Saturday, July 23, 2005

He should do something about the flab between his ears...

Not only does the Chimp-in-Chief take a lot of vacations, like they do in Old Europe, he exercises way too much. From the LATimes:

Given the importance of his job, it is astonishing how much time Bush has to exercise. His full schedule is not publicly available. The few peeks we get at Bush's daily routine usually come when some sort of disaster prods the White House Press Office to reveal what the president was doing "at the time." Earlier this year, an airplane wandered into restricted Washington air space. Bush, we learned, was bicycling in Maryland. In 2001, a gunman fired shots at the White House. Bush was inside exercising. When planes struck the World Trade Center in 2001, Bush was reading to schoolchildren, but that morning he had gone for a long run with a reporter. Either this is a series of coincidences or Bush spends an enormous amount of time working out.
My guess is that Bush associates exercise with discipline, and associates a lack of discipline with his younger, boozehound days. "The president," said Fleischer, "finds [exercise] very healthy in terms of ... keeping in shape. But it's also good for the mind." The notion of a connection between physical and mental potency is, of course, silly. (Consider all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood - or, perhaps, the president himself.) But Bush's apparent belief in it explains why he would demand well-conditioned economic advisors and Supreme Court justices.

Bush's insistence that the entire populace follow his example, and that his staff join him on a Long March - er, Long Run - carries about it the faint whiff of a cult of personality. It also shows how out of touch he is. It's nice for Bush that he can take an hour or two out of every day to run, bike or pump iron. Unfortunately, most of us have more demanding jobs than he does.

Gee, working out every day, planning where to go on his next vacation - being president really is hard work. I wish he'd do more of it at the office. On the other hand, as bad as he fucks things up with every new executive decision, maybe I'm glad he doesn't spend more time there.

Henry's 11

From Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA):

A new fact sheet released today by Rep. Waxman documents that there appear to be at least 11 separate instances in which Administration officials disclosed information about Ms. Wilson's identity and association with the CIA.

Go read the list.

Mean Girls

Go read Maurinsky.

Winging it

From The Economist (subscription required):

[. . .]

Having fewer shuttle flights than originally expected will spell trouble for some parts of the station and will result in what is euphemistically described as "alternative configurations". But NASA will have to balance what is needed today with what it wants tomorrow. Fewer flights will result in large cost savings (the shuttle absorbs almost a third of NASA's $16 billion annual budget). This money could be spent on accelerating the creation of the shuttle's replacement, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). This is much on the mind of Mike Griffin, the agency's new administrator.

[. . .]

However, the current version of the 2006 NASA authorisation bill requires the agency to keep the shuttle flying until its replacement vehicle has flown. If this language is not modified, it spells bad news for NASA because the agency will need to run two space-vehicle programmes side by side-something it does not have the money to do. NASA is currently planning to phase out the shuttle and phase in the CEV. This is likely to mean a gap between one vehicle and the next.

Yet NASA's human space programme has had a two-and-a-half-year gap and the sky has not fallen in. And, while the shuttle may be the safest it has ever been, it will always be an overdesigned and fragile flying Ming vase compared with Russia's Soyuz. The sooner it is retired, the better.

I've been saying this for years and it's nice to see it validated by those with quite a bit more education than I have.

Just an aside, I finally broke down and got a subscription to The Economist. I don't know why I bothered with Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report, whose subscriptions I will let lapse. It's worth the extra bread.

Heh . . .

The World Stupidity Awards. Guess who's winning? Hat tip: Glen.

Come on . . . seriously . . .

From Digby:

This morning the Wall Street Journal reported that Senate Democrats were planning "to grill Bush confidant Karen Hughes" about her involvement in the ever widening leak-case. But, Senate Democrats must have gotten lost on the way to the hearing. Not one showed up. Instead, according to the Associated Press:

[. . .]

The sad reality is that the leadership of the Democratic Party is as inept as the Republicans think they are. No wonder we don't have a majority anywhere. Idiots. More and more, I see an overwhelming need for a 3rd political party.


Via DemVet, Blumenthal cuts to the quick.

[. . .]

In Bush's "global war on terror" (Gwot), Iraq and Afghanistan present one extended battlefield against a common enemy - and the strategy is and must be the same. So far as Bush is concerned, it's always either the day after 9/11 or the day before the Iraq invasion. Time stands still at two ideal political moments. But his consequences since are barely managed chaos.

"I was horrified by the president's last speech [on the war on terror], so much unsaid, so much disingenuous, so many half truths," said James Dobbins, Bush's first envoy to Afghanistan, now director of international programmes at the Rand Corporation. Afghanistan is now the scene of a Taliban revival, chronic Pashtun violence, dominance by US-supported warlords who have become narco-lords, and a human rights black hole.

[. . .]

Democracy was an afterthought for the White House, which believed it had little application to Afghans. At the Bonn conference establishing international legitimacy for the Kabul government, "the word 'democracy' was introduced at the insistence of the Iranian delegation", Dobbins points out. [my emphases]

[. . .]

The first step on the road to stopping the bungling and ineptitude is the 2006 campaign. We need at least one house of Congress back. It's imperative, ladies and gents; we need some leverage in order to hold their feet to the fire and maybe, just maybe, impeach this son of a bitch.

Friday, July 22, 2005

You Go, Girls!

Just what are they putting in Geritol these days?

A group of anti-war senior citizens calling themselves the "Tucson Raging Grannies" say they want to enlist in the U.S. Army and go to Iraq so that their children and grandchildren can come home.

. . .

