31 December 2005

Christmas Present #2: So-called "Intelligent" Design goes from the school to the trash

After Dover, Pennsylvania's Republican schoolboard hijacked the local science curriculum in a painfully transparent attempt to inject christian teachings into public education, the Dover-area residents had their say. And threw the deceitful bastards out on their fundie ears. Those who subscribe to the radical notion that religion doesn't belong in public school, much less be passed off as "science," looked to the court to undo the damage. Thankfully, it more than obliged.

In a ruling that amounted to the jurisprudential equivalent of a bitch slap, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones not only rejected proponents' (unfounded) assertions that ID is science, but sawed them off at the knees for abusing their position to promote their thinly disguised religious agenda. Jones' was a lengthy opinion, but the AP kindly published these choice nuggets:
"We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause."

"Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator."

"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

"The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."

"After a searching review of the record and applicable case law, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community."
"Ill-informed faction?" "Breathtaking inanity?"

What's really breathtaking is finally seeing an (apparent) trend of honesty when dealing with the Evangeliban and its theocratic agenda.

I must've been an especially good boy this year.

Christmas Present #1: FoMoCo tells AFA to cram their boycott

Well, this one was a little early, but sweet, nonetheless. After Ford Motor Company decided to pull its Jaguar and Land Rover advertising from gay-centered publications, Don Wildmon and the rest of the hate-mongers at the American Family Association couldn't resist crowing about it being in response to their threatened boycott and a direct result of meetings they had with Ford representatives. Not surprisingly, Ford tried to spin their actions as "a business decision" that had nothing to do with the AFA.

No one bought it.

In short order, thanks to a Delta Force-like rapid response from John Aravosis and the crew at AmericaBlog, Ford found themselves confronted with not only the venom the AFA is known for, but also the on-the-record statements of its own employees that belied their "business decision" line of shit:
" In a Nov. 29 meeting at AFA headquarters in Tupelo, MS, David Leitch, general counsel and vice president for Ford, and Ziad Ojakli, group vice president-Corporate Affairs, along with Dallas-area Ford dealer Jerry Reynolds, hammered out a deal...A Ford spokesman says the two parties had a “broad discussion” and deferred to the AFA to announce the reconciliation details."
After days of coordinated email and telephone traffic that filled voicemail accounts and forced the closure of email addresses, FoMoCo not only reversed itself on the Janguar/Land Rover decision, but pledged to expand advertising to include all eight of its nameplates. Just this morning Ford was commended and the AFA slapped in an editorial in the Detroit Free Press:
"It's bad business, and just wrong, to shun customers because of their sexual orientation, race, creed, gender or culture.

That's a lesson the American Family Association has yet to learn...The suggestion that the company caved to the AFA worried Ford executives enough to announce that they would run corporate-wide ads in gay publications featuring all of their brands. A Ford executive cited a "misperception" about the company's intent -- a perception that AFA, to its ultimate detriment, helped to create.

The group, which touts itself as being pro-family but spends much of its energy venting against homosexuals, has threatened another boycott. But boycotts based on bigotry rarely succeed, partly because they prompt protests from those who believe in equality.

Ford did the right, and smart, thing by not allowing consumers to believe it was bullied into shunning loyal customers to satisfy an organization's prejudices. It set the right example for corporations, customers and citizens."
"Boycotts based on bigotry rarely succeed." Gotta love it. Nothing like seeing someone calling a spade a spade, and pointing out just what these "pro-family" groups are really about. All in all, a well-deserved lump of coal for Don Wildmon and the rest of the Evangeliban.

18 December 2005

Spotted Online

From "Mark in Florida" on AmericaBlog:
"Will somebody please give Bush a blowjob so we can finally impeach the bastard?"
Well, I did ask what people would have to see...

Mustn't lose our sense of humor, right?

17 December 2005

The "W" stands for, "Warrants? We don't need no steenking warrants!"

I should learn to stop wondering, "How much worse can it get," under the Bush junta, because, for five years without fail, we keep finding out.


On American citizens.

Without warrants, in seemingly clear violation of the law, not to mention the Constitution. (Gracias, Hilzoy at Kevin Drum's Political Animal)


What, exactly, does the media, the American people, the Democratic party, hell, the REPUBLICAN party, have to see to stand up and say, "no more?"

Bush, going Mr. Blonde with a straight razor and a gas can, on someone "with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations?"

As outrageous as Dear Leader's contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law may be, the worse thing is that, as it stands, it's a 99% chance nothing will come of this. Unless this congress demonstrates a near-total reversal in its approach to the oversight role, G-Dubs will be smirking at 1600 until 2008.

As for the people, the BushCo faithful still believe Iraq was involved in 9/11, and had (some think still has) WMD, despite the clearest of evidence and statements to the contrary. If that didn't shake them, what are the minutiae of the FISA statutes going to do?

Opinions on Iraq, terrorism, and whatever else, aside, Warrant(less)gate transcends any divisions between parties or ideologies. Forget the civil libertarians, measures like this should scare the hell out of legitimate conservatives, as much as anyone. Card-carrying members of NARAL and the NRA, alike, are committed to government noninterference in their lives. Well, what are we talking about, here? If American citizens are subject to warrantless government surveillance, Left and Right should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder. When Bush decided that hurricane reconstruction "will costs what it costs," while eschewing any mention of increasing tax revenue, fiscal conservatives found the resolve to point out the unacceptability of that position. It's imperative that the same thing occur, now. Blue state America and its representatives cannot right this wrong, unaided.

GOP gets GOPunked on PATRIOT Act

WASHINGTON -- The Senate, bowing to pressure from civil libertarians of all political stripes, delivered a staggering blow to President George W. Bush on Friday by blocking reauthorization of the Patriot Act's eavesdropping provisions, which expire on Dec. 31.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), working with the White House, fell eight votes short of getting the 60 necessary to stop Democrats and conservative Republicans from filibustering the act's reauthorization.

The filibuster threat was enough to scuttle passage of the act in its current form during the pre-Christmas legislative rush. The anti-filibuster measure failed 52 to 47.

"Those that would give up essential liberties in pursuit of a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security," said Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.).

Three other Republicans bucked party leadership, citing concerns over the government's ease in obtaining roving wiretaps or accessing gun, medical and bank records.
Note to GOP Leadership: the "questioning the will of Dear Leader jeopardizes national security" line of shit you've been slinging for so long isn't selling any more.

Addendum to Note to GOP leadership: Assurances about not abusing already questionable extensions of power ring especially hollow when your man at 1600 gets caught ordering international intelligence structures to spy on American citizens without warrants. Kudos to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) for knocking that one out of the park during the Senate debate:
"And I don’t want to hear again from the Attorney General or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care. This shocking revelation ought to send a chill down the spine of every Senator and every American."
After the faux "victory" on the McCain amendment, this one was nice. I can only hope this represents an end to the GOP's ability to fear-monger and browbeat their way to legislative success by painting every "Nay" vote as a vote against the safety of the American people. Of course, all the usual suspects, including the Preznit himself, were out in force decrying the irresponsibility of the move, all but guaranteeing another 9/11 would result. BushCo sent PR stooge extraordinaire, Scott McClellan, out to wag the finger:
"In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without these vital tools for a single moment...the time for Democrats to stop standing in the way has come."
A single moment? Really? You guys must be willing to do anything to keep it all on the books, right?
The Senate scrapped a Democratic-led effort to renew the USA Patriot Act for just three months – an extension that Republicans considers too short – increasing prospects that provisions the administration believes indispensable to the war on terrorism may soon expire.

"The House of Representatives opposes such an extension and the president will not sign such an extension," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told his colleagues in a floor showdown Friday as lawmakers scurried to finish business for the year.

