Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday whorage

Of course, another chapter of Thirty Days at Zeta is up at The Practical Press.

And, as a bonus, more from the house remodel.

As always pimp what's near and dear to you, or stuff we should know, in comments.

Quote of the Day Zwei

"On my left and right feet, I actually wear two different shoe sizes - a '9', and an '11'." - Rudy Giuliani

Jimmy Carter forgives Cheney; promises to build him a wood jail cell

"The real Christian thing would be to nail that fucker to the cross. (Talk about lust in my heart.)"

Thanks, Don.

1932 Redux

The Regressive Antidote has a message of hope in today's 'must read'. Alert: this guy doesn't think very highly of the Clintons, but has an 'any port in a storm' sensibility about her/them. Rightly so. I think.

Welcome to 1932, redux. Almost all the elements are there, fortunately. And not a moment too soon.

In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt and a dire national emergency combined to wrestle the republic away from the death-grip in which the Republican oligarchy of the time was holding it, and in doing so dramatically expanded outward the envelope of progressive government in America, as well as establishing a progressive governing coalition that lasted four decades and more.

[...] In my judgement, it is truly not too much to imagine this being the beginning of the end for the GOP, or perhaps a period in which it exists merely as a rump party in Mississippi, Utah, and other equally progressive outposts. [...]

Heh. I think a lot of Repugs like that 'rump' idea...

[...] We should make no mistake but that nobody actually votes for Democrats these days. Instead, they either vote for the Republicans, or against them. How else could it be since you’d need a microscope to find what it is Democrats stand for.

For now, I'm just be glad for them to stand against the Repugs. If only...

It ain’t everything I’d want, but honestly, it ain’t bad either, and I mean that even without resorting to a slam-dunk comparison against the present nightmare (anybody can do better than these guys, just by showing up).

Hell, they could do better than the current assholes by not showing up!

This is a very entertaining read. Go get entertained.

'Perfecting' zee Chews

Du vill click, ja?

Thom Hartmann:

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) called on media to stop inviting Ann Coulter as a guest commentator and strongly condemned her comments that Jews should be “perfected” by accepting the New Testament and that America would be better off if Judaism were “thrown away” and all Americans were Christian.

“While Ann Coulter has freedom of speech, news outlets should exercise their freedom to use better judgment,” said NJDC Executive Director Ira N. Forman. “Just as media outlets don’t invite those who believe that Martians walk the earth to frequently comment on science stories, it’s time they stop inviting Ann Coulter to comment on politics.”

It's tempting to think that the Coultergeist could be 'perfected', but it's illegal to do what would be necessary. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit anyway. A prefrontal lobotomy with ski poles would be an improvement though.

Similarly, Justice Antonin Scalia turned history on its head several years ago when he attended an Orthodox synagogue in New York and claimed that the Founders intended for their Christianity to play a part in government. Scalia then went so far as to suggest that the reason Hitler was able to initiate the Holocaust was because of German separation of church and state.

Justice Scalia and Ann Coulter may well benefit from looking back at the photographs that came out of Germany that were all over the newspapers and news magazines at war’s end. The photos that can be seen, for instance, at of the Catholic Bishops giving the collective Nazi salute. The annual April 20th celebration, declared by Pope Pius XII, of Hitler’s birthday. The belt buckles of the German army, which declared “Gott Mit Uns” (”God is with us”). The pictures of the 1933 investiture of Bishop Ludwig Müller, the official Bishop of the 1000-Years-Of-Peace Nazi Reich. That last photo should be the most problematic for Ann Coulter and Justice Scalia, because Hitler had done exactly what Scalia is recommending - he merged church and state.

Which brings up one of the main reasons - almost always overlooked by modern-day commentators, both left and right - that the Founders and Framers were so careful to separate church and state: They didn’t want religion to be corrupted by government.

Well, that's a new angle, to me anyway. It seems a little ass-backwards, but I think I get his point: 'tis better for them to be corrupt separately, for corrupt both government and religion surely are. It's when they mingle and combine their corruptedness that truly bad things happen.

Mr. Hartmann goes on with a buncha historical stuff involving famous figures going on about separation or combination of church and state. Interesting stuff.

In some distant place, Adolf Hitler and Bishop Müller must be smiling at Ann Coulter and Justice Scalia’s encouragement of the growing conflation of church and state in America. It’s exactly what they worked so hard to achieve, and what helped make their horrors possible.

And Thomas Jefferson and James Madison must have tears in their eyes.

On the plus side, the Founders and Framers are spinning so fast in their graves it may help solve our energy problems.

Especially when Coulter and Scalia get their ovens fired up.


Go see this.

Quote of the Day

“There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight,” retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told a convention of military journalists on Friday.

Thanks for telling us now.

I told ya ...

9/11 was just an excuse:


And now that we can be totally sure that Iraq was for oil—even in the absence of the suppressed records of the Cheney energy task force—and we know that massive warrantless surveillance was the order of the day immediately after Bush took office, it looks like what “changed” after 9/11 wasn’t “everything,” but just the catapult Bush used for the propaganda. Eh?


Friday, October 12, 2007

What moves me ...

On a Friday night:

Cream doing Stormy Monday.

Blind to the irony...

Click to make them weak bigger

It’s the Oil

Good read in the London Review of Books:

Iraq is ‘unwinnable’, a ‘quagmire’, a ‘fiasco’: so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be ‘stuck’ precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no ‘exit strategy’.

Was the strategy of invading Iraq to take control of its oil resources actually hammered out by Cheney’s 2001 energy task force? One can’t know for sure, since the deliberations of that task force, made up largely of oil and energy company executives, have been kept secret by the administration on the grounds of ‘executive privilege’. One can’t say for certain that oil supplied the prime motive. But the hypothesis is quite powerful when it comes to explaining what has actually happened in Iraq. The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.

