Why We Protect the Sanctity of Marriage

So Britney Spears can marry for 55 minutes at a time. JLo at least can last oh... weeks in the same marriage.
by Reuters
Is it me or is some part of her about to escape from this costume?

Snide..Check..Arrogant.. Check..Asshole... And Check!

Via Sadly No, I was pointed to the Uppish blog with a great shorter summary of Mr. Bush's interview with the Irish journalist:

Bush: Guess what? I'm a snide, arrogant, asshole who can't wipe the smirk off my face because I'm so gosh darned proud of myself for getting through that last sentence without screwing it up.

Reporter: Mr. President, back to the war in Iraq...

Bush: Let me finish! I keep telling you how to do your job and you keep not doing it right. Guess what? I'm not done reciting empty phrases about freedom-loving 'mericans.

Reporter: Mr. President.....

Bush: Let me finish! Look, you ask the questions and I'll answer them, ya see. I'll answer them and guess what? You won't have a clue what the hell I'm talking about when I'm done. But guess what? That's ok because neither will I.

Reporter: Mr. President, the world is not a safer place now....

Bush: Let me finish! I'm the supreme commander of the world and the world is a better place because of me....er....and a few other people. But mostly me. Listen, was the world a safe place on 9/11? No, but it is now because Saddam Hussein is in power....er....not in power. Phew. Almost screwed that one up. But guess what? I don't want to talk about dead people. I want to talk about the world being a safer better place. If I keep repeating it, it just might come true.
I'd say that about sums it up. Nice work, folks.

Ode to the F Word

Now, really, I didn't say the F word. I'm just reporting Madeleine Kane's apt ditty concerning our esteemed Vice President's temper tantrum.

Welcome Him Back

Josh Marshall has returned to Talking Points Memo from a very well-deserved vacation. But he left us in excellent hands (TPM is one of the best blogs, bar none).

Sudan Crisis Worsens

Have you heard a peep from the well-fed Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney about this? I have not. Most of us cannot even begin to imagine that kind of starvation in an America that holds contests to see who can eat as much crap food in five minutes.

Curious Indeed

An AssPress lawyer speaking with Editor and Publisher magazine (really a very good source for information whether you work in the industry - as I do - or not) notes how curious it is that the press has actually had to sue to get access to public military records concerning Mr. Bush's military service (aka "a couple days in the late 60s when he wasn't drunk or otherwise screwing around").

From the piece:

The Associated Press has sued the Pentagon and Air Force, seeking access to all records of President George W. Bush's military service, but the news agency wonders why it has come to this.

"It seems a little curious because the president made a pretty forceful presentation that he had nothing to hide," said AP General Counsel Dave Tomlin, when asked for his reaction to what the AP considers government stonewalling. "But we are not surprised."

Tomlin told E&P the lawsuit is needed to get access to a portion of Bush's record that may offer more information than the paper files previously released. "The paper file may not be everything," he said. "It has been there a long while, it could conceivably be tampered with."

Because the microfilm record has been in storage and "it can't be altered, that access to the microfilm would settle the matter," Tomlin added.

When asked why a lawsuit was needed, he said, "the administrative efforts we've made just aren't getting traction."

Tomlin said he did not expect White House officials to "rush right over with the information," after the lawsuit was filed, but expected a proper response. "It is important to get this; we'd like to see priority handling on it."

The suit, filed in federal court in New York on Tuesday, seeks access to a copy of Bush's microfilmed personnel file from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin. The White House has said it has already released all records of Bush's military service.

The Air National Guard has control of the microfilm, which should be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, the lawsuit claims. AP says the records "are being unlawfully withheld from the public." The lawsuit adds that no one has looked at any of the Bush military records at the state archives since 1996.

Anti-Terror Computer System Flawed, Delayed

Also from CNN:

The FBI's much-lauded computer system that was supposed to aid in tracking domestic terror threats will not be ready by year's end, as some top officials at the bureau had expected, according to a New York Times report published Saturday.

It is unclear when the system may be completed, the article said. An FBI official told CNN that the information in the newspaper account was correct.

The newspaper quoted one FBI official who suggested the Virtual Case File program, designed to allow agents to share information easily, "might ultimately have to be abandoned."
Don't you just feel safer?

In the "Shit Hits the Fan Saturday" Edition

From CNN:

Terrorists are pressing on with their insurgency campaign as the handover of sovereignty to Iraq's interim government draws nearer. A suspected car bomb Saturday killed 17 people and wounded 40 others, a coalition military official said. And Al-Jazeera TV station reported three Turks had been kidnapped, as President Bush was flying to Turkey for a NATO summit.
    * a key militant has been killed in the Palestinian camp
    * the Pakistani PM has quit and ended his cabinet
    * Female Afghan pollworkers have been killed
    * Turkey's a mess prior to the arrival of Bush (just what is there about our belooped leader than inspires such crap?)
    * Paul Johnson, the Lockheed Martin contractor beheaded more than a week ago in Saudi Arabia, has been laid to rest
    * Muslims are seeing terrible backlashes re: the beheadings (you can't hold all Muslims responsible for this extreme savagery anymore than you can hold all Christians responsible for the crap a handful pull)

On a More Serious Matter, Three Turks Taken?

There are conflicting stories today that 3 Turkish citizens have been abducted and are being threatened with death and/or beheading unless the Turkish government, when it meets with Mr. Bush this weekend, says "Fuck you" (oops, the Googleism was still in my buffer, silly me).

Really, I'll try not to use the F word (fuck, Fallujah, or miserable failure) for the rest of the day. All bets are, however, off if Bush gets on TV tonight during dinner.

From the Socialist Republic of Vermont to Mr. Cheney

Fuck you

There, we feel better, just as Mr. Cheney did. And, thanks to Corrente, we've participated in our first and probably last Google Bomb. But sleazy is as sleazy governs.

Bush Loses it Frequently During Irish Interview

It must have been so difficult for the president. I mean, being asked tough questions by a woman, and a non Christian (since Mr. Bush's brand of Christianing doesn't recognize any other Christian denominations), and by someone from a piss-poor, potato-eating place that Rummy told him was part of Old Europe. If you missed it, Atrio supplies this link.

The sheer contempt displayed by the Bush core to absolutely everyone whose nose isn't buried somewhere up around their large colon is astounding!

Poor Disney and Poorer Us for Lisa Meyers' Reporting

Skippy brings us some delightful news about Disney, then shares with us some of Lisa Meyers' extremely odd reporting about "Fahrenheit 911" last night. I saw it and I was pissed, because she was every bit as misleading as she was claiming Moore was. Skippy jumps onto the case somewhere around here but heck, his entire site is so good, don't stop there! Our favorite blogging bush kangaroo deserves kudos for his coverage.

If you promise to keep it a secret, Skippy also shares with us that the F word Mr. Cheney used is not Fallujah. Imagine that!

More Jack Ryan (More than Just Sexual) Hypocrisy

Atrios points us to this part of the Jack Ryan (thankfully former campaign site.

I do appreciate the fact that Jack wants to keep marriage sacred and pure in the eyes of God: just between a man, a woman, 2-3 or more different clubs filled with strangers -including one in the cheese-eating surrender monkey capitol of the world!), and various torture devices.

I'm going to go way out on a limb here and assume he wanted her to spank him.

Bowing to Gen. JC Christian, Patriot

He has come.

If you haven't discovered the General a/k/a Patriot Boy yet, you really, really must. His letters are priceless, the cartoon commentary right on point, and his flag is never hung up in the bushes.

Polio Making Sorry Comeback

From CBSNews:

But suddenly, after years of steady progress, the disease is spreading again, reports CBS News Correspondent Gretchen Carlson.

The epidemic is centered in the northern region of Nigeria, where 60 new cases have been confirmed in just the past week. The local government stopped administering polio vaccines there last August, in part, health officials say, out of distrust of the United States.
Eeek... my partner's brother is in Nigeria right now shooting a video. I assume he got proper innoculations before he left.

Tom DeLay's Amoral Code

From The Nation reprinted at CBS News:

Is it any surprise that the publication of Clinton's memoir My Life has revived the vitriolic bleating from those on the right who just can't seem to stop salivating over blue dresses and beret-wearing interns?

But if these self-appointed morality police were truly committed to upholding ethics and promoting values in government, they would begin challenging the House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is hands down one of the most corrupt politicians in the United States.

"The Hammer” -- DeLay got that nickname because he runs the U.S. House of Representatives with an iron fist -- has allegedly bribed his GOP colleagues to win their votes for legislation that he desperately wanted to pass in the House. He's engaged in quid pro quos with corporations seeking legislative favors, and violated campaign finance laws in Texas during the 2002 state house election contests. Now, after a seven-year truce in the U.S. House that discouraged members from filing ethics charges against one another, Rep. Chris Bell has gone to the ethics committee and filed a 187-page bombshell charging that DeLay engaged in extortion, money-laundering and other abuses of power.

Just this week, the ethics committee said that Bell had met the criteria for filing a complaint, and it will now spend at least the next forty-five days reviewing the charges that DeLay violated the house's ethics rules. Bell called the committee's decision "an important first step in the long journey to restore integrity and ethics to the people's House and to hold the House majority leader accountable for his actions." He received a riproaring (standing) ovation from the Democratic Caucus this week, winning a tacit endorsement from colleagues in his ongoing battle to hold DeLay accountable.

No Charges Filed Yet Against Man Beaten in LAPD Tape

That's interesting to note. What would the charge be anyway, "Being an irresistable target"?

An interesting thing to note is that LAPD chief Bill Bratton asked the public "not to rush to judgment". Right. That's apparently for the police to do (the ones in this tape, anyway).

