Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bush's 'fuck you' moment

Ezra has an excellent post up. It's time for the Dems to push back harder than they have in the past 5 years.

Hat tip: Shakes

One bad, one good

From HuffPo

Today, for two separate reasons, has been an incredible day in America. First, the United States has legitimized torture and secondly, the President has admitted to an impeachable offense.

The Bush-McCain torture compromise legitimizes torture. It is the first time that has happened in this country. Not in the two World Wars, Korea, the Cold War or Vietnam did the government ever seek or get the power this bill gives them.

The worst part of it is that most of the media missed it and got it wrong.

Secondly, the President in authorizing surveillance without seeking a court order has committed a crime. The Federal Communications Act criminalizes surveillance without a warrant. It is an impeachable offense. This was also totally missed by the media.

"Secondly" is good. "Firstly", hmmm, not so much.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A question

About Bush's order allowing the NSA to spy on American citizens. The Snake Lady asks:


Now comes the hair-pulling part: Did the New York Times know about this before the 2004 elections? If so, how did they justify keeping it secret from the voters?

How do the editors and publishers of the Times sleep at night?


DemVet asks his own:


The Spineless Fucks have probably known about it all along. Oh, and how genuinely good-hearted was all this extra-Constitutional Freedom Fucking?


Dingell Bells, Dingell Bells, Dingell All The Way...

Congressman Dingell (D-MI) has a Holiday jingle for Bill O'Reilly and the House GOP.

Red card for Arnie

From This Is London

Councillors in the Austrian city of Graz yesterday voted to remove the California governor's name from the local football stadium.

Graz deputy mayor Walter Ferk said: said: 'It is annoying that we are being criticised because of Schwarzenegger's actions in California.

'It is not exactly admirable for us to be connected with the death penalty. Therefore, I am in favour of renaming the stadium.

So Ah-nold's not the hometown hero anymore? Good call, Graz. I don't much care for him either.

Maybe they also saw a good opportunity to sell the naming rights to a schnitzel company as well?

Beisbol, Si! Cuba, No!


The Bush administration has blocked Cuba from playing in next year's inaugural World Baseball Classic. Now future U.S. Olympic bids may be in trouble as a result.

In Havana, government officials didn't react to the decision, but several Cuban citizens were angry.

"Enough already!" said Antonio Mayeta, whose brother plays for Havana's Industriales baseball team. "It's unbelievable. This is about sports, not politics. In Cuba, baseball is our culture. Everyone was so anxious to see these games."

Pound pointed out the U.S. government allowed Cuba to participate in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Twelve years earlier, Cuba was part of the boycott of the Los Angeles Games.

"Sports should be separated from politics," U.S. Soccer Federation president Bob Contiguglia said. "That's been a FIFA and an IOC philosophy, and we concur with that philosophy. In soccer, we've played Cuba in sport on many occasions and it's never been a problem. We've had teams go to Cuba and they've come here. So it seems kind of shortsighted that the administration would do that."

Hey, "shortsighted" is their middle name. Their heads are so far up their ass they can't see a damn thing. This is just ridiculous.

What's Bush afraid of? Fidel Castro? Nine potential illegal immigrants? That they might beat us at a game that's supposed to be an American pastime?

Heads, up, Washington: it's just a fuckin' game! This just makes you look to the world like the idiots you are.

McClellan Battles Reporters Over Bush Backing DeLay

A follow up to Fixer's post. Editor & Publisher has the transcript.

You could see these questions coming a mile away. After months of refusing to comment on the Plame/CIA probe, and the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- saying he did not want to "prejudge" an "ongoing investigation" -- President Bush on Wednesday night unabashedly told Fox News' Brit Hume that he believed Rep. Tom DeLay was not guilty of charges against him.

This sparked a storm of questioning at the daily briefing on Thursday by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, with NBCs David Gregory leading the way, accusing the administration of being "hypocritical” and "inconsistent" on this matter, "ad nauseum."

Just go read. I call it "The Presstitutes v. the White House Follies" like it's Roller Derby. This one kinda stuck out:

Q I do have a question about White House ethics guidelines --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the American people understand.

Some of us have for a long time, and more folks are starting to every day.

Damn, it must suck to be McClellan!

Dissent? Go to jail

WaPo again

The American Civil Liberties Union raised objections yesterday to a little-noticed provision of the latest version of the USA Patriot Act bill, arguing that it would give the Secret Service wider latitude to charge protesters accused of disrupting major events including political conventions and the Olympics.

The Secret Service is authorized to charge suspects with breaching security or disruptive behavior at National Special Security Events, but only if the president or another person under the protection of the service is in attendance, according to a legislative summary.

