Iraq 9-1-1

While an Iraqi military leader (a colonel) who tried very hard to tame sectarian violence is killed, an America citizen is sentenced to death in Iraq.

Also in Iraq, almost any family with the means to escape the country we turned into a vicious war is getting the hell out of the figurative Dodge. More than a million of Iraq's pre-war 24 million citizens have left, with estimates that another million or so have died in violence. However, some officials in Iraq say the figures of Iraqis in exodus is much, much higher since they were only recently tracking those who left.

Those who don't leave often find family members kidnapped. Then, after many lucrative ransoms are paid, the family members is tortured and executed anyway.

Radiation From North Korea's Test Detected As U.N. Imposes Sanctions

As the UN votes to issue sanctions against North Korea and its strange leader Kim Jong-il, experts believe they now have proof - in the form of radiation detected over the Sea of Japan - of the boasted nuclear weapon test. From Walter Pincus and company at WaPo:

Initial environmental samples collected by a U.S. military aircraft detected signs of radiation over the Sea of Japan, possibly confirming North Korea's nuclear test, intelligence officials said yesterday.

Officials said the positive radiation result was consistent with an atomic test and would make it possible to rule out the possibility that Monday's test had been conducted with conventional explosives alone. But intelligence and administration officials were cautious about reaching a conclusion before reviewing all incoming data. "The intelligence community continues to analyze the data," said Frederick Jones, spokesman for the National Security Council. "When the intelligence community has a determination to present, we will make that public."
First, let me note that I have zero problem with sanctions against North Korea, especially if the United Nations can do so in a way that will not promise more harm to the many, many in N Korea who starve on a daily basis.

Second, fair is fair. Why does the U.S. get to decide who gets sanctioned (Iran, Iraq, N Korea) and who doesn't (Israel, which has possessed nuclear weapons since the 1960s when they are not supposed to have them)? As part of that, how does the U.S. get to strong-arm other nations when our country is the ONLY one to have used nuclear weapons to destroy others?

Third, who tells the U.S. that, with the Bushies approving more and more nuclear weaponry during the Bush years, that we can't have these weapons? After all, we've never proven we can use them responsibly; on the day they tested the product of the Manhattan Project, one major scenario included rapid destruction of life as we know it throughout the world. Then, for the big dessert, we dropped the crap on Japan which would have capitulated without Fat Man and Little Boy.

Hell, I won't even talk about the decades or centuries of devastation that will follow in Iraq because of the use of depleted uranium (although the glowing in the dark elephant ain't gonna be leaving that room any time soon).

Credit Where It Is Due: The Indefatiable Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio/Democracy Now!

One does not have to be a progressive, a liberal, a "leftist", or even a centrist to appreciate Amy Goodman, a real journalist. Long with Pacifica Radio, she's also been host of Democracy Now (available on the radio, as well as on Dish Network and now DirecTV).

Amy has been around the world reporting, including the dreadful situation in East Timor several years ago in which she really did just barely escape with her life.

Democracy Now! with Amy at the helm (and columnist Juan Gonzalez as backup) does not do reporting in fast sound bytes. She's often chosen to feature people and stories you just can't get anywhere else, including with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who tackles much the mainstream media (MSM) won't.

My post here is because I noticed that Amy just recorded a long, very personal, and enthusiastic fund raising pitch for the free-form community radio station here in Central Vermont (WGDR, 91.1 FM) ,tiny and one of just 38 such bastions across the nation.

Granted, Amy's brother and frequent book co-author, David, lives locally. But she does this kind of personal touch, passionate stuff for other venues like Free Speech TV. And Amy isn't exactly someone with much free time. Almost every weekend for years she's traveling to help support independent media, et al.

Credit Where It Is Due: The Indefatiable Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio/Democracy Now!

One does not have to be a progressive, a liberal, a "leftist", or even a centrist to appreciate Amy Goodman, a real journalist. Long with Pacifica Radio, she's also been host of Democracy Now (available on the radio, as well as on Dish Network and now DirecTV).

Amy has been around the world reporting, including the dreadful situation in East Timor several years ago in which she really did just barely escape with her life.

Democracy Now! with Amy at the helm (and columnist Juan Gonzalez as backup) does not do reporting in fast sound bytes. She's often chosen to feature people and stories you just can't get anywhere else, including with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who tackles much the mainstream media (MSM) won't.

My post here is because I noticed that Amy just recorded a long, very personal, and enthusiastic fund raising pitch for the free-form community radio station here in Central Vermont (WGDR, 91.1 FM) ,tiny and one of just 38 such bastions across the nation.

Granted, Amy's brother and frequent book co-author, David, lives locally. But she does this kind of personal touch, passionate stuff for other venues like Free Speech TV. And Amy isn't exactly someone with much free time. Almost every weekend for years she's traveling to help support independent media, et al.

The White House: In A State of Denial As Well As A State of Deception

We Failed Iraq: George Bush's Fiction of a Free Iraq

Heard the news on Iraq?

Bush sent over James Bakker, bestest friend to the Bush family and the man who helped engineer the handing of the 2000 Presidential Election to George The Tyrant without a proper count. Bakker helped forge a unique argument that a law meant to protect individual voters actually allowed Dubya to claim it wasn't fair that he wasn't made boy king. So Bakker's got some history of the Bushes.

And with all that, Bakker is reporting that there cannot be victory in Iraq. That there will NOT be Bush's much-heralded democracy there because we - the U.S. - mismanaged the case so badly. Instead, Iraq is turning to a theocracy; a shame since Iraq was one of very few predominantly Islamic countries not theocratic. To be brutally honest here, Bush never wanted democracy in Iraq; he wanted what he calls democracy, where a tyrant like himself bestows power and wealth to a privileged few while the rest can sit and die for all he cars.

Bakker says we can dig in our heels there and watch our losses - and the Iraqi citizens who are dying at MUCH faster a rate than our men and women - or... - oh, yes, the word the Republican/GOP loves to toss at Democrats - cut and run.

You've no doubt already heard that the head of Britain's army says it's time to bring Brit troops home. While he moderated his words a bit on Friday, he still sticks by the core of his original remarks.

Politics, Vermont Style: Grand 'Ol Frat Party

Odum shows us that even in Vermont - which granted, does create a LOT of natural fertilizer - you can have badly behaved politicians and wannabe politicians. Notably, some possible (mis)behavior from the chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, Jim Barnett.

I really can't think of much worse than a politician which I define separately from active, interested democratic (little d) elected representatives. Seriously. Give me a used car salesman, an ambulance chasing attorney, or a doctor who only does liposuction first.

Comments Won't Display For Me

'Morning (notice I did not say Good; this is open to interpretation)

I see folks have posted comments since yesterday afternoon but they won't open for me, at least for the time being. I'll be back to check and will respond then.

Thank you, and have a non-Halliburton Day.


Canada Does What The Bushies Would Never Do

Canada - quite progressively - is setting aside a tract of land more than four times the size of Yellowstone Park in the U.S. West to treat as a nature preserve.

Picture here is of Great Slave Lake (no, I have no idea how they came up with this name and it's too late in the day to think up witty rejoinders with S&M entendre).

If the U.S. had this land, the Bushies would roll in, clearcut the land, divert the water to companies that would then sell it to the locals at an inflated price, allow limitless hunting and the total devastation of the tract for everything from oil drilling and mining to doing nuke tests right next to a Girl Scout camp.

Sheesh! But still, Oh Canada! gets my vote.

Let's See: Should We Devote Energy to Al Qaeda? Or Should Be Stop Online Bingo Games!

Don't you love it when the idiots in Washington (both Senate and Reps) toss completely unrelated matters into the same bill?

