Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
"The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they'll be comforted..."
Read Marty's take on the imperial George.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Appearing before a group of Iron County, Utah, business leaders Saturday, Hatch said: "And, more importantly, we've stopped a mass murderer in Saddam Hussein. Nobody denies that he was supporting al-Qaida," he said, according to The Spectrum newspaper in St. George. "Well, I shouldn't say nobody. Nobody with brains."
This is so patently untrue that even the notoriously truth-impaired Bu$hCo crowd has distanced itself from it. Today, Hatch tried the same, with uninspiring results (but then, he's pretty uninspiring at the best of times.)
On Tuesday, Hatch said he may have misspoken at the event, and he was speaking of conditions in post-Hussein Iraq and the terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
"Saddam clearly had a long history of supporting terrorists, but I was not talking about any formal link between Saddam and al-Qaida before the war," Hatch said in a statement. "Instead, I pointed out that the current insurgency in Iraq includes al-Qaida, under the leadership of al-Zarqawi, along with former elements of Saddam's regime."
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland said the Republican Hatch can't credibly claim to have misspoken.
"Senator Hatch, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, no less, stood in front of a crowd of people and made a statement, a statement that is just not true, in what seems to be an attempt to mislead and misinform the people of Utah," Holland said in a statement. "This is not leadership. This is not honesty. This seems nothing more than dirty politics and negative messaging. This is insulting to the people of Utah."
I guess tomorrow we'll here that he misqouted himself misquoting himself.
UPDATE 2: I just want to make something super clear here. If jumping on the Dubai hysteria bandwagon merely hurt George Bush politically and prompted some additional interest in port security, I'd be all for it. What do I care if the DPW/P&O deal goes through? But the whole thing feeds on a mindless anti-Arab jingoism that's genuinely dangerous, and that's why I'm not joining the fun unless I hear some really good reasons for doing so. As liberals, we're either serious about engaging with the Muslim world in a sensible, non-hysterical way or we're not. Which is it?
Monday, February 20, 2006
Just as they get the insanity of the transition period under control (assuming they do), seniors are going to get hit with the donut hole. This is the 'gap' in coverage between about $2500 and $5000 (figures VERY approximate) when Medicare coverage lapses till the higher figure is hit. This is going to hit a lot of seniors like a 16 ton anvil in a Monty Python skit, but without the laugh track.
The one PLUS to all this is that it will hit most of them between late spring and early fall. In the run up to the elections. Assuming the gap doesn't kick them all off their Alzheimers' meds, do ya think its fair to assume the senior vote may go DRAMATICALLY Dem this fall?
While most of me is annoyed at stupid laws that oppress anyone's right (even morons like Irving) to speak freely, a small part of me, WAYYY in the back, is snickering that he got prison time. These folks are, frankly, loons, and he can thank whatever God he believes in that he's doing time there now, and not 60 years ago. Helmut, check for gold in his teeth......
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Iran Renames Danish Pastries - Yahoo! News
TEHRAN, Iran - Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for
the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the
"Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of
now the name of Danish pastries will give way to 'Rose of Muhammad'
pastries," the union said in its order.
"This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of
expression to insult the sanctities of Islam," said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a
cake shop owner in northern Tehran.
Funny, we copy their ruthless, yet hapless dictator, and now they copy our pointless response to France and freedom fries. It may not be democracy, but we're spreading something.....
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I've had a bad back for several years and early on in the process was taking a LOT of medications for it (hey! I couldn't work, couldn't sleep, couldn't do much of anything, I had to have something for entertainment!). The few times in that period when I drank, I would not have wanted to drive, let alone hang around with a bunch of other inebriated fools with high powered weaponry. I'm not saying it affected his judgment, co-ordination, or reactions, but it sure as hell could have.
First, Cheney acknowledged that the White House wanted him to issue a statement Saturday night, but he refused. "That was my call, all the way," he said. Translation: he doesn't take guidance from the White House. They take guidance from him.
