CNN Taking Up a Collection to Send Tom Ridge's Kids to College

Or so it seems. Tom says $175,000 just isn't enough money for coming up with that genius of the "color coded system" or coming out with the new scare just before the Dem National Convention. After all, how can you afford to send two kids to college on a paltry income of $175K a year?

Oh wait. Some of you have done that? Imagine that!

Anyway, CNN's running a poll to ask if this genius should be paid more. No, he has no training in combating terrorism. He didn't even get the color code right. And remember the duct tape debacle?

But we're hearing he'd make a fortune as a counter terrorism expert in the private sector, just like Rudy (No, I don't know anything either but I'm America's mayor!) Giuliani. And Tom would be the perfect lobbyist back to his old department.

Leeches have more life purpose than politicians and bureaucrats.

More "Freedom" In Iraq

From CNN:

A group linked to terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has kidnapped two drivers working for a Turkish company supplying goods to U.S. forces in Iraq, Al-Jazeera reported Saturday. the Unification and Jihad group said the company must stop its activities in Iraq within 48 hours or the militants will behead the two.
Elsewhere, Colin Powell urging war crimes' arrests.

Hmm... a few people might say that some of Colin's colleagues fit that bill.

Is it National Garbage Week?

I mean, Victoria Gotti gets her own show. Donald Trump says him being paid $50K per episode of "The Apprentice" isn't enough and tells NBC to pony up $18 million per (maybe they'll tell him, "You're fired!". Courtney Love gets ordered into her 350th drug treatment program. And Amy Fisher - the long-ago Long Island Lolita and one of the few women on earth willing to admit she had sex with Joey Buttafuoco, is publishing a book.

Amy's been a columnist for two years. I wonder if she can spell her own name.

These People ROCK!

From AP (thanks to Sharon for the link):

One of Texas' oldest drugstores is selling prescriptions at no profit to uninsured and underinsured customers, a move some industry experts called unprecedented.

"It's really not fair to the customers to take advantage of them," said Kaylei Mosier, who owns Smith Drug Co. in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

The Texas Pharmacy Association and the American Pharmacists Association said they haven't heard of another pharmacy with a similar program.

"This is the first experience I've heard of somebody willing to sell at cost," Texas Pharmacy Association spokesman David Gonzales said in Saturday's editions of The Dallas Morning News.

Carla Chandler's insurance covers three of her five medications. For one of the others, she called every nearby pharmacy and said she was quoted about $240 at one store. Smith Drug charged her $16.68.

"My mouth dropped open. I said, 'Excuse me, that can't be right,'" said Chandler, 42. "If it wasn't for them, it would mean we would have to go without paying one of our major bills."

The Phillipines and Negotiating with So-Called Terrorists

I say so-called above because as many people smarter than I have pointed out, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter, and vice versa.

With that said, there has been much outrage turned to the Phillipines in light of making a deal - we're told - with insurgents holding a 47-year-old truck driver who had parts of his home country demonstrating in the streets each day for his safe return. They got their troops out from Iraq early (and remember, they had just a teeny force in place) and the truck driver eventually came home. Many other hostages both before and after this case have not been so lucky.

I'm not going to join the throng screaming at the Phillipines. I know logically you can't negotiate with terrorists, but I know heart-wise that if the point being negotiated upon was an acceptable loss (leaving just weeks early), I am not sure I could stand strong.

However, I think before countries decide to negotiate with terrorists, they need to take a good, hard, long, and long-term look at whether they should be throwing in their lot with Mr. Bush. This isn't a matter of a situation where we can all agree Mr. Bush is right, where all the supporting evidence matches for the rest of the world to see (we went to war on very speculative evidence which has since proven to be untrue), where we can attest to great, positive changes in Afghanistan or Iraq in the face of our mission.

Except for a relatively few exceptions, the "coalition of the willing" was the coalition of the "Bush has got our nuts in a vice." Historically, just because a country supports us does not mean our country will treat them very well (waving to Tony Blair in Britain, who now understands what some women do: that it's bad enough to put out and then not get a call the next day, but when your bully-date with the big package and the not-smooth technique demanded sodomy, too, it just made the insult that much worse).

[Ed. note: I have no idea where she... er.. I came up with that. Blame my cold. A fever makes you just pull things out of the air, y'know?]

Just like everything else this situation with Mr. Bush's execution of the "War on Terror" (now there's a brand name), one must look far more closely at the details than the spin. Look at the list of coalition members. They really put their neck on the figurative guillotine in this.

How Quickly Will Bush Quit Crawford Ranch?

Anyone who's bothered to read knows that the Crawford Ranch was invented by the Bush campaign of 2000 to make Mr. Bush come off like the hard working cowboy. The house was built quickly, cattle brought in on loan, and I suspect Mr. Bush had never driven that pickup before his first photo-op at the ranch.

It's all been show. George, Laura, and the girls aren't ranch types.

So if I were a betting person, I suspect that if Bush loses Election 2004 (even with all his helpers in Florida and the Supreme Court), the cobwebs at Crawford will already be thick by Christmas.

Ridge Indicated Nearly $200K Salary Not Enough

Tom Ridge is telling friends that he may not continue as Director of Homeland Security because his just under $200K income each year just isn't enough. The man has earned a six figure salary for years and years now but says he has no savings (just most of a million in investments).

Poor, poor thing.


Smear Berger, Then Slip In His Absolution

From Oliver Willis reporting on story in the Wall Street Journal:

    President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger -- who'd been accused of stealing classified material from the National Archives -- has been cleared of all wrongdoing.

    The National Archives and the Justice Department have concluded nothing is missing and nothing in the Clinton administration's record was withheld from the 9-11 Commission.
Kind of strange that the WSJ seems to be the only ones running this story. I wonder if anyone in their rabid editorial department got the memo.

Michael Moore, Bill Maher on Knees Begging Nader Not to Win

Nader was amused.

Clearly, "Real Time with Bill Maher" has returned.

Once in a Blue Moon

Also from the geniuses at CNN:

Some almanacs and calendars assert when two full moons occur within a calendar month, that the second full moon is called the "Blue Moon."

That second full moon this month will come on Saturday, July 31st, and will look no different than any other full moon.

On past occasions, usually after forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the moon can indeed take on a bluish or lavender hue. Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the Earth's atmosphere can sometimes make the moon appear bluish. Such a situation was noted across eastern North America in late September 1950, due to smoke from widespread forest fire activity in western Canada. Also, in the aftermath of the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991 there were reports of blue moons worldwide.

The phrase "Once in a blue moon" was first noted in 1824 and refers to occurrences that are uncommon, perhaps even rare. Yet, to have two full Moons in the same month is not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, it occurs, on average, about every 32 months. And in the year 1999 it actually occurred twice in three months.
I've got a few wishes on this rare little moon. Sure, some of them run to "let me get a sustaining job immediately" and "let America shine again" and "you wanna make that mass in my lung disappear before surgery?".

But there are others.

As long as I'm wishing, let me wish that no creature tonight must go to bed hungry or without hope.

Let me wish for the troops, the civilians, and the families immediately caught up in the Iraq and Afghan wars right now.

Let me wish for a fair Election 2004.

And let me wish the best to my dear friend, Terri, who lost her son to violence last weekend and now struggles with trying to get life to make sense.

