Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blogger Party

Since I was kidding around with Shakes the other day about my being King of the World, or at least just of the United States, and I got to thinking. What if I were President, elected from the 'Blogger Party'? How would I arrange my cabinet? I picked bloggers I read regularly (generally at least once a day) and I think would rise to the occasion, even if they aren't necessarily an expert in the subject.

Vice President - Pam Spaulding
Secretary of State - Michael J.W. Stickings
Secretary of the Treasury - Brad DeLong
Attorney General - Christy Hardin Smith
Secretary of the Interior - Gordon
Secretary of Agriculture - Radical Russ
Secretary of Commerce - Mrs. Fixer
Secretary of Labor - DBK (Froggy)
Secretary of Defense - Cdr. Jeff Huber
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Scout Prime
Secretary of Transportation - 42
Secretary of Energy - Michael Hawkins
Secretary of Health and Human Services - Shakespeare's Sister
Secretary of Education - PZ Myers
Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Jo Fish
Secretary of Homeland Security - Larry C. Johnson
Press Secretary - Jane Hamsher
Ambassador to the U.N. - Roxanne

Advisers to the President:

For the Arts and Humanities - Mimus Pauly/Patrick
For High Technology - Badtux the Geeky Penguin
For International Relations - Eponymous/Juan Cole
For Womens Issues - Blondie (Blondsense Liz)/AOB
For Racial Issues - Steve Gilliard
For LGBT Issues - Genia Stevens
For Religious Issues - The Green Knight
On the Environment - Grannyinsanity

Now that's a progressive White House. Whatever you think, I'll betcha we do a better job than the bunch that's in there now.

The DeLay Principle

Paul Krugman on the estate tax, war, and politics.

So a more precise statement of the DeLay Principle would be that nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes for very, very wealthy people, like the tiny minority of Americans who are heirs to really big estates.

Americans from an earlier era might have been puzzled by the DeLay Principle. They still believed in the principle enunciated by Theodore Roosevelt, who called for an inheritance tax in 1906: "The man of great wealth," said T.R., "owes a peculiar obligation to the state."

But the DeLay Principle isn't really that hard to understand: it's just like the Roosevelt Principle, but the other way around. These days, the state - or rather, the political coalition that controls the state, and depends on campaign contributions to maintain that control - owes a peculiar obligation to men of great wealth. And nothing is more important than cutting these men's taxes, even in the face of a war.

Gotta take care of the Sugar Daddy so he'll keep takin' care of them, the whores.

A tip o' the Brain to Rozius.

More al-Z

I know I was a bit glib and cynical in my post about al-Zarqawi's deletion. Our good friend Lurch makes the point far better:


Interestingly enough, the alleged leader, A. M. al-Zarqawi was little known throughout the world until Bu$hCo suddenly proclaimed him the leader of a-Q in Iraq, which in fact had never been heard of before Bu$hCo and CENTCOM, imitating Col Tom Parker said, "C'mere, cat. Ah'm gonna make you a star" a la Bobby Bare. Needing to explain their inability to control Iraq after the short-sheet conquest, and bearing in mind that the next stop was Iran, it was necessary to introduce the concept of "foreign fighters" early and often.

Thus was born the legend of A. M. al-Zarqawi, the deadliest one-legged terrorist/assassin in the Middle East. We got to hear a lot about him for three years. Every audacious attack, each outrageous atrocity was blamed on him. Bombings, beheadings, exploding trucks at embassies, spoiled whipped cream at Carvels and Dairy Queens - all was chalked up to al-Zarqawi.


Al-Zarqawi was our creation, just as Osama bin-Forgotten was. My unit helped deliver weapons and advisers into Pakistan 20 years ago to support Osama and the Mujaheddin in their war against the Soviets in Afghanistan (I was only on one operation in that mission). At least I can understand our helping Osama at the time, though we should have killed the lot of them once the Russians left.

Al-Zarqawi, like Osama, was a product of his environment, created to fight a proxy war with an occupying army. Were it not for the Soviets in the '80s, Osama would be just another rich Saudi. Were it not for Bush and Cheney and their imperialistic misadventures, al-Zarqawi would be just another Jordanian. They are our Frankenstein's monsters.

That said, believing anything that comes out of Iraq or is related to the 'War on Terra' is difficult for me. There has been so much lying, disinformation, and ineptitude that taking anything at face value is naive and gullible. Not when everything about this war has been used (though not very successfully) to Bush's political advantage. Yeah, I'm cynical, but that isn't a slight of the troops who put their butts on the line to get this guy. The thing that really gets me is, they wouldn't be in the position in the first place were it not for the lies and deception perpetrated by this White House.

He gets my vote

If I could...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq, unexpectedly announced on Friday he will run for the No. 2 leadership post in the U.S. House of Representatives if Democrats regain control of that chamber in elections this fall.

"If we prevail as I hope and know we will and return to the majority this next Congress, I have decided to run for the open seat of the majority leader," Murtha, a Pennsylvanian, said in a letter sent to House Democrats.


Remember when I said we need leadership at the top? I would follow Murtha into Hell any day. Sorry, Nancy, but you're no John Murtha. Hate to say it though, but this talk might be a bit premature. The Rethugs might have this election all 'fixed up' already.

Why bother...

