Some questions I wish Tim Russert would ask

When Tim speaks to the president tomorrow on Meet the Press, I'm afraid most of our expectations are running a little low. Even moderates have noticed that Tim often rolls out the red carpet without any followup to Bush and Company while everyone else gets the brass knuckles treatment.

But here are some questions I would like to see asked and pursued until a satisfactory answer is proffered:

    1. Mr. Bush, you've given many reasons for going to war with Iraq, but all the original ones were the threats offered by a country with WMD. Now it appears they do not have any. How can you keep justifying the war despite this?
    2. If the point was indeed to liberate Iraq, why are you siding with measures that remove equal status privileges for women there? And why does liberation mean they can vote for anything but an Islamic state?
    3. Don't you think it's time to admit that the jobs aren't going to comeback with your current manner of handling the issue? And what will you do to change that?
    4. How can the American people trust your fiscal policies when you think that giving huge tax cuts coupled with increased spending will eliminate the deficit? Why are so many organizations throughout the world so concerned about US fiscal policy and saying it's having a global negative impact?
    5. You recently said that no president has done more for human rights than you have. Could you give us five examples where you've done more than FDR, than Abraham Lincoln, than anyone else?
    6. If the point of "No Child Left Behind" is really to improve the educational opportunities for children, why are so many teachers and schools being left behind in their ability to provide education under the NCLB act?
    7. You state that you're a compassionate conservative, someone who believes that we should minimize the impact of government on American lives, and to treat all people with love. But your pronouncements siding against a woman's right to choose, to institute a change to the Constitution to prevent gays from marrying, and the way you've created laws to make people live under the constant thumb and spycam of big government seems to belie your statements. Can you explain?
    8. You applaud military people regularly, yet you and the GOP have worked hard to reduce benefits for the military and for veterans of past wars. Our soldiers routinely stand in harm's way short on rations, without body armor, and aren't allowed to come home when their tour of duty is over. Can you explain why your words say one thing and your actions quite another?
    9. It's interesting to note, Mr. Bush, that while you enjoyed the flight suit and the photo op on the USS Abraham Lincoln and despise those asking questions about your military record, that you have yet to produce one piece of declarative proof that you served your full time in the national guard. Why is that? And would you show us declarative proof today? As the president, you can surely obtain it if desired.
    10. Related to this, if another war was declared tomorrow, Mr. Bush, and the objective was a final push against terrorism, would you ask your daughters to serve? Would you ask your brothers' children to serve? If no, why not? Why should other people's children make the ultimate sacrifice but not yours?
    11. Without mentioning the war on terrorism or alluding to it even once, give us five distinct reasons the American public should vote for you in November?
    12. If Election 2000 were to reoccur, would you stop the vote counting again and bring the matter back to the Supreme Court to decide?

NSA Director Finally Talks to 911 Commission

But, as one of the people (the mother of someone who died that day) in this article says:

    "My feeling is that she should be testifying publicly and under oath...the American public should hear her explain how she's had conflicting statements with regard to what she knew and didn't know..."

I second that. How about you?

McCarthy Isn't Dead; He was Just Napping

Read this: a federal judge has ordered the disclosure of all the names of war protestors attending an Iowa anti-war gathering held at Drake University on November 15th. If the purpose isn't to stifle dissent by making people afraid to voice their opinions, what other reason could there possibly be?

This seems to me another reason why we need to say goodbye to this dreadful administration. They use 9-11 as an excuse for everything, while they themselves fail to disclose anything.

Exploitive Mortgages

Nathan Newman also has a short but very good piece on ending (or at least limiting) the practice of exploitive mortgages, where the home owners virtually must give up all their rights just to have a place to live.

Real Scandal is Not What the CIA Got Wrong

Writes Jay Bookman in a Thursday editorial in the Atlanta Journal Constitution headlined, "Bush bullied CIA in order to dupe us". And he goes on to write:

    Looking back, then, the real scandal is not what the CIA got wrong. The real outrage is how much it got right, but was muzzled from telling us.


"The fix is in"

on the new WMD investigation committee, writes Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. From what I've read of Silberman who, I believe, is a very close personal friend of Mr. Cheney's, will co-chair the commission, I see this as being a rubber stamp.