Still, there is reason to be sceptical of the picture I have drawn: it implies that a secret and highly ambitious plan turned out just the way its devisers foresaw, and that almost never happens.

Three things that Cheney knows about and Bush thinks he does are oil, power, and politics. Profit, to the detriment of everybody and everything else, is their specialty.

Yes, we need oil for the foreseeable future, but we should not be invading and conquering nations to get it. Our oil companies are perfectly capable of swindling them out of it without military intervention and countless needless deaths.

When is a twelve-year-old boy with brain damage a threat? When you're a Repuglicant and losing.

Joe Brewer weighs in on the RS3M* campaign against Graeme Frost.

When is a twelve-year-old boy with brain damage a threat? When he exemplifies the good a government program can do when it provides health security to middle-class Americans.

Conservatives want the popular and successful State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to fail. They fear that if the government helps sick children, more people will start to believe it can ensure health security for everyone. Here's a newsflash: Government can ensure health security for everyone. Governments do exactly that in every other wealthy nation in the world. We just have the bizarre misfortune of living in a country where profit motives stand in the way of adequate care. (The Rockridge Institute will soon launch its Health Care Security Campaign to thoroughly explore these issues, and you can sign up to be notified when it begins.)

You can see the conservative argument clearly in the way they attack young Graeme Frost. In its essence, it is this:

Health care is a privilege that must be earned. If you earn enough to provide for your family but are denied insurance, you must give up all comfort and security to pay for medical treatment. Sell your house. Let insurance companies snatch your savings. Only when you are destitute will it be appropriate for our government to help.

This is how it is presented on the web site of conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, the most prominent flame thrower on this issue:

"But Mark Tapscott's point remains: [P]eople make choices and it's clear the Frosts have made the choice to invest in property and a business, but not in private health insurance. The Maryland-administered version of the federal SCHIP program, by the way, does not impose an asset test on applicants."

There is great practical irony in the conservative position. People of modest means must choose between "investing" in either health care or a home and business. In their world, the parent who goes for a home and business (which provide the child with those other things you need to live like food and shelter) over health care and then goes bankrupt when their child gets sick deserves it because they are bad parents for not providing the health care. The idea that a family should be shackled to an insurance premium instead of being able to better their lives by buying their own home and starting a business is perfectly OK to them.

Apparently, Michelle Ramalamadingdong feels you should pay rent to a landlord, work as a wage slave, spend all your money on health insurance to the enrichment of Big Med, and thus live small and be in thrall to the Ruling Overlord Class all your life if you wish your children to get medical help when they need it if you're not rich. Or poor. That's not exactly the American Dream. What would Malkin know about that? She got hers by conning tiny-brained people. That's her and the Repugs' version of the American Way.

They can kiss my ass. Pardon me, young Graeme, but this shit 'Frosts' my balls.

E.J. Dionne and Paul Krugman also comment on this despicable Repug bullshit. They're smart and speak truth, but they're way too nice about it. Worth a read.

*Repuglicant Spin, Slime, and Smear Machine

The Hag's Fightin' Side

Joe Klein's been comin' around to a better way of thinkin' lately. Yeah, yeah, so sue me. Today's 'must read' is about his recent visit with Merle Haggard.

Merle Haggard has always had his guitar hardwired to the gutbucket pulse of Middle America. Back in the Vietnam era, he seemed the essence of a historic political migration: white males fleeing the feminized, antiwar, politically correct Democratic Party. He was your basic Reagan Democrat, fully loaded with a resonant, iron-edged voice and the ability to write razor lyrics that stuck in the mind and the craw. His brilliant anthem—Okie from Muskogee ("A place where even dead men have a ball" - G)—became a rallying cry for those who were disgusted by the "hippies out in San Francisco" smoking marijuana and burning draft cards. His next patriotic volley had this chorus: "When they're runnin' down my country, man, you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me." And so when I heard that Haggard had written a song endorsing Hillary Clinton for President, which you can hear him sing on, I was more than curious about the motivation for his apparent left turn. And Merle let me know that he was more than happy to talk politics, given that he has a new album, The Bluegrass Sessions, which seems a political and musical return to his family's Okie and New Deal Democratic roots.

But Haggard's greatest complaint is a matter of pride—and pride, in his hardscrabble past and his country, has always been his favorite song. "The thing that gets under my skin most about George W. is his intention to install fear in people," he said, after walking me down a hallway lined with gold and platinum records. "This is America. We're proud. We're not afraid of a bunch of terrorists. But this government is all about terror alerts and scaring us at airports. We're changing the Constitution out of fear. We spend all our time looking up each other's dresses. Fear's the only issue the Republican Party has. Vote for them, or the terrorists will win. That's not what Reagan was about. I hate to think about our soldiers over in Iraq fighting for a country that's slipping away."

Please read the rest.

The Hag's on the same fightin' side as the rest of us now. That's a good thing.

If the Repugs have lost Merle Haggard, they've lost a hell of a lot of other folks as well. Period. I was gonna say "they've lost America", but that's too close to what they've actually done.

Gratuitous video of Hag singin' Bluegrass here.

Enemies of the State

That would be you and me. Naomi Wolf has an excellent post up at FDL.


More times than I can count, courageous and confident men and women who are telling me about speaking up, but who are risking what they see as the possible loss of job, home or the ability to pay for grown kids’ schooling, start to choke up. Yesterday a woman in one gathering started to cry simply while talking about the degradation of her beloved country.

And always the questions: what do we do?

It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual — or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress.


