Why Not Put Protestors on the Moon?

That's how extreme "security measures" are getting as it relates to anyone trying to protest anything. Mr. Bush's people, for example, routinely remove anyone who so much as says anything unflattering or wears an "anti-Bush" t-shirt, even if the t-shirt contains no profanity.

I'm not actually certain Mr. Bush has ever seen a protestor. Since his information only comes through Condi and Karl and Card, he may really believe everyone loves him.

But it's not just Bush. He's just the most extreme example. We use "security measures" as a way of making certain that no one with a dissenting opinion gets anywhere near a corporation, a politician, or a military base. The only exception to this, of course, are so-called abortion clinics (most do far more than perform abortions - they provide vital GYN health care) where protestors can bedevil anyone and everyone.

Hell, I could get closer to protesting the GOP convention sitting in my office 50 miles south of the Canadian border than I could if I went to New York. Same is true for the Dems in Boston.

Personally, I think "security measures" are being used as a really trendy excuse for keeping the people away from the process.

Can Iraq Turn Into as Much of a Mess as Afghanistan?

The Bush "stragedy" continues.

From CNN:

Insurgents struck targets around Baghdad today, killing two Iraqi police officers at a checkpoint in the west of the city. In separate attacks, the chief of an Iraqi construction firm was kidnapped, an oil pipeline was sabotaged and a two-car convoy carrying a government official was attacked, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
And that's just today!

Exactly What Those Suddenly Found Bush Military Records Show

Paint this one anyway you like and it still looks extremely bad.

Corrente points us to the AWOLProject.

Will people care? I dunno. You have to research the matter and you have to compare Lt. Bush's treatment against other people in the service at the time (those that would have been on the express plane to 'nam for such behavior).

But you know what? While I don't like the fact that Bush and its people have lied and cooked up his military records, I don't think I could have gone to Vietnam (and granted, I was 10 in 1968 and female) either. My brother did, and it forever changed him. It took a young man with little experience and a rather sadistic personality and devolved him into even less of a human being. I remember seeing others come back no longer the smiling, optimistic young men they'd been on leaving and, of course, I remember plenty who never came back at all.

My family was working poor. At least in part because of that, my family has a long history of sending its men to war. My father was an Army sergeant who used to run distraction raids to try to free American POWs from Japanese interrment camps. One of my brothers and several of my cousins went to Vietnam.

I knew early on, while still a child, that I could never go to war and do what they did. Not because I was a child or female (although I was both at the time), but because I cannot pick up a gun and aim it at anyone. I can't take orders without knowing why I need to perform them or what the repercussions will be. And because I believed then, as I believe now, that wars are all too often something our leaders create, and our young blood must fight and die in.

From my vantage point, Afghanistan and Iraq don't seem dissimilar at all from Vietnam. And hence my problem with having a man who used his privilege to escape service not just lying about it, but ordering men and women to fight.

How's this different from Clinton, you ask? Clinton did not pretend to be a military man. I don't think the man or woman in the president's seat has to be.

Possible Sale of Slate Magazine

Microsoft supposedly has been entertaining the possibility of selling its premier magazine, Slate, with The Washington Post being a likely buyer.

As Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly writes - and I fully agree - I think this would be a mistake.

Slate's been unusual for a number of reasons - not the least of which is why in God's name they would pay Mickey Kaus for anything - and I know it hasn't been a great money-maker for Microsoft. But even Bill Gates has to own something occasionally that doesn't return him 5,000% profit and it would be probably not good to see what Slate would evolve into under different ownership.

Another Question About Who We'll Capture During the Dem Convention

This one from Steve M. at NoMoreMisterNice blog, referencing a not-oft-discussed USA Today piece:

U.S. Marines have pulled out of a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan after killing more than 100 enemy fighters, their commander said Thursday.

The 2,000-strong force, which lost just one Marine, has withdrawn to an American air base in the southern city of Kandahar and is preparing to leave the country, Col. Frank McKenzie said. That withdrawal had already been announced.

The Marines were returning to American warships "to await further orders," military spokesman Maj. Rick Peat said. He said there were no indications that the Marines would be redeployed in Iraq but said he didn't know where the ships were....

I'm going way out on a limb here: You don't suppose the Bushies are planning to steal Kerry's thunder on Monday by announcing the death or capture of some major Al Qaeda or Taliban honchos, do you?

You know they're going to try to do something to steal his thunder next week. The Bush people are rather addicted to thunder-stealing, in an infantile way.

Well, good for them if they finally bagged someone genuinely dangerous to Americans, even if the Bushies' first thought in the event of such an occurrence is using it to screw Democrats.

Interesting How the Feds Say "Media" Will Be Target at Dem Convention

I would imagine this ensures that media will be so scared excretion-less that they'll be too busy looking under their chairs to actually report much.

Hats off to Karl Rove for controlling everything so damned effectively!

If we repeat this act for the GOP convention, we'll be sure to avoid seeing any protestors or reporting of that dreadful anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-people platform or the bait-and-switch tactic where they have the so-called progressives at the party (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy "Show me the money" Giuliani and such) speak while the platform is anything but.

Post 2001 (not a Blog Oddity) and More Hostages Taken in Iraq

CNN reports more fighting and more hostages taken today in Iraq. I'm starting to be amazed they have anyone besides soldiers and trapped civilians (in other words, those trapped there who cannot leave) left to take.

We hear appreciably little of the "man on the street" interviews so we can understand just how badly many Iraqis feel towards the US-pushed new government there, calling Allawi "America's Saddam".


Sperm Donor Ordered to Pay Child Support

From AP:

A state appeals court ruled that a verbal agreement between a woman and her sperm donor was invalid, and ordered the man to pay child support for the woman's twins.

The three-judge panel ruled Thursday that the deal between Joel McKiernan and Ivonne Ferguson -- in which McKiernan donated his sperm and would not be obligated to pay any support -- was unenforceable because of "legal, equitable and moral principles."

Despite an agreement that appeared to be a binding contract, the father is obligated to provide financial support, the court decided.
I don't agree with this whatsoever. If the woman wanted to have a child, entered into an agreement with a man to supply sperm (and sperm only) to accomplish that, I think she's the responsible party. This was a DUMB decision.

But I also happen to think that people procreate mindlessly, scratching an itch while giving little or no thought to what this means.

Security at the Dem National Convention

Amid final preparations for the first political nominating convention since the attacks of September 11, 2001, security officials are preparing to lock down a huge area of Boston. The lockdown comes as law enforcement sources told CNN there was a "credible" threat that a homegrown group or individual may be planning an attack against media covering the Democractic National Convention.
This from CNN.

Apparently Karl Rove will not rest until Boston is so secure that the Democrats will not be allowed into the city to nominate John Kerry. Cough.

