Thursday, June 30, 2005

Power to the People!

According to the WSJ piece "The Young and Ripped Off," this phrase now means something akin to "No Taxation without Privatization."

I recall protesting to keep clinic doors open, to end apartheid, and to stop the secret CIA wars in Central America. Not so that I can skate on my responsibility to contribute to society by paying my taxes.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Off to a bad start...

Nick Lampson, self-anointed challenger to Tom DeLay (r.i.p. Richard Morrison), begins his campaign with a fundraising drive and perhaps one of the worst slogans I've ever heard for a Democrat running in a conservative district.

"Turn (CD) 22 Blue!" Lampson implores his supporters on his campaign Web site.

Tom DeLay has enough problems and needs to be the focus of this election. This should be a referendum on his copious ethical lapses and downright dirty-dealings. But by asking voters to "turn 22 blue," you're making this election about Democrat versus Republican (not generally considered a smart strategy in Texas) and completely obscuring the real issues.

If Lampson really wants to win and not just be a celebrated martyr among Texas Democrats, he should essentially portray himself as a moderate, ethical Tom DeLay (one who is too concerned about the problems of CD 22 to engage in elaborate money-laundering lobby schemes, phony child-welfare charities, or $70,000 vacations to exotic golf courses in Scotland). Lampson will have plenty of time to tout his Democratic credentials when the Club for Growth paints him as a liberal, terrorist-sympathizing, weak-kneed pacifying, baby-killilng, gay-loving, God hating, reincarnation of Karl Marx himself.

Red versus Blue will not accomplish victory but will relegate Lampson (a great Democrat) to insignificance. Hell, Morrison would have a better shot.

Santorum Will Poison Your Baby

Guess who just voted against a ban on human pesticide testing? Our buddy Rick Santorum. The AP reports that the ban is specifically directed at eliminating EPA rules that would permit the "agency to accept data from human tests on children, pregnant women, newborns, infants and fetuses. Even newborns of 'uncertain viability' could be tested under the draft EPA rule."

If his next baby dies from pesticide poisoning, you think he'll still bring it home for the family to see?

Goodbye and good luck!

The damn Internet slays another icon.

At UT, TEX is an ex
University hangs up on telephone registration system

TEX, the University of Texas' telephone registration system, will say "goodbye and good luck" for the last time when it's laid to rest July 15 at 5 p.m.

"An era has passed," said William Livingston, UT senior vice president and the voice of TEX, who can be heard reading the system's eulogy at the TEX number. "Something will have to replace old TEX."

That something is the Internet.

Side note: I love this photo. Ol' Tex in seersucker with a crazy grin. That's how I think I always pictured him anyway.

This will put a smile on your face

The best op-ed by a Republican I've read in a long, long time. I'd excerpt it here but you should really read the whole thing. Really.

Marijuana Math

When is 12 greater than 85? When you're a patient with a "debilitating medical condition" in Rhode Island, that's when. That's because a bill legalizing medical marijuana by prescription passed the R.I. House by a vote of 52 to 10, and then passed the Senate on a vote of 33 to 1. But Gov. Donald Carcieri and the other 11 lawmakers will install their Taliban-esque will on Rhode Island's sick and elderly.

Democracy rulz.

Target Tappahannock?

I know we're supposed to all hate al-Jazeera, but this is getting ridiculous (from the Guardian):
CIA analysts forced 30 flights to be cancelled and raised the US terror alert from yellow to orange because they thought that al-Qaida was sending hidden messages through the headlines of the Arabic television news channel al-Jazeera, it has been revealed. According to a report by NBC, CIA experts thought they had decoded messages that they believed gave dates, flight numbers and geographic coordinates for targets that included the White House, Seattle's Space Needle and even the small town of Tappahannock, Virginia, which has a population of 2,000... But in an interview with NBC 18 months later [Tom Ridge] conceded that the intelligence analysis was "bizarre, unique, unorthodox, unprecedented", and that "speaking for myself I've got to admit to wondering whether or not it was credible.

As turns out,

it was a vote for Bush that was a vote for the terrortists (not the other way around).

Get it straight Tom Cole.

Border Cover-Up

Yet another cover-up from BushCo - I'm sure everyone will just sigh and mutter 'there they go again' because we're all so used to shit like this - but here it is anyway:

President Bush's proposal for a guest worker program to help stem the tide of illegal immigration actually prompted a surge of illegal border-crossings that the administration then sought to cover up, a watchdog group charged today, citing a 2004 survey by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Judicial Watch, a Washington-based public interest group, said the survey, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that 61 percent of a sample of detainees who had been caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border in the wake of Bush's proposal said they had been informed by the Mexican government or the media that the Bush administration was offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. Nearly 45 percent said the purported amnesty influenced their decision to enter the United States illegally, Judicial Watch said.

"The results indicated that President Bush's proposal had actually lured greater numbers of illegal immigrants to violate the law," the group said in a 16-page report on the Border Patrol survey. It said the Bush administration aborted the survey on Jan. 27, 2004, within a few weeks after it began, because it was producing "politically inconvenient and/or potentially embarrassing data." The U.S. government never issued a report based on the survey.

"The White House directed Homeland Security public affairs officers to deliberately withhold information from the public and the media about the Border Patrol survey and a related spike in illegal immigration," Judicial Watch said, citing documents it obtained under the FOIA.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ha Ha

From The Note:

Dear Mr. President:


Matt Lauer said this on network TV this morning:

"Twenty-one after the hour. If you'd like to watch President Bush's address to the nation tonight on Iraq, you can see it at 8:00 Eastern Time on MSNBC. Back in a moment on a Tuesday morning, this is Today, on NBC."

(A Note program Note: At this writing, as far as we know, here's what is on NBC instead of you: Average Joe: The Joes Strike Back LINK

"Stunning 26-year-old red-headed Anna is looking for love. Can she find it with an average Joe? Watch as this unsuspecting model is surprised by the arrival, not of traditional leading men, but by a swarm of well-intentioned average Joes."

"The enthusiastic guys hope to woo and win her over with their charm and personalities. But first, they'll have to navigate through an all-new series of dramatic challenges, outrageous surprises - and their toughest competition yet - seven strikingly handsome jocks who are cocky and confident that Anna will only have eyes for them."

"Plus, each week one lucky Joe gets a total makeover and surprises Anna with his new look. With plenty of romance, a trip to Tahiti and new twists at every turn, this new season promises lots of summer fun. Hunks beware, the Joes are fighting back!")

Club Guantanamo

Here comes the revisionist history. Abuse? Human rights? Us?

"What's all the so-called fuss?" asks senile Sen. Jim Bunning in the New York Times.

"I feel very good," says Sen. Ron Wyden (DEMOCRAT) of the detainees' treatment.

US soldiers, "get more abuse from the detainees than they give to the detainees," says Idaho's Sen. Mike Crapo

See?! Things are just fine there. In fact, "They've never been treated better and they've never been more comfortable in their lives," says House Committee on Armed Services chairman Duncan Hunter.

Political Asylum has obtained these exlusive images from brochures being air-dropped on Afghanistan and Iraq:

Guests enjoy personal transportation attention courtesy of the US military

Our guests appreciate the first-class accomodations on Air Guantanamo

Try Club Guantanamo's brand new sensory
deprivation treatment
for the ultimate in relaxation

Don't Forget! Plastic Quran covers are available at the concierge to ensure your favorite book doesn't get urinated upon accidentally.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Democrats worse than terrorists?