With a Congress anyway? Are they just there to give token opposition to the Preznit for a couple days before they cave in to the White House wishes? Arlen Specter is the worst of them because he talks a good line before rolling over. He gets out there and yells and screams and then turns around and gives the WH cover. Glenn Greenwald gets in depth:


The idea that the President's allies in Congress would enact legislation which expressly shields government officials, including the President, from criminal liability for past lawbreaking is so reprehensible that it is difficult to describe. To my knowledge, none of the other proposed bills -- including those from the most loyal Bush followers in the Senate -- contained this protective provision. And without knowing anywhere near as much as I would need to know in order to form a definitive opinion, the legality of this provision seems questionable at best. It's really the equivalent of a pardon, a power which the Constitutional preserves for the President. Can Congress act as a court and simply exonerate citizens from criminal conduct?


What makes this proposed amnesty so particularly indefensible is that Specter himself has spent the last two months loudly complaining about the fact that he -- along with the rest of the country -- has been denied any information about how this illegal, secret eavesdropping has been conducted. Has that power been abused? Has it been exercised for political, rather than national security, reasons? Before one even considers shielding those responsible for this lawbreaking from liability, wouldn't one have to at least know the answer to those questions? [my em]


I don't expect folks in Kansas (Pat Roberts is cut from the same cloth as Specter) to come to their senses anytime soon, but you folks in PA better wake up and get Arlen out of there.

Friday, June 9, 2006


Just reminding folks about the survey in the left sidebar. If you haven't already, please take the time to complete it. Think of the children, dammit!

And I'd like to thank the bloggers who've helped me out in this endeavor. I really appreciate the space you've given to highlight this.

I know I'm harping but it's my blog, fer cryin' out loud. I'm not asking for money, just 5-7 minutes of your time.


Germany - 4

Costa Rica - 2


So much for 'net neutrality'

Democracy Now

The House voted on legislation yesterday that could determine the future of the internet and public access television in this country. In a vote of 321 to 101, the House voted to pass the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, known as the COPE bill. This controversial telecommunications legislation would permit phone and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital communications service as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight. The bill would effectively end what is known as "net neutrality" which is the concept that that everyone, everywhere, should have free, universal and non-discriminatory access to the Internet. The bill would also cut back the obligation of cable TV companies to devote channels to public access and fund the facilities to run them. And the COPE bill would replace local cable franchises with national franchises.

The Telecoms ain't makin' much money off of us, and we're a thorn in Congress' side, and since the Telecoms own Congress, and neither one of 'em likes us very much, they done fucked us over. It won't be the last time.

Enjoy the free Internets while they last, folks.

White Houseboy

Just go see!


I saw this headline:

Security or coverup? How a murky case became precedent.

It's about an old national security case that's still screwing us, but I had to read it twice. The first time I saw it I swear I thought it read:

Security or coverup? How a monkey case became president.



This is just FYI. All you New Age lefty hippies are probably way ahead of me on this, but I like the shit. You can find it a lot cheaper.

Officer says he ain't gonna go

Sarah Olson at Truthout

When 27-year-old US Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada announced his refusal to deploy to Iraq yesterday, he did so surrounded by veterans, military family members, and members of the religious and anti-war communities. News of Watada's intent to refuse his orders to deploy to Iraq has galvanized anti-war communities around the country, many of which are already calling for a series of demonstrations in support of Watada's actions. And others they hope will be inspired to refuse deployment to Iraq as well.

At a press conference in Tacoma, Washington, Watada announced his view that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal, and his intent was to refuse to deploy to fight that war. Watada said, "It is my duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army to speak out against grave injustices. I stand before you today because it is my job to serve and protect soldiers, the American people and innocent Iraqis with no voice." Watada went on to say that his participation in the Iraq war would make him party to grave moral injustice and war crimes.

While Watada may face a court martial for his decision to refuse to deploy to Iraq, he has also received significant support from veterans' organizations. Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, the War Resisters League, and many chapters of Veterans for Peace have all come to Watada's defense.

Family and friends of Lieutenant Watada have launched a national campaign to support his actions and to encourage other military personnel to do the same. Anti-war activists are planning coordinated national actions set to begin at the end of June in support of Watada's anticipated refusal to deploy to Iraq. For more information, visit the web site:

I am not, repeat not, encouraging anyone to desert the armed forces or otherwise resist being sent to Iraq, other than through normal channels such as resigning or not re-enlisting. They joined, they go where they're sent, unless they can pull some kind of strings. I didn't support draft resisters going to Canada during Vietnam either, but I understood why they did it.

It's a personal decision. I don't blame anyone who doesn't want to go, for all the reasons Lt. Watada stated. It takes balls, and he'll pay the price. He knew that before he went public with it. He probably hasn't been in long enough to resign, so this was his only choice. Right, wrong, or indifferent, his decision will follow him for the rest of his life.

Quite a few enlisted men have split the scene rather than go to Iraq, but they have mostly just done it and been quiet about it. This is first I have heard in public of an officer doing it.

Bush's War is criminal and unnecessary, but it will take many, many more soldiers refusing to go to make a difference.

I hope Paris Hilton's gotta cough up a bundle...


Senate Republicans failed on Thursday to muster the votes needed to abolish the estate tax on inherited wealth, but supporters of a compromise held out hope for a deal this year that could attract enough Democrats to pass.

Few tax measures have generated as much passion. The estate tax currently affects less than 1 percent of families, and it is the most progressive tax in the country because its impact is almost entirely on the nation's richest families.

