Monday, October 31, 2005
of Appeals for the Third Circuit has been nominated
to the position of Associate Justice of the United States
Like many Americans, I was skeptical of nearly every justification we were given for the war in Iraq. So many to sift through, WMD's, retribution for the attempted assassination of the elder Bush, strategic base placement, and, of course, oil. I never thought any of these reasons were just cause for bombing then occupying Iraq, and I still don't. Perhaps what I should have done, instead of becoming mired in the propaganda from all sides, was to look beyond what we were discussing and find some thread that connected all these various angles. I believe I've found it. Or rather, I finally snapped to what was possibly obvious to a lot of people, but I was too naive to think about: The dollar. I don't mean the pursuit of the dollar, though certainly G.E., Bechtel, Halliburton and others within the Corporatacracy stood to profit immensely from this armed endeavor. No, I mean the protection of the dollar.
In the early seventies, Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard. This enabled corporations and the U.S. Govt to assume huge debts without the pesky necessity to repay them. In a pinch, they could merely print more money. With the U.S. in control of the World Bank, all was well until the world's oil supply began to dwindle. Now, oil is the new gold. If OPEC demanded payment for oil in Euro's, and, if China, Japan or a coalition of other creditors decided to call in their loans in Euro's, the corporatacracy would be in deep doo doo. In a nutshell, that's what Saddam threatened to do.
Most of us on this blog are old enough to remember the Panama invasion, and the reasons given for that little excursion. Wasn't it to arrest Noriega for drug smuggling? Or, more likely, was it the fact that Noriega had threatened to allow a Japanese company, rather than an American one, to build a new sea level canal, which, at the time, was the largest engineering job in modern history. Which brings me to the common thread...The World Bank. If you want a insider's look at the grim reality behind foreign aid, read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man." After reading it, I really felt naive, and angry.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
My War...is nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war on our behalf in Iraq.
Rolling Stone, September 22, 2005
The book is a collection of his posts: incredible accounts of combat from a grunt's-eye-view.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005
If military recruitment is down now, wait till the kids read this book.
Read the Review here.
Every once in a while, I'll read something on a blog that just flat out nails how I feel. In this case, it's the following paragraphs written by a friend regarding the slick packaging of Jesus Christ into a sort of "religion for dummies", and requiring little or no original thought from the end-user.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Divison. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA. [more at Talking Points]
willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the
truth's sake, and so earn some right to rejoice
when the victory is won.
~Louisa May Alcott
Truth will always be truth, regardless of
lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance.
~W. Clement Stone
The truth is cruel, but it can be loved,
and it makes free those who have loved it.
To be persuasive, one must be believable.
To be believable, we must be credible.
To be credible, we must be truthful.
~Edward R. Murrow
The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then.
Life is dull without it.
~Pearl S. Buck
Truth has no special time of its own.
Its hour is now--always.
Now, for one I have met. George Takei. If you were never a fan of Star Trek, chances are you still knew or recognized 'Mr. Sulu.' I had a chance to sit down and talk to George Takei for a few minutes at a Star Trek convention in Albuquerque, probably fifteen years or so ago. He is an intelligent, very pleasant man who listens at least as much as he speaks, and speaks with a thoughtful attitude. I sat down with him thinking it would be interesting to meet George Takei. I left feeling that he thought it was interesting to meet me. Because that's the kind of guy he is.
Anyway, today George Takei said that he is gay. I know that he isn't the first TV star, movie star or athlete to come out and say that, although most of the others have been female (like Cheryl Swoopes, yesterday). There is still more of a stigma attached to it for men than for women. And in Takei's Asian community, it still doesn't sit well with a lot of people. But it doesn't surprise me that George Takei would be among the first Asian men in the public eye to address it.
Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling ashamed of his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation.
“It’s against basic decency and what American values stand for,” he said.
And he is right. I always wonder about conservatives who sweep the ongoing discrimination against gay/lesbian Americans under the rug, even to the extent that they oppose adding 'sexual orientation' to hate crimes laws, despite statistics showing that sexual orientation is THE leading reason why victims of hate crimes are targetted in this day and age, surpassing attacks due to race, religion, gender, nationality or any other specific characteristic.
