CNN's Drag Queens

No, I'm not referring to Anderson Cooper or Paula Zahn (ahem). Their Florida New Year's contingent seems filled with them. But they're also the most interesting and refreshing touch I've seen on the network since Tucker got a new hair weave. I'm sure, however, that CNN is gonna hear from the right wing about this... that is, as soon as the righteous right sobers up.

Speaking of Mindless Things on New Year's Eve...

I was amused to see that Anna Nicole's 88 million court award got reversed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I suspect, however, she's already spent that much in drugs based on her commercials and TV appearances. If she ever comes to, boy, is she gonna be pissed.

My More Personal Resolutions

Well, I've already quit smoking, lost (some although not all the extra) weight, and become more involved and outspoken. But there are so many other qualities/behaviors I would like to obtain.

In 2005, I resolve to:

    * Be more thoughtful
    * Be more tolerant (although Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, that fat fuck Limbaugh, that thinner but bigger fuckface Bill O'Reilly, Anna Nicole Smith and Amber Frey will sorely test me)
    * Look more deeply even when it hurts; even when what I find and must report makes me the target of those who don't like truth-telling
    * Educate and accept more education
    * Fulfill some dreams and do what I can to help others do the same
    * Say "yes" more often
    * Ask for help as frequently as I try to tender it
    * Face and learn to live with some of the fears I haven't yet tackled
    * Oh yeah, and remember what sex is
So what are your resolutions? Share them here.

Resolutions for My America

I'm not America; I'm just a 290 millionth of it. But if America were me, these are the resolutions I would like to fulfill in the coming year:

    * Take a long hard look at the Constitution and other documents created by our forefathers which stress separation of church and state, racial and religious tolerance and equality, protections for liberty by citizens and non-citizens alike
    * To stop mentioning and using torture like it's a solution rather than an extension of terrorism
    * To not send our young men and women to war for corporate America, for oil, and under the guise of liberating others
    * To force politicians to be accountable to those they represent
    * To stop being an icon and start being a member of the global community
    * To stop giving lip service to freedom, dignity, and caring and start actually behaving that way
    * To turn away from our worship of stars and football players and the ultra-rich and turn our appreciation toward everyday Joes and Janes, Moustaffas and Abrahims, Chongs and Garcias
    * To realize that our schools, our teachers, our libraries are great entities and worthy of our support
    * To find a way to provide health care for all
    * To cease handing over America's assets to the richest and most powerful


Amber Frey: Proving Prostitution Does Pay

NBC is making me sick with non-stop promotions of their long interview with Amber Frey - the Modesto "massage therapist" who is passionate for married men and having children out of wedlock who got involved with Scott Peterson.

Although Gloria Allred (her attorney, which seems funny because Amber's main source of income seems to be money given to her by married men) assured us Amber only got involved with the court case to help and for no financial gain, Amber's got a book. I guarantee you she did not write it. This woman couldn't write a grocery list and I suspect she pines over the fact that there is no "i" in her name so she can dot it with a heart.

The nicest thing that can be said about Amber is that she's a skank. Scott wasn't her first married man. So spare me Allred's purple prose about how Peterson deceived her. I hope NO ONE buys her book. Let's send this little trash tart back to the dumpster.

NBC should be ashamed of itself. But so should Amber who should be rushing to have a third child out of wedlock with another married man before her eyes become as fertile as her brain.

Please Give

Although we're hurting badly financially here, we sat down today and had a bouse meeting to decide how much we can give to the disaster relief effort. As little as some of us have right now, those people have far less.

Please consider doing the same. Prove that America is better than our president. Prove to South Asia that we care, that there is some hope. You'll find a full list of disaster relief groups all over the Web, including at Countdown.

Sending Jeb Bush to Southern Asia

Haven't the people there suffered enough without having the plumpest member of the Bush family go over there? Perhaps he can teach the tsunami victims how millions of people with far more damage can made do with $15 million in aid from the U.S. while Fat Boy took in $14 billion to replace pink lawn flamingos and double-wides down in Florida.

The last thing the world needs - especially that part of the world - is another Bush.

Potential Love Interests for Judith Regan

Poor, poor Judith Regan: not only does her affair with a married man get spread out all over the news (the tsunami giving us some respite from the continuing saga of Bernie Kerik's messy personal and professional life), but we also got the assorted details about how she sent Bernie (who sent NYPD detectives) after Faux colleagues when she misplaced her cell phone and how she then hired a bodyguard once she broke up with Bernie.

So - trying to be ever helpful - I decided to come up with a list of potential mates for Dame ("Please, put another inch of Vaseline on the camera lens") Stunningly Beautiful Regan. Since she doesn't appear to be too picky, neither will I in suggesting possibilities.

These are:

    * The Gropinator - Arnold can grunt sweet nothings into her ear while he shows her just how much he respects women (not at all)
    * Rudy Giuliani - Rudy's about due for another extramarital affair and another bout of shooting himself in the groin
    * Roger Ailes - fat, old, hate-filled - what could be more perfect?
    * The Donald - he'll call her "classy" although Judy's about twice the age of his reent girlfriends


Poll: Most Americans Now Say War Was a Mistake

Shame some came to this opinion far too late to save many thousands of lives.

From Editor & Publisher:

In a historic shift, a majority of Americans express the view that the U.S. made a mistake in going to war against Iraq, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

The poll, released on Tuesday, shows that 51% now hold this view, with 48% supporting the decision to go to war. In November those numbers were virtually reversed.

In January, 63% approved of the war and 35% disapproved.

Eighty percent of Democrats find the war a mistake, while 80% of Republicans defend it. The split among Independents is 53% disapprove and 46% approve.

Other views also turned more negative.

By 58% to 39% the public disapproves of the way the U.S. has handled things in that country in recent months.

Nearly half the sample says things are going worse in Iraq than a year ago, with only 20% saying it is going better.

Tin Patriots and Constant Threats

This makes me sick: where those who drink the Kool-Aid in copious quantities (it's much easier than thinking) are happy to spread hate and fear and threats to anyone who speaks out against the current shamble in Iraq.

Loving Thy Neighbor Bush Style

Quote Republican Jesus (as channeled by General JC Christian):

Sometimes you can't love your neighbor until after you've applied 10,000 volts to his testicles."
Bush will give him a Medal of Freedom for this, I bet.

President's Vacation More Important Than Disaster Relief; So Why Did We Send an Aircraft Carrier?

WTF? Military assets? Why?

From the Washington Post (and the interesting part is reading between the lines in what is not said:

The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

As the death toll surpassed 50,000 with no sign of abating, the U.S. Agency for International Development added $20 million to an earlier pledge of $15 million to provide relief, and the Pentagon dispatched an aircraft carrier and other military assets to the region. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in morning television appearances, chafed at a top U.N. aid official's comment on Monday that wealthy countries were being stingy with aid. "The United States is not stingy," Powell said on CNN.
I wonder how much Colin got paid to sell his soul.

Farewell, Jerry Ohrbach

I was about to write a tribute to this talented actor, but found that Skippy had done it well. If you're a fan of the man's work, please read.

Are These Qualities We Want in a President?

RDF at Corrente (a great blog) looks at some of Mr. Bush's qualities and why they should concern us all. Go read.

Shameless Plug: "Buying Rx Drugs Online"

One of the projects that kept me so busy the last few months is now out: "Buying Rx Drugs Online". It's a one-of-a-kind book that explores the burgeoning offerings of prescription drugs online but also looks at all the vendors out there who aren't quite legit.

In it, you'll:

    * see how to weed out the illegals from the legit
    * understand why you need to involve your medical professionals even if you're trying to chart your own treatment course
    * learn how to find information about the drugs you take, their interactions with other meds, and their side effects
    * find out how to determine whether your kids are pharming
    * much, much more

Here's the link to buy it from Amazon (they'll say it's not released yet, but in fact, it came out last night). It makes a great home reference title.

Max Debunking Bush's Social Security "Emergency"

If you want some intelligent discussion about the so-called Social Security emergency, look no further than excellent sources like Max at MaxSpeak.

The Sad Focus

With more than 60,000 confirmed dead now, it's very sad to see how news organs like CNN are spinning the gigantic earthquake-begot-tsunami story in Southern Asia:

    * American Swimsuit Model Escapes!
    * Hundreds of Americans believed dead
    * Oprah guest alive!
    * Tsunamis shatter celebrity vacations (oh, the horror!)
    * Stingy Americans? UN Comment Strikes Nerve (good)

Washington GOP: Fuck the Voters

Story here. They won't rest until they seat their candidate, whether it's fair or not.

Goodnight, Susan Sontag

You will be missed. Thankfully, some of your work and the thought it inspires will live on.


South Asian Death Toll Rises; We're Still Stingy

The death toll now stands at 52,000 with many more to find, and the estimate is that at least 50,000 more will die from the crisis, disease, et al.

