Sunday, December 24, 2006

John Kerry Strikes Back!

Just a piece from his WashPost entry:

We cannot afford to waste time being told that admitting mistakes, not the mistakes themselves, will provide our enemies with an intolerable propaganda victory. We've already lost years being told that we have no choice but to stay the course of a failed policy.

This isn't a time for stubbornness, nor is it a time for halfway solutions -- or warmed-over "new" solutions that our own experience tells us will only make the problem worse. The Iraq Study Group tells us that "the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating." It joins the chorus of experts in and outside of Baghdad reminding us that there is no military solution to a political crisis. And yet, over the warnings of former secretary of state Colin Powell, Gen. John Abizaid and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington is considering a "troop buildup" option, sending more troops into harm's way to referee a civil war.

We have already tried a trimmed-down version of the McCain plan of indefinitely increasing troop levels. We sent 15,000 more troops to Baghdad last summer, and today the escalating civil war is even worse. You could put 100,000 more troops in tomorrow and you're only going to add to the number of casualties until Iraqis sit down together at a bargaining table and compromise. The barrel of a gun can't answer the question of how you force Iraqi nationalism to trump sectarian loyalty.

The only hope for stability lies in pushing Iraqis to forge a sustainable political agreement on federalism, distributing oil revenues and neutralizing sectarian militias. And that will happen only if we set a deadline to redeploy our troops.

Something to think about during the holidays.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Conservative Cannabalism?

Seattlepi.com: Narrowly defeated in his bid for a fourth term, Montana Sen. Conrad Burns turned his anger on the National Republican Senatorial Committee and commercials it had run months before the election.

"The ads hurt me more than they helped. I wouldn't have spent the money," he said, his comments characteristic of the season of second-guessing now unfolding among Republicans.

That's funny because I thought Burns' defeat had to do with something other than the NRSC. As Marie Horrigan of the New York Times noted:

Burns’ defeat was a perfect storm of voter dissent over the sizable campaign contributions Burns received in the past from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and the senator’s uncanny ability to commit verbal gaffes.

Montana Democrats scored bonus points when Tester won the June 6 primary over state Auditor John Morrison. A lawyer with an urbane manner, Morrison might have had a hard time offsetting former farm broadcaster Burns’ claims that he was the only “real” Montanan in the race.

Not so for Tester, a crewcut-wearing, big-bellied organic farmer who works the land his grandfather homesteaded in the early 20th century and freely showed off the fact that he lost three fingers years ago in a meat grinder accident.

Tester kept his campaign mainly positive, withstood a barrage of ads by Burns and GOP allies aimed at portraying him as too liberal, and let Burns do himself in with self-inflicted controversies — such his statement there was a cadre of taxi drivers who moonlight as assassins in their off-hours, and his public scolding of Virginia firefighters whose efforts to put out wildfires in Montana were deemed insufficient by Burns.

One interesting aspect of the Montana race is that it was much less affected by Bush’s national unpopularity than most of the Republican defeats. While the president, according to the SurveyUSA polling company, had a big job approval deficit in all of the other states where Democrats gained Senate seats, he had a narrow 50 percent to 48 percent advantage in Montana just prior to the Nov. 7 election. In fact, a late campaign appearance in Montana by Bush appeared to help Burns narrow Tester’s lead in “horserace” polls.

Instead of sighting his own flaws, Burns decides to bite the hand that fed him. What a class act. I don't think the RNSC will miss him too much.

A Large Senior Class

Just how old is Congress?

"...the average age of the incoming Democratic House committee leaders is 67, six years older than the Republicans they are replacing. The trend is the same, albeit less pronounced, in the Senate, where the average age of Democratic chairmen will be about 68.5, a year older than the Republican leaders who are losing their majority status."


Part of infusing new ideas into government has to include having literally "new blood." You can't expect a politician who's been in office for over 20 years to be innovative. Effective, maybe; but not innovative.

Sorry Guys; You'll Need to Wait a Little Longer

AP: A federal appeals court told the Bush administration Friday that it does not need to immediately restart a housing program for thousands (4,200 to be exact) of Hurricane Katrina victims.

