Mea Culpa (My Ass)

Gee, I'm sorry. I somehow missed the part where the Pope ended communism. Funny, George Bush the elder takes credit for it; so did Reagan.

Of course, in trying to take credit, they often ignore the pesky details that communism was largely starved out by the late 70s. In that respect, communism was on external life support longer than poor Mrs. Schiavo when all these men rushed to take credit for its fall.

But what would have been so important after the fall of the Berlin wall and the "democratization" of what was Russia was if we'd bothered to pour some support in there. We didn't. And now we've seen a terrible mess. Just last week, the former two halves of Germany announced they wanted a divorce. And Mr. Putin of Russia has the distinction of being even a poor democratic (note: small D) president than our King George.

If you want to gild the lily by saying the Pope did this and the Pope did that, let's balance it. OK? Note that the Pope forbade the use of condoms, a factor in continuing spread of sexually transmitted diseases and in more young kids and poor adults having babies they cannot care for. Talk about how this Pope seemed to want to take the Church back in time rather than forward into the new millennium. Or this Pope who did nothing about the priest sex abuse scandal except tell his American flunkies to stop embarrassing him. Talk about a Pope who did nothing to bring women into the Church in a significant way and did really nothing to elevate a Catholic population in many countries which remains among the poorest and least educated but with one of the largest number of children per family.

And where was the Pope as Africa watched greater and greater percentages of its people - and many Africans have converted to Catholicism - fall to AIDS? The epidemic wasn't so much a case of "promiscuous" homosexuals or prostitution (except out of base need) but from a population that believes having sex with a virgin is a way of protecting themselves from the virus.

Yes, the Pope did some notable things, including traveling to countries that no other Pope had visited. But this same Pope could have stopped American churches from doing what they did: trying to cut their losses and cry bankruptcy when the sex abuse scandal broke. While churches and Catholic schools closed here in record numbers to protect Vatican City, the Pope was still eating his elegant lunches in rooms lined with gold and some of the best artwork looted - and yes, bought with parishioners' money - from the rest of the world.

In short, I'll grant that this Pope did a few good things. But for one of the longest reigning Popes and for one who got to benefit from having the most exposure because of TV and other media, it's actually sad how little he accomplished toward bringing his "flock" to the same moral, spiritual, educational, artistic, and human richness of experience the Pope and his Vatican City consorts enjoy.

Whoopi Goldberg on Democrats

    "There's not a ball between them."
You got that right, Sistah.

US Citizen Held in Iraq Without Lawyer or Charged Filed for More Than a Year

Yes, I know some people will look at this info and dismiss it as "Oh, well, see? He's a terrorist. Let 'em rot."

But if he's so really one, why have no charges been brought? Why is this being done against federal law? In fact, almost NO ONE has been charged. Most of who we hold are usually nobodies we eventually release.

From Swiss Info:

The U.S. military said on Friday it has held since last year an American citizen without chargesin Iraq as a suspected top aide to militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, drawing condemnation from civil rights activists.

The man, who U.S. officials at the Pentagon and in Iraq refused to identify by name, possessed dual U.S.-Jordanian citizenship, themilitary said.

The man was not born in the United States, but became a naturalized U.S. citizen and lived in "a couple of different cities" duringabout 20 years in America, one official said.

Thought to be the first U.S. citizen caught as a suspected participant in Iraq's two-year-old insurgency, he was seized in a raid "latelast year" on a Baghdad home where weapons and bomb-making material was found, the military said.

Air Force Lt. Col. John Skinner, a Pentagon spokesman, said the man, deemed an enemy combatant, had personal ties to Zarqawiand was believed to have served as his personal emissary in several Iraqi cities. The man has not been allowed to have a lawyer,Skinner said.

"I think it's extremely high on the outrageous scale. This is a direct violation of a Supreme Court decision," said lawyer RachelMeeropol of the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights.

The justices ruled last June that the government cannot hold an American citizen indefinitely in a U.S. military jail without providing achance to contest the case against him.

Tom DeLay: The Bullshit Never Stops

From The Post:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), under fire from Democrats for what they consider threatening remarks about federal judges, plans to ask the Judiciary Committee to undertake a broad review of the courts' handing of the Terri Schiavo case, his office said yesterday.

DeLay's office did not specify exactly what the majority leader wants the committee to do. The Constitution gives Congress the power to set the areas of authority for federal courts, but it was unclear what could be done by the committee in response to the Schiavo case, in particular.

The majority leader said Thursday he wants to examine what he called the "failure" of state and federal courts to protect Schiavo, who died 13 days after the court-ordered withdrawal of her feeding tube.

DeLay issued a statement asserting that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." He later said in front of television cameras that he wants to "look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president."

Democrats continued to criticize DeLay yesterday, with Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) charging that the Republican might have broken a federal statute against threatening U.S. judges.

"Threats against specific federal judges are not only a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress," Lautenberg wrote. "Your attempt to intimidate judges in America not only threatens our courts, but our fundamental democracy as well."
Bring it on, Teflon Tom. You might be surprised at the results. You've climbed out of your snake hole too many times now; people are starting to notice you and the stench and slime in your wake.

The Maple Papal

Out of a certain sense of decorum, I've decided to wait until Monday before I begin campaigning loudly to become the next Pope. However, as you can see from the title of this posting, I've already coined an appropriate catchy-but-dim phrase (The Maple Papal) for said candidacy. See this archived post for a quick summary of my platform.

I've already been in contact with Diebold's Smoke and Mirrors division to rig the vote turning black smoke to white at the key time. Thankfully, they don't do exit polling for the conclave voting so I won't have to weakly explain the irregularities between presumed and actual votes which might lead some hopelessly deluded people (read: anyone capable of thought) to question whether some electoral hanky/panky has been played (of course not and don't make me call Noni Scalia on you).

[Ed note: See? There is something to be learned from the GOP playbook.]

The Echo Chamber Project


Letter to the Editor Edited Without Notation of Same?

I wrote a letter to the Times-Argus, the paper of record for little Washington County, VT, and after about 10 days, it appeared today. The subject was James Jefford (I-VT Senate) and the Vermont GOP's appeal to out-of-state donors to unseat him in this election.

Strange thing is that the letter appears edited, missing two or three paragraphs, and at least two others have been rearranged. Now, newspapers sometimes edit for length (although I've seen much longer letters appear in the same paper). That I understand. Yet the standard of protocol is to note that a letter has been edited. In the old days, papers would even try to contact the writer ahead of time to either work with the writer to shorten it or ask if the author still wants to run the letter with the edits. Reporters see their work fouled up often, but the thought behind checking with the letter writer for edits made sure that papers didn't edit based on oh... say a little tiny bit of bias.

I didn't need the latter (someone to call me, although I supplied my number). But I would have appreciated if they had noted the editing, especially when it removed paragraphs critical to Mr. Bush, Mr. DeLay, and Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT), and the editing is choppy enough that it makes my writing appear sloppier than it did originally.

Rudy Giuliani: Making a Mountain of Money on Misery

From The Carpetbagger Report:

Rudy Giuliani’s stature took a bit of a hit when he became a Bush campaign attack dog last year — going so far, at one point, to start blaming U.S. troops for the administration’s mistakes — but the former New York mayor still seems to consider himself presidential material.

But if his gutter politics on Bush’s behalf didn’t damage his appeal among the Republican faithful, I wonder if trying to profit from a natural disaster will damage his standing.
    The most vivid recent example occurred on Feb. 9 in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Giuliani had initially been booked by the South Carolina Hospital Association through the Washington Speakers Bureau to speak for his usual $100,000 fee. But then a massive tsunami devastated South Asia and “we just didn’t feel that a big old party was the right thing,” said Patti Smoake, the hospital association’s spokeswoman. Instead, the South Carolinians held a fund-raiser called “From South Carolina to South Asia.”

    Mr. Giuliani agreed to speak at the new event. He even wrote a $20,000 check to the Red Cross, the event’s beneficiary, according to figures cited by a South Carolina hospital official and obtained by The Observer. He batted away the inevitable political speculation that accompanied his visit to the crucial Republican primary state, telling a local reporter he was visiting “because I enjoy coming to South Carolina and because this is a worthy cause.”

    Mr. Giuliani didn’t mention it at the time, but he also walked away from the tsunami benefit with $80,000 at a time when celebrities from Bill Clinton and the first President Bush to George Clooney were donating time to the relief effort. There was nothing illegal, or even particularly unusual, about his taking a fee from a charity event. But taking the money was not the move of a man whose political future depends on the good will of the voters of South Carolina, the decisive state in the 2000 Republican primary widely viewed as the immovable object between a socially liberal Republican like Mr. Giuliani and the nomination.
After the event, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Hospitals Association said “she was not even sure whether the benefit’s total take had exceeded Mr. Giuliani’s fee.”
Emphasis mine.

More Tax Dollars to Promote More Stupidity in the Name of "Christ"

From CNN:

An array of advocacy groups are calling on the U.S. government to take down one of its new Web sites, saying it presents biased and inaccurate advice to parents on how to talk to their children about sex.