Yes, I understand the suspect had supposedly led the police on a 30-minute car chase. But that video looks pretty bad, especially given the fact that even the police admit he was unarmed and from what I can see on the tape, offers no resistance once captured. Adrenaline can be a dangerous thing.

Israeli Soldiers Photos Create Quite a Talk

Read this and perhaps you'll join me in wishing we could see the entire exhibit. I doubt that the exhibit just paints Israel in a poor light. I suspect what it does it show more than the usual PR side of Israel. Like anyplace else, Israel isn't just one type of people, one type of experience, just war-like or just peaceful, just martyr or just oppressor or just victim.

From CNN:

A photographic exhibit called "Breaking the Silence" has struck a nerve in Israel where critics say the images cast Israel in a poor light.

All of the photos in the exhibit were taken by Israeli soldiers stationed in the West Bank city of Hebron. Many were fulfilling their compulsory military service.

Some images show soldiers positioned behind camouflage netting, others with Palestinians in their gun sights, and others watching the city through night scopes.

Cheney: I Felt Better for Telling Leahy to Go Fuck Himself

Lovely, just lovely. From CNN:

Vice President Dick Cheney has said he didn't regret cursing at Sen. Patrick Leahy earlier this week, and said he felt better after the incident.

In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Cheney said he was "forcefully" expressing his unhappiness with the conduct of the Democratic senator from Vermont -- who Cheney said had publicly questioned his integrity, and then wanted to be friendly when he saw him in person...

When asked what the reaction was from senators who overheard the conversation, Cheney said he thought several of his colleagues "felt that what I'd said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue."


Fahrenheit 911 Open Thread

Based on the thousands upon thousands (OK, two people and my dog- and my dog just wants to complain about my time at the theatre without him) of requests to do so, here's an open thread for people to discuss it.

Fool me. Actually post something.

I Lust After Keith Olbermann

I do. But even I don't think I can comfortably vote for him as sexiest TV anchor in a PlayGirl Magazine poll. It's his brains I admire. Really!

But, of course, if you have less resolve and high mindedness that I do, you can confirm your choice at Keith Olbermann's Countdown site before your vote. Cough.


Beers are Fighting About Who's More Patriotic in Beer Commercials?

Spare me.

And for such good, God-fearing, Republican donating Coors Family types, I notice the Coors commercials are about as lewd and make men and women seem about as stupid as possible.

Perhaps they should consider a new ad campaign:

    Coors: Committed to keeping you too drunk to remember to vote Mr. Bush out of office."

In the "Another Snafu" Department

From CNN:

When an interim government takes over from the U.S.-led occupation next week, Iraq will regain its place among the world's sovereign nations -- except on the Internet.

More than 240 places have their own two-letter Internet country codes, from ".ac" for Ascension Island to ".zw" for Zimbabwe. There's even ".ps" for the Palestinian territories.

But the domain assigned to Iraq, ".iq," is stuck in a strange bureaucratic limbo -- the company that had administered it is under U.S. criminal indictment -- and could remain there for months.

As a result, if Iraq's government, national institutions or regular Iraqis want a Web site, they need to use international domains, such as ".com," ".org" or ".net", which are maintained in the United States.
I assume we awarded the no-bid contract to this criminally indicted organization?

Times are a Bit Off

I notice posting times today on Blogger are off... and if you go to Technorati, it tells you I haven't updated here in 21 hours (it's closer to the truth that I've made about 21 entries today). So if times seem to differ on some time-important issue (can't think of any), that's the reason.

It's not my system clock. It's happened on two different machines.

Wes Clark: Still a Potential Dem VP

On Hardball tonight (Campbell Brown's in for Matthews this week, and she's not too bad in thejob), Clark spoke so eloquently without being outlandishly partisan, primly careful, that I found myself strongly interested in him again as a possible Dem VP candidate. I think he has more meat than Edwards (who I think could have a lot more meat in 4-8 years).

CNN: Did the US Make a Mistake Sending Troops to Iraq?

That's the poll right now, and the results are

    Yes 62%

    No 38%

The F Word and More Hypocrisy

All day long, I've heard pundits and reporters on TV bring up the use of the F word and VP Dick Cheney's use of it to Sen Pat Leahy.

However, the funniest observation is available. When Kerry used the word in a magazine article for a magazine that does not shy away from the use of that word, the right wing jumped all over him. Do we want a man who uses such language (Oh, Millie, get the smelling salts!") as the leader of the world? What will God think? How can a man who can't control his words become president?"

Here we have a case, which the WH has characterized as a "fair exchange of views" in reference to Cheney's F-up, when we know the story is that after Leahy said hello (wow, them's fighting words) to Cheney, Cheney lights into him about a perfectly acceptable concern about Cheney's continued involvement in Halliburton. Leahy, still not losing his temper, said something like, "Well, I didn't appreciate you characterizing me as a bad Catholic because I opposed one of your judicial nominees."

That's when Cheney says the F word.

Lessee, Cheney makes an attack on Leahy based on Leahy properly doing his job, Leahy says he didn't appreciate a personal assault on his private faith, Cheney lets go with the F word and stalks off, but it's a fair exchange of views? Leahy just didn't understand that the emperor and his clothiers do not brook criticism. You're not supposed to have it and you certainly aren't to say it if you do. Cheney made a personal attack in a professional situation, one which is usually verboten on the floor of the Senate. In fact, Cheney's the president of the senate.

Where is the outrage about a leader using the F word? Mind you, that debate is just patently ridiculous. The F word is only the tip of the point. (And the F word, btw, is Fuck. I can say it here. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Wow, that's probably almost as many times typed as I've ever done it in one night... Cough) But if the right was upset about F in print, I want to hear their care about it on the Senate floor.

More the issue is the fact that the Bushies hold everyone else - including ranking senior members of Capitol Hill, old Europe, and certainly everyone of us not donating 200K or more to his campaign - in complete and uttter contempt. Anyone who doesn't see that by now - because the phenomenon ain't exactly fresh and news folks - is blind or intentionally stupid.

Read Rex Reed's Review of "Fahrenheit 911"

As someone who used to see Rex Reed tooling around Connecticut every weekend (you'd hear his trademark voice before you saw him), I was delighted to see he was the one reviewing "Fahrenheit 911" for The NY Observer:

Michael Moore leaves no turn unstoned. There are multitudes of shattering, seminal moments in his brilliant Bush-whacking documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, that reveal more about the cynicism, greed and ineptitude in the U.S. government than you will ever learn from any sound bite on the right-wing late-night cable-channel blabfests, but one will stay with me forever. Forget about the "official" reports from the White House about the activities of George W. Bush on the fateful morning of Sept. 11, insisting he learned about the Al Qaeda attacks while meeting with Florida pre-schoolers and quickly dashed from the room to save the country. The truth, it is now revealed, is that he was informed of the first attack on the World Trade Center before he even entered the schoolroom, and he decided to continue with his photo-op anyway. There he is on camera when Andrew Card informs him of the second plane and utters the fatal words, "We’re under attack!"—but he continues to read My Pet Goat for another seven minutes, his eyes sliding sideways in his puzzled face, like a moron looking for a bathroom, until his staff insists that he leave. (He stayed for another half hour.) If nothing else, that defining moment says volumes about what we can expect from the President of the U.S. in the center of a supreme, history-altering crisis: He’s just clueless.

Schwarzenegger: Give Me Bigger Salary By Killing Stray Animals Faster

He makes me ill.

This Time: We Almost Killed Al Zarqawi

I do hope they get him before they kill everyone else in Fallujah. From CNN:

A coalition strike in Fallujah today came very close to killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the wanted terror mastermind, according to a senior Pentagon official. The strike on a suspected safe house for al-Zarqawi's network killed 20 to 25 people, a senior coalition official said.

Does a Big Rap Star Like DMX Need to Steal a Car?

I mean, I've never done that, and I'm fairly certain my income level is about six or seven figures off his. Well, quite honestly, I've never heard of him before and I'm not even certain I've spelled his name correctly.

Jack Ryan Drops Out of Illinois Senate Race

That's the word this afternoon and lest you think I'll gloat, you may be disappointed.

Yes, I did feel a certain delightful glee over one of the high and mighty Republicans (so often the ones who write the moral code in their desired image rather than the way they typically operate) being caught with his pants in a cage chair in a kinky club.

But I really do believe that what two consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their relationship is really up to them. Ryan wasn't propositioning other men's wives to do this - as GOP Congressman Henry Hyde once did before he sat over the impeachment of Bill Clinton - but asking his own wife during their marriage. She said no, and the matter was apparently dropped.

It's more than that though - and my partner today reminded me of it when I chuckled about Ryan in front of him. Nobody really wins when sleaze is substituted for real issues in matters as important as the governing of a city, state, or country. It's wrong when the high and mightly GOP does it, and it's wrong with Democrats and third parties use it.

Have We Killed Zarqaqi Again?

The US has struck a third safe house where they are SURE he is present. So far, however, just 20-25 more Fallujans dead.

20-25 More Dead in Fallujah

Fighting worsens.

Likelihood of Beheadings?

It's a sad thing to ask, but can we really escape the next five-six days with the Iraq situation growing increasingly tense without more abductions and beheadings as we have seen too frequently of late?

In fact, there are other captives. Depending on the report you read, there may be between 2 and 20 known captives, some being held by groups who have vowed to kill. And yes, it matters just as much when it's a foreigner as when it's an American sacrificed. Some of the mentality shown with the execution and videos of Kim Sun-Il, where smug Americans said, "well at least it's one one of ours" hardly promotes that whole idea of a coalition.

Times: Supreme Court Decision on Energy Task Force Leans Too Far Toward Secrecy

Read it and be angry.

Errors on Terror

Paul Krugman delves a little further into that mysterious "way wrong" terror report that said terror deaths and events had dropped significantly when they had in fact rose. The cooking of books is becoming such a wide practice around the White House, one would think Bush and Cheney are training to become chefs after their administration ends.