I Know, I Know: "They Hate Us for our Freedoms"

From CNN:

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- At least three people were killed and several others wounded in explosion near the U.S. and Israeli embassies as well as at the state prosecutor's office the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

A group calling itself the Islamic Jihad Group in Uzbekistan claimed responsibility for the attacks. The claim was made in a statement posted to an Islamic Web site linked to al Qaeda.

Two people -- described as Uzbek security guards -- were killed Friday in an explosion at the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, an embassy official said.

"We still don't know if it was a bomb or a suicide bomber and two local workers were killed," Ambassador Zvi Cohen said on Israel Radio.

Forget Carmen Sandiego - Where in the World is Ahmed Chalabi?

Daniel Perle and Newt Gingrich, his friends, certainly know. But our government seems to have forgotten the strange Mr. Chalabi's name.

Colin Powell Makes Surprise Visit to Baghdad

I wouldn't even bother to point out that this belies the rumor that Iraq is now under its own control. But I also haven't heard a good reason yet for why he stopped by.

"Can we borrow a cup of gas?"


Best Dem Convention Coverage: Daily Show

Worst sports? Faux News, which kept trying to yell their way through interviews DURING the speakers so they didn't make their audience listen to speakers of color. Bill O'Reilly conducted one over the top of Al Sharpton, never glancing up once.

Hey, Did They Dispense with Balloons and Confetti?

If so, that's great. Save the extras for the GOP who like to cloud everything in a fog of red white and blue nonsense.

Oh crud. Here come the balloons.

I'm sooooo disappointed.

Faith-Based Bookkeeping in Iraq

From Lambert at Corrente:

A billion here, a billion there—pretty soon, you're talking real money!

Hey, remember those twenty-somethings the RNC/CPA hired because they sent in their resumes to the Heritage Foundation? And only because? Maybe they know where the money is!
    U.S. civilian authorities in Baghdad failed to keep good track of nearly $1 billion in Iraqi money spent for reconstruction projects and can't produce records to show whether they got some services and products they paid for, anew audit concludes.

    The one-star general overseeing reconstruction contracts in Iraq said in response to the audit that the lack of documentation didn't prove the money was wasted.
    (via AP)
"Trust me!"—that's Bush=speak for "Fuck you!"
    "We believe the contracts awarded with Iraqi funds were for the sole benefit of the Iraqi people, without exception," Army Brig. Gen. Stephen M. Seay wrote to the inspector general.
You "believe"? That's a new one—faith-based accounting!
    The investigators reviewed 43 contracts and found 29 had incomplete or missing documentation. For each of the 29, "we were unable to determine if the goods specified in the contract were ever received, the total amount of payments made to the contractor or if the contractor fully complied with the terms of the contract," investigators wrote.

    The report said investigators could not track down 52 of 164 randomly selected items in an inventory of more than 20,000 items overseen by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. The missing items included two electric generators worth nearly $1 million, 18 trucks or SUVs and six laptop computers.

Looting! After lying, that's what Republicans do best!

Couple Thoughts on Kerry's Speech

Overall, I thought it was quite effective, and had enough specifics that those listening should have an idea of who he is. I also noticed he turned around Edward's "Hope is on the way" message of the other night into HELP is on the way.

Good. Most of us don't need more hope. We need more real changes. We've hoped for four years things would stop getting worse all the time. Some of us still hope. But you can't feed a hungry child entirely on hope, and you can't just hope your way out of most crises.

But I certainly came away with a few questions. End the backdoor draft of reservists and such? GREAT. But where are those 40,000 other troops Mr. Kerry wants going to come from? The prison population? With what's gone on for the past three years, I would think many Americans - even if inclined to want to do service - would very much question signing on the dotted line while we're in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also, while I'm glad to see recognition of committed relationships between gays make so much headway over the last two years, I'm a little disappointed that Kerry and many Dems shied away from it.

Where's the health care idea for anyone more than seniors and kids? Yes, those are two very important groups. But most of the 44 million uninsured (I bet it's actually much higher now) are working people between 18 and 65 who are the working poor or stretched. Kerry mentioned help is on the way there, but where?

Al Qaeda Operative Seized

I suppose it would help Mr. Bush if almost anyone had ever heard of Ahmed Ghailani. Osama, he's not.

Per Capita Incomes Down for the Second Straight Year

I notice the government released this just as the Dem National Convention was really into gear, sorta slipping it in there.

Now, not being anything that could be remotely considered an economist (I've read the periodical, however), let me note that income at the top tiers had jumped sharply higher (CEOs have jumped an average 22% in just a year).

So how bad does the lower tier have to be to have the final figures come out so low?

"It's Only Leadership if Someone Follows"

"It's only leadership if someone follows and no one is following."

Joe Biden just now on the floor of the Dem Convention. He's making some very good points about trust and our relationship in the world.

Iraqi Freedom Does Not Extend to Press and Free Speech

Blue Lemur reports on a Financial Times' article - the original of which I cannot locate on the FT site - about how Prime Minister Allawi is deciding who does what in the press there.

I'm so glad we freed them, aren't you?

Unhappy with Your Crappy Bush Economy Job? Pop a Prozac

These people just are NOT redeemable:

A campaign worker for President Bush (news - web sites) said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones -- or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better.

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?" said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

The comment was apparently directed to a colleague who was transferring a phone call from a reporter asking about job quality, and who overheard the remark.

When told the Prozac comment had been overheard, Sheybani said: "Oh, I was just kidding."

While recent employment growth has buoyed Bush's economic record, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) has argued the new jobs are not as good as those lost due to outsourcing in recent years.
Gee, is that why the president's taking an antidepressant?

And which other job should these people get, Bush Lady? Wal-Mart? Mickey-D's? Lockheed-Martin contractor in Saudi Arabia? Halliburton truck driver in Iraq? Which? Or maybe everyone should just enlist.

Catherine Zeta-Big Cohones

I don't want to disparage the poor lady, Catherine Zeta-Jones, but her primary reason for being, besides acting in just about "B" movies and hanging on the arm of a much older, much wealthier man, seems to be appearing in court as the victim.

Why is it that will all the suits, I feel like the legal system largely exists to keep her name before the media? She's just so beautiful, so desirable, that people cannot stop themselves from coming after her.

Oh yeah, and she's been 30 since 1999 or so. Could somebody update that please? I'm not even sure she was still 30 then. She's always struck me as a young-looking-through-extensive-measures 40-something.

That's Not a Deep and Burrowing Bug Up Saddam's Butt

It's a chronic prostate infection.

I see from recent pictures that Saddam has found his black hair paste again. I thought Cal Thomas had stolen it all (and btw, Bill O'Reilly could use a little of that along with a can of Ron Popeil's spray-on hair).

Nancy Says No

Will the only Reagan at a political convention this summer be Ron the younger at the Dem Convention?

Skippy, through a reader, points us to this piece in the New York Daily News:

much to the dismay of the bush campaign, nancy reagan has just said no to appearing at the republican national convention next month.

gop strategists had hoped the former first lady and hollywood actress would make a cameo appearance onstage after a video tribute to her late husband, particularly after her bush-bashing son, ron, agreed to speak at the democratic convention last night…

gop sources, meanwhile, confirmed his mother will not be at their aug. 30-sept. 2 convention - and some speculated her son might be behind the snub.

"i do not expect her at our convention but she knows she is welcome," republican national committee chairman ed gillespie told reporters here yesterday.