It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes?

Is it treason yet?


In Germany, according to historian Richard Evans, in 1931-1932, if enough Germans of conscience had begun to say No — history would have had an entirely different outcome. If we go any further down this road the tears will be those of conservatives as well as progressives. They will be American tears.


Go read what I didn't steal.

Leaders ...

We don't have any. Our buddy Lambert:


And the last thing I remember Pelosi “leading” was the stampede of Democrats heading back to the district on vacation after they’d betrayed the Fourth Amendment, at midnight, when Harry Reid managed to pass the Republican bill gutting FISA.


Because all the Rethugs and a good portion of Dems look at us just like Nancy does. We're the 'Great Unwashed' who couldn't possibly know anything about what really goes on in Washington. We should just shut up and vote, and let them all do what they do.

The people who do know what goes on are the campaign contributors with big bucks and the means to hold fundraising parties. They always seem to get the politicians' ear, don't they? The rest of us should just shut up and be happy with what we get. Right, Nance?

Congrats ...

Couldn't happen to a better man:

OSLO, Norway - Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures needed to counteract it.


And just an addendum for all those folks who are pressuring him to run for the Presidency. I'd love it if he ran; probably get my vote, but I want someone who wants the job. Leave him alone and let him do what he wants.

My last post ...

About Rethugs beating up on little kids. As I thought, Malkin doesn't have the brainpower to think something like this up all on her own. Seems she got a shove in that direction:


ThinkProgress has obtained an email that congressional sources tell us was sent to reporters by Sen. McConnell’s communications director Don Stewart.


Surprised? Not me. It's a good rule of thumb to believe that any 'scandal' the right wing bloggers scream about is usually instigated by the Republican party itself. Do you think Ann Coulter's 'Jews perfected' bullshit was her own doing?

It's all just shiny shit to take the Dems' eye off the ball. Unfortunately it works most of the time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fear ...

Stolen from our pal Montag:

On 'discourse' ...

A great post at Shakes' place by Jeff Fecke:


Mitch was right: there is no line anymore, at least for the right. Everyone is "fair game." If they can advance a political point by attacking someone's child, they will do it. If they can take a political shot by staking out the home and business of an average American family that dares to have an opinion, they will do it. If they can attack a woman using her own ultrasound records for the sin of being both pro-choice and an excited expectant mother, they will do it.


Indeed. There is only a line when someone asks hard questions of a Republican.

Quote of the Day

Stolen unabashedly from BooMan:

"When the government awards a billion dollars in sweetheart mercenary contracts to a wealthy Republican family in Michigan, that's "private enterprise." But when the government helps a struggling middle-class family in Maryland send its children to the doctor, that's creeping socialism." -Joe Conason

Commemorations ...

One of my favorite smart guys learns we're gonna have one of those 'weeks'. You know, we got a 'week' for everything. National Sphincter Awareness Week, National Massage Someone's Breasts Week*, National Genital Wart Appreciation Week, that sort of thing. I'll let him explain:

David Horowitz (you all remember him, right? Deranged anti-intellectual wanker?) He has declared 22-26 October to be Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, to be represented with talks by such towering intellects as Rick Santorum, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity.


30% of us will be observing. I'd rather be aware of my sphincter. In fact, I'd rather have genital warts and appreciate them.

*And before I come home from work to find my front lawn filled with ladies carrying torches, pitchforks, and a noose, I do not mean to disparage National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a serious illness we should always be aware of. It was meant with lecherous thoughts in mind and the sheer joy of appreciating and playing with a nice set of female breasts for a week ... straight.

A testicle grows in Washington* ...

Some of 'em are listening. TPM:

I've just learned that nearly 90 members of the House of Representatives have now added their names to a letter to the President pledging not to vote for any more funding for the war and only to vote for supplementals that fully fund withdrawal and nothing else.

Back in July, 70 House members signed a similar letter vowing to only fund withdrawal. At the time, The Politico deemed this a "big development," adding: "This may be the beginning of the end for the Iraq War."


God bless 'em. Hope it's contagious. A list of those with good ears and a copy of the letter at the link.

*Apologies to Betty Smith.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bud Ekins 1930-2007

Normally, I would post this at Fixer & Gordon, but this is personal. This was a man I want everyone to know about.


Bud Ekins, a pioneering champion off-road motorcyclist and a veteran stuntman who doubled for Steve McQueen on the famous motorcycle jump in "The Great Escape," has died. He was 77.

A 1999 inductee of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Ekins was one of the first Americans to compete in the World Championship Motocross Grand Prix circuit in Europe during the 1950s. And by the mid-'50s, he was the top scrambles and desert rider in Southern California and had been district champion seven times.

His friendship with fellow motorcyclist McQueen, whom he helped teach off-road racing, launched Ekins' career as a movie stuntman.

Over the years, he amassed numerous stunt credits including the TV series "ChiPs" and films such as "Diamonds Are Forever," "Earthquake," "The Towering Inferno," "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers."

But Ekins' most famous stunt work was on his first job: doubling for McQueen in the climactic motorcycle jump over a high, barbed-wire fence in the 1963 World War II prisoner-of-war movie "The Great Escape."

"Steve could have done it himself," said Bob Hoy, a stuntman friend of Ekins. "He did the lead-up to it and rode the bike wherever he was running in that escape, but Bud did the jump. It was a tough jump. You only can do that kind of thing once; you either make it or you don't make it."

In the 1968 crime drama "Bullitt," Ekins also did stunt work for McQueen when his detective character drives his green Mustang in a high-speed chase with the bad guys in a black Charger over the hills of San Francisco.

But that wasn't all Ekins did on the hit film.

