Howard Stern Revisited

Salon and a number of other publications, including this one, are stating that one of the reasons Howard Stern may have been pulled in strategic Clear Channel markets is not the same old crap he's presented every day of his broadcasting career.

Instead, charges Howard and some others, it was only after (just 3-4 days after) Howard returned from a vacation to go on the warpath against the Bush Administration, stating we needed to get him out of the WH, did Howard get canned.

Howard, in the past, has tended to favor GOP candidates: Pataki, Whitman, and Schwarzenegger. And except for going against Bush, those who listen to the show tell me that Howard's schtick and MO had not changed one bit. They question the timing of the kill: the same week Howard actually spoke out against Bush, coupled with the cushy comfort between the Bush family and the owner of Clear Channel.

It would be interesting to see if this conflict kills Howard altogether, redefines him as a more political commentator on issues (albeit still trying to appeal to the same audience), or the brouhaha just dies off.

Talk About Audacity

The sanctimonious RNC is warning television stations NOT to run ads critical of Mr. Bush. To be clear, they say it's not because the ads are critical, but because there is some question whether their funding is legal. But the funding is perfectly legal (lots of us have contributed small amounts to the cause) and... yes, it's because the ads are against Mr. Bush.

Send these folks out to the garbage-strewn curb where they belong.

Molesting the Dead

    In his first campaign commercial, George Bush reached down and molested the dead...
    ...What makes it worse is that this George W. Bush acts like he's entitled to treat the remains of a dead man like a souvenir. Now he shows a commercial with dead bodies, or body parts, covered with an American flag being taken through the smoke and flames of the world trade center attack.

Go read the rest of Jimmy Breslin's excellent Newsday column.

BushCo Went After Wilson First

The Chicago Tribune today, via BuzzFlash, has a story about how the Bushies tried to discredit the CIA operative's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, before Plame was outed in a Novak column in mid-July. Nasty, nasty business.

PlameGate: Air Force One Subpoena'd

Well, records of its communications, anyway.

For an administration that was going to cooperate fully with the investigation into the outing of CIA operative, Valerie Plame, word is that most of what the investigators are getting is "I invoke my 5th Amendment right to keep silent."

I keep thinking about what a powerful message this sends (if not received) to the families of others, either in the military or CIA or so on, who serve. If their child happens to uncover some US bad faith or their spouse or relation does same, the US government feels its fully within their right to "out" that person in service, to effectively make them pay for the crime of exposing injustice or lies by endangering their lives.

No Shame - Not Now, Not Ever

The Bush people say "tough" to 9-11 families who want them to stop using footage from the day as campaign backdrop. They have a right to it because it's framed Mr. Bush's presidency, they tell us.

And we have the right to remember on whose watch 9-11 happened and on whose watch a complete and unfettered investigation into it has not been allowed.

"Social Security Scare"

If you missed Paul Krugman's column Friday on the above-referenced matter, look at it now. All of the background I've read about this issue suggests there is no reason for SS to be taken away for sometime to come EXCEPT to fund the tax cuts to the wealthy.

Perry Speaks Out Against Rumors

Talk about delayed response.

For weeks, there have been rumors afloat regarding what was described as the First Lady of Texas' departure from the state residence and supposedly seeking out a divorce lawyer, followed by stranger tales that she may have caught him in flagrante delicto with a male uh.. staff member.

Perry finally calls the Austin American-Statesman and agrees to an interview, but he puts everything off on the Democratic party chair in Texas. His wife, notably, declines to comment.

True or not, it's unfortunate that these rumors abound where his children could learn about them. But a) Perry has engaged in some truly evil stuff over the years and b) there has been something in the way Mr. and Mrs. Perry have handled the matter which seemed to just add fuel to the fire. Perry's been around in politics and life long enough to know about part b above. So why did they do it?

Even the denial seems.. I dunno... off. In some ways, it came off in a way that made me wonder if Perry wouldn't have been better off continuing to say nothing on the matter.


Mallard Fillmore

Atrios offered this cartoon link today that put the first smile on my face.

Ashcroft Hospitalized

They say it's complications from a gallbladder, but we suspect it's because of the deep, burrowing bug up his ass.

In all seriousness, a bout of pancreatitis is patently evil. The pain and the nausea are astounding in their severity. I would not wish this on anyone.

