Saturday, September 24, 2005

Former Leading Newspaper Screws Self In Butt

I got home from vacation last night. Got up this morning and started to pack up to hit the road for the day. Wife and dogs barred the door until I woke all the way up! Whew! Gotta ease back inta this stuff!

Fixer 'n me ain't the only ones who refuse to pay the NYTimes for their op-eds. Editor & Publisher has a few choice words about NYT's ill-considered slide into irrelevance. Via Leftist Grandpa's sidebar.

It will be interesting to see how this winds up, but many popular bloggers have declared that the new New York Times online policy -- which puts its influential columnists behind the "paid" wall -- offers a major boost for the blogosphere, and the loss of real online clout for the Times.
Today, Mark Karlin, who runs, said, "It is rather noteworthy that the New York Times chose to force readers to pay to read their columnists, many of whom remain the sole progressive voices in the establishment newspaper of the status quo. It certainly appears a curious choice, considering that Judith Miller's erroneous stories would still be free, were she free to be an administration conduit once again."

They quote Kos:

The Wall Street Journal is not stupid. They're smart. They've put their news content behind a pay wall and have done quite well revenue-wise for their troubles. BUT, they also want to influence public opinion. And being a key component of the Right Wing Noise Machine, the WSJ editorial board has made sure their opinion material is accessible to everyone. Heck, they have a guy emailing their content to bloggers. They even have a separate site for it:

You want your dose of Peggy Noonan (must ... supress ... gag reflex), or John Fund, or James Taranto? You've got them. No pesky paywall between their opinion content and the people they hope to influence.

The New York Times, on the other hand, is the textbook definition of stupid. They take the one part of the paper that is a commodity -- the opinion -- and try to charge for that. No Krugman? Who cares. Give me Brad DeLong. No Bob Herbert? Whatever. Give me James Wolcott or anyone at the American Prospect or Washington Monthly. Or any of the thousands of columnists at other newspapers, and the tens of thousands of political bloggers.
Suddenly, overnight, Brooks and Friendman and Krugman and Herbert have been ripped out of the national debate. Whatever void that might have created has already been filled by the multitudes of voices in the sphere.

So the Wall Street Journal works hard to be a top influencer in the national debate. And the New York Times works hard to become a provincial paper.

Wish granted.

Methinks the Gray Lady may be going a touch senile.

If you're a Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd junkie like me, Truthout usually reprints their stuff. Click their names for the latest.

The stench of hypocrisy 10


World-wide trafficing in slave prostitutes, child sex workers, and forced laborers is a large and ever increasing problem. This country puts sanctions on other countries that allow the operation of these things.

[. . .]

Not no more.


Why is it reporters like Anderson Cooper (I mean, what's a hurricane without Andy getting blown [cough] down the street?), and all the others out there in the hurricanes, dodging the wind, water, and debris, can't wait to get out there and report the story, yet none of them have the balls to report what is actually going on in Washington? WTF?

And why is it they send the skinniest guys out in the storm? Why not somebody with a big ass for ballast, like Timmy, Rita, and the Loudmouth?


The U.S. Army has launched a criminal investigation into new allegations of serious prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan made by a decorated former Captain in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, an Army spokesman has confirmed to TIME . . .

"On their day off people would show up all the time," the sergeant continues in the HRW [Human Rights Watch] report. "Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport. The cooks were all U.S. soldiers. One day a sergeant shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy's leg with a mini Louisville Slugger that was a metal bat. He was the cook." [Link]

[. . .]

And people are shocked. I laugh.


. . . It's pretty clear that even our own highly disciplined military can lose their humanity without a whole lot of provocation. These weren't dipshit national guard hicks either. This was the 82nd Airborn. No excuses. . .

I don't laugh at the acts themselves. They are heinous and horrible and those perpetrating them should be prosecuted, period. I just laugh at those who are shocked by them, shocked they occur, mostly those from our blogging community and activists. I laugh because none of them have been in combat. I laugh at all of you who have no idea what combat is all about, yet cringe in horror and scream with outrage when these stories come out.

When human beings are put in a combat situation, a sort of devolution takes place. I know, I've seen it in myself. When put in a kill or be killed situation, a human returns to his baser instincts. There is a rush there, close to the high of cocaine, but far more intense. A euphoric feeling of being an apex predator, as a lion or a wolf stalking its prey, the heating of the blood, the roar of it in your ears, the ultimate rush. Yes, I've been there. Don't look down your nose at me; if you've never been there, you will never understand. It is not surprising to me these horrible acts took place.

The antidote is good leadership; by the senior NCOs, by the officer corps, by the civilians in command. The abuses occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan are directly attributable to a failure of leadership. A systemic breakdown in the system.

This breakdown is directly attributable to the fact very few of the civilian leaders have had military experience. None understand the changes a soldier goes through when forced to be in that situation for any length of time. Yes, the troops are at fault, but were the leadership worth a damn, the violence and abuse would have been stopped after the first few incidents.

