Saturday, April 28, 2007

I think, maybe ...

Gen. Petraeus' idea of "enormous" is different than mine. Cdr. Huber:

As the Senate sent legislation to the White House that calls for troop withdrawal timelines, General David Petraeus, top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that the war will require "an enormous commitment" by the United States.


To me, 3500(?) American lives, countless Iraqi lives, and half a trillion bucks is pretty enormous, especially with the results we've seen. With those resources, I could make everybody in Africa 'middle-class', I could insure every American's health, and I could probably come up with an alternative to petroleum products. What could you do?


For rock fans: Everything you need to follow along with this weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

"Artificial Deadlines" Rejected By The Artificial President

Don Davis:

He won't endorse "artificial deadlines" to pull-out from an artificial country, terrorized by artificial Iraqi police and army, run by an artificial government, in a war sold by artificial intelligence, and started by an artificially elected U.S. oresident.

Hey, George, tell it to the troops coming home to be fitted for artificial limbs.

Talk about your "art-of-official" Bushshit!

Rest assured, Georgie m'boy, there's nothing artificial about all the death and destruction you've wrought, either abroad or here at home.

Kucinich Big Winner - There's no Debate

The Satirical Political Report

"Between my young hot wife, and that old hot-head Gravel, I'm suddenly starting to look pretty good to Middle America."

He always looked good to Middle Earth, but I'm not sure Hobbits vote...I don't blame him fer that shit-eatin' grin, neither!

Really, the only reason I posted this is so I could pass on some wisdom imparted to me by a wizened old motorcycle mechanic I knew in my youth:

"Here's the deal on tall girls - toes ta toes, yer nose is in it. Nose ta nose, yer toes is in it."

The whiny fall guy

MoDo on 'Slam-Dunk' Tenet:

The president and vice president wanted Slam-Dunk to help them dramatize the phony case. Everyone had to pitch in! That Saturday session in December 2002 in the Oval Office was "essentially a marketing meeting," Slam-Dunk writes, just for "sharpening the arguments."

Hey, I feel better.

Can't a guy be a lickspittle without being an ideologue?

Looks like he can be a traitor as well.


Waxman invites Tenet to testify

"Invites". Heh.

You can keep up with Waxman's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform here.

So tell me ...

Is there a Republican who isn't a hypocrite or a crook?

I'm surprised ...

She stayed so long. River of Baghdad Burning is leaving for safer locales. Glen says goodbye:

Since I chanced upon her years ago, I have worried when River didn't post in a while. Her last was back in February. During the silences, I knew it could be a simple matter that, with a few hours of electricity per day, she and her family may have more immediate uses for it than to power her computer. Or it could be worse. Much worse. Anyone, other than The Big Shopper McCain and his ilk, knows what much worse can be.


Whore now and save!

The next chapter of my novel The Fourth Estate is up at The Practical Press.

And don't forget, you can vote in The Practical Press Awards of 2006 for your favorite short story, poem, novel, audio book, or songs until Monday. Not only will you find my work, but that of our friends Mustang Bobby, Old White Lady, Shakes, and many others.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Deja vu:


America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq.... America's generals did not provide Congress and the public with an accurate assessment of the conflict in Iraq....

After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America's general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public. The Iraq Study Group concluded that "there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq." The ISG noted that "on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals."


All over again:


Which brings me to this: We veterans didn't lose the war. The protestors didn't lose the war. Even Hanoi Jane, (though I detest her to this day), didn't lose the war. The lying fucking government of Lyndon Johnson, Robert MacNamara and his uniformed henchman, General Westmoreland lost the war. They lost it by lying to get us lying to send more troops...and by lying about "body counts".


Throughout my teenage years, I heard every politican say "we will never make the mistakes of Vietnam again." Lyin' bastids ...

The Wørd on Global Warming

A tip o' the Brain to Grist.

America Since 1980: A Right Turn Leading to a Dead End


The piece begins with:

U.S. politics took a sharp turn to the right in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan as president.

And goes downhill from there, much like the U.S., to end with:

This is a bad situation for a bully to be in. After a quarter century of not caring about the concerns of other countries, the United States is facing a situation where other countries may not care much about our plight. We may soon wish that we had spent more effort building up meaningful international institutions when we had the opportunity.

If Repuglicant policy is allowed to run its course and make a few people unconscionably wealthy, and everybody else beggin' poor, and no one else in the world gives a shit, in fact takes pleasure at our discomfort, I have no doubt people will wonder WTF happened and how can they treat us that way? The answer is plain for all to see.

The Best and the Brightest

On Wednesday I posted about David Halberstam.

Please go see what a pro has to say about him in Newsweek.

As it was in the beginning, so it was down the decades: Halberstam, who died on Monday in a car crash in northern California at age 73, was always present at the creation, reporting, watching, thinking, and writing about the unfolding drama of what Henry Luce called the American Century. The Harvard graduate who went from Cambridge to Mississippi to cover the great domestic story of the time became one of the earliest and most important journalists to chronicle the great foreign story of the age: Vietnam, where, in the pages of The New York Times, Halberstam insisted on reporting what he saw happening, not what the government said was happening. The difference was essential, even epochal, and Halberstam achieved something few journalists ever do. He changed history, for he helped change how America saw not only the war in Vietnam but the ways of Washington. It is hardly an exaggeration to suggest that Halberstam's reporting, and his epic book, The Best and the Brightest, were crucial elements in Americans' growing, and justified, distrust of their government.

His was a hope born of experience. Back in the 50s, Halberstam had begun watching America, painfully but surely, cast off the burdens of segregation. Since then, from the American South to Southeast Asia, he bore witness to the conviction that for all our sins and shortcomings, we would, painfully but surely, move toward Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mountaintop. It is a mark of Halberstam's greatness that his work has long helped us see how we might get there, and always will.

The mountaintop is still a long way off, but we continue to climb. We must.

Even yet still more Moyers...

So sue me. I like the guy.


Veteran journalist Bill Moyers begins his new weekly series, "Bill Moyers Journal," with an interview with Jon Stewart, anchor of the award-winning The Daily Show for eight years, about why so many get their news and analysis from his fake news show. Also on the program: Josh Marshall, blogger and publisher of the influential, gives his perspective on the role of politics in the recent firings of federal prosecutors; and Carlo Bonini, Italy's foremost investigative reporter.

You can see a preview and check air times or anything you need to at the link.