The bill adds language prohibiting people from "willfully and knowingly" entering a restricted area "where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting." The measure also applies to security breaches "in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance," according to the bill.

Penalties for such violations would increase from six months to a year in prison.

To the ACLU, the changes would open the door to even tighter security restrictions at major events and would subject protesters to harassment from federal law enforcement officers. The Bush administration has come under sharp criticism from liberal and civil-liberties groups for disputed arrests and security measures at presidential events.

"It's cementing the trend of the Secret Service basically acting to arrest or harass or control dissenters, and now not just at presidential events but at other events," said Timothy H. Edgar, the ACLU's national security counsel.

The SS (Secret Service, but apt initials, I think), the FBI, and other agencies arrested protesters during Vietnam, the last Republican convention, and other places, but they (mostly) always had to let them go unless they were actually breaking a law. Like charging them with 'littering' after a cop knocked a protest sign out of their hands by hitting them in the head with a nightstick.

It looks like that pesky bar against arrest and imprisonment of folks saying stuff in disagreement with the administration, you know, the First Amendment to that "piece of paper", the Constitution, is no longer a drawback.

This is why there's a Second Amendment, folks, to protect the other ones. They'll likely address that one in future, but until then keep 'em clean and oiled and your powder dry, and let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying


President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity.

The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute. A government agent can try to avoid prosecution if he can show he was "engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction," according to the law.

"This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration," said Martin, who has been sharply critical of the administration's surveillance and detention policies. "It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans."

"It's clear that the administration has been very willing to sacrifice civil liberties in its effort to exercise its authority on terrorism, to the extent that it authorizes criminal activity," Fredrickson said.

Bush authorizing criminal acts? So what's new? It's obvious he believes more in the rule of man (himself and his criminal cabal) than the rule of law, what with the Constitution being "just a piece of paper" and all. War crimes, torture, Plamegate, depraved indifference (health care, social services, Katrina), drunk driving, whatever, are part of an ongoing pattern of criminal activity by this administration to get what they want and to Hell with the law.

If the arrogance of thinking they own the joint, and contempt for the American people were crimes, they'd be danglin' from a tree limb already.

Bush and his accomplices need to be in jail. Or under it.

Moral Hindsight

From AlterNet

Ralph Reed, the political strategist and candidate for lieutenant governor, said recently that his work for disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff was a mistake that - if given the chance - he wouldn't repeat.

"Had I known then what I know now, I would not have undertaken that work," Reed said, according to the text of a speech posted on his campaign Web site this week.

So what exactly does he know now that he didn't know then?

Easy. That he was gonna get caught being a greedy hypocritical slimebag under cover of fake christianity and that it might affect the outcome of his campaign.

Next time, Ralphie boy, when you pray for guidance, I hope you get it from your cellie.

Well, duh

I love Gillard, I do, but he illustrates a point at which people who've never been in combat finally get it.

...Shootout deals with infantry encounters, and they look really hairy...

It's an excellent post but that line struck me. But Steve does get it and sees what a lot of other vets like me see:


These aren't hardened killers or patriotic robots. Most of them are kids, doing the job assigned them, but who have developed a dislike for Iraq and Iraqis not seen on the news. You see flashes of it in the print media, but the frustration you don't see, the anger.

The Chairborne Cowards who insist on good news from Iraq probably pass on these shows. Because you can see all of the good intentions beaten out of decent men, and see it replaced with a survival-based sense of fear.


The situation over there cannot get better, not when most of our guys are going on their 3rd and 4th tours. You think shit over there is ugly now, wait a year or two.

Whine on, you crazy wingnut...

The American Family Association says that Ford Motor Company reneged on some agreements reached in discussions with the automobile giant, and the organization is considering its next move.

"We had an agreement with Ford, worked out in good faith. Unfortunately, some Ford Motor Company officials made the decision to violate the good faith agreement. We are now considering our response to the violation and expect to reach a decision very soon," said Donald E. Wildmon, chairman of AFA.

AFA had called for a boycott of Ford last spring because of Ford's support for the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage but suspended the boycott for six months at the request of a group of Ford dealers. Wildmon said AFA and Ford officials hammered out an agreement in the interim that was accepted by both parties.

...He stated that because Ford broke the agreement, the option of a boycott is now very much alive.

Bite me, you wingnut assholes. Sucks to be the bully whose bluff has been called, don't it? You got lucky. In my playground, you would have been thrown a beating too. There's a lot of people* at Ford who were put in a very bad position (with regard to their jobs) thanks to this wingnut bullshit. Trust me, the Focus on the Fetus folks would do well not to protest in front of Ford stores, especially where the boys in the shops can see you. You see, mechanics aren't too politically correct to begin with, especially toward lunatics who put their livelihoods in jeopardy.