Surely that was just the Rev. Frist trying to rally his troops. After all, we can't be without these provisions for a single moment. Dear Leader said so.
White House allies said they would rather see the law's 16 temporary provisions expire entirely than give opponents another three months or more to keep whittling away at them.

"A short-term extension is irresponsible," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., a day after his chamber passed the conference agreement, 251-174.
Or not.

Which is it, boys? A crucial protection, or something to let vanish and then have to build from scratch? Because it's very interesting how measures so allegedly vital to our national interests could possibly still be fair game for playing "cut off our nose to spite our face" political games. Shit, if you're so worried about the "whittling away" that could occur during a three month extension, what, exactly, do you think if you had to do this all from square one without Ground Zero still smouldering in the background? Not surprisingly, the MSM has once again abdicated its responsibility and refused to point out this ridiculous state of affairs, choosing, instead, to echo, over and over, Chimpy's admonishments from his weekly radio address. Also, not surprisingly, Democratic leadership has elected not to hammer this "my way or the highway" recalcitrance that's so typical for this administration and its acolytes.

Between PATRIOT and the emerging Warrant(less)gate, 2006 starts now, boys and girls. Frist is a blatant liar and whore for the Evangeliban, DeLay is flailing, Santorum is weak and hurt by his association with Dubya, whose unapologetic trampling of the rule of law is pushing him away from "imperialist" straight towards "despot."

Eye on the ball, shall we?

Torture now banned--except when it isn't

Bush Caves...

President Reverses Course...

A Stinging Defeat for White House...

Well for all the great sounding headlines, it looks like this week's acceptance of John McCain's anti-torture amendment might be more cosmetic than anything else.
McCain's initial bill called for banning all U.S. personnel from engaging in "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of detainees. The only changes to his proposal, McCain said, dealt with people accused of mistreating detainees.

"(It) basically says that if a person, a reasonable person, would feel that someone was acting under orders ... then it could be a defense in case of accusation," McCain said. "And there is a provision for legal counsel for those who are accused (of torture), both civilian and military."

Maybe it's just me, but that sounds like even if someone gets caught, depending on the verbal gymnastics of their instructions, they might not be guilty of anything. His/her direct superior points the figure at the orders they were given, someone else references intelligence...

Rinse, repeat.

If that weren't bad enough, the Pentagon is seeking classified changes to the Army field manual that McCain wants to use as the blueprint for prisoner treatment. Any guesses as to what those changes will address? Beautiful, isn't it? If you can't keep from being held to a standard, change it. Plus we still have to wait and see if the Bush junta can effect changes in a measure put forth by Sens. Carl Levin and Lindsay Graham that would prevent detainees from seeking redress from the courts if they are being mistreated.

So where does that leave us?

Interrogators will be held to a standard, but one that has been amended to include more latitude than it did originally. Prisoners likely may not be permitted to address their treatment in the courts. Even if they are, if the hypothetical "reasonable person" feels that the interrogator(s) was acting under orders, then no crime was committed.

Another "policy" that isn't.

The emperor is again strolling about in the buff and the so-called "liberal" media says nothing.

12 December 2005

The latest rhetorical gymnastics from the Rev. Frist

Amazing how these guys can backflip when the need arises. Just last month, we were treated to all manner of handsprings from Dear Leader and Deferrment Dick as they frantically tried to back off their initial efforts to swiftboat John Murtha in the wake of Jean Schmidt's lie-filled, venomous attack on the House floor. This week, we get Senate majority liar leader, Bill Frist, trying to Jedi mind trick everyone into forgetting the Fundies' poleaxing of Harriet Miers' nomination. As you might expect, leave it to FOX "News" to let his revisionism go unchallenged:
"So I think it would be unconscionable — I think it would be wrong — I think it would be against the intent of the founding fathers and our Constitution to deny Sam Alito an up or down vote on the floor of the United States Senate.

I have stood from day one on principle that these Supreme Court justices — nominees deserve an up or down vote, and it would be absolutely wrong to deny him that."
Funny, I seem to remember it going something like this:
"The White House said Miers had withdrawn because of senators' demands to see internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role: Bush's conservative backers had doubts about her ideological purity, and Democrats had little incentive to help the nominee or the embattled GOP president...There were few regrets on Capitol Hill, from either party. Republicans control 55 of the Senate's 100 seats, but several GOP lawmakers were wavering on Miers amid intense lobbying from conservative interest groups.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke with White House chief of staff Andy Card Wednesday night and offered a 'frank assessment of the situation in the committee and in the full Senate,' Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson said."
And these aren't the droids you're looking for, either. After getting spanked by the Justice Sunday set for showing that his M.D. does more than cover a hole in the wall and supporting stem cell research, Fristy immediately reverted back to the spineless lap dog he is, and let the Founding Fathers' bedrock principle of the up-or-down vote take a back seat to pandering to the Evangeliban. It looks like what you "stood for from day one" tends to change depending on who you're currying favor with, eh, Reverend?

In a party of liars, Frist is managing to earn himself a place of distinction. First, in another sop to the so-called "Christian" right, he diagnosed Terri Schiavo's alleged chances for improvement via videotape--before denying he did so. Then, he repeatedly plead ignorance of the millions of dollars worth of Hospital Corporation of America stock he acquired, despite report after report showing his "blind" trust to be 20/20. Now, here he is looking for the trifecta. Of course if BushCo could get away with perpetrating the egregious fraud that is the Iraq war, is it any wonder Frist lies with impunity? He knows no one will call him on it.

And they haven't.

17 November 2005

One bad Murtha

Just a day after "Deferment" Dick Cheney joined the GOP slime chorus in assailing critics of the administration's Iraq war sales reps, Pennsylvania democrat and ranking member of the House defense appropriations committee, John Murtha, took things a step further calling for an immediate start to the withdrawal of U.S troops. As expected, the retired marine and decorated Vietnam veteran found himself instantly under attack by the customary "anonymous sources" in the Pentagon and other, unnamed "senior officials." By mid-afternoon, the White House sent out the increasingly irrelevant (and untruthful) Scott McClellan with the most damning zinger they could muster:
"Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."
Awwww, SNAP!

I can only conclude that no one could think of any good "yo momma" lines during the fevered BushCo brainstorming session that preceeded todays press gaggle. Somebody must really hate Spinnin' Scottie, sending him out there with a desperate line of shit like that. In the Democratic war spectrum, you can't get much further from Moore than Murtha. McClellan would've looked less foolish stepping up to the podium and calling the man a doodie-head. (But then again, Scott should be quite used to looking like a buffoon, these days).

The only thing that put a bigger smile on my face than the comedy of McClellan's usual sweaty stammering was Murtha's comments on the GOP noise machine's resurrection of the "You hate America" response to their critics:
"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
Someone wanna give Cheney some help? I think he's looking for the taste that just got slapped out of his mouth.

A refreshing change: seeing Cheney and the rest of the administration chickenhawks called on their bullshit by someone who can't be smeared (try as they might) as some kind of far left whacko. Murtha was in the Corps for 37 years, active duty and reserve. As the NYT pointed out, after initially serving in the 50s, he re-enlisted at age 34, to go to Vietnam in 1966. That sound like Michael Moore to anyone? A posterboy?

Some dope-smoking peacenik, he ain't.

Attacks like those that have already started should be as expected as they are reprehensible. John McCain spent over five years in the Hanoi Hilton. That didn't stop him from getting smeared on a variety of fronts (mental fitness, alleged illegitimate childrten) during the 2000 Republican primary. Max Cleland left three limbs in Vietnam and still found himself in attack ads featuring Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. We've seen what happens when people run afoul of the Rove/Bush power structure and the rest of the banana republicans; there's no reason to think John Murtha wouldn't be similarly slandered. Of course, back then, Dear Leader's approval rating wasn't in the mid 30% range with majorities of the American people questioning not only his leadership, but his integrity. With numbers like that, it'll take a lot more than his usual "cry terror" routine to distract people from his petty, vindictive approach to dissent.

