Saturday, April 30, 2005

Not Me

I am:
0%
Republican.
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday Nature Blogging: Cold Tulip/Uncooperative Dog Version


"Geeze it's chilly out here."


Aaah, isn't he attentive? Actually, no. This dog responds to one word and one word only and the sensitivity of his hearing increases by orders of magnitude when this word is spoken. Trevor (his name)? No. This, his one and only response ... "Did you say ... cookie?"
Friday Random 10

1.   Cottonwood - Tingstad, Rumbel and Lanz
2.   Did She Mention My Name - Gordon Lightfoot
3.   Theme from Hatari - Michael Hedges
4.   We May Never Pass This Way Again - Seals and Croft
5.   Ridgetop - Jesse Colin Young
6.   Down to You - Joni Mitchell
7.   Just a Song Before I Go - C,S, & N
8.   Ode to Ludwig - Don Dorsey
9.   My Old School - Steely Dan
10  Warm Love - Van Morrison

I do, I do, I really do have new music it's just that ... damn iTunes.
Money Quote

It doesn't get much better than this. In defending Bolton against current criticism, Bush said, "Sometimes people say I'm a little too blunt".

Well, that may be true Georgie but there's Bolton blunt:
1) Abrupt and often disconcertingly frank in speech; Synonym -gruff.
and then there's Bush blunt:
2) Having a dull edge or end; not sharp, 3) Lacking in feeling; insensitive, and 4) Slow to understand or perceive; dull.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

¿Dónde están sus principios?

DeLay has long been one of Congress' most vocal critics of what he calls Castro's "thugocracy," which is why some sharp-eyed TIME readers were surprised last week to see a photo of the Majority Leader smoking one of Cuba's best—a Hoyo de Monterrey double corona, which generally costs about $25 when purchased overseas and is not available in this country. The cigar's label clearly states that it was made in "Habana." The photo was taken in Jerusalem on July 28, 2003, during a meeting between DeLay and the Republican Jewish Coalition at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

...
DeLay's smoke may have run afoul of his principles, but it did not violate U.S. regulations at the time. However, it would now. Last September, the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control tightened its prohibitions against U.S. citizens importing or consuming Cuban cigars. Even Americans licensed to bring back up to $100 worth of Cuban goods are no longer allowed to include tobacco products in what they carry. The regulation also noted that Americans are barred not only from purchasing Cuban goods in foreign countries, but also from consuming them in those countries.

Imposible. Él no tiene ningún principio.

If a Moron Mutters Unintelligibly and There are no Mikes ...

Will he still look like a complete buffoon? Okay, besides being obvious, that's rhetorical.
The news conference is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in the East Room. The White House has asked television networks to broadcast the prime-time session.
So seriously, why should they cover it? Because his little sideshow paid for by the taxpayers who didn't get the benefit of any 'cuts' fell flatter than Calista's chest? Because his numbers are in the crapper and he's been caught out? Not a reason. How many times during the campaign did he play the media for free coverage of his non-news 'conferences'? Wouldn't it be great if only Fox showed up - it would restore my faith in humanity. A girl can hop... nevermind. It appears we might be in for more of these broadcast interruptions:
Bush held his last news conference on March 16. White House advisers are trying to have him hold the sessions on a monthly basis, far more frequently than in his first term.
Yeah, because putting him in front of a microphone does so much to impress the masses - think he'll take questions without JimmyJeff there?
Perspective

You won't see it on CSI (or maybe you will - I've never watched it, them, any of them) but as any good crime scene photographer knows you have to have a 'scale' in your photos without it you lack perspective - is that footwear impression from a size 9 or size 14 boot? Here we get
a little perspective from General Myers:
The Iraqi insurgency is just as strong now as it was one year ago, the most senior US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers has admitted.

Gen Myers also insists the US and coalition forces are winning the war and is confident of military victory.

"I'm going to say this: I think we are winning, okay. I think we're definitely winning. I think we've been winning for some time," Myers told reporters.

Gen Myers said the number of attacks has increased slightly recently but maintained that was a poor measure of the insurgency, noting that half the attacks are thwarted.

He acknowledged that insurgents were capable of surging to higher levels of violence as they did before the January 30 elections.

"I think their capacity stays about the same and where they are right now is where they were almost a year ago," he said.
Okay, the insugency is "just as strong" as one year ago, the number of attacks "has increased slightly" and the insurgents' capacity "stays about the same" but we're winning? On what metrics does he base this opinion? I don't think they've invented a scale by which we can measure this kind of progress.
USAF Refinery

Has a nice ring to it don't cha think?
The president also wants the Energy Department to discuss with local communities the possibility of building refineries on closed military sites. A shortage of U.S. refining capacity has been blamed in part for the high gasoline prices, most recently by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah at a meeting this week with Bush.
So, judges can't use historical foreign laws as a precedent but energy policy from foreign royalty of a country from which the majority of perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks came - not a problem.
America has not ordered a new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. Bush said that France has built 58 plants in the same period and today France gets more than 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.
Now all of a sudden he's a fan of France? Hmmm ... and I thought the nuclear option had something to do with changing congressional rules to eliminate the filibuster - my bad.
The president's call for a tax credit for gas-electric hybrid automobiles and for use of clean diesel is similar to a proposal in his budget earlier this year. The hybrid tax break was left out of the energy bill passed by the House last week.
Oops. these guys just can't seem to get on the same page these days.
Fine By Me

TBogg links to this post on Roger Ailes' (the other) blog and gives him well-deserved kudos for his commentary but what I struck me was the $3000 FEC fine. Yeah, $3,000 for failing to disclose $82,000 in payments. I'm thinking $85,000 might be a deterrent ... $3000?
World Leaders

Who says we can no longer compete. Woohoo we're number 1! Dust. We've left them in the dust.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Nuance ...Or Not


