Saturday, August 26, 2006

Local races ...

As I said, I'm going to be highlighting local House races from now until Election Day, in addition to our support of Dave Mejias and Charlie Brown. Today I'm sending you to Democracy for New Mexico (I found 'em via Skippy) who seems to be all over the NM locals with info on the candidates and issues. Remember Dr. Dean's 50 State Strategy? This is how we put it to work. He put the infrastructure on the ground and it's up to us to either contribute or volunteer. We can't do much if we don't take the House.

Gimmie some o' dat, mon!

One of the reasons I love Mr. H.

Charlie Brown

I clicked on the link in the left sidebar and all my wishes were fulfilled! Well, not yet, but thanks, Fixer, for making it so easy. Here's some of LtCol. Brown's stuff:

[In difficult times and a dangerous world, America needs proven leaders for whom integrity, duty, honor, courage, and responsibility are not just words---they are words to live by.

That's why (insert name of organization {OK - us'ns}) is proudly supporting Charlie Brown for California's 4th Congressional District. And, that's why ethics challenged Republican incumbent John Doolittle is facing the fight of his political life.

Charlie has dedicated his life to serving our country--as a 26 year Air Force officer, a credentialed teacher, and law enforcement professional. He brings the real life experience with keeping our country safe that is sorely missing from this Republican Congress. And, he'll fight to defend our constitutional rights, eliminate corruption, put our fiscal house in order, protect our environment, invest in education, and improve access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Charlie Brown is truly a candidate we can all be proud to support.

John Doolittle is more vulnerable than he's ever been. He's the only member of Congress involved in both the Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham corruption scandals, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Since he can't run on his record, he's going to try and hide behind his right wing fear machine and swift boat character assassins.

Doolittle can run, but he can't hide. Charlie needs our help to fight back!

Visit www.charliebrownforcongress today and make a contribution, sign up to volunteer, or join the mailing list.

Together, we can take back our Congress from corrupt right wing ideologues, and restore a government by and for "we the people." Please go to, or call 1-800-727-6968 to take action today.]

This is a little different than in Fixer's district - Col. Brown's headquarters are a hundred miles away from here, and I don't have any info yet on a local branch. For now, my support is pretty much via this here crystal set.

CA-04 is a long-time conservative district. The Republican monolith is well-entrenched. Col. Brown is almost literally a mouse battling The Elephant. Get enough mice together, though, and we've got a chance.

[Sorry to dick around in your post, Gord, but I wanted to add the link to Charlie's ActBlue page (where folks can donate too) and the map of CA-04 [You got that already, oops] (so you folks can see if you can vote for Charlie in November). - Fixer]

Bush Should Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor

One World

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 25 (OneWorld) - A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting "aggressive" wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.

Ferencz believes the most important development toward that end would be the effective implementation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is located in the Hague, Netherlands.

But on May 6, 2002--less than a year before the invasion of Iraq--the Bush administration withdrew the United States' signature on the treaty and began pressuring other countries to approve bilateral agreements requiring them not to surrender U.S. nationals to the ICC.

Three months later, George W. Bush signed a new law prohibiting any U.S. cooperation with the International Criminal Court. The law went so far as to include a provision authorizing the president to "use all means necessary and appropriate," including a military invasion of the Netherlands, to free U.S. personnel detained or imprisoned by the ICC.

Bush may be an idiot, but he's no dummy. He knew that if we were a party to the ICC there was a damn good chance he and his accomplices would swing. Note also the provision for our military to spring him if he got popped for his crimes.

Bush could always say in his own defense that he "vass chust following or-DAHS!". We all know he's a Cheney/neocon puppet. With his half-vast grasp of history he might wonder why all those Nazis who were hung didn't try that.

Daily Dave

I also Dave-ized my Ranger.

Dave for America - Learn how to help Dave Mejias defeat Peter King in November and where he stands on the issues.

ActBlue - Donate to the campaign.

Can you vote for Dave? Click here to find out.

Quote of the Day

An Iraq War widow to Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit*:

She continued: "I said, 'As a Christian man, you realize that when you've made a mistake it's your responsiblity to end this. And it's time to end the bleeding and it's time to end the war.'"

'Christian' don't mean what it used to. Or maybe it does.

*Link thanks to Maru.

On career women ...

A lot of the ladies in Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!) have been on this for a couple days, and Texas Jaye does a great point/counterpoint on this stupid article about why men shouldn't marry career women.

Point: Don't Marry Career Women
Counterpoint: Don't Marry An Asshole.

I figured, since I'm a man married to an exremely successful career woman, I should add my two cents. Simple, for these morons to understand.

The guys who have a problem with successful women have a problem with themselves first. If you're a 'stuff' kinda guy, one of those 'he who dies with the most toys wins', find yourself a subservient woman. Find yourself a girl who can live with being one of your toys. One of those who doesn't mind being an accessory to you, much as women accessorize their outfits with belts, bags, and shoes. An independent, successful woman won't put up with that attitude for long.

If the amount of money you make is a competition for you, marry a girl who doesn't mind working for minimum wage. Your little weenie is gonna take a serious whack when she starts making more than you do. Same thing if she reaches a higher position in the corporation than you do.

If you think that once you're married, your new wife should suddenly turn into your maid, find a woman who wants to stay home and pick up after your lazy ass. A career woman will come home from a hard day's work the same way you do, tired and pissed. Expecting her, after a full day of work, to start cleaning the house is selfish and stupid, and it's gonna bite you in the ass eventually.

If you're a guy who subscribes to the doctrine that your woman whould stay home and spit out kids, find a woman who wants that life. If you try and force a woman to do what she's not willing to, it will also come back to bite you in the ass.

If you have visions of grandeur, that you are the patriarch and what you say goes, period, find an American Christian woman. A woman who's a mover and shaker in her particular field ain't gonna come home from work and say 'yes, dear, whatever you want', not for long anyway.

Marry a career woman if you want a partner. Marry her if you want someone who can think on her feet, be able to socialize with anyone from the Hell's Angels to the Rockefellers, and stand her ground in adverse situations. Marry her if you don't care she makes more than you do, and actually take pride in her success. Marry her if you don't need her to make you a man, this means you Hummer and sports car drivers, and she doesn't need you to make her life complete. Marry her because you want to share the housework duties. Marry because you want to share your lives, not because you need each other to fill some little space on your trophy shelf.

I'm married to a beautiful, intelligent, independent woman who makes 10 times what I do, hobnobs with the presidents and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and international conglomerates, and has a global reputation in her field. Mention her name from Tokyo to Paris and it will be recognized. Guess what? She doesn't need me. She wants to be with me, has been for 17 years, and I like that. She doesn't need me for a source of income or anything else. She wants to be with me for who I am, the kind of man I am, not for 'stuff' reasons, and that is a very good feeling because if she wanted she could get any man she set her sights on.

Don't marry a career woman? My ass. If you're fortunate enough for a career woman to take a shine to you, the onus is on you to be a real man because career women can tell the difference.

And let me just add this disclaimer after the fact. I do not mean to say women who are stay at home moms are any less of a woman than a career woman. The job of raising kids is one of the hardest jobs going and if the husband is a lazy bastid, there will be problems too. The Mrs. and I were of the same mind regarding kids, neither of us wanted them, and we hashed that all out before we got married. We were well aware of each other's expectations when we did say 'I do'. That doesn't mean it's been all bliss either but when two people honestly love and respect each other, anything can be worked out. We've changed and grown with each other and that's what makes for an excellent marriage. Marriage is about genuine compromise whether the woman stays at home and raises kids or is a big macher in business.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Civil Rights Icon. Grave. Spin.

Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children.

Dispatch from the Palace.

Big Pharma

Dave Johnson:


The pharmaceutical industry quietly footed the bill for at least part of a recent multimillion-dollar ad campaign praising lawmakers who support the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to political officials.


And those would be Republican lawmakers.

Daily Dave

Today Digby does a smackdown on the bigot:


[Rep. Peter] King has always had a little problem with New Orleans and I think we can guess why. This was, you'll recall, the prevailing view of many critics like King during the crisis last year. The "problem" was all the lawlessness. Mogadishu in America. The natives were running wild. This was later shown to be simply the fevered rumormongering you tend to find in crises where communication is down. But King and the rest of the hankie wringers naturally assumed the mob was taking over despite the fact that there were cameras all over the city and no one captured the crazed marauding beasts doing anything other than liesurely looting a local Wal Mart. Their bedwetting fearmongering did more to delay the response than any other single reason.


