Team Bush Keeps Proving that Even the Lowest of the Low Can Always Sink Lower

The Times' take on the UN anti-abortion effort by BushCo:

t a moment when the United States should be leading the world on advancing women's equality, the Bush administration chose instead to alienate government ministers and 6,000 other delegates at an important United Nations conference on that issue with a burst of anti-abortion zealotry this week.

The two-week session is being held to reinvigorate efforts to improve women's lives a decade after a landmark U.N. conference in Beijing. The organizers had hoped to keep a tight focus on urgent challenges like sexual trafficking, educational inequities and the spread of AIDS.

The first order of business was to be quick approval of a simple statement reaffirming the Beijing meeting's closing declaration. But on Monday, the Americans created turmoil by announcing that the United States would not join the otherwise universal consensus unless the document was amended to say that it did not create "any new international human rights" or "include the right to abortion."

This was shabby and mischievous. For one thing, the Beijing statement was nonbinding. For another, the Beijing negotiators had tried to anticipate controversy by recognizing unsafe abortions as a serious public health issue while leaving the question of legality up to each nation.

"Gonzo Gone... Watergate Still Here"

Essential Frank Rich in Sunday's Times:

TWO weeks ago Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide. Next week Dan Rather commits ritual suicide, leaving the anchor chair at CBS prematurely as penance for his toxic National Guard story. The two journalists shared little but an abiding distaste - make that hatred in Thompson's case - for the Great Satan of 20th-century American politics, Richard Nixon. The best work of both was long behind them. Yet memories of that best work - not to mention the coincidental timing of their departures - only accentuate the vacuum in that cultural category we stubbornly insist on calling News.

What's missing from News is the news. On ABC, Peter Jennings devotes two hours of prime time to playing peek-a-boo with U.F.O. fanatics, a whorish stunt crafted to deliver ratings, not information. On NBC, Brian Williams is busy as all get-out, as every promo reminds us, "Reporting America's Story." That story just happens to be the relentless branding of Brian Williams as America's anchorman - a guy just too in love with Folks Like Us to waste his time looking closely at, say, anything happening in Washington.

In this environment, it's hard to know whom to root for. After the "60 Minutes" fiasco, Mr. Williams's boss, the NBC president Jeff Zucker, piously derided CBS for its screw-up, bragging of the reforms NBC News instituted after a producer staged a truck explosion for a "Dateline NBC" segment in 1992. "Nothing like that could have gotten through, at any level," Mr. Zucker said of the CBS National Guard story, "because of the safeguards we instituted more than a decade ago." Good for him, but it's not as if a lot else has gotten through either. When was the last time Stone Phillips delivered a scoop, with real or even fake documents, on "Dateline"? Or that NBC News pulled off an investigative coup as stunning as the "60 Minutes II" report on Abu Ghraib? That, poignantly enough, was Mr. Rather's last hurrah before he, too, and through every fault of his own, became a neutered newsman.

Iraqi Women Fear Losing Their Freedom and Rights

Welcome to BushWorld, ladies! From the wire:

As Iraq embarks on its uncertain journey toward crafting a new constitution, Iraqi women have perhaps more to win or lose in the process than anyone.

Since the election results were confirmed, many women have expressed deep concerns about the direction in which they see their country headed. A coalition of Islamist Shiite parties won the largest share of the seats in Iraq's new National Assembly. The parties have nominated an Islamic scholar to be prime minister, and though they insist they do not want to impose a religious government on Iraq, they have made it clear they expect Islam to feature in the new constitution.

Yanar Mohammed, a women's rights campaigner, has no doubt that the parties represented in the Shiite coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, intend to use their majority to introduce Shariah, or Islamic law, into the constitution that the assembly will write.
Much like Afghanistan where - for all the silly promotion by Bush about fighting for women to be free of birks - 99% of women must be fully covered as they move about. The other 1% are probably being stoned to death by the Taliban.

It's Bush's World and we're just here as stepping stones.

The Italian Hostage Whose Release We Greeted with Gunfire

While not a lot of attention is being paid to the story of the Italian journalist whose release from her captors in Iraq was greeted by coalition force gunfire, the rest of the world is rather upset.

The Turkish press calls it a deliberate war crime. International journalists are questioning this incident considering how many journalists and cameramen have been targeted by U.S. and other coalition forces. One London paper is reporting that Italy is outraged (not that it takes Italy much to get upset about but this is rather noteworthy).

Meanwhile, "coalition forces" (code word for "let's spread the guilt since it's always American forces forces spelled out when it's good news) say it's the journalist's fault.

Hey, she's a woman, a journalist, and a foreigner, which in Bushspeak amounts to three strikes.

Our First Upright Ancestor?

