Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Knives Out

The Democratic Party better build into its standard talking points something like this:

"With the Democratic Party poised to make significant gains with American voters sick and tired of the Republican Party's culture of corruption, we are expecting one of the dirtiest and most negative campaign seasons in history -- with its architects residing at GOP national headquarters and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

"Negative campaign," "smear campaign," "playing dirty" better all be buzzwords in every interview with a national Democratic figure. We need to prime the pump and frame the GOP early as the party willing to resort to anything to win in the absence of public support.

Exhibit A: In North Carolina, perennial loser and dirty campaigner Vernon Robinson is trying to unseat Jesse Helms as the state's most disgusting politician. Despite not gaining many new voters, Robinson's campaigns are consistently well-funded by bigots and racists.

From the News & Observer (who, incidentally, lets Robinson's outrageous behavior essentially slide in this article):

Robinson has already run a radio ad that features mariachi band music playing in the background. "If Miller had his way," says the announcer, "America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals." [apparently two natural groups of fiesta-amigos despite the strong Catholic inclinations of those crossing the southern border]

Soon after winning the GOP primary in the 13th District in May, Robinson mailed literature to more than 400,000 households portraying Miller's voting record and personal life as being out of the mainstream.

Among many other things, the literature calls Miller a "childless, middle-aged personal injury lawyer."[see "gay"] . . . Miller said his wife of nearly 25 years, Esther Hall, could not bear children because she had endometriosis and then a hysterectomy at age 27 before the couple were married. . .

"Those were stated in the context to explain why he takes these lunatic positions," Robinson said. "If he had a child, he would not have voted against all the poor children of the District of Columbia who need to get out of the failing dangerous schools they were in. . . ." [Yeah Miller's wife, your lousy useless uterus is making him vote the wrong way on vouchers!]

Miller said Robinson has a history of implying that his opponents are gay, noting that in 2004, he described GOP opponent Ed Broyhill as "limp wristed." (Robinson distributed a campaign letter quoting a woman calling Broyhill a "limp wristed millionaire.") Robinson said he was not questioning Miller's sexuality. [clearly he was questioning the integrity of the calcium in Broyhill's wrist bones and was concerned about early onset osteoporosis]

"I did not say the guy is a homosexual ...," Robinson said. "We were talking about the left-wing wacko friends he runs around with." [oh yeah, and we were trashing his wife's uterus]


With Hookergate, Tom DeLay, Halliburton, Rich Gannon, CIA leaks, record deficits, Safavian, Zinsmeister, the immigration debacle, oh yeah the entire Iraqi quagmire, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, the Lincoln Group, missing Pentagon billions, botched reconstruction, the VA identity theft scandal, Hurricane Katrina and the loss of an entire US city, the re-Talibanisation of Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, the domestic eavesdropping crisis, the PATRIOT Act, (my fingers are getting tired) -- I say to the GOP:

BRING IT ON SHITHEADS! [and to hell with Vernon Robinson]

Freaky Feedback Loop

Vacationing sitting president ignores warnings for major terrorist attack and then goes into hiding once attacks occur.

Fast forward 5 years: Same sitting president invites guests to White House to watch a movie dramatizing one of the terrorist attacks during the crisis in which he remained hidden (reappearing briefly to sell photos of him in transport to his hidey-hole in order to raise money for the GOP).

Oh yeah, then there's this.

Winston Smith would be proud

Bush's new domestic policy chief gets caught revising history -- literally.

Karl Zinsmeister (real name) took a profile piece of himself written in a Syracuse newspaper and basically rewrote it as he saw fit and posted it to the American Enterprise Institute's web site under the original author's byline.

The White House's defense (other than it being standard operating procedure)? He's a nice guy apparently. We can't be too hard on Zinsmeister, he needed SOMETHING to boost his paper-thin resume.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Limey Schadenfreude

While I don't disagree with Chomsky's premise, the Independent editors apparently forgot to include the Union Jack in their cover art. . . it must have conveniently slipped their collective mind that the "Labour" Party (at least the shell that continues to refer to itself as Labour) backed this fucking debacle 110% and whose leader continues to be Bush's little war slut.

Ban the unpaid internship


Nice op-ed in NYT on Take This Internship and Shove It.

Instead of starting out in the mailroom for a pittance, this generation reports for business upstairs without pay. A national survey by Vault, a career information Web site, found that 84 percent of college students in April planned to complete at least one internship before graduating. Also according to Vault, about half of all internships are unpaid.

[...]

What if the growth of unpaid internships is bad for the labor market and for individual careers?
Let's look at the risks to the lowly intern. First there are opportunity costs. Lost wages and living expenses are significant considerations for the two-thirds of students who need loans to get through college. Since many internships are done for credit and some even cost money for the privilege of placement overseas or on Capitol Hill, those students who must borrow to pay tuition are going further into debt for internships.


[...]

How are twentysomethings ever going to win back health benefits and pension plans when they learn to be grateful to work for nothing?

[...]

In this way, unpaid interns are like illegal immigrants. They create an oversupply of people willing to work for low wages, or in the case of interns, literally nothing. Moreover, a recent survey by Britain's National Union of Journalists found that an influx of unpaid graduates kept wages down and patched up the gaps left by job cuts.


I've always been amazed that the unpaid congressional internship, clearly discriminatory and elitist, has escaped greater scrutiny. I say ban 'em.

Kids whose parents can subsidize their summer in DC get a leg up on kids who have to work. I can understand the Republicans doing this, but the Dems? The party of equal opportunity?

