Rudy Giuliani in NH...

"to give the other side." I guess the media fawning over the president and repeating his every word as Gospel isn't enough. They've sent in Rudy the 'Tude.

While I admire Rudy for his behavior immediately after 9/11, most of his life has been shady, sarcastic, and poor for the people he lead. Anyone remember his War on Squeegee Operators?

Well, Rudy's been married for months now. There's absolutely no chance he won't be embroiled in another sex scandal or political scandal any time now. He's bright enough to realize the WH is using him like their prime whore, but he should also be bright enough to realize that Bush's right wing base isn't going to let him near the WH in any capacity where he would be seen or heard.

Why Does the Nasa Channel Overview

sound like the last trip I took on Delta Airlines? I just need the PMSing stewardess and the uneatable almonds and I'd be all set.

Opportunity Knocks But the Spirit Flags

Well, in a few minutes we'll see if we've landed another Mars mission. But considering what happened with the first rover in this group, I think talking about a manned mission is a tad premature (not that the crew in Washington isn't familiar with premature militarization and that's what this new manned Moon-Mars mission is about: the full scale militarization of space). sigh.

Playing Catchup

Confusion and disappointment at the American media led me to sit quietly and stew in my own juices for a few days, not posting. Among the bugs up my rump:

    The media's blistering treatment of Howard Dean for a post-Iowa speech that was intended to pump up the enthusiasm among very young supporters there in the audience. Dick Meyer at CBSnews.com comes closest to approaching my feelings on this matter.

    The half-assed interview done by Diane Sawyer to try to prove that Howard Dean beats puppies. Judy Dean came off as incredibly likeable but Dean was forced to spend way too much time answering Diane's (she still thinks Nixon is a man who was great and noble) inane questions. Too bad ol' Diane couldn't have been as hard on GW when she interviewed him a few weeks ago.

    The slathering, servile nature with still too many of the press related to Bush's SOTU address. I liked Walter Cronkite's take ("I've never seen a president come out so hard against gonorrhea") and you did see critical pieces from USA Today, the Washington Post, at least one AP reporter, and others - but too many just bask in whatever lies and stupidity this president offers up.

    That no horrible, despicable action by Halliburton - who still pays Cheney - seems to merit any major attention by the press related to why so many non-bid contracts are being awarded to war profiteers.

    That the media paid much more attention this week to Michael Jackson and Laci Peterson than they did the fact that David Kay, chief weapons inspector, came out the day AFTER the SOTU to admit that there really were no WMD in Iraq. Meanwhile, Bush gets off on using a phrase like "found dozens of WMD program-related activities."

    Most of the media, except for Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, acted as apologists for the fact that Bush goes to a New Mexico ribs place, makes this big deal to reporters that they need to spend some money to help this poor waitress who Bush kept squeezing, and then the CiC didn't bother to leave a cent of tip. Of course he didn't. He's never worked like a waitress has. Daddy and friends hand him his money.

    About one person noticed that Bush, who was pale with almost white hair the day before the SOTU, does the SOTU with a tan and newly darkened hair. Men and women are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq and this president has time for the tanning bed and a hair dye.

    Argh... the list goes on too far, but includes how Americans, with so much crap occurring right now, find a show about Donald Trump more important to watch than real news. Of course, it's hard to find real news on TV but still....


Quintessential Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman reminds me why I'll have another chance to choke on my coffee during the State of the Union address tonight. And he's dead-on right, I believe, as he often is. In a separate NYT editorial, we're told that part of the plan for making all those tax cuts for the rich permanent is that Bush plans to crush housing vouchers for the poor. After all, the homeless are too busy trying to find food and shelter to vote, right?

David Brooks on "Keeping the Faith"

Ah - a David Brooks column in The New York Times this morning that didn't make me choke on my Colombian Supreme (that's non-designer coffee in the industrial-sized can, tyvm), talking about the Democrats and the Iowa caucuses, focusing on a 55-year-old progressive teacher who still wants to believe that a politician could actually become a force for good change.

The zinger - which you knew had to be in there - came at the end of the piece, where he states, "I'm struck by how oblivious this campaign has been to the consequences of 9/11."

Oblivious, David? Or just tired of seeing how the right has used and abused and corrupted 9/11 into an excuse to force through some of the worst policies put forth in an industrialized nation in the past two centuries?

Talk about oblivious and then explain why the White House squashed the efforts of the 9/11 investigatory panel, including their recent request to extend the inquiry? Bush insisted it was not needed for more than a year, then he tried to kill it by putting Henry "Never met a secret affecting all of the American people I would like to share" Kissinger in charge, then underfunding ($3 million for the 9/11 investigation compared with $50 million for the Columbia shuttle inquiry) it, and finally, making sure that they stonewalled every question the panel put to it.