This clown needs to go. Support Dave Mejias in NY-03.

Dave for America


U.S.-Iran Nuclear Program

Gee, it's no wonder any longer why BushCo is so worried about Iran's nuclear development: they know where they got the means to do it. Chicago Tribune:

In the heart of Tehran sits one of Iran's most important nuclear facilities, a dome-shaped building where scientists have conducted secret experiments that could help the country build atomic bombs. It was provided to the Iranians by the United States.

U.S. officials point to these activities as evidence Iran is trying to construct nuclear arms, but they do not publicly mention that the work has taken place in a U.S.-supplied facility.

The U.S. provided the reactor when America was eager to prop up the shah, who also was aligned against the Soviet Union at the time. After the Islamic revolution toppled the shah in 1979, the reactor became a reminder that in geopolitics, today's ally can become tomorrow's threat.

Another overlooked concern about the Tehran reactor is the weapons-grade fuel the U.S. provided Iran in the 1960s--about 10 pounds of highly enriched uranium, the most valuable material to bombmakers. It is still at the reactor and susceptible to theft, U.S. scientists familiar with the situation said.

Countries that provide Iran such technology "ought to know better," said Bolton, now the American ambassador to the United Nations. If foreign companies aid Iran, the U.S. "will impose economic burdens and brand them as proliferators."

What Bolton didn't note: America's role in Iran's nuclear program.

What's next? Did we give Kim Jong Il his shit, too?

I'm just fuckin' speechless.

Housing Gets Ugly

Paul Krugman, obviously a regular and dedicated reader of the Brain, heartily concurs: POP!

Bubble, bubble, Toll's in trouble. This week, Toll Brothers, the nation's premier builder of McMansions, announced that sales were way off, profits were down, and the company was walking away from already-purchased options on land for future development.

Follow the money. When it runs away, take heed.

And with prices falling in many areas, the speculative demand for houses has gone into reverse, as people try to get out with a profit while they still can. There's now a rapidly growing glut of unsold houses. This is a recipe for a major bust, not a soft landing.

Moreover, it could be both a deep and a prolonged bust. Since 2000, much of the nation has experienced a rise in home prices comparable to the boom in Southern California during the late 1980's. After that bubble popped, Los Angeles house prices began a slow, grinding deflation, eventually falling 20 percent (34 percent after adjusting for inflation). Prices didn't begin a sustained recovery until 1996, more than six years after the downturn began.

Now imagine the same thing happening across a large part of the United States. It's an ugly picture, and not just for people and companies in the construction business. Many homeowners - especially those who bought their houses with interest-only loans or with minimal down payments - will find themselves in financial distress. And the economy as a whole will take a hit.

As far as I know, Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics is the only well-known economist flatly predicting a housing-led recession in the coming year. Most forecasters consider his call alarmist, and many Federal Reserve officials remain optimistic. Last week, Richard Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, dismissed "Eeyores in the analytical community who worry about a possible recession.

Call me Eeyore. While I don't share Mr. Roubini's certainty, I see his point: housing has been the main engine of U.S. economic growth over the past three years, and with that engine now going into reverse, it's hard to see how we can avoid a serious slowdown.

No 'recession', just a 'serious slowdown'. Ever the cockeyed optimist, eh, Krugman?

Post 9/11 Science: Americans are World's Only Humans

MRZine. Massive Liquid Alert!

(PU) Just in time for the 5th anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster, scientists have discovered that United States citizens -- alone out of every other people on planet Earth -- possess qualities identifying them as homo sapiens.

Scholars predict this breakthrough, besides inspiring T-shirts for the 9/11 Commemoration, will transform major academic disciplines, particularly the field of anthropology. "It could reconfigure the concept of evolution, itself," surmises Dr. Joan Bloodloss, Senior Fellow at The American Homunculus Foundation. "Although we still believe our species began in Africa, we are now beginning to see that those individuals who migrated north and westward -- particularly across the Atlantic Ocean -- developed more advanced traits as they went, until they reached the North American continent, just below Canada and above Mexico, where, around the year 1776, they became fully human.

"Those who migrated in other directions," continued Dr. Bloodloss, "have remained essentially bipedal primates. You'll see this pattern all across Europe -- except for the French who are, of course, rapidly devolving. Arabs? I'm not even sure if they're primates. We won't really know until we can bomb more of them."

President George W. Bush, in celebration of his godlike powers over life on this planet, is scheduled to speak on September 11 at the World Trade Center Commemoration. There, to a battle-fatigued and shell-shocked world, Mr. Bush intends to proclaim his humanity.

Unrelated, but I couldn't resist:

(PU) Actor Mel Gibson, apparently distraught upon discovering that his hero and savior Jesus Christ was Jewish, was arrested again last night on charges of drunkenness, as he drove his car head-on into a large statue of Jesus that adorned the Church of the Immaculate Bris, on Pasadena Boulevard.

"Take that, Jew-Boy," Gibson was heard to scream, as he repeatedly backed his car over the white plaster shards that covered several square feet of lawn.

At press time, reporters were unable to determine if Jesus had accepted Mr. Gibson's apology.

I bet you're glad I warned ya, huh?

Activist Judges

Go read Molly Ivins on what the 'activist' judges are really up to.

Conservatives in this country have been yipping in chorus for years about "activist judges," and frankly, like fools, many of you bought into the phony political rhetoric about those terrible jurists.

Somehow, activist judges are held responsible for gay marriage, Roe v. Wade and everything else Americans disagree about, as though Americans would never disagree without their encouragement. Conservatives have been mad at the Supreme Court since it decided to desegregate the schools in 1954 and seen fit to blame the federal bench for everything that has happened since then that they don't like.

As any liberal could have told you, the conservatives didn't want a right-wing shift on the nation's courts because of "social issues" -- that's just a handy political ploy. Honestly, people, haven't you figured out what this is all about yet? Money. The conservatives are in a snit about "liberal courts" because of money.

Corporations being prosecuted for breaking the law! Tobacco companies forced to pay huge fines! Oil and chemical companies made to pay for cleanup at Superfund sites! Oh, the horror, the horror. The Wall Street Journal's editorial page couldn't stop shivering over it for years.

Meanwhile, what a nice gift from the federal bench to the insurance companies when a federal judge in Mississippi decided that hurricane insurance policies excluding water damage are "valid and enforceable." As many of our fellow citizens had an opportunity to learn during Katrina, it's a challenge to sit around in a class IV hurricane, trying to figure out which is wind and which is water damage. "Ooops, there goes the roof, probably wind, followed by a huge run of waves rolling over the house, could be water."

Money, money, money is the motif of the "New Activist" federal judges, but they have also been busy, busy limiting congressional authority and individual rights. As People for the American Way notes, federal appellate courts -- effectively the court of last resort for most Americans -- are working on: questioning the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act, overturning the National Labor Relations Board rulings against anti-union discrimination and other unfair labor practices by employers, allowing the Bush administration to keep secret the records of the Cheney energy task force and rewriting by court order a state law on First Amendment activity.

Other Bush appellate judges have ruled to deny protection to workers who file claims of race and disability discrimination, made it harder to protect the environment, and issued other decisions that will affect our lives and liberties for decades.

Activist judges, indeed.

I like Molly. I never have to add much.

Talking Points for Dems

OpEd News

34 talking points for Dems. In case they decide they want to govern again.

30. Would you like Bush and Cheney re-questioned about 9-11 and compelled to answer under oath?

31. Had enough fear?

32. Had enough abuse of power, contempt of congress, violations of the Constitution, violations of the court, arrests, indefinite detainment, and torture without trial?

33. Had enough of being ashamed of your own country, all on account of a few contemptible criminals?

34. Tired of being held hostage to elevated terror alerts before elections and having your patriotism questioned when you notice they're compulsive liars?

If you have had enough, realize that the ONLY way to change this disastrous course, is to elect Democratic representatives who will act to remove Bush from office. A vote for ANY Republican anywhere, is a vote for more of the disasters you've already seen and worse to come.

A good list to print in large bold type and distribute around yer 'hood.