It appears that the Bush administration consults more with "terrorists" than with members of the Democratic Party. What, are we worse than jihadists (the new favorite media term, whatever that means)?

High Court on a roll...


So... the Ten Commandments (by that I mean replicas used as publicity stunts by Cecil B. DeMille) are legal on government property but NOT on courthouse property (because courthouses aren't government property??).

The Rehnquist death watch/retirement watch continues...

Watergate Hatchet-man Feels "Betrayed" by Deep Throat

In a head-slappingly obvious story, Nixon spear-thrower and shady Watergate figure L. Patrick Gray says he felt "betrayed" by Mark Felt, who went around his back and talked to The Post's Bob Woodward instead of consulting with Gray (whose very purpose at the FBI was to purge potential whistleblowers like Felt).

Well no shit! Those caught doing dirty deeds always blame the "outers" as a disgruntled employee passed over for promotion. I'm just not sure why Gray's accusation warrants prime-time news coverage and a stand-alone story in the Post.

It's like Ken Lay blaming SEC officials with personal grudges for the collapse of Enron.

Malcolm X drummers -- now with photos!

A while back, I wrote about a Columbia Heights drum circle, see below.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Only in DC, Pt. II

Sure, make Durbin apologize, then admit the torture.


The best of TX political oratory

The Texas Observer has collected the Texas lege session's most soaring and salacious political oratory. My favorites:

“I’ve already yielded more than a cheerleader at a drive-in.”
—Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) on the Senate floor.

“It’s a learned behavior. It’s kind of like domestic violence or someone who drinks. There was someone in the family or close to the family who caused that.”
—Rep. Robert Talton (R-Pasadena) on homosexuality.

“If we outlawed everything some people find offensive, there wouldn’t even be a Texas in the first place.”
—Cindy Campos, lifeguard, on the bill by Rep. Al Edwards (D-Houston) to outlaw sexually suggestive cheerleading as “told” to the Onion.

“Every time I get stopped they want to search my vehicle.”
—Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) on the need for consent searches to stop harassment of people who look like him.

“I can’t define yours for you or you define mine for me. I don’t have a word-for-word description of it, but any adult who is involved with sex at all in their life—they know it when they see it. I can’t give you a demonstration this evening.”
—Rep. Al Edwards (D-Houston) on which sexually suggestive moves his sexy cheerleader bill would outlaw.

“I’m not sure we’d want one,”
replied Rep. Kent Grusendorf (R-Arlington).

“When you become black, Mr. Bohac, you will understand why there is a Voting Rights Act.”
—Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) in an exchange with Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) during debate on a measure that would make it more difficult for the poor and minorities to vote.

“This amendment is blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry. When people of my color used to marry someone of Mr. Chisum’s color, you’d often find people of my color hanging from a tree. That’s what white people back then did to protect marriage.”
—Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) on a bill by Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) to add a ban to gay marriage in the Texas Constitution.

Doctors think thumb-screws work best...

More from the brave new world of Newspeak from the Bush administration. In defending the practice of doctors advising "interrogators" (torturers) on how to better "increase stress levels" (torture) of "detainees" (humans without human rights) , the Pentagon had this to say to the New York Times:

Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman, declined to address the specifics in the accounts. But he suggested that the doctors advising interrogators were not covered by ethics strictures because they were not treating patients but rather were acting as behavioral scientists.

It's nice to know you can check the Hippocratic Oath at the door. At least one interrogator (torturer) was honest on the role these "behavioral scientists" (medically-licensed torturers) played:

"Their purpose was to help us break them."

What ever happened to "First, do no harm"?


Blogger now let's us easily add/host pictures on the blog. Yay!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Only in DC

. . . would you have to apologize for saying that barbaric and fascistic behavior is, well, barbaric and fascistic.

Senator Durbin, I am disappointed in you. You were correct the first time. You should have refused to apologize. Shame on you for sucking up to the Republican Noise Machine. What's next: Barbara Boxer retracting her challenge to Ohio's electoral votes? Stand up for yourselves, Dems! No one is going to do it for you.

Durbin's original statement ("If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings.") was the dead-on truth.

Americans should be ashamed of the treatment the Guantanamo prisoners received. I, for one, am ashamed to be from the same country as those who condone this behavior.

Supreme Court Strikes Again

Maybe I will feel differently after reading the entire decision, but the so-called "liberal" members of the Court (and I use that appellation very loosely) seem to have opened the door to this premise: any time anyone finds a use for land that would create more jobs and more taxes than the current use, the government can "take" it under the Fifth Amendment. This would require of course, that the government pay fair market value, but it effectively transfers all land-use power to the economic developers and away from more community-minded uses (such low-value uses, for example, as parks, open spaces, and apartment buildings).

As an advocate for the rights of communities, I am not so much concerned about the rights of poor, put-upon property owners. They can fend for themselves.

But I am concerned about what our already besieged communities will look like after Wal-Mart, Marriott, and Blockbuster video have convinced cities and burghs across the country that strip malls and hotels should replace homes, parks, homeless shelters, schools, and other public services in prime locations near city centers, beaches, lakes, and public transportation hubs.

Where will we all go when the apartment buildings are shut down? It boggles the mind.

Moonbeam for Atty General

Jerry Brown just got married (at 67) and is planning a run for AG of my home state.

I cut my teeth on this guy's Presidential Campaign. I wonder if he has any openings on his campaign staff...

You might also want to check out his blog (although it does not compare to the Asylum we are running here).


From today's NYT. In the middle of downtown Manhattan, Karl Rove seeks to reopen old wounds for a few bucks at the Conservative Party's fundraiser. Why doesn't he just stand on Ground Zero and burn an effigy of Howard Dean and give us the finger?
Rove Criticizes Liberals on 9/11

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers... Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

"It is time for this country to start building nuclear power plants again."

Bold words from a man who can't stop saying "Nook-u-lar".

How sleazy do you have to be... ask a rabbi to give you a fake award:

Yesterday's Senate hearing into superlobbyist Jack Abramoff's alleged defrauding of Indian tribes had something for everyone. There was the yoga instructor who took the Fifth. There was the lifeguard selected to run a think tank from a beach house at Rehoboth. And there was Exhibit 31, an e-mail from Abramoff to a rabbi friend.

"I hate to ask you for your help with something so silly but I've been nominated for membership in the Cosmos Club, which is a very distinguished club in Washington, DC, comprised of Nobel Prize winners, etc.," Abramoff wrote. "Problem for me is that most prospective members have received awards and I have received none. I was wondering if you thought it possible that I could put that I have received an award from Toward Tradition with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?"

There were titters in the audience as Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) read aloud the e-mail, then outright laughter as he continued reading: "Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

An idea whose time has come...

Glass Houses

I removed the subject of the following quote to highlight the irony of this:
"Today ___ is ruled by men who suppress liberty at home and spread terror across the world,” ___ said. ”Power is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy.”
Just so you know, this was our "leader" telling Iranians THEIR elections are illegitimate.

Roman orgy

From the Washington Post:
The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent. Only a few other businesses have enjoyed greater prosperity in an otherwise fitful economy...

The Republicans in charge aren't just pro-business, they are also pro-government. Federal outlays increased nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2004, to $2.29 trillion. And despite the budget deficit, federal spending is set to increase again this year, especially in programs that are prime lobbying targets such as defense, homeland security and medical coverage.

In addition, President Bush has signed into law five major tax-cut bills over the past four years.