From Paul:

Tonight, I am instructing the leaders of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location. Our government must have the very best information possible." Thus spoke President Bush in the 2003 State of the Union address. A White House fact sheet called the center "the next phase in the dramatic enhancement of the government's counterterrorism effort."

Among other things, the center took over the job of preparing the government's annual report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism." The latest report, released in April, claimed to document a sharp fall in terrorism. "You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage declared. But this week the government admitted making major errors. In fact, in 2003 the number of significant terrorist attacks reached a 20-year peak.

How could they get it so wrong? The answer tells you a lot about the state of the "war on terror."

Credit for uncovering the report's errors goes to Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist, and David Laitin, a Stanford political scientist, who are studying patterns of terrorism. Mr. Krueger tells me that as soon as they looked at the latest report, they knew something was wrong.

All of the supposed decline in terrorism, they quickly saw, resulted from a fall in the number of "nonsignificant" events, which Mr. Krueger and Mr. Laitin say "are counted with a squishy definition." Even the original report showed significant attacks — a much less squishy category — rising to a 20-year high. And the list of significant attacks ended on Nov. 11, 2003, but there were several major terrorist incidents after that date. Sure enough, including these and other omitted attacks more than doubled the estimated 2003 death toll.

Was the report's squishy math politically motivated? Well, the Bush administration has cooked the books in many areas, including budget projections, tax policy, environmental policy and stem cell research. Why wouldn't it do the same on terrorism?

The erroneous good news on terrorism also came at a very convenient moment. The White House was still reeling from the revelations of the former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, who finally gave public voice to the view of many intelligence insiders that the Bush administration is doing a terrible job of fighting Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush was on a "Winning the War on Terror" campaign bus tour in the Midwest.

The Current GOP Has No Shame (No Morals or Ethics, Either)

From The Hill (with a nod to Tapped where I saw it mentioned):

Democratic lobbyists are giving House Republican aides and lawmakers closely held information about the voting intentions of congressional Democrats in exchange for access to private meetings with GOP officials on Capitol Hill.

For House Republican whips, the inside information on Democratic voting strategies can yield a crucial awareness of what the ultimate vote count on the floor might be.

That helps determine how much pressure GOP whips need to apply to their Republican colleagues.

The pressure on Democratic lobbyists to cough up information parallels the K Street Project, which is aimed at putting Republicans in top lobbying posts. Both the K Street Project and the demand for intelligence on Democrats highlight the fact that access comes at a price.

House Republican sources provided The Hill with e-mails showing lobbyists providing information about Democratic whip efforts to defeat the foreign sales corporation (FSC) tax measure. The $143 billion in tax breaks for corporations passed 251-178; 48 Democrats broke ranks and voted for the bill, and 23 Republicans opposed it.

The e-mails reveal that some Democratic lobbyists are willing to sell out their former bosses and that House Democratic leaders are having difficulty keeping their members in line.

In an e-mail, a Democratic lobbyist asks permission to attend a meeting about FSC: “I heard there is a … meeting tomorrow at 3pm. Is it OK for me to attend on behalf of my clients?”

The GOP aide replied: “Sure, but what intel are you gonna get us? You worked for [Rep. Robert] Matsui [D-Calif.] right? Where are the California Dems? Is [Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] really holding Dems feet to the fire?”

The lobbyist replied: “Yeah, I worked for Matsui (back when he was [for] free trade). I think Pelosi will be working this hard — you probably already know this, but I just heard that the Dems will be putting in repatriation in their substitute (which will mollify the [California] and West Coast Dems).”

Lobbyists had to jump through a number of hoops to gain access to congressional meetings on the FSC measure. Sources from the coalition of business groups pushing for the bill said that to attend Hill GOP meetings on the legislation, Democratic and Republican lobbyists had to deliver formal letters in support of the measure to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).
So first, the Repubs said lobbying firms couldn't talk to them if they had or hired any Democrats, and now this. Sickening.


Calling Every Good Reagan Idolizing, Bush Worshipping, KKK-supporting extreme winger

Please: If you fit the above description, I implore you to do WHATEVER you can to be sure that no one goes to see "Fahrenheit 911" when it opens later today. For example, you can:

    * write letters to the newspaper in protest (I'll even help you with those really tough two-syllable words)
    * Tell everyone in your church or shooting club or "Protect Life By Killing Abortion Doctors" chapter or KKK unit that God won't love them if they see this film
    * Tell your older kids that watching "Fahrenheit 911" will lead to demon sex
    * Picket in front of the theater; maybe put a sign on your truck
    * Call the White House each and every day reporting that you still haven't seen that bleeping film
    * Call everyone in your town each day telling them the same
See, if you do that, more people than EVER will turn out to see "Fahrenheit 911", and it may ecclipse "The Passion" in box office take. People might get so mad at what the film portrays (just in the actual news clips) that they'll make a point to vote in November.

And maybe, just maybe, they'll stay mad enough that when these lying ass computerized voting machines suddenly say that a precinct or city that never votes for a Republican suddenly gave Bush every single vote, these angry people won't just sit back and wait for the wronged Dem to concede to Bush after the Supreme Court steps in. Hell, maybe they'll even get very angry with the Supreme Court and start a referendum which changes the very nature of the Supreme Court into one where such imbalanced people like Antonin Scalia would not be allowed to sit.

So really, as Michael Moore says, "please try to stop the movie from being seen by the public. It's the best publicity possible!"

Michael Moore Rapid Response Team

I fully understand while Michael Moore would have assembled a team to try to defend criticism and censorship of the movie because every right-sided nut has been trying to close this down since we heard anything more than the premise of the movie.

But Chris Lehane, a Democratic operative with some controversial history in recent months during the Dem primary, strikes me as an uncomfortable choice for part of that team. Oh, sure, the far right doesn't care what nutcase defends their positions (Joe "there's a dead aide in my office but really, I was planning to leave congress anyway" Scarbrough, "Loony" Noonan, Oliver ("I pray to my God, Ronald Reagan, ever morning when I take a military issue poop"), and Annthrax Coulter, to name a few), but I would think there are more credible people to help defend the film and the verbal (and other) assassinations that will follow from the right.

Chris struck me as a bit of a left wing loon, if not simply a self profiteer.

Now, he may not really be that at all. But that's how he struck me and I was sorry to see his name attached to the Moore team.

A Quick End to Laughter

While I was still laughing over the Wonkette post with Cheney getting all hot and bothered over Leahy's questioning his connections with Halliburton, ABC showed the video again of captured South Korean translator Kim Sun-Il begging for his life not long before he was beheaded. That's been haunting my sleep - and work and everything else - all week.

You Can Rely on Wonkette to Have the Skinny on Cheney's F Word

From Wonkette:

CNN is reporting that on the floor of the Senate yesterday, Dick Cheney told Sen. Pat Leahy, "Go fuck yourself." We agree! Go fuck yourself -- while it's still legal!

UPDATE: Speaking of sodomy. . . Wonkette operatives tell us that the fighting words sprang from an exchange in which Cheney told Leahy he didn't like what Leahy had been saying about Halliburton, to which Leahy replied that he didn't like Cheney calling him a bad Catholic. So you'd see how "Go fuck yourself" is the only appropriate response.

Michael Moore on "The Daily Show" Tonight

That should be fun.

Jon Stewart really does such a nice job, no matter how good the guest is or is not. And almost every show, he asks one really right question, something the Katie Courics and Paula Zahns of the world, with all their supposed journalism training, would never think to ask.

Stewart's made a show that was only a little something under its predecessor into a must-watch, whether you enjoy politics or not. And how one enjoys politics.... Ick.

Take Our Special Iraq Poll

The new one - with a maroon background - at the top right of the blog window will run through the first week of July, and specifically asks how you expect the Iraq turnover (cough) and current level of violence to go.

Cops (LA again) Beat the Crap out of a Black Suspect

I've seen the video tape several times but no full details. I have no doubt, however, that we'll hear how all of these white cops were in desperate fear for their lives.

That's not what the eyes of this beholder see. Right now, it just seems like these officers are really pissed for having to chase this man for 30 minutes and decided to show him just so mad they are.

Berkeley Takes Prostitution to the Voting Booth

BERKELEY, California (AP) -- Residents of this left-leaning city will have a chance to vote in November on whether they think prostitution should be a crime.

An advocacy group announced Wednesday it had gathered nearly 3,200 signatures, about 1,000 more than needed to get the initiative on the ballot.

The measure would have little more than symbolic value, since it wouldn't undo laws against prostitution. But Robyn Few, head of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, said a win at the polls would send an important message.
I'm one of the strange women - I saw this because women are generally more opposed to prostitution, pornography, and the sales side of sex than men in most studies - who feels that probably a lot of the worst aspects of prostitution can disappear with legalization.

I know. Oh horrors! The end of American civilization! God will punish us. Our daughters will be exploited.

Uh...no. I could attempt some black humor here and note that while prostitution is always considered such a dirty subject, the same people who oppose any legalization of prostitution seem to think torture and subjugation of women is way cool.

Where prostitution has been legalized, women involved often have far more protection in how they work and far less apt to be beaten or raped, undergo frequent health screenings, are less likely to be "lost" to drugs (although many legal pros are recreational users) including alcohol, earn better money, and are treated with better respect than their street corner counterparts.

There's a lot more to how I feel about this, but it would take a book to lay it out. For example, having watched the divorce and claims courts for a bit, it sure seems like a fair amount of prostitution goes on under the guise of work and marriage. Giving your body for sex, after all, isn't the only way you can prostitute yourself (waving to Mickey Kaus, Glenn Reynolds, David Frum, Condi Rice, George Bush, and sooooo many others). TV, for instance, is full of corporate whores (hi Tim Russert, Matt Lauer, Lou Dobbs, Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, Diane Sawyer, et al).