Today, WH Chief Apologist Colin Powell came out today to say we weren't stingy, that we were going to give a whole $20 million in aid. Unfortunately, that's only a FRACTION of what taxpayers will spend on Bush's Inaugural party, which is just a part of what corporate donors will spend on one big party for Bushie at a time of such desperation here in the U.S., let alone this nightmare of epic proportions in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and beyond.

Happy Blog Day to Us

It's been a year since this little blog debuted.

Thank you to those who visit.

Did Rummy Say Flight 93 Was Shot Down?

That's what Raw Story/Blue Lemur says after looking at the transcript of Rummy's latest trip to the troops.

Bush Tax Plan

According to The Times and other sources, this could involve eliminating the deduction for state taxes, a big deal in blue states (and great punishment, I guess, in making the GOP work harder to steal votes elsewhere). The Times article features Max Sawicky, of Max Speak.


Joe Scarbrough: Time for More Opiates

So Joe Scarbrough is FINALLY returning to his MSNBC show (not that he was missed but...) with reports that there is a great rising tide of support for Mr.Bush's Iraq plan. To this I can only say: Joe? While it's clear you've been taking WAY too many painkillers for your supposed back problem (following in good ole Rush's tradition, I guess) and clear you're begging to get on Faux that won't take you, it's also clear you need to take a lot more painkillers if you think anybody will buy this bull.

Republicans and drugs: they abuse the hell out of them but want them restricted for everyone else.

Little Help?

Word's out that a lot of countries - perhaps the U.S. included - are being anything but generous in rushing money and other aid to southern Asia in response to the devastation in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maltese Islands, et al. Right now, the estimates are more than 24,000 dead (one Indonesian province estimates they will have 20,000 dead all by themselves) and that probably doesn't begin to reflect the final numbers of those who died immediately and the many more who will die because of disease.

We're giving $15 million. A pittance.

Nice to Know

Democracy works in Ukraine. If only it did here. Perhaps we can learn from them before GOP operatives take a third presidential election in 2008 when we'll have Bill (here, kitty, kitty - I want to torture you) Frist and McCain/Giuliani contending, condescending, and obfuscating.

Speaking of which, here's Keith Olbermann's piece on Ohio from the Countdown Bloggerman.


The Rumsfeld Follies

Sure, I believe that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had this "heart-warming" photo op to Iraq (complete with "good", not confrontational questions from the troops) planned before the messy brown stuff hit the fan.

But then, I'm also still waiting for the Easter Bunny, The Great Pumpkin, and Santa to arrive. Hmm.. they seem to be late. But I'll keep waiting!


The Latest Stupidity: Endangered Christmas

The efforts by the nutso element of the right wing to insist that God and Christ are under attack is almost laughable. Their rationale seems to be that if you're a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist or agnostic and you're not being force-fed "Jesus is the reason for the season" non-stop, then secular pagans are trying to kill Christ a second time.

Bah humbug. This is even more laughable than "the media is biased toward the left."

My family was among the first to arrive in America - both from my Native American side and my Mayflower side. The English side came here because of religious intolerance. So are we really going to make America into the land of religious intolerance by forcing every non-Christian to observe our holidays?

This holiday has featured lawyers paid for by wingnuts to defend kids' rights to print Jesus messages on candy canes distributed to classmates, to "I believe in Jesus" cakes being brought to nursery schools. They went after Macy's for having the audacity to say "happy holidays" this year rather than Merry Christmas. And the only reason the folks who went after Target for banning Salvation Army donation pots is that they like the fact that the Salvation Army discriminates against gays. Trust me - the people who targeted Target a) don't shop there and b) probably aren't the types to donate anyway. If the Salvation Army advocated abortions, these same folks would be screaming to ban SA from bell ringing.

Are we as Christians really so insecure about our beliefs that we behave as if they only have validity if we force everyone else to convert? Go back and look at the Bible. Nowhere in there does it say that Jesus wants you to bring the non-believers to him broken and bloody from the bricks you hurl at their heads.

Note to the nutwing: Christianity isn't synonymous (I know, it's a big word: use a dictionary) with hypocrisy and hatred. So stop trying to reduce it to such.


Yeah, the President Was Real Broken Up

Remember on Tuesday when the president took a few seconds out of his busy vacation schedule to offer condolences for the dead troops? If my chronology is right, this is a photo taken of him right after that.

Yeah, he looks really broken up - sort of a Texas member of the Soprano family. Bet the boots or coat cost more than the $12K death benefit paid to each military family.

All hat, no cattle (or soul) indeed.


The Iraq Situation

People won't like me saying this, but it made me sick when Bush stopped on his way to a two-plus week vacation to say he was sorry about the deaths in Iraq today, but that Rummy's doing a great job.

I'm also sick to death of hearing about 40, 60, 80, 100+ Iraqi civilians killed (the U.S. keeps no official count) while the only deaths that bother us are Americans. We're an invading, occupying force in their country trying to push through elections to seat who we want there - the U.S. government couldn't care diddly squat about Mom and Pop Baghdad (or their little kids). Iraq's just part of our empire building.

Our military deaths are tragic, no doubt, but ALL lives there matter.

Congratulations to all of you nitwits who re-elected George Bush and company. You must be very proud of yourselves right now. I hope you'll be the first to encourage your kids to give their lives for Iraqi oil. God knows Bush is encouraging the drunken twins to do so.


Gee, We Needed a Laci Peterson Fill-in

With the world - er... that part of it who thinks life is more interesting when a woman has been murdered and there's a big media response - grieving the end of the Scott Peterson trial, how lucky (ugh) we are that we now have this terrible Missouri case where one woman ripped a fetus from another woman so she could claim the baby was hers.

This just sounds like another really sad case all around, and I can't quite fathom why we're seeing hours of coverage of this around the dial.

Couldn't we pay attention to real stuff for awhile? It's even more horrific and becoming educated about it might mean we wouldn't be condemned to repeat some of this outrageous conduct again.

Mr. Popularity

CNN's running a poll asking if people agree with the choice of Mr. Bush as Time's "Man of the Year". Of about 150,000 respondents already, only 34% say yes. Hmmm.

In the "Andy, I'm Not Sure How This Helps" Department

From WCAX:

WASHINGTON White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card says investigators knew about many of the background issues that ultimately sank the nomination of Bernard Kerik to be secretary of Homeland Security.

However, Card did not say whether a decision was made to overlook Kerik's shortcomings in order to move his nomination along. Card told A-B-C's "This Week" that "it was Bernie Kerik's decision not to go forward."

Card did acknowledge that "many of the questions that have been raised in the media were well understood by the White House when they considered Bernie Kerik."

Card defended the administration's background-checking system. He said "the process of vetting in the White House is not to telegraph to lots of people what your intentions are."
So in other words, his mob connections, indiscretions, facts that he couldn't live by the same laws he was applying to others, and assorted other issues did not matter. Good grief!

So Bush does consider homeland security a joke. A very expensive one on us, too.


Shooting Them for No Particular Reason

Xan at Corrente also offers something pretty disturbing on a number of levels:

People do weird things when they're bored and lonely...but they do really awful things when they're scared:

(via Raleigh-Durham NC News & Observer)

    A North Carolina National Guard member thought to be the first U.S. soldier convicted of murdering an Iraqi said he "snapped" and shot the 17-year-old boy after they had consensual sex, according to court-martial records released this week.

    Pvt. Federico Daniel Merida, 21, of Biscoe, a tiny town south of Asheboro, pleaded guilty during a court-martial in Iraq to shooting the Iraqi national guard private, whose name the Army withheld. The Los Angeles Times reported shortly after the court-martial that the victim's name was Falah Zaggam

    According to the records, Zaggam and Merida were on guard duty May 11 in a tower on the perimeter of an Army camp near Tikrit in northern Iraq. About 10:30 p.m., Merida shot Zaggam repeatedly with his M-4 carbine.

    The "gay panic" motive was the third that Merida offered. He first told investigators that Zaggam demanded money at gunpoint. Later, he said he killed Zaggam because the boy forced him to have sex.


So Broad in Our Narrow-Mindedness

From Tresy at Corrente:

Manzanar, here we come:
    Nearly half of Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim Americans, according to a nationwide poll.

    The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious.
Of course they do. This isn't something important, like "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Gotta have priorities, you know.



Er... no, I'm not talking about myself or even my love life. Any similarity to me/sex interpreted here is purely coincidental.

The weather up here in the Socialist Republic of Vermont has turned downright nasty, where day time highs (unseasonably) don't always make it in the double digits. Glacial, man!


If you haven't been over to see Nick, Mick and the gang recently, do so. It had been awhile for me, and I left feeling informed (not a bad blog template redesign either). Hey, it beats holiday shopping, especially if your idea of shopping involves malls (I haven't been to one in six or more years). But NetPolitik is far better than all of that, so it's hard to put the two in the same league (for a myriad of reasons).