But, when the President comes off like Wyatt Earp (Dead or Alive, Smoke 'em out, Bring it on), that attitude, the attitude of tolerance and turning a blind eye, filters down through the ranks. When 'ethics and principle' take a back seat to 'whatever it takes', abuses like this are bound to happen. It's only human nature.

So, don't be shocked the people we've trained to do our killing turn into monsters. We are not that far removed from our evolutionary forebears. Be shocked that our leaders, who sit in places far removed from the battlefield allow this to go on.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Pic courtesy of Project for the Old American Century


Maru (scroll up):

Bad: Bunnypants calls on a planted reporter for a softball question.
Worse: She's not there. Really. Enough already.
Totally #ucked: This idiot's the president

Strategy . . . or the lack thereof

The lovely Pudentilla:

[. . .]

Could we have a few commercials now with a theme like, "Let's Make America Work Again." Perhaps making the following points, 1) we've been in tougher corners (photo images of hoovervilles maybe); 2) we've always triumphed over every adversity we faced by pulling together (stock photos); and 3) sharing the sacrifices the nation has to make for the common good of all Americans (newspaper headlines on DeLay insisting on estate tax cuts; pictures of the Superdome); and 4) requiring our leaders to demonstrate competence and accountability (pictures of old "heck of a job" and il Ducetto).

[. . .]

She's laid out wonderful talking points, but I don't think there's one Dem with the testicles to do it. Jesus Christ, there are still Dems who believe in giving President Inept Failure the benefit of the doubt. Why do I think we'll manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in '06 and '08. I mean, like Shakes says:

[. . .]

I don't know about you, but I invested time, energy, and money into the Democratic Party during the last election, and I'm not getting much of a return on my investment. In fact, lately I've been feeling like the party to whom I've been loyal for my entire life is giving me the finger.

The confirmations of Condi Rice, Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Chertoff ... the slow response to broaching voting accountability legislation ... the passage of a measure to limit class-action lawsuits ... the bankruptcy bill ... the constant move toward the center ... and on and on and on. I complain about the idiocy of the Dems almost as much as I do the Republicans, and I'm starting to get more than a little pissed off.

[. . .]

I've about had it with the wimpy bastids we send to Washington. I don't think we need guys like me there, but guys like George Galloway MP (too bad he's a Brit) who can call bullshit and tell them to go fuck themselves without actually saying it that way. Is it time for a third party? Time for a true 'opposition party'? It sure looks to me like the Democrats ain't cutting it. Our representatives are a bunch of pussies.

Criminal Negligence

FEMA had contracted out the job of arranging transportation for the evacuation of New Orleans to a Republican Party-connected outfit. That company completely flubbed the job. So they get new, huge contracts following Katrina.

[. . .]

See my man Dave for the details. Am I the only person who feels as if everybody connected with the Republicans is crooked and soulless?



Thanks: DemVet

Not so far away

Get your shoes and socks on, people
It's right around the corner

- Stinkfoot, Frank Zappa

Next stop, the Third World. The guy on the iceberg:

Poorer Americans have mortality rates similar to 3rd world hellholes. Poor Americans lack access to adequate health care, working schools, transportation, and healthful foods.

[. . .]

A gift from Allah

That's what 9/11 was for the Chimp. I been saying it since 9/12. Seems he admits it now. From the Chemist:

[. . .]

Second of all, does this say to you what it seems to be yellin' at me? That we used 9/11 as an excuse (or a "previously unthinkable opportunity") to go whomp the fuck out of Saddam and his country? Or is that just me?

[. . .]

Airlift/Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

As Hurricane Rita approaches the Gulf Coast, North Shore Animal League America and DAD's Pet Care have joined forces to airlift approximately 100 animals rescued from shelters wrecked in Hurricane Katrina. The cats and dogs, who have been held in overcrowded and inadequate staging areas throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, will be brought to North Shore Animal League America's headquarters in Port Washington, New York where they will be cared for and put up for adoption. The animals will be airlifted on Thursday, September 22 from Baton Rouge International Airport and arrive in New York at approximately 2:30 p.m. (ET).

Long Islanders doing their part. People say we should be concerned less about the pets and more about the people. I say, if you can turn your back on our best friends, you've lost your humanity and your soul.

North Shore Animal League America, located in Port Washington, New York, is the largest no-kill animal shelter in the U.S. Founded in 1944, the League has found loving homes for close to one million dogs, cats, kittens and puppies. More information on the League, its efforts in the Gulf Coast and/or to adopt one of the animals left homeless by Hurricane Katrina, can visit

Our Princess Shayna is an NSAL alumnus. They're located about 5 miles from where I work and some of the staff are our customers. They do rescue work all over the country in all sorts of conditions. If you've got a couple bucks, stop by their website and help out.