For example, you probably don't know that the Patriot Act includes a provision to stop over the counter sale of the former effective ingredients in NyQuil and its generics. Yup, we're keeping the world safe for Ear, Nose, and Throat as well as Allergy doctors to maintain their happy income stream.

Today, Bush signed on a new port security (yeah, right, sure... only a teeny tiny fraction of port containers are ever checked) bill that also includes this cute little provision to shutdown Internet gambling. See a piece here at WaPo and another there at Pittsburgh News for details.

Now, mind you, I don't gamble but hey - if people want to lose their money, so what? This is also the height of double standards since so many states make themselves rich from gambling: not just lottery tickets but taking a hunk of offtrack betting and casions.

I guess this bill is supposed to protect stupid people from themselves while also protecting state revenues. And I suspect that part of the reason Washington rushed it through was to keep people going into casinos.

More on Microcredit, Muhammed Yunus with Grameen Bank's Win of the Nobel Peace Prize

It's not everyday I get to link to a blog in Bangladesh; in fact, this is a first, I believe.

But I'm inclined to spread the word about this highly successful way to spur independent enterprise in underdeveloped countries. So say hello to 3rd World View and see what they have to say about this project.

It's Official: Air America Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Yet another American enterprise falls victim to the Bush economy and "ownership" (meaning, you owe the banks who own you) society.

Amway/Quixtar Buys A Candidate While Karl Rove Juggles, Blackmails, and Uses The F-word to Refer to Christians

That seems to be the speculation, and the candidate Amway/Quixtar bought may be Former Florida Representative Republican Mark Foley (which now seems like quite a strange match for Amway and Co.

Read from MLM Liberal:

And it got worse tonight for Rove, as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann had an exclusive interview with David Kuo, a special assistant to the President from 2001 to 2003 and the author of a new book, Tempting Faith:

He says some of the nation’s most prominent evangelical leaders were known in the office of presidential political strategist Karl Rove as “the nuts.”

“National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy,’” Kuo writes.
More seriously, Kuo alleges that then-White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman knowingly participated in a scheme to use the office, and taxpayer funds, to mount ostensibly “nonpartisan” events that were, in reality, designed with the intent of mobilizing religious voters in 20 targeted races.

Nineteen out of the 20 targeted races were won by Republicans, Kuo reports. The outreach was so extensive and so powerful in motivating not just conservative evangelicals, but also traditionally Democratic minorities, that Kuo attributes Bush’s 2004 Ohio victory “at least partially … to the conferences we had launched two years before.”

With the exception of one reporter from the Washington Post, Kuo says the media were oblivious to the political nature and impact of his office’s events...
That reporter, Tom Edsall, comes up in the next post.

Comments on David Kuo's "Tempting Faith"

NEW: Buy David Kuo's "Tempting Faith", on the Recommended Reading List at the right, where you can automatically click through to buy a copy from Powells (a union bookstore).

Here are the comments from the work:

David Kuo came to Washington wanting to use his Christian faith to end abortion, strengthen marriage, and help the poor. He reached the heights of political power, ultimately serving in the White House under George W. Bush, after being policy adviser to John Ashcroft and speech writer for Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and Bob Dole. It was a dream come true: the chance to fuse his politics and his faith, and an opportunity for Christians not just to gain a seat at the proverbial table but to plan the entire meal.

Kuo spent nearly three years as second in command at the president's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Yet his experience was deeply troubling. It took both the Bush White House and a severe health crisis to show him how his Christian values, and those of millions of Americans, were being corrupted by politics.

Instead of following the teachings of Jesus to serve the needy, Kuo found himself helping to manipulate religious faith for political gain. Public funds were used in battleground states, for Republican campaign events. The legislative process was used as a football, not to pass laws but to deepen purely symbolic fault lines. Grants were incestuously recycled to political cronies. Both before and after 9/11, despite lofty rhetoric from the president claiming that his faith-based program was one of his most important initiatives, there was no serious attempt to fund valuable charities.

Worst of all was the prevailing attitude in the White House and throughout Washington toward Christian leaders. Key Bush aides and Republican operatives spoke of them with contempt and treated them as useful idiots. It became clear, during regular conference calls arranged from the White House with a key group of Christian leaders, that many of these religious leaders had themselves been utterly seduced by politics.

It is time, Kuo argues, for Christians to take a temporary step back from politics, to turn away from its seductions. Tempting Faith is equal parts headline-making expose, political and spiritual memoir, and heartfelt plea for a Christian reexamination of political involvement.
Listening to how the White House is attacking Kuo and this work, so ready to discredit a former member of their loyal ranks, you have to think perhaps Kuo's telling a too true tale. But I'll wait til I read it to say for sure (unlike the Bushies and the far right, who never read a book... and certainly not before they denounce one ::cough::).

How's Your Friday The Thirteenth Going?

Since my luck usually runs toward the vicinity of catastrophic, I tend to believe Friday the 13 has to be my one "good luck" day. Experience has not always proven this true (this month's understatement only outdone by WH mouthpiece Tony Snow - aka Snowjob - calling GOP Congressman Mark Foley's email to pages just "naughty").

So how's yours going?

"The End of The U.S. As a Civilized Nation"

The good folks at Kirby Mountain (another Vermont based blog) points us to Ted Rall's latest indictment of America under the Bush Administration.

Mel's New Excuse: "I Can't Take Criticism"

Keith Olbermann points out Mel Gibson's latest bungling, miserable stupidity.

He drank because he was so upset that his film, "The Passion of The Christ", was so poorly received by critics [gee, as a professional writer, I've had to cope with rejection and criticism; is Mel not a professional? Or maybe it's just a question of exactly what he's a pro doing]. Apparently it didn't matter that the extreme right wing fell at his feet - like Mel was Jesus resurrected with The Rapture at hand - babbling garbled Aramaic.

Ah, but I'm not done. Can you discuss Mel without discussing Mel's complete meltdown on Jews? [I know, like Jews haven't suffered enough without having Mel thrust upon them.]

But that's sort of the point; as Mel demanded forgiveness for his "drunken idiot" tirade, he just had to slip something else in, according to "Countdown with Keith Olbermann".

Saith the Gospel According to Old Ham..er.. Mel:

"It's not like the Jews are blameless here."

Uh... I dunno, Mel. I think you can be an idiot all on your own, without having to rouse one Jew out of bed to listen to your ever-so-insincere apologies. You didn't mean them right after the incident with the cops, you didn't mean them last month, and you don't mean them now.

We've got your number, Mel. Problem is, nobody's much interested in calling it anymore.

Hell's gonna have a special place for you, Mel - but probably without your hair plugs and dental veneers.

Swift Injustice To This Military Lawyer Indeed

Besides my screwing up his last name, I wrote earlier this week about Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift (not Swift), whose brave attempts to properly represent a Guantanamo Bay detainee led to the Bushes telling Swift he could only file a guilty plea for this detainee. (Legal rights? Not with the Bushes.)

This case in turn led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said Bush's military tribunals and handling of detainees is just patently wrong.

To "thank" Lt. Cmdr. Swift for his adherence to the Constitution and Habeas Corpus (around since the year 1215 and hardly something U.S. law invented), the military has effectively forced him out. Swift appeared on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC just now and I found myself applauding his every word.

Swift is a great lawyer in the great tradition of the very best of our system of jurisprudence. We must always seek justice for the least of us.

Say Hello to...

The Skeeter Bites Report, run by Skeeter Saunders who also does "Perfect Storm" programming at Plainfield, Vermont's WGDR (WGDR is currently in fall fundraising time).

