Saturday, May 28, 2005

Yes, I know

I changed the look again in my unending, anal-retentive quest to make this thing read better. I think I just need new glasses.

Update: 21:20:

The Mrs. says I need new glasses.

Multi-Purpose Editorializing

William Rivers Pitt on Iraq, the draft, the Senate filibuster compromise 'n other stuff. I think he crammed it all into one op-ed so he could make his weekend!
This war does not exist in American living rooms; it is only truly real in the towns that surround Bragg, Ord, Lejeune, and Benning, where the families of the soldiers forced to fight this war live and wait and worry. It is real only at Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies arrive home under a cloak of secrecy, entombed in their 'transfer tubes' and wrapped in the flag.

The war certainly does not exist on my television, and I am tired of that as well. The television news media's consensus-building machine works all day and night on a half-dozen news channels, and according to them, all is fine and dandy. It is amazing how effective these small boxes are at controlling the thoughts, emotions and desires of our population. It is daunting to try to come up with a way to get around their noise.

With no draft today, with our volunteer army, most people are not staring down the barrel of having to practice what they preach. Patriotism, nationalism and the kill-em-all ethic is a safe place to stand these days, because no civilian is going to get a letter containing orders to report.

As tempting as it might be for some to try to roll this rock down the hill, the truth of the matter is that the draft is no answer to this problem. First of all, the Bush administration would have to be out of its collective mind to call for one. They have the people right where they want them - snowed, buffaloed and disengaged - and a draft would change that overnight.

I'm very tired. I am tired of hearing about democracy in Iraq when no such thing exists. I am tired of people like Bush using terms like freedom as an advertising pitch for actions that promote anything but freedom. The word itself sounds like a dead fish in his mouth. I am tired of dead soldiers, dead civilians, I am tired of our highest ideals being used to peddle profiteering by war, and I am so damned tired of trying to shake people into doing something about it before we all go over the cliff.

Sure, they got three of their wacko judges onto the appellate court as part of the deal, but the filibuster will be available when - not if, but when - a nominee is put forth to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. In other words, Senate Democrats, working with Republicans who were willing to defy their own leader, saved Roe v. Wade, and kept the GOP from owning the entire government from soup to nuts.

This, perhaps, is the leading edge of something I have been watching for these last months: A civil war in the ranks of the GOP between the movement fundamentalists and the old-school conservatives. On this filibuster fight, the movement fundamentalists got their lunch eaten by the old-schoolers, and there will be hell to pay.

So yeah, I'm tired. But maybe, just maybe, the clouds are parting a little bit here. It has been a long road to get to this admittedly desolate spot, and it is a longer road ahead. Just put one foot in front of the other, and see where it all winds up.

He must've been an Infantryman.

Lefties Unite!

To Impeach Bush. I'll let the Sister explain it:

In follow up to this post, I'm working on compiling the list of bloggers who would like to be part of the Big Brass Alliance. (Whether we'll make it in time to support After Downing Street, I don't know, but it will be a good thing to have in place for the future.)

This is the list I have so far:

Here is the gist of it:

A coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups announced a campaign today to urge that the U.S. Congress launch a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush.

[. . .]

The Media and Memorial Day

Norman Solomon gives a little perspective on the annual media coverage of Memorial Day. Via Truthout.
Memorial Day weekend brings media rituals. Old Glory flutters on television and newsprint. Grave ceremonies and oratory pay homage to the fallen. Many officials and pundits speak of remembering the dead. But for all the talk of war and remembrance, no time is more infused with insidious forgetting than the last days of May.

This is a holiday that features solemn evasion. Speech-makers and commentators praise the "ultimate sacrifice" of American soldiers -- but say nothing about the duplicity of those who sacrificed them. War efforts are equated with indubitable patriotism. Journalists claim to be writing the latest draft of history, but actual history is no more present than the dead.

In the truncated media universe of Memorial Day, the act of remembering bypasses any history that indicates an American war was not inevitable and unavoidable. The populace is made to understand that God and nature must be death dealers. We are encouraged to extol those who bravely gave their lives and took the lives of others -- but not confront those, high in the U.S. government's executive and legislative branches, who cravenly gave their fervent blessings to gratuitous carnage.

The Orwellian process of rigorous forgetting is not only about past wars. It's also about the next war.

Memory with integrity should inform our understanding, on Memorial Day and every day. If we remember the Americans who were killed but forget the people they killed -- if we remain silent while media scripts exclude crucial aspects of history that demolish Washington's claims of high moral ground -- the propaganda system for war can remain intact. When journalists defer to that silence, they're part of the deadly problem.

Perhaps we should rename our "Free Press". How about the "Official Press" or "Ministry of What Your Rulers Want You To Know"?

There are exceptions to the practice of white-washing and "filtering", of course, but we need a lot more journalists to "grow some sack" as Fixer so eloquently puts it.


Just . . . duh! Via Smirking Chimp.

Here. [July '04]
Here. [September '04]
Here. [October '04]
Here. [November '04]


I wonder how many of 'em got suckered into playing 3-card Monte on the street during the Repub Convention here in NYC in '04.

Border security

Froggy says the Canadians should tighten theirs . . . to keep certain Americans out.


I told ya. The lovely Pam:

Adelphia cable adds gay channels, dumps Christian ones

The Conyers Report

John Lombard looks it over.

Foreshadowing 2

Pissed off Patricia at Blondie's points up why those who voted for the war in Iraq, before voting against it should have called bullshit from jump-street. This means you John Kerry.

Arbeit macht frei

Work continues on Auschwitz South's Guantanamo's death chamber. BBC via Granny:

A court and execution chamber could be built at the US detention camp in Cuba under plans being drawn up by military officials.

[. . .]

Pentagon rules for the tribunals permit death sentences to be passed and the construction of a death chamber at the camp is among options being considered.

[. . .]

All have been classified as "enemy combatants" and as such are not entitled to legal representation or a civil trial. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

So how does this differ from Nazi Germany? Fifty years from now, are they gonna conduct tours through there like they do at the camps in Europe?

"Look to your right, ladies and gentlemen," the guide says. "In this building, several hundred Islamic insurgents were put to death, though their trials were secret and no credible intelligence was ever gleaned from them. Those were the bad old days, we call it 'The Time of Fear' now, when the Americans feared and distrusted anyone different from them. Thankfully, since we moved to a world government, people are not judged by the color of their skin or their religious orientation anymore. Most of you are too young to remember when the Chief Executive of the Planet Earth signed the Anti-discrimination Decree of 2011 to undo the damage of the final American Presidential administration. On an optimistic note, former U.S. President George W. Bush passed away last week, a month short of his 95th birthday, after a brief illness. Earth Guard commanders at the Planetary Detention Facility at Leavenworth say he has been a model prisoner since being convicted of war crimes 35 years ago by the Planetary Criminal Court in The Hague. This internment camp here at Guantanamo has been preserved as a lasting reminder of his, and America's, tyranny during the early part of this century. Up ahead, you can see the field that were once unmarked graves . . ."