Princess Shayna says George W. Bush is the worst President ever and all dogs and cats should stand up with their humans to oppose his policies. Shayna also sends out a bark and a tail-wag to Harry Hound.

Planning and forethought

So how many people are we gonna find dead in their cars on I-10 and I-45? Like I said, at least it'll be easy to collect the bodies. This is the reason I'm one of those 'ride it out' types. I'm not one to sit around, waiting for Death to take me. I'm gonna go out fighting, not sitting in a metal coffin on the highway.

Hel-lo, McFly? You just can't tell 2 million people to 'get out' and expect it to work, idiots. You have to have a fucking plan or you end up with what you have now. A 150-mile traffic jam.

All day I faced the burning waste...*

*You kids might not get that song reference either.

Tonight I am at the Desert Villa Inn (our room's right under the sign) in Barstow. All right, those of you who have been there knock off the maniacal laughter! Why Barstow? You may well ask. Because it's on the way home, and if you want to change direction in the western Mojave Desert, this is the place to do it. As a matter of fact, every freight train in the country changes from east-west to north-south right across the street. I-40 runs along the south side of this joint as well, to tee into I-15 a couple blocks away. The motel knows all this, and is insulated well enough that I'm not hearin' any of it except when I go out to smoke. Nice enough place. The air conditioner works, which is good because it's 10 at night and about 90 degF outside.

Why Barstow? Reason No. 2: In a lifetime of runnin' around out in the Mojave, I've never had to stay in Barstow. Today, my luck ran out.

Yesterday, we went and saw Canyon de Chelly, just east of Chinle AZ and smack dab in the middle of Injun Country. More on that when I get home. I'm ten times as fast on my home set. For now, suffice it to say that it's a wonder and well worth seeing.

Today we dropped seven thousand feet, from the Arizona Divide (7335'), west of Flagstaff AZ, to a few hundred feet above sea level at the Colorado River in a coupla hundred miles, and then climbed back up 3000' feet in the next 40 miles at temperatures over 100 degF. Thank God for modern air conditioning! And modern automotive cooling systems as well.

Tomorrow we turn north on US 395 and go home on the prettiest drive in California, bar none. A big highlight is this place, where we provision up every time we go past. Yum. Mrs. G and myself are but simple hill folk, you must remember!

This has been a nice break from blogging, but I'll be back down in the mud with y'all soon. I've got a lot of thoughts, stories, lies, etc. to share with you about my trip. There's politics in everything, whether to the good or bad.


Thursday, September 22, 2005


Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On the Nomination of Judge John G. Roberts To be Chief Justice of the United States

September 22, 2005

Mr. Chairman, I will vote in favor of the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the United States. This has not been an easy decision, but I believe it is the correct one. Judge Roberts's impeccable legal credentials, his reputation and record as a fair-minded person, and his commitment to modesty and respect for precedent have persuaded me that he will not bring an ideological agenda to the position of Chief Justice of the United States and that he should be confirmed.

Sorry, Ed, but Ol' Russ just crashed and burned.

Hat tip: Shakes


The score:

By a vote of 13-5, the Senate Judiciary Committee today recommended that the Senate confirm the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, was among the last whose vote was in question to disclose her decision, as the committee began its final pre-vote debate on Roberts. She voted against confirmation.

She was joined by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Joseph Biden of Delaware, and Richard Durbin of Illinois, all Democrats. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the panel, and fellow Democratic Sens. Russell D. Feingold and Herbert Kohl, both of Wisconsin, voted in favor of confirmation . . .

Bill O'Coward

I was gonna write that Phil Donahue castrated O'Reilly on his own show, but Billy got no nuts to cut off. Go read the transcript and smile.

Link via the lovely Elise


The Green Knight has the video.

Bend over

Place your head firmly between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye.

Hortense Davis is waiting at the Houston Greyhound station for a bus that may not be coming.

The 73-year-old woman called the Red Cross today to find out what she should do about the storm. She said she was told to go to the bus station and tell them she had no money and needs to get out of the city.

"But when I got here, they said they couldn't help me," she said. "So now I'm just sitting here."

Davis is trying to evacuate to Lufkin because she is scared hurricane Rita is going to causing major flooding in Houston.

"I'm stuck here," she said. "I don't have anywhere else to go."

Hundreds of people packed the downtown Greyhound station tonight hoping to get a ticket to safety.

Carolyn Rivera, 62, said she bought a bus ticket to Dallas today, but when she arrived at the station she discovered all the buses were filled. So she called her daughter and the two women plan to drive to Arkansas tonight. [my em]

At least it'll be easy to find the bodies.

Thanks: Atrios


Rick "santorum" Santorum (R-Beastiality) is feeling the pressure of election season.

[. . .]

This might be the official declaration of the end, not just of Social Security privatization, but of deference to Bush. And members of Congress, especially those like Santorum who are worried about reelection, have so many years of docility to make up for that if they really want to separate themselves from a highly unpopular president, they will have to make a very fast, very decisive break. [my em]

[. . .]