Remember when, against my better judgement, I visited the Oxycontin King's site and reported my surprise that you really couldn't get any information without paying for a subscription? Well, today I find that's not always the case. Here's a lovely little transcript demonstrating the buffoon's limited grasp of the english language and the difficulty he has with the concept of 'comparable' actions.
Swimmer Celebrates Abu Ghraib Day
April 26, 2005

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT
Matt Drudge has just posted a statement by Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the anniversary of the Abu Ghraib scandal. The Democrats are actually celebrating the one year anniversary of the Abu Ghraib scandal! Senator Kennedy's statement says... I mean, it is a huge statement. It was seven pages here. Well, yeah, I guess it is seven. It is. It is seven pages! There go four of them right there in the trash. (tossing pages) It is seven pages. I'm not going to bother you with all of it. But Senator Kennedy begins this way, "The sad anniversary of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal is now upon us." (Laughing.) Sad, my foot! These guys are happy as hell to be celebrating this today, but I think that we should encourage them. They have misread the public totally on this and they still think this is an election winnable issue for them.

Senator Kennedy says, "It's an appropriate time to reflect on how well we've responded as a nation. The images of cruelty and perversion are still difficult to look at a year later. An Iraqi prisoner in a dark hood and cape, standing on a cardboard box with electrodes attached to his body. Naked men forced to simulate sex acts on each other." Senator Kennedy is just jealous. This is the kind of stuff that used to go on in Hyannisport and he's just jealous that as he's getting older, he's not part of it. "The corpse of a man who had been beaten to death, lying in ice, next to soldiers smiling and giving a 'thumbs up' sign. A pool of blood from the wounds of a naked, defenseless prisoner attacked by a military dog.These images are seared into our collective memory."

Just as the image of an Oldsmobile, off the Dike Bridge, with the trunk sticking out of the water.
"The reports of widespread abuse by U.S. personnel were initially met with disbelief, then incomprehension. They stand in sharp contrast to the values America has always stood for-our belief in the dignity and worth of all people-our unequivocal stance against torture and abuse -- our commitment to the rule of law. The images horrified us and severely damaged our reputation in the Middle East and around the world." You know, you wouldn't know that by looking at what is happening in the Middle East. Anyway, Senator Kennedy and the Democrats, just want to put you on notice, celebrating the one year anniversary of Abu Ghraib today, noting the sad anniversary. And make no mistake about it, they are celebrating this. I just want to warn you, by the time you get to the afternoon shows on cable, and the nighttime shows on cable, Abu Ghraib will be portrayed as if it happened yesterday. We will be getting retrospectives. They will show us the pictures again, and they will go through all of the people they think personally ordered it from Alberto Gonzalez to George W. Bush. I wouldn't be surprised if they try to revive the National Guard story within some context with this. But, it's just so illustrative. In fact, Mary Mapes was the producer of the Abu Ghraib story. It was Mary Mapes who got the Abu Ghraib pictures. Somebody in the Defense Department leaked them to her. It was the same show, 60 Minutes Wednesday that ran the first pictures, and the New York Times caught up with it and bammo! They were out on the blocks with it. And so, you're going to see media celebration today with the sad one year anniversary of Abu Ghraib.
So, first we have "celebrate" [1 mark (a significant time or event) with an enjoyable activity; engage in festivities. 2 perform (a religious ceremony), in particular officiate at (the Eucharist). 3 honor or praise publicly.] versus "reflect" [think deeply or carefuly about]. Now, you tell me ... Read the transcript of Senator Kennedy's statement and then read these drug-addled verbal meanderings of Rush - who is celebrating?

Then he goes on to make a comparison between Chappaquiddick and Abu Ghraib. Let's ignore the absurdity of a drug addict taking issue with a drunk and yes, Senator Kennedy was at fault, a life was lost and he was not punished by our criminal justice system. But then Rush hasn't exactly been treated like other prescription-shopping addicts and OJ's still running around free. The dichotomous failings of our judicial system aside, the tragic death of a young woman by a drunk driver is not comparable to the deliberate torture of other human beings by more than a few bad apples. I know Rush is a little to old to have had the benefit of their wisdom but maybe he could catch some re-runs - they did an excellent job illustrating what things were the same and which were different. No nuance here but Limpblast clearly needs some help with the concept.
BREAK TRANSCRIPT
RUSH: The one year anniversary of Abu Ghraib celebrated today by Ted Kennedy and the Democrats. Speaking of Ted Kennedy, you all know the anniversary of Chappaquiddick is July 19th 1969, 36 and a half years already. Mary Jo was 29 in 1969, which means that this is the year she could have started collecting Social Security. Mary Jo Kopechne denied her birthright of Social Security, all because of one wrong turn at Chappaquiddick. Here's Christopher, Pensacola, Florida. Hi, Christopher, welcome to the program.

CALLER: Hey, Rush. Air Force dittos from Pensacola.

RUSH: Thank you, sir. Welcome to have you on the program.

CALLER: Just to keep you with the season, I want to wish you a Happy Abu Ghraib. And I apologize that I didn't get my Abu Ghraib present in the mail. I was wondering what I could get you for Abu Ghraib this year and how are you going to decorate your Abu Ghraib tree sir?

RUSH: You want to know what to get me for Abu Ghraib? You know what? That is a good question. I don't really want anything for Abu Ghraib. The Democrats, that is who we need to get presents for. One thing, have you thought about handcuffs? Those have multiple uses for Democrats. A whip. You know, to go along with the handcuffs. Dawn says a good present would be to give a Democrat a digital camera so that he or she can document their own atrocities. All you have to take it to a Madonna concert. You got the whips, and the handcuffs and chains right there on stage and people are paying for this.

CALLER: They may have military intelligence, Rush. Who knows?

