Jesus' General Asks Us to Pray


Deputy Leader is under a lot of pressure lately. We've all seen him red with rage, fists clenched, yelling at people to have carnal knowledge with themselves. Who can blame him? He's had his hand in all of the things the French are screaming about--Plame, Chalabi, pre-war intelligence. People are calling for his head.

I'm worried that he'll have some kind of breakdown and kill someone. That could hurt Our Leader's chances for reselection. We need to do something to help him.

I think we should follow Presidential Prayer Team's example and ask the Lord to help Deputy Leader resist his murderous impulses. We've all seen how that organization has harnessed God's power to help Our Leader make wise decisions.

I've created the banner you see above to remind you to pray for Deputy Leader. Please do so. The future if our nation depends on it.

Happy Fourth of July!

Be safe, enjoy, don't drive drunk, don't let your friends vote Bush, and all that kinda thing.

Average Congressperson as the Benchmark for the Average American?

Ha! Unlike congresspeople, most average Americans have not:

    * invested vast amounts of money in ridiculous looking hairpieces that look like something Dolly Parton owned 30 years ago but sent packing when it got the mange

    * Made over $100K in base salary for working about one-third of the year, then get incredibly lucrative perks and specials dwarfing their taxpayer-pay

    * Had more than three girlfriends/boyfriends/wives simultaneously

    * Worshipped Rev. Moon

    * Worn their American flags and faith on their sleeves while they're breaking commandment after commandment

    * Had the power to get their friends and family any job, out of any trouble
And this barely scratches the surface.

But what brings me to this rant is a post by Jesse at Pandagon regarding a study:
This takes the cake for the absolute worst media-bias "experiment" ever conducted.

Just to let you know how absurd the whole thing is - the relative liberal bias of the media is determined by comparing them to Congress. Also, the study doesn't determine the relative political standing of a think tank (liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc.) by actually reading what the think tank writes - instead, it looks at who cites them, adjusts the think tanks to the ADA scores, and then bases the newspapers' liberalism on how often they cite those specific think tanks (references given for the actual cites are, of course, lacking).

So, the average congressperson (who ranks somewhere around a 39 on the ADA scale) somehow represents the average American. Any source that ranks above the right-leaning average in turn becomes "liberal", even though by the very scale they're using, their "center" is actually outside the ADA range of what's considered "moderate". Also, they throw the Drudge Report into the mix, and use what has to be one of the most boneheaded standards of all time. Since he doesn't cite think tanks, they use his citations of newspapers and average out their score based on the ass-backwards calculations they used to get their liberal scores. By this standard, Drudge is actually a liberal-leaning site. (And by the same standard, Pandagon is actually a conservative site - go figure!)

But, what's amazing is that they use the ADA's scores, but totally dismiss the ADA's own scale for the scores. Instead, they create their own standard, which drags the weight of the "center" towards the conservative end (the figures they give show that the conservatives are more conservative than the liberals are liberal, and that the mainstream media is actually just as close, if not closer to the center than the average Congressperson, and particularly the average Republican). In fact, using the actual ADA centrist score of 50, even the "liberal" New York Times (still less liberal than the average Democrat) is more than ten points closer to the center than Fox News.

And, of course, Instapundit buys into it. The amazing thing is that the study is itself so flawed that it can't show anything of merit, and that even by an actual standard of centrism (instead of one so obviously weighted towards conservatives), the media actually turns out to be really centrist, if slightly liberal-leaning.

Can I just shoot myself in the head now? It has about the same effect as reading junk like this.

MaxSpeak on Bush's "Optimism" and "All the President's Men"

Remember how I said I'm not an economist? Max is, or doing a damned better imitation of one than Bush has managed to hire for the government of late. His take begins here, but read the whole thing for yourself:

The buzzword of the day is "confidence." He must have repeated it a dozen times. Consumers and investors occupy the dizzy heights of confidence. If you're not confident, you're some kind of communist pessimist. If you see a blogger repeat this word, you know he's a White House toady.

Despite Record High Pentagon Spending, They Did War on the Dirt and Deadly Cheap

From the San Francisco Chronicle (originally from the LA Times):

American soldiers who defeated the Iraqi regime 15 months ago received virtually none of the critical spare parts they needed to keep their tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles running. They ran chronically short of food, water and ammunition. Their radios often failed them. Their medics had to forage for medical supplies; artillery gunners had to cannibalize parts from captured Iraqi guns, and intelligence units provided little useful information about the enemy.

These revelations come not from embedded reporters or congressional committees but from the Army itself. In the first internal assessment of the war in Iraq, an exhaustive Army study has concluded that U.S. forces prevailed despite supply and logistical failures, poor intelligence, communication breakdowns and futile attempts at psychological warfare.

The 542-page study, declassified last month, praises commanders and soldiers for displaying resourcefulness and resiliency under trying conditions, and for taking advantage of superior firepower, training and technology. But it also describes a broken supply system that left crucial spare parts and lubricants on warehouse shelves in Kuwait while tank personnel outside Baghdad ripped parts from broken-down tanks and raided Iraqi supplies of oil and lubricants.
Don't we owe it to our men and women in uniform, as well as the rest of the world and ourselves, to not allow Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld to mismanage any more?

Schwarzenegger Suit Dismissed Even Though a Heinous Thing Happened


A judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by a woman who accused him of groping her. She said the campaign falsely labeled her a convicted criminal.

Rhonda Miller, 53, charged that Schwarzenegger and his campaign intentionally defamed her after she held a news conference the day before last year's recall election and claimed the actor had lifted her shirt and assaulted her on a movie set. It was among a number of similar accusations that roiled the campaign in the days before Schwarzenegger successfully ousted then-Gov. Gray Davis.

Hours after her news conference, a Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman sent an e-mail to reporters directing them to a court Web site to search for records of a Rhonda Miller whose history included prostitution, drug crimes and disorderly conduct. She turned out to be a different Rhonda Miller.
Yet The Arnold sues over bobbleheads in his likeness.

Israeli Interrogators at Abu Ghrab?

It's unclear what this will mean, if anything. I would not think the presence of Israel investigators is necessarily wise (that whole "US, Israeli unholy anti-Arab alliance" sorta thing, you know), but it's not necessarily surprising that companies contracting for interrogators (and outsourced interrogation seems like a bad thing itself) would hire Israelis, who have been involved in anti-terrorism work for decades.

The former military commander of Abu Ghraib prison claimed Saturday that she met an Israeli interrogator who was working at a secret facility in Iraq.

Although Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski told the BBC in an interview that no Israelis were working at Abu Ghraib, she claimed that she met an Israeli interrogator at an undisclosed facility while she was escorting a retiring four-star general through Iraq last year.

"He was clearly from the Middle East and he said, 'well I do some of the interrogation here, and of course, I speak Arabic but I'm not an Arab, I'm from Israel," Karpinski said in an interview with the Today program on BBC Radio 4.

Crap: The Captive Marine Has Been Beheaded

The militants supposedly holding this young man have announced that they have beheaded him:

A message -- purportedly from Abdullah al Hasan ben Mahmoud, who claims to be emir of a group that calls itself Ansar al-Sunna -- addressed President Bush when describing the alleged fate of Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a Marine translator of Lebanese descent

"We inform you, your excellency, your military officer who is originally Lebanese has been beheaded. And you will see that with your own eyes," the statement said.
Unfortunately, "his excellancy", Mr. Bush, does not read newspapers or attend the funerals of fallen or decapitated soldiers.

I remain infuriated that the military spent all week questioning whether this man had gone AWOL or possibly even defected when the Marine could hardly defend himself against such charges. Didn't this man - fighting under our name - deserve better than that until there was proof and a conviction? When he may very well have been a prisoner of war (war of liberation my ass), undergoing who knows that, until he may have been executed as a sacrifice?

Corporal Hassoun was there in our name. In some respects, it's like the military questioned all of us and they certainly disrespected one of their own. He should have been sought out for rescue rather than his reputation impugned without evidence!

"Love Republican Style!"

Heh. An aging tart and a very desperate fart. Perhaps Jack Ryan can point them to some good sex clubs:

TALLAHASSEE· Needing pizzazz, Florida's lukewarm U.S. Senate race is about to draw national celebrity attention.

Enter Gennifer Flowers, the publicity-catching woman who claimed to have had a 12-year affair with former President Bill Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas.

Republican Senate candidate Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch who has nearly made a career out of suing the Clintons, will accompany Flowers, his former client, at a trio of fund-raisers in South Florida later this month.
Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

[Ed. note: If you pay her enough, Paula Jones might be available for an intimate little party for three back in the hotel suite. Oooooh, wait a minute, momma! We should be setting up little Paula with Rush Limbaugh, the kind, fatherly, heavily medicated father she never had.]

Perhaps It's Amazing Any of Us Are Working

From the Economic Policy Institute through Jobwatch.org:

After a few months of healthy job growth, employment grew by just 112,000 jobs in June 2004. The employment growth that began in September 2003 has not been vigorous enough to reduce unemployment, which has remained at 5.6% since January 2004, the same rate as when the recovery began in November 2001 and far higher than the 4.2% level when the recession began in March 2001. Unfortunately, underemployment in the form of involuntary part-time work, discouraged workers, and other marginally attached workers (i.e., those who have looked for work in the last year but are not counted as unemployed) has increased. Specifically, the total underemployment rate was 9.6% in June 2004, up from 9.4% in November 2001 when the recovery began, and far higher than the 7.3% in March 2001 when the recession began.
Emphasis mine but... holy shit, Batman. Does this really sound like a robust recovering economy to you?