All I have to say is . . . heh.

Hat tip: PW

Nepotistic cronyism

Via Maru from Newsmax (Right wing rag - no link):

Julie "who??" Myers, a 36-year-old with limited executive experience, is slated to become head of one of the nation's most critical security-related agencies, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Myers' uncle is none other than the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers.

And Myers' husband is DHS chief Michael Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood.

Yeah, real good. As Maru asks, "feeling safer yet"?

. . . John F. Wood . . . Fortunately, no relation.

I'm seething

A group of House Republicans have proposed a plan to offset the costs of relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina that includes trimming military quality-of-life programs, including health care.

Possible sources of funding cuts to free up money for Katrina relief include reduced health benefits, consolidation of the three military exchange systems and the closure of the military's stateside school system. [my em]

[. . .]

We can spend $1bn trucking ice around the country and we're looking to cut costs on the backs of our troops? Aaaarrrrggghhh! Reading this shit gets me homicidal. Tom DeLay says there's no pork in the budget, yet we can build a bridge to nowhere in Alaska? I'm out of my mind with rage right now. I have a good mind to walk over to the neighbor I hate and beat the shit out of him just because I can. If he weren't a Democrat . . . Can you tell I have a big problem with people who try to shaft our troops?

Thanks to my pal Jo Fish for the link. I think. Go read his post on this subject too. Grrrrr . . .


Yes, I harp on it, but there's a reason. Here's an example via Travis:

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.

[. . .]

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

[. . .]

When you give up your ethics and principles, it's almost impossible to reacquire them.


The war is lost. Three years after the invasion, the occupation forces control less and less of the country all the time. The level of wanton violence -- from all sides -- keeps rising. The physical infrastructure of the country continues to deteriorate. The social fabric is in tatters.

[. . .]

Mr. H shows us what's really going on in the uber-fuckup in Mesopotamia and concludes:

And all the children are insane*
*Young-uns won't get it.

Your tax dollars at work

The government will pay more than $4 for each of the thousands of five-pound bags of ice ordered for Gulf Coast hurricane-relief efforts that are now sitting unused in tractor-trailers in Gloucester and across the United States, say shipping and ice-making experts.

The same five-pound bag of ice would cost about $1.50 at a neighborhood convenience store.

"It will cost close to $1 billion in trucking for $2 million worth of ice," said James Perdue, owner of J.L. Perdue trucking company of Kearney, Neb. [my em]

[. . .]

So, how many people could have been helped find housing or whatever else they need in Katrina's aftermath? Instead, a $1 billion is pissed away moving frozen water everywhere east of the Mississippi. Ineptitude in action.
[Link] thanks to Lambert

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

One for everybody

A miserable statistic from the King:

American troop deaths in Iraq have now passed the 1900 mark. Throw in the wounded, and the official US casualty count tops 20,000. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, notes that if the Iraqi insurgency is 20,000 strong, as US military commanders continue to insist, then "each insurgent is responsible for one US casualty":

[. . .]

So what are we doing? Fucking the troops even more. A related post from the King:

The war in Iraq now costs you, the American taxpayer, $6.7 billion each month, or well over a billion and a half a week. When unanticipated expenses (such as skyrocketing fuel costs; remember when oil revenues were supposed to pay for the cost of the occupation?) left the Army scrambling to cover a $1.43 billion shortfall, one obvious solution presented itself -- raid the vehicular armor fund, which serves absolutely no useful purpose apart from keeping American soldiers alive:

[. . .]

When, praise God, does this become criminal?

One for us

John Kerry:

Monday, I shared with you my Brown University speech setting out what needs to be said and done at this critical moment for our country. Today, in that same spirit of clarity and conviction, I want to tell you how I will vote on the nomination of John Roberts to serve as Chief Justice of the United States.

I will vote against this vitally important nomination.

Win or lose on this vote, it is essential that we act on our deepest convictions. And I refuse to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who came before the Senate intent on demonstrating his ability to deftly deflect legitimate questions about his views, opinions and philosophy. [my em]

[. . .]

I didn't think he'd find his spine. Hope he and Harry Reid talk to Ol' Leahy.

I always thought he was stupid

MSNBC Breaking News

Sen. Leahy, top Democrat on judiciary panel, to vote for Roberts -

And this seals it. What about it, Vermonters (who I always thought were blessed with a bit more common sense)? Do you have a Dem candidate who can give Leahy a primary fight?

Heh . . .

Saw this at Maru's.

Mardi Gras Officials Contemplate New Politically Correct Term For 'Float'


WASHINGTON -- Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he would oppose confirmation of Chief Justice-nominee John Roberts, questioning Roberts' commitment to civil rights and accusing the Bush administration of stonewalling requests for documents that might shed light on his views.

[. . .]