Well, folks, take it from me: it's fair now, but it didn't used to be that way. Time was, if you inherited anything over about 40 grand, you paid estate tax. I inherited an estate valued at $150,000 a little over thirty years ago. It consisted of $900 cash, that's 'hundred', a house, and some personal effects. I had to dispose of the house to pay $40,000 estate tax. That was more money then than it is now, if you figure a car cost three or four thousand dollars back then.

It didn't actually cost me jack shit. It was 'third party' money. I just got to put less in my pocket. Real estate brokers and probate lawyers did OK off me, too. I still made out like a bandit.

They raised the limit a little while later, mostly due to inflation. The tax was starting to hurt smaller inheritors because the money got worth less so the numbers went up. More and more people had to pay the tax that shouldn't have had to. Sort of like the AMT now.

I think anybody who inherits the $2,000,000 necessary to qualify for the tax should thank their lucky stars for the over $1mil they get to keep cuz Auntie croaked and pay up with a smile. It's free money and it wasn't theirs to begin with. They didn't work for it or earn it.

To them I say: Count your blessings for being smart enough to pick the right family to be born into. Pay your share, you lucky bastards, take what you get and be happy with it.


Bush to tour mansions ravaged by estate tax.

I'm ba-ack...

Well, I got the new set up an' runnin'. It had its moments, but was less trouble than I expected. Didn't hafta call Bangalore, not even once. That means they got this shit pretty well idiot-proofed, although I did hafta pull my head out of my rear end a few times, but that's normal.

It's a Dementia 510 with 2.8 Gaggin' Floozies (my favorite kind!) and a 19" flat screen monitor. It's kinda like being at a drive-in movie! Everything looks slightly different, more like my laptop than my old monitor. This thing is faster than greased lightning compared to my previous one, which was plenty fast enough for me. I guess that's progress. Kinda reminds me of the ol' 'sickle tramp talkin' about his bike: "Yep, she had a set o' Chattanooga Rattlers an' a speed sprocket. Never knew how fast I wuz goin' cuz she'd twist the speedo cable off at a buck-twenty an' I couldn't afford a new one very often..."

My peripherals all plugged right in, although I still have to load a lot of software. Later. I got dial-up, DSL, Firefox, and a printer. And Zuma, of course! That's like havin' wheels, an engine, and handlebars - enough to getcha down the road. I'll worry about the brakes when I have to stop!

I got all my files, photos, etc., transferred OK, but my Firefox Bookmarks stayed with the old machine. I got most of the ones I use here back from The Best Blogroll and Sidebars In The Business. Thanks, Fixer.

It's time to crank this puppy up and go spray some gravel at the Republicans and other meanies. See ya on the trail.

On 'outing'

Shakes pointed it out this morning:

Yesterday, the rightwing National Review Online "outed" Daily Kos front-pager Armando. (Won't link; you can head on over and search for it if you like. There's the main post and then a follow-up.) They revealed his real name and employer...

Now, I understand the reasons for people wanting to remain anonymous while blogging. There are a lot of nuts out there, as well as the pressures of business situations (one of the reasons Mrs F doesn't blog or leave many comments here). I use a pseudonym (I thought it would lend an air of mystery when I first began blogging) but two clicks from this page will reveal my identity.

What I'm saying is, I don't have an expectation of anonymity. If I'm out here, spouting off at the mouth about what I think is wrong with this country, I expect there will be people who go try to figure out as much as they can about me, figure out if I'm somewhat credible or just a nut. If I want to remain anonymous, I wouldn't blog, wouldn't try to set my voice above the din, wouldn't draw attention to myself. It's part of the payback for having people consider your opinion. It's like celebrities, who want the stardom and big bucks, but get bent out of shape at the paprazzi. You knew when you began, they were part of the package.

In Armando's case in particular, I think Seth puts it best:


We're of two minds on the matter- if one wants to remain anonymous while blogging, one should be able to. Of course, one should then probably avoid using one's own first name, or identifiable characteristics about one's profession (Digby, for instance, is still anonymous to all except those who know her/him). [my em]


If you want to remain anonymous on the Interwebs, you've gotta work at it. Stop crying and either blog or don't.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna is bored with all the administration rhetoric regarding Iraq. "Tony Snow is a lying cracker, just like Snot McClellan," she said before going back to sleep.

Weltmeisterschaft '06

The World Cup starts today. Needless to say, my family (and everyone else in Germany) is glued to their TVs. I just hope they replay the game after I get home from work. Looks like I'm gonna miss it live. Yes, I root for the Germans because they're my peeps and I've been a fan since Beckenbauer was playing. If you like soccer, you're gonna see the best in the world play over the next few weeks.

MUNICH, June 8 (SW) - Germany will be set to impress during the 2006 World Cup opening match against Costa Rica on Friday.

The action kicks off in Munich, where hosts Germany face Costa Rica in a Group A clash. Jurgen Klinsmann's side are favorites but their opponents will aim to surprise, as has happened before in opening matches.


Thursday, June 8, 2006

I volunteer...

Shakes thinks:

So, the GOP sucks, the Dems suck, the electoral college sucks, and the party-line Congressional districting that all but guarantees 99% of incumbents reelection sucks. I'm thinking, let's just scrap this whole thing and go back to a monarchy...