Because I am a straight married man, the law does not discriminate against me in matters like inheritance, taxation, visitation if my wife is in the hospital, adoption or other areas where it does all too often discriminate against gay Americans. That is wrong, and I am glad that we have people like George Takei who are willing to stand up and say so.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
This is one of those posts I always feel funny about sharing. I know most of us are political junkies, and we like to think of ourselves as "big picture" people. Well, maybe this is truly big picture stuff, or, more likely, merely an onanistic exertion with no redeeming value whatsoever. Here goes: in 1996, I was faced with a decision. The year before, I had leased a huge empty restaurant, remodeled, and opened it as a sports bar/restaurant/live entertainment venue. The first year was miserable, financially. I was able to make rent, utilities, payroll, and buy product, but I was falling behind everywhere else. I took no salary the entire first year, and, was about ready to close my doors. New Years approached, and I booked a great band and planned a party the town had never seen. Something clicked that night. 350 people showed up, and, after that night, my volume tripled. I started doing different types of entertainment, and my favorite was Comedy Night. I like comics. Onstage, to be sure, but, since almost to a person they are neurotic as hell, I loved them offstage even more. The edgier the better. One day my connect called me and told me about a young comic he had available for a fundraiser I was doing for our local Women's Shelter. (Something that caught on every year, and was my favorite show of the year). I booked the guy, sight unseen, and it was one of the smartest things I ever did. I'll call him, Tim, since, A, that's his name, and b, he may not appreciate me using his last name. Tim showed up and was nothing like the other comics. He was totally poised, warm, friendly, and completely real. His material was clean, his observations spot on, and he had a stage presence that made everyone immediately like him. We became friends, and he, along with my kick ass house band, anchored every important show I promoted. We got to know each other socially, and I truly grew to admire this guy. Eventually, I sold my place, and the contact drifted off to next to nothing, save the occasional phone call. We had children roughly the same age, and so we were naturally busy raising kids and putting down roots. Somehow, during his routines, I never realized that his humorous attacks on Clinton emanated from a deep dislike of not only the man, but his politics as well. I don't remember the exact conversation that made me realize how vastly different Tim and I were with regard to politics, but, afterward, I was never the same. It shook me up pretty hard. This guy, this parent, this friend who I got soused with and actually sang "Rock Lobster" onstage with on karaoke night, was a complete stranger all of a sudden. I realized that he was a good bit younger than I, and that part of me that is a condescending prick would chalk it up to him still being a bit damp behind the ears. If I'm correct, he hates the idea of taxes, of almost any sort. He equates fanatical Muslims with Saddam Hussein, and feels completely justified being at war there. He his pro-gun, pro-choice(amazingly) but also joked recently that he believed chronic welfare recipients should be sterilized. In short, he is Republican to the bone. After Rove and his dickless minions smeared Max Cleland, (who I knew and admired) I declared war on the Repub Party. Iraq made me cut all contact with any friend or family member who supported this outlaw administration, in fact I have stated on numerous occasions that I would have divorced my wife if she even hinted at being a Republican, and I meant it. I still have had no contact with a guy I was best friends with for 25 years,( we got married in a double ceremony and were each other's best man.) Basically, I was the epitome of a self-righteous Liberal. I still am.
Hurricane Wilma swirled around the Gulf and threatened Tim's hometown, and, suddenly, politics meant nothing. I called, and we talked at length about many things, including politics. I told him about my experience with the Gideons and he actually used the word indoctrination before I did, and he was supportive. Without burdening you readers (reader?) with any more details, we basically concluded that cliche's be damned, we indeed had more in common than we had differences over, and. Perhaps most importantly, we agreed that the current crop of political leadership wasn't doing the job, and was by and large bought and paid for. I think it's up to guys like me and Tim to continue the discussions, find answers, including(gasp!) compromise when we can't get completely together. The alternative seems to promise a bleak future, and like many of you, and Tim, I have children who deserve a more civil society. I'm sure there are a million stories like this, I guess I am trying to look beyond my anger and resentment, and lead my children by example. I think my friend Tim is doing the same...
Blogenfreude has Cheney and Libby Withhold Intel From Senate - Kept Crucial Documents From Senate Panel Looking into Iraq Intelligence Failure
Chuck at Bushmerika has some pictures you really need to see.
Jen at Donkey O.D. has a must see COMIC.
Fred at Making Conservatives Cringe writes about a mother being fired after seeing husband off to war.
Eli writes "If an election were held this November (as opposed to last November) President Bush would be headed to a very significant...DEFEAT!!
I rather enjoyed Lance's post on Miers falling on her sword.
The Heretik asks "After the Mier's Sinking, what will go down next?"
And finally, The Carpetbagger Report looks into "The Effects of Indictments"
Gov. Jeb Bush blames the victims
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is taking the heat for another bungled hurricane relief response in Florida. Yesterday in a press conference he said "Don't blame FEMA. This is our responsibility." He also blamed the victims:The governor added, however, that people seeking relief should have done more to prepare for the storm.
"People had ample time to prepare. It isn't that hard to get 72 hours worth of food and water," said Bush, repeating the advice that officials had given days before Wilma hit.Well, he certainly seems to have gotten the White House memo on how to play the blame game, and he's a loyal GOP subject to take one for the team.
One wonders, though, if he knows what it's like out in the real world. I know from personal experience that employers often won't let people take off work to prepare. They want everyone working up until the last minute, or until a mandatory evacuation is declared. Even if you are able to get time off, Home Depot runs out of plywood, plastic sheeting, and duct tape days before the storm arrives. Grocery store shelves are emptied of bottled water, pork & beans, toilet paper, and diapers. Long lines form at gas stations, and many run out. That's the situation even in affluent communities where people have money and transportation. That's the real world.
Which reminds me of a story from when we lived in Florida. A storm was approaching and even Disney had shut down for the first time in their history. On the way home from scavenging for hurricane supplies, we stopped by the local 7-11 store looking for batteries. I walked in and announced "OK, I need Spam, beer, batteries and ammunition!" Folks in the long checkout line chuckled, and the cashier said "Sorry, we're all out of Spam and batteries." "That's OK," I replied. "If you've got ammunition I can get everything else."
Despite dire warnings of energy shortages and skyrocketing natural gas prices, the Senate this week voted down additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program that would assist low-income families with their heating bills this winter.
According to the article, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) "cited estimates that those who heat their homes with fuel oil will need $1,600 this winter, up $380, while the cost of using natural gas for heating could rise $500 to $1,400."
Some local governments are looking at ways to provide assistance. Louisville, Kentucky for example, is considering a proposal to make $250,000 available for assistance after the Kentucky Public Service commission approved Louisville Gas and Electric Co.'s request for a 64% increase in natural gas prices.
In East Tennessee, utility companies have been bombarding us for weeks with warnings about natural gas price increases. The Knoxville paper reported last week (registration required):
KUB customers' natural gas bills could increase 50 to 60 percent this winter, largely because of hurricanes' disruption to the flow of natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico.