Way to go, Harry. However, we don't need statements like this:

[. . .]

At the same time, Reid readily predicted Roberts will win Senate confirmation, coupling the forecast with a warning of sorts to President Bush as he considers candidates for a second vacancy on the Supreme Court. "No one should think that just automatically they're all going to be easy like this one," he said.

[. . .]

What he should have said was, 'if we don't get all the documents we asked for, we're gonna filibuster this motherfucker until the cows come home'.
Hat tip: Skippy

We told you so

You owe it to yourself to read this. Driftglass via Shakes:

[. . .]

I couldn't help but remember that it is already the tax dollars confiscated from the hard-working men and women of the Blue States and Socialistically redistributed to the Loser Red States that props up their backwards economies, illiterate WalMart Confederate populations and their hateful Fundy Cults. That without Welfare from the Hated Yankee States, the States Formerly Known as Slaveholding would collapse into the Third World dictatorships and pestholes that they always wanted to be.

If ever a swath of states absolutely BEGGED to be written off as a bad debt, it's the Confederate South. The roots of so much that is cancerously wrong with this country come straight out of the poisonous legacy of Dixie, and if I thought that pulling the plug on the mutant children of Jefferson Davis in the name of State's Rights, Secession or just finally-kicking-these-fuckers-to-the-curb common sense would solve our problems, I'd drop my alias and petition for it coast-to-coast tomorrow. [my em]

[. . .]

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Still in New Mexico

Posting tonight from Belen, New Mexico, a little south of Albuquerque. I read the history of the town and as near as I can figure, its main claim to fame is that it's a little south of Albuquerque. Nice Best Western motel, complete with a dead snake (just a little one) in the swimming pool, with a bitchin' '50s diner about 100 feet from our room. The joint's got an Edsel on their T-shirts. Good food cheap, too.

I'll bore you with details in a minute, but first, a couple of observations.

It's amazing how small the United States is. The other day we were cruising through the very pretty Chama Valley NM on US 84. I was just sort of idly musing that maybe they could get just a little bit of the billions in highway pork so they could paint a center stripe on a US Highway when we blasted past a little sign that said "Continental Divide". Just that fast, we went from Out West to Back East!

We crossed the Colorado Plateau through some real pretty high country. Stopped for gas in Pagosa Springs and two things happened: saw a car being loaded on a wrecker that had a deer try to get in through the windshield. The little sucker damn near made it, too. A hoof mark on the passenger door and one on the front fender. The windshield was caved in almost to where the passenger was sitting. If it had been me, I'da damn sure browned my knickers so I think they were getting it towed because the interior of the car smelled bad!

The other thing is I still can't get this silly song out of my head.

All these mountain two-lanes have big rigs runnin' up and down (I mean up and down quite literally) at all hours. All the little towns have signs that say, in effect, "Wake my ass up with your Jake Brake and you're gonna fuckin' die!"

We walked around old Santa Fe yesterday. Went in the St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral that dates from the 16th century. Looked like a nicely furnished old Catholic church to me. The NM State Museum is closed on Mondays, and I couldn't find the Sanctuary of Mary on the Half Shell (thanks, Fixer!), so the morning devolved to shopping. Mrs. G, who has trouble deciding between two items on a menu, went straight to one pair of earrings out of a choice of 100,000! Women!

Santa Fe is basically a lethal hip-hold tourist trap. Get caught in it, and the only way out is to chew your wallet off and make a run for it! It was fun. Note: there's plenty of parking and the drivers are nice to pedestrians. They let the souvenir joints mow you down.

Then up to Taos. Artsy-fartsy tourist town like Santa Fe, but we wanted to see it. Went out to the Taos Pueblo, which is the oldest continuously inhabited place in the United States. Those blanket asses got a racket goin' on, charge $10 a head to look at 1000 year-old mud condos. No shortage of takers, either. They're gettin' back at Whitey good. Good for them. We saw all we needed to see from the parking lot.

Took the scenic route back to Santa Fe through the Carson National Forest in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Real purty country. There sure is a lot of shit around here named for people who raped and pillaged, enslaved and murdered the locals and ruined their ancient cultures. The winners get to name 'em, I guess. Due to road construction, we missed the little town of Truchas where one of my favorite movies, "The Milagro Beanfield War", was filmed.

Today we went to Roswell to the UFO Museum. Well worth the trip. Then we got the fuck out of there. Too close to Texas. I was afraid we'd get all retarded or something. Tried to get gas at a Texaco station and my ChevTex card wouldn't work. The guy told me it was a Shell station, they just hadn't changed the signs yet! In-fuckin'-credible!

We cruised up here through Lincoln County, of Billy the Kid and Lincoln County War fame. Real Old West cowboy country. Population density of 4 people/square mile. Waved to Fixer's buds as we went by White Sands.

We're pretty much headin' for the barn now, but we've got another side trip or two to make. We're three or four days out. When I get home and collect my thoughts, I might have another yarn or two. Or sooner, you never know.

