Saturday, January 28, 2006

Health Care Confidential

Paul Krugman at donkey o.d. on where a good model for a national health care system already exists. It may surprise you.

A tip o' the Brain to Tennessee Guerilla Women.


I can't stand Oprah Winfrey. I laughed my ass off when she allowed herself to be blinded by bucks (or power) when she decided to turn James Frey's book into a national bestseller. To me, Oprah is just a whore who has made a decent living off other people's misery.

That said, I appreciate the fact she actually stood up and exposed this guy and her own failings in the matter. I won't judge her motivations. The only reason I give Oprah a mention at all on this blog is because as a writer I feel I have to say something about the whole situation. It is this:

If you're writing non-fiction you have an obligation to your readers to tell the complete truth, period. If you can't fulfill that obligation, you must make that disclaimer. The truth is not to be embellished in the name of better sales figures.

There's a lot of truth in the crap I write, but it is pure fiction and fantasy and to call it anything other is to be disingenuous to my readers and myself.

Maureen Dowd has more thoughts along those lines.


Is your senator up for reelection? Our stalwart commenter Nina gives us a list.

The following Democratic Senators are standing for re-election in 2006:

Alito supporters:
Byrd, Robert - (D - WV)
Nelson, Ben - (D - NE)

Filibuster opponents:
Conrad, Kent - (D - ND)
Nelson, Ben - (D - NE)

May vote no on Alito but won't necessarily vote no on cloture (aka Clueless Caucus):
Akaka, Daniel - (D - HI)
Bingaman, Jeff - (D - NM)
Cantwell, Maria - (D - WA)
Carper, Thomas - (D - DE)
Kohl, Herb - (D - WI)
Lieberman, Joseph - (D - CT)
Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ)
Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)

Not standing for re-election (so why not do the right thing?)
Dayton, Mark - (D - MN)
Sarbanes, Paul - (D - MD)

Republicans Olympia Snowe, ME and Linclon Chafee, RI are also standing for re-election this year.

Is one of these yours? Call 'em and tell them your vote depends on them supporting this filibuster. Just click on the 'Congress' link in the left sidebar to find out how to contact them.

An aside to Nina: If you'd drop me an email I'd be appreciative. Thanks for the info, darlin'.

More on Filibuster... AlterNet. Names and phone numbers of Senators that aren't on board yet, and some advice:

Biden is especially vulnerable to pressure. Tell him you wouldn't dream of supporting a candidate for president that didn't stand up for core democratic values. Mention that you volunteer on campaigns, or give money or whatever you do and that you always vote in the primaries.

It ain't over 'til it's over, folks.

How Do You Like Your Democracy Now, Mr. Bush?

Juan Cole on Bush's reaction to the Hamas victory:

Now Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, a branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, has come to power in Palestine. In his press conference on Thursday, Bush portrayed the Palestinian elections in the same way he depicts Republican Party victories over Democrats in the United States: "The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find healthcare." He sounds like a spokesman for Hamas, underlining the irony that Bush and his party have given Americans the least honest government in a generation, have drastically cut services, and have actively opposed extension of healthcare to the uninsured in the United States.

The Palestinians must not have used that boatload of Diebold machines Bush sent over...

This is serious

My pal Lurch shows us the reality of not fighting the battle over Alito:


Once the Fascists have a firm majority of ideologues on SCOTUS they will have finally achieved a waypoint goal. In the next 20 years we will see everything that defined American Democracy destroyed, twisted, perverted into something very much approximating 1984.


Go read the whole thing. He's not dealing in hyperbole, just the naked truth. Alito will either be our Normandy or our Waterloo.

It's the coverup, stupid

An excellent post by Sizemore about the Repubs trying to clean the shit off the Chimp.


"I mean, there's thousands of people that come through and get their pictures taken," Mr. Bush said. "I'm also mindful that we live in a world in which those pictures will be used for pure political purposes, and they're not relevant to the investigation."

Uh-huh. Interesting how that works -- photos and documents on the previous Democratic President was certainly relevant to the GOP just 10 years ago but now with a SCOTUS-selected, Republican, card-carrying member of the Tali-Born Again destroying the country a hell lot more than Bin Laden could only dream of, there's that big rush to change the standard. It's something that I noticed about 5 years into my former life as a fellow Fundy Fristian Kool-Aide drinker and after two years of self-imposed soul-searching, I found the answer: Republicans and Christian Conservatives walk hand-in-hand with a mindless Leo Straussian-esque assertion that one standard exists for all of mankind while another standard should be used for themselves.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Filibuster Alito

My senators support it, Gord's too. What about yours? If they don't, start calling.

Raking it in

Who makes the money from the DoD*?