"One of the great things Bud did in the picture, he laid a motorcycle down on the blacktop during [the chase]. It was a hell of a shot," Hoy recalled. "Anything mechanical -- cars, motorcycles -- Bud was a perfectionist doing stunts. He could blueprint an accident and make it look real."

But, Hoy added, "Bud was an all-around stunt man. He could do fistfights and hold his own, he could say a couple of lines as a heavy and do a fall and what have you.

To hear Bud tell it, a collection of his bloopers would be a real treat.

Recalling her father's motorcycle shop, Susan Ekins said, "It was a hangout. My dad taught Warren Beatty how to ride; he taught everybody how to ride motorcycles."

Producer Jerry Weintraub, who knew Ekins for 30 years and described him as "a man's man," agreed.

"He taught most of the movie stars in this town how to ride motorcycles," Weintraub said. "If somebody wanted to buy a great motorcycle . . . they'd go to Bud Ekins. He was an icon."

Bud gave me my first job in the motorcycle industry. It was the best job I ever had, and the least money. We were not close personal friends, but he treated me good and we got along fine.

Through him, I met a lot of show biz folks, was in a movie, and got to go on all sorts of side trips running various kinds of errands in support of his activities. He was a real character with a terrific sense of humor, and I had a ball working for him. I've got an awful lot of funny stories about those days. I can't tell very many of them here on the one-in-a-million chance his wife might read this! Heh.

Bud was more than an employer. To all of us aspiring desert racers of the era, he was a hero and an icon in Southern California desert racing circles. The guy could flat fuckin' ride a 650 Triumph desert sled.

I shed a tear today. Godspeed, Bud.

Cronyism, Pumps, and Murder

The Rude Pundit on NOLA:

No matter which way you cut it, no matter what angle you look at it from, New Orleans is fucked. Fucked in a conglomeration of ways, kind of like a man whore at a gay gang-bang is getting dicks in every orifice and making ski poles out of the cocks in his hands, and there's still a line of dudes out the door waiting for a chance to fuck him some more.

We kinda got a theme today, huh?

See, not only might the pumps not work, but the contract for the pumps went to Moving Water Industries, a Florida corporation. The owner of MWI is J. David Eller. Eller was once a business partner of Jeb Bush, you know, the former governor of Florida who happens to be the President's brother. Bush-El, as their company was known, marketed water pumps overseas. Eller has donated over $140,000 to Republican candidates over the last 15 years. The contract had a $5 million "incentive" to do the work quickly.

They don't even try to hide this shit, do they? They know that no one gives a good goddamn. Cronyism with connections to the president's family and the chance that it might lead to more destruction in New Orleans? Fuck that. Britney's visiting her kids.

All that and the goddamn Saints are 0-4. It's like God just likes taking ginormous dumps on the Crescent City. And the rest of us just thank our lucky fuckin' stars it ain't happenin' here, as long as here is far enough away from New Orleans.

El Rude-o hasn't forgotten about New Orleans, and I put this in so we wouldn't either. But for the grace of the God of your choice, it could be any of us under this administration.

Dispensationalism, Hagee, the Coming war With Iran and Armageddon

I watched this show last Friday night. Go see some video and a comment by Rack Jite.

Bill Moyers Journal this week on PBS scared my pants off. It's a look into the organization Christians United for Israel led by Pastor John C. Hagee. In short it is a universal call to all Christians to help factions in Israel fund the Jewish settlements, throw out all the Palestinians and lobby for a pre-emptive invasion of Iran. All to bring Russia into a war against us causing World War III followed by Armageddon, the Second Coming and The Rapture so these Evangelicalfascists can go to Heaven in their lifetime. The wholesale thirsty enjoyable murder of 7 billion people. And of course the Jews who now support them will all go to Hell. And they call Muslims crazy murdering fascists?

I don't think the Muslims have a monopoly on 'crazy murdering fascists'. We got plenty of 'em right here.

In the sidebar at the site is this jewel:

I can give George W. Bush one thing, he is at least smarter than anyone who voted for him

No shit.

Pig in an Idahoan

You can't make this shit up. Go see an actual recipe for "Larry Craig's Super Tuber". Now there's a disturbing mental image.

In the absence of specific instructions, I guess whether you grease the hot dog up real good and ease it into the spud or ram it home dry is up to you.

God's Only Party

Go get a Dose of Durst:

Earlier this week, a clandestine cadre of controlling conservative Christian captains (bunch of right-wing religious nut jobs is what I'm getting at) threatened to run from the GOP like ducks from an alligator the size of a Buick if any infidel they don't anoint is nominated for president. And yes, specific former New York City Mayors were mentioned. Funny you should ask.

At a meeting in Salt Lake City, (where else -- you thought Vegas?) Heaven's Soldiers collectively decided they would rather support a burned beyond recognition, duck-billed platypus with wire coat hanger hands than a certain Mr. Rudolph Giuliani. Apparently the Mayor of 9/11 is not the answer to their prayers.

I would keep a close eye on anyone for whom JulieAnnie is the answer to their prayers...

Not only are some dogmatic noses severely out of joint from having the door of implemented policy change slammed in their apostolistic faces, but they also have a few canonistic bones to pick with some of their recent higher profile disciples such as Mark Foley, David Vitter, Larry Craig, and the Creator's own personal mouthpiece, Ted Haggard. Guys whose newsreels feature more extra curricular sexual footage than you'd run into at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch during an after hours party for the Adult Video Awards.

Of course, if they do form a third party, the big question is what to call it? "The Holier Than Thou Party," is a bit put offish. "God's Only Party" would be confusing, especially if the media tried to acronym it. "The Everyone Has to Live Like We Think They Should Live Party" is probably too long. I did come up with the perfect name, but unfortunately, "The Taliban," is already taken.

