Jeff Danziger on Immigration

From Danziger Cartoons.

Vermont Gets a Nod from LA

Odum at Green Mountain Daily points us to this:

Even if the grassroots impeachment movement couldn't inspire more than a handful of Vermont legislators, it does continue to inspire activism and hope across the rest of the nation, particularly among the younger set (the "holy grail" demographic, always targeted by political campaigns with never more than limited success). From the UCLA Daily Bruin:
    Great state of Vermont, stand and be recognized! I have made fun of you before, but you have rushed to the rescue with the most important breakthrough in grassroots activism since the invention of Birkenstocks.

    Over the past couple months, various townships in Vermont have made national news by calling for the impeachment of Bush. However, such calls made only so much noise until, according to The American Prospect, a Rutland, Vt., man stumbled across an arcane, never-used provision – Section 603 – of a parliamentary manual written by Thomas Jefferson that forces the House of Representatives to consider impeachment proceedings submitted by a state legislature. The Rutland County Democratic Committee adopted the call for impeachment, which became known as the Rutland Resolution, as did several other cities in Vermont. Rep. Dave Zuckerman, P-Burlington, submitted the Rutland Resolution to the Vermont Legislature on April 26.
    Other states have followed Vermont's lead. Illinois Rep. Karen Yarbrough, D-Maywood, joined by two colleagues, has submitted a resolution under Section 603 to the Illinois General Assembly, and California Assemblyman Paul Koretz – who represents Westwood and much of West Los Angeles – has submitted his own resolution to the California Assembly, according to the Sacramento News & Review.

Mistakes Repeat Themselves (Again and Again)

According to Bloomberg News, Trent Lott (loves the racist heart of Strom Thurmond) is preparing to retake control of the Senate.

Let's hope he doesn't.

The Bushies' Other War: The War on the Free Press

From yesterday's Boston Globe:

JOURNALISTS. Get the rack ready! Our attorney general is coming for us, snarling like a guard dog at Abu Ghraib.

On Sunday, Alberto Gonzales told ABC's ``This Week" that he would consider prosecuting reporters who get their hands on classified information and break news about President Bush's terrorist surveillance program. ``There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility, " Gonzales said, adding at one point, ``We have an obligation to enforce those laws."

Asked more specifically if The New York Times should be prosecuted for its initial story on government surveillance without warrants, Gonzales said, ``We are engaged now in an investigation about what would be the appropriate course of action."

It is almost funny to see Gonzales scour the statutes to harass journalists. This is the same administration that cannot spell the word law if you spot it the ``l" and the ``a." It has already set the presidential record in claiming the authority to circumvent the law in more than 750 cases.

Gonzales has been a prime cowboy in circling the wagons against the law. He issued the infamous ``torture memo" that advised President Bush to throw the Geneva Convention into the trash can for detainees in the war on terror.

Because the war ``is not the traditional clash between nations adhering to the laws of war," Gonzales reasoned to Bush, ``in my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, script (i.e. advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms and scientific instruments."

We saw where Gonzales's desire to deny a detainee a trip to the commissary to get a candy bar and some gym clothes got us eventually: Abu Ghraib, the symbol of America's abuse of global statutes.

The Bushies: We, Not Courts, Will Decide When We Do Wrong

In the "We're From the Government and We're Here to HurtHelp You" Department:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The United States government, not any court, is the best judge of whether to keep programs such as its controversial effort to eavesdrop on citizens a secret, an assistant attorney general said on Wednesday.

Peter Keisler, an assistant attorney general, and other U.S. officials made the claim in the latest filing to a lawsuit alleging that telecommunications firm AT&T illegally allowed the government to monitor phone conversations and e-mail communications.

"In cases such as this one, where the national security of the United States is implicated, it is well established that the executive branch is best positioned to judge the potential effects of disclosure of sensitive information on the nation's security," they wrote in a filing on Wednesday evening.

"Indeed, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that courts are ill-equipped as an institution to judge harm to national security."

The privacy rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation says the program allows the government to eavesdrop on phone calls and read e-mails of millions of Americans without obtaining warrants. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would order the government to stop the program.

President George W. Bush has acknowledged a domestic spying program under which the National Security Agency, without court warrants, has listened to international calls and monitored e-mails by U.S. citizens if one party was thought to be linked to terrorism.

The U.S. government is asking a federal court in San Francisco to dismiss the case. The judge will review the motion on June 23.
Please let this judge see through this ridiculous, pompous argument. My only question becomes, did the Bushies appoint this judge?

People Just Don't Love Rick Santorum Like They Used To

Like here.

I don't count because I've always thought him a sanctimonious profusion of pond scum.

The Drug War Flunks Out

God knows I'd give it a triple F minus.

Here, from The Nation.

Bush Lacky (Attorney) Generals Ashcroft and Gonzalez Kept Investigators from Doing Their Job on Checking into Domestic Eavesdropping

Also from Murray Waas - and Shane Harris - at the National Journal today:

An internal Justice Department inquiry into whether department officials -- including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft -- acted properly in approving and overseeing the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program was stymied because investigators were denied security clearances to do their work. The investigators, however, were only seeking information and documents relating to the National Security Agency's surveillance program that were already in the Justice Department's possession, two senior government officials said in interviews.

It is not clear who denied the OPR investigators the necessary security clearances, but Gonzales has reiterated in recent days that sharing too many details about the surveillance program could diminish its usefulness in locating terrorists.