Semper Fi, Eddie

Eddie Albert, long time movie star, best known for his role as a transplanted city slicker in the TV show "Green Acres" passed away at age 99. A short obit here.

What a lot of folks don't know, and Mr. Albert did not talk about until a few years ago, is that he was a genuine war hero during the WWII battle for Tarawa in 1943. He probably didn't have to go due to his age, but he saw his duty and did it. From a "Green Acres" site:
The outbreak of World War II sent Albert into the U.S. Navy as a junior officer, and he distinguished himself during 1943 in the fighting on Tarawa. Assigned as the salvage officer in the shore party of the second landing wave (which engaged in heavy fighting with the Japanese), his job was to examine military equipment abandoned on the battlefield to see if it should be retrieved; but what he found were wounded men who had been left behind under heavy fire. Albert took them off the beach in a small launch not designed for that task, earning commendations for his bravery. A bona fide hero, he was sent home to support a War Bond drive (though he never traded on his war experiences, and didn't discussing them in detail on-camera until the 1990s).

He was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts.

Please remember Edward Albert Heimberger and the 1000 other WWII vets who pass away every day as you enjoy the Memorial Day holiday.

Friday, May 27, 2005

This is good

Maybe I can unpack my road box?

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) offerred the following amendment to the House defense appropriation (H.AMDT.214 as an amendment to H.R.1815).

"It is the sense of Congress that the president should—

(1) develop a plan as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act to provide for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq; and

(2) transmit to the congressional defense committees a report that contains the plan described in paragraph (1)."

[. . .]

From Holden at First Draft. This is also related to Gord's post below.

Things are looking up maybe? It's nice to see somebody thinking about the endgame. Maybe the discourse will become louder. Maybe I won't get drafted after all.

A Slight, But Encouraging, Trend

I am struck today by the hopeful tone of our posts. (Just scroll down. I'm lazy.) It appears that folks are starting to notice there's been something shoved up their butts by this administration and may at last be trying to do something about it. Bush, Bolton, DeLay, Specter, even the "Referrals".

Fixer says it well:
It's coming apart, boys and girls. The Dems are finally growing some sack. It's good to see. This is how you deal with bullies who are all flash and little substance. You get in their face and dare 'em to call you out. 9 times out of 10, they'll back down and crawl away. You know what we call 'em in NYC? Loosahs.

We call 'em about the same thing, but without the accent.

Not just the Dems, either. Keep it up, boys and girls.


One again going over site stats and amused at the search terms used (Google) that will spit people out here.

"Brain Ethics"
"Bend Over"
"God and Sex"
"Religious Hypocrisy"
"Texas Babe"
"Man Lugies"

And my favorite of the week:

"Bush got Wood"

On many levels.

Yippy Skippy F**k!

OK, maybe I'm slightly over-exuberant, but this is good news. From the Houston Chronicle:
AUSTIN - A judge ruled Thursday that the treasurer of a political committee founded by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay violated state campaign-finance laws by not reporting more than $500,000 in corporate money used to influence Texas House elections.

Though state District Judge Joe Hart did not specifically rule on whether the money was raised and spent illegally, he declared it was all campaign money. Texas law bans the use of corporate or labor-union money to influence votes in state races.

Hart's ruling against Bill Ceverha immediately prompted calls from DeLay opponents — including former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, D-Houston, and advocacy groups in Austin and Washington — for an expanded investigation into DeLay's activities by the U.S. House Ethics Committee.

Texans for Public Justice in Austin and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington also called for new investigations into DeLay's role in the corporate fund-raising.

"The House Ethics Committee has run out of excuses for avoiding an investigation into Rep. DeLay's involvement with TRMPAC," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW.

A spokesman for the House Ethics Committee did not return calls for comment.

Like, duh.
Sloan said DeLay engaged in a "conspiracy to violate" Texas campaign laws "in order to gerrymander Texas congressional districts."

Craig McDonald, executive director of Texans for Public Justice, said Hart's ruling shows that further federal investigation of DeLay is needed.

"It's very bad news for Tom DeLay," McDonald said. "We think it shows the need for an independent counsel to investigate this matter and other matters involving DeLay in Washington."

Public Citizen called for DeLay to resign.

"It is clear that (DeLay) has abused the public trust and is unfit to lead. He should step down from his leadership post immediately," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook.

That is a big change from a political hack like Claybrook, former director of NHTSA and the impetus behind the "Backward Bike", but that's another story.

A little butter and jam on DeLay? I'm aroused!

Should we call yet?

From Raw Story:
A coalition of activist groups running the gamut of social and political issues will ask Congress to file a Resolution of Inquiry, the first necessary legal step to determine whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in misleading the country about his decision to go to war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

“The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people,” Bonifaz wrote in a memo to the ranking House Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers (D-MI), outlining the case.

Blair and other British officials have not questioned the minutes’ veracity.

“When a president so callously distorts the facts, manipulates the public and is responsible for so much needless death and destruction, he must be held accountable,” Benjamin told RAW STORY.

Other members of the coalition, loosely titled “After Downing Street,” concur.

“It is time for Congress to do its duty and ask: “Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction, suppressing contrary intelligence …and exaggerated the danger Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?” said Kevin Zeese, founder of Democracy Rising.

I ain't hangin' my hat on this, but at least somebody's doing something.

Shut It Down

Thomas Friedman on Gitmo:
Shut it down. Just shut it down.

I am talking about the war-on-terrorism P.O.W. camp at Guantánamo Bay. Just shut it down and then plow it under. It has become worse than an embarrassment. I am convinced that more Americans are dying and will die if we keep the Gitmo prison open than if we shut it down. So, please, Mr. President, just shut it down.

If you want to appreciate how corrosive Guantánamo has become for America's standing abroad, don't read the Arab press. Don't read the Pakistani press. Don't read the Afghan press. Hop over here to London or go online and just read the British press! See what our closest allies are saying about Gitmo. And when you get done with that, read the Australian press and the Canadian press and the German press.

Guantánamo Bay is becoming the anti-Statue of Liberty. If we have a case to be made against any of the 500 or so inmates still in Guantánamo, then it is high time we put them on trial, convict as many possible (which will not be easy because of bungled interrogations) and then simply let the rest go home or to a third country. Sure, a few may come back to haunt us. But at least they won't be able to take advantage of Guantánamo as an engine of recruitment to enlist thousands more. I would rather have a few more bad guys roaming the world than a whole new generation.