I've been bugged over the past few years to run for elected office and always dismissed it, but being you're talking. I promise to be benevolent and respect rights, but boy would that be great, not having to watch polls, or have to deal with a belligerent Congress, or be above the law...anyway I think the Mrs. and I would be far better choices for King and Queen* than Shakes' choices.

*Mrs. F would be in charge anyway so you wouldn't have to worry about me doing really stupid shit.

I thought this whole Blogger maintenance thing yesterday was an upgrade? It sucks worse than it did before they 'fixed' it.

Let them teach

Our pal, and really smart guy, The Chemist talks about chemophobia:


As you might expect, this has the potential to further dampen interest in the sciences (especially chemistry) in the US, where science education is already sorely lacking.


Ha! I wonder how many school district policies I violate every time I do an in-class demonstration? I let kids fire off guncotton, break shit with liquid nitrogen, perform exothermic oxidations, handle and pour weak acids and bases, and other things that are scary sounding but perfectly safe. The students love it, and it's way more interesting for the whole class if one of their peers is blowing something up rather than if they're just sitting there watching me do it.


The science teachers I remember were the ones who let us do shit. Is this whole world turning into a buncha pussies or something? Everybody lives in sealed climate-controlled homes, there's a HEPA filter on everything, and nobody's kids play in the dirt anymore. You wonder why your kids have asthma, or are allergic to every fucking thing? Because they've never built up a tolerance to anything. Same thing with chemistry or anything else that might be 'dangerous'. Let the teachers teach and let the kids learn by doing. So what if they blow off a finger. That's why they issue you ten of 'em.

Pack up, get out...

And don't let the door hit ya in the ass on the way.


DeLay, facing trial in Texas on campaign money laundering charges, is leaving Congress Friday, ending a 21-year career in the House.


Good news or...

What Commandment says 'Thou shalt not steal' and have the Repukes read that one?

A reminder...

About the survey in the left sidebar if you didn't see my post yesterday evening. It takes about 7 minutes and I'd appreciate your taking the time to complete it.

So what?

I wake up to this:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida-linked militant who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings in Iraq, has been killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad, Iraq's prime minister said Thursday.


So, we can claim one victory in Iraq. Whoopee! Call me when you find Osama.

Either way, the insurgents and al-Qaeda will go on. One man does not an insurgency make.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Consultants and Media

Robert Parry, the political Muse
Shares his views
On "Why Democrats lose"
at Consortium News

Please pardon the "senior Jesse Jackson moment" there, folks!

In explaining Busby's defeat in this bellwether special election, national Democratic consultants will likely point to failures of Busby as a candidate or the fact that the Republican Congressional Committee pumped more than $4.5 million into the district.

But the one point the Democratic consultants almost never mention is the giant media advantage that Republicans have created from years of investing in media outlets - from newspapers, magazines and books to cable television, talk radio and the Internet.

Yet, it is this conservative messaging capability - in coordination with the Republican national political operation - that has proved decisive in election after election, even in disputed contests such as Florida in Election 2000 when the conservative media quickly portrayed Bush as the legitimate winner even though Al Gore got more votes.

Sometimes, when I talk to or e-mail with Americans around the country, they are perplexed as to why Democratic candidates always seem to turn to the same national consultants who lead the party to defeat time and again.

On the other hand, Republicans harbor no similar fears and indeed seem to relish taking the fight to even mildly skeptical mainstream talk show hosts, who, in turn, must fear for their careers if they are targeted as "liberal" by angry and well-organized conservatives.

Yet, as the Busby defeat has again demonstrated, the national Democrats don't seem to have any clue how to break this cycle.

Here's a clue for 'em: Get a message, then unify, consolidate, co-ordinate, and communicate all this to the public.

But given the current media imbalance to the Right, there is also a desperate need to level the playing field by having more media outlets that present views more from the Left side of the political spectrum.

Liberals and progressives simply cannot count on the mainstream news media to act as a counterweight to conservative news outlets. That is not in the job description of mainstream journalists, who understand that their careers will be better served if they tilt Right and avoid getting stuck with the "liberal" label.

This "consultariat" mostly disparaged investments in media and directed money instead to "think tanks" where the consultants and many of their friends were kept in high-paying jobs. They apparently are awaiting a Republican crackup like the one in 1992 when Ross Perot siphoned enough votes away from George H.W. Bush for Bill Clinton to slip into the White House.

So, instead of investing in promising Internet sites or improving the "progressive" content on radio and TV, liberal money flowed overwhelmingly into the hands of the same ol' Democratic consultant class.

Between their highly-paid-but-interest-conflicted consultants and a buncha media types lookin' out for themselves in the current power atmosphere, the Dems are well-nigh sunk right from the gate.

If they had a coherent unified message, something the chattering class deigned strong enough that they could take their teeth out of the jar and sink 'em into, their attitudes might start to change. The Reps have been screwing up bad enough for long enough that you'd think that would be reason enough to start. It's not. It's helpful and a good start, but the Dems don't seem to be capable of capitalizing on it. Time is of the essence here, as today's message can and will become tomorrow's fish wrapper.

I'd say to Hell with consultants unless they consult candidates to go with their gut, stand on principle, and speak loudly and often and in one voice, and not be afraid to piss someone off. Consultants should offer advice but the candidates must decide what's right for them.

It might help to get some young and hungry not-yet-entrenched-and-rich media types in as well, but that'll happen when we're dodgin' aviating porcine excreta.

Please go read the rest of Mr. Parry's piece.

I need a favor...