More stone-throwing in the glass house that is BushCo

"(His strategy is) based on confrontation and conflict, and in order to sustain it over time it requires an ever-increasing search for enemies."
And who does that sound like?

In reality, that was Thomas Shannon, a U.S. diplomat to Latin America referring to Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. Par for the course, these days, hearing an administration representative chastising someone for practicing exactly what Dear Leader preaches. So saturated with hypocrisy is this White House, that it's proving impossible to find any level free from its stain.

It's the same divide-and-conquer strategy that our "uniter" of a president turns to at every conceivable opportunity. Whether it be through a timely reiteration of the need for an anti-gay marriage amendment, or shoring up the failing position du jour by invoking September 11th and terrorism, the tune never changes. Whenever the tide turns against him, it's time to find someone or ones to demonize and attack. Of Chavez, Shannon went on to say, "And I believe that the anti-American rhetoric by the president is part of a larger effort to get his constituency mobilized."

A line like that is straight from the strategy sessions that led to the preznit's Veteran's Day "smear the dissenters" campaign:
"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges," Mr. Bush said. "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them."
Once again, BushCo goes to the well and questions the patriotism and support for the troops of those who disagree with them. The patheticism of that tactic is only overshadowed by the stupidity in employing it when more than half of the public is against the war and the president's management of it, and evidence of the allegedly "false charges" mounts higher and higher.

31 October 2005

The promise fulfilled

Happy Halloween. Anyone scared, yet?

The more that comes out about "Scalito," it looks like you should be.

Dear Leader has grudgingly stopped handing out his loyalty door-prizes and given the Evangeliban the red-meat nominee he "owed" them for re-electing him to his appointment: Samuel Alito. Troubling opinions abound, but I think this might be my favorite (so far). Thanks, Think Progress:
"In Doe v. Groody, Alito argued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home." (Doe v. Groody, 2004)
The thrust of Alito's dissenting argument, went something like this: because police repeatedly asked to search occupants of the house in their affadavit requesting the warrant, "Under the circumstances, the 'commonsense and realistic' reading of the warrant is that it authorized a search of all occupants of the premises. It seems quite clear that the magistrate intended to authorize a search of all occupants of the premises" even though the warrant only mentioned the targeted individual.

Sorry, Sammy. "It should've been in there, since the police asked for it; therefore, it's not unconstitutional," doesn't cut it as long as the fourth amendment still exists. Try to paper over it however you want, it was a glaring, yet easily caught and remedied error that was allowed to slip through by both the magistrate and the D.A.

Alone, is it enough to disqualify him? Probably not. But it most definitely supports those who see Alito as having a particularly troubling approach to the law. Further, it reveals the conservative hew and cry against alleged "judicial activism" to be the empty sham that it is; Alito's backers obviously have no problem with expansive, so-called "activist," interpretations...if they agree with them. Slate nailed it this morning:
Best of all for Bush's base, Alito is the kind of "restrained" jurist who isn't above striking down acts of Congress whenever they offend him. Bush noted this morning: "He has a deep understanding of the proper role of judges in our society. He understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people."

Except, of course, that Alito doesn't think Congress has the power to regulate machine-gun possession, or to broadly enforce the Family and Medical Leave Act, or to enact race or gender discrimination laws that might be effective in remedying race and gender discrimination, or to tackle monopolists. Alito thus neatly joins the ranks of right-wing activists in the battle to limit the power of Congress and diminish the efficacy of the judiciary.
Not a week after the "presidential nominees deserve an up-or-down vote," crowd poleaxed Harriet Miers, another allegedly bedrock conviction gets tossed aside as soon as it proves inconvenient. Imagine that, the shameless hypocrites of the right proving, once again, that no belief is above compromise.

The only thing more pathetic is the "liberal" MSM that still can't bring itself to call them on any of it.

The ghost of fitzmas past

Libby gets indicted and falls on his sword, Rove remains under investigation and people think it's a clear sign that nothing illegal happened. The fact that anyone is treating this as some sort of exoneration shows their deep commitment to willful blindness when it comes to wrongdoing in this administration. Fitzgerald had the opportunity to come down hard, and, in no uncertain terms, call 'bullshit' on this ridiculous BushCo talking point, but veered off on some godawful, "block-the-umpire's-view" baseball analogy.

Fitzy, Fitzy, might be a pit-bull prosecutor, but as a speaker, you're for crap. (Be damned if I can figure out how you managed to combine those together).

Leave the folksy explanations aside, and be the staight shooter we were told you were: Where we're at right now, key figures are believed to have obstructed the investigation. The inability to levy other charges is a fairly natural result of people deliberately interfering with the investigative process, not proof that those individuals did no wrong.

28 October 2005

What'd I say? What'd...I...say?

Stick a fork in her.
Miers Withdraws Supreme Court Nomination

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
4 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House — disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers — and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."

Miers' surprise withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting news on another front — the possible indictment of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case.

Miers told the president she was withdrawing at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. In her letter dated Thursday, Miers said she was concerned that the confirmation process "would create a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country."

She noted that members of the Senate had indicated their intention to seek documents about her service in the White House in order to judge whether to support her nomination to the Supreme Court. "I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy," she wrote.

"While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue."
No doubt the Miers meltdown was the smallest ring in the circus this nomination is turning into. Even less in doubt is that the next pick will see Dear Leader tossing his fundie base the red meat they're snapping and slavering for.

Screw the clowns, send in the wingnuts.

Of course, rather than call out the real architects of the Meirs mire--the aforementioned fundie social crusaders and sex police--Chimpy blamed the Senate for asking too many of those pesky qualification questions, again. Not very bright, considering, as a second termer, he needs support from senators far more than from Dobson, Perkins, and their minions. Further, if he gives the Talibangelicals the ideologue they were "promised," he's asking those senators to move away from center while they're looking down the barrel of the off-year election battles. Popular opinion of BushCo being what it is, does anyone think they really want to wagon train with that travelling salvation show?

Old habits die hard, unfortunately; we very well might find ourselves in the midst of the nuclear option showdown, part two. With any luck, the quiet quacking sound that started shortly after Miers handed in her withdrawal letter means that the time for the hubris-laden power plays that we've grown accustomed to over the past five years, has passed.

26 October 2005

Harriet Miers is done; D-U-N, done.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, in speeches a decade ago, said "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and also defended social activism, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, in speeches a decade ago, said "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and also defended social activism, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The speeches, which she provided to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, offer some of the clearest insights yet into Miers' thinking on contentious social issues that could come before the Supreme Court, the newspaper said. Miers talked about abortion, the separation of church and state, and how the issues play out in the legal system in a 1993 speech to a Dallas women's group, the newspaper said.

"The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," Miers said in an excerpt reported by the Post. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

In speeches delivered when she was president of the Texas bar association, Miers also defended judges who order lawmakers to address social concerns, the newspaper said.

