Saturday, October 8, 2005


From T. Rex:

I don't believe that Evangelical Christians (or any similar groups) should be allowed to serve in high-level public office...

I'm in full agreement and for the same reasons.

I'm sad

I was startled to learn from the CultureGhost yesterday that a great blog will be packing it in.

...ADGITA DIARIES will be closing up shop at the end of this month...

Being taken quite by surprise, I shot off an email to M and T of Adgita Diaries for confirmation. I was assured the Ghost was not pulling our collective leg and they will indeed be going dark. It's a sad time for Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!*). I will miss their writing, miss pictures of the garden, and Princess Shayna will certainly miss her friend Harry Hound and his Hound Report. I, on behalf of the Brain and my blogmates, wish them all the best in their chosen endeavors. We'll miss you.

[To M and T and Harry. The floor here is always yours if you find you have the urge to blog somewhere down the line. Just email me when you want it. - The Fixer]

*yes! skippy coined that phrase!

Friday, October 7, 2005

Stopping terror

EDITOR'S NOTE: President George W. Bush claimed in a speech yesterday that he had foiled 10 terrorist plots on American soil since 9/11. Much speculation has centered on exactly what these "10 terrorist plots" could be. The president stated he could not reveal this information because it was classified due to "National Security".

[. . .]

A hoot from Neil Shakespeare.

This one'll piss ya off....

From Salon:

Did a reporter with GOP ties suppress a story that could have cost Bush the White House?
President Bush's reelection may have been made possible by a Toledo Blade reporter with close ties to the Republican Party who reportedly knew about potential campaign violations in early 2004 but suppressed the story.

According to several knowledgeable sources, The Blade's chief political columnist, Fritz Wenzel, was told of potential campaign violations by Tom Noe, chair of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign for Lucas County, as early as January 2004. But according to Blade editors, Wenzel never gave the paper the all-important tip in early 2004.

I didn't bother reading the rest of it because it doesn't surprise me a bit and I didn't want to bother with a site pass. Has to do with "Coingate".

There's a brand spanking new prison in Lovelock, Nevada, that's never been used. Let's Federalize it and put the entire Republican apparatus in it.

Common Sense

From Stupid Country:

[. . .]

If you drop 135,000 American troops anywhere in the Middle East, destroy the host country's economy and kill tens of thousands of its citizens, then people will obligingly show up and shoot back. They will not, however, hold still so that you can oppose them in the way a conventional force of combat soldiers is designed to oppose an enemy along anything that could reasonably be viewed as a "front."

[. . .]

They could also be viewed as bait. Hey, Jesuslanders, how's it feel to have your kid's life used as nothing more than chum? Yeah, keep voting Republican. They'll be calling for your grandkids next. You know, the ones your son never knew because his wife was giving birth while he was dying in Saddam's backyard.


Speaking of Mess-O-Potamia* Dave Johnson steers me to Harry Reid's blog:

[. . .]

We are equally dismayed that your Administration has failed to produce broad international participation, both in the months leading up to the war and the years since the conflict started. There appears to be no strategy to involve regional countries as there was in the Balkans in the 1990s and in Afghanistan in late 2001 and 2002. There has been little effort to obtain the contribution of military forces from Muslim nations to dispel the perception of a Western occupation of a Muslim nation. In addition, offers to train Iraqi security forces from countries such as Egypt and France have apparently gone unanswered.

The only thing as disturbing as the obvious lack of progress is the Administration�s continuing failure to level with the American people about the current situation in Iraq. This failure only serves to erode the public's confidence about your Administration's plan for Iraq. Therefore, Mr. President, in the interest of providing accountability to our troops and our taxpayers, we ask again for you to provide direct answers to four critical questions about your Administration's Iraq policy. Specifically:

[. . .]

These are the things we need to hear from the Dem leadership. The problem is getting them on TV enough for it to sink in. That damned 'Lib-rul Media'.

*Credit:Jo Fish

Timing NYers' Safety Until Bush Says It's OK

If you still think yesterday's New York terror alert was a coincidence following closely on the Chimp's speech, think again. From Craig Crawford:

Even more disturbing to me in yesterday's subway warning was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's comment that a news outlet had gotten the story two days earlier but agreed to withhold releasing it until the government gave the green light. Perhaps Bloomberg's position on this will turn out to be credible, but his claim that the extra time was needed for law enforcement to handle this threat seems worth questioning.

The result was that a news media outlet was persuaded to join a conspiracy of silence until the government was ready to announce the news, which happened to coincide with White House strategy for Bush's speech and also just so happened to serve as a neat distraction from Rove's latest bad news.

Manufacturing terror alerts and then timing them for political purposes and diversion is a total crock of shit.

I hope we're all sick and tired of these assholes taking it for granted that we'll all panic like we're supposed to when they hit the fear button, and run to them like little kids screaming "Oh, yes, Mr. president, save us, only you can do it, O Mighty One!"

Imagine if the subway had blown up yesterday: "Oh, we knew about that two days ago. Bush hadn't made his speech yet."

They'd be swinging from lampposts.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna gives high marks to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for giving President Fucknuts the finger and awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Mohammed el-Baradei. She also sends out her heartfelt congratulations to Dr. El-Baradei and urges him to continue his good works as a nuclear watchdog.

Hat tip: Blondie

Me and my big mouth

As regular readers of the Brain know, I speak my mind. Everybody knows where they stand with me. There's no guessing if I like you or not. If I don't you'll know it.