Numbers in billions:

1. Lockheed Martin Corp. - $19.4

2. The Boeing Co. - 18.3

3. Northrop Grumman Corp. - 13.5

4. General Dynamics Corp. - 10.6

5. Raytheon Co. - 9.1

6. Halliburton Co. - 5.8

The first five are weapons systems manufacturers providing big ticket items like planes, tanks, ships, subs, and missiles. Halliburton provides 'services'. You figger it out.

*Courtesy of DefenseLink.


And while we're speaking of pork, this via Rising Hegemon.

Way. Fucking. Cool

Images from Hubble via the Chemist.

Medicare Drug Plan Leaves Out Supplies


The benefit covers home IV medication but not the implements and care needed to administer it.

Essentially, the prescription program allows coverage of the drugs but does not pay for the medical supplies and nursing help needed for the home infusion treatments to be safe and effective - a policy that effectively shuts down such treatment for some patients, even though it is substantially cheaper than the alternatives. Two GOP senators warned the Medicare agency last fall that the gap in coverage "may limit access to home infusion therapy."

"I truly feel that if the president, the governor and all the legislators had to stand in line and wait for their prescriptions and find out they weren't covered, they would make some major changes," Bryson said. "Unfortunately, it's the small person who does not have pull, and they have to beg for their medicine."

"The proof that it isn't sensible is that commercial insurance companies and health maintenance organizations don't do it this way," said Ratner, who is also the medical director for a private company that provides support services for patients receiving intravenous treatments at home.

Saving money by making hospitalization unnecessary was part of the rationale for creating the Medicare prescription benefit, which has an estimated price tag of $700 billion over 10 years. But the most far-reaching Medicare change in a generation failed to adequately provide for this kind of at-home drug therapy, critics say.

But congressional leaders are loath to make any legislative changes to the drug benefit, fearing that political support for the plan could unravel.

That figures. Political cowardice and expediency helped get us into this mess, and now it's keeping us from getting out of it. They don't care that people may die: sick people are overhead anyway. If they were profit generators and campaign contributors, the pols'd be all over this like a cheap suit.

I think the Medicare drug scam can now add stupidity and incompetence to administration lies and Big Pharma profiteering.

Stop Alito; Support the Filibuster

Click here.

President Jonah

Gore Vidal offers a historical perspective on Bush at Truthdig.

While contemplating the ill-starred presidency of G.W. Bush, I looked about for some sort of divine analogy. As usual, when in need of enlightenment, I fell upon the Holy Bible, authorized King James version of 1611; turning by chance to the Book of Jonah, I read that Jonah, who, like Bush, chats with God, had suffered a falling out with the Almighty and thus became a jinx dogged by luck so bad that a cruise liner, thanks to his presence aboard, was about to sink in a storm at sea. Once the crew had determined that Jonah, a passenger, was the jinx, they threw him overboard and - Lo! - the storm abated. The three days and nights he subsequently spent in the belly of a nauseous whale must have seemed like a serious jinx to the digestion-challenged whale who extruded him much as the decent opinion of mankind has done to Bush.

Mr. Berman spares us the happy ending, as, apparently, has history. When the admirable Tiberius (he has had an undeserved bad press), upon becoming emperor, received a message from the Senate in which the conscript fathers assured him that whatever legislation he wanted would be automatically passed by them, he sent back word that this was outrageous. "Suppose the emperor is ill or mad or incompetent?" He returned their message. They sent it again. His response: "How eager you are to be slaves." I often think of that wise emperor when I hear Republican members of Congress extolling the wisdom of Bush. Now that he has been caught illegally wiretapping fellow citizens he has taken to snarling about his powers as "a wartime president," and so, in his own mind, he is above each and every law of the land. Oddly, no one in Congress has pointed out that he may well be a lunatic dreaming that he is another Lincoln but whatever he is or is not he is no wartime president. There is no war with any other nation...yet. There is no state called terror, an abstract noun like liar. Certainly his illegal unilateral ravaging of Iraq may well seem like a real war for those on both sides unlucky enough to be killed or wounded, but that does not make it a war any more than the appearance of having been elected twice to the presidency does not mean that in due course the people will demand an investigation of those two irregular processes. Although he has done a number of things that under the old republic might have got him impeached, our current system protects him: incumbency-for-life seats have made it possible for a Republican majority in the House not to do its duty and impeach him for his incompetence in handling, say, the natural disaster that befell Louisiana.

I like Gore Vidal, and have since he (ahem!) was much younger. Be sure to read the rest of the article and at least a few of the comments as well.

Who Was Abramoff Really Working For?

A reader writes some food for thought at BuzzFlash:

by Shirley Smith

Bush is going to tell about his meetings with Abramoff? Judging from the facts that Abramoff had a long-term association with Rove ... it's more of a question of what Abramoff was doing for Bush and Rove than what was he trying to influence them to do. Bush doesn't listen to anyone and neither does Rove ... others take orders from them. These two, Rove and Bush, are the whole GOP show. The rest are only puppets.