WGDR is one of only 38 free format, community radio stations in the U.S. and entirely programmed by volunteers from the community with administration from Goddard College.

On a Sillier Note, Anyone Watching "Dexter" on Showtime?

TNR brands "Dexter", the serial killer of serial killers (neat trick) as a revolutionary new anti-hero.

While I had done a lot of research on serial killers, Dexter just strikes me as perverse (as well as an interesting TV attempt). I can't even enjoy watching killers get killed, I guess.

Crap Crap and Triple Crap: Body Found That of Missing UVM Coed

Thankfully, nationally noted tragedy comes to Vermont fairly rarely. When one of my neighbors was murdered by his roommate, I watched on CNN when the perpetrator committed suicide after a high-speed chase in the mid-west. And many of you heard of the two wonderful Dartmouth professors killed by boys from Chelsea.

When I posted my "Have You Seen" post about Michelle Quinn, I hoped she'd just decided to take a long weekend. However, the wire services and WaPo report that her body has been found in Richmond, a far-flung suburb of Burlington, Vermont's largest city (think Seattle but much smaller and no Microsoft). Quinn hailed from Arlington, VA which is the reason it's covered in WaPo.

Foley, Pages, And Capitol Hill Republicans Speak a Whole Different Language

The Mark Foley scandal - and, as you may have read in The New Republic, it may be a case of Karl Rove "blackmailing" Foley to run for re-election in Florida when Foley wanted to leave and become a lobbyist - is one of those (and I hate the insipid nature of this book and over-simplification here but ...) cases of "Republicans Are From Mars (armchair warriors) and everybody else is from Venus. We speak a whole different language.

While the rest of America sits back and thinks what Foley did with the pages was wrong, the far-right and those who just like to spew the Bush White House's talking points seem able to justify Foley's behavior with the pages and only take exception and fault as illegal (in the name of God, no less) Foley being gay.

This is not a point to underestimate either.

Thankfully, there are a few exceptions. There's a righter radio host named Michael Smerconish who, on Joe Scarborough (Country) last night - and man, I hate citing Joe - who laid it out fine. The problem isn't that Foley is gay. The problem is he went after underage young males who usually did not return his sexual interest, regardless of little bits of trivia like how the District of Columbia views the age of consent at 16 while Foley's Florida says 18.

This is a long way around both making my point on the gap (Grand Canyon sized) between the Bush GOP and everyone else, as well as to point you to a New Republic piece by Jon Chait on how the Foley scandal has nothing on real GOP corruption.

Oops, there is also Michele Cottle's piece on whether the Foley Scandal is the much-expected October Surprise.

However, the answer to that is no. An October surprise, by definition, is typically a dark scandal or moral debacle put together by one group to use against another. The Foley Scandal isn't something the Dems dreamed up, nor have they promoted it all that loudly.

To think Foley was the October Surprise would mean - and I think this story will end up much larger - you could call David Kuo's book, "Tempting Faith" an October Surprise. Once again, however, this is a case of the current Washington GOP (and no, I don't believe all or even the majority of Republicans are like the current Washington crop) imploding itself again since they've been too cocky for too long.

While you're at it, check out this final TNR piece about how Karl Rove will try to destroy David Kuo, the Bushies #2 man in the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and a vetted conservative Christian.

One More Thing About the Nobel Peace Prize

The very thought that some lunkhead just about every damned year has actually NOMINATED Bush for the Nobel peace prize is like a trillion light years past obscene!

[Ed. note: Gee, Kate, tell us how you really feel about George Bush.]

Nobel Peace Prize

Before I tell you who won and why I'm reasonably pleased to see this, let me say that no matter who gets the Nobel Peace prize, there are always far right wingers complaining that President George Bush was not named. I'm serious, every damned year.

Peace? Peace?

Bush can't even spell peace, much let merit the prize!*** (see editorial note below)

Now the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is a man (Bangladeshi Muhammed Yunus) who helped develop micro loans mostly in third world countries. For those unaware, the micro system works beautifully because the poorest of women (women are often used as the basis for micro loans because for whatever reason, women are most likely to network with friends to bring them into the loan network) can get small loans to begin businesses. Then, as they pay back the $3 or $30 or $300 dollar loans, they can get ever-increasing loan sizes to build the businesses the first loans created.

I've been following these types of programs for around two years now and they make sense. If only I were rich, I would start a system like that somewhere as well.

Ed. note: President Bush cannot spell WAR either. In fact, if we would ONLY limit Dubya to do what he could both spell and pronounce, we'd be in much, much better shape. No nucular. No peninishulars and definitely no strategeries.

Channeling Stupid on North Korea and More

Dan Froomkin analyzes yesterday's (as in Wednesday, although it's now midnight on Friday the 13th - wheee!) smirking, shoulder-hunching Bush press conference. Now, before I give you a snippet, tell me exactly when and under what earthshaking conditions (the rapture, North Korea's nuclear missile test blowing to the earth's core, the return of Elvis perhaps?) would Mr. Bush ever even begin to suggest that he can learn from a previous mistake? Hmm?

Here we go, on with the show:

President Bush tried to change the subject yesterday, away from the Mark Foley congressional-page scandal and the general Republican pre-mid-term meltdown.

But no topic is safe these days. And Bush apparently has very little new to say.

The president spent just over an hour parrying questions from the press in the Rose Garden.
On North Korea, rather than coming off as an assertive leader, Bush spoke meekly about what has so far been a failed and listless diplomatic effort. On Iraq, his rhetoric was familiar and unlikely to stanch the loss of public support for the war. Even his formerly dependable warnings about threats to the nation's security lacked authority amid the growing doubts about whether his approach to the war on terror is working.

Here is the transcript of the news conference.


Vermont's Next U.S. Congressman

Methinks Odum of Green Mountain Daily is a force to be reckoned with. In the Caledonian-Record News - which publishes in a bastion of Vermont's right-wing (we keep it geographically close to New Hampshire so they can secede there more easily) - a poll Odum cites now has Peter Welch the hands-on favorite over former Vermont National Guard adjutant Martha Rainville in the race for the seat Bernie Sanders is vacating, hopefully to become our U.S. Senator with the retirement of Gentlemen Jim Jeffords (and I still appreciate him so).

Now we just need to clone odum for November 2th.

Also, I happened to hear that Green Mountain Daily is Montpelier-based. I might have to buy Odum a cup of Capitol Grounds coffee (their sandwiches suck) on one of my forays to Capitol City (alas, I miss the days when you could see Howard Dean trundling along State Street). I'll try to remember my DNA swab clone kit when and if I get to meet odum.

Treason and The GOP War On The Private Sphere (Treason of Another Hue?)

Glenn Greenwald offers very important questions about this first so-called case of treason of the "American al Qaeda" spokesman as well as points out key details in the GOP War on the Private Sphere (and the most basic of privacies).

Glenn is very right when he states that there is no one more opposed to the most fundamental Constitutionally held privacies than the Bush-led Republican war machine. Bastards.

Why Is The Head of the British Army Recommending Getting The Hell Out of Iraq?

Doug at All Things Democrat tells us.

Mind you, I'm torn. What we did to Iraq we should have done to no one. We have actually managed to make the country worse than it was during Saddam Hussein's tenure.

This is not the fault of the military; no, they did what Donald Rumsfeld told them to do. So they're left to do what they can while the Iraqi soldiers are delivering school supplies (from today's CentCom release) to schools that were fully equipped and functioning before the Bushies decided to invade. See below:

    Iraqi security forces have been taking on the challenge of their own security. Perhaps equally important is the future and wellbeing of the children of Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces take a break from hunting insurgents and enforcing the law to help Iraqi school children.
I guess those would be the Iraqi soldiers who aren't automatically executed, or poisoned, and whatever other violence befalls these folks on a daily basis.