"if all of you might just keep in mind for a moment the year that mrs. reagan has had and be a little understanding of that, i think that would be appreciated by the public and, i suspect, by mrs. reagan," gillespie added.

republican officials refrained from publicly criticizing nancy reagan for the no-show. privately, however, some were upset as well as disappointed by the decision, which has been known to the white house for some time.

"i don't think she could have missed the symbolic significance of her son going to their convention and her not going to ours," a senior gop official told the daily news.

a downcast senior gop official confirmed nancy reagan had never committed to appearing at the convention, but was nevertheless dubious of the official explanation…

"the 'not feeling up to it' line is bull----," the official said. "something happened in the last month, and whatever it was was real."
No, I don't think Nancy misses much either. But I don't think - Poppy Bush's tears at the funeral aside - that the Reagans were ever enamored of the Bushes, and certainly not George the Lesser.

No Followup on Reports Bush is Medicated?

Every little detail about Mr. Kerry receiving Botox (doubtful) were covered in the press. But the president on a drug that a doctor says could impair his judgment (and some of us don't think he needs chemical aid for that) doesn't warrant a peep?

Lori Hacking Still Missing

The pregnant jogger who disappeared in Salt Lake City 11 days ago has not been found, and volunteer searches have been called off. Searches of landfills so far have not produced the young woman's body and her husband remains in a psychiatric unit.

But I've never heard any confirmation of a report on Fox News last weekend that luminol tests in the apartment showed blood all over the walls. But that's Fox.

Jibjab - America Controversy

The owners of the rights to "This Land is Your Land" are threatening the folks behind the Bush/Kerry parody saying their usage doesn't meet "fair use" doctrine. Not sure about that. I figured a parody would be allowed, but what I bothered to read up on the subject last night - along with what my partner said yesterday - makes me think it is not.

How about a jeb jab next?

Crawford's "Fahrenheit 911"

CNN and others are busily saying that Crawford protesters gave the special showing of the movie and its creator, Michael Moore, a big thumbs-down yesterday. In doing so, however, they ignore the fact that the driveway theater lot was packed with people and that the protestors - many of them bused in - looked like they pales in comparison to the numbers turning out for the show.

Spin spin spin.

Report Says Afghanistan Could Implode

We've done a terrible thing here. And Mr. Bush, whenever he bothers to remember the country, just acts like it's a success story rather than a miserable failure.


Is the President Medicated to Stop Erratic Behavior?

I saw this at Corrente, and then looked at Capitol Hill Blues:

President George W. Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the President’s mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis, administration aides admit privately.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says one aide. “We can’t have him flying off the handle at the slightest provocation but we also need a President who is alert mentally.”

Angry Bush walked away from reporter's questions.
Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

“Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can.”

Bush’s mental stability has become the topic of Washington whispers in recent months. Capitol Hill Blue first reported on June 4 about increasing concern among White House aides over the President’s wide mood swings and obscene outbursts.

Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad” showcase Bush’s instabilities.
So all day, I've continued to hear about Heinz Kerry saying "shove it" while this is out today?

This is completely frightening.

The Bush Deficit Dishonesty

Check this out from Misleader, which provides foot notes with source data:

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have repeatedly promised America that they would get their record-deficits under control. Last year, President Bush said "My Administration firmly believes in controlling the deficit and reducing it."1 Similarly, Vice President Cheney said "I am a deficit hawk. So is the president."2 But according to congressional sources, the government is soon expected to project a record federal budget deficit, even as President Bush demands more money for war in Iraq3 , and a $1 trillion proposal for more tax cuts.4

The Associated Press reports the government will project "that this year's federal deficit will exceed $420 billion" - a record5. The President last year tried to deflect blame for the deficit, claiming that "This nation has got a deficit because we have been through a war.6 " While it is true that the President has spent more than $166 billion on the war,7 the statistics show that his failed economic policies and massive tax cuts for the wealthy are the largest factors contributing to the fiscal demise8. Even the White House budget director essentially acknowledged the President's dishonesty about the cause of the deficit, saying "even if we had never been attacked, and incurred no costs of war or recovery from September 11th, and no tax relief had become law, we still would have gone into deficit9."

Aid Doctors Give Up on Afghanistan

Can you even imagine how terrible it must be there if these people, who have risked their lives many times, say they simply cannot operate? I blame us for this. We've made Afghanistan so much worse than it was, when that hardly seemed possible.

President's Poll Numbers in the 30s

That's what Chris Matthews just let slip.

Perhaps the president can win "Miss Congeniality".

Ricin: It's Not Just for Terrorists Anymore

From CNN/AP:

IRVINE, California (AP) -- Authorities found ground-up castor beans with trace amounts of the poison ricin in two jars of baby food that had been tampered with, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials who tested the baby food said the ricin was not in the purified form that can be deadly. Rather, it was a less toxic, natural component of the castor beans.

115 Dead and Counting

That's just from today's violence in Iraq in mostly one area. We have no idea how much else happened throughout the country, but things are in too much of a mess to coordinate information.

Remember, this happens:

    * 18 months from the beginning of our promised cake walk
    * 15 months since Mr. Bush declared Mission Accomplished
    * 30 days since we pretended to hand Iraq over to Iraqis

Sharpton's Speech

I need time to digest it, but my initial impression is that the Rev. Al Sharpton was disappointing in his speech. His, oddly, was the first speech I caught that didn't surprise me quite favorably.

Sure, Sharpton is a polarizing figure and a lot of us squirm a bit at some - although not all - of the causes in which he has involved himself. Still, he's still managed to reach a certain level in American politics.

There are those who want to announce Sharpton as the successor to Jesse Jackson, but I don't think that's fair to either man and unlike the Repubs, I'd like to think the Dems have room for many different voices of many different colors.

Sharpton's message was "our vote is not for sale" but I did not believe anyone was trying to buy the black vote (in fact, Bush doesn't seem to care period which just astounds me - lots of politicians just give African-Americans lip service, but he's barely doing that). I thought they were trying to steal or invalidate it. And that's not just limited to blacks.

CEO Pay Hikes Double

I bet yours hasn't.

Has "Deep Throat" Died?

Woodward? Bernstein? Was it Fred LaRue?

Fred LaRue, a Watergate figure and high-ranking Nixon administration official who once was rumored to be Deep Throat, has died of natural causes. He was 75.

His body was discovered Tuesday by a maid who entered his hotel room in Biloxi, Coroner Gary Hargrove said. The coroner said he believes LaRue died Saturday.

LaRue was known as the "bagman" who delivered payoffs to keep participants in the Watergate break-in quiet, and served 41/2 months in federal prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice.

LaRue served as special assistant to John Mitchell, the former attorney general who later headed President Nixon's re-election committee.

LaRue was present at a 1972 meeting with Mitchell and Nixon aide Jeb Stuart Magruder at Nixon's vacation home in Key Biscayne, Florida, where the plan to break into the Watergate complex in Washington allegedly was hatched. The building housed Democratic Party headquarters and LaRue said he advised against the burglary.

There Go Gas Prices Again

I hadn't even noticed this, but Xan at Corrente did thankfully.