Dem 'Debate': Ho-Hum

I had that thing on while I did other things. Nothing Earth-shattering happened, although Joe Biden got off a good one: when asked if he thought he could convince Americans that his renowned verbosity would not get in his way as president, he gave a one-word answer - "Yes" - and then just stood there. Great comedic timing. Laughter ensued. It was probably the high spot of the event.

I couldn't even tell you without looking it up how many candidates were there. Seven? Eight? I never heard of that Gravel guy before, and I missed Al Sharpton not being there. I'm glad they let everybody participate, but that will probably change.

Nobody waffle-stomped any of their appendages or shot any toes off. It was about what I expected, a preliminary job interview with everybody on their best behavior. Boring.

I think the main purpose of the whole deal, indeed of this whole looong election season, was to comply with the TV Pundit Full-Employment Act.

Done got us another one, Cleetus!

Mr. Shakes got his green card!

... He’s "tootally gooing to becoome a citizen in time to voote in 2008!" ...

Go wish them well.

Shit, I'm late for work ...


On Monday, voting will close for The Practical Press Awards 2006. While I'm up for an award, I direct you there to experience the wealth of good work done by the nominees in every category, from short story writers to poets, novelists to audio collections, songwriters too. While you're there, give a thank you to Kenneth Quinnell who runs the page (and does all the work and research to put on the award show). He's rounded up some excellent talent, quite a few who you'll recognize from the 'comments' section here. I'm honored to be in such good company. Best of luck to all the nominees.

Class Act

That would be Steve Soto. You don't see a right wing blogger, nor many 'legitimate' news sources, point out their own mistakes. As I said when I took umbrage with a post of his (a rarity, I assure you) a while back (as did a lot of other commenters) I love Soto and this is one of the reasons why.

Update: I feel obligated to point out that I was wrong. Some commenters have correctly said that many of you knew the surge was a lie and doomed to fail from the outset. I on the other hand (for once) wanted to give the Bush Administration the benefit of the doubt based on what I originally saw from Robert Gates. Even though I qualified my support for the surge, I was wrong and many of you were correct from the start.


As Steve writes today:


The original sales job done by this administration for the surge back in January is now inoperative. We were told by the administration that we would be surging while the Iraqis would be undertaking political reconciliation and achieving benchmarks during the remainder of 2007. According to today's Post, it isn't happening. Additional proof came from Petraeus himself this morning when he said things are more complex than imagined and our situation will get worse before it gets better. That’s if it gets better. Yet Joe Lieberman says today that we need to stay and fight Al Qaeda in the middle of a sectarian war, requiring our soldiers to fight everyone at the same time even without any political reconciliation.


So now we've wasted more lives for the political machinations of the Bush administration. Personally, I'm tired of this "let's try this and see if it works" approach to this war. Nobody knows what the fuck to do, from Bush, to his Defense Secretary, to morons like Lieberman, to the "generals on the ground", so they're pulling plans out of their ass. The 'surge' was a failure (I don't want to hear we only have 60% of the 'surge troops' on the ground. After 3 months, if all the elements aren't in place yet, it ain't a surge) and all we have to show for it is a couple hundred new, flag-draped coffins arriving in the dead of night.

As my esteemed colleague JerseyGuy reminds us regularly, it is time to impeach these people. Get them out of office and then put them in jail.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Makes ya think ...

About who is gonna be running the show in 50 years?

Click to embiggen

Cartogram from an excellent site I found a while back called Strange Maps.

Who gives a fuck ...

They're only brown people.

'Kremlin Justice'

The Carpetbagger Report on Rove's violations of the Hatch Act:

Rove & Co. never explicitly instructed federal employees to take specific actions on behalf of GOP candidates, because that would obviously violate the Hatch Act. Instead, they'd just lead the horse to water, and tell the horse how incredibly important it was for him to drink. If the horse suddenly started drinking the water, that certainly wasn't Rove’s fault.

The administration maintains that the previously undisclosed meetings were appropriate. Those discussing the briefings on the record yesterday uniformly described them as merely "informational briefings about the political landscape."

What a coincidence. All of these employees were using the exact same phrase ... almost as if they'd been instructed on exactly what to say when asked about the administration's illegal political operation.

As Paul Kiel explained, "The entire scheme has been laid out before us. The question now is whether Karl Rove will get away with it."

Rove thinks he's got enough power that his shit don't stink. I want to see his face get rubbed in it.

More Moyers - our failed and barren press

Glenn Greenwald

If you didn't watch Bill Moyers' documentary last night regarding the joint, coordinated behavior of our government and its media in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I can't recommend it highly enough. You can watch it here.

One of the most important points came at the end. The institutional decay which Moyers chronicles is not merely a matter of historical interest. Instead, it continues to shape our mainstream political dialogue every bit as much as it did back in 2002 and 2003. The people who committed the journalistic crimes Moyers so potently documents do not think they are guilty of anything -- ask them and they will tell you -- and as a result, they have not changed their behavior in the slightest.

Just consider that, as Moyers notes, there has been no examination by any television news network of the role played by the American media in enabling the Bush administration and its warmonger propagandists to disseminate pure falsehoods to the American public. People like Eric Boehlert have written books about it, and Moyers has now produced a comprehensive PBS program documenting it. But the national media outlets themselves have virtually ignored this entire story -- arguably the most significant political story of the last decade -- because they do not think there is any story here at all.

I disagree with Mr. Greenwald on the last point: they know damn well there's a story there, but it's about them and their malfeasance. They're not about to drop a dime on themselves. Moyers did, though.

But credit is at least due to both Russert and Beinart for appearing on Moyers' program and facing his appropriately confrontational questions. Their willingness to account for their conduct stands in stark contrast to the long list of cowards who still constantly strut around self-lovingly touting their own courage, resolve, Churchillian backbone, and all of their other little self-glorifying platitudes, yet were too afraid to face questioning from a real journalist about all of the fact-free, false propaganda they spewed for years (and continue to spew).

That disgraceful, dishonorable roster of Great Warriors hiding under their beds from Bill Moyers includes Fox's Krauthammer, Fox's Kristol, Fox's Roger Ailes, Bill Safire and Judith Miller. [...]

People like Bill Kristol and Krauthammer will only go and sit with the likes of Brit Hume and speak only to Fox audiences, so they are never reminded of the literally countless falsehoods they churned out not only to justify the invasion but to profoundly mislead Americans for years about the ongoing occupation. And they both continue to issue one-way decrees from the pages of Time and The Washington Post, where they are never held to account for what they have done.