"This is not about being for or against the war," said Michael Posner, the executive director of Human Rights First, which is closely following this issue. "It is about doing it right. If we are going to transform the Middle East, we have to be law-abiding and uphold the values we want them to embrace - otherwise it is not going to work."

I totally agree, but saying "please" to this president is like saying "please" to a pig eatin' the seed corn: he just ignores you, craps on yer foot, and keeps emptyin' the trough of our future. You gotta kick him in the ass. Real hard.

Running Out Of Bubbles

Paul Krugman, who no doubt has read Fixer's posts (Hell, he's in one of 'em), here and here, on the "housing bubble", comments further in today's NYTimes.
In July 2001, Paul McCulley, an economist at Pimco, the giant bond fund, predicted that the Federal Reserve would simply replace one bubble with another. "There is room," he wrote, "for the Fed to create a bubble in housing prices, if necessary, to sustain American hedonism. And I think the Fed has the will to do so, even though political correctness would demand that Mr. Greenspan deny any such thing.

As Mr. McCulley predicted, interest rate cuts led to soaring home prices, which led in turn not just to a construction boom but to high consumer spending, because homeowners used mortgage refinancing to go deeper into debt. All of this created jobs to make up for those lost when the stock bubble burst.

Now the question is what can replace the housing bubble.

Nobody thought the economy could rely forever on home buying and refinancing. But the hope was that by the time the housing boom petered out, it would no longer be needed.

Even Alan Greenspan now admits that we have "characteristics of bubbles" in the housing market, but only "in certain areas." And it's true that the craziest scenes are concentrated in a few regions, like coastal Florida and California.

Folks, I'm here to tell ya this is absolutely true. Me 'n Mrs. G just returned from "coastal California" where we did a 1031 exchange of properties (a way to take some profit and minimize capital gains tax) totaling nearly a million dollars. If you saw the places involved, you'd think we were nuts. Housing prices are crazy out here, but if ya wanta play, ya gotta pay. I think it's just that the money ain't worth jack shit any more.

One of (maybe the only) advantage of reaching our advanced age is that we bought our first house over thirty years ago just before California real estate prices hit the afterburner. Thank you, Lord. Prices have increased at a rising rate, almost exponential, in the last few years, way out of proportion to actual value. The house I am sitting in hasn't changed much in 25 years, but it would fetch five times what we paid for it. Great. We could live under a bridge with shopping bags full of cash.

I think my point is that us old farts aren't negatively affected by all this, but how the Hell do young families afford a home of their own? By going into crushing debt and risking their families' future, that's how. "Ownership Society", my ass. Lose a job, get sick, have bad luck, lose everything. Oh yeah, did I mention that it's harder to declare bankruptcy these days? The "Ownership" will be by banks and mortgage companies, big Republican contributors, all of 'em. They want to own you if you can't make your exorbitant payments.
So what happens if the housing bubble bursts? It will be the same thing all over again, unless the Fed can find something to take its place. And it's hard to imagine what that might be. After all, the Fed's ability to manage the economy mainly comes from its ability to create booms and busts in the housing market. If housing enters a post-bubble slump, what's left?

Good question. One thing is certain: the Ruling Class will have a tighter grip on this country, and the end of Democracy as we know it will be a lot closer.

Memorial Day

[This was originally posted 27 May 2004, a year ago. I could have written it today.]

Why I bitch

You're probably saying to yourself. "Boy, the old Fixer-man is a bigger idiot than usual, bitching about this Memorial Day thing, and Americans forgetting what this weekend is all about."

You know why? Because I dodged bullets for four years in Asia, drug interdiction in South America, and killing a few Cuban Communists in Grenada. I've lost friends over the years, guys (and gals, you politically-correct busybodies) who had the same things to live for that I did, families, hopes and dreams to make something of themselves and a better life for their kids. In short, I hate war.

I am a child of war, but call me the silver lining in the dark cloud of World War II. My mom was a German Army nurse during that war, and my dad was a British paratrooper. They met in Jamaica, Queens in 1953, after dad came back from the Korean Conflict. Yes, the poor bastard moved to the U.S. after WWII and was promptly drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950. They met and married and gave birth to one child, yours truly. In my family, on both sides, going back five hundred years, military service was understood.

I had to be coaxed, at age 17, to enlist (It was either enlist or serve 6 months on a Grand Theft Auto charge). And I'm grateful that my dad convinced the judge to give me a chance to redeem myself. I served eight years total (6 regular AF, 2 active reserve), and I'm proud of the part I played in protecting the country. I'd go again if they'd take this broken down old carcass, and there are many who would also go to protect this country without question. Old bastards like me who love America and would gladly lay down our lives to protect what we have. There are many like me, a couple million of them serving on active duty right now.

They go, without question, to where our leaders send them. They lay their lives on the line every day to do what our leaders say is a noble job. They will do it again and again because they made the commitment, officers and enlisted, generals to privates, they all made their commitments to the noble ideals of the United States of America. It is our leaders' responsiblity to assure the correctness of their sacrifice. People with such commitment do not deserve to have their lives wasted by those who have never looked into the business end of an enemy rifle. Unfortunately, I feel the lives of our boys and girls are being wasted in Iraq, and that pisses me off.

We have a bunch of guys in Washington who've never served in the military. Yes, I include President No Nuts because the only reason he went into the Guard was that there was no other way out. To these guys, the lives of our military personnel are just numbers on a ledger sheet, not exeptionally trained, valuable resources who should not be squandered in pursuit of imperialistic dreams.

Solders hate war. Anybody who enjoys killing, even in wartime, is a psychopath, period. Ask any general if he wants to put his people in harm's way. he'll tell you that a reality of war is that he has to, but he doesn't want to, and he doesn't want to do it frivolously. The glib frivoloity with which the Bush Administration went to war in Iraq is criminal, and the lack of planning for the aftermath is treasonous. I'm sorry, to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have perished in Iraq, to the families who will have an empty chair at future holiday gatherings, to all those who have suffered because of this fiasco, but 800 lives have been lost for NOTHING. You have not sacrificed your lives to protect this great nation and the Constitution, you were murdered by people who only see your lives as a means to an end. Hopefully, some time soon, they will be forced to pay.

Yes, I am one pissed off motherfucker this Memorial Day. 800 of my brothers and sisters are dead, close to 5000 wounded, for NOTHING. They say Bush went to war to avenge his daddy. Well, I want vengeance for our honored dead this past year. Getting Bush out in November is not good enough. I want him in jail.

