Saturday, March 19, 2005

Feeding Tubes, Religion, and The Decline of the Empire Republic

James Wolcott blasts away at the Hardly-ever Right in light of their unconscionable posturing over the fate of Mrs. Schiavo.
The positive side of religious faith is hailed to the rafters while the sadism and mastery over others seething in the negative side is now considered impolite to mention, as is the willful, retarded ignorance of those who cling to their Bibles and reject reason and science.

'Faith drives a wedge between ethics and suffering. Where certain actions cause no suffering at all, religious dogmatists will maintain that they are evil and worthy of punishment (sodomy, marijuana use, homosexuality, the killing of blastocysts, etc). And yet where suffering and death are found in abundance their causes are often deemed to be good (withholding funds for family planning in the third world, prosecuting nonviolent drug offenders, preventing stem-cell research, etc). This inversion of priorities not only victimises innocent people and squanders scarce resources; it completely falsifies our ethics."

Of course, when you're talking about anything involving Tom DeLay, point man in the Shiavo crusade, there are no ethics *to* falsify.

Mr. Wolcott's post is a two-fer. Next, he lays into the declining economy, our over-extension of power projection in the world, and the seeming lack of concern.
Manufacturing decay, outsourcing of jobs, soaring oil prices, widening trade deficits, shrinking savings--and if that weren't enough, throw in a hefty slice of imperial hubris.

Call me a pessimist, a proud Eeyore, because I don't think America will smell the fine aroma of Gevalia anytime soon, if ever. This country is wearing a blindfold, staggering backwards, and slitting its own throat in slow motion. Watch the cable news, listen to our elected leaders: there's no more urgency about the economic decline in living standards dead ahead than there is about addressing global warming or loosening the chokehold of military spending. A country where "evolution" is becoming a bad word is not a country interested in facing reality. Instead, as the passage of the bankruptcy bill shows, corporate-political power is going to grind every last dollar out of the desperate and destitute rather than confront the difficult macro decisions. The elites in this country have never had it so good, and as long as they're prospering the distress will smothered under the surface, kept under a lid.

"So it's fair to say this revamp of the bankruptcy laws is as sinister and menacing portent of the shape of things to come as would be the physical construction of a new debtors' prison for the middle classes in every American town to match the prisons for the poor already planted in the outback."

Meanwhile, our elected leaders take turns testifying out much they love baseball, and play tug-a-war with a helpless, hopeless woman's feeding tube

Pretty much all form and no function. Everybody gets involved in shit they got no business interfering in, for all the wrong reasons, while the important stuff slides by unnoticed because it's too hard to deal with. Worse than worthless, all of 'em.

He'll Take Credit or Shift Blame Anyway, Like He Always Does...

For your Middle East sociopolitical, cultural anthropology, and history lesson for the day, go read Juan Cole.
President Bush and his supporters are taking credit for spreading freedom across the Middle East. Here's why they're wrong.

I think modern technology has furthered the dawn of the political shift in the Middle East as much as anything that has happened on the ground. Those folks have satellite TV, cellphones, and the Internet just like we do, and are more connected to one another throughout the region with each passing day.

Dems Stand Up Against Dictatorship

Ever the cockeyed optimist, when I find a glimmer of good news I like to pass it along. You owe it to yourself to go read this one. From Truthout.
Democratic Senators Denounce Bush Grab for "Dictatorship"

Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton also took turns at the microphone to denounce a Republican "power grab." They were speaking on Wednesday at a rally organized by MoveOn.org.

Senate Republicans, upset that a mere 95 percent of Bush's judicial nominations have been approved, have proposed eliminating the filibuster, and with it the minority party's ability to oppose a nomination and to insist on 60 votes rather than 51 for approval.

"They want to make this country into a banana republic," said Schumer, "where if you don't get your way you change the rules." One of the nominees, Schumer said, had called slavery "God's gift to white people." Another had said that a woman must be subjugated to a man. Another opposed all zoning laws. Another opposed all labor laws, including laws on child labor.

"If these people get on the courts, they will change America," Schumer said. "They want to go back, not to the 1930s, but to the 1890s. They want a nation in which the powerful get anything they want."

If the Republicans can close off debate on this issue, they will close it off on anything, Clinton said. An American in Iraq, she said, was asked by an Iraqi who was trying to figure out how to set up a new democracy, "How do you protect the rights of the minority?" The answer from the American was: "Allow the filibuster."