I remember when things like this used to embarass an administration.

"Adios, mofo"

From the Star-Telegram. More from the Houston TV station.


From Capitol Buzz:
When Bill Frist stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate in March and diagnosed Terry Schiavo in Florida, he may have violated a Tennessee medical rule that requires a special license to practice telemedicine.

Chapter 0880-2-.16 of the Rules of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners states that “No person shall engage in the practice of medicine across state lines in this State, hold himself out as qualified to do the same, or use any title, word, or abbreviation to indicate to or induce others to believe that he is licensed to practice medicine across state lines in this State unless he is actually so licensed in accordance with the provisions of this rule.”

It looks like Frist violated this rule when he took to the Senate floor to make his diagnosis. Now it's up to us to make sure he is held accountable. Keep in mind that this is NOT the first time Frist has put his medical license in jeopardy.

Click here to learn how to file a complaint with the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. To contact the Board, call(615) 532-3202 or 1-800-778-4123.

A bit of Texas history

You wouldn't be reading this blog today if it weren't for Jack Kilby who died on Monday at his home in Dallas. The Washington Post has a nice write up:

Kilby won the 2000 Nobel Prize in physics for his 1958 invention of the integrated electronic circuit, which made personal computers, satellite navigation systems, cell phones and the $200 billion field of microelectronics possible. He invented the hand-held calculator, which commercialized the microchip, and held more than 60 other patents.

"In my opinion, there are only a handful of people whose works have truly transformed the world and the way we live in it -- Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and Jack Kilby," Tom Engibous, chairman of Texas Instruments, where Kilby worked for years, said in a statement. "If there was ever a seminal invention that transformed not only our industry but our world, it was Jack's invention of the first integrated circuit."

And the Dallas Morning News has this to say:

So take a few moments as you go through your day to appreciate the contributions of that guy whose name you probably won't remember a couple of weeks from now: Jack Kilby.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Kay Bailey for Veep?

Not just stupid, dangerous

This is the second time that ill-timed (or well-timed, depending on what you believe the US relationship with Iranian mullahs is really all about) remarks from our Idiot in Chief has crippled the reform movement in Iran.

Making remarks prior to two consecutive Iranian elections -- both with similar results -- may lead some to believe that the US is actually cozy with the fundamentalist mullahs that supress the rights of their people in Iran.

Birds of a feather...

Good for the goose: Part 2

I am speechless. After being proven wrong at every turn for his involvement in the Schiavo case, Jeb Bush -- apparently not concerned about the other actually abused Floridians in his state -- is seeking ANOTHER inquiry into the "lapse of time" between when Terri Schiavo collapsed and when her husband called for help.

So, since an elected public official cannot refrain from continually prying into the tragic personal lives of a family that has already gone through too much, here's my suggestion:

Let's have the media openly discuss Jeb Bush's private life. Hey, what about his crack-addict freakshow of a daughter? How did she get hooked on crack? Did she learn it from watching her parents? Are they crack dealers? Did they get it from the Bush family friend Pablo Escobar? I wonder if some other episode at the Bush home drove their daughter to crack. After all, their family does have a history of deception and violence. And what about son George P? We do know that he likes to get drunk and break into old girlfriend's homes and cause property damage. Maybe he learned that from Jeb or Connie? Are they still lying about not being alcoholics like brother George W?

I say the media explores these issues anytime it devotes column space to his perplexing interference in personal private matters.


All bets, unfortunately, are off

Kay Bailey ain't running (for guv, that is). The new question - can Strayhorn/Rylander/one tough grandma beat Perry? And would she be better?

Friday, June 17, 2005

What's good for the goose

is apparently too good for the gander. The Dallas Morning News yesterday published an article about how rich the Texas freshman class is.

Wealth aside (that is a topic for another rant), the article detailed a number of Texas Representatives who collect public pensions. Yes, we taxpayers, who are facing Social Security privatization and benefit cuts, and private pension funds being underfunded, converted to risky "defined-benefit plans," or going belly-up (sorry United employees), are paying for the "retirement" of folks who may have spent relatively few years in service and who definitely are not retired.

How many times have we heard of an average Joe being let go after 19 years on the job, coincidentally just one year before his pension vests? What is poor Joe to do? Serve as a Texas state or local judge or legislator, apparently.

Yes, I support fair pay and pension plans for legislators. How else will we have a snowball's chance in hell to get a citizen-legislature instead of a millionaire's club? Still, the level of pension need not be out of proportion to the pensions available to average citizens. And it should not be overly generous at a time when the state of Texas is underfunding Medicaid, SCHIP, and public education. And certainly not at a time when a few of those same legislators are considering cutting Social Security, all that stands between some Texans and an impoverished retirement.

Some examples of pensions now being collected (and yes, I only picked the Rs. Read the article if you want the rest.):

"Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, got $119,944 after retiring as a judge. . . . Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, collected $77,466. . . . Mr. Hall, a former county judge and state lawmaker, got $53,493. "

More on Texas Death Penalty

The American Prospect has a great (and depressing) piece on
The Unique Brutality of Texas.

Bolton's Replacement

Lost in all the brouhaha over Bolton is the news about the man that is replacing him. Moscow Times columnist Chris Floyd takes a look at our new arms control czar. But my favorite line has to do with Bolton (and is another example of why I love this guy's writing):
Almost no one has noticed his June 1 appointment of Robert Joseph as the new undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. Joseph takes the place of John Bolton, the warmongering blowhard and serial fabricator whom Bush has chosen to be the United States' walrus-moustachioed face to the world at the UN. Although Joseph is cut from grayer cloth -- while still sporting plenty of nasal foliage, which is obviously a requirement for this baggy-pants role -- he is probably even more dangerous than his tempestuous predecessor, as Tom Barry of the International Relations Center reports.

The Best and the Worst

I've always been skeptical of Texas Monthly's "Best and Worst Legislators" list, but Quorum Report has a link to a sneak preview.

Democrats only make up 30% of the "Best" legislators, though they only make up 30% of the "Worst" legislators as well.

There are some surprises (Delisi and Pitts as "best" legislators) and some that were not so surprising (Talton and Al Edwards in the "worst" column).

Then there is the inexplicable "Bucky Dent" award going to Will Hartnett for not overturning a legal and sanctioned election outcome (complete with recount) in Houston. Somehow not being a complete fascist is now worthy of special recognition if you're a Texas Republican.

While Rome burns...

There is something about the lead photo on the Washington Post's front page this morning that is really upsetting me. It's an image of a seersucker-clad Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) clapping wildly with seal-like outstreached arms as Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) does a little jig in his seersucker suit and new suede shoes.

Also present in this oppulent room replete with leather sofas, large portraits, and chandeliers, are Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Sen. Majority Leader Bill "Cat Killer" Frist (R-Tenn.) -- also clad in seersucker suits.

You see, it's "Seersucker Thursday, a Capitol Hill rite of spring," according to the Post. And this little bipartisan lovefest perfectly captures what is wrong with us. I hate to sound preachy, but with Americans and Iraqis dying in record numbers, a federal government that is bankrupt (both financially and ethically), pensions evaporating, global warming, and a whole host of other maladies plaguing our Earth, there are elitist Democratic and Republican senators dancing in their fancy-pants suits without a goddamn care in the world.

Why don't they get some oversized veiled hats and drink some fucking mint julips while they're at it? You know, kids in D.C. schools don't even have air-conditioning and this is what the Post considers front-page material. I hope it was done in irony.