Donkey Rising

After months of meaning to do so, I happened to note that Ruy Teixeira of Donkey Rising is guest blogging for Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. That was enough to finally get me off my template duff and add "Donkey Rising" into the blog roll.

If Only All Immigrants Could Get Here as Easily as the Contreras Family

With all the talk this week of how wonderful it is for Yankees pitcher Jose Contreras being united with his family after his wife and daughters escaped Cuba on an illegal smuggler's boat last week, I can't help but think there is another side to it.

I've met so many families over the years who have had families overseas in desperate situations who could not get their families here, even when lives were in jeopardy. But because Jose is a sports star, and we give any Cuban who can reach our shores the fast track to citizenship, this family can enjoy a pleasure that thousands of others cannot.

I'm glad the Contreras family is reunited. But it's simply not fair that simply on the basis of the strong exile anti-Cuban population in the US who demands so much from the government (and usually gets it!), they're the only ones who can get this sort of treatment.

Fed Court Tosses out Parts of FCC's Media Deregulation Plan

Read this story from MSNBC.

Supreme Court Dodges Bullet for Cheney on Energy Task Force

I'm livid. The Supremes successfully held this at bay until after the election, with Scalia sitting in on a vote with a man who takes him hunting (Cheney) paid for by energy companies involved in this suit.

From AP via CNN:

The Bush administration won't have to reveal secret details of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force before the election, after the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a lower court should spend more time sorting out the White House's privacy claim.

In a 7-2 decision, justices said the lower court should consider whether a federal open government law could be used to get task force documents. Even if that court rules against the administration, appeals would tie up the case well past November.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the federal district court judge who ordered records opened to the public had issued too broad a release of documents.

"Special considerations applicable to the president and the vice president suggest that the courts should be sensitive to requests by the government" in such special appeals, he wrote.

The issues in the case have been overshadowed by conflict-of-interest questions about Justice Antonin Scalia, who sided with the majority.

Scalia defiantly refused to recuse himself from the case, rejecting arguments by critics who said his impartiality was brought into question because of a hunting vacation that he took with Cheney while the court was considering the vice president's appeal.

Cheney Uses F Word on Capitol Hill

I heard just part of this on MSNBC today, but apparently Dick Cheney went over to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to light into him about all the talk about Cheney's involvement with Halliburton (reasonable discussion considering Cheney IS involved with Halliburton, I think). Exactly what happened next is unclear, but Leahy reminded Cheney that the VP had called Leahy a "very bad Catholic", to which Cheney responded with the F word.

Just dumb schoolground arguments? Cap Hill is usually - in theory - beyond this. What is clear is that the Bush Administration feels it has the right to bully elected members into playing their way, and hates it when someone won't play by their rules.

Dozens Dead, More Hurt in Iraq Attacks

From CNN:

At least 83 people were killed and 233 wounded in a wave of insurgent attacks across Iraq today, six days ahead of the scheduled handover of power, according to Iraqi sources. The assaults, which appeared to be coordinated, hit police facilities in Ba'qubah, Ramadi and Mosul.

Patient Bill of Rights

With the defeat of the consumer vs. HMO case before the Supreme Court, the drafting of a suitable patients' bill of rights becomes even more important.

Here's the message from the DCCC:

I'm sending you this urgent message because on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that patients do not have the right to hold their HMOs accountable in a court of law. This is a dire situation, which demands our immediate attention- Americans need a comprehensive Patient's Bill of Rights.

I am asking you to stand with me and thousands of other Democrats in support of meaningful legislation that will guarantee 190 million Americans health care decisions by doctors — not by HMO bureaucrats.


We deserve the right to make our own health care decisions! And we MUST maintain the right to challenge HMOs that fail to provide adequate health care.

President George W. Bush promised during the 2000 Presidential campaign that if he became President, "people will be able to take their HMO insurance company to court." He disingenuously touted the law that passed in Texas while he was governor as proof of his resolve — without saying that he had actually vetoed one version of the law and then let it become law without signing it.

And in the case decided on Monday, his Administration actually argued AGAINST the Texas law before the Supreme Court. Call on President Bush to make a Patient's Bill of Rights a top priority by signing our petition:


Despite their pledge to complete a real bill, Republicans in Congress continue to delay action on a meaningful Patients' Bill of Rights.

That's why it's so important that you sign our petition to President Bush right now:


Then, help us make a national statement by forwarding this email on to five other friends or coworkers. We urgently need a strong bill that protects all Americans and all plans, so that doctors, not insurance companies, can make medical decisions. You can help make it happen!

Thank you,

Robert T. Matsui (D-CA)
DCCC Chairman


More Beheadings

I'm afraid that we will - as much as possible - need to steel ourselves for more beheadings, both in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world. It's a horrible gruesome thing for us to consider, of course, and far worse for the victims and their families. All murder is terrible, but the very nature of the act of decapitation brings with it a whole extreme level of violence that cannot be ignored.

And the terrorists know the message has been effective. In S Korea, many citizens blame the S Korean government as much as the terrorists for the death of the 33-year-old South Korean translator who begged for his life. Here, the hate speech ramped up, even as others pretended this one mattered less "because it's not one of ours."

Still, in the Arab world, beheadings are not that uncommon. I may be wrong, but I've read in several sources that beheadings are sometimes used by the Saudi government and extremist Islamic organizations to deal with rapists and homosexuals. Thus, some of them may be far more ... how do you say this... used to the concept than we are.

As long as we insist on remaking the Middle East and the Arab world in the model we want to project, as long as we try to lure people to work there with lucrative contracts (and let's face it: the big corporations whose execs will never get anywhere near the danger make out very well while I suspect the beheaded 33-year-old translator really wasn't well paid even before his grave sacrifice), and as long as we pursue this "War on Terror" with simple rhetoric and terrible behavior on our part, I don't see how we will escape more horrific acts.

Rumsfeld: Macho, Macho Man!

From Wonkette:

From the latest revelations about the administration's policy on prison abuse, we note this challenge from famed standing-desk proponent Donald Rumsfeld to the proposal that prisoners should not be forced to stand for more than four hours at a time: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

This sort of explains everything, no? At some point last winter, our new standard for what constitutes torture became the pain threshold of Donald Rumseld. . . and he's so tough! Snarling dogs mean nothing to the man. He's the kind of guy who volunteers to be on the bottom of the naked prisoner pile. And forced masturbation? He eats forced masturbation for breakfast.

"Attack of the Wolfman"

After Maureen Dowd finishes tearing her old nemesis, Bill Clinton, a new one, she tackles Paul ("I'm brilliant and humble. I really am") Wolfowitz, asst. secretary of Defensiveness:

Still, the former president pales when put up against the grandiosity of Paul Wolfowitz's self-delusion. On Tuesday, Mr. Wolfowitz, Rummy's top deputy, told the House Armed Services Committee that one reason so many negative stories come out of Iraq is that "a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors — and rumors are plentiful."

Beyond sliming journalists (much as he slimes his hair with his own saliva in Michael Moore's new movie) who are risking their lives traveling around Iraq to cover the cakewalk that became chaos, Mr. Wolfowitz dodges the responsibility he bears for turning Iraq into a shooting gallery and Al Qaeda recruitment center.

When challenged by Democratic lawmakers about the lack of a connection between Saddam and Sept. 11, Mr. Wolfowitz was unrepentant — and unmoved by the 9/11 panel's conclusion that Saddam and Al Qaeda had no collaborative relationship.

"I don't need proof of involvement in Sept. 11 to be concerned that Saddam Hussein is providing mutual support to Al Qaeda," he said. "It seems to me it's like saying if someone breeds Rottweilers and leaves the gate open but doesn't tell the dog who to attack, that he's not operationally involved in the thing." (What's he talking about, and why are we still paying him?)

Perhaps that's not the most felicitous metaphor, given the revelations that it was Donald Rumsfeld who O.K.'d the use of vicious dogs by U.S. guards to threaten Iraqi prisoners.

The White House refuses to admit that, as far as U.S. security was concerned, Saddam was more bark than bite. As Hans Blix put it, Saddam had put up a "Beware of Dog" sign, so he didn't bother with the dog.

But instead of admitting he got the Saddam threat wrong, Mr. Wolfowitz lectured Americans not to be impatient. Referring to our foes, he said, "The more they sense that we're impatient . . . the more car bombs there will be." He seems to imply that we're complicit in killing our soldiers if we don't sanguinely go along with the Bush administration's delusions.

"The notion that this was `a war of choice,' that we could sit there and live with the Middle East status quo after Sept. 11, I think is wrong," he said.

Once again, Mr. Wolfowitz conflates 9/11 and Iraq. Instead of finishing off Osama in Afghanistan, the neocons dragged us into an Iraq adventure, which has ended up destabilizing the Middle East. So much for the "status quo."

Schwarzenegger: Staying Out of the Bushes

From the front page of The Times site:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California said that he expected a prominent role at the Republican National Convention, but that afterwards he intends to keep some distance from President Bush.
This makes sense to some degree. Arnold, I suspect, considers himself a bigger star, in every respect, than Bush and Company. I'd like to think it was great principles keeping him away, but I really suspect it's his self importance.

"Imperial Hubris"

One of the basic premises of this new book out by an "anonymous" 22-year CIA veteran is that basically, the Bush Administration has played right into the hands of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Now there's something I believe.

Bush says, "They hate us for our freedom" and then promptly begins to withdraw many of the basic freedoms from us, including the comfortable ability to say one disagrees with the president (because anyone who questions is aiding and abetting said terrorists). He orders an attack of Afghanistan and we make a horrible mess there without accomplishing much. Then Iraq (Osama hated Saddam, and we kindly took Saddam out of power). Now our every action seems to garner increasing hatred within the Muslim world, giving al Qaeda and a host of other organizations the ammunition they need for new recruits.

