Friday, April 28, 2006

Not Every Oppressed Nation Has Oil, Y'Know

President Bush wants sanctions in order to deal with Dafur. It's about three years late, but any international call is welcome.

Can It Be That It Was All So Simple Then?

Media Matters takes a look back at how the press treated President Bush when he said "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

FEMA Fever

With a month to go before hurricane season, Senators say FEMA should be dismantled and rebuilt into a new organization.

Because there's no doubt this new organization would be up to snuff once the hurricanes get a'going, right?

Back in Session

Nepal's parliment meets after a 4-year "break."

A Least He Drove It a Block

After giving a little speech about America's addiction to oil, House Speaker Dennis Hastert is caught on film.

Ah, closet addicts.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thank You For Choking

Charley Rosen thinks Carmelo Anthony is developing a dangerous habit.

Can't Get No Satisfaction

Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stone leave President Bush out in the cold.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Be Silent; I See It, If You Don't"

That appears to be President Bush's general mindset, and his approach to foreign policy matters, according to writer, historian and former JFK advisor Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

The bottom line: using the doctrine of "preventive war" allows Bush to start wars whenever he feels like, and it excuses him from providing valid, solid reasons for attacking foreign countries. God only knows where he'd get enough troops to "liberate" Iran; we barely have enough for Afghanistan and Iraq. There's the issue with building a proper coalition. Oh, and of course, the little constitutional snag that says only Congress can declare war (although I'm sure the White House will use any recent anti-terrorist legislation to justify another invasion). But really, what can the Bush Administration point to and say "See, this strategy works?" The torture stories? The civil unrest? The bad intelligence? The fractured government? The fact Osama bin Laden is still alive and making videos like he's gunning for an MTV award?

And don't get me started on the bin Laden tape; the timing is too coincidental.

The question very few have asked and even fewer have answered is: what exactly are the limitations of the President? Where is the line?


Friday, April 21, 2006

A Little About Wenyi Wang

Dr. Wenyi Wang ( aka Wen Yi Wang) was arrested a few days ago for shouting at Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to the White House. She's been charged for heckling, which in this particular case is "a federal misdemeanor punishable by six months in prison and a fine of $5,000."

Dr. Wang received her press pass from the The Epoch Times. While the CNN story claims she is a journalist for them, I couldn't find any articles she wrote for them. But there is proof that she is connected: the statement released by the paper today:

Dr. Wang attended this event on Epoch Times press credentials. However, her actions were her own. In protesting in this manner, she did not act on behalf of The Epoch Times . Moreover, she had not consulted any of her Epoch Times colleagues beforehand about her staging this protest.

If The Epoch Times had known of her intention to use this event to protest, we would have seen that her press credentials were withdrawn.

But wait, there's more:

The Epoch Times apologizes to President Bush and the White House for Dr. Wang's actions. However, while The Epoch Times does not approve of the methods used by Dr. Wang, we think the world does need to understand what might have moved a respected medical professional such as Dr. Wang to take such unconventional actions.

The Epoch Times has reported that, based on the statements of doctors performing organ transplants in China, in the next eleven days thousands of Falun Gong practitioners will be slaughtered in China in a particularly horrifying manner: through having their organs harvested while they are still living. The only hope for saving the lives of these practitioners lies in bringing sufficient pressure to bear on the Chinese regime.

Yeah, that's right: doctors are reportedly harvesting organs from people while they are still alive. What's more is that they are specifically targetting groups like the Falun Gong (of which Dr. Wang is a practitioner). So I really can't blame Dr. Wang for risking her career (and possibly her life) for bringing such an issue to light. And I think embarrasing President Hu, while rude, was minor compared to what's happening in his country.

Side note: in a bit of irony, a CNN reporter was kicked out of a Hu reception for asking about the Falun Gong.


Homes for Sale.

Wanna buy a house in Iraq? Because many Iraqis have decided to pack up and leave. Not that I blame them; it hasn't been the safest place sense...