(Aside: What's with the befuddled look on Cat Killer's face?)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Same Old Statesman: Part II

Only 65 days after the Times of London published the Downing Street Memo, the Statesman has decided to rub the sleep from its crusty eyes and take a skeptical look at the most important document in modern political history.

But before you get excited, the subhead should clue you into what kind of story it is:
For critics, the Downing Street Memo is hard evidence the administration misled public

More on the lynching vote

A loyal reader of pointed out "one of the most offensive quotes ever" in the Chronicle's story on Senators Cornyn and Hutchison trying to explain their decisions not to co-sponsor the lynching apology.

Chris Paulitz, a Hutchison aide, said the senator's staff did not push her to co-sponsor the resolution because "it was guaranteed to pass."

"For her, lynching is something that is very present," Paulitz said. "This is something she knows very personally. But as a member of the Senate leadership, you just can't co-sponsor everything."

Paulitz emphasized that in 1998, Hutchison attended the funeral of James Byrd Jr., a black man from Jasper, Texas, who was dragged along a road and killed by three white men.

"Knowing something personally is more than attending a funeral. But here's to using funeral attendance to make you appear like you are not kowtowing to the racists in Texas like you really are," he writes.

Damn straight.

Frist's Flippity-Fucking-Flop

From today's AP:
Frist, R-Tenn., said he never made his own diagnosis... "I raised the question, 'Is she in a persistent vegetative state or not?' I never made the diagnosis, never said that she was not."

From the Washington Post, 3/19/05:
Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state."

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."

His comments raised eyebrows in medical and political circles alike. It is not every day that a high-profile physician relies on family videotapes to challenge the diagnosis of doctors who examined a severely brain-damaged patient in person.

What a bunch of BS.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A little Arnie Action for ya

Arnie's Speech booed? What are those crazy Californians up to? Don't they know he's the Governator?

(From Yahoo News) "California Gov. Arnold faced down booing, jeering protesters on Tuesday as he delivered a commencement address at his alma mater, where tuition has risen as a result of his budget cuts.
. . .
Earlier in the day, a couple of hundred protesters representing unions, students and a smattering of other causes gathered for an anti-Schwarzenegger rally outside the college.

Trevor Dilling, a student who wore a chicken costume, said he was insulted by the governor's decision to speak at the college, which caters to mainly low income and minority students."

Original link:

I'm not sure what the chicken suit is all about, but notice how the always insightful mainstream media mentions that as if to some how delegitimize the student position (I mean, if they can be funny, they can't be serious, right?). Who needs a discussion of why such quaint notions as pensions and tenure are important to teachers and other public servants (who make significantly less than their public sector counterparts I might add)?

Well, I say more power to you Trevor.

Arnie is a chicken, a wimp, and a girlie-man, if you must go there (and I think we must). He's the man who promised Californians that he was so rich he couldn't be bought. He promised to be an independent. He promised it would not be "business as usual" in California. And yet he there is, towing the anti-union party line and spouting the public servant-bashing Republican talking points. Serving last year's warmed over policy points like last week's warmed over corned beef hash (and smelling up the place while he is at it).

Uh, What?

Is this for real? A controlled demolition?
A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.
Oh wait, this might explain things:
Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Update: Upon reading the text of Steny Hoyer's H.J. Res. 241, the following things become clear:

1) This does not affect GW Bush (but will allow Jeb, Laura, George P., Barbara, Neil, Marvin, or any other Bushite permanent residency in the White House).

2) Hoyer believes the fact that Bush must leave the White House in 2008 is "an undemocratic result."

3) My Favorite: Steny believes that the Founding Fathers never meant to limit the terms of our presidents, because:
"Sufficient power resides in the Congress and the Judiciary to protect our country from tyranny."
4) Hoyer has never heard of Katherine Harris, Bush v. Gore, Diebold, Ken Blackwell, or BlackBox Voting.

5) Steny Hoyer is an idiot. If we are going to rebuild the party, we need to start by getting rid of bumbs like this.

The Worst Parents on Earth

13 years of legal-wrangling, 274 medical exams, 40 judges, 6 courts, 6 passes by the U.S. Supremes, 1 autopsy, 1/2 a brain, and this is where the Schindlers are after the news that Terri Schiavo was neither abused, neglected, or capable of eating or drinking without a tube forced down her stomach:
The Schindlers continue to believe their daughter was not in a persistent vegetative state, their lawyer, David Gibbs III, told the Associate Press after Thogmartin's report. He said they plan to discuss the autopsy with other medical experts and may take legal action.
I suspect we won't be hearing any of the Religious Reich complain about the Schindlers' frivolous lawsuits. God forbid they let their daughter rest in peace. That would be like letting the terrorists win.

What the Fuck?!?!?

The buzz on the blogs is growing about H.J. Res 24, a little-noticed piece of BI-PARTISAN legislation that seeks merely to repeal the 22nd Amendment of our Constitution.

For those of you may have forgotten (for shame) what the 22nd Amendment is, it's the amendment that limits a president to 2 terms in office.

Now what fascist Republican is having wet dreams about a permanent Bush presidency (because damnit, it's just too hard to fit all this looting and war-mongering into 8 years)?

Well, the sponsor of the resolution is one Steny Hoyer, the "DEMOCRATIC" House Minority Whip.

This guy ought to be taken out back and shot...

...figuratively of course.

Asbestos boss likely to breathe free

Houston businessman Eric Ho bought the defunct Alief General Hospital in 1997 with the intention of converting it to housing. He was informed by the seller that it required as much as $400,000 worth of asbestos abatement.

After receiving a bid for $325,000 from a licensed asbestos removal firm, he instead put his handyman in charge, who hired 10 or 11 Mexican farm workers to do the job.

They were given neither training nor proper protective clothing. They were not told that the material they were scraping off of pipes and beams with putty knives included asbestos.

And when a city inspector shut the project down, Ho instructed the workers to continue at night so as not to be detected. Some of the workers lived at the job site. Others ate among the dust they created with their putty knives.

So glad to see this guy landed on his feet

Dr. Frist should lose his license

Breaking news from the Think Progress blog:
Freshly-released autopsy results reveal that Terri Shiavo was blind:

Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin concluded that…her brain was about half of normal size when she died. …

Thogmartin says her brain was “profoundly atrophied” – and that the damage was “irreversable.” He also says, “The vision centers of her brain were dead” – meaning she was blind.

Which makes Dr. Frist’s expert “diagnosis” all the more outrageous:

Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a “persistent vegetative state.”

“I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office,” he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. “She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli.”

Lynching follow-up

Atlanta Journal Constitution, via Atrios:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote that would have put senators on the record on a resolution apologizing for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws, officials involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.


As dozens of descendants of lynching victims watched from the Senate gallery, the resolution was adopted Monday evening under a voice vote procedure that did not require any senator's presence.

Eighty senators, however, had signed as co-sponsors, putting themselves on record as supporting the resolution. By the time the Senate recessed Tuesday evening, five other senators had added their names as co-sponsors, leaving 15 Republicans who had not.
It's worth noting that Frist pulled this stunt while 91-year-old James Cameron, the only known survivor of a lynching, sat in the gallery.