Mr. Bush's talking heads have said he wants a "Warren Commission style" (for those too young, this was the body that investigated where Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin firing on President Kennedy in November 1963) investigation. That seems fruitful considering the Warren Commission's findings are still being disputed and debunked some thirty-odd years later.

Nathan Newman

Nathan's News and Views log has some good stuff up today about using 9/11 as an excuse to do more union busting as well as taking Dr. (here, kitty, kitty) Frist (Senate Majority Leader) to task for his comments about universal health care.

Let's not forget that Dr. Frist's family became wealthy on managed care systems. I'd actually be rather afraid to have to rely on Dr. Frist for health care. Thankfully, I have a wonderful doctor who seems to also be a terrific human being. I wonder how many feel that way about Dr. Frist.

Dump Cheney?

I was reading Pandagon.net last night and this morning, and I must say I share some of the views there about the importance of perhaps not targetting VP Dick Cheney specifically right now because it could mean a Bush-Giuliani ticket in November.

To me, the most important mission here is to be sure that Bush-Cheney do not win the election - or manage a situation whereby it's handed to them - in November.

Would I like to see Mr. Cheney fully investigated re: Halliburton, the energy task force and more? Oh yes! Likewise, I'd like Mr. Bush's actions to receive serious scrutiny. Remember, we impeached a president 4 years ago for lying about a blue dress. I somehow think lying about Medicare, lying about WMD, lying about tax cuts and deficits ranks a bit higher than traces of semen.

But - while I'm unconvinced that Giuliani would give the president a huge bounce (yes, some would feel they owed him the vote because of his actions on 9/11 but I suspect more would like to keep it from him for a number of reasons, both sane and not) - I'd like to see the nomination stay Bush-Cheney. They came into this wearing the same, single petard, and I'd like to see them go out foisted on the same one.

"Get Me Rewrite"

That's the headline of Paul Krugman's terrific piece yesterday in The Times.

While NippleGate Rears Forward...

has anyone heard anything about:

    * casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan?
    * the investigation into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame?
    * that France has debunked our latest round of grounding flights out of so-called terrorist concerns?
    * that the UN head said it would take some time to restore the US's credibility after the WMD in Iraq issue?

I thought not.

The President on "Meet the Press"

I like David Corn's 8 questions for the president more than I'm apt to like any of the softball, warm-touchy feely, GE-endorsed ones Timbo is apt to ask tomorrow.

David Sanger on WMD

The above referenced journalist has a rather stinging critical look at the Bush Administration on the issue of WMDs in today's The New York Times.


A Bumpy Ride

That's what Josh Marshall says is finally happening to the president in this The Hill article. My, it only took 3+ years.

If I Read This Correctly

Paul Wolfowitz believes that:

    * The reason that we're losing more than one American soldier (and untold number of Iraqi civilians and coalition force members) each day is that we're winning the war we already "won"
    * That Iraq has turned the corner to becoming a very good country because "It's pretty hard to visit a division around here on a day when they are not attacked."
    * That the neocon mind control ray controlling his behavior may be killing brain cells
    (this last part interpreted by me)

Is it possible

that George McGovern simply gets more and more eloquent - and meaningful to those who choose to understand - with each passing year?

France: US Terror Fears Not Backed by Facts

Read this. Then consider how much such behavior affects our daily economy... not just ours as in the US. Think global.

France: US Terror Fears Not Backed by Facts

Read this. Then consider how much such behavior affects our daily economy... not just ours as in the US. Think global.


The Documents Behind the Charges

Ron Susskind, author of "The Price of Loyalty" is putting some of the source documents he received to back up what he wrote in his book. Thanks to CounterSpin Central for the link.

From what I've read so far, it's both interesting and quite damning.

What Gets Cut in the Budget

According to this article, the following programs will get cut so that Bush can ever increase the money to the Pentagon and to the wealthy relieved of their tax burden:

    Literacy programs, including those operated in prisons
    Programs to improve writing skills
    Programs to give poor and rural Americans access to computers and the Internet
    Programs to address alcohol abuse by high school students
    Programs to provide equity in education for females
    Those that offer recreation to the disabled

Investigator: More Astronauts Could Die

A member of the Columbia shuttle disaster investigation team says he's very concerned that a rush to get the next shuttle crew up this fall could lead to more astronaut deaths.