Um, About Bio-Diesel Fuel...

The WashPost graphically explains why oil/gas prices are increasing. Couldn't they have just linked here?

The Fresh Prince of Jerusalem

Will Smith visits soldiers, take a tour and...crashes a party?

Putting Fear in Americans is Hard Work

For most of the White House, the agenda yesterday was talking to China. VP Dick Cheney decided to catch up on his "Z's." But aides tell the New York Post that he was reading. I guess that means that Rumsfeld was praying, then?

You be the judge. (HT to ThinkProgress)


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Shuffle the Deck

The WashPost says that all the changes in the White House this week signifies a sense of survival. Funny, considering people at CNN considered one of the ousted staffers was an out-and-out truth teller.

I'm going to agree with DU and say it's just another Sonny Corleone "panic reaction." Moving your second and third bananas up to first banana status isn't a real shakeup, unless you're bananas. You gotta add some apples and oranges.

I'll stop the fruit metaphor now; it's making me hungry.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Maybe They All Have Movies Coming Out

You would think that Hollywood's heavy hitters would have weighed in on the immigration issue by now. You would think. Considering their influence in the past (they did help take down George H. W. Bush, afterall) it's striking how quiet this traditionally outspoken group has been.

Peace Via War?

Trying to Cope

Better late than never, I suppose: 1,200 children later, the Pentagon works on dealing with the offspring of troops killed in the Afghanistan/Iraq wars.

Feed a Hungry Rich Kid

We now know why Paris Hilton is so skinny: she feeds her food to other people. This feeding just happened to take place at a Laker's game.

I think we've finally found Sally Struthers' replacement.

In other news: the Lakers, Bulls and Wizards clinch a playoff spot.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"It's Just a Game"

Despite playing Iran war games with the US two years ago, Tony Blair and Great Britain will not be joining America in the real thing.


Ready, Waiting and (Unfortunately) Willing

Guess how many trained suicide bombers Iran has (right now) to repel a US/British invasion.

If you said 40,000, give yourself a cookie.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Hail Mary

VA Republicans have begun their courtship of ex-Redskin great Darrell Green, according to the WashPost.

I can't really say I'm surprised. Green is black (always a plus for a party still accused of being discriminatory), religious (all the better to promote the party's "moral" image), and a local hero (something that can always be guaranteed to garnish votes from people who would normally be apathetic).

The question is: what if he decides to run as a Democrat? Would the praises lavished upon him by Republicans in this story change?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Celebrity Powerhouses

Over the pass 14 months or so I'm come to realize that actor Jamie Foxx and actress Reese Witherspoon are big-time Hollywood ass-kickers. Their respective awards confirmed it, but I've had some sense for awhile that their versatility and down-to-earth nature would help them shine on the big screen.

Jamie (I swear) seems to picking up where Denzel left off (let's be honest; with the exception of Training Day Denzel's been cashing in on being named "Denzel" since Malcolm X. That's not to say he hasn't been good, but if you took any character from that span and switched it with another one, would people notice? I thought not). The guy can play a hero, villain, flawed character, you name it. He can be funny or serious. If they ever make a Bad Boy 3 (God I hope not) you'd have to think that Martin Lawrence gets bumped for Foxx, right? Who's gonna pass up an opportunity to match up Will Smith and Jamie Foxx?

And like Smith, Jamie has crossover appeal. In other words: white people, who still make up a majority in the United States, will go see a movie with Jamie Foxx in it. And Foxx didn't have to sell out like Ice Cube to get that type of fan base.

Did I mention that he was versatile? Wouldn't you want to see a movie with him and John Leguizamo, ad-libbing 80% of the script? Throw in Will Ferrell, it's a comedy. Add Jet Li and you got an action flick. With Tom Hanks? Instant drama. The possibilities are endless.