Dwarf president

Satirical Political Report

In a move heavily anticipated for the last five years, the National Academy of Historians has ratified what had been generally accepted knowledge, and officially demoted George W. Bush to status of "Dwarf President."

Some historians actually recommended that Bush be further downgraded to "satellite," given his inability to break the gravitational pull of the Neo-Con Solar System, also known as Cheney Destroy-e-alis. Still others voted to designate him as a mere ass-teroid.

When informed that he had been accorded the same treatment as Pluto, Bush replied that he "appreciates that, since Pluto was always my favorite Disney character."

More later if I can figure out how to work "Uranus" into this.

More local races

Serious link love going on here, but Froggy has info on more local races, these from NJ-07 and NJ-12.

I realize House races don't get as much attention as Senate races, but we need a majority in the House too. Find out whose district you're in and learn about the issues affecting it. Learn. Particpate. Vote. We need a landslide, a true mandate from the American people, to turn this nation around after the Rethugs have screwed it all to Hell. The only way to do that is to win in a way there is no question of the direction Americans want to take. Get up and do something.

When we want facts ...

We'll give 'em to ya. Lurch:

In today's NY Times Mark Mazzetti has written a strange article. It seems that our national intelligence organs aren't delivering the right intelligence about Iran:


It's a basic political trick. Down at the polls? Facing a wholesale turn out in the elections? Start a war. And, of course, now that Iraq has been such a terrific success, it's time to move on to new horizons. [my em]


For all of you who were alive in 2002 and 2003, this should all be very familiar. Remember the Downing Street Memos? That imperial folly cost us thousands of American troops and most of our international prestige. Don't let 'em flush what's left down the toilet.

November, people, November.


Larry C. Johnson's take on this is good too.

Quote of the Day

Pessimist at Left Coaster:

Osama's team might as well sit on the bench and watch us defeat ourselves without any opposition on the field. Al Jazeera will just loop a tape of Osama shaking his fist at The White House on the Jumbotron and the Bu$hCo offense will fumble the ball behind their own goal line.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

VA Senate/Daily Dave

Mimus on the Jim Webb race in Virginia.

Oh, you noticed I'm highlighting races around the country? Good, Election Day is a couple months away and it's time you people know what's going on in your own districts. It's time for you, and I'm not talking about all of us who blog about this stuff all the time but you folks who just pass through here, to get involved. It's time for you to do some work too. It's your duty to vote and you should know about the people who will be representing you in Washington. Especially now during this national, and constitutional, crisis called the Bush administration. This November, we'll be voting to clean their enablers out of Congress and elect a Democratic majority in both houses. Then we can work on getting the Chimp and his minions behind bars, where they belong.

Check out your local or state races. See where your candidates need help and give 'em a hand. If you have some extra scratch, give it to 'em. Stick a sign out front in your yard or in your shop window. Plaster a bumper sticker on your car. Do something. Your children are counting on you. Most of all, vote in November.

And I should combine it with a 'Daily Dave', since I'm talking about local races.

Dave Mejias needs your help to kick Rep. Peter King's Bush-crony ass out of NY-03.

Dave for America



Digby has some incumbent news from Alaska.

I wonder if he does it in church...

I guess we've all heard that the Chimp likes to fart at inappropriate times, like he does everything else that's socially objectionable. The Boston Herald has a good piece on it.

Maybe if Iraq were going better, I'd chalk this up to some cowboy thing. "Blazing Saddles Does D.C."

As it is, I worry that the supposed leader of the free world is trapped in the body of a 7-year-old and hiding a Whoopie Cushion under his bed.

Has Dubya lost it?

He 'lost it' a long time ago, lady. If he ever had it, that is. Doubtful at best.

Anyway, here's the news, such as it is. U.S. New & World Reports' Paul Bedard says our commander in chief "loves flatulence jokes...can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides."

Naturally, the aide can't accuse the President or grimace or hold his nose. This dilemma apparently drives the presidential funny bone wild.

Granted, anybody misguided enough to take a job working for that asshole probably ain't gonna have the stones to say, "Ya better wipe. That's liable to itch when it dries."

Does he do this with Cheney, Rummy and Rove?

"You mean the old farts?" says Bedard. "I like to think so."

Or anybody else who's got their nose up his ass. "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"

But this latest leak from the Bush White House does explain a lot, doesn't it? All those furrowed brows and deer-in-the-headlights pauses in his speeches and press conferences. And that devilish litle laugh.

Now we know: something else could be going on there. I'll never look at George again without wondering.

There seems to be a Hell of a lot more goin' on in his intestinal tract than ever went on in his head, but I coulda told ya that. The punk farts every time he opens his mouth.

In the true spirit of AFAB*, good ol' American marketing genius has caught up with this pretty fast, too. Yeesh.

*Anything For A Buck.

Food Fight with Terrorists

From CNN comes one of the most idiotic things I've heard lately:

REP. CURT WELDON (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We have to fight this battle. We either fight it over there or we're going to fight it in the supermarkets (my em) and the streets of America.

They used to say the same thing about Communism during Vietnam: fight 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here.

Same answer applies now: if we fight 'em here, we can beat 'em.

If we fight 'em at Safeway, for every buncha cabbage they heave at me, they're gettin' back two #10 cans o' pork an' beans! Firepower rules!

Draft or Lose? Why bother? We've lost anyway.

Raw Story

Fast on the heels of yesterday's Defense Department involuntary call up of Marine reserves, an Iraq veterans group tells RAW STORY that if a draft is not the next step, President Bush must choose to accept a loss in the war.

But Jon Soltz, who heads up the group, warned ABC News yesterday that the call up showed a lack of plans for victory in Iraq, and the problems faced by an overburdened American military. Soltz served as a captain in the Army in the Iraq war and is still a member of the reserves.

"The Pentagon has been saying it's meeting retention goals, but its actions speak louder than words," he explained of the stop loss and reserve call up actions that the Pentagon has taken.

The Bush administration has repeatedly claimed that it is in favor of retaining an all-volunteer military force.

Soltz thinks that in the short term, they'll stand by that position. "What it really tells you is that the Bush administration is not dedicated to democratization, they will cut and run, because the political liabilities of having a state that is Iran's proxy aren't as bad as losing political power in the midterm election." He added, "Doing a draft would cause that."

I got some news for ya: Bush ain't gonna do it for exactly those reasons, and if he did it's already too late. By the time the system gets up and running and gets people in the pipeline, the military upgrades its training facilities to handle a large influx of draftees, and gets 'em trained to where they can survive and prevail in a war zone, there will be a Democratic President and the occupation of Iraq will have ended. We will have "lost" but we are going to "lose" that clusterfuck no matter who's in charge because it was a terrible idea in the first place, carried out in the most incompetent way possible by people in higher places than they should have ever been.

There'll be plenty of military left then to deal properly with Afghanistan, which is where the main effort should have been all along.

Latest Poll

Satirical Political Report

JonBenet Suspect More Popular Than Bush

Finally, by a margin of two-to-one, those polled were in favor of calling the President by his full name - George Walker Bush - to reflect the media propensity to use three names for assassins and serial killers.


Free Fall, and not the fun kind

Market Watch

The United States is headed for a recession that will be "much nastier, deeper and more protracted" than the 2001 recession, says Nouriel Roubini, president of Roubini Global Economics.

Writing on his blog Wednesday, Roubini repeated his call that the U.S. would be in recession in 2007, arguing that the collapse of housing would bring down the rest of the economy.

Roubini is a professor of economics at New York University and was a senior economist in the White House and the Treasury Department in the late 1990s. His firm focuses largely on global macroeconomics.

While many economists share Roubini's concerns about imbalances in the global economy and in the U.S. housing sector, he stands nearly alone in predicting a recession next year.

The guy up in the crow's nest stands alone too, but has the best view and sees what's ahead before the guys on deck.

Housing has accounted, directly and indirectly, for about 30% of employment growth during this expansion, including employment in retail and in manufacturing producing consumer goods, he said.

In the past year, consumers spent about $200 billion of the money they pulled out of their home equity, he estimated. Already, sales of consumer durables such as cars and furniture have weakened.

Consumers also face high energy prices, higher interest rates, stagnant wages, negative savings and high debt levels, he noted.

"This is the tipping point for the U.S. consumer and the effects will be ugly," he said. "Expect the great recession of 2007 to be much nastier, deeper and more protracted than the 2001 recession."