Mr. Abramoff's Meetings (Washington Post Editorial)

The Bush White House is not one to stand up against any criminals and their shady deals. The fake new reporter, but real male prostitute, was given special treatment by Bush. Reporters paid by Bush to write positive columns about him ... the outing of the CIA agent (that ruined 20 years of work tracking terrorists). Bush's own treasonous actions before and after 911 ... what does it take to charge Bush and his administration with treason ... a murder in daylight ... about tens of thousands?

Abramoff's visits were probably to report instead of request.

Thanks BuzzFlash,

Shirley Smith

Makes sense in light of the fact that the FBI has said they consider Abramoff a "mid-level" operative.

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Princess Shayna wants to know why 3 Dem senators have to be spineless weasels and cave on Alito. 'They should be bitten in the ass by a very big dog,' she was heard to say. 'Especially that senile old fool Robert Byrd.'

[And just an aside, my dog is smarter than this idiot. - F-man]


Hypocrisy and sanctimony join hands:

Arianna Huffington's relentless efforts to slog through the tedious hours of pompous beltway bloviating and the ridiculous kabukis played out on Press the Meat from week to week have finally paid off. Tim Russert whips around this morning and snaps like a toy poodle who's just been peed on by a Great Dane. What happened to the benign Sunday morning patriarch we look to for wisdom and thruthiness?

He appears to be in a bit of a snit.


The lovely Jane has links.

By honoring the dead, they honored us all

The other day it was my sad fortune to attend the funeral of my brother-in-law, Don.

Don served in the U.S. Army in the mid fifties. As a former serviceman, Don rated an American flag draped over his casket, properly folded, and presented to his widow. In the case of an active-duty serviceman this is done by an honor guard. For older folks, long out of service, it is usually done by representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, or some other veterans' organization. Taps may be played, most likely a recording. You take what's available and what you can get.

My sister-in-law told me there would be a Marine honor guard at Don's graveside service. This sounded a little unusual to me, but sure enough, there was.

There were six Marines there, five of them in dress blues. There was a bugler in undress blues (dress blue trousers and white barracks cover with a tropical shirt instead of a blue tunic). Three Corporals and two Sergeants, commanded by a tall, ramrod-straight Lieutenant Colonel.

The three Corporals and one of the Sergeants, armed with M1 Garands fitted with blank firing adapters, comprised the firing party. The Sergeant called the firing party to attention and gave the commands "" three times. Four rifles, three volleys, twelve shots in all. The execution was crisp and sounded like three shots. The firing party rested their weapons in special ground brackets and marched from their firing positions to stand in a row behind the casket and salute while taps was played note-perfect by the Sergeant bugler. Two Marines then advanced to the casket and folded the American flag with an assist from the Light Colonel. The flag was brand new, and he helped smooth the factory creases. Hand salutes were rendered to the flag in a stately, funereal manner. The Colonel then presented the folded flag to Don's widow and gave her a final salute. He left for a moment and returned, at which time he inserted three of the fired cartridges into the flag. At this time the Marines gathered their gear and departed.

It brought a tear to this old Marine's eyes, but that's only half the story.

Not one of these Marines was under sixty years of age and some were considerably older than that. I noticed all the gray hair right away and so took careful notice. The Sergeants and two of the Corporals wore old-style rank chevrons, without the crossed rifles under the stripes. Those haven't been used since about 1960. There were a few residual ones when I was in but I never saw any after 1964. They're probably hard to come by these days, as it looked like these Marines modified newer chevrons to look like their old ranks. The older chevrons had skinnier stripes. The difference is that they were E-3 Corporals and E-4 Sergeants instead of the modern E-4 and E-5 ranks. Marines don't promote themselves, even after forty or fifty-plus years.

The Lt. Colonel, tall and slender, I estimate at 75 years. He looked tougher'n nails. He wore a Sam Browne belt, which as a uniform item went the same way of the old chevrons many years ago.

With the exception of the bugler in his undress blues, the Marines wore full medals, as opposed to ribbons. Some I could not identify and I believe they were campaign awards from WWII and/or the Korean War.

All except the Lt. Colonel wore Purple Heart medals, indicating that these men had shed blood due to enemy action. All combat veterans.

There may have been other military funerals this day, but there was no finer honor guard anywhere.

I have no idea where these Marines came from. Probably from a VFW Post or a Marine Corps League detachment somewhere on California's Central Coast. I do know one thing: they didn't have to be there. Unlike perhaps some active-duty troops pulling this solemn duty, they were there because they wanted to be. Their flawless performance indicated that they had done it before.

These Marines had been to war in some time long gone, in some place far away. The Purple Hearts indicated they had possibly seen some of their comrades in arms make the ultimate sacrifice. They have not forgotten. It is up to each and every one of us to not forget those who are making terrible sacrifices of body, mind, and life today.

