The "I Eat Arab Children and SS Seniors for Lunch" Pinup Gurllll

Steve Gilliard has her. I find her way tooooo revolting myself.

The Secretary of Dominance Indeed

Diana at Democracy for California has the picture. Please go see.

I'm sooo glad the Secretary of State is now all about fashion and diplomacy at the business end of a MOAB rather than any of that silly "let's talk it out" thing. Rolling eyes and kvetching pretty good for a shiksa.

BTK Killer: Hold the Back Patting

If you caught any of the news networks this morning, you saw the self-congratulation festival as every cop with a title who ever came near the Bind, Torture, Kill cases that have played out since the 70s without a capture came forth to pat themselves on the back.

I understand - I do - that police work is pretty damned tough. You can go a whole career of hard, honest work and not get a big salary or many thanks.

But hold the back patting on these cases where you didn't catch the killer for decades and then only because he basically starting sending you a map to his house to pick him up. And then, stop talking about all you went through when you can only imagine what it was like for the victims then and their families since.

Also, when you're a "higher up" in the case, there's a good bet you probably didn't lose a wink of sleep except worrying at how well your uniform looks for the press conference. The real work gets done by people who lose a lot of family time and sleep doing the grunt work.

The FDA Has Only Your Best Interests in Mind... HA!

This is so, so bad and this president wants to be sure you can't sue when you're damaged. Nice.

Ten of the 32 government drug advisers who last week endorsed continued marketing of the huge-selling pain pills Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx have consulted in recent years for the drugs' makers, according to disclosures in medical journals and other public records.

If the 10 advisers had not cast their votes, the committee would have voted 12 to 8 that Bextra should be withdrawn and 14 to 8 that Vioxx should not return to the market. The 10 advisers with company ties voted 9 to 1 to keep Bextra on the market and 9 to 1 for Vioxx's return.

Bush, Putin, and Democracy

There is a great letter on this issue that appeared in Friday's Times:

In talking to reporters alongside President Vladimir V. Putin this week, President Bush declared that "democracies have certain things in common - a rule of law and protection of minorities and a free press and a viable political opposition" (front page, Feb. 25). He then expressed "concerns about Russia's commitment in fulfilling these universal principles."

Only diplomatic tact could have kept Mr. Putin from reminding Mr. Bush of the hundreds of prisoners who are caged at Guantánamo and other United States prisons without hope of release or even a fair trial.

Mr. Putin also refrained from reminding Mr. Bush of White House memos declaring the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of war prisoners to be irrelevant, or of Justice Department memos justifying torture. The Russian leader could have asked how, under the rule of law, federal prosecutors can deny someone suspected of terrorism the right to confront his accusers or even to know the evidence against him.

I wish Mr. Putin had raised these questions, because like many Americans, I would like to know the answers myself.

Rachelle Marshall
Stanford, Calif., Feb. 25, 2005
This is not to excuse Putin's behavior, but to say that America turns out to need a lot of lessons in democracy, human and civil rights, and fair rule of law since September 11th and King Bush's reign.

In the Hmmmm Department

Like the government can't lose enough on its own?

Bank of America said Friday it lost computer tapes containing account information on 1.2 million federal employee credit cards, among them those of U.S. senators, potentially exposing them to theft or hacking.

The bank told CNN/Money that federal government's General Services Administration (GSA) cardholders' account information may have been on the tapes.

The tapes were lost in December, but a bank spokeswoman told Reuters that bank officials were not allowed to notify cardholders until they received permission from federal law enforcement authorities

The missing tapes may contain information, including cardholders' names, addresses and social security numbers. But it varies from account to account.

According to Time.com, which cited an unnamed U.S. official, a large percentage of the accounts are for the Pentagon, in addition to 40 federal agencies and other entities.
The notion of federal credit cards to me is appalling, given what the GAO has reported for years about their rampant abuse. It also seems like the Bizarro World where Rumsfeld can put the invasion of Iran on his MasterCard. At least then, if he was late in paying, they might freeze the war.


More Bullshit Activism: Kansas Demands Private Abortion Records

From CNN:

The Kansas attorney general is demanding abortion clinics turn over the complete medical records of nearly 90 women and girls, saying he needs the material for an investigation into underage sex and illegal late-term abortions.

Two clinics are fighting the request in Kansas Supreme Court, saying the state has no right to such personal information.