The site -- 4parents.gov -- stresses the promotion of abstinence.

Emphasizing abstinence is fine, said the groups, but the government, under the conservative Bush administration, also should stress the need for contraception if sexual relations do occur.

Doubts on Weapons Dismissed

Story here and remember that Tenet was recently awarded by Bush with one of the nation's highest honors (Medal of Freedom? Don't recall. But yeah, these people sure deserve accolades for their ::cough:: outstanding work):

As former secretary of state Colin L. Powell worked into the night in a New York hotel room, on the eve of his February 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council, CIA officers sent urgent e-mails and cables describing grave doubts about a key charge he was going to make.

On the telephone that night, a senior intelligence officer warned then-CIA Director George J. Tenet that he lacked confidence in the principal source of the assertion that Saddam Hussein's scientists were developing deadly agents in mobile laboratories.

"Mr. Tenet replied with words to the effect of 'yeah, yeah' and that he was 'exhausted,' " according to testimony quoted yesterday in the report of President Bush's commission on the intelligence failures leading up to his decision to invade Iraq in March 2003.
Tenet told the commission he did not recall that part of the conversation. He relayed no such concerns to Powell, who made the germ- warfare charge a centerpiece of his presentation the next day.

At Least 20 US Troops Hurt - and Probably Countless Iraqis Killed - in Abu Ghraib Attack by Insurgents

Story here.

Of course, the only thing of interest to our beloofahed leader is that a great man of God has died (read: great, rich, powerful man who was almost as committed to repressing and harming people for his own purposes as the president himself).

The troops and the Iraqis, on the other hand, can go fuck themselves for all Mr. Bush cares. They're poor and as he's noted, he doesn't understand poor people.

Pharmacists Who Won't Fill Prescriptions

While I join the list of those who give good credit to the governor of Illinois for passing an emergency bill that requires prescriptions to be filled, I'd like to add that it's preposterous we need a bill to do this.

If a pharmacist has ethical qualms about filling "certain types" of prescriptions, let them go collect garbage, get a contractor's job with Halliburton in Iraq or get a position where they get to ask, "Would you like fries with that?"

At one job I had, our health insurance - specially crafted by the institution where I worked - allowed for contraceptive medication, something I took as a medical necessity for abnormal menses. But if I went to fill my prescription on certain days of the week, I got lectured to by a pious, holier than thou, "I got six kids at home and if my wife would let me near her, I'd have six more" pharmacist, and then usually did not get my prescription. On the rare occasion this "professional" did fill it, he would write little notes on the order stating I should get married and I wouldn't need the prescription. Why, yes, let's ALL have 15 kids.

But getting married wasn't the issue for me. Without the prescription, I would bleed so severely during an event that happened every four weeks that I would become dangerously anemic. But this "professional" couldn't see past his own twisted sense. I resolved this by getting a few other female staffers together and going through the chain of command to have this man not allowed to fill female employee prescriptions. I would have been happier to have him fired, but...

(Yet More) Evidence the Drug War is Failing BADLY

From CNN:

The war on drugs in Colombia, the world's main cocaine-producing country and a major supplier of heroin, has cost more than $3 billion in U.S. aid here since 2000. Critics of Washington's effort say the report indicates the Colombia and U.S. governments are losing the war.

"The U.S. government's own data provides stark evidence that the drug war is failing to achieve its most basic objectives," said John Walsh, of the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank critical of U.S. drug policies in Colombia.

The report by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said that despite a record-setting aerial eradication offensive, 281,694 acres of coca remained in Colombia at the end of 2004 -- an increase from the 281,323 acres left over after spraying the year earlier.
And this is just ONE part of the drug war. We've destroyed a whole country because of it (Colombia - they haven't quite finished destroying the US completely yet).

Yes, the Pope is Really Dead

(I suspect he was yesterday about the same time it was originally reported.)

War in Blogville? Important Battles But No Real Combat

Except for posting a note about the National Press Club's um... interesting choice of Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette and Jeff Gannon (aka JD Guckert, aka Cock for Hire) to sit on a panel about blogging, journalism, and ethics and the fact that some bloggers had rallied to let the NPC know this dynamic duo doesn't exactly represent either blogs or journalism, I've stayed mostly quiet on the issue.

On the one hand, I'm more apt to blow this away as "yet another bogus fair and balanced panel". I mean, when was the last time you saw a panel that really represented the full range of expert opinions on a particular subject? Even when I watch something like Democracy Now or Link TV's news where I get opinions and info CNN wouldn't give me if my life depended on it, I lament the fact that everything gets "packaged" before it gets to me. People decide whom to interview and you either end up with a gross imbalance or just people shouting at one another (and let's face it, MSNBC, Faux, and CNN ALL now often present just one person on one side of an issue, and usually, it's not representative of the majority).

But I respect Steve Gilliard and others who are quite upset about this NPC issue because the supposedly serious organization's choice represents two non-serious, clownish extremes that show neither intelligent "liberal" dialogue or conservative (let alone the diverse range between). If you wanted to have both on a panel to discuss say, "blog celebrity" or even "the joys of sodomy", both would be excellent choices. I have never sought celebrity (let alone through a blog) or ass fucking, so I'd be a rotten choice.

Ana Marie probably didn't help her cause much when she posted yesterday saying she was joining the liberal blogger camp and then making snarky comments. But that's what she does. That's the Wonkette blog. On a good day or when I need a laugh, I venture over to Wonkette for a quick snark. But she's not where I go for serious news. And when I need a laugh with some meat to it, there are a ton of other blogs like Skippy, General JC Christian, and TBogg who fill the bill very nicely.

At the same time, however, while Ana Marie certainly accepts media invitations regularly (she's probably the most often televised blogger), I have to say I've never heard her pretend to be other than she is. Let us also not forget that she's decent eye candy. Certainly prettier than Andrew Sullivan, etc.

Were I her and got an invitation to a gig like the National Press Club, I suspect I would not accept until I learned what the subject was and who else was being presented. If I saw no obvious role for me or where I felt I had no special expertise, I'd decline while offering some smart suggestions for better choices. I've done this in the computer field.

The fault lies mostly, however, with the National Press Club. If they wanted to have a panel where Wonkette and Jeff Gannon were appropriate, there were lots of ways to handle it. But they didn't need to call it an "ethics in blogging and journalism" discussion when their panel members don't fit the bill. I can fault Ana Marie for accepting (Jeff's just an idiot and plagiarist) but the blame lies solidly with the National Press Club.

Rate of Malnutrition Among Iraqi Children Has DOUBLED Under Our Control

From Juan Cole by way of Pudentilla at Skippy:

shouldn't it be wrong that the rate of acute malnutrition among children in iraq has doubled in the last year? shouldn't americans be holding vigils and protest rallies? shouldn't tom delay and bill frist hold hearings and passing laws?
Apparently Mrs. Schiavo wasn't the only one being "starved" (and stopping eating is a very normal part of the death process, although not in children).


Again and again with the Pope's condition, we hear how the Pope chose not to return to the hospital or have extra measures taken.

But not one nitwit media type notes the irony here. The Pope was allowed to choose what he wanted. Terri Schiavo and her husband as guardian were NOT supposed to choose what they wanted. In fact, if you bother listening to the Schindlers now, you'll hear them say the right to choose needs to be removed and that they'll fight in both state and federal legislature to do that.

But then, you also won't hear that for all the venom directed at Michael Schiavo for being with his wife when she died (myself, I was so pleased to hear he was, and that he cradled her as she passed) while her brother and sister and parents were not, the media also won't say that Terri's mother had not gone into the room for days before Terri died (her last visit was Easter; Terri died on Thursday). There is some question whether Bob Schindler was there in the final day or so.

Now, I'm not condemning the Schindler parents for not visiting Terri. I've seen some people devoted to a dying person who simply cannot bear to be there at the end. It's very tough.

But what irritates me is that a) the MSM jumps all over the husband without sufficiently noting the circumstances and b) others have choices beyond the Schindlers. And now the Schindlers want to remove choice from the rest of us. I have no doubt they'll find more like Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum, and Bill Frist to support this removal of rights.

You know, the same Congress critters who ruled for deep nursing home cuts and veterans' cuts and for allowing life support to be disconnected when a patient can't pay.

So the Networks Are Really Committed to This?

For a week, all we got was Schiavo death bed coverage. Now? Non-stop Catholic services and Pope death watch. I'm half expecting Bob Schindler to call a press conference in which he announces he's told the Vatican that it would be nice if Terri and the Pope could have their funerals together (actually, he says he's already at work on changing legislation so that no one is allowed to die as his daughter did - earth to the grieving Mr. Schinder: this is the way a large percentage of Americans DO die).

What's a word stronger than obscene?

Just for shits and giggles, I messaged a bunch of my still-Catholic friends and co-workers. Not only are they not humungous fans of the pope of their lifetime, they can't stand the non-stop coverage. So who exactly is watching this?


Now This is Moderately Interesting

From CNN:

After a few close calls, astronomers have finally obtained the first photograph of a planet beyond our solar system, SPACE.com has learned.

