Sunday, July 31, 2005

War Breeds Terror Breeds Fascism Breeds Terror Breeds War...

In a remarkable admission -- that you won't read in any US press -- one of the suspects of a failed bombing attempt on the London Underground said his group was motivated by the Iraq war, and NOT RELIGION.

From the article in The Independent:

"Rather than praying, we had discussions about work, politics, the war in Iraq," Hussain said of the gatherings in the gym, according to La Repubblica newspaper and an Italian news agency.

The would-be bombers watched films, "especially those in which you saw women and children killed and exterminated by the English and American soldiers, or widows, mothers and daughters who were crying".

The propaganda helped to foster the group's "political conviction that it is necessary to give a signal, to do something"

Not suprisingly, newspapers and pundits in Great Britain are now calling for a new "culture" of security. In language eerily similar to the "watch what you say and watch what you do" edict from the White House after 9/11, British newspapers are adopting this fascist-light lingo:

From the New York Times:

"All the perpetrators of the failed attacks of July 21 have been apprehended," The Times of London said in an editorial on Saturday. "Yet the notion that Britain has suddenly been rendered entirely 'safe' or 'secure' is illusory."

"The character of life will have to change" to maximize the chances of forestalling attacks, the newspaper said. "The abnormal will become normal."

Isn't changing your "character of life" because of a terrorist attack exactly what the terrorists want?

So, poor Britons that overwhelmingly didn't support this war to begin with now have to give up their rights, accept the "abnormal as normal" Orwellian logic, and live in a police state.

We bring you democracy Iraq.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Actually, you're both


Was I the only one on the planet who missed this photo of Karl Rove and Bob Novak in 2003 -- during the height of the Plame scandal?

In case you can't read the button, it says: "I'm a source, not a target."

It's all a big f-ing joke right?

Head scratcher...

Dr. Cat Killer does a complete 180 and now supports federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?

Weird. I know honesty is not the case so... what's the angle here? Who does this help Frist with in 2008?

This man needs help

So, after a pathetic few months of wading into the shallow end of Texas politics, Chris Bell has announced that he is almost ready to announce his formal entry into the governor's race.

His kickoff will take place on August 14th. His location, the cozy confines of a University Democrats event at UT-Austin. His message?

"Hey kids, I know you don't vote and have the attention span of a hummingbird on crack, but please provide me with all the free labor I need to win the governor's race in Texas."

Trial Lawyers Funding Strayhorn

Interesting story from the Morning News:
In her bid to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is pursuing an unprecedented strategy of soliciting big-dollar donors with a history of backing Democrats.

The approach carries considerable risk for a candidate trying to woo faithful Republican primary voters, but it may be Mrs. Strayhorn's only option for matching the GOP incumbent's fiscal firepower, analysts say.

Of the Republican comptroller's $7 million campaign account, more than $800,000 has come from some of the Democratic Party's biggest political donors, according to an analysis by The Dallas Morning News.

The donors include dozens of trial lawyers, whose financial largess probably will be a theme in Mr. Perry's campaign against Mrs. Strayhorn in next year's GOP primary. But experts say Mrs. Strayhorn had little choice.
Two things: 1) How sad is it that this is what the Democrat Party has been reduced to in Texas and 2) Is this a viable Strayhorn strategy? Does it have a chance of working?

Oh yeah, and 3) Thanks TTLA. The one thing this article doesn't do is get the trials to say why they're backing Strayhorn (Chris Bell haters?) and if this marks a shift in strategy away from backing Dems and towards backing Republicans that aren't as bad as the bad Republicans.

Or maybe the trial lawyers want Perry to win.

Florida AGAIN

Funny how ya hear republicans harp all day about trail lawyers being the scourge of society but when it comes to stealing, uh, err, I mean winning a disputed election they have no problem hiring a team of only 400 lawyers.


From Miami Herald


Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation ''lions'' and ''800-pound gorillas,'' which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida.

This is baseball bitches, not spanish class

Let me get this straight, about a third (most likely a low estimate) of all major league baseball players hail from some spanish speaking country, but appearantly it's "illegal" to speak spanish during little league games. I guess it takes away from the scratching and repositioning of crotches and spitting during the game.

From the Associated Press

Methuen was winning 3-1 when assistant coach Domingo Infante instructed the pitcher in Spanish to try to pick off a runner at second base. After the unsuccessful attempt, the umpire called time-out and spoke with a Little League official who was at the game. The unidentified umpire then decreed that only English could be spoken.

Coaches said the order demoralized the Methuen players and cost the team the game.

Police lying? Surely not.

The cops would never lie about a total fuck up on their part or would they?

From the London Times
one of the officers involved in the fatal shooting had gone on holiday with his family, paid for by the Metropolitan Police.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why does Bush hate the Boy Scouts?

Hilarious. Bush is caught in another lie.

300
Boy Scouts had to be treated for heat-related problems after waiting around in full uniform in an open field waiting to hear from George W. Bush. After Team Bush realized what a budding crisis his no-show had become, they blame the Boy Scout leaders for being ill-prepared to host such a gathering!

From the Washington Post:

Officials said last night that Bush would come to the Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill today after storms that moved through the region forced him to cancel a planned appearance yesterday. But those plans were scrapped this morning as Scout officials dealt with the after effects from the weather. More than 300 Scouts had to be treated for heat problems, including dehydration and light-headedness, after waiting in the blazing sun for more than two hours in their dress uniforms to see Bush

Note how the article says the event was scotched AFTER Scout officials dealt with the after effects of the weather (meaning the collapsing hordes of Boy Scouts). But here's how Team Bush explained the 2-hour delay:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told the Associated Press this morning that Boy Scout officials had asked Bush to postpone his visit. They "wanted to make sure they had all the medical supplies and EMT personnel to handle such a large crowd," McClellan said.

So, Scout leaders wanted to gather all the young boys in a field, then keep them there waiting for 2 hours while they made sure they had enough medical supplies?? Why wouldn't they just start the event and then quickly get the Scouts to some shade? That doesn't seem very Scout-like of them does it? Is this the kind of know-how they're teaching our kids?

McClellan's explanation strains all credibility. Why would the Scout leaders want to delay the beginning of an event when they were all ready to go? And, if they did ask Bush to postpone the visit, why wouldn't they get all the Scouts out of the heat? Why let them sit there for two hours while they dropped like flies?

More from the article:

Despite temperatures in the high 90s yesterday, hundreds of Scouts stood in long security lines in the afternoon and then sat waiting in an open field for the president. Supplies of ice and water were provided to the Scouts, but still many succumbed to the heat. According to the AP, soldiers from the fort helped carry sick Scouts on stretchers to the hospital and emergency workers from surrounding jurisdictions were called in to help treat and transport them.

The plot thickens...

I killed for my country and all I got was brain cancer

"Welcome home! Here's your yellow ribbon and just a lil dose of brain cancer compliments of Uncle Sam . "

After reading this one can conclude that "Gulf War Syndrome" never existed...right?

Awesome

Cage fighting is making a comeback, reports the NYT.

Alive and Thriving in the Midwest: Brawling in Cages

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., July 23 - When they rewind the video of the fight in the cage, all the blood will spray back into Gervis Fool Bull's nose, all the screams will be sucked into the collective chest of the sweating crowd, and the fist will snap back toward the big truck driver from Iowa who threw it, a man with a mohawk haircut who grew up fighting his twin brother in the neighborhood junkyard.

But to find where this punch between strangers really began, the rewinding would have to go back almost three weeks, to the Fourth of July in the lakeside tourist town of Okoboji, Iowa, where the twin brothers were prowling around, drinking, not liking tourists.