I don't know if it's true, but I read elsewhere that Vegas or one of the betting place is taking odds that we'll mysteriously catch Osama or Zarqawi during the DNC. At best, I suspect they'd announce they caught him, then they'll admit they actually caught Dr. Ruth. It's perfectly understandable why a four-foot Jewish woman would be mistaken for Osama.

So the White House Has Formed a Task Force

Let me get this straight.

When people were first calling for a 9-11 panel, Bush said it wasn't needed because the WH had already studied the issue and Congress had studied the issue (neither true, of course) so any panel would just triplicate (ok, it's late and I'm making up words just as Mr. Bush would if he could handle polysyllabic terminology - and yes, I'd pay to hear him say THAT three times fast) what they'd already done.

But once the 911 panel reported, Mr. Bush forms a task force to LOOK at what the 911 panel found, which drew on what Congress and the White House found and BEFORE we can do anything (besides give billions and billions and billions extra to the Pentagon and to Mr. Bush's and Mr. Cheney's and Mr. DeLay's political friends in contracts).

You really want to re-elect this crew?

More Lance Armstrong

Words cannot express my supreme joy that Lance Armstrong, after saying this would be his final Tour de France, now says (of course - this is like Oprah at contract renewal with the stations time) he'll return next year. I'm sure the French are peeing on themselves with glee (wee wee wee!).

Senate's Summer Off

Apparently the Senate is discussing actually working.

Under Bill Frist, this Senate has sat less days than any group in recent history. Practically the only thing they've accomplished is rancor and extreme partisanship, besides whatever Bush ordered them to do (we don't have three different branches of government now, we have one named Karl Rove). Well, that and Cheney's cheer (like saying "Go fuck yourself" to Pat Leahy).

So now they're discussing whether it looks bad that the 9-11 report came out and they're off for the summer so they can't even pretend to seem like they're doing more for national security than making certain their friends get cushy contracts.

Lessee... 2000 posts in less than 7 months....

It must mean I talk - or write - WAY too much.

Krugman on Accounting and Accountability

Paul Krugman has another good column in today's Times, starting off with:

Accountability is important. The nation will be ill served if officials who didn't do all they could to prevent a terrorist attack, or led the nation into an unnecessary war, manage to shift the blame to someone else.

But those weren't the only big mistakes of the last few years. Will anyone be held accountable for the mishandling of postwar Iraq?

Last month we learned that the United States, while it has spent vast sums on the war in Iraq, has so far provided almost no aid. Of $18.4 billion in reconstruction funds approved by Congress, only $400 million has been disbursed.

Almost all of the money spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq until late June, came from Iraqi sources, mainly oil revenues. This revelation helps explain one puzzle: the sluggish pace of reconstruction, which has yet to restore many essential services to prewar levels.

But it creates another puzzle: given that the authority was spending Iraq's money, why wasn't it more careful in its accounting?

The Debacle of Liposuction and Boob Jobs for a Military Who Can't Get Help for War Injuries

The more I think about this story of recruiters enticing people to sign up for the military by offering plastic surgery including boob jobs, Botox, and liposuction, the angrier I get.

A lot of GIs coming back from battle aren't getting good or expedient treatment because the system is so taxed. Vets who fought in the past have watched the promise of lifelong medical help be reduced dramatically, a very poor thank you for their sacrifice.

The goal shouldn't be JUST to get people into the military. It should also be to provide proper support and care for them during and AFTER their service.

Like the Bush formula for war or not, these men and women represent us, serve for us, and deserve our respect, our funding, and our care upon their return. That's vastly more important than bigger breasts or a better smile, especially to those returning without limbs, with brain damage, with blindness.

Palestinian Boy Killed for Family Speaking Up to Militants

Here's the start; find the rest at the Times:

JERUSALEM, July 23 — The battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants produces daily dilemmas for ordinary Palestinians living in the occupied territories, and this morning in the Gaza Strip the choice a farming clan made took the life of one of their teenagers.

The slaying occurred in the village of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Militants have used the village as a launching site for firing Qassam rockets and other missiles at Israeli villages like Sederot. Last month, a Qassam rocket killed a 3-year-old Israeli boy on his way to kindergarten and a 50-year-old Bukharan immigrant. Israeli forces responded by blocking off roads, bulldozing fruit trees used as cover and sending patrols into the village. Militants responded by seeking new vantages to continue firing rockets.
Imagine your own family in this situation.

Will You Read the 9-11 Report?

I think it's imperative that we all try to do so. But I'd like to hear what you think. Please note the additional poll at the top right.

No Truth to Linda Ronstadt Rumor

A couple of people dropped me notes asking if it's true Linda will be singing Blue Bayou at the Dem National Convention.

I doubt there's a shred of truth in it. The Dems, so eager not to be hated, have distanced themselves from Whoopie Goldberg (who was part of a benefit on their behalf) and Michael Moore, whose "Fahrenheit 911" is NOT a Kerry-backing film. I'm glad Michael made the film about what did and did not happen related to 9-11 and Iraq rather than turning it into a Dem love affair.

Politics really should be separate from the events of 9-11 and the actions taken in its aftermath. That they aren't is actually quite criminal and devastating for both us and the rest of the world.

In my case, I am not a Democrat.

I just cannot inflict Mr. Bush on my country or the rest of the world for another term if I can do anything to stop it (and by anything, I mean write letters, do support stuff, and vote).

Mr. Kerry is not my first choice to replace Mr. Bush but it's who we have and I'll support his candidacy while I also continue to urge the Democrats to be more than Republicans Lite. I think the Republicans should be the ones to drag their party back to centrist sanity rather than moving the Democratic Party to 1976-level GOP centrism.

I am not, however, in the Anybody But Bush camp. I may often write that I'd vote for horse dung over Mr. Bush, but in reality, there are a great number of people - Republican, Democrat, and Other - who I would not vote into office over Mr. Bush.

Go to www.jibjab.com

So many people keep asking in Email for this link to the very funny George Bush-John Kerry political parody that, although I've posted it before, here it is again.

I hope someone has offered these fellows a lucrative contract. They did an extraordinary job.

The Great Sock Caper

Josh Marshall raises an interesting point. While some GOPers are racing to insist that Sandy Berger did something horrible - like Tucker Carlson who insists Berger stripped files of all relevant papers (gee, those would fit in socks?) - the 9-11 Commission insists they had all the material to look at. If nothing was missing that affected the 911 panel's ability to work - I mean, besides the fact that the president tried to make certain they knew as little as possible - I don't get the charge by other hardliners.

Again, if Berger did something wrong, he deserves appropriate sanction. But all this extreme rhetoric suggests that it's less a matter of the gravity of what Berger did, and more a case of people with an agenda trying to pump a dimestore balloon into a hot air extravaganza. If a story has legs, it has them without huge amounts of spin. Only when a case lacks merit does it need all this aid to turn into a big event.