Just for my own information, I would ADORE seeing a jobs or economy report that strictly segregates out any job created by the so-called War on Terror or Homeland Security. If we did, the numbers above would be far, far, far worse than they are. If that's true, there are some unpleasant realities to face like, "Is the nation going bankrupt because of the War on Terror on top of overall Bush mismanagement?"

[Ed. Note: Hey, before you carp, I'm a writer not an economist. If you don't believe me, look at my checkbook.]

Speaking of the Draft

The mainstream media is really poo-pooing any suggestion that the military draft will be brought back. For example, NBC's Campbell Brown filling in for Chris ("I'm an ass but look at how important I am!") Matthews on Hardass ..er.. Hardball this week all but rolled her eyes at the idea.

Wake up, people! We have a back-door draft going on right now. Soldiers cannot leave the military. Committees are in place to develop and potentially implement a traditional military draft RIGHT AFTER the election. This government has already asked Canada not to take Americans who cross the border looking for haven if a draft is implemented.

Don't roll your eyes at this. Parents of 16 and 17 and 18-year-olds should be very concerned. A draft is almost guaranteed if Mr. Bush is reelected and, sadly, at this point, may be nearly inescapable under Mr. Kerry (due to the many and varied messes Bush has gotten us into).

Don't take my word for it. Do your research. It's all right there, regardless of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld anti-draft rhetoric.

Some Southern Baptists Unhappy With Being Drafted by Bush?

Jeanne at Body and Soul, who I think is one of the most thoughtful and important of the relatively lesser known, lesser populated female bloggers, writes this:

It was bad enough when George Bush asked the pope for a little help on his campaign. The pope didn't slap any Bush/Cheney bumperstickers on the popemobile, but he didn't make a stink about Bush's rudeness either.

But you know they've probably gone too far when the plan to turn churches into campaign headquarters even pisses off the Southern Baptists:
    The Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative denomination closely aligned with President Bush, said it was offended by the Bush-Cheney campaign's effort to use church rosters for campaign purposes.

    "I'm appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

    "The bottom line is, when a church does it, it's nonpartisan and appropriate. When a campaign does it, it's partisan and inappropriate," he said. "I suspect that this will rub a lot of pastors' fur the wrong way."
George Bush -- insulting Christians everywhere he goes.
In fact, this practice should be offensive to everyone, regardless of faith (or none), regardless of political affiliation (or none), and regardless of their specific feelings about Bush-Cheney. It's one more invasion and occupation.

Happy Anniversary to Sadly No

The terrific TBogg informs us it's the first anniversary of the blog, Sadly, No!. And early birthday greetings to TBogg himself.

That $250 Glass of Boy Scout (Sour?) Lemonade

No doubt, you'll hear this story recounted through the holiday weekend. CNN even has one of their incredibly irrelevant polls asking if you would pay $250 for lemonade to help the Scouts. Yet some of those lemons seem a tad sour to me in a way that no amount of sugar will conceal.

Until that decision about not allowing acknowledged homosexuals to be part of Boy Scouts, my opinion of Boy Scouts was almost as high as that of Girl Scouts (which has a slightly more liberal tradition, understanding that empowering young girls to make smart choices is a valuable aspect of a girls' organization). Legally, I don't believe you can force a private organization to accept members that it does not choose to accept but morally, you'd like to think the organization could do better.

Ironically, in my youth, the only case I knew of "abuse" among a Boy Scout leader was a heterosexual male with homosexual urges that he acted out with the boys he befriended. All of it was kept quite hush until the man was ushered off to the state hospital. I've never heard a similar case under acknowledged homosexual scouts or scoutmasters.

I don't see the value or "protection" in keeping gays out of Scouts, anymore than I believe in that foolish, "don't ask-don't tell" with the military. Nothing makes a gay less capable. Such measures are just done to placate the extremists who feel they can exclude gays until gays "decide" to become non-gays. This should work as well as all those old parochial school teachers who forced us left-handers to use their right hand because "left handed is bad": it introduces shame about a natural condition and sure reduces the overall human experience for no good reason.

What I knew of the Boy Scouts, through the people who ran programs at the local and chapter level, of its ideals, and practices (mostly through my brothers and friends who were involved), they themselves would probably not exclude gays... that whole "morally straight" component of the creed notwithstanding. I do wish, however, that senior management would see it differently than they do. It's cheating gays as well as the Boy Scout population as a whole.

Is Wimbledon Over?

Please, please, please?

Yeah, tennis is slightly more interesting to watch than golf but all that grunting.

Saddam Arraignment Access "Shambolic"

The UK Guardian minces few words:

The world's media descended on Baghdad this week to witness the historic court appearance of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. But for journalists covering the hearing it was an exercise in enormous frustration, with only a handful of media organisations allowed in to the court room.
Broadcasters and press alike were furious with the arrangements, which left print journalists struggling to obtain any information on the day that one of the most hated men in the world was finally brought to court.

"We were told the night before what the arrangements would be - but by the morning of the hearing they had changed completely," said a staff member of one international broadcaster. "It's been a bit of a shambles, no one had a clue what was going on."
Question? Why was the Bush Administration so concerned about what Saddam would say since they label him as a craven madman, genocidal gun nut, and all-around no-good-nik?

This is one of those cases where the Bush Administration hasn't just orchestrated what we'll see and hear here in America. They limited freedom of the press throughout the world.

Not Just Bad, Baghdad Bad


Insurgents detonated a roadside bomb at an Iraqi checkpoint south of the capital Saturday, killing seven national guard soldiers and wounding two more, in the latest attacks against forces of the new Iraqi government, U.S. officials said.

Meanwhile, west of Baghdad, a U.S. Marine died of wounds suffered the day before during operations in Anbar province, the military said. The Marine was the fourth to die this month in Anbar, a Sunni-dominated area that includes Fallujah, Ramadi and Qaim that has been a hotbed of anti-U.S. resistance.

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s new government is considering offering amnesty to Iraqi insurgents who fought the U.S.-led occupation, perhaps even pardoning those who killed Americans.

A spokesman for Allawi said fighting with U.S. troops was “justified” as resistance to occupation.

Miserable Failure a Top Search Phrase?

I'm always checking out top search engine phrases since it's a part of my work (separate from the blog), and I'm always surprised by the results.

Why "miserable failure" so long after it was a hot topic, or was there a reference to it in "Fahrenheit 911" I missed?

Bush's "New" Campaign?

You decide after you check out the storyboard at The Poor Man. It's chilling and hilarious at the same time and I'm almost afraid the Bush-Cheney folks will go with it because they'll think it's purrr-fect.

Florida Voters: Check Yourself Against the No Vote Purge List

People for the American Way bring you a way to check your name (and please, check all the possible variations of your name as well) against the list of names your governor is/has purged from the voter lists of Florida.

Don't let anyone remove your right and duty to vote in November. Jeb Bush kept too many from voting last time. Say no to Jeb this time!

Bush: Let's Censor as Much as Possible in the Name of Blessed Freedom!


U.S. news networks agreed to let the American military censor out certain images of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s court hearing Thursday in Baghdad, one in a bizarre series of events surrounding coverage of the session.

American and Iraqi officials did not want any footage shown of Iraqi guards or court personnel, and they asked broadcast and cable news nets to honor this request.

But the situation took an unexpected turn even before the hearing began, when U.S. officials ordered CNN and Al-Jazeera, the pool camera crews, to disconnect their audio equipment. Officials said it was the wish of the Iraqi judge.

Following the hearing, the CNN footage was taken to the convention center, where a CBS News employee transmitted the footage after it was viewed and okayed by two military censors.

As the silent footage of Hussein began to air on U.S. networks around 8:30 a.m. ET, CBS News anchor Dan Rather explained that the tapes had been "taken to another location, edited, and what you're seeing is in effect a censored version" of what happened in court earlier today.

"And whether you will hear what happened in court is yet to be determined. We know that Saddam Hussein challenged the whole legitimacy of the court," Rather said.


Michael Moore's Next Project

A reader points us to this story in The (UK) Guardian regarding Moore's plan to tackle the lovely, straightforward, almost makes you proud to be sick American health care system:

Michael Moore, whose controversial awarding-winning attack on the Bush regime, Fahrenheit 9/11, opens in Britain on 9 July, has revealed that he is to turn his camera on healthcare in the United States.
The director and author will attempt to save as many lives as he can by simply intervening with his camera crew during the course of 90 minutes of filming. He hopes to embarrass health insurance companies and hospitals into continuing to care for patients with no cover - highlighting holes in the American system.

It will be a deliberate reversal of Moore's decision to stay largely off screen in Fahrenheit 9/11 , the documentary in which he shows illicitly obtained footage of Bush off guard in the White House and of disillusioned soldiers in Iraq.

Chilling; Illuminating: Kim Sun-Il

David at In Search of Utopia (good blog if you haven't yet checked it out) points us to this post about beheaded South Korean translator Kim Sun-Il at Bear Left on Unnamed Road:

They pithed him like a steer. But first Kim Sun-Il's Al Qaeda captors bound and blindfolded him, taunted and threatened him in a language he could not understand with a malice that needed no translation.