[The number of dead has doubled and the number of wounded has quadrupled in a year, and God knows how many innocent Iraqis have been killed and maimed. Everything else still applies.]

Hand puppets

Norbizness shoves his arm up Arlen Specter's ass and makes his lips move:

[. . .]

And to the President, I humbly ask: you gonna make this your first veto, asshole? We've sent you some insane shit for over FOUR YEARS... sometimes intentionally crazy stuff that no person within 2 billion light years of remotely conservative could have signed in good conscience... AND YOU KEPT SIGNING THE BILLS!

[. . .]

Thanks to Francesca for the link


WASHINGTON May 26, 2005 — Democrats forced the Senate to put off a final vote Thursday on John R. Bolton's nomination to be U.N. ambassador, the latest setback for the tough-talking nominee President Bush has called strong medicine for corruption and inefficiency at the United Nations.

[. . .]

The dramatic roll call underscored that, despite the compromise the two parties' centrists forged just days ago in a bitter dispute over judicial nominees, most senators still had a taste for partisan confrontation over a polarizing figure like Bolton.

It also raised questions about Bush's ability to win confirmation of some of his more ideological appointees as he begins his second term in the White House. And it was a setback for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who was hoping to end nearly three months of delays and investigation and finally deliver Bolton's nomination for the president.

It's coming apart, boys and girls. The Dems are finally growing some sack. It's good to see. This is how you deal with bullies who are all flash and little substance. You get in their face and dare 'em to call you out. 9 times out of 10, they'll back down and crawl away. You know what we call 'em in NYC? Loosahs.

Reminds me of a story of when I was bouncing at the Oak Beach Inn/South [Pay attention, Mr. Heretik]. Had some muscle-bound IROC (Italian Retard Out Cruising) in there one night, bothering most of the women. A couple girls gave me the heads up.

I grab him by the arm and say, "Hey, pal, why don't you lighten up?"

Reply: "Fuck you or I'll kick your ass."

"I'll set you in the parking lot if you don't calm down," I say. "Everybody's having a good time, you don't need a fight on your hands."

Him, puffing out his chest at me: "I don't need to fight." In other words, not many people have the balls to fuck with him.

Me: "Well ya do this time." One shot to the jaw knocked him clean out. Then I made his buddies carry him out to his car. I got a standing-O from the women present.

Moral: Stand up to bullies. They ain't as tough as they say they are.

Thanks to Lambert for the link

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Attention! Attention! John has an announcement:

[. . .]

Attention insurgents! We thought you might want to know that we'll be surrounding your city next week. At that time, we will round you up, and you will be Abu Ghraibed. Please don't leave before then. Thanks for your support!

[. . .]

That is all.

The stench of hypocrisy 8

Christine on Sen. Sam Brownnose Brownback:

It appears that Sam Brownback (R-KS) isn't thinking very clearly. He thinks Democrats shouldn't be able to use the filibuster to block judicial nominees, but the wingnut section of the Senate should be able to use the filibuster to block the easing of restrictions on stem cell research.

[. . .]


Take it from me, it's a bitch to get a handle on.

[. . .]

I don't think it took any genius to have forseen the Mess that would cover Mesopotamia in darkness once Beloved Leader launched his reelection adventure across the Iraqi border. A short reading of Iraqi history would have revealed a lot about the fate of other "foreigners" who sought to control Iraq. The pundits who cried "You don't have to have served to be an expert!" are still sitting comfortably on the sidelines as the LT Goodrum's come back to face their silent ordeals at the sound of any loud noise, smell or other trigger that transports them back to that awful place. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Bush's grandiose schemes of Empire are the only reason these poor kids will have to endure this for the rest of their lives. Go read DemVet's entire post.

*Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Gulag Amerika

South Knox Bubba's in El Reno, OK, on his "California or Bust Tour". I was looking to find something to kid him with and found this.

What Wal-Mart costs us

One 200-person Wal-Mart store may result in a cost to federal taxpayers of $420,750 per year – about $2,103 per employee.

[. . .]

Dave Johnson shows us how they're getting rich on our dime.

Whaddaya mean, 'funny'?

Maru, fully and completely:

Funny, that
'At the begining of the Afghanistan war many people believed that we actually went to war so a consortium of large oil companies could build a pipeline that would get oil out of the land-locked Caspian Sea. That pipeline has just been turned on.'

Mr. Michael Moore, will you please stand up.

Sometimes You are Just Screwed

Juan Cole on Iraq:
Readers occasionally write me complaining that I do not offer any solutions to the problems in Iraq. Let me just step back from the daily train wreck news from the region to complain back that there aren't any short-term, easy solutions to the problems in Iraq.

The US military cannot defeat the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement any time soon for so many reasons that they cannot all be listed.

He gives a rundown of all the obstacles facing our military and finally gets to the heart of the matter:
The quality of leadership in Washington is extremely bad. George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and outgoing Department of Defense officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, have turned in an astonishingly poor performance in Iraq. Their attempt to demonstrate US military might has turned into a showcase for US weakness in the face of Islamic and nationalist guerrillas, giving heart to al-Qaeda and other unconventional enemies of the United States.

In an ideal world, the United States would relinquish Iraq to a United Nations military command, and the world would pony up the troops needed to establish order in the country in return for Iraqi good will in post-war contract bids. But that is not going to happen for many reasons. George W. Bush is a stubborn man and Iraq is his project, and he is not going to give up on it. And, by now the rest of the world knows what would await its troops in Iraq, and political leaders are not so stupid as to send their troops into a meat grinder.

Therefore, I conclude that the United States is stuck in Iraq for the medium term, and perhaps for the long term. The guerrilla war is likely to go on a decade to 15 years. Given the basic facts, of capable, trained and numerous guerrillas, public support for them from Sunnis, access to funding and munitions, increasing civil turmoil, and a relatively small and culturally poorly equipped US military force opposing them, led by a poorly informed and strategically clueless commander-in-chief who has made himself internationally unpopular, there is no near-term solution.

Bush has turned his Iraq fantasy into a Roach Motel for our troops and our country as a whole: they check in, but they don't check out. If anybody has ever better proven the old adage "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread", I'd like to hear about it.

What's yer favorite whine?

Go read Joe Conason's take on the whiney-ass Republican bitches in the wake of the Senate compromise on the filibuster. Via Working For Change.
The "nuclear option" represented an assault on the structures that make self-government possible in a large, diverse and sharply divided nation. This was an ideological minority's attempt to exploit the Senate -- where small rural states enjoy disproportional weight -- and seize absolute power. In the name of the Constitution, they tried to rip down the barriers to factional domination that were erected by the nation's founders.