*In the interest of full disclosure, sourcing on this were a bunch (6) of Ford dealerships on Long Island and NYC (where I have acquaintences) and a few calls I made to friends who work at One American Rd, Dearborn, MI. There was quite a bit of feedback to the dealerships from customers who would refuse to buy a Ford again if this deal with AFA went through. The salesmen were worried and so were the mechanics.


From the Alternate Brain Mail Bag, Phil writes:

Hey Fixer, I had to put in my 2 cents worth on these fucking assholes. I, like you, worked for Ford . For 10 years i worked @ a Lincoln Mercury Dealership. I'm 46, Graduated w/honors from ASSET when I was 31. Still have insider friends. They are Pissed about this shit. One...just one of these idiots showed up at their dealership and there would'nt be enough left to identify. In my experience, there are three people in this world you seriously do NOT want to piss off, Your Mother, your Lawyer, and your Mechanic. Keep up the good work man. Feel free to use this, just leave out the old e-mail address,'K ?

Busted Knuckles (Phil)

Thanks, Phil. I told ya, that about sums it up.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bad news, Gord

DeLay's innocent. Preznit say so. Froomkin:

In a Fox News interview aired last night, President Bush declared that he believes indicted former House majority leader Tom DeLay is innocent of the money-laundering charges brought against him in Texas.


Sorry, pardner. Can you say jury tampering?

Global warming

It's just a conclusive proof...

It may be the latest evidence of global warming: Polar bears are drowning.

Scientists for the first time have documented multiple deaths of polar bears off Alaska, where they likely drowned after swimming long distances in the ocean amid the melting of the Arctic ice shelf. The bears spend most of their time hunting and raising their young on ice floes.


But in September 2004, when the polar ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of the northern coast of Alaska, researchers counted 10 polar bears swimming as far as 60 miles offshore. Polar bears can swim long distances but have evolved to mainly swim between sheets of ice, scientists say.


It just gets in the way of our economy. Horseshit, motherfuckers. We're killing this planet faster than we thought.

Blame Canada

Grace at the Reaction has a post up about the Bush administration meddling in the upcoming Canadian elections. Ya think they could pay more attention at home instead of fucking with our friends.

The 21st one will be a charm...

Grandpa Eddie's got a good post up about the twenty ways Bush has waved the white flag to the world.

It's yours. It's your war. You decided to start it, we didn't. You decided to lie to congress and the American people to get your war. We are not surrendering Mr. Bush, you are:

Twenty times. Count 'em.

Let me be clear with you Mr. Bush: This is not our white flag. We are not surrendering to our enemy. Not in the least. What you have failed to understand is who the enemy is; It's you. You are our enemy. You are the enemy of America. We have not surrendered to you Mr. Bush. We are intent upon driving you and your kind from our midst. We're sick of the surrendering of our country by the likes of you. The twenty-first flag will be waved by you Mr. Bush. I have it on twenty to one odds.

Don't miss this one.

Good lord

Imagine if White Power and radical Islam formed an unholy alliance to end all unholy alliances?


According to Vidino, they're beguiled by Al Qaeda's discipline, field prowess, and heartfelt hatred of Jews. In fact, "there have been reports of contacts between their groups and radical Islamic organizations."

Meanwhile, in America, not only hasn't White Power reached out to radical Muslims, it's jealous of them. Shortly after 9/11, James Ridgeway of the Village Voice recorded a Michigan Nazi Party chairman's complaint that a "bunch of towel head/sand niggers put our great White Movement to SHAME." Still, we wondered, are they destined to intermingle at some point?


This makes my sphincter pucker. Let's just hope they stick to hating each other more than they hate us collectively. Imagine if our 'homegrown terrorists' swore off Coors Light, Budweiser, and Wild Turkey long enough to gain the discipline of al-Qaeda? We'd be in big trouble.

Thanks: Rising Hegemon

Let's get this straight

When the wingnuts yell and scream about how they 'support' the nation and 'fight' for the nation, you can tell 'em they're full of shit.

Who's lost the most soldiers in Iraq? The 'blue' states.

Who gets the tax revenue?

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)

Our children are dying for your war and we're paying to support your pathetic, faith-based lives. Just shut the fuck up.

Hat tip: TBogg

The fix is in

Or, why H.R. 550 is muy importante.