They wanted him to suffer. More than that, they wanted the world to suffer, to watch in helpless outrage his pleas for improbable mercy taped in the waning hours of a pitiful prison existence.

Yet the tape of his torment demonstrated something Kim Sun-Il's captors did not appreciate; something that free peoples understand and that despots invariably ignore: the value of an individual life.

It showed that you can kill a man or rob him of his freedom but that your power over his flesh won't erase his thirst for liberty.
It showed that the sacrifice of one man for the "crimes" of a state cannot purify disdain for his personal culpability. It showed that democracy enshrines the rights of individuals, while demagoguery eschews them.

It showed that even at knifepoint, at the end of his days, a man clings passionately to the conviction that his own life matters. It showed that you can move a man to tears; likewise, a nation but that tears shed for tyranny can water the budding seeds of nascent democracy. All this the world saw in Kim Sun-Il's plight—and more.
I concur with David: it's a powerful piece of writing, almost as powerful as the images and words of Kim himself. He still haunts my dreams and quiet moments. And he reminds me that in this War on Terror, there are many Kims we don't know about, on all sides.

UN Observers for Election 2004?

Hey, don't laugh. I think Florida could stand all the watching it could get.

Chris in Paris at AmericaBlog talks about it.

Don Evans, Spinning Fast

Happened to catch the prez's buddy Don Evans, often considered somewhat responsible for mishandling our economy during his few years in the Bush cabinet, the man who argued you could put a price on any body from 9/1, on "Hardball" tonight arguing about how just gosh-awful wonderful the economy is under Bush, even if not everybody's smart enough to realize it yet.

Well, considering the $500 suit Evans was wearing - with requisite flag pin - tonight, I have no doubt that the Bush economy has been kind to him. He would be one of the fat cats who got the big tax breaks. But I seem to know an awful lot of people working more than one job for less than one job used to pay them. Foreclosures and bankrupties are at an all-time high. I work extremely long work weeks, for example, and I'm struggling to meet basic expenses just because a) companies are very slow to pay and b) they cancel projects on a whim citing the difficult economy.

Bill Cosby Talks Tough Again

There's renewed praise and furor over Dr. Cosby's most recent words which are seen as tough love for the black community by some and foul by others.

As a white person who has no idea what it's like to raise her children in the arduous enclave of Chicago or New York apartment projects where the jail rate may be higher than the graduation rate, I feel pretty uncomfortable with the topic.

Yet I have been a poor young person raising a younger brother in rural America while working three part-time jobs and trying to finish college, and I know my values weren't always on straight. Sometimes, you find yourself trying to buy salve for the kid's wounds and feel like you're trying to fight the system - even when the system happens to be right - just because you're so used to the system being wrong that the fight becomes as natural as breathing.

Our Email Should Not Be Treated Like an Open Book

The New York Times offers a potent editorial today that I wish more people in charge would take to heart:

When you click on "send" to deliver that e-mail note to your lover, mother or boss, you realize that you are not communicating directly with that person. As you well know, you have stored the e-mail on the computer of your Internet service provider, which, as you also know, may read, copy and use the note for its own purposes before sending it on.

What, you didn't know all this? Sounds ludicrous? We would have thought so, too, but a federal appeals court recently ruled that companies providing e-mail services could read clients' e-mail notes and use them as they wish. Part of its rationale was that none of this would shock you because you have never expected much online privacy.

Count us among the shocked. The decision, on a 2-to-1 vote by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Massachusetts, sets up a frightening precedent, one that must be reversed by the courts, if not the Congress. It's true that people are aware of some limits on online privacy, particularly in the workplace. But the notion that a company like America Online, essentially a common carrier, has the right to read private e-mail is ludicrous.

"Moore's Public Service"

I heartily agree with Paul Krugman's column today:

Since it opened, "Fahrenheit 9/11" has been a hit in both blue and red America, even at theaters close to military bases. Last Saturday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took his Nascar crew to see it. The film's appeal to working-class Americans, who are the true victims of George Bush's policies, should give pause to its critics, especially the nervous liberals rushing to disassociate themselves from Michael Moore.

There has been much tut-tutting by pundits who complain that the movie, though it has yet to be caught in any major factual errors, uses association and innuendo to create false impressions. Many of these same pundits consider it bad form to make a big fuss about the Bush administration's use of association and innuendo to link the Iraq war to 9/11. Why hold a self-proclaimed polemicist to a higher standard than you hold the president of the United States?

And for all its flaws, "Fahrenheit 9/11" performs an essential service. It would be a better movie if it didn't promote a few unproven conspiracy theories, but those theories aren't the reason why millions of people who aren't die-hard Bush-haters are flocking to see it. These people see the film to learn true stories they should have heard elsewhere, but didn't. Mr. Moore may not be considered respectable, but his film is a hit because the respectable media haven't been doing their job.

For example, audiences are shocked by the now-famous seven minutes, when George Bush knew the nation was under attack but continued reading "My Pet Goat" with a group of children. Nobody had told them that the tales of Mr. Bush's decisiveness and bravery on that day were pure fiction.

Lots of Great Tributes to Marlon Brando

Definitely a man who lived life his own way, by his own definitions.

Reader squawker notes Skippy's write up here. Share in Comments, as you like, others the seem apropos.

Colin Powell Does Village People?

He sure did, performing on stage in coveralls and a toolbelt as he belted out "YMCA" at the end of the tense Asian summit.

This is the same man, yes, who quibbled about the term genocide and terror as it relates to the horrific situation in Sudan? The same man who in February 2003 lied to the UN Security Council to try to get them to join us in the war on Iraq?

I'm strangely not amused. But it's difficult to have someone you once respected so much become such a pawn and a fool before your very eyes.

Harassment the Old Fashioned Way

Oliver Willis tells us that the fruitcake group, "Focus on the Family" has released Michael Moore's home address to all of its activists.

Now Jesus Will Consider Bush-Cheney Even Bigger Jerks

Via Talking Points Memo, we're pointed toward the Washington Post, who points us toward a Bush-Cheney campaign publication, with tidbits like this:

    Send your entire Church Directory to State Bush-Cheney 04 Headquarters.
This is HEINOUS, despicable, and truly cutting new and dangerous ground.

Chalabi on Cover of "The Progressive Populist"

If you can get access to the most recent copy (which just arrived here as a sample), do so. The Rudyard Kipling alone is worth it, but there is more.

FBI Urges "Vigilance" This July 4th

[Ed note: Does this mean that if we see Mr. Ashcroft trying to limit freedom somewhere, we should call and report him? Where should we call anyway?]

From CNN/AP:

A constant stream of intelligence indicating that al Qaeda wants to strike the United States this summer or fall has led federal officials to urge increased vigilance during the Independence Day weekend, but there is no specific threat of an attack timed to the holiday.

In a bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies nationwide Thursday, the FBI said police should step up patrols and watch for signs of terrorist activity, including surveillance of potential targets. The FBI also listed advice on how to spot possible suicide bombers.
Unless they've recruited moose and mosquitoes as suicide bombers, I'm going to assume I'm fairly safe this weekend.

In any event, this is meant solely to a) cover their ass and b) keep you nervous and thinking about voting Republican. Fear's a powerful thing, and these blokes have overplayed it every second since 9/11.

Is the Economy Improving?

While the Bush folks would like you to think the country is rejoicing, that's NOT what many of us hear and experience.

In fact, a CNN poll today asking this question is split right down the middle. Me? I'm amazed that 50% could believe it is improving.

Still No Word on Captive Marine

See above, except that the military is still putting out information on how he may have deserted. This infuriates me. Until they can prove something, they should not be denegrating the reputation of this man. Meanwhile, it would be nice if they tried to find him in case his captors actually do behead him.

From Reuters: Zimbabwe Axe Attack

Axe-wielding assailants have tried to kill Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Friday but he was unhurt, his spokesman said.

Tsvangirai, awaiting a verdict after standing trial on charges he plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe, was addressing a provincial assembly east of Harare Friday when the attackers arrived in a convoy of eight vehicles.

Those Bomb Blasts are the Sound of Freedom


Baghdad hotels are getting buffetted by various incendiary devices. This after a mortar problem yesterday injured nearly a dozen troops.

However Will They Spin the Bad Jobs Report?

The jobs' report is actually good news because people really want time off to enjoy summer pursuits.

Well, it's not like these people were going to be able to pay for their gas driving 40 miles back and forth to their jobs at Wal-Mart and Mickey D's anyway.

Our president, in its magnificence, decided to make this a bad month so we could that much more appreciate slighlty less crappy jobs' outlooks coming out closer to the election.

It's not OUR fault if people don't want to work and feed their families and pay their mortgages.

"George Tenet and the CIA are responsible for this!"

That Whole No Posting Thing Last Night

A few folks were intrepid enough to send Email asking why there was this parcity of posts last night and earlier today. All I can say is that you can pick from any of these excuses, whichever toots your flute:

    * She was busy writing "real" stuff
    * She was having mad, passionate sex and forgot what a blog was
    * She actually left her office (ooooomygod really?)
    * A bad electrical storm took her off line
    * She was contemplating her navel
And all I will say is that some parts of all of these are true. So there.

[Ed. note: I've found that mystery works better than truth. Unfortunately, so too does the Bush Administration.]