RUSH: That is a great question. What kind of gift to give Democrats here on the anniversary of Abu Ghraib. I'm glad you called, Christopher.
Yeah, thanks for calling Christopher and demonstrating that bad apples still remain among our forces.
CALLER: How you doing Rush?

RUSH: Pretty good, Kevin.

CALLER: Love to talk to you.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: I just want you to know that we are going to have our Abu Ghraib barbecue party tonight and we are going to be playing nude Twister.

RUSH: (Laughing.) How many people you got coming?

CALLER: Well, I figure we only need 8 or 10 to make it a rip roaring time. I thought that would be kind of fitting.

RUSH: Yeah. Nude Twister? Big Abu Ghraib barbecue. (Laughter.) Okay. And that's from Oregon. Progress here.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT
RUSH: A couple more gift ideas for those of you celebrating Abu Ghraib Day today, celebrating the one year anniversary. Ted Kennedy issued a statement. Seven pages when you print it out. You all have computers now. Go out and make a petition, calling for Rumsfeld's resignation and put a bunch of signatures on it and pass it out. Give it to a liberal. Gift wrap it. Same thing with Cheney. You know, get some sort of a petition or a card or something demanding the impeachment of George W. Bush. That would go great. The guy from Eugene, Oregon, had a great idea. Go out and get a copy of nude Twister. Get the group. Give them that, along with a pair of women's panties. The choices here, the options, are limitless when it comes to giving the right gift on the special day that liberal Democrats have decided they need to celebrate, Abu Ghraib Day. Who's next on this program? David in Austin, Texas. Welcome to the program.
Pretty "well", Rush. Not good. Not in your wildest dreams good. You don't look good; you don't sound good. Adverb versus adjective moron. Yes, they put their collective brains together and this is what they come up with to humor themselves -- nude twister at an Abu Ghraib BBQ. Something is definitely twisted. There's more but you'll have to wade in the rest yourself - I'm sure you can find it and I need to go clean off these boots.
Supporting The Troops

The fact that our troops are insufficiently protected has been widely reported for quite some time, yet although many helpful suggestions (e.g, as AssRocket's commentary that soldiers should be able to provide themselves with sandbags - and no, I won't link) have been put forth, nothing has been done. Until now.
Captain Royer said that he photographed the Humvees in which his men died to show to any official who asked about the condition of their armor, but that no one ever did.

...Lt. Sean J. Schickel remembers Captain Royer asking a high-ranking Marine Corps visitor whether the company would be getting more factory-armored Humvees. The official said they had not been requested and that there were production constraints, Lieutenant Schickel said.

Recalls Captain Royer: "I'm thinking we have our most precious resource engaged in combat, and certainly the wealth of our nation can provide young, selfless men with what they need to accomplish their mission. That's an erudite way of putting it. I have a much more guttural response that I won't give you."

Captain Royer was later relieved of command. General Mattis and Colonel Kennedy declined to discuss the matter. His first fitness report, issued on May 31, 2004, after the company's deadliest firefights, concluded, "He has single-handedly reshaped a company in sore need of a leader; succeeded in forming a cohesive fighting force that is battle-tested and worthy."

The second, on Sept. 1, 2004, gave him opposite marks for leadership. "He has been described on numerous occasions as 'dictatorial,' " it said. "There is no morale or motivation in his marines." His defenders say he drove his troops as hard as he drove himself, but was wrongly blamed for problems like armor. "Captain Royer was a decent man that was used for a dirty job and thrown away by his chain of command," Sergeant Sheldon said.
Well, at least they (National Guard) appear to have given up the idea of using the dollars they don't have for armor in 'honoring' the troops by naming a baseball stadium for them, temporarily ... for three years. Did that little story fall off the charts quickly or what. But as Mary Chapin Carpenter says ... it wasn't what you said, it's what you didn't say:
Last month, city officials reported that the Army might be willing to pay about $1.4 million per season to become the primary sponsor at RFK. An official in the administration of Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said the Army was interested because of the large number of young people who watch baseball.
[Nitpicker emphasis] If we read between the lines we might read ... large number of young, poor, disadvantaged black men who watch baseball. That's one way to get rid of a large number of people who didn't vote for you. I know, only Michael Moore believes military recruiters target that population. I have to admit though, I did like this genetleman's suggestion with regard to RFK stadium:
Phil Frankenfeld of Washington has been following the efforts of the U.S. military to purchase the naming rights for RFK Stadium. He has a modest proposal: "Relief pitchers stop losses of games, correct?" Phil says. "Have the National Guard sponsor only the bullpen at RFK. It can be called the National Guard Stop Loss Bullpen."
Note: You may have noticed the "hello Tblogg" on the WaPo links [I did and was initially bemused] - quite some time ago (well over a year) TBogg had a link in which he included his logon -as WaPo is subscription only ... it was saved in my 'keychain', there you have it. Thanks, Tbogg.
[Re]Turning Their Attention ...

Apparently the search for Saddam's WMDs has gone as far as feasible and has finally been exhausted. Inspectors may now return to their efforts in assisting OJ in his search for the real killer.
In The Clear

These guys are amazing aren't they? The efficiency with which they absolve themselves of any wrongdoing. The one time the Chimp leads by example and like lemmings ...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday Random 10: Just Barely Version

1.  I Saw It In You - Joe Ely
2.  Undecided - Natalie Cole
3.  Sarah, Sarah - Tom Scott
4.  My Cherie Amour - The Nylons
5.  Magic Bus - The Who
6.  Castles In The Air - Don McLean
7.  Dreamin' About The Day - Joan Osborne
8.  The Wild Places - Dan Fogelberg
9.  Lost In Love - George Benson
10. In Your Eyes Bela Fleck
What a Difference a Day Makes Posted by Hello


As you can see, yesterday was more than a little overcast but I did make it back down before I got drenched. In the course of my hike (I was trying to find the Basque shepherd, his flock and his marvelous team of Border Collies that I came across the other day sans camera) I found evidence that I was not the first up here yesterday morn but man, dog ... someone was confused as to whether they were:

coming or going?