Their defeat is democracy's victory.

Let's hope. I hope it ain't like shooting down a few planes at Pearl Harbor: a minor victory in a great disaster.

Mrs. F is happy!

Fleet Week Drops Anchor In Manhattan

(New York -WABC, May 25, 2005) — The U.S. Navy is inviting the city on-board for fleet week. It's an annual rite of spring, with flyovers, 21 gun salutes and a parade of ships up the Hudson River.

It started at 9:00 a.m. this morning when the ships passed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

From there they headed north to the George Washington [Bridge]. But along the way they'll pay special tribute as they pass the World Trade Center.


From the lovely Francesca:

The man who brought you Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast (but apparently not Freedom Kisses) is now criticizing the war in Iraq, stating that we went to war "with no justification."

While it's good that one of the brain-dead Repub idiots has seen the light, this makes me want to strangle someone. It took you two fucking years and over sixteen hundred of our children's lives to realize this? What do you say to your constituents now? Oops? Sorry, never mind? My bad? You deserve to be in jail with Bush, Cheney, and the rest, you motherfucker.


CAIRO, Egypt May 24, 2005 — Al-Qaida's branch in Iraq, blamed for numerous terror attacks on U.S. and Iraqi targets, said Tuesday in an Internet posting that its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been wounded and called on supporters to pray for his recovery. The posting's authenticity could not be verified, but it was posted on a Web site known for carrying prior statements by al-Qaida in Iraq and other militant groups.

[. . .]

So fucking what? Is he in U.S. custody? No. Is he in anybody's custody? No. So, this is the same situation as the one with Osama. We've wasted how many lives and how much money, and the most we can do is wound this fucking guy? In the meantime, we're creating more martyrs for the Jihadist cause. After close to 4 years since 9/11, the 'War on Terror' has become just as big a joke as the 'War on Drugs'. Inept assholes.

*Big Fucking Deal


I don't know about anybody else, but my reputation means everything to me. As most of you know, besides being a writer, I'm a semi-retired mechanic. Keeping a reputation for ethics and integrity when swimming in a sea of sharks ain't easy, but I (my boss and the guys I work with too) have managed to do it for over 30 years.

The reputation of my country means a lot to me too, and this just pisses me off:

Amnesty International Thursday called the U.S. military's anti-terror prison at Guantanamo Bay the "gulag of our times" and warned that American leaders may face international prosecution for mistreating prisoners.

"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity," said Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan at a London news conference releasing the group's annual report on global human rights, a blistering, 308-page survey. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

25 years ago, I joined the military to protect this nation from the USSR, the people who invented the word 'gulag'. We have become what despise the most.

Hat tip: RJ Eskow blogging @ Skippy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fuck Support our troops 2

Like I've said a million times before, this government only supports the troops who are able bodied enough to carry a rifle.

Thanks to Badtux for the link.

Improving our image in the Arab world

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Syrian government has halted all cooperation with the United States in sharing information about the war on terror, Syria's ambassador said Tuesday.

Imad Moustapha told CNN that Syria's decision came in the wake of recent "unfair and inaccurate" statements by U.S. officials that Damascus was allowing foreign fighters to cross Syria's border to aid in the insurgency in Iraq.

[. . .]

Good thing we sent Laura to the region, huh? (Hat tip: Jill at Skippy's, who has an idea of how to fix this.)

And a happy note, the Mrs. just leaned over (we're both sitting in bed, each with a laptop) and told me she just finished booking our 15th anniversary trip to Paris in November. Yay!

Blatant whoring

I don't do it often, but I enjoy being ahead of the curve:

Nanotechnology could soon enable a new generation of chemical and biological weapons that could escape current arms inspection schemes, experts told UPI's Nano World."There is a very good possibility of weapons developed on the most recent advancements in nanotechnology in the next 10 years or so," said social scientist Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra of the National University of Mexico in Mexico City.

"Nanotechnology does have a lot of potential benefits, especially in terms of preventing chemical and biological attacks with more effective sensors, and with more effective means of containing chemical or biological releases.

[. . .]

My latest novel Technocracy [due out in a couple months] deals with just this subject. Also makes an excellent doorstop.

Thanks to the King of Zembla for the link.

Apropos of absolutely nothing...

I'm sitting here enjoying some soda pop, hoping nobody posts anything really funny, and I just thought I'd share it with you. If you haven't tried Jarritos, Mexico's favorite (and I presume here legally) brand, you should. My favorite flavor is tamarindo.

I like agua de arroz aka "Horchata" too.

Western Iraq Progress Report

From the LATimes:
Just three battalions of Marines are stationed in the western part of the province, down from four a few months ago. Marine officials in western Al Anbar say that each of those battalions is smaller by one company than last year, meaning there are approximately 2,100 Marines there now, compared with about 3,600 last year.

Some U.S. military officers in Al Anbar province say that commanders in Baghdad and the Pentagon have denied their repeated requests for more troops.

"[Commanders] can't use the word, but we're withdrawing," said one U.S. military official in Al Anbar province, who asked not to be identified because it is the Pentagon that usually speaks publicly about troop levels. "Slowly, that's what we're doing."

"Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys."

Yet as soon as the operation concluded, the Marines crossed back over the Euphrates River and left no U.S. or Iraqi government presence in the region — generally considered a major mistake in counterinsurgency warfare.

One more exact parallel to Vietnam, I think.
"I really want to believe that we are making great progress right now," said the counterinsurgency expert at the Pentagon. "What's killing us right now, literally and figuratively, is the foreign fighters. We just need to catch a few breaks."

At the same time, the official said he expected it would take years to finish the job.

"If we can win this thing in six years, we're setting new land speed records," he said.

At last, one of 'em tells some truth. I'm sure the administration will conduct a massive investigation to purge that guy.

Bulworth takes on the Terminator

Warren Beatty unloads on Ah-nold. From the LATimes:
In the last few months, Beatty, the star of and force behind such seminal films as "Shampoo" and "Bonnie and Clyde," has become the first big name to break the entertainment community's unofficial speak-no-evil toward Schwarzenegger and his wife, Shriver.

Over the weekend, Beatty, 68, gave his first commencement speech ever to the graduating class of UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and used the occasion to humorously but witheringly attack Schwarzenegger — much like the candid candidate Jay Billington Bulworth from his 1998 political satire. He derided the governor for "his reactionary right-wing agenda," "his bullying of labor and the little guy," his plan to spend money on a "totally unnecessary special election" and his refusal to raise taxes on the rich. Beatty asked Schwarzenegger to "cut down the photo ops, the fake events, the fake issues, the fake crowds ... the scapegoats, the 'language problems,' the broken promises, the 'Minutemen,' the prevarications and put some sunlight on some taxes.