One of our leaders should introduce a bill to ban unpaid internship in Congress and federal agencies. Call it the "Equal Opportunity in Educational Internships Act." The taxpayer can surely afford the pittance it would take to pay interns. And while we're at it, how about a living wage law for congressional staff?

I've always thought it abhorrent that MOCs pay staff assistants $24K while the COS might make $120K. Again, maybe in a Republican office, but the Dems should realize that paying entry level staff shit and having unpaid (generally white upper-middle class interns) betrays the party's message as the the part of the equal opportunity.

I can understand non-profits might not be able to pay interns -- so it goes -- but government positions should be different.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Up Yours DEA

Baseball anyone?

At Cruzbustamante.com we pride ourselves on first-rate reporting and our impecable use of confidential sources. The blogs of our competition (Drudge, HuffPost, etc.) claim they have your best interest at heart and do not censor themselves -- but they are liars.

If you want to know the super-secret codeword that the US Capitol Police have distributed to House offices during today's phony gunman incident at the Rayburn building, you won't find it on RAW Story or The Drudge Report.

You will, however, find it here. So, in the interest of the First Amendment and the blogosphere, here we go:

1. During the search, the police officers will knock
3 times on each office door, announce "United States
Capitol Police", knock 3 additional times, and then
voice the code word "BASEBALL".

2. Unlock and open your office doors for the police
and cooperate with all police instructions.

3. All occupants of the Rayburn HOB should remain in
their offices until the Capitol Police announce that
it is safe to exit.

4. If there are special concerns about the identity
of the person knocking on your door and you need to
verify their identity, call (202) 224-5320.

5. The Cannon and Longworth HOB's and the Capitol
remain open for persons to access and exit. Access to
the Capitol is limited to official business only.

Keep in mind that codewords can be changed very easily. Another thing worth remembering is that codewords don't protect people, cops do. So maybe the USCP should focus on letting less alleged gunmen into the House Office Buildings and less time thinking up cute codewords.

Quotes of the week

"More than any president in the history of our country has received" -- Ryan Seacrest, on the 63M "Idol" votes received (Huntsville Times).

Democratic consultant James Carville talking about the current president and his predecessor at a dinner for Dallas Democrats, reported in The Dallas Morning News: "Bush is having trouble with his generals. My man Clinton had trouble with his privates."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

bad week to be a Texas icon

Antone: 'Heart of Austin music' had blues in his blood
Impresario nurtured musicians and city to national prominence
By Michael Corcoran

A giant, an institution, a generous soul whose obsessive love of the blues helped make this college town nationally known for stomping-good live music and passionate listeners is gone.

The news shot through the Austin air Tuesday afternoon like a stinging Albert King guitar lead: Clifford Antone is dead.

By giving Chicago blues legends a club in Texas to play, as well as launching a raucous classroom where upstarts such as the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Charlie Sexton and Stevie Ray Vaughan could learn at the feet of the masters, Antone forever changed the Texas music landscape. He was 56.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Make Thy Deuces Hearty and Plentiful

In the last 72 hours I've stumbled upon a disturbing trend of religious-themed protein shakes and laxatives being hyped as God's cure from wimpiness to just plain wimpy turds.

Pat Robertson touts his "age defying" protein shake that CBN claims helps Pat leg press 2,000 pounds! Wow! Apparently that's 655 pounds more than the current record held by Miami's Dan Kendra (a feat which burst the capillaries around Kendra's eyes). Click here to read why some mortal fools are questioning His Wise One's claim to divine strength.

But as bad as Pat's shake is, it can't hold a stink-reducing match to The Almighty Cleanse, a laxative with God's OK that promises to remove up to 40 pounds of encrusted feces from your colon -- all in the name of Jesus.

Enjoy.

An ebb in the Joe-mentum?

Looks like MoveOn and the Connecticut progressives have rattled Joe-Pa's cage a little.

Lieberman's ditching real Connecticut Democrats; Pennsylvania Republicans are ditching Bush.

Lloyd Bentsen, RIP

2 + 2 = You're an Idiot

OK, I'm with the pack of sheeple that is OK with the NSA spying on my phone records because (insert White House talking points):

1) This is a terrorist surveillance program and I'm not a terrorist
2) The NSA is only tracking the numbers, not the identity or content of the calls
3) It's my patriotic duty to bend over and take one for our unchecked government

So, now comes the unsurprising news that in addition to "only tracking the numbers and times" of millions of American phone calls and emails, various factions of the ruling regime are purchasing millions of dollars of information from hundreds of vendors -- from ChoicePoint to NeuStar.

See, once you have a phone number and then you have all the other information about that person (including their phone number), you now know everything about that person and everything about who they're calling!

Voila! That government sure is smart. I'm going back to sleep now, daddy's in charge.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Crocodile tears for McCain from the Wall Street Journal

In an op-ed slamming the New School star Jeane Rohe and her gutsy condemnation of McCain at the New School commencement, the Wall Street Journal had this to say:

Speaking of "havoc," Ms. Rohe spoke only blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center. The Senator who spent years in the Hanoi Hilton reacted with admirable restraint to these insults...

Funny, I remember reading the Wall Street Journal's almost daily "news coverage" about the latest machinations of the Swift Boaters trashing of John Kerry's war record (let's not even mention the WSJ's unabashed support for Bush while his crew was trashing McCain's war record in South Carolina and having his handlers actually insinuating the McCain might be suffering from some type of Manchurian Candidate syndrome from his days as a POW).