"We went in asking to be sent to Iraq so our kids and grandchildren can be sent home, but rather than listening to us, they called the police," said 74-year-old Betty Schroeder. "It was their place to tell us the qualifications, but they wouldn't even speak to us. They should've said, `You're too old."'

I think the young Yellow Elephants should be ashamed, but I know better.

Read the whole article.

Who can talk

And who has to STFU. An interesting legal brief about who's doing the leaking in the Plame investigation from Talk Left via Digby.


Where'd it go? I mean, Blogtopia (y!sctp!) is on it. The Sister, the Heretik, Freiheit und Wissen, Pam, and everybody else has been doing their parts, but where'd the news coverage go? I realize the terror attacks and Rove's plight (a good thing) pushed it farther down, but Jesus, you think they could cover Rep. Conyers' doings once a week maybe? The disconnect on the part of the media is astounding. Can't someone put together the facts of Plamegate and 'fixing the facts', as the DSMs illustrate, are part of a criminal pattern undertaken by the Bush administration and show it to the American public? Everything the Republicans do is part of the ongoing cycle of crimes and coverups on the part of Chimpy Inc., all while they raid the nation's coffers of our treasure. Rove should just be the first of those facing indictments as the year progresses.

Are you effin' kidding me?*

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections. [my emphasis]

This is from the American Conservative (not online) via Atrios via Matt Yglesias.

So, what'd I say yesterday? They learned in Iraq and Afghanistan I guess. With Iran, they're just gonna nuke the fucking place. These people are fucking insane.

And thanks to our spineless officer corps for standing up for what is right, you fucking pussies.

*Thanks to RUFNKM for use of the phrase.

From the beginning

Roberts was their man.

. . . For at least a year before the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court, the White House was working behind the scenes to shore up support for him among its social conservative allies . . .

Bush knew who he was going to nominate from the get go. Email your Dem senators and demand they filibuster this asshole.

"Get yer shithooks off me, ya big ape!"

By Andrea Mitchell:

When Mitchell asked, "Why should the U.S. believe the Sudanese government will stop the killing when the government is still supporting the militia?" Sudanese security guards grabbed her and muscled her out of the room while State Department officials shouted at them to leave her alone.

Boy, those guys were lucky her husband wasn't there, huh?

It is a symbol of the way this government not only treats foreign guests, but more importantly, their own citizens, who have been victims of what the U.S. calls genocide in the Darfur region.

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the Sudanese government is supporting the militias that have been killing people for the last two years in Darfur.

Every time there's genocide, from the Holocaust to Rwanda, we say we're not going to let this happen again, but we always do. We 've got a chance to do some good in Sudan if Bush will show some willpower to do what's right. Don't bet on it.

Rove, Libby Accounts in CIA Case Differ with Those of Reporters

From Bloomberg:

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.

Libby and Rove are such lyin' sacks o' shit they make Novak seem honest by comparison. Incredible.

Some Bush allies hope that the Fitzgerald investigation, which dominated the news in Washington for the first part of July, will subside as attention shifts to Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts to fill the first vacancy on the Supreme Court in 11 years.

Fat chance. Not this time.

First Fluffers do Iraq

Go read the Heretik.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna

"You woke me up, dad."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

More vacation

You know, Chimpy takes more vacation than they do in 'Old Europe'.

A Salute to the "Cable Talking Heads"

Fixer's "Is It Me?" entry made me think of this Don Henley song:

I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry

Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry

Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
Comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
It's interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
Running bet
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry

You don't really need to find out what's going on
You don't really want to know just how far it's gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry

Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're stiff
Kick 'em all around

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody's pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

We can do the innuendo
We can dance and sing
When it's said and done we haven't told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
Give us dirty laundry!

Is it me?

Or do the cable talking heads seem sad the casualty count was so low in London today?


From the CultureGhost:

Q. What is the difference between these two organisms?

A: Here.



LONDON - Explosions struck the London Underground and a bus at midday Thursday in a chilling but far less bloody replay of the suicide bombings that killed 56 people two weeks ago.

Only one person was reported injured in the nearly simultaneous lunch-hour blasts, which shocked and disrupted the capital and were hauntingly similar to the July 7 bombings by four attackers.

[. . .]

I know these guys were probably amateur copycats, but Jesus H. Christ, how did amateurs pull this off a couple weeks after the last bombings? Prepare for Chimpy Inc to try and take some more of our civil liberties as the fear mongering begins.


And just as I talk about the fear mongering, I find this at Lefty's:

Apparently, a report is being prepared that will state that Iran offered free passage to up to 10 of the 9/11 hijackers.

So this is the beginning of the 'Iran Gambit'. Brace yourself for the rhetoric. I mean, we got bases on either side of 'em now, why not chase the Ayatollahs in Iran out too. We gotta keep 'Murika safe and Christian, right?


Mr. H finds one.

The Troops' Morale & A Little Humor

From Somewhere's Herald Sun:

MORE than half of US soldiers in the Iraq war reported morale problems in their units, with particular concern over long deployments, but suicide rates have dropped, an Army report said today.
The leading source of stress for the soldiers, aside from actual combat, was the long deployment in Iraq, the report said. Army personnel generally serve a full year on the ground in Iraq, and many have had their duty extended for additional weeks or months shortly before their scheduled return home.
Lieutenant General Franklin Hagenbeck, the Army's personnel chief, said in April the Army was exploring six or nine-month tours of duty, but cautioned that shorter tours would be possible only if the Pentagon was able to draw down the overall troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marines currently serve seven-month stints in Iraq.