I feel we owe Iraq more than we can ever possibly give to make up for what we took (hundreds of thousands of precious lives, just to name one example). But what is best? So-called "Cut and Run" (which is what the Bushies will do eventually and which is wrong) or stay there forever letting Halliburton and Bechtel profit for non-deliverance?

Bernie Sanders In the Northeast Kingdom

During his stop, Bernie Sanders explained his decision to seek conscientious objector status in the 1960s instead of go to Vietnam.

To me, knowing something about the hard way conscientious objectors have to tread, I find this far more honest than Dick Cheney with all his selective service extensions followed by a quick roll in the hay with Lynne (but damn, they produced a fine Republican lesbian daughter who has zero problems accepting sweet government contracts).

Worthwhile David S. Broder Piece

Broder has been almost notoriously non-partisan in all this, while waiting for Washington to stop its hopeless partisan nut job. But lately, he's sick and tired of it and letting it show. From today's WaPo "Ending the GOP Majority: Will Voters Pull the Trigger?":

The voters have been pointing a symbolic gun at the Republican regime in Washington for many months now. All that remains is for them to pull the trigger on Election Day.

When you examine the latest round of preelection polls, what is striking is the stability of public attitudes over the preceding months. In this week's Post-ABC News poll, for example, President Bush has a job approval score of 39 percent, with 60 percent disapproving. Eleven months earlier, in November 2005, the scores were identical.

In between, Bush got up as high as 47 percent and fell as low as 33 percent. But at no time did more Americans approve of his job performance than disapprove.

The public has shown similar consistency with party support for Congress. In the latest poll, Democrats lead Republicans, 54 percent to 41 percent, among registered voters. In November 2005 the Democrats led 52 percent to 37 percent. The margins are almost identical.

To take one more example, look at the broad question of the overall direction of the nation -- right path or wrong track. In this latest poll, by a margin of 66 percent to 32 percent, people said "wrong track." Last November the comparable numbers were 68 and 30 percent.
Of course, this assumes that the voting equipment will allow an accurate vote: an assumption that few veterans of elections 2000, 2002, or 2004 are unlikely to make.

Back From My Intro to Blogging Library Gig

Actually had a good time, even though I ended up staring down a moose who planted himself (and my flashlight confirmed it was male ::cough::) in the middle of a godforsaken bit of one lane dirt road washboard.

Who won?

That would be telling. ;>

A Lovely Cold Weather Surprise

While we haven't gotten the heavy snow which often comes to North Central Vermont early in October - and sometimes stays through March or May (brrrrr) - I happened to come home tonight to find, with just enough light to see, crimson color that I knew was not tree foliage (since our color on trees is past).

Roses I planted years ago finally took hold and here, long after most things have died away for the year, this one plant delivered up spectacular deep crimson blooms. Knowing we're due for below freezing weather tonight or tomorrow, I decided to break with tradition and actually cut them to bring them inside.

Nice to have the opportunity to see the blooms just before we leave here, a little putting of sweet with the bitter.

Gee, More of Bush's Bestest Friends Are Corrupt

What a news flash!

The Senate - which, mind you, is still controlled by the GOP, if you call brute force control - reports that an organization tied to Grover Norquist and corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, two of Bush's bestest friends, has "perpetrated a fraud on American taxpayers".

Uh huh. The Bushies have done a lot of those. Like the tax breaks again and again for the ultra rich.

Have Another Drink, Mel Gibson

Tom Shales tells us that ABC "host" Diane Sawyer (who happens to be married to famed director Mike Nichols), one of the few women besides Monica Crowley to still love Dick Nixon, gets tough in her interview with drunken doofus Mel Gibson.

Maybe I'd believe Mel's contrite if I hadn't already heard from numerous sources that Mel is right back drinking again. His stunt visit for alcoholism may not have kept him dry for even a day.

But this guy simply deserves no respect - although he gets my pity - for that venomous tirade against Jews (earth to Mel: Jesus and his mother, Mary, were Jews). He wanted every influential Jew to stop what they were doing so he could apologize to them at a time when many Jews were very worried about the situation going on in Lebanon and Israel over the summer. This wasn't about a genuine request for forgiveness; Mel just wanted off the hot seat.

While I'm willing to believe you can find a way, probably at gunpoint, to stop Mel from drinking, you can't turn that dark, dank place between his ears into a more suitable citadel of intelligence.

Funny, I never liked Mel when he was very hot. But I didn't hate him and my dislike had nothing to do with the fact he was a known coke freak, a loud mouth imbecile, or an egotist of monumental stature. No. I just thought he sucked as an actor. Still does. His direction and production skills are also rather mediocre.

Only the far right wing gave him the monetary success of his Jesus film. Serious critics, by and large, panned it. I did not bother to see it.

Sadly, having lots of money does not buy one a brain OR a soul. Have a good life, Mel. Just do it somewhere else.

Name That Tune!

OK, last post tonight before I go beddy-bye...

Could anyone name the late 60s-early 70s song where it's a folksy guy singing while the tune is played on the piano? OK, yes, I know that's not enough to guess it except that (drum roll pleeeeaaaassse) the chorus is something like a gospel choir singing, "Oh happy day... Oh happy day".

Come on hotshots, tell me what it is so we both know.


Forgive Me If I Repeat Myself on Edward R. Murrow

But Reason and Brimstone has one of my favorite Edward R. Murrow quotes (there are many; Murrow played a factor in my original decision to be a journalist):

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular."
--Edward R. Murrow

Think Of All We Spent on Wednesday Scrambling Fighter Jets

No, really. When that teeny tiny plane hit the condo tower, the military scrambled fighters supposedly throughout the country.

And remember, the Department of Homeland (In)Security believes New York has no terrorist attractions while they're devoting incredible resources to petting zoos AND bowling allies in Indiana.

What Do You Think Dubya Was Trying to Tell Mark Foley In This Picture?

Roxanne posted this with a "write the caption" deal.

I can think of at least a few captions. And you?

The YouTube-Google Deal

Based on what I see with Blogger once Google bought it, I'm not sure how YouTube will fare under their ownership now that Google decided to buy. Here's U.S. News' take on it.

Bush Blames Clinton For North Korea When Even Bushies Say Diplomacy Is Needed

Whatever drugs President George Bush was taking today at his press conference, I wish to hell I knew so I could specify never, ever to be administered any.

Just before the possibly failed North Korean nuclear test over the weekend, supposedly even core Bushies were telling Lunkhead (sorry, Commander in Chief Lunkhead) that they had to engage with North Korea instead of insisting on bizarre six-party talks where the Bushies wouldn't have to talk to Kim Jong-Il's people directly.

Yet today, Bush proclaims it's Clinton's fault for North Korea, even though Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sat high on the board of the American Bush-loving corporation that sold Kim Jong-Il much of its nuclear power just before the Bush's took (oh boy, did they) office.

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert Turns To Whack Job Evangelist?

Oh, this is rich from TPM Muckraker:

You're House Speaker Dennis Hastert. You're up to your wattle in the recriminations and repercussions of the Foley page scandal. You probably lost whatever chance you had of keeping your party in the majority. You're trying to save your own skin, much less the skins of your loyal staff, while multiple investigations are digging into your side about who knew what, when, and what they did or didn't do about it.

So you decide to take a meeting with a globe-hopping, PR-happy evangelist who (if accounts can be believed) faked his own leper colony?

After the 30-minute meeting between Hastert and Indian-by-way-of-Houston Christian evangelist K.A. Paul today, Hastert had no comment for the press. Paul, however, was downright chatty.