The investigation was launched in January by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility -- a small ethics watchdog set up in 1975 after department officials were implicated in the Watergate scandal. The OPR investigates allegations of official misconduct by department attorneys, not crimes per se, but it does issue reports and recommend disciplinary action. The current Justice Department inspector general has determined that OPR is the office responsible for investigating the professional actions of the attorney general involving the NSA program.

The only classified information that OPR investigators were seeking about the NSA's eavesdropping program was what had already been given to Ashcroft, Gonzales and other department attorneys in their original approval and advice on the program, the two senior government officials said. And, by nature, OPR's request was limited to documents such as internal Justice Department communications and legal opinions, and didn't extend to secrets that are the sole domain of other agencies, the two officials said.

It is not clear who denied the OPR investigators the necessary security clearances, but Gonzales has reiterated in recent days that sharing too many details about the surveillance program could diminish its usefulness in locating terrorists, and he indicated that giving OPR investigators access to the program could jeopardize it.

Gonzales said that Justice attorneys examined and approved the surveillance, and that decisions on whether to share information about it are weighed in light of national security needs. "We don't want to be talking so much about the program that we compromise [its] effectiveness," the attorney general said at a public appearance last week.

Gonzales asserted to other senior officials that only people who have been "read into the [NSA] program," meaning they know its details and have pledged not to divulge them, should be allowed access, one of the two senior officials said in an interview. Traditionally, the decision on whether to grant access to a highly classified program is made by the agency that runs it, in this case the NSA.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and three other Democrats -- John Lewis of Georgia, Henry Waxman of California, and Lynn Woolsey of California -- requested the OPR investigation after the surveillance program was revealed in late 2005, and asked the agency to determine whether it complied with existing law. OPR investigates "allegations of misconduct involving department attorneys that relate to the exercise of their authority to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice," according to the office's policies and procedures.

Justice attorneys approved the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping in 2001, and Gonzales has vehemently defended President Bush's powers to order it ever since.

Time Mag Asks: Are Police Digging into Your Phone Records?

Probably. Makes me happy I hate to use the telephone.

Story here.

Never Let it Be Said That the Truth Can Come Out on George Bush's Watch

This story of Bush sealing documents seized from Capitol Hill also stinketh worse than parts of the 9th Ward in New Orleans three weeks after Katrina hit.

Denny Hastert Mad Enough to Threaten to Sit On Someone's Face

And considering his size, that could hurt!

From CNN and an interesting story showing some in-fighting plus how much the Bushies truly appreciate the whore service Congress has been providing them for six years now (cough):

The White House tried to cool congressional anger Thursday over a report linking House Speaker Dennis Hastert to a wide-ranging corruption probe, denying the story was leaked to punish Hastert for criticizing the FBI's raid of a lawmaker's office.

Hastert demanded a "full retraction" of an ABC News report that he is being investigated in connection with the Jack Abramoff corruption probe, and he speculated that the leak was meant as retaliation by Justice Department officials.

Hastert has been a particularly vocal critic of an FBI search of a Democratic lawmaker's office Saturday and suggested the leak was meant to intimidate him.

"This is one of the leaks that come out to try to intimidate people, and we're just not going to be intimidated on it," Hastert told Chicago radio station WGN on Thursday.

White House spokesman Tony Snow denied there was any effort to hit back at Hastert, and he said the Justice Department and lawmakers were working out a deal that would return material seized from Rep. William Jefferson's office to the House.
Retractions, of course, are ever only so useful. Like in court, when an attorney or prosecutor says something really nasty and then "withdraws" it from the record, as if the jury can forget they heard the usually damaging and/or inflammatory question or comment.

I also continue to suspect there's a significant back-story here to unfold (if it will) about why Hastert is suddenly so concerned about an apparently sleazy Dem, Wm Jefferson, as in, "Why is Hastert so worried about Jefferson in terms of how it could come back on Hastert for his own nefarious behavior?"

National Journal: Novak Promised Karl Rove Smooth Sailing in Plame Outing While Ashcroft Briefed

Murray Waas has a stunning (at least to me, regardless of how much crap has already come to light) story about the Valerie Plame/CIA operative outing now under investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, with former Attorney General John Ashcroft's nasty little prints all over it:

On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men.

In the early days of the CIA leak probe, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was briefed on a crucial conversation between Robert Novak and Karl Rove.

Suspicious that Rove and Novak might have devised a cover story during that conversation to protect Rove, federal investigators briefed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft on the matter in the early stages of the investigation in fall 2003, according to officials with direct knowledge of those briefings.

Ashcroft oversaw the CIA-Plame leak probe for three months until he recused himself and allowed Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to be named to take over the investigation on December 30, 2003. Ashcroft received routine briefings about the status of the investigation from October to December of that year.

Sources said that Ashcroft received a special briefing on the highly sensitive issue of the September 29 conversation between Novak and Rove because of the concerns of federal investigators that a well-known journalist might have been involved in an effort to not only protect a source but also work in tandem with the president's chief political adviser to stymie the FBI.
If true, it makes it rather obvious that Ashcroft should have acted in the best interests of the country and national security, but instead sat his fat self-righteous ass on it to protect his beluffed president, George Bush and his "brain" Rove.

Brains and Eggs

Say hello to Brains and Eggs, which happens to feature one of my favorite Sinclair Lewis quotes:

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
It's my favorite because I think it a) was always apt and b) certainly applies today.

If PDiddie would be so kind, I'd be happy to add them to my personal blogroll.