Miers also showed sympathy for feminist causes, referring to the "glass ceiling" faced by professional women and urged her audience to support female candidates, according to the report.
Already suspect in the eyes of the far right, Harriet Miers has officially lost any wingnut cred, whatsoever. Over a span of mere months, indignant demands that "every nominee receive an up-or-down vote," has given way to With these latest revelations, the radical right will dive deeper into hypocrisy and cite Bush's refusal to provide records of Miers' legal advice to declare that there isn't enough information about her. After all, asking for background is only obstructionist when democrats do it; now, it's "doing one's due diligence."
"Self-determination?" "Glass ceiling?"
Such words are anathema to Dear Leader's base, and I, for one, cannot wait for the frothing to begin. The right's glaringly contradictory positions on Treasongate vs. Lewinskygate are years apart and sometimes difficult to dig up. Not that the MSM bothers to try. This time, the wingnuts' self-righteous rhetoric about the sanctity of a presidential appointment lasted only weeks before evaporating to reveal their single-minded obsession for an unabashed ideologue on the bench. Deprived of a thoroughly litmus-tested candidate, all their sanctimonius bullshit is exposed for exactly what it is. Here's to Bush showing his customary "resolve" and making them all choke on it.

25 October 2005

Tucker Carlson is still a dick

While we all wait for the Treasongate indictments to roll out (2 to 5 is the going prediction), the lovely folks over at ThinkProgress caught this on the first bounce:
I think politically [the Bush administration] did very much the wrong thing by saying nice things about Patrick Fitzgerald some months ago — "he's a man of integrity," "he's a good guy," "we have complete confidence he's going do the right thing," etc., etc. — making it now almost impossible for the White House, even on background, to attack the guy.
What makes it better is that he prefaced it with this: "I think this White House made a tactical error — maybe not a moral error, maybe the White House did the right thing." Let me get this straight, Tucker: acknowledging that a man charged with an important task is, by all accounts, principled, upright, and diligent, is MAYBE the right thing to do? I thought this was a "values" administration, shouldn't the "right" and "political" thing be one and the same? Given the gravity of the situation, it only makes sense--politically AND morally-- to reassure the American people that things are being handled by a man of of both impeccable credentials and principles.
Regardless, the bowtied assclown goes on to say, "it's possible that attacks on him are warranted. Maybe he's doing the wrong thing. But they can hardly say that at this point...I think they should have at least kept the option open to attack him and I just don't see they have that."
We were lead to believe that this was an important investigation. In fact, just yesterday, Dear Leader called it "very serious." All along, commitments were made to find those responsible and deal with them accordingly. What reason is there to preserve the option to attack Fitzgerald? Exactly what "wrong thing" might he be doing?

His job, perhaps?

With statements like this, Carlson, once again, reveals himself to be the worst type of partisan hack. Without a shred of evidence of bias, ulterior motives, or any impropriety, whatsoever, on Fitzgerald's part, he still sees the eventual need to smear him. For Carlson, it's obvious that "the wrong thing" is defined as anything damaging to the Bush administration, regardless of the truth. He's made it clear that he's a man who prefers ideology to integrity and by that, it appears that he's certainly thrown his lot in with the right bunch.

MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for scooping up the garbage that CNN so wisely cast aside.

That, Sens. Reid and Pelosi, is the boat, and this is you missing it.

I don't agree with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) on too many things. He's dismissed global warming as "just a lot of crap," and condemned NBC's decision to air the unedited Schindler's List as taking television "to an all-time low, with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity." Seemingly, Mr. Coburn feels the cruelty and indignities of the Nazi death camps might appeal to Americans' prurient interests (a ghoulish assertion which I find to be far more telling about whoever suggests it). Most recently, during John Roberts' confirmation hearings, the esteemed senator tore himself away from his crossword puzzle long enough to issue the teary-eyed declaration that "(His) heart aches for less divisiveness, less polarization, less finger-pointing, less bitterness, less partisanship"...less than a year after branding the so-called gay agenda, "the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today."
On the whole, one might go so far as to say that I find Tom Coburn to be a truly loathsome human being. But, to paraphrase a saying, the sun even shines on a horse's ass some days, and last week was one of them.
Alaska's so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" and the Don Young Way vanity highway were the pork poster projects of the latest transportation bill. While only two of the almost 14,000 pork barrel projects in current federal spending bills, they were widely ridiculed as the most egregious, especially in light of the current need to control spending. Coburn, showing the sort of boldness only seen in freshmen senators (and then only very occasionally), did the unthinkable and called "bullshit" on a sacred cow: shamelessly gorging your state at the federal trough.
"The Coburn amendment would have blocked funding for a $223 million bridge to a town in Alaska with a population of 50 people (that's currently serviced by a ferry). At $4.46 million per person, the cost of the bridge alone would be enough to buy every island resident their own personal Lear jet. The Coburn amendment also would have blocked funding for a $229 million bridge that would connect Anchorage, Alaska to hundreds of square miles of unpopulated wetlands.

The Coburn amendment would have then diverted $125 million in savings from those projects to repair the Interstate 10 Twin Spans Bridge in Louisiana, a 5.4 mile stretch of I-10 over Lake Pontchartrain which connects New Orleans with the city of Slidell. The Twin Spans serve as a major route into New Orleans for interstate commerce and working commuters."
Alaska's resident bacon baron, Ted Stevens, indignantly threatened to resign if the amendment passed. Admittedly, it's easy to point out what the other guy is trying to get away with. But, this measure would have opened every legislator (including Coburn) to scrutiny on the pork they're bringing home, which is exactly what needs to happen, anyway. Not surprisingly, it was soundly defeated, 15-82. These are the fifteen senators who still have any shred of credibility when talking about responsible spending:

Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
George Allen (R-VA)

I'm deeply disappointed in the democratic leadership for not jumping on this full-force. With the 10 republican votes Coburn mustered, this would have been a strong message about what direction the government is trying to move in.

Another embarrassing day in the U.S. Senate.

21 October 2005

No accountability for wrongdoing, just doing it wrong

As the threat of indictments moves closer--and Karl and Scooter look increasingly radioactive--The N.Y. Daily News just torched the administration:

WASHINGTON - An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News...Bush has nevertheless remained doggedly loyal to Rove, who friends and even political adversaries acknowledge is the architect of the President's rise from baseball owner to leader of the free world...Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.

Bush has always known that Rove often talks with reporters anonymously and he generally approved of such contacts, one source said.

But the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush's claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.

A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.

"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.
Two years ago. Before opining that we might never know who the staffers are. Before vowing to follow through on the promise to fire anyone involved. Those wouldn't have been LIES, would they? Surely he wouldn't have been helping OBSTRUCT AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION, would he?

Kind of makes you want to look up the definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors," doesn't it?

It raises an interesting question, though. If our prayers are answered and we found ourselves delivered from Dear Leader...and Cheney is also exposed as the petty, vengeful cretin he is...are we ready for President Hastert?
Of course, the most telling tidbit is that he wasn't upset about the treasonous attempt to smear Joe Wilson, so much as how poorly his despicable band of slime-merchants went about doing it. How do you like your "values candidate" now, Red State America? The only values on display are in line with your average five year-old's: He's sorry, alright; sorry he got caught. Hope it was worth it.

19 October 2005

He's a uniter, all right

The new terror alerts should be coming any time now.
The poll showed Bush's approval ratings dropping to 39%, the lowest of his presidency in the NBC/Journal surveys. Other polls have shown a similar decline with Bush's ratings falling below the 40% threshold in recent weeks. The poll also revealed overwhelming opposition to Bush among African-Americans. Only two percent said they approved of his performance as president, the lowest level ever recorded in that category, NBC television reported.
Ouch. 2% approval? David Duke would test better than that. On the other hand, he's managed to get the other 98% on the same page. If that's not uniting, I don't know what is.

Back to our regularly scheduled avoidance of responsibility

From Reuters:
"As he has in the past, Bush said if a congressional investigation finds the federal government was at fault in the initial response to Katrina, he would accept responsibility. "I do my job as best I can. One of the things that we do is we respond to crisis. And as I told the people, if I didn't respond well enough, we're going to learn the lessons," he said. "
So now it's an "if."