Second, he said that he had held up issuing a statement because he wanted to make sure Harry Whittington was all right before saying anything. I don't even know what to make of this. Is he suggesting that his story would have been different if Whittington's injuries had been more serious? That the White House never issues statements about breaking news until it knows how things are going to turn out? Or what?
Finally, Hume suggested that since this was obviously a national story, Cheney should have informed the national press and gotten the word out sooner. Cheney's reply: "It isn't easy to do that. Are they going to take my word for what happened?"
Seriously? Cheney's story is that his own credibility is so poor that a statement from him would have been worthless? Is he really going to stick to that as his explanation?
The Blog | RJ Eskow: Cheney's Chappaquiddick II: The Real Story Emerges | The Huffington Post
This may, indeed, end up being Chappaquidick Redux. It seems increasingly obvious alcohol was involved (Katharine Armstrong admits as much, if a bit sleight-of-handedly). It is coming out today that Cheney was out hunting with a woman that lil Lynne isn't real fond of.
At least he didn't have drown her.
Bob Cesca also notes this (via Sirius Radio)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Sherrod dropped, angrily, out of the Ohio Senate primary. He has a post up on TPMcafe (see the blogroll) that is probably calmer than I'd be, but still angry.
The WH Press Corps (particularly David Gregory of NBC) continues to eviscerate poor lil Scotty. Let's hope this keeps up till they can make him cry.
I'm sure there's other stuff that glanced off my brain, but that's really all that made an impact today.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Due to the way I’m having to do this tonight, there won’t be any imbedded links, so just click the links following the snippets to connect.
1) Oh Goodie! Apparently, before the announcement was made that Cheney had shot a man (‘just to see him die’), Karl Rove had a co-ordinating phone call with Anne Armstrong (the owner of the you-see-it-you-shoot-it-GOD-not-him! Ranch they were ‘hunting’ on.) It’s probably entirely innocent (the chief PR guy would want to find out what happened) but combined with Cheney’s non-chalance, the delay in reporting it, etc, it just keeps looks worse and worse for Bu$hCo. I don’t think there was any intention by Cheney to shoot the guy, but it just looks fishy. Of course, Teddy didn’t mean to drown Mary Jo either.
Speaking of Chappaquidick, John @ Americanblog calls this Cheney’s Chappaquidick and details the ‘charges.’
The Houston Chronicle says Whittington was hit by 10 pellets; the Austin American Statesman says 200+. Either way, OUCH!
Paul Begala opines that Cheney was being reckless, well, just being Cheney, I guess.
2) Kevin weighs in on the absurdity (and probably inconsequentiality) of the whole affair. But he notes, Cheney was hunting without a license. Now THAT, Texas might get serious about prosecuting. They take hunting SERIOUSLY in my home state.
Reddhedd @ FDL takes on the whole hunting safety issue.
3) I don’t even know how to approach the venality and mendacity of this. Apparently, Bu$hCo is about to let oil companies pillage federal land for oil, WITHOUT paying royalties. Someone explain to me again why we have to wait til ’08 to get rid of these guys?
4) Everyone’s favorite weasel got into a shouting match with David Gregory, NBC’s WH correspondent, over the Cheney brouhaha. Good to see these guys finally calling him on his inability to report anything accurately (or ability to report nothing accurately.) He’s moved beyond spin into gyroscope territory.
5) Numbnuts falls below 40% again in the latest CNN/USAToday poll. And this was before ‘pellet-gate.’
6) UN DEMANDS closure of Gitmo. Says it’s torture.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
This editorial is about as pointed an attack on anyone as I've seen in an MSM publication. Wow! Go Times!
We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers — and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.
This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point.
Like many other administrations before it, this one sometimes dissembles clumsily to avoid embarrassment. (We now know, for example, that the White House did not tell the truth about when it learned the levees in New Orleans had failed.) Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties, due process and balance of powers that are the heart of American democracy is another.
First arrivers (Leif Eriksson excepted) tend to be the dominant factors in new 'territory'. Add to that the new technologies that will be developed in the process of getting there, and for us to fall behind is a recipe for disaster, geopolitically (at least for US!)