I hope he's wrong, but I'm afraid he may be right.


As Gord mentioned the other day on one of my 'Daily Dave' posts, there's an Air Force weenie running to unseat the aptly-named Rep. John Doolittle. Lt. Col. Charlie Brown also has a son serving in Iraq*, co-pilot of an AF C-130.


Of course, this member of the delegation was John Doolittle. John sat down in the cockpit and spoke for a minute with the aircraft commander. He didn't say anything to the rest of the crew. Nothing to the flight engineer. Or the navigator. Or the copilot. He didn't ask any of them where they were from. Or what it's like in Iraq. Or what he and the rest of Congress could do to help.


The copilot was my son, Jeff Brown, Air Force Captain.

John Doolittle sat next to my son for over an hour and didn't ask him his name. He didn't ask him where he was from. (Jeff, of course, is from John's District here in California.) He didn't ask how long Jeff had been in Iraq. (It was Jeff's third tour, and he's now scheduled for his fourth.) And he didn't ask what Congress could do to help him and the rest of the troops there in Iraq.

But I've asked. And Jeff told me, that if John had asked what he needed, he would have asked to make sure Congress fixes the cracks in the C-130 wings, because many of the aircraft are grounded, and many more are restricted on how much weight they can carry, and they're flying the heck out of those planes. Jeff would have asked to make sure Congress gives good medical care to the wounded, because he flies them out of Iraq. And Jeff said he would have asked to make sure Congress gives the best care to the families of the remains of fallen soldiers, because he flies them out of Iraq too.


The Rethugs consider our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines as equipment. When they can't perform, they are thrown away. They use our troops as props on campaign stops. The Rethugs have no respect for our men and women in uniform and only see them as a means to an end.

Charlie Brown for Congress

Do you live in CA-04?

*Great thanks to Carnacki at Skippy's.


It seems, with a hair over two months to go before Election Day, some of the smarter Rethugs (not saying much but still ...) are turning on the Preznit:


But more than a few politicians and commentators once firmly in Bush's camp have joined the doubters on the war, which has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and the lives of more than 2,600 US troops.


Leave us not to forget. An incumbent Rethug criticizing Preznit Flightsuit is doing so out of political expediency only. These clowns don't give a shit for the lives of our servicepeople, their families, or the state of our military. It is nothing but a desperate attempt to cling to power now that the majority of Americans see this imperialistic folly for what it is. These are the same bunch who advanced the 'cut and run' meme against the Dems as little as two weeks ago.

When you go to the polls in November, no matter what you hear between now and then from the Rethugs, remember this. The Republicans own everything bad that's happened to this nation over the past 6 years. It was not Bill Clinton's fault, and the Dems were not in control of Congress.

- Iraq is the Rethugs' fault.

- 9/11 is the Rethugs' fault.

- Katrina is the Rethugs' fault.

- High gas prices are the Rethugs' fault.

- Our deplorable reputation in the international community is the Rethugs' fault.

If you're tired of 'business as usual' and endless excuses, vote Dem in November and take this country back from the criminals. Think about this, the Rethugs can't run on their record. Should tell ya something.

Tip o' the Brain to Maru for the link.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion

That twit Jeff Greenfield mentioned this on CNN and I think it's a good slogan for the Democratic Party. From the annals of history:

... But it wasn't until we read Summers exhaustive discussion of the campaign of 1884 that we learn that one Dr. Samuel D. Burchard, addressing a gathering of the Religious Bureau of the Republican National Committee, a week before the general election, stated,

We are Republicans, and don't propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism, and rebellion. We are loyal to our flag.


Being that a Rethug was talking about us anyway ...

Daily Dave

My toolbox.

The front window.

I Dave-ized the shop* this morning.

You know the drill.

Dave for America


Because we've had enough of Peter King**.

*A couple unrelated pics from the shop here.
**Link to State of the Day (thanks, Creature) added after the fact.

Sweet Subpoena?

In an article that might as well be entitled "Has Congress Got Any Sack?", Mother Jones lays it out:

Capitol Hill is way overdue for a blockbuster investigation. Here are nine questions to get Congress rolling - if it has the guts.

But if lawmakers of either party do not begin to reclaim their constitutional powers - by asking questions such as those listed below - it's not hard to envision a time when visitors may come to the venerable Caucus Room as if to a museum, to learn about a bygone era when congressional investigations still served as a check on the imperial presidency.

9. Grounds for impeachment?


Dell Battery Recall Update

On August 17 I posted about Dell's 'Flaming Battery' recall. I ordered my replacement that day.

It arrived yesterday. Six days from start to finish. Not bad! It's fully charged and in service as we speak.

It came on a truck via DHL*. In a padded cardboard box. Here's the funny part: the old battery needs to be returned, of course, for proper disposal, via the U.S. Mail in the same cardboard box! Prepaid, of course.

A battery capable of burning down a Ford pickup. In a cardboard box. In the gentle hands of postal employees from California to Tennessee.

There are millions of these batteries out there, folks. Look for an upturn in the number of burnt-down post offices and postal trucks. Ha!

*The package was placed in my hands by a lovely young blond lady with cornrows who gave treats to my pups.

A'wrenchin' we will go...

Fixer was kinda having me on yesterday in this post about how the Corps might recall my 60-year-young ass. It ain't so funny today! Center for American Progress:

Over the past three years the Marine Corps has maintained 40 percent of its ground equipment, 50 percent of its communications equipment, and 20 percent of its aviation assets in Iraq. This equipment is used at as much as nine times its planned rate, abused by a harsh environment, and depleted due to losses in combat. To maintain acceptable readiness levels, the Marines have been taking equipment from non-deployed units and drawing down Maritime Prepositioned stocks, including equipment stored in Europe, thus limiting their ability to respond to contingencies outside of Iraq.

A coupla key words leaped right out at this ol' wrench and former comm tech: ground equipment, communications equipment, abused, depleted, losses, maintain. I'm screwed.

Shorter: vehicles and radios are in short supply in Iraq and breaking down by the numbers, folks, and it's probably worse in Afghanistan. Both of which I know how to fix, but I might get some weird looks when I ask the Gunny, "Where's the tube tester?". Or "Where d'ya draw Depends?".

I just hope they don't promote me to Sergeant. I'd hate to lose 40 years in grade.

Might even be some room in the Crotch* for a ol' broke down AF Weenie, F-Man. Hindu Tush, here we come!

*USMC - Uncle Sam's Mutilated Crotch. Printable version: Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.

Roadies 'n Meskins

I just couldn't resist this: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri's U.S. Senate contest took on a southwestern flavor Tuesday.

Singer Willie Nelson, in town for a concert at the UMB Bank Pavilion, announced that he was endorsing the Democrat, state Auditor Claire McCaskill.

Meanwhile, the Republican incumbent, Jim Talent, mingled with members of the Hispanic Republicans of Missouri at a hotel reception near West Port Plaza.

Willie's probably got more people in his road crew than are in the HRMo!

Quote of the Day*


[George] Felix [Allen] and Dubya default to the same patronizing, bigoted assumptions. Bush may be less hostile than Felix, but he's no less racist. "America" to both of these rich, privileged Republican creeps, is white.

*Read the whole thing.

The business of fear

The NRA does it best. It's long past time for them to be shut down or at least be forced to tone down their rhrtoric:


"Why," you may wonder, "are they publishing this in a hunting magazine." Well, they're doing it for a couple of reasons. First, they're in the middle of waging "Make My Day Law" campaigns to allow you to shoot people who scare you while you're out shopping or taking a walk. These laws have already passed in 10 of our most frightened states and are currently being considered in 13 others.


Some might wonder why the NRA needs to villainize game. They might ask, "aren't logical arguments about managing wildlife enough to justify hunting?" But they miss the point by asking such questions. Wildlife management issues have never motivated anyone to vote. The NRA's base needs to be frightened into voting. They need to feel like their vote is protecting them from an enemy as dangerous as brown people, homosexuals, the media, and sex.


Like I always say, if you need an automatic weapon to kill an unarmed deer or a bear, you're probably a shitty hunter and really shouldn't be out in the woods with a gun to begin with. The right to keep and bear is not under attack in this country, though from reading the NRA literature, it seems the U.N. is in the verge of taking everyone's guns away. It's time for the NRA to be forced to tell the truth in their advertising, just as other corporations must. It's time for some sensible gun laws in this country.