Anyway, it's with this attitude I pay my property taxes twice a year . . . in person. It's the one time I can get in my local politicians' faces . . . well, two times a year. They have to deal with me too because I give 'em $4000 at a clip. I also went to school with the Town Supervisor's (mayor's) useless piece-of-shit son.

[. . .]

The rest below the fold.

Da Subway or Cry Wolf

(New York - WABC, October 6, 2005) - The New York City police are responding to what they are considering a credible threat to the subway system. Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared at a news conference alongside Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in which they announced a bombing threat and said it was the most specific they had ever received to date.

Bloomberg says the FBI has shared the information with city officials, and is asking the public to be vigilant.

[. . .]

Ya see what all those terror alerts (notice we haven't had one since the elections last year; notice the NYC mayoral elections are this year) did? Ain't nobody gives a shit. My wife, who rides the Subway from Pennsylvania Station to the World Trade Center (the station is up and running again) and back every day, a woman who's been bombed and shot at almost as much as me, doesn't give a shit. And if I got out at the station (as opposed to slowing down to 30 and making her jump like I usually do, heh) in a few minutes and asked her fellow commuters, they wouldn't give a shit neither.

Mr. Bush, Mr. Bloomberg, and all the rest of you idiot politicians, do you see what you've done to the warning system that was questionable to begin with? Ain't nobody gives a shit. At least nobody who's affected directly gives a shit. Those warmongering idiots in Jesusland will get all fired up, just like they did on 9/11, using our tragedy to push their agenda, but commuting New Yorkers don't care, they got work to do. They also don't believe anything that comes out of Washington anymore. They could change the terror threat to red and we wouldn't believe it. Know why? Because you've cried wolf too many times.

Thursday, October 6, 2005


Mrs. Fixer always says I'm not too far removed from the tree. This is what I'm gonna look like when I get older.

Good advice to Bush

Angry Old Broad gets rantylicious.

Dogs saving cats

Outstanding work.

An innovative program that provides guard dogs to livestock farmers at a modest cost may be helping to save wild cheetahs in southern Africa.

The decade-old effort is the brainchild of Laurie Marker. The U.S. biologist moved to Namibia in 1990 to help prevent livestock losses that spurred ranchers to shoot and kill hundreds of cheetahs each year.

[. . .]

... During her research, she came across the Anatolian shepherd, a breed used by Turkish shepherds for thousand of years as the first line of defense against predators.

The canine's formidable height (they stand 27 to 29 inches/69 to 74 centimeters tall) can help intimidate predators. The dogs live with their flocks and are independent thinkers, needing little direction to do their jobs. Their short coats are also well suited to Namibia's hot climate.

With their instinctive guarding ability, Anatolia shepherds have successfully warded off more than cheetahs on Namibian farms—jackals, caracal lynx, leopards, and baboons have been turned away.

[. . .]

Dr. Marker has been doing excellent work in saving the cheetahs, whose population has declined from 100,000 in 1900 to less than 13,000 today.

I wonder if they tuck him in at night...

Just so you don't have to pay half a Benjie to read her, here's MoDo on "Women of the White House". No, I don't think it'll be a spread (heh!) in Playboy, but I do wonder if there'll be a video...

I hope President Bush doesn't have any more office wives tucked away in the White House.

There are only so many supremely powerful jobs to give to women who are not qualified to get them.

The West Wing is a parallel universe to TV's Wisteria Lane: instead of self-indulgent desperate housewives wary of sexy nannies, there are self-sacrificing, buttoned-up nannies serving as adoring work wives, catering to W.'s every political, legal and ego-affirming need.

And then she starts in on 'em. Go read.

Hey, he coulda said "ride the baloney pony"...

Howard Dean was on Lameball last night talking about the Miers nomination and the "Culture of Corruption" and said, amongst much other good shit, the following:

DEAN: Well, certainly the president can claim executive privilege. But in the this case, I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami (my bold), or whatever it's called.

That's what it's called, Howie. Heh.

From O'Donnell's lips to Fitzgerald's ears...

Lawrence O'Donnell, who, if you will remember, was the first to name Rove as a leak source on TV, has the following on my favorite big-titted Greek redhead's blog:

If Karl Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, is still as easy to read as he has been since I broke the story that his client was Matt Cooper's source, then we now know that Rove has received a target letter from Patrick Fitzgerald. How do we know it? Luskin refuses to deny it.

Fitzgerald does not have to send Rove or anyone else a target letter before indicting him. The only reason to send target letters now is that Fitzgerald believes one or more of his targets will flip and become a prosecution witness at the pre-indictment stage. A veteran prosecutor told me, "If Fitzgerald is sending target letters at the end of his investigation, those are just invitations to come in and work out a deal."

I just heard on Lameball that Rove's scheduled grand jury testimony is "voluntary". Oh, sure. If Fitzgerald told me to "testify or go to jail", I'd volunteer too.

Here's the good part:

If no one RSVPs to Fitzgerald's invitations, look for indictments as early as next week. If anyone does sit down with Fitzgerald, he will probably have to move to extend the grand jury, which now has only thirteen working days left in its term.

Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators.
I'll settle for three. To start.

Jane says . . .

. . . Okay everybody take a deep breath, sit back, pour yourself some herbal tea and take some time to brush up on your TraitorGate facts. You'll be able to impress everyone you know with your trenchant observations and deep insights when indictments come down.

[. . .]