The same is true with Witherspoon. some may look at her and think "she's just Kirsten Dunst with a southern accent," but those people only watch four movies a year (counting TV and Cable). Dunst is a fine actress, but comparing her to Witherspoon is like comparing NBA player Larry Hughes to him teammate LaBron James. Good, but not close. She doesn't have the "had to get naked to be recognized" stigma that senior actresses Charlize Theron and pseudo-contemporaries Shannon Elizabeth and Denise Richards (notice how they both did nude scenes and they both have "first name" last names? Weird, huh?). She's not perceived as a partygirl/ditzy like Tara Reid or Heather Graham (Heather also did a nude scene, BTW). Julia Stiles is the only actress I see catching up to her (in my NBA analogy, think Damon Wade), but she's gotta do less "Shakespearian" movies. You can act, Julia; we know this. Now show us your versatility.

So hats off to both these guys. Keep shining. And no nude scenes.

Devil May Care

The DNA test for the Duke lacrosse players came back negative, but the prosecution isn't stopping.

Do You Really Wanna Party With Him?

Kinda late, but still worth mentioning: Busta Rhymes can be a real jerk sometimes.

Monday, April 10, 2006

"Wild Speculation"

Over the weekend, New Yorker investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that nuclear weapons may be used against Iran (like the Bush Administration was going to take Iran's missile testing lightly). President Bush's supporters wasted little time in attacking the messenger (again).

To his credit, Bush has called the story "wild speculation." However, it's not like he's been talking about the diplomatic inroads he's been making. Remember what bad poll numbers can make people do.


Time to Pass the Plate Around

The Christian Coalition's tab is getting bigger, but their membership is shrinking. According to the WashPost, the core reason for the organization's decline is the departure of is founders: Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed.

Well, too things. First, if people are leaving because Robertson and Reed left, what kind of Christians are these people? They don't think Roberta Combs can carry the water? Was this really a religious organization, or a stepping stone for Robertson and Reed to get into the political arena? I mean, shouldn't faith play a part here somewhere?

Second, you would think membership would go up after people like Robertson and Reed left. Reed's employed smut lovers (despite saying he's against that sort of thing), been a self-proclaimed corporation humper and is involved in the Abramoff Scandal. And Pat Robertson? Well, he's called "radical" Muslims satanic and said they want to rule the world, he supports "holy hotties" (aka, ex-strippers), and said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should stop breathing (he later apologized...or did he?).

And people are leaving because these two aren't full-time members anymore? Jesus; if you need a specific flesh-and-blood person to guide you on your spiritual journey, than I don't think Christianity is your real religion.

Maybe instead of giving their money to Republicans, they should have used it to strengthen their infrastructure.

Only Himself To Blame

President Bush can make all the speeches he wants and his supporters can pass as much blame around as they like, but this whole mess is Bush's own fault.

Before we went to war in Iraq, Joe Wilson wrote an article saying that the Niger yellowcake story (that Bush included in a State of the Union address) was false. We now know that Bush was behind the drive to discredit Wilson. While this isn't an impeachable offense, it lead to the tactics that resulted in the NYT story that outed Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.

So while Bush might not be indicted for outing Valerie Plame, he is certainly not helping his credibility. Why, because he has repeatedly said that he's not fond of leaking or leakers.

Now, if this particular leak is a good one, like some claim, what was its purpose? Even Bush's defenders can't seem to get their facts straight on this one. Shouldn't there be a difference between declassified information and leaked information? Looking at some of Bush's old quotes, he doesn't seem to think the two were the same. If he did, couldn't he have held a press conference the day after Wilson's article and say "Don't believe this guy, here's our version of what's going on?" What's so hard about that?

But no; they had to be sneaky about it. Otherwise, the public would have actually been paying attention back then and the case for war would have been weakened. Nevermind that Joe Wilson was right, or that his wife was working on counter-terrorism, or that the case for war was based largely on the assumption that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were roommates in college.

Oh well. Bottom line is Bush participated in the very thing he had condemned: leaking information. And from what I can tell, the only good leaks are ones that help your administration. But once again, the half-ass planning of this particular administration comes back and bites them in the rear. And just like the public blowup over the Dubai Ports deal, Bush has no one to blame but himself.