Paula Jones Gets Erected

From Wonkette via ABC:

Paula Jones mangles the VRWC, but somehow gets closer to the truth:

    "I agree that I was a small little entity in this big vast whatever-you-want-to-call-it that got erected."
You'd think she'd at least be able to remember some kind of "distinguishing characteristic."

Douglass on "Day of Independence"

"Democracy Now" had the 1852 Independence Day speech by Frederick C. Douglass playing today in which he wonders aloud why he was asked to speak when so many non-whites (then both blacks and Native Americans) are disenfranchised from the notion of freedom and liberty.

The words still sting today, not just because of non-whites, but for the many of us who have been disenfranchised under the last four years of "fat rich corporate rights rule". It stings when you realize that media ownership in this country is just 5% minority, even though Latinos are becoming the majority in many parts of the land. It stings when you realize how few Native Americans are left and in what desperate conditions they tend to live (I, too, am part Native American).

Marlon Brando, Dead at 80

[Ed note: See? We no more than vaguely mention anal sex and Marlon "Last Tango in Paris" Brando dies.]



A Hinky Aspect to Saddam Hussein's Trial

The head of the trial system for Saddam is Salam Chalabi, nephew of discredited Iraqi National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi. Salam is also connected business wise - in terms of contracts given out in Iraq - to Doug Feith, part of the Pentagon, but involved with a business that procures lucrative biz contracts in Iraq.

Some serious messy conflicts of interest? You betcha!

Saddam's Day in Court

Catch any of the two or more hours Saddam spent in court today?

I found it fascinating, although I sure wish I could understand the language because I feel less confident about translation these days.

One of the standout things I heard him say today was that the proceedings were all a stage play to help George Bush get re-elected (sadly, more than just partially true) and that nobody really wants the truth because he has secrets that people would not like to hear. The latter is perfectly true. Saddam could - were he a truthful man and I don't know tha the is - tell us a great deal about the unholy alliance between the US and Iraq (Reagan and earlier, when Saddam was our financially supported fried, during the same time he was committing some of the atrocities we now want him to pay for; these atrocities known to the US at the time.

Dem VP Candidate to Be Named Tuesday?

That's the word out tonight. That all the contenders - save for Bill Richardson who dropped out of consideration today - have been told to prepare to, if chosen, join Kerry on a bus trip on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Meanwhile, as to Matt Drudge's big scoop that Hillary Clinton will be the VP choice, well... consider the source.

Judge Says Media Can See Florida Voter Lists

This is good, but it's not enough unless the media does its job and really checks these lists out against the people and the histories. That, admittedly, will be a heluva job to accomplish and report accurately before November. Sure, computers help, but a lot of this will come down to phone calls, shoe leather, and lots and lots of cross checking.

I would actually love it if accurate results showed that Jeb Bush is not guilty of what many of us thought he was: purging the rolls of people with any flimsy technical connection to a criminal's name with the look at removing people who won't vote Republican. I'm still idealist enough to think that such a move would be heyond the basic ethics of anyone.

But I expect to be very sad about the correct results.

Would You Prefer Death by Hanging, by Poison, by Gun, or by Guillotine?

The operative word here, I guess, is death.

In a CNN poll, about 60% of respondents favor Saddam Hussein's execution even before he goes on trial, with about 38% saying life in prison,and 2% accepting exile.

I couldn't help but wonder if these people, before pressing the button to vote, ever considered that it is hardly our place to decide Saddam's outcome.

Bush Lied, Country Headed in Wrong Direction, But Hey, Bush Still Has Their Vote

From MSNBC intro page:

NBC/WSJ poll: Many Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction and Bush misled them on the Iraq war, but the president is still locked in a statistical dead heat with Democrat John Kerry.

All Those New Bush-Created Jobs? They Pay Lousy

From USA Today:

Jobs in lower-wage industries and regions are growing at a faster pace than higher-wage jobs, suggesting job growth is less potent for the economy because the majority of new work isn't accompanied by fat paychecks.

General: "Not Enough Hate" for Iraqi Civil War to Breakout

Gee, I guess we just have to hope he's right, eh?

Dean: Bush Waging War on Science

From Dr. Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont:

The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the

science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored.

Egregious examples abound. Over-the-counter morning-after contraceptive sales are banned, despite the recommendation for approval by an independent panel of the Food and Drug Administration review board. The health risks of mercury were discounted by a White House staffer who simply crossed out the word "confirmed" from a phrase describing mercury as a "confirmed public health risk." A National Cancer Institute fact sheet is doctored to suggest that abortion increases breast cancer risk, even though the American Cancer Society concluded that the best study discounts that. Reports on the status of minority health and the importance of breast feeding are similarly watered down to appease right-wing ideologies.

What about global warming? After withdrawing from the Kyoto Treaty, the Bush administration distanced themselves from a climate report the Environmental Protection Agency wrote, because it affirmed the potential worldwide harm of global warming, the existence of which Bush had denied. The global warming section of the 2003 EPA Report on the environment was extensively rewritten, then dropped entirely. Fighting HIV? Bush's initiative to help fund HIV efforts in Africa was trumpeted by the press, while the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control quietly removed information on the benefits of condoms and safe sex education from domestic HIV Web sites.


Bad Santa

I know. Weird topical change, but I can't resist plugging this film to the 8 of you who haven't seen it already. The only caveat is that it will kill any interest any of you might (possibly, I'm not saying you do, not that there's anything wrong with that, unless of course you live in a red state) have in anal sex. Or maybe that's just me.

TV Hits Too Close to Home

Strange story, but I decided to actually sit and watch some TV tonight and while flipping through the channels, I happened to see one with a building I knew from childhood. Then they mention the name of my sister's husband's brother.

What a coincidence, I think. But it's not. The picture was indeed of my brother-in-law-in-law who was murdered by a friend of his because of an arson case. Suddenly, all these relatives by marriage fill the screen, plus a few other people I knew or I worked with in my relative youth.

I can't say I expected to find old home week on Court TV. Ick.

The whole story reminds me why after watching my sister's marriage, her husband, and her in-laws, I decided to stay single.

Polls Say John Edwards the Popular Dem VP Choice

I'm never sure how useful polls are and I'd certainly not like to do anything too serious merely based on poll results. But if it's true that Kerry doesn't want a co-leader or a 2nd chair, John Edwards might make a better choice than some.

Your Last Chance: Vote Keith Olbermann

I know, I know. I brought this up last week. Nor do I normally indulge such prurient interests.

But you only have 24 hours to vote for Keith Olbermann as sexiest news anchor. Faux's Sean (the demon spawn) Hannity is actually well in first place, and he looks like donkey dung with a manicure. Wait. Maybe he is donkey dung with a manicure.

In any event, you can't let Sean win. Consider it a dress rehearsal for November's election (provided Mr. Bush doesn't cancel it).

Vote Keith!!! If for no other reason, because he covers many stories these other shills for the White House do not.

(BTW, CNN's Bill Hemmer is running neck-and-neck with Andy Rooney. I love it!)

New Attack on Fallujah

Being reported on CBS:

The U.S. military launched another airstrike in Fallujah against a suspected hideout of terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man believed to be behind the beheading of Nick Berg and attacks on U.S. military.
Aren't you glad we gave them back their country so we can still kill civilians?

Hostage Marine - More Concern About Everything But the Most Serious

What is with this story? Is it more important that this soldier possibly - and only possibly, because we can't ask him - deserted than it is that he has been taken captive and being threatened with beheading?

What does this say about our concern for our own soldiers? We took him to Iraq. We need to get him back. In the meantime, stop smearing him until he's free to defend himself!

The Tough Nut of Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader's always commanded a lot of respect for me, at least in part because I met his dad several times. The senior Nader was such a phenomenally decent human being that I looked past the kind of stereotype - and too often made a joke - of Ralph that had been out there since the last 60s/early 70s.

But no, of course I am not happy that he has tossed his hat in this election when, all too often, the ugly truth is that it's far more important to get rid of George Bush and company than who replaces him (so long as, of course, it's not Cheney, Jeb, Condi, Frist, DeLay, et al). Hell, I'd vote for The Arnold over George, and The Arnold is every bit as elitist and reckless. But I'd like to think that if The Arnold decided to invade Cleveland (and I'd put little past Bush), Maria might wake up from her hormonal slumber and kick him a good one in the nuts.

I like even less that it appears that Republicans and Bushies are helping to fund Ralph. Why wouldn't they? Although Ralph says he's more likely to take votes from Mr. Bush than from Mr. Kerry, there is really no evidence to suggest that is correct.

Yet there is one point on which Mr. Nader and I fully agree: something as important as the presidency of the United States should not be left by default to just two parties, each with their own inclusions and exclusions, their own corruptions and connivances, etc. The Republicans have moved extremely far to the right, leaving an incredible number of moderate, centrist folks with very decent values behind. The Democrats rushed to the center, perhaps even to the right of center, to fill the void, but the result has been not two opposing parties, but a centrist Republican Party and all the rest.

Roger's Ailing Over "Bush Good, Liberals Bad"

Well, not "ailing", but I'm striving for creativity while napping on the keyboard.

In any event, Roger talks to us about Times' columnist Nick Kristof's latest fun, useful project:

Self-loving twit Nick "Pistof" Kristof takes a break from his round-the-world crusade to purchase child prostitutes to lecture those nasty liberals who are "polarizing the political cesspool." (Oh, for those halcyon days of the non-polarized political cesspool!)