But Attorney General Phill Kline, an abortion opponent, insisted Thursday: "I have the duty to investigate and prosecute child rape and other crimes in order to protect Kansas children."

Kline is seeking the records of girls who had abortions and women who received late-term abortions. Sex involving someone under 16 is illegal in Kansas, and it is illegal in the state for doctors to perform an abortion after 22 weeks unless there is reason to believe it is needed to protect the mother's health.
If this were about protecting girls who were the victims of rape, I would be more understanding. But it's not. This is about tormenting females who seek abortions, plain and simple.

No state - until the rabid rightwing got involved has made a practice of going after records of abortions on a hunting expedition to try to prosecute child rapes. Factually speaking, most of these cases are young teenage girls who engaged in consentual sex - likely with boys roughly the same age - who got pregnant and do not want to have a child. At least one parent knew of the pregnancy and were involved, at least in part, in the decison to allow the abortion. For Kansas to perform this fishing expedition is silly at best and a pretty heinous invasion of privacy at worst.

The whole "late term" abortion issue has been pretty much proven to be bogus; doctors simply aren't ripping babies just about to be born into pieces and sucking them out of uteruses (uteri?).

This - like the Schiavo case - is just another way for the rabid right to "protect" human life, specifically unborn human live, with no care to the very live human beings affected. I also suspect Kansas embraces the whole "abstinence only" concept that basically teaches girls how to get pregnant when they do engage in sex.

Terry Schiavo Revisited

Have you noticed that the Bushies hate activist judges except when they rule bullshit in their favor?

After more wrangling, a judge has issued a stay of three weeks in the case of Terry Schiavo - ironically on the 15th anniversary of the day her own binging-and-splurging behavior let her to suffer that heart attack that killed her brain - before her feeding tube can be disconnected. To be fair, the judge did say he's uncomfortable with issuing lots of further actions in this case where court after court has weighed in. Schiavo's parents once again vow to take this to the Supreme Court, but it's already been there.

It's time, sadly, for people to let go of her, although I would certainly like to see her be able to pass in a more humane way than slowly starving to death. Sadly, too, I think that if Schiavo's parents actually had to care for her themselves or pay for her care, they would not be doing this. But as long as the responsibility is on Schiavo's husband whom they hate, they'll do everything to keep Terry alive when her brain really is not.

It's also sadly ironic that Florida, with a VERY bad track record of taking care of living children placed in its custody, has fought so hard and spent so much on this one case so Jeb Bush can prove his creds as a fighter of life. But like his brother, Jeb is only interested in fighting for the lives of those not yet born or those no longer fully alive; he has no problem permitting executions, trying to take the right to choose away from pregnant women, or watching kids get lost and killed in his hopefully flawed child welfare system. He also has no big issue with measures that restrict how much money can go to feed and care for poor children still in their parents' custody. Like a lot of the far right nutwing, people less than alive matter more than those fully alive.

News Flash: The Vatican Lies

But most of you already know that. Probably even a number of you realize they actually do this far less than the Bushies.

But anyone with medical knowledge would tell you that the stories that came out last month about his illness and the current one are just pretty bogus. He may in fact be doing better today, but there should be some big questions about his ability to continue (although Mr. Bush has proven that brain damage certainly doesn't preclude you from being a world leader).

The Female Factor

Yes, I find it encouraging that more than half of Americans responding to a recent poll say they're ready for a female president. It's a little late in coming but hey...

However, a lot is going on behind the scenes right now to this end that concerns me.

First and foremost is a lot of talk of running Condi. One might ask why considering she's such an incredible fuckup at everything besides protecting her president. Frankly, I think lots of people on the right would choke on that one.

Second, there's Hilary. Is she a competent, intelligent woman? Oh yes. But she's not the only one. We won't be getting another Bill; Hilary's a completely different critter. This has nothing to do with the fact that she's not warm and sweet (and she's not). But she's far too much of a politician and that's not a good thing. Sad to say, anyone espousing the belief that she's a shoe-in for Dem nomination in 2008 just wants yet another four years of BushCo.

The only other woman possibility right now (Dianne Feinstein is also a politician in the less good sense of the word) is Barbara Boxer, but I doubt she stands a chance.

Can you think of others? I'm drawing a blank. There are many I think would make an excellent president, but they aren't ones we'll see come out for it.