Why I love Mark Morford

Apparently Gillette has a new razor that is, well, basically a female vibrator. Mark Morford breaks it down in a way only he can:
But the funny thing is, I'm not sure which target market gets the inane Vibrance, exactly... Is it women who haven't masturbated since they accidentally sat atop a throbbing riding lawn mower and who are just a little sexually terrified but simultaneously easily titillated and more than a little gullible, and who want to relive the vibratory experience but can't say "vibrator" without getting a rash? Women like, say, Laura Bush?
Anyone who can work a Laura Bush dig into a column on female razors that vibrate has earned my readership. You can subscribe to his twice-weekly newsletter here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


No wonder Cornyn is the least popular Senator.

Update: Hutch on anti-lynching bill, Cornyn is not

Here is the number for Senator John Cornyn's office to call and tell him he's a racist scumbag.

(202) 224-2934

Here's the latest list of Senate racists.

Your Same Old Statesman

In the only daily newspaper in the capital of Texas, news of the Supreme Court overturning yet another Texas death penalty case only warrants the reprinting of a Chicago Tribune article.

All the more amazing is that The Daily Texan managed to dedicate a reporter to the story, and not run a wire story.

Gay Veteran Under Fire for Dissing Gay Veterans

Get the story here.

Young Neidermeyers

Ugh. The Times reports on the young Neidermeyers in town for Heritage Foundation internships.

Next Generation of Conservatives (By the Dormful)

They are young and bright and ardently right. They tack Ronald Reagan calendars on their cubicle walls and devote brown bag lunches to the free market theories of Friedrich von Hayek. They come from 51 colleges and 28 states, calling for low taxes, strong defense and dorm rooms with a view.

And let's get one thing straight: they're not here to run the copying machine.

Yuk, yuk, yuk. This intern has some noble and lofty career goals:

Katherine Rogers, a junior at Georgetown, is spending the summer in the Keith and Lois Mitchell room, on the Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Smyth floor, just upstairs from the Norma Zindahl Intern Lounge, which is adjacent to the William J. Lehrfeld Intern Center. Ms. Rogers's father is a longtime Heritage donor, and she is working in donor relations, which she thinks will be useful in her intended career as a pharmaceutical lobbyist.

A fucking pharmaceutical lobbyist? If I were her guidance counselor I'd shoot myself. I'd be more proud if my daughter wanted to be a stripper, rather than a whore for an industry that knowingly markets deadly drugs to children, price-gouges the taxpayer, and overcharges the American consumer.

Finally, the article contains a sad, though dead-on accuarate, admission by the left:

"There's no question that the right wing over the last 25 years did a much better job of creating a farm system," said Ralph G. Neas, the president of People for the American Way. Like many other liberal groups, his has recently expanded its campus outreach activities in an effort to keep pace with the right.

"They invested in young people," Mr. Neas said. "We're trying to catch up."

Ok, this is an unfair ad hominem attack, but doesn't the guy on the right look like a child molester?

Good thing lynchings ended in 1968

OK, so John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison aren't sorry for the 4,700 lynching deaths between 1882 and 1968.

What about the one that happened in 1998 in Jasper, Texas (a full 30 years after 1968, the last year the Senate -- except Cornyn and Hutchison -- is apparently sorry about lynchings)?

They should remember that one. It was their party that opposed enacting Hate Crimes Legislation in Texas just months after James Byrd, Jr. had his throat slit and was torn to pieces. God forbid we put off some racists in South Carolina in the runup to George W. Bush's first presidential run.

Looks like Kay-Bay doesn't want to alienate her Jasper constituency in her GOP primary.

Texas Senators: Pro-Lynching

Cornyn and Hutchinson are apparently both pro-lynching. According to Chris Geidner they are among the group of only 6 senators that didn't co-sponsor a bill apologizing for not outlawing lynching back in the day. The bill's sole intent was to "(apologize) to the victims of lynching and the descendants of those victims for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation."

Kos has more info on the issue.

Here's hoping Howard Dean adds 'racist' and 'bigots' to 'Christian' and 'white' the next time he's describing the Republican Party.

Update: No one seems to know exactly who did and didn't co-sponsor this bill. According to some sources, Kay Bailey did sign-on but I can't find anything that says Cornyn did. Both of the links mentioned above have run downs on the various lists from various sources.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Possible New Names for Iraq?

Machiavelli teaches us that in order to completely destroy the vestiges of nationalism in a country you have taken over, you must destroy everything that reminds people of the life before occupation.

In order to immediately end the insurgency -- which is apparently just holding on because we forgot to rename Iraq -- I am kicking off a contest to see who can come up with the best renaming that ornery little country. The winner gets a beer from me (if you live in D.C.). If you live elsewhere, tough shit.

The Guardian has a nice entry: "Shiastan" -- referring to the once-liberal areas of Iraq that are now falling under harsh Islamic fundamentalist rule. Women are facing the brunt of the new fundamentalism -- "encouraged" to wear hijabs or else face beatings. They can thank Laura Bush for their new freedom in Iraq.

Marvelle proposes "Newraqistan" -- a nice blend of terms that flows off the end of your tongue.

Supreme Court rebukes Texas again on the death penalty

It's almost a weekly occurence. They keep messing with Texas. First they say you can't kill the retarded, then they say you can't kill juveniles. Now they say you can't intentionally strike all the blacks out of the jury pool so you can get a white jury to convict a black defendant!

Now wonder DeLay and Cornyn are so angry with the federal judiciary. Story excerpts below. Two scary things to think about: 1) Though the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction 6-3, the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it. That bastard court is about to get even worse with the addition of Priscilla Owen (she essentially kills people herself). 2) Clarence Thomas voted in the minority on this one. Not suprising really, but c'mon, Clarence, you really wonder why Black people don't like you when you just said it was OK for Dallas County prosecutors to stack the deck in court to try to kill a black defendant?

Supreme Court Overturns Death Row Conviction in Texas

The Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a black death row inmate who said Texas prosecutors unfairly stacked his jury with whites, issuing a harsh rebuke to the state that executes more people than any other.


Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, Texas has executed over one-third of the more than 900 people put to death in the United States.

Justices last year issued stinging reversals in three cases involving Texas death penalty convictions on various grounds, a striking number for a conservative-leaning court that generally favors capital punishment. All the cases involved black defendants.

Miller-El contends that Dallas County prosecutors had a long history of excluding blacks from juries and pointed to training manuals that were distributed to prosecutors from the 1960s into the early 1980s. The manuals advised prosecutors to remove blacks or Jews from death penalty juries on the theory that those groups would be more sympathetic to criminal defendants.

The Post pops Perry

Does Rick Perry hate the troops? Nope, just the gay ones!

The Wash. Post says he's Dishonoring Texas. I don't know. It takes a lot to dishonor Texas. Maybe this is just mildly embarassing.

Mr. Perry was asked by a reporter what he had to say "to gays and lesbians who are serving in the military right now in Iraq who are going to come back to Texas and may not be entitled to the same rights as the rest of us?" Mr. Perry responded that "Texans have made a decision about marriage, and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them to live."


Mr. Perry, a veteran himself, did not take the trouble to honor the service of gay people now in harm's way or mention that they were welcome in Texas. He didn't mention the need to respect different life choices or note that same-sex couples might have deeply committed relationships. His message was simple: If you don't like it, leave. It's a message unworthy of the governor of any state.

Who is Political Junkette (and why won't she post)??

The Political Asylum has a new member, Political Junkette. No word on whether she is linked with learned prostitute blogger-cum-best selling author Jessica Cutler (otherwise known as "Washingtonienne").