Kudos to all of the Senators, but crank it on, ladies and gentlemen!

Boy, when you get all the Dems with balls enough to speak the truth in one place it seems like a lot, but we still need more.

I wonder if I can get a bathing suit photo of Babs Boxer? I've already got one of Harry Reid in a speedo.

It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Plan" Is...

(article cross-posted on behalf of Sarah - a member of Pourquoi Pas?)



As always, the Rude Pundit explains the great Cognitive Dissonance, and does it damned well too. You gotta read his post, it's hilarious.

"Fox "News" must loathe the President to not carry his water on this one."

Friday, March 18, 2005

See ya's

I'm heading off on hiatus. I'd like you to welcome Philippe and Dianne from Pourquoi Pas, who will be filling in here while I'm off. I'm sure you will all find them most enjoyable and thought-provoking. I also like the fact they have French names; just something else to get under the wingnuts' skin. Glad to do my part. I'll still be around, but I have to get out of the blogging mindset and finish this fucking novel. I'm sure there'll be a stray post from me over the next month if something seriously pisses me off, and you can always email me if you want to bitch at me, curse at me, or actually pat me on the back for something.

Later, boys and girls. See ya's in a month.

The morality of the Right

[. . .]

This wholesale unraveling of our social fabric is precisely what the most self-professedly pure and righteous among the right's moral leadership actively foment on a regualr basis. The right as an unqualified whole is clearly barreling down the path to shameless, banal, eliminationism . . .


An excellent post by my colleague Crasspastor over at the Cross.

WMD? Democracy? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

Think Bush didn't start his criminal war for oil? Think again. Greg Palast on BBC News.
The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, (my emphasis), sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

Go read the rest of it. I guess the BBC isn't as cowed as our domestic "news media".

Why aren't Bush and his neo-cons in jail?

Okaaaay

WASHINGTON Mar 16, 2005 — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday it was a mistake for Hawaii to post a confidential report on its Web site, but the department will continue to communicate openly with state and local authorities about potential terror threats.

Hawaii officials published a draft copy of a confidential Homeland Security report that catalogues ways terrorists might strike in the United States. The report, requested by a presidential directive in December 2003, marks Homeland Security efforts to spur state and local authorities into thinking about preventing attacks.

"My understanding is this was an error," Chertoff said in an interview with reporters. "… It's not going to deter us from working closely with our state and local partners in fashioning these plans." [my emphases]

[. . .]


Duh. Can we do anything right?

Link via WTF.

DeLay: Reminds ya of an outhouse on a warm Summer day...

Molly Ivins has a memorable Op-Ed about the stench of rotting ethics in the House emanating from Bugs DeLay. Via Working For Change.
I grant you a certain resemblance to some of our more notorious standards: "Everybody does it" and "They did it first" are actually considered excuses here. But I categorically reject cultural responsibility for Tom DeLay. Real Texas politicians are neither hypocritical nor sanctimonious. A pol does what he must -- fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly -- but no pol of the Old School, when DeLay served in the Lege, would add self-righteousness to shady dealing.

This was before the time when religion was regularly dragged into politics. The idea that you were immune from ethical lapses because you had found Jesus did not fly here. Sanctimony stinks in the nostrils of the Lord.

This guy smells like a slop jar. Get him out of there.

Molly calls 'em like she sees 'em, bless her heart. Even if you don't go read her column, and you should, click on the link in the quote.

Slogans 'r' us

Will Durst offers some help to Karen Hughes in her upcoming P.R. campaign. Via Working For Change.
It'll be interesting to see what measures Ms. Hughes takes when she finds out the problem isn't so much our lousy public relations but our lousy foreign policies. You want to improve America's image, I'll tell you how to improve America's image. Put a leash on Rumsfeld and stop treating the rest of the world like it made a doo doo on the shag rug in front of Mother Teresa's holier sister on Easter.

I got to say, creating the position of Spinmeister General does makes sense; at least we're playing to our strengths. As a country we have always excelled at selling the sizzle over the steak. Just last fall, this nation's veterans chose a borderline deserter over a decorated war hero. And the responsibility for that feat can be laid directly at the altar of advertising.

Mr. Durst offers "30 U.S. FOREIGN POLICY EXTREME MAKEOVER SLOGANS" in an effort to help. Go read. Here's my favorite:
America 2.0. Now With Improved Press Suppression.

What's yours?