Upwardly Mobile... on the Backs of Senior Citizens

What a surprise! Congressman Billy Tauzin (R(at)- Louisiana) has announced that he will step down on 2-16-04 as the chair of a committee that helped push through that dreadful new Medicare drug prescription plan and will retire from Congress. No doubt, this is both to spend more time with his family AND to spend more time with the $1 million+ job he's been offered with the pharmaceutical company lobbying group which stands to benefit far more lucratively from the Medicare drug plan than will seniors.

For some strange reason, the term scum-sucking greedy pig keeps going through my mind.

Chris Matthews is Doing His Homage

to Ronald Reagan turning 93 and what a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, liked-by-everyone person he was. I suspect 3 or 4 Americans might disagree.

Imminent Threat

OK, if I hear one more time today that the Bush Administration never claimed there was an imminent threat and that our war against Iraq was never meant to be preemptive but instead preventive, my head may actually explode.

Even when the talking heads on TV play back Bush and Condi and everyone else talking about the smoking gun could turn into the mushroom cloud, and the multiple times the word "imminent threat" is used, they pretend he's not saying what he now says he didn't say (Sorry that's so convoluted, but so is almost everything else coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue).

CIA Chief: We never said Saddam was immiment threat

George Tenet is speaking out about all the fault for going after Iraq being placed on the CIA's doorstep.

Whoa... PlameGate Heating Up?

BuzzFlash links to this article by a UPI correspondent that appears in InSight Magazine which says that the focus of the investigation is zeroing in on two top members of VP Dick Cheney's staff.

The outing of Plame isn't a political matter. It's a national security matter. Her life and the lives of others she worked with could have been incredibly compromised. The only reason to do so, however, was political: to dish at former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband, as payback for pointing out that the WH knew well before the 2003 State of the Union address that the yellow cake from Niger story was implausible.

The WMD Commission

I missed this on Tuesday; you shouldn't (the Times charges after a week online, I think).

My Inmate Made Me Do It

The excuse for this one is as above; apparently, the inmate asked to be shocked with the taser and left "smiling". Uh huh.

Here's an excellent

Star Tribune opinion piece about Mr. Bush and the WMD inquiry and recalls some important points; that the Bush staff has learned not to acknowledge faults, that no one has yet to fully acknowledge the WMD error in so-called intelligence, and that Mr. Bush's WH has a very poor record with cooperating with the very investigations they (highly reluctantly) initiate.

Sex, Lies and Bush Tape

My favorite part of this Kristof column in The New York Times is this:

    Mr. Clinton lied about sex, and he was sleazy in other respects as well, but he was willing to tell America the unpleasant truth about trade and about budgets. I wish Mr. Bush and his Democratic challengers would be half as honest with the American public as Mr. Clinton was.

Bush on "Meet the Press"

The media was buzzing tonight about Tim Russert scheduling Bush for the entire hour next Sunday on "Meet the Press."

You know what we'll learn from it? Nothing. It's the first time he's appeared like this before the American public and Tim's busy baking special cake for him to walk on.

Russert isn't having him in his studio, he's hosting in the Oval Office. So he's playing on the president's home court, and this automatically puts him at a disadvantage even though Timmy is likely swooning with anticipation. Tim isn't going to toss hardball questions at Mr. Bush unless the questions have been heavily vetted beforehand. I mean, Bush unscripted - as we know - isn't a pretty thing.

I suspect Timmy sold himself (meaning, give GE the ratings and I'll give you the questions beforehand), I suspect Timmy won't be demanding anywhere the exactness of response out of Mr. Bush he demanded out of Dean. And Timmy won't followup when he gets one of those responses that feels like you're going down a long, bumpy road in the dirty little secrets section of Texas being chaffeured by a serial killer.

All this is is a press op. The president is getting stung on a number of different things right now, and somebody decided we should see "the man" and not the smirking pretender. But all Mr. Bush is there to do is tell us again it doesn't matter if all Saddam had for WMD was a can of expired peas, that he's going to reduce the deficit by further reducing revenue, that the economy is just peachy (and it is if you're a bill collector, military contractor, spy, or GOP strategist, I expect), and that marriage (watch him to uncomfortably move his hands) should be between a man and a woman. And he'll stutter somewhere before or during that last part.