"I am humbled with his humility and simplicity," Paul told the Associated Press. (In the past, Paul has relied on the work of public relations firm Rubenstein Associates, who has also handled Rupert Murdoch and David Letterman. The firm says it no longer represents him.)

Paul was trying to get Hastert to step down, he told AP. "We don't want the Foley scandal when we have 100 more important things to do."
Nice to know that bad things sometimes also happen to bad people?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to my voodoo doll of the president. ::cough::

Looking for Lower Home or Office Heating Bills This Winter?

Well, with some forecasters saying this winter may be mild (but where?), and U.S. News reporting that whether you see lower home fuel prices than last year's record highs depends on what type of fuel you use, I think you better factor in the "election reduction".

Remember that fuel prices dropped just before the 2004 presidential election. After the election, prices rebounded hard. Same for gas prices as for home fuel prices.

I remember this but Buzzflash is kind enough to point you at this old MSNBC story on Prince Bandar's great help to George W. Bush.

U.S. News: Republican Rep Mark Foley Fondled Underage Page on House Floor

On the floor of the House of Representatives, the GOP's Foley - with Denny Hastert sitting right there - made "inappropriate" contact with an underage male page.

Sadly, it's not the most obscene thing that's happened on the Rep floor. But it's not good.

More on Jose Padilla And What The Bushies Do

After reading Glenn Greenwald's strong piece here again, I have to point out some of what's here in the dehumanizing, extreme, unlawful treatment of a U.S. born citizen named Jose Padilla who has been drugged with everything from LSD to truth serum, kept in segregation, tortured... while the Bushie loyalists like to insist this young man, born in this country and who spent most of his life right here in the U.S. is not a citizen:

All of that was done by the Bush administration to an American citizen detained on U.S. soil -- without any charges ever being brought against him, let alone convicted of any crime. All along, the Bush administration insisted it had the right to abduct and detain U.S. citizens indefinitely and deny them access to any courts or even to any lawyers, to either contest the validity of their detention or the legality of their treatment. That is still the Bush administration's position, and the Congress less than two weeks ago purported to give the President the legal authority to do virtually all of that.

The case of Jose Padilla is one of the most despicable and outright un-American travesties the U.S. Government has perpetrated for a long time. It is impossible to defend that behavior, let alone engage in it, and claim with any legitimacy that one believes in the principles that have defined and guided this country since its founding. But there has been no retreat from this behavior. Quite the contrary. The atrocity known as the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is a huge leap forward to elevating the Padilla treatment from the lawless shadows into full-fledged, officially sanctioned and legally authorized policy of the U.S. Government. The case of Jose Padilla is no longer a sick aberration, but is instead a symbol of the kind of Government we have chosen to have.
And read this comment by a law enforcement professional.

Now Here's Breaking News: Wolf Blitzer of CNN Finally Grows a Pair (of Balls, That Is!)

AmericaBlog reminds me of the transcript and video at Huffington Post I wanted to post about since I saw it on Sunday; Wolf Blitzer, when talking to Rep. McHenry, an idiot GOP House of Reprehensible about the Foley matter, actually showed he'd (finally!) grown at least a small pair of testicles. A little is at least better than none at all. ::cough::

Notably - and Jon Stewart pointed this out beautifully last night - McHenry kept trying to insist that Foley's "outing" was a Democratic ploy in the typical GOP lie fest.

Blitzer: Well you don't have any evidence though, right?

Rep. McHenry: Well look at the fact points...four weeks out from a national election...

Blitzer: Yes or no: do you have any evidence? Do you have any evidence Congressman?

Rep. McHenry: Do you have any evidence that says they weren't involved?

Blitzer: I'm just asking if you're just throwing out an accusation or if you have any hard evidence.

Rep. McHenry: No, it's a question Wolf. The question remains, were they involved? And if they were not involved they need to say clearly, and it's a question, it's not an accusation.

Blitzer: Well, they are denying that they had anything to do with this.
As Stewart pointed out, of course this is wonderful logic. Go investigate all 400-odd other House of Reprehensibles to make sure they aren't guilty before you look at Foley and Hastert. Sheesh.

Note To Mainstream Media

At 9 something PM, you can no longer call the death of a Yankees relief pitcher in a plane crash into a York Avenue (think rich - veddy rich) high-rise condo (Cody Lidel and his flight instructor fell to the ground rather than burned up in the apartment they hit) seven hours before is NOT Breaking News (what's the plural of doofus? Doofi?).

"Americans For Honesty" Are Anything But

Imagine the pals of Ken Lay, Tom DeLay, and George W. Bush calling themselves (sorry, I've broken about 7 ribs laughing so much at this) "Americans for Honesty". From Joe at Americablog:

The GOP negative ad barrage is starting courtesy of a political ally of Bush, DeLay and Ken Lay:

    A previously unknown group led by a Republican political consultant in Houston is financing television advertisements against nine Democratic House candidates from North Carolina to Arizona.The group, Americans for Honesty on Issues, is spending more than $1 million on the advertisements, which accuse Democratic candidates of carpetbagging, coddling illegal immigrants, being soft on crime and advocating cutting off money for troops in Iraq.
Talk about a misnomer. Americans for Honesty on Issues is being headed by an ally of three Americans who don't know much about honesty:
    The leader of Americans for Honesty on Issues is Sue Walden, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader who left Congress amid questions on ethics and fund-raising. Ms. Walden has also raised money for President Bush and served as an adviser to Kenneth L. Lay, the former chief executive of Enron who died in July.

    Madonna and Celebrity Adoptions

    Uh... I don't really want to get into celebrity talk in any detail, but wouldn't it be kinder, in some way, if celebrities with huge pockets like Madonna and Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt gave money to a family to allow them to keep and raise their own children than simply taking those children away to be reared in the nutty atmosphere of paparazzi?

    But what the fuck do I know?

    "Tempting Faith"

    Olbermann calls this a "devastating" work and says that the Bushies (Karl Rove, George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al) speak with utter contempt of the extreme right Christians. Its author is well vetted as a Christian conservative.

    The book is out on Monday. May be one to get, eh?

    Lt. Cmdr Charles Smith

    This is one of the military lawyers charged with representing - yeah, good luck there with the Bushies in office - the Gitmo detainees who, when told the only plea he could enter for a client was "guilty" (yeah, that's the American way, eh?), started the case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Bush's military tribunals were illegal.

    Today, the brave Lt. Cmdr Smith, sometimes referred to as the hero of Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay), was passed over for promotion and effectively, by the military's option, drummed out of the military altogether.

    Nice work, Bushies.

    The Washington Republicans Have No Use For the Far Right Radical Evangelicals Either

    OK, you know things are getting wild and woolly and that the lunatics indeed are running the asylum when I quote both Andrew Sullivan and not quite-so-out-of-the-closet-but-nonetheless-quite gay Tucker Carlson, and all wrapped around a Chris Matthews program!

    Here, entitled The Republican Contradiction:<blockquote>Tucker Carlson was brutally honest on the Chris Matthews' Show about the dysfunction and hypocrisy at the core of the current GOP:

      CARLSON: It goes deeper than that though. The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in ...
      MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?
      CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. they live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.
      MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?
      CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out.
    Keith Olbermann also talks tonight on "Countdown on MSNBC" tonight about how the Bushies used the evangelicals and then tossed them away.

    All this simply confirms what I said since the first day we heard of Boy King George II: he's no Christian, compassionate or otherwise. But then, some of the worst of these evangelicals (Dobson, Falwell, et al) are no Christians either.