I'll only put it in 10,000 feet, honest...

Joel Connelly writes about ANWR in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The final push to drill the Arctic Refuge has a curious resemblance to America's politics of 100 years ago, only in reverse.

Under President Theodore Roosevelt, America was coming out of the Gilded Age. Given its name by Mark Twain, the Gilded Age was the opulent, corrupt era of the late 19th century in which corporate moguls ruled the country.

The trust-busting Roosevelt inaugurated a progressive era.

He created our national forest system and designated national monuments in the Grand Canyon and Olympic Mountains. He protected the vast estuary of Alaska's Copper River Delta from exploitation by greedy coal barons.

America today is entering a new Gilded Age. The Arctic Refuge and the American public have this in common: Both are about to get drilled.

"The Arctic has a call that is compelling ... it is a call to adventure. This is not a place to possess like the plateaus of Wyoming or the valleys of Arizona. It is one to behold with wonderment.

"It is a domain for any restless soul who yearns to discover the startling beauties of creation in a place of quiet and solitude where life exists without molestation by man."

Given this administration's propensity for turning back the clock and returning to the heyday of the Robber Barons, I think the comparison is apt, and chilling. These people don't give a rat's ass for the majesty and grandeur of Alaska, much less the romantic symbolism of the Arctic or the future of its critters and environment. They just want to put it in their pocket.

There may not be all that much oil there anyway, and what they find will probably be exported to Asia anyway, because that's easier than getting it to the lower 48. So why are they doing it? There are lots better options, such as working to promote lessening our dependence on oil for motor fuel.

To show us pissants they can pass any law they want and the Hell with the rest of us, that's why. And also because they are so short-sighted that they think the only approach to a complex problem is a brute-force solution, just like Iraq.

Just like Iraq, they're dead wrong.

More Religious Hypocrisy

This in from today'sonline San Diego Union-Tribune:

The owner of a popular local nightclub with a gay clientele can't have a funeral in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego because the church has deemed his business "inconsistent with Catholic moral teaching."

None of the 98 Catholic churches in San Diego or Imperial counties will be allowed to provide services for Club Montage owner John McCusker as a result of the decision by San Diego Bishop Robert Brom.

But I bet Michael Jackson would be eligible for a funeral in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, since his behavior is consistent with the San Diego Catholic Diocese's moral conduct. The San Diego Diocese long sheltered Rev. Paul Shanley, a Catholic priest who was arrested here in May 2002 on three counts of child rape. He was the founding member of the North American Man-Boy Love Association and operated a bed & breakfast in Palm Springs for homosexuals.

Reading crap like this makes me proud to be a pagan!

How much

You wanna bet that as soon as they pull the plug on that poor Schaivo woman in Florida, Democrats are gonna be branded as murderers? Just for the record, so there's no confusion. If I ever end up a turnip, yank the fucking plug, put a pillow over my face, put a gun to my head. I don't want to live like that.

The Finger

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Pro-Syrian Hizbollah guerrillas will keep their weapons despite U.S. calls to disarm and Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon, the group's chief said on Wednesday.

[. . .]

"I'm holding on to the weapons of the resistance because I think the resistance ... is the best formula to protect Lebanon and to deter any Israeli aggression," [The group's leader, Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah said in a live interview with Hizbollah's al-Manar television.

[. . .]


They give Chimpy the finger. So what does he do?

More below the fold . . .

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Black Irish?

Go read Steve Gilliard's take on St. Paddy's Day in New York.

No worries


Malibu, CA


We'll all be walking soon.

ANWR . . . once more

Bill Moyers via American Views Abroad:

[. . .]

'Once upon a time I believed that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It's not that I don't want to believe this----it's just that as a journalist I have been trained to read the news and connect the dots. I read that the administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment.'

[. . .]

Wasting time

Two trials down in one day. Boy was I happy. I might see some news now. Nah, we have these overpaid, whiny bitch baseball players and the congressional circle-jerk.

Even Shorter Wolfie

Stolen from Dianne:



See my post below and explain to me why anyone short of deranged would appoint this man to be the head of the World Bank?

Short ANWR

From the Dog:

[. . .]

Well, that's the way it goes. ANWR will be despoiled forever, millions will be made by thieves who bribe members of Congress and the executive branch for the lucrative ANWR oil concessions, and if we're lucky, this may lower the price of gasoline by a nickel or a dime... around the year 2016 or so.

[. . .]