By honoring Don for his long-ago service, they honor the memories, not only of their buddies, but of generations of Americans who died in the service of their country and countrymen and didn't get to raise families and grow old like they should have. I hope the other folks at the service got the message, particularly in this time of war. I'm sure some did, but I'm also sure, and it saddens me, that some didn't.

They honored all of us. I pray that we are all worthy of that honor.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Holden does the math:


That means Chimpy has flushed the entire gold reserves in Fort Knox down the toilet -- Three Times!


Katie Couric - Republican Shill

Another one who's bought and paid for.


Jane's interrogating her sources and maybe...just maybe...


Wolfie's got that hypocrite Bill Bennett on, giving Dems advice about not filibustering. STFU, you drizzling sphincter. Atrios has more.


What John Howard said.


Teddy's in too.

Where to now, Chimpy?

What are ya gonna do now that Hamas has become a legitimate political entity? Are you gonna go the road wiser minds followed in Northern Ireland and negotiate a la Sinn Fein? Or are you gonna do what I think you are, remove the U.S. from the peace process in the Holy Land and say 'have at it'?

Chalk another one up on your list of miserable failures. You and your neocon pals in Israel have failed to marginalize Hamas and now you're faced with only two options. All your demands on the Palestinian Authority, the almost insurmountable obstacles you placed in their way to a sovereign state, have come back to bite you in the ass. Just as you're pushing more and more Iraqis to the side of the insurgency, the neocon polices in Washington and Tel Aviv have served not to marginalize but to legitimize what you call a terrorist organization. So now what do you have?

Sharon is dead (politically for now, literally probably soon), Abu Mazn is out, Fatah (Arafat's party) is out, and the only hope for peace is dealing with Hamas. Washington and Tel Aviv have already stated they will not deal with terrorists, so the only option is to disengage from the peace process. As the Head Heeb says:

All we know now is that, once again, Middle Eastern politics may have turned upside down in an instant.

This is what you get when you look at foreign policy in terms of Black and White with a perspective of people who seldom, if ever, left the United States and traveled abroad; the writing was on the wall 5 years ago. They shouldn't be making foreign policy decisions for the United States. It is these same people who have backed us into a corner in the Holy Land, allowing Israel free reign in their treatment of the Palestinians. The chickens are coming home to roost in Palestine and how we and the Israelis choose to deal with them will determine the fate of the region for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, I think the neocons in this country will see this as an excuse to perpetuate the 'War on Terror' and those in Israel will see it as an excuse to rid themselves of the 'Palestinian problem' once and for all. I do not put much faith in the White House dealing with the change in the status quo any better than they've dealt with anything else over the past 5 years.


And will Bibi Netanyahu please shut the fuck up? I am sick of your sanctimonious bullshit.


Dr. Attaturk:

The much discussed (but not discussed enough) Lancet study of two years ago has been expanded further. The new estimated death count in Iraq attributable to the actions of the Bush Regime, 250,000 having gone through their "final throes" and been liberated of life.


So you don't just dismiss it, think about this. Their lives were taken in our name. Their blood is on our hands. Ya see, people around the world don't look at us as Dems, Rethugs, and Independents. They see us as Americans, and that we're all responsible for the Chimp and his actions. Chimp might have shed their blood but it stains all of us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Since Gord ain't back yet.

One Teeny Bit of Good News

Via BoingBoing:

Future American lawyers protest Attorney General's speech

Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today, justifying illegal, unauthorized surveilance of US citizens, but during the course of his speech the students in class did something pretty ballsy and brave. They got up from their seats and turned their backs to him. (...) additional students came into the room, wearing black cowls and carrying a simple banner, written on a sheet.

Read the original story HERE.

It's about damn time. Anyone want to guess how much coverage this got with the MSM? Anyone? I say this is a story that should be spread far and wide.

The things you see...

Constricting Your Anus for Fun and Profit

Santorum is an idiot

I didn't pay much attention to this at first until I read this piece by Blondie:

With all due respect for your selfless service and devotion to the country in the senate, are you insane? Do you really think that a citizen who puts your bumper sticker on their car is akin to putting on a uniform and serving in the military to fight a war that you voted for and support while our troops are being stretched too thin? Well of course you do, but I don't. Even if you asked people to put a "Support Our Troops" ribbon on their car rather than put on a uniform, I'd still think you were crazy (with all due respect, of course). You can never have enough troops in a country like ours. How can we possibly have more wars without troops? Does anyone even think of that while war planning is going on?


In a word, my lovely neighbor (she lives about 10 miles from me), no. They didn't think of anything but their own political and financial skins.


You know how Gord gets all moon-eyed and rubber-kneed over MoDo? Katrina Vanden Heuvel does it for me:

...Rather this is all part of their neocon dream of an American Empire. You see, in a republic the lives of private citizens are private while the workings of public servants are public, but in an empire, Caesar's dealings remains shrouded in secrecy while he spies on citizens looking for threats to the regime...


