necessary – torture, murder, unprovoked invasions – along with an aggressive propaganda strategy at home.

Next, when events take a positive turn, the neoconservatives claim credit, even if they had only a minor role or the events were largely coincidental. Criticism of the bloody means is washed away by celebration of the virtuous ends. Mainstream commentators join in, cheering the neocons’ farsightedness. Those who opposed the original actions are pushed to the political margins.

Go read. I'm only finding un-fucking-believably long in-depth stuff today, it seems. It's giving me a lot of practice in reading without moving my lips.

De Col' Wind Be Comin' Closah.....

Feel that cold breeze on the back of your neck? That's a draft. Philip Carter and Paul Glastris make a case for it in a Washington Monthly article. Agree or disagree, they make some good points. Go read. Pack a lunch, it's a long one.
The only effective solution to the manpower crunch is the one America has turned to again and again in its history: the draft. Not the mass combat mobilizations of World War II, nor the inequitable conscription of Vietnam—for just as threats change and war-fighting advances, so too must the draft. A modernized draft would demand that the privileged participate. It would give all who serve a choice over how they serve. And it would provide the military, on a “just in time” basis, large numbers of deployable ground troops, particularly the peacekeepers we'll need to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.

America has a choice. It can be the world's superpower, or it can maintain the current all-volunteer military, but it probably can't do both.

It's gonna dazzle ya how much good shit is Below The Fold.

Deficits and Deceit

Paul Krugman on Greenspan and Bush's lies about Social Security and the deficit.
To put Mr. Greenspan's game of fiscal three-card monte in perspective, remember that the push for Social Security privatization is only part of the right's strategy for dismantling the New Deal and the Great Society. The other big piece of that strategy is the use of tax cuts to "starve the beast."

According to starve-the-beast doctrine, right-wing politicians can use the big deficits generated by tax cuts as an excuse to slash social insurance programs. Mr. Bush's advisers thought that it would prove especially easy to sell benefit cuts in the context of Social Security privatization because the president could pretend that a plan that sharply cut benefits would actually be good for workers.

The best bet now is that Mr. Bush will manage to make the poor suffer, but fail to make a dent in the great middle-class entitlement programs.

And the consequence of the failure of the starve-the-beast theory is a looming fiscal crisis - Mr. Greenspan isn't wrong about that. The middle class won't give up programs that are essential to its financial security; the right won't give up tax cuts that it sold on false pretenses. The only question now is when foreign investors, who have financed our deficits so far, will decide to pull the plug.

Krugman is a smart guy who knows this shit inside and out, and has the balls to call 'em like he sees 'em. You should read him religiously. Print his op-eds, put them in a binder, and refer to them often. He does "talking head" duty on TV occasionally and is well worth watching. I liked it the time he went toe-to-toe with Bill O'Reilly and didn't give an inch to that big pussy bully.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

More draft

One more before I fade into incoherency. A level-headed article on the case for a draft:

[. . .]

All this for a war that most planners consider to be a medium-sized conflict—nothing like what the United States faced in World War I, World War II, or the Cold War. And while threats of that magnitude aren't anywhere on the horizon, there are plenty of quite possible scenarios that could quickly overwhelm us—an implosion of the North Korean regime, a Chinese attack on Taiwan, worsening of the ethnic cleansing in the Sudan, or some unforeseen humanitarian nightmare. Already we have signaled to bad actors everywhere the limits of our power. Military threats might never have convinced the Iranians to give up their nuclear program. But it's more than a little troubling that ruling Iranian mullahs can publicly and credibly dismiss recent administration saber-rattling by pointing to the fact that our forces are pinned down in Iraq.

[. . .]

Not that I'm clamoring for a draft. I'm for a foreseeable endgame to Iraq. I talked about this the other day too.

[. . .]