But remember....SEPTEMBER 11!

(One wonders what the WSJ editors have learned from that day other than how to exploit 2,900 deaths as a red herring).


Let the pre-packaged focus group approved race begin. . .

The media is running polling on who two candidates to they should focus on for a great ratings sweep in 2008.

Sorry every other candidate, the media favors the McCain-Hillary race (looks like the rest of you will all be considered "outsiders" or my favorite: "spoilers").

Drudge Retracts Hit on Howard Dean

I thought he looked familiar. . .

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey to detail anonymous roadside homosexual trysts while governor.

"Iraqi leader vows to stop bloodshed"

Land of the Free

God, I freakin' love freedom.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Fourth Reich? In Iran?!?

Iranian President Ahmadinejad is the second coming of Hitler and Iran is just like Nazi Germany -- so sayeth the reactionary Jewish community (including the new Israeli PM).

For years I have agreed with Jewish commentators who rightly bristle with indignation when someone uses the term "Nazi" to talk about something they feel is oppressive. Jews across the world endured the worst genocide in history (with the Armenian genocide coming a close second).

An old Daily Texan editor named Mike Godwin actually coined the phrase "Godwin's Law" (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) for the idea that whichever of the parties involved in a debate pull out the "Nazi" card first, they lose the argument.

So what happens when Jews as influential as Ehud Olmert (Israeli Prime Minister) and the head of the Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles start referring to the Iranian regime as "Nazi" (the Weisenthal Center quote is even more disgusting because it was in response to a completely discredited report in the National Post that Iran is issuing Stars of David to Jews)?

Are they really of the impression that Iran's leadership is on par with Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, and Hess? Do they really think Jews are being rounded up and slaughtered en masse in Tehran and Esfahan? Are they aware that Jews have been living in Tehran since before there was an Israeli state?

My point is this: The Jews more than anyone should take great pains to not use the "Nazi" card in haste. If influential Jewish leaders are going to start throwing around the "Nazi" card then it's fair game for everyone. No more bristling when I blurt out that "Bush is a Nazi" in the heat of the moment.

Or, they could just stop making the absurd comparison and save us all some trouble.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blast from the Past

I just wanted to remind everyone of this story (posted on PA) the next time this Administration talks about national security and its ability to defend the United States:

Incoming cloud forces Bush into safe bunker

Julian Borger in Washington
Friday April 29, 2005


President George Bush was bundled into an underground bunker, Dick Cheney was evacuated to an "undisclosed location" and heavily armed secret servicemen took up defensive positions when a fast-moving cloud scudded towards the White House, it was reported yesterday.

Freudian Slip

Tony Snow confirms what we knew all along. But he's just the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday the sobbing and "tar baby" remark, today he lets this one slip:

MR. SNOW: Well, as I pointed out -- I mentioned this yesterday, and for -- let me see if I can find my quote, because I pulled it out. Chuck Hagel, as you may recall, made a fair amount of news over the weekend when he first said that -- let's see -- "Well, I want to listen to the details and I want to listen to the President," said Senator Hagel -- he said this on "This Week" on a competing network. But I would say this: I think we have to be very careful here. That's not the role of our military, that's not the role of our National Guard." That's what Senator Hagel said on Sunday.

Click here to see the supposed gaffe.

you know the saying about the sun shining on a dog's ass?

yeah, well, George Will had a really good column today:

Who Isn't A 'Values Voter'?
By George F. WillThursday, May 18, 2006; Page A23

An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.

This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.

[...]

The phrase "values voters," which has become ubiquitous, subtracts from social comity by suggesting that one group has cornered the market on moral seriousness.

Last Saturday, when John McCain delivered the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, he was said to be reaching out to values voters. Hillary Clinton, speaking recently at the annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention, scolded "kids," by which she evidently meant young adults, for thinking "work is a four-letter word." She was said to be courting values voters. If so, those voters must value slapdash rhetorical nonsense as well as work.

[...]

Conservatives should be wary of the idea that when they talk about, say, tax cuts and limited government -- about things other than abortion, gay marriage, religion in the public square and similar issues -- they are engaging in values-free discourse. And by ratifying the social conservatives' monopoly of the label "values voters," the media are furthering the fiction that these voters are somehow more morally awake than others.

Today's liberal agenda includes preservation, even expansion, of the welfare state in its current configuration in order to strengthen an egalitarian ethic of common provision. Liberals favor taxes and other measures to produce a more equal distribution of income. They may value equality indiscriminately, but they vote their values.

Schumer's take on Senate races

not anything shocking but interesting enough to post:

Incumbents
He is comfortable with where all vulnerable D's are at this point

Challengers:
MT Senate - very excited about John Morrison, said Burns continues to be vulnerable as a result of his ties to Jack Abramoff

MO Senate - said that Claire McCaskill is running a great campaign, using the stem cell issue very effectively as Talent has flip-flopped on the issue, she has never been behind in the polls, is from rural MO where she will not win but needs to keep Talent below 60%

RI Senate - Chafee continues to get beat up by Laffey, will be forced to spend money for a late primary in Sept. while Whitehouse has a clear path to the primary

PA Senate - Santorum and 527's on his behalf have already spent $3 million and he is not moving in the polls, cointinues to be down by as many as 13 pts, Casey is doing a good job of not attracting attention, keeping the focus on Santorum, Schumer said it's our race to lose but that Casey still needs money since Santorum maintains a fairly large fundraising advantage ($9 M vs. $4.5 for Casey), interestingly Schumer said that Kate Michelman (who considered running against Casey in the primary) just wrote an op-ed in the Philly Inquirer announcing her support for Casey and urging other pro-choice women to support him