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Pro-Life Right Wing

From Atrios:

Among them is Van Golden, a Christian, anti-abortion Texan who has sold his house so that he can travel to communist, atheist China and have Huang inject a million cells from the nasal area of a foetus into his spine. According to Golden's doctors, his spine was damaged beyond repair in a car crash last Christmas. The damage to his nervous system was so bad that he has been in a wheelchair and racked by spasms ever since. But Golden refused to give up, even if it meant having to compromise his values. "This is the only place that offered us any hope," he says. "Everyone else offered only to help make me sufficient in that chair. But the chair is not my destiny. It is not ordained."

Pursuits Indeed

Karlo at SwerveLeft presents some information, followed by this observation:

I recently read that the US is going into the red the equivalent to $5500 per household per year ! Instead of the “pursuit of happiness,” it sounds to me like the Republican plan should be called “Pursuit of a Free Lunch.” (Later it can be renamed “Pursued by Creditors.")
Tell it, brother.

Go read.


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is a tough nut and not one who wants to be cracked.

But what amazes me is that all the criticism recently is entirely centered on his performance at the ad hoc "town hall" style meeting between troops, something Bush never would have allowed for himself because his audiences are always so carefully vetted.

Rumsfeld's shortcomings, failures, and outright disasters began long before that meeting and his poor answers. Knowing that, Bush chose to keep him on in the role.

If you decide to flush Rummy, then flush him for the right reasons: not listening to the troop needs, underestimating what would happen in Iraq, blowing off the results that occurred, not finding Osama in Afghanistan, and so much else. Don't just oust him because it's popular.

All this will do is have Bush replace him with someone even worse. That town hall meeting was telling. I guarantee you the next Defense Secretary won't allow this to happen (oh, the circumstances yes, but not a meeting where the troops can call him out on it).

Horrific Pictures and More

The eloquent Diana from Democracy for California shares a blog link for some extremely graphic pictures from Fallujah. I have seen this stuff before but I warn you that it's not for the faint of stomach. However, we are the war; we have to own what's being done in our name. If it revolts us enough, perhaps we can stop it.

She also shares a link for IHatePatRobertson. I don't hate him. I just want him evicted from the American dialog and landscape. He's a symbol of all that is wrong with today's America: promoting violence in the name of "good Christian values", promoting hatred, and lining his pockets with the blood and despair of others.

Until We See/Hear From You Again, Bill Moyers

Tonight is Bill Moyers' final night on PBS, leaving he says to spread the word that the right wing has taken over the dialog, that there is little or no liberal media in this country.

I credit Bill with helping to take me from uneducated, red-leaning hick to socially conscious human being who cares little of the tags of political party while being far more concerned with Americans as a whole. Yes, there was a time when I went to Young Republican meetings (twice) in college because as a low income hick, I assumed that's where I was supposed to be.

Our best to you, Bill. Thank you.

Condolences to the Gores

Al's mother died the other day. Our best wishes go out to the family at this difficult time.

Uh... Was There a Kerik Nanny?

Several news outlets are questioning this, including The Times, and Kerik's mother-in-law says this is the first she's heard of the family ever having a nanny.

Truth is just a buzzword concept to the Bush-Giuliani crew.


More on Kerik

NY news stations are reporting that no real paperwork was filled out by Kerik to become NY's top cop OR take that fortune in fees from Giuliani Partners. He could have been Osama for all anyone knew. How does this happen?

At this point, if Giuliani couldn't follow the rules for hiring either as mayor or contractor, I think Giuliani's groups SHOULD NOT get any more awards from the Dept of Homeland Security. He breaks too many rules.

Bush Goes On and On About Frivolous Lawsuits

Yes, there are too many lawsuits. They do clog the courts. Some people decide that the way to earn an income is by suing someone else.

But let's get real. What if that contaminated flu vaccine had made its way here? What about the Vioxx cases where Merck and the FDA both knew about problems significantly before the patients taking it?

The president wants to free up courts to allow corporations to sue individuals. Period. It's time to say a big, resounding No to this man.

There have to be better ways to deal with the current problems with frivolous lawsuits or runaway jury awards than to remove a consumer's right to take action.

Damned Shame

Heard on the radio this morning that homeless shelters and soup kitchens are beginning to see their first waves of vets from this war. Lovely.

The Bush Twins are sloshed everynight and folks are buying them a half million dollar condo (at minimum) but the folks sent to fight this insane war are coming back homeless and hungry.

Really, Really

I'm way overdue in updating the template, poll, list of blogs. Let me see what I can pull off in the next few days.

Another Welcome

Say hello to Common Ground, Common Sense.

Say Hello

To Media in Trouble, the blog. It may not be new, but I just discovered it tonight in a Trackback.

Bushies Remove Clinton's Portrait

That's what "JOE KLEIN" (not Joe Klein - don't ask me to explain; I don't begin to drink enough alcohol to comprehend this myself) at Wonkette tells us. I'd love to hear if it actually makes it back up after Christmas. But that'll happen the day after Bush admits a mistake, which will be a quarter past never.


Fake Bomb Lost During Airport Security Training

Gee, I feel so safe with the Bushies in charge.

Imagine the Terror Alert Color Codes if Kerik Did Become Homeland Security Chief

Blue = Bernie forgot to refill his Cialis 'script
Green = No worries; Bernie's Rudy's bitch tonight
Yellow = Elevated; Bernie watched that tape of Rudy dressed up as a woman on SNL and it made him amorous
Orange = Uh oh - Bernie had raw oysters as an appetizer and he's been watching Arnold the Gropinator's obnoxious GOP honcho training films
Red = Hide everyone; Bernie's in heat

The Missile InDefense-ible Program

Another test failed. But Bush will push, push, push this through even with wide international outrage over it.

It wouldn't have saved us on 9/11 - and Bush certainly did not - and it won't defend us in the future either.

Judith Regan: Stunningly Attractive

Did you notice that all accounts of Bernie Kerik's mad love trysts refer to publisher and former Faux Snooze sleeze Judith Regan that way?

Gee, did she write that herself? I mean, she's not unattractive, but stunningly? I'm only stunned that someone would say stunningly. As I believe Roger Ailes pointed out on his blog (and my apologies if it was actually the General or someone else), when Regan did the show on Faux, the camera lens was three inches deep with Vaseline which usually means you're not quite up to sharp focus. That was a few years' back.

And from what I can tell, Bernie hasn't been all that choosy. A couple of reports yesterday indicated that his second marriage may have started before his first one was legally terminated. And then to find out today that the love nest overlooked Ground Zero and had been used as a rest spot by 9-11 emergency workers just seemed to add a new level of creepy to the story. I dunno, I don't perform my most ably in bed thinking about the towers coming down. But maybe Bernie's such a stud muffin, it doesn't matter.

Iraq civilian and prisoner abuse

Karlo at Swerve Left reminds us that even if no one is paying attention to it here, crap still goes on there.

Justice DeLay-ed

The General writes Tom about the Sodomites.

(If you haven't experienced General J.C. Christian, baptize yourself in His blog immediately. He's righteously sharp.)


Zell (is for zealot) Miller and Faux Snooze

Well, Bill ("my vibrator's shaped like a penis but that doesn't mean I'm a homo")O'Reilly won't be the only crazy person working besides Geraldo working at Faux anymore. Zell Miller is going to become a "contributor".

I wanna see him challenge Greta van Sustern to a duel. What a nut case!

Let Me Get Out My Violin

The wife of the lottery winner who took home the richest undivided jackpot in U.S. history says she regrets his purchase of the $314.9 million ticket that has thrust her family into the public spotlight.

"I wish all of this never would have happened," Jewel Whittaker told The Charleston Gazette for Tuesday's editions. "I wish I would have torn the ticket up."

Since winning the lottery two years ago, her husband, Jack Whittaker, has been arrested twice for drunken driving and has been ordered into rehab. He pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor assault charge for attacking a bar manager, and is accused in two lawsuits of making trouble at a nightclub and a racetrack.
Gee, I feel so badly for this clown. Mind you, my lack of sympathy isn't because he's wealthy. I imagine coming into money like that truly is very difficult. But all this man has done is get arrested, call the police, and act like a juvenile delinquent since he won it. And he was the one who kept inciting God when he was getting his prize.

But then, the people who always want to use Christ like a club over your head are always the ones who turn out to be true creeps in their real life. Like the president's plan for faith-based social security. Erp.

Candy that tastes like pot?

The NY news is reporting that NY lawmakers are trying to get candy that tastes like pot out of local stores.

Um... candy that tastes like pot? I can't say I've ever eaten it, but I've smelled it. Why would anyone want candy that tastes like it? Perhaps I'm drawing a mental blank here, but as long as it doesn't contain actual pot (it contains hemp but no THC), how is this worse than candy cigarettes? Gee, I'd almost think pot-flavored candy would keep kids away from the real stuff.

I have eaten hemp candy, come to think of it. Some place in Seattle was selling a hemp and nuts energy bar that I tried. I think I still have the chip in my tooth and that incident was better than the taste.

"There's a lot of Queens in George Tenet"

Wow, so we now give out the Medal of Freedom, the so-called highest award the country can bestow, three times today as hush money to those Bush would prefer not to speak?

We're like a bad caricature of ourselves.

Demand Government Transparency

See here.