Tom DeLay and Defense Team Confuse Stephen Colbert for Conservative Journalist

This is too funny... and as I was preparing to write about it I saw that the good folks at The Carpetbagger Report - a fine Vermont-based blog that writes on the national and internation scene - already did it justice:

Silly me, I always thought it was fairly obvious that Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report was an over-the-top parody. Apparently, Tom DeLay isn't in on the joke.
    Yesterday] morning, DeLay's legal defense fund sent out a mass email criticizing the movie "The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress," by "Outfoxed" creator Robert Greenwald.

    The email features a "one-pager on the truth behind Liberal Hollywood's the Big Buy," and the lead item is Colbert's interview with Greenwald on Comedy Central (where Colbert plays a faux-conservative, O'Reilly-esque character). […]
DeLay thinks Colbert is so persuasive, he's now featuring the full video of the interview at the top of the legal fund's website. And why not? According to the email, Greenwald "crashed and burned" under the pressure of Colbert's hard-hitting questions, like "Who hates America more, you or Michael Moore?"

In related news, DeLay's office also announced it has endorsed Bob Roberts' Senate campaign in Pennsylvania, contributed to Sideshow Bob's mayoral campaign in Springfield, and has issued a formal refutation to rebut Al Gore's address to the nation on Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago.
And Texas ever let this man be in a "leadership" role? Do they also elect dead armadilloes down there, too?

What's Your Take on Enron Convictions with Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling

Any special feelings about them?

I wonder why Lay is going through this, to be quite honest. I suspect - considering he was practically living in the White House in the summer of 2001 helping set energy policy while Enron was helping sink the Dem governor of California to pave the way for Schwarzenegger - Kenny Boy, as Bush called him, could tell us a hell of a lot of nasty secrets about the Bush Administration and energy policy in this country in general.


The More a Fed Screws Up, the More Bush Supports Them

The newest "You're doing a heck of a job there, Brownie/Rummy/Cheney/Condi" goes to the Veterans Affairs Secretary after he allowed someone to make vulnerable to theft the identify and records of 26.5 MILLION American veterans.

If someone in Bush's Administration nukes the entire planet, Bush will kiss him in public!

Why I LoveLoathe Technorati

Whenever Technorati feels like it - which seems to be often - it reports that my blog has not been updated in 7, 10 and at one point 200 days. They never respond when you contact them either.

Another victim of its own ego and success. Seem to be a lot of them out in cyberspace.

More Bush? Pleeeeeaaaaaaase Noooooooooooooooo!

I agree with The Carpetbagger Report on the news that Jeb Bush wants to be the new NFL Commissioner:

Ideally, I'd like to see the Bush family retreat from the public stage, take anonymous (but no doubt lucrative) gigs on corporate boards, and quietly fade from memory.
I'd like them to be locked up in Gitmo myself and endure what they have forced on so many others. That includes old Babs (why should I sully my beautiful mind with pictures of body bags my little boy ordered through lies?) Bush as well.

I Don't Agree with Lou Dobbs Often

and I don't agree with all of his points here BUT...

I sure agree that George Bush, the presidency, and Congress have NEVER BEEN MORE OUT OF TOUCH with American workers.

The Carpetbagger Report: FCC Doesn't Care About Phone Privacy

(Does the F is FCC stand for Fucked?)

The good folks at The Carpetbagger Report bring us the most dismal news.

Blogs as Policy Incubators

See Odum (the nice fellow over at Green Mountain Daily - well, I assume odum is a he but I've never uh.. um... looked) for details.

Halle-Fucking-Luia: Huge Percent of Americans Support New, More Honest Investigation Into 9/11

From Vermont Commons (although I think the "more than 70 million" claim is a bit of an extrapolation, I do think we know NOTHING about what really happened on 9/11 and that it has been the express desire of the Bush White House to keep us in the dark, spoon fed pablum that helps them instead of truth):

Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

Click here.

The poll is the first scientific survey of Americans' belief in a9/11 cover up or the need to investigate possible US governmentcomplicity, and was commissioned to inform deliberations at the June2~4 "9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future" conference inChicago. Poll results indicate 42% believe there has indeed been acover up (with 10% unsure) and 45% think "Congress or anInternational Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, includingwhether any US government officials consciously allowed or helpedfacilitate their success" (with 8% unsure).

Utica, NY (PRWEB) May 22, 2006 -- 911Truth.org urges 2006 reformcandidates to recognize a powerful new constituency.

Although the Bush administration continues to exploit September 11 tojustif y domestic spying, unprecedented spending and a permanent stateof war, a new Zogby poll reveals that less than half of the Americanpublic trusts the official 9/11 story or believes the attacks wereadequately investigated.

The poll is the first scientific survey of Americans' belief in a9/11 cover up or the need to investigate possible U.S. governmentcomplicity, and was commissioned to inform deliberations at the June2~4 "9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming our Future" conference inChicago. Poll results indicate 42% believe there has indeed been acover up (with 10% unsure) and 45% think "Congress or anInternational Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, includingwhether any US government officials consciously allowed or helpedfacilitate their success" (with 8% unsure).

The poll of Americanresidents was conducted from Friday, May 12 through Tuesday, May 16,2006. Overall results have a margin of sam pling error of +/- 2.9. Allinquiries about questions, responses and demographics should bedirected to Zogby International.