NOT! Bush to Senate: Go fuck yourselves.


Contempt for Congress at the Carpetbagger.

Heh . . .

Tom Tomorrow via Pauly.

I'm mad at you

At all you fucking sheep out there. If one more person tells me 'I don't get involved with politics because it doesn't matter', I'm gonna grab you by the neck and shake for all I'm worth. Let me tell you something. It MATTERS. Well, it used to, until this upcoming vote in the Senate. You know the one. The vote that will confirm Sam Alito as a Supreme Court Justice?

It matters because your rights are slowly withering away. What did you expect, you fucking assholes? Did you expect jackbooted stormtroopers in the streets to tell you there's something wrong? Is that what will wake you up? That ain't gonna happen. Not quite yet anyway; this is a democracy after all. You'll be made to vote your rights away, just as you've been doing for the past 5 years.

Do you say 'Bush will be out in 3 years and we'll have someone else'? If you think that you're a bigger fucking idiot than I give you credit for. Look at how the nitwit justifies his domestic spying program. I'm the Preznit and I can do what I want. Do you think they'll willingly give up power? Case in point: Rudy Giuliani here in NYC. Does anyone remember the trial balloon he floated just before the 2001 Mayoral Elections, just after 9/11? He wanted to do away with term limits so he could serve another least. Wait for that to happen in '07 because Bush is also a power monger and he will not go quietly.

I give it 3 months before the Terror Alerts begin, and all the Repub candidades begin repeating the 'stay the course' mantra. Listen to the heads, the pundits commenting on the latest Osama communique. Did you know there are probably 20,000 al-Qaeda operatives in this country just waiting to act? Even Oprah had a show this week that was nothing more than a scare-fest. Whore...but I digress. They're warming up the fear factor; the fear-o-meter is at about 6 now, but it'll hit 11 by September. 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!

And all you brain dead morons will swallow it.

I'm sorry but if there are 20,000 jihadists in this country, why haven't they done anything in 4 years? And that begets the question why we haven't been more successful rounding them up? Do you think the Repubs would have passed up the PR opportunity if they were? Ever wonder why there hasn't been a terror threat since the presidential elections in '04?

"Oh but Fixer," you say. "We have checks and balances on the power of the Executive. Don't get all frothy."

Your last check and balance goes into the dumper this week, when they confirm Alito for SCOTUS. Buh-bye. Now they will be able to pass any legislation they want and a majority of the Supreme Court will back them.

Know what?

The Nazis gained power the same way. The jackbooted stormtroopers come later.

Thanks a fucking lot, you apathetic motherfuckers.


I was gonna go off on scAlito's apparent confirmation in lieu of a filibuster by spineless Democrats, but His Highness says what I was gonna in a letter to John Kerry:

Dear Senator Kerry,

You dithering fuckwit. Do you imagine for one nanosecond that a letter ("Dear Senators, I am writing to ask that you vote against Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court and work hard to convince other Senators to join you") signed by thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of Democrats, and then waved around on the Senate floor by you, is going to change a single Republican vote? It won't. It might allow you to experience a momentary illusion of usefulness. It might allow you to feel as though you Fought the Good Fight and Went Down Swingin', and yes, that would be very nice for you, but in practical terms? Please. The one and only way to keep Alito from sitting on the Supreme Court for the rest of our natural lives is to filibuster his wack ass, and that means pulling your own party into line. Could you do us that little favor? Are you up to it?

We would be happy indeed to sign a letter urging you and your gormless colleagues, a couple of whom used to represent the interests of the American people on the rare occasions when they could be roused from their torpor, to support a filibuster against a cracker jurist who is actively hostile to the rights of women and minorities and who advocates de facto dictatorship. Do you have such a letter? No? Then we can't help you, except to recommend that you stock up on Astroglide before you toddle down to the Senate floor to assume your characteristic position. By the way, don't ever bother us again.

King of Zembla

That about covers it.

Rogues Gallery

I know a buncha folks have posted on this:

43. Rush Limbaugh

Charges: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh's success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to. It doesn't matter how many righteous fact-checkers assail him in print and on the web, because dittoheads don't care that he's lying, as long as the lies justify their prejudices. Limbaugh's program is not just hypocritical; it is a celebration of hypocrisy for ignorant crackers, angry at smart people and strung out on the dwindling sensation that they are better than everyone else by virtue of their race, sex, nationality or level of bluster, because their character and accomplishments don't warrant such feelings. If political discussion were sex, the Limbaugh audience would be a horde of virgins beating off to deranged rape fantasies.

Exhibit A: Started out in sports radio; hasn't changed his approach one bit.

Sentence: Starved to death in full view of glazed ham; ACLU mistakenly bestowed entire estate due to barbecue sauce stain on last will and testament.