George had better dig up a new crucifix or other knicknack to give to his dear pal, Gospodin "I Looked in His Eyes And Saw Into His Soul" Vladimir. If you haven't been following the story of the YUKOS Oil Co. in Russia I don't know exactly how to explain it, but Putin is engaged in a war-to-the-knife power struggle with the owner of the company. Today a court ordered that the company stop pumping oil. They haven't even done this yet and prices in the futures market are spiking badly. The guy at your local Hess station is probably out changing the numbers on the pumps even as we speak:
    (via NYT)U.S. light crude futures rose 52 cents to $42.36 a barrel,[prices as of story circa 10 this morning-Ed.] nine cents below June's 21-year high. ``We're going up on the back of the YUKOS news,'' one dealer said.
YUKOS pumps around 20 percent of the crude supply in Russia, the world's second-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, and if its sales stop, the company could fold quickly.

When Bushco and Prince Bandar were rigging their little ploy to run the gas prices up in the summer then drop them for election time, I think they forgot a bear in the corner.

More and Moore

From Keith Olbermann's MSNBC Countdown newletter:

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 screening set for a Crawford parking lot, seven miles from Bush's ranch. But Moore will skip the screening himself. (Overnight, 20 bags of composted cow manure were dumped near the spot where television crews do live broadcasts from Crawford, a few miles from Bush's Central Texas ranch. The fertilizer, in 25-pound bags, included a sign addressed: "To Michael Moore. One piece of Bull**** deserves another." http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/politics/2706689 ) [Moore can laugh all the way to the bank, since his film is the first documentary to break the 100 million mark.]


I noticed this medical term was a top search word today, which surprises me no end. I remember reading about it in zoology class in college. For those interested who don't know:

Amebiasis is a disease caused by microscopic parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica that attach to the large intestine. Most of the time these parasites (amoebas) cause no symptoms, but in up to 8% of those infected, the amoebas invade deeply into wall of the intestine. When this happens, symptoms begin, either because the amebic parasites attack the intestines (intestinal amebiasis) or more rarely, spread through the body to affect other organs, especially the liver.

A child with intestinal amebiasis may complain of abdominal pain that begins gradually. There may also be diarrhea that is blood-stained or filled with mucus. The child may have eight to 12 bowel movements each day, and he may experience a constant nagging, irritating feeling that he needs to move his bowels. There is fever about one third of the time.

In rare cases, amebiasis causes an amebic dysentery, with sudden symptoms of fever, chills, and severe diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration (abnormally low levels of body water). Symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks.

When amoebas spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, they can cause pockets of infection and pus in many different organs. About 1% of the time, they infect the liver, and the condition is called hepatic amebiasis. Symptoms of hepatic amebiasis include: fever; pain in the abdomen; an abnormally swollen or enlarged abdomen; and tenderness in the area of the liver (below the right ribs).

Silly Point But...

I'm not a celebrity gossip/star story person but I keep catching - usually on these entertainment spots on the news - these various gossip columnists who, when presented with the name or picture of the Bush Twins, get this really odd look in their eye, smile like "God, if I could only tell you without getting a condo in Gitmo", and say, "Those Bush twins. You've got to love the Bush twins."

I know that they've been reported indulging in the drugs that would earn the rest of us a trip in Club Fed, that Barbara the younger did serious dirty dancing with a fellow who was seeing someone else on a fashion stage in front of hundreds back several months ago, and all the times they've gotten snookered and fallen literally off their feet or bar stools... but I admit a bit of curiosity about what's not being said.

BTW, have you noticed what an impressive young woman Chelsea Clinton always seems to be? Throughout that whole mess with her parents, she was a class act and seems to remain one. She's articulate, always well dressed (and she doesn't even aspire to be a fashion model, Barb!), and highly intelligent.

The GOP, its Assault on Trial Lawyers, and the News That So Many Die from Hospital Errors

Chris in Paris at AmericaBlog raises this:

Now what was it that Cheney was saying just days ago? Oh yes, it was this:
    "This problem doesn't start in the waiting room," Cheney said in remarks released by the campaign. "It doesn't start in the operating room. The problem starts in the courtroom."
Sounds like Dick might not have been exactly right about that one, sort of like the WMDs.
    "The HealthGrades study shows that the IOM report may have underestimated the number of deaths due to medical errors, and, moreover, that there is little evidence that patient safety has improved in the last five years," said Dr. Samantha Collier, vice president of medical affairs at the company.

    It said it found about 1.14 million "patient-safety incidents" occurred among the 37 million hospitalizations. "Of the total 323,993 deaths among Medicare patients in those years who developed one or more patient-safety incidents, 263,864, or 81 percent, of these deaths were directly attributable to the incidents," it added. "One in every four Medicare patients who were hospitalized from 2000 to 2002 and experienced a patient-safety incident died."

Victoria Gotti Gets Her Own Reality Show

I'm stunned - and I didn't think it was possible to get that way after eating horse rectums and Donald Trump each got their own reality shows.

Victoria Gotti, for those of you who have not had her pushed in your face (Geraldo used to love having her on), is the daughter of dead crime boss John Gotti and brother of Gotti Jr. just charged with murder.

She thinks of herself as a novelist - not a good one - and seems to spend her money on hair bleach and plastic surgery to look like something out of the Soprano's, and you'd swear NONE of those people were made to look good. She thinks of herself as royalty, a princess, and classy.

Listen to her talk for a few moments, however, and the magic (if there was any) fades.

"Growing Up Gotti" is the name, and we're supposed to care about her dating life, her punk kids, and I guess we're supposed to think of her as a glamorous author (her words) and a newly-single mother - you know, just like any other mother.

I'm not a believer in considering the children guilty of the parents' crimes. That's not why I detest all things Gotti. But this is preposterous.

Special Showing of "Fahrenheit 911" Tonight

Michael Moore has extended a special invitation to the movie, too.

See, the movie is being shown in Crawford, Texas, and Mr. Moore would love to have George W. Bush come see it.

So would I. But I'd also like a camera trained on our leader while he watches (hey, it's just a camera - I'm not even asking for a polygraph machine!).

Florida and Voting: It Seems Tougher There

Also from CNN, and this is... well... read for yourself:

A computer crash erased detailed records from Miami-Dade County's first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines, raising again the specter of election troubles in Florida, where the new technology was supposed to put an end to such problems.

The crashes occurred in May and November of 2003, erasing information from the September 2002 gubernatorial primaries and other elections, elections officials said Tuesday.

The malfunction was made public after the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, a citizen's group, requested all data from the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride.
In an accompanying picture, the Fla. Secretary of State is seen smiling proudly, like she done good for her boss, Jeb.

Another Fine Day in Iraq

From CNN (under the headline "11 Dead", which seems to defy math):

At least 68 people were killed today in a suicide attack in Baquba, Iraq. Another 42 died in fighting in south-central Iraq, and another person was killed in a blast near a Baghdad police station. Speaking in Cairo, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell condemned the Baquba attack, calling it "an attempt by murderers to deny the Iraqi people their dream."
Mr. Powell would know, after all.