But to be completely fair, I'm having a hard time naming any candidate I think is a strong contender on the Dem side for 2008 now that Dean has excluded himself. I don't want to see Kerry again. Edwards is a no (telegenic, intelligent, sincere but no). Lieberman is... ugh. Biden? We could do worse but he won't win. Obama's too new.

In fact, only one thing for me here is clear. Kerry should not go near 2008. He had his chance. But when push came to shove, he sat down.

Jeff Gannon: I'm a Putz with a Purpose

So after threatening to sue and telling Editor & Publisher he wasn't giving any more interviews, Jeff Gannon/aka Jim Guckert/aka Rock Hardson gives an interview to Campbell Brown in which he once again changes his story a bit but suddenly, suddenly cannot speak to claims that he was a gay male prostitute on advice of counsel. However, he was quick but awkward to add that many of the stories about him are untrue.

Now why if he wasn't a gay male prostitute would he be unable to answer that particular question?

Do you think he's just hanging around trying to get an invite to Neverland Ranch? Michael Jackson is confused, yes, but (based on one picture I saw) Jeff's hung more generously than most 12 year olds. Certainly more richly endowed that Clarence Thomas, Noni Scalia, Karl Rove, or Grover Norquist.

Oh jesus.. I've just made myself ill imagining those four naked.

If only Jeff would put on a blue dress, we might get to the (cough) root of the story.


iPod, Therefore I AM

[OK, sorry. This is what happens when I don't sleep for two nights and then spend the first half of the day having an argument with someone about whether we're having an argument (we weren't).]

But Oliver Willis tells us that Media Matters is now featuring a Podcast of its content.

The "Nucular" Haves and Have Nots

From CNN right now:

President Bush and Russian President Putin agreed today on new efforts to keep nuclear arms away from terrorists as well as Iran and North Korea. "We agreed that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon," Bush said. "We agreed that North Korea should not have a nuclear weapon."
OK, but who gets to decide who has nuclear weapons and who does not?

Since Bush took office, all the U.S. has done has speed up its production of nuclear weaponry with far more on the planning boards, especially for smaller nuclear devices. Does France or Poland or Latvia get to say, "No, I'm sorry, you cannot have these because you do not play well with others."

Remember that it is America alone who has dropped the forerunner of today's nuclear weapons with the bombs dropped on Japan in WWII.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not thrilled with the idea of North Korea or Iran having nukes. I don't think it's a good idea.

Yet I don't think we should have them either, just as I don't think Israel should have them or many of the other countries that do.

My question is entirely this: who gets to say? Why do the two most nuked-up lands in the world get to tell Iran and North Korea they can't have them?

What if North Korea weren't under the control of a mad man and they decided one day, "OK, America cannot have nuclear weapons. We will take it into our own hands to attack the US if they do not dispose of them and then submit to regular UN weapon inspectors." I pick North Korea only because they have an incredibly large military; they could possibly cream us if they decided to put their efforts into it.

Britt Hume Must Resign

Oh what the hell. He really DID make a mockery of FDR's words on the New Deal and Social Security. So let me join FDR's grandson, Mad Kane, and Oliver Willis in saying, "Go to hell, Britt."

Go here.

Oh yeah, and if I'm elected Pope, I go first to Faux News and beat the crap out of them. I've lined up a 15-time sodomy offender named Bruno (298 pounds and mean) who wants a crack (heh) at Bill O'Reilly and that falafel thingy.

Pope ReHospitalized with Flu

Um... Vatican City? Flu doesn't go this long, even in old people with other conditions.

As the old TV character Maude used to say, perhaps God will get the Pope for announcing yesterday that gay marriage is evil.

In any event, I need to dust off my Papal candidacy. Please remember, I'm running on a platform of:

* ditch the silly hat and sell off the PopeMobile to Michael Jackson
* loot the Vatican and return the money to starving parishes
* women and gays are welcome; child molestors are NOT
* marriage is a fine idea for priests, gays, and other living things
* birth control is a wise idea for all of planet earth
* God hates stupid people (not those not yet educated but people who know better but want to appease the crowd - I'm not naming any names Rick Santorum and Rudy Giuliani)

Enough for now. I should go practice blowing smoke.


Your Tax Dollars and Paris Hilton

I just heard a blurb on the news that the FBI has been called in to investigate the "hacking" of Paris Hilton's Sidekick or Blackberry or butt plug or whatever it is she uses to message.

Gee, you'd almost think the FBI might have something better to do.