The Sad Case of Lori Hacking, the Missing Pregnant Jogger

While I'm not going to spend much time on the topic, this case just sounds sad all around, from the husband lying about medical school to his admission to a psych ward (which I'm not going to render judgment upon because if someone I loved was missing, I'd be close to the edge myself) to the fact that we're in the fifth day since the young woman was last seen.

What I am, however, is really tired of everyone jumping to an opinion of guilt the second one of these high profile cases is born. OK, maybe I'm one of only 3 people left around who believes until "innocent until proven guilty", but I'd prefer that to the opposite viewpoint.

The older I get, the less I see the world as good guys and bad guys, and more as some extremes but with most people falling in the ballpark of otherwise reasonably ok human beings who can make some incredibly bad and hurtful decisions.

I hope somehow that the woman turns up alive.

Feeling a Certain Apathy Towards the Pol Conventions?

I definitely am.

The primary season was cut short, we've already had the same two candidates for months now, we know the basic platforms (centrist and loony tunes), and all we're waiting for are the balloons and way too much red, white, and blue (fine colors, and I love my flag, but just showing the colors means precious little).

And the choice to move protestors at the GOP convention to outer Slobovia (aka Westside Highway) means that New Yorkers will all feel massively inconvenienced which will inspire anger which is exactly what I think the GOP-run city wanted. It's already made me reconsider whether I'll go to New York to protest, which I think is also the plan of the GOP. It's not that I mind inconvenience. It's that the Westside Highway is pretty far removed.

Airport Security (Right)

An airline passenger wearing only a pair of pajama bottoms stole a baggage tractor at the city's main airport and drove it onto an active runway early Wednesday, police said.

Atlanta police say Robert W. Buzzell, 31, had walked out an exit door that had an alarm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Flights were not affected by the incident, which took place before 6 a.m., airport officials said.

The man was stopped by mechanics who asked him for an employee identification card. When he could not provide one, they escorted him to an office and called police.
This story from CNN speaks for itself, I think. Note that security didn't catch him: mechanics paying attention did.

Catwoman Coughs Up a Hairball

I hear the early reviews of the new movie run the gamut from "boring and lame" to "a caricature of itself."

But why, oh why, do I suspect people will be so busy noticing Halle Berry that I doube the lack of plot will be noticed.


CNN Poll: 66% Agree with 9-11 Panel Report

Gee, you really think this 66% actually read nearly 600 pages today before they voted?

But I also notice this poll has the lowest response rate of any recent CNN poll, so I think some people might actually - blissfully - feel they should know what the report contains BEFORE they offer an opinion.

Detect a Certain Absence of 911 Family Criticism?

Throughout the day - and I listened largely to NYC-based stations because they would have the highest concentration of people affected by 9-11 - I found a conspicuous absence of the angry voices we heard at some of the open 9-11 panel hearings. I've seen just one of the so-called "Jersey Girls" group of 9-11 widows who pushed for the panel, save for Kristin Briteweiser (sp?) on Hardball.

Careful editing? The angry too angry to speak? The angry no longer angry?

Much Higher Than Originally Estimates Abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan

Thirty-nine prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since the fall of 2001 and there have been 94 cases of proven or suspected abuse, the Army said Thursday in a broad new report giving a more precise and higher estimate of the scale of the abuse.

The Army inspector general's report also gives new details about the alleged abuses, including evidence that troops conspired to make Iraqi prisoners jump off a bridge, that one interrogator hit a prisoner in the head during questioning and that a sergeant told subordinates to "rough up" detainees.
Yes, and they hate us for our freedoms.

John Ramsey Running for Michigan Legislature

I forgot to turn off MSNBC after Keith Olbermann signed off and I find myself listening to an interview with John and Patsy Ramsey (the parents of the dead JonBenet). It's been eight years and yes, John is running for office now. Deborah Duh--- er Norville happened to catch that crime and keeping kids safe doesn't happen to be on his platform. Some might not be surprised that Candidate Ramsey is a Republican.

Patsy still seriously creeps me out. But for all I know, the only vibe I'm getting are from her tendency to wear cutesy pastel suits and that whole pageant nonsense.

However, they've never been indicted, tried, or convicted of anything so... c'est le vie, which is French for, "urm."

Bureaucracy: The Leprosy of Government

From USA Today:

Bush defended himself and his predecessor Wednesday. "I told the commissioners right here in the Oval Office that had we had any inkling whatsoever that terrorists were about to attack our country, we would have moved heaven and earth to protect America," he said. "And I'm confident President Clinton would have done the same thing — any president would have."
You mean instead of going on vacation for six weeks, with George Tenet and Dick Cheney and everyone else on vacation just before the worst attack in American history?

Clinton, BTW, took almost the least amount of vacation time ever from the top post, while Mr. Bush takes more time off than any other president in modern history. In fact, about 40% of his days in office have actually been spent out of office, and that isn't counting campaigning which seems to consume all the rest of his time.
The proposal for a director of national intelligence was criticized by Tom Ridge, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. "We don't need more bureaucracy. We need more analysts, we need more Arabic-speaking analysts, and we need a lot more human intelligence," Ridge said on Fox News Channel.
One might ask - and quite legitimately - why the fuck we need Tom Ridge.

Thanks to Lambert at Corrente for the link to the article.

Lynne Cheney's Lesbian Romance

General JC over at Patriot Boy (blessed domicile of Republican Jesus) reminds me of what a friend, who used to be an editor with a gay press, said about Lynne Cheney's lesbian Western novel filled with prostitution and rape.

My friend said it was the worst, twisted piece of drivel she's ever read - and let me add that my friend has read several of MY fiction works.

An excerpt from the site:

The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage -- no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were. She felt curiously moved, curiously envious of them. She had never to this moment thought Eden a particularly attractive paradise, based as it was on naiveté, but she saw that the women in the cart had a passionate, loving intimacy forever closed to her. How strong it made them. What comfort it gave.

The young woman was heavily powdered, but quite attractive, a curvesome creature, rounded at bosom and cheek. When she smiled, even her teeth seemed puffed and rounded, like tiny ivory pillows.

Let us go away together, away from the anger and imperatives of men. We shall find ourselves a secluded bower where they dare not venture. There will be only the two of us, and we shall linger through long afternoons of sweet retirement. In the evenings I shall read to you while you work your cross-stitch in the firelight. And then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl.
Ivory pillows?

Let me go out on a limb and say Lynne's been sleeping with Dick too long. And I do mean sleeping.

Why Was the 9/11 Report Published as a Bookstore Book?

What little money the 911 commission got, it came from taxpayers.

And yes, with large reports, you have to go pay a fee (often enough) to get copies.

But this just struck me odd.

Here's a Twist: Ted Turner on His Beef with Big Media

Interesting read.

Sandy Berger and the Missing Papers (Again)

Who leaked on Sandy?