Belying her "Junkette" namesake, Political Junkette has yet to find anything she deems worthy to post on the blog. Hopefully the news cycle will pick up and she will grace us with some wisdom.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Need someone for HD 47

The Quorum Report's got the scoop, Terry Keel is ditching his HD 47 seat for a run at an appellate court seat.

HD 47 is a piece of crap district but hopefully we can find someone to run against Bill Welch, the only Republican whose name has come up as a replacement.

Here's a short blurb about Welch from the Austin Chronicle:
Bill Welch -- the lone growth-friendly voice on the board of the Barton Springs/ Edwards Aquifer Conservation District -- has resigned after a three-year stint. The Pct. 3 director left to pursue another hitch, where he is better known as Col. Welch. Called to active duty by the U.S. Air Force Reserve late last year, Welch recently notified BSEACD that his status had been extended "in support of the war against terror and evil. ..." Despite sharp differences of opinion with his colleagues on the board, Welch remained cordial and approachable, even after heated debate on cases pitting pumping rights against environmental interests. Board President Jim Camp is taking applications until May 9 from persons interested in filling Welch's unexpired term, which ends in May 2004. A map of Pct. 3 and other details are available at
The only other information I could find is that William O. Welch (Bill Welch) owns Solo Star Realty Inc. and has some contracts with the Austin ISD and is also a VP of the commercial real estate firm Moore & Associates.

Let's get the opposition research going!

I knew Kerry was an idiot...

From the Guardian (in the Boston Globe originally):
President George Bush's academic record was almost identical to Senator John Kerry's at university, despite the depiction of Kerry as the more intellectual during the 2004 presidential campaign. Records released to the Boston Globe show that Kerry's grades at Yale University averaged 76, while Bush, who also attended Yale, averaged 77.

Owen Wilson and Ann Richards

And we go from serious talk about racist Bush nominees to celebrity gossip:

In an interview for Playboy's July issue, Owen Wilson describes the Texas Gov. Ann Richards as "an extremely attractive woman. A handsome woman, as they say sometimes.'' Wilson told the bunny reporter, "Her voice and attitude are representative of the best kind of Texas woman.''

Thursday, June 09, 2005

They don't like black people, either

From Capitol Buzz:
Henrietta Holsman Fore, the Bush White House’s nominee to be Under-Secretary of State for Management, was forced to resign from the Wellesley College Board of Trustees for saying that blacks preferred pushing drugs to working in a factory. Even when she tried apologizing for the comments in a letter to the college newspaper, Holsman reiterated her statement that she had trouble keeping black assembly-line workers from going ''back to the street to earn more money'' selling drugs. [NYT, 2/12/87]
Ties into my previous post quite nicely.

Update (6/10/05): The Center for American Progress reports in their daily Progress Report email:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) grilled Henrietta Holsman Fore, currently director of the U.S. Mint and nominee to be undersecretary of state for management, about racially insensitive comments that had been attributed to her in a speech she gave in 1987 at Wellesley College. According to the Chicago Tribune, Fore had suggested blacks preferred pushing drugs to working in factory jobs and that Hispanic workers were lazy. Obama peppered Fore with questions for 20 minutes before suggesting that her "stereotypical notion about how people performed" do not make her well-suited for overseeing human resources and the civil rights office of the State Department. The Tribune noted that Fore never issued a firm denial of the statements attributed to her in the 1987 speech.

Take a Poll Tax if They Could Get It

According to the Republican Party of Texas poll on its homepage, the biggest priority (65.3%) for those who responded was... making it harder for Latinos and Blacks to vote.


Equally as unsurprising, considering the nest of election scandals they're currently mired in, increasing election fraud investigations is a distant second (21.3%).

In a curious note, the pre-session poll in December asked respondents what their biggest priority for the 79th Legislature was, the results may pose some problems for our GOP leaders. Whoops!

Perry Will Trounce Hutchison

OK my friends, I must disclose that I speak for myself and no one else on

Since the talk about the impending Perry-Hutch GOP primary is heating up, it might be a good time to analyze the senator's chances against the Coiffed One. Though, if Hutch is smart, she'll get some campaign material mileage out of this recent quote from from Tom DeLay:
"Kay Bailey Hutchison has been an excellent senator. She has gained incredible seniority. She does a great job for the state of Texas..."
I know he meant IN THE SENATE, but nuance is extinct in primaries - particularly any GOP primary. Using these words in some campaign material will at least help bait some of Jesus Junkies away from Perry and back to Hutch.

Nevertheless, Hutch is screwed. Primarily because not one of my friends can name a single initiative that the elitist special interest groups (doctors, realtors, manufacturers) didn't find success with. Tort reform, Bob Perry's Texas Residential Construction Commission, cutting of CHIP and Medicaid in order to avoid generating new revenue, the expansion of business Perry's Slush Fund, and let's not forget the Felonious Tommy D's redistricting scheme (quite the boon for the "business community" nationwide).

In fact, Perry's bought and sold so many times that even the Texas special interests are running out of money. Witness the fiasco she encountered during a stop in El Paso when the business leaders there essentially told her that they would not support her because they've already spent all their money buying off Perry. Apparently not wise enough to capitalize on the Valley's disdain for Perry's inaction on RAHC, the Irma Rangel Pharmacy School, and the Texas Tech Medical Center in El Paso, Hutchison is instead spending her time touting the contributions of the immigrant-shooting militia The Minutemen.

So, with the Chamber money locked up, Perry's moved onto the evangelical snake handler wing of the party to outflank the floundering Hutch. Perry's bill signing at a Christian church academy was not the first time he's dabbled with the Seperation Clause in search of cheap, easy votes.

So, with the Chamber money all gone, and the gay-bashing, liberal-trashing, Democrat-slashing, illegal corporate money cashing wing of the GOP firmly in Perry's back pocket, where exactly are the votes for Hutch going to come from? Democrats?

They're down, but not THAT out. But we will more than likely have to come to the realization that Rick Perry will soon be the longest-serving governor in the history of Texas.

While I am relishing the opportunity to see two GOP stalwarts rip each other to shreds, for the reasons listed above, I am less than hopefull it will result in anything that remotely benefits Texas. This is going to be a race to the bottom about who can out-pander to the lunatic fringe and it won't be pretty.

Marine recruiting

Crazy doings by the Marines in the Northwest.

When Marine recruiters go way beyond the call

"You don't want to be a burden to your mom," they told him. "Be a man." ...

The sergeant was friendly but, at the same time, aggressively insistent. This time, when Axel said, "Not interested," the sarge turned surly, snapping, "You're making a big (bleeping) mistake!"

Next thing Axel knew, the same sergeant and another recruiter showed up at the LaConner Brewing Co., the restaurant where Axel works. And before Axel, an older cousin and other co-workers knew or understood what was happening, Axel was whisked away in a car.

"They said we were going somewhere but I didn't know we were going all the way to Seattle," Axel said.


The NY Times reports today, the radical right is now attacking programs that promote tolerance. Apparently acceptance isn't a family value.
Emboldened by the political right's growing influence on public policy, opponents of school activities aimed at educating students about homosexuality or promoting acceptance of gay people are mounting challenges to such programs, at individual schools, at statehouses and in Congress.

Chief among the targets are sex education programs that include discussions of homosexuality, and after-school clubs that bring gay and straight students together, two initiatives that gained assent in numerous schools over the last decade.
Next thing you know they'll be pushing for legislation that requires homosexual kids sit in the back of the school bus.

It's like we're trying to make crazier criminals

USA Today reports that Texas's habit of keeping huge numbers of inmates in solitary confinement really only results in crazier inmates.