I'm helping my pal Erin and the students in the political science department at the State University of New York/Stony Brook (right up the road from me) with a survey they're doing. They're looking for a large sample and asked if I could help them rustle up some victims volunteers to take the survey. It only takes a couple minutes and you'll be helping our young people. I'll also be getting a copy of the results and I'll share them with you. I'll be putting a link in the upper left sidebar once Blogger decides to stop sucking monkey ass but here's the gist of it:

The Religion and Politics in American Life Survey

This survey is about attitudes towards religion and politics. Some people think that this country is becoming too secular. They want to see more people in government who share their values. Other people think that religious groups have too much influence in politics. They would rather keep religion and politics separate. We are very interested in your thoughts on this matter.What do you think about religion and politics in the U.S.?

Click here to take the survey:

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Erin Cassese (Stony Brook University) at

So take the fucking survey already and help out my neighbors' kids. They're our future, you know. Thank you.

I should add that the medical students at the East Campus have put me back together on numerous occasions. Stony Brook is an excellent teaching university and I'm thrilled they asked me to help. If I hadn't been a juvenile delinquent, I probably would have gone there...well...I would have applied there. They have standards after all.

And another aside: If you're a blogger and could see fit to draw attention to this on your blog I'd be grateful.

Smackin' the hornet's nest

Station Charon has a good rant on how Rove et al are shittin' on our troops and ignoring the real problems that face our nation in their "gay marriage" panderpalooza to stay in power. Worth a read.

Smacking the hornet's nest of peckerwood nation has long been the bread and butter play for the fascist right and the corrupt crony capitalists in the perpetrating of their looting of the treasury and implementation of a surveillance state and it is expressed no better than in former Jack Abramoff aide Michael Scanlon's admission that they target regressive bible thumpers as dupes to support their agenda of thievery:

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees. Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

And by God he is right and the pathetically ignorant 'values' crowd will once again pick up their pitchforks, rubber fetuses and foam rubber decalogues, make their pilgrimages to 'Roy's Rock' and get in line like the good little goosesteppers that they are, nothing is more enabling of totalitarianism than an angry mass without the slightest idea of what it is that really causes their anger. The morons of course will not be able to comprehend that if the gay marriage menace were such a threat to the very future of the planet that it would have been addressed by Rove and the Mayberry Machiavellis well before they spent nearly two years after Bush's most theft of a national election in bestowing gift after gift to their crony capitalist benefactors on Wall Street who have the real juice when it comes to driving the agenda.

[...] I caught on to their bullshit at a very early age in life when my parents packed me and my little sister off to the local Baptist church for Sunday school to get us out of the house. The Baptists would even send a nice gaily painted bus around the neighborhood trolling for young converts.

I remember that in addition to prayer a plenty we used to engage in sing-a-longs on that bus and one of the verses of the songs that I will always remember went something like this:

"You can't get to heaven with hippie hair cause the lord don't like that mess up there."

My young little mind must already have had the seeds of cynicism sown because lo and behold while our Sunday school teacher was leading us in song I noticed that he was standing in front of a picture of some dude with really long hair and a scraggly beard...

And it sure as fuck wasn't Ted Nugent.

I actually like "the Motor City Madman" for his stance on firearms, self-sufficiency, and his general attitude other than his wingnut politics. I tried shooting my own food once, but it took too long to pluck the birdshot out of my bucket of chicken.

Sorry, but...

I'll reserve judgment about this Canadian terror cell until all the facts come out. Why? Because it just strikes me there's something funny going on here. Pessimist asks the same question I've been since the news broke.


So why would Muslims want to target Canada???

That's when it hit me - this is all a setup.


We're desensitized...

To bullshit. Gord touched on it the other day. To wit:


And you know what's the worst part of this? No one really cares that much, no one that matters. "Oh, that's just Fox News, that's just O'Reilly, whaddya expect?" The level of bullshit, ignorance, bigotry, and malicious stupidity is so high we don't even notice it anymore. Worse, the stench is so bad and is so far over our heads already, we don't even notice when it's reached a new height.

But we're not done yet. If O'Reilly can keep his job - and he can and will - after smearing American WW II soldiers (as well as sending covert signals of support to all the David Irvings in America), then he will feel compelled to top that. Anyone care to predict the next O'Reilly outrage?

I don't. If you had told me that Bill O'Reilly could get away with rewriting Malmedy, I would have said you were mad. But what we do know is that the goal posts have moved and rightwing extremism is just a little less extreme than it was. [my em]


That's how Ann 'I don't need a strap-on' Coulter can get away with the shit she shovels too. When the outrageous is commonplace, the truly horrible doesn't raise an eyebrow. As Gord's post emphasized, had the 'pundits' on the Left said about Christians what Coulter says about everybody else, the Rethugs would drop the anti-gay amendment bullshit in a heartbeat to take up the cause of banning 'hate speech'. Tristero has a good idea:

...Let's call it the Neiwert Effect, in honor of the expert in how extreme rightwing memes get mainstreamed...

It's worse...

After five years of Bush, you know the situation is actually far worse than I previously mentioned.


[P]ersonal data on more than 2.2 million active-duty military personnel - not just 50,000 as initially believed - were among those stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee last month, the government said Tuesday


Yup, the 'party of security'. Is there anyone in this government who is not incompetent? If I did my job the way these assholes do theirs, Harry would have run me out of the shop years ago. If I managed my personal finances the way they do, I'd be living out of a refrigerator box under an overpass of the Long Island Expressway.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I don't know about you...