Mike Bolin, KUB vice president of business services, said Hurricane Katrina "hit the (natural gas) producing facilities offshore in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of August. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita came in and what wasn't hit by one hurricane was hit by the other. These hurricanes were very intense and caused a great deal of damage."
The Maryville paper reported nearly a month ago:
Natural gas prices are forecast to skyrocket this winter, as demand exceeds supply and distribution facilities reel from the effects of two Gulf Coast hurricanes.
A spokeswoman for Atmos Energy, which provides natural gas to 18,000 Blount County customers, said costs to Blount Countians will increase by 54 percent next month when compared to October .
"The increase is totally due to increased gas cost," said Atmos public affairs manager Judy Moss.
She stressed the escalating cost of natural gas does not represent a "rate increase," as the corporation's rates as allowed by the state have remained static since 1996. The company is merely passing on its increased cost of supplying the gas, and Atmos will not realize any additional revenue, Moss said.
She said the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on distribution networks and an increase in the wholesale cost of natural gas led to the increased cost to customers.
This is the refrain we he hear from energy companies all over the country. Supplies are tight. The hurricanes disrupted supplies. Demand is high. Etc.
Except something doesn't add up.
This picture sums up how I feel, in two ways. One, I put myself in "time-out" for not posting what I have to say....and two, I feel like a dunce about this job I'm on. I bid on a job to demolish this small house here in Nashville. I underbid because I saw an awful lot of good, usable oak lumber in the ceiling and floor joists, and the decking around it was seasoned poplar in 1x4 dimensions, 12 ft lengths. So far, so good. This place was built long ago, (before power tools) and therein lies the rub. If you have ever tried to drive a nail through seasoned 2x6 rough-cut oak, you probably still have some residual pain. I was hospitalized briefly two weeks ago, for massive spasms and I struggle with pain constantly anyway in both shoulders. Anyway, I get the job, and, owning no heavy equipment (bulldozer) I had to do this job with a sledge, crowbar, portable generator and reciprocating saw... I swear what I am about to say is true. Three days into it, I had culled the best lumber to take back to my farm, and then hooked chains around the corner posts and pulled them free with my big-ass one ton dually. One post, two post, then, three posts gone. No walls, no framing except for ONE wall, and still the roof did not collapse. That defies gravity. So, I waited, nothin. What do I do? Why, of course, I hop up on the decking and stare at this wonder, scratching my head at the heavy, oh very heavy and HUGE oak rafters and joists poised above me. For some reason, I hopped back down to get something, and CRASH! the roof just plopped down perfectly straight, never broke a board. Had I been under it, some of you might be throwing back a tequila shot in my memory...I went home, changed my underwear, and got obscenely drunk.
An Iraqi boy cries for his uncle who was killed in Baghdad's Sadr City, a Shiite slum in the eastern part of the capital, during overnight fighting in this Sunday Sept. 25, 2005 file photo. The number of Iraqis who have died violently since the U.S.-led invasion is many times larger than the U.S. military death toll of 2,000 in Iraq. In one sign of the enormity of the Iraqi loss, at least 3,870 civilians were killed in the past six months alone, according to an Associated Press count. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Dorrance Smith, (Cheerleader #1) the nominee to be the Pentagon's chief public affairs official told Congress on Tuesday he hoped to encourage more positive stories about the Iraq war by encouraging the practice of embedding reporters with U.S. troops in Iraq.
'One way to get out more positive stories about U.S. troops in Iraq would be to "reinvigorate" the Pentagon's practice of embedding reporters with military units, which was widely used during the invasion of Iraq 2-1/2 years ago but is done only sporadically now' cheered Smith.
Head Cheerleader (George Bush) also tried Tuesday to begin reviving U.S. support for the war in Iraq and reinvigorating his troubled presidency as the U.S. military death toll topped 2,000.
Thanks to Jen at donkey o.d. for posting this important clip called How Many More?
"Our armed forces are serving ably in Iraq under enormously difficult circumstances, and the policy of our government must be worthy of their sacrifice. Unfortunately, it is not, and the American people know it," said Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.
I got an email from satirist, Al Franken yesterday. He's from Minnesota and he and I are real good friends. Here's an excerpt:
Dear person on this email list,
Hi! It's Al Franken. How are you? Great.
Enough small talk. I'm writing because of a critically important moment in the life of our nation. No, not the regrettable but richly deserved wave of GOP-crippling indictments. I'm writing about my new book: The Truth (with jokes). It's coming out today. And I've given it my highest possible recommendation--five stars. (My Amazon.com reader-reviewer name is "NYbooklover38.")
Franken's first book, Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right is both funny and informative but I have to say, it also inspires rage. I could only read a couple of chapters at a time because I kept getting really pissed off.
I don't expect The Truth (with jokes) to be much different. I'm saving it for the dead of Minnesota's Winter when I need a kick in the butt to get up and do some exercise.
For all you with high band with, Al's newest book is reviewed here.
The Truth With Jokes - Truth doesn't get any better than that!
The folks at KOS have Fitzmas Carols!
Rockin' around the Fitzmas tree
As we're waiting for the news.
Everyone bloggin' merrily
Will the liars pay their dues?
Rockin' around the Fitzmas tree
As the bright gold leaves do swing
Later we'll serve some humble pie
And we'll do some frog-marchin'
You will get a patriotic
feeling when you hear...
Fitzie chargin' his indictments
Happy U.S.A. excitement!
Rockin' around the Fitzmas tree
Oh, won't the day come soon?
BushCo will all dress up in orange
When Fitzie drops the boom!