Infiltration of Peace Groups By Police and Others

From Corrente:

I didn't know they could do that. Fresno
    Thumbing through the Fresno Bee last year, Camille Russell came across a story about a traffic fatality accompanied by a photo of a familiar face.

    She knew the dead man as Aaron Stokes, a new member in her antiwar organization, Peace Fresno. But the newspaper story listed him as Aaron Kilner, a 27-year-old Fresno County sheriff's detective who died in a motorcycle accident while off duty.

    She copied the photo and showed it to other members of Peace Fresno. "Don't say anything, just look at the picture and see if you recognize this man," she said.

    They did.

    Now, the activists are accusing the [Fresno] Sheriff's Department of infiltrating their group with an undercover detective. After months of lobbying by the group, California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer's office said this week that it was investigating their claim.

    Fresno County Sheriff Richard Pierce won't confirm or deny that Kilner was spying on Peace Fresno. But he said in a prepared statement that his department reserved the right to conduct surveillance as part of its anti-terrorism efforts.
    (via LA Times)
Oh, now I get it. Being against the war is the same as being a terrorist. It all hangs together, doesn't it?

Of course, this is only the Fresno PD. We don't have to worry about this happening in other cities. Or at the Federal Government. Attorney General Ashcroft would never stand for it. Right?

Matt Lauer, Corporate Whore

From Alex at Liberal Coalition:

watched the pathetic Dateline NBC show, where chat show host (the Today Show is a talk show, you know) Matt Lauer beat up on Michael Moore about his new film.

Lauer must have thought he looked like a tough, impartial journalist. I think he was just sucking up to his corporate masters. Just pathetic.

Moore gave as good as he got, telling Lauer "You know I've been sitting here for like the last 20 minutes thinking, man, if he would have only asked Bush administration officials these kind of hard questions in the weeks leading up to the war, and then when the war started, maybe there wouldn't be a war. Because the American people, once given the truth, you know the old saying from Abraham Lincoln, give the people the facts and the Republic will be safe."


More DC Anti-Consumer Efforts

And we elect these people?

From Tapped:

NO RECOURSE FOR THE LITTLE GUY. Pandering to the insurance industry, gas and oil producers and tobacco companies, the Senate has added the so-called Class Action Fairness Act of 2004 (S. 2062) to its summer legislative agenda. Anything but fair, this legislation would make it far more difficult for consumers to fight corporate abuse. Just how badly does big business want this legislation passed? Enough to hire nearly over 475 lobbyists to advocate for this anti-consumer legislation.

Visit Moving Ideas to learn more about this anti-consumer bill and what you can do to help defeat it!
Did anyone see the piece of perhaps Daily Show that the lobbiests even have their own lobbying group? This is about 3500 miles past obscene.

Christopher Hitchens' Snitchen is out of Joint

He had very nasty words on Hardball tonight about "Fahrenheit 911" insisting the only real premise (which he called purile) for the movie is to blame Bush and the Bush family's ties to the Saudis and bin Ladens for everything. Then our 150 proof writer suggested that John Kerry better be willing to refute the film.

Why should John Kerry respond to the film? My understanding is that Kerry does not appear once in the film. Kerry wasn't even Moore's choice in the Dem primaries, when the GOP and media insisted Wes Clark refute Moore (sense a familiar theme?).

Sanctimonious Santorum Stumps for S&M Jack Ryan

While Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)is very worried about gay marriage making man-on-dog sex permissible, he jumped in this week to stump for Jack Ryan, the man running for senate in Illinois where his ex-wife, actress (not a very good one) Jeri Lynn Ryan, has accused him of trying to force her to perform sex acts in kinky clubs in front of strangers.

Now, what consulting adults do in the privacy of their relationship is entirely up to them. I'm not particularly shocked that there are people who enjoy sex clubs or want to engage in them with their spouses. It's not my business, although again and again, the GOP in particular has drudged up such things to use against anyone who says boo to them.

No, the real issue is the hypocrisy of the GOP (again) which wants to villify everyone else for every indiscretion (no matter how private or personal) but cries foul when it's one of their own. Ryan was paying a man to follow his opponent, Obama, into restrooms and offices trying to get dirt on Obama. Apparently Obama should have followed Mr. Ryan into Suzy's Dungeon of Whips and Chains.

As Oliver Willis wrote today:

The usual suspects are all atwitter that the left would have the gall to say anything about the recent revelations about Jack Ryan. The problem is that the right has practiced this form of sexual McCarthyism for so long, that eventually it would blow back.
Amen, Oliver.

Poll Results

These can be found at the top right of the screen below the new poll. You might be surprised at where the majority of people responding placed the media bias. Well, I'm not surprised, but considering how often we hear "liberal media", some of you might be.

If You Still Believe Moonies Are Just a Fodder for Jokes

You better think again. The Rev. Moon has amassed an incredible amount of power, in part through ownership of major, extremely conservative, ultra-Bush friendly news organizations like United Press International, the Washington Times, and more. He also has quite a power base among our elected officials, which probably doesn't bode well for America.

Read this article, for instance, from the Washington Post. And no, I don't think these elected officials were duped. They just got caught at their reverence to the reverend and are now trying to backfill.

Beware Kitties Everywhere - Bill Frist to Return to Medicine

Senate Majority Leader Bill ("I like kitties, mostly to dissect") Frist says he could return to medicine as soon as 2006. Please, Bill, go now. But leave the kitties alone, OK? Experiment on yourself.

Allawi Getting Death Threats

The interim prime minister of Iraq says he has received a number of death threats by those who don't respect the interim government. Unfortunately, for valid reasons, the interim folks are seen as Bushies in Arabic clothing.

Kerry, Frist, and Healthcare for Vets

Kerry blew back into Washington yesterday for a vote on a special bill that would guarantee health care for military veterans. Good idea, right? Except that Bill Frist led the fight to keep the vote off the floor for no better reason than to thwart Kerry.

THIS is how much the GOP in charge cares about our vets. Something that should be beyond partisanship was once again reduced to partisanship.

A Look at Fahrenheit 911 from a Theater's Perspective

From my local paper, the Times Argus:

Savoy Theatre owner Rick Winston is not one to blush at criticism over his movie choices. The independent theater owner has splashed his fair share of controversial films on Montpelier's smallest silver screen, so he expected to get some response to his airing of Michael Moore's latest documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

What he did not expect were 500-700 emails a day, and he certainly did not expect them to come pouring in from the West Coast, the Deep South and the Midwest.

The city's smallest theater has suddenly become a battleground in an email war over the distribution of Moore's controversial film, which accuses George W. Bush of stealing the 2000 election and attacks his administration on the war in Iraq and its preparations before Sept. 11.

A private Web site and organization purportedly formed to support the war on terrorism has organized an email campaign against movie theaters that plan to show the film, including the Savoy. Other sites, including Moore's own Web presence, have launched a counterattack. The result of the two campaigns has filled Winston's inbox to the brim with accolades, tirades and even threats of boycott from as far away as Georgia.The film opens Friday at the Savoy and will run for four weeks.

"It's funny, getting a letter from Georgia, from someone saying they will never set foot in my theater if I show this movie," he said.


The Heartbeat of Hatred

David Anderson has written quite a bit lately about the outpouring of hate speak found around the 'net right now with the recent horrific spate of abductions and beheadings.

David's right. It is scary. People are willing to lose their humanity (assuming some had a shred to start) to avenge unnecessary deaths... on both sides of this issue. The Iraqi militants are avenging what they see as unnecessary deaths and takeover of their country (true), and those so angry here want to do the very same thing again because of unnecessary deaths.

But some of the outrage on our part, so to speak, always strikes me as a bit strange given that Iraq did not come here and attack us. We are there in that country uninvited. We've basically told them that even with the supposed handover of the country in less than 10 days, we will continue to do what we want within Iraq and even if the new Iraqi government (such as it is) asks us to leave, we don't have to do so. We decided who will be in their interim government. We decide the terms of engagement. We decide who can go to Iraq. We decide who can leave. We decide who will live and who will die there.

Yet so many Americans, in particular, are acting like Iraq is causing the problems. I've heard anger directed at them for the inability to bring US troops home. I suspect most Iraqis would be glad to give the servicemen a safe ride to the airport for the flight back to the U.S.

Occasionally, we must think (I know, that sounds painful to some) about how we would respond were WE the invaded country. If our government had been destroyed and replaced with nothing but quasi-empire and chaos. If our homes kept getting leveled "by mistake". If our precious resource (oil) was taken from us and sold out from under us. If our women, who had enjoyed more equality under Saddam than in most of the Arab world, were suddenly forced into birkas and threatened and murdered for trying to hold a place in power or business. If our children were killed under the excuse of "trying to destroy terrorists."

Fahrenheit 911 and That Little Notion Called Freedom

On Friday, Michael Moore's long awaited film opens and my partner and I plan on seeing it. I hope you do as well, but you won't find me begging or appealing to you to do so.

At first blush, this may sound odd coming from me because I was one of many who wrote letters to the same movie theater managers/operators whom right wing was trying to get NOT to show the movie asking them to indeed roll the film. But that's the thing. People who want to see the movie should be able to do so; those who don't should stay home and should NOT interfere with other people's right to watch and/or enjoy the film.

CBS made me ill when they decided not to show that dumbshit Reagan movie earlier this year because of the heat they took from the right wing. Mind you, there have been plenty of movies that placed Dems in a bad light. And no liberal or lefty I know tried to stop that assinine 9/11 cable movie that falsely portrayed Mr. Bush in glowing terms on a day in which I don't think he did so hot.