Moyers' documentary is a superb piece of journalism and makes inescapably clear how profoundly corrupt our dominant political and media institutions were prior to the invasion. But most national "journalists" will simply ignore the whole program (as Digby notes, The New York Times, one of the principal culprits, did not even review it).

They will almost certainly dismiss Moyers as a liberal partisan, not a real journalist, and continue to insist that they are doing a superb and even-handed job. They will continue to revere the most guilty parties responsible for the deceit and destruction of the last six years.

You owe it yourself to go read the rest. Thank you, Mr. Greenwald, for the strong language.

A tertiary case of situational amnesia

Durst on Gone-zales:

The scary part is, as head of the Justice Department, Gonzales is ostensibly the country's top lawyer. After this performance, I doubt if he'll be the top lawyer on the Greyhound back to Texas. Hey, he's the guy who said "the moment I believe I can no longer be effective, I will resign as Attorney General." Right about now, even his staunchest supporters are ordering mylar balloons delivered to the D of J with "don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out" stenciled on them.

At the hearing, Senators accused Bush's torture champion of being dishonest, deceitful, incompetent, evasive, inept, underhanded, misleading, smelling like rancid olive loaf, and looking like he's wearing his father's burial suit. Not to mention scaring small children with a high squeaky voice that, when broadcast over airwaves, has been known to activate smoke alarms, lawn sprinklers and TIVO recordings of Gladiator movies. And those were the Republicans. With friends like these, who needs Democrats?

Without Democrats, of course, none of this - none of any of the administration's crimes - would have ever seen the light of day.

When Journalism Became Transcription and Reporting Disappeared

David Sirota on journalism and last night's Bill Moyers special (transcript).

To call the media's complicity in the Iraq War a conspiracy is an insult to conspiracies, because it wasn't hidden - as Moyers shows, it was all out there for everyone to see. The problem was, Beltway reporters didn't want to see it. As New York Times White House correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller famously admitted, in the lead up to war most self-respecting Washington journalists who wanted to stay on the White House Christmas card list refused to ask tough questions because "no one wanted to get into an argument with the president."

In interview after interview after interview, we hear top journalists and opinionmakers declare that they believe journalism is no longer about basic, hard-scrabble reporting or getting scoops. As the Washington Post's Walter Pincus says, most reporters today actually try to avoid getting scoops because they "worry about sort of getting out ahead of something" and - gasp! - making their friends inside Official Washington mad at them. So rather than, say, do the real work of reporting news, journalism has become a profession that is almost entirely about PR, transcription and packaging Establishment spin for news copy. This is why, for example, many of the highest-profile political "journalists" like Joe Klein and David Broder never bother to actually report anything anymore - but instead spend most of their time pontificating on horse race polls and campaign gossip, expecting us to believe that's real "news."

This is what journalism has become today - and the worst part of it is that people who follow this Russert-Beinart method of sitting in comfortable Washington offices not picking up the phone or doing primary research is actually being rewarded as we speak. Moyers, channeling a fantastic piece by Jebediah Reed in Radar Magazine, notes that most of the people who regurgitated the Washington Establishment's debunked case for war have actually been rewarded with even more prominent positions in the media. And while these desperate-for-attention media icons like Bill Kristol and Tom Friedman are happy to throw themselves in front of cameras for almost any opportunity to promote themselves, they categorically refused to talk to Moyers for his PBS special.

I don't blame them for not talking to Moyers. They should be ashamed of themselves and what they've done to their profession. And to this country. They probably aren't. They also probably don't want to be exposed as the White House water carriers they are. Not that they haven't been already, but people might actually see Moyers' show.

[...] Bill Moyers and the folks I've gotten to know at McClatchy Newspapers who Moyers highlights show that that long tradition still exists. But the fact that they are such rare exceptions to the rule also show that the incentive system in journalism today is to reward not the people who challenge power, but the people who worship it. And though Tim Russert and Peter Beinart and Bill Kristol and Tom Friedman can kick back in Washington with their six figure salaries and tell themselves that they are really Important People, what we have seen is that they are part of a new journalistic culture that is threatening to destroy what once was a truly noble profession and undermine our democracy.

They've pretty much already done it. The question now is how will they atone for their sins? Do they even want to? Or will they just stay administration whores for money and fame?

Voter Fraud

A 'must read'.

The Free Press via Truthout

Are Rove's Missing Emails the Smoking Guns of the Stolen 2004 Election?

The major media has come to focus on a large batch of electronic communications which have disappeared from the server of the Republican National Committee, and from White House advisor Rove's computers. The attention stems from the controversial firing of eight federal prosecutors by Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales.

But the time frame from which these e-mails are missing also includes a critical late night period after the presidential election of 2004. In these crucial hours, computerized vote tallies may have been shifted to move the Ohio vote count from John Kerry to George W. Bush, giving Bush the presidency.

Earlier that day, Rove and Bush flew into Columbus. Local election officials say they met with Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell in Columbus. Also apparently in attendance was Matt Damschroder, executive director of the Franklin County (Columbus) Board of Elections.

These four men, along with Ohio GOP chair Bob Bennett, were at the core of a multi-pronged strategy that gave Bush Ohio's twenty Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency. Bennett and Damschroder held key positions on election boards in the state's two most populous counties, with the biggest inner city concentrations of Democratic voters.

There were four key phases to the GOP's election theft strategy:

Go read 'em.

4. Ultimately, however, it is the GOP's computerized control of the vote count that may have been decisive. And here is where Rove's e-mails, and the wee hours of the morning after the election, are crucial.

Despite the massive disenfranchisement of Ohio Democrats, there is every indication John Kerry won Ohio 2004. Exit polls shown on national television at 12:20am gave Kerry a clear lead in Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico. These "purple states" were Democratic blue late in the night, but, against virtually impossible odds, all turned Bush red by morning.

The key to that reversal may be electronic. It has now become widely known that the same web-hosting firm that served a range of GOP websites, including the one for the Republican National Committee, also hosted the official site that Blackwell used to report the Ohio vote count.

Plausible? You betcha. Do I believe it? You betcha. I wouldn't put anything past Rove's Rethug Machine. Nothing. At. All.

We know they stole that election. That's a given. I hope Rep. Waxman has a team of geeks beatin' the bushes (pardon the pun!) and reassembling bits and bytes and electrons back into e-mails so we can prove it.

It's too late to undo the damage these slimy bastards have done, but it's never too late to lock 'em up.