The dollar is getting weaker and our military is stretched thin. Were I an opposing general, I'd say America is almost ripe for the picking. What say the Chinese attacked Taiwan? What say the North Koreans attacked South Korea and Japan? What if both scenarios occurred at once? In what position would that leave our military and our economy? Could we afford it? Could we field the army required? Looks like with 45% of our troops in Iraq being Guards and Reserves, we can't. Not if we're faced with an army that doesn't respond to 'shock and awe' the way the Iraqi army did. My dad fought the Chinese and they were formidable 50 years ago. Now they have nukes. So do the Indians and Pakistanis, so do the North Koreans.

[. . .]


This site is certified 71% GOOD by the Gematriculator

Here, via Sis.

Light blogging for me today. I got an abcessed tooth and I'm turning to chemistry to get me through until I see that thieving dentist of mine tomorrow. In a few minutes, I'll make even less sense than usual. I can't even be a whiny little bitch about it because Mrs. F. is in Hartford and the dog don't give a shit.

Maybe An Aircraft Carrier In Lake Michigan Would Help...

An interesting, but inconclusive, article on illegal immigration in Truthout.
Some eleven thousand guards patrol the length of the country's border with Mexico, a true sieve. George W. Bush's plan, studied this year in Congress, seriously divides the Republicans. Talk about immigration in Washington does not follow the usual fracture lines of the political parties: Democrats are torn between humanitarian arguments and those of Labor Unions; Republicans are divided between pro-business lobbies that want the cheap labor and the Republican base that fears a "Hispanization" of the country. From Tucson.

She would like to see "50,000 soldiers on the Mexican border and 50,000 on the Canadian border." The traitors in her eyes: the American government, which "rolls out the red carpet for illegals."

How do you say "coyote" in French? What a ninny!
"If there's anything I've understood as far as immigration is concerned, it's that you can tell me where someone lives and what their party affiliation is, but I can't deduce his position on immigration from that," summarizes Pastor Robin Hoover.

There are many sides to this problem. Leave it to the Frog who wrote that to put it in such a succinct fashion.


[. . .]

In other words, the markets have caught on to the fact that Bush is nothing more than economic smoke and mirrors. He continually hides the ball or figures out ways for other people to pay for his mistakes.

Because the US has not effectively dealt with its trade or federal budget deficit, other nations appear to be making the initial moves to get away from the dollar.

[. . .]

Enlightening post in the Kos Diaries via Corrente. Eventually, our creditors are gonna cut us loose to founder on our own. When that happens, we'll see another Depression.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005


Hah . . . what, you say? It's National Women's History Month. Refresh what you learned in history class. (Especially with all the fiesty wimmins runnin around in Left Blogstonia.) Thanks to Pandagon for the link.


[. . .]

"So long as health-care costs continue to grow faster than the economy as a whole, the additional resources needed for such programs will exert pressure on the federal budget that seems increasingly likely to make current fiscal policy unsustainable," Greenspan said.

He again threw his weight behind the notion of restructuring the Social Security retirement system to include private investment accounts -- an idea President Bush is pushing in speeches around the country.

[. . .]

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Chairman of the Federal Reserve isn't supposed to be a PARTISAN-FUCKING-HACK like his PARTISAN-FUCKING-WIFE.


From Campus Progress comes the announcement of the winner of the "Name Ann Coulter's Next Book" contest.
The rules for the contest were simple: The book title had to be the same format as Coulter’s books—a single word, followed by an explanatory subtitle.

The winner:
“Roosevelt: Wheelchair-riding, America-hating terrorist”

Many more. My submission:

"Sailorpussies: How I Fucked the Seventh Fleet 'Til It Ran Out Of Seamen"

Tearing down the press

From Eric Boehlert in Salon. May require free site pass. This is a must read.
The White House and its media allies, echoing a deep-rooted conservative antagonism toward the so-called liberal media, say they are simply countering its bias. But critics charge that the White House, along with partners like Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting, organizations whose allegiance to the Republican Party outweighs their commitment to journalism, is actually trying to permanently weaken the press. Its motivation, they say, is twofold. Weakening the press weakens an institution that's structurally an adversary of the White House. And if the press loses its credibility, that eliminates agreed-upon facts -- the commonly accepted information that is central to public debate.