According to Janice Matthews, executive director of 911truth.org, "Tothose of us who have followed the mounting evidence for US governmentinvolvement in 9/11, these results are both heartening and franklyquite amazing, given the mainstream media's ongoing refusal to coverthe most critical questions of that day. Our August 2004 Zogby pollof New Yorkers showed nearly half believe certain U.S.officials 'consciously' allowed the attacks to happen and 66% want afresh investigation, but these were people closest to the tragedy andmost familiar with facts refuting the official account. Thisrevelation that so many millions nationwide now also recognize a 9/11cover up and the need for a new inquiry should be a wake up call forall 2006 political candidates hoping to turn this country around. Wethink it also indicates Americans are awakening to the larger patternof deceit that led us into Constitutional twilight and endless war,and that our independent media may have finally come of age."

Poll co-author W. David Kubiak concurs, saying "Despite years ofrelentless media promotion, whitewash and 9/11 Commission propaganda,the official 9/11 story still can't even muster 50% popular support.Since this myth has been the administration's primary source ofpolitical and war-making power, this level of distrust hasrevolutionary implications for everyone working for peace, justiceand civil liberties. If we ever hope to reclaim this country, end aggression and restore international respect, we all must finallyscrutinize that day when things started to go so terribly wrong. Themedia and movement leaders ignore this call at their peril, becausetens of millions are clearly telling us here they are ready for 9/11truth."
Uh.. I did not edit this and it sure needed editing. But I approve whole heartedly of a true independent look.

Web's "Inventor" Warns of a "Dark" Period if US's Two-Tiered Internet System Allowed to Go Forward

Worth a read, I think.

So too is this.

American Idol-less

I am proud to say I managed to escape another season never having seen a single episode of American Idol, the talentless acerbic Simon or the always-under-the-influence Paula Abdul.

That does not make me a better person than those of you who do watch, of course. But I probably read more. ;)

The Da Vinci Code: Not Going Down as Expected?

I've had two friends and associates tell me that when they went to see the Da Vinci Code in theaters this past weekend - and one was VERY upset with my low expectations for the film - that many theater goers laughed in inappropriate places, spewed raspberries at the end, and had unkind things to say about the actors and direction as they film let out.

Me? What do I know? I won't even watch it when it comes to TV. I have yet to like a film version better than the book on which it was based and, as I mentioned, I thought Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code was a poorly character-driven book where only the subplot was fascinating.

Cheney May Be Asked to Testify in Plame Leak Case

Seems only appropriate, no? I'm sure Duck! It's Dick! is just sorry he didn't take Valerie Plame out hunting while he was skunky drunk.

Violence in Afghanistan Worsens By the Day

Now the Taliban that Bush defeated (ha!) is also showing signs of appearing far more organized, too.

Gee, what exactly is an impeachable offense.

The U.S. Should Indeed Stop Paying for Iraq Journalist Propaganda

Not that they will, of course.

From today's NY Times:

A Defense Department investigation of Pentagon-financed propaganda efforts in Iraq warns that paying Iraqi journalists to produce positive stories could damage American credibility and calls for an end to military payments to a group of Iraqi journalists in Baghdad, according to a summary of the investigation.

The review, by Rear Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, was ordered after the disclosure last November that the military had paid the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based Pentagon contractor, to plant articles written by American soldiers in Iraqi publications, without disclosing the source of the articles. The contractor's work also included paying Iraqi journalists for favorable treatment.

Though the document does not mention the Lincoln Group, Admiral Van Buskirk concluded that the military should scrutinize contractors involved in the propaganda effort more closely "to ensure proper oversight is in place." He also faulted the military for failing to examine whether paying for placement for articles would "undermine the concept of a free press," in Iraq, according to the summary.

It was not clear on Tuesday whether the report would have any immediate effect on the military's actions in Iraq. In interviews this week, several Pentagon officials said the Lincoln Group and other contractors were still involved in placing propaganda messages in Iraqi publications and on television. Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a senior military spokesman in Iraq, said Tuesday that he could not comment on the report. William Dixon, a spokesman for the Lincoln Group, also declined to comment on Tuesday.

Pentagon officials have said that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is considering ordering a further policy review to clarify existing policy and rules on military communications and information operations.

Over all, the report concludes that American commanders in Iraq did not violate military regulations when they undertook a multipronged propaganda campaign beginning in 2004 aimed at increasing support for the fledgling Iraqi government, the three-page summary says. That conclusion has been previously reported, but the portions of the report that raise questions about the effort or that are critical have not been previously disclosed.

To Our President, Ignorance is More Fun than Truth

I have zero problem that President Bush doesn't want to see the global warming movie, "Inconvenient Truth" that focuses on Al Gore's efforts to get the public to take note.

But I find it in incredibly bad taste, far worse than repugnant, that Bush laughed and smirked about it considering this is a man who, during his tenure as Texas governor, oversaw severe worsening of environmental conditions there and who has done his best to make certain American energy policy, the horrendous gas prices we all pay, and the climate as a whole, serve ONLY the purpose of the oil and energy folks of which Bush and Cheney are a part (although Bush had the dubious distinction of always bankrupting companies that - considering what they sold - is almost impossible to achieve).

Remember Bush's smirk and laugh when millions die due to global warming, when we lose a third to two-thirds of the species of animals in this planet in the next century due to Bush's policies, when you can't breath or get cool or get warm. Remember George W. Bush.

No responsible human being - much less so-called leader of the free world (or stealer of free world elections, more accurately - should be laughing and smirking about global warming. The man is a crime against humanity with his every breath.