God rest ye liberal citizens
Let nothing you dismay
Remember the grand jury
Could wrap it up today
And send the traitorous neo-cons
Frog-marching on their way
Indictments of Cheney and Rove,
Cheney and Rove
Indictments of Cheney and Rove
For lots more, go here.
Ellen Sauerbrey, President Bush's pick to head the state department's Refugee Program, apparently was chosen primarily because she is a career Republican politician and a Bush loyalist.
The State Department's refugee and migration program needs a chief with experience handling crises of displaced people, Democrats said Tuesday.
"It doesn't appear that you have very specific experience," said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during Sauerbrey's confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee.
"I don't think we see the requisite experience that we've seen in other nominees" for the job, added Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Sauerbrey, a two-time Republican candidate for Maryland governor who ran Bush's 2000 campaign in the state, said she had the management, budgetary and humanitarian experience of three decades of public service and, currently, as U.S. envoy on women's issues to the United Nations.
Sounds to me like the only relevant experience she has is the UN position, and all that really proves during the Bush administration is that she has some experience working with John Bolton. I'm not sure how losing two races for Governor and running the Bush campaign in Maryland (also a losing one) is having the "management, budgetary and humanitarian experience" necessary to do the job.
Then again, though, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. It's hard to imagine George W. Bush ever making refugee issues a high enough priority to actually appoint someone who is ready for the position.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
What do this newspaper editorial, this one, this one, and this one all have in common?
All of them are unsigned editorials, which makes it look like they're original opinion pieces for each paper. (The Colorado Springs Gazette even says it's "our view.")
And they all happen to say exactly the same thing, beginning with this paragraph:
One of the smartest things President Bush did to reduce recovery costs in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was to suspend Davis-Bacon Act rules in the hardest hit states. But Congress is frantically trying to overrule the president, which would add billions of dollars to the already staggering recovery costs.
Amazing that newspapers from California, Colorado, and North Carolina could be channeling, simultaneously and in complete harmony, the Bush administration line for cutting wages for workers rebuilding the Gulf Coast.
What are the chances?
Monday, October 24, 2005
My blog entry today
is brought to you by the letter W.
and Blue Girl's husband.
Knowing that all law (that I know of) is subject to (but not limited to) "interpretation", palm-greasing, intimidation, and favors, I have a gnawing question that probably could be looked at as uninformed curiosity. Nonetheless, I'd like to know the answer.
SCENARIO: If only charges of perjury are brought against, let's say Rove and Libby, wouldn't that support charges of treason? What I mean is- if they're found guilty of lying under oath about their roles in the outing of CIA agent Plame, wouldn't that suggest or (at least) support (proof?) that they are also guilty of treason? And going on with this question, wouldn't that automatically implicate Cheney's involvement in the illegal war (WHIG) meetings? And wouldn't THAT automatically implicate bush?
I know it sounds like a wishful thinking of the domino effect, but I don't even think they would have to "rat" on each other for the evidence to make the case.
And one more burning question: WHERE'S BOB NOVAK??? Could he be Fitzgerald's star witness? I could see him "singing like a canary".
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Go, Dr. Dean!
Oct 23, 2:14 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jack Abramoff, the GOP lobbyist under investigation by federal authorities for fraud, repeatedly sought the help of Bush strategist Ralph Reed to open doors at the White House for his business clients, according to e-mail made public Sunday.
The e-mails show that Abramoff pushed for intervention from deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove on at least three occasions since 2001 to promote business opportunities.
Oct 23, 6:09 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) - It began with a clumsy forgery,
led the president to backtrack on his own State of the
Union address, already has sent one person to jail and
has ruined another's career as a covert operative. The
cast of characters in this latest tale of Washington intrigue
- the CIA leak investigation - keeps growing as a federal
prosecutor tries to sort out who told what to whom and
whether any of it was a crime.
President Attempts to Blunt Charges of Cronyism
Still smarting from criticism of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court, President George W. Bush today nominated a man he described as “a guy I met at the mall” to succeed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.
At a White House ceremony, a beaming President Bush stood at the side of the guy he met at the mall and explained how he came to choose a total unknown to replace Mr. Greenspan, who has served at the Fed since 1987.
Mr. Bush said that the two men met while they were waiting in line at a David’s Cookies store: “I was very impressed with the way he counted his change, and I am confident he will bring that same understanding of money to his new role as head of the Federal Reserve.”
While the president said he did not yet know the name of the guy he met at the mall, he added, “All of that will come out during the confirmation process.”
After being accused of cronyism in the nomination of Ms. Miers, the president may be trying to blunt such criticism by nominating someone he barely knows to run the Fed, some in Washington believe.
But Davis Logsdon, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, has a different theory about Mr. Bush’s recent appointments: “He may be surrounding himself with lousy people in the hopes that he’ll be graded on a curve.”
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Federal auditors say the prime contractor on a $1 billion technology contract to improve the nation's transportation security system overbilled taxpayers for as much as 171,000 hours' worth of labor and overtime by charging up to $131 an hour for employees who were paid less than half that amount.
which almost exactly explains this:
The project is costing more than double the anticipated amount per month,
Now this has been going on for what, four years? And they find out now? Sounds like they need to take some of that money they have been throwing around on no-bid contracts and redirect it to the General Accounting Office.
And conservatives really think private contractors are cheaper than having the government do it?
Daniel also had an article published at Operation Truth on the page titled "Veterans of the Week."
Sadly enough, Daniel is no longer posting on his blog and if you read his latest entry you will see why. Daniel was NOT KILLED in Iraq...but he was silenced.
This information was brought to my attention by Fred at Making Conservatives Cringe Since 1977
UPDATE: Matt at The Tattered Coat has a good article Another Military Blogger Silenced.