Now there's a switch. In Vietnam, when the Army tour was one year, Marines did 13 months. That had been their standard overseas tour for years and they saw no reason to change it. It was no doubt wonderful to know that they faced 30 days more exposure than Army personnel.

Seventeen per cent of soldiers reported emotional, alcohol or family problems or experiencing moderate or severe stress, compared to 23 per cent a year earlier, the report said.

Acute or post-traumatic stress symptoms were the top mental health concern, affecting at least 10 per cent of those surveyed.

Soldiers in transportation and National Guard and Reserve combat support units reported higher rates of mental health problems and lower perceptions of combat readiness and training than soldiers in combat units, the report stated.

That's no surprise. I'm sure they'd much rather be back home fighting wildland fires or filling sandbags during a flood than being exploded at.

There's always time for humor, though, even if most of us don't quite get the joke. From YahooNews:

As they have throughout their history, the Marines here often turn to jokes or pranks to relieve the tension of living in constant danger, these days while patrolling dusty streets of this western Iraqi town.

The humor is often dark and almost always salty, focusing on aching backs, alcohol, their own mortality - and, of course, old girlfriends.
Other Marines pack boulders in their friends' backpacks before patrols, then try to suppress laughs as they watch their buddies struggle with the extra weight - as if Marines weren't laden enough with body armor, weapons, ammunition and other gear.

I don't advise getting caught doing that. We used to throw the Joker out of a deck of cards to save weight.

Today's comparison to Vietnam:

"At least in the 'Nam, they had booze and women," Toland jokingly complained last month, speaking of the Vietnam War.

Oh boy! Tiger piss and Mama-san's Boom-Boom Room! Let's go to town!

And, during the ride to
Iraq's western border for the Operation Matador offensive on insurgents in mid-May, one Marine from the 3rd Battalion dozed off, prompting the others to quietly put on their gas masks.

"Wake up! Gas attack!" they then screamed.

Their startled, gasping friend scrambled to throw on his own mask as the others burst into laughter. Three weeks later, some of them still chuckled at the memory.

It's comforting to know that some things never change.

Heh . . . again

I said this a while ago:

[. . .]

He knows too much about our involvement in the Iran/Iraq War (Who do you think gave Saddam the WMD to kill the Iranians?) and the gassing of all those Kurds . . .

Today I get this via the Roo:

BRUSSELS (AP) - Iraq's justice minister on Tuesday accused the United States of trying to delay Iraqi efforts to interrogate Saddam Hussein, saying "it seems there are lots of secrets they want to hide."

[. . .]

Yes, all the chickens are coming home to roost. Heh. You know what the Americans want, a kangaroo trial (sorry, Skip, I couldn't resist).


Froggy has an excellent post (from yesterday) about the 36th anniversary of men (Americans) walking on the Moon for the first time. In commments, Froggy and I touched on something. We are both of the mind that this country needs visionaries from our generation. Men and women who were little kids at the time (Froggy was 11, I was 7) who have the ability to dream and look to the future.

Do you remember how we sat in wild-eyed fascination as Armstrong took his first tentative steps on another world? Do you remember how our teachers would tell us "by the year 2000" we'd have space stations and a Moonbase, at least? Sadly, you see the state of our space program, unable to get into near-Earth orbit with any sort of regularity, let alone back to the Moon. It's time we set new goals for the space program.

1) A new shuttle. One that won't break when someone sneezes.

2) Moonbase. A place to launch further expeditions with far less cost than leaving Earth-proper.

3) MarsPort. The Casablanca of science fiction writers and a stepping stone to the riches in the Asteroid Belt.

4) Do this in 20 years.

That's where our future is, folks. We're using up our natural resources at an astounding rate and we're becoming ever more crowded. Unfortunately, the people in power are all about the short term. Instead of being the trustees of our future, all they think about is raping it. Time for a change, a big one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Adios, Bubba. We'll miss you.

South Knox Bubba has hung up his keyboard. He was one of the Good Guys in Left Blogistan and his keen mind will be sorely missed.

SKB was the first blog I ever read and commented at. It introduced me 'n Fixer and for that I owe Bubba big time. Thank you, brother.

Good luck for the future. Come visit and don't feel like a stranger.

[This is staying on top until I feel like letting it join the queue. - F-man]

Delete options

Pic courtesy of SheaNC.

Turd Blossoms

There's been a lot of talk of "Turd Blossom" lately. Here's Wallace McRae's thoughts on the subject in his poem "Reincarnation".

"What does Reincarnation mean?"
A cowpoke asked his friend.
His pal replied, "It happens when
Yer life has reached its end.
They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,
And clean yer fingernails,
And lay you in a padded box
Away from life's travails."

"The box and you goes in a hole,
That's been dug into the ground.
Reincarnation starts in when
Yore planted 'neath a mound.
Them clods melt down, just like yer box,
And you who is inside.
And then yore just beginnin' on
Yer transformation ride."

"In a while, the grass'll grow
Upon yer rendered mound.
Till some day on yer moldered grave
A lonely flower is found.
And say a hoss should wander by
And graze upon this flower
That once wuz you, but now's become
Yer vegetative bower."

"The posy that the hoss done ate
Up, with his other feed,
Makes bone, and fat, and muscle
Essential to the steed,
But some is left that he can't use
And so it passes through,
And finally lays upon the ground
This thing, that once wuz you."

"Then say, by chance, I wanders by
And sees this upon the ground,
And I ponders, and I wonders at,
This object that I found.
I thinks of reincarnation,
Of life and death, and such,
And come away concludin': 'Slim,
You ain't changed, all that much.'"