Sweet merciful Christ.
The first moment of accountability the man has in five years, and he's already weaseling his way out of it. "If I didn't respond well enough?" After all we've seen, the arrogance of that qualifier is positively staggering. As if there's some bizarro-world where vacationing, political maneuvering, and equally political photo-ops constitute an adequate response to devastation complicated by one's own lethally ignorant commitment to cronyism. Of course, what else could we expect from a man who couldn't identify a single mistake he'd made in four years in office save for a handful of conveniently anonymous appointments?
Far from being the everyman he paints--and, perhaps, even believes--himself to be, George Bush is a child of privilege whose wealth and connections have allowed him to avoid consequence throughout his life, from drunk driving arrests to military service to failed business ventures. Having never known responsibility, he's gone on to make sure he (and his friends) never will. Bush has managed to shield himeself and everyone surrounding him, by approaching every decision he makes with a 12 step-inspired moral clarity that renders him incapable of seeing, let alone admitting, error in any of his choices. Ultimately, neither he, nor anyone else, is accountable for anything they do, because disciplining them would be tantamount to acknowledging a personal mistake:
The rationale for the war in Iraq had to evolve beyond weapons of mass destruction, because their absence reveals a monumental intelligence screw-up, if not a blatant fraud perpetrated on the American people. Mike Brown-eye had to do "a heckuva job," because incompetance would show his appointment to be foolish. The threshhold for disciplining those involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity had to be raised, because firing them would mean he trusts and covers for borderline treasonous political hatchetmen.
Hurricanes have nothing on the danger posed by this man's self-righteous ego. There's no way "we're going to learn the lessons" until Dear Leader learns a few of his own

11 October 2005

The Senate finally decides against sparing the rod

Let's be clear: Mr. Bush is proposing to use the first veto of his presidency on a defense bill needed to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan so that he can preserve the prerogative to subject detainees to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In effect, he threatens to declare to the world his administration's moral bankruptcy. Washington Post, 10/07/2005
Last week, the Senate gave Dear Leader a long overdue spanking, voting 90-9 to approve the $440B military spending bill with John McCain's anti-torture amendment attached. Even majority leader, Bill Frist (who, in an indefensible act of cowardice/executive bootlicking, deep-sixed a vote on the bill before the summer recess) voted with the "yeas."

Not surprisingly, the administration has been mum on the issue, almost certainly betting on the deliberations in the House to save it the embarrassment of having to veto needed funds in order to maintain the shameful status quo and further stonewall reform. However, I think the bipartisan nature of this measure will prevail over the sort of strongarm techniques used to force through the recent giveaway to Big Oil. After this vote in the Senate, no longer can regulating detainee treatment be dismissed and/or demonized as a so-called liberal cause that's evidence of being "soft on terror." Deprived of that political cudgel, the DeLays and the Hasterts shouldn't be able to intimidate their fellow partymembers into following in goosestep with the president.

06 October 2005

"Kreskin" Karl now reading the SCOTUS tarot cards

Well, it looks Kenny Mehlman has been loaning out the deck so that other officials can reassure the doubt-filled base...without inappropriately grilling Ms. Miers and violating the sanctity of the "Ginsberg Rule," of course. Courtesy the NYT:
Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, started calling influential social conservatives to reassure them about the pick even before it was announced. He called James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, over the weekend, and Richard Land, a top public policy official of the Southern Baptist Convention on Monday morning, said several people briefed on the calls...Some of the efforts evidently bore fruit. By day's end, Mr. Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical conservatives, welcomed the nomination. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," he said in an interview, explaining his decision to speak out in support of Ms. Miers. He declined to discuss his conversations with the White House.
For those of you keeping score at home, that's one unusually specific reassurance about issues surrounding the war on terror, and now one that's somehow "confidential." The more unbelieveable part is that Jimmy D. was so anxious to put his stamp on things (not to mention flaunt how "in the loop" he is) that he shot his mouth off so foolishly. Any money, he's so blinded by the glittering visions of fundamentalist Christian sugarplums dancing in his head, that he can't see how clearly bad this looks for the administration feeding him the info: If it's a pledge to be unbiased and impartial in the application of the law, why isn't Dobson at liberty to discuss it? If it was anything more, what, exactly, is Miers discussing, and with whom? Surely she wouldn't be previewing her opinions on anything like school prayer, euthanasia, or abortion. After all, that would be "inappropriate."

I wonder...what could have placated a sensible, middle-of-the-road guy like James "Judicial Tyranny" Dobson?

05 October 2005

I cannot comment on any issue that may likely come before the Court. But lemme give y'all a lil' hint...

It seems that, just yesterday, every GOPer that got within range of a microphone felt compelled to discuss the so-called "Ginsberg Rule" in the same reverent tone they usually reserve for God, freedom, and tax cuts for the top 1%. Listening to them bloviate, you'd think it was one of the bedrock principles of our democracy--Amendment 1a to the Constitution--and it must remain inviolate, 'lest the Union, itself, crumble and fall. Trying to elicit a SCOTUS nominee's impression on anything more recent than Brown v. Board of Education was tantamount to firing the legacy of our forefathers and pissing on the ashes.

Flash forward a few weeks, and now the ones needing "clarification" are those wearing elephant pins on their lapels. Courtesy of The Hill:
Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, yesterday held a conference call with conservative leaders to address their concerns about Miers. He stressed Bush’s close relationship with Miers and the need to confirm a justice who will not interfere with the administration’s management of the war on terrorism, according to a person who attended the teleconference...Mehlman yesterday unveiled a politically powerful argument linking Bush’s nomination to the war on terrorism. He said that as a former White House counsel Miers would know the importance of not letting the courts or the legislative branch “micromanage” the war on terrorism.
Sounds suspiciously as if old Kenny here, somehow got a pretty damn clear idea about how Ms. Miers might rule on certain issues likely to come before the court and is now trying to reassure skittish supporters. The leadership must be quite confident in his suppositions...since that's all they could be given how thoroughly inappropriate it is for a nominee to discuss or preview potential cases.

I'm thinking of running a contest: Scour the newsfeeds, follow her with a camera if you have to, there's a Texas Roadhouse gift certificate to the first person to produce photographic evidence of Harriet Miers' strings. I'll throw in some lottery tickets if the shot also has Rove actively pulling them.

03 October 2005

The "W" stands for, "Why? Why not?"

That seems to sum up the Bush administration's attitude towards SCOTUS nominees. Whoever gets the nod has a presumption of qualification. After the search for John Roberts' background , we're right back where we started. If Roberts' record of applying the law was scant, Harriet Miers' is nonexistent; it's Blank Slate II: The Blanker. Apparently, the president's and Miers' own assurances that she'll do a good job are all that we should have to know.

No one is questioning Miers' intelligence or experience as an attorney, but, the bottom line is, she's never sat on a bench. As we heard, ad nauseum, about Roberts, writings as an attorney are representative of the client, not the author. Thus, without a record of judicial decisions and the written opinions supporting them, there's no information on which to evaluate Miers' application of the law and the Constitution other than her say-so. The only clarification (and I use that word loosely) will come from a confirmation process that permits the candidate to answer or not answer however he/she sees fit. Consequently, Miers is free to make whatever claims she wants to, in a virtual vacuum.

The scarier part is, the president has no record to go on, either. He's based his nomination on his personal experiences with Miers. Does anyone think, for a second, that she was allowed to demure on the inquiries the president put to her? That she could tell Rove or Cheney, "I'm sorry, I can't comment on an issue likely to come before the court?" What sort of assurances do you think they received?