. . . The GOP just got to piss in a national park anyway it likes (one of the last unspoiled wildernesses on Earth, btw) so a few well-connected oil industry folks can profit, and in exchange, the rest of us got... nothing. NOTHING. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Another Excuse For Catholics To Get Drunk

The self-professed good christians at Landover Baptist Church, where the worthwhile worship and the unsaved are not welcome (as Jesus commanded) have a few inspirational words about Saint Patrick's Day. Read, you'll enjoy.
March is now upon us. It is the month that Catholics cause to come in like a lion eating True Christians™, and Baptists rescue and make go out like the Lamb of God. Right at this very moment, the Pope is instructing his new cardinals, all wearing dresses the color of Satan's rump, to open the lower dungeons of the Vatican and let loose their annual storehouse of malignant leprechaun spirits to steal gold from wealthy, blessed Evangelicals and spread green leprosy into the homes and upholstery of True Christians.

As always, Landover Baptist is well prepared for the demonic onslaught this year. "Saint Patrick's Day is like green beer - something the Lord never intended," says Pastor Deacon Fred. "We always get a little taste of Catholic Hell on this 'so-called' holiday, made popular by Irish layabouts, who seem to think it is a badge of honor to come from an island without snakes – even though it is chock-full of potato-boiling drunks.

Granted, a few of our Irish and Irish-for-a day friends may see a few snakes in the next day or so, but what the heck, it ain't like they're handling them in church, now is it? Faith an' Begorrah!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Economic hit men

Digby:

[. . .]

DAVID BRANCACCIO: You think that from the word go that this kind of lending was meant to essentially put these countries into hock?

JOHN PERKINS: There's no question in my mind that this was what I was intended to do was to go out and create these projects that would bring billions of dollars back to US corporations and create projects that would put these countries into such deep debt, that in essence, they became part of our empire. They became our slaves in a way.

[. . .]


Enlightening post about how the World Bank really works and who the infrastructure projects it finances in developing nations actually serves.

More deficit

From DemVet:

I know that it makes wingnuts heads explode when I say this, but our deficit economy is as much of a long-term National Security issue as any war we'll ever fight. And it's an issue that we're losing on, thanks to Preznit Lucky Sperm and his idiot-bastard colleagues.

[. . .]


It is a threat, a big one. I expect it from Bush and his hacks, but Greenspan knows better. What that old bastard is doing (actively endorsing what he knows is a recipie for economic disaster) is criminal and should swing with the rest of 'em when we storm the gates.

Update: 15:25:

Indirectly related. I found this while rooting around over at Ezra's:

[. . .]

But this week, when I was flying, the headlines all should have punctured the bubble we were flying in. The International Energy Agency says oil is in short supply, recommends conservation. The second highest monthly trade deficit ever. Oil approaches record price. The falling dollar. Trade gap widens. China is muscling private oil drillers in its country. The dollar continues to fall against the Euro. Imports of cotton trousers up 1000%. The headlines are insistent. Repetitive.

Here we were, burning up jet fuel so we could arrange to ship goods all the way around the world to a bunch of people, an entire country, who can’t or won’t pay their debts. But the words kept streaming by. THIS FLIGHT CAN’T GO ON ANY LONGER. GET OFF THE PLANE, IT’S GOING TO CRASH, the newspaper headlines might as well have said.


[. . .]

More air for me

They sentenced Scott Petersen to death. One less trial I have to hear about. Now, if only Michael Jackson and Robert Blake would up and die, maybe cable news would find time for something like . . . I don't know . . . NEWS maybe?

Shit

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. Via Froggy:

[. . .]

Just saw the headline on msnbc.com. The Senate voted to open the ANWR to drilling. The House has voted for it consistently, so it will go through there. Didn't see the vote count. I am interested in the "swing" Republican votes that approved it. We really have to take back the Senate in 2006. It is so important it is beyond belief.


Fuck, shit, godammit. Fuck. Shit.

Get 'em, Harry!

From The Hill.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) yesterday that Democrats will stop working with Republicans on most legislation if Republicans invoke the so-called “nuclear option” on judges.

In a letter to Frist, Reid said Democrats would cooperate with Republicans only on bills that relate to U.S. troops and ongoing government operations.

“Beyond that we will be reluctant to enter into any consent agreement that facilitates Senate activities, even on routine matters,” Reid wrote.