Bush, As Good at Speaking as He is on a Bike

Xan posted these at Corrente:

    "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
    - George W. Bush

    "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
    - George W. Bush

    "One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
    - George W. Bush

    "I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments
    in the future."
    - George W. Bush

    "The future will be better tomorrow."
    - George W. Bush

    "We're going to have the best educated American people in the
    - George W. Bush

    "I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
    - George W. Bush

    "We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a
    firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."
    - George W. Bush

    "Public speaking is very easy."
    - George W. Bush

    "A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the
    - George W. Bush

    "We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
    - George W. Bush

    "For NASA, space is still a high priority."
    - George W. Bush

    "Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our
    - George W. Bush

    "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the
    impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
    - George W. Bush

    "It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
    - George W. Bush

We Also Fail to Pay Our Service People

This story from Todd at debunker goes along with other reports we've read about various units - active, reservist, guard, you name it - all having problems getting paid, or getting docked for mistakes made state-side, et al.

    WASHINGTON — A study of eight Army Reserve units sent to Iraq and other Middle East bases showed that 95 percent experienced significant problems getting paid correctly, creating, they said, stress and concern about the financial well-being of their families back home.

    The soldiers were overpaid, underpaid or paid late, according to a study by the Government

    Accountability Office, and the problems in some instances persisted for more than a year.

    "You never want to mess with a soldier's money. That's a cardinal rule," said Army Capt. Orlando Amaro, a platoon leader who was in Baghdad from May through December 2003.

    "When a soldier has financial issues, the morale just goes through the floor."
    He said virtually all of the 121 soldiers in his company had pay problems.

    He said virtually all of the 121 soldiers in his company had pay problems.
You know, I bet Misters Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz never encounter this issue...

Mr. Bush, Uber Athlete, Falls Off Bike Again

[Ed note: We assume drug and alcohols screens are part of the annual physical?]

Skippy brings us news that President ("He leans so far to the right that he apparently cannot stay up on bikes and scooters") Bush took yet another spill from a bike. Geez, all we hear is that he's such an athlete, but Jerry Ford didn't do these many prat falls. You'd think someone in such good shape would have more control over his body.

now this is getting ridiculous.

today awol fell off a bike for the second time in two months. reuters:
    during an 18-mile ride, as bikers often do, the president took a minor spill and scraped his knee," spokeswoman claire buchan said. she said the president did not require medical attention after the spill.

    bush had a similar mountain bike mishap at his ranch in late may, when he toppled over while riding downhill on soil loosened by rainfall, and suffered minor cuts and abrasions.

    last year, he toppled off a high-tech segway scooter at the bush family estate in kennebunkport, maine.
and don't forget when he fell down after choking on a pretzel.

sounds to us like he actually fell off the wagon.
You know...


Feds v. Massachusetts and Other Gays

Here's an interesting dilemma:

A man who married his partner of 23 years after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts is having trouble getting a new passport.

Donald Henneberger, formerly Donald Smith, recently received a letter from the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, denying his request for a name change on his passport. The center said it would not recognize a marriage license for a same-sex couple as proof of a name change.

The center addressed the letter to "Mr. Henneberger."

Henneberger married his partner Arthur Henneberger in May, when same-sex marriages became legal in the Bay State. On the marriage license, the couple checked a box that automatically changes the last names of the partners to whatever they request.

The letter from the National Passport Center cites the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which states a marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and a spouse can only refer to a person of the opposite sex.

Donald Henneberger said he had no trouble with the Social Security Administration, another federal agency, when he requested a card in his new name.

I Think I'm in Love... and it's With Another Woman

Teresa Heinz Kerry is blowing me away. That introductory film leading up to her speech was top-drawer, but she's got to be one of the most engaging speakers I've heard in years, if ever. Her passion, her intelligence, her individuality... it's all right there.

And boy, if Hillary scared the right wing, Teresa's going to have them messing their pants hourly. This seems like a very impressive woman. But what I've seen of her kids are likewise.

Electrifying Obama

That's the general concensus about his keynote address tonight.

Right now, I'm listening to Ron Reagan (the younger and the still alive) speak about stem cells and the importance of the research. Some of the audience seems uneasy. His address is pretty novel and he's engaging. But I'm going to have to listen to this again. I'm distracted by some of the audience.

You know what's knocking my socks off? Ahem. No. It's not great sex and see, your dirty mind got me off-track.

What's amazing - to me - is that I didn't expect to watch the Convention. I planned to get transcripts after the fact. But the speakers have been all quite good and there's been as much analysis as anything (and far less simple Bush bashing than most would respect and that's good). Instead, I've watched at least ten speakers over two nights without that sneaking "God, I'm sitting through a speech" squirminess.

I hope this invigorates Kerry, sparks him.

"The only thing we have to fear is another four years of George W. Bush."

How many times have we totally dismissed Teddy Kennedy?

And how many times has he surprised us?

Hats off, Ted! Beautiful, invigorating speech tonight.


As the author of a book on PC survival ("PC Disaster and Recovery", Sybex), I have to suggest occasionally that everyone should be performing them.

With all the crap being sent over the Web now, including by unsuspecting legit Web sites, you need to be doing backups of at least your essential files, if not drive images of your main hard drive.

Likely, you have a CD-R or DVD recorder attached to your system. Please. Use it.

If you need tips, I've got some great books to recommend (my own, of course, including the "PC Hardware and A+ Handbook" now out from Microsoft Press), but you can find a lot of good info on the Web, too, including at Fred Langa's site.
Update: Thanks to MissM for noting the problem with the URL. It's fixed now (I think).

Going Out on a Limb: Bloggers at the Dem Convention

I may be way off base here, but I've watched and listened to this phenomenon for a few days now, and it's bothering me.

I think there's a tendency just because of the newness of the visibility of bloggers during this convention to give them lots of attention. However, I also see lots of egos coming out and a certain sense of self-specialness because they're there.

While I think it's great bloggers were recognized, I'd caution everyone that a lot of the time that gets devoted in blogs discusses the need to return the idea of government and service to the real American people. We don't need rock stars, or blog stars. We need excellent reporting that isn't covered in the mainstream and we need to bridge the gap between politics and people so that one can "get" the other.

My serious congratulations to everyone there participating and providing information back to us. But I just feel like we don't need more of the GOP-style "stars for no good reason than money and power". And I think almost everyone who got picked to blog there has a record of service in blogging that speaks for itself, and does not require "rock star" status to be worthy.

OK, I'm going to go turn my soapbox into kindling. As I said, I may be way off base here. But if this pro-blog person has gotten an uncomfortable sense of something off, I wonder if the public has. Nothing, however, is more important than trying to get this country off its current disastrous course. Nothing.

CNN - Michael Moore Flap

I just read that yesterday, CNN's mild-mannered, often cheerleading Bill Hemmer (not a good journalist, not even a good thick-necked pretty boy) said to Michael Moore of "Fahrenheit 911" fame in an interview, "Some people would like to see you in the White House and others would like to see you dead."

Moore supposedly got upset with that, and I think he had a right to be so. That's a Bill O'Reilly question placed on a morning news cast. It almost makes it sound like it's OK to take shots (real ones) at the man just because some nutcases are mad.

But then, some CNN operative went to Moore and demanded he give back his CNN floor pass. CNN says that Moore refused and began to curse the woman out. Moore says that NEVER happened. I've seen Moore somewhat confronted before, and I've certainly never seen him respond with gutter language.

Interestingly however, throughout all of this, CNN is the one demanding the apology from Moore. I guess they really, really, really want to become Fox News. Ick.

Jimmy Carter's Message Last Night

Carter is a class act, doing far more for the world since his presidency (1976-1980) than during it.