Broken Windows posted All Shut Down.
Navyswan penned Silencing the Truth.
Hummingbird's Fairytopia has a post on the blog there titled Silencing the Truth.
Therapy for warped minds.
Sexual harassment and domestic violence remain pervasive human rights issues that have devastating physical, psychological and financial consequences for our communities. Discrimination and abuse thrive on silence – the silence of victims and the silence of witnesses. This can and must stop. Whether you are at work or at home, in school or in your neighborhood, you have the power to Stand Up and make a difference.Stand Up against sexual harassment and domestic violence in your community.
Gag Order Lifted On Canadian
Torture Charges Against Bush
October 18th 2005 - Vancouver B.C.
Lawyers Against the War (LAW) is claiming a victory
in its battle to have George W. Bush face charges in
Canada for torture.
The charges stem from the notorious cases of torture
practiced by U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They were laid on the
occasion of George W. Bush's controversial visit
to Canada in November 2004. The charges were
laid under sections of the Canadian Criminal Code
enacted pursuant to the United Nations Torture
Convention which requires extra-territorial jurisdiction
to be exercised against officials, even Heads of State,
who authorize or are otherwise responsible for torture.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of BC quashed an order
banning publication of everything having to do with the
charges imposed when they were first laid.
"This is a very important victory", said Gail Davidson,
who laid the charges and, along with Howard Rubin,
argued the case for LAW, "because it ensures that the
proceedings will be scrutinized by people in Canada
and throughout the world, to make sure that the law is
fairly and properly and, above all, to make sure that
Bush doesn't get away with torture."
(Deep thx to Monica_S for this find!)
Friday, October 21, 2005
Tonito Bandito posted a link to the story here. The students at Pikesville High responded with a rally of their own.
Many of the people who attended the rally commented at how many students openly support gay rights. "My gaydar is pretty good," said Anne Burgnaski, a senior at Carver high school. " Most of these students are not gay. It’s amazing."
We're basically a fair people. The vast majority of us, even in the "red" states feel that if you stay on the right side of the law, take care of your property, pay your taxes and are an American citizen, you deserve to be treated like an American. That basic sense of fairness is difficult to supress for any concerted length of time.
For a lot of people, a great many I think, the only language they have to discuss and interpret issues of the day with is the language they learn either directly or indirectly from the media. They can only speak the "conventional wisdom" or the arguments articulated in public on either side - even if the result is something less than satisfying to them. The fact that many gays have made their stories known has made a difference. It would be even better if more elected officials showed more leadership on the issue.
We here at Night Bird's Fountain miss Tonito and would like to see more of him. Every now and then, Tonito serves up some eye candy for his readers. Well, we've set out some eye candy of our own in order to intice him over for a visit.
Here you go Tonito, this candy is for you.
Happy Halloween :)
2008 Dems: Feingold and Bayh Vote For Fiscal Responsibility
by Scott Shields
Kos and the Club For Growth teamed up earlier (a phrase I never thought I'd write) to monitor the progress of an amendment offered by Republican Senator Tom Coburn which would have stripped $125 million of pork out of the federal highways bill. The money would have been used to pay for repairs to the Katrina damaged Twin Spans Bridge crossing Lake Pontchartrain. When all was said and done (two versions of the amendment were voted on), it failed by a margin of 15 to 82.
Kos chided our side, saying that "there's no reason for any Democrat to vote against this amendment." On the surface of things, that sounds about right. Apparently, the concern was that passage of this amendment would put every earmarked project in the highway bill (and there were quite a few of them) in jeopardy. Personally, I take the view that one Senator's pork is another Senator's economic development. However, the earmarks specifically targeted by Coburn -- two bridges to nowhere in Alaska -- were pretty indefensible.
However, only four Democratic Senators voted in favor of the amendment -- Evan Bayh, Kent Conrad, Russ Feingold, and Mary Landrieu. Landrieu, representing Louisiana, has an obvious interest in seeing the repairs to infrastructure damaged by Katrina funded. Bayh and Feingold are the interesting votes, as they were both clearly looking to 2008. Being willing to put their state's pet projects on the line gives each some hard proof of his commitment to fiscal responsibility and willingness to reject the Beltway status quo.
The other Senate Democrats who are considered probable candidates for 2008 all voted against the amendment. This group includes Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry. But Republicans, who still like pretending that they are the party of fiscal responsibility, also voted overwhelmingly to reject the Coburn amendment. The 2008 likelies voting to save Alaskan pork were Sam Brownback, Bill Frist, Chuck Hagel, and Rick Santorum. Virginia Republican Senator George Allen, also considered a safe bet to run in 2008, voted in favor, which I'm sure he'll be reminding GOP primary voters.
Interestingly, John McCain, another likely 2008 contender who's built a career in the Senate slamming pork barrel spending, did not vote on the amendment, depriving him of an obvious chance to bolster his fiscal responsibility bona fides. It's even more interesting to note that McCain had been present for earlier votes. Two Democrats -- Jon Corzine, who's campaigning for the Governor's race in New Jersey, and Chuck Schumer -- also did not vote on the amendment.
Tom Delay's booking photo.
Now, you remember 'goody two shoes' in school. You know, the obnoxious teacher's pet who stayed after and erased the boards and fawned on her until she always called on him to go on errands to the principal's office to pick up the attendance roster?
Well, doesn't this picture just remind you of the mile wide phony smile that he gave the teacher after she caught him cheating on a test?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Have no idea how to do a hot link in here,
Posted by Island Blue at Democratic Underground
'Twas the night before Fitzmas, when all through the house
Not a Republican was stirring, nary a louse;
The stockings hung on the chimney for the season,
In hopes that St. Patrick would soon mention treason.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of indictments danced in their heads;
And pa in his bandanna, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a short evenings nap,
When out on the White House lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the computer I flew like a flash,
Tore open DU and pulled up my wonky stash.