Karzai Demands Facts on US Airstrike on Afghanistan That Killed Mostly (Entirely?) Civilians

[Update: I changed the title after I erroneously said "Iraq" rather than Afghanistan.]

Story here.

Just a reminder: just one American life is priceless but you can kill thousands, even millions of Muslims and it's all in the name of freedom and democracy and doesn't matter.

Oh wait... before I get a love letter from Ann(thrax) Coulter and Michelle Malkin, the above paragraph was sarcasm.

Speaking of Denny Hastert

Suddenly, Denny has principles. But I suspect those principles were only found to protect his own ass.

Denny Hastert: Fat Boy, Corrupt Boy

Not a surprise: ABC is reporting that the FBI is investigating Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (the lovely fellow who drove a hybrid car for three inches before he got back in his honking huge Chevy Suburban that gets about 2 1/2 feet per gallon of gas) for corruption and other lovely things.

Oh, trust me, I'm not forgetting about Dem William Jefferson, but while they've been discussing his crimes a lot lately, the real story happened last summer when I wrote about it. Jefferson's story, I suspect, was largely regurgitated recently just to be sure they could mention a Dem had credibility/honesty issues, too. I don't think there's any question that Dems can be as corrupt as Republicans... but the recent DeLay/Santorum/Frist and Hastert Reps stand in a category all by themselves for dirty.

Maureen Dowd: Enter Ozone Woman

From the realm of Rozius comes the most recent MoDo column, "Enter Ozone Woman". Here's a snippy snip:

Al Gore must want to punch Hillary Clinton right through the hole in the ozone layer.

[Ed. note: God knows I would like to bitch slap Hillary - virtually only, of course, as a pacifist... but Hillary can even drive a pacifist to angry distraction.]

At the National Press Club here yesterday, the New York senator finally took a passionate stand. After giving a courteous nod to her old rival Al as "a committed visionary on global warming," she purloined his issue and his revolution, going his Earth Tones in the Balance one better by wearing a blinding yellow pantsuit that looked as if it could provide solar power to all of Tennessee.

Apologizing for, while really wallowing in, her "wonkish speech," Hillary waxed rhapsodic about "unlocking the full potential of cellulosic ethanol" and getting "the low-sulfur diesel rule fully implemented." She droned on numbingly about carbon dioxide sequestration, biomass liquid fuel bases, "feebate" tax incentives, hybrid plug-ins, flex-fueled vehicles, continuous reheat furnaces, renewable portfolio standards, Danish wind power, Brazilian ethanol and Kyoto greenhouse targets. (And you thought she was incomprehensible on health care.)

She got so far down in the weeds — or switch grass — that she advised her listeners about weatherizing their homes and checking their tires to save fuel. "At every gas station," she chirped, "there ought to be a little sign which says, 'Have you checked to see if your tires are inflated to the right pressure?'

"She made it clear who's in power and who's in Cannes when she ostentatiously promised to take her motorcade back to Capitol Hill and introduce legislation for a strategic energy fund to jolt inert government and insatiable Big Oil into action.

Her timing is cunning. This is supposed to be Ozone Man's moment in the sun. His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens today, buoyed by such raves that his supporters believe his green crusade could net him both a gold statuette and a white house.

He's being hailed as the new Comeback Kid, as New York magazine calls him, a passionate pedant. (Better than a compassionate conservative.)

Shaken by the Asian tsunami, Katrina, gas prices and a literally explosive Middle East, many Americans now see the environment and conservation as the scintillating, life-and-death subjects that Al Gore has always presented them as, rather than the domain of cartoonish sandal-wearing, tree-hugging, New Age-y, antibusiness wackos.


Not Insubstantial

One in seven (7) Mexican laborers comes to the U.S., with the majority sending money home? Wow.

Certainly puts a lie to the great "help" NAFTA was to bring them. NAFTA, in fact, actually increased poverty in Mexico considerably. I don't know of any poor or indigenous workers helped by any of these so-called free trade agreements. I opposed those Clinton backed and the ones Bush has promoted have been even worse.

Three Guesses Why the Voice of America No Longer Broadcasts Out of Baghdad

And the first seven don't count.

Give yourself a cigar - the banana-flavored bubblegum variety, if you please - if you said, "Because it's too fucking dangerous in Baghdad."


Did You Know the World is Experiencing a Period of Unprecedented Peace and Prosperity?

Well, of course you didn't, not if you live in Bush's America and you're not a defense contractor or oilman or Bush contributor.

But Michael Barone at US News and World Report says it's true in a piece entitled, "Heard the Good News?"

Bush's Federal Trade Commission: No Gas Price Gouging

Isn't it just amazing? Don't you feel better now?

The Federal Trade Commission controlled by the two Oil Men who are bought and paid for by all the other energy/oil men have now told us - fer shure - that there is no gas price gouging going on.

You can sleep soundly tonight, peeps!

The Most Powerful Man You've Never Heard Of

Cynthia Powell of US News & World Report dropped me a note giving me a heads-up on this article on Cheney's new Jr. Dr. Evil, David Addington. Read it and weep.

From Wired: The Eternal Value of Privacy

I second this!

The most common retort against privacy advocates -- by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures -- is this line: "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

Some clever answers: "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me." "Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition."