Nixon blinked in the late sixties/early seventies, and we've been stuck in low Earth orbit ever since, with no profound movement to go higher. We need to shake off the malaise inherited from Watergate and get moving again. Heute der Mond, morgens das Universem!
Kevin has links to three posts that discuss her candidacy: pro, con, and overview
Now, we don't know if these military personnel are appearing in uniform or not. And much of this probably turns on what constitutes a 'political event'. But to my mind, an event organized by a Republican party official at the direction of the White House political office is by definition a political event. That's just obvious, isn't it?
Another question. We know how the White House political office knows who's a Republican County Chairman. How do they know which active duty military officers in a given area want to make speeches supporting the administration current policies in Iraq? Think about that.
In the United States, hearing from soldiers fighting in foreign wars has long been a way to maintain morale on the home front. But soldiers (& sailors, airmen and marines) aren't supposed to be dragooned by the president's political operatives into the GOP spin operation.
It seems that they are.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Well, the story has gained major traction; apparently the MSM is aghast that such things could occur. Well, duh, guys. Haven't you been paying attention the last five years, or are you all just too dimwitted to connect the dots? I guess that's a two-fer.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I realize it's a cliché for those of us who remember the Beach Boys to mourn the days when giants roamed the Earth and all was on a grander and finer scale. But I knew Barbara Jordan, and I know Al Gonzales, and it is damned depressing -- he's too lightweight to even be a mediocrity.
Make no mistake, trade wars are costly for all involved, and it is far better to resolve disputes by negotiation. But that said, a U.S./China trade war would have far greater costs and consequences for China than for the United States. This is of critical significance. China’s policymakers are rational and can do the math. It means they will quickly seek a negotiated settlement if confronted by a credibly exercised U.S. threat of a trade war that avoids national pride entanglements. Congressional trade legislation that sanctions China for its exchange-rate manipulation by imposing tariffs is the perfect vehicle for this. Legislation along these lines has been proposed by Sens. Schumer and Graham, and by Reps. Hunter and Ryan.Today’s cost-benefit equation decisively favors the U.S., but that balance is shifting. The U.S. is losing manufacturing capacity, and becoming more dependent on Chinese imports. 2005 data will show that the U.S. trade deficit with China grew 25 percent. Meanwhile, China’s manufacturing capacity and sophistication are increasing. Time is therefore on China’s side
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
As quickly as you can say the words "Karl Rove," the debate over the National Security Agency's anti-terrorist surveillance program is degenerating into a partisan squabble. Rather than seeking a compromise that would anchor the program in law, both the administration and its critics are pursuing absolutist agendas -- insisting on the primacy of security or liberty, rather than some reasonable balance of the two. This way lies disaster.
The NSA surveillance debate truly deserves the overworked moniker "historic." This is a fundamental test of the authority of Congress and the executive in wartime. It pits the president's power as commander in chief under Article II of the Constitution against specific legislative rules mandated by Congress in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A stable, legal foundation for the NSA program can come by placing it under FISA jurisdiction, or by amending FISA, or perhaps by a judicial review that might support the administration's argument that Article II trumps FISA. Instead, we have none of the above.
The surveillance issue will test whether America really is a nation of laws. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican who is one of a handful of legislators refusing to play the partisan game, argues that the NSA debate cries out for a modern equivalent of Marbury v. Madison , the 1803 case that established the parameters of judicial review of Congress and the executive branch. He and Sen. Arlen Specter are urging the administration to seek legal review of the NSA program, through the FISA court or some other means. Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee and one of the few people who know what the NSA program is, argues that it can be accommodated under existing FISA rules. Others favor amendments to FISA to better embed the program in law. Any of these approaches would be better than the administration's insistence that there isn't any legal problem at all.
The air was thick with historical analogies at Monday's session of the Judiciary Committee, but there's one that is actually worth studying. When the Southern states seceded in 1861, President Lincoln took radical -- and almost certainly unconstitutional -- steps to preserve the Union. He raised an army without legislative authority, blockaded Southern ports, arrested a Baltimore militia commander without charges in an effort to intimidate Maryland against seceding and, when the Supreme Court tried to block him, suspended habeas corpus.