But the one I like best is this:

4. You

Charges: Silently enabling and contributing to the irreversible destruction of your planet. Absolving yourself of your responsibility to do anything about it that your immediate neighbors don't. Assuming that it's normal behavior to spend several hours each day totally inert and staring into a cathode ray tube. Substituting antidepressants for physical motion. Caring more about the personal relationships of people you will never meet than your own. Shrugging your shoulders at the knowledge that your government is populated by criminal liars intent on fooling you into impoverished, helpless submission. Cheering this process on.

Exhibit A: You don't even know who your congressman is.

Sentence: Deathbed realization that your entire life was an unending series of stupid mistakes and wasted opportunities, a priceless gift of potential extravagantly squandered, for which you deserve nothing but scorn or, at best, indifference, and a cold, meaningless demise.

Go read the 50 Most Loathsome People in America 2005.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Domestic spying

Karlo dissects the administrations claims justifying the surveillance of Americans.


I just found out we were nominated for a Koufax. It's nice to know our fellow bloggers think that much of what we do here. Many thanks. And by the way, go visit the other nominees, good blogs all.

Who knew?

Bush knew:

Documents that were released today show that the Homeland Security Dept (and therefore FEMA) was warned one day before Katrina struck that levees would likely be breached and massive flooding of NOLA would result......

Another My Pet Goat moment brought to you by scout prime.


Holy Joe grows a ball.


Lieberman also accused the White House of trying to stall a Senate investigation into the government's response to Katrina by failing to produce requested documents and prohibiting federal officials from answering questions. The inquiry is scheduled to be completed in March.

"This assertion of a kind of virtual immunity of the White House from this inquiry has obviously frustrated our committee's ability to learn and tell the full story of Katrina," Lieberman said. "In my opinion, it is unacceptable."


Oh I like this

The I-word gets me aroused nowadays, via Shakes:

"The Bush administration is bracing for impeachment hearings in Congress," Insight magazine reports.

"Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

Said the source: "Our arithmetic shows that a majority of the committee could vote against the president. If we work hard, there could be a tie."


Blogger finally works. Didn't before I went to work. I'll be back.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mo' money

Are you looking for that second (or third) job yet?

Show me da money

Needlenose does! And by the way, those "few staff-level meetings and that's about it" Jack Abramoff had with the Chimp? I don't know if I'd call 200 a 'few'.

FuckingSupporting the Troops

Go see Driftglass. I gotta go to work.


Yes indeed, here we are.

We're 10 1/2 months out from Election Day and I don't have much hope. The Dems are anything but unified and there is no coherent message. All they do is respond to Republican talking points instead of making some of their own. You want to know how bad it is? Just look at Gord's post below this one:

...For the love of God, you are being compared to Osama bin Laden all over network television because some within your ranks have had the courage to question the war in Iraq. It hasn't been subtle. Bin Laden, according to the right-wing talking heads, is getting his talking points straight from Howard Dean...

And you let this fly? Ask what happened to the last guy who called me a Nazi just because I was of German descent. This is unconscionable. What's even more unconscionable is Barack Obama, sitting there and letting Tim Russert link the Dems to Harry Belafonte, a question Timmy would never have asked a white man. The brothers I know would have told Russert that just because Belafonte is black, doesn't mean he speaks for the Democratic Party (not that I believe what Ol' Harry said was wrong). Ol' Barack just sat there and caved. Real good. Does Timmy saddle the Repubs with Pat Robertson's statements? Or Jerry Falwell's? Of course not. Carville and Begala, sitting there on either side of Mary Matalin in what should be positions of power were made to look like wimps, like two little boys who got in trouble with the teacher. Personally, if my wife held such differing ideology, she wouldn't be my wife anymore, wouldn't have been my wife in the first place.

When Howard Dean calls it like it is, how many Dems run and hide instead of backing him up? We have idiots like Lieberman and Nelson, who suck up to the Repubs at every turn, just to protect their own positions. Ask the French what they did to collaborators after World War Two.

And then we have Hillary Clinton, the person who was most harmed by the Repub juggernaut, and by rights should be the loudest voice against them, who changes her tune as the direction of the political wind turns. I guess I shouldn't be surprised she didn't divorce Bill either, since her principles come and go depending on whether it's politically expedient to have them.

Then there's Harry Reid, a guy who talks a very good line but backs down when it counts. Nice set o' raisins. Harry, if they draft both of us and send us to Iraq, and if you have the misfortune to share a fighting hole with me, be prepared. I'm gonna kill you first before I engage the enemy. You're useless, dead weight, and you'd probably run when shit got hairy anyway. We need a guy who'll stand up in the teeth of it, not run as soon as the lead starts flying. You've proven you ain't it.