The moon on the mullet of Harriet Miers
Shown the light of mid-day on all that conspire,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature Pirus, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and phat,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Pat.
More rapid than bald eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Kerry! now, Edwards! now, Clark and Howard Dean!
On, Clinton! on Boxer! Pelosi and Harry Reid!
To the top of the Capitol and over the Hill!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away still!"
As dry leaves that before the Cat 5 hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the White House the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh of accusations and St. Patrick too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
No hemming or hawing just the sound of the truth.
As I read my monitor and was jumping around,
Down the chimney St. Patrick came with a bound.
He was dressed in faux fur, from his head to his toes,
And was bursting with news for DU and Daily Kos;
A bundle of indictments he had flung in his stacks,
And he looked like a prosecutor just stating the facts.
His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like John Kerry's!
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a smile,
With a look of resolute in his eyes all the while;
With a brief little hiccup and a slight little burp,
He began talking and describing the perp;
"He has a big round head and a jiggly belly,
That shakes when he laughs like a bowlful of jelly.
He is chubby and plump, a right evil old elf,
And he laughs and he smirks, in spite of himself;
"With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
St. Pat let me know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke no more words, but went straight to his works,
And issued enough indictments to annihilate the jerks,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
He gave me the signal that he had handled my foes;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a rocket or missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Fitzmas to all, and to all a good-night."
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
This is just not right. Is it really necessary that people use a brush made of real badger hair?? I think not. What ever happen to synthetic brush hairs.
So during the upcoming Holiday season when you are out shopping for that man in your life, please be kind to the badgers and walk right by the counter where those shaving kits are being sold. Thank you for helping the badgers.
A while back I posted about my trouble with our local school distributing bibles. What I didn't include was the rift this caused within my family. My Father in Law, a retired Methodist Minister, was informed by some other family members about my decision to notify the ACLU. Soon thereafter, I received a letter from him essentially saying that I had put my family in jeopardy, and that perhaps I hadn't thought about what effect this action might have in many different areas of my Earthly and Spiritual life. He is perhaps the only man on the planet that could say that to me with no fear of physical retaliation, because I admire his adherence to his faith, he in fact lives his faith, and rarely speaks of it. My kind of Christian, truth be told. I sent a letter back, and we worked it out and are aware of, and respect each other's positions. Last night, he called me and was livid about a guest speaker a local church had the other night. She actually asked the congregation to pray for Karl Rove, a man persecuted unfairly by a liberal press. My Father in Law believes that the church has no basis to involve themselves in Govt matters, he's says nowhere in the Scriptures is that called for. This event ticked him off, so I decided to tell him about the other offensive practices the evangelicals are responsible for. We talked a long time, and I came away from this experience drained and unsatisfied. I say that because there was no joy in pointing out the wolves in the churches. It alarmed him and and his sense of betrayal was palpable over the phone. I recommeded Jim Wallis to him and he promised to read his book and get back to me....
Motors' (GM) lead and sign a similar deal with unions
to reduce its retiree healthcare costs.
Chrysler hopes to follow GM deal...
Court to Review GM-Union Deal - Approval Needed
for Cuts in Retirees' Health Benefits
Health Insurance Imploding
For its part, the United Auto Workers, one of the nation's
most powerful unions, is apparently prepared to swallow
this hit to organized labor's most sacrosanct benefit to
forestall additional job cuts.
We have reached a critical turning point in the decline
of health care in the United States, one almost certain to
expand the already appalling figure of 45 million people
lacking health coverage nationwide.
"It's not just a breaching of the social contract that's existed
between companies and workers," said David Autor, an
associate professor of economics at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. "It's a reflection of how health
care costs are out of control.
"Hopefully this will be an opportunity for government and
companies to rethink how health care is provided," he added.
"The old system is clearly breaking down."
So, ever since the Bush tax cuts ballooned the deficit, I've been patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it appears ready to.
It looks like the proposed tax simplification scheme put forward by the President's commission on taxes will make taxes simpler. By raising them on many poor or working class families.
At the heart of the proposal is a move to get rid of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and replace the lost revenue by doing away with the deduction for state and local taxes.
Now, the AMT is a tax that was originally put in place decades ago to make sure that the wealthy, who could otherwise take advantage of a lot of deductions, wouldn't end up paying nothing. It made sense then, but the conservatives of the day, whether by blind luck or a stroke of genius, wrote in a provision by which the threshhold in actual dollars to become eligible for the tax would not be adjusted for inflation or any other reason. So thirty years later, the AMT is starting to ding a lot of middle class families (20 million this year). Hence, the commission's proposal.
Now what happens then? Well, here is a clue: note that the commission has to recommend replacing lost revenue due to their proposal to ax it. LOST REVENUE. So those wealthy who always paid the tax will now be able to go back to exploiting their loopholes. Their taxes will go down (and if you think a Bush commission will get rid of the loopholes for the wealthy then you make Pinocchio look street smart.)
A few upper middle class families will see small tax cuts as well (although I suspect they still aren't where the cut will offset the increases due to closing the state and local tax deduction). The state and local tax deduction will, however, be widespread and hit everyone.
Of course the higher taxes will make people in the states and localities grumble and vote for more Republicans who promise tax cuts, or at least that is what they hope.
So, the net effect is that for the second time in two generations, Republicans will have been able to bring about a shift in taxation, from the wealthy towards the middle class.