Bush and his people should really start documenting their statements better, in order to keep track of what they've said. Or course, when you tell the truth, you don't really have to document at all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blue Devilish

The Smoking Gun has the goods on the Duke Lacrosse Team Scandal.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

O'Reilly Tries to Be Down

Bill O'Reilly seems to think he knows black people. In his own words:

I -- I have always believed -- always believed -- that the mainstream African-American person, the person who goes to work, gets up, doesn't live in the ghetto, lives in a, you know, in a working class neighborhood or an affluent neighborhood is conservative at heart. Their value system is church. A big church-going population among African-Americans, particularly female, if you look at the polls, they're against gay marriage; they're against far left political thought. You don't see a lot of African-Americans, you know, running around with Jane Fonda. You see a lot of African-Americans going into the military.

Where do I begin? How about if people like O'Reilly weren't so dead set against Affirmative Action, we'd have more black people going to work and not "living in the ghetto"? Or that black people as a whole were involved in on of the most "politically left" movements in the country's history, aka The Civil Rights Movement?

Or maybe I can just quote some facts from BAMPAC, a group who might know black people a little more than O'Reilly. From their 2005 opinion poll:

1. 73% disapprove in some way in how the President is running the country. 76% believed that he shouldn't have won re-election.

2. Economy and Jobs, Education and Health Care are their top three concerns (I thought they had jobs?)

3. They considered the Democratic Party more favorable than the Republican Party.

4. They rank "Parents" and "Music Artists" over religious leaders as the most influential to the Black Community.

5. They feel taken for granted by the Democratic Party, and ignored by the Republican Party.

6. They are more inclined to vote for a White Democrat then a Black Republican.

7. For abortion, 51% believe a woman has the right to choose.

8. 69% believe that gay marriage should not be legal and 65% believe comparing the gay rights movement to the civil rights movement is wrong.

9. 25% consider themselves liberal, 34% consider themselves conservative and 33% consider themselves moderate.

10. 25% of the respondents live in Urban areas, 21% in suburban, 38% in middle/small towns and 12% live in Rural areas.

11. 44% of the respondents make less than $30,000.

The only thing O'Reilly has correct is the gay marriage issue. But considering people have always tried to compare the cause to the civil rights movement, it's little wonder the issue has upset so many African-Americans. Everything else is dead wrong. Mainstream black people are basically frustrated Democrats who want better pay(or jobs), like to live in towns, want Bush to be kicked out of office, think of themselves as moderates and want government to not legislate their bedroom.

I suggest that O'Reilly stops using the show "Black. White." for his race issue talking points.

"Maverick" McCain Booed by the Unions?

Say it ain't so. Well, if I did, I'd be lying. The man once known as a "Maverick Republican" (aka, Republican who didn't kiss Bush's backside) continues his fall. As if the Falwell backtracking wasn't bad enough.

See, McCain was giving a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Legislative Conference on immigration reform (here's his most recent press release on the subject) . He was speaking to the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department. Highlights from the whole ordeal:

The first questioner seemed to challenge his commitment to organized labor. When McCain started to praise a particular labor group in Arizona, the crowd booed again.

"Stop!" he said with a smile, drawing laughter from the crowd. "I surrender."

But he took more questions, including a pointed one on his immigration plan. McCain responded by saying immigrants were taking jobs nobody else wanted. He offered anybody in the crowd $50 an hour to pick lettuce in Arizona.

Shouts of protest rose from the crowd, with some accepting McCain's job offer. "I'll take it!" one man shouted. McCain insisted none of them would do such menial labor for a complete season. "You can't do it, my friends."

Some in the crowd said they didn't appreciate McCain questioning their work ethic. "I was impressed with his comedy routine and ability to tap dance without music. But I was impressed with nothing else about him," said John Wasniewski of Milwaukee. "He's supposed to be Mr. Straight Talk?"