I hope the reaming is hard, dry, deep, and dead slow. After 2 years it better be good. Go read. I guess this would be a good time (if a bit late) to stand up and applaud Jane (and her cohorts) for her masterful work giving us lay folk (Git yer mind out the gutter, Gord) an insight into the process over the months. Your thoughts and expertise are appreciated.

Dine Out America

Thank God! Both my DSL and my dial-up were broken this morning. It was like I had the rubber band around my arm and the needle in my vein and the candy man didn't show up! I'mmm oookay nooowww....

Yesterday, Mrs. G had a dentist appointment in Reno. We decided to conserve fuel and rubber, like we would during a real war, so we ran some errands and then decided to have dinner out. I mean, why waste a trip to the Big City?

The joint we chose was the Macaroni Grill. It's one of a chain. This outfit has about five different-named restaurants all over the country. It was about as close to fine dining as we ever get: they had tablecloths. They had a big piece of paper over said tablecloth and provided crayons, with which our server (PC term for waiter, I think), a large bald-headed brother named Percy, wrote his name on the table in big letters so I wouldn't forget it! The food was different (for us) but very good. Go see their menu here.

My point is that yesterday this outfit donated the profits for the day to hurricane relief for Katrina victims and called the effort "Dine Out America". I think that was nice.

Give 'em a try.

I'm on a mission from God

[. . .]

[Palestinian Foreign Minister] Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ..." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

[. . .]

Time to take the Chimp out in a straightjacket.

Link via Maru

No Reich here

Thankfully for all the single women and unmarried couples in Indiana, this Nazi has been silenced. Thank God Shakespeare's Sister (and Mr. Shakes too of course) lives there. I think some of her smarts are rubbing off on the locals. From Pam:

[. . .]

Did she just come out from under a cultural rock? This gal had no clue the poorly conceived (pun intended) legislation to control procreation outside of the fertile, married, male-female, faith-based experience was a flaming pile of sh*t? Looks like a little fire was lit under the ass of this Hoosier, so she pulled it.

[. . .]


No, Harriet Miers doesn't need to be a judge to be qualified for a seat on SCOTUS. No, she doesn't need any experience arguing cases before SCOTUS to be qualified. In fact I am qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. Go figure. But there's one little fact that's telling. It's where Ms. Miers learned the vagries and intricacies of the U.S. legal system. Now I've seen politicians from Harvard and Yale in action. I know quite a few of their alumni. I'm not impressed but as far as educations go, they're probably the best places to get a law degree. Zoe contrasts and compares the sitting Justices' educational credits to Ms. Miers'. It's about quality, folks, as opposed to a faith-based education.

Don't bother

Jo Fish:

Joe Biden is forming an "exploratory committee" to gauge his chances for a presidential bid in 2008. Here's why his committee will find that his chances of having sex with a polar bear are better.

[. . .]

Mr. Biden, Ted Kennedy got the message long ago. Here's yours. Don't waste your time running for the Presidency, you won't get my vote. Note to John Kerry: The same goes for you. Don't bother, you've shown what you're made of too. I respect your service to this nation, but you're no Presidential candidate. Don't waste your time and ours.

Job interviews

Can't they do anything right? AMERICAblog via the Sister:

ABC just released an exclusive. A US Marine was working in the White House as a spy for the Philippines. He worked in the White House for 3 years, and most recently for Dick Cheney. He then stole classified documents and passed them to the Philippines opposition. He's a naturalized US citizen from the Philippines.

[. . .]

I'll let Gord deal with the fact this guy is a Marine (let them take care of their own). He'll explain, I'm sure, what kind of dishonor this act brings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Meanwhile . . .

Back in Iraq . . .

Pork and Fishes

[. . .]

With great fanfare, Alaska Airlines recently rolled out what it calls the "Salmon-Thirty-Salmon." Thirty painters worked around the clock for 24 days to paint a 100-foot salmon on a 737 airplane, which went into service today.

The $500,000 paint job is part of a campaign to promote the Alaskan seafood industry, and was paid for by the federal government. It's a pork project that some are calling "fishy."

"Only Congress can turn fish into pork," said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "Paint jobs for private airplanes are one thing, but Uncle Sam should not be paying for it."

The Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board actually paid for the paint job. The board was created less than three years ago. Since then, the group has received nearly $30 million from the federal government - funding pushed through by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. [my emphases]

[. . .]

Must be nice living in Alaska. Being less people live in our largest state than on the twenty-five thousand acres of Manhattan Island, they sure get their fair share of my tax money. Might be nice to fix the bridges to Manhattan before we build bridges to nowhere in Alaska.

Link via Maru

Heh Heh

Got this one from Suburban Guerilla.

Reporters were asking the openly gay congressman Barney Frank if David Dreier was denied DeLay's leadership position because he was too moderate - or because he was gay. Frank said it was because Dreier was too moderate, and then quipped, "And I'm going to a moderate bar after work tonight."

After Greenspan?

Go see Whiskey Bar. Heh.

Iraqis reverse ruling

Yesterday I posted about the rules change in Iraq that defined what a "voter" is. I expressed displeasure. Well, as regular readers of the Brain, the Iraqi Parliament took note and reversed themselves. From Reuters.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament reversed on Wednesday a ruling that would have helped a new constitution win approval, hoping to appease minority Sunnis after the United Nations warned it might refuse to endorse the referendum vote.
Many Sunnis had complained of double standards in Sunday's ruling that defined the word "voters" in two different ways in one sentence of the interim constitution, to the disadvantage of Sunnis hoping for a blocking "No" vote in three provinces.