Suskind notes, "If you believe there is no inherent value to public dialogue based on fact, then that frees you up to try all sorts of things other people in power wouldn't have ever thought of. And we're seeing the evidence of that now."

What evidence? Secrecy, lies, misbegotten imperialistic foreign adventures, domestic division, soaring deficits, rampant cronyism and creeping fascism? You call that evidence? Pah!

Reefer Nat'l Park

In our ongoing series on illegal immigration, and the possibility that some of us may have at some time or another been exposed to the sickening-sweet odor (I know, I know, but that's how it's always described) of Cannabis Sativa/Indica, at a distance of course, I offer this article on AlterNet. It's an odd juxtaposition (for some reason, all juxtapositions seem to be described as odd) between illegal immigrants and an illegal product grown by American citizens who let the mojados take the rap and often rip them off as well.
"Some of them don't even know they were hired to grow marijuana until they get to the park," the agent said.

But the land owners don't keep their promises to the field workers. Many undocumented farmhands never see their money, either because they get arrested before getting paid or because their bosses disappear with all the drugs, the agent said.

A fine example of the exploitation of people who can't bitch by their supposed ethnic allies.

This just one park. It goes on all over the state, and we have a lot of parks. Marijuana is California's number one cash crop, and one of its most popular exports.

Reporter Uses Blogs For First Time

Here's an interesting article by Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher, the newspaper industry magazine, about his first experience doing research via blogs. Via AlterNet. Read, but here's his conclusion:
And here's the nut of it: In the blogosphere, it's often asked, on both the left and right, "Why can't the mainstream media get to the bottom of these scandals like the blogs sometimes do?" Of course, one of the reasons is, they are simply too timid. But I understand another part of the answer now: No single news outlet has anywhere near the army of workers who toil, unpaid, at odd hours, for the larger blogs. To compete in this regard, Gannett would have to shut down some of its local papers and put their news staffs to work for USA Today. Then USA Today could throw a battalion of reporters at a hot issue – like some blogs now can, and do.

I do this because it's fun and keeps me off the street and out of trouble. If I had to do it for a living I have no idea what would happen. Probly get my ass canned forthwith.

It appears to me that some of the horse n' buggy media might benefit from having a coupla researchers primarily to check the blogosphere. All these outfits have websites, so they have computer-savvy people. How hard could it be to train a reporter to surf the blogosphere? On second thought, it might be easier to train the 'puter guy to be a reporter.


Al-Jazeera via Melanie:

As oil prices remain above $45 a barrel, a major market mover has cast a worrying future prediction.

Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, of Simmons & Co International, has been outspoken in his warnings about peak oil before. His new statement is his strongest yet, "we may have already passed peak oil".

[. . .]

Currently, at near maximum production, Saudi Arabia is producing about 9mbpd, though recently they claimed they could potentially produce 12mbpd or even as much as 20mbpd. A claim Simmons called "pie in the sky".

"The faster you pull a reservoir, the faster you pull out all of the easy-to-produce oil," explains Simmons. "What happens is that you lose massive amounts of what the oil industry calls oil-left-behind still inside the field. These issues, as you can see, have been known about for years."

[. . .]

If the glass is half-empty, we've got real problems. Prepare for an energy crisis that'll make '73 and '79 look like a walk in the park.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

The assault begins

On free speech. Via Media In Trouble, via World O'Crap:

[. . .]

In his first lengthy address since becoming attorney general in early February, [AG Alberto] Gonzales said people who distribute obscene materials do not enjoy constitutional guarantees of free speech.

"I am committed to prosecuting these crimes aggressively," he said to a Washington meeting of the California-based Hoover Institution.

[. . .]

Personally, I don't think this should be a federal issue at all, since obscenity laws are usually states' issues, if I'm not mistaken. Why the fuck is the AG's office worrying about this anyway? Shouldn't they be working on actually convicting one or two of the people we've had incarcerated since we went into Afghanistan.