This does not make sense. Diebold, the manufacturers of the infamous "black box" voting machines -- the ones that leave no paper trail -- use software that is not open-source. How is it that the taxpayers have already paid for the NSA to develop what they believe is the most secure operating system in the world, yet they pay again for Diebold machines that use a lower quality OS?


H.R.550 Update


Liz of Blondesense told me that she wrote to Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio several times about the H.R. 550 petition and Randi Rhodes has said nothing about it on the air.

Well, how about we all write to the show and ask them to publicize it?


He's even got a sample to help those of us (me) who can't think straight in the morning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Ford

We won:


Ford addressed and resolved each of our three concerns regarding the above:

1. Ford announced that it will continue to support gay organizations and gay events in the coming year and beyond.

2. Ford is going to run advertisements in the gay media NOT ONLY promoting the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, but the ads will promote ALL of Fords brands, by name, including Jaguar and Land Rover.

3. Ford states unequivocally that it will continue to tailor its ads for the specific audience it is trying to reach, and then goes one step further. Ford challenges us to keep an eye out on their upcoming ads in order to verify that they will in fact be tailored.



The Robot Bartender

Got this by e-mail from Mrs. G:

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender.

The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation aboutGlobal warming factors, quantum physics and spirituallity, biomimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities.

The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool." He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man responds, "about a 100."

Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about football, NASCAR, baseball, supermodels, favorite fast foods, guns, and women's breasts.

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies, "Er, 50, I think."

And the robot says... really slowly, "So............... ya gonna vote for Bush again?"

Bush vs. Jesus


On Public Prayer When a California federal appeals court found that including the words "under God" in the Pledge of Alliegance was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said President Bush believes the ruling is "ridiculous." (, June 27, 2002)


(Matthew 6:4-6) And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

See how the pretender stacks up to the genuine article.

Thanks to Karlo for the link.

F*cked Over Rebuilt Dodge

David at 42 chimes in on Ford caving in to religious whackjobs.

I hope the snoring doesn't bother the passenger...

From the WaPo

Teams of undercover air marshals and uniformed law enforcement officers will fan out to bus and train stations, ferries, and mass transit facilities across the country this week in a new test program to conduct surveillance and "counter potential criminal terrorist activity in all modes of transportation," according to internal federal documents.

Adams, of the Air Marshal Service, however, said marshals are the law enforcement arm of the TSA, which is charged with overseeing all modes of transportation -- not just aviation. "This is part of our responsibility to assist in the non-aviation domain," he said. "The whole purpose is that people will not know when we're going to be there or if we are going to be there. It's a preventative approach."

Oh, we'll know, Marshal. When you come to TITT (Truckee Intermodal Transportation Terminal), you'll vastly outnumber the usual passenger awaiting a bus or train.

Hint on maintaining anonymity and stealth: On a big ski weekend when there actually are quite a few Amtrak passengers, use a St. Bernard with a brandy keg on its collar and carry a snowboard. Over-moussed hair styling optional. Nobody will notice the guns, radios, and pasty complexions, or that you don't get on the one train in either direction per day.

We actually did have a bomb scare there this year. Some guy left his backpack unattended while he went across the street to have a drink while waiting for the bus. Anti-terrorism teams, dogs and everything, were called in from miles away. They used a water cannon to blast his spare skivvies far and wide.

U.S. Propaganda is Big-Bucks Bullshit

USA Today

U.S. Special Operations Command awarded three five-year contracts in June for contractors to develop slogans, advertisements, newspaper articles, radio spots and television programs to build support for U.S. policies overseas. Each contract has a maximum value of $20 million per year for a total of $300 million.

The psychological warfare officials overseeing the project say the messages will be true, if not always attributed to the U.S. military.

"Always true". Chortle!

Contracting records show that contractors were worried about scrutiny by U.S. and foreign reporters.

During the bidding process for federal contracts, potential contractors can ask questions and make suggestions that are answered by contracting officials. One question for this contract was whether the command would "protect them from U.S. and foreign media inquiries into this project."

Gee, if the propaganda is "true", what do these companies need protection from? Surely the truth can bear investigation.

During the Cold War, we had a media outfit called Radio Free Europe that beamed American propaganda to eager listeners behind the Iron Curtain. I don't think they were ever investigated by the Press. One difference was that the audience wanted to hear about life outside the wire. It didn't need much promotion. I think it pushed our ideals more to the fore than our policy. This outfit was perpetually underfunded, but all they needed was a good transmitter and some personnel.

The big difference was that we were trying to undermine and overthrow from within, if possible, unpopular regimes instead of trying to create one.

The things that bear investigation in this Iraq propaganda deal are: the questionable policies of our government in the first place; the fact that the Pentagon is in charge rather than the State Department; and the multi-million dollar no-bid good-ol'-boy contracts. I think the contractors are just worried that scrutiny may derail the gravy train.