Addendum: We see the results of the antiquated gun laws the NRA supports on the streets of New York. Most of the guns used in crimes in our city, and I'm sure this applies to other cities as well, are brought in via I-95 from Virginia and Florida. I tell ya what, we'll ship all the guys sitting in Rikers, Ossining, and Attica for gun crimes to your bumfuck towns and let you deal with 'em. Let 'em shoot up your streets. How's that?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dear Santa,

I've been bugging the Mrs. to get me an RPG for Christmas. You see, our ice cream man plays only one tune ... all day long ... for ten fucking years ... the same fucking tune ...

Anyway, now she can*. An M-109 would be nice too. Heh ...

Great thanks to Laurie for the link.
*Don't ever think Mrs. F would let me run around loose with anything of that sort. She's seen me blow shit up.

The 'other' New York

There are the 10 counties - the 5 Boroughs of New York City, Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island, and Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam upstate - that make up the New York Metro Area. Then there's everything else.

The cult of the offensive.


Israel suffers from the cult of the offensive, which also afflicts the U.S. military. Believing that grabbing the initiative and taking the fight to the enemy wins wars, both of these militaries have stumbled into the tar pit of fighting wars that only guerrillas could love. Both Israel and the U.S. militaries should have known the potency of defensive guerrilla warfare tactics from their prior experiences in Lebanon and Vietnam. But both were arrogant in thinking that their forces should not "slum" by training to fight against such rag tag enemies—even though it was fairly clear that politicians with no military training would be oblivious to the internal contradictions of counterinsurgency warfare and would once again order them to undertake it.


'Superpowers' have learned this hard fact over and over again since Roman times. Insurgents, freedom fighters, Mujaheddin, call them what you will, learn to wage war on the cheap. Eventually it's costs the superpower, be it monetarily, in lives, or political influence, more than they are willing to spend to keep the occupation going. A great article on how unprepared we are to fight the wars we start.

Tip o' the Brain to Dave Johnson.

Daily Dave

"And we'll take care of the counting." - Peter King in 2004.

Today's post takes you to a video J at PKW scrounged up for an explanation.

You know what to do. Dave Mejias (NY-03) does too.

Dave for America


Look out, Gord!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Marine Corps said Tuesday it has been authorized to recall thousands of Marines to active duty, primarily because of a shortage of volunteers for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.


I wonder if they'd still want the old troublemaker? Heh ... Link via Waveflux.

Afterthought: Picture it, Gord liveblogging from the Hindu Kush.


And while we're speaking of screwing the troops.

How Washington Goaded Israel

From Foreign Policy In Focus

There is increasing evidence that Israel instigated a disastrous war on Lebanon largely at the behest of the United States. The Bush administration was set on crippling Hezbollah, the radical Shiite political movement that maintains a sizable block of seats in the Lebanese parliament. Taking advantage of the country's democratic opening after the forced departure of Syrian troops last year, Hezbollah defied U.S. efforts to democratize the region on American terms. The populist party's unwillingness to disarm its militia as required by UN resolution—and the inability of the pro-Western Lebanese government to force them to do so—led the Bush administration to push Israel to take military action.

In his May 23 (my em) summit with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President George W. Bush offered full U.S. support for Israel to attack Lebanon as soon as possible. Seymour Hersh, in the August 21 New Yorker, quotes a Pentagon consultant on the Bush administration's longstanding desire to strike "a preemptive blow against Hezbollah." The consultant added, "It was our intent to have Hezbollah diminished, and now we have someone else doing it."

Despite these preparations, the Bush administration and congressional leaders of both parties tried to present the devastating attacks, which took as many as 800 civilian lives, as a spontaneous reaction to Hezbollah's provocative July 12 attack on an Israeli border post and its seizure of two soldiers.

On July 30, the Jerusalem Post reported that President Bush pushed Israel to expand the war beyond Lebanon and attack Syria. Israeli officials apparently found the idea "nuts."

Starting this spring, according to Hersh, the White House ordered top planners from the U.S. air force to consult with their Israeli counterparts on a war plan against Iran that incorporated an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah. Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, the chief of staff of the Israeli military and principal architect of the war on Lebanon, worked with U.S. officials on contingency planning for an air war with Iran.

Members of Congress who have unconditionally backed Israel's attacks on Lebanon have responded to constituent outrage by claiming they were simply defending Israel's legitimate interests. In supporting the Bush administration, however, they have defended policies that cynically use Israel to advance the administration's militarist agenda.

Please go read the rest.

Ironically, Hezbollah may have prevented a world war. For now. Bush has to be stopped, and soon, before he really does succeed in starting WWIII.

Connecticut Groups Push to Remove Lieberman From Ballot


HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 21 -- Critics of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's independent run to keep his job attacked on two fronts Monday, with one group asking an elections official to throw him out of the Democratic Party and a former rival calling on state officials to keep his name off the November ballot.

Staffers for the senator from Connecticut, who lost the Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, called both efforts dirty politics. The senator filed as an independent candidate a day after the loss, running under the new Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

A group whose members describe themselves as peace activists asked Sharon Ferrucci, Democratic registrar of voters in New Haven, to remove Lieberman from the party, arguing that he cannot be a Democrat while running under another party's banner.

"The law is pretty clear he is no longer a member of the Democratic Party in good standing," said group leader Henry Lowendorf. "There was an open vote, and he was voted out. He joined a different party."

Ferrucci said she would research the request, the first of its kind in her two decades on the job.

Lieberman is pro-Bush and pro-illegal-war, no matter how much he has changed his tune in recent days. He got slapped silly by his defeat in the primary and has seen the handwriting on the wall. He is changing his rhetoric to try and keep his cushy job. He is no longer even a semblance of a Democrat and has effectively renounced the party. The Repugs endorse him. Remember.

Rhymes with "November".


William Rivers Pitt recalls Katrina and closes with:

A few short weeks from now, this nation will pass the fifth anniversary of September 11. Six months after that, we will mark the fourth year of our occupation of Iraq. Tomorrow, we must recall the day Katrina was born, recall her slow, deadly crawl toward a beloved city, recall the unfolding horrors that came at us on our television screens for endless hours, and finally, we must recall the utter indifference the disaster inspired in our government. Katrina stands as the third historic calamity presided over by the Bush administration. As with the other two, this should not have been allowed to happen. As with the other two, thousands are dead and despairing in the aftermath.


Rhymes with "November".

Crossing lines ...

Seems some are saying we're crossing a line here. A phrase Gord coined has some folks agitated.

Novermber. Subpoenas. Trial. Rope.

I say, to those people, you have your heads up your collective ass. Have you been sleeping over the past 6 years? What, with everything the Chimp and the neocons have done to us, and our military, should mitigate their crimes?

And let's face facts, what Bush and his neocon cabal have perptrated are crimes.

- The invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation are war crimes, by any measure of international law.

- The deaths of almost 3000 American servicepeople in a conflict initiated by the United States are the equivalent of murder for profit. We won't even get into what we'll call the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

- The theft of the U.S. Treasury and the squandering of our nation's wealth so Bush's cronies can get rich while plunging us deeper in debt.

- The deaths of a thousand Americans in NOLA, all because The White House decided to ignore the danger.

- The abrogation of our civil rights and the constant attempts to take more away from the general public to further the lie of 'Homeland Security'.

- The fact that on every law the President (I use the term loosely) adds a signing statement saying he's essentially above the law and can choose to follow it or not depending on where whim takes him that day. We fought a revolution to separate ourselves from one King George, we don't need another.

- The surveillance of innocent Americans, tapping their phones, reading their email, without the authority of a warrant.

- The detention of Americans without charge in Guantanamo.

- Where's Osama?

Need I go on?

I'm not advocating storming the White House, dragging them out, and stringing them up on the Mall, but I can see the justification for it. Revolutions have begun for less. I'm advocating arrest and a fair trial (though the Rethugs seem to forget, this is still America), and I'm suggesting punishment. I mean, if I committed all these crimes against humanity and our founding principles, they'd certainly call for the same punishment for me, wouldn't they?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Quote of the Day

From the Chimp's press conference today via Dr. Attaturk:

Question: "But what did Iraq have to do with September 11th?"

Bush: "Nothing."