Then, for the next two days, we'll listen to the media tell us how brilliant Bush was and how Timmy asked him good questions but "here's what I would have asked".


Medicare Bill Bribery

Read this and tell me you feel confident the House Ethics Committee really is planning to fully investigate this. I found this almost as reassuring as when the Arnold told us he'd look into sexual harassment charges against himself and then pronounced it was not necessary.

Am I so naive to believe that bribery doesn't run rampant? No. I notice how many more members of Congress end their careers far richer than they began them. What blew my mind was that someone outed them, even if he later took back the allegations.

Ways to Track Mr. Bush's Military Service

The exquisite Josh Marshall at .Talking Points Memo features a link to a page where Phil Carter (reserve vet) explains the many different ways one could actually check to see when and where Mr. Bush fulfilled his service. Either way, it would be good to know once and for all.

And now the scramble begins

With the Massachusetts high court affirming their earlier decision re: homosexual partnerships and stating that civil unions (a la Vermont) do not meet the equality test that marriage would, debate begins in earnest tomorrow over a Constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between men and women only.

I have to admit it's very difficult to put myself in the mindset of those who are so terribly opposed to recognition of homosexual unions (be they marriage or less). To me, it's like being religiously opposed to redheads or people with upturned noses. I don't believe homosexuality is a choice; as a heterosexual, I know I made no specific choice. It just was.

The only choice, so far as I can tell from the debate on the other side, is the one some zealots would like homosexuals to make: to not act on their feelings toward a person of the same sex. That seems unnatural.

I live in a state that accepts civil unions and I have to say that living here is really no different than living in a state that does not recognize them. I've yet to see anyone - hetero or homosexual - hump somebody else in the supermarket or library.

Children don't become homosexuals because their teachers or parents are homosexual and the sanctity of marriage - and that I believe is more imparted by the care which each partner exercises within it than from some sanction from the government or church - will not be affected if marriage is extended to two men or two women rather than the usual pairing.

Nonstop Nipple Debate: Day Three

Oh please, can't it stop? I'm tired of hearing how Janet Jackson brought down the "purity" and "sanctity" of SuperBowl Sunday.

There are like waaaaay too many Jacksons in the news right now (checking CNN to be sure Germaine isn't giving another interview).

Howard Dean and the Media

David Podvin has an interesting piece available here that says, among other things, that when Howard Dean told Chris Matthews during a Hardball appearance that he wanted to end the big media monopolies, the media targeted him to bring him down.

I'm not sure I would agree with this in whole. I don't think the media liked Howard Dean before the 12/1/03 statement about monopolies and megalopolies. I've felt they were unprepared to take him seriously, got annoyed when lots of other people did take Dean seriously so they had to cover him, and then looked for an opportunity to topple him from the pedastal.

I am concerned, however, that the media helped feed what Karl Rove wants: a matchup with Kerry rather than with Dean. This still makes me wonder what Rove thinks he knows about Kerry that made him try to trip Dean up while planting stories of being "worried" about having to fight Kerry.

Yes, this is twisted. But so, I fear, is Mr. Rove.

No Teachers Left Behind?

Remember that lovely No Child Left Behind Act?

Michelle Forman does: a history teacher in Middlebury, VT, she's been voted both best teacher in the state as well as recognized by President Bush as the nation's best teacher in 2001.There's just one problem: according to the No Child Left Behind act, she's not qualified. Read this.

The Fat Morass of Donald Rumsfeld

Y'know, I'm no military strategist, but this doesn't sound good related to how many supply shortages have plagued our military efforts in Iraq since we rolled in.


I read tonight in various places that the $2.4 trillion budget Bush submitted to Congress the other day includes not a single dime for operations in Afghanistan.

So we're not planning any, you ask?

Well, as a matter of fact, we are. An estimated $50 billion worth. But it's not in the budget and no one is making it terribly clear where this is coming from except that it won't come from Jenna and Barb's trust fund or Dick Cheney's personal gold bunker.

In other words, this budget is just a play. The real numbers are much larger, but they're trying to "soften" the deficit issue until after the election.

Ooooh... Keith Olbermann on MSNBC

is also talking about Mr. Bush's strange gap.