Honestly, didn't you just know something like would eventually be proposed when the Bush tax cuts went through?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Well, we can't possibly service the debt that His Imperial and Exalted Majesty created and add to continually...
HERE is the U.S. National Debt "clock". We just recently broke the $8 TRILLION mark, AFTER CONGRESS CAPPED THAT RIDICULOUS NUMBER AT $8.18 TRILLION! This is ludicrous and not serviceable, yet it continues to increase by over $1.5 BILLION PER DAY in the last year alone! It has risen nearly $1 TRILLION since September 30, 2004- slightly more than a year ago it stood at $7.3 TRILLION, which was a record high back then- so WE'RE BREAKING THE RECORD everyday!
I remember a shifty eyed little shoulder hunchin', leanin' in piece of useless shit promising in his campaign speeches that we were "turning the corner" and I remember him promising to cut the deficit in half in the next four years if he was "re-elected". Uh huh. Where are we now as we near the end of 2005? Where will we be three years from now? You know. There isn't a person alive that can fix this total destruction that the monkey-in-a man suit has wreaked on this planet. Look what one little rich and spoiled LYING Mama's boy has done!
The buzz words of the times, the bush legacy or both?
DEPLETED URANIUM, PLUTONIUM 238, SHOCK AND AWE, DOWNSIZING, CUT-BACKS, LEVERAGED BUY-OUTS, OUTSOURCING, CONGLOMERATE MERGERS, ENDLESS WAR, LIES, ENTITLEMENT CUTS, ABJECT POVERTY, CORRUPTION, COVER-UPS, SCANDALS, HOMELAND SECURITY, PATRIOT ACT, OPERATION T.I.P.S., NO BID CONTRACTS, CORPORATE TAX BREAKS, ENRON, HALLIBURTON, SAUDI ROYALS / bUSH DYNASTY, REMOVAL OF OVERTIME PAY, VETERAN BENEFIT CUTS, GUTTING AND REMOVAL OF CLEAN AIR STANDARDS, ETC.,
And hey- did you know that you could purchase a new Hummer and write the entire price off as a deductible that very same year??? THERE ARE CHILDREN SLEEPING ON CARDBOARD TONIGHT UNDER A BRIDGE SOMEWHERE THAT ARE HUNGRY AND COLD!!!
"We are making steadfast progress."
---------------george W. bush- Washington, D.C., June 9, 2003
Someday, you too may be appointed to the highest office in our country- it helps if you're a psychopath with a childhood that paralleled Jeffrey Dahmer's- sticking firecrackers in frog's asses and blowing them up as an adolescent; waking up naked at 3AM on the hood of your car with your keys in your ass as a teen; and finally finding yourself "maturing" into adulthood as a multiple failure in business, a cokehead and a sloppy party drunk. Oh- and it really helps if your parents are rich, influential and disfunctional. Oh- and it really, really helps if your daddy was a previous president.
Americans Are Acting to Trim Health Care Costs
The rising cost of health care has American workers
changing attitudes and actions in an effort to cope.
According to the Well-Being Index compiled by Principal
Financial Group, 41 percent of growing companies have
raised employee co-pays, 37 percent have increased
deductibles and 20 percent have cut medical benefit
However, 40 percent are delaying going to the doctor
and 21 percent are not taking prescribed medications.
Brain Abnormalities Linked to Pathological Lying
Pathological liars may have structural abnormalities in
their brains, a new study suggests.
Dr. Adrian Raine and Yaling Yang of the University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues found
that individuals who habitually lied and cheated had less
gray matter and more white matter in their prefrontal
cortex than normal people.
Drug firm Roche may allow other companies to
produce its antiviral drug Tamiflu...to help combat
a potential flu pandemic.
Tamiflu's patent is held by US firm Gilead but Roche
licensed it several years ago and carried out all the
clinical development work for the drug.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Wow, what a warm welcome (except for you, McMack.)! I am still trying to figure this place out and am attempting to post a picture of my attack cat; the one that is going to kick arse out of Mack's merry band of wolves, so let's give it a try. And, once I learn all the bells and whistles, I will post something of much more intellectual interest. Maybe.....
"The number of Americans living in poverty jumped to 35.9 million in 2003, up by 1.3 million, while the number of those without health care insurance rose to 45 million from 43.6 million in 2002, the U.S. government said..."
It is speculated (according to The National Coalition For The Homeless), that there may be as many as 7 MILLION HOMELESS PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES! What is even worse is that an estimated 36% of the homeless population are FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN! And furthermore, a survey conducted by a U.S. Conference of Mayors reports that 88 percent of the cities queried regularly turn away homeless families because of a LACK OF RESOURCES!
LIFE EXPECTANCY CONTINUES TO GROW.
To clarify: that is, for now. With bush as our "president", we expect that number to start dropping. The money needed to take care of our senior citizens will have to go for endless war, pocket-lining for the upwardly mobile and control of the US population.
Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of our population. The first wave of baby boomers are reaching retirement age and a huge and growing number of our "elderly" cannot afford the basics of living in their "golden years"- nutrition, housing, health care, hunger, mis-treatment and more- they're all issues and they need to be addressed and acted upon positively.
Our government wastes BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
An elderly lady should be afforded a well balanced lunch in the comfort of her own home and receive any attention (medical or otherwise) that she needs for comfort of the remainder of her life. She shouldn't have to choose between an overpriced pill and a sandwich. And the thought that this is happening on a wide scale while the fatcat neo-cons play with each others asses, robbing the tax funded entitlement programs, pisses me off to no end!