Carter's speech last night was excellent, calling on Americans to repudiate extremist doctrines and efforts that do nothing but endanger us from terrorists and endanger the rest of the world from our "might makes right" activities. Good for Carter. He's a real statesman: unafraid to say difficult things.

[Ed. note: To be fair, I've usually been able to respect our presidents more over a period of time after their years in office than during, with a few exceptions, namely Bush the First, Reagan, and surprisingly enough, JFK just because I was far too young to appreciate the mess of the Cuban Missile Crisis). Gerry Ford, for example, has garnered tremendous respect from me for who the whole man is: an intelligent, centrist Republican who seems to genuinely appreciate all Americans, not just those of his political stripe.]

Oops... One More: Barack Obama

I'm actually looking forward to his keynote speech tonight. What I've seen and read of him so far has been very favorable and I wonder if he can quickly move from a probably Illinois senator to someone on the full national stage.

Which reminds me of something else: last night's appearance by Bill Clinton seemed to reawaken speculation that he might become Secretary General of the U.N. I like Kofi Annan, who stepped into a job that has been every moment a challenge, but I suspect Clinton would be an excellent replacement should Annan decide at some point to step aside. Clinton might redeem the U.S.'s seriously battered reputation.

However, I'm in no great hurry to see Annan go. He has some faults and weaknesses, but he's a good man.

The Clintons Last Night

I thought both Clintons did pretty well in their appearance at the Dem Convention last night, especially Bill. That oft-used anecdote about how the Republicans work so hard to give him an unneeded tax cut as a now-millionaire always rings right with me.

Whatever else you can say about Clinton, he's the consummate public speaker. Warm, engaging, intelligent and able to present himself extremely well. No, I didn't like every part of the Clinton-Gore administration, but I sure wish Bill were in office right now.

Gee, Yeah, I Can See Why USA Today Pulled This Dreadful Column

But I'll post it here just to emphasize what a spewing sack of hate this self-defined "pretty girl" (since I've rarely seen anyone called a positively post op transsexual so many times) is. Note that I won't be linking to (KKK) Townhall.com often:

[Ed. note: This into from Town Hall slubites.]The following is Ann Coulter's column that was supposed to be printed in Monday's USA Today. It was spiked because it was "unusable" and "not funny." Decide for yourself.

Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the "F-word" are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling.

Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists – with the exception of Boston's police, who'll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they'll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs.

A speaker at the Democratic National Convention this year, Al Sharpton, accused white police officers of raping and defacing Tawana Brawley in 1987, lunatic charges that eventually led to a defamation lawsuit against Sharpton, and even more eventually to Sharpton paying a jury award to the defamed plaintiff Steve Pagones. So it's a real mystery why cops wouldn't like Democrats.

As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that it's because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the U.N. Security Council's approval. Plus, it's no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie-chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.
You know, I wake up almost every day thanking the good lord that I was not born Ann Coulter and that I don't need to have any contact with her. I don't even do that with Lynne Cheney, Phyllis Schafly, and Bush (pick a Bush, any Bush).


Happy Birthday, Spy Guy Baby, Happy Birthday toYou

From the Miami Herald comes news that Monday marked important birthdays:

    1908: The Federal Bureau of Investigation was established.
    1947: The National Security Act established the CIA.
Add to this:
    2005: Atty General John Ashcroft, in the second Bush Administration, announces all Americans will be implanted with a deep anal probe that will allow the government to spy on every aspect of a person's life.
Congress, of course, will be exempt.

Mr. Bush Called Lance Armstrong to Congratulate Him

That's wonderful! It really is. And to think Mr. Bush took time out of his vacation (which he hasn't had in at least two weeks) to do that.

I wonder how many moms and dads and wives and husbands and children of military people killed or missing limbs or eyes in Iraq have gotten a call from the president thanking them on behalf of America. None perhaps.

Of course, those soldiers aren't favored, privileged sons from Texas.

Fewer Taking the GED

I don't see the story here as the fact that the test is harder (it really was too simple before) but that in a tough economy where fewer are finishing high school, that it's disturbing to see GED rates drop off.

The new high school equivalency examination, which demands more analysis and has fewer multiple-choice answers, drew fewer participants in its first year, but they passed at a slightly higher rate than in the past, a review has found.

The number who took the General Educational Development program, or GED, dropped 43.6 percent in 2002, the first full year of the new test series, according to the GED Testing Service report released Monday. It said many GED candidates had rushed to take the old test before new standards were implemented.
Remember: dumb kids present a national security challenge, too. They're our future.

Perhaps al Qaeda Likes Dick Cheney More than Most Americans Do

From Oliver Willis:

According to this new poll from Fox News of all places, Kerry/Edwards lead when it comes to values and Edwards beats Cheney for presidential character.
    Voters would feel more comfortable with John Edwards (47%) than Dick Cheney (40%) if the vice president had to step in and serve as president.

    Voters think the Kerry/Edwards ticket better shares the values of average Americans (49%) than Bush/Cheney (40%).

    53% said Edwards will add votes to the Democratic ticket

Bloggers Like to Booze?

I've heard or read this three times today.

Well, shit. What am I supposed to do? I'm not a tea-totaller but I rarely drink alcohol. Oh wait. Let me go pour my coffee in a fake brandy flask.

I know, I know. The whole being a writer and not drinking thing is such an anomaly. On Craig's List or somewhere, they were actually looking for writers who don't drink to see what they do do.

And if Bush gets elected for the first time (as opposed to 2000), maybe there's hope I can turn into a drinker.

Mr. Cheney's Potty Mouth (and More)

From Wonkette:

Washington Whispers: GOPers scramble for Pataki Pass, "an exclusive E-ZPass for the A-1 list.". . . Some White House insiders worry Cheney's cursing will cost BC04 votes. . . Kerry has studied conventions back to Woodrow Wilson for guidance. . . How to Be President is how-to guide for new office-holders. . . New Bush spokespeople watch "The Daily Show" for message discipline.
And while we're on Wonkette (figuratively, please), I have to share a picture appearing in a NARAL.org ad on her site. I LOVE IT.

Wouldn't Want Real News and Truth to Get in the Way of Millionaire News Salaries

From the Buzzflash Dem Convention blog (and thanks to Skippy for the pointer):

Not that we would be the ones to think that the large salaries of the TV anchor person pundits pumping up Bush's image everyday have anything to do with their pro-White House bias. I mean, who could suspect such a thing? These people are touted as unbiased, neutral talking heads full of non-partisan hot air, but could their salaries and class influence their coverage? Or is it just that General Electric, Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch, Time-Warner and the like sign their paychecks?...

According to the book "News Flash" (2004), by Bonnie Anderson, here are examples of some of the salaries that would be at risk if mainstream television news personalities told us the truth:

Peter Jennings
$10- 11 million

Dan Rather
$7 million

Tom Brokaw
$7 -8 million

Katie Couric [Ed. note: That's a million-five per dimple. Duh!]
$12-15 million

Paula Zahn
$2 million

Don't expect these folks to be rubbing shoulders with the working people of America. They travel strictly first class and expect to be treated like stars. Their wealth is dependent upon continued employment by corporations that support the Republicans and the Bush Cartel at the expense of our national security.