I found it mildly amusing that in a great many of their tracks man and dog appeared to be going in opposite directions. Sorry for the 'diaphram' shadow but given my original intent, I only had my quasi telephoto lens with me. Unfortunately shepherd and company had moved on - the absence of their tent evidence that they had pulled up stakes. I'll try and catch them on the next 'rotation' through this area; the dogs were a wonderous and efficient team.
In Praise of Apollo Posted by Hello


It's a gorgeous day here, what's it like where you are?
Friday Nature Blogging: Salamander Edition Posted by Hello


This was taken last year and the 'spotlight' is from a friend's flashlight as the picture was taken here:


in the blackness of a cave where it was the only source of light. My apologies for the quality of the pic but I was trying to hurry as I didn't want to disturb the poor little fellow too much, as he's accustomed to total darkness (and I didn't have a macro lens).

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Just a Friendly Little Game

Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio plays his trump card and Luger folds. Only time will tell if this is merely a savvy gesture on Voinovich's part or if there's real conviction in his action today.
One Step Closer to Obsolescence

They picked a pope. Benedict XVI? Who'd have thought Benedict was such a popular papal name.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Freedom of Speech is Overrated Anyway

Have you heard of the Jefferson Muzzles? Since 1992, to commemorate Jefferson's birthday, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, calls attention to individuals or entities who have disregarded the principles of the 1st Amendment by awarding them a 'muzzle'. Find the 2005 muzzles here. Listen to a discussion about the awards here. [via The Modulator] They accept nominations.

You'll love this ... Rudy Guiliani was given a lifetime muzzle award in 1999. Leopard ...spots.
When It Rains ...

It was pouring last week (in terms of work and personal committments) and I was unable to post. Unfortunately, as I'm sure you've noticed, Terry also went missing. Don't worry. Nothing serious. He e-mailed last week and said he'd be unable to contribute for ~10 days or so. So, don't expect him back until later this week at the earliest. I'll keep you posted if I hear more. In the meantime ...

If you're at all like me, you pay little no attention to the Oxycontin King (and no, I'm not going to link to him), but at times Terry targets Rush with his rapier wit and I thought the man shouldn't be given a reprieve because of Terry's circumstances in Afghanistan - so, I thought I'd check in on the ego-driven, drug-addicted blatherskite. Damn -timing's everything and I'm about a week late in getting in on his latest bit of insanity as no doubt you already read about his bizarre blowjob rant and subsequent quasi apology. However, as blissful as I am in my normal ignorance of all things Rush, I did learn a couple things from my little exploratory exercise. Did you know, for instance, that you can't really get any information from his website (again, no link) - at least not for free ...



Is that unbelievable or what - I mean, it's one thing to wonder about people who listen to his tripe on the radio at no expense but $59.90? $6.95 a month? It's worse than we feared.

You can, however, find little nuggets (think cow chips) of his wisdom like this sans price protections:
"I'm sick and tired of people that are fearful of every damn thing. I'm sick and tired of phonies that live their lives only to get media coverage instead of being real."
Who knew? Of course we're all aware that Rush has trouble with his hearing but apparently his eyesight is going as well. Well, I have to go shower now but I'll be back later.
Friday Random 10: Monday Morning Edition

1. Longing in Their Hearts - Bonnie Raitt
2. Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
3. Dancing Shoes - Dan Fogelberg
4. Do You Like the Way - Santana
5. Reverie - David Lanz
6. All That Hammering - John Gorka
7. The End of My Pirate Days - Mary Chapin Carpenter
8. Misty Moonlight Waltz - Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O'Connor, Edgar Meyer
9. Town Without Pity - The Nylons
10. Deja Vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Being Ridiculous

I know, it's absurd to link to Billmon - if you're not reading him, what the hell are you on the internets for? But today he talks about measured justice - go read.
Got Your Back

Earlier, Terry wondered if someone might help him out with an "appropriate" descripton of commander Codpiece's "discourse". Appropriate, of course being a relative term (inappropriate in Terry's current situation) -kinda like moral is for our fearless leader. Personally, I don't know if one can ever refer to Bush's verbal exercises as discourse -it's more like masturbation. While he sits with his eyes closed, over in his own little world, and attempts to get his rocks off - others don't get his pre-climactic mutterings. I don't know what's more pathetic. That the leader of the free world requests that his supremely inept commentary on the Pope's legacy be amended by the addition of the word excellent (yeah, that makes all the difference Georgie) or that he actually may believe a specific action from him is necessary to set himself apart from the Big Dog. I see that TBogg has more on Bush's discourse and agree with Thomas Paine (and James) - Bush is an infidel. I know it's a little late Terry, but I hope this helps.

Terry: CJ, I am shocked to see those sorts of things written about the Commander-in-Chief!
Byrd and the filibuster

Dana Milbank lays out the Republican's new talking points on the filibuster in todays WaPo. Republicans will be saying everywhere that Byrd:

• Originated a proposal in 1975 to reduce the supermajority from two-thirds to three-fifths.

• Broke a filibuster in 1977 with a simple majority vote.

• Threatened in 1979 to change Senate rules to break a filibuster, asserting that "this Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past" and that "rules have been changed from time to time."

• Made other parliamentary maneuvers in 1980 and 1987 to stifle debate.

This is why you'll here the nuclear option referred to as the "Byrd option" on today's talk shows, if it comes up.

Byrd, however, reminds us (in the same article):

• That his 1975 action was to prevent the Senate from switching to a simple majority vote.

• In the 1977 case, the Senate had already voted 77 to 17 to cut off debate when senators attempted a "post-cloture" filibuster.

• In the 1979 case, also about "post-cloture" filibusters, he was supported by Senate Republican leader Howard Baker (Tenn.).