Still, as it's been for decades, whenever Beatty talks, the media wonder if he's planning to run for public office. During his speech, Beatty said that Schwarzenegger "knows I'm a private citizen just as he was a year ago, I'm an opponent of his muscle-bound conservatism with a longer experience in politics than he has and, although I don't want to run for governor, I'd do one helluva lot better job than he's done." A couple of days later, Beatty demurs and seems keen on simply being a "truth teller," although he does say, "One never knows at what point one becomes sufficiently inflamed to take a step that one does not basically want to take."

I think if it comes to that, I'd a lot rather have a guy who goes trolling for bored housewives on a 500 Triumph with a hair dryer stuck in his belt for governor than a guy who talks funny (albeit a lot better than Bush) with chain guns in either hand and a grenade launcher in the other on a Hog. A kinder, gentler image, I guess.

Say what you will about California, when it comes to goobernatorial politics we're a lot more colorful than, oh, I don't know, anywhere else!

This is winning

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US House of Representatives voted to approve federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research despite President George W. Bush saying he will veto such a bill.

The measure passed the Republican dominated House by a 238-194 vote, paving the way for a confrontation between Bush and lawmakers in his own party over the controversial measure which divides many Americans.

[. . .]

Putting Chimpy in a position to use his first veto in order to shoot down a bill that passed a Repub-controlled Legislature is outstanding. Looks even better than Frist with McCain's shitstains on his face.

Duck and cover time

Molly Ivins quotes Texas state representative Senfronia Thompson addressing the Lege on the anti-gay marriage measure they just passed:

"Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination... When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about 'protecting the institution of marriage' as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree... Fifty years ago, white folks thought interracial marriages were 'a threat to the institution of marriage.

"Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, 'Gay people can't marry.' I have never read the verse where it says, 'Thou shalt discriminate against those not like me.' I have never read the verse where it says, 'Let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination.' Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness -- not hate and discrimination."


Please go read the rest.


What did we win?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed the first of President Bush's disputed judicial nominees, part of a truce between Democrats and Republicans that will allow the White House to get some of its most conservative choices on the federal bench.

[. . .]

The Senate's Real Leader

From David Broder in today's WaPo:
The Monday night agreement to avert a showdown vote over judicial filibusters not only spared the Senate from a potentially ruinous clash, but also certified John McCain as the real leader of that body.

In contrast to Majority Leader Bill Frist, who was unable to negotiate a compromise with Minority Leader Harry Reid or hold his Republicans in line to clear the way for all of President Bush's nominees to be confirmed, McCain looks like the man who achieved his objectives.

If -- as many expect -- McCain and Frist find themselves rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, the gap in their performance will be remembered

This is good, in my opinion. Despite the fact that McCain sold his soul to the Devil, he's still twice the man Frist is, and not a religious zealot. What happens in '08 is anybody's guess at this point.

Hey, the only dick he ever sucked was Bush's, and that's probably about like cleaning your teeth with a toothpick anyway.

What goes around...

On May 25, 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.

A big anniversary for the Retard Right, no? I'm sure Dobson and others of his ilk have something like this in mind again.

And just this

Why is it that all the black Republicans I see on TV act like they've been hanging around with far too many white people?

The deal . . . again

And just when I was feeling better about this fucking compromise:

[. . .]

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

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

[. . .]

This is what worries me. I have problems making deals with criminals because:

[. . .]

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

[. . .]

And then the Sister posts this:

[. . .]

What a piece of work. Once again we see why the Dems shouldn’t ever, ever bother trying to compromise with the unmitigated pricks that are currently running the GOP.

[. . .]

My deal is, when the Repubs are willing to compromise, they generally have something more distasteful coming down the pike.

Update: 06:00:

WMD sees the same thing:

[. . .]

Why is it that our Democratic 'leadership' doesn't seem to get the obvious point that Republicans don't operate in 'good faith'? They'll take the concession and then use it as a step to the next set of concessions. For references, see votes on the Patriot Act and the leverage gained from Kerry's votes for/against war funding.

[. . .]

Okay, off to the shop. I'll probably be bitching about this a little more later, after everybody starts hedging and spinning through the news cycle.

One of the best

As I've said before, there are a handful of bloggers that I just love and consider friends. The CultureGhost is one of them. This morning, his headline caught my eye right away:

Ann Coulter In Freak Accident With Love Toy. Right Wing Pundit Unharmed; Dildo A Total Loss!

Now click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Saving life vs. taking life. Digby gives us perspective.

The deal . . . revisited

Okay, 15 hours after I woke up to hear the details of 'the deal', and after reading Jane's take on it, and reading all the Freeper freak outs at the Sister and Pam, I'm feeling a little better about it. Steve Gillard put me over the top:

[. . .]

First, all the deal does is allow for a vote, not a guaranteed confirmation.

Second, with 45 Senators, you can only do so much. Any deal is a good deal under those circumstances.

But that's not why we won this.

This stopped James Dobson. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

Go read the whole damn thing. He makes a lot of sense.

Get into her pants

Via Elise:
. . . forget-me-not panties™ have built-in GPS and unique sensor technology giving you the forget-me-not advantage.

I wonder if they have something to warn me when the wife is going through PMS before I open my big fucking mouth.

Sodomizing the Cookie Monster

This via Oliver Willis:

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee, and Rep. David Obey (D-WI), ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, have written a letter to the Inspector General of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) urging him to investigate recent efforts apparently aimed at imposing a conservative political agenda on public broadcasting. Help make sure that the Inspector General conducts a thorough investigation. [my emphasis]

You know why the Repubs are doing this don'tcha? Heaven forbid anyone learns something that ain't written in the Bible . . . Old Testament, that is. How much you wanna bet they think Bert and Ernie are a gay couple?

The Dog bites

The Yelladog [Patrick] gets his teeth into some Freeper ass over at DemVet [Read the comment thread]. Heh!

Double standards

I wrote about this a couple days ago:

. . . I guess terrorism is in the eye of the beholder . . .

Today, Frenchie picks up the gauntlet:

Dear Mr. President: We are writing to urge you to oppose the application for asylum by Luis Posada Carriles, and to support the request for extradition to Venezuela, where he is a fugitive from justice.

[. . .]

By Jove

Francesca's got it:

[. . .]

So, I still have to pay for my own birth control pills, but these monsters get free Viagra? I guess it's simple: Viagra keeps the babies popping out, while the pill stops a beautiful blastula from forming. Viagra's for guys, the pill's for girls...