Story at CNN: fossils may be from an upright hominid who walked the earth four million years ago.

Not that the rabid righties believe in evolution which seems fitting since lots of them don't seem to have evolved a bit from caveman days, the blogger added tartly.

The Paper Trail

From VerifiedVoting's newsletter:

H.R. 550, the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility
Act of 2005" was introduced by Rep. Holt (NJ). In only two
weeks, it has over 100 cosponsors. H.R. 550 is the "gold
standard" of verified voting bills. It not only requires
voter-verified paper ballots(VVPB) but also mandatory
manual audits, requires increased security, prohibits undisclosed
software, and more. It was carefully written after extensive
consultation with many experts. VerifiedVoting.org supports
H.R. 550 in the strongest possible terms and encourages all
members of the House to become cosponsors.

Take action: Visit our Action Center today.

The "Voting Integrity and Verification Act of 2005" (VIVA
2005), was introduced by Sen. Ensign (NV) as S. 330 in the
Senate and by Rep. Gibbons (NV) as H.R. 704 in the House.
These bills are narrowly focused on voter-verified
paper ballots. They don't do everything we want, but they do what
they do very well. We support these bills and encourage all
members of Congress to cosponsor them (as well as H.R. 550).

Take action: visit our Action Center today.

Perhaps There Should Be a War on Hate and Ignorance Here at Home

I am not a big believer in war as the answer to much. But as much as we point fingers at Syria and Iraqi insurgents and Iran and North Korea, I think maybe it's time to start pointing some fingers right here at home.

Part of this country is engaging in a huge war here. It's not Republicans vs. Democrats (although that political war is raging, too) but rightwing nutjobs who wave the Bible and profess their Christianity while spewing nothing but hate.

Their God is a vengeful one out to get everyone who is not like them. Their God offers no hope of redemption for sinners like gays, liberals, Democrats and moderate Republicans, pacifists, women who consider abortions and doctors who perform them, people of a different color or religion or interpretation of Christianity, judges who try to be fair and act by rule of law rather than rule of the God the nutjobs know, scientists, teachers, et al. The list of people they hate grows longer with each passing day.

They see Bush's selection and re-selection (thank you Christ and Diebold) as their ascendancy to the throne. In Bush, they have someone willing to ignore the fact that our country was founded as a secular place, that evolution probably makes more sense than woman being created from the rib of Adam, and that living women should have more rights than a mass of cells contained in her body.

I don't think we can afford to ignore these people simply as nutjobs or think that the horrible murders of Judge Joan Leflow's husband and sick elderly mother were just a random act of hatred.

In Bush's America, these very dangerous people are rising in power and volume. Left unchecked, they will take over the Supreme Court, the entire legal system, Congress, everything. There will be no more checks and balances if this happened. Not believing in God or assuming a woman can make a choice over her own body are likely to become capitol offenses punishable by execution.

Those of us who don't want to see our country overcome by hatred and ignorance, who believe in the core values instilled by our forefathers and then corrupted by greedy politicians, perhaps need to recognize this for the war it is and become active warriors in the cause. This pacifist does not say this lightly either. The Lefkow murders this week have opened my eyes.

But I'm not talking about fighting with guns and arrows and hatred, but with weapons that truly scare these people: intelligence, reason, fairness, tolerance. And we can't let up in our fight.

The Evangelicals

From American Prospect:

On March 9, evangelical Christians will converge in Washington, D.C., for the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), which represents various Protestant churches and denominations across the country with a combined membership of between 30 million and 40 million people. Anybody concerned about the increasing influence of religion on U.S. public policy ought to be paying close attention.

A key event during the convention will be the release of a 12-page statement of principles meant to serve as guidelines for unprecedented political engagement by U.S. evangelicals. Called For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility, this manifesto for a Bible-based public policy calls on evangelical Christians to recognize that it is their religious obligation to advocate for government policies that support their religious beliefs.

The preamble to the document quickly makes clear that the group is not looking to influence policy on the margins but to become a major voice in the political process: "Evangelical Christians in America face a historic opportunity. We make up fully one quarter of all voters in the most powerful nation in history. Never before has God given American evangelicals such an awesome opportunity to shape public policy in ways that could contribute to the well-being of the entire world. Disengagement is not an option. We must seek God’s face for biblical faithfulness and abundant wisdom to rise to this unique challenge."

Bushies: Make Sure Women Do Not Believe They Have a Right to Terminate a Pregnancy

Remember, folks, the only person who has a right to take a life is a Bush! From the AP via Newsday:

UNITED NATIONS -- Facing overwhelming opposition, the United States on Friday abandoned attempts to amend a declaration reaffirming the blueprint to achieve equality for women, saying it was satisfied the document did not guarantee the right to abortion.