Prosecutor Issues Subpoenas in DeLay Case

From AP

District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay's indictment on money laundering charges.

Perfect Wave contributed $15,000 in September 20, 2002 to Texans for a Republican Majority, a fundraising committee founded by DeLay, R-Texas.

Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned in late November after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to companies.

On Tuesday, Earle subpoenaed written testimony DeLay and two others gave in a 1994 lawsuit brought by DeLay's former pest control business partner. Ex-partner Robert Blankenship alleged in the suit that he was unjustly cut out of the business by DeLay and another man. The lawsuit ended in a confidential settlement in 1995.

DeLay gave differing stories about whether he was an officer of Albo Pest Control Co. during his deposition and when he filed a financial disclosure document with the House.

Heh. Those pesky 'differing stories' under oath will getcha every time!

Defense contractor ADCS and Perfect Wave Technologies are subsidiaries of Wilkes Corp.

Wilkes' company also hired Alexander Strategies, a consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife Christine. His private jet company, Group W Transportation, provided flights to DeLay three times. DeLay reimbursed Group W as required, records show.

They're closin' in on ya, Tommy me boy. Looks like everybody who's been recently charged, indicted, or convicted of political racketeering has a little sumthin' to say about you, don't it?

Global Warmin' an' steroids in T-ball

Just fer fun, go see this video.

Dog story

As you all know, I'm an animal lover, a dog lover particularly. So when I read this...

While I'd probably be described as a grinch this time of year (The usual reasons: it's too commercial, they've been playing the same fucking songs since Halloween, the asshole factor in the mall goes up exponentially, etc.), this story puts me in the spirit. I always do get the Christmas spirit, just before Christmas, and I do love spoiling my nieces and nephews. I love being known as the 'cool uncle'.

And speaking of the Christmas spirit, the lovely Elise sends us here. Heh.

The Secret Police

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

Jawohl, alles in ordnung.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The World's Fastest Indian

No, not Fixer's pal after eating a questionable burrito.This is a movie by that name set for release in the U.S. early next year. It's the story of Bert Munro, the New Zealander who set a land speed record at Bonneville in 1967. Even if you don't much care for old motorcycles, raw speed, riders with a bucket o' balls, or the salt flats, I know you like Anthony Hopkins. I highly recommend you go to the movie site. Scroll down and play the 'large' trailer. It took about 5 minutes to load with DSL. Take the time. If you're as rabid about this shit as I am, go to the Aussie site too. The trailer is slightly different. This one will be in my personal collection between the time UPS drops it off and it gets inside the store.

No more crap!

A leading university shwacks the Fundies...tastefully.

The Butcher of the Beltway

Here's a profile of me 'n Fixer's daddy, Frank Rich, in Slate.

Heh . . .

Go see Ed.


And how to count them.


Similarly, troops killed by "other than hostile means" don't really count in the Pentagon's official figures. Fall asleep at the wheel of a HMMMV because you've been on duty for 18 hours straight? Drive into a canal and drown? Too bad. Unofficial death not counted in the figures. Get sick and die from some exotic disease over there? (They've got a lot of them.) Same thing. Died after evacuation to Landstuhl, or Walter Reed, or even after you return home to your loved ones, and it's the same thing. It's not the "official" Iraq death total. As we said in the late unpleasantness in SE Asia, Xin Loi.


Go see our friend Lurch.

Jesus Bans "Christian" Group

Mark Morford in the EssEffChron

In an astonishing but not completely unexpected announcement, Jesus H. Christ, vice president and CFO of All That Is Inc., appeared today on a large tortilla at a roadside taco stand in Zacatecas, Mexico, to announce that, effective immediately, the pseudo-Christian group Focus on the Family, led by Dr. James Dobson and best known for its blazing hatred of gays and its fear of glimpsing the human female nipple during nationally televised sporting events, is effectively banned from His Divine Beneficence.

"This is what I realized: Rampant homophobia, ignorance of sex, derision of women's rights, a decided love of tepid dogmatic sameness at the expense of the luminosity and uniqueness of the individual human soul -- it was all just too much," Jesus said, this time appearing as a curiously shaped oil stain on a freeway underpass in Saragossa, Spain. "Then the bank thing happened and it was the straw that broke the Mary's back."

In related news, the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, another right-wing, anti-gay Christian group that allegedly pressured Ford Motor Co. into yanking much of its advertising from upscale gay publications, has, apparently, accidentally banned itself.

