Uh oh

The president's parental unit, Mr. Cheney, has been released from the hospital.

I hope the Secret Service alerted Mr. Bush to hide the bootleg Halo2 and told the twins to cancel their pot party.

Cheney in the Hospital

(backspacing over note asking if an electron microscope was needed to find his heart)

May we assume Bush is planning to par-tay with his parental unit out of the WH? Lynne Cheney will come over after dinner and tell him to turn the music down and to stop spilling beer on the oval office rug.

Halliburton to Keep Billions in Questionable Fees?

Lovely. Just lovely.

The Army is setting the stage to let Halliburton Co. keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors call questionable or unsupported by adequate documentation.

According to Pentagon documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the Army has admitted that the Houston-based company may never be able to account properly for some of its work. Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root unit is accused of over-billing the government for some operations.

The company has hired a consulting firm to estimate what Halliburton’s services should cost, the report said. Officials may use that estimate as the basis for “an equitable settlement,” under which the Pentagon could drop many of the claims its auditors have made against the company.

Concerns About the Election

From the Vermont Guardian:

Could sophisticated CIA-style "cyber-warfare" have helped George W. Bush change a three percent defeat, as measured by exit polls, into a victory of about the same margin? Yes, at least in theory. But it would require hacking into multiple local computer systems, presumably from a remote location.

There is as yet no solid proof that such a cyber-attack occurred on Nov. 2. But suspicions are mounting that the U.S. presidential election results were manipulated to some extent. Voting analyses of selected precincts in Florida and Ohio have found surprisingly high percentages for Bush, and critics say that spoiled ballots and provisional votes, both disproportionally affecting minorities, made the difference in at least two states.

Into the evening of Election Day, exit polls showed Kerry rolling to a clear victory nationally and carrying most of the battleground states, including Florida and Ohio. Winning either would have ensured his victory in the Electoral College.

Polls also showed Republicans carrying the bulk of the tight Senate races. When the official results were tallied, however, the presidential exit polls proved wrong while the Senate polls were correct.

As suspicions about the integrity of the election grew, Sen. John McCain tried to quell talk of mischief in the Florida and Ohio with a Nov, 4 appearance on the Tonight Show.

Exit polling showed Kerry with a 3 percent lead over Bush in Florida and 4 percent edge in Ohio. He ended up losing Florida by 5.2 percent and 2.5 percent in Ohio. That makes the spread between the Florida poll and results 8.2 percent, more than double the standard error rate. In Ohio, the difference is 6.5 percent, also beyond the usual variation.
And from Buzzflash:
In "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," Dr. Steven F. Freeman says:
    "As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states [Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania] of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error."

Alaskan Drilling

The U.S. Interior Department on Friday gave final approval to a plan by ConocoPhillips and partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to develop five tracts around the oil-rich Alpine field on Alaska's North Slope.

In the "Haven't You Left Yet" Department

John Ashcroft:

WASHINGTON - Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush (news - web sites)'s decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) said Friday.

In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called "a profoundly disturbing trend" among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war.

"The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war," Ashcroft said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group.
Let the turkeys soar...."

Evangelicals Looking to Collect on Debt

Story here.

Bush and Blair

I don't think their words today helped the situation. For Bush to make Middle East peace into something he's going to order up like a plate of hotcakes and then put its success only on the Palestinian people is the height of hubris.

But it also came as downright disrespectful on the day Arafat was laid to rest. I don't much care what leaders in this country thought of Arafat; his people were generally very loyal to him. It's just one more way that we try to rub Arab noses in untidy whities.


F Stands for What?

Well, in this case, it's Fuck the South.

Ah, but in every red state lies blue state voters. At least, until they get into those Diebold voting booths.

MoveOn Asks for Congressional Investigation and Your Signature

Dear MoveOn member,

Questions are swirling around whether the election was conducted honestly or not. We need to know -- was it or wasn't it?

If people were wrongly prevented from voting, or if legitimate votes were mis-counted or not counted at all, we need to know so the wrongdoers can be held accountable, and so we can prevent this from happening again.

Members of Congress are demanding an investigation to answer this question. The decision on whether or not there will be an investigation could come as soon as Monday. Join us in supporting the call for one now, at:

Sign the petition.
More election stuff here, here, and here. Mostly thanks to Buzzflash for the links.

Thank you, Veterans

We appreciate all you've done.

And - unlike some of the people who seem to feel war is a solution - many of us yell and scream each and everytime the government decides to pay for a new war by cutting your benefits. You deserve better. Today's GI who becomes tomorrow's vet (hopefully) deserves better, too.

The Evolution Will Not Be Televised (or Published)

I like Karlo's take at Swerve Left.