More on the Heinz "Shove It" Controversy

Skippy gives us more background information (including a few points I was hazy on):

mrs. ketchup stepped in it yesterday, as she was caught on tape telling a so-called jouranlist to "shove it" because he kept insisting on misrepresenting her words.

we personally think more people ought to tell the mainstream press to go cheney themselves when they massage the meanings and twist the context of what folks say. (right, tucker "jacuzzi lawyer" carlson?)

apparently, an op-ed editor (not even a reporter) from a richard mellon scaife conservative rag, the pittsburgh tribune review, asked ms. heinz kerry what she meant by "unamerican activities" in remarks she just gave about the campaign process.

only trouble is, she didn't say "unamerican activities" which is a loaded red-baiting mccarthy are you now or have you ever been kind of phrase.

she said "unamerican traits." a whole different kettle of fish. the pittsburg patriot news:
    citing negative ads president bush's campaign is airing about her husband, she said, "we need to turn back some of the creeping un-pennsylvanian and sometimes un-american traits that are coming into some of our politics."

    when pittsburgh tribune-review editorial page editor colin mcnickle asked which un-american activities she was talking about, heinz kerry accurately denied that she used the word "activities." then, despite taped versions of her remarks, she repeatedly denied she had said the word, "un-american."

    "i didn't say that, i didn't say that word," she told mcnickle. an aide rushed her off down a rope line, but heinz kerry shoved back past her aide, and leaning forward, shook a finger at mcnickle and said, "shut up. shove it."
heinz kerry (and the entire democratic party) have a history of tension with richard mellon the hunting of the president scaife. so it is no surprise that she told an operative from his paper who was twisting her words where to go.

it could have been worse. she could have told him to go cheney himself.

but the question is, how is the news media covering this incident? well, if you google "heinz kerry shove it" you get 210 entries.

Yet More Hostages Taken, More Threats of Beheading

That's the breaking news right now from MSNBC re: Iraq.

But our beloved leader is on vacation. Thankfully, he doesn't read or watch the news.

"I'm the boss, see? I don't have to explain. I can do whatever I want."

That's the interesting thing about being president, Mr. Bush tells us.

Posted by Jack Dalton at Smirking Chimp:

"I'm the commander--see, I don't have to explain -- I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." (George W. Bush -- Washington Post, 11-19-2002)

By March of 2001, the Bush cabals power grab was more than evident to those paying attention. Who can forget Bush telling us, "[T]here ought to be limits to freedom," or [T]his would be much easier if this were a dictatorship, as long as I was the dictator" (Business Week OnLine, 7-30-01; Newsday, 12-18-00), and then there was, "I just don't understand how poor people think" (NY Times, 8-26-03). What does he mean by those statements? We'll never know (Ha!) as he doesn't "feel like I owe anybody an explanation." Out of the mouth will always come what is in one's heart!

On March 25, 2001, the Washington Post ran an article which quoted White House officials as saying, "President Bush is "quietly" building the most conservative administration in modern times, surpassing even Ronald Reagan in the ideological commitment of his appointments."

Doom Virus Glogs Google

Whether or not the Blogger side will be affected or not remains to be seen.

Frankly, I would half expect some assortment of "teeny peenies" to attack blog hosts this week with the high profile nature of bloggers at the Dem National Convention. However, several of the best known blogs work off servers different from the freebies, and I have no doubt that should such a situation occur, most blogs will keep operating.

To Me, Teresa Heinz Kerry Just Sounds Refreshingly Human

Even in telling an editorial page writer to "shove it" after he denied misquoting her. Others will make a big deal of this, but I'll take Teresa over Laura ("Let's not raise anything unpleasant like my kids or that childhood friend I ran over") Bush.

The Softer, Sweeter Side of Saddam

While he awaits trial, we're told Saddam Hussein spends his days gardening, writing poetry, and eating muffins.

God, he's having a better summer than I am!

Iraqis Still Enjoying the Freedom We Gave Them

Cough. From CNN:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents in Iraq have killed a top Interior Ministry official on the same day that seven others died in a series of car bombs and shootings, officials said.

Militants also said Monday they had kidnapped two Pakistanis, one Iraqi and two Jordanians. Kidnappers holding seven truck drivers also again extended their deadline.

Brig. Gen. Mussab al-Awadi, in charge of tribal affairs for the Iraqi government, and two of his bodyguards were killed Monday in a drive-by shooting, a senior ministry official said.

The shooting came after a suicide car bomb attack at Mosul Airfield, which killed two Iraqi civilians and a member of the Iraqi security forces, a U.S. military spokesman said.


HIV+ Patients Can Donate to Other HIV+

Also from Bloviator (I'm sorry I didn't discover them before):

Under this first-in-the-nation law, HIV-infected individuals can donate organs to others who are HIV+.
    "This would free up non-HIV-positive organs for other patients. This makes social and scientific sense," he said. "This law will provide a safe and effective approach for expanding the organ donor pool and allow patients with HIV to receive organs that would ordinarily be discarded."

I Can't Wait to Vote!

The folks at Ain't No Bad Dude blog point us to I Can't Wait to Vote.

Jimmy Friendly asks the burning question, "Who's got time for the NAACP when you can be partying with Don King?":

After garnering only 8 percent of the black vote in 2000, Bush became the first sitting president to not address the NAACP's annual convention since Herbert Hoover. Instead he's sent a steering committee on a tour of the country with a man once convicted of manslaughter and numbers running, and is largely credited with almost single-handedly ruining the sport of boxing.

Only in America!
Hey, Mikey, I like it!

About the "Anybody But Bush" Comment

Here, I mentioned there are others besides Mr. Bush I would not like to see as president.

Since someone was kind enough to send a thoughtful note yesterday asking about it, I'll delve into this just a wee bit further.

Yes, it's true. I do not see myself in the "Anybody But Bush" camp, even if I don't feel like I'm in love/lust/overwhelming like with John Kerry, who is the candidate I'm most likely to vote for in November 2004. If the following people were running in Kerry's place somehow, it would be very hard to say I would vote for any of them over Bush. These are:

    * Joe Lieberman (I liked that someone of definite Jewish faith was finally on the ballot but Joe, while probably thinking he's a good man, can get quite hawkish and prim

    * Rick Sanctimonious Santorum

    * Tom DeLay

    * Donald Trump or Al Sharpton(don't ask, I was just trying to name another Dem quickly)
The list could go on both ad infinitum and ad nauseum, but why?

Actually, You Can Almost Die Choking on a Pretzel

Yes, I know I've been known to scoff about the president's first-year pretzel episode where, near the beginning of The Great War on Terror, he choked on a pretzel (ok, I'm still a bit dubious), fell down and got all bruised, and unconscious.

For me, the moment occurred by scarfing down Ritz baked Snack Mix (in cheddar). I'm typing away on the glories of secure password creation, pop a tiny amount of mix in my mouth and promptly sneezed.

The result was that one of the mini (but not quite mini enough) pretzel sticks wedged itself between the back roof of my mouth and my throat. Still sneezing, I damaged myself somewhat when the two sharpish ends of pretzel drove into my soft tissues during the sneezive (yeah, I'm making up words, tough) concussion. I yelped, somewhat loosening said snack javelin only to - apparently - wedge it in, on, around, or near my windpipe.

Unfortunately, the salt with said snack only made the sneezing and coughing worse, and soon, I had the entire stick, still intact, kinda stuck in my esophagus.