I hope that lightened up your day a bit.

The Love Affair of Turd Blossom and the Prince of Darkness

Searching the Internets for all things Rovian can lead you to some interesting connections. But in this case all it took was a read of Karl Rove's biography on Wikipedia to learn that the Turd Blossom (Bush's nickname for Rove) Valerie Plame's leaker, the Prince of Darkness (aka Robert Novak) have had quite the cozy little relationship.

First there was this:
"For the next few years, Rove worked in various Republican circles and assisted George H. W. Bush's 1980 vice-presidential campaign. He was subsequently fired from the campaign for leaking information to journalist Robert Novak."

Then this:
"In 1992, Rove was fired from George H. W. Bush's 1992 presidential re-election campaign for allegedly leaking information to journalist Robert Novak. State campaign manager Robert Mosbacher had allotted Rove only one-quarter of the campaign's $1 million direct mail contract, after Rove had the entire contract in 1988. As Novak wrote, "Also attending the session was political consultant Karl Rove, who had been shoved aside by Mosbacher". Novak's column described the firing of Mosbacher by former Senator Phil Gramm.

Novak and Rove deny that Rove was the leaker. Mosbacher maintains that "Rove is the only one with a motive to leak this. We let him go. I still believe he did it.""

And, of course, we already know about the Valerie Plame leak.

My thought for the day? Does the Prince of Darkness even have an original thought? Or is he simply the mindless mouthpiece of the Turd Blossom?

Blog Summit/NY

Okay, I'm gonna set something up. I'd figure a weekend date so those of us who have jobs can make it. The Rude Pundit's show dates:

Friday, August 12 at 9 p.m. (opening day of the festival)

Sunday, August 14 at 3:45 p.m.

Tuesday, August 16 at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 18 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, August 21 at 2:15 p.m.

Wednesday, August 24 at 5 p.m.

Friday, August 26 at 10:30 p.m.

Just my thing, but I'd say one of the Friday night or Sunday afternoon dates would be good, 4 am comes awful early (when I have to get up) Monday morning and we could all be home before it's too late. But I'm negotiable and could swing a day off if I had to for one of the weekday shows (we're a 4 man shop, so when one of us is out the rest feel it). I'll do some research on restaurants and bars in the area that could handle a sudden crowd (most places can and work around the theater crowd) and have a decent ambiance where we don't have to shout at each other. I'll keep you updated by email from now on, so send me a message here and give me your address if you're interested.

To John from Blogenlust: Email me on what you were arranging and maybe we can combine efforts.

The Big Question For John Roberts

According to Craig Crawford:

Does the Constitution recognize and protect an unenumerated right of privacy?
It should be the first question put to President George W. Bush's nominee, John Roberts. If, like Souter, he says yes, then he's unlikely to provide the next vote needed to overturn Roe. If he says no, then abortion-rights activists probably should prepare to take their battle to the states and no longer expect the high court to stand in the way of state legislatures that would outlaw abortions.

And if Roberts refuses to answer the question, or dodges it in some clever way, he should not be confirmed. Anyone seeking to hold a swing vote on such a critical issue owes everyone -- conservatives and liberals -- an answer to that question.

I haven't made up my mind about this guy yet. With Bush in office, the person we would want to see on The Court is not going to be nominated, so we have to go with a "lesser of evils". Roberts? Maybe so, maybe no. I'll just sit here and watch for a while.

I'm not going to link you to InstaIdiot because it would soil my keyboard, but he has a link to a piece that says "Ann Coulter says Roberts is not conservative enough". Duh. That may be a (small) point in his favor, but then no one is conservative enough for The Skank.



[. . .]

The thing is, when the preservation of your own little world is your chief concern, you invariably look on those who do not share your concern as enemies. And because your interests are that personal and that selfish, you develop a "guilty until proven innocent" mindset toward your perceived enemies. Which, of course, opens the door to all manner of flagrant abuses of basic human decency -- just give that Amnesty International report I keep excerpting a glance. Or go back to those photos from Abu Ghraib. And ask yourself what, exactly, it is you endeavor to preserve.

[. . .]

Well said, my feathered friend.

Recruiters sing the blues, blame "parental advice"

From the Houston Chronicle:

Army officials on Tuesday blamed negative news coverage of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, a prospering economy and parental advice as key reasons why the service won't reach its 2005 recruitment targets.
The chief obstacle recruiters are facing comes from "older advisers to young Americans," Chu said, including parents whose views on military service were shaped by the Vietnam War.

Kids taking advice from their elders? The world as we know it has ended! 'Bout fuckin' time!

The skunk at the picnic

Ray McGovern writes on "Why White House v. Wilson/Plame Matters". His closing paragraphs:

The Iraq-Niger lie was thus both the cornerstone of the Bush agenda for war and the key to unraveling how the "fixing" worked. Rove, master of the administration's strategy yet only two years out of Texas, joined by Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby spread red herrings to divert reporters off the scent and wound up triggering the eventual appointment of a special prosecutor and the convening of a grand jury.

So it was the president's and vice president's own men who brought the skunk to the picnic - Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. He shows no inclination to join in the fun and games, and still less to speak prematurely, or to speak at all. Rather, Fitzgerald appears to be a real pro, and as long has he can avoid being fired, he could potentially take all the fun out of things. "Neo-conservative" pundit William Kristol was clearly reflecting growing uneasiness when he commented recently that Fitzpatrick is "the problem for the White House; we have no idea what he knows."