Hours after the United States backed down, the 45-member U.N. Commission on the Status of Women unanimously adopted the declaration endorsing the platform for action adopted at the 1995 U.N. women's conference in Beijing.

The U.S. attempt to amend the declaration has taken the spotlight at the two-week review meeting, angering many governments and some 6,000 representatives of women's and human rights organizations. They had hoped to focus on obstacles to women's equality in the economy, the family, education and political life -- not on the abortion issue.

Hunter S Conspiracy Theory

Here's one of the links in question. Now I'm trying to locate the February 26th Globe and Mail article.

Hunter telephoned me on Feb. 19, the night before his death. He sounded scared. It wasn't always easy to understand what he said, particularly over the phone, he mumbled, yet when there was something he really wanted you to understand, you did. He'd been working on a story about the World Trade Center attacks and had stumbled across what he felt was hard evidence showing the towers had been brought down not by the airplanes that flew into them but by explosive charges set off in their foundations. Now he thought someone was out to stop him publishing it: "They're gonna make it look like suicide," he said. "I know how these bastards think . . ."
Oops.. here's the Globe and Mail piece (registration required).


Fear and Loathing in Conspiracy Theory

I heard something this morning that sounds pretty outrageous but I'm trying to find a link to learn more.

The story in a nutshell as I got it: A Toronto Star reporter talked with Hunter S. Thompson on the day before his death. Thompson said he was researching the WTC attack and may have said he had conclusive proof that a series of specially implanted detinations within the WTC actually brought the towers down rather than just structural issues exacerbated by those big planes flying into them. In the same conversation, Thompson voiced concern for his life, saying he would be "suicided" because of what he'd dug up.

Now, long time readers will recall that I'm pretty resistant to laying 9/11 directly on Bush or any of the other half dozen groups raised in most of the theories. I still have a few questions about why we could never see a plane hanging out of the Pentagon, but that's another story. Add Hunter S. to the mix, and I could see him perhaps juicing up a story knowing he planned to kill himself (if his widow is to be believed). The last interview I saw with Hunter was a couple years back on Tim Russert, Thompson promoting a new book highly critical of Bush.

Still, I'd like to learn more about this tale. So if anyone has seen a link to it, I'd love it (relatively speaking) if you'd share it with me.

We're Soooo Overworked Here

So CIA head Porter Goss - in his job for about five minutes - is complaining about how hard he has to work; taking a cue from George Bush who reiterated "this is hard work" a few gazillion times during the campaign.

True. For Goss, used to a cushy Congressional life, having to show up at the office every week must be a pain. But likely more of an issue for him is that he wanted Negroponte's job and didn't get it.

But man, it's ironic to hear of soldiers working 18 hour shifts 7 days a week and of many Americans working two and three jobs to try not to lose their homes, while the Bush crowd keeps complaining of their hard work whenever they're not on vacation or partying at Rummy's house.

And while food kitchens are so busy they're turnng people away in record numbers, Laura Bush had to replace most of the "social and kitchen" staff because they're just not creating grand enough gold-plated food for King George. Yes, we pay for those cooks, that social staff, and all the pate foie gras Bush spreads on his toast along with peanut butter. The Bushies have decided to replace Georgie's silver spoon with a platinum one.

Bush Demands

Ever the tantrumming bully, our besotted leader is threatening Syria again. After two years, we may not have even a whiff of an exit strategy for our occupation of Iraq (let alone 3+ years in Afghanistan), but damn, Bush is going to make Syria jump when he says jump.

Also from CNN:

President Bush on Friday flatly rejected any partial withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, saying he will not accept the kind of "half-measures" Damascus is expected to propose as a compromise.

"There are no half-measures at all," Bush said during an event here on his Social Security proposals.

"When the United States and France say withdraw, we mean complete withdrawal, no halfhearted measures," he said.

During a speech Saturday to his parliament, Syrian President Bashar Assad was expected to announce a troop pullback to eastern Lebanon near the Syrian border -- but not a full withdrawal, according to Syrian and Lebanese officials.

"We need to see action, not words," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said a day ahead of that speech.
If Bush is willing to cite the French as friends, I guess he really means it. Smirk.

We Fired on an Italian Hostage

From CNN:

An Italian journalist freed Friday after a month in captivity was wounded by coalition forces as she was being taken to the airport in Baghdad, a military official said. Coalition forces mistakenly shot at the car carrying Giuliana Sgrena, the official said. A member of the Italian security forces accompanying Sgrena was killed, according to Il Manifesto, Sgrena's employer.
If this happens to our so-called friends, imagine what Iraqis go through.