The planet is thought to be one to two times as massive as Jupiter. It orbits a star similar to a young version of our sun.

The star, GQ Lupi, has been observed by a team of European astronomers since 1999. They have made three images using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.
But you might want to close your eyes for the part where they talk about a fairly new solar system and a young star and crap like that which suggests Earth isn't the only planet out there and that science knows anything. I mean, a term like Big Bang Theory has three strikes against it already:
    * Scientists came up with it
    * The term includes the word, bang
    * Tom DeLay's sure that other planets are where alien workers come from

Uh... When is Tom DeLay Going to Convene Congress to Keep the Pope Alive?

[Ed. note: Update: While lights burn in the Pope's apartment, the Papal bedroom itself has been dark for sometime. It's been more than five hours since the Vatican has updated the Pope's status and then only to refute the initial reports of his death.]

Where's the outrage? I mean, just yesterday he was talking about moral poverty and threatening judges and Michael Schiavo?

Is the Pope too Catholic for him?

Hey, I'm not leaving my newsfeed tonight until Tom DeLay makes sure that the Pope gets to appeal this and snarks at activist Vatican lawyers. I'm waiting until DeLay and Frist demand that federal marshals take both the Pope and the poor late Mrs. Schiavo into custody so they can lie in the Capitol Rotunda for a GOP photo op. Maybe the Bush twins will sing Amazing Grace while they drunkenly wonder aloud how many thousands of more times they've had sex over the two dead people.

Oh wait... there's Jesse Jackson on TV. I know he'll step in. Oops. Nope. He's in memorial mode. Come on, Jesse. Here's another limp body to jump! Once again, you can provide some color to an otherwise black-and-white situation (and with the Florida group and the Vatican, the faces are still mostly white). [In seriousness, Jackson is mentioning that the Pope did vocalize his opposition to apartheid, something I'd forgotten and for which he deserves credit. But this revisionist history that this Pope grabbed charge of the priest sex scandal and shook the American bishops, trying to get them to protect the children no matter what is sickening. Have people really forgotten how badly everyone handled it?]

Oh goodie.. both CNN and MSNBC have announced this is the only story they'll cover ALL night. They've even got new theme music and that's after they just bought Terri Schiavo theme music. I guess it's safe to watch an old movie (actually, I'll be working on a novel and two reference books but same diff). And yes, making popcorn or ordering in Chinese food - unless you were already planning to do so - is tacky.

The World According to CNN

Really, CNN? Is the second MOST IMPORTANT story today - all day, in fact - that the Schiavo kin remain divided? Hell, I'd argue that the Pope's deteriorating condition (since 84-year-old men are at the end of the life expectancy) shouldn't have been the lead all day.

But the fact that family members are fighting after a death - a phenomenon common to almost every family at one time or another - is your idea of the second most important story?

Man, you're sad.

RIP Frank Perdue

(Hate his chicken prisons but the man was interesting.

And this assumes CNN didn't misreport the chicken man's death precipitously, too.

Has Anyone Heard CNN Address How They Reported the Pope dead at 2:30 PM...

and have now spent the last two hours telling us of the pontiff's worsening condition?

I would actually expect there to be at least a few hour delay in reporting the pope's death. So they may have called it right because advance word got out. Right now, everyone's busy doing their thing and then, at an appropriate time (once all the naughties are hidden or change hands), we'll get the word.

BTW, should I die precipitously, would you make certain somebody burns the beautiful small dark floral fabric box in my office next to the TV set? Burn without looking inside? Thank you.

[Ed note: It's not that the contents of said box are really that noteworthy and sadly, not that tawdy either. However, I feel like everyone should leave the earth leaving something behind that could confuse the hell out of its discoverers. But if I share this request with my partner, you just know he'll have to go look. Thankfully, he doesn't read my blog that often. He's also never read a single book I've written (I'm on #30 this year). That's OK. I don't read his Java code too often either. ::cough::]


Say hello to Coadunate.

Racial Profiling in Vermont? Yes, Says Minister

From WPTZ through MSNBC:

A charge of racial profiling was leveled against South Burlington police by a Champlain Valley minister Wednesday. Rev. Rico Diamond, pastor of New Wine-New Ministries, said police targeted him at a local hotel because he is black and because he carried a large amount of cash.

Diamond said the incident happened last Monday, when South Burlington Police Officer Jack O'Connor knocked on the door of his hotel room on Shelburne Road.

"They explained to me they were in the area because of drug trafficking going on," said Diamond. "I do not think he would have treated me the way he treated me if the pigmentation of my skin was different."

South Burlington police said they were responding to a report of suspicious activity, but refused to elaborate.
You know, my entire life I don't think any authority has ever suspected or behaved like they suspected I was involved with drugs.

Now, it's easy for me to dismiss this as "Well, they wouldn't because I don't do them or distribute them". But work trips have planted me in some strange motels when other places were full and at one time, I used to carry a fair amount of cash around.

Just lucky? Or is it because I'm a white woman and not a man of color?

BTW, While You're Not Paying Attention to the Men Behind the Curtain

Evidence has been floating all around this week that:

    a) just as many felt, the abuse of prisoners and detainees was systematic and orders came from THE TOP (right now, they're pinning it on Rick Sanchez as a perjurer but I think somebody might want to talk to Donny or Dick)

    b) That all the intelligence on both Iraq and terrorist threats was whacked - and then, of course, the Bushies cite the same damned stuff to threaten Iran and Syria, et al

    c) That 2/3rds of the world's resources are already GONE

    d) That the deficits are getting bigger everyday under Bush and Company

    e) The American dollar is plummeting so fast that it's about to become as useful as Monopoly money

    f) That our politicians so righteous about poor Terri Schiavo have plans in place to make sure your plug gets pulled if you need financial help

    g) That they've cut billions more from the veterans while a draft looms closer and they scrambled to raise the "eligibility" age for national guardsman and reservists.
Oh, and that's the start. These are just SOME of the headlines we've been missing in our rabid preoccupation with people who have moved beyond this plane of existence.

Er.. Did CNN Jump the Gun?

Half an hour ago, they (CNN) had a breaking news banner saying the Pope had died. Now, he's in deteriorating condition (and I can tell you as someone whose work occasionally brought them around dead bodies, they deteriorate REAL fast post-mortem, especially in a warm room).

The Pope Has Died


I wish I could muster good words at this time because a man with a great deal of influence and supporters has died. But my words are at best faint because John Paul the person seemed to promise so much while John Paul the Pope delivered so little. That was not to say he was not charismatic, passionate, and his life a portion of the last century's history. Now charisma and passion and history are valuable but not the whole ballgame. It's like fashioning a regular diet of just Jiffy peanut butter, corn, and rice. They can give you the temporary feeling of fullness while bringing you quickly to nutritional harm.

For John Paul II's outspokenness about the war, I appreciated him. I'm afraid that I found most of his tenure, however, to be a disappointment. A man so eager to lead the procession at the Church's year-long Millennium celebration should not have worked so hard to keep the Church's communicants in mental, intellectual, sexual, and educational bondage. The child abuse scandal did not start with John Paul II's reign but he did almost nothing to make it better. The church has still not addressed this properly or made any real, substantial changes that will prevent this from occurring in the future.

I do wish - and yes, I know it will not be fulfilled - that the next pope could somehow bring the Church into the 20th century (yes, I know it's the 21st). A pope who doesn't have to demand blind loyalty to the church while still encouraging people to be the best human beings they can. Perhaps even a pope enlightened enough to understand that what ultimately becomes what is best for the institution of church and its flavor or religion is not usually what's best for the people who support the church and who wish to belong.

A God who gives us a fine mind and the concept of free will DOES NOT NEED OR WANT his creations to be dumb and bound. Or hateful and eager to limit others.

A God who creates us with such a rich range of emotions and capabilities does not want us to have to forsake the unique elements that make us human or to use them against our fellow humans; instead, he (or she) expects us to learn to use and enjoy what he has given us.

May a new Pope somehow cast off the weight of the old structure and fill a crumbling foundation with real mortar and support. This will take a very courageous man (since they don't let us girls play) and unfortunately, our world does not usually let the best and most courageous make it to the top of the various food chains.

Damn, There Goes Sleeping in on Saturday

From the Times Argus:

Several political organizations are planning a rally Saturday to protest Bush administration policies.

Organizers said in a release that the rally will "voice concerns and draw attention to the fiscal impact of Bush administration policies on Vermonters."

The rally begins with a 10 a.m. gathering at Montpelier City Hall, followed by a march to the Statehouse at 10:30, and then an 11 a.m. rally at the Statehouse.

The rally will feature politically active groups such as Bread & Puppet, Billionaires for Bush and Radical Cheerleaders, among others.

OK, Now Blogger's Hiding Posts

So it's time to go... well, I should go to bed, but the Bush years are giving me a nasty case of insomnia (although nightmares in comparison to what I discuss take place during the day sound great by comparison).

Not Much for Signs Usually But

I sort of like this one.

Is the Snake Wire Tightening on Slippery, Serpentine Tom DeLay?