Enjoy the rest.

The stench of hypocrisy 19

Wonder what the man upstairs will say about this? These are the same people who tell you not to touch yourself 'that way'.

OCTOBER 8--An Alabama minister who died in June of "accidental mechanical asphyxia" was found hogtied and wearing two complete wet suits, including a face mask, diving gloves and slippers, rubberized underwear, and a head mask, according to an autopsy report. Investigators determined that Rev. Gary Aldridge's death was not caused by foul play and that the 51-year-old pastor of Montgomery's Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone in his home at the time he died (while apparently in the midst of some autoerotic undertaking). While the Montgomery Advertiser, which first obtained the autopsy records, reported on Aldridge's two wet suits, the family newspaper chose not to mention what police discovered inside the minister's rubber briefs...

Look, I don't care if you like to get trussed up like a Christmas turkey and violate your orifices with strange objects. If that's what gets ya off, god bless ya, I've seen stranger shit, but the hypocrisy of these people's ravings is unbelievable.

It's easy. Live and let live and nobody will care what you do in private. But don't preach against sexual experimentation and question others' "morality" when you're kinky enough to make a B&D* queen blush.

Looks like God has a sense of humor (or justice) or He wouldn't have let one of His mouthpieces die in a rubber suit with a dildo up his ass.

Off to the shop ...

*Bondage and Discipline, for those uninitiated.

Shit floats ...

To the top ... eventually. When the last Osama video came out, I expressed some reservations about its authenticity.

I'm no forensic engineer, but something strikes me funny about 'then' and 'now'.

Seems a few folks had the same doubts.


Osama Bin Laden's widely publicized video address to the American people has a peculiarity that casts serious doubt on its authenticity: the video freezes at about 1 minute and 36 58 seconds, and motion only resumes again at 12:30. The video then freezes again at 14:02 remains frozen until the end. All references to current events, such as the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, and Sarkozy and Brown being the leaders of France and the UK, respectively, occur when the video is frozen! The words spoken when the video is in motion contain no references to contemporary events and could have been (and likely were) made before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.


A few folks who know what they're looking at:


More important though are the edits. At roughly a minute and a half into the video there is a splice; bin Laden shifts from looking at the camera to looking down in less than 1/25th of a second. At 13:13 there is a second, less obvious splice. In all, Krawetz says there are at least six splices in the video. Of these, there are only two live bin Laden segments, the rest of the video composed of still images. The first live section opens the video and ends at 1:56. The second section begins at 12:29 and continues until 14:01. The two live sections appear to be from different recordings "because the desk is closer to the camera in the second section."


Are any of us surprised? Anybody not think the tape was 'edited' in the White House basement?

Thanks to Digby for the links.

Witch hunts ...

Yesterday I spoke, and linked to Digby's post, about the smear campaign against the family whose son spoke up about S-CHIP. Today, Ezra looks at the dysfunction of Michelle Fucking Malkin (thanks AOB) and the rest of her rabid followers:


It is a blessing and relief that these mobs, as of yet, do nothing more than smear, that the blood they exult in is figurative and the inflicted harm is emotional or occupational. But they are howling, braying, thirsty mobs nonetheless, and their frequent, communal savagings of chosen representatives of their enemies is ugly and unsettling. It's impossible not to wonder when the first one will drive by a house, and then decide to ring the doorbell, and then. Indeed, it's already come damn close.


I find 'em looking through my garbage, hiding in my bushes, and harassing my neighbors, they're gonna get a blast of 00-buck to their 'center of mass'. The cops are gonna be wrestling my dog for their rib bones. I don't fuck around when it comes to protecting my family. Been proven more than once. If you send your army of twits to my house, Michelle, make sure they're armed and ready for a fight. They might actually learn what it's like to go to Iraq instead of surfing the Net with their pants around their ankles, trying to smear 12 year olds.

Great thanks to Atrios for pointing this out.

Let's play Cornhole!

I'm NOT making this up. You may shoot me now, I've seen everything.

[...] The four-year-old American Cornhole Association now boasts more than 25,000 "cornholers," ambassadors of the game who have helped take it national, spawning a mockumentary film, an arcade version and tournaments.

Oh yeah, let's follow that circuit. Now there's a dream vacation. Or maybe we'll just go to the arcade...

Oy gevult.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A shitcan fulla 'legacy'

Click. Then watch where you step.

Hopefully, he won't need a ladder to get off that thing. Should be able to step right off a dead elephant. Maybe it'll roll over on him when it croaks. Win-win!


He'd be better than the Chimp:

Mikhail Gorbachev drew loud cheers in New Orleans Friday when he promised to lead a local revolution if the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't keep its promise to improve levees by 2011.

"We will be coming back," the Soviet Union's last leader said, through an interpreter, during a ceremony in the Lower Garden District. "If this pledge is not fulfilled, we will start a new revolution in New Orleans."


Great thanks to our pal Scout Prime.

State Dem group played hardball to kill GOP election system plan


Even as Democrats feared having to spend as much as $40 million for a bruising, bloody fight expected to drag on for months, this makeshift group of California Democratic operatives needed just weeks to pummel a Republican-funded push for a ballot measure that threatened to change the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.

The ruthlessly effective battle plan of the California Democrats' group raises the specter that, as the 2008 election looms, Republicans may have to confront a far more aggressive Democratic ground game that has revived the old "Clinton war room" philosophy.

"We need to fight back and not be reluctant - that if they come after you with a knife, to pull out a gun," said California Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, former spokesman for President Bill Clinton's White House and Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.