Bush clearly saw - or his handlers clearly spelled it out for him - how 9/11 could make a lot of people rich, take a lot of seemingly guaranteed American rights away, and turn the event into something worse than all the years of the Cold War had ever been. Sadly, I'd argue easily now that what Bush and Company has done since 9/12/01 actually outweighs the horror of that beautiful, warm September 11th morning when nobody managed to stop a single damn plane from wreaking death and destruction.

There's a lot to answer for why four different planes could manage to strike in one way or another that day. But why let truthful facts get in the way when the US now says it has its "20th hijacker" (the third such claim, as I recall, first Massaoui and then Jose Padilla and now this new fellow) in custody and Bush so desperately needs to fuel hate and fear in order to win his reelection (wait.. he didn't quite get elected the first time).


289 Days and Counting

Mark November 2nd on your calendar, folks.


I'm more than a bit chagrined to admit that if I had to participate in the Iowa Caucus - or if the election itself were - tomorrow, I would be extremely hard-pressed to make my decision.

There is a great deal I like about both Howard Dean and Wesley Clark; if I knew they'd pair up for the nomination (one as Prez and the other as VP, and I'd even be flexible about which is which), I think my choice would be far easier. But I also respect John Kerry and see some promise in John Edwards. Nor am I as dismissive as most about Dennis Kucinich, who I think has stood bravely on his own. Even Al Sharpton has surprised me; I give him far more credit today than I have in the past.

I knew Carol Mosely-Braun had no chance but she earned my respect for staying strong when so many never counted her in the race at all. I thought her decision to leave the race and toss her support to Dean was very well handled. I'd love to see the day when a woman - and a woman of color at that - can be fully embraced as a candidate.

However, I have no respect at all left for Lieberman. He represented the state where I lived for so long, and I was not crazy happy with him then. Since 9-11, that unhappiness has grown sharply. While I did not like him and did not think he was the best pair-up with Al Gore in 2000, I was glad to see a non-Christian selected. I don't buy that you have to be a white fundamentalist Christian to earn the White House. In fact, I'd go so far as to state flatly that a person with no religious or spiritual ties could perform the job well. After all, we're supposed to be a democracy, not a theocracy.

But, while I'm at it, I wish the first two states to run Democratic tests were not so heavily white in nature. Neither state boasts a high black/Latino or other population.

CalPundit Smells Something, too

Kevin at CalPundit today notes that Glenn Reynolds miraculously - and oh so early - has all these anecdotes from people who are saving vast amounts of money under the new Bush tax cuts. Unless Glenn has a direct line to Fortune 500 CEOs who are so obsessive about their taxes that they rush to finish them in the first two weeks of the new year, I'd agree that something seems a bit off here.

Most polls, by contrast, say that only those earning in excess of $75,000 have noticed any decrease whatsoever and that the higher one goes, the bigger the savings. Meanwhile, the IRS seems to be far more aggressive about getting every penny from those earning $50K and less.

Gee, I wonder what Bill Bennett's tax return looks like. How does one report massive earnings at casinos, anyway? Not to mention all those wonderful perks they gave him. Of course, that didn't stop Beyond-Repute Bill from snarking at Pete Rose for gambling. Bill apparently got an overabundance of the gene responsible for being sanctimonious.

MoveOn and CBS

I was a bit miffed the other day when I heard CBS had refused to run MoveOn.org's ad rebuttal to the president's state of the union address during the SuperBowl, but could appreciate it on the grounds that CBS said it was not accepting any issue-based advertising for the game (unless the issue is how fat or drunk you can become while watching it, I suppose).

But my understanding stopped when I realized that yet again - our hard-stretched tax dollars are being used to run anti-pot ads during the SuperBowl. This certainly sounds like issue-based advertising to me. It's an even bigger issue when news came out in the last couple of weeks that not only were the hundreds of millions spent on the last round a joke, but that the ad company responsible for them had overbilled for work by many millions of dollars.

The Bush Administration is fixated about pot, to the point where they've raided homes of those who are seriously and/or terminally ill and using it - under state-sanctioned laws - for medical purposes. They'll waste no end of money trying to trounce it when the big pharmaceutical companies are about to pocket all the money that should be going to better health care for seniors. But that's because pharmaceutical companies are very generous to politicians.

And CBS apparently is just a liar.

The President Goes Down

According to the latest CBS News poll, the president is matching his worst numbers ever through them (with just 50% approving and a record 45% disapproving of his performance). People see him increasingly as protecting the rich and the corporate interests, and aren't too thrilled with his "men in space" plan either. He also sees a record number of people (51%) thinking that the war in Iraq hasn't been worth the cost.