Kos posted a piece yesterday that looks promising if it's true that some of the lesser indictees are singing a new Song of Tom.

Oliver also points us to a Tom DeLay playbook compiled by the DNC. Like Oliver, I'm inclined to keep this snake in plain view. People knew what a scuz Trent Lott was and we made the situation worse by off-loading Trent Lott for Bill (Is the MD for Manic Deviant?) Frist. Keep him around for a bit and then dump his ass in a Texas jail.

"I'm Still Embarrassed by My President" Day

Yes, the second annual "I love my country but I'm still embarrassed by my president" day is upon us. Please celebrate responsibly.

The Gates of Hell Are Open in Iraq

Published in the (UK) Guardian, notably written by Ayatollah Jawad al-Khalisi, secretary general of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress, an alliance of secular and religious organisations covering all religious and ethnic groups in Iraq:

The US-British occupation of Iraq is poisoning all political processes in my country and across the Middle East.

The elections held under the control of the occupying forces in January were neither free nor fair. Instead of being a step towards solving Iraq's problems, they have been used to prolong foreign rule over the Iraqi people.

Only when the occupiers withdraw from the country can Iraq take the first secure steps towards peace and stability. Once a strict timetable for withdrawal is set, Iraq's political forces could freely agree and set in motion a process of genuinely free and fair democratic elections, a permanent constitution, and a programme that meets the demands of all the Iraqi people.

The occupying powers are now following a policy of divide and rule, encouraging sectarian and ethnic divisions and imposing them on all the institutions they have created.
Incidents such as the recent kidnapping of an Italian journalist, released only to be received by a hail of bullets from the US liberators, have fuelled widespread suspicions in Iraq as to who is in fact responsible for many of the terrorist acts - kidnappings, assassinations, and indiscriminate bombing and killing -that are engulfing the whole of Iraq. These have coincided with a cover-up of significant military operations being conducted against the occupation forces across the country.

Not one of the terrorist crimes has been solved and not a single perpetrator put on trial. After each major terrorist crime, the arrest of perpetrators is proclaimed, using names and personalities spread by the US-controlled media. This media effort - which also seeks to bury the news of the destruction of entire towns, brutal night raids, kidnappings, curfews, and the detention and torture of thousands of prisoners - is overseen by the information department of the US forces, who earned the US defence secretary's special thanks during his visit to Iraq.
These crimes are a taste of the hell created by the US project in the Middle East. And now this hell is beginning to be visited on Lebanon, opening the prospect of endless wars of unimaginable consequences.

Happy April Fools' Day

OK, maybe I don't dislike ALL PETA ads.

Not Every Rose Smells Very Sweet, Especially When That Rose is Named Pete

A Las Vegas gossip columnist says Pete Rose slapped him at a restaurant because the writer called Rose a bad tipper in a recent book. Rose vehemently denies the charge, at least until he writes his own tell-all book on the subject.

Megaphone for Fraud

Besides a term used by Chris Hitchens to describe MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, it's also the title of a long and thoughtful post about MSM and their audience by TCF at That Colored Fella's blog.

And While You're Discussing "The Apprentice' at the Watercooler in the Morning...

2/3rds of the world's resources are used up!

Where's Tom DeLay? I'm sure he can write a Mother Earth law and then decry the evil industrialists and "I-don't-mind-disposable-everything-consumers who didn't save Her.

RIP Mitch Hedburg (Correctly Spelled Hedberg)

Not a big fan of most standup comics, but he was rather interesting.

Update: This is his official site.

You Know

There's nothing like writing a long, actually well thought out, post on the tenets of true journalism (as opposed to Katie Couric and Company) only to have Blogger eat it. I was smart enough to paste it into my clipboard first, but Blogger hiccoughed and ate that, too.


Jeff Gannon/Guckert: Still Saying He's a Journalist, Still Plagiarizing

He's missing a chromosome or two.

Indeed, DeLay Goes Off the Deep End

Tom DeLay's stunning speech today, presented by Think Progress:

    Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo’s friends in this time of deep sorrow.
Make no mistake about it: Tom DeLay, our Majority Leader, is now threatening judges, doctors and Terri Schiavo’s husband.

Blogger is Sucking Dead Bunnies Through a Straw Again

Well it is.

Ted Koppel: No Surprises Here

ABC has been trying to unload Koppel and Nightline for some time (remember the disastrous Letterman gaffe?). This is only noteworthy because Nightline is one of the few places where you get more than just talking heads yelling at one another.

While it's not my absolute favorite of "more than a sound byte" shows, I've respected it for a very long time.

Stephanapoulous doesn't have the ability to dissect things the way Koppel does, so I've been sorry to see George on Nightline more and more.

But we've seen just from Donahue's short-time on MSNBC that even when a station gets the ratings, they kill a show that presents more than little bytes.

And No, the Pope Is Not the Same Situation Over Again

An incredibly intelligent being (yes, that's sarcasm) dropped me a note today in e-mail saying (and I paraphrase mostly because the spelling and grammar makes it a puzzle): "You got your wish and killed [Terri Schiavo] - Ed note: gee, you'd think they'd get the name right] - so now I bet you want to kill the pope, too."

Gee, yeah, that's my plan. Reduce world over population by killing off people. I am soooo fucking powerful. ::rolling eyes::

While shades of gray are apt to escape anyone who thinks like this person, let me state the obvious. No, I don't want to "kill" the Pope. I didn't want to "kill" Terri Schiavo either.

After long and frequent court review, Terri's husband was deemed as the person both best able to serve as her guardian as well as telling the truth that his wife had expressed a desire not to be kept alive after some catastrophe took away the rest of her life. I supported her right to choose and a judicial process that - after frequent argument over details - ruled the ending of her life was what Terri would have wanted. Would that we all had the careful judicial review on far more important cases as this one received.

It's never been a matter of me - or almost anyone else - wanting Terri to die. We wanted her rights respected and the direction of her guardian respected. This was FINALLY done after years of interventions and tamperings without legal merit. But I suspect most of us with a similar opinion would have been right there to cheer Terri had she made some miraculous recovery. But we know brains don't do that.

The Pope is a whole other kettle of gold-plated fish. As the head of the church charged with upholding Church doctrine and from his supposedly personal comments otherwise, it's clear that this man would not see a feeding tube as true external life support and that he thinks it is wrong to end life support.

If somebody wants to spend 20, 40, or even 100 years on life support, I don't think anyone has any more right to prevent them from doing so than had the right to insist Terri Schiavo continued to live in her state. For the pope, who will have perpetual care, that's fine. If he lived to age 270, it would be hard for him to wipe out the Vatican City accounts enough to bankrupt the church.

Most people, however, do not have unlimited resources or people who can care for them in a coma or persistent vegetative state years on end. I've helped care for more than a half dozen people in such states and it's grueling even when the family happens to have the money.

Thus, most people do not reach the state of Terri Schiavo where she was still technically alive after more than 15 years in her state. Why? Because there isn't money or people or resources to carry that burden.

The president must recognize this because he signed into law a provision that says health facilities can terminate care - even if the family objects - simply based on whether the patient can pay. No pay, no life support unless you can find another hospital to take you on for free (doesn't happen often). This law has led to the deaths of many people in Terri's shape, or better or worse than Mrs. Schiavo.

Theresa Maria Schindler Shiavo, May you Rest in Peace


You're not here now - and you haven't been for a very long time (in fact, before most discovered there even was an Internet - but there are a few things I need to say.

First, I'm so very sorry so many decided to turn your unconscious body into a platform for their own agenda. Most of us in America, however, just wanted you to go peacefully and with as much dignity as possible. We hated seeing your hospice bed become a stage and a circus. They say you were a very private person; this should not have happened.

I'm so sorry, too, that so many of those "ministers" attending you spouted far more political self-interest than God's love.

But Terri, I don't simply feel sorry for you. Clearly, many people loved you in your life. While I know your family was unhappy with some of what your husband - the man you chose "til death do you part" - decided, you have someone standing beside you who really did stay there until the end. Much has been said villifying your Michael for various things, but I say you're awfully fortunte. He could have left a long time before and saved himself an enormous amount of additional heartache beyond losing who you had been to him. I believe him when he says this was a promise he made to you that he felt obligated to fulfill.

And even if I and others were rather put off by some of what your birth family did in the process, we know they stood by you, too. How very few people are "fortunate" enough to have so many want to be with them that it erupts in fights (fights are common - the depth of the love is not so common).

I'm also so glad you were in a good hospice for your final days. The difference between a hospital and a hospice is night-and-day. While some people conspired to make a hospice sound like a concentration camp, a hospice is just the opposite: it tries to free the dying from all other concerns except their final time on this planet. A hospice understands the importance of the family and the whole person (no longer a patient) and of not trying to present a "one-size-fits-all" package to the dying.

Terri, I don't presume to know you from articles in the press, court documents, and much less from the circus on television. And I'm not entirely certain what waits us beyond this plane. But if there's another life, I hope it brings you all the joy and freedom and happiness that your illness at age 26 robbed from you here. If there "is" an ability to look down upon the mortal earth, forgive those who did things you might not have liked. The people closest to you made errors out of love; strangers like Tom DeLay did theirs to save their own ass. Forgive and then don't look back.