"Someone who is no longer in the organization had the bright idea that we should ban any American company or group that supported the outright ignorance of Christ's true message," sighed AFA chairman Donald Wildmon, chugging from a large bottle of Red Bull and stroking the hairless cat in his lap and making a strange hissing noise with his tongue. "Hell, it sounded great at the 'Harry Potter' book-burning rally. But then again, most everyone was buzzed on spiked Kool-Aid and Kumbaya pie."

"Turns out, when all votes were counted, the group that most needed banning, besides the Catholic church and Dobson's clan, was us. Apparently, we have no real clue as to what Christ truly stood for. Who knew?"

Go read the rest. Have some fun.

No good guys

There's an impending transit strike for midnight on Thursday. Steve Gillard has been following the contract talks and he defends the unions, rightly so (here and here). However a little consideration should be given to the people who pay the bill.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority sucks, no doubt about it. It is one of the most mismanaged agencies in the region and I give them no quarter. They are out to break the unions in the best case, render them impotent at the least. They should open up and give the unions a respectable contract.

On the other hand, the unions are using the ridership as pawns. We pay close to $4000/yr for the Mrs. to ride the Long Island Rail Road and the NYC Subway to work and back. How about showing some consideration toward us? Why do you have to call a strike now? Because it's the Christmas season and ridership is at its peak? Is it because you feel you'll have greater leverage over the city?

You know any gains you receive will be paid for with a rate hike next year, don't you? While you have no control over that, you're not winning any friends from the folks who pay your salaries. Not when your job action inconveniences us at the worst time of year and not when all the ridership sees are increased fares coming in the future. It's slowly becoming cheaper for the Mrs. to drive her Explorer into NYC than to take the train. Do you think we're the only ones doing the math? If you want the support of the ridership, you might want to act like you care about us a little. Let me tell you, if the cost of taking the train comes close to the price for renting a parking space in Manhattan, you've lost another rider.

Go for the gusto, get what you can from the city, but if you alienate the ridership, the MTA will only start laying you off, which is what they're looking to do anyway. Want to be the good guys? Schedule your strike for the end of March so the riders aren't the ones in the middle.


Well, maybe not completely, but I kicked enough of this Bird Flu thing (or whatever the hell it is) to go to work today. It's 19 with a wind chill of 7, but if it doesn't kill me it'll finish off this disease I got.

Just a commment. While I'm against the death penalty, I won't shed a tear for Tookie. Regardless of his 'turnaround', he showed no remorse or contrition for his crimes. If he really were innocent, he had a quarter-century and enough moneyed friends to prove it. He wasn't some poor schmuck who'd been railroaded by overzealous police and prosecutors. Note to anti-death penalty advocates: next time, pick a poster boy who actually is innocent. Nobody cares about a gang banger who would probably have died violently on the street anyway. Probably long before last night.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Last man from Pt. Honda shipwreck passes away

This is trivia, really, but those of us who have studied California's maritime history a little know about it. It was a big deal back then. From the LATimes.

In a curtain of nighttime fog off the rocky coast of California, the worst peacetime disaster in U.S. naval history was about to unfold. A captain who trusted his instincts over radio reports ordered the lead destroyer in a flotilla to make a sharp turn into what he thought was the Santa Barbara Channel.

One by one, nine destroyers in a squadron of 14 cruising south from San Francisco rammed into a rocky shoreline reef near Lompoc, considerably north of the channel. On Sept. 8, 1923, seven ships were lost and 23 sailors died - but 800 survived amid tales of courage.

Gene Bruce, believed to be the last known survivor of what came to be called the Tragedy at Honda Point, died Tuesday of natural causes at his home in North Hollywood, said his stepson, Robert Hubbard. Bruce was 98.

When they first hit what Bruce called "California real estate," the sailors thought they had run into San Miguel Island, one of the Channel Islands, until a train whistle made them realize they must be near the mainland.

Spanish sailors considered the area so treacherous they called it "la quijada del diablo" - the devil's jaw - and at least 50 shipwrecks are said to lie within its grasp.

Within days, the Southern Pacific Railroad was running tourists to see where the $13-million worth of destroyers were lost.

Vendors sold postcards that showcased the catastrophe.

"It was a big embarrassment for the Navy," Schwemmer said. "The Navy couldn't hide it. They talked about bombing the area to get rid of the wreckage but Mother Nature was so aggressive, they didn't have to."

Fifty years after the crash, a memorial plaque fashioned out of an anchor recovered from the Young was placed at the site, by then a part of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Today, remnants of the destroyers can still be seen at low tide. Bruce kept a visible reminder in his living room - a porthole from the Chauncey that an adventure club had given him.