“Today, we say to the American people: If you believe in liberty and in limited government, set aside your partisan views and oppose this arrogant abuse of power,” Reid said.

I'm not sure about setting aside my partisan views but I'm damn sure opposed to the arrogant abuse of power. I think this is something that both sides should be actively concerned about.
And in the letter, he noted that changing the rules unilaterally “would be an unprecedented abuse of power.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in an interview that he believes at least a half-dozen Republican senators are torn over whether to go along with GOP plans.

Trying to appeal to senators’ institutional role as a check and balance on the White House, and saying the change would overturn 200 years of tradition, Reid said the Senate would become simply a rubber stamp for the executive branch.

Byrd (D-W.Va.), the chamber’s longest-serving member, used the Ides of March anniversary to invoke Julius Caesar’s murder and told The Hill that “freedom of speech in the Senate is about to be assassinated.”

“Let’s don’t let it happen,” he added. “Fight.”

If Freedom of Speech is "assassinated" in the Senate, can ours be far behind? Fight, indeed.

Thanks to Sens. Reid and Byrd for showing some stones. It's a start. Maybe it'll catch on. The future of our country is riding on it. Read the whole piece.

Denial

Me at the Cross:

[. . .]

The thrust of the post had nothing to do with my marksmanship, it had to do with me finally owning a gun becasue the Repubs have fostered a climate in this nation of hate and bigotry and I feel I need one (at least) to protect my family and property. I made the inexcusable mistake of not consulting my DD Form 214 before using the term 'marksman' as opposed to 'expert' in describing my qualifications. To me, big deal, the last time I looked at my 214 was 1988, just to make sure it was correct, and I filed it away. What did I get picked apart over? The gist of the post that I'm gonna kill anybody who tries to take my shit or fuck with my rights and the state of the nation that brought me to the decision? Nah. I get nailed because I used 'marksman' in place of 'expert'. That's all they could break my balls over, and boy did they. Losers. This is why you can't argue with them in any productive manner. They never argue the actual point and beat you with triviality until you throw up your hands and say 'fuck it'.

[. . .]


By the way, the post at the Cross has less to do with my problems other than pointing up the fact that Holocaust deniers are being given the same credibility as people who are actually dealing in, you know, facts. I just put this part up here to symbolically drop my pants, spread my cheeks, and say 'French-kiss my ass', you Repub morons.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Well, we don't really wanta drill, but if you give us all your money...

Got this one from Grannyinsanity. Scroll down to "Steal this post". Just following orders, ma'am!
Operating once again under the radar, the Republicans in Congress are doing their best to sneak funding for drilling in ANWR into the federal budget. Want to stop them? Find out how!


Go read. Respond.

Here's sumthin' to ponder: Since the enthusiasm of the oil companies for drilling in ANWR seems to have cooled, is this a sneaky attempt by those sleazy politicians (you know which ones) to bribe them, with our money, to do it anyway, OR, is it a clever attempt by the oil companies to get public funding for what should be privately capitalized, not that it should happen in the first place, OR BOTH?

The choices seem to be A: bribery, B: a stickup, or C: all of the above.

Until we hear more about this, it's your call. Or anybody's guess.

Save ANWR

Gord turned me on to this petition. You know what to do.

I Guess He Can Self-Terminate

Ahhnold's problems with women continue. Once again, he's attacking the teachers' and nurses' unions.

STANFORD, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he does not have a gripe with nurses or teachers, just the unions that represent them.



He also criticized the nurses' union for looking out for themselves instead of the interests of patients.


Regarding the nurses' union issue, what he's for is a higher patient load per nurse (I don't remember the exact figure, and this article doesn't list it). My best friend is a nurse in New Jersey, and I recognize from conversations with her that the patient load Ahhnold is recommending is considered highly unsafe. So what the Governator is advocating is bad for already overworked and underpaid nurses and bad for the patients under their care.

Nurses and teachers repeatedly have rated as two of the most respected and trusted professions in our nation. Ahhnold may get away with manhandling Indian tribes and marriage-minded homosexuals, but he comes off as an ├╝ber-bully when he denigrates teachers and nurses. I hope his potential opponents in the next gubernatorial race, and especially the voters of Callyfahnya, are taking note.

Women's rights

The doctrine of "You're Keepin' That Fuckin' Kid, You Brown Bitch" from the Rude One:

. . . "The Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirms that reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents." Seems civilized, no? And, indeed, in this time of "culture of life" savagery, it seems almost Geneva-Convention-like quaint.