Like Gord says. November. Subpoena. Trial. Rope.

White or Black, if you're poor, you're screwed

Following up on something I mentioned almost in passing in my earlier post, I ran across this piece about Spike Lee's When The Levees Broke in the LATimes.

"Those levees are still not safe," Lee told me when he was in Los Angeles recently. "People are dead because of the incompetence of the Army Corps of Engineers. Forty years after they started work and it still ain't right! I'm proud that we show in the film the way the teensy-weensy country of Holland has great levees. Why? Because they had the will to get it done right."

He explodes with a fresh cackle of laughter, his way of signaling that he's as much confounded as incensed over some new outrage. "I mean, Holland, what've they got? Wooden shoes, tulips and a great soccer team. So how come they can do it and we can't? People are still waiting for a plan from [Mayor C. Ray] Nagin and - a year later - there's still no plan for the good people of New Orleans. It's a disgrace."

If "When the Levees Broke" arouses controversy, it will be for a sequence of interviews with African American residents who believe it was the government, not the hurricane, that destroyed the levees last August. Lee makes no apologies for airing what others might view as a conspiracy theory, noting that levees were dynamited to save the city's business center during the great flood of 1927.

"As an African American, I wouldn't put anything past the U.S. government," he said. "After things like the Tuskegee experiment, you can't just dismiss what these people believe as hocus pocus."

For Lee, there is plenty of pain to go around. He says one of the revelations he had making the documentary was that the Katrina catastrophe was as much about class as race. "If you're poor in America, you're [screwed]. Those poor white folks in New Orleans got a serious wake-up call, because they got treated the same as black people by this government."

Lee shook his head. "I just hope people come away from this film realizing this disaster didn't just happen to dumb-ass people who wanted to live below sea level. This was about the choices of our government. The National Guard was in Iraq, not in New Orleans." He pointed out the window at the lush Los Angeles greenery outside his hotel. "It doesn't have to be a hurricane. It could be the San Andreas Fault."

He couldn't resist one last cackle. "Judging from the way FEMA handled things, you could be next!"

I don't get HBO, so if one of you fine folks was to videotape the documentary and send it to me, I would watch it, take good care of it, and send it back. (Hint, hint, beg, beg)

Daily Dave

As I was leaving Mejias Headquarters in Farmingdale this afternoon I decided to take backroads home. I live about 8 miles from where Mejias' office is and these are the roads I used to tear up when I was a kid so I can make good time as opposed to the Expressway (yeah right). My route took me through Pinelawn National Cemetery where I spend a decent amount of time paying my respects to the soldiers buried in the beautiful meadows. I made a promise to them this afternoon as I passed by all the whitewashed headstones, many dating back to the War of 1812. I made a promise we would do our damndest this year to elect good people to help bring our brothers and sisters home from Iraq. If it kills me we're gonna do it.

That said, I did stop at Mejias Headquarters on my way home from work. I had the pleasure of meeting Dave's Press Secretary Ms. Gabby Adler in the flesh and his Campaign Manager Mike Premo, with whom I left the questions you submitted. He advised the candidate would get back to us in about a week. I also floated the idea of a live chat here in October so we'll see how that goes. I would like to say they have a great bunch of kids helping them out over there too. If the staff is any indication, he should win going away.

It ain't. A great staff means nothing if Dave can't get the message out. You can help. If you can't volunteer or donate time, donate cash money via ActBlue. Remember, just because you don't live in NY-03 doesn't mean you don't have a stake in retiring that clown Peter King.

Dave for America

Curious Georges

Sometimes, the Washington Post is just funnier'n shit. Liquid alert!

Back in 1993 when Sen. George Allen (R) was running for Virginia governor, he took a break from a swank fundraising luncheon to kibitz with reporters. "The soup has fritters in it!" he complained in the same tone he once used to scold someone who handed him what he called "Pair-ee-yay" water on a campaign flight.

But had this California-bred lawyer really never seen a matzo ball? Though Allen had been known to confuse tofu and sushi, the scribes had their suspicions. Whether he was sly or simply unschooled has been a perpetual question about this son of a famous father who was coastal born and raised in privilege, then reinvented himself with cowboy boots and down-home talk on his way to becoming a governor and Washington politician.

Indeed, the uncanny echoes of George W. Bush's career have fueled the hopes of Allen backers that he would be Bush's presidential heir. But as Bush's popularity has slumped, Allen's 2008 outlook has dimmed. Worse, last week's bizarre Allen insult of a rival's young campaign aide has revived old questions about his sensitivity, temper and smarts. Some high-level Republicans warn that if he's not careful, he may wind up branded as Bush without the brains.

Hey, I warned ya!

Making a Killing: The Spoils of War

The Scribe

Although the reports from Baghdad this summer might seem to suggest that all is not well with Operation Iraqi Freedom - the city a blood-smeared ruin, the American Army hiding in holes - the impression is misleading. Understand the war on terror as free-market capitalist enterprise rather than as some sort of public or government service, and in the nightly newscasts we see before us victory, not defeat.... Measure the achievement by the standards that define a commercial success - maximizing the cost to the consumers of the product, minimizing the risk to the investors - and we discover in the White House and the Pentagon, also in the Congress and the Department of Homeland Security, not the crowd of incompetent fools depicted in the pages of the New York Times but a company of visionary entrepreneurs, worthy of comparison with the men who built the country's railroads and liberated the Western prairie from the undemocratic buffalo.

There's a long history of successful war profiteering: "The words 'merchant' and 'mercenary' ultimately derive from the same root..."

How better to describe our reunion with the wisdom of the Renaissance than as the triumph of American conservatism, the happy return to the smile of immortal selfishness that shines forth in the face of President George W. Bush. The smile is well and truly earned. His administration has so improved the business of making war - broadening the market for the product, relocating the costs and exporting the collateral damage, coming up with innovations both technological and aesthetic - that none of the principal beneficiaries need go to the trouble of learning how to lift a sword or ride a horse. The dying is done by the hired help, by our now privatized and outsourced army, or by entire regiments of auxiliary civilians deployed as targets for the staging of Pentagon air shows. None of the combatants demand a share of the spoils, which accrue on clean well-lighted computer screens far from the fear and smell of death. More politically sophisticated than the condottieri of the Italian Renaissance, our own military industrial elites not only extract tribute from foreign legates in distant provinces but also hold to ransom the citizenry of their own country, accepting payment in the form of taxpayer contributions to the Holy Grail otherwise known as the federal military budget.

In the last analysis, terrorism is an idea generated by capitalism to justify better defense measures to safeguard capitalism.

Gee, ya don't suppose there's some connection between 'greed' and 'war', now do ya?

Fear Over Facts


London - Swift action by British intelligence services foil an imminent terrorist strike by religious extremists that would have resulted in mass death and social upheaval on an unprecedented scale. Government ministers heatedly denounce the plotters as the evil agents of a worldwide sectarian conspiracy seeking to impose its totalitarian ideology on free nations everywhere.

The country goes on high alert, with raids on private homes and places of worship. Native adherents of the suspect faith fall under a cloud of suspicion as "the enemy within"; neighborhoods are riven with distrust. Any attempts at exploring the grievances that so radicalized the plotters are dismissed as treasonous coddling of a monstrous foe impervious to reason.

The year, of course, is 1605.

The foiling of the Gunpowder Plot 400 years ago - when a small group of radical Catholics tried to blow up Parliament and the royal family - is still celebrated as one of the chief national holidays in the UK: November 5, "Guy Fawkes Day," named, oddly enough, after the chief plotter. Effigies of the dastardly terrorist - who was tortured, hanged, drawn and quartered for his pains - are still burned each year at night rallies across the country.

This is about as far as you can go in Muslim-baiting short of calling for an outright pogrom. It appeared in one of the nation's most venerable and respected papers. It evoked not a single spark of controversy. Indeed, it represents the conventional wisdom of an Establishment that, with few exceptions, now seems addicted to the manufacture of hysteria, the exaltation of fear over facts: blind to the corrosive effects of its own use of death and violence for political ends; inflating moderate risks into existential threats; sacrificing liberty for an illusory security; and obliterating the complexities of reality with cartoonish rhetoric that poisons public discourse - and official policy - with fear and suspicion.

Happy Rashid Rauf Day everyone. Don't forget your effigies.