In related news:

Congress took unprecedented action against the Bush administration Wednesday, using its sweeping powers to vigorously pursue testimony and documents from key White House officials and agencies on issues that have mired the administration in at least a half-dozen scandals.

Waxman's committee also authorized two subpoenas for the Republican National Committee. If issued, the subpoenas would order the RNC to turn over archived emails from White House staff members who hold private RNC email accounts. The use of outside email addresses to conduct official White House business may be a violation of the Presidential Records act, which requires presidents to archive all correspondence for historical records.

That's the rope. Bend the noose well, Congress.

Update zwei:

The Free Press

What's clear, however, is the highest ranks of the Republican Party's political wing, including White House counselor Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system that reported George W. Bush's re-election to the presidency. Moreover, it appears the votes that gave Bush his 118,775-vote margin of victory – the boost from Ohio's countryside – have yet to be confirmed as accurate. Instead, the reporting to date suggests that what happened on the ground and across Ohio's rural precincts is at odds with the vote tally released on Election Night.

As numerous congressional committees attempt to retrieve and examine the secret White House e-mails surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors, those panels must also probe the privatization and partisan manipulation of the 2004 presidential vote count in Ohio. The lessons from 2004 have yet to be fully understood or learned.

Similarly, the House Administration Committee, which is expected to soon mark up H.R. 811, a bill by Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ, to regulate electronic voting technology, also must take heed. The vote count and outcome of American elections cannot be left in the hands of known partisans, who can control and manipulate how the votes are counted and what is reported to the media and American people.

Public vote counts on private, partisan servers and secret proprietary software have no place in a democracy. (my em)

Not until we officially change our name from the United States of America to the Banana Republic of America. As much as I like to explore BRAs, I don't want to live in one.

Quote of the Day

"Pat and these other soldiers volunteered to put their lives on the line for this country. Anything less than the truth is a betrayal of those values that all soldiers who have fought for this nation have sought to uphold." --Kevin Tillman

more required reading here


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sometimes ...

It's good to be the hero.


The leader of the free world. Good. God.

Gotta get the Mrs.

From an Angry Soldier

Via Skippy, reposted from craigslist:

Date: 2007-04-10, 1:00PM PDT

I'm having the worst damn week of my whole damn life so I'm going to write this while I'm pissed off enough to do it right.

I am SICK of all this bullshit people are writing about the Iraq war. I am abso-fucking-lutely sick to death of it. What the fuck do most of you know about it? You watch it on TV and read the commentaries in the newspaper or Newsweek or whatever god damn yuppie news rag you subscribe to and think you're all such fucking experts that you can scream at each other like five year old about whether you're right or not. Let me tell you something: unless you've been there, you don't know a god damn thing about it. It you haven't been shot at in that fucking hell hole, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

How do I dare say this to you moronic war supporters who are "Supporting our Troops" and waving the flag and all that happy horse shit? I'll tell you why. I'm a Marine and I served my tour in Iraq. My husband, also a Marine, served several. I left the service six months ago because I got pregnant while he was home on leave and three days ago I get a visit from two men in uniform who hand me a letter and tell me my husband died in that fucking festering sand-pit. He should have been home a month ago but they extended his tour and now he's coming home in a box.

You fuckers and that god-damn lying sack of shit they call a president are the reason my husband will never see his baby and my kid will never meet his dad.

And you know what the most fucked up thing about this Iraq shit is? They don't want us there. They're not happy we came and they want us out NOW. We fucked up their lives even worse than they already were and they're pissed off. We didn't help them and we're not helping them now. That's what our soldiers are dying for.

Oh while I'm good and worked up, the government doesn't even have the decency to help out the soldiers whos lives they ruined. If you really believe the military and the government had no idea the veterans' hospitals were so fucked up, you are a god-damn retard. They don't care about us. We're disposable. We're numbers on a page and they'd rather forget we exist so they don't have to be reminded about the families and lives they ruined while they're sipping their cocktails at another fund raiser dinner. If they were really concerned about supporting the troops, they'd bring them home so their families wouldn't have to cry at a graveside and explain to their children why mommy or daddy isn't coming home. Because you can't explain it. We're not fighting for our country, we're not fighting for the good of Iraq's people, we're fighting for Bush's personal agenda. Patriotism my ass. You know what? My dad served in Vietnam and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

So I'm pissed. I'm beyond pissed. And I'm going to go to my husband funeral and recieve that flag and hang it up on the wall for my baby to see when he's older. But I'm not going to tell him that his father died for the stupidty of the American government. I'm going to tell him that his father was a hero and the best man I ever met and that he loved his country enough to die for it, because that's all true and nothing will be solved by telling my son that his father was sent to die by people who didn't care about him at all.

Fuck you, war supporters, George W. Bush, and all the god damn mother fuckers who made the war possible. I hope you burn in hell.

I stand without comment.

The GOP's Emerging Proto-Fascism

Seems to be a theme today. BooMan:

Reading through the papers, blogs, and mags this morning, two pieces leapt out at me. The first was a Washington Post opinion piece by David Ignatius and the other was an American Conservative article by W. James Antle III. Both pieces address the disarray of the Bush administration and the effect it is having on the Republican Party.

Starting out with Ignatius, we see some pretty choice quotes.

If you want to hear despair in Washington these days, talk to Republicans...Republicans voice the bitterness and frustration of people chained to the hull of a sinking ship.


"This is the most incompetent White House I've seen since I came to Washington," said one GOP senator. "The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can't even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It's the weakest Cabinet I've seen." And remember, this is a Republican talking.

Oh, ever so many more!

What we're witnessing here is quite frightening because it amounts to a fairly massive display of false consciousness. Fear of Muslims and fear of terrorism is becoming a raison d'etat, which will inevitably lead to the loss of civil liberties, along with increased xenophobia/racism, and militarism. George W. Bush has failed in everything, but he has succeeded in turning the GOP into a proto-fascist party. Those that Antle quotes are merely the intellectual vanguard of a nationalist front party.

They are a different breed than the people anonymously quoted by Ignatius. Ignatius's sources are inside the Beltway, already in power, and watching that power slip away from them. They're not afraid for their lives, their afraid for their party's continued viability within a two-party system. They understand that the GOP is being systematically stripped down to its most nativist and unattractive components. And they blame the President.

As well they should. We predicted after the '04 election that the Repugs would soon start eating their own, and no, I'm not going to go look for it. They're doing it, thank God, and my only question is:

Want fries with that?