Fed Election Commission and Bloggers

So the FEC is powerless to do anything about assuring fair elections but they want to strong arm bloggers? Not a surprise considering everything and everyone in Washington is now Bush's bitch.

From CNET:

Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.
In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall overturned that decision. "The commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines" the campaign finance law's purposes, Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
I'm not personally too worried. I don't make "contribute to this" appeals often. But it cracks me up that the FEC considers bloggers worthy of their attention when they are spineless in every other arena.

Poll: Bush "Out of Step" with American Priorities

(rolling eyes, feigning greatsurprise)

From The Times:

Americans say President Bush does not share the priorities of most of the country on either domestic or foreign issues, are increasingly resistant to his proposal to revamp Social Security and say they are uneasy with Mr. Bush's ability to make the right decisions about the retirement program, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll underscores just how little headway Mr. Bush has made in his effort to build popular support as his proposal for overhauling Social Security struggles to gain footing in Congress. At the same time, there has been an increase in respondents who say that efforts to restore order in Iraq are going well, even as an overwhelming number of Americans say Mr. Bush has no clear plan for getting out of Iraq.
Yet his overall approval hovers (at best) around 49%.

Folks, Koolaid (the Bush bug juice and not the powder brand) not only rots your teeth, it rots your soul. Switch to water.

Alan Greenspan, Political Hack

Senate Minority leader Harry Reid finally had the balls yesterday to tell the truth about fed chairman Alan Greenspan, calling him a hack of the worst order.

Today, Paul Krugman weighs in:

Four years ago, Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes, asserting that the federal government was in imminent danger of paying off too much debt. On Wednesday the Fed chairman warned Congress of the opposite fiscal danger: he asserted that there would be large budget deficits for the foreseeable future, leading to an unsustainable rise in federal debt. But he counseled against reversing the tax cuts, calling instead for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Does anyone still take Mr. Greenspan's pose as a nonpartisan font of wisdom seriously? When Mr. Greenspan made his contorted argument for tax cuts back in 2001, his reputation made it hard for many observers to admit the obvious: he was mainly looking for some way to do the Bush administration a political favor. But there's no reason to be taken in by his equally weak, contorted argument against reversing those cuts today.

Division Street

I'm starting to wind down toward the end of the novel I'm writing about families affected by the current wars and I feel obligated to share that it's been a unique experience.

First, it's incredibly draining. While my novel is fiction, it's based on bits of conversation, letters, posts, and message threads that I've had the good fortune to have shared with me. The lives of these families can be very hard and to some small degree, I feel I have shared that as they share with me.

Second, like any very good novel, it has taken on a life of its own. I sat down with an idea and tried to plan a book. But as the characters came alive, they have often taken their own route, said and done things that I could not expect, and forced the book to be about them rather than any false premises or my personal ideology that I might have exacted upon them. The book is neither pro- nor anti-war. This isn't my story, it's theirs.

Third, I've been rather amazed in talking with literary agents for representation (I have a great agent in David Fugate at Waterside Productions, but they're exclusively technical) at how many voice concern at representing a book that might in any way be critical of anything touching on current politics. Some have been kind enough to share their specific concerns with me rather than send a form letter, telling me that the climate is not right for anything that doesn't sound like Oliver North's autobiography.

I find this last point chilling. But I'm also not letting it stop me. I want an agent with balls who finds me a publisher who also boasts a set of big ones, and I know I'll find it. This is not about me, my writing, or my ego, but about the important story these characters are caught in.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm generally pretty critical of my own work. But this book is good, and it's good because it's honest and gritty and based on an amalgam of people living these real lives, people who think even though it hurts to do so.

And Another Hello

To Roy at GeeFlat who reminds us there are good thinking people in Kansas, and not simply serial killers and those who think evolution is a silly idea. Actually, I'm sure Kansas has hordes of good people (I've had the pleasure to know several, including my former agent Neil Salkind from Lawrence), but it's the loud evolutionarily challenged ones you hear more often.

And I love his cat.

Another Voice

Say hello to Joanne at TheWhatClass. Welcome to Blogtopia (coined by Skippy, of course)!

1502 Soldiers Now Dead in Iraq

Of course, that number is reduced by the many the Pentagon misreports as non enemy fire. Last I knew, they were not counting anyone who died from complications of combat injuries, anyone deemed killed by friendly fire (oh, what a term), or anyone else they could successfully keep off the list.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is being quiet on whether it will move thousands of soldiers taken from AfghanisfuckingBushistan for Iraqi elections back to the first country we struck because "the hunt for Osama is cold."

As often as we talk about how WMDs were given as the reason for going into Iraq, lost in the discussion is that we supposedly went into Afghanistan to get Osama. Three plus years later, the tall one still walks. Sorta like fat boy, Bush pal Kenny Lay.