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Separate But Equal: the Sequel

AFP: The Supreme Court heard arguments over how US schools try to promote racial balance, appearing to back the goal of integration but not necessarily the means used to achieve it...

...The high court on Monday examined school assignment policies for high schools in Seattle in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington and in elementary schools in Louisville, Kentucky, two cities where whites and blacks live in mostly segregated neighborhoods.

Parents whose children were not able to attend the school of their choice -- due to policies that require a certain racial balance -- have sued their school districts arguing that classifying children based on race is unconstitutional.

Backed by the US government, the plaintiffs also argue that the policy distorts a landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, "Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka," which barred racial segregation in schools.

Misinformer of the Year (2006)

Media Matters gives that "award" to ABC.

Lincol Didn't Free Them All

Colbert I. King on modern day slavery in America.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Like You Won't Be Watching the Pageants Now

If you must see what the hoopla is about concerning Miss Nevada (USA), the answer can be found here (WARNING: not for the kiddies!).

What's That You Say?

Via Media Matters: the most outrageous comments of 2006.

Don't Have a Cow, Man!

Did you know that Bart Simpson did this week's NFL picks? Well, now you do.

When It All Ads Up...

Houston Chronicle:

Cutting the first hole in a key campaign funding law, a federal court here ruled Thursday that corporations, unions and special interest groups had a free-speech right to run some broadcast ads during the campaign season that refer to candidates seeking election.

In a 2-1 ruling, the judges said "genuine issue ads" that refer to a lawmaker's pending business in the capital may be the subject of corporate-funded ads.

The decision sets the stage for the Supreme Court to reconsider the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002, the measure that sharply limits the use of money from wealthy donors, corporations and unions in election campaigns.

If anyone thought that this years election ads were rough, brace yourselves. If this goes to the Supreme Court and they reconsider the MC-F Act, the ads are bound to get alot harsher.

Pardon Me...

President Bush pardoned 16 people for the year 2006. They include:

-Charles James Allen of Winchester, Va., conspiracy to defraud the United States. A former federal employee, Allen was convicted in 1979 for approving payments to James Hilles Associates Inc., a Virginia firm, for office supplies that were never delivered. In return, Allen received car parts, a radio, a freezer and other gifts from the firm. He was sentenced to a year of custody to be served by 30 days in jail, 90 days in a work-release program, and the remaining period on parole.

-William Sidney Baldwin Sr. of Green Pond, S.C., conspiracy to possess marijuana. Sentenced Oct. 27, 1981, to six years’ imprisonment.

-Timothy Evans Barfield of Cary, N.C., aiding and abetting false statements on a Small Business Administration loan application. Sentenced July 17, 1989, to three years’ probation, including 96 hours of community service.

-Clyde Philip Boudreaux of Thibodaux, La., borrowing money from enlisted men, accepting a noninterest-bearing loan from a government contractor and signing and swearing to a false affidavit. Sentenced Dec. 2, 1975, to a Navy reprimand, loss of numbers on the promotion list and a $1,000 fine.

-Marie Georgette Ginette Briere of Gatineau, Quebec, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Sentenced July 9, 1982, to three years’ imprisonment and three years’ special parole.

-Dale C. Critz, Jr., Savannah, Ga., making a false statement. Sentenced July 13, 1989, to three years’ probation.

-Mark Alan Eberwine of San Antonio, conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, and obstructing the assessment of taxes by the Internal Revenue Service and making false declarations to the grand jury. Sentenced Feb. 1, 1985, as amended April 23, 1986, to two years’ imprisonment.

-Colin Earl Francis of Naugatuck, Conn., accepting a kickback of about $9,000 for helping a vendor for United Technologies Corp.’s Sikorsky Aircraft division, where Francis worked at the time, land a contract. Sentenced May 7, 1993, to two years’ probation and a $2,500 fine.

-Patricia Ann Hultman, of Kane, Pa., conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and other controlled substances. Sentenced Oct. 28, 1985, to one year of imprisonment.