I heartily approve of shootin' 'em in the kneecaps and then jammin' their own knife up their ass! That's just me showing my bleeding-heart compassionate side.

The rest of the article is good, but I'm using it to lead into a personal opinion.

While we decry the Dems' constant caving in to Bush instead of givin' him what for, and rightly so, perhaps they're really onto something.

We elected a very bare majority of Dems, expecting them to fight like the blazes and undo the damage Bush and his Repugs have done. I'm beginning to see that they can't. Not yet. There's not enough of them. Yet.

For the disorganized Dems to take on the highly organized Repugs is somewhat akin to twenty nuns taking on ten Hell's Angels: they outnumber them, but not by enough. The best they can do is to get their asses kicked a little slower until they can get many, many more nuns.

The numbers as they stand aren't enough. Even with the majority, the Dems are up against a formidable enemy. They are backing up a little slower than they were before, but they have to put their resources where they'll do the most good until they can get overwhelming numerical superiority.

That opportunity will come next November. As much as we would like to see the Dems put an end to the Iraq flusterpluck and administration lawlessness in general right fuckin' now, it ain't got a snowball's chance in Hell until then.

The Repugs know they're going to lose big time in election '08. The California case shows the lengths to which they will go to try to get any advantage, along with their tried-and-true election-stealing, caging, voter disenfranchisement, etc., etc. They're damn good at it, and with their backs against the wall, even in a weakened state, they're still damn dangerous.

What is shown by the defeat of the proposed measure in California is that the Dems can get together and fight these bastards when they have to. And win.

It's all about the next election. Even if you're not happy with the Dems, and I'm not and you're not, they are our ONLY CHOICE. Yes, we want change NOW, but it ain't gonna happen. We don't like it, but that's the way it is. Period. If Bush decides not to leave, then it's a whole different ball game, but the way it stands now, we can only affect the change we want with a Democratic President and an OVERWHELMING Democratic majority in the House and Senate. Think of it as 'air superiority' - deny the sky to the enemy and you can bomb and strafe his ground forces at will. it's simply a matter of numbers and raw power, not of ideas.

The way we're going to get it is by putting aside differences on the finer points of philosophy and progressive ideology, and holding our noses and voting Democratic. We can get back to hammering on the Dems once the Repugs are knocked back to insignificance. This will be the Armaggedon of elections, a fight between good and evil, perhaps our last chance. Very simple. The only thing necessary to assure the continued dominance of evil will be to stay away from the polls in disgust or to vote for a third, or fourth, or fifth party candidate that will subtract from the Dems.

We need to come out for the Dems in such numbers that the Repugs can't cheat enough to beat us.

We are not in a position to pick our fights. This fight against the Bush cabal was thrust upon us by bad people, and it is the fight of our lives. And the lives of generations yet to come. We will not win by saying we're too weak to fight back. We win by ganging up on the bad guys. There are enough of us if we pull together.

To complete my metaphor, we need a veritable ocean of habits and wimples and a din of clacking rosary beads to beat the shit out of the bad guys.


If ya think I'm on a Paul Krugman tear today, I think yer right. From yesterday's Op-Ed:

Well, I don’t know what true conservatism is, but while doing research for my forthcoming book I spent a lot of time studying the history of the American political movement that calls itself conservatism — and Mr. Bush hasn’t strayed from the path at all. On the contrary, he’s the very model of a modern movement conservative.

How very reassuring...

Above all, people claim to be shocked by the Bush administration’s authoritarianism, its disdain for the rule of law. But a full half-century has passed since The National Review proclaimed that “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail,” and dismissed as irrelevant objections that might be raised after “consulting a catalogue of the rights of American citizens, born Equal” — presumably a reference to the document known as the Constitution of the United States.

Now, as they survey the wreckage of their cause, conservatives may ask themselves: “Well, how did we get here?” They may tell themselves: “This is not my beautiful Right.” They may ask themselves: “My God, what have we done?”

But their movement is the same as it ever was. And Mr. Bush is movement conservatism’s true, loyal heir.

I just wish I could thank Bush for ruining the Repugs once and for all. That's a good thing. If he coulda just run their end of the ship that is our country up onto the rocks, without making the rest of us swim for it and get beaten bloody, I would.

Early leak of bin Laden video slams doors on intel gathering

I think this is interesting. WaPo

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network.

A small number of private intelligence companies compete with SITE in scouring terrorists' networks for information and messages, and some have questioned the company's motives and methods, including the claim that its access to al-Qaeda's network was unique. One competitor, Ben Venzke, founder of IntelCenter, said he questions SITE's decision -- as described by Katz -- to offer the video to White House policymakers rather than quietly share it with intelligence analysts.

I'll go along with that - intelligence analysts don't make things political. It takes our so-called 'policy makers' to do that, and it's instantaneous in this administration.

It seems to me that whoever leaked this prematurely had some kind of ax to grind, whether it was a competing private intel-gathering firm (the notion of which raises questions as to is this the best method of getting the goods on al Qaeda and warning us) who wanted to knock the oppo out of the box, or some ____________ (fill in your choice of government intel-gathering agencies) agent for much the same reasons.

This time, I'm not going to blame the White House. They like privatization. They like collusion better than competition, but that's in the quest for profit and power, which may not apply directly in this instance.

At any rate, this leak sabotaged one intel source when we actually need all we can get. I wonder if we'll hear any more about it.

Krugman Interview

Today's 'MUST READ' and yes, I'm shouting. BuzzFlash interview with Paul Krugman, a mild min with brains and the balls of a lion.