"They have reversed their decision as we had hoped they would," said U.N. spokesman Said Arikat in Baghdad.
"No one asked us about it," Sunni politician Saadoun al-Zubaidi said. "If it had not been for the United Nations, nothing would have changed."

Hussain al-Shahristani, the Shi'ite deputy speaker, insisted that parliament had acted on its own initiative.

Keep readin' the Brain, boys. It'll make ya smart.

Besides, you still got that shipload of Diebold machines....

Business is good

For mercenaries. CN Todd:

How nice: Haitian security has been subcontracted out to a U.S. corporation.

And don't forget to keep up with his ongong reports about what we're fucking up in Haiti that's sliding under the radar.

Edicts and Declarations

I left a comment, on Jo Fish's post over at Main and Central, about a memory of mine when in Korea at the time the AIDS epidemic was just entering the national consciousness. The military said we had to limit casual sex with the locals. Fellas, I was 19, in Asia, surrounded by millions of beautiful, almond-eyed women; you figure out what I was doing in my spare time. Besides, anybody who knows Air Force folks . . . Well, Jo has an example of the military's bludgeon vs. stiletto approach to problems.

Well, we all know that the DoD can't stuff that horse that was the Porn-for-WarPorn back into the proverbial barn. So they've done the next best thing. They're subjectively restricting the use of "photographs" by "bloggers" on web sites. Why subjectively? Well, it seems that the forbidden pictures can be whatever someone who stands to be embarrassed by them wants to forbid.

[. . .]

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

And yer cellie can read over yer shoulder...

Found this great post at Campus Progress on how DeLay's words may be coming back to haunt him. Thanks to Paul the Spud at Shakespeare's Sister.

Rep. Tom Delay, until recently the House Majority Leader, has long been outspoken about the criminal justice system. He's been tough on crime, tough on the accused, enthusiastic about long prison sentences, bullish about building more prisons, and skeptical about claims of prisoners' innocence or abuse by prison authorities.

Now, Tom DeLay has entered the criminal justice system in a new role: defendant, charged with money laundering and conspiracy, and facing a potential term of five years to life in a Texas prison. To be helpful, we've compiled a brief dossier on Tom DeLay's guide to criminal justice. DeLay can take a look now, and maybe print out all the materials that are hyperlinked, and everything hyperlinked from those, and so on. It should take about five years to life to read.

Go read. It'll make your day!

The Queen of Propaganda

M and T should write a book or get jobs working for The New Yorker. I love their writing, especially when they take down a hag like Karen Hughes.

[. . .]

Appointing the Hughes to market Bush America in the Middle East and make 'nice' with those 'folks' was a bit like appointing Pope Urban to make smilely face in Jeruselem after the first Crusade. Hughes ridiculous medicine show, a cross between Shirley Temple and the Music Man, fooled no one. Her American pie, made of posion apples, was called out time after time from Saudi Arabia, Turkey to Egypt.

[. . .]

If the Adgita Diaries ain't on your blogroll, you're missing something.

Semper Fubar

After being sucked into reading Steve Harvey's column in the LATimes by this line:

For your Only-in-Malibu sub-file, Nanci Vernon read in the Malibu Chronicle that a local urgent-care center has a botox specialist.

I found the following:

Something strange going on: A while back I mentioned that Brooklyn-born Eddie Raheb of Arcadia received a letter from the U.S. Marine Corps offering to transform him into an "elite warrior" - the only problem being that Raheb is 78. The Marines wanted to make use of his Arabic-language skills. Raheb had no idea how the Marines knew about his Arabic-language skills.

Since then, I've heard from Donna Attallah of Long Beach, who wrote: "My husband received the same letter recently - and he celebrated his 96th birthday in August!"

And an 81-year-old woman and her 80-year-old sister say they got the same letters.

I wonder if the names might be crack intelligence passed on to the Marine Corps from the Department of Homeland Security.

This is getting serious! If they're desperate enough to come after us old farts for other reasons, I'm probably OK because my knowledge of radios is pretty dated, but if they show up here I'm gonna snitch off a friend of mine in New York who knows how to glom onto expeditionary airfields!

Didn't Ponzi ride a Triumph on "Happy Days"?

A good take on Miss Miers' nomination from a coupla contributors at TPMCafe. First, from Mark Schmitt:

The reaction from the right to the Miers nomination should be a reminder of just why the Rove strategy of playing to the hard-right base is such a dangerous and unwise political choice: There's no turning back from it. It's like a Ponzi scheme, you have to continually borrow new money/enthusiasm to pay off the old, and you can never turn back.
And like any Ponzi scheme, when it collapses, the collapse is total, and absolute. (By the way, I had written this before Ed Kilgore weighed in with his "balloon-mortgage" metaphor below. Choose the metaphor that works for you.)
I don't really understand Harry Reid's earlier comments about Miers, quoted by Sam Rosenfeld: "The reason I like her is that she's the first woman to be president of the very, very large Texas bar association, she was a partner in a law firm, she's actually tried cases, she was a trial lawyer, and she's had experience here. I could accept that. And if that fits into the cronyism argument, I will include everybody as a crony, but not her, when I make my case." Essentially what Reid was saying here is that he's so interested in non-judicial real world experience (anyone who thinks big Texas law firms are the real world, raise your hands) that he thinks that outweighs the crony problem. But it seems to me exactly the opposite: the crony problem ("the most brilliant man she had ever met") vastly outweighs this thin and perfectly ordinary legal experience. There are a thousand Harriett Mierses in the law firms of America, and at this point even a good number of them who are women.