Yesterday I was discussing with a friend whether the leak seemed more likely to be a Republican leak or a Democratic one (his view). The latter possibility is not as far-fetched as it might sound: the idea would be that some

I've thought from the beginning that this looked like a political leak from the Republican side. And, as I told my friend yesterday, I think subsequent events tend to strengthen that assumption.

Here's my take ...
For the rest of Josh Marshall's analysis, check here.Josh also highlights the fact that Bush is on record with regard to Berger as saying "this case is very serious and will be fully investigated by the Justice Department."

Remember how Bush was on the outed CIA agent? And lots of other matters? But THIS is serious. Sheesh.

Possible Bush Slogans

Josh Marshall offers some great Bush slogans for possible use after the 9/11 report's release today:

1. Not as terrible as it could have been!

2. Four more years and we'll be safe!

3. Peace!

4. Incompetence and exaggeration, not bad-faith or lying, as shown in two recent reports!

5. Are you better off today than you would have been today assuming that that idiot Al Gore had won four years ago and he was president instead of me?

Now Before I Return to What Some Laughingly Call Work

Let me leave you with some of the best religious quotes I've ever found.

One of my faves is this from Lenny Bruce:

Everyday people are straying away from the Church and finding God.
That sums up several of my views.

New Drug to Allow Soldiers to Fight for Days Without a Meal

From "Good Morning, Silicon Valley" e-newsletter - and Wired:

It seems DARPA's doing everything it can these days to make the prospect of joining the armed forces as unattractive as possible. In February it was reported that the agency was hard at work on a drug that will allow soldiers to fight for up to five days without eating a single meal. Now comes news that it's developed a dried food ration that troops can be hydrated with urine. Can you imagine fighting without food for five days and then having your first meal be one cooked in your own urine? Sort of give news meaning to the the phrase "urinal cake."

This also gives new meaning to Don Rumsfeld doing war on the cheap. Maybe DARPA can also develop a drug that allows soldiers to excrete bowel movements that can be used as bullets so they won't mind the fact that the Pentagon can't always afford to supply them. Sheesh.

Soldiers are human beings, people!

Fahrenheit 911 Appeals to More, Worries GOP

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republicans initially dismissed "Fahrenheit 9/11" as a cinematic screed that would play mostly to inveterate Bush bashers. Four weeks and $94 million later, the film is still pulling in moviegoers at 2,000 theaters around the country, making Republicans nervous as it settles into the American mainstream.

"I'm not sure if it moves voters," GOP consultant Scott Reed said, "but if it moves 3 or 4 percent it's been a success."
Read the rest here.

My question: why should the movie only appeal to one side of the political spectrum? Democrats and the Left (which are NOT the same, trust me) don't have the market on the truth or a desire to know more. Even Dale Earnhardt Jr, not exactly a left wing demogogue, encouraged people to see Michael Moore's film.

Lance Armstrong - Way Ahead - Tour de France

Must contain excitement. [suppressing another yawn]

Newspapers Weigh in on Linda Ronstadt Flap in Vegas Casino

Read this in Editor and Publisher. This covers the editorial in The Times and many other sources.

I would have considered this shameful treatment for anyone, regardless of their particular views. Ronstadt didn't go into a long political harangue: she suggested people see the film, "Fahrenheit 911", and dedicated a song to its producer, Michael Moore.

In other words, stop saying America is the land of the free if you don't believe it. And if you want to stop any view besides your own from being expressed, you don't believe in freedom.

Use the 9-11 Report as a Starting Point

As one of the readers posted in comments, thinking people should view the 9-11 panel's report as a starting point for information and not as the final word on the matter. To understand the matter, the numerous errors that day, our response, et al, you have to research further and then come to your own conclusions.

I think that's the most intelligent way to view it and use it. Just dismissing it as a largely partisan document or just accepting it is a grave disservice.

Scott Ritter on How We Got it So Wrong in Iraq

John Emerson at Seeing the Forest brings us this:

Scott Ritter, one of the few Americans in the loop who got it right before the Iraq War, points out that both the British nor the American Iraq War commissions (both of which were stacked with promoters of the Iraq War) got to the root of the problem. The search for WMD was never taken seriously by the Bush administration; all they wanted from it was an excuse to invade Iraq.

"The unwillingness of the American and British governments to capitalize on the dramatic breakthroughs regarding the disarmament of Iraq between July 1995 and July 1996 only underscores the reality that, when it came to the fate of Saddam's government, the outcome had been preordained. There was never an intention to allow a finding of Iraqi compliance concerning its disarmament obligation, even if one was warranted. Saddam was to be removed from power, and WMD were always viewed by the policymakers as the excuse for doing so.

The failure of either the Senate committee or the Butler Commission to recognize the role that the policy of regime change had in corrupting the analytical efforts of U.S. and British intelligence services means that not only will it be more difficult to achieve meaningful reform in these services, but more importantly, the general public will continue to remain largely ignorant of the true scope of failure regarding Iraq policy."
To read what Scott wrote in full, go here to visit Common Dreams.

Thoughts on Al Qaeda

I think it's a mistake to use the word "al Qaeda" constantly to refer to who is "after us" because I think our actions in the past three years have changed the playing field remarkably.

I don't believe al Qaeda is either as vanquished as leading officials have told us, or the omnipotent force other officials have told us. I also believe there is far more than one organization we refer to as al Qaeda now in the mix.

Our actions - however you view them - have created a great deal of hatred and terror throughout the world, perhaps moreso even than what we felt in our first month or two after the 9-11-01 attack. In creating more scared, angry, unemployed Arabs - and others - we have made the monster bigger, broader, and probably more powerful.

Yesterday a Head in a Freezer; Today a Headless Body

From CNN:

Police found a decapitated body Thursday in the Tigris River, an Iraqi official said.

The body was discovered in Beiji, 112 miles (180 kilometers) north of Baghdad, said Col. Adnan Abdul Rahman, a spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Adnan declined to confirm the identity of the body but said it was a foreigner's.

Another beheaded body also was found last week in the Tigris, and Bulgarian officials are doing DNA tests to see if it is one of two truck drivers from Bulgaria who were kidnapped in June.
So Paul Johnson's body has not yet been found apparently.

The 911 Commission's Report

I find myself only watching the press conference with some interest, and this for several reasons. First, while I overall respect Tom Keane and what the panel tried to do, I feel they were deliberately handcuffed at every turn. As a result, I don't think the commission findings are anywhere as useful as we need them to be.

Also, this press conference comes right after the release of some material, so the reporters haven't had a lot of time to prep good questions about the material. This is unfortunate.

Max's Take on 9/11 Report

Two warnings: It's funny AND you need to go here to read it all:

The following is from the Commission's classified annex to its report. It was posted to an anonymous website with background steel drum music by agents of French Guadeloupe.