Missing links

I love that fucking Penguin.

Tanish the Wolf talks about a major differentiating characteristic between left-wing bloggers and right-wing bloggers. Lefties' blogs are filled with frustration, resentment, and humor, he says. While right-wing blogs express only one thing: pure, unfettered rage.

[. . .]

A great post on the anthropology and pshrinkology of 'us' and 'them'.
You know, with all these talking animals, cruising Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!) is like being in a cartoon. Can one of you clowns introduce me to Jessica Rabbit?

Opening salvoes?

Via Ol' Froth:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 - A senior White House budget official who resigned abruptly last week was arrested Monday on charges of lying to investigators and obstructing a federal inquiry involving Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist who has been under scrutiny by the Justice Department for more than a year.

[. . .]

One step closer to DeLay?


Jo Fish:

[. . .]

Words that ring hollow when the top guy in charge of all money being spent is about to be indicted for various and sundry things related to being fundamentally honest. Not just any guy...the TOP guy in the money giving-out process. Another crony caught. The FBI has to be on the 1600 Crew shitlist right around now... I guess they didn't get the "leave the cronies alone" memo from Rove's office. [my em]

[. . .]


VIENNA (Reuters) - Simon Wiesenthal, the veteran Nazi hunter who helped bring over 1,100 Nazi war criminals to trial, has died in Vienna at the age of 96, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Tuesday.

[. . .]

He put a lot of Nazis where they belonged, in jail or at the end of a rope. The world owes him a great debt.

Par for the course

Via His Highness:

In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me.

"I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave." [Link]

[. . .]

The clock is ticking, a (the only) qualified doctor on the scene is rendering aid in an emergency situation, and you order him to stop because you're afraid of a lawsuit? I give a shit if the guy was an auto mechanic. He's saving lives in an emergency situation. The Bush administration in a nutshell: Lives mean nothing when they come in conflict with the political agenda. Time to start prepping some cells in The Hague.

Too good to be true

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Tuesday it would not dismantle its nuclear weapons program until the United States first provides an atomic energy reactor, casting doubt on its commitment to a breakthrough agreement reached at international arms talks.

[. . .]

Both the United States and Japan, members of the six-nation disarmament talks, rejected the North's latest demand.

[. . .]

I knew it sounded too good to be true to get my hopes up.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Open threads

Yesterday I asked if readers wanted me to post open threads here. The answer was a resounding 'no', best said by CAFKIA.

I vote no. It appears th[a]t most of your commenters have blogs of their own. If nothing else is going on, we should spread the wealth and check out some sites we don't get to often or ever.

Besides, I don't want you guys getting lazy.

To quote our blog mentor:

Ok, then.

What Roberts will do

The Rude One calls it once again:

[. . .]

Is there anyone, Democrat or Republican, who thinks that Roberts got out of interviews with Rove and Cheney without them knowing exactly how he would rule on every goddamn issue that might come up, from Roe v. Wade to enemy combatant cases? Rove and Cheney may be "masterful" politicians, but, to be sure, they are not subtle men. Shit, the fact that Rove even interviewed Roberts means that the political operation was under way.

[. . .]

And as for Roberts' interview with Cheney? Well, let's just say that if Roberts didn't answer questions directly, the femur of a Gitmo detainee who committed suicide would have needed to have been removed from Roberts' colon.

So let's stop playing these stupid fucking games of "Is-he-really-a-moderate?" The Bush White House knows exactly what Roberts will do, on every goddamn case that makes it to the Supreme Court. Or else they wouldn't have nominated him. This adminstration micromanages every fuckin' message that it's associated with. And you can bet they've got photos of Roberts in his Peppermint Patty outfit going down on the male classmate who played Snoopy or some such shit as insurance that Roberts will play nicely.

[. . .]

Note to Dem Senators: This is all you need to know, dickheads. Now, filibuster accordingly.

Beth Quinn

Since I refuse to give Izvestia on the Hudson any money, I've been checking around for new news sources. I found Ms. Quinn (subscription required but filling out the form is worth it for her columns) via the Penguin:

Well, folks, the only thing left up in the air now is whether George Bush is the worst president ever. Herbert Hoover has held the title since 1933.

It's been neck and neck for a while, but I think Bush pulled ahead with his spectacular failure in handling Katrina.

George Bush is a walking catastrophe. Far more than even Katrina, he is one of the worst disasters to ever hit America. His performance these past two weeks seemed a showcase for his utter stupidity and indifference, complete with flood, fire and floating bodies.

[. . .]

Most of all, I'm offended by those Americans who still insist that this sociopath is a swell guy, a terrific leader, a fine thinker. What is wrong with you people?!

[. . .]

Heh. Like I said, waste some time and subscribe (it's free) to read the whole thing. It's worth it.