And while lots of us who remember Reagan the man and not the myth were not at all happy with the revisionist one-sided history of Reagan presented during what turned out to be a full week-long Republican orgiastic campaign commercial for the Bush campaign, I don't think anyone lobbied to have the plug pulled.

I'm sorry some people are too thin-skinned or anal to be able to deal with a point of view other than their own. But hey, that's life. So I won't tell anyone that they absolutely must go see Michael Moore's film, and I don't think a narrow- and small-minded group of individuals who aren't particularly representative of more than a tiny fringe faction should tell me what I can't see.

"They hate our freedom," Bush likes to say so simple-mindedly about "terrorists." So let's exercise that precious freedom to either go see "Fahrenheit 911" or to sit home and watch "Walker, Texas Ranger" or "O'Reilly Factor" instead.

Heart Wrenching

CNN has a photo of the young South Korean translator's parents reacting to news that their son has been beheaded because S Korea failed to meet the demands of the man's captor. I won't soon forget the look on the father's face. I've had the unfortunate privilege of witnessing much pain and grief, but this had a raw edge to it that I suspect may torment my sleep for some time to come.

We've seen it before in variations with the Berg family, with some of the dead GIs' families, and with Iraqi civilians caught in the battles.

Are we battling terror or creating more? Some people won't like that question but it's a legitimate one. While we were not directly responsible for this young man's death, he wouldn't have been there, WE would not have been there, had Mr. Bush not declared war on Iraq and repeatedly framed it as part of the war on terror.

Some are finally beginning to see the war on Iraq as a huge mistake. But it was more than a mistake. And I'm afraid I am not sure the "greater" war on terror is any more legitimate than the one on Iraq. Both have been conflated for reasons that may only be fully known to the Bushies and the bin Ladens.

Cashing in on the Gipper

From The Hill:

It’s the American way: Where some see tragedy, others see a business opportunity.

Programs from Ronald Reagan’s funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral turned up about 50 hits on eBay yesterday, even as many had already been sold last week.
Nothing says love like selling a cherished collectible on eBay. Now if only someone would sell Peggy Noonan to aliens (or a white slave trader, but aliens perhaps are less likely to refuse her).

Worse than Al Qaeda; Those Teddy Bear Terrorists

The Smoking Gun tells us the FBI is investigating anti-Bush teddy bears.

How do I put this? Here goes:

    * Osama is still running around
    * al Zarqawi is still running around (on those odd days when we haven't killed him again)
    * the Anthrax mailer remains on the loose
    * a congressman was BRIBED to vote for the WH's Medicare plan
    * the WH outed a CIA agent
    * We can't afford to protect this country and its citizens or perform legit investigations
    * John Ashcroft is channeling Cotton Mather....

My apologies for shouting.

Save the FDR Dime

Here's a different March of Dimes, of sorts.

There's an effort to save the likeness of Roosevelt and even Kennedy on currency under bulldozing efforts by Congress to replace existing likenesses with Reagan (Bill Frist still wants to rename the Pentagon for Ronald Reagan - what, the Reaganagon?). Perhaps we should suggest places where Reagan's image could be used most effectively:

    * For a new ad campaign: "This is your brain." "This is your brain on Bush Conservatism." "Any questions?"
    * To advertise sleeper chairs
    * All over the (Re)elect Bush web site (oh wait, that's already been done)
    * On "We're from the government and we're here to abolish you" posters in Central America
    * On bottles of red hair dye
    * Tattooed on Bill Frist's butt

The AP Found One of Its Two Missing Testicles

No, really. This from Atrios:

It's about time. I mean, when the Bushies did their little document dump and official Washington decided the story "was over," it was still the case that many of the important questions were left unanswered - including, of course, whether or not all the records were actually released.
    WASHINGTON - The Associated Press sued the Pentagon and the Air Force on Tuesday, seeking access to all records of George W. Bush's military service during the Vietnam War.

    Filed in federal court in New York, where The AP is headquartered, the lawsuit seeks access to a copy of Bush's microfilmed personnel file from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.

God's Talking to Pat Robertson Again

According to Pat, God said, "It's gonna be a mess," referring to Iraq.

Oops. I think Pat just said all Christians always support war, right before he squirmed around the issues of whether God would like this war or whether this is a holy war. Pat prefers to call it a "just war" and entered into his spiel about how Muslims are the most vicious, violent believers.

I dunno. I find Pat pretty vicious. But as I've said, God told me Pat Robertson is an asshole and a very bad Christian.

Would God lie?

As Frank Zappa once sung to Pat, "Jesus thinks you're a jerk!"

Ashcroft: Some Justice

NBC Nightly News had quite a piece tonight indicating that John Ashcroft snapped at people saying he didn't want to hear anymore about terrorism or Al Qaeda before 9/11, that he blew off Clinton people trying to give up warnings and his own people who seemed to bore Mr. Ashcroft.

Soon, Mr. Ashcroft will leave office, wanting to spend more time with his family. You know, 40 yr old sons demand a lot of time, wanting you to play ball and take 'em to McDonalds and shit like that.

Of course, if you wanted to take the snicker out of saying "the Department of Justice under John Ashcroft", you'd kick Ashcroft out on his pious ass and perhaps send him down to Gitmo for six months of those lovely fruit baskets and "leisurely barbecue field trips" the right wing tells us occurs there instead of torture. I wonder if Gitmo is large enough to hold the entire administration.

Our Fearless Leader on Torture

Bush today: "Torture is not part of America. It's not part of our soul or being."

What is it then? A hobby? Something we do between new reality TV episodes? What Karl Rove does for fun when he runs out of butterflies to mutilate in the Rose Garden?

If you're going to use platitudes, George, at least make them better.

This is why I wouldn't make a good Republican (among, of course, a myriad of other reasons, like my failure to own a righteous red suit and dye my hair blonde to go with my perky pink lipstick): I don't have a large enough library of trite schtick.

Dump of Pentagon Paperwork

As if volume alone proves your case (along with the adage, "if you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with bullshit"), the government released a gazillion pages of paperwork they say proves that neither the president nor Secretary of Defensiveness Donald Rumsfeld ordered or condoned torture in Iraq.

My question: are we sure it proves anything except that they cover their tracks? I don't think so, although I've yet to go through the mess, and the press seems happy to just accept the government's statement that "there, it's proven now!"

"Make Conservatives Angry" Tuesday

From Angry Bear over at Bush2004.org:

Tuesday is the day for My Life, Bill Clinton’s book. Here I shall write for you, the reader, a list of what you will hear over the next few days, so that you can safely ignore the blathering pundits:
    * Clinton is hurting Kerry by stealing the spotlight.
    * Clinton is hurting Kerry by stealing the spotlight, so that Kerry will lose and Hillary can run in 2008.
    * Clinton’s charisma and eloquence make Kerry look bad [but they will rarely if ever be contrasted to W. Bush’s lack of skills in those areas.]
    * Clinton got blowjobs. In the Oval Office.
    * Bill Clinton’s book is outselling Hillary’s 7 to 1.
    * Monica Lewinsky. Monica Lewinsky. Monica Lewinsky. Monica Lewinsky. And, did I mention, Monica Lewinsky?
    * Whitewater. Travelgate. FBI files. Waco.
    * And, maybe if you listen very closely, at just the right time: eight years of peace and prosperity. Budget surplus. Record job growth. Surging home ownership. Real income growth. Fiscal responsibility. Compassion. Good relations with allies around the world. More popular than Reagan, based on exit polls in 1989 and 2001.

Voice of Jihad

This is the site through which Al Qaeda is supposedly speaking. However, I can't seem to find the URL.

Frankly, I'm not quite sure I want to find it. I found the Saudi footage of their dead terrorists almost as disturbing as I expect I'd find pictures of the violence being done to contractors, civilians, and military personnel.

I obviously join everyone who is horrified by what they're doing. Unfortunately, I'm horrified by a lot of what the U.S. is doing as well, and I don't think we can afford to shrink from learning as much as we can from ALL sides in this matter. The site garnered more interest from me when they disclosed that Saudi security forces allegedly helped in the abduction of Paul Johnson, who was beheaded last Friday. It makes me wonder what else they may be saying. Do I expect to find the truth there? Not anymore - or sadly much less - than I find from our own government-sanctioned news agencies. Propaganda is propaganda.

If anyone has a reliable URL for this site, I'd appreciate you sharing it with me. Email is fine if you'd prefer not to place it in public comments.

Less Hitler than Mussolini

Skippy the great brings us this:

we are so tired of hearing awol compared to hitler. as we have said before, the analogy is so far afield as to be ridiculous. for one thing, hitler could speak in public.

ergo, we are happy to hear that 2nd circuit court of appeal judge guido calabresi has compared awol to mussolini. the nysun:
    “the reason i emphasize that is because that is exactly what happened when mussolini was put in by the king of italy,” judge calabresi continued, as the allusion drew audible gasps from some in the luncheon crowd saturday at the annual convention of the american constitution society.

    “the king of italy had the right to put mussolini in, though he had not won an election, and make him prime minister. that is what happened when hindenburg put hitler in. i am not suggesting for a moment that bush is hitler. i want to be clear on that, but it is a situation which is extremely unusual,” the judge said.

    judge calabresi, a former dean of yale law school, said mr. bush has asserted the full prerogatives of his office, despite his lack of a compelling electoral mandate from the public.

    “when somebody has come in that way, they sometimes have tried not to exercise much power. in this case, like mussolini, he has exercised extraordinary power. he has exercised power, claimed power for himself; that has not occurred since franklin roosevelt who, after all, was elected big and who did some of the same things with respect to assertions of power in times of crisis that this president is doing,” he said.

Arab TV: S Korean Hostage Killed

There aren't many details yet.