"Because you might do something wrong with my information." My problem with quips like these -- as right as they are -- is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("Who watches the watchers?") and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It's intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

Lobbyists Apparently Love to Write Checks to Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum

They like Arlen Specter, too. Here:

The folks over at the Congress Watch of Public Citizen have put out a report on the lobbyists who bankroll Congress. It features a list of the 20 biggest givers among lobbyists -- an interesting read, to be sure -- but they've also compiled a tally of the biggest "getters," the members of Congress who've pulled in the most money from K Street during the 1998-2004 election cycles.

Among current members of the U.S. Senate, guess who's No. 1.

That's right, the man who helped found the very K Street Project and then tried to deny its existence, our own junior senator from right here in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. Looking at those four election cycles from 1998 through 2004, Public Citizen found that the Pa. Republican had raked in $1,163,560 from registered lobbyists -- $838,133 from individuals, and $325,427 from their political action committees.

That puts Santorum in an elite club. Only four members have raised more than $1 million from lobbyists during that period -- the one who raked in the most, former Democratic Senate Leader Tom Daschle, with $1,687,721, was booted out of office by South Dakota voters in 2004.

The one current member of Congress who's taken in more lobbyist cash won't be around for much longer. That would be former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who raised $1,322,906, but is resigning early next month to deal with his criminal indictment in his home state of Texas and is also under investigation for his ties to a disgraced lobbyist (what a coincidence), admitted felon Jack Abramoff.

(In the Wouldn't-You-Just-Know-It Department, the other member of this dubious $1 million club is Pennsylvania's other senator, Arlen Specter, at $1,019,317. Is this state "corrupt and contented" or what?)

And in Another Supreme Moment: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas Organizing Prayers for President Bush

This is just weird no matter how you look at it:

"Just how bad are things for President Bush?" asks the New York Daily News in Monday editions. "Pretty bad, I'd say, if even Clarence Thomas is worried about him." Excerpts:

The other night at a Washington book party for the President's sister, Doro Bush Koch, the Supreme Court justice arrived with his wife, Ginny, on the tented roof of the Hay Adams Hotel, overlooking the White House, and made a beeline for the author.

"We have to pray for your brother. He's in real trouble," Thomas told a wide-eyed Koch, whose older brother is, indeed, suffering from near-catastrophic public-opinion ratings.

Koch — whose memoir of the first President Bush is "My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H.W. Bush" — politely thanked Thomas and kept a stiff upper lip.

Later I had a nice chat with the conservative justice — who's had little use for journalists since his 1991 confirmation hearings, in which Anita Hill accused him of inappropriate sexual advances and Thomas accused the Senate Judiciary Committee of conducting "a high-tech lynching."

So Much for Etiquette: Police Have Right to Enter Without Asking Permission

Did you catch this today from the Supremes?

I don't like it.

So Exactly What is the News Here?

Raw Story reports that The New York Times is going to do a Page One story discussing the Clintons' marriage.

Uh... why?

OK, I get that Hillary is considered (sadly) a frontrunner for Dem candidate for president in 2008 and that this creates a very unique situation; if elected, we not only have our first First ... er.. what? First Gentleman? We also get a former president now in the role of not president.

But is it really worthy of a Page One story at a time of so much critical news?

We Did What?" The Bush Administration Blocked a Sexually Oriented Domain Extension Just to Appeal Ultra-Rights

I think most of us - the sane among us, I mean - would agree that it would be nice if you could stick adult-oriented schlock in its own domain extension so we wouldn't accidentally go to a really raunchy site.

But not the Bushies. We have to pretend everything is 1950s Nice and Prissy.

From eWeek, with a nod to Raw Story for the pointer:

Newly released e-mails allege U.S. government officials pressured a leading Internet authority into voting against creating a kind of red-light district for adult Web sites.

The apparent involvement of the U.S. Department of Commerce, President Bush's chief political operative Karl Rove and others is significant. If true, it means the U.S. government violated terms of a complicated arrangement it has with ICANN, the Internet authority that voted 9-5 last week not to OK the .xxx proposal.

Click here to read more about how ICANN has come under this kind of fire before.

What ICM Registry wants is permission to distribute Web addresses that end in .xxx to be used exclusively by adult entertainment sites.

The proposal won support from the Wired Safety & Wired Kids, the Internet Content & Ratings Association and other child safety groups because of the way it's expected to make it easier for authorities and parents to police the Internet.

Detractors say it just makes it that much easier to find porn. ICANN voted it down 9-5, after seemingly being on track to approve of the effort.

Since the ICANN vote, ICM Registry has made public e-mails, here in PDF form, between members of the Department of Commerce, various other branches of the federal government and ICANN. The company had asked for the communications earlier under a Freedom of Information Act request.

After discovering many of the emails had been redacted, ICM on May 19 asked a judge in Washington, D.C., to force the Department of Commerce to fill in the blanks.

Elmhurst's Dubious Distinction as Porn Search Capitol of America


From the General (and rightly so):

Peter J. LaBarbera
Illinois Family Institute

Dear Mr. LaBarbera,

I was surprised when I learned today that Elmhurst, Illinois is number one in the nation when it comes to Google searches for the words: "sex," "porn," "gay porn," "anal sex" and "vibrators."

After all, Elmhurst is not the first place you think of when you're listing the top ten candidates for New Sodom.Then I remembered that Elmhurst is in your office's back yard. In fact,your office is so close to Elmhurst, a couple of miles at most, it might even be considered to be a part of that city in regard to internet coverage. That would certainly explain Elmhurst's high anal sex search rank.

Indeed, given your legendary interest in homosexual sex--by all appearances, you think about it every waking minute--I'd be surprised if any other city topped the list. That would also explain why Norfolk, Virginia is your biggest rival for number one--it's in Pat Robertson's backyard.