May God bless you and keep you and protect you from the fighting that mere humans could not.

Pharmacist, Do Thy Job

Regarding the rising numbers of pharmacists and doctors who feel they cannot fill requests for birth control or morning-after pills, Bitch PhD (and a few billion others of us around the world), say:

If I want to be preached at, I'll go to church. If I'm in a pharmacy, what I want is my prescription filled.

'Nuff said.

The Party of Values Strikes Again

From the Centre Daily :

A state lawmaker already awaiting trial for alleged ethics violations was charged Wednesday with making up a story that he had received a suspicious white powder in the mail and with retaliating against and harassing constituents who questioned his political finances.

Rep. Jeffrey E. Habay, 38, a Republican lawmaker from Allegheny County elected to a sixth term in November, faces 20 new counts as a result of the latest complaint, including a felony charge of possessing or using a facsimile weapon of mass destruction.

Habay claimed he found a suspicious white powder inside a letter he got last May from George Radich, a constituent who along with four others had asked for a court audit of Habay's political action committee.

Though the complaint did not detail the source of the powder, Habay was charged with falsely claiming it was inside the envelope when it was delivered to his house. Postal officials had determined it was harmless and noted that Radich did nothing to hide the source of the mailing - he paid for it with a credit card.

"The day that the postal inspectors came here, they were serious," Radich said Wednesday. "I'll tell you, I was scared because you're being accused by a powerful Harrisburg politician."

The State Ethics Commission ordered Habay last year to pay nearly $13,000 in restitution after finding that he had used legislative staffers to campaign on state time from 1997 to 2002. The state attorney general followed up with felony charges of theft of service and conflict of interest.

The new charges, including those of conflict of interest and theft of services, cover the period of January through August 2004.

Homophobia is Not Limited to Christianity

From The Times:

Leaders of three faiths (Christians, Muslims and Jews) are making a rare show of unity to try to stop a WorldPride festival and parade in Jerusalem.

And Yet Another Blog I'm Starting to Love

It's Pharyngula and it's good, including the comments.

"Living Will is the Best Revenge"

Copied (in part) from Robert Friedman's St Petersburg Times column:

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:
    * In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.
    * I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.
    * I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.
    * I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.
    * I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.
    * I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.
    * I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.
    * I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.
    * I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.
    * I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

More Slow Death and in Far Greater Numbers

Strios highlights a point being completely hidden away in the news right now pegging Darfur deaths "as low" as 330,000 (on 9-11, we lost less than 1% of that number and we've changed the world because of it) or 420,000 or 660,000. It' s NOT good.

A Better Poll

Ayn Clouter asks the question (to paraphrase): Who should the party of virtue choose to run in 2008 against She who must not be named (don't look at me - I'm not naming her)?

So far Condie the (not so) Secret Spouse, Rudy the Unready (but plentifully whored) and Jeb the Converted are leading contenders. Surf over and cast your vote.

Right May Not Be as United as Some Think

Read this from EJ Dionne.


In the How Could Anyone Be Mean to Ann Coulter" Department

"I've come to find I like liberals a lot more," Coulter said early in her speech. "They're kind of cute when they're cold, shivering and afraid."

Yeah, she's a veritable Florence Fucking Nightengale.

Poor Annie got heckled, got mad until the hecklers were tossed out, then threatened to walk out mid-way through her $25K speaking engagement unless people started being nicer to her. What a thin skin she's got for someone who suggested yesterday we should the military to go in and remove Terri Schaivo from her bed and shoot to kill anyone like the husband or the judges or the doctors who got in the way.

Now, I heard a rumor that Ann and Rush Limbaugh dated a few times. I wonder which one pretended to be the guy.

Conservative Judge Castigates Bush and Congress for Court Tinkering

From Knight Ridder through Raw Story:

WASHINGTON - The latest rejection of the Terri Schiavo case by a federal court was accompanied by a stinging rebuke of Congress and President Bush from a seemingly unlikely source: Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., one of the most conservative jurists on the federal bench.

Birch authored opinions upholding Alabama's right to ban the sale of sex toys and Florida's ability to prohibit adoptions by gay couples. Both rulings drew the ire of liberal activists and the elation of traditional and social conservatives.

Yet, in Wednesday's 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to deny a rehearing to Schiavo's parents, Birch went out of his way to castigate Bush and congressional Republicans for acting "in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for governance of a free people - our Constitution."

Birch said he couldn't countenance Congress' attempt to "rob" federal courts of the discretion they're given in the Constitution. Noting that it had become popular among "some members of society, including some members of Congress," to denounce "activist judges," or those who substitute their personal opinions for constitutional imperatives, Birch said lawmakers embarked on their own form of unconstitutional activism.

"This is a judge who, through a political or policy lens, falls pretty squarely in the Scalia/Thomas camp," said law professor and constitutional expert David Garrow, referring to the two most conservative Supreme Court justices. "I think it's a sad commentary that there wasn't a voice like his present in the Congress, because he's saying what a Republican constitutional conservative should be saying."

And to the Supreme Court Again

[Ed note: Update. The Miami Herald offers a fascinating portrait of Michael Schiavo's lawyer who, although probably better qualified to speak of God or the Bible than Randall Terry and most of the ministers involved in the case (notice they're exclusively male?), believes that people have a right to make choices in end-of-life matters. And he knows the hospice program.

Will this be their fourth or fifth denial on Schiavo? Of course, they could go against all legal precedent because Noni Scalia decides public approval will ride him triumphantly into the chief justice's spot.

Media says this has to be the last appeal. But they've said that before. Bush/Congress gave them another chance in federal court. This is chance 6 or 7 just on this whirl (Terri's been without a tube as long as six days before they found intervenors before? Can't recall.

For all Larry Klayman's posturing that everyone in the Florida legislature was going to move heaven and earth to do "God's work" to make Terri live so "she can help the cause", they ended business today without bringing the matter up.

As much as I think the Schindlers and their handlers are pursuing this well past the point of cruelty, absurdity and questionable gain, notice that the legislators who were all but wooing them and trying to demand a session of Congress be convened right in her hospice room (man, these bitches are crazy) have now gone off into the woodwork again. They used the Schiavo case for what they needed and now, with public opinion against them, we've seen how loyal they are. If public opinion changed overnight, they'd make Terri an honorary member of Congress (at least as capable of voting as Strom Thurmond that last decade or two). The closest we've heard to support in a week now is Tom DeLay calling himself as much of a victim of mean people as Terri.

Tom's quite a comedian.

An Odd But Technically Feasible Request

Chase Me Ladies is soliciting the following:

URGENT! Please send 300 kilos of white mice. No time to explain.
I'm sure this has nothing to do with the link to "Non-kinky sex is a waste of time" on the same site, directly below the mousie request.

No, really. I do not want to ponder a world where 300 kilos of mice have to do with sex. Kinky or otherwise. And I won't even bore you with how old I was before I found out kinky sex wasn't referring to a bad situation that makes a muscle cramp up. No, really. Not just kinky muscles but like calves and arms, and stuff (or maybe others don't get cramps having sex - I could be doing it wrong).

But I'll give you a hint. I was probably age 25 when I learned what the word "fuck" meant. I managed never to curse (hardly at all) until I was deeply into my twenties. Actually, I think it was a friend who reads and posts here (hello, Mr. Borden) who explained it. [Unfortunately, I then went the other way for a time when I was too salty most of the time but I have reformed.]

OK, now all of this is - of course - embarrassing. But think how I feel? My only extenuating circumstance I'd like to interject at this point is that I recently had to explain to a 70+ woman from uh.. a.... very metropolitan place that oral sex did not only mean kissing. That one I learned in my later twenties, almost half a century before this older woman learned. I'm sure that were her husband alive, she might thwap him silly.

Usually, I just consult some women friends to ask them what risque things mean. ::waving to Hally/Barb, Jane, Terri, and Shar:: They uh... do more research.

Anyway, let's get back to this other Web site's depravity errr.... request for mice. Visit them for details.

Europeans Do Not See Iran as Nuclear Threat

I wonder if they believe we are. Suspect so.

I know, I know. Europe is old Europe and not new and improved Coke2 Europe, which isn't actually Europe.

Jesse Jackson: BOTH of Them

Does anyone find a certain strange irony in the fact that while Jesse Jackson the elder was calling us "hard hearted" for willing to "starve" Terri Schiavo, his son was undergoing taxpayer-funded treatment to reduce his very portly body?

Condi: Helping Us Be Hated in Whole New Ways


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has alarmed many reformist Arabs with comments suggesting a new U.S. approach that promotes rapid political change without regard for internal stability.

Rice said in an interview with the Washington Post last week the Middle East status quo was not stable and she doubted it would be stable soon. Washington would speak out for "freedom" without offering a model or knowing what the outcome would be.

"This a very dangerous scheme. Anarchy will be out of control," said Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University and an advocate of gradual change.