I might be a pacifist and I may have only once raised my hand in anger in my life, but anyone who values their teeth today should not get in my face right now to say that we're winning the War on Terror.

Update: Apparently this 33-year-old man was beheaded as well. Damn it.

Iraqi Law Professor and Her Husband Slain

Comparatively speaking, a fair number of women have been killed in various attacks (on the government, in the private sector), considering how Iraq since we invaded has become far less woman-friendly (we've allowed a stronger fundamentalist Islamic voice, and that precludes women from positions of power). This professor and her husband, they say, were killed because she was a moderate voice.

Going to Buy Clinton's Book?

I probably won't... at least not until it appears in paperback.

It's not out of lack of interest, although I'd rather not hear one more syllable about his affair. Throughout the late 90s, I felt like an unwitting voyeur into something that never should have been presented in front of the public.

But now here we are five-six years later, and the most basic part of government is kept secret from us. At this point, we'd LOVE it if Bush banged a staffer, thinking maybe it would distract him from bombing Castro or the blue states or arranging more tax cuts for people who earn $2 million or more.

Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Milk

Technically speaking... Ick:

Young children and pregnant women who drink milk from California cows may be exposed to unsafe levels of a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel, according to a new study by an environmental group.

The study released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group comes as state and federal regulators consider setting new standards to regulate perchlorate -- the explosive ingredient in missile fuel that has been linked to thyroid damage.

"Perchlorate exposure is more widespread than we have been led to believe," said Bill Walker, vice president for the West Coast office of the EWG, a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

Still No Word on S Korean Captive's Fate

From CNN:

Seoul is urging businesses in Iraq to pull its civilian workers out of the conflict-ravaged nation as South Korea anxiously awaits news of the fate of a hostage held by militants and threatened with beheading.

The deadline imposed for South Korea to cancel plans to send 3,000 additional troops to Iraq has now passed, but no word has yet been heard on whether the captors of 33-year-old Kim Sun-il have carried out their threats.

In a video broadcast Sunday on Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera, Kim cries in English, "Please get out of here. I don't want to die ... Your life is important, but my life is important."

Oh Those Righteous, High-Minded, Family Values Republicans!

From CNN:

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- The former wife of Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan claimed in divorce documents released Monday that he pressured her to perform sex acts in clubs while others watched.
Not just any sex clubs either. The (soon to be?) former Mrs. Ryan - more looks than acting ability - often clad in good old fashioned Republican red, said that her husband took her to ultra kinky clubs both in the US and in Paris.

I guess nothing puts the righteousness in a high-minded person like exhibitionist sex while you're being whipped in a public S&M club and planning to run for the Senate, eh?

So Much for the Dead Presidents Society

From the simply great Skippy comes this news:

whoops! self-rightists who were hoping that a little of ronald reagan's teflon would rub off on awol must be disappointed this week. a new abcnews/washpost poll shows awol is not only running behind john kerry, but, for the first time, a majority (of the handful) of americans (polled) think he's doing pretty damn poorly in protecting us from terra!


Sharon's Protective Wall Distorts Original Intention

From Ha'aretz, the Israeli paper:

The vocabulary of Hebrew is expanding as successive Israeli governments try to cloud their intentions regarding construction in the West Bank - or, more accurately, their evasion of their obligations. The word mifredet (separator), for instance, will now describe the wall to be built the length of Route 60, which is the main transportation artery for Jerusalem's northern neighborhoods, and the expressions "fingernails" and "fingers" will from now on be the metaphors for a system of creeping construction of the fence around Ariel. Under cover of these `clean' expressions, a plan for the de facto annexation of some 150 square kilometers in the heart of the northern West Bank - including Ariel, Immanuel, Karnei Shomron, Kedumim and other settlements - is being implemented.

This plan does not accord with Israel's promises to the American administration, which state that the fence in the Ariel area will remain open on the western side, thereby preventing even the appearance of annexation. But this is not only a gross breach of promise, which joins the failure to fulfill other road map commitments such as dismantling illegal settlement outposts or halting construction in the settlements. The constant, creeping annexation by Israel of land in the West Bank under the pretext of building the separation fence also constitutes a unilateral determination of the border, which contradicts the goal of reaching an agreement by mutual consent.

The Selectiveness of the War on Terror as Led by Ashcroft

Paul Krugman presents this case today, one that will be familiar to a few of you (but far too few):

n April 2003, John Ashcroft's Justice Department disrupted what appears to have been a horrifying terrorist plot. In the small town of Noonday, Tex., F.B.I. agents discovered a weapons cache containing fully automatic machine guns, remote-controlled explosive devices disguised as briefcases, 60 pipe bombs and a chemical weapon — a cyanide bomb — big enough to kill everyone in a 30,000-square-foot building.

Strangely, though, the attorney general didn't call a press conference to announce the discovery of the weapons cache, or the arrest of William Krar, its owner. He didn't even issue a press release. This was, to say the least, out of character. Jose Padilla, the accused "dirty bomber," didn't have any bomb-making material or even a plausible way to acquire such material, yet Mr. Ashcroft put him on front pages around the world. Mr. Krar was caught with an actual chemical bomb, yet Mr. Ashcroft acted as if nothing had happened.

Incidentally, if Mr. Ashcroft's intention was to keep the case low-profile, the media have been highly cooperative. To this day, the Noonday conspiracy has received little national coverage...

The discovery of the Texas cyanide bomb should have served as a wake-up call: 9/11 has focused our attention on the threat from Islamic radicals, but murderous right-wing fanatics are still out there. The concerns of the Justice Department, however, appear to lie elsewhere. Two weeks ago a representative of the F.B.I. appealed to an industry group for help in combating what, he told the audience, the F.B.I. regards as the country's leading domestic terrorist threat: ecological and animal rights extremists.

Even in the fight against foreign terrorists, Mr. Ashcroft's political leanings have distorted policy. Mr. Ashcroft is very close to the gun lobby — and these ties evidently trump public protection. After 9/11, he ordered that all government lists — including voter registration, immigration and driver's license lists — be checked for links to terrorists. All government lists, that is, except one: he specifically prohibited the F.B.I. from examining background checks on gun purchasers...

No Word Yet on S Korean Threatened with Beheading

Unfortunately, this about sums up the whole entry.

Wonkette Presents Another Great Moment in Rumsfeld TV

Again, from Wonkette:

Donald Rumsfeld, though he "can't read all the articles," said in a press conference last Friday that the media has drawn too much attention to prisoner abuse scandals, noting that in the "Washington Post the other day -- I forget when it was -- just a great, bold 'torture.'" This is unfair, of course, because, as Rumsfeld said, "the implication is that the United States government has, in one way or another, ordered, authorized, permitted, tolerated torture."

And he's right to be upset. The media should not be giving people the impression that the U.S. government authorized torture. The administration's own memos do a pretty good job of that on their own.

Who Knew Guantanamo Bay Was More Fun than Summer Camp

From Wonkette, I found this link to Howard ("I'm just a whore for the right wing") Kaloogian's Move Forward America blog where Dom Giordano tells us that Gitmo is one big barbecue, field trip, and fruit basket. Who knew?

But I was in Guantanamo for three days last week, and I saw something very different. I concluded that, at Gitmo, we extract information from prisoners not by torture but by developing rapport with them. It involves amenities. Full rolls of toilet paper. Fruit baskets. A field trip barbecue. I talked to prisoners, visited cell blocks, surveyed their medical care, interviewed the base commander and chief interrogator on my show, and allowed callers to probe them with questions. My research extended to the officers who escorted me to breakfast and lunch - even to times when all parties were well lubricated at the Tiki Bar.

The leadership at Gitmo is much more disciplined and focused than the leadership of Maj. Gen. Janis Karpinski at Abu Ghraib appears to have been. Soldiers at Gitmo say they are repulsed by the photos and stories from Abu Ghraib. Senior staff told me of strict patrols of the prison to make sure all is being done properly.

Another great contrast with Abu Ghraib was the interrogator I met at Camp Delta. She was fluent in Arabic and talked about various ways she was able to reach prisoners. She's not leading anyone around in a dog collar.

One story probably summarized best what I saw at Gitmo. I was sitting in a chair in one of the interrogation rooms at Camp Delta when the chief interrogator told me the chair wheels were one of their greatest tools. Some sort of torture device? No: The wheels let interrogators slide in closely to bond with prisoners when they believe they are telling the truth and move away when they are lying.

This mentality is the legacy of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Miller, who is accused of taking his "brutal" tactics from Gitmo to Iraq and causing the prison scandal. I can't know what Miller did in Iraq, but I think most of us would find the system he put in place in Gitmo as humane and fair treatment for captured Taliban and al-Qaeda members. In fact, a number of my listeners felt the treatment was too good for people we have reason to believe are among the worst of the terrorists.
Wonkette puts it best when she comments:
    Maybe it's just because there's something about having the words "fruit basket," "probe" and "lubricated" so close together, but we understand now: When the Army said it wanted Abu Ghraib "Gitmoized," they clearly meant redecorated. A little mix-up there, but so understandable: Who hasn't had a "field trip barbecue" suddenly become "forced masturbation"? Just be careful to keep the spicier sauces out of reach.

Lynndie England: "Some People Are Calling Me the Heroine of Baghdad"

I really hope that Ms. England, the woman holding the leash in some of the released Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos, does not really believe these words she uttered in an interview. While I'm sure some people have told her this, I think there is still no excuse for what she did, even setting aside the fact that while abusing prisoners, Ms. England seemed to be engaged in sex on film with a number of the others (presumably male service members) there.

I grant that she's young, clearly poorly educated, and she was in a rotten situation which I think was condoned very high up the chain of command. But that in itself doesn't excuse all we've seen of her.