Conyers: Ohio Stonewalling on Recount


Now almost no one is discussing this, gleefully reporting on the mainstream today that Mr. Bush actually gained a vote when the Electoral College voted today.

No Kiss Under the White House Mistletoe for Rudy


Should we really be paying Giuliani's firm huge chunks of millions in security consulting fees when he couldn't even figure out that his chief of police was usually in trouble or consorting with the wrong people?

And why is it the people charged with all this moral certainty are never too certain or too moral? Rudy was involved with at least two women while married to the previous Mrs. Giuliani, whom he cheated with after leaving the first Mrs. Guiliani.


Giving the Finger for His Country

You know, CNN was running this real heart wrencher of a story yesterday of a young enlisted man who - when faced with losing a finger or having his wedding ring cut off - said he loved his wife so much he could rather lose his finger.

Except the heart-wrenching part for me was that a) the soldier was 19 b) appears to have kids already besides being married c) is probably in the war because that's his only job option d) statistically speaking, it's a good bet he and his current wife won't even know each other in 10 years while there's no rebate on the finger and e) you figure the ring was an under $50 WalMart special.

BTW, the Army hospital personnel then lost the ring the soldier gave his anatomy for.

Please Remember

We go to trumped-up war with the creepy, deadender Defense Secretary we got and not the efficient, careful Defense Secretary we want.

Who Knew...

Bernie Kerik was such a STUD? Two affairs at once while married? And one of them to a Faux Snooze host for whom he sent a phalanx of homicide detectives to threaten people over her lost cell phone.

That's soooo touching (wiping tear)...


Bernard Kerik Revisited

I love how they're calling tonight's "Friday-night-so-it-can-be-largely-ignored" so-called letter of resignation (can you resign from a post you don't hold?) from Bernie Kerik. Then he puts it on a maid who supposedly tricked him into thinking she was legal, when his credibility is zero.

But then, so is the Dept of Homeland Security. They just terminated the Inspector General (Clark Ervin) for the organization because he kept finding how the DHS only exists to funnel money to Bush campaign contributors and Rudy (buy my loyalty) Giuliani.

Due to Really Stupid Problems Beyond My Control

I can't seem to successfully open the pop-up Haloscan windows with comments so I can't see what's posted there. Hopefully, this will change once our ice/snow storm ends sometime tomorrow night or Sunday morning.

So no, I'm not being particularly rude. Just the regular amount.


Blogger Fighting

Well, that's been only part of the reason for the silence the last few days. An insane finish up schedule on two books left me shuttling at 12K RPM.

But the whole world also just seems sorta extra chaotic: We're going to run elections in January come hell or high water (how many times can the Bushies say consecutively, "It might get worse for a few months before it improves" when they've said it since we moved into Iraq?). Tommy Thompson congratulates himself on a wonderful job and then says he can't believe Osama didn't contaminate our boxes of Ricin Krispies.


Bernie Kerik

His appointment - well, his nomination, but when does Mr. Bush ever fail to get what he wants - bothers me on a few levels.

One of the biggest profiters of 9/11 and the Department of Homeland Security is Giuliani and Associates. Who has worked for them since leaving NYPD? Bernie Kerik. So we can look for Rudy to be even richer. Kerik and Rudy would never say a peep that does not benefit Mr. Bush. And as run by Tom Ridge and buddies, DHS has existed largely to hand contracts to Mr. Bush's contributors.

Only ONE commentator has mentioned that Kerik was sent to Baghdad to restart the police force, only to come home far before his tour was up, pronouncing his job a success. But it wasn't. We paid Giuliani and Associates to handle this and they failed. After he left, the police officers really got butchered. Why did he come back months early?

Now, I have nothing personally against Mr. Kerik. I think he's a decent enough human being outside of being a political player. It's the player part that bothers me along with his ties to Rudy - I'm making a fortune off 9/11 - G. I think it also annoys the hell out of me that everyone who failed to protect us on 9-11 is treated to promotions and big money, while everyone else just suffers.


Dan Rather

This is another topic I've avoided because it seems so dumb as some of the right-wing bloggers flog themselves gleefully that they brought down Rather. Missing, of course, in this discussion is the fact that the records purportedly counterfeited reveal true information about Mr. Bush's lack of service because the media in the Bush Years has become adept at always missing the forest for the tree the right has painted red.

I don't have any strong feelings either way about Rather's retirement except annoyance that this is seen as his necessary fall because the right didn't like what he said. They've been after him for awhile but especially since his interview with Saddam before the second Bush-Iraq War.

But it goes way beyond Rather. The far right is picking off any journalist or commentator who dares to report anything that isn't approved by Bush's White House. That's dangerous for us all.

Dan Rather

This is another topic I've avoided because it seems so dumb as some of the right-wing bloggers flog themselves gleefully that they brought down Rather. Missing, of course, in this discussion is the fact that the records purportedly counterfeited reveal true information about Mr. Bush's lack of service because the media in the Bush Years has become adept at always missing the forest for the tree the right has painted red.

I don't have any strong feelings either way about Rather's retirement except annoyance that this is seen as his necessary fall because the right didn't like what he said. They've been after him for awhile but especially since his interview with Saddam before the second Bush-Iraq War.

But it goes way beyond Rather. The far right is picking off any journalist or commentator who dares to report anything that isn't approved by Bush's White House. That's dangerous for us all.

Science Textbook Disclaimer Stickers

These are hilarious. Thanks to TBogg for the link.


Voter Hacking

I haven't heard about this until I read Bloggerman:

As of earlyFriday evening, at least 60 viewers and readers had forwarded me cut-and-pastes of -- or links to -- an amazingly intricate conspiracy theory on-line piece that intertwines the Presidential election, Homeland Security, the FBI, $29,000,000 in payoffs, Enron, and the Saudi Royal Family - seemingly everybody except the Visiting Nurse Association of Skaneateles, New York.

Each email has come with the same question: could this possibly be true?

To summarize the story, Wayne Madsen, a former naval officer and now self-styled investigative journalist, has written that “according to informed sources in Washington and Houston,” computer experts were promised phenomenal amounts of cash, laundered via Saudi Arabia and the secret accounts of those who looted Enron, to pose as FBI and Homeland Security agents, infiltrate polling places around the country, and hack into electronic voting systems.

In the "I Wasn't Groped; I Was Just Checked by Airport Security" Department

Yeesh. Well, this will get Bill O'Reilly flying anyway (smirk).

Thanksgiving travelers may be in for a bit of a shock as they plod through security lines at the nation's airports. Passengers chosen for secondary screening or whose clothing appears suspicious or bulky are now subject to frisking--in a pretty intrusive way. In late September, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began allowing security checkpoint screeners to manually pat down women's breasts and the genital and derriere regions of both sexes during searches. The point is to find hidden explosives while machines that might perform the job are still being tested. "I know it's not pleasant," says Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, "but until we get the technology, what are the options?"


The Thanks Part

I probably speak for more than a few of you when I say this has been a tough year to find sufficient thanks to note during Thanksgiving festivities. Personal or global, this has been a notoriously tough year with no easy prospects for improvement.

The "Go Ahead with the Election Even if the Masses Won't Vote" Contingent

What is this with our fierce determination to carry off elections in Iraq in January even if large parts of the population won't be able to vote and about 25% (like Sunis) refuse to vote?

Just because 48% of the population here got fucked over on November 2nd doesn't mean we have to consign Iraq to an indecent election. This dummy presidency the Bush cartel is pushing on Iraq isn't going to be viewed as valid by Iraq or the rest of the world. So why do we need to do it no matter what?

Seriously, if you honestly believe - despite some considerable evidence to the contrary - that we went into Iraq to liberate these people from the evil regime of Saddam, why wouldn't you want them to have a real election? Do they deserve any less? A real election doesn't start off by having as much as 50% of the electorate disenfranchised even before the first ballot is cast. Either directly or indirectly because of our actions in controlling the country, we've disenfranchised that much of the Iraqi population, if not more. So how can 1/30/05 represent a fair vote?


In the Bye, Bye Ashcroft Department

Hilarious. Thanks to Wonkette for the link.

Olbermann on Elections

From Bloggerman:

It was a spectacular irony - a Republican senator using the word “fraud” about the presidential election. More spectacular still, he was visiting his condemnation of apparent election manipulation on the incumbent party. And beyond all that, he and others based their conclusions largely on the incredible disparity between the last exit polls and the vote count itself. Of course, Indiana’s Richard Lugar was talking about the presidential election in the Ukraine. But in so doing, he underscored that once again, the exit polls appear to have fulfilled the time-honored international tradition of the canary in the mine shaft. If only we could have used them in that way here.


So the people in the Ukraine turned out en masse today in sub-zero weather to protest the elections but here, with some evidence of fraud on November 2nd, nobody's concerned. Lovely.

Iraqi Elections

From CNN:

Iraq's interim defense minister was quoted by an Arabic-language newspaper Tuesday as saying he cannot guarantee the safety of candidates or voters in elections scheduled for January 30. Meanwhile, U.S., British and Iraqi troops began a new campaign against insurgents in Babil province near Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
I guess the Iraqis are not supposed to notice what a sham their "liberation" is.