A liberal Arab diplomat, who asked not to be named, said: "They seem to be supporting chaos and instability as a pretext for bringing democracy. But people would rather live under undemocratic rule than in the chaotic atmosphere of Iraq, for example, which the Americans tout as a model."

Let's Pull the Plug (the Camera Plug)

Watching all the news networks cut live last night to a very staged and dramatic appeal by Mary Schindler that was nothing more than more airing dirty laundry in public (and bringing the name of the other woman in Michael Schiavo's life into the public eye which probably serves little good except perhaps to aim more death threats at this woman, to boot) really should tell every sane person that it's time to pull the (camera) plugs.

On the one hand, we have people screeching down the sage words of doctors who KNOW this case, know that the process Terri is going through is not unusual and not as grizzly as its made to sound, and are getting really tired of having to debate medicine with the likes of Joe ("There's a dead woman staffer in my office soup") Scarbrough and men hell bent on removing our right to choose the conditions of our continued residency on this earth. But on the other - and it doesn't get better - is the circus-like atmosphere around the hospice. If you saw Anderson Cooper touring the site yesterday or today, you see see a strange mix of quacks, charlatans, people there to promote their Christian rock music, or sell t-shirts, and every religious type who has delusions of his (or her) own TV flock sending them huge cash donations and blind ego-boostering faith.

Doesn't the idea of strangers - and the media has recounted many tales of people who never met Terri before traipsing in and out of her room either smuggled in by the Schindlers or who force their way in with food and beverage - all trooping in to see you on your deathbed strike you as more than simply distasteful?

I'm not sure whether news networks are seeing any real ratings jump by concentrating on only two topics: Michael Jackson and Terri Schiavo. But I can say that if we purposely switch programming whenever they present more Cirque de Schiavo, we may send a message.

In fact, I go through a real ethical debate with myself every time I post about this case. It's a non-case (the same sad personal stories so many of us experience) except in what's being forced upon us by a small group of people who want to make it one more wrecking ball into the crumbling walls of individual rights. I try to limit my posts to specific aspects and then to shed light (hopefully) on how the rules are being written and abused to fit specific agendas. Tom DeLay responds to a week of incredible criticism for his lack of ethics by seizing on the Schiavo case as a distraction, then tries to whip up his base of supporters by saying that like poor Terri Schiavo, he is just a victim of the left.

Of course I'm not unaffected by the obvious pain the family (family being the Schindlers and the Schiavos) is experiencing - and not just because it's shoved at me by the media in all directions. But that's just it: it's a personal case where the courts have upheld the decisions in the many actions brought unsuccessfully by the Schindler family. If you read the words of the much-villified Judge Greer in the most recent actions, you get some feeling of how the court came to their rulings.

So perhaps the most merciful thing we can do is to stop breaking into real news - or hell, even interviews with Whacko Jacko - to report each new tear by the Schindler family. They have reason to be sad (although I think their level of both obfuscation and outright lies is above what might be deemed acceptable even in their desperation) and to hurt. Their daughter's body is dying. No one wants that to happen. But it's the same stuff we all experience outside of the cameras.

There is no reason to document just one such case ad nauseum, let alone have the presentation so one-sided (both because Michael Schiavo is focusing on his wife and the situation and not playing to the press and because the media seems to have invested itself in booking 20 fanatics for every sane voice).

Be merciful, CNN, MSNBC and others: pull the Schindler camera plug. They need to accept and to grieve away from the cameras. And we've got much more critical issues - and even more global aspects of this case that what Bob and Mary Schindler want - to cover. And no, that's NOT more coverage of Michael Jackson (please).

Schiavo, Smoke, and Mirrors

Mark Spangler at Crash Point raises a point that John, myself, and others here have made: that we're being treated to the Cirque de Schiavo largely to distract us from other more important things.

Falwell Removed from Ventilator

They say it's because he's doing better. As a matter of fact, for someone on a ventilator in the first place (that usually takes a bit of a catastrophe), you'd think he was still busy telling God what to do.

The latter is unique in that he was brought in Monday night after "5-7 minutes of unconsciousness" and unable to breathe.

Another interesting note is that Falwell's people keep saying he has pneumonia, and the doctors say he doesn't. Doctors say congestive heart failure and the Falwell people say "robust health" and that he was talking while on the ventilator (physically impossible I believe with the ventilator actually connected).

Most interesting still is the comment on CNN that "he did not appear to suffer any neurological damage". Considering what comes out of Jerry Falwell's mouth on a regular basis, how the [bleep] could you tell? ::cough::

Let's face it: if he's getting a reprieve, it's because God doesn't want to deal with him, almost proof that God is a more intelligent being than many humans. As I say, God's got His (or Her) work cut out for him/her when Falwell, Robertson and yes, our Bush, Rove, and Cheney die. But I don't think it's because they're on the fast track for the pearly gates.

In the "Wonder When Last Time He Uttered the Words 'Morally Straight'" Department

Also from CNN: A former top official of the Boy Scouts of America pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of receiving and distributing child pornography, including pictures of boys younger than 12.

Douglas S. Smith Jr., 61, entered the plea before a federal judge in Fort Worth, acknowledging he "knowingly received or distributed an image of child pornography."

Smith didn't speak during the 45-minute hearing, other than an occasional "yes, sir" or "no, sir" when the judge asked him questions.

[Ed. note: for some reason, the U.S. attorney was quick to note there was no evidence that Mr. Smith had actually molested children" and also described him as contrite and "eager to put this behind him". Strange, in the Justice Department of John Ashcroft (and I'm not sure it will change under Gonzalez), I don't recall them one other time having one of their attorneys try to soften the public's perception of the offender. Politically cautious in a way that speaks more of concern for Scouts and important leaders than of the children involved? Uh.. that's for you to decide.]

In the But I Don't Hear Any Fat Ladies Singing" Department

From CNN: A federal appeals court has again denied a bid for a rehearing in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed March 18. The petition said federal judges who rejected previous efforts to have the feeding tube reinserted violated a Supreme Court precedent requiring them to consider the full record of the case, not just procedural history from the state court.

Vermont Blogs: Fixed Links

Blogger (I think it's Blogger: it could be me) managed to eat three links in this post for other progressive Vermont blogs and turn them back into a link to me. I fixed this twice yesterday but the changes never took.

However, for those feeling thwarted, the repairs seemed to take now.

Schiavo Appeal

I really expected we would see a court jump to intervene in the Schiavo case and order her feeding tube reinserted even though all the recent appeals - all overturned - say they raise "new" issues and instead only present specious claims (the lawyer who says Terri spoke to her and said "I want to live", allegations that keeping the feeding tube out will increase Terri's length of sentence in Purgatory [now there's an ususual argument in a 21st century court], and that a doctor who has not examined her records and who is not a specialist in the field thinks she can be cured). In fact, I suspect if their actual appeal (the current motion granted the right to ASK for yet another appeal rather than a real stay itself) is rejected, the next appeal request will read, "Because Terri's civil rights will be violated if we can't sell tickets to the bedside." That's how loony some of the court documents have become. Read them yourself.

But this is just my long way of saying that I'm pleased the court has not - at least, not yet - intervened more than this. But I also don't think this is over. Even when she dies, we face a battle in this country to ensure that Americans cannot decide their own method of care, both from the Bushies who put the law in to allow hospitals to disconnect based on inability to pay and from the hardly-ever-righters who insist that Tom DeLay knows best for everyone.

For Terri the person, however, I just hope the end comes quickly. The family says the fact that she's still alive indicates "she's in there and wants to live." Sadly, though, probably not. Medical studies suggest that when the brain is severely damaged and no longer able to have an effect on the body (hope, determination, etc.), our bodies may hang on longer because we don't face the emotional back-and-forth of battling against pain vs. battling to live. The body as an organism tries to fight.

Mary Cheney's Memoir: Or How Being a Closet Gay in the World of Bush Means Big Bucks

Mary Cheney is unusually gifted at turning what is adversity for some into great advantage for herself. While other gays receive invectives, threats, and denial of civil rights, Mary (not to be consumed with J Edgar Hoover's dress-wearing alter ego) rides the throne of intolerance toward homosexuals righteoudly toward wealth and notoriety.

Imagine another gay family besides Mary's being on the big platform for Inauguration Day, complete with her female life partner and (I believe, not sure I recall correctly) their children together. Strange on a day when gay intolerance helped win her father and his pal re-election.

But Mary's also gotten various sweetheart government contracts and little jobs ("I'm a Cheney, now pay me!") and now Simon and Schuster is paying her a $500K advance to write her memoirs. She's somewhere in her early 30s but she's going to write her memoirs. And do you now how good it will be? Well, Mary Matalin (James' Carville's other ass is heading the publisher's "conservative" division and the only thing Mary Matalin likes better than being soused is being mean-spirited to everyone but her owners.

Now, I daresay Mary Cheney only got this offer because she's a gay woman. Name one other fact about her. You can't. But of course, the book will not focus on that. Because Mary's done very well for herself riding that fence to glory for no other accomplishment than being what she is.

Damn. Most of us can't routinely play both sides against one another without destruction. But if you're Mary Cheney, you get all the privileges and wealth and none of the nasty discrimination.