While I was working on blogger a good part of yesterday, it was to see what's required to host a blog on one of my site properties. Around 2 am (ugh), I finally hit success.

However, don't worry about this blog moving, at least for the short term. I'm developing some Web real estate and wanted to see how blogger worked elsewhere, for other subjects.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled confusion, chaos, and depression, already (for four Bush years) in progress....


More Posts Tomorrow

I promise. I started ordering domains today and well.. the results aren't pretty.



For those of you who may have had trouble reaching my e-mail address listed at the right of the screen (below the polls), it's working again.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Universal Health Care

Reader John in comments questioned one of my posts about how Vermont towns voted on, among other things, the issue of universal health care. So let me address this now.

I actually share a good deal of healthy skepticism about allowing "the government" to handle American health care. Talk to seniors and others who have had to depend at least in part on the feds or "the state" to do this and they'll tell you it's often a nightmare. Almost anything you involve bureaucracy in becomes much worse because of that bureaucracy's involvement.

But first, within Vermont at least, we're not looking to the feds but trying to find a way for ourselves, much as Maine has already done. Maine's plan is still too new to know how well it will fare but congratulations to them for forging ahead.

Second, the dynamic of health care in this country is changing a great deal, largely represented by how the health care industry and employers' benefits are changing. More and more people work at jobs that either a) don't offer benefits to them at all or b) have severely curtailed the coverage or c) make employees pay higher and higher premiums out of their own pockets. We're quickly reaching a point where the only people assured of relatively excellent care are a) politicians and serious bureaucrats b) the wealthy and c) CEOs only.

This means that more of us are either picking up health insurance ourselves or going without it. Having more than 50 million Americans (and I've read in some places this only represents adults without health insurance because children of the poor are often picked up at least in part by state programs) without health insurance is not only bad for these people, it's bad for the entire nation. See my book "Buying Rx Drugs Online: Avoiding a Prescription for Disaster" for more details on what I think about this. Uninsured Americans threaten our society as a whole, even if you don't happen to subscribe to my theory that people should have access to health care, period, end of sentence.

I don't think anyone is seriously talking about a state or federal initiative that would amount to free health care. Certainly not during these Bush years. Ironically, when Bush was trying to sell the new Medicare drug benefit plan, he said that seniors should have access to the same great care that government officials did.. then turned around afterwards and said that couldn't happen because it's too costly. Agreed. If we cut back on benefits for Congress, we could each pocket a check that would at least help us pay those high premiums.

What is on the table by some intelligent folks is a plan that allows everyone to buy into health care at a price that would be far less (because of the massive number of people involved) than paying individual premiums. Rather than you, me, Joe Blow, Aunt Flo, and John Doe each paying as individuals or individual families, we would go into one huge GROUP over which the overall costs would be spread and the premiums would be lower. It's not so much federally or state financed like a welfare system, but one that brings us together to be treated as a group rather than as individual payees.

I'll use myself as an example. Right now, I pay close to $450 per month as an individual Blue Cross of Vermont subscriber. WOW! I've never had a car payment that high. I would normally never take on a debt that requires such a high monthly cost and this comes close to half the cost of my mortgage payment each month. For health care I don't regularly use (I see a doctor every few months and have a couple of prescriptions), that's awfully high. And I'm someone who has only had one major hospitalization in her entire life. I'm also someone who has taken several proactive steps to improve her overall health (more exercise, watching what I eat, no smoking, working with my doctor on solutions that don't require prescription/medical care) so to reduce the risk that I'll have another catastrophic illness (I got hit by a super-bug a few years ago that sent this otherwise fairly healthy person into three weeks of ICU).

An acquaintance of mine who does employee benefits for a company figures that between the company and employee contributions, very similar coverage to mine costs about $287 per month for coverage that extends beyond the employee him/herself to cover a spouse.

The $160+ difference is the power of a group. The larger that group becomes and the more spread you have between relatively healthy and less healthy people, the more cost reduction you see (at least in theory).

I don't want Big Brother to pay my premium. I just want the power and cost effectiveness of a group to make my premium more reasonable. I think a lot of people feel similarly.

Paul Krugman: More on Social Security

From Tuesday's Times:

In short, anyone who wants to see the nation return to fiscal responsibility, wants to preserve Social Security as an institution or both should be opposed to any deal creating private accounts. And there is also, of course, the political question: Why should any Democrat act as a spoiler when his party is doing well by doing good, gaining political ground by opposing a really bad idea? (Hello, Senator Lieberman.)