"My goal that night was to beat up the biggest tourist I could find," said Nate Hawn, 20.

He picked a marine, he said, and beat him in the crowded streets. A stranger approached, and the Hawns wondered if he wanted some, too.

The man said that he worked with a promoter of cage fighting and that the guys should come to Sioux Falls in a few weeks. "He said, 'You guys are exactly what we're looking for,' " the brother with the mohawk, Ryan Hawn, recalled.

[...]

"It's like the hardest core," said Jarod Stevens, 25, a beefy, freckled redhead who works at a Hummer dealership, signing up for his first fight on Saturday in Sioux Falls. "It's proving something to yourself, that you're man enough to be a part of it and do well, hopefully."

By the night's end, Mr. Stevens will be holding a bag of ice to a bluish lump on his forehead.

[...]

"I always say, 'Where's the rule book?' " said Vernon Brown, 37, a former television reporter who joined the Sioux Falls City Council last year and is a critic of cage fighting. "They keep giving me a sheet printed off the Internet that says no eye-gouging, no fishhooks, no fingers in bodily orifices."

He does not foresee banning the sport.




Mr. Christian, 40, who introduces himself as Dog, being examined by nurse Abby Small at a weigh-in before what would have been his first fight. But he is alarmed by a question on the forms — "This being wanted by any law enforcement agencies, what does that mean?" he asks — and ultimately withdraws.




In Sioux Falls and other small cities and towns of the Great Plains, cage fighting is making a comeback, drawing hundreds, even thousands of spectators to fairgrounds, small arenas and, most disturbingly to city officials, the parking lots of bars.



Of course, it's the midwest -- the heartland, the Bible Belt, the red states -- where such naked brutality shines. I guess you have to have something to do while not cheerleading the war in Iraq.

What cage match would you like to see? Ann Coulter vs. a rabid raccoon? Robert Byrd vs Chief Justice Rehnquist? Zell Miller vs Chris Matthews? A kangaroo vs a bear? Jared from Subway vs Ross from Friends? Marvelle vs Bob Dobbs? Pete Laney vs Tom Craddick? Tom DeLay vs a horde of insects? Jesus vs Allah? GWB vs Hillary? Tom Cruise vs a chimp?

Democrats Can Be Such Idiots Online

Allow me a moment to rant. No Democrat, ever, in any way, should ever use Rightclick Strategies to do any Web work. Period. From today's Roll Call (subscription required):
A D.C.-based Internet marketing firm that ran into problems earlier this year with a design pitch giving the impression that the company had done work for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is once again raising eyebrows in Democratic offices.

Pelosi’s office had protested to the company that they had never worked with the firm. But within the past week, sources said Rightclick Strategies made a presentation to the office of Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) in which company representatives displayed Web site designs to staffers that supposedly had been done for other Democratic offices, including that of Rep. Bob Menendez (N.J.).

“In a presentation to Obey’s office they said they had done some work for us,” Menendez spokesman Matt Miller said. “They have never worked for us. ... We have informed other offices that we haven’t done any work with them.”

“We had been informed by a couple Member offices that this company had been representing that they had designed certain Member Web sites and that’s not the case,” Pelosi’s spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said.

Larry Purpuro, founder of Rightclick Strategies — which touts itself as one of the leading Web design companies used on Capitol Hill — said that he couldn’t speak to the specific Obey presentation but he did say that “our guys are up there ... they visit five to 15 offices a week. We have done hundreds of designs, designs for Members that did not engage us but that were conceptual designs.”

Purpuro, who is a former deputy chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, added that “it’s difficult for me to respond to accusations based on hearsay and I’m somewhat suspicious of their origin given my visibility as a Republican and the large amount of work we have done for GOP Members.”

But a few of the company’s conceptual designs have concerned some Members in the past.

Earlier this year, the offices of Pelosi and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) objected to the use of images of the two Members being used in an advertising campaign by American Digital Campaigns, a subsidiary of Rightclick Strategies. At that time, the two offices had asked the Office of the General Counsel to investigate the matter

“They had said they had created a Web site for our office and that was not true,” Crider said of the February incident.
This is fucking ridiculous. First, Democrats should be supporting Democratic firms, not some fucking former RNC chief of staff. Second, this firm is clearly sleezy and underhanded when it comes to its marketing. And finally, they're called Rightclick Strategies for a reason - they're fucking Republicans.

Here's a list of 10 Democratic/Progressive Web firms that are all 100 times more deserving of Congressional business:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Why Radio Sucks

Great article, despite the foxnews.com site it's posted on:
The internal memos from Sony Music, revealed today in the New York state attorney general's investigation of payola at the company, will be mind blowing to those who are not so jaded to think records are played on the radio because they're good. We've all known for a long time that contemporary pop music stinks. We hear "hits" on the radio and wonder, "How can this be?"

Now we know. And memos from both Sony's Columbia and Epic Records senior vice presidents of promotions circa 2002-2003 — whose names are redacted in the reports but are well known in the industry — spell out who to pay and what to pay them in order to get the company's records on the air.

From Epic, home of J-Lo, a memo from Nov. 12, 2002, a "rate" card that shows radio stations in the Top 23 markets will receive $1000, Markets 23-100 get $800, lower markets $500. "If a record receives less than 75 spins at any given radio station, we will not pay the full rate," the memo to DJs states. "We look forward to breaking many records together in the future."

Take Jennifer Lopez's awful record, "Get Right," with its shrill horn and lifted rap. It's now clear that was a "bought" sensation when it was released last winter. So, too, were her previous "hits" "I'm Glad" and "I'm Real," according to the memos. All were obtained by Sony laying out dough and incentives. It's no surprise. There isn't a person alive who could hum any of those "songs" now. Not even J-Lo herself.

When you've got record companies paying DJs to play music, instead of DJs finding and playing what fans want to hear, you end up with the audio-diarrhea that oozes out of virtually every radio in America these days.No wonder fewer and fewer people are listenting to the radio these days.

In other media-companies-are-screwing-us news, Matt Yglesias has a nice post about a la carte cable - basically the ability to subscribe to individual cable channels instead of buying packages of channels:

Yes, I speak once again of à la carte cable. Hard-core social conservatives like it. Liberal consumer groups like it. So, let's do it. The other thing is that if we had some decent broadband policy or reasonable spectrum management in this country, the cable industry might just feel enough competitive pressure to offer people meaningful choices.

Small bit of good news...

Pataki is not seeking a fourth term as mayor of NYC. He is instead opting to run for president as a social moderate in today's Republican Party.

Good luck with that...

Lance sounding liberal

Lance Armstrong Veers Left

Lance Armstrong’s future as a politician (Texas governor? President?) is the talk of the town, and Armstrong has told Time magazine that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility now that his cycling career is over. Luckily, as this quote from yesterday’s USA Today suggests, Armstrong has his priorities in order:

“Funding [for cancer research] is tough to come by these days,” he says. “The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change. It needs to become a priority again.
“Polls say people are much more afraid of cancer than of a plane flying into their house or a bomb or any other form of terrorism. It is a priority for the American public.”

Commit treason, get a raise!

Rove and Scooter Libby just got raises. Did we expect anything less from GDub and company?

50 Most, er, uh, Beautiful...

Just a reminder that a year ago one of our very own was included on this esteemed list. A tip o' the hat to Wonkette for jogging our memory.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Just because G-Dub didn't nominate Satan,

doesn't mean we should shut up about the Supreme Court nominee.