But I wish they had these when I was in. Freefall for 120 miles! And I thought the HALO jumps were fun. Ausgezeichnet!

You know, just thinking about it, aside from the fun ride, stashing it once you're on the ground might be problematic. I sure as hell ain't carrying it with me or bringing it back. A chute you can bury or hide easy enough and make it look like you were never there. I'd hate to have to try and hide that thing.

Tip o' the Brain to memeorandum.

Geez, that's a simple solution...

I got this in an e-mail from my pal Jo in L.A. and just had to share:

Win win situation.

Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border, take the dirt and raise the levees in New Orleans and put the Florida alligators in the moat.

Any other problems you would like for me to solve?

Well, that takes care o' that, I guess!

The real threat to marriage...

Pensito Review

The traditional media may be interested almost exclusively in the sex lives of Democratic politicians, but on the hypocrisy index, it is hard to score higher than Republicans pontificating about saving the institution of marriage while so many of their leaders are serial and long-time adulterers:

A list follows, with some sordid details. You may have heard of some of them, although some Republican sexual practices may be new to progressives and young folks. There's some oddball shit blows some of their skirts up, but who am I to judge? Moral values, you know.

Dubious Epidemics

Molly Ivins cuts through the crap yet again.

I believe what we have here is a difference over moral values.

The Republicans are worried about the flag, gay marriage and the terrible burden of the estate tax on the rich. The rest of us are obviously unnecessarily worried about war, peace, the economy, the environment and civilization. Another reason to vote Republican - they have a shorter list.

The Republicans have definitely figured out what appeals to the retards who vote for them. This time around, there may not be as many.


Bob Geiger on the same subject:

Whether or not any of these bills passes, the GOP is taking a giant gamble five months before the midterm elections: That when the polls open on November 7, Americans will believe that two men getting married, someone, somewhere burning an American flag or some yokel's right to have his Florida carry permit observed in New York has a damn thing to do with the daily, real-life concerns of their families.

They've won this gamble in the past. This time, they will not.

Gee, maybe I'm finally right about something!


Remember, and think about the sacrifices made that day in a just war.

Quote of the Day*

And as Ron White, comedian and genius compared to these fools, says, "You can't fix stupid."

Go read Jaye's whole post over at Blondie's.

*Now becoming a semi-regular thing...or so it seems...


It seems every day, more of my neighbors to the north are making their voices heard in support of Ned Lamont. I've probably mentioned it, but I lived in Connecticut for 18 months when I got out of the regular AF and joined the Reserves (Westover AFB, Chicopee MA, 59th Aerial Port Sqn.). I fell in love with the state then and I still enjoy going back to visit on one of Mrs. F's antiguing junkets. I wish nothing but the best for them and that means getting Holy Joe out.

He was reading a 2005 commentary in a national newspaper by U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, in which the three-term incumbent wrote that Democrats who harshly criticize President George W. Bush on the Iraq War while the conflict continued "undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

"That was the straw that broke the camel's back," [Bridgeport educator Maximo] Medina said of his fellow Democrat. "It was outrageous."

Medina has since emerged as one of the key supporters of Lieberman's Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont.


"He gives Bush political cover on many issues," Medina said of Lieberman, who often has been called the president's favorite Democrat. "Lieberman has become a national icon and he's become too big for his britches, and I find a lot of Connecticut folks have noticed that."

He said the time has come for an open dialogue on what it means to be a Democrat. "We want a strong debate on what Connecticut Democrats should be all about," he said.


Indeed. We should have that debate within the national party as well. I'm not saying Dems should be like Rethug automatons, spouting a party line regardless of the reality, but by golly don't give the Rethugs cover and credibility. It's one of the reasons I'm pushing Ned Lamont's candidacy so hard when I can't even vote for the man. This is more than a local race in one of the most beautiful states in the Union. Ned's our guy. A grassroots, Internet-friendly, progressive candidate for national office. Getting Ned elected will send two messages.

1. Incumbency doesn't mean your seat is guaranteed.

2. Never underestimate us (the netroots/grassroots) again.

Support Ned Lamont the only way we out-of-staters can.

Links thanks to My Left Nutmeg.

"Exceeding his Constitutional authority"

WASHINGTON -- The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted unanimously yesterday to investigate whether President Bush has exceeded his constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office.


William Sessions , a retired federal judge who was the director of the FBI under both Reagan and President George H.W. Bush , said he agreed to participate because he believed that the signing statements raise a "serious problem" for the American constitutional system.

"I think it's very important for the people of the United States to have trust and reliance that the president is not going around the law," Sessions said. "The importance of it speaks for itself."


The Chimp has been exceeding his authority since 9/11. It's about time these bottom feeders stopped counting their money for a few minutes to do something about this bullshit.

Great thanks to Maru for the link.

Monday, June 5, 2006


Click to embiggen

This is our pal Lurch from Main and Central and Lurch's Page. He's on vacation, traveling around the country, and honored me with a visit today. He's visiting family in the Sierra foothills and made a coupla hunnert mile round trip to do so. Didn't cost him jack shit money-wise, either. He hit the jackpot at some Indian casino somewhere and left a bunch of 'em with nothing left but blankets to sit on! Sweet!