You see, it turns out that Bush wasn't lying about weapons of mass destruction because Bob Woodward quoted Bush as saying so. Bush wouldn't lie about whether he would lie, because that would make him a liar, and he's not that.

Sure, Bush does stretch the truth and exaggerate, but those aren't lies when Bush says them. And besides, the lies were only about a war with Iraq.

And look how hard Bush tried not to lie about his use of illegal drugs.

Further, Bush says things that aren't true all the time. But he's confused, delusional and inarticulate, so those aren't lies.

And he surrounds himself with liars, and they all tell lies to each other and deceive the public. But that doesn't make him a liar.

In summary: Bush is an illegal drug-using, dimwitted, dishonest, self-deluded zealot who got us into "a mess," that is, an unnecessary war which has caused thousands of deaths. Therefore, liberals are bad.
Sometimes, I think Kristof needs to take the same medication that Thomas Friedman should be taking but isn't. I also wish Bill Keller was back writing columns and David Brooks was not, while Safire should retire and chronicle Henry Kissinger's life before somebody finally manages to arrest "Hanky Panky Henry" for war crimes. Krugman is usually quite excellent and Bob Herbert's pretty good but you get the feeling his voice gets lost in the Friedman-Safire shrillness.

(And yes, I'm leaving Maureen Dowd out of this mix purposely since I only seem to have three reactions to her columns: YAY! EXCUSE ME? or Take off your pearls and let's duel!)

MoveOn Works to Out Fox Faux News

[Ed. note: I think of them more as poisonous snakes, not fox.]

A note from MoveOn:

For years, Fox News has been distorting the facts, covering for President Bush, and bashing groups like MoveOn. Now Uncovered director Robert Greenwald -- working with a group of Fox-monitoring MoveOn members -- has put together a documentary film that exposes Fox for what it is: partisan spin, not news.

We're using this movie to launch an organizing campaign with Common Cause and other great groups to "out" Fox News -- making sure everyone in the country knows the network is stumping for the Republican agenda.

Be among the first to see this new movie, help others see it, and take on Fox by hosting an Outfoxed house party on Sunday evening, July 18th. Sign up at:


Fox News star Bill O'Reilly will stop at nothing in acting as a partisan flak for Bush. When the 9/11 Commission reported finding no evidence of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, O'Reilly lashed out at the nation's major newspapers for reporting it. In June alone, O'Reilly compared Bush critics Michael Moore and Al Franken to Nazi propagandists and journalist Bill Moyers to Mao Zedong.

Unfortunately, parroting the Republican Party message is common in Fox's regular news reporting as well. Outfoxed features interviews with seven ex-Fox News employees who describe how, every day, highly partisan talking points are drawn up to influence newscasts.

When Michael Moore was asked what surprised him most during the making of Fahrenheit 9/11, he described his discovery of archived news footage the networks had edited or not aired at all in order to protect President Bush's image. His comments highlight the media's recent failure to independently evaluate Bush's claims before the war -- and no network failed more completely than Fox.

In addition to Common Cause, our partners on this campaign include the Center for American Progress, Free Press, Media Matters for America, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

On Sunday, July 18th, we'll get together to see the compelling evidence of Fox's partisanship presented in the Outfoxed film. Then we'll all join an interactive coast-to-coast conference call with Al Franken and director Robert Greenwald, to plan out how we'll take on Fox and take back our media.
I'd consider hosting a house party, but I'd have to find my vacuum cleaner. With the Bush economy, I would also need to take out a bank loan (at a higher interest rate, thank to Mr. Greenspan) to set out appetizers and coffee.

Conservative Virgins Donate Blood for Ann Coulter's Beauty Bath

I like it! Go see it.

Who Says Dictators Don't Dance?

We bring you the dancing Saddam:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis used to dance to his tune, but in Baghdad toy shops a chubby, gun-toting Saddam Hussein doll now wiggles his hips to the "Hippy Hippy Shake."

Toy stores around Baghdad are doing a quick trade in dancing Saddam dolls -- foot-high battery-powered puppets of the former president, kitted out in full insurgent regalia, who swing their hips to cheesy pop music at the flick of a switch.

Decked out with hand-grenades, daggers, a walkie-talkie, binoculars and an AK-47, Saddam dances to the "Hippy Hippy Shake" when turned on.

"It's funny, isn't it?" said Mustapha al-Kadamy, a young father as he browsed through a toy store in the wealthy Mansoor district and prepared to buy one of the dancing Saddams.

"Tomorrow Saddam will go before an Iraqi judge and so today is a good day to make fun of him -- we need to be able to smile after all the horrible things he's done to us."

Could We Refuse a Skippy Request?

Never! (His humor keeps me sane at least a few days a week).

Hopping mad (and that's something to see in a bush kangaroo) over google bombing that seems to be pulling up only bad reviews for Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911", Skippy here suggests a plan.

So read Skippy, click here on Fahrenheit 911.

Go Skippy!

Joel Steinberg Released

If you lived anywhere near the NY metro area around 1987, you remember the case of Lisa Steinberg, Joel Steinberg, and Hedda Nusbaum. Today, Lisa would have been about 22 and Joel was released from prison:

Infamous child killer Joel Steinberg was released from prison Wednesday after nearly 17 years behind bars for the 1987 beating death of his 6-year-old adopted daughter.

The former lawyer, now 63, served two-thirds of the maximum 25-year manslaughter sentence. He has continued to deny responsibility for the girl's death.

Steinberg left the upstate prison with $104 in earnings from his inmate account and was picked up in a limousine by defense attorney Darnay Hoffmann.

Lisa Steinberg died in November 1987, three days after a vicious beating in the Greenwich Village apartment where she lived with Steinberg and his former lover, Hedda Nussbaum.
There has been much anger brewing about Steinberg's release, and Hedda has now quit her job and supposedly gone into hiding to reduce the chance she and Joel will reconnect.

I still find the girl's death so tragic and avoidable. Steinberg struck me as a very scary man.

But I'm also of a mindset that will not be too popular with some: Joel did his sentence, the one proscribed by the court and the justice system, and to society, his debt is paid. Whether his debt to Lisa can ever be paid, well, that is between his maker and Steinberg.

Bill O'Reilly's All Tantrum Zone

You know, Bill, you should really change the name of your show to "The Tantrum Zone". Oh, and btw, while we're at it, the hair dye you're using just works badly with the redness in your face when you get upset under the TV lights. In fact, it's looking so wretched that I'd swear you were about to run for Congress!

From Howie the Putz at The Post:

When he appeared on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News Channel show last week, Georgetown law professor David Cole was impressed that the hard-charging host played, as part of his opening commentary, "a balanced sound bite" from the chairman of the 9/11 commission.

Cole was less impressed when an aggravated O'Reilly stopped the taping of "The O'Reilly Factor" and killed the sound bite. And when Cole brought up the incident during his interview, he says, O'Reilly "exploded," called him an SOB and declared he would never be invited back.

O'Reilly says a left-wing academic is using a minor staff mistake to try to discredit the program. "We're trying to be fair," he says. "We're trying to give the other point of view so people can see who has the stronger argument. It's really depressing that the discourse has sunk to this level."

The heated words -- which were edited out of the program seen by viewers -- involved O'Reilly's criticism of the New York Times and its coverage of the controversy over whether there were links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

In kicking off what he called "no-spin coverage" of the issue, O'Reilly began the show by saying that "the Times and other newspapers have been under heavy fire for their misleading headlines, basically saying there was no link" between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

As Cole listened from Washington, the program played a clip of commission chairman Thomas Kean saying: "There is no evidence that we can find whatsoever that Iraq or Saddam Hussein participated in any way in attacks on the United States -- in other words, on 9/11. What we do say, however, is there were contacts between Iraq and Saddam Hussein, excuse me, al-Qaeda."

O'Reilly complained that this was the wrong sound bite. In retaping the commentary, he paraphrased one of Kean's points but not the other: "Governor Thomas Kean says definitely there was a connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. And he's the 9/11 investigative chief, but that's not enough for the Times."

"I was sort of astonished he would do it so brazenly in front of guests," says Cole, an activist attorney who has challenged the USA Patriot Act in court.

The Pharma-Bush Cheat on Seniors and Drugs

From Reuters/Yahoo:

Prices for medicines most used by older Americans rose steadily after the Bush administration enacted the new Medicare law late last year, the nation's largest group representing the elderly said on Wednesday.

AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, said brand-name drug prices have climbed 3.4 percent -- or three times the rate of inflation -- since December.

The jump was one of the sharpest quarterly spikes since 2000, the report said.
Just charming, isn't it?

Howard Stern Returns to Markets in Which He Was Axed

Is Howard still anti-Bushie?

Why is Military Questioning Issue of Captured Marine?

The Marine captured the other day and threatened with beheading has not been heard from. But I find it curious why the military is all over themselves questioning whether he went AWOL before his capture.

I'm sorry, if he walked somewhere he shouldn't have, does this invalidate our responsibility to him and make it perfectly OK if he is beheaded? What nonsense is this? Spend the time trying to find and rescue him!

William F. Buckley: Legalize Marijuana

One thing that often gets missed in the War on Drugs (besides huge issues like the drastic difference between pot and heroin) is that traditional conservatives often join the left in a) finding the war completely useless but also quite dangerous and financially disastrous and b) that marijuana especially should not be part of the fray.