Or perhaps we'll discover that Paris has been secretly offering her expert intelligence on diplomacy with Iran (which Bush spells B-O-M-B and build an oil pipeline for Halliburton and Unocal) or an exit strategy for Iraq. God knows this brain trust is at least as qualified as Condi Poo with her PhD in ice skating.

Who Knew AARP Was a Pinko Commie Organization?

That's basically what Charlie Jarvis, CEO of USA Next (the lovely people I posted about earlier who are running an ad showing an X over troops while showing a big green checkmark over two men kissing targeted at those who oppose SS privatization), called them tonight on "Hardball".

He also said they ran the ad as a test to see how fast left liberal bloggers' tiny little heads would explode. This said by a man who has difficulty enunciating words around his three or four chins.

Really sweet guy. I bet he hangs around with Bill Frist asking if the good senator has any videos of Frist's days of torturing kittens to entertain them while they snack on pork (which in Jarvis' case could be construed as cannibalism).


Zoloft and the Bush Outlook

Kudos to Tom at Opinions You Should Have:

The manufacturers of Zoloft, a popular antidepressant, announced today that they would begin work on a pill that encapulates President Bush's mental disposition. "No matter how bad things are, this pill will make you believe everything is really great," said Betty Garland, a spokesman for Pfizer. "We think this pill will be a best seller."

Indeed, preliminary research indicates that the so-called "W is for Wonderful" pill will induce a state of blissful, ignorant euphoria among its users. The idea for the pill arose after polls showed that a whopping 77 per cent of the American people who watched Bush's State of the Union address felt that "all was right with the world" after hearing the speech. This same group of listeners felt that their most pressing concerns involved choosing a new upgrade for their riding mower and finding a dishwashing detergent that doesn't cause "unsightly spotting."

The pill will be marketed under the slogan, "Come on! Drink the Kool-Aid!'

Side effects of the pill include blindness, dizziness, addiction, deafness, hypocrititis, ovationoriasis -- an inability to refrain from giving a standing ovation to the most shallow homily --as well as ever-increasing debt and susceptibility to a military draft.

Col. David Hackworth: Pentagon is Lying Through Its Teeth

A must read.

Nods to the fine folks at Buzzflash for the link.

He's Just Too Precious

From The Financial Times:

For residents of Mainz, George W. Bush's seven-hour visit to Germany on Wednesday and his short meeting with Gerhard Schröder, chancellor, will mean one of two things: a headache or a holiday.

Between the US president's 9.45am landing at Frankfurt airport and his afternoon departure, the sleepy Rhineland town and birthplace of Gutenberg will turn into a steel fortress.

In a contemporary echo of the Lady Godiva legend, anyone living on the route of the presidential motorcade is being discouraged from taking a peek at the 60- to 80-strong column of vehicles conveying the US president. In police leaflets, residents have been asked to keep their windows shut and stay clear of balconies “to avoid misunderstandings”.
We really should seal him in Lucite and keep him in a closet in the Oval Office.

The President Speaks With Forked Tongue

So reports that we're about to attack Iran are "ridiculous" but "all options are on the table" (with a nice big smirk thrown in). And this, compassionate conservative that he is, was said on a day when there were hundreds of deaths in Iran from a 6-point-something earthquake.

It's really a wonder to me my head has not yet exploded.

Perhaps Chalabi Could Still Be Iraqi Dog Catcher

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Interim Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim al-Jaafari was chosen Tuesday to be his Shiite ticket's candidate for prime minister after Ahmad Chalabi dropped his bid, senior alliance officials said.

    Pressure from within the ranks of the winning United Iraqi Alliance forced the withdrawal of Chalabi, a one-time Pentagon (news - web sites) favorite, said Hussein al-Moussai from the Shiite Political Council, an umbrella group for 38 Shiite parties.

    "They wanted him to withdraw. They didn't want to push the vote to a secret ballot," al-Moussawi said.
My only question is who actually got Chalabi to back down? The Neo-Cons here are still extremely supportive of the man. And Chalabi was so damned reasonable about the whole thing in interviews today after getting this close to becoming Iraqi Prime Minister (something that makes my head hurt contemplating).

The Terry Schiavo Case

An appeals court has cleared the way - yet again - to allow the woman's husband to disconnect her feeding tube.

Will this be the end of the case? Probably not. I can picture Jeb Bush doing a photo op laying his body over her to protect her. I don't think he cares about her, but he's protecting his status with his base because he wants to be president too (and God, don't we need three Bushes in the White House - groan).