Good question. Some aren't so sure he should have that moniker, seeing as it was supposed to highlight his "maverick" tendencies. I'm inclined to agree.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sunday Is For Conservatives

At least that's the way Media Matters sees it. I'm inclined to agree; the explanations I've heard for why it's been like this since the late 90's is pretty cyclical.

See, during Bill Clinton's term, there needed to be balance, so the networks decided (and cable) to invite people from the conservative side of the political spectrum.

Now, with a Republican Congress and a Republican President, the conservatives are the insiders; so who better to give perspective of what's going on?

And for some reason, people are taking offense because Media Matters is stating the obvious. The critics should be happy that Media Matters hasn't yet added this caveat: that many members of the media have become as conservative as the guests they bring on.

Stop Right There

From the New York Times: "The government of Sudan has blocked Jan Egeland, the United Nations' top emergency aid official, from visiting the western Darfur region this week, prompting Mr. Egeland to accuse Khartoum of trying to hide the dire conditions there.

The Sudanese government offered various explanations for its decision not to allow Mr. Egeland, the under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, to visit Khartoum, the capital, or Darfur beginning Monday."

If you can't see the NYT, go here, they have the story as well.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Hans Blix Nix

Former Iraqi weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iran is far away from having nuclear weapons. If true, that means that the only threat they pose is their army and conventional weaponry.

Rush To Judgment

From MediaMatters: Rush decides to blame the victim of the Duke Lacrosse Sex Scandal.


Iran fires another torpedo. According to their state's TV report, "Revolutionary Guard naval forces a few minutes ago test fired a powerful torpedo in the Strait of Hormuz. This torpedo is capable of destroying enemy warships and submarines at any depth and moving at any speed."


"They Make al Qaeda Look Like a Kindergarten"

That quote came from Richard Clark, who was comparing Iran's (three) terrorist networks to the one made famous by Osama bin Laden. He's a consultant to abcnews right now, and he's given a pretty blunt assessment of what going to war with Iran means for the US. It's not rosy. Considering our relationship with Iran up til this point, the last thing we need is war against the world's sixth largest military (we are currently at #2), especially after they have just tested a naval missile.

I really hope the Bush Administration knows the magnitude of what they are doing. It's not like Iraq were Saddam (at best) teased President Bush and (at worst) threatened the United States. Iran has gone on record as saying that the world will suffer if they are invaded. But looking at how everything is going with Iraq, I have to be skeptical. And looking at things that have happened with Iran and this administration, I'm even more skeptical.

And to be fair, I'm just going to go by what I've noticed myself:

Well, we had the Bush announcing his disapproval of Iran's voting process back in 6/05.

In 7/05 Bush went on record claiming that the new Iranian President may be connected to the American hostage incident in Tehran. Also that month, Iraq and Iran made a deal concerning traing Iraq's military.

In 8/05, Iraq bought weapons (WTF?) from Iran ; the WashPost talked about how Bush is treating the "Axis of Evil" trio (of which Iran is one) differently; and then the WashPost claimed Iran had no know arms program.

In 9/05, there was a story about Iran and Iraq becoming more buddy-buddy.

This January, Condolezza Rice, John Kerry and Dick Cheney talked about what to do with Iran. Then FoxNews gave their two cents.

In February, we found out that Valerie Plame was working on Iran-related issues before she was outed by someone connnected to the White House.

Last Month? Bush gave Iran an ultimatum. John Murtha goes toe-to-toe with Dick Cheney. The U.N. gets more involved with Iran. A general questions the "Iran smuggling weapons to Iraq" story. Neo-Conservative pundit Anne Coulter believes invading Iran (and China) is a good idea. Bush's poll numbers continue to fall, just like they did before 9/11 and the start of the Iraq liberation/invasion/war.

BTW, I posted that ultimatum story on 3/4/05. Thirty days from that date is (roughly) tomorrow, assuming that Bush hasn't extended it.