[. . .]


The Bush 'Pro-Life' agenda doesn't play anywhere but here.

Running on Empty

This article by Robert Bryce via Truthout describes worldwide oil production as being at or near its peak. Interesting. You should read.
Last week, President Bush gave a speech on energy policy in Columbus, Ohio, in which he encouraged Congress to pass an energy bill. Once again, he touted his plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move he said would "eventually reduce our dependence on foreign oil by up to a million barrels of oil a day." The key word here is "eventually." Even if approvals for drilling ANWR were granted immediately, the first oil from the refuge would not reach the continental United States for years. Furthermore, as the New York Times reported last month, it appears that the major oil companies may have cooled in their desire to drill in the refuge. During his speech, Bush also talked about efficiency measures that could save homeowners electricity. But during his 4,600-word, 35-minute-long speech, Bush uttered the words "hybrid vehicle" exactly one time.

It's astonishing that Bush, the former Texas oil man, still doesn't understand the fundamental problem of America's imported oil addiction. Nor does he appear to grasp the threat that is posed by the possibility of peak oil.

The majority of the oil that the United States imports from places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela is used as motor fuel in automobiles. Yet the president conflated the idea that burning more coal and building more nuclear power plants will somehow allow America to reduce its oil imports. In his speech, Bush refused to discuss the obvious: We cannot cut our oil imports (read: gasoline addiction) without dramatic changes to our auto fleet. At some point, the United States will have to force the automakers to build more efficient automobiles. And a key part of that efficiency changeover will mean replacing increasing numbers of America's 200 million cars and trucks with hybrid vehicles.

Remarkably, when it comes to thinking about peak oil and what it means for the future of America, Wall Street analysts and neocons are taking the lead, while the former oil man from Midland keeps his head up his tailpipe. (my emphasis)

Well put. Sell your SUV while you can still get something for it. Advertise it in Jesusland. Those idiots think Georgie'll drill us out of it.

As hybrids become more common, a whole range of well-developed second generation vehicles from minis to vans will emerge. I'll probably spend my retirement in a hybrid RV.

$400 hammers, puh!

Glen:

[. . .]

A 330-fold mark up; not bad for a day's "work." (The hammers of yesteryear were only marked up about 20 times.) Meanwhile, soldiers still can't get reimbursed for equipment they should never have had to buy.

[. . .]

Arrivederci Baghdad 2

What'd I say the other day?

How long before Berlusconi feels the pressure and the Eye-talians pull out of Iraq? I give it six months.


I'm still looking for the link, but MSNBC just announced that the Eye-ties are looking at scaling back their deployment in Iraq.

Found the story here.

Heh.

Spinnerinneroo

David Corn writes in The Nation about Bush's nomination of Karen Hughes as under secretary of state in charge of public diplomacy. What got my attention was this headline:
Karen Hughes: Bush's Spinner to the World

Now, if he had used spin doctor or spinmeister I would have rolled right on by. Spinner, however has a completely different meaning and it caught my interest. I think Mr. Corn knows this and used it on purpose to suck me in. I've seen Karen Hughes. She's no spinner! Maybe a basket job, if the rope was strong enough...But I digress. Anyway, I read the article even though I didn't need to to know that this is just another position going to a Bush loyalist via his ass-backwards nose-thumbing-at-the-world M.O.
What are her Hughes' qualifications for this post? Well, she has been Bush's chief spin doctor since he entered politics. Once a local television reporter, she turned to the dark side. During the 2000 campaign, she actively misled the press about key aspects of Bush's past--most notably, his military service and his drunk-driving conviction. As a White House aide, she used PR tactics, not the truth, to push Bush's reckless policies. Now she'll do the same concerning the United States' image abroad. (If she could sell Bush to the American voters, maybe she can sell dirt as food.) (my emphasis)

Mmmm, that was tasty, sir. May I have another? He could sure cut down on farm subsidies, huh? I wouldn't put anything past these assholes.

Pollutants of Mass Destruction

John:

[. . .]

With the exception of three sentences (buried at the end) that mention the fact that the US, too, pollutes, the bent of the article is that our smog and ozone problems are a result of "imported", pollutants of mass destruction (PMD). Seriously, you've got to be kidding me:

[. . .]

Is it necessary to distinguish between foreign and domestic pollution, when both are soiling our environment? What is the purpose of an article like this other than to make us feel less culpable for our own poor environmental actions? [my emphasis]

[. . .]