Paul Krugman Has a Conscience, Which Makes Him Contemptible to Republicans Who View Caring About the Needy as a Sign of Weakness

[...] But very, very largely, if you ask how did liberal get to be a bad word, it's the theme that runs through a lot of the book, which is race. Liberal became somebody who was in favor of being permissive towards bad behavior by you-know-who. And that's been a problem. But I think the answer is not to run away from liberal and say, oh, I'm not one of those people. This is being used to distract and exploit working families all across the country of whatever color. So it's both politically impractical and just wrong to run away and say, oh, I'm not one of those liberals, because that's not the problem.

[...] In some sense, the meanness is the message. On the right, there's an almost lethal refusal to consider the problems of suffering of others. [...]

But to just say this isn't true conservatism -- well, this is what conservatism has been in America for over forty years. It may not be what people would like. There are some people who may consider themselves conservative who don't recognize themselves in these people, but this is what the movement is. One of the things that I think is important to say is that we tend to sanitize and romanticize the early members of this movement. So people say, well, Ronald Reagan wasn't like Bush. Actually, he was, a lot. Ronald Reagan was, in fact, a race-baiting, slander-using, perfectly modern movement conservative, way back in the 1960s It's not that there was this idealistic, noble movement that turned mysteriously into what's in the White House right now. It's been the same thing all along. In the book, I talk about the National Review and William Buckley in the 1950s. If you think that there were once these high-minded conservatives who had these good ideas about how we can have freedom, and maybe they're impractical, but they're not bad guys, then go back and read the National Review. You have these pæons of praise for Generalissimo Franco, and others exulting in the continuing ability of white Southerners to disenfranchise their black fellow citizens, with this kind of dismissive reference to a catalog of the rights of American citizens created equal as being about silly stuff. Of course, they're talking about the Constitution. This is what being a conservative in America was, for at least forty years, and maybe half a century.

t's very simple. Southern whites started voting Republican. You can look for other things. There were some other factors going on. There was some other shift in the voting behavior of other groups. But overwhelmingly, it's just that thing. And if you ask, what changed, the answer, of course, is the civil rights movement. The deal with the devil that the New Deal made, where it basically accepted segregation as the price of Southern support, came apart in the Sixties. Instead of something that was put to the side, race became a key way in which the right was able to attract voters who were, in many cases, voting against their economic interests.

Paul Krugman: Well, what Roosevelt wrought was actually bad for you if you were in the top 1% or top 10% of income distribution. It is actually true that the rich got poorer as a result of the New Deal.

BuzzFlash: Or less rich.

Paul Krugman: That's right -- less rich, if you prefer that. At the time, many of them did not appreciate that Roosevelt was maybe hurting their fortunes but saving their heads. As the memory of the crisis fades into the past, people just start to say why should I be paying taxes to support social insurance that I'm never going to need? And, not everybody who's rich takes that attitude, but enough of them do to basically fund their movement.

I could quote the crap out of this interview, as if I haven't already. Go read it.

Are you surprised?

I'm not. The Dems left their spines home once again:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.

Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.


At this point, I can't find a political party in America that represents me or my values*. Listen to me:

We want Hillary Clinton to have an 'imperial Presidency' as much as we want George W. Bush to have one.

A Dem with that much power is just as bad as a Rethug with that much power.

I want the balance of power between the White House, Congress, and SCOTUS restored. I don't want anyone to have the power the Chimp and Cheney have grabbed for themselves. I want a Congress to be able to put the brakes on a Presidency run amok. I want SCOTUS justices who are not ideologues.

I will not vote for a Democrat who hedges on the subject of Iraq. I want one who says "the troops will come home on January 21st 2009". I will not vote for a Dem who envisions a U.S. presence there in 2013. I will not cast a vote for the Presidency if the Dem candidate is equivocal on this illegal war.

I'm just about fed up with the lot of 'em. The running of this country has degenerated to the point it is no better than a high school student council (and some of them are run better) or a playground pecking order.

Good God! Did we send all of you to Congress just to piss me off or put me over the edge? Wake the fuck up before we don't have an America left. At least not one we recognize.


*I am a progressive. I am not a 'centrist' and I am certainly not a conservative. I do not believe in compromise with people who think the answer is to return to a Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best world that never really existed in the first place and never will exist in the future. I will not compromise with people who want a return to the 'Gilded Age' that brought about the Great Depression. I will not compromise with people who are scared of everything not familiar.

I believe there are some universal constants: The U.S. Constitution and real moral values, practiced without hypocrisy. I do not believe in looking backward aside from learning from our mistakes (we aren't too successful in that department, are we?).

The Future is coming, whether we bury our heads in the sand or not, and I want this nation to be prepared for it, I want this nation to be successful in it and have a leadership role shaping it. This world is overcrowded, poverty runs rampant over a good part of it, our climate is out of whack, and our future will be bleak if we don't address these problems now. Not ignore them, not put them off for a future generation to deal with. Restoring the integrity and credibility of this nation is my first concern and the only way to do that is to extend a hand of friendship across our borders and help those less fortunate enjoy what we have here. I want Americans to have so much more than they do now.

I believe in Humanity.

Compassionate Conservatism ...

2 kids and a house on $45,000/yr, and the Rethugs say they're too rich.


This is so loathesome I am literally sick to my stomach. These kids were hurt in a car accident. Their parents could not afford health insurance --- and sure as hell couldn't get it now with a severely handicapped daughter. And these shrieking wingnut jackasses are harassing their family for publicly supporting the program that allowed the kids to get health care. A program, by the way, which a large number of these Republicans support as well.


You know why? Because the conservatives' mantra is "all for me and fuck everybody else".

They find money to support 'war for fun' yet heaven forbid we try to help out fellow Americans who can't get insurance for their kids. And if, by chance, they do crack their wallets, they go out of their way to deny the benefits to as many people as possible.