But soon after taking these emergency steps, Lincoln went to Congress to seek explicit legislative authority for what he had done. "These measures, whether strictly legal or not, were ventured upon under what appeared to be a popular demand and a public necessity," Lincoln wrote in his July 4, 1861, message to Congress seeking retroactive legal authority. Lincoln told Congress he had done what he thought was his duty in using his war powers. "You will now, according to your own judgment, perform yours."
Lincoln did precisely what Bush has so far refused to do. He sought clear legislative authority for his actions, knowing that he could not win the Civil War except by building a national consensus under a sound legal canopy. "Lincoln never did anything to prove a point. He had one goal, which was to keep the Union together and win the war," says Garrett Epps, a visiting professor of constitutional law at American University. That unifying vision is one the Bush administration and its critics must embrace. Either there is a center line in the surveillance debate, or there is no line at all.
Thanks to ReddHedd at FDL for the heads up.
The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration's unauthorized wiretapping.
Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.
"It's hardball all the way," a senior GOP congressional aide said.
The sources said the administration has been alarmed over the damage that could result from the Senate hearings, which began on Monday, Feb. 6. They said the defection of even a handful of Republican committee members could result in a determination that the president violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Such a determination could lead to impeachment proceedings.
Mr. Rove is leading the White House campaign to help the GOP in November’s congressional elections. The sources said the White House has offered to help loyalists with money and free publicity, such as appearances and photo-ops with the president.
Those deemed disloyal to Mr. Rove would appear on his blacklist. The sources said dozens of GOP members in the House and Senate are on that list.
So far, only a handful of GOP senators have questioned Mr. Rove's tactics.
Can you say 'obstruction of justice?' I knew you could!
Shortcomings in aid from the U.S. government are making New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin look to other nations for help in rebuilding his hurricane-damaged city.
Nagin, who has hosted a steady stream of foreign dignitaries since Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, says he may seek international assistance because U.S. aid has not been sufficient to get the city back on its feet.
"I know we had a little disappointment earlier with some signals we're getting from Washington but the international community may be able to fill the gap," Nagin said when a delegation of French government and business officials passed through on Friday to explore potential business partnerships.
Jordan's King Abdullah also visited New Orleans on Friday and Nagin said he would encourage foreign interests to help redevelop some of the areas hardest hit by the storm.
Jordan? We need foreign aid from Jordan?!?!?!
Karl Rove, who has a PhD in the ways of the conservative mind, knows that a distrust of imperial adventures, nation building, and a blank check approach to government are deeply engrained in it. The claim that bringing democracy to Iraq -- and keeping our troops there to ensure it -- is crucial to our national security is becoming a harder and harder sell.
Doesn't that PRECISELY describe Numbnut's entire Presidency?
NYT reports that Heather Wilson (THAT HEATHER WILSON!?!?!?!), chairperson of the House subcommittee that oversees the NSA, has serious concerns. I think most of hers relate to the fact that she's in a tough race, but it's still interesting to see.
A House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.
The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.
Ms. Wilson, who was a National Security Council aide in the administration of President Bush's father, is the first Republican on either the House's Intelligence Committee or the Senate's to call for a full Congressional investigation into the program, in which the N.S.A. has been eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of people inside the United States believed to have links with terrorists.The congresswoman's discomfort with the operation appears to reflect deepening fissures among Republicans over the program's legal basis and political liabilities. Many Republicans have strongly backed President Bush's power to use every tool at his disposal to fight terrorism, but 4 of the 10 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voiced concerns about the program at a hearing where Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified on Monday.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, said he considered some of the administration's legal justifications for the program "dangerous" in their implications, and he told Mr. Gonzales that he wanted to work on new legislation that would help those tracking terrorism "know what they can and can't do."
The administration, backed by Republican leaders in both houses, has also resisted calls for inquiries by either Congress or an independent investigator.