I guess USA Today is an arm of the Propaganda Ministry, Gestapo, White House PR Department free press too. More souls for the Devil.

Monday, March 14, 2005

My hiatus

I'm keeping this on top for a couple days

Okay, barring any unforseen events, I'll begin my hiatus on Saturday 19 March for a month . . . probably. I'll still be in the background, doing any administrative shit that needs attending, but I won't be posting unless something REALLY chaps my ass. Once again, for those who missed it, I'm looking for a guest blogger to fill in while I'm gone. Email me if you're interested.

Yo! Check this out...

If ya wanna have some fizzle chizneck out Gizoogle.

Wow

Just watching CNN for the first time in ages and I see that Bob Novak still has a job. Why?

A few more bad apples

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq filmed themselves kicking a gravely wounded prisoner in the face and making the arm of a corpse appear to wave, then titled the effort "Ramadi Madness" after the city where it was made.

The video, made public on Monday, was shot by Florida National Guard soldiers. They edited and compiled it into a DVD in January 2004, with various sections bearing titles such as "Those Crafty Little Bastards" and "Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag."

[. . .]

The ACLU has obtained thousands of pages of documents from the Pentagon and said they show an pattern of widespread abuses of detainees by military forces in Iraq. Digital pictures that were disclosed last year of U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison drew international condemnation.

[. . .]


I believe the Geneva Conventions contain an article prohibiting photographing prisoners in humiliating situations. One of you lawyer weenies can correct me if I'm wrong.

So how long are we gonna call these abuses the 'acts of a few bad apples' before we realize this is a leadership problem. This is the culture that comes from occupation. And this is an indicator, when morale is low and the troops begin to look at the locals as a lower form of life, the policy is bankrupt. Will the Iraqis ever respect us? Will the people of the world respect us after this is over, one way or the other? Whatever good we do in Iraq will be overshadowed by the cumulative effect of these occurrances. I wonder how long it will take to repair the damage done to our national reputation by the Bush administration and the Republican Congress?

Link via Corrente.

More propaganda

Pam:

Un-f*cking-believable. The NYT reports in a lengthy, detailed piece, that even more fake news reports are being created by the White House and are being released to (and played by) media outlets that are broadcast all or in part without vetting. These phony news reports give viewers the impression that they are watching journalism in action. The real crime is that there is no outrage about the slack-ass, disturbing lack of journalistic ethics (and utter laziness) by the news outlets that are showing these pre-digested shill pieces for Chimpy policy.

[. . .]


What I'd wanna know is, how much of my tax money is paying for this bullshit?

Seems that Sis has the answer and now I'm even more pissed.

. . . The administration got a hell of a lot of mileage out of its first-term PR budget of over $250 million . .
.

Bad call

On my part and many others.

Poole, 18, was arrested last month on a charge of terroristic threatening. Authorities said he had made threats against students, teachers and police.

Poole's grandmother found the writings at their Winchester home and was worried enough to call police.

In an interview after his arrest, Poole told WLEX-TV (Channel 18) that he had simply written a fictional story about zombies taking over an unidentified high school. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Like any free speech advocate (and writer), I jumped all over this. A bit too soon, it seems.

[. . .]

And, as it turns out, Poole's writings include no brain-eating dead folks.

What they do contain, Winchester police Detective Steven Caudill testified yesterday, is evidence that he had tried to solicit seven fellow students to join him in a military organization called No Limited Soldiers.

[. . .]


Just another fucked up kid in Jesusland. My sincere apologies to the grandparents.

Note to MSM (Murdoch Seduced Media-© TCF): This is called a 'retraction'. As you can see, I'm admitting I was wrong and I'm putting it up on the front page for all to see, not in fine print or buried on the original post. Take the hint, assholes.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Burning bushes

Via Corrente from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:

"Gabriel! Gabriel! What is all of this flap about my 10 Commandments?"

"It's the Americans again, Lord. They are fighting about where their government can post the commandments. It's gone all the way to their Supreme Court." "Didn't I make it clear that the important thing is to obey them? I know I put them on stone tablets, but that was only to help Moses out. They should be written on the heart. Didn't I say that?" "Yes, Lord, but now politics has gotten involved in it and. . ."

"Politics. Nothing political ever comes from heaven. Politics comes from the other place. I guess I should have left that commandment in about separation of church and state. I thought they were smart enough to figure that out." [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Ma! He's doin' it again an' I gotta use the bathroom...