OH Senate - Sherrod Brown ahead by 3-4 pts even though he only has 45% statewide name ID, needs money, very liberal but great in front of different audiences including investment bankers that he won over in a solicitation mtg

AZ Senate - out of all the challenger races believes this is the most difficult one since Kyl is less vulnerable than other GOP incumbents, Pederson is up with ads attacking Kyl on immigration, behind by less than 10 pts

VA Senate - waiting for the outcome of primary, thinks it's a long-shot but also thinks that whichever Dem emerges will force Allen to spend money/time in VA as opposed to running for president


Open Seats:
TN Senate - Harold Ford is a great candidate, Schumer said that at first he wasn't convinced that Ford's early ad buys were the smart strategy, but has become a convert, mentioned Ford was the first candidate to talk about the port security issue in an ad, believes they are effective.

MN Senate - Klobuchar is a dream candidate, running a great race, slightly behind Kennedy on money

MD Senate - tricky state but a very blue state with a Sept. primary, DSCC staying neutral but indicated they may get involved close to the primary, praised both Cardin and Mfume, said Steele has attraction with the African-American community but the attraction dissipates once they find out he is a Bush man since Bush's numbers are even lower in MD than nationally

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Wasteland

Where do New York Times propagandists wind up after their career of "work" on WMDs is entirely discredited?

The Wall Street Journal, of course. . .

"Relentless onslaught of hard work"

NYT editorial had a great line blasting Bush's immigation plan.

These are the people who say illegal border crossings must be stopped immediately, with military boots in the desert sand. Never mind the overwhelming burdens of Iraq and Afghanistan, the absence of a coherent and balanced immigration policy, and the broad public support for a comprehensive solution. America must send its overtaxed troops to the border right now, they say, so a swarm of ruthless, visa-less workers cannot bury our way of life under a relentless onslaught of hard work.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The End of the Internet?

Net neutrality, the privatization of the Internet, and the war on information democracy.

Listen to the shocking story on Democracy Now (thanks for the link Dad):

[The vital concept of net neutrality - universal and non-discriminatory to the Internet - is at risk. Phone and cable companies are lobbying Congress for legislation that would permit them to operate Internet and other digital communications services as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight. We speak with Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy.]

Just plain creepy. . .

From Frank Rich's phenominal column in Sunday's NYT:

This being an election year, Karl Rove hopes the hearings can portray Bush opponents as soft on terrorism when they question any national security move. It was this bullying that led so many Democrats to rubber-stamp the Iraq war resolution in the 2002 election season and Mr. Goss's appointment in the autumn of 2004.

Will they fall into the same trap in 2006? Will they be so busy soliloquizing about civil liberties that they'll fail to investigate the nominee's record? It was under General Hayden, a self-styled electronic surveillance whiz, that the N.S.A. intercepted actual Qaeda messages on Sept. 10, 2001 - "Tomorrow is zero hour" for one - and failed to translate them until Sept. 12. That same fateful summer, General Hayden's N.S.A. also failed to recognize that "some of the terrorists had set up shop literally under its nose," as the national-security authority James Bamford wrote in The Washington Post in 2002. The Qaeda cell that hijacked American Flight 77 and plowed into the Pentagon was based in the same town, Laurel, Md., as the N.S.A., and "for months, the terrorists and the N.S.A. employees exercised in some of the same local health clubs and shopped in the same grocery stores."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Snow Aw-Shucks His Way Through First Gaggle

Looks like our new press wunderkind will be adopting the Ronald Reagan strategy of explanation. Ahhh, isn't ignorance endearing?

From the WashPost:

Has President Bush changed his mind on immigration? "You're asking me a state-of-mind question that predates me," Snow replied. "I'm not even going to try to fake it."

Asked a question by a Russian journalist, he answered: "I will apologize as the new kid on the block. For today, I'm not going to handle international issues or currency issues. I do not wish to set off global tempests because I frankly just don't know enough on those. I will try to get back to you on this but I just don't know the answer."

The new-kid strategy proved disarming, particularly as he got questions about the latest revelations on the administration's telephone surveillance programs.

Pressed about the Justice Department ending a probe of the National Security Administration because lawyers couldn't get security clearance, Snow reached for a red folder. "You'll forgive me but I'll do the talking points on this because, again, as the new kid on the block I'm not fully briefed into everything, but here it is." After reading the legalese bullet points, he added, apologetically: "I hate to read from a sheet of paper."

Helen Thomas wondered if the situation wasn't "peculiar."

"Honestly, I can't answer the question," Snow pleaded.

"Why?" Thomas demanded.

"Because I don't know enough about it," he admitted.

Christian Thought For the Day

From our good friends at Whitehouse.org:

Dear Pastor,

My momma tells me I had better behave myself, on account of Jesus is always watching. She says He sees EVERYTHING that I am doing. Does that mean that Jesus is even staring at me every time I pull down my pants to go poopy?

Yours in Christ,

- Sue Ellen

Dear Sue Ellen,

Yes child, your mother is right; Jesus does see all. But unlike a Peeping Tom who is only able to catch a glimpse of you on the toilet through the window, the good Lord Jesus is all over your business, sniffing out every nook and cranny of your vile, sinful little body. Praise His holy name!

You see, Jesus knows that toilet time is also a dangerous time for young ladies like yourself – filled with horrid temptations of the flesh. After all, this – along with shower time – is one of the only occasions when True Christians™ have a legitimate reason to be briefly touching their filthy sex parts.