Randy Barnett at the Volokh Conspiracy brings us this snippet from William F. Buckley, long-time voice of conservatism, long-time marijuana user, and long-time advocate for its legalization (Buckley is retiring from his post at National Review):

But the stodgy inertia most politicians feel is up against a creeping reality. It is that marijuana for medical relief is a movement which is attracting voters who are pretty assertive on the subject. Every state ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana has been approved, often by wide margins. Of course we have here collisions of federal and state authority. Federal authority technically supervenes state laws, but federal authority in the matter is being challenged on grounds of medical self-government. It simply isn't so that there are substitutes equally efficacious. Richard Brookhiser, the widely respected author and editor, has written on the subject for The New York Observer. He had a bout of cancer and found relief from chemotherapy only in marijuana — which he consumed, and discarded after the affliction was gone.

The court has told federal enforcers that they are not to impose their way between doctors and their patients, and one bill sitting about in Congress would even deny the use of federal funds for prosecuting medical marijuana use. Critics of reform do make a pretty plausible case when they say that whatever is said about using marijuana only for medical relief masks what the advocates are really after, which is legal marijuana for whoever wants it.

That would be different from the situation today. Today we have illegal marijuana for whoever wants it. An estimated 100 million Americans have smoked marijuana at least once, the great majority, abandoning its use after a few highs.
The entire "Free Weed" (NRO's title) can be found here.

Poor Families About to Take Two Big Chin Punches

Tom Paine explains to us why the "Temporary Assistance to Needy Families" program will be allowed to expire tomorrow. This, on top of a rise in interest rates being pushed by Greenspan and the feds, is just going to make life that much more impossible for the working poor.

Bush Has a Plan for Canceling or Rescheduling Election 2004?

On the one hand, this news item, presented by Atrios, sounds like something one would normally have to plan. But we've seen what Mr. Bush and crew are willing to do, knowing that the American people will - by and large - just go along. Thus, it's really quite frightening:

WASHINGTON -- The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.

Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by President Bush. Soaries said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in April to raise the concerns.
And who controls whether we get struck? The president and his crew of evil clowns.


Cheney Booed Roundly at Yankees Game

Poor Dick:

Cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, where he sat between New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.
I wonder if he told the crowd, "Fuck you!"

Again, thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

Hide This, Bill O'Reilly

I rarely enjoy reading anything about Bill O'Reilly. But this, courtesy of Buzzflash, was pretty good.

The Rat Drug Aphrodesiac for Women

Thank you, but I haven't progressed to the point where I need a rat drug to get horny. If anything, I probably need something to cool my jets, as it were. Cough.

However, if Mr. Bush remains president next year, I may have to rethink this position. I'll have my people call your people.

Tom Ridge, Your Slip is Showing

From CNN:

A week after Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced that U.S. seaports and ocean-going vessels were in "full compliance" with new anti-terrorism security standards, a Congressional report is casting doubts on that claim.
Here, Tom. Need a roll of duct tape?

Joseph Wilson on Letterman Tonight

Rats, I missed it. However, I got the impression Letterman had a very specific reason for having him on tonight.

If anybody sees a transcript, please give a shout with a link. Thanks.

Paula, Do Be Quiet

Paula Jones, the former Arkansas state employee whose sexual harassment suit against President Clinton helped trigger his impeachment, is challenging him to debate her publicly after he again denied harassing her in his new best-selling memoir.

"God, I and he knows what he did," Jones told CNN on Tuesday.

"Bill Clinton has a very big problem with telling the truth, and I think most of the American people know that.

"I'm not afraid of debating him because I know what happened, happened. He says it didn't happen, but it did happen," she said.

Poor Paula Jones. No one is paying her in nose jobs and breast jobs and travel, and a nanny for her dog, and big wardrobes. She's back to being poor, she was always stupid, and the last time we heard from her before this, it was to whine about how the right used poor little her. Unfortunately, her veracity was a little spotty so that didn't net her a lucrative payoff.

As a good book once wrote, "If you sell yourself as a whore, don't be surprised if you get fucked in the process."

Even if Clinton actually did what she claimed he did - and I don't believe he did - Paula got more payoff than any other woman ever has for just spending an uncomfortable moment. Oh, don't get me wrong. If Clinton exposed himself, that was wrong. But do I think that's worth what Paula - and more importantly, the right - got out of it? Hell, no. In fact, Paula's one of the reasons we weren't prepared for 9/11: the Cotton Mather crowd was there focusing all their attention on Monica and Paula and telling the rest of the country to as well.

And please, Paula. I would not challenge anyone to a debate. Remember, you always needed people to talk for you during the Clinton years. Susan Carpenter MacVillain, as I recall. Of all the women who have ever been placed in a situation like you describe, and that's a considerable number, which should form a degree of bonding, no one respects you. It was clear from the beginning that you weren't there to right a wrong done to you. You were there, on salary, to do whatever it took to get the payoff.

Even the right threw you away when they were done with you. But we could have told you that. You just wanted your money. That money is gone now, so I suspect you'd like more. I doubt, however, that John Kerry is going to get anywhere near you. You might, however, see if you can become Rush Limbaugh's new maid. I hear he pays well if you're willing to run out to the store for him.

Cheney's Potty Mouth No Concern to Bush

[Ed. note: Although neither is global warning, the national debt, or this counry's reputation.]

Also from Yahoo:

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - Vice President Dick Cheney's (Fuck you)
curse in an exchange on the Senate floor is not a concern to President Bush, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Saturday.

"These things happen from time to time," McClellan said. "It's not an issue with the president."

Schwarzenegger: "Cal-e-fo-nia, I feel your pain. I share your sacrifice. Now give me more money NOW."

News services tonight are telling us that while The Arnold sailed into Sacramento on promises of cutting spending and public statements about sharing the sacrifices of his state's residents, he's paying his personal staff record salaries.

Plus, let's not forget that he wants to reconstruct the statehouse so that the roof rolls back so he can smoke cigars. That's just such a smart use of state money.

Dear John

Posted on Yahoo:

Key lawmakers, including a Republican committee chairmen, are asking the Justice Department to explain why it released a terror suspect to Syria when several prosecutors and FBI agents had collected evidence for possible criminal charges against the man.
Sometimes, just sometimes, you feel like John Ashcroft is an agent for the other side. Osama's loose while Tommy Chong's still in jail, outing Valerie Plame is fine but disclosing anything to the Senate is ba-aa-aa-aa-dd.

Michael Berg, Father of Murdered Nicholas Berg, Again Speaks Out

More powerful words from the father of the young man, Nick Berg, who was beheaded supposedly by Iraqi insurgents following his release from American captivity in Iraq.

Have You Read AmericaBlog?

I just happened to find this site, run by John Aravosis, today, and I liked what I saw. Looks like my blogroll is going to get longer still. I need someone willing to pay me to read blogs. Or perhaps I should just sell my sexual wares at the Republican National Convention in NY in August so I can afford to spend a few months just reading.

Err... no. There isn't money enough in the world to have sex with Karl Rove, Tom DeLay or Rush Limbaugh.

23-Yr-Old Newlywed Teacher Arrested for Sex with Eighth Grade Student

Sad shades of Marybeth LeTourneau, the infinite nutcase in this department. This latest woman, an Ocala teacher, supposedly had the boy's cousin drive her SUV around while she had sex with the student.

While I can see differing points of view in many areas where others can't, I just cannot imagine even a woman (or man) so young herself seeking out a sexual relationship with a child. Yes, there seem to be confused kids who seem so desperate for attention that they seem to accept any attention, but I cannot grok any adult acting upon it.

Now, I'm not a disinterested party here. As a child, one who developed early, I got some very unwanted attention in this regard. The first time it happened, I was mad. But when it became more than once and more than one male adult, I did what many kids do: decide that there was something wrong with me that would draw such behavior.

Yet, of course, the problem wasn't with me just as it is not the fault of other children in this situation. Adults have the ability to make choices that children do not. There is no excuse for acting upon such urges.

But we don't handle this issue well. We villify anyone charged with it but our treatment for such behavior, such as it exists, is still in its barbaric infancy (aversion therapy, castration, etc.). Many just want to lock such people up and throw away the key. This does not seem correct. Nor does those who choose to try to kill the assailant even before he or she is found guilty in a court of law.

And we do truly dumb things like wink when the male is the older aggressor and the young woman is close but not at the age of consent but freak when it's a woman. Both, however, are equally wrong. We also have some people who won't listen to children's reporting at all, while others see and hear "adult sexual abuse" and "Satanism" everywhere, getting children to create stories.

That's the really sad part. There is no good news here. The children will be forever changed because of what happened. The perpetrator is almost guaranteed not to get what he or she needs to learn to control the behavior. The public never feels like justice is done. And because there is so much false reporting, ir can be very hard to determine what is true.

Fahrenheit 911 a Hit in Red States.... Hmmm

From The Times:

LOS ANGELES, June 27 — Michael Moore's anti-Bush "Fahrenheit 9/11" became the highest-grossing feature-length documentary of all time on its first weekend in release, taking in $21.8 million as it packed theaters across the country this weekend.

The movie, mocking President Bush and criticizing his decision to go to war in Iraq, was No. 1 at the box office, beating out the popular comedies "White Chicks" and "DodgeBall," which were playing on almost triple the number of screens...