David Halberstam 1934-2007

David Halberstam passed away the other day. You youngsters might not have heard of him, but I sure have. He was at first a supporter of the Vietnam War, but as time went by and he saw what was going on, he turned against it. His most famous work was "The Best and the Brightest" about those who got us into it. The first book of his I read was "One Very Hot Day", written in '67, about a combat patrol he went out on. From his bio:

Thousands of readers began The Best and the Brightest feeling that the U.S. must pursue the war in Vietnam until "victory" was achieved, but became convinced by Halberstam's book that the U.S. could not win and therefore should withdraw from Vietnam.

I think you see what I'm gettin' at here. His words ring oh so true today as well.

From "A Letter To My Daughter" by Mr. Halberstam in 1982:

I do not think I was alone in what I went through in those years. I think I was simply a part of a great national interior debate taking place throughout the country; we were reexamining not just America in Vietnam, but America itself. If we doubted that we were in the right war, or even on the right side, it did not mean that we loved our country any less. If anything, knowing America's faults and imperfections, perhaps I love it more than your grandfather and great-grandfather, for perhaps I love it more wisely. During all those years, I kept on my desk a small quote from Albert Camus which he had written during France's war in Algeria: "I should like to be able to love my country and love justice."

I have thought long and hard about Vietnam over the last 20 years, for something like this does not lightly leave you, and I have decided that the true innocents are not those - as Washington would have it - who are afraid to use force and thus do not understand the real world, but in fact those who still think that in this day and age we can impose our values and our will upon peasants by force. And your godfather was right: I wish in fact that someone had shown me a photo of Vietcong bodies and I had cried.

Anyone who thinks we're "over" Vietnam isn't paying attention, but we will be thinking long and hard over the next twenty years, maybe over the next generation or two, about Bush's Criminal War as well. It's going to hurt. The slight difference will be that those who started it are far from the 'Best' and nowhere near the 'Brightest'. This time, they're pure evil, arrogance, and incompetence.

Why can't people who are supposed to know about these things ever learn from history?

It's a rhetorical question, but the answer is they don't want or need to because the lessons of history don't apply to them because they're special.

Yeah, right.

So long, Mr. Halberstam. Ya done good.

New program: "CSI: The White House"

"This spin-off won't even require any high-tech tools or procedures, since Karl Rove's 'fingerprints' are on everything."

I think we might have posted that photo before. Everybody has. It just makes me feel good to see it. Ah, to dream...

Thanks to Don Davis.

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

Today's 'must read' in The Guardian. Lest we forget.

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Ms. Wolf goes into quite some detail on each of the following:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."

We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.

Fascism here won't look like it has elsewhere. It will be uniquely American. Bread and circuses, Britney and Sanjaya, SUVs and malls, life will go on. The Constitution will still be touted as the law of the land, but "Rights Will Not Apply - For Historical Purposes Only". Most people won't notice the change because they don't notice anything anyway. When they finally get an inkling that something's wrong, it'll be too late to stop it short of another Civil War. Or at least an armed uprising. It'll still be Americans killing Americans. I hope I'm dead and gone when it happens.

The Hell of it is that a good many Americans won't give a shit.

Multi-state con

Greg Palast, always a good read, has a few hundred words to say about Gonzales, non-existent voter fraud, the U.S. attorney firings, and Turdblossom.

There was a multi-state con in operation. But what was it? Each of these bogus claims of voter fraud was attached to a sales pitch for a state law to tighten voter ID requirements - to prevent these ne'er-do-wells from voting twice. In Arizona, one crack-pot Republican legislator, the Hon. Russell Pearce, claimed he had evidence that five million Mexicans had illegally crossed the border to vote.

Iglesias, though a Republican, wouldn't bring bogus charges. And he wouldn't lie about active investigations that didn't exist except in Rove's imagination.

That was his mistake.

Griffin himself, after the December 7 firings, was appointed by Attorney General Gonzales, at Rove's personal request, to one of the newly-vacated slots as US Attorney for Arkansas. The sleeper cell of Rove-bot US attorneys is now in place to bless voter suppression games in 2008 (my em).

I've previously reported for BBC that Griffin was the Man in the Memos who directed the massive, wrongful purge of African-American soldiers in 2004 — the 'caging' list scam. Based on that expose, voting rights lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said, "Griffin and Rove should be in jail, not in office." That, too is another story - But the important thing to pick up here is:

1. It's all about the 2008 election.
2. It's not about Gonzales.

We've been here before. Gonzales is getting Libby'd. Takes the bullet for Karl Rove and the White House. If you wondered why the Republican jackals like the sinister Senator Specter piled on Gonzales - it's because they were told to.

Rove and Bush are doing the Nixon Twist on Gonzales.

Look, I have no sympathy for Alberto the Doomed. He's guilty of a crime I employed in racketeering cases: "Willful failure to know." It's a kind of fraud; Alberto was going way out of his way to not know what he had to know, that Rove and the President were toying with prosecutors.

Gonzales is their glove-puppet. Why fire him? The nation watches these hearings and wants to kill something. But why shoot the puppet? It's time to fire the puppeteer. Eh, Mr. Rove?

Fire all the bastards, and lock up as many as possible. Please read the rest.

Tonight's the night


Journalist Bill Moyers returns to PBS April 25 with Bill Moyers Journal; the first episode "Buying the War," a 90-minute examination of the role of the press in the run-up to the Iraq War.

Like I said before, we pretty much know this stuff, but it'll be good to see it tamped and tucked into a nice neat brick on one show, and Bill Moyers is damn good at that.


FOX News Attacks Bill Moyers

Good. That means his show's right on the money.

The Cho in the White House


Indeed, for others on our globe, mass murder in Iraq, scenes of degradation from Abu Ghraib, CIA extraordinary rendition expeditions, and our prison at Guantanamo have already become synonymous with the U.S. government and the President; so, it would not be surprising if Cho's actions and Bush's foreign policy were linked in the minds of people outside the United States. I see several reasons why, for non-Americans, a mad student and our commander-in-chief could appear to be two sides of the same all-American coin.

The Bush propaganda campaign of 2002-2003 to convince the American people that the Butcher of Baghdad was a WMD demon reached its apotheosis in a made-for FOX News "shock and awe" spectacular over Baghdad (which was, to say the least, not well received abroad). This brutal sound-and-light show -- meant to give Americans the sense of getting back at those who "hated" the U.S. by hitting them hard and mercilessly -- seems, when I put on my overseas eyeglasses, eerily reminiscent of Cho's videos of himself as a mean twenty-first century gunslinger, ready to shoot all those whom he dreamt did him wrong.