Read more. . .

Or test your knowledge with the Bible Poop Quiz. . .

Why Bush wants a fight on Hayden. . .

. . . and why we don't deserve our own liberty. From an ABC poll (which I don't trust):

Americans by nearly a 2-1 ratio call the surveillance of telephone records an acceptable way for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, expressing broad unconcern even if their own calling patterns are scrutinized.

Lending support to the administration's defense of its anti-terrorism intelligence efforts, 63 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say the secret program, disclosed Thursday by USA Today, is justified, while far fewer, 35 percent, call it unjustified.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Annie get your gun. . .

Related to the post below (From the Declaration of Independence):

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

Above the law. . . literally

Our government spies on ordinary Americans and answers to no one:

From USA Today: The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY. The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime.

From the AP: The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why we're angry

Well said William Rivers Pitt (in response to that douchebag Richard Cohen):

Why the anger? It can be summed up in one run-on sentence: We have lost two towers in New York, a part of the Pentagon, an important American city called New Orleans, our economic solvency, our global reputation, our moral authority, our children's future, we have lost tens of thousands of American soldiers to death and grievous injury, we must endure the Abramoffs and the Cunninghams and the Libbys and the whores and the bribes and the utter corruption, we must contemplate the staggering depth of the hole we have been hurled down into, and we expect little to no help from the mainstream DC press, whose lazy go-along-to-get-along cocktail-circuit mentality allowed so much of this to happen because they failed comprehensively to do their job.

Optimism?

If you ignore the fact that redistricting will fuck us for years, you can read a column like this one by Harold Meyerson and get downright giddy about our prospects for '06.

The GOP's Bankruptcy of Ideas
By Harold MeyersonWednesday, May 10, 2006; Page A25

There's no concealing the Republican collapse. In a USA Today-Gallup poll released this week, the president's approval rating had deflated to a dismal 31 percent -- and to just 52 percent among conservatives. Other recent polls have shown that the public prefers shifting congressional control to the Democrats by margins as high as 17 percent. Numbers can change, of course, but it's hard to see what the Republicans can do to reverse this tsunami. They can mount an October surprise attack on Iran, but that would require someone making a convincing public case that Iran poses an imminent threat to us and that preemptive war is the only solution. And who, in the wake of the deceptions with which they justified their war in Iraq, has the credibility to do that? Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? These guys have turned themselves into Lucy holding the football, while the American people no longer afford them a Charlie Brown benefit of the doubt.

[...]

In a recent spate of interviews, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi has emphasized her party's fast-forward version of its first Hundred Days in power -- in this case, what the Democrats would do in their first week running Congress. They would raise the minimum wage for the first time since 1997. They would repeal the section of the Medicare drug plan that forbids the government from negotiating lower prices with the drug industry. They would fully implement the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, and they would restore the congressional rule, suspended by Republicans, requiring that all new programs be paid for by a specific new spending source or offset by a commensurate cut in another program.

Pelosi doesn't deny that Congress would resume its oversight functions, but she has made clear that any decision to impeach anybody (which is not on her agenda) would be hers and the caucus's -- not John Conyers's, certainly not the Democratic blogosphere's.

These idiots are protecting the nation?

Hell, maybe we should outsource it all to Dubai. They might at least be competent.

Presidential plans found in trash

How much do you think Osama bin Laden would pay to know exactly when and where the President was traveling, and who was with him? Turns out, he wouldn't have had to pay a dime.

All he had to do was go through the trash early Tuesday morning. It appears to be a White House staff schedule for the President's trip to Florida Tuesday. And a sanitation worker was alarmed to find in the trash long hours before Mr. Bush left for his trip.

[...]

The documents details the exact arrival and departure time for Air Force One, Marine One and the back up choppers, Nighthawk 2 and Three.

It lists every passenger on board each aircraft, from the President to military attaché with nuclear football. It offers the order of vehicles in the President's motorcade.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Democrats on the road to victory

"We were divided on using the word 'together'" -- Sen. Evan Bayh (D), on Dems spending 40 minutes deciding between "America can do better" or "Together, America can do better" (On Call).

Even Iran's Unstable Leader Has a Point

Jesus, when Iran's hardline Islamic president is making sense. . .

From a story about Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush in The NYT:

Mr. Ahmadinejad also calls the 9/11 attacks a "horrendous incident" in which the killing of innocent people was "deplorable."

But he asks: "Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities? And, why aren't those responsible and the guilty parties identified and put on trial?"

Yes Pat Roberts, why have the guilty parties within our government not been named and fired?

The GOP's Urban Outreach Program

Profess your love for Bush or have your poor minority citizens sleep on the street. That's the message from HUD Director Alphonso Jackson in a speech to the Real Estate Council on April 28th.

From the Dallas Business Journal:

After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

Or, maybe they were going to use those funds to build housing for lower-income Americans.

What a bunch of paranoid Don Quixote's tipping at liberal windmills. Everything they see can be used "against the president." Well, we don't need to (or have the ability to) launder HUD funds to campaign against the president (wait, isn't he in his second term already?).

He's doing a fine job of making himself look like shit.

Beer!

We do a lot of bitching on this blog, and understandably so, there's a lot of shit out there to bitch about. But every once in awhile it's good to recognize those things everyone can agree on that make life great. Like beer. Beer is great.

Wine & Food Feature
Coolest Beers

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer," humorist Dave Barry has written. "Oh, I grant you the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."