-Eric William Olson of Ojai, Calif., conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute, possession, and use of hashish. Sentenced Feb. 21, 1984, by an Army general court-martial to confinement at hard labor for one year, reduction in pay grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a bad conduct discharge.

-Thomas R. Reece of Cumming, Ga., violating the Internal Revenue Code pertaining to alcohol. Sentenced May 2, 1969, to one year of imprisonment.

-Larry Gene Ross of Indio, Calif., making false statements in a bank loan application. Sentenced Aug. 15, 1989, to four years’ probation and $7,654.20 in restitution.

-Jearld David Swanner of Lexington, Okla., making false statements in a bank loan application. Sentenced Dec. 6, 1991, to three years’ probation.

-James Walter Taylor of McCrory, Ark., bank fraud. Sentenced Oct. 18, 1991, to 90 days in jail, followed by two years and nine months’ probation.

-Janet Theone Upton of Salinas, Calif., mail fraud. Sentenced May 23, 1975, to two years’ unsupervised probation.



On Christmas/Holiday Shopping


Credit cards will be in full force this holiday season, when it's all said and done. I've always been fascinated at how people will literally put themselves into debt in order to insure a day and a half of commercial happiness for others. I'm not sure I would consider it a sacrifice in every instance, either.

I say this because, in personal experience, most people don't know what the person they're buying gifts for wants. I've talked to friends, co-workers and family about this, and more often than not they're buying blind. As a result, they overcompensate and end up spending way more they probably have to. Then, more likely than not, the month of January is one of poverty as they fight to pay of holiday bills and struggle to pay the normal monthly ones.

My only suggestion to those who are doing any last-minute shopping is: talk to the person you're buying a gift for, and get a sense of what they'd like. I know that getting info from some people is like pulling teeth, but if your threaten to get them something cheap or cheesy, I'm sure they'll change their tune and be more forthcoming.

Also, remember that it's not necessarily about a physical gift, but that the act of gift-giving implies a level of concern and compassion for the person your getting a gift for. Or, in layman's terms, "It's the thought that counts."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Not To Be Critical

Arch Campbell was one of those rare critics who gave a fair yet firm review of theatre productions and movies. A classy guy who didn't bash everything because it may nor have reflected "his generation." He'll be sorely missed. Take care, Arch.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You Don't Say

"Yesterday, in an interview with The Washington Post, while acknowledging that the United States is not winning in Iraq, Bush bluntly dismissed the suggestion that the midterm elections meant voters want to bring the mission in that country to closure. He said he interpreted the election results "as people not satisfied with the progress" in Iraq."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Anyone Feel a Draft Coming?

WashPost:

President Bush said today that he plans to expand the size of the U.S. military to meet the challenges of a long-term global war against terrorists, a response
to warnings that sustained deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the armed forces to near the breaking point
.



Hopefully, he's not planning on sending all of this newly expanded military to Iraq; only 11% of Americans think more troops in Iraq is a good idea.

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73 Attacks a Day


Against American soldiers and Iraqi troops in Iraq, if the figures in this report is correct.

An Answer to the Nuggets?

A Yearly Recap Already?

The JibJab Year in Review is in, and boy is it funny.

The Power Struggle


New York Times:

Over the past six months, Baghdad has been all but isolated electrically, Iraqi officials say, as insurgents have effectively won their battle to bring down critical high-voltage lines and cut off the capital from the major power plants to the north, south and west.

The battle has been waged in the remotest parts of the open desert, where the great towers that support thousands of miles of exposed lines are frequently felled with explosive charges in increasingly determined and sophisticated attacks, generally at night. Crews that arrive to repair the damage are often attacked and sometimes killed, ensuring that the government falls further and further behind as it attempts to repair the lines.

And in a measure of the deep disunity and dysfunction of this nation, when the repair crews and security forces are slow to respond, skilled looters often arrive with heavy trucks that pull down more of the towers to steal as much of the valuable aluminum conducting material in the lines as possible. The aluminum is melted into ingots and sold.