The last line is key: If there was nothing to know, they wouldn't be trying so hard to hide it.

For the record

This is not me.

Blog Summit

I've been debating setting something up in NY for a bunch of us in the local area to get together and swap spit stories and ideas. Jane gave me a good idea.

Anyone on the east coast going to see the Rude One's show in August? It would almost be worth flying out for.

So, what do you think? Anybody willing to do something that includes seeing the Rude One's show? Maybe meet at a bar or restaurant after? Let me know in 'comments' or email me. If a bunch of us are willing, I'll set something up. Maybe the lovely Jane would even consider joining us then?


The Sister:

[. . .]

. . . He's been a judge for two years, and the rest of his career has been spent in the pockets of GOP power players. This is, in the end, just more of the same from Bush & Co.

And could we really have expected any different? Of course not.

[. . .]

Did anybody on the left expect a consensus nominee? Bush needs a smoke show now more than ever (© Travis), he needs something the media will push to the front burner and forget about Plamegate. The fight over a SCOTUS nominee is his best chance.

DemVet has more on this clown:

. . . People, this is a guy who hates anyone's civil rights, the constitution and will be down-the-line supporter of the 1600 Crew's planned descent into fascism . . .

Update: 14:45:

And the Rude One:

[. . .]

When Bush said he was going to announce his nominee in prime time on TV so that today's news cycle might shift away from Karl Rove, what wonders should we have expected? That he'd nominate a half-Mexican, half-Asian one-legged blind female midget who farts Bach perfectly? . . .

Marine Corps Shortens Slogan To 'The Few'

From The Onion:

WASHINGTON, DC - In light of recruiting shortfalls, a near standstill in re-enlistment, and rock-bottom troop morale, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee announced Monday that the Marines will alter their unofficial slogan, abbreviating it to the more accurate "The Few." Hagee said, "We are still the Marines, the premier combat arm of the U.S. military." The Marines will also change their motto to Semper Fidelis, Sic Non Sapienti, or "Always Faithful, But This Is Just Ridiculous."

You may occasionally hear Marines say "Semper Fi", usually among themselves. In its shortened form it means something like, "I've got mine. You're on your own", or "Pull up the ladder, I'm on board."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Brain Gear

Brain Gear. More to come. I put a link in the sidebar.

Civil war

My man, Kevin Hayden, smells the inevitability of civil war in Iraq.

From all accounts, it looks like the mission of Saddam's old crew is nearing its goal. Iraq's about to bloom into a full-scale civil war. In fact, the critical point may have already passed.

[. . .]

The list

Jami has a list of probable SCOTUS nominees, a short bio of each, and their qualifications. In depth, great research.


Since it's hot and humid in New York (and elsewhere), a little nostalgia.

My backyard a few short months ago.

Rove-Bush Conspiracy Noose Tightens

I just love that title! I get all goose-pimply thinking about it! From the ConsortiumNews:

A key Republican defense of Rove has been that the White House deputy chief of staff only recycled rumors from reporters in 2003 when he told other reporters about Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, and her covert identity as a CIA officer who worked on issues related to weapons of mass destruction.

But two new facts contradict that assertion and show that Rove was coordinating his leaks about Plame with officials in Bush's National Security Council and Vice President Dick Cheney's office.

The first new piece of evidence is a little-noticed part of Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper's testimony last week before a federal grand jury in Washington.

Some news articles have noted Cooper's statement that Rove brought up Wilson's wife during an interview on July 11, 2003, and that Rove volunteered that she worked for "the agency" on WMD issues. Cooper said Rove cited these facts in claiming that Plame was responsible for Wilson's trip to Africa in February 2002 to investigate whether Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger.

What's been overlooked, however, is another part of Cooper's account. Cooper said his notes reveal that Rove then added that "material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and his findings." In ending the conversation, Rove said, "I've already said too much," according to Cooper. [Time, July 25, 2005, issue]

Rove's assertion that he knew about plans to declassify material on Wilson indicates that Rove was not just a loose-lipped talker repeating stuff he'd heard from reporters, but he was a participant in internal White House discussions about how to counteract Wilson's criticisms by releasing then-secret information.

Damn good point. I bet Fitzgerald is on it like stink on shit. Much, much more in the article. Go read. The last paragraph is good:

But that has not stopped the RNC and the conservative news media from continuing the P.R. war against Wilson. The Bush administration and its allies seem to believe that the best way to prevent a conspiracy from collapsing is to expand it.

It's expanding like the Universe. When it collapses around their ears, I hope they get a Big Bang out of it!

Sleight of hand

Via Rook from Liberal Oasis:

Keep An Eye Out...

...for a[n] accelerated announcement of a Supreme Court nominee, in order to change the subject.

They're hoping the announcement tonight raises enough of a dust storm to obscure Rove's problems. Not here, bitches.

Pick me, pick me!

My hero, the Rude One:

[. . .]

What's happening here, with polls showing that very few Americans believe the Bush administration on the whole issue, is the American public, having been fed years of propagandistic books, films, and television shows, since the Cold War, about how magnificent the CIA is in protecting our freedom (despite, you know, having often done quite the opposite), feels as if it's looking out for Jack Ryan. You know Jack Ryan, Tom Clancy's CIA agent, played by AlecBaldwinHarrisonFordBenAffleck in the movies. By this point in a Clancy novel or film, Jack Ryan (or someone) would have grabbed the tweedy, bespectacled, fat, balding asshole politico, who thought a CIA agent's identity was just more political capital to be spent when expedient, and beaten the shit out of him, leaving him bleeding, glasses broken, pissing himself on the floor of the Oval Office. Hell, where do you wanna go with this? Jason Bourne? Sydney Bristow? Bill Cosby on I Spy? George Smiley? James fuckin' Bond? All of the spy glorification in pop culture has made it a cardinal rule: you don't blow someone's cover.