As with so many other vital matters, Barry hits the mark on beer. The drink has been delighting, calming and fortifying humans since before the beginning of recorded time. Beer is, in fact, probably older than the wheel. The world’s oldest written recipe, inscribed on a clay tablet in about 1,800 B.C., is for beer.

[...]

Today, beer is the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage–according to Japanese beer maker Kirin, beer drinkers consumed 150 billion liters (about 40 billion gallons) of the stuff in 2004. And the best still comes from cooler climes: Bavaria in Germany, Bohemia in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, the U.K. and Ireland.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The One That Didn't Get Away

I'll second the man's opinion that his single greatest triumph was to catch a fish in his own stock-pond (isn't that why they put the fish there to begin with)?

From the Guardian:

Asked by Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper what he considered to be his greatest triumph, President Bush replied: "I've experienced many great moments. It's hard for me to name the greatest." He went on: "I would say that the best moment of all came when I caught a seven-and-a-half pound perch while fishing on my lake."


To top it all off. . . he's lying again!!!! The largest PERCH ever caught was four pounds and three ounces. Of course, the White House press office jumped in to correct the record and say that Bush had said "bass" not "perch" to the reporter.

I wonder if Tony Snow realized his first task would be to lie about Bush's fishing prowess.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Howard Dean Kicked Ass on Sunday Morning

Those siding with the pathetic likes of Joe Biden and his ilk in their hatred of Howard Dean need to watch his performance on ABC's This Week on Sunday morning.

Following a bizarre open forum where George Stephanopoulus basically let Tom DeLay rant on end about DEMOCRATIC corruption (this from soon-to-be felon), Dean came in to immedate harsh questioning from GS.

Asked point blank that since he said DeLay should resign before he was indicted, does he also believe William Jefferson (D-LA) should resign if he is indicted, the conversation went:

GS: If Congressman Jefferson is indicted as many expect him to be to you think he should give up his seat.

Dean
: (immediately) "Yes."

GS
: (long pause) "No question?"

Dean
: "Yeah."

GS
: "Well. . . that is a straightforward answer, Governer Dean, thank you very much."

To watch the video for yourself, click here. To see GS have DeLay on his show and spend the whole time talking about gas prices, click here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Should be required reading for an Democrat who speaks publicly on foreign policy

The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal

By PETER BEINART
This fall, for the third time since 9/11, American voters will choose between Democrats and Republicans while knowing what only one party believes about national security. In 2002, Democratic candidates tried to change the subject, focusing on Social Security and health care instead. In 2004, John Kerry substituted biography for ideology, largely ignoring his own extensive foreign-policy record and stressing his service in Vietnam. In this year's Senate and House races, the party looks set to reprise Michael Dukakis's old theme: competence. Rather than tell Americans what their vision is, Democrats will assure them that they can execute it better than George W. Bush.

Democrats have no shortage of talented foreign-policy practitioners. Indeed, they have no shortage of worthwhile foreign-policy proposals. Even so, they cannot tell a coherent story about the post-9/11 world. And they cannot do so, in large part, because they have not found their usable past. Such stories, after all, are not born in focus groups; they are less invented than inherited. Before Democrats can conquer their ideological weakness, they must first conquer their ideological amnesia.

Consider George W. Bush's story: America represents good in an epic struggle against evil. Liberals, this story goes, try to undermine that moral clarity, reining in American power and sapping our faith in ourselves. But a visionary president will not be constrained, and he wields American might with relentless force, until the walls of oppression crumble and the darkest region on earth is set free.

[...]

Even more important, they described America itself differently. Americans may fight evil, they argued, but that does not make us inherently good. And paradoxically, that very recognition makes national greatness possible. Knowing that we, too, can be corrupted by power, we seek the constraints that empires refuse. And knowing that democracy is something we pursue rather than something we embody, we advance it not merely by exhorting others but by battling the evil in ourselves. The irony of American exceptionalism is that by acknowledging our common fallibility, we inspire the world.

[...]

The liberal story began with a different fear about America. If cold-war conservatives worried that Americans no longer saw their own virtue, cold-war liberals worried that Americans saw only their virtue. The A.D.A.'s most important intellectual — its equivalent of James Burnham — was the tall, German-American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Niebuhr was a dedicated opponent of communism, but he was concerned that in pursuing a just cause, Americans would lose sight of their own capacity for injustice. "We must take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization," he wrote. "We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized." Americans, Niebuhr argued, should not emulate the absolute self-confidence of their enemies. They should not pretend that a country that countenanced McCarthyism and segregation was morally pure. Rather, they should cultivate enough self-doubt to ensure that unlike the Communists', their idealism never degenerated into fanaticism. Open-mindedness, he argued, is not "a virtue of people who don't believe anything. It is a virtue of people who know. . .that their beliefs are not absolutely true."

[...]

In America, no less than in the Islamic world, the struggle for democracy relies on economic opportunity. To contemporary ears, the phrase "struggle for American democracy" sounds odd. In George W. Bush's Washington, such struggles are for lesser nations. But in the liberal tradition, it is not odd at all. Almost six decades ago, Americans for Democratic Action was born, in the words of its first national director, to wage a "two-front fight for democracy, both at home and abroad," recognizing that the two were ultimately indivisible. That remains true today. America is not a fixed model for a benighted world. It is the democratic struggle here at home, against the evil in our society, that offers a beacon to people in other nations struggling against the evil in theirs. "The fact of the matter," Kennan declared, "is that there is a little bit of the totalitarian buried somewhere, way down deep, in each and every one of us." America can be the greatest nation on earth, as long as Americans remember that they are inherently no better than anyone else.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Rumsfeld Speechless For First Time Ever

Man demands "honest answers" from our fork-tongued Defense Secretary. More than that, man comes armed with previous Rumsfeld quotes (something the MSM appears incapable -- or unwilling to do).