"The biggest news to me this morning is this is a red-state movie," he [Moore] said, referring to the state whose residents voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. "Republican states are embracing the movie, and it's sold out in Republican strongholds all over the country."

Harvey Weinstein said: "It's beyond anybody's expectations. I'd have to say the sky's the limit on this movie. Who knows what territory we're in."
Did you see that Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the race driver, took some heat for announcing at some big racing event this weekend that everyone should see it? I was surprised and pleased. It's hard to speak out to a group that perhaps is less inclined to look deeper into the war and beyond.

"Hookers for Hastert!" and "Raunchy Sex for Rove", "Dommes for DeLay" and "Fellatiators for Frist", Plus "Bush for... well..Bush!"

Looks like wholesome, perfect family values are on tap for the Republicans again at the convention in New York (hope someone remembered to invite Jack Ryan!):

With thousands of Republicans set to invade the city this summer, high-priced escorts and strippers are preparing for one grand old party.
Agencies are flying in extra call girls from around the globe to meet the expected demand during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 gathering at Madison Square Garden.

"We have girls from London, Seattle, California, all coming in for that week," said a madam at a Manhattan escort service. "It's the week everyone wants to work."

"It's going to be big," agreed one operator at a midtown escort service.

Charging from $300 to upwards of $1,000 for an hour of companionship and a whole lot more, escorts said they can always count on conventioneers for big business.

"It doesn't matter what party you come from," said Robyn Few, a $500-an-hour California call girl who now runs Sex Workers Outreach Project, an advocacy group. "When you want to buy sex, you will."

That's the hope among escort services expecting a windfall from randy Republicans.
Wait! What lefty, liberal rag would say anything like this? Why, the New York Daily News! [Ed. note: Fellatiators?]

Why is Everyone So Scared About Fahrenheit 911?

They have police in the lobbies or taking tickets at several of the theatres who braved the tirade of the right trying to stop the showing of the movie. I'm sorry. That's just intimidating. I have read no cases of situations where violence or problems occurred that people were needed. And Moore's film is showing in a fraction of the number of theaters that are showing films like "White Chicks".

Different groups are trying to prevent Moore from advertising.

One group today wants to close down the movie throughout the country because a few theaters are letting kids under 17 in (when they were allowing this for the Passion, it was fine).

Now we learn the Motion Picture Association of America cut the main line of a review blurb for Fahrenheit 911 because it said "everyone" in the sentence would invite kids to see the film. Then they refused to review their decision.

Besides the fact that all this terrible behavior has probably only served to drive up ticket sales to Moore's movie, it's just wrong If, as so many say, this is just a propaganda film with no truth, why would anyone be afraid to let others see it? Hell, some have even argued that Moore made up that stuff about Bush continuing to sit in the classroom on 9/11 after planes hit the WTC. What? That's taken right from a teacher's video. I saw it on the Web more than a year ago, possibly even before I heard Moore had this film coming out.

Brave Mother Wants Her Son's Casket Shown

From CNN:<

The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq invited news coverage of the arrival of her son's flag-draped casket at Sacramento International Airport.

Nearly a dozen reporters, photographers and television crews were present when the coffin of Army Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, 34, was transferred to a hearse outside a cargo terminal late Sunday.

The scene was in stark contrast with Pentagon policy banning photographs of the coffins of dead military personnel while they are on military facilities.

McCaffrey "did not die for nothing. ... The way he lived needs to be talked about. Patrick was not a fighter, he was a peacemaker," his mother, Nadia McCaffrey, told the Los Angeles Times.

"I wanted his body to be coming home, so I just decided to do it this way. It just happened," she added Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

While she said the invitation to the media wasn't a political protest, she planned to continue speaking out against the war.
My heart and best wishes go out to the McCaffrey family. And no, your son did not die in vain. Not every soldier is a warrior. In fact, a seasoned soldier once told me the best soldiers make peace because they know in their soul what war means in a way the rest of us cannot.

Karzai Begs NATO to Send Troops to Afghanistan Now

Can you blame him? Afghanistan is in such terrible shape, probably several orders of magnitude worse than when we first entered it in October 2001, that it almost makes Iraq look like a vacation resort by comparison. We've done a terrible thing in Afghanistan, and more than once.

There is widespread bloodshed already, well in advance of the planned September elections there. Just having a voter registration card is like holding your own death warrant.

I just hope Jeb Bush isn't taking notes about how to keep unwanted voters out of the booths in November. Smirk.

Three Marines Killed; Thousands of Retired Military to Be Forcibly Recalled

As more soldiers die in Iraq (3 just in the last few hours), Rumsfeld and Bush are charging forward with their back-door draft, noting today that the Army is going to forcibly recall thousands of retired, discharged Army personnel who thought they had finished their work.

BTW, if they need someone who did not complete his service, George W. Bush can be reached at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House phone number is in the book, too. Let him do something more than make silly speeches, stump for money for himself, and play golf.

The Official Note

From Wonkette
OK, who knew George could spell "freedom" or "reign"? I want a handwriting analysis to be sure Cheney didn't write it.

Deadly Sierra Leone Crash


24 die as U.N. helicopter crashes in Sierra Leone -
A U.N. helicopter crashed in Sierra Leone on Tuesday, killing 24 peacekeepers, aid workers and other civilians on board, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

What is the President Doing to Mrs.President

From Wonkette

Wonkette asks:

Could Laura look any more like an animatronic replica? From this pic, it seems less like Bush was going for a kiss than a full restart. Or is he just trying to hold her head on? We await further accounts.
BTW, has anyone noticed that ad where Bush is sitting there with Laura off to his side, and they've done something to enhance the blueness of her eyes?

Everyone I know - including Republicans and Laura fans - has responded that it comes off as totally creepy. It reminds me of something out of "Boys from Brazil".

Kerrry Gives Us a Bushism: We Can Give Our Kids a First Grade Education

While I'm sure he meant "first class" in his speech today, it sounded briefly like John Kerry was endorsing something George W. Bush could agree with ("Yeah, give those little buggers the first grade free then let 'em get a job with Halliburton and contribute to the tax system so my friends can get more money back!")

Color Me Surprised

Atrios points us to this snippet:

"I would not have voted for [President Bush's] tax cut, based on what I know. . . . There is no doubt that the people at the top who need a tax break the least will get the most benefit. . . . Too often presidents do things that don't end up helping the people they should be helping, and their staffs won't tell them their actions stink on ice."

-- Former senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), in a recent interview with Business North Carolina magazine.

No Word on Captured Marine or Pakistani Driver

With relief about the release of the Turkish hostages comes increasing concern about the fate of the captured marine and the Halliburton driver. The marine was targeted for execution, perhaps beheading, as early as tomorrow.

Is that why Saddam is going to court tomorrow, along with some of his henchmen? I don't know. We would not give up Saddam to rescue this Marine's life.

3 Turks Released; Saddam to Pass to Iraqis Tomorrow

I'm glad to hear about the Turks being released. I'm surprised, however, about Saddam. While there was some question whether it was legal for us to hold him once we ceremonially released control of Iraq, I never expected that to stop the US. We'll have to see what this ultimately means.

"The Iraqi People Have Their Country Back"

That's what President Bush said today.

OK, but the Iraqis don't have:

    * the ability to toss us out
    * the authority to stop combat operations conducted by us
    * control over all the prisoners detained during the war
    * the ability to control their own money
    * any influence over a HUGE staff under the control of new ambassador John ("We showed those Hondurans!") Negroponte who will operate very much in the capacity L. Paul Bremer
    * the infrastructure we destroyed restored
    * management of their own greatest natural resource (crude oil)
    * a free press (although the US is straining in that department itself these days)
    * the level of equality for women there that was enjoyed during Saddam's reign
    * the ability to prosecute any contractors for misdeeds (one of the papers signed today keeps contractors exempt from all the laws of the country)
I could go on and on. But the hour is late, I am moody, and I have to fight with both the IRS and Blue Cross later today. ;)

The Shadow Behind the Proposed Fed Interest Rate Hike

Sandwichman, pitching in while Max is otherwise occupado, got my attention:

In his Salon column today, Jamie Galbraith questions the conventional wisdom about the Federal Reserve rate increase widely expected this week. As Galbraith reminds us, the mechanism by means of which an interest rate increase is supposed to control inflation is rather crude and not particularly relevant to the sources of the current inflationary uptick:
    Most who comment on this topic treat rising interest rates as a necessary, inevitable, irresistible reaction to rising prices. The motivation and the mechanism are beyond the scope of an intelligent question. And so the press does not ever ask what the exact link from rising interest rates to inflation control might be.

    For members of the Federal Reserve, which meets in private, there is no similar excuse. They know. They know that the only reason to raise interest rates is to slow down the economic growth rate and so to increase unemployment. Their theory -- the only theory they've got -- holds that rising inflation is a consequence of labor markets that are too tight, of unemployment rates that are too low, of wages rising faster than prices and rising real wages squeezing real profits.

    But wait. We know this is not the case...


Turkey and EU Membership

Daniel Geffen - who runs the Bonassus blog - left a comment in response to my posting about Chirac being a bit huffy about our president telling them to take Turkey.

My post was actually meant to reflect my relative amusement at the situation. Bush has made something of a habit of telling others what to do, although he certainly doesn't have the market cornered on that score.