• That his actions in 1980 and 1987 "did not contravene any precedent or standing rule" and "ensured that Senate procedure would conform more closely" to the rules.

Everyone with the time to do so should be researching these incidents carefully and preparing for this fight.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Freedom Marching



heh, indeed.

Update: Holden has better pics
I'm starting to like Jeff Gannon

Crooks and Liars has the video from the National Press Club panel and the guy's a card (via Talkleft):

You can hardly call Fox News conservative.

Hi-freaking-larious. It brought down the house!

And you have to see the part where his red state/blue state map is oddly-colored because his printer ran out of ink, but he perserveres in his attempt to demonstrate just how conservative the U.S. is. "Look at all that green," he says. Priceless. He's the Gallagher of the White House Press Corps. Or maybe he's performing an extended Andy Kaufmanesque parody of a wingnut.

Digby has another view.

Update: No, wait! I know who he reminds me of: George Costanza! At the NPC he said why is it wrong that I'm a partisan journalist? Look at George Stephanopolous. Big Media Matt Yglesias made the point that "There's something of a distinction between people who used to have political jobs and now have jobs as journalists." It all reminded me of the time George had lost his job and Jerry was trying to help him decide what to do (CUE wavy "going back in time" vision):

JERRY: So, what are you gonna do now? Are you gonna look for something else in real estate?

GEORGE: Nobody's hiring now. The market's terrible.

JERRY: So what are you gonna do?

GEORGE: I like sports. I could do something in sports.

JERRY: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. In what capacity?

GEORGE: You know, like the general manager of a baseball team or something.

JERRY: Yeah. Well, that - that could be tough to get.

GEORGE: Well, it doesn't even have to be the general manager. Maybe I could be like, an announcer? Maybe like a color man? You know how I always make those interesting comments during the game?

Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. You make good comments.

George: So? What about that?

Jerry: Well, they tend to give those jobs to ex-ballplayers and, ya know, people IN broadcasting.

George: That's really not fair.

Substitute "former political staffers" for "ex-ballplayers" and male prostitute for real estate and you've got Jeff Gannon, the George Constanza who wouldn't give up.
Stand back!

That vein in O'Reilly's head is gonna blow!

When the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media were announced yesterday, they cited a program that was later accused of basing a report on fake documents, "60 Minutes II" - and a program that gleefully engages in the production of fake news, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

The Peabody given to the Wednesday edition of "60 Minutes" honored an exclusive story, produced by Mary Mapes and reported by Dan Rather, about the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Several months after that journalistic coup, Ms. Mapes was fired and Mr. Rather retired as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" earlier than planned in the wake of another broadcast, on President George W. Bush's National Guard service. After initially backing its reporters and their report, CBS said they may have based it on falsified documents.
Hinderaker: "I can be an obtuse observer..."

I hiked up my pantlegs and waded into the conservative blogosphere today and saw this post over at Power Line. It seems that the Blogger-Formerly-Known-as-Hindrocket (who decided recently to start posting under the name John since his latent and [to him] embarrassing homosexuality was getting a little obvious) saw the following Time magazine advertisement and decided that it was yet another example of how pictures are making his pet war look bad.



Here's what the eminent attorney had to say:

"Know why." Know why what? Why American soldiers are beaten and dispirited, I guess. Why we're losing in Iraq. Is there any other way to read this ad? I've studied it more than I'd like to admit, and I can't think of any. If you want to know why American soldiers are defeated and demoralized, read Time.

I'm glad this dipshit is a litigation attorney and not a criminal lawyer. He's never heard of motive. Time is clearly saying that, while other magazines and news sources show you what happened, Time wants to delve deeper and try to explain why things happen. Unless you're a kook who sniffs every document to determine validity or who finds media bias in crossword puzzles, you'd probably see that right off the bat. Not the Once-and-Future-AssMissile.

For my part, I find it a deeply affecting advertisement, especially when you take into account something that isn't readily apparent, but stands out like a sore thumb to anyone who's served in the Army: the folder between the soldier's feet is an Army medical record. I want to know his story now. Is he crying? Is he in pain? Is he praying that he'll be OK or thanking God that he's on his way home and simply carrying his records to his redployment station? In other words: Who is he? Where was he? When was this taken? And, yes, why is he there?

As the incomparable Athenae wrote a couple of days ago, those who supported the war in Iraq fear any photo that doesn't involve waving flags and cheering crowds, despite their willingness to chant "freedom isn't free" to anyone who suggests that it wasn't worth the loss.

Freedom isn't free, you say, giving me the impression that whatever other xenophobic homophobic fundie whackjob tendencies you harbored, at least you understood that for your bravado somebody pays a price. I hope you got a receipt, because it sounds like freedom's a little more expensive than you counted on. In fact freedom's so fucking expensive you can't stand to be told what market price is these days.

While Little Johnny Hinderaker seems to take a "to make an omelet you have to break some eggs" approach to the war, he hates it when the press shows the leftover shells.


Something else: A large part of my job is to take pictures of soldiers. Almost every soldier I've met would love a photo like this of themselves. It's not glamorous, but the prettiness it lacks is more than made up for by its honesty and its appreciation of soldiers' struggles. If you were always clean and happy and waving a flag, then everybody would serve.

You see, today's soldiers (myself, of course, included) were raised on the photos of dirty dogfaces crouched in Bastogne foxholes and the Vietnam-era photos of tired, worn soldiers coming back from the jungle patrols. I don't want to idealize them too much, but these are photos that speak of warriors who have given their all and have lived through it. If you had just won the Super Bowl, would you want to go clean up before someone took your picture, or would you rather be remembered sweaty, filthy and beaten up, standing on the field on which you'd been victorious?

The best that some people could do to support soldiers is just leave them alone. You got your way and your war. Let soldiers have their pictures.
Threatening judges? C'mon...