A must watch.

Get Rid of Steny Hoyer Once and For All!!!

I'm speechless:

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) took on a rare role yesterday as a defender of President Bush.

Hoyer came to the defense of the commander in chief after Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where the president took a drubbing from comedian Stephen Colbert.

“I thought some of it was funny, but I think it got a little rough,” Hoyer said. “He is the president of the United States, and he deserves some respect.”



Are you kidding me? What respect does he deserve? After he equates dissent with terrorism, leaks with espionage, journalism as a threat, and Democrats as traitors. . . he deserves no respect.

This is outrageous. Steny should be stripped of his leadership after this shameful toadying. The guy is at fucking 32 percent?!?? You don't have to keep licking his boots!

Richard Cohen Doesn't Like Being Made a Fool

The worst op-ed I've ever read.

Funny how victims of satire don't laugh:

Stephen Colbert was not funny at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. All the rest is commentary.The commentary, though, is also what I do, and it will make the point that Colbert was not just a failure as a comedian but rude. . .

Colbert took a swipe at Bush's Iraq policy, at domestic eavesdropping, and he took a shot at the news corps for purportedly being nothing more than stenographers recording what the Bush White House said. . .

Why are you wasting my time with Colbert, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political courage, not to mention wit, in this country. . .

Self-mockery can be funny. Mockery that is insulting is not. The sort of stuff that would get you punched in a bar can be said on a dais with impunity. This is why Colbert was more than rude. He was a bully. . .


And, here's where it turns frightening:

I am not a member of the White House Correspondents' Association, and I have not attended its dinner in years (I watched this year's on C-SPAN). The gala is an essentially harmless event that requires the presence of one man, the president. If presidents started not to show up, the organization would have to transform itself into a burial association. But presidents come and suffer through a ritual that most of them find mildly painful, not to mention boring. Whatever the case, they are guests. They don't have to be there -- and if I were Bush, next year I would not. Spring is a marvelous time to be at Camp David.

So that's it?!? Don't speak the truth to the president because then he won't come back and your fun little coctktail night is ruined? Oh, God forbid!?

Jesus, it's this shameful attitude that made Colbert's schtick so funny. Too bad Cohen can't figure that out.

In full disclosure, Cohen is a right-winger masking as unbiased. He pens the annual Almanac of American Politics with Fred Barnes, another right-wing slut.

Please, please, please email this asshole @: cohenr@washpost.com

*And, give it up to your Same Old Statesman who thought it would be a good idea to republish this trash column in the heart of liberal Texas.

The Ticking Time Bomb

The Repulicans are making good on their pledge to castrate the federal government. And when I say the federal government I mean Medicaid, Social Security, special education, roads and repairs.

As we know, the Republicans love the federal government when it comes to consolodating executive power, illegal wiretapping, secret prisons, executive orders, national security directives, classifying everything under the sun, etc. . .

But the Washington Post lays it out pretty clear. The GOP Congress and the White House have reaached an agreement to essentially blow up the federal government three years into the term of the next president, in 2011. Odd timing, to say the least.

From the WaPo:

With this week's hard-fought agreement on a $70 billion tax-cut extension, President Bush and congressional Republicans have effectively set a date for a fiscal day of reckoning for the next president and a future Congress: Jan. 1, 2011. . . At that moment, politicians would face a choice: Either allow taxes to rise suddenly and sharply on everyone who pays income taxes, is married, has children, holds stocks and bonds, or expects a large inheritance, or impose mounting budget deficits on the government far into the future, according to projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

How's that for accountability? And forgive my conspiracy theory side but I can't help think that sabotaging the next president (who could likely be a Republican) is a little bit of retroactive legacy-building for a President that will likely go down as one of the most unpopular in history.

Pinche Vicente!

Sigh. . . I knew it was too good to be true.

Rather than taking a forward-thinking approach that could change the way the Western hemisphere looks at drugs and the criminal justice system, Mexico balks to U.S. pressure and squashes the bill.

How embarassing. If you read the post below ("Viva Mexico"), you'll see that the Vicente's own spokesman was publicly adamant about Fox's intention to sign the bill.

One day later. . .

Fox reversed course Wednesday and said he was sending the bill back to Congress for changes, one day after his office had said he would sign it into law. The measure would have dropped criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs.

Fox's statement said he will ask for corrections "to make it absolutely clear in our country, the possession of drugs and their consumption are, and will continue to be, a criminal offense."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Faux News: Most Trusted in America

New BBC survey lists Fox News as the #1 most trusted television news source in America.

Seriously.

Viva Mexico!

Holy crap, Mexico is going to decriminalize personal use of pot, heroin, cocaine and other drugs (and just in time for Cinco de Mayo).

From the AP:

Mexican President Vicente Fox will sign into law a measure that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs for personal use, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Ruben Aguilar defended the law, which was approved Friday by Mexico's Senate, despite criticism in the United States that it could increase casual drug use.

Under the new law, consumers may possess up to 25 milligrams of heroin, five grams of marijuana (about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints), or 0.5 grams of cocaine - the equivalent of about four "lines," or half the standard street-sale quantity.