Bluntly put, overseas the U.S. government (and, by association, the country as well) -- thanks in large part to Bush and his foreign policy -- is now widely considered the Cho of our world, despite the often risible efforts of Karen Hughes, the administration's Image Czarina, to improve America's international standing through what she calls the diplomacy of deeds. The fact of the matter is that the President's deeds have led other countries to see our government, in its aggressive unilateralism, as unreliable, if not deranged; obsessed beyond all reason with putative enemies and globe-spanning organizations of terrorists that despise us; ready to respond with unjustified violence to any perceived slight; unwilling to listen to, or accept, advice; and unconcerned with the consequences of what it does, even when this results in widespread death and destruction in one of the birthplaces of civilization, where Bush and his top officials now pride themselves on their latest accomplishment, a military "surge" that only seems to further encourage mass murder.

It's not that much of a stretch, is it?

"I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign"

George McGovern

It is my firm belief that the Cheney-Bush team has committed offenses that are worse than those that drove Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from office after 1972. Indeed, as their repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law, come under increased consideration, I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign their offices before 2008 is over (my em).

Now there's a prediction I hope turns out.

Let him know ...

Nicole @ C & L: "I have heard from a Code Pink member who went to Harry Reid's office to thank him for telling the truth about Iraq. His office told her that of the calls they've received, few have been positive. We're quick to condemn those who are trying to lie to us about what's going on. Let's let Harry Reid know we appreciate him speaking the truth. You can email his office or call (202) 224-3542."

Indeed. The Chimp has gotten a free pass on just about everything, stuff that would have had Clinton doing 25 to Life. Go thank Harry for calling it correctly and let him know you support him.

More on "The Office of Special Counsel"

From WaPo in February:

"A trouble-plagued whistle-blower investigation at the Office of Special Counsel -- whose duties include shielding federal whistle-blowers -- hit another snag this week when employees accused the special counsel of intimidation in the probe.

The Office of Personnel Management's inspector general has been investigating allegations by current and former OSC employees that Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch retaliated against underlings who disagreed with his policies -- by, among other means, transferring them out of state -- and tossed out legitimate whistle-blower cases to reduce the office backlog. Bloch denies the accusations, saying that under his leadership the agency has grown more efficient and receptive to whistle-blowers."

So much for an independent look into the goings-on at the White House.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Purple Hearts

When I read this story, I sat there with my mouth agape.

COPPERAS COVE – History will be made today when Copperas Cove resident Bill Thomas and his wife, Georgia, present President George W. Bush with a Purple Heart at the Oval Office.


This guy left a piece of himself fighting in some foreign land and he equates the piece of ass the Chimp is getting chewed off with that sacrifice? Hey, it's his medal.


Thomas said the Purple Heart he is presenting the president has special meaning to him because the injury he suffered to earn it occurred just after a friend, Richard Peterson, lost his life attempting to save him.


I wonder how Mr. Peterson, who did not come home from Vietnam, would feel about that? I wonder how Mr. Peterson would feel about a man getting that medal who used his daddy's connections to avoid combat? A man who finally just walked away from his commitment? A man who squandered the investment the American people made in him because it just didn't suit him anymore? I wonder how Mr. Peterson would feel about the lives this man has squandered in another war much like Vietnam?

Like I said, it's Mr. Thomas' medal, but I believe he is delusional if he equates his sacrifice, and the sacrifice of Mr. Peterson, who gave his life to save Thomas', to a man who's never sacrificed anything but the lives of other peoples' children.

Great thanks to POP for the link.

It's Official - Toyota is No. 1

CBS News

(AP) Toyota Motor Corp. became the world's top auto seller in the first three months of the year, passing rival General Motors Corp. for the first time, the Japanese automaker said Tuesday.

While GM has struggled to shore up earnings with job cuts and plant closures, Toyota has expanded rapidly, thanks partly to the popularity of its fuel-efficient cars.

It ain't just gas mileage. It's also a matter of Toyota's reputation for reliability, quality, and perceived value for money.

Also, Toyota is thinking many years ahead in its business plan. They spent more money developing their hybrids than GM is worth.

GM, like most American companies, doesn't think past its next quarterly report. They're trying desperately to revive the electric car they developed and then axed when the oil companies got to them. Their reliance on sales of SUVs and pickups with big engines in this day of $3+ gasoline ain't helpin', neither.

They're playin' catch-up ball. Poorly. They're a day late and a dollar short with what the market wants. Their focus on short-term profit and product complacency, i.e. depending on vehicles that have sold well for years instead of investing to develop new ones, is hurting them. This ain't exactly a bolt out of the blue, except to the bean counters and backward-thinking execs with blinders on.

Also, GM's problems may be the best demonstration in the country of why we need universal health care. It's been said that GM is actually a health care provider that manufactures cars to pay for it. I think it comes to about $1500 per vehicle.

I've had three brand-new Chevy trucks in the last forty years. They were very good trucks. Tellingly, and a glimpse of today, the best one in terms of reliability and gas mileage, though not in terms of power and load capacity, was actually an Isuzu with 'Chevrolet' stamped on the tailgate. A few years back, their quality went all to shit and I switched to used Dodges. Still good trucks, but not up to the quality of the older ones. It must be said that in the 'old days' we expected less from a pickup than we do today, and we got it. They're still makin' 'em like that, but these days it's not acceptable. Not when the goddam things cost as much as my first house!

I've got a Toyota now and it's terrific. And by the way, my Tacoma was built in California, not in Canada or Mexico like the 'American' makes.

Denny pisses backwards*

Raw Story

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has announced that he will delay the introduction of Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Richard Cheney, originally scheduled for noon today. The change came on account of the Vice President's hospital visit this morning.

Shit. Sounds like they got to Denny. That's probably the last we'll hear about it.

*That's how women take a leak. Another way of calling a guy a wussie.


Today is 'Gordon backtracks' day. Raw Story:

After a series of delays, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a candidate for president in 2008, announced a series of charges against Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington, DC, late in the day. Kucinich alleged that the Vice President had committed a series of impeachable offenses, and he was therefore introducing Articles of Impeachment against Cheney in the Congress today.

A reporter asked Kucinich why the Vice President should be impeached, and not President George W. Bush.

"There is a very practical reason - each and every charge relates to Vice President Cheney's conduct or misconduct in office," he said. But he added, "It is very important that we start with Mr. Cheney because if we were to start with the President, Mr. Cheney would then become president.