She is many things, but she is not a hero (or heroine). I hope she grows up a lot before that child she's carrying is born. Someday, she's going to have to explain some of those pictures to this child and that's not a conversation I envy her. I suspect it will forever change that child's relationship with his/her mother.

Oops, Let's Get the Violin Out Again

This time, it's for Tiger Woods, who spent some serious time whining about this past week's golf tournament course.

Gee, I'm sorry, Tiger, if the non-work you do which pays you fabulously isn't always something you can do while asleep. You ought to see how miserable a real job can be. I mean, they expect you to do more than date super models and record commercials and... gosh... even sweat occasionally.

Natch, Tiger isn't the only one to whom this newsflash applies. Sports figures are ridiculously paid, ridiculously called "heroes", and shamelessly believe they have it rough. The mere mortals of us scoff.

911 Panel Finds Cheney's Comments Less Than Credible

From the upcoming Newsweek:

The question of whether Vice President Dick Cheney followed proper procedures in ordering the shoot-down of U.S. airliners on September 11 is one of many new issues raised in the remarkably detailed, chilling account laid out in dramatic presentations last week by the 9-11 commission. Newsweek has learned that some on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president's account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report, Washington Bureau Chief Daniel Klaidman and Senior Editor Michael Hirsh report in the June 28 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, June 21).
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040620/NYSU006 )
The commission's detailed report notes that after two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center and combat patrols were in the air, a military aide asked for shoot-down authority, telling Cheney that a fourth plane was "80 miles out" from Washington. Cheney didn't flinch, the report said. "In about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing," he gave the order to shoot it down, telling others the president had "signed off on that concept" during a brief phone chat. When the plane was 60 miles out, Cheney was again informed and again he ordered: take it out.

But according to one knowledgeable source, some staffers "flat out didn't believe the call ever took place." Both Cheney and the president testified to the commission that the phone call took place. When the early draft conveying that skepticism was circulated to the administration, it provoked an angry reaction. In a letter from White House lawyers last Tuesday and a series of phone calls, the White House vigorously lobbied the commission to change the language in its report. "We didn't think it was written in a way that clearly reflected the accounting the president and vice president had given to the commission," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett tells Newsweek. Ultimately the chairman and vice chair of the commission, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton -- both of whom have sought mightily to appear nonpartisan -- agreed to remove some of the offending language. The report "was watered down," groused one staffer.

The 9-11 commissioners found themselves engaged in another testy dispute, especially with Cheney, over the ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The vice president insisted in short-tempered public remarks last week that the commission had agreed the Iraq-Qaeda links were extensive. But commission vice chair Lee Hamilton acknowledged to Newsweek the commissioners had serious differences with the administration. "We didn't have any evidence of collaboration or cooperation," Hamilton said flatly. He added that bin Laden's ties "to Iran and Pakistan were certainly stronger than any tie he had to Iraq."

The vice president also reasserted his belief that a long-alleged meeting between 9/11 hijacker Muhammad Atta and an Iraqi intel agent on April 9, 2001, in Prague might have occurred. Some 9-11 staffers said they were astonished by this: their report, citing cell-phone records, concludes unambiguously that Atta could not have been in Prague on that date; he was in Florida. Newsweek has also learned that Czech investigators and U.S. intelligence have now obtained corroborated evidence which they believe shows that the Iraqi spy who allegedly met Atta was away from Prague on that day.
Gee, would the wizard behind the curtain... er... Mr. Cheney lie to us?

Don't Cry Any Tears for Rowland

I happened to catch part of CNN during Judy Woodruff's "Inside Politics" program, and the sad violin playing and wistfulness was pretty jarring over news that Connecticut Gov. John Rowland will announce his resignation today.

The poor, poor man was brought down by malicious allegations, they said. Excuse me? He was brought down because he bought and sold Connecticut for hot tubs, cottage renovations, off road bikes, and a truck load of other things he took in exchange for giving lucrative contracts to the people who supplied his goodies. Then, in the face of the allegations, Rowland lied. Lied. Lied.

Then they started in that Rowland was an honorable man who didn't deserve to lose his cherished spot but that he had decided to do the very best thing he could (one more great self sacrifice) for the people of his state. HA! Were that true, he would have resigned a year ago before the state spent a lot of time and money disproving his lies, when the residents decided long ago that he couldn't be trusted and should leave.

The ONLY reason Mr. Rowland is leaving is because he's on the threshold of having his ass tossed as far out of the state as possible given that someone, hopefully, will bring him back for an indictment. With this said, understand that his name STILL appears on a short list of candidates for cabinet level positions in the BUSH ADMINISTRATION.

Yup, he's exactly the kind of person this White House likes: a liar, a cheat, and a self-important pompous ass with delusions of grandeur.

Al Zarqawi Dead Again, Now Blamed Again

Are you keeping score?

Two days ago, coalition forces bombed the hell out of Fallujah, killing upwards of 20 civilians with coalition spokesman insisting that they actually killed al Zarqawi and several operatives.

Now, al Zarqawi is being blamed for the death of at least four Marines found lined up today.

Not since I was a little bitty kid and there was this gothic soap opera called Dark Shadows have characters died and been resurrected so many times, so swiftly.

Stay tuned. By Friday, I have no doubt we will have killed him again, and on Sunday, undoubtedly, he'll once more be alive pulling shit.

Four Troops Found Dead

Four troops - apparently all American - have been found dead when they failed to return from an operation in or around Rimadi (sp). There's tape of the four bodies laid out next to a wall.

South Korean Hostage in Iraq Cries in English, "I Don't Want to Die!"

The group holding him has said the deadline by which S Korea can remove its troops is tonight (fast closing in on Baghdad time) before this man will also be beheaded. There's also indication up to 10 other foreigners are being held.

S Korea says it will not cooperate.

The Corrupt Governor of Connecticut to Resign

CNN has this as breaking news right now, with GOP Governor John Rowland, great friend to the Bushies, quietly saying he'll announce his resignation tonight. Good. The people of Connecticut have wanted him gone for some time, even if most mainstream media has completely ignored this story.

What a Surprise: CBS Says Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 911 in Conservative Crosshairs

Remember boys and girls, you may not utter a critical word unless it's about Democrats, liberals, atheists, gays, or women who insist on working.

Did CBS Show the Anti-Clinton Ad?

I only caught part of "60 Minutes", realizing that all the focus was on the Monica situation and on little if anything more substantial than that.

Frankly, the days when a president screwed an intern rather than the whole fucking world sounds like the good old days to me.

Al Qaeda Site Details Paul Johnson's Abduction

Read this at CBS News, where you will also find that militants are now threatening to behead a South Korean if the hostage's country sends anymore countrymen to Iraq.

Prove it or Hush, Mr. Cheney

From the Times:

The leaders of the Sept. 11 commission called on Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday to turn over any intelligence reports that would support the White House's insistence that there was a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

The commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, and its vice chairman, Lee H. Hamilton, said they wanted to see any additional information in the administration's possession after Mr. Cheney, in a television interview on Thursday, was asked whether he knew things about Iraq's links to terrorists that the commission did not know.

"Probably," Mr. Cheney replied.

Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton said that, in particular, they wanted any information available to back Mr. Cheney's suggestion that one of the hijackers might have met in Prague in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent, a meeting that the panel's staff believes did not take place. Mr. Cheney said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that the administration had never been able to prove the meeting took place but was not able to disprove it either.


"Is This the Room for Abuse?" "Heck, yes, the Entire White House and Pentagon Participates"

Time Magazine is levelling new charges of abuse, largely drawn from a military man named Jordan who said the abuse was ordered after the White House increased demands for results at any costs.

Safire: Still Living Off the Interest on the Soul He Sold Decades Ago

Bill Safire tells us that the 9/11 commission is just plain wrong when it says there are no demonstrable ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. But he also channels Nixon and thinks Bush drool is a pearl of wisdom. Bill Keller really needs to make Safire take his meds occasionally. Really.

Most Guantanamo Bay Detainees of No Value in War on Terror

This is purely sick and evil, but not at all unexpected.

More About the Author Known as "Anonymous"

Spencer Ackerman, pinch-hitting for Josh Marshall who is talking a well deserved vacation over at Talking Points Memo, notes more about the current Bush insider who's written his second book about this admin and the war on terror:

Julian Borger has a story in The Guardian that paints the anonymous intelligence professional who penned the forthcoming Imperial Hubris: How the West is Losing the War on Terror as animated in no small measure by "contempt for the Bush White House and its policies." That's a bit wide of the mark. Does the book exhibit contempt for the administration's policies? Certainly. It also takes a dim view of the White House's conception of what motivates al-Qaeda and how to fight it. But in the book and in an interview, Anonymous doesn't traffic in Bush-bashing. He has much harsher words to say about the leadership of the intelligence community, whom he faults for bending too far to the predispositions of the policymakers they serve.

    ANONYMOUS: The intelligence community, and especially the CIA, serve the president. I think the mistakes that were made [in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terrorism broadly] were probably made by the intelligence community not having the balls to stand up and to say any number of things that were knowable. "Mr. President, the people we're backing in Afghanistan will not be able to form a government and will ensure continued war and instability." "Mr. President, if you attack Iraq you will be giving bin Laden a gift." "Mr. President, we don't have enough [intelligence] officers and people to run two wars at a time." "Mr. President, all of the reporting about Iraqi WMD is coming from opposition politicians, and you have to take it with a massive grain of salt.”
    I tend to blame, as I do in the book, a leadership generation in the intelligence community that is more interested in its next promotion and its career prospects than it is in talking about hard issues. Somebody needed to go and say, not just to Mr. Bush, but to Mr. Clinton, "Mr. President, this is a war about Islam. You can say all you want that it's not a war about religion, but it is." And it's much more so now than in 1992, and still no one will say it.