The law also establishes allowable quantities for other drugs, including LSD, ecstasy - about two pills' worth - and amphetamines.

Why we're perpetually unpopular

Researching Canadian newspapers (pause for laughter), I came across the first graph of an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen that basically sums up why Republicans will always be more popular with the rank and file:

The Conservatives have produced a budget that offers relief from years of Liberal social engineering. True, the Liberals fought the war on the deficit, but now under Prime Minister Stephen Harper the rescue of the over-taxed Canadian family has begun.

I like how Liberals fixing Canada's deficit problem gets just a passing comment as the real praise is heaped onto the Conservatives who have "rescued" Canada from fiscal discipline.

See, just like the GOP here, the "conservativse" are like your rich uncle that comes to spoil you during the holidays. Let those nannying Democrats and Liberal worry about "budgets," "deficits," and "fixing our looting of the treasury."

Seriously, Clinton comes in and balances the budget. Bush comes in and throws tax returns at the super rich and bankrupts the treasury. Then, when a Democrat wins they'll have to raise taxes to fix things and will get bombed for being a "tax-hiking liberal."

RIP Rule of Law

We knew ye well, but you left us too soon.

Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

[...]

Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

[...]

On at least four occasions while Bush has been president, Congress has passed laws forbidding US troops from engaging in combat in Colombia, where the US military is advising the government in its struggle against narcotics-funded Marxist rebels.

After signing each bill, Bush declared in his signing statement that he did not have to obey any of the Colombia restrictions because he is commander in chief.

Bush has also said he can bypass laws requiring him to tell Congress before diverting money from an authorized program in order to start a secret operation, such as the ''black sites" where suspected terrorists are secretly imprisoned.

[...]

David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive-power issues, said Bush has cast a cloud over ''the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore.

[...]

The courts have little chance of reviewing Bush's assertions, especially in the secret realm of national security matters.

''There can't be judicial review if nobody knows about it," said Neil Kinkopf, a Georgia State law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. ''And if they avoid judicial review, they avoid having their constitutional theories rebuked."

Without court involvement, only Congress can check a president who goes too far. But Bush's fellow Republicans control both chambers, and they have shown limited interest in launching the kind of oversight that could damage their party.



Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Rebellion Has Begun

61 year-old man smashes electronic voting machine in Ohio -- home of Diebold, Wally O'Dell, and Ken "Democracy Blows" Blackwell.

Local news channel says "It's unclear what caused the man to become upset."

How about this? Or this? Or this asshole?

Adios Evo. . .

Reflecting the tidal shift in Latin American politics, Evo Morales (Bolivia's new leftist president) has announced he's nationalizing the Bolivian oil industry. From the NYT:

Surrounded by soldiers at an oil field operated by the Brazilian energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, Mr. Morales ordered foreign producers to relinquish control of all fields and channel future sales of hydrocarbons through the state-owned energy company. He gave foreign companies 180 days to renegotiate existing contracts with the government, or leave the country. . ."The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources," Mr. Morales declared, according to The Associated Press. "The looting by the foreign companies has ended."


Hopefully he won't join the ranks of other former leaders who tried make sure their people don't benefit a little more from the natural resources being extracted beneath their feet:

Mohammed Mossadegh (Democratically elected Iranian PM toppled by CIA after daring to nationalize Iranian oil).

Hugo Chavez (Venezuelan Prez survived White House backed coup after attempting to gain control over Venezuelan oil industry)

Salvador Allende (Former Chilean prez who tried to nationalize industries and was killed in a CIA-supported coup)

Jacobo Arbenz Guzman (Guatamalan prez ousted in a CIA-backed coup for daring to oppose the United Fruit Company and its massive land holdings)

Sigh, this list could go on and on.

We wish Evo the best. We expect the worst. And you can expect the New York Times and others to begin a steady stream of bleating about Evo's anti-market, isolationist policies and how they're "alienating" Bolivia (just as they did up until and during the US-backed coup against Chavez).

Monday, May 01, 2006

The drum circle is back

from this weekend:



Photos

So I'm clearing out my digital camera and thought I'd post a few:

Here are the same shots that every single tourist takes at the Cherry Blossoms:















To be in New Orleans

Springsteen playing Jazzfest:

Out-of-town performers also paid homage to the city. In one of the weekend's most exuberant performances, Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band played a slew of songs that resonated with New Orleanians. Using a full horn section, fiddlers, a banjo player and an accordionist, he delivered a two-hour set Sunday evening that opened with "Mary, Don't You Weep" and included his rewritten version of the folk song "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?"

Before a crowd of thousands he sang the new lyrics:

There's bodies floatin' on Canal and the levees gone to hell

Martha get me my 16 gauge and some dry shells

Them's who's got got out of town

And them who ain't got left to drown

Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Before the song, Springsteen also delivered a scathing assessment of President's Bush response to Hurricane Katrina, saying that having surveyed the city on Saturday, "The criminal ineptitude makes you furious. This is what happens when political cronyism guts the very agencies that are supposed to serve American citizens in times of trial and hardship."

But the most emotional song of the set came when Springsteen performed "My City of Ruins," as the crowd joined in the refrain, "Come on rise up, come on rise up."



Touche MSM

What a dagger (from Editor&Publisher):

[Colbert] also reflected on the alleged good old days for the president, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story. Addressing the reporters, he said:

"Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know -- fiction."

The MSM responds in kind. Salon points out that out of 1,000 words bloviated on the event by the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, not one word mentioned Colbert and his legendary performance.