Wolcott's at it again. He somehow finds time to write, though. This time he's on about a subject that came up peripherally in my post, just below, on MoDo.
Unlike priests of yore, who condemned masturbation as a sin, the first stumble towards damnation, this enlightened father took a more character-building tack, saying that what was wrong with fondling yourself was that it was "selfish."

I must have made a face because the priest looked at me and asked me to say what was on my mind.

"But, Father," I piped up, "some things can't be shared."

Masturbation isn't a glamorous activity or the best topic of conversation to broach in a crowded elevator, but if it can keep dogs from being bothered and help undermine the American empire, it serves a social utility.

Some of my proposed-and-wisely-discarded responses made me blush!

And for you Wolcott-o-philes, this other kind of self-flogging:
I will be part of the panel on this Sunday's Topic [A] with Tina Brown (CNBC, 8 PM) along with--well, it's quite a crew, quite a posse, but for you blog voyeurs the salient datum is that Ana Marie Cox is also riding the sofa. Wonkette's Hot Pick of the Week is "long walks on the beach and cuddling in front of a cozy fire." I sometimes doubt her sincerity.

Filet Away, My Dear

My favorite redhead, Maureen Dowd, has an Op-Ed today about the disparity in attitude towards male and female columnists.
When I need to work up my nerve to write a tough column, I try to think of myself as Emma Peel in a black leather catsuit, giving a kung fu kick to any diabolical mastermind who merits it.

I think of you that way often, Mo, when I need to work something up!
There's an intense debate going on now about why newspapers have so few female columnists. Out of what will soon be eight Times Op-Ed columnists - nine, counting the public editor - I'm the only woman.

While a man writing a column taking on the powerful may be seen as authoritative, a woman doing the same thing may be seen as castrating. If a man writes a scathing piece about men in power, it's seen as his job; a woman can be cast as an emasculating man-hater. I'm often asked how I can be so "mean" - a question that Tom Friedman, who writes plenty of tough columns, doesn't get.

Even the metaphors used to describe my column play into the castration theme: my scalpel, my cutting barbs, razor-sharp hatchet, Clinton-skewering and Bush-whacking. "Does she," The L.A. Times's Patt Morrison wondered, "write on a computer or a Ronco Slicer and Dicer?"

Some men are extra sensitive about that shit since Lorena Bobbett "acted out" men's worst fear, Mo. Some men either have no visible reason to fear castration, or should really be concerned about it. Either way, they should take a long, hard look at themselves.
This job has not come easily to me. But I have no doubt there are plenty of brilliant women who would bring grace and guts to our nation's op-ed pages, just as, Lawrence Summers notwithstanding, there are plenty of brilliant women out there who are great at math and science. We just need to find and nurture them.

My favorite topic-specific columnists are men, like Friedman and Krugman, but my favorite general-purpose columnists are women. I like to read female bloggers, too. There's certainly no dearth of brains and opinionatedness on the distaff side, or "the better half" as us married men have learned to call it.

9/11

I just found this, something I'd forgotten about. Since we've been on about 9/11 lately, and the fact that the two-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War is coming up this week, I figured I'd post it as a reminder of why Bush has been able to walk all over the Constitution with impunity. His gift from Allah, so to speak. This was written by Mrs. F a couple days after the attack as an explanation to my German relatives.

14 September 2001

Hello there!

I wanted to tell you what has happened here, from my vantage point. This is not to scare you, but to let you know what I have been through and that I have made it out ok.


More below the fold . . .

Another day in Jesusland

Does this surprise anyone?

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (Reuters) - A man opened fire with a handgun at a church service in a Wisconsin hotel on Saturday, killing seven people and wounding four before taking his own life, police said.

[. . .]

What a set

The people who run Blogger have the balls to start their own blog. Notice they don't allow comments, so guys like me can't say, even though it's free, that BLOGGER SUCKS WET MONKEY ASS!!!!!!Maru)

Personality

Via Michael Hawkins:

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (69%) moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.
Orderliness (53%) medium which suggests you are moderately organized, hard working, and reliable while still remaining flexible, efficient, and fun.
Extraversion (66%) moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com


This is mine. Ain't as fucked up as I thought I was. At least it didn't say I had the personality of a dial tone. What I can't believe is that I'm actually playing with this shit at this time of the morning.