But maybe Reid is cleverer even than I gave him credit for, and just lured Bush into the room with his angry, defrauded investors.

That would be good! In his post, Mr. Kilgore makes a good point:

Sure, it's possible the strategy here is to give the Right what it wants over its loud objections--that she will turn out to be a Thomas rather than a Souter. And I'm definitely not saying Democrats should support her, either.

But at this point, it's going to be Senate Republicans who are demanding more information about Miers; hell, with guys like Coburn in the Senate, we could even see a conservative filibuster effort.

So I think we should just sit back and watch the spectacle on the other side for a while.

I think I need to cop some more popcorn. This might be a good show.

What's next ? Diebold?

New York Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 3 - Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders quietly adopted new rules over the weekend that will make it virtually impossible for the constitution to fail in the coming national referendum.

The move prompted Sunni Arabs and a range of independent political figures to complain that the vote was being fixed.
Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.
In effect, the new interpretation makes not voting a show of support for the constitution and runs against the apparent intent of the law.

Do I want Iraq to fail? No.

Do I want them to succeed by cheating by using similar tactics as Republicans have used in elections here? No.

Your Warm and Fuzzy Feeling for the Day

I feel safer now, Shrub has found a way to let the military take over:

Bush Considers Military Role in Flu Fight
Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005 - 12:38 PM

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush, increasingly concerned about a possible avian flu pandemic, revealed Tuesday that any part of the country where the virus breaks out could likely be quarantined and that he is considering using the military to enforce it.

"The best way to deal with a pandemic is to isolate it and keep it isolated in the region in which it begins," he said during a wide-ranging Rose Garden news conference.

The president was asked if his recent talk of giving the military the lead in responding to large natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and other catastrophes was in part the result of his concerns that state and local personnel aren't up to the task of a flu outbreak.

"Yes," he replied.

After the bungled initial federal response to Katrina, Bush suggested putting the Pentagon in charge of search-and-rescue efforts in times of a major terrorist attack or similarly catastrophic natural disaster. He has argued that the armed forces have the ability to quickly mobilize the equipment, manpower and communications capabilities needed in times of crisis.

But such a shift could require a change in law, and some in Congress and the states worry it would increase the power of the federal government at the expense of local control.

Bush made clear that the potential for an outbreak of avian flu is much on his mind, and has him talking with "as many (world) leaders as I could find" and reading a book on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 40 million and consulting staff and experts.

"I have thought through the scenarios of what an avian flu outbreak could mean," he said.

He acknowledged that a quarantine _ an idea sure to alarm many in the public _ is no small thing for the government to undertake and that enforcing it would be tricky.

"It's one thing to shut down airplanes," Bush said. "It's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu."

He urged Congress to give him the ability to use the military, if needed.

"I think the president ought to have all ... assets on the table to be able to deal with something this significant," he said.

Bush also said he has been urging world leaders to improve reporting on outbreaks of the virus, and exploring how to speed the production of a spray, now in limited supply, that "can maybe help arrest the spread of the disease."

"One of the issues is how do we encourage the manufacturing capacity of the country, and maybe the world, to be prepared to deal with the outbreak of a pandemic?" he said.

Experts agree there will certainly be another flu pandemic _ a new human flu strain that goes global. However, it is unknown when or how bad that global epidemic will be _ or whether the H5N1 bird flu strain now circulating in Asian poultry will be its origin.

Just in case, experts are tracking the avian flu, which has swept through poultry populations in large swaths of Asia since 2003, jumped to humans and killed at least 65 people.

Most human cases have been linked to a contact with sick birds, but the World Health Organization has warned the virus could mutate into a form that spreads easily among humans _ changing it from a bird virus to a human pandemic flu strain.

Monday, October 3, 2005

More Ha-ha!

The Wingnuts are pissed.

If you live in Jersey . . .

Our pal, and also our favorite amphibious pornographer, G.D. Frogsdong (of Skippy and Blanton's and Ashton's fame) is the guy to see about New Jersey politics. Luckily for my Jersey neighbors, he's part of a new project:

[. . .]

Packed full of sophistication, humor, and beautiful men and women, Blue Jersey is the brainchild of ten progressive-bloggers-in-search-of-a-can-opener who have the real story on what is happening in the Garden State.

[. . .]

Go see Froggy and his friends early and often.

Good stuff...

Got this from one of our esteamed (like a tortilla?) commenters, jjoats. Go see Toons for Our Times.

Strike Two!

AUSTIN - A Texas grand jury on Monday indicted U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on a new charge of money laundering.

A different grand jury whose term ended last week indicted him on a conspiracy charge, forcing DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader.

[. . .]

Isn't Rove running this?

Via His Highness:

Relief efforts to combat Hurricane Katrina suffered near catastrophic failures due to endemic corruption, divisions within the military and troop shortages caused by the Iraq war, an official American inquiry into the disaster has revealed.

[. . .]

Our tax dollars at work.

[. . .]

The report was commissioned by the Office of Secretary of Defence as an "independent and critical review" of what went so wrong. In a hard-hitting analysis, it says: "The US military has long planned for war on two fronts. This is as close as we have come to [that] reality since the Second World War; the results have been disastrous."

[. . .]

Our children's lives sold to Halliburton.

[. . .]