From today's WaPo:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a fairly accomplished jurist, but he might want to get himself a good lawyer -- and perhaps a few more bodyguards.

Conservative leaders meeting in Washington yesterday for a discussion of "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny" decided that Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, should be impeached, or worse...

(L)awyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."

So, now we're learning where these fuckers stand. Marx, Lenin and Satan are bad. Stalin, however, may have had a point.
Speak no evil

Still being on active duty, I have been told that I am not allowed to use "contemptuous words" toward the president (although I'm not sure that's correct, as I am a noncommissioned officer, not a commissioned officer, as the article states).

So, to be on the safe side, I'll just put this out there, sans comment.

It seems that, in order set himself apart from Bill Clinton, who said the Pope might have a "mixed legacy," Bush decided to have a chat with the press on Air Force One and praise the Pope again and again. This caught my eye:

Q Your predecessor suggested that the Pope would leave a mixed legacy, even though he was a great man. Since you differed with him on the war to such a great degree, do you also think it will be a mixed legacy?

THE PRESIDENT: I think Pope John Paul II will have a clear legacy of peace, compassion, and a strong legacy of setting a clear moral tone...

Let me make sure I go back to the first answer on His Holiness. I said -- I think my answer was, is that -- what did I say?

Q I asked if you thought it was a mixed message, and you said, "I think John Paul II will have a clear legacy of peace" --

THE PRESIDENT: A clear and excellent legacy, if you don't mind adding the word "excellent."

Q Clear and excellent.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. In other words, a strong legacy. I wanted to make sure there was a proper adjective to the legacy I thought he left behind. It was more than just "clear."

MR. McCLELLAN: You said "strong," too, in that answer.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay.

Q Yes, you said, "strong legacy of setting a clear moral tone."

THE PRESIDENT: Fine. Okay, good...

I would define Pope John Paul II as a clear thinker who was like a rock. And tides of moral relativism kind of washed around him, but he stood strong as a rock. And that's why millions -- one of the reasons why millions came to admire and love him.

(Contemptuous... Words... Rising... Must... Fight...)

Is this pandering? Is it morally relativistic to use the Pope's term "a culture of life" despite holding the record the most executions ever overseen by any governor? Is there cognitive dissonance in declaring that the state should "err on the side of life" after having started a war based on cherry-picked intelligence? Hmmm...As an active duty soldier I can't say -- at least not without losing rank.

Perhaps CJ (or others) could come up with an appropriate description of the President's discourse?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Friday Nature Blogging: Bird Edition


Seeing Double Posted by Hello

Yeah, I know I can't compete with skb, I won't even try.
Friday Random 10 (CJ's)
1.   Shower the People - James Taylor

2.   The Mhairi Bhan - Dougie MacLean

3.   Gospel - Michael Hedges

4.   Pinball Wizard - The Who

5.   Cry Freedom - Dave Mathews Band

6.   Lovely Rita - The Beatles

7.   Arkansas Traveler - Bela Fleck

8.   Urban World - Hiroshima

9.   Jungle Wave - Tom Scott

10.  Come and Find Me - Josh Ritter
So, while 1, 4 and 6 answer the question in what decade were you born (so a great deal of my music was purchased awhile ago -wanna make something of it), Josh Ritter is a relatively new acquisition from e-music. If you haven't checked out e-music yet, you should. I think they're still offering a no-obligation 50-free download trial.
Choices

David has an excellent post discussing some Washington state Republicans' rationale for preventing the inclusion of members of the gay community in the state's anti-discrimination law. It's the old being gay is a choice argument. Yet, religious discrimination is covered by the law - I guess that's because denomination or indeed belief itself, must be determined by genetics. The GOP -bringing new meaning to the word logic. Go read.
Because, if you haven't heard, Liberals are united now

Feministe commands. I obey:

  1. Built to Spill - "You Were Right"
  2. Marlene Dietrich - "Lili Marlene"
  3. Nine Inch Nails - "The Downward Spiral"
  4. U2 - "Stay (Faraway, So Close)[Underdog Mix]"
  5. Alicia Keys - "Dragon Days"
  6. Leadbelly - "Goodnight Irene"
  7. Jeff Buckley - "Lover, You Should Have Come Over"
  8. Jane's Addiction - "Pigs in Zen"
  9. Guided By Voices - "Chasing Heather Crazy"
  10. The Shins - "Caring is Creepy"

While we're talking about music, have you checked out Pressure Drop? It's run by a good friend of mine who has the most eclectic and expansive music collection I've ever seen. He writes kickass music reviews and, though he won't tell you, he used to make a mean Bloody Mary.

However, I'm still not sure if he realizes that the photo of me with my arm around Ian McKellan in front of a polling place was a joke. Sir Ian, as far as I know, didn't make it anywhere near Afghanistan on election day. And, of course, his head isn't four times as large as his body.
Semantics

Silly Jeb. Freedom fighters aren't those that fight freedom but rather those that that fight for freedom(s). We understand. Language, like all else for the Bush boys is ... hard. Here are a few references that may help Jeb with the concept. To be fair (because after all we're not MSM hacks here, we are bloggers - we have that whole self-correcting integrity thing going on), Newsmax was the only source I found with that particular quote of Jeb, so take that for what it's worth. However, other sources reference Jeb's uncertainty about the "necessity" of the bill while stating he thinks "conservatives are in the minority at a lot of universities, and their speech is not given the same value that speech on the left is" and they also cite his support for Rep. Baxley because it's "right to start the discussion about free speech at universities and the need to respect minority views". While these statements may not rise to the same level of stupidity as the 'freedom fighter' association, well ... there are reasons for the former, and the latter has nothing to do with the bill introduced into the Florida legislature. Yep, Jeb and his even dumber brother, never two clearer examples of how abortion could be a 'pro-life' act.