More money has been wasted, stolen, swindled, and embezzled during this administration than in any other. The rich get tax cuts while the rest of us have to support this war and our crumbling infrastructure. We can spend $600 million for an Imperial Palace embassy in Baghdad, yet we can't manage to save a city that was once an American treasure. And if we do spend money to help out our citizens, most of it is stolen and wasted before it gets to those who desperately need it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

"It's over, George"

p m carpenter's commentary

George, listen up. Concentrate. Even your idol, Abe, would now call it quits. He would conclude that though he once had virtually no hope of winning this war, he now has absolutely no hope of winning this war.

That, at least, is what he'd conclude after ripping this morning's headline from the wire: "Top Iraqis Pull Back from Key U.S. Goal" -- followed by a lead that confirms the worst: "For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal."

That's it, George. That's the ballgame. That's all she wrote. There now officially remains not one solitary justification for staying the course, for there is no acceptable course on which to stay. Either Iraq is partitioned, which you oppose, or it settles into a permanent sectarian power structure of brutal ethnic cleansing and minority oppression, which you also claim to oppose. There is no other future, George, no Third Way.

Please note the use of the word 'officially'. The 'official', albeit unspoken but well known justification for this criminal war is and always has been OIL.

And George, Shiite pols, Sunni pols and Kurdish pols are now open about it. To say, as this news piece did, that "some potential progress toward reconciliation has run into recent trouble" is like saying Hitler's '43 Russian campaign hit a bit of a bump in the road. It's over, George, and all the pertinent players are conceding just that.

Since Iraqi pols are leaving no question about the direction of Iraq's future, that leaves us, George, with only one remaining question: How are you going to spin this one? We await your speechwriters' inventiveness, but frankly, even your idol, Abe, would no longer bother.

Go ahead, George, and tell us that we can't leave yet because we didn't steal contractualize all Iraq's oil yet and we wouldn't want all our troops to have died in vain by failing to get it. Go ahead, George, I dare you.

'Massachusetts Values'



First of all, it's disgusting to hear any of these people, including the "journalists" get away with derisively using the term "Masachusetts values" on television without somebody calling them out for its divisiveness. It is a derogatory right wing talking point. The Larry Craig Republicans should be ashamed of themselves --- the people of Massachusetts were the first in the union whose values translated to full equality for gay people.


Personally, when I think of 'Massachusetts values', I think of John Adams, John Hancock, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, etc.


A lot of people have pointed to the WaPo article that came out this weekend highlighting the interrogation techniques of the officers at Ft. Hunt during WW 2:

For six decades, they held their silence.

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.


Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration's methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.


It reminded me of a book I read about 20 years ago called Spy Catcher, written by a retired MI-5 officer who'd done the interrogations of Soviet spy Kim Philby.

When I read it at the time, I was struck by how civilized the interrogations were. No pain, no 'enhanced techniques', mainly talks over dinner. It was amazing the little verbal techniques used to uncover clues Philby did not give willingly, even during the time he protested his innocence quite vociferously, that alerted MI-5 to other spies within the Kingdom.

In those days, interrogation was an art form and the product derived was mostly sound and usable, unlike what people give up under painful questioning only to make the torture stop.

Thanks to the Chimp and the neocons, and their bloodlust, we have given up our humanity for questionable motives and questionable results.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Short and sweet ...

The Grand Dame:

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.

Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.


Link thanks to Maru @ UL

One day is a fantasy, 80 days are a nightmare


SAN DIEGO -- For 85 years young men have been coming here to see if they're tough enough to be Marines.

For the last six years, the Marines have opened up their gates one Saturday morning a year to let the public get a tiny taste of the strenuous process of turning recruits into Marines.

Call it fantasy boot camp, a chance to tackle a miniature version of what recruits do every day for 13 grueling weeks at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Sounds like fun, but dollars to donuts they don't treat the one-day-trippers anything like the kids whose names they got on a 4-year contract. And whose asses they fucking own.

Here's a real "fantasy boot camp":

Just like I remember it, ghost of John Wayne and all...

Quote of the Day

Brother Lurch:


When fighting insurgents or guerrillas, the moment you kill an innocent civilian you have lost moral superiority, and that is all you have unless you want to fight to the last. You may think (or pretend) that civilian was somehow involved in resistance, but the locals know best, and you’ve just created more resisters.


Yo, Chimp - ¡Mas Campesinos AHORA!


The administration is quietly relaxing visa regulations because farmworkers are in critically short supply.

"It is important for the farm sector to have access to labor to stay competitive," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "As the southern border has tightened, some producers have a more difficult time finding a workforce, and that is a factor of what is going on today."

The administration has pursued the project discreetly. The issue of immigration has generated friction between President Bush and the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which has strongly opposed many of the initiatives that Bush has pursued.

Go read the rest.

Shorter: The agricultural and other industries have told the Chimp to get more little brown people up here pronto lest the bottom line rots in the fields.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: the closest Bush has come to getting something right was his immigration proposals. The ones for Meskins, that is. Most of his immigration policies, like the one for displaced Iraqis, suck. The irony is that his xenophobic, pants-wetting, racist, drooling retard base wouldn't hear of it. Someone should tell them that the real terrorists come into the country on airliners, and the best dope comes from California or Afghanistan.

Money talks and bullshit walks. Now that the money has spoken, things are happening.

Best Title For A Country Song Ever

"It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long" by Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, and The Notorious Cherry Bombs. Lyrics.

Worth watching for many reasons, not the least of which is getting to see big-time country stars Crowell and Gill in drag. Liquid alert.

Better quality video with embedding disabled here.

We now return to our regular programming...