The mainstream media have (as usual) missed a very important point. And that point is that it is the Supreme Court's job to interpret the Constitution. And it can't do a good job interpreting the Constitution unless its members are learned, capable of having an open dialogue, and representative of the full spectrum of political and academic views.

The Republicans like to say that the American judiciary is somehow controlled by a left-wing cabal whose aim is to thwart the will of the people when it overturns measures that deny constitutional rights (e.g., when anti-abortion laws that go farther than Roe v. Wade would allow are enjoined from enforcement or when "protection of marriage" measures that strip rights away from homosexuals are overturned).

We rarely hear it said that YES, it is the judiciary's job to overturn the popular will when that will would deny basic rights and freedoms to members of our society. Without the judiciary to play that role, we are not safe from becoming a fascist nation.

We rarely hear a Republican forced to respond to the fact that the federal judiciary is primarily made up of Reagan and Bush I nominees. There are, in fact, more Republican nominees than Carter/Clinton nominees (and that is due in no small part to the fact that the Republicans denied numerous Clinton nominees the chance to receive a floor vote). Left-wing cabal, huh?

Another point missed by the both the MSM talking heads and the activists on both sides is that we need a full spectrum of views on the Supreme Court. This so-called "5-4" ratio of the current court masks a real truth, and that it that the court no longer has a far left wing. Where we used to have Marshall and Brennan, we now have silence.

The Court is in fact represented this way:
1 Strong Liberal: Stevens
2 Center-Liberals: Breyer and Ginsburg
1 Centrist: Souter
2 Center-Conservatives: Kennedy and O'Connor
1 Strong Conservative: Rehnquist
2 Far Right Wing Reactionaries: Scalia and Thomas

The Court is like a bird trying to fly with half its left wing missing: it simply can't. Decisions are being made without looking at the problem from all sides.

While I haven't ever agreed with Scalia or Thomas except on that recent Kelo v. New London decision, I honestly would not mind having them on the court if we also had a Marshall and Brennan wing. While I am certain the Court would reach decisions I would rail against, at least I could believe that all views were aired and considered. At least I would have some sort of faith in the decisions. The justices are not supposed to be politicians, they are supposed to be analysts looking at the facts and the law, but if there are too many who come in with the predetermined notion that only the Federal Society view is legitimate, then the Court becomes a joke.

To echo an argument made here earlier this week, Democrats need to stop treating the Court like an extension of the DLC. Everything is NOT going to be OK just because we get somebody who hasn't participated in a lynching in the last 20 years. Roberts is not OK. We need some far left wingers to balance the far right wingers and we need to educate the public about the functions of the Court and the necessity for a wide variety of views, especially by those who be interpreting the Constitution and further abrogating our Fourth Amendment rights (to give just one example).

Unless we expand the discussion about why the judiciary is important and what kind of members it needs, the nebulous middle will continue to be disengaged about it, assuming (wrongly) that it is just about the appointment of pro-choice or anti-choice judges and no more. It is about so much more, and I think we must understand and communicate that more effectively.

The best framing of the Rove story

This is the best piece I've read yet on Rovegate.

In the mid-1970s, a similar debate raged over CounterSpy, a magazine associated with renegade CIA officer Phil Agee, for listing Welch’s name before the CIA station chief was gunned down in Athens in 1975.

Though U.S. officials, including then-CIA Director George H.W. Bush, blamed CounterSpy for contributing to Welch's death, the magazine’s defenders noted that Welch had been previously fingered as a CIA officer by a European publication and that the CIA had carelessly assigned him a house previously used by CIA station chiefs.

But the CounterSpy defense didn’t stop Congress from citing the Welch assassination as the principal justification for passing a law in 1982 making the willful identification of a CIA officer a criminal offense.

That law is now at the center of the investigation into whether officials in George W. Bush’s administration committed a crime..."

Revenge of the Turd Blossom

12 newspapers across America have edited or completely yanked a Doonesbury strip that simply wrote what Bush ACTUALLY CALLS Karl Rove.
"We thought it was in bad taste and probably unclear to a lot of people why we would be using the term," said Steve Shirk, managing editor/news for The Star.

It's the immigrants fault...uh, err, or is it?

Well I am sure this study will be attacked and ridiculed more than Joe Wilson or Valerie Plame. We all know that those nasty immigrants are responsible for all of society's ills. Could someone please remind what the saying on Ellis Island, (or was it the Statue of Liberty?) says?

"Our study lays to rest the myth that expensive care for immigrants is responsible for our nation's high health costs. The truth is, immigrants get far less care than other Americans," Dr. Sarita Mohanty, who led the study while she was at Harvard University and who is now at the University of Southern California

The return of Ricky

I guess his career as a holistic healer didn't work out.

Williams apologizes, returns to Dolphins
RB says he doesn't smoke pot anymore; teammates seem to accept him

The Ox-Bow Incident

I think it was the London police gunning down that innocent guy in the subway that made me think of this book I read in high school (middle school?), the Ox-Bow Incident.

Of course it could have been Guantanamo, or Iraq, or the Patriot Act, or ... I gotta stop watching the news.

Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned.


I remember it as a really good read. Lots of moral ambiguity.


Dubaya's Book Club

Now I know this doesn't quite spark any political debate, but if Oprah can have a book club I figure its only right that the persident should have one too. I thought these might be his personal favorites. Then again these might be too high brow for him.

Preparing to lose again

So how many elections do the Democrats have to lose before they realize moving towards the center isn't going to work?

The appointment solidified the identification of Clinton, once considered a champion of the party's left, with the centrist movement that helped propel her husband to the White House in 1992. It also continued her effort, which has accelerated in recent months, to present herself as a moderate on issues such as national security, immigration and abortion.

Monday, July 25, 2005

GOP to Texas: "Governing is Hard!"

Pathetic, 2 1/2 years of GOP rule and they can't even get a school finance plan worked out.

What a bunch of clowns. From the AAS:
"I think anything with the word 'tax' in it is harder to reach consensus on because somebody, some element, some group, some part of the constituency is going to be unhappy no matter what you do," former Republican Lt. Gov. and state Sen. Bill Ratliff said.
Yeah, it's alot easier sitting on the sidelines and lobbing insults and complaints at the majority. Hey, it worked for the Repugs, let's try it!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Blast from the Past

"The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults or exposure to inhumane treatment of any kind as an aid to interrogation is prohibited by law, both international and domestic; it is neither authorized nor condoned."

What wacko human rights-fetishist uttered those treasonous remarks? Why, it was in the cover page to a CIA interrogation manual written in 1985, according to declassified CIA documents turned over to the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

I didn't realize US and international laws were overturned or amended since then. So the phrase "it is neither authorized" should be the smoking gun. The torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib was "authorized" since that is the only way it could occur - since those practices are "prohibited by law, both international and domestic."

Friday, July 22, 2005

It's never good when Texas makes the national news

Yet another example, from the syndicated News of the Weird column:

Leadership in America
According to an Associated Press report, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick told a middle-school class he was visiting in April that the U.S. Congress is different from the Texas legislature, in that in Washington there are "454" members on the House side and "60" in the Senate. (The real numbers are 435 and 100.) And the Kansas City Star, reporting in May on a Missouri legislative debate on the Confederate flag, quoted Rep. Jim Avery as stating that the 1803 Louisiana Purchase involved a fight with France over the territory: "Well, we fought over it. We fought over it, right? You don't think there were any lives lost in that? It was a friendly thing?" (It appears well-settled in history that the Louisiana Purchase was just a land deal.)

Should we be concerned about this?

Awhile back, Marvelle proposed that the evening news should have a segment called "Holy shit, America!" which would report on the outrageous things that for whatever reasons pass without notice in our country. I submit this new report as a story idea.