A further note to Rep. Baxley who grouses that his anthropology professor wasn't interested in his 'conservative' view which caused him to 'slump in his seat, keep quiet, spit back what they wanted, duck his head and get out of there' ... you should have remained quiet. You know, better to remain silent and be thought a fool than ...well, there's no doubt now. [I wonder, do you suppose this was a cultural or physical anthropology class?] One needs have an intellect to comprehend intellectual freedom. Failing that, Baxley introduces a bill that is an affront on not a defense of such freedom but then that's not really what this bill is about is it?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The sentence of the day

Richard Cohen:

Unlike Bill Clinton, who got the PDB (the President's Daily Brief) on paper and routinely defaced it with questions and comments, Bush had briefings that were delivered orally, much like children's medicine.

For God's sake, when did Cohen expect the President to get his jog on?

I love to exercise. I'm doing -- I'm doing it to make sure that I do the job you expect me to do, and I'm doing it to set an example, as well.

I, for one, would actually expect less exercise and more reading...

but that's me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Men ... Like Towers

The bigger they are the harder they fall.
... it's not who's sold, it's not who's bought
and it's not the kickback, it's if you get caught.
-Tower of Power
Two quick things

One: TBogg says that the Profit Prophet Jimmy has thrown down the gloves, shouting, "It's on, judicial bitches!" Or something like that.

Two: I've been, um, away and Blogger has become strange and frightening in my absence. Could someone drop me a line and let me know what the frig happened to my comments? I wouldn't want to be accused of being a Nancy boy.
Asshats of the world, unite!

I have several friends who are conservative and we often slip in and out of political arguments in the course of a boozy evening. As Bob Dole said at the opening of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics (in my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas), "the clash of ideas" should never be "confused with a holy war." I, for one, have never had trouble with an open, honest debate, but am most often annoyed by bullshit. Oh, sure, I've been known to call even an honest, straightforward debater an asshole or a dumbass here and there, but, you know: Sticks. Stones.

So, it's with great pleasure that I give a compliment to Right Thinking From the Left Coast. Yes, he's often crass, seldom makes sense and he's got some issues with his dingle (dude, kidding), but he did give me one of my first and most treasured kudos, which has sat on this site ever since. As you see at the right (appropriately enough), I was once his "Idiot Leftie Blog Du Jour," an honor that I can only wish had come with a plaque. Or one of his commenters could have presented me with his description of me in T-Shirt form. I would love to wear a What an asshat! shirt around Lawrence when I get back from Afghanistan.

Today, I return the favor, but with less snark. It seems that Lee and his fellow "Right Thinkers" are beginning to realize that the Republican Party talks about getting the government out of your back pocket, but only so they can block your button fly with one hand and your mouth with the other.

The other day I was discussing the reasons why I’ve left the GOP and I mentioned their support of censorship through indecency laws. Basically I was laughed at my a lot of the hard-core Republicans, but now that I’ve read this story I feel totally vindicated.

The chairman of one of the entertainment industry’s most important congressional committees says he wants to take the enforcement of broadcast decency standards into the realm of criminal prosecution...

That’s right, folks. If you put a boobie on TV or say the f-word on radio you’re going to have the awesome might of the behemoth federal government criminally prosecuting you for doing so. Some of you Republicans out there, please explain to me how this isn’t an oppressive use of government force to threaten people into following a certain moral code (i.e. one dictated by conservative Republicans).

If you want Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Donald Wildmon dictating what you can watch on TV, vote Republican.

Even most of Lee's commenters agree with him.

Lee and I aren't going to be agreeing on much more than this issue (although Lee might be surprised), I'm sure, but I appreciate a man who will say the "Emperor has no clothes" when a wang's clearly visible, even if the wang-wearer believes most of the same things you do.

So, good on ya, Lee. If I'm ever in California, I'll buy you beers until its You're the greatest, man and No, you're the greatest and No, Bush is the greatest and The FUCK he is and The FUCK he IS TOO and then there will be scuffling and then the wiping of blood from faces and then swelling and then more beers and, later, You're the greatest, man...
Tell us what we want to hear

Some more great logic from Judge Poseur Posner. Today he wrote about the new intelligence report:

For all of its genuine distinction, the report has weaknesses. Foremost among them -- a product of the blinding clarity of hindsight -- is a misplaced perfectionism that feeds the dangerous fallacy that all intelligence failures are the product of culpable, and therefore remediable, blunders. Actually, most such failures are the inevitable result of the inherent limitations of intelligence. Before the invasion of Iraq, nearly every competent observer, including the intelligence services of foreign nations opposed to the invasion, believed that Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and was trying to build nuclear bombs as well. Hussein's history, and above all the logic of the situation -- surely he wouldn't risk his regime by failing to come clean if did not have such weapons [sic] -- created a presumption that he had them. The commission criticizes the intelligence agencies for embracing the presumption. But no inquiry operates without preconceptions that shift the burden of proof to the doubters -- of whom there were, in the case of the Iraqi weapons, precious few.


There's a lot for Richie to be embarrassed by in this paragraph, but let's look at the "logic of the situation."

Posner basically says that intelligence agencies "believed" that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons and that we had to attack because he "fail(ed) to come clean," something he surely wouldn't have done if he didn't have them, since doing so would be risking his own downfall. Yet no one has proven that Iraq's December 7, 2002, report to the U.N. was false in any meaningful way. In other words, yes, there may have been a couple antique chemical weapons lying in a ditch somewhere, but, having seen whole Army units misplaced by admin clerks here in Afghanistan, I can attest to the fact that there's a qualitative (and quantitative) difference between intentionally misleading someone and screwing up. Hell, given Saddam's report to the U.N. and statements made to that same body by the United States, we have to admit that Saddam was far more right than we were.