A Bleeping Yacht?

Congress just appropriated money for a presidential yacht, says Atrios.

My God.


The President "Too Special" to Go Through Same Security Measures We Do


Hours after President Bush dove into a fracas to rescue his lead Secret Service agent from a confrontation with Chilean security officials, word surfaced of another security dispute. This time, an elaborate state dinner Sunday night was the casualty.

The dinner planned for Bush and 200 others by Chilean President Ricardo Lagos was reportedly scrapped after Chile was unwilling to accept security measures sought by the U.S. Secret Service, including a demand that all guests pass through metal detectors.
He's just so special.

Denver Protects the "Vote"

From the Denver Post:

"There's no reason that any reasonable person should have any confidence in this election," said Alan Gilbert, a political science professor at the University of Denver. "We voted on machines that were provided by a private company and were not subject to public review. This is a very, very serious thing."
Right on!

The Role of the Media

Eric Alterman (with a co-author) offers an important piece:

Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger recently argued that unfavorable reporting of the war in Iraq was part of a liberal-inspired plot to bring down President Bush during the election campaign. Even such an unarguably major story as the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison, Henninger argued, "obviously was intended to burn down the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. I think many people thought the over-the-top Abu Ghraib coverage, amid a war, was the media shouting fire in a crowded theater."

One wonders what role Henninger thinks the media should play during wartime. What's more, according to the Journal editors, merely by reporting the news, the U.S. media demonstrated its "apparent compulsion to overthrow the Bush presidency." Tunnel vision of this sort brings to mind a sketch on the fake news program The Daily Show, in which Rob Corrdry complained, "Facts in Iraq have an anti-Bush agenda."

In reality, judged by almost any remotely objective standard, the incumbent had a pretty easy time of things from the mainstream media during the election campaign, particularly given the circumstances. While sticking relentlessly to Karl Rove's game plan in portraying Sen. Kerry as having been guilty of "flip-flop" after flip-flop, when in many of these cases the words and votes were being ripped out of context, strikingly, the president managed to escape that label despite changing his position on such central issues as the 9/11 Commission, the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, No Child Left Behind, the WMD Commission, plus many more.

Kevin Sites' Blog

Kevin - the journalist taking so much heat after showing the Marine shooting the wounded insurgent - writes powerfully about the experience on his blog. Read it.


Those Lofty Red State Values

From Editor & Publisher:

Much of the post-election analysis in the press has centered on so-called red state values and the alleged "values gap" in America. Perhaps with that in mind, The New York Times on Sunday presented a map and chart ranking states in what it called "random" categories. Many of the results gave lie to some of the post-election chatter concerning superior values in the red states.

For example, the states with the three highest divorce rates are all red (Nevada, Arkansas, Wyoming), while Massachusetts has the lowest rate.

Top three states for readership of Playboy magazine? Again, all red (Iowa, Wyoming, North Dakota), and they all top heathen New York by 2-1 margins.

Suicide rate? Once again, all red (New Mexico, Montana, Nevada), with the lowest rates all-blue (New Jersey, New York, Massaschusetts).

Murder rate? Again, reds in the lead (Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana), with blues holding two of the three with lowest rates (New Hamphsire, Maine, South Dakota).

The top three states for abortions, however, were blue: New York, Delaware, Washington. Blues also topped the list of readers of The New Yorker and percentage of people holding bachelor's degrees or higher.

In the Why Does This Not Surprise Me? Department

Gee, really? From the BBC:

The head of the CIA has told its employees that they must not "identify with, support or champion opposition" to the Bush administration.

The email to staff by Director Porter Goss, a former Republican congressman, has been seized on by critics.


Freepers Want to Hurt Journalist

Um, are these the red-staters we're supposed to establish a dialog with? People who advocate this while getting upset at a naked back on Monday Night Football right before the beer ads and Viagra commercials?

From Media Matters:

The discussion board at FreeRepublic.com, a prominent right-wing online forum, contains numerous posts from members advocating violence against NBC News correspondent Kevin Sites, who recorded and reported the close-range shooting by a U.S. Marine of an unarmed and wounded Iraqi insurgent.

Comments about Sites on Free Republic include:
    "Turn Sites over to the terrorist."
    "No need for anything overt. Unfortunate things happen in combat zones, and if the reporter fails to hear someone yell 'Sniper!!', well, c'est la guerre" [French for "that is war"].


The War on Women

Damn them.

From The Times:

House and Senate negotiators have tucked a potentially far-reaching anti-abortion provision into a $388 billion must-pass spending bill, complicating plans for Congress to wrap up its business and adjourn for the year.

The provision may be an early indication of the growing political muscle of social conservatives who provided crucial support for Republican candidates, including President Bush, in the election.

Federal law now says that hospitals and health care providers who receive taxpayer money must offer abortion counseling to women who ask about it. Catholic hospitals are now exempt from the law; the provision in the spending bill would allow all hospitals and health care providers to refuse to comply.

The language would also allow hospitals and health care providers to opt out of state and local laws that require them to provide abortions, abortion counseling or referrals.
Well, let's see the Red State women get pregnant while everyone's unemployed.

Rendered Mute

I have to admit that I feel a little like I'm going through shell shock, and part of the reason I haven't posted.

Bush's new cabinet in which he promoted friends and incompetents who should have had their asses fired rather than their lips kissed (what was that with all the Bush kissing this week? I don't recall him ever kissing Ashcroft on the lips).

The religious right wants all abortion stopped; they don't want to "dialog". Hell, I think most of us would like to see abortion end, as in no unwanted pregnancies. But these are the same people who want to teach faith-based pregnancy prevention based on abstinence and ignorance. No contraception. No choice. Funny, I don't hear these men (and they're mostly men) suggesting the fathers of such babies should be pressed to contribute.

We're now making noise about Iran that sounds word for word like our talk about Iraq. Having Colin Powell come out today to cite the danger only reminded me of his "killer" report before the U.N. Security Council that turned out to be lies and spin.

Margaret Hassan's incredibly unnecessary death - a woman who opposed our sanctions, opposed our war, and yet still was put to death.

Congress happily raising the debt limit to record levels while also making certain that Tom DeLay can run everything even when he's consigned to hell.

Imus and company calling the Palestinians pigs and animals.

Oh yeah, and there are still a lot of questions about the election. Not that most seem to care.


How Many Ways Can it Get Worse?

Condi Rice as Secretary of State? A woman who's spent four years doing a much better job of defending her "husb... er.. president" than in defending the country? Who - as Jon Stewart says - is best at giving the "stink eyes" to anyone who spoke against this president's vision.

I just wish his vision didn't involve destroying America as we know it.

The choice of Condi as SoS is his latest of saying, "fuck you" to the rest of the world. There's no other way to describe it.


Uh oh

The president's parental unit, Mr. Cheney, has been released from the hospital.

I hope the Secret Service alerted Mr. Bush to hide the bootleg Halo2 and told the twins to cancel their pot party.

Cheney in the Hospital

(backspacing over note asking if an electron microscope was needed to find his heart)

May we assume Bush is planning to par-tay with his parental unit out of the WH? Lynne Cheney will come over after dinner and tell him to turn the music down and to stop spilling beer on the oval office rug.

Halliburton to Keep Billions in Questionable Fees?

Lovely. Just lovely.

The Army is setting the stage to let Halliburton Co. keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors call questionable or unsupported by adequate documentation.

According to Pentagon documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the Army has admitted that the Houston-based company may never be able to account properly for some of its work. Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root unit is accused of over-billing the government for some operations.

The company has hired a consulting firm to estimate what Halliburton’s services should cost, the report said. Officials may use that estimate as the basis for “an equitable settlement,” under which the Pentagon could drop many of the claims its auditors have made against the company.

Concerns About the Election

From the Vermont Guardian:

Could sophisticated CIA-style "cyber-warfare" have helped George W. Bush change a three percent defeat, as measured by exit polls, into a victory of about the same margin? Yes, at least in theory. But it would require hacking into multiple local computer systems, presumably from a remote location.

There is as yet no solid proof that such a cyber-attack occurred on Nov. 2. But suspicions are mounting that the U.S. presidential election results were manipulated to some extent. Voting analyses of selected precincts in Florida and Ohio have found surprisingly high percentages for Bush, and critics say that spoiled ballots and provisional votes, both disproportionally affecting minorities, made the difference in at least two states.

Into the evening of Election Day, exit polls showed Kerry rolling to a clear victory nationally and carrying most of the battleground states, including Florida and Ohio. Winning either would have ensured his victory in the Electoral College.

Polls also showed Republicans carrying the bulk of the tight Senate races. When the official results were tallied, however, the presidential exit polls proved wrong while the Senate polls were correct.

As suspicions about the integrity of the election grew, Sen. John McCain tried to quell talk of mischief in the Florida and Ohio with a Nov, 4 appearance on the Tonight Show.