He also noted, "We'd have to go through the constitutional agony of impeaching two presidents consecutively."

The full Articles themselves, a large collection of PDF documents, are accessible at Congressman Kucinich's website.

I apologize for calling Mr. Kucinich a wussie.

Also at his website: Learn why Cleveland is the capital of Polka, Bowling and Kielbasa!

Impeachment. Why?

In all discussions of impeachment, what gets prominently discussed is "Why not?". Some say that it will "distract from the Democratic agenda", to which I respond that Bush in the Oval Office is the biggest distraction from the Democratic agenda possible. Some say that, given the current configuration of Congress, it stands no chance of success. I'll give them that one. For now. One never hears, however, what I consider the number 2 reason for going forward (#1 being lying their way into an illegal war that has taken the lives of 10s, if not 100s of thousands of people and maimed countless others. If that doesn't define "High crimes and misdemeanors", I don't know what does.). Back to the #2 reason to proceed. It will provide a platform to air the entire case against Bush, Cheney and company before the entire American public and, in fact, before the entire world. It is extremely important that that is done. Sooner, not later. Once the evidence starts being presented in a fashion that the MSM cannot afford to ignore, I am certain that the bandwagon will pick up enough speed that there will be no question of success.


Honest Abe v The Lyin' Chimp


President Bush empathized with Abraham Lincoln on Monday, saying they both stood by their principles in the face of criticism during wartime.

There's a coupla teeny little differences between Bush and Lincoln.

First, Lincoln came up the hard way and was actually elected to office. He had to do it that way because he didn't have a corporate/political dynasty backing him in order that he might do their bidding.

Second, the Civil War was a real war. Lincoln didn't have to lie to start it.

Third, Lincoln had actual principles.

I would like very much to be able to compare Bush with Lincoln in an area of substance. I think Bush should take in a play. Perhaps we would be emancipated.

The 'Silent Ninth'

Very interesting piece at AlterNet.

The first Amendment right of free speech and the Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination are well known, but the Ninth Amendment is ignored. Pity, because it bears directly on abortion, the right to die, and gay rights.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. --The Ninth Amendment

A little arcane, but something I've never thought about but should have and will now. Go read.

Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry


The Office of Special Counsel will investigate U.S. attorney firings and other political activities led by Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

"We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

Note to the Investigators: Thank you. Be sure to wear protective clothing, gloves, and a face mask to prevent contamination and disease. You'll have to burn them afterwards as well. You're going to be turning over the nastiest, slimiest rocks on the planet and I hope you all have strong stomachs.



Update deux:

(G. does Emily Litella impression) Never Mind. Jersey Guy informs me that I'm a naïve sap who just fell off the turnip truck. He's right. CorrenteWire:

So, who is Scott J. Bloch? I'm glad you asked:

Besides being the Justice contact for the Office of Faith [SIC] Based Pork Initiatives, he's obviously a "loyal Bushie." Bloch has all the earmarks of the species:

An 'earmark' is a notch cut in the ear of livestock to signify ownership. Fitting. Go read.

Yes, the outcome of any investigation of coyotes by coyotes will likely come up that the fault lay with the chickens and sheep.


Costs ...

I have a "Cost of War" counter in the left sidebar, just like a bunch of other blogs. I looked at it (I realize it look at it every day, but actually considered it) for the first time in a while. When I put it up in '04, it was half of what it is today. Imagine the good we could have done in the world and this country with that amount. Makes you realize how much of America's potential these assholes have squandered, let alone the lives they've wasted.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wired ...

I don't need a GPS to locate Shayna, all I gotta do is open the fridge, but this looks pretty cool.

"How am I doing?"

That senile old fool, our own Ed Koch, used to say that all the time when he was mayor. Holden looks at how the Chimp's doing among his base.

Yeah, why?

Not that the President shouldn't have gone to Va. Tech but, jeez, he could attend a memorial for at least one of the troops he's sent to die. Our pal Creature:

The president has gone to their memorials. He has refrained from making jokes in their honor. He has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for them. However, these presidential acts of support and respect were not directed at the soldiers dying in Iraq. No, they were for the civilians killed at Virginia Tech last week, and finally the military has taken notice:


"Where, indeed, ...

... are we leaving our vets?"

Pop Culture'll kill us all!

Oh, to be old and rich...I'm halfway there...

Click here. Scroll down past all the Freeper bullshit and check out Larry King's arm candy. Wow!

Bill Moyers Rips MSM Complicity on “Real Time”

Video at Crooks and Liars

Iconic journalist Bill Moyers was on "Real Time" last (Friday - G) night to talk about the degradation of our national media and the war in Iraq.

"How many Americans is this President willing to sacrifice on the altar of his ego?"

"We're entering the fifth year of this war. Tens of thousands of people have died and are still dying, and the press has never come to grips with its complicity in helping this administration market a war that's being fought under false pretenses."

Moyers has a must-see PBS special on Wednesday (April 25 @ 9PM) called "Buying The War" that examines how the media completely abdicated its responsibility and helped the Bushies sell the Iraq War. Here's a little taste:

Go see everything they got. I'll remind us of Mr. Moyers' special on Wednesday as well. Oh yes, you know I will!

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Iraq: Official, Sunni-Led Spy Agency Outflanked By Shadow Secret Service Run Out of Shiite Minister's Office
Modeled on Cheney’s operation.

Wolfowitz Defenders List Good Things He's Done for World Bank
They point out it never had an "Express" window before he got there.

Microsoft Sells Only 224 Copies of Windows Vista in China
Seems everyone already has it.

Former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman Signs on as Spokesman for Metal Detector
Says they're great for finding old coke spoons.

If they outlaw guns, only Cheney will have one.

Many more.

Hostage Situation

Paul Krugman

There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it's a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren't met (my em).

The whole situation brings to mind what Abraham Lincoln said, in his great Cooper Union speech in 1860, about secessionists who blamed the critics of slavery for the looming civil war: "A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer'" (my em).

Anyway, never mind the political calculations. Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty.

Damn right.

Quote of the Day

From Daniel Ellsburg, of Pentagon Papers fame, in an article about Bush and Cheney's looming impeachment, in The Nation:

If you want to move Bush on Iraq," says Ellsberg, "get serious about impeachment."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Calling 'em ...

The way he sees 'em. Our good friend the CultureGhost has been busy while I was gone. Go there and scroll.