"Americans" traditionally burn different 'things' at our 'night rallies', now don't we? The ones who do that may go from burning crosses to burning crescents.

There's nothing new.

Tonight: No Reservations in Beirut

OK, I'll admit it: I like Anthony Bourdain. He's that rarest of individuals, a smart-ass Noo Yawkah (cough, cough). He's also a chef and best-selling foodie author. I like his show No Reservations on the Travel Channel. He'll go anywhere and eat anything, and investigates the local culture while he's at it. He's funnier'n and ironicer'n shit, with quite a bit of insight while he's about it.

When the trouble started in Lebanon a few weeks back, he was there to do his regular show. I doubt he got to do it, but whatever he did is going to be on tonight. I have no doubt it will be interesting. Read his article about Beirut at Salon.

Then, in the blink of an eye, everything went sideways: Relaxed smiles froze and disappeared. Suddenly, there was the sound of automatic weapons firing randomly in the air from a nearby neighborhood. And fireworks. Then cars -- a few of them -- teenage kids, women and adults, some leaning out the windows and waving Hezbollah flags and flashing the "V" for victory sign, celebrating what we were told, after a few quick cellphone calls, was the grabbing of two Israeli soldiers. Our fixer, a Sunni; Ali, a Shiite; and "Marwan," a Christian, who'd just minutes ago been pointing proudly at the mural -- all three looked down in embarrassment, a look of sorrow, shame and then resignation on their faces. Someone muttered "assholes" bitterly. They knew -- right away -- what was going to happen next.

Don't miss the article. Here's the 'printer friendly' page, but the ad I got to watch at the other link was for Spike Lee's documentary about New Orleans after Katrina, "When the Levees Broke".

Is War A Part of Human Nature?

You hear this alot from various people,even liberals sometimes,that war has to happen before there's ever peace.That war is just an inevitablity,it's"the way things are". I was reading some quotes from Micheal Ledeen over the weekend(what a piece of work this guy is,holy shit)in a book I'm reading(more on that later),and it got me to thinking about what happened to people to make them only want to feed upon the worst humans can do.Maybe the better question is: Is being destructive just a part of human nature we can do nothing about?

A common arguement uses the animal kingdom(which is accurate to a huge degree,we are mammals after all)and the food chain as an example of yes,we fight for survival,we kill to eat.And therefore,it's in our nature to be protective of our food chain and by extension our personal property,even if it means someone's gotta die in the process.But this is way different than war.Animals don't commit genocide,except for human animals.War is a Human Creation.Animals don't drop bombs and use horrifically toxic chemicals to kill or maim thousands,even millions of living creatures(war destroys the landbase too folks,not just houses and people). Animals don't plot and plan to systematically destroy entire other groups of animals.I don't notice any animals living in mansions(except pets)or getting rich off of war,or owning large companies with fleets of private jets either.Only humans do the mass killing thing.And only we toxify our landbase(which is really stupid-THE most stupid thing we've done,bar none).I find it hard to believe that humans are at the top of the proverbial heap just so we can seek and destroy everything that lives,that makes no freaking sense. Or that we evolved just to sit in front of a TV,computer or video games,spend all our time in buildings or cars and shop(a lifestyle that creates the impoverishment of others and destruction of their landbases,which is kind of a larger part of why America isn't on everyone's happy list). Or work(and go to school) in buildings with windows that often don't open, often looking out on other buildings with windows that don't open.

Maybe we're cranky and mean because we don't live as a part of the planet anymore.We've created a huge separation between us and the land(this is especially true in cities).Instead of being a part of a living breathing planet,we've become fearful of nature,view it as an enemy full of danger.It has to be subdued,"managed","cleared","developed",even stolen(or forceably sold)in the name of"progress".That's not a natural way of being at all. I think if we were more aware and in tune,and stopped confusing needs with spoiled wants, we'd be less apt to be assholes when it comes to looking ahead at consequences for actions. The rich boy "canned hunt"thing is prime example of this disconnect,it seems like the more wealthy and privledged you are,the bigger the disconnect.This goes past just living in a "bubble". It's a sickness,is sickness"normal"?

There is no"away"where we can throw all our crap you know,it all sits in SOMEONE'S back yard,even if it ain't yours,yet.The planet is only so big,and all these ecosystem dealies are connected,you can deny it all you want,but that is a fact.You mess with the water in too many places and pretty soon all(or at least most) of the water is gonna be a mess.We can go without food longer than water,and yet we really don't get how important it is that it remain clean,otherwise we'd never have allowed it to become polluted.When the water's polluted, the land(you know,where our food is supposed to grow,where kids are supposed to play,the surface we build our homes on)becomes toxic too.Alot of the crap we've created doesn't just crumble and become harmless either. The more heinous examples would be shit like Depleted Uranium or Plutonium,but even the stuff we use daily contains chemistry that doesn't break down into harmless stuff later on.Hell some of this shit won't break down for millions,even billions of years.Rather stupid of us honestly.

So I wonder,what happened to us? Was it the creation of big cities that started this disconnect? It sure seems so,looking at human history. I don't think this is "normal",if anything I think it's this disconnect with nature(and you don't have to be a"hippie treehugger"to get that poisoning one's landbase is insane)that's led us down this path.

I'm not saying we should give up and move into caves either.But surely we can do better than this.And even if every well off human gave up and moved to a cave,industry and economic practices(and those who own and control them) would continue to do damage as long as they could.One wise move might be to slow the hell down a little.Do we need 20 new breakfast cereals in the next year or two?Or a new and bigger SUV design?What if we just started by using what we have?

I don't know what the answer is,but in my heart I just feel like destruction isn't something"normal"at all,and maybe if humans weren't ripping the shit out of everything on the planet we might be less prone to being so collectively sad and pissed off so much.What do you think?

Why,it's a multicultural extravaganza around here,lol.

We're having a ton of work done to the outside of our house,starting today. The contractor who owns the company doing the work is Israeli.His crew is hispanic, except for one guy who is from India.Once the new siding is up,the painters will be coming in and most of those guys are Italian.

And you haven't lived until you've heard an Israeli speak fluent Spanish,lol(Hubby says the guy speaks something like 9 languages,all fluently).Which goes to show ya,we CAN all get along,at least when it comes to working.And yes,all those hispanic guys are legal immigrants,Mr Israeli Contractor dude can't hire illegals and then get a contract with the company my hubby works for.(which means also we're getting a great deal on all this work since my hubby approves all the contractors before they get hired by his company and have thrown them lots of business over the years.My big question was whether we were allowed to use the people who also end up working for hubby on his job,so he asked his bosses who said,sure,why not? It doesn't have a thing to do with his job,since we hired them ourselves.)

So,for the next 3 or 4 weeks,there's gonna be alot of hammering,sawing,ripping and tearing and who knows what else going on around here.Oh,and the last 3 windows that need replacing will be taken care of too.Now maybe my house will hold heat in the winter and stay cooler in the summer.And that ugly siding will be a thing of the past,AND finally the house will be the color I wanted it painted 9 yrs ago,lol.

I got nuthin' ...

Spent the last hour and a half typing up questions for Dave Mejias when I head over to his HQ this afternoon. Thanks to all who submitted.

Gotta get to work ...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quote of the Day

Visual today. Watertiger:

New word for 'Batshit Crazy'

From the Naples (FL) News:

The Urban Dictionary, an online resource for only the hippest words and phrases recently added the term "Katherine Harris crazy" to its lexicon.

No joke. (Any nonbelievers can check it out themselves at's how they define Katherine Harris crazy: Noun. As insanely optimistic as Congresswoman Katherine Harris. Usually characterized by an overly optimistic estimation of someone's chances of achieving success.

According to the dictionary, here's how the phrase is used in a sentence: "Did you hear Jim just bought 500 dollars in lottery tickets? That boy is just Katherine Harris crazy if he thinks he's going to hit the jackpot."


Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out

Daddy Frank via Rozius. Go see the cartoon, too.

Frank Rich is back and he gleefully reports that Karl Rove's favorite campaign theme has finally died a well deserved death.