    Baghdad: The Descriptions of War and Violence There Are Not Overrated

    From Jane Arraf, formerly one of CNN's best people on the ground in Bush's wars, comes this report, "Blogging Baghdad" that refutes Bush's happy horseshit today questioning the level of violence as well as civilian deaths in Iraq. It really is as bad as we hear, and then some.

    I am very, very lucky. I am alive in a war zone. Most of the time I have running water and when I turn on the lights, a series of generators ensures that they come on. I don't have to worry about saying goodbye to my family here in the morning and not knowing whether I'll see them in the evening. I know I'm lucky because almost everyone I know in Baghdad has to worry constantly about those things.

    Some readers and viewers think we journalists are exaggerating about the situation in Iraq. I can almost understand that because who would want to believe that things are this bad? Particularly when so many people here started out with such good intentions.

    I'm more puzzled by comments that the violence isn't any worse than any American city.
    Really? In which American city do 60 bullet-riddled bodies turn up on a given day? In which city do the headless bodies of ordinary citizens turn up every single day? In which city would it not be news if neighborhood school children were blown up? In which neighborhood would you look the other way if gunmen came into restaurants and shot dead the customers?

    Almost unimaginable Day-to-day life here for Iraqis is so far removed from the comfortable existence we live in the United States that it is almost literally unimaginable.

    It's almost impossible to describe what it feels like being stalled in traffic, your heart pounding, wondering if the vehicle in front of you is one of the three or four car bombs that will go off that day. Or seeing your husband show up at the door covered in blood after he was kidnapped and beaten.

    I don't know a single family here that hasn't had a relative, neighbor or friend die violently. In places where there's been all-out fighting going on, I've interviewed parents who buried their dead child in the yard because it was too dangerous to go to the morgue.

    Imagine the worst day you've ever had in your life, add a regular dose of terror and you'll begin to get an idea of what it's like every day for a lot of people here.
    Emphasis mine. If only the president of the United States could read. And then, if he only have a decent atom in his body.

    But, you know what? We ALL have a hand in this. That we allowed Bush to do this, not in one country but in two (and in parts of Latin America, too, and quite possibly by proxy with Israel in Lebanon), makes us all culpable.

    I hate that this is the truth. Yet I know it is true.

    Bush must go. Not in a coup, unless it's an actual coup of Joe and Jane America. Not in violence. We should have every senior Bushie in prison charged with crimes against humanity and decency.

    But we won't. Will we?

    Most U.S. Troops to Stay in Iraq Til 2010 - A Bush Oddity?

    With apologies to Kubrick, I really do think there is a Bush oddity to the requirement of having troops in Iraq in such large numbers (try 120,000 service people) through 2010, well after we get Bush's ass (and the worthless rest of him) out of the White House.

    From John at AmericaBlog:

    Jesus. That's four more years of this mess, at least. Jesus.

    And by the way, so much for Bush's promises that we might just decrease troops next year. Apparently he got that wrong too.
    That's some freaking "cakewalk", "in and out" and "pay for itself in spades" operation. Well, pay for itself perhaps is true for Halliburton, Bechtel, and a few others of the Bush-loved sponsoring corporations.

    The Torture And Imprisonment of a U.S. Citizen And Counting Iraqi Deaths

    Glenn Greenwald has quite a two-fer for us.

    First, there is yesterday's excellent piece on what the Bush Administration has done - try torture - to one American citizen, Jose Padilla, who has yet to ever be proven to have done anything (go back to Olbermann's Death of Habeus Corpus posted here last night). Please, we can't afford to just believe the Bushies that Padilla, the night-shift-clerk-at-Taco-Bell-the-Bushies-say-is-big-terrorist kahuna, is guilty. What they do to Padilla they can do to me. They can do it to you. They can do it to your son and to your daughter, your mother and your father, your lover and your best friend.

    Next, see what Glenn has to say about the unbelievably - and unconscionably - high death toll for Iraqi civilians since the U.S. invasion in March 2003. If we brought Iraq freedom, we brought them "freedom" from their lives, their jobs, their ways of life.

    While you're at it, why not read how Glenn needs some support to keep his wise counsel on the Web for us all.

    Iraq Civilian Death Toll At Least 655 Thousand

    While Bush insists these figures are all wrong - not that I think either the math OR the truth is exactly Dubya's forte, if you get my drift - a Johns Hopkins study of more than 18,000 families throughout Iraq list more than 655 thousand dead since U.S. troops rolled in. As Juan Cole said (to paraphrase): "So eighteen thousand Iraqi families all got together to conspire to report deaths that didn't happen?"

    In my view, I suspect this is on the low side. I (very regretfully) suspect that American actions within Iraq have probably killed, including allowing the insurgency to develop and the sectarian violence to go ballistic, may be responsible for at least 10% of Iraqi civilians or 2.5 million people.

    More than two years ago, for example, we were told the death count was over 200K. Violence in the past year, for example, has gone wild.

    American Faces Charges of Treason

    Billed as the American al Qaeda spokesman, Californian native 28-year-old Adam Gadahn is facing treason as well as aiding terrorists.

    Plane In NY Apartment Building Belongs to NY Yankees Relief Pitcher

    [Update: Corey is said to have been aboard as the pilot and has been confirmed dead. ABC News reports that four people are confirmed dead, all on the plane, but something's screwed there because it was a two-seat plane that took off from Teterboro. Yankees' Joe Torres has confirmed the death of Lidel.]

    The plane is registered to Corey Lidel, a New York Yankees relief pitcher.

    So far, there are two known deaths on the 2002-make small aircraft itself. Complicating identification, Corey has a twin brother.

    Plane Hits Manhattan Apartment Building

    Story here - it's a building with 180 units in it. American Red Cross is responding, says it's looking forward to a long night.

    Looks like this may have been a small plane coming from/to Teterboro Airport in NJ.

    Doesn't look like a terrorist event. Small planes and helicopters are known to hit Manhattan occasionally.


    Millionaires Are Just Too Poor to Apply While U.S. Business Booms for Billionaires

    Get a load of this:

    Millionaires are so last millennium. The new Forbes 400 list of richest Americans is billionaires only.If your net worth is a mere $999 million, forget it. A billion means a thousand million, and that's the Forbes 400 minimum - up from $900 million in 2005.

    Donald Trump and two of his kids grace the Forbes 400 cover, but they ranked No. 94 with $2.9 billion, Trump's a long way from No. 1 Bill Gates with $53 billion.The combined wealth of the 400 richest Americans is a record-breaking $1.25 trillion.

    That's about the same amount of wealth held by half the U.S. population, numbering 57 million households.The economy is booming for billionaires. It's a bust for many other Americans.

    A record 400 Americans are billionaires - and a record 47 million Americans have no health insurance. America has 400 billionaires - and 37 million people below the official poverty line.

    The official poverty line for one person was just $9,973 in 2005 (latest data). That wouldn't cover the custom-made men's shoes ($4,128) and Hermes purse ($6,250) on the Forbes Cost of Living Extremely Well Index. The official poverty line of $15,577 for a three-person family is lower than the cost of the Patek Philippe men's gold watch ($17,600).

    The Forbes 400 minimum is up $100 million since 2005, but the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour - just $10,712 a year - since 1997. GOP leaders in Congress have been holding a raise for minimum wage workers hostage to more giant tax cuts for wealthy inheritors.

    Paul Krugman: The Paranoid Style

    Here's a snippet but go here for the remainder.

    Last week Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, explained the real cause of the Foley scandal. “The people who want to see this thing blow up,” he said, “are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by George Soros.”