Yet, considering Mr. Ashcroft's role the past three years, I cannot help but think that pancreatitis is akin to what he's put this country - and specific people within it - through. Perhaps God is telling him something.


Brown Nosing it to the Top

As one might expect, .Rudy Giuliani wasted NO time defending President Bush's use of 9/11 footage in his campaign. He's still hoping he's one Cheney pacemaker reset away from becoming the next VP.

Interestingly enough, however, CNN also features a poll - with a particularly high response rate (some 345,000 so far) - asking people if Mr. Bush was right to use the footage. A resounding 63% say NO.

It's nice to see America speak strongly against an administration that has used 9/11 as backdrop for everything. Wait til the GOP convention in NYC just before the 3rd anniversary of 9/11

Blessings on Your Union

Congratulations to the 422 gays who have married in Portland this week.

Onya to the folks in NYC trying to make it happen, and to the mayors of New Paltz and San Francisco, and everyone else trying to allow fair representation for all.

Gosh, all these homosexuals have married now and yet I still don't feel moved to a)break off my 16 yr relationship b) have sex with a cat or c) marry my brother. What does it all meaaaaaaaannnn?

Moron of the Month

Gosh, March is so young, and yet we already have a Moron of the Month. This is especially noteworthy considering everything else going on in the world - between Republicans equating gay marriage to a certain road to both bestiality and marrying your 5-yr-old sister to listening to Bush tell us anew while making tax cuts permanent for billionaires will help our economy.

But, without further ado, our congratulations to Rep. Tim Cole (R-OK) who equates a vote against Bush in November to a vote for Adolph Hitler during WWII or a vote for Osama Bin Laden today.

Of course, as Atrios pointed out today:

    Of course, 46.0% of voters pulled the lever for Thomas "Hitler's Snugglebunny" Dewey in 1944. Most, presumably, were Republicans. Why were all those Republicans rooting for Adolf Hitler?

Boo on Selling 9/11 to Sell Bush

I think the families who feel aggrieved at watching the president use footage from 9/11 to hype his political campaign have every right to speak out.

What amazes and unnerves me that Mr. Bush's handlers would never begin to understand that for some of these families - as with some of the rest of the country - such footage reminds them that 9/11 happened on Mr. Bush's watch.

He's never apologized. He's never said he wished we had handled it better. He's never said, "I know we're trying to buy families out with this settlement to keep them from suing the airline companies, but we really care anyway." No. He told us to go shopping and then happily surrender our civil rights to "protect us" because he won't.


Disdain Indeed

Writer Jennifer Nelson has a piece in SFGate citing the fact that the media disdains religion and that's why Mel Gibson has taken so much criticism for his film, The Passion.

First, she jumps in to say that SC Justices Scalia and his sock puppet, Thomas, are exactly right when they wrote in dissent of a majority Supreme decision that the court demonstrates "a trendy disdain for deep religious conviction." [Ed: I don't think the court disdains religious conviction but I think they appropriately - those not Scalia or Thomas - have disdain the practice of using the courts to force someone else's religious belief on the rest of us.]

Then Nelson says:

    But the mainstream media, ever distrustful of anything overtly Christian and hard pressed to write anything positive about the Catholic Church, overwhelmingly rejected the film as either too violent or as misrepresenting history.

    But the major problem the mainstream media has with Gibson's movie is that it is religious. Religion, Christianity in particular, is passé.

Actually, there's almost nothing in her piece I'd agree with. I've found much of the mainstream media fawning and drooling over the piece.

But what concerns me more is that every time someone makes a remark about the film that's less positive than "breath taking" or "it is as it was" or "just a remarkably wonderful film", they're attacked as anti-Christian.

First, this is a film. A commercial film, at that. It's even complete with marketing ploys to buy t-shirts and crucifixion nails.

We have no way to know whether it's historically accurate or not. Even among those of us who believe in God, there's a lot of debate about how literally to accept the word of the Bible - a tome that has been edited and revised for centuries.

For anyone to take this film as a completely accurate portrayal of history is a fool. It's Mel Gibson's interpretation of others' interpretation of what happened. Mel is not a prophet. He's a human being who calls this film his therapy from his suicidal period. Based on some of his interviews of late, I suspect he needs more therapy, and I don't mean making The Passion II either.