It's hard to build (or re-build) a country with no power. Will President Bush's long-awaited speech address such important issues as "making sure the country has sustainable power?" Why can't the repair crews get more protection; is everyone guarding the oil?

This war has been an economical and foreign relations disaster. Half-ass tactics at every step, all in an attempt to fight a group of terrorist who weren't even there in the first place. We can't train anyone properly, can't build anything without it being blown up, and even if we could, we can't keep the power stations secure enough to keep such facilities open.

If Bush doesn't start talking strategy, and by that I mean "this is how we accomplish our goals," his January speech may as well be the phone book.

For Those Who Went Unscathed

George Karl isn't happy that Isiah Thomas got off scot free in the Knicks/Nuggets confrontation.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Mary Jane Market

Reuters:


"U.S. growers produce nearly $35 billion worth of marijuana annually, making the illegal drug the country's largest cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined, an advocate of medical marijuana use said in a study released on Monday.

The report, conducted by Jon Gettman, a public policy analyst and former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also concluded that five U.S. states produce more than $1 billion worth of marijuana apiece: California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington."

You have to think at some point the federal government will push for legalization; if for anything to get some of that "phat money cake."

"Whatcha Goin Do?"

From CNN:

New Orleans police lined up "like at a firing range" and fatally shot an unarmed man in the back as he fled from them in the days after Hurricane Katrina swept ashore, a witness to the shooting told CNN.

It marks the first time a witness has come forward publicly with information about the shooting of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man whose death has sparked a police investigation and a grand jury probe into what happened in and around the Danziger Bridge that day.

"He just fell like he was collapsing," Kasimir Gaston told CNN. "Like something just wiped him out."

Gaston was one of many flood refugees living on the second floor of the Friendly Inn, a low-income motel on the city's east side. On Sunday, September 4 of last year, he says he woke up and stepped onto the balcony of the motel and saw a man running, hands outstretched and being fired upon.

Initial police accounts said that Madison reached for his waistband and turned on police, but Gaston said Madison did not appear to have a weapon and that he was running away from police "hands out, full speed" when he was shot.



"Protect and Serve," indeed.

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Truth, Justice and Healthcare for All?

Via Boston Globe: "Universal healthcare, an issue the White House and Congress have largely abandoned since the early 1990s, has reemerged as an issue on Capitol Hill and around the country, with lawmakers looking to Massachusetts' landmark plan as a political and structural model for the nation's 46 million uninsured."

Of course, Republican governor and presidential wannbe Mitt Romney presided over this thing so expect him to use it in his bid.

Jump at the Pump


As Christmas nears, the gas prices are (still) rising.

And Speaking of Dumb-asses.....



Did I mention that at my job I ran into, of all people FORMER Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore?! Hey Gilly, how's that humble pie taste?!

Wizards: Quid Pro Quo


While I'll agree with Rosen that the WizKids have much to work on in the defense department, here are some things that may have been overlooked in last night's game:

1. The Lakers are a unique group of lanky forwards and guards, and that presented problems both offensively and defensively for the considerably shorter (and less athletic) Wizards.

2. It's harder to break down East-West matchups in comparison to inter-conference matchups because teams who don't see each other but twice a year don't really prepare the same. While all the Wizards are aware of Kobe (and to a lesser extent, Kwame Brown), who knew that center Brian Cook could hit a 3-pointer?

3. For the Stat Lovers: actually, the Wizards were par for course and it was the Lakers who came up sort defensively this time around.

4. Kobe hinted (actually he didn't hint; he was pretty clear) that Gilbert Arenas was a chucker, which is funny considering that their stats this season are fairly similiar.

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Minute Rice

Fred Hiatt (from the WashPost) says while the Secretary of State has a good delivery, what she has to deliver has much to be desired.

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Biggest Asses of 2006




Now normally when I speak of asses, I do so positively, usually because I, like a lot of other men, WILL LOOK at your ass factor as you walk by! But in this case, this is a bad thing. Here's why:

Ok, so I kinda "borrowed" this one from this morning's edition of "The Russ Parr Morning Show", but Russ did bring up an interesting point. There have been MANY asses that have made themselves apparent in 2006. I'll give you a list of mine and why. Here goes.