Unfortunately, most of the rest of America will not make this connection. Elmhurst and Norfolk will forever be branded as the new Sodom and Gomorrah in their minds unless you and Pastor Robertson step up and take responsibility for the rankings. I hope you do so soon.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Update: Elmhust is also number one in "lesbian porn" searches.

Talk Show Joe

Almost missed it: Rozius also brings us today's Paul Krugman column, Talk-Show Joe detailing some of Senator Joe Lieberman's (well deserved) problems in getting re-elected for another term in Connecticut.

The Dems don't seem to want Joe anymore and the far-righty Republicans, happy to accept the beneficence of his warmongering support, seem to have remembered he's a Jew and... well.... not quite one of theirs.

Top 10 Signs of an Impending Police State

What The Beast brings us is both amusing and hitting a little too close to home under the Bushies. Read it.

Questions Surround Supposed Guantanamo Bay Uprising

As you may recall, I questioned the other day claims that there was a huge problem at Gitmo - one in which the Pentagon fell over themselves to show the great humanity of the guards involved - because it came right on the heels of the launch of a MASSIVE public relations campaign by the Pentagon targeted exclusively at Guantanamo Bay, which came on the heels of the U.N. and other august bodies crying for its closure.

Well, read the UK Independent - long story, but worthwhile - and you see I'm not the only one with questions. It starts off like this:

The prison camps at Guantanamo Bay were gripped by a series of uprisings and disturbances last week which suggest a state of near revolt, it emerged yesterday.

Reports from within the controversial detention centre in Cuba claim the base's military commanders believe there were links between a series of suicide attempts, medical emergencies and the violent clashes between 20 inmates and guards on Thursday.

It was "probably the most violent outbreak" in the camp's four-year history, claimed Rear Admiral Harry Harris, the detention and interrogation centre's commander. "These are dangerous men and determined jihadists," he said.

The base's authorities suspect the incidents were co-ordinated and fed off each other, but one former inmate and two lawyers raised substantial doubts about the US military's account of the disturbances.

Moazzam Begg, the Birmingham bookshop owner released from the camp last year, said the detention cells were too closely monitored and controlled for inmates to organise a revolt so well. Clive Stafford Smith and Brent Mickum, defence lawyers who regularly visit clients in the base, said they suspected the official accounts were "rubbish".

Camp officers said the incidents began early on Thursday morning in Camp 1, when an unconscious inmate was discovered in his cell. Nearly seven hours later, another detainee was found unconscious, both from taking anti-depressants which they had not been prescribed.

During the same period, another two men became ill - one from an adverse reaction to his medication and a second who over-dosed, allegedly in solidarity with the two unconscious men.

"Baghdad ER"

Anyone else see it (Baghdad ER) on HBO over the weekend?

I did. I was rather surprised that it concentrated almost exclusively on Americans who arguably get far better, more advanced treatment that Iraqi civilians. It was somehow less than I expected on a number of different points, so I'd like to hear other people's take on the special.

Maureen Dowd: Make Poetry, Not War

Rozius blog also gives you the May 20th column from Maureen Dowd: Make Poetry, Not War.

(Hell, making poopy is better than making war, but I digress!)

Excellent Frank Rich: The Rove Da Vinci Code

Brought to us by the fine folks at Rozius blog (please visit there to read it all):

The Sony scheme (for promoting "The Da Vinci Code" movie) also echoes much of the past decade's Washington playbook. Politicians, particularly but not exclusively in the Karl Rove camp, seem to believe that voters of "faith" are suckers who can be lured into the big tent and then abandoned once their votes and campaign cash have been pocketed by the party for secular profit.

Nowhere is this game more naked than in the Jack Abramoff scandal: the felonious Washington lobbyist engaged his pal Ralph Reed, the former leader of the Christian Coalition, to shepherd Christian conservative leaders like James Dobson, Gary Bauer and the Rev. Donald Wildmon and their flocks into ostensibly "anti-gambling" letter-writing campaigns.

They were all duped: in reality these campaigns were engineered to support Mr. Abramoff's Indian casino clients by attacking competing casinos.While that scam may be the most venal exploitation of "faith" voters by Washington operatives, it's all too typical.

This history repeats itself every political cycle: the conservative religious base turns out for its party and soon finds itself betrayed.The right's leaders are already threatening to stay home this election year because all they got for their support of Republicans in the previous election year was a lousy Bush-Cheney T-shirt.

Actually, they also got two Supreme Court justices, but their wish list was far longer. Dr. Dobson, the child psychologist who invented Focus on the Family, set the tone with a tantrum on Fox, whining that Republicans were "ignoring those that put them in office" and warning of "some trouble down the road" if they didn't hop-to.The doctor's diagnosis is not wrong. He has been punk'd - or Da Vinci'd - since 2004.

Though President Bush endorsed the federal marriage amendment then, there's a reason he hasn't pushed it since. Not Gonna Happen, however many times it is dragged onto the Senate floor.

The number of Americans who "strongly oppose" same-sex marriage keeps dropping - from 42 percent two years ago to 28 percent today, according to the Pew Research Center - and there will never be the votes to "write discrimination into the Constitution," as Mary Cheney puts it.


The religious right's hope for taming that culture is also doomed, however much Congress ceremoniously raises indecency fines in an election year.The major media companies, heavy donors to both parties, first get such bills watered down, then challenge the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement in court.