So, as we know now, there were no WMDs in Iraq. But, by Posner's logic, we still had to attack because Saddam wouldn't tell us where they were. The truth isn't important to Posner. In fact, it seems that the only way Hussein could have made Posner and the "situational logicians" of the White House and Defense Department happy was to actually purchase some weapons in order to hand them over. That might have satisfied their need for reality to match their view of the "logic of the situation" or, at least, have allowed them the satisfaction of saying "we told you so" which would still have sent us off to war, regardless.*

The other major stupidity in this excerpt is that Posner says, basically, "Gosh, these kinds of screw-ups happen all the time. That's just the nature of the intel beast." As anyone who's dealt with the intelligence community in even a tangential manner can attest, he's completely right. However, this does not excuse our going to war, but, rather, shows it for the idiocy it truly was. Yes, intelligence is often wrong. Yes, it's difficult to know what's going on in closed and secretive societies. Wouldn't that, therefore, suggest that starting a preemptive war based solely on sketchy intelligence is lunacy?

By Posner's standards -- remember, the man's a judge -- a police officer could pull me over and tell me to take the gun out of my pocket and place it on the hood of my car. When I tell him I don't have a gun, he can then shoot me because I refused to "come clean" about the gun he thought I had. When it turns out later I was telling the truth, Internal Affairs could then justify the shooting by saying that police officers are always thinking there are guns in peoples' pockets, so this was nothing new. Case closed.

And then the cop, the I.A. investigator and the Police Chief would all get Medals of Freedom.


* In an e-mail written February 4, 2003, a CIA official chastised an intel analyst skeptical of the claims made by an informant known as "Curve Ball": "Keep in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say and that the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about."
What does this ass do for a living again?

Over at Powerline, Assjet has a few words in defense of Cornyn's apparent belief that Brian Nichols is an activist rebel struggling against a runaway judiciary (and not an accused rapist and murder who wanted to escape incarceration).
Our disagreement with activist judges isn't based only on the fact that they're liberals and we're conservatives. More important, it's based on the fact that our Constitution didn't establish the Supreme Court as a super-legislature, appointed for life, charged with nullifying popular opinion when it conflicts with more "sophisticated" sentiment. One can imagine a government so structured, but it isn't ours, and it wouldn't be a democracy. Those who try to turn the judiciary into a legislature--but an unaccountable one, that never has to stand for re-election--can hardly complain when electoral passions begin to swirl around judicial appointments.

In other words, it's not even the judges faults, per se, but, rather, the Constitution's:
Article. III.
Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.
Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority...

You see, what Buttmissile knows (but wants you to ignore) is that the Constitution gives power to the judiciary all the power over the interpretation of law. What Cornyn, DeLay, et. al, want to do is destroy the Constitution. Period.

You see, the Constitution works like this: Article I sets up the legislature, which writes the laws. Article II sets up the presidency which approves and enforces the laws and writes treaties. Article III sets up the judiciary which interprets the law and (after the Bill of Rights was tacked on and Marbury v. Madison was decided) guarantees that they are Constitutional. The legislature works directly for the people in the sense that it is the voice of the majority and all its decisions are decided in the manner of majority vote. The presidency is the international face of the nation (in deciding treaties) and the first step in appointing people to offices executive and judicial. The judiciary, however, is unique in that it most often must focus directly on individuals.

Inside the American courtroom is the only place where the majority does not and should not rule. This is the brilliance of the Bill of Rights and the judicial system. Even if every person in the nation voted to take away, say, my right to free speech, the Bill of Rights says they can't do it. That's why we allow federal judges to serve on the bench without fear of losing their position. It further separates the choices of the majority from their decisions, making them unlikely to bow to political pressure. What pisses Not-Very-Subtle-Phallic/Anal-Reference-Nickname-Boy off is that this often prevents conservatives from imposing the kind of mob rule they seem to prefer.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thank God for Lautenberg
(Or Why Steven Soper won't be joining the Army)

I found the following over at Roger Ailes' site:

Steven Soper had his life all mapped out.

The 18-year-old from Lake Worth had been accepted into the Army and planned to enlist after graduating this spring from Santaluces High School.

But the plan came apart in late October when he attacked his girlfriend after learning she planned to vote for Sen. John Kerry in the presidential election.

Soper pleaded guilty Wednesday to false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest without violence. Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga sentenced Soper to 90 days in jail followed by five years of probation and 100 hours of community service...

Soper has since dropped out of high school and is pursuing his general equivalency diploma, Salnick said. He still hopes to one day serve in the military.

Thankfully, I can sit here comfortably in Afghanistan knowing that Stevie won't be coming to pay me a visit.

You see, Sen. Frank Lautenberg passed a well-known amendment to The Gun Control Act of 1968 which makes it illegal for people convicted of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunition. It has no military exception. So the Army could, technically, sign Soper up to go to boot camp, but he'd never get to go to the firing range or carry an M-16 and, as every deployed soldier carries a firearm of some sort (chaplains excepted), he's also undeployable.

So I'd like to give a little shout-out to Sen. Lautenberg for allowing me to sleep a little better at night, even if it is on an Army cot.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Borne back ceaselessly into the past

Today:

Bush: U.S. to Bear Burden of Iraq Costs

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Monday that seeing Iraq through reconstruction to a stable and secure democracy is a worthy cause that the United States will press regardless of whether its coalition partners remain there.

"The fundamental question is: Is it worth it? And the answer is, 'Absolutely, it's worth it for a free Iraq to emerge','' said Bush...


March 27, 2003:
Paul Wolfowitz: "The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but… We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”


February 18, 2003:

Q: Back on the cost issue. If the U.S. does not get a second resolution, does the President believe that U.S. taxpayers will disproportionately bear the burden of the reconstruction costs in Iraq?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the reconstruction costs remain a very -- an issue for the future. And Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.

(Sorry I said I was back, but it will take some time. The connection here in Afghanistan is bollocks.)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Let The Games Begin

But first ...


'night, John Paul II