Ladies and gentlemen, everyone enjoys the right to free speech, even pornographers. I wonder who it'll be next.

Some sense?

So we are civilized after all.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday abolished the death penalty for juveniles, an important victory for opponents of capital punishment in the only country that gave official sanction to such executions.

The Rude One:

We live now in this world of Bush where every day we are confronted with the myriad ways in which this administration and its hellish minions attempt to strip rights, dignity, and humanity in favor of a world of unchecked corporate greed-seeking and governmental repression in the guise of parental protectiveness. So it's always blindsiding to hear news that affirms something akin to human dignity. Let us mark the day, because there are precious few.

'Splain to me this free speech, Comrade

Glen points this out. It especially chaps my ass because as an author (pulp fiction), I've written shit that, under this standard, I qualify as a terrorist:

[. . .]

Winchester police say William Poole, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday morning. Investigators say they discovered materials at Poole's home that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police.

[. . .]

You read that and you think 'uh. oh, another Columbine in the making', right?

[. . .]

"My story is based on fiction," said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "It's a fake story. I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."

[. . .]

Yes, the next terror threat facing our nation are ZOMBIES, RISEN FROM THE DEAD!!!!! This kid's just the next Stephen King. But no, the White House has every one so scared:

[. . .]

Poole told LEX 18 that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding. He claims that what his grandparents found in his journal and turned into police was a short story he wrote for English class.

[. . .]

His own grandparents turned him in for doing his HOMEWORK!!!! My God, what has this country become?

Blogger sucks OUTRAGEOUSLY today.

On torture

Gillard writes a letter to Jonah 'Failed Abortion' Goldberg:

[. . .]


How's your feather collection? Probably enough to vein some faux-marble? Maybe do a mural of a chickenhawk in flight?

So, when did the OSS torture people? I mean, when did they walk into POW camps and starting giving the Germans what for? When did the Counter Intelligence Corps torture Germans? You mean they didn't? When the allegations of torture following Malmedy were raised in the trials of the SS murderers in 1948, guess who condemned it? Joe McCarthy, your patron saint of corrupt fear mongering.

Why didn't the US torture German POW's? Because the Nazis would do the same to US flyers and did to US evaders and escapers. Ever hear of the Great Escape? I know you have. But what you may not realize is that Hitler's order to kill 50 escapers scared the shit out of the Luftwaffe, because they were afraid the Brits would line up 50 of their men and blow them away. One day, Americans may be subjected to brutal deaths because of torture already commited by the US.

Do you think the US has allies in Pakistan after stories of Gitmo makes the rounds off the jury rigged deportations. If people didn't languish in jail for years and weren't beaten shitless, the methods used to round them up would be comical. In many cases, they were sold to SF and the CIA by bounty hunters. Abusing the innocent only aides Osama "the man who's name cannot be spoken" Bin Laden.

I would say Jonah needs to cover the war in Iraq and see if his appetite for torture diminishes.

Because he's a fucking idiot. You know when all those folks we subjected to rendition walk into a US court, it will be hard for a jury to convict them, or to even allow any evidence against them.

I wonder if Mr. Goldberg would like to be subjected to the things he thinks are fit for others.

[. . .]

Monday, February 28, 2005

Just this

Will Michael Jackson please just DIE already and get OFF my fucking TV.

Nuke 'Em, Danno...

This strains even my cynicism. From The Carpetbagger Report:
Not content with one venture into Mess O’ Potamia, at least one Republican lawmaker seems anxious to start another – this time, with nukes.

This is so twisted, it’s hard to know where to start. Which of these is the most outrageous part of this story?

* That a sitting member of Congress is bragging about his desire to drop nuclear weapons?

* That Johnson has shared this idea with the president?

* That Johnson’s favored approach to non-proliferation is an unprovoked nuclear attack?

* That this speech was delivered in a church?

* That Johnson’s audience “roared with applause"?

Is there some sort of IQ number you gotta come in under in Texas to get elected to public office? Or to vote there? Or maybe just to live there. Yeesh.