Miers might very well make a great justice, but the fact of the matter is, there is no basis to make her case for the most important qualification for the job: the fair and impartial application of the law. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is no position to be handed to someone whose resume hinges on her own unavoidably self-serving statements.

Whether you're looking to pump gas, sell slushies, or fold sweaters at The Gap, the burden is on you to prove that you should get the job, not on the employer to justify denying you. Why should a lifetime post to the most influential court in the land be handled any differently?

The "W" stands for "WTF?"

So wish I was joking.
New twist on aid for Iraq: U.S. seeks donations
By Cam Simpson Washington Bureau

Sun Sep 18, 9:40 AM ET From the Indian Ocean tsunami to the church around the corner, Americans have shown time and again they are willing to open their pocketbooks for charity, for a total of about $250 billion last year alone. But now, amid pleas for aid after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has launched an unusual effort to raise charitable contributions for another cause: the government's attempt to rebuild Iraq.

Although more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, the administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."

Contributors have no way of knowing who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed because the government says it must keep the details secret for security reasons. But taxpayers already finance the projects for which the administration is seeking charitable donations, such as providing water pumps for farmers. And officials say any contributions they receive will increase the scope of those efforts rather than relieve existing taxpayer burdens.
I honestly thought this was something out of The Onion, until I saw the header from the Chicago Tribune. By my figuring, the $30 billion they've already gotten are "donations" from the American people. And then to say that contributors can have no knowledge of "who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed," when they just discovered a billion dollars has vanished from the Iraqi defense ministry without a trace? It begs the question: are "security reasons" preventing an accounting of the donations, or is it the fact that the administration simply can't be bothered with keeping track of what they can only view as a bottomless piggy bank?
Forget Turdblossom, the Bugman, and the Rev. Frist, this administration is buckling under the sheer weight of the enormous brass balls they must have for even suggesting something like this.

The "W" stands for "What, me worry?"

As I sit here preparing to drive across town in order to hand deliver a form so I can get reimbursed $40 for mileage I drove last month, I was reminded of something I read the other week:
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Friday ruled out raising taxes to pay for Gulf Coast reconstruction, saying other government spending must be cut. "You bet it will cost money, but I'm confident we can handle it," he said.

Bush spoke after his advisers warned that Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction costs will swell the national debt by $200 billion or beyond. "It's going to cost whatever it costs," he said. "We're going to be wise about the money we spend."

Bush did not put a price tag on the costs or say what government programs will be cut..."It means we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean that we maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes," he said.
However, just days earlier, the erstwhile majority leader, Tom DeLay, risked rotator cuff damage patting himself on the back making claims like this to the Moonie Times:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."
And finally, from the NYT:
Despite those comments, many Republicans are increasingly edgy about the White House's push for a potentially open-ended recovery budget, worried that the president - in trying to regroup politically - was making expensive promises they would have to keep.

"We are not sure he knows what he is getting into," said one senior House Republican official who requested anonymity because of the potential consequences of publicly criticizing the administration. After years of alleged fat trimming (including, for example, Corps of Engineer projects involving certain levees), that's left "nobody able to come up with" further savings, can someone explain to me how this course for rebuilding is even remotely responsible, let alone "conservative?"
When $200M vanity bridges and highway projects are being signed off on with no problem, when, exactly, does the "be(ing) wise about the money we spend" begin? While I sweat getting $40 taken care of on my lunch hour, the president is preparing to shore up his crumbling presidency of reformulations, exaggerations, and lethal cronyism with money the rest of us earned. Whoever said it was spot on: far from stopping, when it comes to this administration, the buck doesn't even slow down.

20 September 2005

An empty suit brings empty progress

From anchor Brian Williams' blog at
I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.
Why Brian, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were alluding to a rather particular conclusion. For instance, that for all the speechmaking and shirtsleeve gladhanding, Dear Leader's concerns focus more on repairing his image, rather than homes, and salvaging his disaster of a presidency, rather than an entire region. Not sure how that could happen after that inspiring Jackson Square address, complete with the obligatory invocation of the the memory of 9/11...
"Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development." -- NYT, 09/14/05
Of course. Put the rebuilding effort in the hands of an architect...of political campaigns. How could anyone draw any untoward conclusions from that?

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky, given the track record. Rove's been publicly referred to as an "architect" countless times, so the preznit got it half-right. Which is more than can be said for appointing a political toadie horse association commissioner to be head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

17 September 2005

And in Hell, ice fishing, igloo-building, and snowball fights abound...

President Bush, please give three instances when you think you made a bad decision, and what you did to correct it.

"I made some mistakes in appointing people, but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on national TV." -- 10.09.04

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani." -- 09.13.2005
First impression: Wouldn't have believed it, if I hadn't read it on every news outlet.

Then I saw him say it.

If Barbara "This is working well for them (the Katrina survivors)" Bush had been standing behind him, twisting his ear, it would've looked less forced, and more sincere.

Too little, too late, squirmer-in-chief.

Rather than take control, you simply further embarrassed your already humiliating failure of a presidency.

16 September 2005

Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva unearned, undeserved, and unqualified job.

Following his long-overdue removal from Katrina relief efforts, (and before his even longer overdue resignation), Ex-FEMA director Michael Brown had a "candid" email find its way to the public eye:
Brown sent candid e-mail to family


DENVER -- Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown sent a candid e-mail to family and friends this week as he was becoming the center of criticism of the handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

"I don't mind the negative press (well, actually, I do, but I try to ignore it) but it is really wearing out the family," Brown wrote. "No wonder people don't go into public service. This country is devouring itself, the 24-hour news cycle is numbing our ability to think for ourselves," the Rocky Mountain News reported Saturday.

Brown was relieved of his command of the onsite relief efforts Friday amid increasing criticism over the sluggishness of the agency's response and questions over his background.

"It's horrible," said Mary Ann Karns, an Oklahoma lawyer who once worked with Brown in the Edmond, Okla., city government and got the e-mail addressed. "He does not deserve this as a human being."
Newsflash, Brown-eye: the "negative press" is a direct result of your own staggering ineptitude, not CNN. Is the family really getting worn out over the press, or is it more the knowledge that you (foolishly) accepted a critical job you were hopelessly unqualified for, and people likely died as a result? I'd be pretty worn out, too, if I had to look across the dinner table and see your sorry, blank, utterly oblivious face every night.

The man was cronyism personified.

A former horse association commissioner, who, after being forced out amid lawsuits and scandal, got into FEMA through a college friend, and was subsequently appointed director after working for the president's re-election campaign (not to mention, apparently falsifying his resume).

And the man actually had the gall to whine, self-pityingly, about being held accountable for the bullshit charade that was his professional life. When little more than semantics stand between nepotistic, ladder-climbing opportunism and negligent homicide, you might want to take a moment and consider how fortunate you were to luck into said position in the most culpability-averse administration in recent memory.

The Book of Government, Chapter 3, Verse 6-10

The seas chuned and rose. The rains streamed down like the diluvian wrath of a vengeful god. The winds whipped and howled, tearing at every exposed surface. The waters finally became a flood, inundating, drowning, and destroying everything in their path.

And then came disaster.

Lo, and I saw a hobbled, pannicked horse. On it were mounted four blind riders, each with a set of reins, none knowing what to do or where to go. The beast stumbled and fell, while the riders congratulated each other on their ridership. Their names were Incompetance, Ignorance, Arrogance, and Inefficiency and all around them lay suffering and death.
And after all that, the real flood began. Flowing from the administration, and the agencies, and the press rooms, covering the land in a veritable sea of ininterrupted (and, usually, unchallenged) bullshit. Waist-deep and rising.

Time to find high ground, which shouldn't be too hard.

Just go where those other jokers aren't, as much as they try to convince themselves (and us), otherwise.