The important thing to remember is why the right wants privatization. The drive to create private accounts isn't about finding a way to strengthen Social Security; it's about finding a way to phase out a system that conservatives have always regarded as illegitimate. And as long as that is what's at stake, there is no room for any genuine compromise. When it comes to privatization, just say no.

What? The Times Didn't Totally Butt Kiss and Name Gannon?

I'm shocked. The Times went with another righteous rightie, John Tierney, to replace Richard Nixon's best pal, William Safire.

I was sure Keller would totally butt lick the right and put Jeff Gannon in the post. If you've seen Jeffy poo's blog, you'll know who exactly found it tough to spell "Guckert": JD/Jeff Gannon himself. His entire blog - besides a few totally dumb ass comments - is copied from others.

Jeff would have been great in The Times gig: he could have just copied from David (Babbling) Brooks, Ann Coulter, and Mickey Kaus - all just great hind ends minds of our times.

It's OK though. I'm sure Tierney will be on a mission from God, just like Robert (Crypt Keeper) Novak.

Novak: "I'm on a Mission from God"

What the fuck is Robert Novak putting in his prune martinis these days? Hasn't someone told him NOT to mix prune martinis with his Vioxx and Oxycontin? Surely Rush Lamehog should have warned him (but Rush is probably too busy mainlining heroin from his recent taxpayer-paid trip to Aghanisbushfuckedusupistan.

He's been known for 40 years as Washington's journalistic "prince of darkness," but cranky, arch-conservative pundit Bob Novak believes he's doing God's work.

"I'm trying to tell the truth and taking positions that I hope are godly positions, positions that I hope are helpful to my fellow man," he tells Vanity Fair in a profile that hits the stands tomorrow. "And I don't think there's any law against enjoying myself in the process."

The 74-year-old columnist and CNN commentator remains mum on a great mystery of the moment: his legal status in the Valerie Plame leak case. "While two other reporters, Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of the New York Times, face jail time for refusing to divulge their sources in the case," writes VF contributing editor David Margolick, "the man who broke the story apparently doesn't."


Our Nor'easter

While we didn't get hit quite as bad (so far) as predicted, understand that I forced my poor little puppy out in the storm to give you a point of reference for how high we've had to pile snow to clear it.

Then understand that this puppy is about the size of a small pony (but weighs just a mere 105 lbs - or 150 when his girlfriend Gimli is attached to his neck trying to tackle him) and I can ride him around like one.

So much for March coming in like a lamb.

Of course, this is nothing compared to the snow job the Bushies heap upon us.

Vermont Town Meeting Day and Iraq Resolution

Here in our little part of Vermont, the basic resolution asking to bring all National Guard troops home passed, but after intense discussion, the majority did NOT approve of asking Bush to remove all troops from Iraq (like he would listen).

Have to wait until the end of town meeting day throughout the state to see whether the majority passed more of it than my little town did or not.

We also passed a non-binding resolution asking the state to investigate universal health care.

For those not aware, Vermont is one of a small number of states who hold annual town meeting days in which we pass budgetary items one line at a time and vote on (usually non-binding) resolutions. Everybody crowds into the town halls to sit there for hours discussing everything.

Condoliezalot Rice and Diplomacy by Hissy Fit

So she cancels a planned trip to Canada because they won't "yes man" our ridiculous missile defense system?

Damn, they're gonna miss out on the Condi fashion show and face-making. Or maybe they're very glad she's not coming.

Don't Kill Juveniles

What's surprising isn't that the Supreme Court ruled today that it was improper for so many states to apply the death penalty in cases where the offender was under the legal age at the time of the crime.

No, the surprise is that so many states did this in the first place. I believe that most states stipulate that those under the age of 18 are too young to enter into a contract of any kind. If they're too young to do that, why would they be appropriate age to execute - or send to war?

New Polls Up

Look at the right of the blog window for them.

Results of the last poll:

Were Condi Rice to leave government "service", which role would be best for her:

    * High colonic therapist 48%
    * Mrs. Rush Limbaugh 24%
    * Osama bin Laden's dominatrix 10%
    * Scariest feature on "Fear Factor" 10%
    * Adult film actress Brown Sugar Strangelove 10%

Yeah, I notice the percentages add up to 102%, a problem I suspect with the poll software. Urp.

The New Bankruptcy

Credit card companies and banks want to make bankruptcy FAR tougher to get and the GOP is NOT willing to allow protections for military personnel or very low income people who've finances have turned because of job loss or medical crises.

BTK: A Man Rick Santorum Can Admire

I mean, consider it:

* church president
* active and loyal Republican
* Boy Scout leader
* didn't engage in dog-on-man sex (that we've heard so far)

Republicans like Rick Santorum would never let a little thing like serial killing get in the way of appreciating a man like Rader. Santorum admires Bush, a liar whose lies have killed thousands upon thousands.