Presence of Harmful Chemicals
In Humans Is Broad, Common


Legal restrictions have lowered Americans' exposure to certain toxic substances such as lead and cigarette smoke, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But dozens of other potentially dangerous chemicals -- from pesticides to the fragrances in cosmetics -- appear to be nearly ubiquitous in Americans' bloodstreams, the agency found.


Nearly ubiquitous. That can't be good.

The agency reported widespread exposures to dozens of different pesticides, with the highest levels generally reported in children. Among the 38 new chemicals tested in the latest survey, the CDC looked at exposures to a class of common pesticides called pyrethroids -- used in Raid roach killer, among others -- and found that 76% of the population sampled had the chemical in their bodies.

According to preliminary calculations by Margaret Reeves, senior scientist with the advocacy group Pesticide Action Network, children ages 6 to 11 had metabolites of one pesticide in their blood, called chlorpyrifos, that were more than four times as high as the Environmental Protection Agency's safe level for that age group.

For three types of phthalates, a class of chemicals used in various products including cosmetics, pills and plastics, 5% of the population had levels exceeding levels recently associated with genital abnormalities in boys.


Genital abnormalities. That's not good either.

With so many different chemicals in the body, said Johns Hopkins's Dr. Burke, the cocktail effect is still far from understood.


Our bodies are filling with toxic chemicals and it's just a short story on B2 of the WSJ? Holy shit, America. Enjoy your "cocktail."

Grand Theft Auto

Morford has a nice piece today on the latest Grand Theft Auto controversy. Hillary has been pushing for an investigation into the game calling it a "a silent epidemic" and all sorts of other nonsense.

The question I pose to you, dear reader, is this: What the fuck? I seem to recall a certain senator from Connecticut who tried attacking violent video games during a recent Presidential campaign. Suffice to say he did not perform too well is his Party's primary.

Is Hillary really going to keep running to the middle? Is this the 2008 strategy - ignore the base and go for the swing voters before you've won the primary? Is she such a rock star that she can moderate her stance on abortion, attack Hollywood and video games, and the base will still drool all over her?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tear the bark off the bastard

So maybe I haven't followed it all that closely, but I don't think Roberts is that bad. And by that I mean, it will be hard for the Dems to make a case against the guy. I haven't seen any truly outrageous rulings. He was approved unanimously. And yeah, he's affable. We had such garish abuses with Owens and Rogers to tee off on, with this guy I don't know.

And whatever he believes on choice, he hasn't ruled on it, just wrote a brief for a client -- in this case, the White House as Solicitor General. I just think people are going to say, "Bush is a Republican. This guy is more moderate than others that he's put up. Are you Dems going to fight everyone who isn't Souter?"

That was all a lead in to another post (courtesy of Kos again) that I highly recommend. While I don't think we should do it with Roberts, I think this is how we ought to play:

Defining Mr. Roberts

In fact, if I were running a propaganda campaign to try to soften Judge Roberts up before his confirmation hearings, I'd probably go a hell of a lot further than Moveon. I'd call him a fat cat corporate lawyer who made millions catering to wealthy CEOs. A Washington insider who has spent his entire adult life shuttling back and forth between K Street and Wall Street. An arrogant, out-of-touch Ivy Leaguer who probably vacations at posh resorts with other arrogant, out-of-touch Ivy Leaguers. (And I would say it no matter where he actually vacations -- or even if he takes no vacations at all.)

I would dig up every client that Roberts ever represented, and God help him if any have had even the slightest trouble with the criminal justice system. I'd put together ads juxtaposing pictures of him with photos of Bernie Ebbers, Dennis Kozlowski and Ken Lay, and run them in selected media markets, just below the national media's radar screen. And if Roberts has ever issued any rulings that in any way, shape or form have made it more difficult to fight crime or terrorism, some of those ads would morph him into Pedro Escobar or Osama bin Ladin.

I'd make a lot of hay out of Roberts' ruling in the infamous french fry case -- using it as a parable for an eggheaded judge who has plenty of book learning but no common sense. If the girl was African American, so much the better for targeted ads on urban radio stations.

Ditto for Roberts's ruling on the POW damage claims. I'd get some disabled Gulf War I vets to do testimonials and hold press conferences: "Saddam only destroyed my health, but Judge Roberts destroyed my faith in my country." Gulf War Veterans for Truth has a nice ring to it.

[...]

In other words, I would run my slime campaign exactly the way the Republicans run theirs. I'd tear the bark off the bastard, to quote Lee Atwater's famous phrase. And let the Republicans and the corporate media howl -- it would only "catapult the propaganda."

Most importantly of all, I would do it energetically and unapologetically. And I would expect every political hack in the Democratic Party to do likewise -- or, at a minimum, keep their whimpy mouths shut. Or else.


Yeah.

Lupe Valdez for Texas Guv

HRC interview with Dallas' female, gay, hispanic sheriff. (Via DailyKos)

Recruiting Tactics in Journalism

A bit of humor via the Washington Post:
Dean Baquet was named yesterday as editor of the Los Angeles Times, which becomes the largest American newspaper ever to be led by a black journalist.

[...]

New York Times editor Bill Keller said: "Dean's a prince -- a world-class investigator, an inspiring editor and a barrel of fun." But Keller said he hoped Baquet would start "fighting fair" in luring staffers [from the NY Times to the LA Times]: "He has this habit of telling recruits there's something in the New York water that makes your penis fall off."
That's why I only drink booze when I'm in NYC.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Feminist for life?

So does this mean Robert's wife is a "feminist for life" as in the rest of her life? Surely it doesn't refer to his stance against the Violence Against Women Act

"Roberts also has made the case that some problems simply should be left to the states. In a 1999 radio interview, he said, "We have gotten to the point these days where we think the only way we can show we're serious about a problem is if we pass a federal law, whether it is the Violence Against Women Act or anything else. The fact of the matter is conditions are different in different states, and state laws can be more relevant."

Uncle Sam Wants You. . . still

Army Times says the Pentagon is urging Congress to raise the maximum recruiting age to 42. No word yet on whether young, able-bodied and enthusiastic homosexuals will be allowed to fight Bush's phony war.

Into the Looking Glass

Ahh, satire...

Termed Operation American Freedom, French and German troops, cheered on by compliant embedded French journalists, invaded the US to overturn what Chirac called, again, “the brutal, illegitimate regime of George W. Bush.” Citing the dangers Bush's regime posed to the French people, and emphasizing that America had over the years attacked its neighbors in Grenada, Panama and Haiti as well as Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Somalia, Serbia, and Afghanistan, Chirac grew weary of Bush's incessant violations of UN Security Council resolutions. He removed French and German weapons inspectors from US cites and launched a massive land, sea and air assault appropriately called le shock et l'awe...

“With his 400 billion dollar [ US ] military budget, Bush is amassing the most lethal chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction ever known to mankind,” warned Chirac. The danger these weapons posed to France as well as Bush's links to such terrorist organizations as Israel 's Mossad and Britain ’s MI6 required immediate action. "We must fight evil over there so we don't have to fight it over here," he said. Referring to the United Kingdom and Israel as part of the "axis of evil,” they too remain in the crosshairs of France 's divinely inspired "global war on evil."

Baghdad Blog

A friend and former co-worker is in Baghdad helping the Iraqis write their new constitution (and hopefully keeping them from getting screwed by Bush while not starting a civil war). He's got a blog up - it's not frequently posted to but worth reading through if you have some time.

It's 130 degrees. I want a nice cool beverage. I'm specifically craving a tall, cool glass of tropicana orange juice with lots of pulp.