[. . .]

More on Veterans' Funding

Following up on Fixer's post on Veterans' funding, this from the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune:

Fellow Republicans warned House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay more than a year ago that the government would come up short - by at least $750 million - for veterans' health care.

The leaders' response: Fire the messengers.
Some lawmakers say the shortfall is a product of the administration's scrimping on veterans' care to reduce the size of federal deficits.

It doesn't surprise me even a little bit that my #1 sleazeball and his dancing monkey, neither of them Veterans, had a hand in this scam.

Molly on PlameGate

Molly Ivins, as usual, nails it.

But even that is superseded by what lies at the heart of Plamegate, and that is lying in order to get this country into war. If the Washington press corps had a memory bank longer than 10 minutes, they could have exposed this years ago: the lies so often directly contradict one another. Before the war, the CIA was such a wussy organization it kept trying to downplay weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: After the war, it was all the CIA's fault, they had exaggerated the weapons of mass destruction. And so on and so on.

She has a few words to say about the cabal going after the ACLU as well.

Rove's Talking Points

Go see Tom Tomorrow.

Grime Pays

Grime Pays
Boy makes bad: a Karl Rove chronological tour, making all local stops

If you a little shaky on your Karl Rove history, this article is a great way to brush up on your Rovian facts. Some of these gems include:

1960: At age 10, he becomes a Republican, supporting Nixon in his losing race to John F. Kennedy. A meanie girl who's a Kennedy supporter beats him up.

FALL 1970: Rove pays visit to Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for state treasurer. Disguised as a volunteer, Rove steals official campaign letterhead and sends out 1,000 invitations to people in the city's red-light district and soup kitchens, offering "free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing" at Dixon headquarters. When hundreds of homeless and alcoholic Chicagoans show up at a fancy Dixon reception, Rove succeeds in embarrassing the candidate. Dixon still wins the election.

A brief timeline that gives one a basic introduction on what it is to be Rove.

Censorship Alive and Well

Some of you may have missed a post over at Shakespeare's Sister this past Friday. Emails containing the phrase "" have been filtered as spam by domain.

"Comcast is pointing the finger at Bright Mail, part of Symantec, with whom they have a contract and who, according to Comcast, control the filter. Bright Mail refuses to lift the ban, claiming to have received 46,000 spam messages containing the above cited URL, thought they refuse to show a single such message)."

See you in Hell


There are many things written in this article that upset me, but mainly that Westmoreland lived to be 91 when Americans and Vietnamese died by the hundreds of thousands 35 years ago.

[. . .]

Only the good die young, darlin'.

To live and die in polling land

Stolen fully and completely from Kevin Drum:

LIVE BY THE POLLS, DIE BY THE POLLS....Garance Franke-Ruta reports that a new ABC News poll shows plummeting support for the White House's handling of Plamegate. Only 25% of the respondents felt that the administration was cooperating with the investigation - and that was before both Time and Newsweek splashed Karl Rove's picture all over their covers this week. At that level, it means that even some true believers are starting to doubt George Bush's sincerity in the matter.

Why? Probably because a lot of Bush's supporters genuinely believe that exposing the identity of a CIA agent is a bad thing to do even if you're mad at her husband. They might be running out of patience with Bush on this. [my emphasis]

Exposing the identity of a CIA agent working to halt the proliferation of WMD and the financing of terror cells. In all, thanks to the Plame outing, nearly 100 covert operators, those working for her front company, were rendered useless and probably marked them for execution. In other words, we're only fighting the 'War on Terra' if it's politically and financially expedient for Chimpy Inc.


Skippy loves us. Well, at least the decor.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I'd like all of our readers to welcome Morrigan (BaltimoreLenore) of Morrigan's Web to regular blogging duties here at the Brain. I think she'll be a good fit with the rest of the team and I'm honored she accepted my invite. Welcome aboard!

I'm moving this up here for the rest of the day because it moved down the page pretty quickly since I posted it. I'm sure some of you were scratching your heads at the new byline. New posts start below this one.


This gets me so pissed off I don't have the words:

The Bush administration was unprepared to meet the needs of military veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One scheme they've come up with to make up the cost of health care and other services for this new cadre of U.S. veterans is to shortchange some of this country's most vulnerable older veterans.

[. . .]

Those standards would render 85 percent -- 85 percent! -- of the veterans in Washington's three veterans homes ineligible to stay there, according to Alfie Alvarado, assistant director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. At that rate, she says, the state's veterans homes would "not be able to operate." [my emphasis]

[. . .]

The way this government treats the people who've sacrificed their minds and bodies for this nation is unconscionable.

I owe somebody credit for the link, but I'll be damned if I can remember who. Update: Thanks to Jillian at Skippy's.


Here's a blog devoted to the Rove deal. I just saw this on one of the "inside the blogs" segments on one of the MSM TV shows. Go see PlameGame. On the right side, just under the picture of Bush holding a beer mug, are links to some blogs devoted to "other scams". Worth a look.

But . . . but . . . but . . .

Raisins? Raisins??? RAISINS????!!!!!

[. . .]