Another chapter of history has been piped over the side. Adios, Mr. Bruce.

We're Doomed!

Fixer, since you're home sick today, this one's for you. Anything to cheer ya up, pard. After all, what're friends for?

The 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers

Go read who they are in AlterNet. Try getting away from most of these. Ha!

All show and no go...

Frank Rich

When a government substitutes propaganda for governing, the Potemkin village is all. Since we don't get honest information from this White House, we must instead, as the Soviets once did, decode our rulers' fictions to discern what's really happening. What we're seeing now is the wheels coming off: As the administration's stagecraft becomes more baroque, its credibility tanks further both at home and abroad. The propaganda techniques may be echt Goebbels, but they increasingly come off as pure Ali G.

Ali G. makes a lot more sense than Bush.

Read and enjoy.

Acid Flashback

Sometimes I have to go far afield to get (I wish!) Maureen Dowd, eh?

Our secretary of state's tortuous defence of supposedly non-existent CIA torture chambers in Eastern Europe was an acid flashback to Clintonian parsing.

When Rice was a Stanford professor of international relations, she would have flunked any student who dared to present her with the sort of wilfully disingenuous piffle she spouted on the eve of her European trip.

Maybe she figures that if she was able to fool people once with doubletalk about weapons of mass destruction, she can fool them again with doubletalk about rendition.

Here a few choice words about Sen. Clinton and flag-burning.

The senator doing Clintonian triangulating is just as transparent as the secretary doing Clintonian parsing.

All in all, a bad week for women - sheer torture to watch.

These ain't women. They're politicians.

Lonesome Joe

Joementum is making himself irrelevant.


No, not the Ford - Lincoln kind, the kind in thermometers that causes birth defects. Your tax dollars at work.


WASHINGTON - For nearly 140 years, any child born on U.S. soil, even to an illegal immigrant, has been given American citizenship. Now, some conservatives in Congress are determined to change that.

A group of 92 lawmakers in the House will attempt next week to force a vote on legislation that would revoke the principle of "birthright citizenship," part of a broader effort to discourage illegal immigration.


So, instead of tightening the controls at the borders, we're gonna marginalize another group of Americans. Agree with the current policy or not, this is nothing but cruel and racist. They're also debating this issue in France who, contrary to popular belief in this country, has its share of wingnuts. Here's a link to a BBC Hardtalk segment I saw when I was in Paris a couple weeks back where Jean Marie Le Pen says the same things. If you sit through the whole interview (20 mins.) you'll learn whom his friends are in this country. Just a hint: They wear white sheets and hoods.

Great thanks to Avedon Carol for the L.A. Times link.

Spreading 'democracy'

Baghdad -- An Iraqi government search of a prison in Baghdad operated by Interior Ministry special commandos found 13 prisoners who had suffered abuse serious enough to require medical treatment, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday night.


The site, which was searched Thursday, is the second Interior Ministry detention center where cases of prisoner abuse have been confirmed by U.S. and Iraqi officials.


Seems like the same old shit to me. Over 2100 American lives lost and things are no better than they were under Saddam.

The stench of hypocrisy 13

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that Christmas festivities have been polluted by consumerism and suggested that assembling the Nativity scene in the home is an effective way of teaching the faith to children. [my em]


Sure thing, Mr. Pope. As soon as you set the example.


Zoe lends a hand.

Social Darwinism

I'm home sick today, I think I got the bird flu or something. What does it mean when you fart feathers?

Anyway, The Guerilla Women sent me to this article. I'm not a big fan of Barack Obama but he gets it dead on.


Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, a fast-rising Democratic star, told Florida party members that only a philosophy among Republicans of sink or swim explains why some Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans still live in cars while Republicans in Washington prepare next week to enact $70 billion in tax breaks.


"They have a philosophy they have implemented and that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. They basically don't believe in government. They have a different philosophy that says, 'We're going to dismantle government'," Obama said.

Republicans running the federal government believe, "You are on your own to buy your own health care, to buy your own retirement security ... to buy your own roads and levees," Obama said, referring to flood barriers that gave way in New Orleans during Katrina last August.


Apathy, Delusion, and Sheep

The Penguin has an excellent post up:


The deal is that democracy requires that the majority of people give a shit. And in general, the majority of people don't. As long as it's not an utter disaster immediately attributable to the folks in Washington D.C., the majority of people simply don't care who rules them. I mean, c'mon. Richard Nixon was elected not once, but *TWICE*...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Oooh, I bet that hurts...

Go read the Rude One on Why Bill O'Reilly Ought To Be Sodomized With a Microphone. Hint: It's about Xmas and those commies at the ACLU. Fun stuff.