Freeing More Iraqis From Their Lives

Monday's suicide bombing represents the most deaths in one single incident since we started calling those who want to take their country back insurgents.

Here in Vermont later today, we vote on a (non binding) resolution to ask Bush to remove troops from Iraq.

Joe the Rat

If rumors are true that Joe Lieberman indeed plans to go along with Bush in the dissolution (cutely called privatization) of Social Security, then indeed, Joe does not belong as a Democrat in Congress. He needs to retire and perhaps join Faux News (assuming they allow non-Christians to work there - not sure).


The Few, the Proud, the Dead at Their Own Hands: Marine Suicide Rate Up Nearly 30%

From WaPo:

The Marine Corps suffered a 29 percent spike in suicides last year, reaching the highest number in at least a decade, with the demanding pace of military operations likely contributing to the deaths, the top-ranking U.S. Marine said yesterday.

Thirty-one Marines committed suicide in 2004, all of them enlisted men, not commissioned officers. The majority were younger than 25 and took their lives with gunshot wounds, according to Marine statistics. Another 83 Marines attempted suicide.

...Marine commanders say the rise in suicides continues a worrisome three-year trend that is likely linked to stress from the sharply increased pace of war-zone rotations.

Is the Bush Real Purpose for Social Security Coming Out

Buzzflash asks the question: Is Dick Armey finally spilling the truthful beans that Bush is only out to destroy rather than "save" Social Security?

Our Tax Dollars At Work Spreading Propaganda

From CNN:

The Bush administration is planning to expand the reach of its Arabic-language satellite channel, Alhurra, into Europe, an official overseeing the network said Sunday.

Alhurra, which means "the free one," began beaming programming to the Middle East about a year ago.

Home to an estimated 15 million-20 million Muslims, many of Arab descent, Europe is a "significant location for Arabic-speaking people," a U.S. official said.
For those who haven't been paying attention:
    * When al Jazeera tries to present the Arab world point of view, it's hopeless propaganda

    * When the Bushies do it with our tax dollars, it's taxpayer funded bullshit and lies...the truth

Jeffy Baby, You're Not Only Man Candy, You're Delusional

[Ed note: an open letter to Jeff Gannon.]

"So feared by the Left, they had to take me down."

That's what you say on your blog, where you say you've returned. Fear? You?

I have to say that having read your blog, I understand why you just copied WH press releases. You're about as articulate as Ronald Reagan in the last decade of his life and just about as smart as Reagan during the last 40 years of his life, meaning..not much. Please don't confuse loathsome (you) with fearsome (not you).

You're not loathsome because you sought out men to pay you for sex. Whores are a dime a dozen and not just in escort services (there's banking, advertising, lobbying, politics, ad infinitum).

Nor are you loathsome because you're sort of like Ann Coulter (except I have to say you're definitely prettier with less facial hair) - dressing up in all those cute outfits to spew hatred.

You're not even loathsome because you allowed Karl Rove to fuck you in the ass and then tried to make us believe he promised to marry you to make an honest woman out of you.

No, you're loathsome because - as someone who apparently hates himself so badly that you cannot tell the truth, distinguish the truth and certainly not report the truth - you have to attack people very much like you. Think Roy Cohn (but you'll probably have to look him up in an encyclopedia based on the level of intelligence displayed on your blog).

The very best thing I can say about you Jeffy Baby is that I pity you... and that's also the worst thing I can say about anyone. I reserve pity for people who just can't be redeemed.

Sweetheart, let me give you a little helpful advice. The advancing stages of syphilis - sadly, on the rise in these dark Bush times in which abstinence and ignorance is supposed to replace wisdom, public health, and adequate health care - often includes the kind of delusions you're printing. The brain - and let's face it, your brain may never have been your strongest or most developed organ - literally begins to poison everything when you're as deeply infected as you are. Rabies might be worse, but it's a lot shorter.

Get yourself help soon because such a sexually transmitted disease is a very horrible way to die.

Of course, I don't think I'd want to live were I you.. and that, thank you Jesus!, I will never be.

The Phenomenon of Dems Bashing Dems

Sometimes, it's hard to tell which is worse:

Republicans so eager to be on the same message, endless expressing the very same talking points as one another to the point where you feel that someone like Karl Rove or Dick Cheney just record sound bytes for them to endlessly repeat even when it contradicts what these people - or the whole damned party - have said just days or hours before OR

Democrats who endlessly beat up far more effectively on one another than they do on the GOP or the Bush Administration (and mind you, I'm not big on beating somebody up just because they're the opposition - sadly, however, there's just so many justifiable reasons for going up against the Bushies like that they're bad for humans and other living things).