1. In a disappointing test of airport security, a chainsaw was smuggled onto the US Air shuttle from New York to D.C.

2. George W. Bush was given a preliminary, private briefing on "My Pet Goat" and read it with the aid of a teleprompter.

3. On several occasions, instead of being at his undisclosed location inside Raven Rock Mountain, Dick Cheney spent afternoons at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

4. Osama Bin Ladin's Pentagon pay records, when he was aligned with the U.S. against the Soviets in Afghanistan, were inadvertently destroyed in 1987 when a Mr. Coffee machine exploded.

5. Tom Ridge is gay. This was classified because it was deemed immaterial to the purpose of the Commission, but it was sufficiently interesting to merit a mention in the annex.

6. Glenn Reynolds is a "Manchurian candidate blogger" engineered by Islamic fundamentalists whose mission is to rot the brains of patriotic Americans, rendering them incapable of thinking clearly about national security.

7. Andrew Sullivan is not gay. His 'coming out' was a career move to entice otherwise indifferent readers curious about how a gay could be a conservative. This was brought to light in the Ridge investigation.

Dick Cheney: Horrible Halliburton Honcho?

That's what this piece by Robert Bryce in Wednesday's Salon says:

In early September, during the Republican National Convention, the GOP is almost certain to name Dick Cheney as its nominee for vice president of the United States. In the meantime, it's clear that Cheney deserves another nomination: as one of the worst CEOs in recent American history.

Of course, there are plenty of CEOs that should to be on that list, including Enron's Kenneth Lay, Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski and Adelphia's John Rigas. While those bosses certainly are being pilloried, Cheney's disastrous five-year-long tenure at Halliburton deserves far more scrutiny than the mainstream business press has bothered to provide.

Cheney's job at Halliburton is particularly newsworthy now that John Kerry has chosen John Edwards as his running mate. The Republicans have already begun hammering Edwards for his work as a trial lawyer; Democrats have an opportunity to bash Cheney's performance at Halliburton. Given the wreckage that Cheney left behind, that record offers a target-rich environment.


Jobs Are On the Rise (Especially if You Like Minimum Wage and No Benefits)

Another decent column in The Times re: this rather false notion of the "wonderful" economy and job rebound.

Another Side of the Abortion Issue

Guest columnist Barbara Ehrenreich weighs in on the abortion topic quite forthrightly in The Times.

Gruesome String of Deaths in Guatemala City

The case at hand is interesting - and awful, of course - but so too is the high murder rate for women this year along with the miserable crime statistic of more than 95% of murders going unsolved there.

Of course, where it's so tough to care for the living, giving loads of attention and resources to the dead is possible. At least, that's what the WH seems to tell us.

The President's Rainbow Message

In speaking with some group or another the other day, Mr. Bush refers to a rainbow he saw as he came in, and said he saw a message. The implication was that God was telling him something again.

What do you suppose that message was?

* Yes, George, a rainbow is a scientifically documented phenomenon. Don't you wish you'd paid attention in class so you'd know what it signifies?

* Trust me, George: your daughters are not the pot of gold beneath that rainbow. But if you frisk them, I bet you'll find at least a half ounce of pot between them.

* It's true, George. A rainbow is just off in the distance because you're about to stop being pretending to be president.

Tomorrow's 9-11 Final Report

While none of us except the panel, Condi Rice, and White House legal chief Alberto Gonsalez know what is in the final report, there are many things we do know:

    * Bush tried hard not to appoint such a panel
    * Did everything in his power to ham string the panel once it was set (including originally appointing the former King of Secrets, Henry Kissinger (Cheney holds the title now)
    * Only grudgingly granted a short period to answer questions to the panel, and then only with Mr. Cheney in the room
    * That we're probably a lot less safe today for a variety of reasons
In other words, this report is something, but it's hardly completely non-partisan, was never intended to give us real answers, was very much carefully guided so as not to hurt Mr. Bush much before November, and probably will not satisfy many of the questions still held by 9-11 families and by the public at large.

Sandy Berger, The Continuing Saga

For decent coverage of this topic, I'd look to Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.

From my own standpoint, after much reading and listening, I'm not certain what to believe. The wild tales of sock- and underwear-stuffing sounds really unbelievable, and so does the fact that this information is being released now, some nine months into the investigation, on the eve of the release of the 9-11 panel report and on the doorstep of the Democratic National Convention.

I also think it's highly unlikely that Berger stole them to benefit Kerry when Kerry was not the candidate 9 months ago and that Berger, as former NSA chief and someone who had access to the documents and read them, would have had special value to offer Kerry from specific pages.

Berger's explanation - save for some kind of proof that he had documents sticking out of his socks - sounds more plausible than some of the purple prose about it being printed.

Should he be treated differently from a Republican or a Green or other party member for his actions, if true? Hell, no. I even dismiss from this that we've had four years of "lost" papers, no-bid contracts, unread intelligence, etc. from the Bushies. Wrong is wrong, and if Berger is wrong in what he did and he indeed broke some law or truly endangered national security, he deserves whatever would be meted out to anyone else like Dr. Rice in a similar position.

Should Kerry take some huge hit for this? He says he didn't even know Berger was under investigation (that's what he said to Tom Brokaw) and was not furnished with any confidential papers from Berger. Why should he be injured? I'm not even certain that this investigation would have precluded Berger from serving as an advisor to Kerry. These conflicts of strange interest are everywhere in the Bush Administration. No one's charging Berger with anything yet, and even from what we've heard thus far, no one's claiming he gave them to bin Laden or Iran (our new George Tenet and Iraq).

But if Kerry didn't know about the investigation, Berger probably should have mentioned it.

Skippy Might Have His Thumb on the Casualty Count

[Ed. note: Do bush kangaroos have thumbs? Why can't I think of a good Australian joke? No, not Paul Hogan. The Aussies were smart enough to dump him on us!]

Read here. There's a crashed helicopter... they think. And it might be ours. But it might not be. The confusion is not Skippy's, it's... well, I personally like to hold Donald Rumsfeld responsible for everything. He's my George Tenet.

Some Debate Over Casualty Numbers

Pentagon says 896 while several other news sources say 901.

I hope it's 896 but I suspect it's a L-O-T larger than 901.

Update: Associated Press says 900.

More Hostages Taken, More Beheadings Threatened

From CNN:

A militant group in Iraq holding six truckers hostage said one man will be beheaded every three days unless their demands are met. The six hostages -- two from Kenya, three from India and one from Egypt -- work for a Kuwaiti firm. The kidnappers demanded that the companies or countries the men are affiliated with pull their personnel from Iraq.

Jenna Bush: 901 US Troops Dead and She Sticks Out Her Tongue

Cute at 12, but 22?

So Who's Read Your Tax Return?

From CBS News:

Private contractors revamping IRS computers committed security violations that significantly increased the possibility that private taxpayer information might be disclosed, Treasury Department inspectors say.

An investigation by the department's inspector general for tax administration found that employees working for contractors, or an experienced hacker, could use the contractors' computers to gain access to taxpayer data.