The results are in for the White House's latest effort to exploit terrorism for political gain: the era of Americans' fearing fear itself is over.

t's not as if the White House didn't pull out all the stops to milk the terror plot to further its politics of fear. One self-congratulatory presidential photo op was held at the National Counterterrorism Center, a dead ringer for the set in '24.' But Mr. Bush's Jack Bauer is no more persuasive than his Tom Cruise of 'Top Gun.' By crying wolf about terrorism way too often, usually when a distraction is needed from bad news in Iraq, he and his administration have long since become comedy fodder, and not just on The Daily Show. June's scenario was particularly choice: as Baghdad imploded, Alberto Gonzales breathlessly unmasked a Miami terror cell plotting a 'full ground war' and the destruction of the Sears Tower, even though the alleged cell had no concrete plans, no contacts with terrorist networks and no equipment, including boots.

As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It's hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who've presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined (my em).

Daddy-o has a few words about Cheney, Chertoff, the gasbags, and Lamont's victory as well. Enjoy. That's our Pop!

Gasbags v. Taylor

If you understand legalese, or are in need of a nap, please go read Glenn Greenwald on the misconceptions surrounding Judge Taylor's ruling in the NSA surveillance case. I read his post word for word and then pondered it for a few moments with eyes closed, chin on chest, and hand on mouse. Very refreshing.

(1) There is a fundamental difference between (a) a judicial ruling which reaches the correct legal conclusions but explains and/or analyzes the issues poorly, and (b) a judicial decision which reaches the wrong legal conclusions by using poor legal reasoning, but nonetheless produces desirable political or practical results. The decision from Judge Taylor is in category (a), not category (b), and nobody (at least that I have heard) is arguing that the decision should be celebrated despite its having reached the wrong legal conclusions.

Appellate courts cannot and do not reverse judicial decisions because the opinion was written poorly or because the reasoning was unconvincing. If the Sixth Circuit ends up thinking that this was the worst and most erroneous written opinion ever, but nonetheless agrees with the conclusions the Judge reached but for completely different reasons (on standing, the Fourth Amendment, FISA, etc.), the District Court's decision will be affirmed, not reversed. A bad or poorly reasoned opinion is not grounds for reversal. Only a wrong conclusion constitutes such a ground.

The significance of Judge Taylor's ruling lies in the act itself -- the re-affirmation of the principle that the President's conduct is subject to judicial review and is subordinate to the laws enacted by the American people through their Congress. This administration, while claiming it has substantial legal authority for its radical executive power theories, has desperately tried to avoid judicial review of the President's conduct at every turn --- with the abuse of the "state secrets" doctrine, the Specter bill, the denial of judicial review to detainees, the refusal to ask the FISA court for a ruling on the legality of its program.

The significance of Judge Taylor's ruling lay not in the quality of her judicial opinion (which everyone gets to feel really smart by demeaning), but instead it is the resounding rejection of the extremist and dangerous theory that the President, because of the "war" we are fighting, has the right to operate without constraints of any kind, including those imposed by the Constitution and Congressional statutes. On that key issue, the court's analysis was correct and even powerful. But by all means, let's get on with some more fun, self-glorifying attacks on the lack of scholarly depth of this single opinion from Judge Taylor. That is really the issue on which the fate of Republic depends.

There's an old saying that "emergency knows no law", but it apples to things like running red lights to get to the hospital so your wife doesn't give birth in the car. The so-called "War on Terror" is an ongoing situation and does not rise to the level of an emergency. The NSA program (and others) is a presidential abuse of power designed to expand executive power, cancel out checks and balances, undermine the Constitution, and subjugate the rights of citizens to rule by fiat.

Citizens, not 'subjects'. Notice the similarity between 'subject' and 'subjugate'. Americans are 'citizens', meaning they have a say, at any rate are supposed to, in the way their country is run. Englishmen are 'subjects' of the monarch, and have no say. If I remember my history correctly, I believe there was a war, or insurgency, or uprising, or revolution to create that all-important difference.

Yes, I want the terrorists eavesdropped upon. Sure. The president is no better than the rest of us, in fact not nearly as good as an awful lot of us, and he (not 'He') must obey the law just like the rest of us or he is guilty of a crime, just like the rest of us would be, and he must pay the price, just like the rest of us would.

Bush knows this. Right now he's like a skater on a pond who knows that he's skated over a lot of really thin ice. He can't go back, so he must proceed, and hopes the ice thickens back up.

Hear that cracking sound, Chimp-o? That's the Spring of reason and law starting to thaw out our country after your awful neocon criminal Winter. You're goin' in the water, chump.


So you think you're too busy? Go see this.

Daily Dave

From Dave Mejias' bio; something that appeals to me greatly:


An active involvement in the Latino community is especially important to Mejias, a first-generation American whose parents met in an English class for adults in Hempstead. His father sought asylum in the United States after being imprisoned in Cuba for anti-Communist, pro-Democracy activism, and his mother migrated to the US, leaving behind economic strife in Ecuador.


My parents came to this nation to make a better life too. They found the American Dream and gave me the foundation to make a good life for myself, with the help of the most wonderful woman in the world of course (who is, by the way, the granddaughter of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants).

We need Dave Mejias in Congress, a guy who's not so far removed from his roots that he takes being an American for granted. My immigrant parents stressed that to me more than anything, how great this country is (because they knew how bad it was in postwar Europe) and how anyone can make it here with hard work. I'm sure Dave's parents did as well.

Do you think Peter King gives a damn about immigrants? Newsday has proof he doesn't. Like we say in NY, 'trow da bum out'.

Help Dave Mejias defeat Peter King in November.

Dave for America


Vote for Dave on Election Day. Do you live in NY-03?

And remember, I'm stopping by Mejias Headquarters tomorrow afternoon. Any quesitions you might have for the candidate? Leave 'em in comments and I'll pass 'em on.

Drinking the sand

Leadership or the lack thereof. Athenae has an excellent post up:


(Incidentally, the best indictment I ever saw of this syndrome was on the FX show "Rescue Me," when a firefighter who'd lost friends at Ground Zero was asked to speak to a "grief counseling" group full of people who were miles away when the planes hit. The firefighter, understandably, loses it and tells them they're a bunch of pussies. Sympathy, after all, having a hierarchy, and everyone not equally affected no matter how much, in a really sickway, they wanted to be.)


The real trouble was, it was bullshit from the start. If this truly had been a great cause, Bush would have called for enlistments and conservation, not spending and travel. If this truly had been the transformation of our country, Bush would have called for charity to alleviate the desperation and poverty that makes hatred of America seem like a solution. If Sept. 11 had been the wakeup call that everybody said it was, five years ago, we'd have rededicated ourselves to making this country, truly, the richest and most prosperous and free nation on earth, so that if somebody wanted to hate us for our freedoms, at least we'd deserve it.

If Sept. 11 had been the making of us, we'd be painting schools in Afghanistan, not in Iraq. And Osama would be swinging from a tall tree.


As I said before, I've had the privilege of having a couple great commanding officers and I've had some shitheads. I know what a good leader is when I see it and I knew Bush was no leader long before he was elected. 9/11 and the resultant mess came as no surprise. This is an oustanding 'must-read'.

And just a note to folks who were so traumatized by 9/11, though you were miles and miles away. Shut up. I'm tired of hearing '9/11 changed everything'.

Ask the folks who go to Manhattan and work in a place once darkened by the shadows of WTC how that goes. Better yet, ask the 'terrorist magnet'* I'm married to who incidentally works across the street from the Pit. She and her colleagues were back in the building as soon as it was deemed safe. We mourned and buried our dead and then we moved on. [I should say most of us have moved on. Some have clung to that day because it's the only thing that gives their lives meaning.]

If we in New York were like a lot of the simpering chickenshits in this country, afraid of our shadows and the bad swarthy people, the city wouldn't run (I'd love to see some of the bigots on the right walk down our streets and not shit themselves. We got some neighborhoods that look more like Khandahar than NYC. Hell, my new neighbor wears a turban and his wife a burkha; lovely people btw and Shayna is friends with their chickens, the people on the other side are Sikhs, though I don't think the bigots could tell the difference.). Three million people use the NYC subway system every day, another few million use the East River and Hudson River crossings and while we keep the threats in the backs of our minds, it doesn't change what we do, the same things we did before 9/11.

We, the people who were attacked on 9/11, dare I say were allowed to be attacked, are not the ones calling for American Jihad.

*For those of you who don't know, Mrs. F was at WTC in '93, on the Long Island Railroad train with Colin Ferguson, and at WFC on 9/11.