    Most news reports, to the extent they mentioned Mr. Hastert’s claim at all, seemed to treat it as a momentary aberration. But it wasn’t his first outburst along these lines. Back in 2004, Mr. Hastert said: “You know, I don’t know where George Soros gets his money. I don’t know where — if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from.”

    Does Mr. Hastert really believe that George Soros and his operatives, conspiring with the evil news media, are responsible for the Foley scandal? Yes, he probably does. For one thing, demonization of Mr. Soros is widespread in right-wing circles. One can only imagine what people like Mr. Hastert or Tony Blankley, the editorial page editor of The Washington Times, who once described Mr. Soros as “a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust,” say behind closed doors.

    More generally, Mr. Hastert is a leading figure in a political movement that exemplifies what the historian Richard Hofstadter famously called “the paranoid style in American politics.”

    Hofstadter’s essay introducing the term was inspired by his observations of the radical right-wingers who seized control of the Republican Party in 1964. Today, the movement that nominated Barry Goldwater controls both Congress and the White House.

    As a result, political paranoia — the “sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” Hofstadter described — has gone mainstream. To read Hofstadter’s essay today is to be struck by the extent to which he seems to be describing the state of mind not of a lunatic fringe, but of key figures in our political and media establishment.

    The “paranoid spokesman,” wrote Hofstadter, sees things “in apocalyptic terms. ... He is always manning the barricades of civilization.” Sure enough, Dick Cheney says that “the war on terror is a battle for the future of civilization.”

    According to Hofstadter, for the paranoids, “what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil,” and because “the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated.” Three days after 9/11, President Bush promised to “rid the world of evil.”
    Go here for the rest.

    Borat and Bush?

    Have you ever noticed that Sasha B Cohen's highly popular Borat character actually has a largely better grasp of English than our beluffed president, George W. Bush?

    The Death of Habeus Corpus; Dead By The Hand of George W. Bush

    Keith Olbermann's at it again - thank you, Keith - and in a way that shows you exactly how the articles of the Bill of Rights have been picked off, almost every one by the Bushies. Crooks and Liars has the transcript and the video which I strongly encourage you to read/watch.

    However, I'd like to disagree that Article 3 is the only article of the Bill of Rights left.

    My point of disagreement is this: re: the forcible quartering of the military in our homes, remember that the Bushies killed posse comitatus first and the military is more and more being used for policing. This is getting close to the death of Article 3.

    But here's the killer: remember Bush's plan if and when the bird flu pandemic hits the U.S.? Right; if necessary, forcible quarantining in our homes by the military. Quartering fits here.

    Second North Korean Nuclear Test Or Japan's 6.0 Earthquake?

    As of the past hour, the Japanese monitoring what they believed to be a second North Korean nuclear missile/bomb test may instead be a 6.0 Richter scale earthquake.

    What's interesting, however, is that North Korea said there test was entirely below ground. I'm no physicist or earth engineer. But I'm assuming a nuclear incident could trigger earthquakes.

    For example, when during WWII the Manhattan Project was preparing for the desert nuclear tests, one scenario they anticipated was a shock going right to the core of the middle of this planet which would wipe out all life very quickly. Oddly enough, they went ahead anyway.

    Wilbanks Update

    Why, oh why I bother escapes me. I'll blame it on feverishness.

    "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks (aka Popeye) is also suing her former husband-to-be for half a million bucks.

    Gee... you would almost think it should be him suing her.

    Blogger Repeating

    Sorry folks - for some reason, every post I make posts twice.

    Should We Just Send "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks to North Korea As Punishment For Nuclear Test(s)

    God... while we're waiting to hear from Japan's monitors on whether North Korea may have already set off a second nuclear bomb test - that's in addition to the one we heard about already early Monday - and while everyone decides how to "punish" the North Korea leader, who else reappears in the news but Georgia dipshit "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks.

    After the incredible trouble she caused, she's suing her former fiance for stealing her "gold" sofa.

    Too bad someone didn't steal the bug UP Wilbanks's (please pay attention to me, even negative attention!) ass.

    In the meantime, I propose we send Wilbanks over to marry Kim Son-Il. That'll teach him!

    Bush, Polls, and the GOP Crisis

    In the previous posting, I noted how Dan Froomkin accounts for Bush's lowest presidential poll numbers to date, and how his lack of popularity is a big part of what is hurting Republicans. But I don't think it's quite so simple for the GOP and our feelings about them.

    First, let's be clear: that Bush got elected at all was at best a fluke and at worst was a decided manipulation of the vote. There remains an extreme question whether he won the votes in 2004 either. The last mid-terms in 2002 are a huge question as well.

    Second, Americans have traditionally NEVER liked to have the president and the majority rule of Senate and House of Representatives to be from the same party. The last few years, they've seen again and again how this majority rule has harmed the country far more than helped it.

    Third, sorry: I hear Republicans talking about being sick to death of Republican rule.. and this was well before Mark Foley.

    Fourth, there may be more evangelical Christians now, but the rest of the country is getting past fed up with having these sin-all-the-time-but-get-forgiveness-on-Sunday types run the roost. We're tired of their narrow minded, their bigotry, their insistence that every bit of rule must go their way, and much, more.

    Audit For the Rulers?

    Constant recommends an audit of Capitol Hill, especially the majority GOP leadership.

    Hey, I'm in agreement. But - unlike the GOP who clearly has SUCH wide double standards - I don't believe a sane and fair system can audit one part without the other (Dems).

    Those Low, Low Bush Approval Ratings

    Hell, with the ratings Dubya Bush has these days, even his own parents are (finally!) voting against him in polls. From Dan Froomkin's WaPo blog:

    President Bush's approval ratings appear to be dropping to their lowest levels ever -- and this time, to the enormous apprehension of the White House, there's something voters can do about it.

    Officially, the White House refuses to even consider the possibility of a Democratic takeover of Congress in the November 7 elections. (As Ken Herman writes for Cox News Service, "It's a question the White House has banished to the won't-dignify-it-with-an-answer category.")

    Maybe that's because it's hard for anyone -- Bush fan or foe -- to imagine how different a Bush presidency would be with a Congress that doesn't bend to his will and maybe even starts to question him.

    And while it's too soon to count Karl Rove and the White House political machine out, it's going to be awfully hard for Bush to come to the rescue of his party when his lack of credibility is the cause of so many of its problems.

    Poll Watch

    Underlying grim news at the polls for Republicans generally is a dismal report card for the president in particular. Bush approval ratings in a nutshell: Washington Post/ABC, 39; Newsweek, 33; New York Times/CBS, 34; USA Today/Gallup, 37.

    David S. Broder and Dan Balz write in The Washington Post: "Democrats have regained a commanding position going into the final weeks of the midterm-election campaigns, with support eroding for Republicans on Iraq, ethics and presidential leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. . . .

    While Bush Convenes a Summit on School Violence...

    Just remember that Mr. Bush and his colleagues on Capitol Hill have done NOTHING but fight any attempts to keep ANY guns out of the hands of kids AND adults. Somehow automatic fast-round assault weapons are needed by every dipshit and somehow the 2nd article of the Constitution makes school shootings - and every damned thing else - legal.

    Mind you, while I hate guns, I do believe that people have a right to have a gun if they feel so inclined. But I want them to be trained, and I want limits on where and when they can be fired. And really, nobody outside of the military needs a gun that can fire 50 rounds in under a minute.

    So Why Doesn't Hastert Himself Resign?

    Denny Hastert, as speaker of the House (GOP) is now threatening to fire any of his staff members who knew about reports from pages about now resigned Congressionman Mark Foley. But Hastert knew, so why doesn't HE resign?