Yeah, right

The US space agency Nasa has announced plans to return to the Moon by 2020.

Nasa administrator Dr Michael Griffin said four astronauts would be sent in a new space vehicle, in a project that would cost $104bn (£58bn).

"We will return to the Moon no later than 2020 and extend human presence across the Solar System and beyond," Dr Griffin said on Monday. [BBC] [my em]

[. . .]

Answer me one question, Dr. Griffin. Who the fuck is gonna pay for it after the Chimp gets done bankrupting the nation?


I saw this at MyDD, but the Sister said it all before I could. Go see her.

[. . .]

Which just further reinforces my belief that the key attribute shared by Bush's core supporters, be they anti-taxers, social conservatives, blood-lusting warmongers, or some ugly combination thereof, is a complete lack of understanding about what government is meant to do . . .

[. . .]

Of course The-Government-Never-Gave-Me-Shit Brigade doesn't understand government, and gets mad at President Sideshow for giving money toward the Gulf Coast's reconstruction . . .

The Chimp's numbers are finding new lows and I'm doing the Dance of Joy. Unlike Gord, I don't do it naked anymore. I got arrested for inadequate exposure.

Talk like a pirate day

It's talk like a pirate day. I'll be drinking like a pirate instead. Unfortunately, the Mrs. is in L.A. or I'd be carousing like a pirate too.

I wonder

Ya think they would have given Iraq the same deal if Saddam would have waved his prick around like that insane dwarf in NK?

BEIJING - North Korea pledged to drop its nuclear weapons development and rejoin international arms treaties in a unanimous agreement Monday at six-party arms talks, the first ever after more than two years of negotiations.

The North "committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date" to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, according to the agreement by the six countries at the talks.

[. . .]

North Korea and the United States also pledged in the agreement to respect each other's sovereignty and right to peaceful coexistence, and to take steps to normalize relations.

"The United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons," according to the statement, in assurances echoed by South Korea. [my em]

[. . .]

If they gave Saddam the same assurances, stuck with the sanctions route instead of invading, we might not be paying so much for oil. We certainly wouldn't have had to bury 2000 of our children so far.


Of your tax dollars.

One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.

The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.

[. . .]

Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan. The contracts were peculiar in four ways. According to Mr Allawi, they were awarded without bidding, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the Central Bank. Military equipment purchased in Poland included 28-year-old Soviet-made helicopters. The manufacturers said they should have been scrapped after 25 years of service. Armoured cars purchased by Iraq turned out to be so poorly made that even a bullet from an elderly AK-47 machine-gun could penetrate their armour. A shipment of the latest MP5 American machine-guns, at a cost of $3,500 (£1,900) each, consisted in reality of Egyptian copies worth only $200 a gun. Other armoured cars leaked so much oil that they had to be abandoned. A deal was struck to buy 7.62mm machine-gun bullets for 16 cents each, although they should

[. . .]

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.

Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes. [my em]

[. . .]

Medals of Freedom for everybody. Personally, I'd check Bremer's or Kerik's pockets.
Hat tip: Atrios

Moab to Santa Fe

Comin' atcha tonight from the Comfort Inn in Santa Fe.

Yesterday we went to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. There's a bazillion Googlies on these, so I'll be brief.

The Arches is the densest grouping of geological formations due to erosion on the planet, I think. Red rocks formed into arches, spires, domes, you name the shape, all done one drop of water at a time. The three or four seas that have come and gone over time were made up of individual drops, after all. Sediment turned into rock one layer at a time, and then eroded away after the last sea receded. Shit, guys get a doctorate in this stuff and their work's just beginning. Anyway, it's really beautiful and fascinating to see.

Canyonlands is just a few miles and one mountain range away, but way different. We stood at the end of the part of the park called "Island in the Sky" and just looked. Words can't really describe it. You're at 6000' elevation. You can see fifty miles, give or take, to the horizon, through an arc of up to 180 degrees. You look straight down 1000' to an old sea bed, and another 1000' feet down to the Green and Colorado Rivers' gorges. They have their confluence here before they go down through the Grand Canyon to water golf courses in Las Vegas. Erosion: water, gritty sediment, time. Awesome. It should make you feel very, very, small.

The upshot is, if any dumbass tells me this was all done 6000 years ago while men rode around on dinosaurs, he can kiss my ancient, eroded ass.

One more thing before I fall asleep at the helm of this thing. We stopped in Cortez, Colorado, at about the nicest Visitor Information Center I've ever seen. Lotsa free stuff, gift shop, municipal park, the works. It was here that I had the ultimate introduction to life in the Four Corners. I got panhandled in the park by a drunk Navajo. At noon on Sunday. I coughed up a little, but not enough for a bottle. I saw in this gentleman a fine tribute to the Great White Father. If there's a point to be made, you make it for me. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Oh, Canada

I'm surprised these people even bother with us anymore. They have every right to line up along the border (yes, all of 'em), drop their pants (they're used to the cold), and give us a collective moon. But they don't. They do what good friends and neighbors do. Cathie:

Congratulations to Meg Brubacher and Bonnie Deekon -- this news story " | Canadians mount dog rescue effort in New Orleans" notes that they drove to New Orleans and returned late Thursday night with 15 dogs, including seven puppies. Deekon is director of the Cambridge & District Humane Society, where the dogs will be put up for adoption.