30 August 2005

i-ro-ny, n., Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.

Words fail me.  From the WaPo:

Alleged chemical weapons factory uncovered in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- US troops raiding a warehouse in the northern city of Mosul uncovered a suspected chemical weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals believed destined for attacks on US and Iraqi forces and civilians, military officials said yesterday.

The early morning raid last Monday found 11 precursor agents, ''some of them quite dangerous by themselves," a military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Boylan, said in Baghdad.

Combined, the chemicals would yield an agent capable of ''lingering hazards" for those exposed to it, Boylan said. The likely targets would have been ''coalition and Iraqi security forces, and Iraqi civilians," partly because the chemicals would be difficult to keep from spreading over a wide area, he said.

Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from sometime after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found.

And then, when the MSM called out administration officials on this ridiculousness, they...oh wait, that's right.
They didn't.

Fool, it's hot! I told you again! Were you born on the sun? It's damn hot! I saw little guys, their orange robes burst into flames. It's that hot!

This year, the dog days definitely dropped the hammer, sending me into a blogging torpor.  Upper 90s and amazonian humidity do nothing for anyone's mental acuity, that's for sure.
Really, though, after Bill Frist deftly (and despicably) avoided formalizing procedures for detainee treatment by poleaxeing the $491 billion defense bill, and the Preznit moved ahead with his long-expected, end-run, recess appointment of John Bolton, August was nothing but the worst sort of bloviating and bitchery on both sides.
John Roberts gets tapped for the SCOTUS nomination and both sides scramble to find something in his scant judicial record to either boost him or blast him.  Good luck.
Bush hits the road for five weeks of bike riding, brush clearing, and playing cowboy dress-up, and those that aren't saying he richly deserves the break are swearing on a stack that it's an unconscionable dereliction of duty.  News flash: He doesn't and it's not. 
Finally, Ferris Bush's Month Off set the stage for the Cindy Sheehan circus to come to town.  She a voice in the wilderness, she's a pawn of the radical left.  She's a grieving mother, she's "the bitch in the ditch."  I don't know what she is or if anyone's pulling her strings, but I know this:  She asked for a reason her son died and no one's been able to come up with a good one.
Freedom and democracy sound nice (granted, not necessarily from from the cab of a pick-up as it plows over memorial crosses), but neither of those ideas are recalled by a constitution that stipulates "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam."

18 July 2005

The Turd Baron of the Bushwaffe gets fitted for his parachute

AP has the dance:
Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone in his administration shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. On Monday, however, he added the qualifier that it would have be shown that a crime was committed.
Asked at a June 10, 2004, news conference if he stood by his pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's name, Bush answered, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."
"...It's best people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts," Bush said Monday. "I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."
I'd say "unbelieveable," but was there really any doubt we'd soon see the groundwork for giving the Blossom an out? Hopefully the press corps still has some spine left over from last week, but it certainly wasn't apparent judging by the way they gave Dubs a pass on his equivocating. At least the AP was on the stick and pointed out the backpedaling. The "straight shooter" rep, so carefully cultivated during the '04 con-game campaign, takes yet another hit.


A full week, and what else is there to say? (other than that Scooter Libby needs to be taken out to the woodshed, too.  Any doubts on which of those jokers gets thrown under the bus?)
You said it, Turd Blossom.
If you said it and knew what you were doing, you're a spiteful, nigh-traitorous ass.
If you said it and didn't think to ask, you're an utterly dull-witted, incompetant ass.
Either way, you shouldn't be trusted to run a hot dog cart.

07 July 2005

Isn't it ironic...don'tcha think?

Why'd we go into Iraq?

They had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

To reduce the threat of terrorism.

To free the Iraqi people, facilitating stability in the region through the spread of democracy in the face of despotic regimes.

Having not only failed to find WMD, but succeeded in turning the country into a summer camp for urban terrorists-in training, we were left with the third rationale...until this morning.
Iraq signs military pact with Iran

BAGHDAD - Iraq signed a military pact with Iran on Wednesday in a breakthrough with a former foe, but al Qaeda said it would kill Egypt's kidnapped envoy and attack more diplomats to stop the government winning international support.

Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi signed a pact in Tehran agreeing to accept Iranian military training and other cooperation with the country Iraq fought for a decade under ousted leader Saddam Hussein.

Responding to the suggestion that the thaw in ties with Iran would anger Washington, Dulaimi said: "Nobody can dictate to Iraq its relations with other countries." (Courtesy of Reuters)

Un. Real.

Evidently, this is what happens when strategy emerges from the Bizarro-world that is the Bush White House. Is it really possible, with even the most cursory of planning, to have a situation stray so fantastically far from its stated aims? Someone must've tripped over a black cat, fallen underneath a ladder, and broken the mirrors he was carrying, all while trying to open his umbrella indoors to garner that kind of luck.

First, "last throes" were steadily spiking violence and body counts. Then, "fighting terrorism" resulted in the creation of a training ground for new converts. Now "combatting oppression with Democracy" has managed to heal the rift between Iraq and a decades-old adversary and charter member of the Axis of Evil. A right, bang-up job, here, gentlemen.

Exactly how much pressure is the blooming Iraqi democracy going to put on the government of a neighbor that's helping it get its military back on its feet? How supportive is it going to be of the U.S. hardline stance against its new ally? No thinktank necessary on this one.

Falling short in achieving a stated objective is acceptable. Things happen; unpredictable variables can arise. But to have your efforts not only fail, but achieve results that are the polar opposite of what was desired? It's like Sherman salting the fields and Johnny Reb ending up with bumper crops...of Popeye-grade spinach.

At this rate, we're better off pretending North Korea doesn't even exist for the next four years. Christ knows what will happen if we turn our energies towards them.

Dozens dead...hundreds great opportunity to stay 'on message' (or, "Yet another reason FOX blows")

Thanks to Media Matters for spotting it (and none to FOX "News" for voicing it):
KILMEADE: And he [British PM Tony Blair] made the statement, clearly shaken, but clearly determined. This is his second address in the last hour. First to the people of London, and now at the G8 summit, where their topic Number 1 --believe it or not-- was global warming, the second was African aid. And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.

VARNEY: It puts the Number 1 issue right back on the front burner right at the point where all these world leaders are meeting. It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again.


Whew. For a minute there, it looked like this administration was going to have to address (on the world stage, at that) issues on which the vast majority of our citizens know it to be completely full of shit. Thankfully, for the sake of the entire Western World (apparently), it's able to return focus to a stronger topic--one where only about half our citizens know it to be full of shit.

That was a close one, wasn't it, Brian?

Just when I think FOX's bootlicking can't get any more despicable (following their oh-so-obedient regurgitation of the continued Bush/Rove rhetorical rape of the 9/11 dead) they come out with something like this while bodies are still being pulled from the Underground. People are dead, a nation is in mourning, and all Brian Kilmeade sees is a soapbox for making withering comments about how utterly foolish it is to devote time to addressing the environment or crises in developing nations. His air of condescention is positively staggering.

"Believe it or not, they were going to address such-and-such."

As if to say, "Now, hopefully you silly people understand what we knew all along."

What everyone should understand is what sort of crass, opportunistic shilling is being passed off as jounalism by the FOXagandists.

06 July 2005

O'Connor, my Connor...

We miss you already, Sandra D.

From the NYT:
For her part, Justice O'Connor voted in each case with the group that found the (Ten Commandments) displays unconstitutional, a surprising development given her past voting record. She explained herself in a concurring opinion in the Kentucky case, McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union, No. 03-1693, which was decided with a majority opinion by Justice David H. Souter.

"It is true that many Americans find the Commandments in accord with their personal beliefs," Justice O'Connor said in her concurring opinion. "But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment."