Exit polling showed Kerry with a 3 percent lead over Bush in Florida and 4 percent edge in Ohio. He ended up losing Florida by 5.2 percent and 2.5 percent in Ohio. That makes the spread between the Florida poll and results 8.2 percent, more than double the standard error rate. In Ohio, the difference is 6.5 percent, also beyond the usual variation.
And from Buzzflash:
In "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," Dr. Steven F. Freeman says:
    "As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states [Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania] of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error."

Alaskan Drilling

The U.S. Interior Department on Friday gave final approval to a plan by ConocoPhillips and partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to develop five tracts around the oil-rich Alpine field on Alaska's North Slope.

In the "Haven't You Left Yet" Department

John Ashcroft:

WASHINGTON - Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush (news - web sites)'s decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) said Friday.

In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called "a profoundly disturbing trend" among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war.

"The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war," Ashcroft said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group.
Let the turkeys soar...."

Evangelicals Looking to Collect on Debt

Story here.

Bush and Blair

I don't think their words today helped the situation. For Bush to make Middle East peace into something he's going to order up like a plate of hotcakes and then put its success only on the Palestinian people is the height of hubris.

But it also came as downright disrespectful on the day Arafat was laid to rest. I don't much care what leaders in this country thought of Arafat; his people were generally very loyal to him. It's just one more way that we try to rub Arab noses in untidy whities.


F Stands for What?

Well, in this case, it's Fuck the South.

Ah, but in every red state lies blue state voters. At least, until they get into those Diebold voting booths.

MoveOn Asks for Congressional Investigation and Your Signature

Dear MoveOn member,

Questions are swirling around whether the election was conducted honestly or not. We need to know -- was it or wasn't it?

If people were wrongly prevented from voting, or if legitimate votes were mis-counted or not counted at all, we need to know so the wrongdoers can be held accountable, and so we can prevent this from happening again.

Members of Congress are demanding an investigation to answer this question. The decision on whether or not there will be an investigation could come as soon as Monday. Join us in supporting the call for one now, at:

Sign the petition.
More election stuff here, here, and here. Mostly thanks to Buzzflash for the links.

Thank you, Veterans

We appreciate all you've done.

And - unlike some of the people who seem to feel war is a solution - many of us yell and scream each and everytime the government decides to pay for a new war by cutting your benefits. You deserve better. Today's GI who becomes tomorrow's vet (hopefully) deserves better, too.

The Evolution Will Not Be Televised (or Published)

I like Karlo's take at Swerve Left.

Would you like to know how surprised I was that men and women have the same number of ribs after all that Biblical teaching? Even my mother - who quit high school in her sophomore year and was raised early in a pentacostical environment - tried to tell me the Bible was an interpretation but kids can't grok the subtleties. The idea of treating evolution as theory but creationism as fact is mighty scary to this non-scientist.

Why Were Tanks Summoned to an LA Anti-War Rally?

And why were they Canadian tanks?


I've been quiet on this subject principally because it is so damned disturbing.

We're in Fallujah largely for one reason: those contractors who were killed and hung from a bridge last spring. We did a two-month much-publicized build up to attack and then - lo and behold! - most of the hard-core insurgents left, letting old men and young untrained ones try to protect the city and the tens of thousands of civilians left behind from the might of the U.S. military. What we're doing in Fallujah is criminal. It's also criminal that we're sending soldiers to their deaths there when we know we're not fighting the enemy they said they were there to fight.

Our first act on arrival was to take over the one hospital not overrun by insurgents (and at this point, I suspect the insurgents include a HUGE number of Iraqi patriots who see this as a battle for the sanctity of their homeland against a foreign aggressor - US) and put it out of business for helping the injured civilians.

Controlling 70% of a city vacated by the power base is what exactly? All we did was drive up violence everywhere else. And - oh yes - sent the Sunnis packing, guaranteeing that another large percentage of the Iraqi population won't vote in January.

Iraqis are smart enough to realize that we have installed a puppet government and plan to do the same in January under the guise of "freedom and democracy". But these are just words to the Bush administration to rally U.S. support. What we want to do is control Iraq... and any other Muslim country we can lay our bombs on. That's why Yassir Arafat was so hated and disrespected by the Bushies: he dared to say an Arab life is worth a Christian life and a Jewish life.

As someone raised a Christian, I swear the most valuable lesson I ever learned was that it was Christians who sacked the Great Library of Alexandria. Dumb people won't rise up like smart ones. Which makes you wonder about the Bushies and the right trying to sack the U.S. public school system in favor of religious schooling and home schooling.

Yassir Arafat, Rest in Peace

I was sad when I heard the news last night.

Yes, I know he's a highly controversial figure, but I honestly believe that he changed as part of the peace process as I've said here before. Nor did I consider him the obstacle to Middle East peace that Ariel Sharon was and is, that George Bush and the far right (who want Israel to win only so the Rapture can occur)was and certainly is now.

But most of all, I just wish the best for the next Palestinian leader. Whoever he is, it's going to be an extremely difficult job. I also wish with all my heart that Palestinians come to know an independent home of their own, and that someday, Israelis and Palestinians can live in relative peace. But I don't believe for a minute that can happen with Mr. Bush in office.


Sunnis Withdraw Support for Elections

Nice work, Bushies!

In the first major political backlash over the assault on Falluja, the country's most prominent Sunni political party said Tuesday that it was withdrawing from the interim Iraqi government, while the leading group of Sunni clerics called for Iraqis to boycott the nationwide elections scheduled for early next year.

The moves seemed to promise that popular protest against the American-led attack on the city, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, is likely to grow in coming days.

A widespread Sunni boycott of the January elections, if one comes to pass, would threaten the legitimacy of the outcome. It would also undermine the main rationale for the attack on Falluja: to drive insurgents out of the city so residents could freely take part in the elections.

The Sunni Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population, were ousted from power with the toppling of Saddam Hussein. They have expressed ambivalence about taking part in the elections, though American and Iraqi officials say their participation is crucial to the entire democratic enterprise, and to defeating the insurgency.
At this rate, 3 whole people will vote in the January elections, and they'll all work for Bush. That'll make it worthwhile.

Sorry Everybody

That's actually the name of a site my friend Barb sent me. I like it. I'm just sorry it's necessary.


You know you're in trouble when the books you haven't half finished yet are already for sale on Amazon.com. I guess I should get to work. Cough.


In the "I Didn't Know David Anderson was French Either" Department

Remind me to ask him for his recipe for vichysoisse.

Uh oh - I'm in pagan country!

MissM shares the JesusLand link with us.

You know, I think we've overlooked the possibility that God and/or Christ could get sick of this crap and take over the airwaves just before the showing of "Desperate Housewives" (watched by MANY of the red states, btw) to tell the reddies they disavow any association with the crew at 1600 Penn. I mean, if someone were using me so badly (and please don't muddy the waters by bringing up the fact that I used to work for America Online) I would probably speak up.

Ashcroft and Evans

So John Ashcroft has resigned as Attorney General "having met the objective" of keeping America safe from terror and crime (wow! And I thought his favorite target was librarians!) and Don Evans (secretary of Commerce) has resigned after meeting his objective of keeping Americans safe from a livable paycheck.

Nice work, gentlemen!

"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

John Perkins on Democracy Now today told a chilling story as one of the big economists sponsored by the U.S. government who helps bankrupt countries and overturn politicians in other countries, including how Teddy Roosevelt's progeny ended the elected reign of Iran and forced the shah into rule, laying the groundwork for much of muck now flying in the Middle East.

The title of the book is above. I'm ordering it. He says he was first recruited by the NSA and worked under government programs for major corporations until 9/11 when he decided he was doing the very wrong thing.

I won't like reading it, but I think I must.

Red States to Expel Blue States from U.S.

Can you say asshole? I knew you could.

Thanks to Wonkette for the link.

Help America Audit!

News here.

Help cure Electile Dysfunction.

Olbermann on Election Nasties



And This on Voting


Nationwide, there's a loose coalition of groups protesting the election, and news reports surface every day detailing problems with things like electronic voting, people waiting hours to vote and supposedly nonpartisan election officials making decisions that helped Republicans.

Three Democratic congressmen - U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida - have asked the General Accounting Office to investigate.

Whether the election is overturned or not, said Phyllis Hasbrouck, it's key in the future to require paper ballots and to ban touch-screen voting. "If we don't do this, we'll never have a real election again," she said.

It's troubling to Bill Hawkes, a retired A.C. Nielsen Co. statistician, that exit polls and vote totals were so far out of whack. "I've spent my whole life in marketing. The difference is clearly beyond any sampling variability. ... The community of statisticians and media experts need to not let this be dropped."

More on Florida Elections



I'll post soon. I promise.


The Dollar's Nose Dive

Anyone paying attention to this?

The dollar continued its decline in global currency markets yesterday, intensifying worries among some economists that mounting U.S. budget and trade deficits could send the U.S. currency into a tailspin.
Since so much of our stuff comes from overseas now, this is just one profound reason why this matters to each and everyone of us.