The mogul most ostentatiously supportive of Republican causes, Rupert Murdoch, may perennially fan the flames of a bogus "war on Christmas" on Fox, but he's waging his own, far more lethal war on the Christian right by starting a companion TV network this fall to match MySpace.com, his hugely popular and hugely libidinous Internet portal.

Mr. Murdoch's new gift to America's youth, My Network TV, "will showcase greed, lust, sex," according to The Wall Street Journal. Conservatives fretting about his fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton don't even know what's about to hit them.But for all these betrayals, Dr. Dobson and Company won't desert the Republicans come Election Day.

If Mr. Rove steps up his usual gay-baiting late in the campaign, as is his wont, maybe the turnout of those on the hard-core right will eke out a victory for the party that double-crossed them not just on cultural issues but also on secular conservative principles (like fiscal responsibility and immigration-law enforcement).If so, they'll promptly be Da Vinci'd yet again. A Republican retreat on stem-cell research is already under way...

An Immigration Bottom Line

The New York Times yesterday:

This week starts the endgame for immigration reform in the Senate. Months of debate have come down to this: whether the comprehensive solution at the core of the Senate bill will survive the hostile attentions of those who do not want real reform at all. A brace of amendments has already warped and weakened the bill — though not fatally, thanks to a bipartisan coalition that has fended off repeated attempts at sabotage. But there is still a danger that any legislation will be further compromised or even gutted to conform with the House's deplorable bill.

A good immigration bill must honor the nation's values and be sensible enough to work. It must not violate the hopes of deserving people who want to work toward citizenship. It must not create a servant class of "guest workers" shackled to their employers and forbidden to aspire to permanent legal status. It must give newcomers equal treatment under the law and respect their rights of due process. It must impose rigorous enforcement of labor laws, so unscrupulous employers cannot exploit illegal workers. And it must clear the existing backlogs of millions seeking to enter the country legally, so that illegal immigrants do not win an unfair place in line.

'Amnesty' and the Mythical Middle Ground. The Senate is the only hope for real reform this year because the House has already chosen its plan. It wants to wall off Mexico, turn 11 million or so illegal immigrants into an Ohio-size nation of felons, and then pick them off through arrests, deportation and an atmosphere of focused hostility until they all go home, abandoning their families and jobs.

"We Have Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself!"

Remember FDR telling us this - if not from actual memory, than from the constant replaying of it as one of the great statements by an American leader?

Yet all the Bushies have handed us is fear. They want us to live in it, wallow in it, shape our lives by it.

How can any true leader and his (or someday, her) administration offer fear as the steady diet for the American people? Unless, of course, he has something substantial to gain by our fear.

What Is Really Happening to Prisoners and Detainees at Guantanamo Bay?

If you get a chance today, Democracy Now is showing a big part of a highly informative speech by James Yee, the US Army Muslim chaplain whom the government went after (and the case thrown out as ridiculous), telling us what really goes on at Guantanamo Bay. It's a must-hear... but don't eat before you hear it.

Hurray for Wired: They Want the Truth of Phone Privacy (or Lack Thereof) to Come Out

Here, and I applaud them:

A file detailing aspects of AT&T's alleged participation in the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic wiretap operation is sitting in a San Francisco courthouse. But the public cannot see it because, at AT&T's insistence, it remains under seal in court records.

The judge in the case has so far denied requests from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, and several news organizations to unseal the documents and make them public.

AT&T claims information in the file is proprietary and that it would suffer severe harm if it were released.

Based on what we've seen, Wired News disagrees. In addition, we believe the public's right to know the full facts in this case outweighs AT&T's claims to secrecy.

As a result, we are publishing the complete text of a set of documents from the EFF's primary witness in the case, former AT&T employee and whistle-blower Mark Klein -- information obtained by investigative reporter Ryan Singel through an anonymous source close to the litigation. The documents, available on Wired News as of Monday, consist of 30 pages, with an affidavit attributed to Klein, eight pages of AT&T documents marked "proprietary," and several pages of news clippings and other public information related to government-surveillance issues.

The AT&T documents appear to be excerpted from material that was later filed in the lawsuit under seal. But we can't be entirely sure, because the protective order prevents us from comparing the two sets of documents.

This week, we are joining in efforts to bring this evidence to light in its entirety.

Speaking of Reporters: Sy Hersh Tells Us Tens of Thousands of Americans (At Least) Had Their Calls Monitored

I kid you not. Hersh has been dead on about much of his revelations and the claim about tens of thousands of Americans having their phone calls monitored by the government is in the New Yorker.

We may need to mount a defense fund for poor Seymour.

Power Run Amok: Government Will Decide What Reporters Can and Can't Say

Attorney General - and questionable immigrant himself - Alberto Gonsalez announced today that it is within the Bushies' rights to determine what reporters can say, to prosecute journalists for saying what the Bush Administration does NOT want said, and of course, to track and listen in on those reporters' phone calls just to be sure the reporters are being loyal to the Bushies.

Prosecuting reporters for "thought" crimes.

George Orwell's 1984 just may NOT have gone as far as the Bushies are willing to go. This is surreal.

As Promised, the Bushies Changed ALL the Discussion to the New Iraqi Government

Today's news shows were all just too busy discussing the wonders of Iraq's new government to even pretend anyone was concerned about wiretaps, the Fourth Amendment, or even any furor over the silly Ban on Gay Marriage the Senate voted in.

We'll see how the week goes.

I promise posts Monday. Til then.. have a superb one.