After years in solitary, freedom hard to grasp

The inmates typically are allowed out of their cells for no more than an hour a day to exercise alone; their exposure to TV and reading material also is limited.


He says some of the ex-inmates had reconfigured their new living spaces at home to "recreate" the look and feel of their tiny cells.

"The rooms were always small and dark," Haney says. "The beds were made in the same way. Shoes were always stacked by their bed, just like in prison." One of his clients slept in a bathtub during his first few nights out of prison, Haney says, because the "cold, solid tub felt most like his cell."


But Stuart Grassian, a Harvard University psychiatrist who has studied the long-term effects of isolation on offenders, says that "if the public understood what kind of condition these people are in when they (are freed), they would be appalled. It's set up for these folks to fail" and "create new victims."


In the spring of 2004, he got drunk and began firing a gun in his apartment. After he woke up in the local jail the next morning and learned that he had been charged with a new felony, Morales says he panicked and tried to escape from the jail's exercise yard.

Convictions on the gun and escape charges earned him 35 more years in prison. He expects to serve all that time in solitary confinement because of his past association with a gang in prison.

"I wake up today, and I can't believe it," Morales says during an interview at a state prison in Gatesville. "I had so many plans, but I guess it's all over now."

Morales, whose most serious offense may have been the weapons case in which no one was injured, will be 68 when he is scheduled to be released in 2040. Counting his previous prison term, he will have spent 45 years in isolation.

No one deserves 45 years in solitary with limited tv and reading materials. That's torture. That human rights concern aside, this obviously increases crime on the outside and recidivism. It'd be one thing if Texas's draconian criminal justice policies worked, but I guess effectiveness isn't really the point. It's all about showing how tough you are to the folks back in suburban Fort Worth.


Cheerleading Aggie governor steals Homeland Security funding from A&M. Gig 'em!!

Torture = Desperation

If you haven't seen Battle of Algiers, the 19565 Gillo Pontecorvo movie about the dying days of the French occupation of Algeria, you should. It puts our current occupation in a whole new light, one that our war planners would do well to watch again (they already had a Pentagon screening).

Well, the movie is alluded to in a great piece in a recent LA Times column by Naomi Klein. As you know, a federal judge ruled the DoD had to release another batch of torture images. In Klein's piece, she calls out the MSM by asking why all the feigned outrage at torture photos and Git'Mo allegations when those same media outlets consistently call for "winning the war" and support our current occupation of Iraq? She writes:
In one of the film's key scenes, Mathieu finds himself in a situation familiar to top officials in the Bush administration: He is being grilled by a room filled with journalists about allegations that French paratroopers are torturing Algerian prisoners.
Based on real-life French commander Gen. Jacques Massus, Mathieu neither denies the abuse nor claims that those responsible will be punished. Instead, he flips the tables on the scandalized reporters, most of whom work for newspapers that overwhelmingly support France's continued occupation of Algeria. Torture "isn't the problem," he says calmly. "The problem is the FLN wants to throw us out of Algeria and we want to stay…. It's my turn to ask a question. Should France stay in Algeria? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences."

His point, as relevant in Iraq today as it was in Algeria in 1957, is that there is no nice, humanitarian way to occupy a nation against the will of its people. Those who support such an occupation don't have the right to morally separate themselves from the brutality it requires.
So, if you support the occupation, you're about to have ample opportunity to support things like this.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ban the ban!

So glad to learn of a group pushing back against the proposed smoking ban in DC (besides the bar and restaurant association of course). As their website explains:

Ban the Ban is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving choice in Washington D.C. for smokers and non-smokers alike. We oppose Smoke Free DC's efforts to ban smoking in the capital's bars and restaurants. We support the right of business owners to make their own decisions about smoking policies in their establishments and the right of workers and customers to patronize smokefree establishments if they don't wish to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

We do not accept funding from tobacco companies.

Ban the Ban raises money from house parties, T-shirt sales, and the contributions of local businesspeople. Smokefree DC and its allies are heavily funded by outside groups with an agenda that would destroy nightlife in D.C.

Contact the City Council here.

When Nukes and the Mob Work Together

The UT System has been trying for years, and is on the cusp of achieving, a relationship in which the UT System would essentially run the Los Alamos National Laboratory (aka "The Nuke Factory") over the fierce objections of groups like UT Watch and others.

The main complaint is that Los Alamos is a hornet's nest of unruly employees, international espionage (Wen Ho Lee), and mafia-style Omerta secrecy. The UT System dismisses these claims with a wave of its hand, insisting that partnering with a nuke factory will bring the UT System some much-needed "prestige." Know what else could bring some prestige? Some state funding.

Well, someone should ask Los Alamos auditor Tommy Hook what he thinks about the prestige of working at Los Alamos after he was almost beaten to death prior to appearing at a congressional hearing to blow the whistle on some shady Los Alamos accounting.

Prestigious indeed. I can only hope the UT System architects behind this sordid deal get the "Tommy Hook Treatment" for their hard work.

That genocide thing

It's pretty sad (though not uncommon) when The Onion has the sharpest political commentary on an issue:

Well, I Guess That Genocide in Sudan Must've Worked Itself Out On Its Own

I was pretty worried a year or so ago when the news came out that thousands of people had been indiscriminately slaughtered in Darfur. It was unsettling to hear that citizens of one ethnicity (Arab, maybe?) were systematically mass-murdering the population of some other ethnicity (Was it the Ganjaweeds? It's been so long since I've read their names!) But lately, the main stories in the news seem to be about Deep Throat, the new summer blockbusters, and something about stem cells. Since I'm sure I would have remembered if the U.S. had intervened in some way to stop it, I can only assume that the whole genocide-in-Darfur thing has somehow worked itself out.


Good thing, 'cause for a while there, it seemed like the Sudan situation was pretty serious, especially when both President Bush and Sen. Kerry talked about it in the presidential debates. Heck, that the Darfur conflict qualified as genocide was practically the only thing they agreed on! So, if both presidential candidates acknowledged on TV that genocide was taking place, it's pretty safe to assume that someone stepped in before more innocent victims were systematically butchered. Right?

Apologies to Kristof at the Times, who has been going off incessantly about this issue. Unfortunately, like Herbert and the death penalty, eventually we'll all get tired of it and he'll move on.

He did have a great piece yesterday though.

In 1999, Madeleine Albright traveled to Sierra Leone and met child amputees there, wrenching the hearts of American television viewers and making that crisis a priority in a way that eventually helped resolve it. Ms. Rice could do the same for Darfur if she would only bother to go.

Mr. Bush values a frozen embryo. But he hasn't mustered much compassion for an entire population of terrorized widows and orphans. And he is cementing in place the very hopelessness he dreads, by continuing to avert his eyes from the first genocide of the 21st century.

We'll get back to ranting about Texas soon enough, but first, take a minute to tell Bush to act.

Labor is the new terrorism

We at know that the best way to see what's coming down the fascism pike is to read from the documents produced from the Keystone Kops trying to "protect" us (physician, heal thyself!).

So, in keeping with the White House's tendency to lump its opposition into the "Terrorist" column, we thought this little snippet from a Department of Homeland Security Planning Scenario was worth another glance. This document is a summary of possible future terrorist threats and where they will come from. Here's the interesting part:
Because the attacks could be caused by foreign terrorists; domestic radical groups; state-sponsored adversaries; or in some cases, disgruntled employees, the perpetrator has been named, the Universal Adversary (UA). The focus of the scenarios is on response capabilities and needs, not threat-based prevention activities.
Now, we're not sure how an angry recently-fired employee putting a flaming bag of shit on his boss's doorstep falls into the "terrorism" category (much less part of the "Universal Adversary"). So, it would lead us to believe that "disgruntled employees" means strikers, labor organizers, and the associations that represent them.