The report concludes: "The one thing this disaster has demonstrated [is] the lack of coordinated, in-depth planning and training on all levels of Government, for any/all types of emergency contingencies. 9/11 was an exception because the geographical area was small and contained, but these two hurricanes have clearly demonstrated a national response weakness ... Failure to plan, and train properly has plagued US efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and now that failure has come home to roost in the United States." [The Independent]

Our nation broken and disgraced.

This is all the Republicans have been good for.


Yeah, I know I said I was taking the day off, but it's either blog or jerk off. Anyway, I ran across this depressing post from my man Dave:

I'd like to coin a term for the times in which we find ourselves: The Propaganda Age.

We've lived throught the Jet Age, Atomic Age, Space Age and Computer Age. We've experienced the Vietnam Era, the Depression era and the McCarthy Era.

[. . .]


I might as well weigh in on that woman . . . Ms. Miers. Xan said it plainly:

[. . .]

This is clearly a snow job. Miers will never sit on the Supreme Court, but while we're going through the high theatrics necessary to block her, attention will be turned away from Frist, DeLay, the wreckage of the Federal bureaucracy and the rampant theft and cronyism that is at the heart of the Scandal-Plagued Bush Administration.

[. . .]

However, ya think Harry Reid coulda waited at least 24 hours without rolling over and playing dead?

[. . .]

"I like Harriet Miers," said Reid, who voted against John Roberts as U.S. chief justice last week. "In my view, the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer."

[. . .]

Jesus H. Christ, the Chimp's spittle was still wet and warm on the microphone, Harry. Couldn't ya have said 'we'll think about it'? How in Hell ya gonna filibuster her now? Or are ya just gonna cave like you did with Roberts? There's a good side though:

[. . .]

"It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that
President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy," said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard magazine. "Her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president."

Manny Miranda, head of a conservative coalition called The Third Branch Conference, said Miers was "the most unqualified choice" for the high court since Lyndon Johnson tried to make Abe Fortas chief justice in 1968.

[. . .]

At least the right wing nitwits are pissed too. Who knows, our best hope is maybe the Republicans will filibuster.

Before I forget . . . again . . .

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since female breasts are a subject very dear to me I offer this. Make sure the women in your life get regular checkups and mammograms, more frequently as they get older. Even if just for selfish reasons, do it.


Taking a second out from smoking dope and surfing porn sites (my wife is at my mother-in-law's for Rosh Hashana - don't ask) to relate something that makes me smile on my birthday. From the lovely Pam:

[. . .]

K12 Inc. today announced that William J. Bennett has resigned as an employee, and as Chairman and member of the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately.

[. . .]


Lock your car...

Boston Globe

The FBI's counterterrorism unit has launched a broad investigation of US-based theft rings after discovering that some of the vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, including attacks that killed US troops and Iraqi civilians, were probably stolen in the United States, according to senior government officials.

Better yet, three sticks of dynamite under the driver's seat, wired to the brake light switch so it won't go off 'til it's at the next stop sign and not in your driveway.


I predicted right after the '04 elections that the Repubs would soon start eating their own. They're doing it.

I think of Socialists as bomb-throwing Bolshevik nutsos, but some of them have good ideas and there's nothing wrong with their keyboards. From the World Socialist Web Site:

Behind the DeLay indictment: vicious infighting within the US ruling elite

You'll want to read this one. I say let 'em fight 'til there's only one left standing, then hang him.

The guys at Blogger must all be Jewish. The thing is working so good today they must be trying to atone during Rosh Hashanah.

Day off

I'm taking the day off. It's my birthday. 43 for anyone who gives a shit.

The GOP's Spreading Plague

My theme so far today seems to be evolving, or designed intelligently (Ha!), as Let's Get To The Bottom Of Republican Corruption And Crimes And Throw The Bastards In Jail. Nothing new for me, but I'm glad the better opinion writers are catching up.

Joe Conason adds even more fuel to the funeral pyre:

To be an honest Republican (oxymoron - G) these days must be to wonder what awful revelation is coming next - and how the Grand Old Party, which once claimed to represent political reform, became a front for sleaze, corruption and cynical criminality. Across the country, from the Capitol to statehouses, Republican officials are under indictment, under investigation or under suspicion.

This week's headlines featured the indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay and the probe of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, but the infection of venality among their fellow partisans is now reaching epidemic proportions. So widespread is the plague that keeping track of all the individual cases, and their increasingly baroque variations, has become a distinct challenge.

It's a good piece and you should go read it.

Here's my point: There is so much investigation of Republican sleaze going on right now that one op-ed writer can't possibly refer to all of it in any one article. I'm sure they have space limitations. I have to read three or four or more to get the whole picture. I'm fuckin' lovin' it!

If the Republisleaze funeral pyre gets as big as I hope it will, it will be too big to do the Dance of Joy around it. Therefore, I am preparing a machine suitable for the 40-Inch Triumph Full Bore Third Gear Wheel-Spinnin' Dirt-Throwin' Ya-Hooin' Sideways Slide of Joy! I think extensive testing at a Republican golf course might be in order to make sure it works when the proper time comes!

In the beginning, there was Abramoff...

Daddy Frank lays it on 'em about about all the present, and upcoming (Yay!), investigations and indictments of our criminal ruling cabal.