As for the politics, some Republicans say they are concerned that prolonged public scrutiny of the surveillance program could prove a distraction in this year's midterm Congressional elections, and the administration has worked to contain any damage by aggressively defending the legality of the operation. It has also limited its Congressional briefings on the program's operational details to the so-called Gang of Eight — each party's leaders in the Senate and the House and on the two intelligence committees — and has agreed to full committee briefings only on the legal justifications for the operation, without discussing in detail how the N.S.A. conducts it.
Asked whether the White House was concerned about support for the program among Republicans, Dana Perino, a presidential spokeswoman, said: "The terrorist surveillance program is critical to the safety and protection of all Americans, and we will continue to work with Congress. The attorney general testified at length yesterday, and he will return to Capitol Hill twice more before the week ends."
Aides to Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, who as chairman of the full House Intelligence Committee is one of the eight lawmakers briefed on the operations of the program, said he could not be reached for comment on whether he would be open to a full inquiry.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Troy Aikman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as 70's mainstay, Rayfield Wright. Aikman's achievements, being relatively recent (and on tape vs film) are well remembered. First player overall in his draft class (one of three QB's taken first overall to win a Superbowl), three Superbowls in four years, 90 wins in the 90's (best record of any QB in a decade), etc ad infinitum. Rayfield was one of the best linemen in the game in the sixties and seventies and (I believe it was) Mean Joe Green of the Steelers called him the toughest offensive linemen he faced. His election, by the veterans committee is long overdue, as is Drew Pearson's (hint hint, election committee!)
Next up: The Playmaker (Michael Irvin) ?
The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.
In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.
The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."
It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."
The memo also noted that The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual specified the phrasing "Big Bang theory." Mr. Acosta, Mr. Deutsch's boss, said in an interview yesterday that for that reason, it should be used in all NASA documents.
The Deutsch memo was provided by an official at NASA headquarters who said he was upset with the effort to justify changes to descriptions of science by referring to politically charged issues like intelligent design. Senior NASA officials did not dispute the message's authenticity.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Thursday, February 02, 2006
The Guardian reports that the disclosure of yet another memo revealing that Bush planned to go to war long before the 'decision'. Blair apparently was all for it.
House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.), after a three-hour huddle with his Republican colleagues, announced that he would introduce legislation that "will underscore the fact that the Republican Party has been and continues to be the party of reform." And what would this weighty reform entail? "A ban for registered lobbyists who are former members of Congress from having access to the floor of the House and to the House gymnasium," Dreier announced solemnly.
Wow! The vision! The awe-inspiring reach of the legislation. That'll teach those bastards to try and corrupt OUR Republic!
(You'll have to figure out who the bastards are on your own... I've lost my scorecard and given trying to figure it myself)
The Repugs delayed announcing their full plan (what? Lobbyists won't be able to use the bathroom?) till next week. If this is what they came up with after a six week recess, I don't think another week is gonna help much.
In the 'Well, there wasn't an open bible in the room' category*, the stupid sons of bitches even try to steal their own elections. On the first ballot, there were more votes casts than there are Repub members. Someone call the White House, THEY know how to steal these things!
*In the eighties, during the scandal that stripped SMU of it's (near) national championship caliber football program due to alumni interference (think buying recruits cars and hookers....), Bill Clements, then Governor of Texas (and SMU alum) was quoted as saying the above after being caught lying to investigators. SMU received the death penalty from the NCAA; the state of Texas received it in the form of GWB as Governor.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
So, anyway, even in normal times it would be expected for isolationism on the left to have a wee uptick and isolationism on the right to be reduced. But, now, in addition to that we're at a time when George W. Bush lied to take us into war and then totally fucked it up. Fucked it up more than even I imagined they could fuck it up. Fucking it up so badly that we're constantly having to come up with new words to describe the degree of fuckingupness.
I was a little surprised that there was so little on HSAs after all the whoopla last week, both from the left and the right. Expected some grand gesture and barely got a wave.
Other random thoughts.... what do Palestine and New Orleans have in common? Both got brushed off by Shrub last night.
Hmmm, Cindy Sheehan gets removed and arrested. So for balance, they remove (but dont arrest) the wife of a repug Congressman? US Capitol Police... we arrest, you decide.....
(thought I had posted this hours ago..... it's been sitting as a draft all day