"Our concerns were increased when we could not find documentation that all contractor employees had received background investigations as required," the report said.

Other lapses left the IRS computer system vulnerable to viruses and hackers, investigators said.

Allawi Doesn't Sound So Different from Hussein - Except We Placed Him in Power

From Atrios, posted by Holden:

James Conachy discusses Iyad Allawi's alleged summary executions and the lack of interest in the story displayed by our media:
    In the first three weeks of the interim government, Allawi’s unelected and despised administration has assumed the power to impose martial law, ban demonstrations and monitor citizens’ phones and email. He has declared his intention to recruit the military and intelligence operatives of Hussein’s regime and this week announced the formation of a secret police agency to “annihilate” opposition. He is already being contemptuously referred to in Baghdad as “Saddam without the moustache” or “America’s Saddam”.

    Far from denouncing the Bush administration for establishing a US-protected police-state in Iraq, commentary over the past week in the New York Times and the Washington Post has lauded Allawi for his reputation for sadism and ruthlessness. It is part of a shift that is underway: previous claims that the US occupation was to establish democracy are being jettisoned in favor of increasingly open support for the “strongman” Allawi and his methods.

More Brown (as in Bullshit) than Green

The government wants to pay more attention to pot as a serious drug.

Now, I'm someone who feels very strongly that every human should be able to get through his or her day without the need for chemical assistance, whether it's pot, Xanax, alcohol, tobacco, or hydrocodone.

But this is just bullshit. The problem with pot is that the government has treated pot like it's worse than heroin, and as a result, use has grown exponentially.

Pot isn't the great horror. What it is, however, is a competitor to drugs by companies like Eli Lilly and such and that's why the government wants to stop it. Something that grows as a weed and can cost fairly little to grow (although I imagine you need to take measures to grow good pot, like you do good tomatoes) is of concern to companies who make big money selling relaxants.

American Death Toll in Iraq at 901

Sad record to set, eh?

Saudis Find Dead Contractor's Head

They say it belongs to beheaded contractor Paul Johnson.

Horrific. There's no other word.

Address for Funny Bush-Kerry Cartoon

It's here.


Four Marines Killed In Iraq

See the report at CBS News.

More More More

I've been adding more things to various collections of blogs and online media at the right (which is no reflection on their politics, btw). We have a surplus of good thinkers and writers.

Peace or Pieces?

From one of the president's campaign stops today:

For a while we were marching to war. Now we're marching to peace...
Oh really?

Sandy Berger and the Missing Papers

I haven't commented on this last night or today because this seems like a very strange situation which the more one reads up on, the less one knows. The timing of the disclosure by the administration, however, seems a bit less cloudy: they're trying to defuse some of the details about to come out in the official 9-11 panel report.

Update: If I were you, I'd look at Josh Marshall's coverage of this matter.

Because What the World Needs Now is Bombs, Big Bombs...

The military is pondering how to grow bunker buster bombs into ones weighing some 30,000 pounds.

US Iraq Casualty Rate Close to Tipping 900

While a group threatens Japan and others with retribution for helping the American infidels.

About Those UN Observers for Election 2004

[Ed note: Personally, I'm not sure Ms. Brown had such a bad idea there.]

From Bob Harris posted at Tom Tomorrow's site:

Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL) represents 600,000 Americans in the Duval County/Jacksonville area.

During the 2000 election, 27,000 ballots went ptooey from faulty machines, just in Rep. Brown's district alone. The chicanery that followed is a part of the public record.

And you can guess the relative skin shades of the folks whose votes a) were not for the governor's brother, and b) didn't count.

Yesterday, the Congresswoman was censured by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Why? For speaking the obvious out loud, without fear or hesitation, that's why:
    "I come from Florida, where you [the GOP leadership] and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat. We need to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said get over it. No we're not going to get over it and we want verification from the world."
The backstory: about a dozen members of Congress, including several leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, recently called for UN observers to verify American elections, given the hanky-panky we all know is coming.

The ruling junta, displaying their usual integrity, promptly produced a bill forbidding any such thing, shouted the Congresswoman down when she wouldn't just Go Fuck Herself™, censured her, and then had her comments stricken from the Congressional Record.

Nice "democracy" we got here.

Michael Jackson, Quadruplets, and Lunacy

From MSNBC Breaking News:

Pop star Michael Jackson, facing a trial on child molestation charges, is about to become a father to four more children — quadruplets — by way of a surrogate mother, Us Weekly magazine reported Tuesday.
Maybe he took our advice and hooked up with Ann Coulter.

Looney tunes!

Republican Frmr EPA Chief Says Bush Disaster to Environment

Color me surprised.

Russell E. Train, who headed the EPA from September 1973 to January 1977 -- part of the Nixon and Ford administrations -- said Bush's record on the environment was so dismal that he would cast his vote for Democrat John Kerry.
"It's almost as if the motto of the administration in power today in Washington is not environmental protection, but polluter protection," Train said. "I find this deeply disturbing."
In 1988, Train was co-chairman of Conservationists for Bush, an organization that backed the candidacy of George W. Bush's father.

Filipino Truck Driver Finally Released

Yes, there seemed to be a fair amount of oddity about this case, but right now I'm just glad he's out and alive.

Sharon Tells Jews to Leave France

When I first heard this, I was a bit confused as to what spurred this, and could only imagine that a) Sharon wants more people to put in new settlements which he can then claim cannot be dismantled because people are living there and b) more seriously, that anti-semitism being so on the rise in Europe, some Jews do not feel safe in showing their ethnicity.
But I don't think the answer to the anti-semitism is to have all the Jews leave Europe.  A version of this has been done before with  heinous results. I can't imagine a reasoning man - even one who reasons with the business end of a tank or helicopter gun ship - encouraging it.
But now Sharon wants to come to France and Chirac says no, not until he explains his remarks. From CNN:

French President Jacques Chirac said Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not welcome in Paris until he explains his appeal to French Jews to leave the country, a presidential spokeswoman said.

"A visit by the Israeli prime minister won't be looked at closely until the requested explanation is provided," the spokeswoman said.

Sharon said last weekend that French Jews should consider immigrating to Israel because of the rise in anti-semitism.


More on Los Alamos Security Issues

Newsweek also has a piece this week about problem-plagued Los Alamos which has produced one security failure after another throughout more than one administration, both Democratic and Republican.

Eleanor Clift: Playing the Culture Card

John at AmericaBlog points us to a particularly insightful Eleanor Clift column in this Newsweek:

Republicans couldn't even muster a simple majority for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but that didn't stop the GOP-controlled Senate from devoting the better part of a week to the dangers posed by recognizing same-sex unions as legitimate marriages.