Instead, I'm holding Sac Sac, a product claiming to be made from Mandarin oranges - but unless Mandarain oranges nowadays taste like chalky Tang , I'm pretty sure that I ain't what I'm drinking.

It's purposefully devoid of political commentary - more of a slice-of-life kind of thing. He's a good writer, check it out.

Kind of weird headline

In the WSJ today, Senators Mull New Ways To Make Stem Cells

The article explains how they brought in experts to testify, but I just had the image of the senators doing it themselves, which is sort of what the headline implies.

Frist and Coburn and Kay Bailey and Lieberman are all sitting in white lab coats around a cauldron, stroking their chins, and cackling like witches. "Bwa Ha Ha! We will create new stem cells, more powerful than ever!"

Byrd is wandering around in a tattered robe, mumbling, "Must make new stem cells... must make new stem cells."

John Roberts - Just What Pat Robertson Ordered

Some of background on Roberts from People for the American Way:
  • Reproductive and Privacy Rights: Roberts urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade while arguing before the Court as Deputy Solicitor General in a case that did not even directly concern that issue. His brief plainly states that "Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."
  • Separation of Church and State: Roberts argued against clear First Amendment protections for religious liberty and in favor of officially sponsored school prayer at graduation ceremonies before the Supreme Court, which rejected his argument.
  • Environmental Protections: As a judge, Roberts suggested in a dissent that the Endangered Species Act was unconstitutional as applied to a California development case.
  • Veteran Protections: Roberts argued American POWs tortured in Iraq during the Gulf War should not be able to utilize federal courts to pursue their claims.
  • Excessive Arrest Procedures: Roberts ruled against a 12-year old girl who was handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating a single French fry on the D.C. Metro, even though an adult would only have gotten a paper citation in that situation.
That last one just warms the heart.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Kill All Potheads

More from the new-and-more-sensitive APD. Apparently to absolve themselves of any culpability in the shooting death of ANOTHER Austin teenager, they have concluded that his murder was justified because he had "a very small amount" of marijuana in his system.


Surely no one will argue that he deserved to die now.

APD Chief Stan Knee is concerned. But not with murdered teenagers. He's concerned about the fact that the deceased didn't smoke more pot before being shot.

The Christian Terrorist Double Standard

If his name was Eric al-Hassan, we would be talking about the Islamic terrorist who bombed the Olympics and other US locations.

Instead, Eric Rudolph, a Christian terrorist is merely a "criminal," facing a life sentence for a crime.

Fuck Rove

Molly Ivins has a great article on Rove:
Now it's getting funnier and funnier. There is an elephant in the living room and we're sitting around having a conversation about whether there's an elephant in the living room.

"I think there's an elephant in the living room."

"Well, there's a lot of elephant poop around, but that doesn't prove there's an elephant in the living room."

The entire Republican Party is shocked (!) anyone would think that Karl Rove (!!) would leak a story to damage a political opponent. Oh, the horror. And Karl has always been such a sweet guy. Just to give you an idea, one time Rove was displeased with the job done by a political advance man and said, "We will f--- him. Do you hear me? We will f--- him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f---ed him!" (From an article by Ron Suskind). And that was a guy who was on his side.

SCOTUS Rumor

Rumor has it on the Hill that Edith Brown Clement will be nominated today.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Press Laughs at Bush

"What the hell is going on?"


Round 3 of the 5 o'clock follies. McClellan is going to blow soon.

No One Believes You

From the latest ABC News poll:
Just a quarter of Americans think the White House is fully cooperating in the federal investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's identity, a number that's declined sharply since the investigation began. And three-quarters say that if presidential adviser Karl Rove was responsible for leaking classified information, it should cost him his job.

Skepticism about the administration's cooperation has jumped. As the initial investigation began in September 2003, nearly half the public, 47 percent, believed the White House was fully cooperating. That fell to 39 percent a few weeks later, and it's lower still, 25 percent, in this new ABC News poll.

[...]

The leak investigation is seen as a meaningful issue: About three-quarters call it a serious matter, and just over four in 10 see it as "very" serious. These are down slightly, however, by five and six points respectively, from their level in September 2003.

Fifty-three percent are following the issue closely — a fairly broad level of attention. Those paying close attention (who include about as many Republicans as Democrats) are more likely than others to call it very serious, to say the White House is not cooperating, to say Rove should be fired if he leaked, and to say Miller is doing the right thing.

Finding Common Ground in Election Fraud

The Bushes? Covertly manipulating an election? Get out!

Seymour Hersh strikes again. In case you missed this story in the flood of daily outrages, it appears the White House dismissed congressional objections and went ahead with a covert plan to influence the Iraqi elections.

A clandestine network of retired CIA agents and non-governmental special forces went into action in order to steer Iraqis away from their preferred Iran-friendly Shiite candidates to the more favorable candidate, former CIA assassin Iyad Allawi.

The result of this carefully refined plan? Shiite candidates won a plurality by winning 130 out of the 275 seats in the National Assembly.

It appears that they can only manipulate American elections.

From the article:

Despite the denials by some Bush administration officials on Saturday, others who took part in or were briefed on the discussion said they could not rule out the possibility that the United States and its allies might have provided secret aid to augment the broad overt support provided to Iraqi candidates and parties by the State Department, through organizations like the International Democratic Institute.

Forgive the NYT as they have some other scandals to tackle right now but there is no IDI. It is, in fact, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. From the NDI's web site:

NDI is proud to draw on the traditions of the U.S. Democratic Party. While the Institute's identification with the Democratic Party enhances its standing throughout the world, NDI programs are nonpartisan, fostering universal values and supporting democratic processes rather than a particular party or ideology.

This stuff used to be left to the goons over at the International Republican Institute. But, as we all know, Bush is a uniter (not a divider). Here's photographic evidence of the bipartisan effort spoil elections in Iraq. The caption to this photo reads:

Judy Van Rest, Executive Vice President, International Republican Institute and Kenneth Wollack, President, International Democratic Institute at Washington Foreign Press Center Briefing on "Promoting Free and Fair Elections in Iraq: NGOs and Building the Political Process."

Irony is alive and well. It appears the Democrats are as lousy at winning Iraqi elections as they are US elections.

The power of a good insult

Frank Rich has a few this week:

Bob Novak?

"more of a common coward than the prince of darkness he fashions himself to be"

Scott McClellan?

"almost poignantly clownish"

Ha!

The column is, as always, excellent. Says Wilson is just a MacGuffin, let's get back to talking about this bogus war.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Tips for the Rapture

From Mark Morford at the San Francisco Chronicle:

When it comes to Armageddon prep, the red states have us city folk beat. Sure-sure, cities are the cultural and social and economic engines of the nation; sure we have all the Ph.D.s and all the artistic talents and all the book-learnin' and progressive ideas and cool European cars and the good wine and the better sex and the polysyllabic words.

But when the economy collapses and the End is Nigh, well, most of us shall fall by the roadside, begging for scraps from the angry evangelical Idaho potato farmer in the beat-up pickup with the little flags stuck on the bumper, and he shall chortle and spit tobacco through his nine teeth and turn up the James Dobson Christian Family Hour on the AM and drive off toward the mushroom cloud, whistling.

The red states will finally rule the world. They will survive. They know how. They can eat squirrel brains. They can pickle things, including various animal parts. They have been known to marry each other. They can subsist on bad beer and cow pies and stuff they find growing in the rusty tailpipes of old farm equipment. They know how to perform home surgery using only a rusty butter knife and bathroom caulk. They eat mice.

This is just freaky.