There are a very tiny number of GOPers who ever go against the Bush/Cheney/Rove message and what few there are get ostracized and minimalized. Examples:

    * Christine Todd Whitman whose been trying (and I do mean trying) to say that the party's leadership is far too extreme while the majority of Republicans are far more moderate

    * Pat Buchanan in those rare moments of clarity when he's honest and admits what he said before: Iraq is wrong, the Bushies are bullies, and most people aren't as rabid right in the GOP as the current GOP leadership would have you believe

    * Arnold the Gropinator, who also has rare moments of clarity in which he supports stem cell research, women's rights (and his right to grope them, sadly), and distances himself from GOP Nutwing

    * David Kay, the former UN weapons inspector turned WMD Chief who was Bush's biggest cheerleader in Iraq before he started choking on the Kool Aid
But among Democrats, it seems relatively rare these days to have any two in a vocal position utter the exact same message. Those with a national or published platform, the ones the GOP likes to see trotted out, are often the worst. Think Mickey Kaus, Jeff Jarvis, Howard Fineman, Joe Lieberman, just to name a very few. You'd almost think the objective of these folks - all self-declared Democrats - is to go along with Tom DeLay's plan to make this a one party (GOP) country where Democrats are either imprisoned in Gitmo, shot, or exiled to Canada. But again, these are the Dems the GOP likes so these are the ones who aren't minimalized.

This phenomenon always reminds me of the phenom of the self-hating Jew (like some of those who went so hard after the Rosenbergs like Roy Cohn), the self-hating homosexual (again, there's Roy Cohn, J Edgar, Andrew Sullivan, Jeff Gannon aka Pimpette), and the self-hating woman (Phyllis Schafly and even Laura Bush).

Anyway, Oliver Willis tackles this subject and I encourage you to take a peek. Here's a bit:
I don't think every Democrat has the answers. I think Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are hustlers. I think Dennis Kucinich is naive to the point of absurdity. But by God, none of them are as vile as major leaders within the Republican party like Tom Delay and Dick Cheney. And among all the other Democrats out there, like Howard Dean, John Kerry, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and beyond – I'm not going to slime them like the media and the right do with the kind of habit a crack dealer depends on, simply to score points with a group of people who are laughing behind my back and looking for a good place to stick the knife.

Middle East Mess

A shoulder and neck that have me screaming in pain (I'm the world's worst sleeper - I wake up twisted like a pretzel) are about the only thing making me hesitate in posting a longer thread about concern that certain factions may be behind the Israeli bombing (besides the usual suspects) and the blaming of Syria for it. Listen to news this morning, and it sure sounds like Syria could be hit momentarily, and with those linking Syria and Iran together, a foreshadowing of what is to come.

Israel (not the whole of the people, but powerful forces within the country) really wants us to take out Syria and Iran so I'm afraid I don't put it beyond certain factions to try to force an emergency that the neo-cons here will exploit in getting a kill-happy Administration to act.

Dowd: "W's Stiletto Democracy"

From Sunday's Times:

It was remarkable to see President Bush lecture Vladimir Putin on the importance of checks and balances in a democratic society.

Remarkably brazen, given that the only checks Mr. Bush seems to believe in are those written to the "journalists" Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Karen Ryan, the fake TV anchor, to help promote his policies. The administration has given a whole new meaning to checkbook journalism, paying a stupendous $97 million to an outside P.R. firm to buy columnists and produce propaganda, including faux video news releases.

The only balance W. likes is the slavering, Pravda-like "Fair and Balanced" coverage Fox News provides. Mr. Bush pledges to spread democracy while his officials strive to create a Potemkin press village at home. This White House seems to prefer softball questions from a self-advertised male escort with a fake name to hardball questions from journalists with real names; it prefers tossing journalists who protect their sources into the gulag to giving up the officials who broke the law by leaking the name of their own C.I.A. agent.
Indeed he do.

Yet More Skanky Tricks from Tom DeLay


Our President is a Winner Alright

From CNN:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- Beating such established Hollywood hunks as Colin Farrell and Vin Diesel, U.S. President George W. Bush won the Golden Raspberry Award on Saturday for worst actor of the year for his appearance in Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

...The president not only was named worst male actor in a leading role, he also won for being half of the year's worst screen couple when paired with either Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or "My Pet Goat," the book he was reading to schoolchildren on the morning of September 11, 2001.

Footage of Bush continuing to read the book after being given first word of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was one of the key scenes in Moore's highly critical film.

Two other "Fahrenheit" stars were "honored." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was named worst supporting actor and pop star Britney Spears won for worst supporting actress for a clip in which she declares blind faith in Bush's policies while popping chewing gum.