Bush Vetoes Nothing

I guess it helps when you tell Congress what to do. From Blogs on Bush comes an AP story that presents info I did not know:

WASHINGTON — Aided by a Republican-controlled Congress, President Bush is on track to become the first chief executive since John Quincy Adams in the 1820s to complete a full term without vetoing one bill.

He has, however, made frequent use of the veto threat, and so far that's been enough to get what he wants.

By comparison, President Clinton issued 37 vetoes during his eight years in office. Bush's father had 44 during his single term. Franklin Roosevelt was the champion bill slayer, killing 635 either by regular veto or "pocket" veto, which means letting a bill lapse without a presidential signature when Congress is not in session.
None? None?

Aren't We the Right?

Someone posed this to me today, and for me anyway, it clicked.

Aren't we who didn't vote for a continuation of the last four years representing the real right? Right not in the exact sense of the opposite of wrong, but in that we were willing to make sacrifices - and oh yes, there would have been sacrifices, not the least of which would probably be a single term for the Dem who won because there is SO much to correct now, he would be hated regardless - however painful to try to steer this country back on a much better course.

It's painful to admit what we've done in and to Iraq.

It's painful to watch men and women die for a cause that is patently wrong and doing more evil with each passing day.

It's painful to watch schools and hospitals and the infrastructure of our country go bankrupt, but not because we're spending too much on our people, but because we give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, give a huge chunk of every dollar to the Pentagon (and the admins don't try to protect us, the men and women on the ground - ill prepared as they may have been equipped - strive to do that), and tell corporations we'll give them a break when they ship jobs overseas.

It's painful to pay larger prices because we know shopping at Wal-Mart reduces the quality of living around the world. It's painful to watch our neighborhoods die because Styrofoam cups are so cheap at Wal-Mart, too.

It's painful to watch our country shrivel in every way except militarily.

It's painful to watch an election be treated like a SuperBowl game.

And it's damned painful to have to speak out but you have no choice because the situation is so damned grave. Those who speak up - and continue speaking up after this election - know they may place themselves under scrutiny, but they do it because they must. Being right isn't distinctly American, but it forged some of the best foundation of our start as a nation. The Constitution isn't a rough draft, and Bush can't run a company that's not in the red. Unfortunately, we handed him the books to the largest and most important company we have: ourselves and our future.

Look what he's done. Look what he's now pledged to continue to do.

We were and we are right. Moving to Canada is not a solution. We need to find a way around all the spin and the labels to make the people who don't like too hard realize what's happening. We'll probably need to do this one person at a time, however. And that means all of us have to tackle it.


Hmmm.... Parts II and III

Here and here.

Would you believe the final Florida count just might show a different winner?


The Columbus Dispatch has investigated the matter and the director of the board of elections within the county admitted that Bush only received 365 votes. He stated that a "glitch" occurred in the electronic voting machine during the vote tally. This glitch could have given nearly 4,000 fake votes to George Bush if it had not discovered.

The Gahanna incident is just one confirmed mistake and was discovered by activists on the Internet. It was a fairly easy "glitch" to detect given the large discrepancy between the head count at the polling station and the votes for Bush. Given this voting error one must ask, how many more glitches occurred that only involved tens or hundreds of votes?

In Florida, exit polling data showed the opposite of the final results provided through the state. Even more surprising are the changes in votes per party that occurred on November 2nd. Counties using e-touch voting machines in Florida showed an average vote gain of 29% for Republicans and a 23.8% increase for Democrats. However the counties that used optical scan vote machines showed drastic differences. Republicans gained by 128.45% in counties using optical scan voting machines while Democrats had a -21% loss (yes, that is negative 21%). Some districts in Florida showed gains over 400% while one, Liberty County, gained over 700% for Republicans.

Did Kerry Win? Greg Palast Says Yes

Here and here.

I believe him. And nothing will be done about it, will it?

Well, I'm going on the record as saying that I'm looking for a way I can be put to good use in trying to determine whether another election was stolen. Note I said determine. I think it was, but I don't have evidence that proves it. I just know of a lot of uncounted votes... votes we haven't looked at yet.

I just can't believe we'll sit and let it happen twice, even as Bush tells us he feels he's got a mandate to destroy what remains of the country we love.

Our Best to Elizabeth Edwards

Let me join MissM and others who've dropped a note or otherwise spoken to me about Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer diagnosis yesterday. Thankfully, Diebold probably won't be making the equipment used to treat her.

Fight the good fight, Elizabeth. Our best to your family, too. Thanks for putting the country first; now attend to yourself.

He'll Raze Fallujah....

From Maureen Dowd:

W. doesn't see division as a danger. He sees it as a wingman.

The president got re-elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts; he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel.

W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Mr. Bush, whose administration drummed up fake evidence to trick us into war with Iraq, sticking our troops in an immoral position with no exit strategy, won on "moral issues."

The president says he's "humbled" and wants to reach out to the whole country. What humbug. The Bushes are always gracious until they don't get their way. If W. didn't reach out after the last election, which he barely grabbed, why would he reach out now that he has what Dick Cheney calls a "broad, nationwide victory"?

While Mr. Bush was making his little speech about reaching out, Republicans said they had "the green light" to pursue their conservative agenda, like drilling in Alaska's wilderness and rewriting the tax code.

"He'll be a lot more aggressive in Iraq now," one Bush insider predicts. "He'll raze Falluja if he has to. He feels that the election results endorsed his version of the war." Never mind that the more insurgents American troops kill, the more they create.

Just listen to Dick (Oh, lordy, is this cuckoo clock still vice president?) Cheney, introducing the Man for his victory speech: "This has been a consequential presidency which has revitalized our economy and reasserted a confident American role in the world." Well, it has revitalized the Halliburton segment of the economy, anyhow. And "confident" is not the first word that comes to mind for the foreign policy of a country that has alienated everyone except Fiji.

Condi as Secretary of State?

God help us, everyone.


Sound Familiar

How many of these sound like our president's policies?
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. A controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
9. Power of corporations protected.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.

According to this site, these are all symptoms of encroaching fascism. Sadly, they sound very much like they fit life in Bush's America.

Arlen Squeaks

He's expected to take over chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Orrin Hatch gets booted (well, there are some things left to enjoy anyway) and he told Bush today that he wasn't going to take kindly to a series of bogus extremist SCOTUS nominees.

The GOP and Bushies are responding by telling Arlen how they'll tell him to run things. After all, it's Georgie's world and the rest of us are just window dressing and amusement.

Healthy Cynicism or "May We Have a Do Over, Please?"

CNN is asking if we're optimistic about Mr. Bush's second term. With more than 200,000 respondents, about 60% aren't.

Don't think it was that, "I earned the right to have everything my way; I'll let you breathe if you support me, but I'll crush ya like a bug if you don't" victory speech today, do you? I had an associate - a woman who admitted just before the election that her husband had pretty much convinced her they both had to vote for Bush because it sent back signals in a war - send a note today, saying:

I happened to catch his remarks just before lunch and it was like an air raid siren went off in my head. What was I thinking? Why did I vote Bush when I knew better?!?!

I'm not alone either. I confessed this when our usual work group got together at lunch and almost every woman at the table (but the new gal who has a Kerry sticker) said just about the same thing, that we all felt like we'd maybe made the worst mistake we could. One says her husband's had second thoughts since before they left the parking lot after voting. Of the guys at the table, one agreed, one said it's too soon to tell (but didn't argue it either), and the other got up and left without answering.

I wonder how many of us have buyer's remorse now?
This has to be worse than how the Nader people felt in 2000 but we all get screwed.

The Day the Enlightenment Went Out

The Times has an excellent op/ed piece by Garry Wills that better says what I was trying to express in the previous post:

The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies.

Where else do we find fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity? Not in France or Britain or Germany or Italy or Spain. We find it in the Muslim world, in Al Qaeda, in Saddam Hussein's Sunni loyalists. Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous, so single-minded, so impervious to international appeals. They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed.

It is often observed that enemies come to resemble each other. We torture the torturers, we call our God better than theirs - as one American general put it, in words that the president has not repudiated.

President Bush promised in 2000 that he would lead a humble country, be a uniter not a divider, that he would make conservatism compassionate. He did not need to make such false promises this time. He was re-elected precisely by being a divider, pitting the reddest aspects of the red states against the blue nearly half of the nation. In this, he is very far from Ronald Reagan, who was amiably and ecumenically pious. He could address more secular audiences, here and abroad, with real respect.

In his victory speech yesterday, President Bush indicated that he would "reach out to the whole nation," including those who voted for John Kerry. But even if he wanted to be more conciliatory now, the constituency to which he owes his victory is not a yielding one. He must give them what they want on things like judicial appointments. His helpers are also his keepers.

The moral zealots will, I predict, give some cause for dismay even to nonfundamentalist Republicans. Jihads are scary things. It is not too early to start yearning back toward the Enlightenment.