The deal

Kevin Drum has details:

NUCLEAR OPTION UPDATE....I guess I'm puzzled. A bipartisan group of 14 senators has agreed to a last-minute compromise that will avert Bill Frist's attempt to end judicial filibusters for good, but the text of the deal only mentions five nominees. The group agreed to invoke cloture for three of the filibustered nominees (Brown, Owen, and Pryor), which means they'll be confirmed, and made "no commitment" on two of the nominees (Myers and Saad), which presumably means at least a few of the Democrats will agree to continue filibustering them and their nominations are dead.

[. . .]

I don't know, sounds like the Munich Pact to me.

Update: 04:45:

The Sister has examples of the Freepers freaking out over this. Ha! Pam goes there too.

My own opinion on this is that there should have been no deal, period. We should have pushed the issue and seen where the chips fell. I think they would have come down squarely on our side.

Jane sees it another way:

I'm quite a bit to the left of Harry Reid on almost everything and I'm not a member of his cheering section when it comes to ideology, but like many others I've admired the leadership he's shown being outnumbered in the Senate by 10 members. And you can call me a sell-out if you want, but when push comes to shove I am pretty much of a pragmatist and I think the current compromise on judicial nominees was a smart move for the following reasons:

[. . .]

Of course, she's a bit more level headed than I.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dr. Dean 2

TCF brings us this pearl from the MTP [transcript] [video] appearance:

[. . .]

But, there was one point the Governor so eloquently made, that had the pajama-clad TCF shouting and shaking his head in agreement, now the motto I blog by:

I have an enormous amount of respect for people who have different opinions, but they have to defend their opinions. You can't just say, "I want to privatize Social Security because I want to privatize Social Security." You have to really show me why you want to do what you want to do. And if you can defend your ideas, I'll respect those ideas.

Like I said before, no compromise, no quarter.

Health care . . . socialized

Kevin Drum says:

HEALTHCARE....I believe that national healthcare in the United States is inevitable. It won't come without a lot of kicking and screaming, of course, but it will come nonetheless. Two recent articles demonstrate why.

[. . .]

And I agree with him, I think. I'm pretty sure the cost private health insurance will be more and more out of reach for the average American as prescription and health care costs rise. Sooner or later, we will have to go to a single-payer plan before no one can afford to get sick.

The Rumsfeld Stain

Bob Herbert in today's NYTimes has a good piece on how come that asshole is still in charge of DOD. This sums it up, I think:
Potential recruits are staying away from the armed forces in droves. Most Americans want no part of the administration's hapless venture in Iraq. A woman in Connecticut with two college-age sons said to me recently: "My boys should die in Baghdad? For what?"

For the glorification and self-aggrandizement of some truly evil people with delusions of grandeur and no particular care for America or your son except as a rented expendable tool, lady.
Neither the troops nor the American public signed on for a war in Iraq that would last many years. And I can't believe there are many Americans who wanted their military sullied by the wanton behavior of the torture crowd.

The troops who do their jobs honestly and diligently, and who fight bravely when they have to, have been betrayed by leaders who encouraged abusive behavior and allowed atrocities to flourish.

Mr. Rumsfeld has driven the military into a ruinous quagmire, and there is no evidence at all that he's capable of finding a serviceable route out.

He just keeps diggin' the hole, the son of a bitch.

Hogan's Heroes 2005

The Rude One wonders how it would work today.

Rummy vs. McNamara

Democratic Veteran takes a look at the similarities and why Rummy is even better at ineptitude.

Dear John McCain

Just shut the fuck up about your POW experience. I don't want to hear it anymore. It was 35 years ago and the way you've had your tongue up Chimpy's ass over the last 5 years, after he shit all over you in 2000, any respect and credibilty you had with me is long gone. You're a spineless worm who has digraced the memory of your fallen comrades and everyone else who ever wore the uniform. You, of all people, should have known what the push to war in Iraq was all about and you went along with it and actively defended it on the campaign trail. Fuck you. Go die somewhere.

The F-man

My idea of a good movie

Revenge of the Spliff

Why they hate us


[. . .]

This people, is why they hate us. Because what they see is a country of arrogant, bullying, hypocrites . . .

Go read.

More truths

Something the Repubs are allergic to. Via the marsupial:

Former NFL player Pat Tillman's family is lashing out against the Army, saying that the military's investigations into Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan last year were a sham and that Army efforts to cover up the truth have made it harder for them to deal with their loss.

More than a year after their son was shot several times by his fellow Army Rangers on a craggy hillside near the Pakistani border, Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country. They say the Army's "lies" about what happened have made them suspicious, and that they are certain they will never get the full story. [my emphasis] [Link - WaPo]

[. . .]

I'd like to do a genealogy on the Repub spinmeisters. I'll bet at least one of them is related to Josef Goebbels.

Update: 14:31:

More revisionist history from Froggy:

[. . .]

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs was so moved by Mr Galloway's speech, they decided it was best to lie, on their official web site, about Mr Galloway and pretend that Mr Galloway didn't say anything.

[. . .]


Via the folks at 12th Harmonic:

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dr. Dean

On MTP today:

DR. DEAN: As I said before, we're not speculating here. Three of the things I've mentioned he [Rep. Tom DeLay] has already done and been admonished for by the House Ethics Committee. Look, Harry Truman was campaigning in 1948, and a guy went up and said, "Give 'em hell, Harry!" And Harry Truman said, "I don't give 'em hell. I just tell the truth and the Republicans think it's hell." [my emphasis]

[Transcript] Dean gives it to DeLay hard and dry and he goes after Bush too.

Heh . . .

I love going over site referrals, especially the Google search queries. You can find the Brain by entering:

"I hate Christians"
"Valvoline gay rights" [There's something, every gay couple has a right to their lubricant of choice.]
"How to get a girl"
"Teach child Nazi flag"
"Illegal videos"

And my favorite of the week:

"Rectal bleeding"


From Christine:

A girl in Alabama was not allowed to participate in her high school graduation because she was pregnant. She completed all of her course work at home and was eligible to graduate and receive her diploma. Her name was not even printed in the graduation program.

[. . .]

Now, instead of making mention of this girl because she was able, and willing, to finish her studies after getting pregnant, they treat her as a fucking harlot. These are your 'Good Christians' of Jesusland. See my post below. How does this look to other young girls who want an education but fear persecution of this sort because they're pregnant and single? I'm sure it will discourage more than a few. Of course, the old conservative double standard still applies:

[. . .]

Not only that, the father of the baby was in her graduating class and did participate in the ceremony.

[. . .]