Lois Romano

from the WP was on Hardass... er... Hardball tonight, with her and Chris asking the rhetorical question over and over, "Why isn't there real documentation anywhere of that specific missing year?"

Matthews seemed incredulous that the prez couldn't state categorically where he was and when, since where you were in the service was a big deal at that time.

She said the issue matters more this time around than it did in Election 2000 because we've been at war almost constantly. Suspect she's right.

Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Edwards, Kerry, Kerry, Clark, Kerry...

Looks like the 7 primaries and caucuses tonight went something like above.

But, since Joe-mentum went joe-where (sorry, I'm only joe-king), Senator Lieberman has decided to withdraw. They're hardly mentioned Dean at all.

Me? I want to see how Dean performs in Washington State, New York, and California.


Questions about Bush's Guard Service

My goodness, someone is mentioning this in the mainstream press without telling us first and foremost that anyone who questions this is a fringe lunatic.

Now the WH is annoyed because anyone is questioning this. They're still being civil, however, not yet referring to such doubters as "cheese eating surrender monkey Al Qaeda liberals."

KO on VA late-term abortion law

A federal judge has taken down some or most of Virginia's late term abortion law, preventing pregnancy termination in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, upon which the federal law Bush and all those fat, old white men signed with big grins was written.

Doctors keep saying that late-term abortions are fairly rare and that they are usually only performed when the mother's life is in jeopardy. They've said this issue has been inflated and twisted for political purposes to satisfy the anti-choice people. I tend to believe them.

I'd like to see the federal ban looked at with fresh eyes - perhaps not all just by fat white men sucking on the fat teat of the right wing - in light of this decision.

Woman Denied Morning-After Pill

Lovely. Another white male so-called Christian heard from (I haven't heard the pharmacist positively described as such, but I have this sneaking feeling): a woman was denied a prescription by an Eckard pharmacy outlet down South because the pharmacist decided it was morally wrong.

If this is true... how dare this pharmacist? And sadly, I'll bet you $10, this person is made into a hero by the wingnuts.

Fed Budget

If you failed to catch economist Paul Krugman's look at the deficit a week or two ago, check out today's NYT column on the federal budget related to the deficit.

Pretending our lack of revenue - mostly because corporations rarely pay taxes and we've so drastically reduced taxes on the top earners - isn't a huge part of the deficit seems monstrously silly, even to those of us who struggle with the family checkbook.

The Fed Budget Explained

by the folks at True Majority (Ben Cohen's group). I love the way they break down ultra complex material into something just about anyone could understand.

A Move to Censure the President

Moveon.org is asking for support in an effort to force Mr. Bush to be censured for the misleading information he presented in the leadup to the Iraq War.

To join their movement, go here.

Bill Frist looked very nervous

When Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, appeared on TV late last night, he both looked scared and said this was ricin in the Senate mailrooms. Now a Wallingsford, CT post office is investigating suspicious white powder that came out of an envelope en route through there.

Yet the government never mentions the anthrax attacks of Autumn 01 anymore. They went after Steven Hatfill, drudged ponds (at millions of dollars each), and yet, nothing has ever come of it. I suspected then that because the attacks in the Senate then were against Leahy and Daschle, both Dems, and against the so-called liberal media, not to mention the "lowly" USPS workers, we would not find out since the source of the anthrax may have come from our own defense labs.

Let's see what happens when a GOPer is targeted.


Possible Ricin in the Senate Mailroom

This CNN article tells the preliminary tale.

Gee, I wonder what happened to the anthrax mailer investigation.

Intelligence Tells Us

I notice tonight that Homeland Security head Tom Ridge tonight tells us that the "intelligence" is very specific on those overseas flights headed here that the US cancelled for security concerns.

But isn't that intelligence tied to the other intelligence that Mr. Bush plans to have investigated (with results not due out until safely after the November election here --- but in time for Tony Blair's shot at another term as PM)?

My point is this: everytime this administration comes close to getting cornered on something they said or did, they've pointed over to George Tennent and said, "Intelligence error." But again and again, Mr. Bush makes it clear that he "relies" on that intelligence (complete faith he said just a day or two before we heard about the investigation). And everytime they tell us, "The Bogeyman is standing right over there and we have to curtail freedoms to get those bastards," they point to their strong intelligence.