Fundamentalism and Zealotry

This election wasn't a vote for or against Bush in the eyes of many. The people - and the rigged voting machines - that helped him get a slim victory (sorry, 3 million is just 1% of the entire U.S. residential population and isn't the broad victory even the media calls it) - turned out because they hate and fear, and even returning a man who will take their children, empty their wallets, and render a mess everything we value is better than them having to come face to face with what they hate and fear.

This is a terrible irony, folks, because we constantly point at Muslim fundamentalists and demonize them just as the Muslims point to Zionists of the Jewish faith for their damage and destruction. It's so dangerous and hate-filled, we say. We say, including people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and John Ashcroft. Yet here, we're all supposed to become Christian fundamentalists if we want to have a say in how the U.S. is run.

Blind faith of any type is a very evil thing. It's usually born out of desperation and usually demanded by people who feel they cannot control their lives and their world any other way.

I believe in God and I value that greatly. But God lets us know that He/She/the power is beyond the scope of how we do business and politics. My God doesn't ask me to condemn Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and atheists because they don't believe what I do.

God gave us all minds and free will, yet about 57 million people went to the polls on Tuesday and said that their will must reign and they are not partial to situations where the facts don't fit their faith. They've largely decided Christian zealotry is far superior to what those heathens practice. Or they couldn't be bothered to think at all so they just went with the crowd.

And you know what? Christian fundamentalism as practiced here perhaps far more dangerous than any other type, because we use it to club not only ourselves but the rest of the world. Look at Tom DeLay, that great Godly man. He's not content to just screw up Sugarland, Texas - no, he's got to spread his brand of mindless rot to the entire rest of the world.

Screw anyone who tells you that you have to join the fundamentalism rhetoric to change the results next election. Evolution happens by natural course; what they practice is anything but normal.

Do we have to understand them and learn to work around them? Hell, yes. But we don't have to slither on our bellies to do so. Let's get back to evolving, rather than devolving, shall we?

The World Grieves Our Bad Choice

Steve Gilliard sums it up. Excerpt here, but I encourage you to read the whole thing.

The Guardian and European Press are mortified by Bush's win. But they miss what happened. Americans didn't ratify Bush's foriegn policy, the war is still unpopular. They voted on values issues, something which is distrubing to Democrats and horrifying to everyone else. Which is to say, they gave vent to their economic frustrations by bashing gay marriage.

That became the symbol of their increasingly frustrating lives. You can't get a raise, you're in debt up to your ass, you never see your kids. So who do you blame? The market, which you had always been told is good? Or the people you pastor says to blame, the homosexual mocking marriage? People take the easy way out until they have to face hard choices. We are not there in Iraq, yet.

Americans are incurably optimistic about economics. They think they're all going to be rich. So they act accordingly. Many think the top one percent of Americans are around $200,000 a year. They strive to be rich, as if that would solve their problems. Frightened people do strange things. Which is ignore a war likely to suck their children in over the abstract of gay marriage. Something which may never touch their lives.

My Hope for the Palestinians

Conflicting words now say Arafat is clinically dead, in a coma, or may have already passed.

Unlike some, I came to respect Arafat who I feel did evolve somewhat from the old warrior to a man concerned with history, with the legacy he would one day leave behind for his people, and with peace. Sadly, while I have felt this about some Israeli leaders, too, Sharon is not one of them.

I am glad for the world and for Arafat himself that he did change. But I also have strong hope that Mr. Arafat's replacement will help lead the Palestinians to better things. Palestinians deserve so much more than they have been given, and it's this shortage that has helped fuel the hatred and violence. But it's not just one way. Israel must change, too, and somehow, these two people - both bound by as much as that which separates them - must find their ways together.

And perhaps there's a bit of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in what we're seeing now with the far right and the rest of the country. Creating greater and greater imbalances, as the president himself and his followers are wont to do, will not help us.

Curious George

So he's scheduled another speech for now, in which he intends to address important things like moral values.

Wow. I'm trying to remember when I needed help on my moral values from a man who has failed every business he's run yet been rewarded outrageously well, a man who may be drinking again according to long-time Washington talk before the election, whose known to take antidepressants (a real bad mix with alcohol) and whose raised two fairly amoral daughters who didn't have to work a bit as hard as I did to go to school during the Reagan put-the-poor-in-their-place acts.

He should worry about the economy, Iraq, and the fraud of the vote.

Curious George

So he's scheduled another speech for now, in which he intends to address important things like moral values.

Wow. I'm trying to remember when I needed help on my moral values from a man who has failed every business he's run yet been rewarded outrageously well, a man who may be drinking again according to long-time Washington talk before the election, whose known to take antidepressants (a real bad mix with alcohol) and whose raised two fairly amoral daughters who didn't have to work a bit as hard as I did to go to school during the Reagan put-the-poor-in-their-place acts.

He should worry about the economy, Iraq, and the fraud of the vote.

Not to Add to Conspiracy Theory

But I wandered over to Black Box Voting. Argh. Look around. Just what we were warned about.


Damn it

On this, sadly, he's right. From James Wolcott:

The election was a victory for George Bush and Rovianism, a victory for Grover Norquist. It was also a victory for Osama Bin Laden. I don't believe for a moment Bin Laden was trying to sway voters to Kerry with his taped address. This was the outcome he wanted, a gift from us to him: an unapologetic Christian Crusader in the White House whose reelection giving lie to the notion that Abu Ghraib was an aberration and that the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians weigh upon America's conscience. This morning America could not look more like a grinning aggressor to the Arab world, an aggressor with fresh marching orders.

Finally! Someone Else Shares My Concern

Alexander at Daily Kos:

What is puzzling everyone at the moment is the discrepancy between the exit polls and the votes that are being reported. The way the pundits are framing this issue is: what went wrong with the exit polls?
But what reasons do we actually have for thinking the exit polls were wrong? Previously, exit polls have reflected fairly closely the finally recorded vote. (On MSNBC, I heard Matthews suggesting that Republicans not liking to talk to pollsters explained the discrepancy: that's a new one to me.)

The technology of exit polling has not changed. There has been a change in voting technology, however -- namely, electronic voting machines. Neither electronic voting machines nor exit polls leave a paper trail. (Actually, exit polls do leave a paper trail, but it has no legal import.) So why should we believe electronic voting machines more than exit polls?

Kos on Retaking the Language of Values

I agree almost 100%:

It wasn't the war or the economy that killed us. It was the notion of "values".
Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation, yet Kerry was bad because he had "Massachusetts values" or other such nonesense.

We need to retake the language. We need to reframe the notion of "value".

That's why Obama's speech below is so brilliant. He speaks of God in a way that not just fails to offend this atheist, but inspires me. It's faith used for the purpose of living a good life, rather than faith wielded as a weapon against a whole class of people.

The wedges: gays, abortion, and guns.

Democrats have abandoned guns as an issue, and over the next three or four cycles it will prove an increasingly ineffective wedge. The NRA won. Good for them.

That leaves the two "faith based" wedges -- gays and abortion. And with great skill, the Republicans have equated those two issues with the word "value".

That's going to have to change.
We need to redefine the language and retake the debate. It's far preferable to joining the earth-is-flatters and the my-wommins-sposed-to-be-my-punchin-bag and the gays-make-good-target-practice types. I refuse to do that. So do you.

Oh, and About Bush's Comments About Building Up the Coalition of the Willing Today?

Hungary announced today it's withdrawing from the coalition.

Even Tony Blair seems to have taken Bush's re-election with gritted Brit teeth.

Mandate Indeed

I was going to drop a note about this, but Josh Marshall already said it and well:

there's this from his comments today: "We've worked hard and gained many new friends, and the result is now clear -- a record voter turnout and a broad, nationwide victory."

This is the touchstone and the sign. A 'broad, nationwide victory'? He must be kidding. Our system is majority rule. And 51% is a win. But he's claiming a mandate.

"A broad, nationwide victory"?

It would almost be comical if it weren't for the seriousness of what it portends. This election cut the nation in two. A single percentage point over 50% is not broad. A victory that carried no states in the Northeast, close to none in the Industrial midwest is not nationwide, and none on the west coast is not nationwide.

And yet he plans to use this narrow victory as though it were a broad mandate, starting right back with the same strategy that has already come near to tearing this country apart.
Cheney called it a mandate; Bush called it a broad nationwide victory. That close to 50% of the American people voted very different matters nothing to them. As Matt Walsh from US News and World Report on MSNBC just said, the president feels vindicated and now feels more latitude to proceed along the same path he has.

In a phrase, Oh my God. Not his God.

On a Personal Note...

(I've been struggling to find any pleasant news and I just found some.)

Happy birthday, Miss M (Hally blabbed). May your birthday and coming year offer far more promise than the events of today seem to suggest.

Kerry Concedes

It's hard to know what to say right now.

We face another four years with no balance in government, with the far right making choices for everyone, and I think there are some strong questions about the fairness of this election and its results (example: how did Florida get declared for Bush with a million uncounted votes)?

But Kerry just rolled. I'm not sure he had a choice, but I thought he would mount a better response.