But Manji says recent research shows all that virgin stuff was based on an erroneous translation of the Koran: what awaits in heaven are 72 raisins. What? Could 54 people really have been blown up for a bag of raisins? "Well in 7th century Arabia raisins were so exalted as to be promoted to paradise."

[. . .]

Surprise!!!!! Heh.

Hat tip: Church of the Front Porch.

Boston writer takes time off from man-on-dog action to thank Senator

Michael Blanding replies to Santorum for outing Boston as the modern-day Gomorrah that it is. Via Alternet.

We, the depraved citizens of Boston, would like to thank Sen. Santorum for recognizing our city as the modern-day Gomorrah that it is, and pointing out all the ways that Boston has led to the moral decline of the nation.
With all due respect, however, I don't think you've really considered how far the wrong way Boston has taken them. Truth be told, our sick culture of sexual depravity goes back a lot further than gay marriage and Catholic priest abuse. Take the Puritans. I mean, talk about alternative lifestyles! The constrictive clothing, the stocks and irons, the public hangings, the dunking tanks, the flamboyant letters pinned to their breasts ... Massachusetts Bay Colony was like an S&M dungeon waiting to happen. And those were the same folks who founded Harvard University, spouting some crap about the need to train a literate clergy. Whereas we all know that literacy just gets in the way of the quick snap judgments and moral superiority that right-wing clergy (and for that matter, certain senators) really need to do their job.

Go read. I've been to Boston. Kinda like a little New York City on steroids. Remind me to tell you a story sometime about my experiences in the now-defunct "Combat Zone". I like Boston.

'Special rights'

Heaven forbid we give homosexuals those 'special rights' . . . like equality under the law. The esteemed Eponymous takes a look at the latest bug up the Winghuts' asses.

[. . .]

Uh huh. You know, I didn't think it was possible, but those mooks at the AFA are becoming stupider as time progresses. I've always found it interesting the way the AmTaliban frames this debate in terms of "special" rights. As if homosexuals, simply by "choosing" to be gay (you know, like a Christian chooses to be so) should be entitled to fewer rights since their choice involves simply not conforming to socially acceptable sexual norms. "Special treatment" for homosexuals is apparently "equal rights" for the rest of us.

[. . .]


The Guardian:

It was a question the White House press corps once believed unthinkable. Has President George W Bush lost confidence in his political guru, Karl Rove? If simply posing the question was a surprise last week, the answer - or, more accurately, the lack of one - was an even greater shock.

[. . .]

That has put Bush in an awkward position. He has previously promised to fire anyone revealed to be involved in the Plame leak, though the White House is now refusing to repeat that statement. McClellan is an even worse spot. He once told reporters that it was 'totally ridiculous' to suggest Rove had been involved.

[. . .]

If the legal case against Rove has holes in it, the political case is more damning. For the first time in years the Democrats can exploit a scandal that is easy to understand. While the details are confusing, the narrative is simple: the White House exposed a CIA agent working to protect America. 'People are angry. The press corps is angry. The Democrats just have to keep feeding the beast,' said Haas. [my emphases]

[. . .]

Yes indeed. Why does the Bush Administration hate America? Why have they committed treason? What did the Chimp know and when did he know it? Can you say 'impeachment', boys and girls? I thought you could.

Thanks to Maru for the link.

The Return of J. Edgar Hoover's Ghost

Via Pam's House Blend:

In an effort to fight the "War on Terror", the FBI has been monitoring the ACLU and other groups such as Greenpeace.

"I know for an absolute fact that we have not been involved in anything related to promoting terrorism and yet the government has collected almost 1,200 pages on our activities," Romero said. [Anthony Romero is the ACLU's executive director] "Why is the ACLU now the subject of scrutiny from the FBI?"

John Passacantando, Greenpeace's U.S. executive director, said his group is a forceful, but peaceful, critic of the Bush administration's war and environmental policies.

"This administration has a history of using its powers against its peaceful critics. If, in fact, the FBI has been deployed to help in that effort, that would be quite shocking," Passacantando said.

No, it's not shocking at all. I'm starting to feel that the FBI is this administration's Gestapo in the making.


Lambert comes up with some:

[. . .]

You know, this whole thing reminds of that great old Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express. The whodunnit is totally confusing, clues pointing every which way and cancelling each other out, until Hercule Poirot figures out that the reason the clues could only make sense if they were all in on it, is that, indeed, they were all in on it.

[. . .]

I think this is exactly the way it went down.

Doing my part

To keep the Republicans on their toes. I wrote this over at TF&G the other day, about the assorted nuts who hang around the shop. One I thought my Brain readers might like:

[. . .]

Kommissar John: The New York State legislator for our district. Republican, spitting image of former Connecticut governor (now convict) John Rowland. An asshole extraordinaire and I tell him every chance I get. He usually checks to see if my car is in the lot before he shows up. Tries to avoid me like the plague but his local office is line-of-sight from our door. Try to guess how many times I've mooned him. Yes, the locals are used to driving by the shop and seeing me in the lot, mooning somebody up the block.

[. . .]

Sunday, July 17, 2005

An Iraq Picture Show, 2004

Ginmar got to enjoy her time in the military over in Iraq last year. Now she's sharing some of her pictures. The captions really make this post great.

Former Vietnam Combat and commercial Pilot Says 'No Way' Could a Novice Fly the 'Big Birds' He Knew So Well

Via the 9/11 Blogger:

More holes being poked into the official version of the events surrounding 9/11. This article hits home to me as I have relatives in the aviation industry. One quote I find particularily chilling:

"Knowing the flight characteristics of the "big birds" like the back of his hand, Wittenberg convincingly argued there was absolutely no possibility that Flight 77could have "descended 7,000 feet in two minutes, all the while performing a steep 270 degree banked turn before crashing into the Pentagon's first floor wall without touching the lawn."