It seems like you could have it one way or the other, either blame intelligence or not. But saying it's wonderful and faithful when it suits your purpose, and then blaming it for every wrong move on the other seems a tad schizoid if not downright opportunistic. It's sort of like loving your spouse on payday and loathing her/him the days s/he's broke.

I've listened and read a lot by the former intelligence pros who came together to cry foul on the way intelligence was being handled in the days before we went into Iraq. I'd venture to say they've opened my eyes wider to both how they see their kind of work and their role in how America does things. Their level of concern over how they felt this administration was playing games with what it (Bush) claimed was certifiable truths discovered through careful research unnerved me.

Look, I don't like the idea that to be a powerful country (or even a player), one seems to use spies and counterspies and all these strategies. But if we're going to have them - and I don't think they'll go poof because I think the whole idea is odd - we should use them well. If they come up with intelligence different from the given hypothesis, then the matter deserves more checking before a game plan is reached.

Everything about the Iraq War before and since suggests that the former intelligence pros are correct - that this administration wanted Iraq since before they took office, and no amount of intelligence suggesting Saddam was no longer the threat some thought, that WMDs didn't exist in RI sized warehouses, and that we weren't about to get nuked by Saddam was going to get this administration to stop from taking Iraq.

So wouldn't there have to be at least TWO investigations? Not just separate ones in the U.S. and Britain, but one to investigate the quality of the intelligence and its delivery and a second one, if the intelligence did NOT point to Iraq as destroyer of the world, to investigate how intelligence said one thing, and this administration said it said another?

By appointing this investigation, rather than having anyone else push it forward, the president gets some big advantages. He can handpick its members. He can decide when it will offer reports (important with the election 9 months away). And he can squash it like a bug - as some think he has with the 9/11 investigation - if it creeps too close to home.

Air Distress: Euros want answers

Europeans, including the Brits, want an investigation into that American intelligence that grounded more flights coming into the US from England and other points over the last several days.

I don't think anyone's going to argue that it's better to cancel a flight than to risk lives lost. But the frequency with which the US has cried, "Wolf at the door" and the closest evidence we ever see is Paul Wolfowitz, I think no sane, intelligent person can fail to be skeptical. Yet we better get used to it because I have this nasty feeling we're going to be living in planned, super-scary chaos before election day.

States' rights

The Baltimore Sunspot site has a new article that talks about that as this administration is trying to take rights away from states (education, medical marijuana, forced electronic voting, legal recognition of homosexual couples, et al), the Democrats seem to be reversing their posture (remember, the GOP is usually the one to argue for state rights) and declaring the need for states to retain their autonomy.

Of course, there is good and bad to be had with regard to states' rights. Some of the old GOPers used to argue for it so you could fly the Confederate flag and proclaim Jefferson Davis and friends "great American war heroes" and keep it legal to beat your kid.

Yet there are good reasons for states to retain some autonomy, too. Here in Vermont, I don't necessarily want to live by the exact same rules and regulations that people in the deepest parts of the South live by. I expect they feel likewise.

Wardrobe malfunction

I love it when the American lexicon grows by a new word. It's almost as good as weapon development program-related activities.

I still get far more disgusted with promos for "Fear Factor" (how about a big yummy bowl of horse rectum?) and almost everything I hear at a White House press briefing than anything I've heard about Jackson's performance last night.

Look at the Kerry Issue

Related to my recent posts about the GOP really wanting to make it seem like it's Kerry they're worried about the president going up against, take a look at Robert Novak's recent columns. All of them talk about a "worried mood" for Bush's people because of Kerry.

And I believe this as much as I believe that there really was all this intelligence about WMD in Iraq that "fooled" Mr. Bush into believing it and as much as I believe Mr. Novak only inadvervently outed CIA operative Valerie Plame (and certainly not as retribution for her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, exposing the Niger yellow cake fraud).

What I haven't figured out yet is why they (GOP operatives) actually want Kerry more than Dean. I see some weaknesses Kerry could be hurt by, but some strengths, as well.