Panel: Use caution in stem cell study of monkey brains

Scientists hope to grow embryonic stem cells into replacement brain cells to treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Safety tests of these treatments would require first implanting the cells in animals, perhaps including primates. However, whether implanting such cells might raise the consciousness of the animals to a higher level, changing the ethics of experimentation, raises some awkward questions, Greely says.


Part human, part animal: research raises concerns

RENO — On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs.

[...]

In the past two years, scientists have created pigs with human blood, fused rabbit eggs with human DNA and injected human stem cells to make paralyzed mice walk.

Particularly worrisome to some scientists are the nightmare scenarios that could arise from the mixing of brain cells: What if a human mind somehow got trapped inside a sheep's head?


How to create a shadow state party online

Want to replace the TDP? Here's a perfect case study on how to do it online. Read this post for some background.

GOP "apologizes" for race-baiting

You got to hand it to Mehlman for some brilliant political jujitsu:

GOP: 'We were wrong' to play racial politics

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman apologized to one of the nation's largest black civil rights groups Thursday, saying Republicans had not done enough to court blacks in the past and had exploited racial strife to court white voters, particularly in the South.


Apologizing for something YOU'RE STILL DOING?!? Can we get a pre-emptive apology for what will go down in the TN Senate race? Will he condemn the abhorrent race-baiting that just occured in Texas over the driver's license bill? (I guess that will be a separate Hispanic fake apology startegy).

A welcome return

Calvin and Hobbes are coming back.

Alcoholic Advocacy

From www.knowyourdrink.com:
Alcohol beverages are the only consumable product that are by law not permitted to include Serving Fact information such as alcohol content, calories, carbs, fat and protein on all of their labels. Why? Because the government agency that regulates the beverage alcohol industry, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) won't let Diageo, the world's leading spirits, beer and wine company, voluntarily provide you with that information.
I don't know squat about this issue - either why the gov't won't let liquor companies include this info or why liquor companies actually want to include it - but the good people at Johnnie Walker sent me an email about it and I'm inclined to support 'em.

Anybody out there know more?

From terrorism to transsexualism

The Daily Texan has a great feature on everyone's favorite candidate (well, after Leslie), Jennifer Gale

Choice excerpts:

Jennifer Lauren Gale, professional public office candidate, poet, regular Austin City Council meeting attendee, daily park cleaner, frequenter of the Texas Union, Dobie Mall and all Austin public libraries, constant seeker of answers and friends, and now candidate for governor, is ready for a vacation.

She is preparing travel to Madison, Wisc., her birthplace and nostalgic "paradise." She plans to travel via commercial 18-wheeler.

[...]

She does not have a job. Many would call her homeless. She prefers "living outside." Gale has lived outside since 1991, the same year she first ran for public office.

[...]

Stalder said he "bent over backwards" to investigate the situation, and he eventually supported Gale's use of the restroom because he had confirmed a sex-change operation she had in Galveston. She is legally a female.

[...]

"I don't know if you know about me at all, but I wear sweatshirts," she says, pulling out a yellow T-shirt depicting Martin Luther King Jr. A dark gray-blue long-sleeved T-shirt is already pulled through the sleeves of the yellow shirt.

She also carries a keychain stick of Hawaiian Tropic Barbie-themed sunscreen and a brightly colored umbrella, which she opens while we walk.


Reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaallllly??

Rove and Novak sittin' in a tree. . . k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

Click here to send a hilarious pre-written letter of "support" to Rove' s actual email account.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of."

More wisdom on torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib from America's dumbest Senator (literally, he's mildy retarded) -- Jim Bunning excluded because he's just plumb nuts.

It was nesteled in a story with perhaps the most shameful headline I've read in some time. FBI agents present at the torture sessions complain of Geneva Convention violations. The Army appoints a panel to investigate itself and .... (drum roll)... finds it did nothing wrong!

Rather than take a skeptical look at an obvious internal whitewash (I mean, my God, we've SEEN the pictures), the New York Times declares:

"Report Discredits FBI Claims
of Abuse at Guantanamo Bay"

Those liberal FBI ninnies don't know shit, right?

This should be interesting

Santorum Senior Staffer Gay? This blog has outed gay staff members of Right-Wingers in the past.

Updated (7/15/05): Here's the full story. I wonder how this will play with the radical right Santorum has been courting?
In a phone call recorded by PageOneQ and blogACTIVE.com, Robert Traynham, Director of Communications for United States Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has said he is an out gay man who completely supports the Senator.

When asked how a gay man could speak for one of the nation's most notorious homophobes, Traynham, left, protested that has "been with the Senator for eight years." Traynham went on to say "Senator Santorum is a man of principle, he is a man who sticks up for what he believes in, I strongly do support Senator Santorum."

When pressed on whether he supported the Senator's stands on lesbian and gay issues, Mr. Traynham abruptly ended the phone call by saying "Senator Santorum is a family man. I have been with Senator Santorum for eight years and I am very proud to be with him."

An attempt to follow-up with a question was met with Mr. Traynham hanging up the phone.

Senator Santorum, who trails the presumptive Democratic nominee by double digits in a recent Quinnipiac College poll, has been a staunch opponent of lesbian and gay rights and one of the Senate's strongest supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment. The amendment would prohibit lesbian and gay couples from ever achieving marriage equality in the United States by requiring that all marriages be between one man and one woman.

"Isn't that the ultimate homeland security? To defend the sanctity of marriage?" asked Senator Santorum during last year's debate on the cloture motion to force a vote on the Amendment. The statement was seen by many gay and lesbian community members as a way to tie the struggle for lesbian and gay equality to the President's "war on terror."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Fascism Takes the Metro

The D.C. Metro is going to start random searches of its passengers.

Oh, and Mayor Anthony Williams says that he's learned from London and is going to push for many more surveillance cameras in D.C.

Silly me, London is plastered with cameras and they obviously didn't deter squat.

Borfed!

See the post below if you're totally confused about this.

So a creative (though I wish a little more creative than the straight-up "Borf" tag) graffiti artist has been popped for his infamous "vandalism" all over D.C.

My first thought was humor but then I remembered a thing a friend told me once about graffiti serving as a very necessary form of social protest to people who have no other vehicle. While most of it is aimed at marking rival gang turf, some of it can be the most soulful expressions of life in that neighborhood.

In Mount Pleasant/Columbia Heights, the first thing that greets you as you get off the CH metro stop is a 100 yard-long mural drawn by children from the community. Curiously, it is the LEAST tagged wall in the area.

Artists recognize art, no matter the creator.

So my thoughts are this:

1) I hope those sympathetic to this 18-year old artist would go out and spray-paint "Borf" in a conspicious location -- giving what may be the real Borf a handy get-out-of-jail-free card since his arrest has not stemmed the Borfing. Obviously I'm not going to cop to doing it myself, but things happen.

2) Fox 6 News actually interviewed a woman visiting from Pittsburgh who heard about the arrest of Borf and was "sad", said she came to Dupont Circle to "see if we could find his art", and that what he did was "no different than what we were doing in the 70's." Amen.

3) Intelligent graffiti is cool and I wish there was more

More from Faux News...

So, Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard has uncovered what the combined intelligence services of the entire world could not. He's a hell of an investigative reporter. The drumbeat of ignorance continues...


Saddam -- al Qaeda Link?


HUME:
Sum up, if it's possible to do so, sort of the nature of the connections you found between the Islamic terrorism, Al Qaeda, and the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein, that you knew before.