This case never should have dragged on so long. She's been in a persistent vegetative state for more than a decade. Life as she knew it has been over that long.

But the worst part of this is that no one should have to die by disconnecting a feeding tube. Euthanasia is a tough issue but one we cannot afford to ignore. I'd be very concerned about "the state" getting involved in deciding who should live and die but I think families should be allowed a much more compassionate way of helping their loved ones pass than watching them waste away from feeding tube removal.

The Bush government has gone nuts in states like Oregon that allow assisted suicide. But how much more humane it would be if someone could give this woman an injection that would let her slip peacefully away.

As a one time Hospice volunteer, I've watched many people die. Rarely is it pretty or kind as it is in the movies.


Lenten Sacrifices

I know we're almost two weeks into Lent and I know I'm only a former Catholic, but I'm still racking my brain trying to figure out what I should sacrifice for this solemn Lent period.

Among top current considerations are:

    * Giving up flipping the bird during Bush speeches
    * Stop sending Joe Scarborough a daily e-mail asking what happened to his dead intern just before he left Congress
    * Stop shouting "Have yet another cocktail, fuckface" whenever Richard Perle, Peggy Noonan, or Kate O'Beirne appear on TV
    * No longer tabulating how many hungry people could be fed by the Bush twins' daily bar bill
    * No longer counting how many "good family values" GOPers have had three or more marriages or homosexual liaisons (that's hard to keep track of anyway - repressed people are such busy sinners)
    * Stop praying for Colin Powell's soul (considering Iraq and his son, Michael, I think that's a lost cause anyway)
    * Contemplating how much heroin Rush Limbaugh plans to bring back from Afghanistan for personal use
Choices... choices....

Verbal Diarrhea

I'd skip this post unless you're truly bored since this is nothing but a personal kvetch.

I got stuck watching Larry King tonight whose guest was Tracy Gold, a mediocre teen actress turned mediocre near middle aged actress whose biggest claim to fame was driving drunk last year with her family in the car. Previously, in lieu of good acting, it was her big story about being anorexic or bulemic or whatever she was.

Why do people feel the need to go on talk shows and engage in verbal diarrhea about this stuff? This woman has been a privileged little puppet her entire life and I really wonder how many people can relate to her when she's been graced with every opportunity and yet still fucks up? I'm sure there will be another Tracy Gold book, and another Tracy Gold Lifetime movie about her incident, and hell, even another Tracy Gold appearance when she does something else assinine.

Insert big yawn here.


Listen to the press in this country and you hear nothing but Mr. Bush is mending fences, building new alliances, embracing a love affair with Europe (and they all just love him).

Read the overseas press, however, and that love affair seems a might rocky. His talk of Syria being so bad for occupying Lebanon strikes our foreign friends as somewhat hypocritical considering we're in Iraq. His finger wagging at Russia has them scratching their heads because they know that democracy and freedom of the press have taken quite a hit in the states under his watch. His strong words about Iran remind many of similar words directed at Iraq just two years ago. His great compassion toward Tsunami victims also rings hollow with them given the fact that to date, Mr. Bush himself has not pledged a penny of his own fortune and the U.S. announced it was pulling out relief efforts well ahead of schedule, even when told they were needed longer.

Once again, Mr. Bush says he's looking out at the entire world when it turns out that he's staring into a mirror instead.

Jeff Gannon Threatening to Sue Everyone

He's saying that bloggers and others have effectively conducted "political character assassination" on him.

Hmm. So people who did the job of researching his background - what a journalist does and Gannon, as a non journalist, never did - are assassinating his character for pointing out the many lies he has told. Political? He's not a politician either. As a matter of fact, the only things he is that anyone can tell so far is:

    * a whiner
    * a liar
    * someone who got spectacular access not afforded to most people with the credentials to get that acccess but have not, which raises many questions of its own
    * someone who really likes to pose in the buff
    * a male whore (in more ways than one)
Now, I have no doubt that Gannon/Guckert/asshole will land on his feet. Someone's paying him well to do whatever it is he does (or doesn't do).

But threatening to sue people for exposing his lies seems a tad strange to me. I doubt he'll get very far. If he had any honor - and he's proven he does not - he'd crawl back under the rock from which he oozed.

Sad Hoot of the Day

President Bush chastising Russian prez Putin for scaling back on democratic efforts in his country.