As a straight woman and an American (let alone a writer who works very hard and doesn't get that kind of deal, of course), I'm sickened by this. I can only imagine how some gays must feel.

So Are We the Public Rove's Leather Slave

Oh, the imagery alone hurts. From Rude Pundit:

Karl Rove is a frustrated fat man; no matter how much he works, he can't train his male leather slave to take a fisting. Oh, he's tried, Lord, how he's tried to get that sphincter loose enough. He's used butt plugs, anal beads, ben-wah balls, strap-ons, dildos smoothed and cock-shaped, ketchup bottles, everything he can thing of, but for some reason, for some anatomical quirk, perhaps, Rove just can't manage to get his whole hamhock hand into his leather slave's anus.

Rove keeps his leather slave chained in the basement of the White House, right next to James Buchanan's hand-crank vibrator and Richard Nixon's Saigon whore blow-up doll (with real sucking action). Rove has been working on the fisting since the second inauguration -- it's the one thing his leather slave hasn't done, having gladly taken the tax cut golden showers, the Patriot Act scat treatment, not even yelling the safe word, "Impeach," when Rove branded him with the word "Iraq." But this, this one thing, a fisting, that would bring Master Rove so much pleasure, the leather slave has denied Rove.

Meanwhile, George Bush, ostensibly Rove's boss, was continuing on his all-American odyssey of trying to convince the electorate that he knew best about Social Security.
You know, I can't say I'm well versed on fisting or leather slaves (egads), but this definitely sounds like Rove and like the American public during Bush's tenure. And I can't say I much like the idea of being a "bottom" to Bush and Rove.

Why Does Laura Bush Hate Democracy?

She kept telling a reporter today that the federal government must always intervene in cases like Schiavo's (way down in the article).

This is sadly funny considering Laura's off on a whole five-hour junket to Afghanistan to "promote women's education and independence" in a place where the Taliban and Morality police reign supreme again, where women are again customarily kept out of the public eye and school rooms, and where the Bushies failed to have any change in Afghan's government that allowed women rights as people equal to men.

Five whole hours? Guess she's got to get back to plan a 17-course dinner at the White House tonight.

Glad to see that polls universally say her trip means nothing or less than nothing.

Oh Those Nasty Medical/Corporate Lawsuits

I pointed out the other night that Tom DeLay filed a lawsuit (and won a settlement) against a manufacturer of a product in use/misuse by Tom DeLay's dad before the man suffered critical injury and Tom DeLay's family decided to remove Tom's dad from life support. But credit for this disclosure comes from folks posting at DailyKos.

Well, it turns out Tom's not the only "we gotta stop these lawsuits" type who is fine with torts so long as they're the ones filing them. Josh Marshall points us to this 1999 story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A Virginia jury last night awarded the wife of Sen. Rick Santorum $350,000 in damages after she charged in a lawsuit that a Virginia chiropracter's negligence caused her permanent back pain.

Deliberating more then six hours after a four-day trial in which Santorum, R-Pa., testified, the Fairfax County Circuit Court jury unanimously ruled for Karen Santorum. She had sought $500,000 against Dr. David Dolberg of Virginia, because of pain from his 1996 treatment of her.

"Mrs. Santorum has been vindicated," said her Pittsburgh attorney Heather Heidelbaugh. "She was injured permanently through the actions of a chiropractor who acted negligently."
Hmmm.. she sued for more than the $250K DeLay and Santorum think is "still too high" but want to set as a maximum award. Mrs. Santorum's back has been fine though while producing several more little Santorums.

One would almost think Mrs. Santorum would seek medical, and not chiropractic, help with what she perceived as a serious back injury. While a chiropractor may be a fine individual to treat symptoms after a full workup and diagnosis, the latter comes from a medical professional as I'd expect a Congress critter's wife to know.

Bechtel: Nice to Have Friends in High Places

A few years ago, Rumsfeld was working for them. Now, they have their best profits ever (and yes, they get Iraq contracts). ::cough::

Uh, What?

I don't think this is necessarily good.

And Here We Go Again

Update: this is a hearing (which doesn't seem warranted under law considering how many times the same request has been denied) to ask a court to review the review of whether to order an injunction that would reattach her feeding tube.

A Federal Appeals Court has granted the Schindlers' request to ask yet again for a re-hearing. This is the first stumble which I'm afraid will lead to more.

If she doesn't die today, I suspect we're about to subject her to even more misery. Because this won't be over. Are we really going to draft and redraft and redraft legislation for one case when lots of people die as she's doing in this country everyday? If she doesn't die during this session, it's very likely - even if the completely toss out the husband's legal rights here - she will die this way later.

Acrimony Dominates Iraq General Assembly

Story here.

Since Mr. Bush tells us this is nothing, I think we better listen to what's going on. We've seen what happens when he pretends to ignore an issue.


Christian Soldier, Indeed

Billmon has a profile on one of the Schiavo protestors who happens to be just back from interrogating prisoners who tells us sadism is fun.

Help. These people get scarier with each passing moment.

We're Still Being Moon-ed, You know - He Wants Democracy to End, Godship to Begin

Atrios points us to the Where is... Sun Myung Moon? blog that tells us:

The Washington Times owner's most recent of many consistent entreaties to toss democracy on the scrap-heap along with Communism:
    The United States is proud of its democratic system, which carries the idea of brotherhood. She has to adopt the ideas of Parents and Godism. We have to discard relationships that resulted from the Fall.

    It is time to have a new organization in a new era; then we can start with a strong mind. All of us have to have positive, active minds. As was done in Korea, you have to provide Divine Principle education to senators, congressmen, high national officials and those on the local level.
    1. Ever since the Garden of Eden, mankind has pursued the wrong relationships and forms of government.
    2. Human beings are loyal to brothers. Instead, they should be bowing down to the True Parents.
    3. The result of their sinful ways is democracy.
    4. But the proper and ultimate relationship, Moon says, is sworn obedience to parents. (He calls himself the True Father.)
    5. The U.S., therefore, must replace democracy with "Godism."
    6. Moon urges his followers to continue laying the groundwork for his policy ideas by winning access to the U.S. Congress.
Don't just laugh. Congress, including many GOP senators and House Reps, hang on this man's every word. Not because they like him, of course, but because he's very rich and will patronize them (in the money sense of the term).

Dismissing him as a dangerous flake (although he's that, too) is a mistake considering the power he wields in Washington with his clout, his money, and ownership of United Press International and The Washington Times which, as you'll recall, is what the Bushies call the "real" newpaper of record.

But People with Aneurysms Aren't Named Schiavo

From CNN:

Though Congress rushed to intervene in the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman, those lobbying on life-and-death medical issues that affect thousands or even millions of people often find themselves struggling to get lawmakers' attention.

It often comes down to the willingness of the government and lawmakers to spend money, say those who must make the pitch to Congress and federal agencies.

The National Aneurysm Alliance has been pressing Congress for months to approve federal funding to screen Medicare patients for deadly abdominal aortic aneurysms, but so far has come up empty on money for the roughly $80 to $100 tests. Contrasting that fight with congressional leaders' weekend rush earlier this month to try to get Terri Schiavo's feeding tube restored, the alliance's leader can't hide his frustration.

Secret Service IDing and Watching People Based on T-Shirts and Bumper Stickers

Read this. It's appalling.

Quintessential MaxSpeak

From Max himself:

Under socialism, the government takes into its hands the means of production, assuming ownership of capital assets. This control has within it a great capacity for mischief, in the likelihood of distorting the disposition of the Nation's productive assets to diseconomical ends.

Under the George W. Bush Excellent Privatization Plan for Social Security, the Government borrows money and purchases capital assets on your behalf, selecting how much of each asset you will buy, dictating the process whereby your portfolio is transformed from equities to bonds to an annuity, charging you a stiff interest cost for the purchase, gutting what remains of your public pension, and guaranteeing you a feeding tube until the Lord calls you home. This is far superior to socialism, since you will be unconscious during the entire process.
Max always gets my award for making economics uh... sexy. That's the word.

I Smell Agenda

From The Times:

The television and radio industries are about to come under renewed attack over sex, violence and profanity in their programming, both in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission.

Leading lawmakers and the new leader of the F.C.C. have proposed a broad expansion of indecency rules, which were significantly toughened just last year. They are also looking for significant increases in the size of fines and new procedures that could jeopardize the licenses of stations that repeatedly violate the rules.

Some senior lawmakers, including Senator Ted Stevens, the Alaskan Republican who is the leader of the Commerce Committee, as well as Kevin J. Martin, the new chairman of the commission, have suggested it may be time to extend the indecency and profanity rules to cable and satellite television providers, which now account for viewership in 85 percent of the nation's homes. And organizations opposing what they consider indecent programming have joined forces with consumer groups that have been trying to tighten regulation over the cable industry and force it to offer consumers less expensive packages of fewer stations, known as à la carte services.