    The Advocate wrote about Foley going after pages ten (10!) years ago. Their executive editor on CNN today said the only outrage they got from Capitol Hill was NOT about Foley going after underage males but for identifying Foley as gay.

    Have You Seen This Missing 21-Year Old UVM Female Student

    Michelle Garner-Quinn is 21, stands 5-8 and weighs approximately 135 lbs.

    She disappeared under what police call suspicious circumstances from downtown Burlington early Saturday morning, wearing a grey pea coat, a blue t-shirt and a green cardigan sweater. Saturday, as North Country folks know, was very cold.

    If you have any information on her whereabouts, contact the Burlington Police at (802) 658-2700.

    Are We Having Fun Yet?

    Well, I'm not, but hopefully, you are.

    Blogger did its lovely thing of constantly redirecting me on attempts to sign-on, so I haven't posted since early Sunday morning. But it seems to be semi-working right now so here I am.

    I'm still not gay. Still not interested in underage pages. Still not a bigot. Still not a Bush Republican!


    Courage, Foley, and More

    Here's more on the Russian journalist and critic of Putin's shot to death and more (Foley, Congress, GOP, The Minutemen and U.S. Borders, Jim Webb, history, waterboarding and more):

    Death of a Courageous Journalist
    Katrina vanden Heuvel Anna Politkovskaya, fearless chronicler of atrocities by Russian troops and security forces against Chechen civilians, has been gunned down in Moscow.

    Sanctioning Lawlessness
    David Cole What's more important to Congress: America's standing in the world and the rule of law, or partisan advantage in the midterm elections?

    The Problem With the Mark Foley Problem
    John Nichols Too much focus on Foley draws attention from the real scandal. Yet, even Democrats are having trouble getting beyond the salacious details of one man's sad story.

    The Minutemen Hit the Wall
    Marc Cooper As Democratic Congressional candidates in Arizona embrace comprehensive immigration reform, conservative Republicans are no longer winning on their "militarize the border" message.

    The People's Candidate
    Bob Moser profiles Virginia Democratic senatorial James Webb, who has morphed into an unlikely candidate to challenge Republican incumbent George Allen.

    Waterboarding's Comeback
    Katrina vanden Heuvel Walter Pincus's extraordinary reporting has demonstrated that actions once treated like war crimes are now condoned and sanctioned.

    Teach the Children Well
    Peter Rothberg Historians Against the War is hosting teach-ins coast to coast before the election.

    Fidel Castro: Terminal Cancer or Another Bit of U.S. Propaganda

    WaPo is among those reporting that long-time leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, has terminal cancer and won't return to power currently held by his brother Raoul. However, during my lifetime, I've heard so many stories of his demise that I'll wait for proof he's dead before I buy it.

    Elsewhere, one of Russian president Vladimir Putin's loudest critics has been shot to death. Um... I'm sure there's no correlation between Putin's KGB roots and this "accident". ::cough::

    The Rev. James Dobson "Channels" Mark Foley

    A good one from JurassicPork at Welcome-to-Pottersville (go there to read it in entirety):

    Ex-congressman Mark Foley’s favorite card game was Old Maid. Don’t ask me why but it nonetheless seems an appropriate, if disturbing, first choice for an unmarried old queen like Foley. It would’ve taken an extraordinary distraction to tear him away from a hot hand of Old Maid, like a Macaulay Culkin marathon (Oh, those red, juicy, bee-stung lips!) or a visit from the local Boy Scout troop…

    …or one from the Rev. Dr. James Dobson.

    Yes, the Doctor Dobson of Focus on the Family infamy stopped by the rehab clinic into which the disgraced lawmaker had checked. Foley blinked his eyes like a stereotypical movie drunk who’d just seen a pink elephant.

    The FOF’s head honcho’s eye quickly darted this way and that and as if they’d read his mind, beefy men in black suits suddenly appeared. Drunks, druggies and even the clinic’s staff were hustled out as if the place was on fire. In no time, Foley was alone with Dobson in the recreation room.

    Dobson regarded him balefully, silently, like a dog owner who’d just discovered that his best friend had had a diarrheic disaster on his rare Persian rug then, for an encore, ate the stuffing out of his Italian leather sofa.

    Knowing Dobson’s predilection for canine abuse and the good reverend’s recent statements about him, Foley almost whimpered.“You have sinned,” Dobson finally hissed. “But not in the way that Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart sinned. At least they shook their staffs at a burning bush! And do you know the cause of your sickness, Marcus?”

    Here lies the rest.

    Maureen Dowd: "Death By Instant Message"

    Read the full MoDo here:

    So now we have our first IM scandal.

    We knew it was coming, all this personal information zinging back and forth across cyberspace at the speed of write, all this constantly streaming technology being inexorably adapted to the needs of desire.

    IM-ing is like whispering, perfect for furtive, racy exchanges — or slimy, perverted ones. It’s as if your id had a typewriter. In a world where everything is instant, the delaying and censoring mechanisms that contributed to a civilized life are gone.

    In the old days, there was a chance that career- or marriage-destroying letters would be, upon further consideration, thrown into the fireplace. IM’s, e-mails and BlackBerry billets-doux, more perilous forms of drunk dialing, have the wings of Mercury and the indestructibility of mercury.

    But peripatetic pols, like gossipy high school girls, will not give up computer messaging just because creepy Mark Foley (a k a Maf54) got caught with his e-boxers down.

    Indeed, the president and his top advisers were IM-ing just last night about the party’s meltdown. I hacked into the OVAL1600 chat room and prepared a transcript. Warning: politically explicit language, reader discretion advised.

    Decider: hey

    Rover08: ya

    Decider: Dick, u here? Don?

    DarthV: ya, potus

    Rumstud74: ditto, boss

    Decider: I called denny to tell him i just can’t quit him ...brokeback party ... did we decide right?
    Go here for the rest.

    Lies Have a Way of Creating Conflicts, Yes

    While WaPo reports that conflicting accounts of the Mark Foley-GOP responsibility scandal don't mesh with one another, let me say that the Republicans in Charge might want to try telling the truth: less fiction to make sense of.

    Cheney Delivers Grim News to Private-Only Campaign Audiences

    Remember when FDR said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself?"

    Except FDR wanted us to rise above the fear, while Bush and Cheney with their "mass death!" speeches want you shitting-your-boxer-shorts scared to death so you'll listen to them, to hate the people they hate, willing to bomb the people they want to hurt. From WaPo:

    Vice President Cheney sometimes starts speeches with a Ronald Reagan quotation about a "happy" nation needing "hope and faith." But not much happy talk follows. Not a lot of hope, either. He does, though, talk about the prospect of "mass death in the United States."

    The not-so-happy warrior of the past two campaign cycles is back on the road delivering a grim message about danger, defeatism and the stakes of the coming election. If it is not a joyful exercise, it is at least a relentless one. Even with poll ratings lower than President Bush's, Cheney has become a more ubiquitous presence on the campaign trail than in the last midterm election.

    He takes on not only the traditional vice presidential assignment of slicing up the opposition but also the Cassandra role of warning about dire threats to the nation's security. While others get distracted by Capitol Hill scandal, Cheney remains focused on the terrorists, who are, as he says in his stump speech, "still lethal, still desperately trying to hit us again." Bush, he says, is "protecting America" while the Democrats advocate "reckless" policies that add up to a "strategy of resignation and defeatism in the face of determined enemies."

    But the message is carefully targeted. More than half of Cheney's fundraisers in this two-year cycle have been behind closed doors. Even at a lunchtime speech to Wisconsin Republican donors that was open to reporters, gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mark Green did not stand on stage, ensuring no pictures of the two together on the news, and some other Republican candidates did not attend at all.