Bush no doubt will offer Putey-Poot some suggestions like:

    * "hold more elections (Putey, don't worry, I got some rigged voting machines you can use - this way you get the results you want while making the riffraff think they're voting)" and

    * "don't shackle the press (just cut off anybody who writes shit about you and be sure you got the press room filled with cronies; in fact, I gotta guy named Jeff Gannon lookin' for some work. I could send him over to ya.)"

The Swift Boat Ride to Beat Seniors Out of Their SS and Drug Benefits

From today's Times:

Taking its cues from the success of last year's Swift boat veterans' campaign in the presidential race, a conservative lobbying organization has hired some of the same consultants to orchestrate attacks on one of President Bush's toughest opponents in the battle to overhaul Social Security.

The lobbying group, USA Next, which has poured millions of dollars into Republican policy battles, now says it plans to spend as much as $10 million on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the powerhouse lobby opposing the private investment accounts at the center of Mr. Bush's plan.

"They are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts," said Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next and former deputy under secretary of the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. "We will be the dynamite that removes them."

Though it is not clear how much money USA Next has in hand for the campaign - Mr. Jarvis will not say, and the group, which claims 1.5 million members, does not have to disclose its donors - officials say that the group's annual budget was more than $28 million last year. The group, a membership organization with no age requirements for joining, has also spent millions in recent years vigorously supporting Bush proposals on tax cuts, energy and the Medicare prescription drug plan.
So Bush is goin' after yo momma. Gonna sit back and watch momma get sucker punched?


David Anderson reminds us of why we just lo...lo...loathe... love Ann Coulter so much.


Congress votes to pretty much eliminate your right to join in class action lawsuits against big bad corps just before the FDA tells people to take as much Vioxx, Bextra, and Celebrex as they like.

Watch Arlen Spector dance like a marionette as he tells you, "Look, America, I know you think we're here to protect you. But really, it comes down to me and my job. If it's a question of me surviving or you, well, screw you. I never liked you anyway. And besides, I'm very, very afraid of Karl Rove who promises to fuck me over like I've never been fucked before. That sounds painful and I've been a senator too long to like any kind of inconvenience. Remember, we give ourselves GREAT health care - stuff you can't afford because you're paying for us."

Even the Koolaid Kids Aren't Buying It

MSM may keep telling us that Bush is wowwing Europe on a "healing" journey to rebuild alliances, but the best poll I've seen here in the U.S. shows about 4 out of 5 Americans feel it will be a failure.

And it's a "healing" journey only in as much as Bush wants to bring Europe together to join a battle against Iran/Syria/N Korea/whoever else we hate on a particular day of the week. But watching the British House of Commons last week with Blair present, I don't think even Bush's poodle would dare consider it. Brits drink less Koolaid and he's up for re-election this year.

Perhaps Bush will let him borrow some rigged voting machines. Won't it be a hoot when England votes and it turns out that "Bush Wins" again? (Urp)

Goodnight, Hunter

CNN is reporting that Hunter S. Thompson is dead tonight of what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


The War on Drugs, Coming to a GI Near You

Various press reports this week tell us that Rumsfeld's brain will begin distributing Ecstasy - the same loathsome, dangerous drug that was outlawed here in the War on Drugs because it can cause serious dehydration, confusion, and death - to troops to combat battle fatigue.

Then those same soldiers will come home and get prison time when they're convicted of possession, just as we've done with other drugs we've hooked them on in battle and demonized them for later.

Life's just easier when you have no conscience, isn't it, George, Dick, Condi, and Donny?

Asks Cookie Jill: Can't We Just Leave the Crew at 1600 Penn Avenue Behind?

Amen, sister, when she writes at Le Blog d'Kangaroo:

schools should not be factories churning out products. schools are instititutions of education, learning, experiencing - not just testing. human beings learn at different rates and some kids, because of emotional, nutritional or biophysical reasons are not capable of learning to pass these federally required tests. and because this no child left behind act is based upon lies and obfuscations, we have some serious problems that need to be addressed before we start blaming and firing teachers and shutting schools down. the 1600 crew wants accountability in schools? well, perhaps we need some accountability in the white house first.
At least, let's rename "No Child Left Behind" to something more appropriate, such as:
    * No Public School Left in Operation
    * No Poor Student Left With Any Other Option Than Joining Rummy's Army, or
    * No Competent Teacher Left to Teach Anything