I live in the heart of Appalachia and widespread poverty is evident here. A while back I created a ficticious character on my blog named JANE. While Jane isn't real, she is a character that I created from a combination of real people I know living right here in my hometown, so the story isn't real, YET IT IS!
tentative agreement that will cut the health care costs
for hourly workers by $3 billion a year, the single largest
cost-cutting initiative ever announced by the company,
GM said on Monday.
The deal, subject to ratification by UAW members,
will slash GM's commitment to cover the health care
costs over the lifetime of its hourly workers by $15
billion, or 25%, GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner
told employees in a broadcast.
The tentative deal, subject to a final agreement and
ratification vote by hourly workers, is projected to
reduce GM's retiree health care liabilities by about
$15 billion, or 25 percent of the company's hourly
health care liability, the automaker said.
GM, which lost more than $1.4 billion in the first half of
the year, posted a third-quarter loss of $1.6 billion,
or $2.89 a share.
Rove thought facing perjury charge; will resign if indicted.
And Donkey O.D. has even more on Delphi:
[...] Delphi's bankruptcy is a much bigger deal than your ordinary case of corporate failure and bad, self-dealing management. If Delphi slashes wages and defaults on its pension obligations, the rest of the auto industry may well be tempted - or forced - to do the same. And that will mark the end of the era in which ordinary working Americans could be part of the middle class.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The investigation into who leaked the officer's name to reporters has now turned toward a little known cabal of administration hawks known as the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which came together in August 2002 to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG was founded by Bush chief of staff Andrew Card and operated out of the Vice President’s office. [more]Steve Soto at The Left Coaster writes about Miller's Mea Culpa and Convenient Memory Lapses to protect Cheney.
If you are to believe these accounts, however, Miller didn’t know who Plame was prior to these discussions with White House officials, since there is a paper trail that indicates Miller got Plame’s name wrong several times. This may be why Fitzgerald has told her she is no longer a target, and why the White House is doing all the sweating now.
But then there is evidence that Miller is lying even in what she is telling her own paper now, which explains why she is leaving the Times and would explain why the paper is now seemingly ending its relationship with her. [more]
Saturday, October 15, 2005
On the October 14 broadcast of his daily radio show, right-wing radio host Neal Boortz stated that if the country is faced with an impending national disaster, it should make it a higher priority to save rich Americans rather than poor Americans.
I'm serious about that, folks. You see, that's the kind of thing that's going to end up in news stories: "Neal Boortz said that in times of disaster we should save the rich people first." Well, hell, yes, we should save the rich people first. You know, they're the ones that are responsible for this prosperity. I mean, you go out there and you look at this vast sea of evacuees, OK? You want to get an economy going in some city? Well, who you gonna take back? The people who own businesses? Or the people that sit around waiting to get their minimum wage job, work 'til Friday, get a paycheck and then not show up again until the following Wednesday? Come on. Just put a little logical thought into this, folks.
A wave to Blogenfreude at Agitprop for bringing this, um, er priveleged radio buckfush's [cretin] message to light.
Also worth a read, Just Ain't Right regarding the Nobel...
I ask, what could possibly be wrong with winning the most world-recognized prize for using your noggin to enrich thousands of folks minds and lives?
Of course, there are still those who would deny it anyway. They will point to a local cold snap, or other extreme of the weather, or if they can't deny it will make some flippant comment about how much nicer it will be to visit Nome, Alaska for a vacation, but ultimately they deserve no serious attention at all, sort of like UFOlogists and people who insist that Elvis is living under an alias in Michigan. In the words of one British scientist, these people are "climate loonies." He compares them to people who still deny that smoking causes lung cancer.
Only in a nation where we are still debating about how much creationism to teach in a Biology class would this kind of denial of scientific data be given any credence at all. And what is more, with George W. Bush in the White House, not only is it listened to, but it is policy.
US troops 'starve Iraqi citizens'
"A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq, where the coalition's occupying forces are using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population," Mr Ziegler told a press conference in Geneva.
He said coalition forces were using "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare."
"This is a flagrant violation of international law," he added.
Friday, October 14, 2005
It has been one heck of a week, and I missed the Friday morning dance party with Bu$hCo but Donkey O.D. made me feel better by telling me that the World Can't Wait for me.
Then I found out that the Son King has been hankerin’ for the good ol’ days, when he could stage photo ops riding a bike, or clearing brush instead of interviewing with ol' Lauer while banging the hammer.
Holy Mandrake, it is time to change the charlatans that make up the Republican party, because their Scandals and Numbers are deep and wide. Some have sinned but can still indulge in guilty pleasure like eating sushi for lunch!
Sim embargo, I did learn a new word this week and that culture influences politics and politics influences culture. And in my own state, can you imagine another billionaire white guy is trying to buy an office.
I think we can all agree that Bush is Annoying and Scary when he says..."So long as I am president, we will never back down in Iraq."
But that NEW BLOG en Freude GUY really made my day with his Comment regarding "The City."
Thursday, October 13, 2005
George Monbiot argues that religion (often confused with a belief in God) does not necessarily correlate with moral values. Any Bush-watcher would regard this thesis as a no-brainer. Could there be anyone less moral than this rabid, God-driven fundamentalist who—with a lot of help from his friends—hijacked our government and is busy destroying the world?
It’s important to recognize these differences. When the far right claims ownership of God, and talks about “religious” values, what are the referring to? Certainly nothing that ordinary decent folk would want to have much to do with. And maybe—just maybe—if we can make the difference clear, we can win back all those good, sincere people who’ve been duped into believing that, when Bush talks about God, or religion, he’s talking about something they hold in common. He isn’t.
A wave to Peter for this!