Would you like to know how surprised I was that men and women have the same number of ribs after all that Biblical teaching? Even my mother - who quit high school in her sophomore year and was raised early in a pentacostical environment - tried to tell me the Bible was an interpretation but kids can't grok the subtleties. The idea of treating evolution as theory but creationism as fact is mighty scary to this non-scientist.

Why Were Tanks Summoned to an LA Anti-War Rally?

And why were they Canadian tanks?


I've been quiet on this subject principally because it is so damned disturbing.

We're in Fallujah largely for one reason: those contractors who were killed and hung from a bridge last spring. We did a two-month much-publicized build up to attack and then - lo and behold! - most of the hard-core insurgents left, letting old men and young untrained ones try to protect the city and the tens of thousands of civilians left behind from the might of the U.S. military. What we're doing in Fallujah is criminal. It's also criminal that we're sending soldiers to their deaths there when we know we're not fighting the enemy they said they were there to fight.

Our first act on arrival was to take over the one hospital not overrun by insurgents (and at this point, I suspect the insurgents include a HUGE number of Iraqi patriots who see this as a battle for the sanctity of their homeland against a foreign aggressor - US) and put it out of business for helping the injured civilians.

Controlling 70% of a city vacated by the power base is what exactly? All we did was drive up violence everywhere else. And - oh yes - sent the Sunnis packing, guaranteeing that another large percentage of the Iraqi population won't vote in January.

Iraqis are smart enough to realize that we have installed a puppet government and plan to do the same in January under the guise of "freedom and democracy". But these are just words to the Bush administration to rally U.S. support. What we want to do is control Iraq... and any other Muslim country we can lay our bombs on. That's why Yassir Arafat was so hated and disrespected by the Bushies: he dared to say an Arab life is worth a Christian life and a Jewish life.

As someone raised a Christian, I swear the most valuable lesson I ever learned was that it was Christians who sacked the Great Library of Alexandria. Dumb people won't rise up like smart ones. Which makes you wonder about the Bushies and the right trying to sack the U.S. public school system in favor of religious schooling and home schooling.

Yassir Arafat, Rest in Peace

I was sad when I heard the news last night.

Yes, I know he's a highly controversial figure, but I honestly believe that he changed as part of the peace process as I've said here before. Nor did I consider him the obstacle to Middle East peace that Ariel Sharon was and is, that George Bush and the far right (who want Israel to win only so the Rapture can occur)was and certainly is now.

But most of all, I just wish the best for the next Palestinian leader. Whoever he is, it's going to be an extremely difficult job. I also wish with all my heart that Palestinians come to know an independent home of their own, and that someday, Israelis and Palestinians can live in relative peace. But I don't believe for a minute that can happen with Mr. Bush in office.


Sunnis Withdraw Support for Elections

Nice work, Bushies!

In the first major political backlash over the assault on Falluja, the country's most prominent Sunni political party said Tuesday that it was withdrawing from the interim Iraqi government, while the leading group of Sunni clerics called for Iraqis to boycott the nationwide elections scheduled for early next year.

The moves seemed to promise that popular protest against the American-led attack on the city, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, is likely to grow in coming days.

A widespread Sunni boycott of the January elections, if one comes to pass, would threaten the legitimacy of the outcome. It would also undermine the main rationale for the attack on Falluja: to drive insurgents out of the city so residents could freely take part in the elections.

The Sunni Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population, were ousted from power with the toppling of Saddam Hussein. They have expressed ambivalence about taking part in the elections, though American and Iraqi officials say their participation is crucial to the entire democratic enterprise, and to defeating the insurgency.
At this rate, 3 whole people will vote in the January elections, and they'll all work for Bush. That'll make it worthwhile.

Sorry Everybody

That's actually the name of a site my friend Barb sent me. I like it. I'm just sorry it's necessary.


You know you're in trouble when the books you haven't half finished yet are already for sale on Amazon.com. I guess I should get to work. Cough.


In the "I Didn't Know David Anderson was French Either" Department

Remind me to ask him for his recipe for vichysoisse.

Uh oh - I'm in pagan country!

MissM shares the JesusLand link with us.

You know, I think we've overlooked the possibility that God and/or Christ could get sick of this crap and take over the airwaves just before the showing of "Desperate Housewives" (watched by MANY of the red states, btw) to tell the reddies they disavow any association with the crew at 1600 Penn. I mean, if someone were using me so badly (and please don't muddy the waters by bringing up the fact that I used to work for America Online) I would probably speak up.