The Bush-Rove Ideal of Journalist as Empty Vessel

I think James Wolcott serves it up as well as can be said here regarding Gannon's interview with Anderson Cooper and beyond:

Jeff Gannon, undergoing Jack Webb interrogation by Anderson Cooper on CNN, was pure comedy gold. Gannon came across as--how to put this euphemistically?--not-quite-bright as he stalled before answering each question like an unprepared student trying to bluff his way through an exam. (His bald head may resemble a lightbulb, but there's faint illumination within.) Even more hilarious was what a transparently bad dissembler he is. Jeff Gannon is like a buffer version of Jon Lovitz's "Liar," cloaking himself in implausible deniability to buy time until the referee rings the bell.

He did provide some genuine insight into the journalistic standards of the far-right fake-news prosties and their blog enablers. To Gannon, and presumably to other fine fax-gathering organizations being fronted by Republican shills, objective journalism consists of running White House press releases verbatim--to him, that's providing vital information without a "liberal filter." Gannon really does embody the Bush-Rove ideal of the journalist as empty vessel. His tactical mistake was to be such an Eddie Haskell suck-up at the presidential news conference and draw attention to himself. Otherwise, he'd still be attending White House briefings and sending Scott McClellan secret messages with coded blinks.
The scary part is that overwhelmingly, the so-called journalists who get access and we hear from are very much willing to play that empty vessel to the every stupid/slimy utterance of Bush/Cheney/Rummy et al. The ones who won't just repeat their words as gospel are ostracized both by the White House and by the media companies who would normally want their reporters to dig. But the media companies are making money off this war (General Electric owns NBC and co-owns MSNBC, etc.).

Gannon "Always" Had WH Insider Info


From Editor and Publisher:

San Antonio radio producer Susan Farris could always count on James Guckert, a.k.a. former White House correspondent Jeff Gannon, to pitch an appearance on the shows she produces at conservative talk station KTSA.

He was not only anxious about pushing his story of the day, but seemed to always have some kind of inside knowledge about the White House, as well.

"I said, 'How do you have such great sources?' and he just laughed it off," she told E&P Friday. "Now we all know how."
Word elsewhere, too, that Gannon was also at extra special invitation only WH insider Christmas parties for 2-3 years.

So who was giving him all this access?

Transcript of Anderson Cooper Interview with Jeff Gannon



COOPER: The first record we have now of you actually being at a White House press briefing was on February 28, 2003, as you said, before Talon News even existed. So why were you given a White House pass?

GANNON: I was given a White House -- well, you will have to ask the White House that. But I asked to attend the White House briefing because I was -- you know, because I wanted to report on the activities there.

COOPER: But GOPUSA is not a news organization.

GANNON: Well, we were -- we were -- we had established a news division, and it was later renamed Talon News.

COOPER: Because this is news to just about everybody. You know, Talon News wasn't registered I think until, well, March 29 of 2003. I think the first articles didn't appear until April 1. So I guess the questions that are being raised why were you at -- allowed to go to a White House briefing if you are working for GOPUSA, which is a clearly partisan organization?

GANNON: There are many, many organizations, many people that are allowed to attend the White House briefings. I don't know the criteria they use.

COOPER: But you weren't even publishing anything. You weren't reporting anything.

The Times Reports on Secretly Tapes Discussions Between Future Prez and Friend

Drugs, gays, and right-wing Christian dominance get covered.

Story here.

Ah Yes, the Afghans Are So Much Better for Our Presence

Disease fueled by freezing weather has killed more than 120 Afghan children, with desperate parents feeding their children opium in a bid to alleviate their suffering, the health minister said Saturday.

A total of 128 children have died of ailments including pneumonia, measles and whooping cough, Mohammed Amin Fatemi told The Associated Press. He had no figures for cold-related deaths including adults.

"Many parents are giving opium to the children in the belief it will stop the coughing," Fatemi said. "Maybe for two or three hours it will sedate them, but it is poison for their bodies and can turn them into addicts."

Hundreds of Afghans have reportedly died since heavy snow and freezing temperatures set in across much of Afghanistan in late December, highlighting how vulnerable people remain after more than two decades of impoverishing conflict.

Some have died in accidents and avalanches, while former refugees even in the capital have apparently frozen to death in makeshift camps, also exposing a lack of shelter and health care despite three years of international aid.
And where's Osama?