A waste of time, yes, but a valuable lesson for the American voter because of what it tells us about the modern Republican Party. The greatest threat to marriage is not Adam and Steve or Heather having two mommies. It’s economic stress. Not having health insurance, getting laid off from your job, falling behind on your rent or mortgage, that’s what shakes marriage and leads to divorce, not gay marriage.

The GOP’s unwillingness or inability to address the economic concerns of ordinary Americans is why it falls back on divisive social issues. The dividing line between the conservative red states and the more liberal blue states is all about cultural concerns. Americans cast their votes for the candidate who “shares my values,” which is why blue-collar workers in economically depressed regions who should be Democrats vote Republican.

Anyone Worried That the Iran Talk is Leading to War #3?

I am genuinely concerned considering the saber rattling today, and by the fact that given this administration's track record of saying one thing, acting upon it, and then being prove wrong later, everyone seems very willing to jump to the same dance steps all over again.
Today's headlines and news bytes have been filled with "Iran presents a far more serious threat than Iraq" and "we made need to take action before we have another 9-11".
This is exactly what was said less than two years ago if you exchange Iran for Iraq and Iraq for Afghanistan.
And if we did go to war,  and we destabilized yet another Arab nation, where would we find the money to pay for it, the men and women to fight it, and the people to pick up the pieces afterward?

Oh, Those Girlie Men

You know, some people might describe a "girlie man" as someone who:

  • gets plastic surgery to look far younger
  • dyes and otherwise enhances his hair toward the same pursuit
  • has to bully people because he doesn't have the intellectual fortitude to make his point
  • spends a fortune on his clothes
  • whores himself out

Oh wait, I just described Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Military Pays For Liposuction, Cosmetic Surgery

It's true, according to "New Yorker" magazine and Keith Olbermann tonight on Countdown.
It's being offered free of cost to service people in all four branches of the military and their families. This includes breast enlargements, penis enlargements, liposuction, and other pretties.
So we can't equip them with bullets or armor, but we can make them look very pretty to get shot at.

Linda Ronstadt Thrown Out of Hotel for Telling People to See "Fahrenheit 911"

Yup. Happened Saturday at the Aladdin. The manager (and as Keith Olbermann notes on MSNBC tonight, the Aladdin is bankrupt) had her bags packed and guards escort her to her tour bus, banning her from the hotel.

"They hate us for our freedoms. Now shut up!"

Josh Marshall's Followup to Dreadful KY GOP Bumper Stickers

Josh Marshall has a followup to this story I posted about here:

Richardson told me that he'd seen a bumper sticker with that phrase on it and agreed with it heartily. "I believe that if you look at John Kerry's voting record in the senate," he told me, "why wouldn't bin Laden prefer Kerry over Bush?"

When I pressed Richardson on whether or not his party organization was distributing it, he acknowledged that they probably were handing it out on their campaign literature tables at recent events. And if it was being handed out, "I make no apologies for it."

"I think it's funny how the truth not only can be amusing but also make a point," Richardson went on. "Why wouldn't Kerry be bin Laden's man? Bush certainly isn't bin Laden's man."

Toward the end of our conversation Richardson told me I should also be writing about equally anti-Bush signs and bumper stickers he'd seen and other "slanderous things" being said about the president. I told him that made a lot of sense and asked whether he could tell me about similarly aggressive campaign material being distributed by Democrats in his area.

No luck.

"Quite frankly, I don't care what they put out," Richardson said. "They run their business and I'll run ours."

The GOP: Nader's Biggest Supporters

This is happening ALL over:

The Michigan Republican Party submitted more than 40,000 signatures last week in a bid to get independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the state's November ballot.

Of course, this is not really about helping Nader. It is all about helping President Bush and hurting Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry's campaign in a closely contested state.

The Michigan GOP denies that, of course. Matt Davis, a spokesman for the group, said it was merely concerned about third-party candidates being left off the ballot. He could not name, however, another third-party or independent candidate his party has helped.

Holden is "Holding Up"

Holden - along with others - is doing a nice job keeping the Atrios blog hopping during the enigmatic Atrios' absence.

Holden's offered us several nice treats, including this:

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas has subpoenaed documents from Halliburton in regards to their dealings with Iran. Halliburton did business in Iran, through a subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands, to the tune of $38 million last year.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has been investigating Halliburton's operations in Iran since 2001, so I would assume that at least a portion of the investigation is concerned with business dealings while Dick Cheney was CEO of the oil field services corporation.

I'm sure most of us are aware that Cheney's Halliburton had business dealings with Iraq under Saddam, also through a foreign subsidiary.

Charming Bumper Sticker

Andrew at PoorMan brings us this little beauty:

Louisville-AP -- A Republican leader applauded a bumper sticker being circulated in Louisville that reads "Kerry is bin Laden's Man/Bush is Mine" as Democrats decried it.

Jefferson County G-O-P chairman Jack Richardson the Fourth says he didn't know the bumper sticker's origins, but agreed with its message.

Richardson says the local G-O-P had no involvement in creating the bumper stickers, but said the stickers were available at the county's GOP headquarters.
Excuse me. I'm going out to kick a tree again.

Marine Wasef Hassoun: I Did Not Desert

From CNN:

 U.S. Marine translator once reported captured in Iraq denied he had deserted and urged fellow Marines in Iraq to "keep their heads up and their spirits high." "I did not desert my post. I was captured and held against my will by anti-coalition forces for 19 days," Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun said Monday. His disappearance is being investigated, but the Navy's Criminal Investigative Service has not yet questioned him, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

Iran and 9-11-01

CNN has one of their (expletive deleted) polls up, this one asking if Iran was complicit in the 9-11 attacks on the US. Forty-eight percent of respondents say yes.
Based on WHAT?

That the White House is putting this out now? Well, yeah, but they said Saddam was involved in 9-11 (not true), that hijacker Atta was in Iran (not true), and implied the WMD (where?) might be used in another 9-11 type of attack (ridiculously untrue). I could name a few hundred other things they got wrong and you should be able to as well.

Stop letting them tell you just how high you're supposed to jump. They're supposed to work to represent us; we are not supposed to be made into bobbleheads for their amusement and agenda.

Dems Have Their Platform in Place

You can read it here.

On the Beheadings of Americans and Others

I find myself not always agreeing with the folks over at WizBangblog but I'll agree with this: the beheadings of Americans and others are probably more likely to piss off Americans than they are to terrorize - at least, once the first few.

Several points go into this belief, including the fact that whenever there's a beheading, you see a mass rush by some Americans looking for the video, as in Paul Johnson's case where the video surfaced over the weekend. Talking to a few other bloggers and looking at some information, and I'm fairly convinced that most of the people going in search of the video are people who largely agree with what Mr. Bush has done as president and who have little problem with the concept of war. Many of them respond vocally and appear to be pretty pissed off.

Look for an Air Strike on France

This because our president said today (or yesterday) that he's "gonna" win and Lance Armstrong, another Texan, is "gonna" win (the Tour de France) and there's nothing for anyone to be worried about. As we know, our leader believes in preemptive strikes to accomplish his goals.