It's amazing. The FCC was freely willing to begin actions to take the airwaves out of the ownership of the American people and place them into mega corporate hands, but Michael Powell (Colin's son and head of the FCC) supposedly sees most of a breast on the SuperBowl yesterday and he goes ballistic, demanding Congressional action and a complete investigation into Janet Jackson's SuperBowl performance. His chubby little butt has never moved so swiftly, probably in his entire life.

This stinks of politics.

Now, I don't care for Justin Timberlake (who looks like a creep) or Janet Jackson and I certainly wouldn't watch the SuperBowl. But considering what corporations dish up to us each and every day through TV, I'm sorry - I don't get the big deal. Are the scantily clad cheerleaders indicative of supreme family values? Was it any better for Colin to watch that Charmin commercial with toilet paper hanging out of a player's pants?

I'm far more concerned with the massive admin spin placed on the evening news every night than I am about Janet's breast. We all have them (breasts), you know.

Another Voice...

See the Forest's entry for 2-1-04 says basically the same thing I stated earlier: that it's clear that Kerry is the one the WH wants to run against rather than Howard Dean. They've played this hand carefully to make people believe Kerry actually scares them but for some very odd reason, they may actually feel the opposite: they want Kerry in because they feel they have some ace in the hole that will sink Kerry's battleship.

Do we really want to play into Karl Rove's damp little palms?

This WP piece

takes Howard Dean to task for spending his $40 million already leaving him nearly broke for campaigning. However, Mr. Bush has spent almost as much (just shy of $34 million) and he's running uncontested.

I know where Dr. Dean's money went. Where did the president's go? I mean, we're picking up the tab for most of his campaign stumping. We pay his salary while he does nothing but fundraise and campaign. So how do you spend so much when you're not running for anything yet?

Timelines of Lies and Spins

[Ed note: Have I posted this before? I thought I had but I can't find it now (and a friend just sent it to me in Email).] American Progress has an excellent chronology online regarding the number of times the government either spun information or deliberately ignored differing facts related to WMD and the Iraq War.

"The Mirror Has Two Faces"

Maureen Dowd seems to have issues with NSA chief Condi Rice:

    Why is the foreign policy nanny acting like a foreign policy ninny?

I dunno.. if Saddam and Osama aren't afraid of the God-awful faces Condi makes - her grimaces are almost as dangerously humorous as Mr. Cheney's - I think we've lost our only secret weapon in the War on Terror (or War for Terror Everywhere, which is what a friend calls it).

Who Owes Whom the Apology

This Baltimore SunSpot opinion piece says what many are saying after listening to Dr. David Kay (WMD headhunter) say the intelligence community owes the president a huge apology: that it's actually Mr. Bush who owes one to us.

Here, here!

Bush's "Empty Words"

The Brookings Institution site reprints a powerful article from Michael A. Levi, first published in The New Republic, on Bush's words in past SotU addresses and American credibility both here and certainly abroad.

If Groundhogs' Day applies

to Osama bin Laden, does this mean that if the US scares him back into his cave, we'll have six more weeks/months/years of bombing rocks in Afghanistan?

Strangely not a joke

Tony Blair and George Bush have been nominated for the 2004 Peace Prize.

In related news, Saddam Hussein has been nominated for Father of the Year, Leona Helmsley for Miss Congeniality, and Jennifer Lopez for the PETA Humanitarian of the Year awards.


Bush to Order Intelligence Inquiry

According to various news sources tonight, President Bush will order an inquiry into intelligence failures related to WMD and the war. On the face of it, I'd almost like to applaud. Finally, I'd like to think, he's doing the right thing.

But we don't have a new intelligence failure here. We've known we had one for a long time before David Kay started making his rounds in the past 10 days. Doesn't matter, you say, because at least he's doing the right thing now?

Yes, it does matter. It matters because months have gone by in which we knew that the Niger claim was bogus (hell, we'd heard the first reports of it being a forgery out of Italy or at least offered up by the Italians) months before the start of the war. Yet months later, in the 2003 (last year's) SotU speech, Mr. Bush cited that yellow cake like it was just about to eat our grandmothers. And that was about six weeks before we began to "shock and awe."

Thus, the meter's been running a very long time (more than a year) on what seemed like incalculable massaging of information coming out of intelligence channels.