HAYES: There are a whole host of connections from before that we knew before the war. There were allegations that have since been confirmed that Saddam was supporting Al Qaeda in Ansar al-Islam, an Al Qaeda affiliate, in northern Iraq, financially with weapons. There were, of course, the reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq operating freely before the war.

HUME: That's been confirmed?

HAYES: That's been confirmed.

HUME: That he was there before the war?

HAYES: Absolutely.

That little bow-tied idiot

This internet ad campaign for Tucker Carlson's new show is ridiculous. I can't go anywhere online today without seeing his smug little face.

Jon Stewart to Carlson: "You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show."

TDP Close to Broke

I didn't know how to react when I first read that the Texas Democratic Party is "short on funds." Translation: they may not be able to make payroll.

My first thought was -- how fucking pathetic. Add to the list of incompetences and humiliations of the state party a new one. For whatever you think about the job Texas Democrats have done in the last few elections collectively, the state party has been an organizational disaster, at least throughout the Molly Beth Malcolm years. I don't know how Schoeting is doing, but this article doesn't reflect well.

They had a hard time keeping staff when they actually had the money to pay them!

My second thought was -- good. The resurgence of the Dems will come from outside the party structure. To the extent that has happened nationally, the new force has been MoveOn and the Dean campaign. Let TDP fade away and let some real grassroots organization grow up -- or, hell, let Fred Baron pony up for the new non-party party/527 that everyone is rumoring about, and let's get going.

The party has had less influence than TTLA for years anyway (though as I write this I remember I should give Schoeting props for going after Craddick Dems in the primaries -- for that alone he is a far better success than MBM) and less influence than Laney's Texas Partnership or Frost's organization. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This just makes it official.

Finally I actually read the story, and I saw this quote from Mike Lavigne:

"We're Democrats. We're never going to match the big-money operations the Republicans can mount," Lavigne said. "But at least the money we do raise is legal."


And finally I thought, great fucking line. If we're going down, let's at least pop the other guy in the chin on our way to the mat.

Katherine Harris is on Crack

Is this an absurd bid to pander to Florida's Jewish voters or just incredibly stupid?

Rep. Katherine Harris, the Republican best known for her controversial role in the Florida recount battle, is at the center of a new flap — over a report that she pressed the state to treat trees with Holy Water.

Harris reportedly helped associates of the Kabbalah Centre to get officials in Florida's agriculture department to test the water as a potential curative to the canker disease then plaguing orange groves. At the time, in 2001, Harris was still serving as Florida's secretary of state, the same post she had held during the post-election fight in 2000.

[...]

In a statement to the Forward, Harris asserted that she decided to recommend Celestial Drops after being told that "Israeli scientists" had produced the product. She made a statement: "I deeply value Israeli technology, as it helped save my family's groves through drip irrigation technology decades ago, which is why I forwarded the information to the Department of Agriculture, as I frequently do with constituent interests and requests."

The Sentinel obtained memos and letters detailing a six-month discussion among scientists and officials over the Celestial Drops. Among the documents was a warning from Wayne Dixon, the state's chief of entomology, nematology and plant pathology, in which he declared that the "product is a hoax and not based on any credible known science."

Cardinal Coo Coo Gets Called Out

You read it here first (well, actually in the New York Times first). Last week, Cardinal Schönborn wrote a freakish op-ed in the NYT a few weeks ago dismissing JP3 and anyone else who thinks evolution is science-based. So now three scientists are asking Panzerkardinal and his neanderkardinals to "clarify" their flat-earth beliefs that evolution is INCOMPATIBLE with religion.

The article says:
Three scientists, two of them Roman Catholic biologists, have asked Pope Benedict XVI to clarify the church's position on evolution in light of recent statements by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, an influential theologian, that the modern theory of evolution may be incompatible with Catholic faith. . . In his essay, Cardinal Schönborn said the theory of evolution, as it is understood by scientists today, is not true. He dismissed Pope John Paul's comments on the subject in 1996 as "rather vague and unimportant."

That goddamn owl nest is blocking my new driveway expansion!!

You gotta be suspicious when the homebuilders of America release a statement urging Congress to "modernize" and "update" the Endangered Species Act.

I wish we could "modernize" Karl and the Gang.

Borf!

Borf revealed.

"Growing up is giving up"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More on Santorum

To follow up on PoliJunk's earlier post, basically Santorum says that the Catholic pedophilia scandal happened because Boston is a city full of liberals who have bad values. Using his twisted and totally fucked up logic the DSCC put out some great research on other places that have had pedophilia scandals. Namely:

What about your homestate of Pennsylvania, Senator Santorum? Since 2002, “At least 23 active priests accused of abuse have been removed from assignments … as a result of reviews by diocesan officials and new claims by alleged victims.” Additionally, following the Philadelphia “archdiocese revealed that it had evidence 35 priests had abused about 50 children over the past several decades, Cardinal Bevilacqua apologized to the victims, calling sexual abuse by priests ‘among the most depraved of moral aberrations’ and ‘an affront to the sanctity of the priesthood.’”

Click here to see a full listing of red states that must have really bad morals and shit because they've created sex offenders out the wazoo... so to speak.

Santorum at it Again!

This guy is so bigoted and closed-minded that he has become a ridiculous, out of control, and absurd mockery of what it once meant to be a "socially conservative Republican." Not wanting to participate in things like pre-marital sex and advocating that others join in your self-denial is one thing. Saying that "liberal culture" (whatever that is -- is that anything or is it Orwellian Newspeak?) caused Catholic priests, who are socially conservative by definition, to become child molesters is off-the-charts WACKO. Santorum is a caricature sandwich that half the country is eating with relish.

And the media goes after Howard Dean for relatively uninflammatory and true statements such as "the Republican party is made up of rich white folks?"

Make it stop!!!!!

Please!!!!

"Accountability" in the Bush White House

Wow. NYT in a news story really lays it out:

Mr. Rove can take heart in one fact: so far every other senior official caught up by the cascading series of questions that were touched off by 16 words in Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address has survived, even prospered. Three of Mr. Bush's closest advisers were involved in the drafting or reviewing of the now-discredited language, which said: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

The most senior of them, Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser at the time, accused the Central Intelligence Agency of feeding bad information to the White House. In an interview earlier this year, she said that "I was the national security adviser and the president said something that probably shouldn't have been in the speech, and it was as much my responsibility" as anyone else's. Mr. Bush not only stuck by her, he made her secretary of state.

Stephen P. Hadley, Ms. Rice's deputy, stepped into the Oval Office in August of that summer to tell the president that he, not Ms. Rice, was the one responsible for letting the language into the speech, and by several accounts he offered to resign. Mr. Bush refused, and gave him Ms. Rice's old job late last year.

And George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, who had been sent a copy of the speech but did not read it before it was delivered, reluctantly issued a statement two years ago this week saying that "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president." He later resigned, for unrelated reasons. Last December Mr. Bush rewarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


I wonder if I fuck up spectacularly at my job if I can ask for a promotion? I'd settle for just a raise, to buy more Country Club malt liquor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Iran-Contra Shredder New Deputy Pentagon Chief of Staff

Why doesn't this surprise me?

From Reuters:

Robert Earl, who destroyed national security documents during the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, is working as chief of staff to acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, the Pentagon said on Monday. Earl destroyed and stole national security documents while working for Lt. Col. Oliver North during a secret arms deal with Iran in which the United States passed money from those weapons sales to Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua, according to a report to Congress by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed Earl was a senior England aide, a fact first reported in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. He added, "I wonder why it's an issue now."