This takes nothing away from The Passion so long as you treat it like a commercial release, which it is. It's not dogma. It's not history. It's not God whispering in Mel's ear telling him what happened and then represented faithfully on the screen.

Movies get to depict controversial historical events and opinions as well as saccharine ones. But don't blame people as anti-Christian and disdainful if they don't choose to worship at the altar of Mel.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell to Retire

Via Atrios, I read that Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell is retiring from Congress.

I used to watch him with some interest as one of the few Native Americans to sit in Congress (frankly, I have no idea of the stats). Part (one-eighth or one-sixteenth, I never remember) Native American myself and regardless of that, someone none too happy with the way their affairs and lives have been handled by our government, I was taken aback when he jumped to the Republican Party several years ago. It made no sense to me then or now.

But for what he represents at least, I'll be sorry to see him go.

Violence in Iraq

More than 140 dead, and hundreds more injured during one of the most holy Sunni day observances.

What have we done, folks?

Congrats, Dr. Dean

The state of Vermont - always its own critter - served up John Kerry's only defeat in a total sweep of Super Tuesday primaries by giving their votes to their former governor, Howard Dean, M.D.

John Edwards is expected to announce his departure from the race today.

I'm still bowled over that Edwards has taken so many races, leaving pundits to complain for weeks now that everyone else should drop out. I'm glad many hung in there past the first few primaries. People should have a choice.

I just wish I warmed more to Kerry. Mind you, there's much I admire about the man, and nothing about him troubles me to the degree another 4 years of Bush, or a potential President Lieberman would worry me. But he's yet to make me feel that he's the absolute best person for the job.

Remember: I said for me, it's not "anybody but Bush." I want Bush out because I think he's been a disaster for us and a tragedy for the world. I doubt we'll even begin to appreciate how bad he's made things until he's been out of office for some time (some things, of course, we'll never know).

But I also want to really throw my support behind the person who runs for office. I could do that with Gore in 2000. I suspect I can do it for Kerry. But I still want a better reason than, "he's not GW."

Gun Day in the Senate

It's hard to measure how good or bad a day the Senate had yesterday in handling two bills - one to continue the assault weapon ban (good) and another that would have protected gun manufacturers from most types of lawsuits except in the case of manufacturing defects.

Bush doesn't want the assault weapon ban because Rove feels his constituency doesn't want it. So let's see what happens. Certainly Delay would keep it from going through the House.

As for the manufacturers, I'm divided. I have no admiration for people who manufacture anything that's best use is to shoot someone or something. While I am strongly opposed to guns, I'm willing to tolerate a free society in which responsible people can if they choose - although I personally can't understand it - own a gun they keep under lock and key.

Yet I also don't understand suing a gun manufacturer for the actions of what someone does with that gun. If you could have a suit that would end the manufacture of guns anywhere, I might join in.

But there are some problems with the logic of manufacturer suits, at least in my mind. For one, there are far more ways to hurt people and other living things than through the use of a gun. Do you sue the manufacturer of Andrea Yates' bathtub because she used it to kill her children? Do you sue the manufacturer of a car because some fool decided to drive his car into a tree to deliberately kill himself and his family?

Guns are unique, yes. The only reason to have them, to large degree, is to shoot them... or have the potential to do so. But the bigger problem isn't that a company exists that will make the product (unless they make it too freely available considering its inherent dangers). No, the real problem is that anyone wants a gun in the first place.

However, it is the ultimate responsibility of the person who commits the heinous act of shooting another being. Smith and Wesson didn't pull the trigger. Sure, there may be contributory guilt: a gun seller who deals under the table, someone who makes the gun otherwise available to someone else (a parent who leaves a loaded weapon within reach of a child, for example).


Who Will Be Kerry's #2?

It's an intriguing question.

Today, I've read such possible Dem VP names as Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, John Edwards (natch), and Max Cleland.

Each of them offer both strengths and weaknesses. While I admire Gephardt for much of what he has done in his career, I don't think he'd be the best choice. I'd love to see Howard Dean get it (and Kerry could use some of the former Deanie momentum - not to be confused with Joe-mentum) but I think it's unlikely.