I reach for my coffee cup, but it's empty. I try to call out the door to my partner, but he is doing evil things to compost and cannot hear me. The neighbor's dog was around though, so I whispered (all I could do) for her to go for help. Gimli (her name), however, just kept staring at me resentfully (as in "How come you were eating food without me?").

Finally, I got the Ritz snack fully out of my body (don't ask) and then, in recounting the sad, stupid story to an acquaintance was told that what I really needed to do was sue Nabisco for snack malpractice. No, I don't think the person was kidding.

As much as I could use an infusion of cash, somehow I don't think suing a corporation strictly for my own negligence and stupidity quite fits my life plans.

In the "I Don't Even Have That Apparatus and I'm Still Crossing My Legs Uncomfortably" Department

From Ross at Bloviator (ouch!!!!):

If this happened in the United States, would $250,000 in pain and suffering cover it for this guy?
    A Romanian surgeon, in what is being described as a fit of madness, cut off a patient's penis during a procedure that was supposed to rectify a testicular malformation. The surgeon, Dr. Naum Ciomu proceeded to cut the penis of the 34-year-old man in several pieces, hospital officials confirmed on Friday.

    The surgeon lost his temper after making a mistake during the routine testicular malformation procedure , which led to the fit of madness, it has been reported.

    Dr. Ciomu is banned from performing any further surgical procedures pending an investigation by the Romanian medical council.

    The wife of the patient may take legal action against Dr Ciomu.
May take legal action?

Now Can We Stop Talking About Lance Armstrong?

From CNN:

Lance Armstrong rode into history today by winning the grueling Tour de France for a sixth consecutive time. The Texan's record is all the more remarkable, coming just eight years after he was given less than a 50 percent chance of overcoming testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain."
The first five years, yes, I was bloody amazed that he did so well.

But it's been eight long years (Christ, I'm already over astonishment that a dolt managed to overcome the American electoral process four years ago) and Lance's "better living through pharmaceutical company endorsement" commercials creep me out (everything else he endorses is just overly marked up and tasteless).

Or perhaps I'm just grumpy because my work elsewhere is not going wonderfully. But still, it's a [bleeping] bike ride. Let's see how Lance does working for a living.

It Takes Work to Lose Track of 400 Possible Terrorists

In fact, this is such a complete mess, you would almost think Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld did it with the always kindly assistance of Mr. Wolfowitz and (I'm not calling her a doctor because she's not even much of a human being) Ms. Rice.

Just how big is Morocco anyway?

I just hope al Qaeda doesn't start using suicide bomber waiters in Moroccan restaurants. While I haven't had any Moroccan cuisine recently, but I'd still like to entertain the possibility that could happen.

[Ed. note: Alex, if you read this, I would appreciate it if you didn't mention that gray period for me when I suspected Argentina was in Europe, somewhere near Spain. Such things happen when your knowledge of geography is limited to Gaucho cookies. Thank you.]

In the "Yes, She's Hopeless" Department

I updated (yet again) my list of blogs at the right (I know, they really should appear at the left but ...).

Naturally, since I'm on a tight real world writing deadline, I've spent the weekend instead discovering blogs I had not before had a chance to read (and thanks to the many bloggers who provide such a diversity of links to choose from). Now, however, I need to go write about password management software and tab stops in Word. I know, I lead such an exciting life...

Secret Removal of a Shitload of Radioactive Debris in Iraq

From the Utne (Reader) Web Watch:

School kids playing near toxic waste? Secret airlifts of radioactive materials? The latest debacle in Iraq, in which the U.S. has hidden and hideously mismanaged nuclear substances, bears more resemblance to a B-movie than to a typical war film. According to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, the U.S. has secretly airlifted roughly 1000 highly radioactive sources from Iraq, leaving the International Atomic Energy Agency in the dark.

More Iraq Misery

From Skippy (I had not heard of the Fort Hood murder-suicide, but I also cannot say it surprises me):

u.s. soldiers are still dying there.

two soldiers (and nine iraqis) were killed and one soldier wounded by a roadside bomb outside of samarra on friday, says the daily star.

one soldier died and one was wounded by explosive devices near bayji on saturday, says the multinational force newspage.

and, in a terrible tragedy not necessarily related to iraq, two soldiers, a husband and wife recently returned from the war, were found dead in their fort hood home in an apparent murder-suicide, says the asspress.

Torture is Not a Family Value

Despite how much Lynne Cheney insists it is (as she shops - no joke - for camouflage gear for a new baby in the Cheney monster clan), torture is not a family value.

Order yours from General J.C. Christian (aka Patriot Boy) here.

A Tribute (ahem) to Bill O'Reilly

Roger also has quite a tribute to Faux's Bill O'Reilly.

Say Boo About Bush and You're Bad BUT...

From Roger Ailes (the good one, not the devil's chubby spawn) earlier this week:

If this doesn't make you glad you're not a Republican, nothing will:

    A life-size Bill Clinton doll in an "Addams Family" electric chair greeted guests Tuesday at the entrance of Luntz's Fairfax County home.
But... but ... someone compared Bush to Hitler, so it's okay. By the way, that's Republican hack Frank Luntz or, as he's known on MSGOP, "a pollster."

Honorable Commission, Toothless Report

Read Richard Clarke's op/ed today.

Did Richard Shelby Spout Security Secrets?

I know, I know. It's only fashionable to discuss Sandy Berger, but:

The Justice Department has referred to the Senate Ethics Committee an investigation into whether Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama or his staff leaked classified information, indicating that criminal charges are highly unlikely, a federal law enforcement official said Saturday.

The referral Thursday means that it is now up to the ethics panel to decide if any action is warranted against Shelby, a Republican who was vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Bush Stops Some Medical Lawsuits

Now only if the FDA had not turned into an egregiously partisan, corporate body under Bush:

The Bush administration has been going to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices.

The administration contends that consumers cannot recover damages for such injuries if the products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In court papers, the Justice Department acknowledges that this position reflects a "change in governmental policy," and it has persuaded some judges to accept its arguments, most recently scoring a victory in the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

Allowing consumers to sue manufacturers would "undermine public health" and interfere with federal regulation of drugs and devices, by encouraging "lay judges and juries to second-guess" experts at the F.D.A., the government said in siding with the maker of a heart pump sued by the widow of a Pennsylvania man. Moreover, it said, if such lawsuits succeed, some good products may be removed from the market, depriving patients of beneficial treatments.

Spinning Our Safety (Indeed)

Maureen Dowd gets it right, IMHO:

aybe it's because I've been instructed to pack a respirator escape hood along with party dresses for the Boston convention. Maybe it's because our newspaper has assigned a terrorism reporter to cover a political convention. Maybe it's because George Bush is relaxing at his ranch down there (again) while Osama is planning a big attack up here (again). Maybe it's because there are just as many American soldiers dying in Iraq post-transfer, more Muslims more mad at us over fake W.M.D. intelligence and depravity at Abu Ghraib, and more terrorists in more diffuse networks hating us more.

Maybe it's because the F.B.I. is still learning how to Google and the C.I.A. has an acting head who spends most of his time acting defensive over his agency's failure to get anything right. Maybe it's because so many of those federal twits who missed the 10 chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers, who blew off our Paul Reveres - Richard Clarke, Coleen Rowley and the Phoenix memo author - still run things. Call me crazy, Mr. President, but I don't feel any safer.