Outposts of Tierney: Part VIII

John Tierney's new op-ed in the New York Times today reads like a second-rate John Kelso article. In it he (presumably) jokes that computer hackers deserve at least the death penalty for their "cost" to society. He adds:

Professor Landsburg, an economist at the University of Rochester, has calculated the relative value to society of executing murderers and hackers. By using studies estimating the deterrent value of capital punishment, he figures that executing one murderer yields at most $100 million in social benefits. The benefits of executing a hacker would be greater, he argues, because the social costs of hacking are estimated to be so much higher: $50 billion per year.
This is the best the NYT could do?

Republican Slant on Google Ads

I've been noticing that our automatic Google Ads (our beer revenue) seems to be slanting dramatically to the "right." Just today, we have an ad to support Bush's Supreme Court nominees (despite no candidates being named as of yet), another supporting Cat Killer Frist, and a third hocking anti-John Edwards/John Kerry toilet paper.

We've had one that sells both George W. Bush and "The Johns" toilet paper, but there is scarcely a solely liberal ad on our site. We just whored out and already we're off message.

Hey ladies, Denny's off the market!

Yes, at long last, confirmed bachelor Dennis Kucinich (a true hero of contemporary American politics) is getting married. And he's marrying a Brit no less. What, good ol' corn-fed American women aren't good enough for him?

Maybe he really does hate America. ;-)

Single liberal females (and gay males), take heart. Patrick Kennedy and Anthony Weiner are still single.

Disgusting.

That's all I can say about Flaming Rick Perry's latest priority for the special session. From the Austin-American Statesman:
. . . all state judges -- from district courts to appellate jurists to the Supreme Court -- would get pay raises, in a move designed to keep them from leaving the bench to go into higher-paying private law practice. State district judges would see their pay increase from $101,000 a year to $125,000, a 24 percent increase, and the salaries of appellate judges would jump from $107,000 to $135,000, a 26 percent increase
I'll bet there are plenty of judges who would kill for a chance to make $101,000 a year providing a vital public service to their community. If these fat-cat careerist judges aren't happy with their pay, fuck 'em. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

But let's call this what this really is, a pension increase for part-time Republican lawmakers who hate government until they start running it. Then they need pay raises by golly! Those money-grubbing good-for-nothing bastards should pollute the private sector if they're so freakin' unhappy being well-compensated public servants.

Old habits die hard...

So, according to an internal report, the Austin Police Department is using less aggressive force against the people its supposed to protect -- that's a good thing, right? Oh wait, then there's this:
The department's findings are similar to those the Austin American-Statesman reported in November, when the newspaper's analysis showed that police were using force less than they had been before January 2004, when the Statesman ran a four-day series on the issue, but were still using it at higher rates against African Americans and Hispanics.
So, less beat-downs and tazings of Whitey (unless you're Jason Patric, Mardi Gras revelers, or Ozomatli's manager), but unarmed black men should still be wary.

More of Andy's Handywork...

More evidence that the Republican's go-to TRIAL LAWYER Andy Taylor is 10 parts bullshitter and 1 part constitutional scholar.

A judge has ruled that John Colyandro and Jim Ellis's paper-thin defense that money laundering only includes cash and not checks (since checks carry no monetary value apparently) is total crap.

Bill Hammond, John Colyandro, Jim Ellis... the list of victims of Andy Taylor's schemes continues to grow. I guess with redistricting in your back pocket, the Repugs will continue to go to the well... no matter how dry.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Buy Us Beer

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Strayhorn/Rylander/One-Tough-Name-to-Remember

According to the National Journal's Last Call, she's doing pretty well:
TX Compt. Carole Keeton Strayhorn (R) has raised "an unprecedented" $1.5M in 10 days, giving her $7M COH for her GOV bid (release).

This Rove Shit is Blowing Up

The transcript from today's press briefing is a great read (tip o' the hat to AmericaBlog):
Q: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?

MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.

Q: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation...

Q: (inaudible) when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish.

Q: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything.
You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?


MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

Q: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott... because after the investigation began -- after the criminal investigation was under way -- you said, October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this," from that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began.

Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?

Doggett seeks Environmental Justice

The EPA's 1982 solution to toxic chemical site in Mission, Texas was to put a one-inch asphalt cap on the contaminated soil. Of course the EPA's primary motivation was to protect the neighbors (who just coincidentally happen to be poor, Hispanic folks) and to save money by doing the clean-up on the cheap

Twenty-three years later, people are still getting cancer. Lloyd Doggett's persistence has finally gotten the EPA to agree to retest the site and remediate if necessary. Which it is.

I'm sure a one-inch is a completely responsible way to deal with toxic pollution. Or is it?

The original Love Canal families might have some suggestions.

When to spread lies and when to STFU

Apparently, the White House is busy mastering this distinction. McClellan, our favorite mouthpiece, has stopped saying that he knows that Karl Rove did not leak the Valerie Plame story. Now, he simply won't comment.

Remember folks, Bushco cares about our safety and security. Unless of course, our spouse pisses them off.

Another reason the LAPD is the worst PD in the nation

As the LA Times reported this morning, the LAPD shot and killed a 17-month old little girl in stand-off with an armed man.

The charges? Waving his arms and behaving aggressively.

Hmmm, seems serious enough that one not only ought to kill the suspect and a little girl, but perhaps everyone within a 100 yard radius.

The police spokesperson said, ''We showed a tremendous amount of restraint, but unfortunately the suspect's actions dictated this."

A tremendous amount of restraint? What is the proper amount of restraint that ones shows before shooting an innocent child?

Bratton was supposed to be the saviour of this department.

Take my word for it, nothing will clean up the LAPD except destroying it utterly and rebuilding from the ground up.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Frist's company profiteering on medical malpractice insurance?

See this post at Daily Kos:

Healthcare Indemnity, Inc. (HCI), an affiliate of HCA corporation, increased its premiums by $173 million, or 88%, while its claims payments fell by $74 million, or 32%. As a result, in 2004 it paid out only 43 cents in claims for each premium dollar it collected.

That's Frist's family's company! The same one that was fined by the federal government for ripping off Medicare. Should Frist recuse himself from the Republican medical malpractice bill that would directly, financially benefit HCI's med mal insurance division?

Pete Laney Getting Drafted For Guv

I'm shocked, just shocked that the entire Texas Democratic Party hasn't united around Chris Bell's campaign. Really. I swear.

Yet another potential opponent for Bell:

The last time Pete Laney got swept up in a political draft was when the longtime Democratic state lawmaker was called on to introduce Republican George W. Bush to the nation as president-elect in 2000.

But now, the former Texas House speaker who still represents a sprawling swath of the Panhandle in Austin, might be feeling a draft from inside his own party.

On the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, was showing off a T-shirt touting Laney as a candidate for governor. Several members sidled up to Thompson asking where they could get one.

"The Draft Laney campaign starts here. I sold 50 of these T-shirts in 10 minutes," said Thompson, holding up the shirt with the message: "Save Texas, Laney for Gov -- 06."

[...]

Asked whether he'd encourage or even accept a draft for the Democratic nomination for governor, Laney remained coy.

"It'll take a lot more than a T-shirt," he said with a grin.

DeLay Going Down?

I hate to get my hopes up, but this sounds like the beginning of the end:
A company indicted in a Texas campaign fundraising case says it was told that by giving a Tom DeLay political committee $25,000, company officials would get access to the U.S. House majority leader to influence legislation.

In court documents, Westar Energy of Kansas says that to meet with Mr. DeLay in 2002, company officials "were told they needed to write a check for $25,000" to Texans for a Republican Majority, known as TRMPAC.

It's the first time a company has said it donated to the Texas committee created by Mr. DeLay in exchange for a meeting and legislative help.