CSI Firings

Having never watched the popular CBS show, I was amazed at how much press the firings of two of its stars generated the last few days and marvelled at how a few friends of mine have fussed and fussed about it.

Now, I don't exactly consider this a critical story, but let me say that if any of us failed to show up for work because we wanted more money, our asses would be fired, too. So why should there be a different standard for Hollywood people and the rest of us?

Things You Need to Remember...

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddymade war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
I love this list. To see the rest of it, visit Jesus' General (AKA Patriot Boy).

In Search of Utopia

Adjust your bookmarks because In Search of Utopia blog by has a new address.

An Amusing Monday Respite

Not really a news item all by itself but when I needed a few smiles today, I dropped by http://bush2004.bloki.com/blog/.

Bush Twin Jenna Still Knows How to Hold Her Liquor

And the place to hold it, apparently, is on the floor. I've seen two pictures of her in the past splat on the floor from "falling".

This from Wonkette:

More reports of Jenna Bush falling not far from the tree (and off her barstool) at Smith Point bar. One correspondent recounted the sighting at the Georgetown establishment (and we do mean establishment) thusly:

    Once again, Jenna Bush was letting loose at Smith Point on Saturday night. She and three friends were saddled up at the bar, and were surrounded by a number of people trying to talk to her. I went over to the bar where they were standing myself, and was ordering a drink when Jenna fell off her barstool. Being the gentleman that I am, I helped her up and she was nice enough to thank me and buy me a drink. Unfortunately I missed their outing last week, but I was surprised by the lack of Secret Service -- they were no where in sight.

Flick, Don't Swat

CBS News reports that a study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates you may place yourself at greater risk of infection if you squash a mosquito against your skin while it's biting you.

OK, but if Tom DeLay starts blood sucking me, I'll risk the infection to swat him.

Gaza in Chaos

That's the basic headline everywhere right now, with some rioting, more than one person claiming to be chief of security, and differing reports on whether the PM has successfully resigned.

Funny, Arnold Always Struck Me as a "Girlie Man"

From CNN:

Democrats aren't amused by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's use of the mocking term "girlie men" to describe some lawmakers, although a spokesman for the governor said no apology would be forthcoming.

Schwarzenegger dished out the insult at a rally Saturday as he claimed Democrats were delaying the budget by catering to special interests. Democrats protested that the remark was sexist and homophobic.

"If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ... if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men," Schwarzenegger said to the cheering crowd at a mall food court in Ontario.
Gee, let me express mock surprise that Arnold is fighting at such a base level. It's not like he can fight with real words or intellect so he's reduced to this.

Baghdad Off to Brutal Monday Morning

Eight are dead in another car bombing, this one at a South Baghdad police station. Dozens more are injured.

Happy Birthday, Alex Isgut

....wherever you are.

Today - or Saturday - was also Lizzie Borden's birthday but she's been dead since 1926 so she would understand if you didn't send a card.

The Ads at the Top of the Page

Since half a dozen people have asked recently, let me explain that I have nothing to do with the ads that appear at the top of this blog. It's part of being hosted through blogger.com, which is now owned by Google who does the ads.

But yes, there ARE often Republican and pro-Bush or anti-Kerry ads appearing there. And no, I don't think it's just coincidence.


With the News That Several 9-11 Hijackers Passed Through Iran...

Comes the question, "So what?"

They passed through several countries. Heck, Atta passed in and out of the US several times. We let them stay here. And even though 5 of them were on a watch list, they got on planes that morning. So to me, that they passed through Iran is much less of an issue than that they passed right by all the supposed safeguards here.

Ever, Ever, Ever Helpful CNN

Earlier today, I was reading some banal story on CNN about how someone stretched plastic wrap over a public road between two poles as a prank, which resulted in a motorcyclist and his passenger being mildly hurt (road burn, broken finger).

Then, my eye wandered to the right of the article (not an uncommon thing: in a printed document, for example, studies show your eye gravitates up and to the right.

At the right, CNN had advertiser links, telling you a NUMBER of different places where you could buy plastic wrap in bulk. You know, so you could do the same damned thing, I suppose, and get your story on CNN.

And the moral of this story is .... DUH!

[Ed note: At least with a "kids hanging themselves by meat hook for sport" story on CNN tonight, they don't have links advertising where to buy your own "body modification" hardware.]

No Surprise That CIA Chief Says No Intel Czar Needed

I mean, if you have a 10- or 11-year-old son, test this by asking him, "Would you like a babysitter tonight?" Some 78% or more are going to say NO.

It's About More Than Pizza

Crooked Timber brings us a link to a Flash movie at the ACLU site you really should see: it's quite a sobering piece on personal information tracking and your privacy all wrapped around a simple order for pizza.

Supreme Court: What Happens If You Don't Vote

If you need convincing to get registered and get to the polls on November 2nd, John at AmericaBlog has the photo to get you motivated.

Gone Phishing, So to Speak

Up here in Moose Country, we're preparing for the final (assumed) Phish concert ever - to be held in the Northeast Kingdom (the least populated part of Vermont - think Appalachia). We're on the doorstep of the Kingdom but not actually part of it.

Alas, I don't have tickets (my partner's actually more of a Trey Anastasio/Phish fan than I) but it's so darn close that we may be able to pick up the radio simulcast from the field where they will play.

Many Dead in Fallujah Airstrike

Situations like that today really test the whole fable that we've turned Iraq over to the Iraqi people.

US troops aren't leaving. In fact, more are due to arrive than will go. Iraqis, Americans, and others are in terrible danger. In fact, while we naturally pay more attention to American military deaths, they're just a small fraction of the civilian Iraqis who die in various attacks (and sadly, probably by the military hand as in Fallujah, where we say again and again we're going after insurgents but it usually comes out that probably innocent civilians died instead).

Whenever we decide, we can bomb the hell out of whatever target we choose.

All June 30th (which became June 28th) was was a shell game for Election 2004.

Makin' Whoopi: Ridicule Max Cleland, Fine. Criticize, Bush, and You're Fired

From NY Daily News:

Fired from her gig as SlimFast spokeswoman, the salty entertainer hit back at Republicans who threatened a SlimFast boycott over sexual puns she made about President Bush's name at a Democratic fund-raiser.

"America's heart and soul is freedom of expression without fear of reprisal," she said in a statement.

"I find all this feigned indignation about 'Bush bashing' quite disingenuous," she said, noting the Bush administration has savagely gone after critics like former Sen. Max Cleland, Iraq whistleblower Joseph Wilson and ex-terrorism chief Richard Clarke.

"For the Republican Party to pretend this is new to them seems a little fake," she said.

"The fact that I am no longer the spokesman for SlimFast makes me sad, but not as sad as someone trying to punish me for exercising my right as an American to speak my mind."