*What would Jesus say?

Saddam's pics . . . again

I know I wasn't going to say anything more about it, but I'm gonna steal this little bit from John Howard:

. . . If these pictures of Saddam were some isolated incident, that would probably be pretty believable, and anyway, who really cares what indignities Saddam has to suffer? But the fact is, these pictures are actually about the least objectionable thing out of all the examples we've seen of this kind of thing. It's really hard to even get upset about this at all, considering who the subject is, and how tame these pictures are compared to others. But that's kind of sad because we are supposed to be above this kind of thing, and any indication that we don't treat prisoners how we say we do just makes us look like a bunch of hypocrites. And while it looks like all the officails are saying all the right things in this case, it's really hard to believe anything when this seems to be part of such a pattern these days. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


I dropped the 'The' from the name. Hope it didn't make a difference to ya.

The nuk-u-ler option defined

Josh Marshall via the Rude Pundit:

[. . .]

You can think the filibuster is a terrible idea. And you may think that it should be abolished, as indeed it can be through the rules of the senate. And there are decent arguments to made on that count. But to assert that it is unconstitutional because each judge does not get an up or down vote by the entire senate you have to hold that the United States senate has been in more or less constant violation of the constitution for more than two centuries. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

To my Jewish friends

I have many, as well as relations by marriage. Believe it or not, some are Republicans, supporters of Bush and Sharon's vision. It is to you whom I speak.

Open your fucking eyes!!!! Don't you see what's happening here? They are marginalizing the gays, marginalizing the Liberals, marginalizing anyone who doesn't agree with the party line. How long before they start marginalizing you? I mean come on. Don't you listen at Passover? You people have been fucked with for 5000 years for cryin' out loud. When it comes time to proclaim scapegoats, you folks are at the top of the list. Remember the Pharaohs? The Spanish Inquisition? Hitler, maybe? Shit, even the blacks haven't been as persecuted as you have. What makes you think the Repubs won't blame all of you when the economy tanks. I mean, the 'base' all believe you're a bunch of hook-nosed money-lenders anyway. If you don't think that is how the Angry White Christain Bigot Party looks at you, you've got your heads in the sand. Take a trip to Jesusland and proclaim your Jewishness. Tell me how tolerant the good Christians are then. Take a trip to the Air Force Academy and ask the Jewish cadets about the shit they have to deal with from their Christian colleagues. Thanks to your Republican leanings, you'll be some of the last into the camps, but you'll be there, right along with the rest of us who aren't 'God's Chosen'.

Update: To gay Republicans and black Republicans, you're in the same boat.

Anyone else?

Can we please get anyone else to put out the Democratic position than Joe Lieberman? Someone alive maybe? Someone who isn't a Bush apologist maybe?

Note to George Will: You aren't half as smart as you think you are. In fact, you're a fucking idiot. Stick to commenting on baseball.


More on the housing situation from PSoTD.


Stolen fully and completely from Wolcott:

"To Paine, Jefferson and Franklin, we are indebted more than to all the others, for a human government, and for a Constitution in which no God is recognized superior to the legally expressed will of the people. they knew that to put God in the Constitution was to put man out. They knew that the recognition of a Deity would be seized upon by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for destroying liberty of thought."

"Governors and Presidents should not issue religious proclamations. They should not call upon the people to thank god. It is no part of their official duty. It is outside and beyond the horizon of their authority. There is nothing in the Constitution to justify this religious impertinence."

"We do not wish to employ any chaplains in the navy or in the army, or in the Legislatures or in Congress. It is useless to ask God to help the political party that happens to be in power. We want no President, no Governor 'clothed with a little brief authority,' to issue a proclamation as though he were an agent of God, authorized to tell all his loving subjects to fast on a certain day, or to enter their churches and pray for the accomplishment of a certain object. It is none of his business."

--from the writings and speeches of Robert Ingersoll

Update: 09:02:

[. . .]

ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? When someone - especially a politician - starts talking about "principle" they're more likely attempting to attach some moral weight to their selfish desires . . .

The selective War on Terror

I guess terrorism is in the eye of the beholder. Glen:

[. . .]

The problem is that these events happened in or to countries we don't like very much: Cuba and Venezuela . . .

When is terror not terror? Only God's Chosen President knows for sure.

And while you're there, check out this post too.

What do you prefer?

Incompetence or malice? From the essential RJ Eskow:

. . . So the military would have us believe that they suffer from incompetence and a breakdown of discipline, rather than that they've committed yet another violation of the Geneva Convention in their inept psy-ops war. Kinda pathetic when you have to keep pleading incompetence as a defense.

[. . .]

God's plan

The Sister calls it . . . dead on:

[. . .]

Well, you know what? We are meant to be literate. We are meant to be able to communicate using an agreed-upon set of grammar rules and spelling. Failure to learn the language beyond its most basic applications, leaving one barely capable of stuttering out a marginally understandable thought now and then, is ridiculous, and it does make one inferior to the vast swath of adults who are able to function at a level higher than that of a drooling moron.

If you don’t like the plain old simple fact that there are those who are superior to you because they use their intellect for more than fashioning bongs out of household items, then pick up a fucking book, you knob-ends! And if you can’t tear yourself away from the television for two bloody seconds to try reading, then wean yourself off NASCAR races and re-runs of the Jeff Foxworthy show by changing the channel to PBS or Discovery or C-SPAN once in awhile!

Good lord. Free education for every American, and this is what we’re churning out? Pitiful.

[. . .]

Now, I've fashioned bongs from just about everything, but I can speak with you on everything from quantum physics to NASCAR. Education is liberation, and knowledge is power. Now you see why the fundie preachers would rather you went to church than the library. And they've been doing it forever. (See my post below) If you want your kids to have a religious education, send 'em to the Jesuits.

Shit doesn't change

Reclaiming science:

In the third century B.C., the Greek mathematician Archimedes wrote the mechanical theorem and mathematical equations that contain the roots of modern day calculus and gravitational theory. Now, 2,200 years later, teams of scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Rochester Institute of Technology are trying to restore Archimedes' work.

[. . .]

But the treatise isn't just old. This is maybe the first case of religious fundamentalism undoing science. They're still going strong.

[. . .]

But the task is very difficult because, in the 12th Century, someone scraped off most of Archimedes' writing and wrote a prayer book over top of it. For this reason, the manuscript is called Archimedes' palimpsest, from the Greek word for "scraped again".

[. . .]

As has happened throughout history, continuing to the present day, some holy man deemed prayer more important than learning about the world around us. While I don't discount faith, what the religious folks don't understand is that without science, we'd still be living like they did 2200 years ago.