So, I ask the Dems, do you actually think you're gonna win anything in November? Do you actually think there will be any change in the status quo at this time next year? At the rate you're going, the future looks dismal. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Yes, I'll support you this year but this is the end. Starting this fall, if you don't get your collective act together, I'm going to start working on the 3rd Party angle. By golly, I'm gonna find people to run, give 'em money if I have to; regular folks like me who feel they aren't being represented by the inept fools in the Democratic Party and the criminals in the Republican, and aren't in somebody's pocket. Maybe I'll run for something myself, who knows, but my support for the Dems has limits and I've about reached it.

You see, ladies and germs, I've had enough. I'm not afraid of the government, nor the Republicans, and I'm certainly not afraid of George W. Bush. Any time you want to try and silence me, you know where to find me. Take your best shot, but I'm gonna take a bunch of you with me when I go. I've never been afraid to die for my country and if it takes revolution to put this once-great nation on the right track, then so be it. If it takes storming the gates, then so be it as well. I'm willing to be the first over the top if that's what it takes.

I refuse to have my nation sold, stolen, or given away. I refuse to have rich assholes destroy what a group of men who stood up to the British Empire have built. I am an American, goddammit, and America is a nation of, by, and for the people, not some privileged fools who would squander our birthright for profit, and I will protect our way of life until my last breath. I took an oath to that effect almost 26 years ago and I still honor it. If the Demoratic Party can't do it, I will.

Are you with me?

It only takes a spine...

William Rivers Pitt with some good advice for the Dems at the SOTU.

George W. Bush's delivery of the State of the Union address will take place on Tuesday, January 31, a little more than a week from now. It is my strong belief that every single Democrat present in the House chamber for the speech should, at a predetermined moment, stand up and walk out. No yelling. No heated words. Every Democrat should simply stand silently and leave.

Understand this, congressional Democrats, and understand it well: you are not dealing merely with a body of political opponents in the GOP. You are dealing with a group of people that want you exterminated politically. The days of walking the halls of the Rayburn Building, sharing a bourbon with a colleague from the other side of the aisle, and hammering out a compromise are as dead as Julius Caesar. Collegiality is out. Mutual respect is out. They want you gone for good. Erased. Destroyed.

For the love of God, you are being compared to Osama bin Laden all over network television because some within your ranks have had the courage to question the war in Iraq. It hasn't been subtle. Bin Laden, according to the right-wing talking heads, is getting his talking points straight from Howard Dean. These are the out-front spokespeople for the folks running the GOP right now. If you think there is compromise to be had with these people, if you think there is quarter to be given to you, then I have a nice, big red bridge to sell you in San Francisco.

I know you believe the Abramoff scandal is going to be your bread and butter in the upcoming midterm elections. I hate to break it to you, but you have already been outflanked. The television nitwits have flooded the airwaves with the meme that this is a "two-party scandal," despite the fact that Abramoff would have sooner lit himself on fire than give money to a Democrat. As you have been collectively incapable of setting the record straight in public, with the exception of a two-minute crunch between Howard Dean and Wolf Blitzer on CNN that left Blitzer spluttering impotently, understand that "this scandal affects both parties" is now commonly accepted fact all across the land.

You've been outflanked, Democrats. Abramoff won't help you, and the noise machine is preparing to terrorize the American people into such a distracted state that anything you say in the next ten months will be lost amid the howling. The midterms are pretty much a done deal, and your continued marginalization will proceed at speed.

You can stomp your feet and yell at the wall. You can put your head in your hands and weep. You can sit silently and be simply satisfied that your own job-for-life is secure, thanks to your friendly district back home, and be damned to actually doing anything of substance. In other words, you can continue to do what you've been doing since this outrageous assault on basic American democracy began.

Or you can stand up.

Walk outside to the steps of the Capitol Building and hold a Counter-State-of-the-Union. Lay out your plans for a better future. Explain how you will reform the system that spawned Mr. Abramoff. Demand answers and explanations about what is happening in Iraq, what is happening over at the National Security Agency, and why this administration believes itself to be completely above the law.

I can even offer a bit of text for your opening statement. "Three years ago during this very speech," your leading spokesperson can say from those steps, "Mr. Bush told us that Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons - which is one million pounds - of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 missiles to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, al Qaeda connections, and uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons program. He said all this three years ago, during this all-important annual address, and all of it was a lie. The American people deserve an explanation."

See? It's easy. All it takes is courage.

What I am talking about is political theater on a grand scale. No opposition party in American history has ever turned their backs on a President and walked out of a State of the Union address. No opposition party has faced the degree of potential extermination the Democrats face today. The stakes have never been higher. You are dealing with a President who wants to make his Executive powers absolute, and with a Republican party that has been usurped from soup to nuts by extremists that would be cartoonish if they were not so very real.

Abramoff won't help you. The fear factor will subsume you. You can sit there and take it, clapping politely as the ram rolls towards you, or you can stand up and make yourselves relevant again. To walk out of the speech would be a huge statement, bold and potentially dangerous. But if you don't do something bold, something grand and unprecedented, something to take back the initiative, you will join the Whigs in the dustbin of history.