'War on Drugs:' A Foul Tragedy

I love Garrison Keillor, but this is the first time I've seen him even a little bit angry. It's about time.

A marijuana grower can get life in prison without parole, while a murderer might be in for eight years. No rational person can defend this.

If suddenly on a Friday night the red lights flash and the cops yank your teenage son and his little envelope of marijuana into the legal meatgrinder and some bullet-headed prosecutor decides to flex his muscle and charge your teenager -- because he had a .22 rifle in his upstairs bedroom closet -- with a felony involving the use of a firearm, which under our brutal sentencing code means he can be put on ice for 20 years, and the prosecutor goes at him hammer and tong and convinces a passive jury and your boy's life is sacrificed so this creep can run for Congress next year -- this is not your cross alone to bear. If the state cuts off your right hand with a meat cleaver on my account and I don't object, then it is my cleaver and my fingerprints on it.

I fear the solution to the onerous "war on a weed" will only come when Big Pharma figures out how to mass-market marijuana.

Storming Grenada

The first paragraph of this story in the EssEffChron caught my eye:

St. George's, Grenada -- It's not an ironclad rule or anything, but in general I try to avoid cranky-looking women with machetes.

No shit! In my motorcycle club, the equivalent was "Oh crap, another drunk broad with a gun!"

Anyway, go see what's left of Grenada after Fixer got done with it.

New Republican Talking Point

"Saddam wanted us to think he had WMDs..." ~ Lindsey Graham on Timmy's.

So...this is all Saddam's fault. And Clinton's too of course...somehow...oh yeah, sanctions...or something...

FuckingSupporting the Troops #2

Remember what I said a while back? That when you need the National Guard, there would be no one there except a couple guys to answer phones? Observe:

(New York- WABC, December 8, 2005) - Equipment shortages within the New York and New Jersey National Guard are raising serious questions about their ability to respond to disasters.

A month-long investigation by Eyewitness News has discovered large quantities of equipment to be used for "at home" emergencies, are now in Iraq.


When national guard troops come home from Iraq, much of the critical equipment that makes them an effective force stays behind.


Since the war, New Jersey National Guard has left one thousand humvees and trucks back in Iraq.

And during the past year, 16 of its 20 helicopters were in Iraq. They are now being shipped home, but it could be months before they're operational.


A more revealing picture of New York equipment shortages are found in numbers we obtained from the House Armed Services Committee.

They reveal New York is authorized to have more than 900 humvees, but currently have only 266. They are also authorized to have more than one thousand night vision goggles, but have only 264.

Rep. [Steve] Israel [D-Suffolk]: "Humvees and night vision goggles are mission critical equipment. If the New York National Guard only has 25 percent of what it needs that suggest a real problem."


Why do we have a National Guard anymore? We might as well put everybody on active duty and leave disaster response to the incompetents at FEMA. If the Guard has no equipment, the results will be the same.

They're learning

If we're gonna teach the Iraqis anything, it's that sex sells. Wonder how the wingnuts feel about it?

Revisionist History

Notice how the Repubs are screaming the Dems are 'rewriting history' with regard to the reasons for going to war in Iraq? How come we're not screaming about this?

Go read Karlo at Swerve Left:

This article brings up a central question we should all be asking now that Saddam is on trial--"Who in the U.S. brought Saddam to power and kept him there, in spite of the atrocities?"


Do you really think this question will be brought up at the show...puppet...kangaroo...trial? How much do you wanna bet a 'suicide car bomber' hits the courthouse seconds after it is? Look at that picture and tell me who gave Saddam the WMD in the first place? Why do you think Cheney and Rummy were so certain they'd find WMDs in Iraq in 2002? Yeah, that history isn't coming out for another century.


The old Ford got a bit dented this past week. From what I've heard from my 'sources', the dealer network and the engineering departments are pissed. Like I said last week in comments on an earlier post, it looks like Ford is realizing they make more money from their LGBT customers than the Focus on the Fetus wingnuts. Word to Clay, buying power does not equate to the amount of noise one makes. AFA might be loud, but most of their members can't afford to buy a new F-150 or Explorer every couple years, let alone an Escape Hybrid, never mind the Jags and Volvos. Think about whom you're turning off before you get in bed with some loudmouth preacher man.

Ford Motor Co. executives will meet early next week with leaders of gay rights organizations to discuss the automaker's decision to pull advertisements for its Land Rover and Jaguar lines from gay publications, a Ford spokesman said Friday.

"We look forward to the dialogue with the leadership of the gay community," said spokesman Mike Moran.


Thanks to John at AMERICAblog for the link. BTW, go get Pam's take on this too.