Delinquent whoring

After a week's delay (hey, I was on vacation), the next chapter of my novel The Fourth Estate is up at The Practical Press.

Cheeta speaks

The LATimes is cookin' today!

He's outlived them all. Tarzan. Trigger. Ronald Reagan. Now, retired in Palm Springs, the world's oldest chimp gets some stuff off his chest.

I don't want to open that whole Darwin can of worms, but come on. There's only one line that divides people and chimps: language. Chimps laugh, hug, kiss, reason, make war, use tools, form relationships, hold funerals. The only big thing we can't do is talk. (I mean, to you. We talk a blue streak to each other.) Pretty slight difference, no? Aren't there billions of humans who can't talk to each other? Doesn't make them different species, does it?

Tell me where I'm wrong.

Don't miss it.

California's 'Mother Road'

I've posted many times about my wanderings on US 395 in the Eastern Sierra, and my love of the area. A real good article about it in today's LATimes. I couldn't have written it better myself except for my own personal experiences in a lot of the places, which you can find by browsing backwards around the Brain a little.

You can't find 'em all, of course, without browsing around backwards in my brain back into the 1950s. Hopefully, this administration will be safely in jail before that's possible.

Please go enjoy.

Crow v Rove

HuffPo's got the goods on Sheryl Crow's confrontation with Turdblossom at the White House Stenographer Corps dinner.

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, "Don't touch me." How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unphased (I think she means 'unfazed' - G.), Sheryl abruptly responded, "You can't speak to us like that, you work for us." Karl then quipped, "I don't work for you, I work for the American people." To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, "We are the American people."

Note to Sheryl Crow: I volunteer. You may touch me in any manner you so choose and gift yourself with as much giddy delight as you can stand. You can call me Steve McQueen all you want, too. Of course, that's not much of a stretch...

See Editor & Publisher for more details, including Rich Little's 'bomb run'.

Lowering the bar of success about as low as it will go

Raw Story

America's top general in Iraq, David Petreaus, noted that the "surge" had achieved "modest progress," but was not convinced it would bring lasting success, reports the Washington Post.

"I don't think you're ever going to get rid of all the car bombs," conceded Petraeus to the Post. "Iraq is going to have to learn -- as did, say, Northern Ireland -- to live with some degree of sensational attacks."

I don't think Ulster had to live with several bombings daily, but putting that aside, lemme see if I'm getting the picture here:

There's 160,000 American troops in Iraq, about an equal number of Bloodwater mercenaries, 400,000 Iraqi troops and a couple hunnert thousand paramilitary cops that we've trained, and THEY'RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO LIVE WITH BOMBINGS!!!?

Am I missing something here? What part of Bush has lost this, let's GTFO don't they understand?

Oh, I forgot. Our troops have to stay there and die until all the oil has been pumped out and the profits are in the pockets of Bush's buddies. How silly of me.

My 'Choice'

Here's a late-term abortion that most folks wouldn't object to.



Seven Nassau Republican legislators, led by Minority Leader Peter Schmitt, had good intentions when they urged constituents to call a toll-free number to be notified when convicted sex offenders move into their neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, the 1-800 number printed on the card prompts callers to another 800-number -- a sex chat line.

"Hey there, sexy guy," says the sultry recorded female voice that answers the phone. "Welcome to an exciting new way to go live, one on one, with hot horny girls waiting right now to talk to you."

Republican spokesman Ed Ward acknowledged, "Apparently there was an error in the phone number."

"It is a common mistake that is made," Ahearn said. "We just hope no one was inconvenienced."

I'm sure it's a 'common mistake'. One page off in a Repuglicant rolodex can make a lot of difference!


Catching up on my blogging* (while I'm grateful for access to the intarwebs aboard Noordam, bandwidth was low, expensive as a mofo, and I didn't do much visiting of others' sites), I found an excellent post at Brother Lurch's place on psychology of political affiliation. Your Sunday morning read if you haven't already.

*Stalling until Mrs. F finds me and makes me start unpacking.

'Real' men ...

If the Rethugs are the 'real men' of our nation, I think it's time for an effeminate one*:


I don't know if that's the case, but I do know that's not what the Republicans and the Queen Bee are getting at. It's not about how much the haircut cost --- it's about the fact that he gets his hair cut by a fancy "hairdresser" instead of a butch barber like a real man would. They are basically calling him a "faggot" just like Coulter just as Coulter did.


*No, I'm not endorsing John Edwards in any way, shape, or form.

Dam Ships

Mirrors: Mirror image taken in the UV-coated glass that was the rear wall of our stateroom aboard Noordam. The Varrazano Narrows Bridge is in the background. Click to embiggen.

Okay, this is my last vacation-related post (well, until I take you to Germany this Christmas to meet my family).

There is a reason my wife and I prefer to travel aboard the ships of Holland America Line more than any other, and do so whenever possible. Their motto "Signature of Excellence" is not just a horseshit marketing idea, it is part of their culture (over 100 years' worth).

From the time you board a Holland America ship, the crew bends over backward to assure your trip will be an enjoyable one. From the officers to the crew, every person aboard has one thing in mind, your comfort. We've sailed with a number of cruise lines, from Carnival to Cunard, and, while our trans-Atlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 was extraordinary, we still prefer the ambiance of the HAL ships.

From the food and the on board activities to the shore excursions and excellent destinations, each Holland America cruise we've taken has been memorable (as opposed to the 11 cruises we've taken aboard Carnival ships which all seem to bleed into one). The ships themselves have a distinct personality, from the tiny Prinsendam to our old friend Noordam, each has its own cachet (even ships of the same class have differences that make them unique). The HAL ships are more a family than a fleet.

I believe another point that makes Holland America so appealing is their Mariner Society; Holland's way of recognizing cruisers who are loyal to the line. A little something to say thank you on behalf of the cruise line.

While a cruise aboard a Holland America ship is a bit more expensive than most, we believe it is worth the extra for a truly enjoyable experience and recommend it highly if you're considering your first cruise or your 50th. The 'Dam Ships' of Holland America are truly something to experience.

A little disclaimer here. Mrs. F and I are shareholders in Carnival Corporation who owns most of the cruise lines out there, Carnival and Cunard included, and benefit from their good fortune, though I give a shit if you ever go on a cruise and I certainly don't want you to take a cruise for our benefit, though I thank you for your patronage if you do. We work hard and when we take a vacation, we want it to be enjoyable and relaxing. Holland America gives us what we think is the best value per dollar.