Those who still live in the reality-based community, however, may sense they're watching the beginning of the end of something big. It's not just Mr. DeLay, a k a the Hammer, who is on life support, but a Washington establishment whose infatuation with power and money has contaminated nearly every limb of government and turned off a public that by two to one finds the country on the wrong track.
The most important plot development of the past two weeks, in fact, has nothing to do with Mr. DeLay (as far as we know). It was instead the arrest of the administration's top procurement officer, David Safavian, on charges of lying and obstructing the investigation of Mr. Abramoff. And what an investigation it is: The F.B.I., the I.R.S., the Treasury Department and the Interior Department have all been involved. The popular theory of the case has it that Mr. Safavian, a former lobbying colleague of both Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Norquist, is being muscled by the feds to rat on the big guys in Washington - much as another smaller fish may have helped reel in Mr. DeLay in Texas.

The DeLay and Abramoff investigations are not to be confused with the many others percolating in the capital, including, most famously of late, the Justice Department and S.E.C. inquiries into the pious Bill Frist's divine stock-sale windfall and the homeland security inspector general's promised inquiry into possible fraud in the no-bid contracts doled out by FEMA for Hurricane Katrina. The mother of all investigations, of course, remains the prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's pursuit of whoever outed the C.I.A. agent Valerie Wilson to Robert Novak and whoever may have lied to cover it up. The denouement is on its way.

But whatever the resolution of any of these individual dramas, they will not be the end of the story. Like the continuing revelations of detainee abuse emerging from Afghanistan, Iraq and Guant·namo, this is a crisis in the governing culture, not the tale of a few bad apples. Every time you turn over a rock, you find more vermin. We've only just learned from The Los Angeles Times that Joseph Schmitz, until last month the inspector general in charge of policing waste, fraud and abuse at the Pentagon, is himself the focus of a Congressional inquiry. He is accused of blocking the investigation of another Bush appointee who is suspected of siphoning Iraq reconstruction contracts to business cronies. At the Justice Department, the F.B.I. is looking into why a career prosecutor was demoted after he started probing alleged Abramoff illegality in Guam. According to The Los Angeles Times, the demoted prosecutor was then replaced by a Rove-approved Republican pol who just happened to be a cousin of a major target of another corruption investigation in Guam.
This is the culture that has given us the government we have. It's a government that has spent more of the taxpayers' money than any since L.B.J.'s (as calculated by the Cato Institute, a libertarian research institution), even as it rewards its benefactors with tax breaks and corporate pork. It's a government so used to lying that Mr. DeLay could say with a straight face that the cost of Katrina relief could not be offset by budget cuts because there was no governmental fat left to cut. It's the government that fostered the wholesale loss of American lives in both Iraq and on the Gulf Coast by putting cronyism above patriotism.

Cronyism above patriotism. Well put, Pop, but too mild. I call it Treason For Profit.

Bush Dunnit

Juan Cole starts out on Plamegate and ends up blaming Bush for everything that has ever gone wrong in the last five years. Rightly so.

The whole point of Bushism is to punish dissidence within the ranks immediately and ruthlessly. Wilson, a former State Department official, had to be destroyed for having stepped out of line. Everyone should remember that when former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill decided to come out with a tell-all memoir about being in the Bush cabinet for a year, he proclaimed, "I'm old, I'm rich, and there is nothing they can do to me" (or words to that effect). Then all of a sudden the Bush administration was finding signs of classified documents in O'Neill's book, implicitly threatening him with spending the rest of his life in jail for having revealed government secrets. O'Neill feebly protested that he had not had access to classified documents. But all of a sudden he disappeared from the airwaves. He had discovered that there were, too, things that could be done to him. He must have been astonished that the Bushes of Kennebunkport would behave like Vladimir Putin. Everyone always underestimates the malevolence of the Bushes of Connecticut.
So in the hothouse atmosphere of the White House in 2003, when the awful truth was dawning that there was no WMD in Iraq, Rove, Libby, W. and the big Bruce huddled together with others in the administration to think how to discredit Wilson. They care only about image, not substance. It didn't matter to them that Wilson had been proved right. In their world, you only lose if the public sees the truth. The mere discovery of the truth in some obscure quarter is irrelevant. They had to prevent the public from seeing Wilson's truth.
I have long been frustrated by the US press's tendency to talk about Bush's cabinet officers as though they were independent agents, and to put Bush on a pedestal. Let me just follow through on some further assertions in the spirit of Stephanopoulos's remark.

It is fruitless to speculate about who dissolved the Iraqi army in May of 2003, and why. (This move contributed to the rise of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement). Bush did it!

Who ordered the Marines, against their better judgement, to launch a reprisal attack on Fallujah after four Western private security guards were killed and their bodies desecrated there? Bush did it!.

Who authorized torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Bush did it!

Who appointed Michael Brown, a man with no experience in emergency management, head of FEMA? Bush did it!

Who let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora? Bush did it!

Who completely destroyed the fiscal health of the US government and forced us into massive debt, squandering Clinton's surplus and endangering social security? Bush did it!.

Bush is the president. He makes the decisions. If there has been a major bad decision, it has been his.

Who outed Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative? Bush did it!

Amen and fuckin' A, brother.

The War Machine

Andy Rooney says it well:

Ike Was Right About War Machine
Oct. 2, 2005(CBS) The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney. It was first broadcast Oct. 2, 2005.

I'm not really clear how much a billion dollars is but the United States - our United States - is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into.

We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today.

Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what?

Now we have the hurricanes to pay for. One way our government pays for a lot of things is by borrowing from countries like China.