Along with the idea of a democratic, free America. For God's sake, Dems, grow some balls quick!

Please read the rest.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A rarity

ReddHedd spots a case of actual, factual journalism.


Why is James Carville still part of the Democratic leadership? What a fucking idiot. I'm watching him on Timmy's with Carville, his wife, and Paul Begala. Aside from the conflict of interest stemming from the fact he's sleeping with one Cheney's top aides, he's a pussy and a fool. Begala should be tossed out just for quoting Zell Miller.


And another thing. Thanks a lot to Harry Reid for issuing that apology to the Repubs last week. Every Dem is getting slammed with that today. You cut our legs out from under us, you moron.


The second time today I'm filching from Avedon Carol. Sorry luv:


Well, that's pretty typical of the DLC types, isn't it? We're not constituents or even potential voters, we're "pockets". Thanks.



Loaded Mouth:


Before 9/11, we believed that a national tragedy like the 9/11 attacks would unite us and not divide us. We believed that we were a country with courage and conviction and not a country full of fear. We believed that we were a nation of principles that would guide us and unite us in times of threat. We believed in the power of the law to protect us and our way of life.

It's not 9/11 that destroyed those beliefs, that put replaced courage with fear, that made us a "might makes right" nation instead of a nation of laws. It's not 9/11 that made civil liberties expendable, that made disagreement with the government treason, that weakened our authority in the world, that exhausted our military and cost so many lives in a part of the world that had nothing to do with 9/11. [my em]


I want my pre-9/11 mindset back.

Gotta go...

Starting yesterday, my blogging will be light to nonexistent for a few days. We have to go out to the coast, and I'll be roughing it - battery power and dial-up. Damn wall sockets and wi-fi have spoiled my ass rotten! I'll be reading and commenting, but probably not much else.

You guys hold the fort. I'll be back.

Ogling her Googling

True Blue Liberal has Maureen Dowd on getting her Googles ogled, the Vice Voyeur and Bush's need for a happy, healthy Osama.

It was hard to know which story yesterday was scarier: Osama bin Laden, still alive and taunting the U.S., or the Justice Department's trying to force Google to turn over a suspiciously broad array of information on millions of users' searches and Web addresses, supposedly to investigate online crime involving pornography.

The Internet is full of vile diversions, but prying without justification is just as vile.

Innocent Americans - not just lonely guys in their boxers - could be swept up in the fishnet dragnet. Who decides what is porn? Will those who Google to find out-of-print copies of Lynne Cheney's juicy, cheesy lesbian Old West novel, "Sisters," be suspect? (The cheapest copy at is $195.)

I just don't get why it's so hard to find Osama. So what if he's in what is often described as "the impossibly rugged mountain terrain" of Pakistan? We send people to the Moon, and W. wants to send someone to Mars. What's more impossibly rugged terrain than that?

If we can brave Big Brother, we could probably find Osama's lair on Google Earth (but not Dick Cheney's - it's censored).

The White House has always seemed less compelled to capture Osama than to use him as a pretext for invading Iraq and as a political selling point. Karl Rove, coming out of his "please don't indict me" crouch, tried to chase away the taint of the Abramoff scandal with a new round of terror-mongering for 2006: "We need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of this moment. President Bush and the Republican Party do. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for many Democrats."

So why did the White House set aside the gravest threat of all?

Oh, I think we know why. They need him.

Not really whoring...

Just reminding (being that it ain't making me no money) that The Captains is up in its entirety (being that more than one person has broken my balls because I haven't finished Empires yet).

Listen to us

Via the lovely Avedon Carol, an interesting report on the rise of blogs in the political discourse.


Via TGW, John Kerry on Chris Matthews on Osama:


That's reason to be outraged - but even more outrageous is the fact that in a flurry of sound bites what was lost was a real discussion of the fact that more than four years after the devastating attacks of 9/11, more than four years after George Bush boasted we wanted Osama "dead or alive," more than a year after Osama Bin Laden showed his hateful face in yet another video, this barbarian is still very much alive and boasting of additional attacks against the United States.

Here's what I'd like to see debated on Hardball.

President Bush's mouthpiece Scott McClellan can claim this administration puts terrorists out of business, but yesterday's tape reminds us that instead of being out of business, Osama is still out there.



Pauly on this:


Don't like it? My ass is fine, feathered, and kissable...

Indeed, my friend.

Old New York


Mr. Adams, dear Mr. Adams,
I have been presented with a new son from the Noble Stork,
And so I am going home to celebrate and pop a cork,
With all the Livingstons together back in Old New York,


~ Robert Livingston to John Adams in 1776

The tune popped into my head when I read this from the wonderful Neil Shakespeare.


And now this is "Old New York", or maybe the "New Old New York", since there was an Old New York already that Sinatra used to sing about. But he's gone too now.