This is the first time that an entity hitherto known to me only in the disembodied typewritten word has presented himself in the flesh, so to speak. In other words, he's the first real live blogger I've ever actually met in person!

We sat on my deck with refreshments and chatted about everything under the Sun that we like: computers, cameras, cars, blogs, our respective locales, life in general - oh, did I mention politics? We dual-computed and showed each other pictures. I conned advised him on a lovely route to take when he heads back east. Death Valley is involved, so if we don't hear from in the next few weeks we'll go look for his bleached bones. Dibs on his Exploder.

He's a nice guy. We had a great visit and he's welcome back any time.

We correspond all the time over these internets with folks we don't know much about: what they look and sound like, where they live, etc. None of that really matters. We find folks far removed from us that are of like mind and intellect, a nation-wide linkage if you will, and we know from this that we are not alone in our thinking. To get to actually meet one of the best of 'em, not to mention actually liking him, was a big thrill.

If he isn't nice to me, I'll show you the other picture I took of him!


WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.


So how does this make us any better than the Taliban or the Janjawid? This is proof, if you needed any more, the United States has become a tin-horn dictatorship.

Hat tip: Dr. Attaturk

It's Florida...

No offense to the great Lefty bloggers from Florida but, like the military, it's sad commentary on the leadership of the state:


"I was watching in the living room, and they started showing the pictures of Mohammed Atta and then the others in those photographs," says Hiaasen. "I said, 'I swear to God, those are Florida driver's licenses photographs.' At least nine of them, I believe, and possibly more had lived and worked and trained for their suicide mission here in Florida."

"And I always tell people, 'You think that was an accident? Where's the one place in the United States where the bar of bad behavior is so high that nobody's gonna notice these guys?'" adds Hiaasen. "Nobody's gonna think twice when they walk into a flight school and say, 'I'd like to get on a 757 simulator, but I don't need the part about where you land it. Just teach me how to fly it around.' And pay it in cash, and they say, 'Oh, right this way, Mr. Atta. Sit over here.'

"You know, the one guy, he goes to Minneapolis, he goes to Minnesota to learn and he's in jail in about 25 minutes. First I was surprised, and then it all made sense. It all makes sense when you think about it. Why not? Of course."


Tip o' the Brain to C&L.

Home schooling

As most of you know, I got a problem with home schooling. Aside from the fact the Jesus freaks have appropriated it as a way to brainwash their kids in the ways of their Jesus (there is nothing more terrifying to me than to see a 6 year old quoting scripture from memory), but it also hinders social development and the development of interpersonal skills when kids aren't exposed to diversity. This story (via our pal John) points up the fact all too graphically:

WASHINGTON, DC - Ten-year old Katie Hulmich has spent most of the last year preparing for 79th National Spelling Bee, which finally got underway in the nation's capitol today. The pint-sized, tow-headed home-schooler has spent ten hours a day for the past eight months preparing for the spelling showdown, and can fire off twenty-five cent words from 'anastomosis' (the union or connection of branches) to 'zedoary' (the dried rhizome of a tropical Asian plant).


"We thought we had all of the words covered, but then they pull one out of the blue like that," says Katie's mother - and full-time home spelling coach - Beverly Hulmich. "The real challenge for the kids is when they come across a word that they just don't ever use in their daily life." [my em]


The word was 'friend'. The defense rests.


Okay, so it was 5 in the morning and I didn't get this was satire. My bad. I still have a problem with home schooling for the reasons mentioned. There are a lot of well-intentioned folks out there but it's still no substitute for the learning experience of just interacting with large, diverse group of peers.

Nothing better to do...

So they're gonna try and push through this gay marriage thing,

WASHINGTON Apr 30, 2006 (AP) - Former Sen. John Danforth says a conservative push to ban gay marriage through a constitutional amendment is silly, calling it the latest example of how the political influence of evangelical Christians is hurting the GOP.

Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, made the comments in a speech Saturday night to the Log Cabin Republicans, which support gay rights. He said history has shown that attempts to regulate human behavior with constitutional amendments are misguided.


that even moderate Repukes don't want, just to shore up the 'base'. It's not like we have any other priorities:


the now bankrupt government pension bailout program being inundated with private companies shirking their responsibilities.

the $6b a month we're spending in iraq. the $9b that just *poof* disappeared over there.


new york apparently having no monuments to protect against terrorists and so their homeland security funding was slashed 40%.

hurricane season being upon us again and we still haven't cleaned up the gulf coast from katrina and rita. people are still homeless, jobless and hopeless.


From the gay couples I know, the Repukes can learn a lot about family values.

Sunday, June 4, 2006


And Ol' Joe-mentum has built up a stellar one over the past 18 years...if he were a candidate for the GOP. Lest we forget, my neighbors:


I had forgotten how he played the leading role in 1993 to thwart Democrats who tried to close loopholes allowing companies to cook the books on millions of dollars of stock options. Thus began the regulatory abandonment that spawned Enron and its sibling rip-offs.


How many Connecticut Democrats remember that their senator was one of only two Democrats who voted with Republicans in 1995 to kill a lobbyist-gift ban? Or that he called affirmative action "un-American?" Or that in August 1994 he voted in favor of a proposal by Republican Jesse Helms to cut off all federal money from schools that offer counseling to suicidal gay teens by referring them to gay support groups or in any way suggesting it's OK to be gay?


And there's much much more. Yes, Holy Joe has built a record any Republican would be proud of. Ned Lamont will build a record a Democrat can be proud of. Joe must go.