Ashcroft and Evans

So John Ashcroft has resigned as Attorney General "having met the objective" of keeping America safe from terror and crime (wow! And I thought his favorite target was librarians!) and Don Evans (secretary of Commerce) has resigned after meeting his objective of keeping Americans safe from a livable paycheck.

Nice work, gentlemen!

"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

John Perkins on Democracy Now today told a chilling story as one of the big economists sponsored by the U.S. government who helps bankrupt countries and overturn politicians in other countries, including how Teddy Roosevelt's progeny ended the elected reign of Iran and forced the shah into rule, laying the groundwork for much of muck now flying in the Middle East.

The title of the book is above. I'm ordering it. He says he was first recruited by the NSA and worked under government programs for major corporations until 9/11 when he decided he was doing the very wrong thing.

I won't like reading it, but I think I must.

Red States to Expel Blue States from U.S.

Can you say asshole? I knew you could.

Thanks to Wonkette for the link.

Help America Audit!

News here.

Help cure Electile Dysfunction.

Olbermann on Election Nasties



And This on Voting


Nationwide, there's a loose coalition of groups protesting the election, and news reports surface every day detailing problems with things like electronic voting, people waiting hours to vote and supposedly nonpartisan election officials making decisions that helped Republicans.

Three Democratic congressmen - U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida - have asked the General Accounting Office to investigate.

Whether the election is overturned or not, said Phyllis Hasbrouck, it's key in the future to require paper ballots and to ban touch-screen voting. "If we don't do this, we'll never have a real election again," she said.

It's troubling to Bill Hawkes, a retired A.C. Nielsen Co. statistician, that exit polls and vote totals were so far out of whack. "I've spent my whole life in marketing. The difference is clearly beyond any sampling variability. ... The community of statisticians and media experts need to not let this be dropped."

More on Florida Elections



I'll post soon. I promise.


The Dollar's Nose Dive

Anyone paying attention to this?

The dollar continued its decline in global currency markets yesterday, intensifying worries among some economists that mounting U.S. budget and trade deficits could send the U.S. currency into a tailspin.
Since so much of our stuff comes from overseas now, this is just one profound reason why this matters to each and everyone of us.

Bush Vetoes Nothing

I guess it helps when you tell Congress what to do. From Blogs on Bush comes an AP story that presents info I did not know:

WASHINGTON — Aided by a Republican-controlled Congress, President Bush is on track to become the first chief executive since John Quincy Adams in the 1820s to complete a full term without vetoing one bill.

He has, however, made frequent use of the veto threat, and so far that's been enough to get what he wants.

By comparison, President Clinton issued 37 vetoes during his eight years in office. Bush's father had 44 during his single term. Franklin Roosevelt was the champion bill slayer, killing 635 either by regular veto or "pocket" veto, which means letting a bill lapse without a presidential signature when Congress is not in session.
None? None?

Aren't We the Right?

Someone posed this to me today, and for me anyway, it clicked.

Aren't we who didn't vote for a continuation of the last four years representing the real right? Right not in the exact sense of the opposite of wrong, but in that we were willing to make sacrifices - and oh yes, there would have been sacrifices, not the least of which would probably be a single term for the Dem who won because there is SO much to correct now, he would be hated regardless - however painful to try to steer this country back on a much better course.

It's painful to admit what we've done in and to Iraq.

It's painful to watch men and women die for a cause that is patently wrong and doing more evil with each passing day.

It's painful to watch schools and hospitals and the infrastructure of our country go bankrupt, but not because we're spending too much on our people, but because we give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, give a huge chunk of every dollar to the Pentagon (and the admins don't try to protect us, the men and women on the ground - ill prepared as they may have been equipped - strive to do that), and tell corporations we'll give them a break when they ship jobs overseas.

It's painful to pay larger prices because we know shopping at Wal-Mart reduces the quality of living around the world. It's painful to watch our neighborhoods die because Styrofoam cups are so cheap at Wal-Mart, too.

It's painful to watch our country shrivel in every way except militarily.

It's painful to watch an election be treated like a SuperBowl game.

And it's damned painful to have to speak out but you have no choice because the situation is so damned grave. Those who speak up - and continue speaking up after this election - know they may place themselves under scrutiny, but they do it because they must. Being right isn't distinctly American, but it forged some of the best foundation of our start as a nation. The Constitution isn't a rough draft, and Bush can't run a company that's not in the red. Unfortunately, we handed him the books to the largest and most important company we have: ourselves and our future.

Look what he's done. Look what he's now pledged to continue to do.

We were and we are right. Moving to Canada is not a solution. We need to find a way around all the spin and the labels to make the people who don't like too hard realize what's happening. We'll probably need to do this one person at a time, however. And that means all of us have to tackle it.