Hey, Sarge, My Check Bounced. I'm Outta Here...

Give us more money, or soldiers aren't going to get paid. That's the cynical game the Pentagon's leadership has been playing with the Army's budget in recent months. And now, it's crunch time.

Since the fall, Rumsfeld & Co. have been dipping into the Army's day-to-day funds -- like money for soldiers' paychecks -- and then daring Congress not to make up the difference with a second, "supplemental" pile of cash.

The tab comes due this Spring, Defense Daily reports. The Army needs $41 billion of that supplemental kitty by then, or else it is going to go broke, without cash left to pay G.I.s.

But key members of Congress, like Sen. John McCain, are getting increasingly fed up with this backdoor effort to add tens of billions to the defense budget by essentially holding G.I.'s livelihood hostage. Sooner or later, things are going to come to a head.

Them brass hats got brass balls to stick up Congress this way. It would be foolish of them not to pay heavily armed, pissed-off GI's. I think there'd be enough unpaid C-130 pilots and ship captains to give 'em all a ride home.

I'd love to see a demonstration like the "Bonus Army" of 1932 that got FDR elected and gave rise to the WWII GI Bill. This time, I don't think the cops could throw 'em out of DC. I'd love to see 'em try.


Is it always the Jesuslanders?

"We feel dismay, anger, devastation, utter shock and disbelief. The very foundation of our faith is shaken." ~ Gerald Mansholt, bishop of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which was the church that the suspect in the BTK killings belonged to.

The Christians just love killin'; their own kids and their neighbors. And we're worried about the Madrassas in the Middle East?

BTW, Blogger sucks wet monkey ass again this morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Satan In a Skirt

If you think The Culture Ghost and Shakespeare's Sister were a little rough on that old Polack Pope last week, as linked to in Fixer's post, well, I'm here to tell you that they are the soul of kindness and political correctness compared to the self-professed True Christians at Landover Baptist Church.
Of course, priests’ reactions may be different to the passing of this particular pope, since Pope John Paul II recently spoke against homosexuality- outside of the Catholic Church. “I guess it is OK for sodomy to go on inside St. Peters and every parish church from here to Timbuktu until you feel like those folks in Sodom got a raw deal,” dryly observed Mrs. Judy O’Christian, Landover’s diplomatic envoy to the Vatican, “Just not out by the Coliseum where everyone can see it. While some may think the Pope’s condemnation a little timid, we applaud the courage that even that meek message must have taken. I mean, the Pope speaking out against homos is like Nelson Mandela condemning blacks. You just don’t expect folks to turn on their own kind like that.”

Go read. There's a cool photo of the Pope investigating allegations of child molestation. We have to learn from experts wherever we can.

Hate State

[. . .]

Anyone speculating about which state is the most homophobic in the nation probably needs to look no further than Alabama. My wife Kate, a native Alabaman, escaped from the nightmare, and even she couldn't believe the depth of the hatred and homophobia exposed by this article, including the heinous statistic that 44% of gay Alabamans are physically beaten and assaulted -- by their own family members. It's truly upsetting, and depressing. You wish the queer community would just get the hell out of there, but as with all stories like this, there are those that still want to stay and fight for their rights. I would consider this an almost insurmountable mountain of intolerance that runs both deep and high -- and all the way to the state house.

[. . .]

From Pam's Kos Diary. Strongly recommended. Via Froggy.

Checks and balances

It was remarkable to see President Bush lecture Vladimir Putin on the importance of checks and balances in a democratic society.

[. . .]

Even the near absence of checks and balances is not enough for W. Not content with controlling the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and a good chunk of the Fourth Estate, he goes to even more ludicrous lengths to avoid being challenged.

The White House wants its Republican allies in the Senate to stamp out the filibuster, one of the few weapons the handcuffed Democrats have left. They want to invoke the so-called nuclear option and get rid of the 150-year-old tradition in order to ram through more right-wing judges.

[. . .]

MoDo in NYT
. I got more on this over at The Cross.