Justice O'Connor said the country had worked well, when compared with nations gripped by religious violence, by keeping religion "a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat." She added: "Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?"
Imagine that: respect for both sides while focusing on the law. If the absence of that isn't an "extraordinary circumstance," I don't know what is.

05 July 2005

Sandy, Sandy, Sandy, I can't let you go. Life is crazy, Sandy, baby

Last November, whenever I talked to someone who was undecided on the election (few as there were) and he/she asked me what crucial difference had me voting for John Kerry, I consistently answed with two words: Supreme Court. Positions on terrorism, Iraq, the economy, and the environment, aside, the SCOTUS vacancies expected in the next four years would shape this country for decades to come, and in ways that would directly affect the daily life of its citizens. High court appointees not being the most intuitive of x-factors, my suddenly gravely serious insistances were most often met with, "You really think so?"
Now, nine months later, like some jurisprudential Rosemary's Baby, what should emerge from the womb of our constitutional legal system? Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement in advance of the (even more) expected departures of William Rehnquist (b. 1924) and John Paul Stevens (b. 1920).
This could make the John Bolton nomination look like a garden party.
Said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) while making the rounds of the morning shows, "The president is going to choose a conservative," but added, "I don't think he's going to choose a right-wing conservative."
And you don't think that...why, Senator?
"Moderation" and "compromise" have hardly been hallmarks of this administration. The axiom of "My way or the highway," on the other hand, has. One need only look so far as the aforementioned Bolton debacle, where, rather than risk the impression of "giving in" to his opponents' requests, the president steadfastly refuses to provide information even though to do so would, in all likelihood, get him the up-or-down vote he demands. Beyond that, we saw our Uniter-Not-Divider-in Chief use his re-election, not to broaden the cooperation that got 95% of his judicial nominees approved, but to drive the Senate to the brink of implosion by ramming through the handful that lacked that support.
For all of our sakes, I hope Sen. Hatch is right is his assessment of the situation, but there's definitely an ill-wind blowing when we're already seeing things like this emanating from the radical Christians who make up the president's base:
"Although we applaud her decision to step down and care for her ailing husband, her 'swing-vote' status on the Supreme Court over the issues of abortion and homosexual rights wrought more havoc upon our nation than our foreign enemies ever have." --Rev. Benham of Operation Save America
Yep, another fundy calling judges a greater danger than terrorists.

Belated but still beloved

Independence, n. Freedom from control or influence of another or others.

Surrounded as we are by the now-constant exploitation of certain images, not to mention words, like "patriot," and "freedom," on (or just after) this day of legitimate flag-waving, it's good to remember what we're really celebrating, and how simple an idea it is.

To be sure, taking "independence" to an extreme would mean total lawlessness, something which, I have no doubts, many conservative ideologues believe to be their opponents' goal and driving force. So let's preclude any accusations of advocating anarchy with just one more word: "undue."

Freedom from undue control or influence of another or others.

Now what is or isn't "due," is, undoubtedly, a source for more debate, but it's a step in the right direction, and at the very least, something to think about when the public discourse turns to rights, freedoms, and what constitutes American/Unamerican.

When labels like that are being thrown about, from one end of the political spectrum to the other, ask yourself this: who is working to guarantee what people can do and who is working to dictate what people can't?

With their bodies.

With their loved ones.

With their ideas.

Who among us is standing up for real independence?

29 June 2005

con artist, deceiver, deluder, dissimulator, equivocator, fabler, fabricator, fabulist, falsifier, fibber, jive turkey, maligner, misleader, perjurer

(Truthfully, though...who isn't secretly down with "jive turkey?")

Gracias, Cable News Network:

A Republican congressman from North Carolina told CNN on Wednesday that the "evidence is clear" that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

"Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," Rep. Robin Hayes said.

Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, "I'm sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places."
Gracias, Will Bunch at Attytood:
HAYES: He gave us a very good explanation of what the war is about. It's winning the war against terror and people that would kill us, innocent women and children. This is about a military action against ruthless, brutal killers who have no conscience whatsoever.

COSTELLO: Well, we understand that.

HAYES: It's about destroying us.

COSTELLO: But that's not what it started out, when the United States invaded Iraq. It's changed, hasn't it?

HAYES: I don't think it's changed at all. It's very clear that terrorists are connected to what Saddam Hussein was all about. And that again faces up to the most severe threat going forward...

COSTELLO: But there is no...

HAYES: We have to do a good job explaining...

COSTELLO: ... evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected in any way to al Qaeda.

HAYES: Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you're mistaken. There's evidence everywhere. We get access to it, unfortunately others don't. But the evidence is very clear.

COSTELLO: What evidence is there?

HAYES: The connection between individuals who were connected to Saddam Hussein, folks who worked for him, we've seen it time and time again. But the issue is where are we now. Nobody disputes 9/11. They would do that again if not prevented. Preventing 9/11 wherever it might happen in America, winning the war overseas, not bringing it here to our shores, is the issue in that regard.

COSTELLO: Well, are you saying that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11?

HAYES: I'm saying that Saddam Hussein -- and I think you're losing track of what we're trying to talk about here -- Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11. Did he make the phone call and say...

COSTELLO: There's no evidence of that.

HAYES: Well, I'm sorry, you haven't looked in the right places.

COSTELLO: I must not have, because I know of no evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda. And, also, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And many people writing to us this morning wanted the president to explain those things.
A bullshit-slinging apologist shill, by any other name...

And I was wondering how bad it has to get to call a liar "a liar."

28 June 2005

Because raping altar boys is a central plank in the bleeding heart platform

From Sen. Dick Santorum's take on the church sex abuse debacle on Catholic Online:
"While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."
Damn those devious lefty pied pipers and the millieu of permisiveness they spread, helping lead conservative Catholic clerics into a life of kiddie raping.

Any bets on what would befall Harry Reid or Howard Dean if he discussed some racist incident by saying "it's no surprise that Montgomery (or Jackson, or Birmingham), a seat of academic, political, and cultural conservatism in America, lies at the center of the storm?"

"Does the media report that there are ZERO deaths at Gitmo, before launching into another 'The guard touched the Koran, so that's torture' story? No."

I don't often discuss everyday or overheard views, usually adhering to the "opinions are like assholes," school. Then I ran across this chestnut in a message board I frequent. I shall repeat (since I had to read it a few times before I believed it, either):
"Does the media report that there are ZERO deaths at Gitmo, before launching into another 'the guard touched the Koran, so that's torture' story? No."
This particular sentiment was the coup de grĂ¢ce of a trifecta of allegations about the bias of the mainstream media, and how they didn't report on "good" news out of Iraq or Afghanistan. Now, unless I'm missing something, his point appears to be that not killing the prisoners in our custody is some of the "good" we're doing that's being marginalized by the MSM.

Say, huh?

Isn't that a bit like making someone employee of the month just because he/she didn't steal from the till? Last I checked, prisoners were usually expected to survive their incarceration. That's not a reason to give credit where credit is due, that's people doing their damn job. If the absence of murder in U.S.-run detention centers becomes what's newsworthy, then we're in some pretty dire straits.

The worst part of this is, if one person feels this way, it's a sure thing that any number of others concur. This is the type of person that's been cultivated through the "support for troops = support for leadership" propaganda. Through fear. Through denouncing dissent. Through labeling different philosophies as all but traitorous.

The presence of bad news gets explained away by the apologists while the lack of good news is blamed on the media conspiracies they conjure out of the ether. And otherwise decent Americans are left convinced that refraining from killing unarmed prisoners is an exercise in restraint worth a hearty clap on the back.

The bar isn't even set low, anymore; it's been thrown in the dirt.
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