But Daniel makes a good point that it may be very right for Turkey to be included in the EU (check out the link above or here to read more by him on this matter).

I don't find it an easy "yes" or "no" answer, I'm afraid, but I do see some value in it on a few different levels. I think a powerful EU can provide some balance to our increasingly imperialistic little selves and I believe Turkey, a marginalized nation in many eyes for a very long time, may progress farther and faster for its inclusion.

If you just focus on the issue of Turkey itself, this is also not an easy yes or no. At least, not for me. Turkey has become perhaps increasingly relevant on the world stage, and I was impressed by some of its behavior during the leadup and early period during the Iraq War (II). There are issues that disturb me about Turkey, too, although I don't feel fluent enough in the specific politics to lay them out intelligently.

Some of my hedging here is not even about Turkey itself, but a bit of discomfort with the idea of the EU. The older I get and the more I read, the less convinced I am that governments, corporations, and quasi-corporate multi-governmental organizations are good for living things. Insert weary grin here.

Finally, as for Daniel's comment about Chirac possibly not making these comments for all the right reasons, I suspect he's right.

Meanwhile, in Downtown Baghdad

Letterman had some great notes on today's festivities:

    * 12 PM - The entire new government of Iraq goes on the Halliburton payroll

    * 3 PM - Sec. of State Donald Rumsfeld delivers plans to the president detailing the invasion and takeover of the new country of Iraq

Mr. Cheney's Little Temper Tantrum

Josh Marshall has some good points on the whole Cheney tantrum last week:

Consider for a moment. Who is Dick Cheney? What do we know of him? None of us like being questioned or critized. But in him the disinclination runs particularly deep. He prefers to act in secrecy and is a man to whom government transparency has all the allure that a shaft of sunlight has to a vampire. When challenged, violence seems always to be his preferred method of response, that of first resort --- often a literal sort on the world stage, but with bureaucratic (viz. Plame) and what we might call verbal violence at home. By verbal violence I mean specifically tough talk and threats meant to frighten people away from challenging him further, to knock them on their heels. Even this new case -- saying Leahy et al. had it coming -- is but another example. When that doesn't work, he gets sloppy.
Josh also points us to the Joe Klein column in "Time":
("Plenty More to Swear About: Bush's security team faces a barrage of criticism as the facts about Iraq come to light"). As Klein writes, last week's "assorted temper tantrums appeared to be a leading indicator of a gathering summer storm confronting this presidency."

Uh oh! We're Back to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast Again

Can you imagine the European Union (of which I don't think the US is a part) actually had a problem with George Bush telling them whom to admit to its membership? I'm sure Mr. Bush couldn't.

French President Jacques Chirac has taken U.S. President George W. Bush to task over his call for Turkey's admission to the European Union.

"If President Bush really said that in the way that I read, then not only did he go too far, but he went into territory that isn't his," Chirac said of a remark Bush made over the weekend.

"It is is not his purpose and his goal to give any advice to the EU, and in this area it was a bit as if I were to tell Americans how they should handle their relationship with Mexico."

Captured Marine Could Be Executed on Wednesday

That's what is being reported, with the condition being that all Iraqi prisoners (whether that includes Saddam has not been mentioned) be released. Remember that Muslims have taken the highest death toll among insurgents.

In sad other news, there is a video of someone being reportedly shot in the head and body that is said to be a 20-yr-old soldier missing since April. Military says the video is of too poor quality to identify the slain man.

More Die Each Minute - Tell the Prez to Take a Stand on Sudan

From Elijah E. Cummings, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus:

Dear Democrat [Ed. note: I am not a Democrat and don't let that stop you],

I am sending you this urgent message because a shocking but sadly familiar tragedy is unfolding in Africa, this time in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The United States and the international community must act now before even more innocents are slaughtered!

I ask you to stand with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Congressional Black Caucus and thousands of other Americans in calling for a stop to the tragic genocide in Sudan.


The government in Khartoum, Sudan has actively abetted and supported the Janjaweed militia in its scorched earth policy of systematically torturing, raping, and killing thousands of innocent civilians based solely on their identity.

As many as 30,000 civilians may have been murdered and more than 1 million people have been driven off their land into unprotected camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad. The humanitarian crises caused by the fighting could produce an additional 350,000 deaths in the next nine months.

The Committee on Conscience of our own Holocaust Memorial Museum has issued a genocide warning for Darfur and several other respected human rights organizations have called this an unfolding genocide.

Click here to sign our petition calling on President Bush to take immediate action on the genocide occurring in the Sudan.

We ask President Bush to immediately take the following actions:

(1) Declare that the atrocities unfolding in Darfur, Sudan are genocide

(2) Lead an international effort to prevent further civilian deaths in Darfur;

(3) Urge the United Nations Security Council to immediately pass a resolution authorizing a peacekeeping force to facilitate emergency humanitarian assistance; and,

(4) Impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and the freezing of assets of those in the Sudanese government, affiliated businesses, and individuals directly responsible for the atrocities in Darfur, Sudan.

A genocide in the making demands the immediate attention of our government, the United Nations, and others in the international community.

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


Then, help us to stop the genocide by forwarding this email on to five other friends or co-workers.

We must act now while there is time to stop further slaughter, or our country will look back on the lives lost in Darfur with the regret and shame that we felt for failing to act in Rwanda in 1994.

How many times have we heard the public outcry: "Why didn’t we stop the killings?" This is a crisis. This is an emergency. We must act now to stop the slaughter of thousands of innocent people!

Thank you

People Whose 15 Minutes of Fame Really Expired Years Ago

Please, please go away:
* Absolutely, positively all of the Osbornes
* Jessica ("Is it true that peroxide can leak through to the brain?" Simpering Simpson
* Billy ("I'm just as arrogant, egotistical and no-talent as my cousin") Bush
* The Olsen Twins (proving two is rarely smarter than one)
* Jack ("We have to keep marriage from gays so good, clean, moral, Christian, ultra pious heterosexuals can enjoy kinky sex clubs all by themselves. What do you mean I'm a hypocrite?") Ryan
* Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (even combining the two, they still don't equal one person)
* Katherine ("They really, really, really hate me! Really.") Harris
* Simon Cowell (if I want people to abuse my intelligence and integrity, I'll call the White House... and what the hell does Simon do in real life besides criticize others?)
* Jennifer ("My ass defies both gravity and the work of two dozen plastic surgeons.") Lo-lo-lopez
* Bill ("Here kitty, kitty") Frist and Tom ("I'm the deep burrowing who escaped my own extermination services") DeLay
* Amber ("Hey, I only have babies with married men and I worked as a masseuse even though I can't spell the word but how can you think I'm a slut?") Frey
* David ("I invented that whole 'axis of evil' thing. Is that cool or what?") Frum
* Oliver ("I'm still milking the flag and the uniform for all they're worth" North
* Paris ("What's an IQ?") Hilton
* Lance Armstrong (He's riding a freaking bicycle for chrissake - he isn't a hero for mankind)
* Tiger Wolf (See Lance Armstrong but insert a tiny little expensive ball)
* The people who decided good TV was do non-stop interviews with OJ to rehash the 10th anniversary of the murders

People you just wish would get successful therapy and then stay out of your face:
* Courtney Love (who's quite a decent actress but wow, what a mess!)
* Prince
* Madonna
* Oprah (I'd rather have electroshock therapy while taking a bath with slime eels than watch an hour of her show)

People you wish would get successful therapy, stay out of your face, and perhaps do prison time:
* George and Dick
* Richard Perle and William Bennett
* Michael Jackson
* Tom DeLay (I know. I listed him twice. It's my list. I can do what I want.)

"Do You Really Want to Remove George W. Bush?"

Skippy shares - from a friend - an excellent way to start off the week.

Four Big Explosions in Iraq

At least one - perhaps the largest - in the area where the CPA was operating.

Guantanamo Bay and the Courts

I found the rulings today - that our detaining people the way we are is OK because Congress said it was and that such detainees should have access to assistance through our courts - a bit hard to comprehend.

Does this mean Congress could rescind the detention standards? I've yet to hear of any real potent terrorist housed this way. And who decides how these folks get access to our courts? Under Bush and Company, they aren't even allowed access to their lawyers.

Look at the Constitution. Look at the early papers offering the framework for our country. What's being done with detention is in clear violation of the spirit and the written rules laid out by our founders.

Oh, and spare me the "hey, the Constitution isn't a suicide pact" nonsense. That's exactly what it is, too: nonsense.

Whistling "Twilight Zone" Theme

Apparently I'm the only one for whom this strange early hand over of power (and power is such a relative term) in Iraq seems a bit like a Pinter play. Bush and Blair are winking at one another. Bremer's on the plane out of Iraq before the ink on the paperwork is dry. The media is making it sound like everything's cool.

Sure, I'd love it if the level of bloodshed and chaos dropped significantly. But we really can't forget that this transition is a good cute guise for our continued presence, our continued military action, and our government making it clear (well, not so clear - ask Bush, Rice, Powell, or Rumsfeld 3 times in any given day and get 3 diferent responses) that if the "sovereign" government of Iraq asks us to leave, we won't.

I don't see what's changed. Iraqis are still in grave danger and their infrastructure is terrible. Our troops and support personal - both American and rest of the coalition - are in grave danger, and terribly overworked. No fairy waved a magic wand here.