Some of the anti-indecency groups see à la carte services as a way of helping consumers block out programming they consider indecent. "We are at a rare moment when there seems to be bipartisan energy on both sides of the political aisle and both sides of the ideological divide," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, a leading advocacy organization that officials say has been responsible for the vast majority of complaints against the broadcasters.
Missing here is the fact that Bozelle's group accounts for 99% of ALL the complaints to the FCC. That's 99 out of every 100 complaints from one small sect.

Uh, Really, I Did More Than Blog Today

For example, I also diced into my index finger down to bone when I heard all the news networks cut live to a statement airing a one-line personal family matter from Mary Schindler tonight. Do not slice a tomato while listening to news from Florida is my new motto!

But now I really should go take care of additional work. However, I usually blog extra just before I get hit by a tsunami of work. So be forewarned.

What This Sister Said

From Shakespeare's Sister:

Paul Krugman has an excellent column in the NY Times today about the dangers of letting the religious right continue to strengthen their stranglehold on the government unfettered. Connecting the dots between Congress’ intervention in the Schaivo case, “conscience legislation” (i.e. pharmacists legally able to refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs), and the encroachment of religion into the public educational system, he isn’t really saying anything that one hasn’t been able to find on blogs such as this one for quite some time, but it’s a good sign (I think, I hope) that we’re starting to see from people in positions like Krugman’s a determination to quash this radical uprising before it gets completely out of control.

The notion Krugman poses, that we’re collectively wary to address the threat to our nation’s future posed by the extremists within our own borders, goes back to what I wrote earlier in the month about the need for selective intolerance. Cloaked in the protective chain mail of their religion, Christian fundamentalists, and more importantly their political ideas and objectives, have become unassailable.

Any criticism of the increasingly voracious appetite of the religious right for power within and over the government is denounced as religious intolerance, irrespective of the source of the criticism; even other Christians, moderates and liberals alike, are held in contempt by their conservative counterparts, dismissed and vilified as “false” Christians—a denouncement the media is strangely willing to embrace as it fans the flames of this culture war, conjuring elaborate stories of Christmas-haters out of the thinnest of air, and inevitably juxtaposing the godly conservative Christians and the heartless, bah humbug secularists. If one only existed in the false reality of television news, one would never know there were plenty of Christians who respect the public sphere, and the non-Christians with whom they share it. So it becomes a Christian versus non-Christian (or, if you’re watching Fox, anti-Christian) argument, a specious and likely deliberate misconstruing of reality; two sides indeed exist, but they are comprised of those who have respect for the public sphere and everyone who travels in it, and those who have no respect for anything but satiating their ravenous hunger for control.
No Legitimacy No Surrender indeed.

If You're a Freelance Writer, Check This Out

Here gives the story and here gives you information about your rights.

Would that I only got back a fraction of the work stolen over the past decade from various sources. But I doubt I'll even look into this. These are always just token efforts and the abuse continues.

Ack, Now Larry Klayman, Clinton Nut Squad Flea, is in Schiavo

He's promising that Florida will turn on a pin and save Schiavo. Remember this nut case from Judicial Watch?

"We not only want Terri Schiavo to live, we think she'll be very helpful for getting this done." That's what he said just now on Aaron Brown, and said these rights need to be taken away from family members who would respect "don't do extreme measures" orders.

I tell you, these people will do anything and everything to make their odd sense of morality and "culture of life" get rammed down everyone's throat faster than a feeding tube.

Laura Does Kabul

From AP:

Laura Bush says she has been waiting a long time to tell the women of Afghanistan that American women stand with them.
Yes. It's true. With another few years of the Bush Administration, women will also fear leaving their homes and when they do venture out, will be made to cover themselves from head to toe lest the Morality Police descend, beat them, and stone them to death.

Myself, I'd Prescribe Salt Petre for Frist

From Political Wire:

I guess people took this seriously.

From Roll Call: "The Senate’s top doctor, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), has many new and unwanted patients. Over the past several days, they’ve been bombarding Frist’s office with e-mails, describing their ailments, some of them pretty gnarly, and begging for a diagnosis."

Frist’s communications director dismissed the emailers "as a bunch of lefty goofballs who can’t count on the big-name doctor in their own party."

Good Night, Johnnie Cochran

Thanks for the "little guys" you defended.

If You Have a Family Fight, Please Call the Networks

They'll apparently put you RIGHT on television like they did with the Schindlers tonight. This way you can try to embarrass and humiliate the other person in your family to giving into whatever you want, even if you're all but selling tickets to the circus around your dying loved one's bed.

No. I'm frankly pretty relieved Terri isn't in the custody of her parents.

And if you're listening to MSNBC tonight, we're heard right wingnuts tell us that laws will be enacted to make sure every spouse in this country must pass a morality test and that living wills will be rendered invalid.

But you also heard Bush's spokesperson tell us that Mr. Bush acted on the Schiavo case the same way he's voted before: always for life. Even if you invalidate the 100+ inmates who died under his governorship, he was the one to sign into a state and federal law medical facilities getting the right to kill your life support if you can't pay. No cognitive dissonance there.

In the "Thank You and Screw You!" Department

If you've sent money to the Schindlers to support them in their effort to save Terri Schiavo, they have a special thank you coming your way. To raise more money, they're selling your information to a direct marketing company.

From The Times:

The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.

"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father. "These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"

Privacy experts said the sale of the list was legal and even predictable, if ghoulish.
So thank you and fuck you, folks! Enjoy the mailings of photos of catastrophic fetuses. They'll go lovely with the coffee and Sara Lee.

Thanks to Majikthise for the link.

In the "Damn, Somebody Already Registered This Domain" Department

Fucked Company

I don’t own a single fucking domain with any variation of the word fuck in it. And I have no fucking traffic on some of them to prove it! ::cough:: If I could only work the word “fuck” into a serious literary project. I’ll work on it.

[ed note: Hmmm. FuckingTomDeLay.com is free but damn, it would turn me off sex and I don't want that.]

Green is the Color of Progress

I mentioned that The Carpet Bagger Report – a blog getting a fair amount of attention in the blogosphere – is based in Vermont. But it also turns out that there are a few more of us blogivores identified in the soup bowl as “progressives” reigning from the state where maple sugar counts as a vegetable. I mentioned Cathy Resmer’s 802Online a few weeks back.

Thanks to the good folks at The American Street, let me also say hello to Pas Au-Dela and Dohiyi Mir.

BTW, I love the profile for the latter: “An independent, non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, not entirely insufferable, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, bicycling, and other esoterica.”

For $100, You Get a Letter from Terri's Dad and a Picture of Her in Her Bed

That’s what Dan Abrams is reporting on MSNBC now, this being offered by one of the theocratic political organizations supposedly soliciting money on behalf of both the family and the group.

Again, there may be a reason why so many courts decided Terri’s parents were not the best guardians for her interest.

If you don’t want the extreme wingtip groups to climb on your unconscious body to make you into another Cirque de Schiavo, tell your legislators hands off. And while you’re at it, throw ripe fruit at Jesse Jackson. Wow, he’s going to save Michael Jackson’s reputation and the ruined cortex of a young woman who should not be exploited all in one week. Waited kind of long in the process to get involved, didn’t he? – and cry me a river he wasn’t allowed in the hospice room.

Oil for Food Scandal Sleight of Hand

While wingnuts scream ever louder for UN head Kofi Annan to resign, I keep thinking how this scandal sadly pales in comparison to virtually every horror the Bushies put forth.

Give me Kofi over Dick, Donny, and DumDum any day. And I’d rather just force Norm Coleman (Mr. Plastic Surgery and Grecian Formula) to resign. He’s an embarrassment.

This, however, is not to say that I’m all all happy about the Oil-for-Food Scandal. But we knew this crap was going on in the 1990s folks. And it’s not just all this Annan business either.

Under Bush I, under Clinton, and under Bush II until Bush II decided to make Iraq fall down and go boom. There were tales and video of Saddam’s son at these ports where foreign tankers were there to fill up with oil that would go out to other countries. There was some indication that companies and interests within the US (hmmm… air smells oily) were very happy to take Hussein’s purloined revenue to sell Iraq stuff we really weren’t supposed to sell. If you’re doing anything with fuel, there’s a very good chance you’ll be buying various controls and equipment if not outright services from…the likes of Halliburton. (And wasn’t Rummy with Bechtel just before Bush II tapped him?)

So yes, that money was purloined is awful. But it’s not just awful if you’re a black man named Annan doing it. It’s bad when it’s done by fat white men with Texas accents, too.

And if you want to discuss nepotism, let’s do that. We’ll invite Neil and Marv Bush, plus Uncle Jonathan Bush, plus the Cheney daughters’ lucrative contracts with the government for things in which they have no qualification, and how Rehnquist’s daughter was a freak who protected Jeb Bush’s plump ass over nursing home horrors and insisted on packing heat wherever she went. And that’s just for starters.

I don’t like nepotism of any shade – black or white, red or blue. I don’t like policies that are ignored to make sitting officials in the US government far richer when their tenure with looting and pillaging of the US is done. I don’t like corruption when it’s them or when it’s us (Halliburton, Enron, Bechtel, Unocal, Carlisle Group, Bin Laden Associates, et al).