Thanks: Atrios

Well, that explains it...

A letter from Skelitor to Senator Clinton about the New York DHS funding cut. Karena's Blog:

George Bush has assured the DHS that NYC will not be a target for a terrorist attack this year. He's got too much on his plate right now whipping up fear in other states. He says that no one cares about the Empire State Building anyway except a few fans of that old movie, An Affair to Remember. Some King Kong fans care about the building, but the latest remake was pretty much a flop.

We will divert the money to Red States this year in an effort to get out the vote. Again, you have nothing to worry about, you are not on our radar screen this year.

Pretty close, I'd say.

So tell me again...

How swimmingly things are going in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Masked gunmen stopped two minivans carrying students north of Baghdad Sunday, ordered the passengers off, separated Shiites from Sunni Arabs, and killed the 21 Shiites "in the name of Islam," a witness said.



Looking back at this and the quote "in the name of Islam", I get to thinking that, since the beginning of recorded history, more people have been murdered in God's name than for any other reason. So tell me again how benevolent and decent this God guy is, because to me, the history of the human race must be like reality TV, or some sort of entertainment, to him. It seems this genocide and murder sure as hell isn't causing him to lose much sleep at night.

Fucking New York 3

Remember my outrage at the cuts in anti-terror funding to New York and DC? (here and here) Well now I learn about the person who's in charge of making the cuts and reallocations. Do you think she is qualified for the job? Sadly, No!


The Homeland Security official who signed off on funding cuts for New York and extra cash for the heartland is a small-town gal whose back-door appointment to the job was mired in controversy.


Tracy Henke, 37, assistant secretary for grants and training, wasn't quickly confirmed by the U.S. Senate after her nomination last year because of allegations she played politics in her previous post.

So an impatient White House appointed her while Congress was in recess, drawing howls of outrage from lawmakers and sparking questions about her qualifications. [my empahses]


I got a 'back-door appointment' for her. Same one I got for O'Reilly This is what's in charge of Homeland Security funds:


The Homeland Security bureaucrat who shortchanged New Yorkers' safety by $80 million implied yesterday that guarding a Nebraska cornfield from an Al Qaeda attack is the same as putting a cop with a gun on the Brooklyn Bridge.


Lawrence knew...

I am a big fan of T.E. Lawrence AKA "Lawrence of Arabia". The Guardian describes how he foresaw today's Iraq mess during WWI.

As British troops went in to Iraq in March 2003, the Iraqi information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, provided some unexpected entertainment at a time of great uncertainty. But some of his claims do not seem so risible now, one of them being: "We have drawn them into a quagmire and they will never get out of it."

Quagmire is the word. Unable to halt the country's descent into a sectarian civil war, and yet reluctant to admit failure and leave a vacuum by withdrawing, we are faced with a terrible dilemma in Iraq today. The situation would be familiar to TE Lawrence, who described in 1920 how clumsy involvement in Iraq had left Britain "in a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour".

A good Sunday read in a foreign language - English.

Lawrence was a great man who did great things and then got screwed by his government. We are the lucky recipients of the aftermath of said screwing due to this administration's complete ignorance of, and disregard for, history.

Just as an afterthought, Lawrence was killed whilst riding his latest Brough-Superior, one of the finest motorcycles of its day. If you want to find a really rare one, try to find one he wasn't killed on! It even turned up in an episode of 'Lovejoy'.

Olbermann tears O'Lielly a new one...

One wonders how even a know-nothing Like Falafel O'Loofah could get a fairly well-known piece of history so terribly, completely wrong and air it - twice. Keith Olbermann called 'bullshit' on him big time. Crooks and liars, video and transcript.

Robert Parry also weighs in on this at Consortium News.

If one of those "usual liberal suspects" had said something one-tenth as offensive as O'Reilly's remarks, Fox News surely would have offered up one of its loaded questions, like "Is (fill in the blank) Anti-American or Just Blinded by Hatred of Our Troops?"

O'Reilly's just a self-serving piece of shit who makes way too much money catering to stupid people whom he thinks will buy any crap he cares to lay down, the truth be damned.

Say it ain't so...

Looks like The Farmer is packing it in. He's been one of my favorites since I landed in Blogtopia (y!sctp!).

Up against the wall

These motherfuckers deserve nothing more than a firing squad and to be buried in a pigsty afterward:


The AP article said that Custer Battles inflated cost claims to $9.8 million for work that actually cost $3.7 million, an increase of 162 percent when the max profit margin is 25 percent. [ed. note: I don't think any company that is looking to profit in a war-torn nation is going to be conservative on the profit margins.] One example of the deliberate overcharging:


Earlier this year, retired Brigadier General Hugh Tant testified in the war profiteering trial of CB that the contract to distribute Iraq's new currency was "probably the worst I have ever seen in over 30 years" in the Army. He continued:

After Tant spoke of the broken-down trucks delivered on the Custer Battles contract, he testified that Battles responded: "You asked for trucks and we complied with our contract and it is immaterial whether the trucks were operational or not."


And this guy Custer (yes, he is related to the 'military genius', runs in the family I guess) is a former Army Ranger and Agency operator. He should be 'Abu Ghraibed' before they put the bullet in his head. This is why I have a problem with 'contractors' in a war zone. I give shit what you call 'em, they're mercenaries to me, be they 'security' or truck drivers, and have sold their souls and their honor.