Another way the government is planning to pay for the war and the hurricane damage is by cutting spending for things like Medicare prescriptions, highway construction, farm payments, AMTRAK, National Public Radio and loans to graduate students. Do these sound like the things you'd like to cut back on to pay for Iraq?

I'll tell you where we ought to start saving: on our bloated military establishment.

We're paying for weapons we'll never use.

No other Country spends the kind of money we spend on our military. Last year Japan spent $42 billion. Italy spent $28 billion, Russia spent only $19 billion. The United States spent $455 billion.

We have 8,000 tanks for example. One Abrams tank costs 150 times as much as a Ford station wagon.

We have more than 10,000 nuclear weapons - enough to destroy all of mankind.

We're spending $200 million a year on bullets alone. That's a lot of target practice. We have 1,155,000 enlisted men and women and 225,000 officers. One officer to tell every five enlisted soldier what to do. We have 40,000 colonels alone and 870 generals.

We had a great commander in WWII, Dwight Eisenhower. He became President and on leaving the White House in 1961, he said this: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

Well, Ike was right. That's just what’s happened.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Free Tom Delay

Yeah, right.

Birthday present

You don't want to do a "ramp strike" here. It's been done.

The 'hood.

Lake Tahoe

I had a birthday recently (if you must know, I turned 60, God help me!) and Mrs. G gave me some dynamite presents. Besides way too much Italian food at Lanza's, an ice cream cake with all my favorite flavors, and a sport shirt with WWII airplanes on it, she gave me something I wish I had done years ago and will do again: a sailplane ride.

I took my ride this morning at Soar Truckee, which is just down the road apiece and located on the crosswind runway of Truckee-Tahoe Airport. The joint is run by Joe, from Philly, and his wife Samantha, a tall redhead from Down Under somewhere to judge by her accent.

Before takeoff, I told Joe I was going to post my experience at the Brain and he said this had better be a good Republican blog. Uh-oh. I had visions of him bailing out, insurance policy in hand, yelling "You're on yer own, Lefty!". Didn't happen.

What did happen was we got more or less hauled into the air on a long rope by a crop duster. The Piper Pawnee towed the Schweizer 2-32 up out of the Martis Valley in a buncha ascending circles and waved bye-bye. Joe says once you take the crop dusting apparatus off to clean up the lines, and without the weight of the salad poison, the 250hp engine hauls the Pawnee around pretty good. The 2-32 is one of about 60 in the U.S. out of a production run of 87. Interestingly enough, this model was the basis for a powered military observation plane, the YO-3A. Schweizer Aircraft is now owned by Sikorsky.

The ride was totally bitchin'! Joe took the plane up above the tops of the mountains and caught a thermal updraft in the process, like an express elevator. I think we topped out well over 10,000 feet. You could see a hundred miles, from Lake Tahoe to Mt. Shasta. All you could hear was the "whoosh" of air around the thing, and we could talk normally. The ride was real smooth with only a couple of "yahooeys!". It was a half-hour ride and it went by too quickly. I can't wait to go again, and have told Mrs. G she must go for a spin. It may take days to get the shit-eatin' grin off my face.

I highly recommend this safe, fun, and joyful experience to everybody.

Joe and I agreed, Democrat or Republican be damned, we were both smart enough to be here together.

Vast Left Wing Conspiracy

Remember Hillary's Vast Right Wing Conspiracy? Turns out she was right. DeLay thinks it can work for him but Mustang Bobby calls bullshit:

[. . .]

Frankly, I think if there was such a thing as a "vast left-wing conspiracy" -- an oxymoron if there ever was one -- we would not have wasted our time on a pipsqueak like Tom DeLay. We would have won the election in 2000, we would have run the Republicans out of the majority in the Congress and Senate, and we would have opened gay bars and abortion clinics in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Dream big dreams, Tom.

[. . .]

If there was such a thing, DeLay would have been in jail long ago.

You're too happy

Listen up, Lefties [and I include myself]. You're all far too happy over this DeLay thing. About everything. Fitzgerald's probe of the Plame case, Frist's Martha Stewart-esque troubles, the Chimp's mishandling of Katrina and Iraq going into the dumper; we seem to have an astrological confluence of events resembling a 'perfect storm'. I have reservations.

I have serious reservations about the common sense of my fellow Americans. I used to think even the most myopic of us could see the blatant patterns of corruption, the hallmarks of the Republican Party. After 2000 and again in 2004, the majority of my fellow Americans have let me down and I have no reason to believe the Congressional elections of '06 will change much of anything.

I hope and pray I'm wrong, but Jesus Christ, I don't think folks will wake up; not as long as Fox News continues to be the highest rated news network. Not as long as the Democratic Party takes this limp-wristed approach with their opposition. Not as long as companies like Diebold continue to receive contracts to supply voting machines. As I said, I hope I'm wrong.

Maybe the DeLay indictment might put pressure on others to open up. Maybe Frist will be indicted. Maybe Rove and Scooter Libby too. But I think they'll weasel out of this instead and I think the American people, with their 10 minute attention spans, will forget all about these scandals over the next 13 months.

Instead, one of the Repub spinmiesters will come up with some half-assed tag that will stick wth the Dems until the election. Remember the Swift Boating of John Kerry? Ladies and gentlemen, think what you will of John Kerry, but a decorated combat vet was smeared with his own record by a draft dodger. Think about it. Then think about what they will do in '06, probably the most desperate time for the Republican majority in Congress. For if they lose the House or the Senate, or both, there's a good chance God's Chosen President will be impeached soon after. Do you think they will let scandal stop them?