Conventional wisdom says a Northern presidential candidate has to have a Southern VP to try to win Southern states. I'm sorry, I don't like this. It shouldn't be true if it is true.. and I'm not sure it is. But Dems love to play it safe. However, if it is.. both John Edwards and Max Cleland would bring something worthy to the table.

Yesterday's Dem Debate

I have to agree with Digby on this one:

    Am I the only one who thought that Elizabeth Bumiller made an ass of herself this morning in the NY debate? I know they probably told her to try to keep it moving, but she certainly seemed to relish interrupting with what were usually non-sequitors. She was inappropriately hostile, as if she were upset that the candidates were not giving her proper respect. It was odd, I thought. She should keep her day job as a Heather because she certainly isn't ready for day time.

It was just bizarre. Eighteen minutes of childish nonsense passed just because Bumiller thought the debate was about her.

And mind you, I'd just seen that paid spot by Lyndon LaRouche that appeared on NBC-TV in New York when I turned on the debate. He's getting crazier with each passing year so to notice Bumiller's total meltdown says something.

More on Haiti

It was nice to see Rumsfeld and Powell on TV today telling us that Aristide's claims to have been kidnapped and taken forcibly from the country by US forces are in error. Now if only these gentlemen had any credibility left.

The Governator is Highly Selective

... in what civil disobedience he likes to invoke (no gay marriages, but yes to going against the Cuban trade embargo). Check this link supplied by Atrios while I agree that the Gropinator should be arrested. [Insert smirk here.]

Aussie Report: US Troops "Made Aristide Leave"

Check this out.

Those Wal-Mart ads

You know them: the ones where employees of Wal-Mart tell us how kind and caring the company is, and how much it offers to its workers.

Well, if that's true, why is Georgia's health care program to cover the children of those uninsured by their employers FILLED with Wal-Mart employees?

The Rumsfeld News Network

The Defense Department will offer its own news feed.

Can't you just imagine how fair and unbiased it will be, too? I mean, Mr. Rumsfeld is still running about telling us that any moment now, we'll find huge stores of WMD. It's only been a year since we rolled into Iraq, too. Perhaps it's taking this long for them to "create" doctored WMD and make it look like it was Iraqi based (those damned Europeans will expect proof, after all - they're not as easy to fool as those American chumps).

246 Days and Counting

Please: 246 days until Election 2004 sounds like a long time, but if you're not registered, please get yourself registered to vote. And if you are registered, check to be sure you are (names have a strange way of rolling off).

And whatever you do, VOTE. Your life depends on it.

Like some of it, I didn't always exercise my right. I felt too defeated by the system to bother. But with John Ashcroft and Company at hand, it's one of the few rights we continue to have.

Election 2000 taught us that some people will do anything to stop certain others from exercising that right. For example, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ordered another purging of voting records for felons, which is likely to result in a number of people whose names just "sound" like those of felons being purged, too. [Ed. note: Once someone has done their time, I cannot conceive why they would be kept from voting. The whole point is to get people "back into the system" and denying them rights is not the way to do that.]

US Hit By Sanctions

From CNN:

    (CNN) -- The European Commission has launched retaliatory trade measures against the United States that will cost American companies hundreds of millions.

    The sanctions are intended to compensate European businesses for a U.S. tax break scheme for American exporters that was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year.


One hour

That's how much time the president will deign to grant just two members of the 9/11 investigation.

And based on his MTP interview earlier this month, Bush could spend up to 15 minutes using the word "context", another five discussing his imperatives as a War President (caps deliberate), and then another 10 giving the commission members cute nicknames.

That brings us down to 30 minutes.

Of all the things Mr. Bush has done, this may actually be the one I resent most. He's invoked hell on earth in the name of 9/11, but God forbid he help into its proper investigation. If I were a survivor or the family of someone who died, I would be rabidly unhappy.

Although, in some respects today, we're all survivors of 9/11. The entire world. Thanks to Mr. Bush. And I don't mean that in a positive way about how well he protected us.

Police State Largely Run by US?

That's what some of the predictions are for Haiti, even though the president says otherwise (my, it's hard to imagine that he would say one thing publicly and arrange another, eh?). Let's see... Iraq has oil and some marginally white people so they get Democracy (heh) and since Haiti has mostly black people and has no discernable oil, they get a police state?

Body and Soul has had some worthwhile links on the topic.