Sorry, but I stole the whole thing because it was short. Maybe some more of us will appreciate our friends to the north. Thanks for your help.


Gary illustrates why I'd consider moving there if it weren't so goddamn cold in the winter.

A question

Our friend Atrios is the master of the 'open thread'. I was just wondering if you (the readers) would like me to start doing that here? Personally, I didn't think we got enough commenters here (something I like because I can follow the threads, old pothead, you know) but do you want say . . . a post a day where folks can hang and bullshit about any topic? Maybe I can do pissy pithy little blurbs like the A-man too? Let me know in comments.

Feingold in '08 . . . again

Last week I directed you to Ed's place for his 2-parter on Russ Feingold of WI. This week, I send you to Shakes:

[. . .]

That said, I'm not sure that Russ Feingold's liberalism will have as limited appeal as it might seem at first blush. It's true that Feingold is now ranked the most liberal Senator (tied with Boxer) in the Senate, which would likely be, under typical circumstances, a liability. But with the opportunity having presented itself to hold accountable not just the Bush administration, but the conservative agenda, for many of the massive government failures we've seen lately, the game has changed a bit . . .

To me, Feingold is looking more and more of what we need. Someone we can give the nation who isn't beholden to special interest and has a firm and principled progressive vision. After eight years of crooks, Americans might see him as a refreshing change. In my book though, it's too soon to be looking at candidates for '08. A lot can happen by then. The focus should be on at least one house of Congress in '06. Personally, I'll keep an eye on all the 'likely candidates' but I'll make up my mind before the primary season in '07.

Can we find a winner?

David Mamet in the L.A. Times via Lambert:

[. . .]

Control of the initiative is control of the battle. In the alley, at the poker table or in politics. One must raise. The American public chose Bush over Kerry in 2004. How, the undecided electorate rightly wondered, could one believe that Kerry would stand up for America when he could not stand up to Bush? A possible response to the Swift boat veterans would have been: "I served. He didn't. I didn't bring up the subject, but, if all George Bush has to show for his time in the Guard is a scrap of paper with some doodling on it, I say the man was a deserter."

[. . .]

I've asked the question a million times. Is there a Democrat out there with the balls to raise?


I was wondering when this would happen. Via Atrios:

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - From the Indian Ocean tsunami to the church around the corner, Americans have shown time and again they are willing to open their pocketbooks for charity, for a total of about $250 billion last year alone.

[. . .]

Although more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, the administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."

Contributors have no way of knowing who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed, because the government says it must keep the details secret for security reasons.

[. . .]

So whaddaya say? Dig deep in them pockets. You gave to the 9/11 rescue and recovery (thank you on behalf of my fellow New Yorkers by the way), the tsunami, and now the Gulf. Why not give a little more for Iraq? Much as I feel for the Iraqi people, they're getting enough of my money, thank you very much. What I'm waiting for is a telethon to buy up-armored Humvees and flak jackets for our troops. Lowlife motherfuckers.

The curtain has parted

The wonderful Frank Rich:

ONCE Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.

The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this president because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of "compassionate conservatism," the lack of concern for the "underprivileged" his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.

[. . .]

Thanks to Brilliant at Breakfast for the link, being that I refuse to pay for the Times.

Uh, never mind . . .

Secret plans by the Government to reduce troop numbers in Iraq have been shelved - and there is now no office date for the withdrawal of British soldiers, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

[. . .]

But the confirmation of a new large-scale troop redeployment, and the news that there is no end-date for British withdrawal, have sparked fears among serving soldiers and senior military figures that Iraq may be developing into Britain's own "Vietnam".

Last night, senior officers accused the Government of having a "head-in-the-sand mentality" over Britain's defence requirements and its involvement in Iraq, where more than 200 civilians were killed in terrorists attack last week alone. They said the Army - which is also sending 3,000 extra troops to Afghanistan next April - was under-manned, "strapped for cash" and being "dangerously overstretched".

[. . .]

One serving brigadier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the danger of Britain becoming bogged down in its own "Vietnam war" was getting stronger every day. "The return of the 7th Armoured Brigade to Iraq is a significant benchmark," he said.

[. . .]

So, Iraq isn't going swimmingly in the British sectors either, as we've been led to believe. And now with the redeployment of their strongest amored unit, the Brits are in it as deeply as we are. I'm surprised Tony's been able to hold onto power for so long, but it surprised the shit out of me when we reelected the Chimp too. The whole article is at Melanie's.