Wittenberg claimed the high speed maneuver would have surely stalled the jetliner sending it into a nose dive, adding it was "totally impossible for an amateur who couldn't even fly a Cessna to maneuver the jetliner in such a highly professional manner, something Wittenberg said he couldn't do with 35 years of commercial jetliner experience.

"For a guy to just jump into the cockpit and fly like an ace is impossible - there is not one chance in a thousand," said Wittenberg, recalling that when he made the jump from Boeing 727's to the highly sophisticated computerized characteristics of the 737's through 767's it took him considerable time to feel comfortable flying."

Disturbing food for thought.

Army Further Damages it's Credibility

Given that the Army has missed it's recruitment goals, it's not surprising that an Army recruiting officer who threatened a young man with jail time has been transfered from one recruitment office to another and promoted to supervisor.

"The Army says he's the perfect person to be in charge of other recruiters since he experienced first hand what happens when ethics rules are broken."

Oh yeah, I bet he is.

If Rove were a Democrat, he'd be shot

The truth via Skippy:

I'm certainly happy that George W. Bush and Karl Rove are not Democrats. If they were, just imagine the mess this country would be in right now, even worse than the mess it is in.

First, there would be cries of "treason" directed at Mr. Rove from the Republican ranks. Some of the more overheated members of Congress would demand that he be taken immediately out back of the Capitol and shot by a firing squad.

[. . .]

Story with a moral

From my brother-in-law who gets the best stuff:

The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment: Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories. "Johnny, do you have a story to share?"

"Yes ma'am. My daddy told a story about my Aunt Karen. She was a pilot in Desert Storm and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a small flask of whiskey, a pistol and a survival knife. She drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn't break and then her parachute landed right in the middle of twenty enemy troops. She shot fifteen of them with the gun until she ran out of bullets, killed four more with the knife, till the blade broke, and then she killed the last Iraqi with her bare hands."

"Good Heaven" said the horrified teacher. "What kind of moral did your daddy tell you from this horrible story?"

"Stay the fuck away from Aunt Karen when she's drinking."

"Fly! Be free!" - Mork, to an egg

Take the quiz: "What Kind of Soul Do You Retain?"

You have an open heart and open mind and you chose not to let anyone get to you and the way you want to live.

There were no good answers to most of their questions. I'm surprised the result came out as close to the mark as it did. The picture looks just like me, too.

Thanks, Granny.

Keep your eye on the ball

This is the best op-ed of the weekend, in my not-so-humble opinion. Frank Rich in the NYTimes. He goes into the steam calliope (makes a lot of loud noise, exhausts a lot of wet hot air) of the Republican slime/noise/spin machine in the Rove deal and then refocuses the real thing:

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.
Once we were locked into the war, and no W.M.D.'s could be found, the original plot line was dropped with an alacrity that recalled the "Never mind!" with which Gilda Radner's Emily Litella used to end her misinformed Weekend Update commentaries on "Saturday Night Live." The administration began its dog-ate-my-homework cover-up, asserting that the various warning signs about the uranium claims were lost "in the bowels" of the bureaucracy or that it was all the C.I.A.'s fault or that it didn't matter anyway, because there were new, retroactive rationales to justify the war. But the administration knows how guilty it is. That's why it has so quickly trashed any insider who contradicts its story line about how we got to Iraq, starting with the former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.
Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.

I think that when Rove's head deflates enough to realize he's not getting out of this one, his desperation will crank up the noise machine to where it will be obvious to even the most casual observer that his house of cards is about to fall, and deservedly so. To make the Bush archway fall, remove the Rove keystone.


More 'creative naming' from our friends at 1600. You remember 'Clear Skies', 'Healthy Forests' and 'No Child Left Behind'. Farnsworth:

As if the greedy pig motherfuckers at Halliburton weren't already fattening themselves enough at the public slop trough, a little-noticed bill is worming its nasty way through the greased machinery of the Repugnican senate.

It's called the FAIR Act, for Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution -- yet another in a long line of Orwellian naming conventions -- that would establish a $140 billion trust fund to be drawn down by sufferers from one or more of the many asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.

[. . .]

Sunday funnies

For those who see MTP later, John Podesta (Clinton's former Chief of Staff) gives Ken Mehlman (RNC Chair/Closet Queen) a weenie-whacking on the Plamegate deal. Even Russert inflated his raisins and asked some tough questions. All Mehlman could do was recite talking points.

Two of my favorite girls were on McLaugh-In. Eleanor Clift per usual and Raghida Dergham of Al-Hayat whom I just adore (I based a character on her in my book The Fourth Estate). She proved, at that fat bastid Tony Blankley's expense, that Blankley is a moron and an RNC shill.

And will Joe Biden (D-MBNA) just shut the fuck up and go away, please? He's shown himself for the whore he is. Time to give him a primary fight. Orrin Hatch (R-Mormon) is a bleeding asshole.

I am Jean-Luc Picard

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

And I look at that as a good thing. Via Church of the Front Porch.

Movie reviews

I don't like reviewers. I got a problem with people making money giving opinions on artists' work. Bottom-feeders, I put 'em in the same category as plaintiff attorneys. But Digby has the best movie review I ever saw. Well, it's a review of reviews that shows how the 101st Hiding Cowards are actually terrorists.