Some day we'll all be a part of the Universal Adversary.

New Mayor in San Antonio

The 70-year-old judge beat the 30-year-old newcomer. It's a shame the 8th largest city in the US can't get rid of its ridiculous term limits that force contests like this.

In 1990, San Antonio voters approved a referendum to limit City Council and mayoral tenure to two, two-year terms during the elected official's lifetime. In all, the maximum time a politician elected to City Hall can serve is a total of eight years (four years as a council member and four as mayor.

So no one can hang around long enough to figure out how to get things done, build any sort of coalition, or accomplish anything before looking at the next office or watching the political gaze of the city turn to the next contest.

Well, no shit.

The Post reports Liberals Rethinking Senate Filibuster Deal.

...several sharply conservative judges are now being seated, and it is far from clear that the "extraordinary circumstances" clause will enable Democrats to block future conservative nominees to the Supreme Court or elsewhere.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bring it on!

After years of squabbling and suprisingly strong opposition from all over Texas, the first shipment of Cold War-era nuclear waste is on its way to Texas, passing by an untold number of schools and neighborhoods along the way.

Here's a segment from the article:
About 40,000 pounds of radioactive waste from a long-closed uranium-processing plant were loaded onto a flatbed truck Monday for a 1,300-mile journey to storage....
"I'm glad it's going," said Lisa Crawford, president of the Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health. "But wherever it goes, it needs to stay there."
Well Ms. Crawford, as long as our idea-bankrupt Legislature thinks that storing nuclear waste from your cronies is a good way to bring income to a community, that waste (and MUCH MORE) will stay here for a long time. Though, I propose a different location in which to house dangerous toxic waste

Go back to Texas

I'm a little late in seeing this but couldn't let it pass by without a comment. Here's hoping this shit never happens.

Not giving DC residents the right to vote is one thing, having a Senator from Texas overturn one of the few laws DC government has the right to pass is another thing completely.

I love how the press release talks about undermining the Constitution. What about undermining democracy, representative government, and state's rights?

Kerry is an idiot

I totally agree with this.

McKinnon still a Republican

Mark McKinnon, Bush's TV consultant, VP of Public Strategies, one-time Democrat, and former editor of the Daily Texan, has committed to working for John McCain in 2008.

The article points out that McKinnon contributed a few thousand bucks to Texas Dems in the 2002 cycle - much to BushCo's chagrin. Too bad all he can do is throw some cash at the Party that made his career. As Molly Ivins might say, in Texas you get a lot more respect when you dance with them what brung ya.

Your business is a crack house

The Dallas Observer has an amazing article on a story that the Dallas Morning News has apparently completely missed. Corruption on a massive scale is going down in big-D where they're using nuisance laws to screw with local businesses:

The central accusation against the city is that it misappropriated a law aimed at crack houses and hot-sheet motels and used it instead to oppress and gouge legitimate businesses. Under the guise of nuisance abatement, the city sends police SWAT teams into respectable businesses, files suit against them and engages in other scare tactics, witnesses said, in order to get things out of them.

"We had diverse businesses and individuals unconnected to each other who gave startlingly similar stories about these threats," Keel tells me. "One witness swore that he was encouraged to give a donation to a particular local official's birthday fund and on other occasions was told to hire certain people to avoid this problem."

The investigation is being headed up by State Rep. Terry Keel who says, "I can argue that this evidence at a minimum--at a minimum--shows that the city of Dallas was in essence targeting lawful businesses in high-crime areas for this type of enforcement action in an attempt to make the businesses pay for the privilege of being protected by the police."

It's not often that we here at support anything Republicans do - after all, they've never made an honest living in their lives, but if this article is even half true then here's hoping that the Rs and Ds can come together and get rid of the city hall officials acting like goodfellas.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Write Your Own Caption

The AP provided this over-generous caption to this photo today: "Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist is pushed in a wheelchair on Capitol Hill, after his visit to the Capitol Medical Department. Rehnquist is a man of simple pleasures: poker, a cheeseburger washed down with a beer, a good book or a movie. Perhaps most of all, the 80-year-old chief justice is a creature of habit. If he retires as many expect in the coming weeks, Rehnquist will be remembered for that trait that has helped him keep the Supreme Court running smoothly as its super-organized manager. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, Files)"

My suggestion is this: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who wears gold stripes on his robe in solidarity with the lecherous Lord Chancellor from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "Iolanthe," is pushed in a wheelchair on Capitol Hill. Rehnquist is a man of simple pleasures: pooping his pants, shaking his fist at clouds, overturning elections, and yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Perhaps most of all, the 80-year-old chief justice is a creature of habit. If he retires as many expect in the coming weeks, Rehnquist will be remembered for being a knee-jerk reactionary goon who oversaw the most corrupt Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott ruling. And for pooping his pants.

Bush Listens to Black Music

This just in, President Bush will be addressing the White House Black Music Month reception later today. No word yet on whether Bush's favorite "Black Music" is on his iPod.

American Progress Report has a good zinger today

WHITE HOUSE BLAMES MEDIA: White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan used the administration's admission of Quran mistreatment as another opportunity to blame the media. McClellan said that it was "unfortunate" that some media outlets "have chosen to take [the incidents] out of context." McClellan stressed that "99.9 percent" of Qurans were not mishandled. In a related story, there are 193 countries in the world – 99.5 percent were not invaded by the United States based on false claims the country possessed weapons of mass destruction.

News Roundup: Pot, Tuna, and Priscilla Owen

Federalism: The Supreme Court continues it's anti-consumer, anti-civil rights, anti-American bender by making criminals out of terminally-ill patients smoking medicinal marijuana on their doctor's orders -- despite state laws allowing it.

More Hot Abu Ghraib Porn: A judge has ruled that the Pentagon must release 100 new photos and videos of abuse and torture occuring at Abu Ghraib and other global gulags. No word yet on whether any of them are the same ones that turned Members of Congress green during their private viewing last year (one Senator, Bill Frist, was so disgusted by the photos he remarked to the WashPost, "What we saw is appalling... They go beyond [previous Abu Ghraib photos] in many ways in terms of the various activities that are depicted."). Damn those Newsweek bastards.

More from 1984: Our modern-day Emmannuel Goldsteins are proving as elusive as ever. Instead of just scaring Americans into submission with just one man, now we can't find two of the most wanted men in the world. It'd be like the Keystone Kops if it just wasn't so spooky.

No Chicken in the Sea:
The Bluefin Tuna population is almost extinct, better opt for the salmon rolls next time (until they go extinct too). See what we get for you trying to be trendy?

Big Brother's Fiscal Conservatism: Leave it to the FBI to buy $170 million worth of software with more holes in it than Windows. What? Are you going to complain about it? If so, you can save the FBI a hell of a lot of time and just fax a detailed bio of yourself explaining when exactly you became a terrorist sympathizer.

Can Turds Smell Worse?: My pappy used to ask, when told of news that some person or group he didn't like did something bad, "Can turds smell any worse?". One ponders that very question when reading about the 5th Circuit's new judge.

Democratic Cannibalism: Sigh... more of the same.