Even then, I wouldn't be as worried if I thought Mr. Bush really does want a full inquiry. But I think we can accurately predict right now what kind of inquiry Mr. Bush wants. Look at the 911 inquiry. Look at the months it took for anyone to start an investigation into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame and then having the president say, "nothing will come of it."

In experiments in science, you're supposed to start with a hypothesis, yes. But starting any investigation with the conclusion already written is not an investigation. Excuse me while I go rip more hair from my head.

Statue of Liberty

Bruce Morton's Sunday spots during Wolf Blitzer's CNN "Late Edition" are usually the highlights of the show: offering a thoughtful look at some special issue. Today's is whether the Statue of Liberty shouldn't be reopened and why it's been allowed to sit there since 9-11 roped off by yellow police tape.

Good question. I suspect the WH is not eager to have this symbol of freedom and the dream of a new opportunity for immigrants in a supposedly widely free country - and given to us by the "cheese eating surrender monkeys", at that! - made available again to the American people. Symbolism seems important to these people.

Kurdish suicide bombings

You've no doubt heard that perhaps nearly 60 Kurds - representing two major political factions in the north - have been killed in horrific suicide bombings.Separately, there were three more American GIs killed in attacks.

There is some legitimate concern that this (the Kurd attacks) pushes forward the likelihood of a full-fledged Iraqi civil war. And guess who opened that door through the war to start, and then the poor management thereafter?

Pat Robertson on CNN

I'm not sure whether it's the stomach flu or all the promos for Pat Robertson's appearance on today's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer that has me feeling St. Patty Day green.

Pat's supposed to tell us who's going to win the election (Bush, because God told him), how he thinks the separation of church and state should be decided (Pat will decide that only good religious men such as himself have special rights to impact the rest of us, I'm sure).

I still say my God told me Pat Robertson is a major league asshole who should not be trusted. And I've "learned" enough from Pat to be able to say, "My God is better than your God" with some credibility. Insert sneer here.

Ewwww... there's Pat, that worm. Now Pat is telling us he's always right (and failing to mention all the time his predictions were as proper as most of his business dealings in diamond-bearing countries). He's laughing as he inferred God would prefer Dean be chosen as the Dem nominee against Bush because Kerry might be a more formidable nominee.

Does anyone else find it odd that these total wingnut whack jobs keep telling us to make Dean the nominee? You could take it as spoken (which I wouldn't) and infer "My gosh, we better nominate Kerry"). Or you could take it that they're FAR more concerned with the clear differences between Bush and Dean making Bush the one-termer his father was (although his Daddy didn't need the Supremes to hand it to him), so they're daring us to put up Kerry. I definitely never take Pat Robertson at smarmy smiling face value. I'm actually quite concerned that people are believing the message some of the GOP is sending in leaning toward Kerry. I wonder how big a mistake that could be (again, Kerry is a very good candidate and there is much to admire about the man and his actions - but I'm not in the "Howard Dean is finished" camp).

Oh boy, listen to Pat qualify his answer to Wolf's question about whether, "Dick Cheney is a good man." Pat said, "As far as I know" then back pedaled and mentioned that Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter (this he added with a big smile and a little tee-hee).

Why do they give this blood-sucking man any air time? And I do mean blood sucking. Check into his businesses.

Could bin Laden Decide Our Election?

The excellent TalkLeft links to this article by John Arquilla in today's San Francisco Chronicle asking this very important question. I suspect it's one many of us have already considered.

Osama could potentially play a much larger role than any other force in an American election. We get hit by another 9-11 style terrorist attack, and the game is over for Bush. However, many of us would certainly like to think that could happen without another grave tragedy. If he's caught, Bush will certainly use it to bounce right back into world mismanagement.

But what a strange trip that Osama could play such a factor in an American vote.

Who knew?

Well, apparently skippy the bush kangaroo did, but not me.

Anyway, this is DrugWarRant, which links to a Salon blog. As someone who's worked with patients who needed marijuana to get through chemo or end-stage MS, I have an obvious bias.

I also remember a friend's 60+ year old father, a man who'd tried never to do anything wrong in his life, feeling like a criminal because he was out on the streets of San Francisco trying to find marijuana for his wife in the final stages of breast cancer. He was broken by the experience but he was just so desperate to give his wife even 5 moments of comfort.