1. Michael Richards (Kramer). I think all my black folk know WHY. if I have to go into it, where have you been? Under a rock???



2. My boss, as one female caller put it. I'm inclined to agree with this one. Earlier this year, I tried to take my 2-week vaca and he waited until 2 days prior to tell me I had to chop a week off, and the reason was, get this, "I need you"! Yes, yall! sounding like a bitch with that one! Oooh! yall can't imagine how pissed I was that day! I missed out on going to lake for fun because of it. So I attempt to try again starting the day before Christmas, and he gets his kiss-ass (my supervisor) to ask me to come back 4 days (yeah I know) after, cutting of a week and a half this time; I flatly refused, by the way.



3. Tie. Superhead and Carmen Bryant (Nas's BM). Whoring should NEVER be rewarded with a chance to get rich putting dudes on front street off one's used-up puss. Fame should never be a reward for bad and reckless behavior such as this. Rappers will have any trick that moves, so what makes YOU special???



4. Dipset (in particular Cam'ron and Jim Jones). Cam trying to get Beyonce from J. Y'all remember that?? How pathetic did he look? Jim Jones (fake ass Ghostface Killah. Look at them, y'all! YOU tell ME they don't look alike) don't he look like a jackass, calling out 2 of the biggest names in rap's history? Then he got "help" from Juelz Santna (fake ass Drag-On look-a-like from the Ruff Ryders, Mr. "I, I, I!"). Oh that response was wack, y'all! How are those record sales fellas? The streets are talking. Jimmy ain't got a "Ghost" of a chance lol.



5. Lil Wayne and Baby. The kiss they shared and you're askin' me why I put them up here? How gay was that, kissin' another dude like that regardless to how you "respect" him? Even the Mafia's kiss isn't like that....



Ok, this is it from me. What about you guys? Who are YOUR biggest asses of 2006? Hope I ain't steal answers from yall....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Around The Internets


ThinkProgress: WashPost writer and blog hater George Will expresses his frustration with Time's choice for Person of the Year.

MichaelMoore.com: Mike Ferner has a message for the anti-war choir.

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The Same Way: Backwards


Joseph Galloway gives his theory on what to expect at the end of President Bush's "Listening Tour:"

The power brokers in Washington spent the week carefully arranging fig leaves and tasteful screens to cover the emperor’s nakedness while he was busy pretending to listen hard to everyone with an opinion about Iraq while hearing nothing.

Sometime early in the New Year, President Bush will go on national television to tell a disgruntled American public what he's decided should be done to salvage "victory" from the jaws of certain defeat in the war he started.

The word on the street, or in the Pentagon rings, is that he'll choose to beef up American forces on the ground in Iraq by 20,000 to 30,000 troops by various sleight-of-hand maneuvers - extending the combat tours of soldiers and Marines who are nearing an end to their second or third year in Hell and accelerating the shipment of others into that Hell - and send them into the bloody streets of Baghdad.

These additional troops are expected to restore order and calm the bombers and murderers when 9,000 Americans already in the sprawling capital couldn't. They're expected to do this even when Bush’s favorite (for now) Iraqi politician, Prime Minister Nouri Kamel al Maliki, refuses to allow them to act against his primary benefactor, the anti-American cleric Moqtada al Sadr and his Shiite Muslim Mahdi Army militiamen who kill both Americans and Sunni Arabs.

That sounds like the stubborn George W. Bush we've come to know and ignore (during those empty speeches, of course). The more I hear variations on "We won't leave 'til the job is done," the more I'm convinced that any changes he proposes will be cosmetic.

Pre-emptive Mea Culpa

Sen. Obama apologizes for his prior dealings with an indicted political insider. Apparently, he realizes it's best to get this sort of thing out of the way now in case he does declare an intent to run for president.

Friday, December 15, 2006

No Main Topic


1. Something to Salute: "Naval Academy Gets First Woman Commandant of Midshipmen."

2. Please, Quit Your Day Job: "Authorities are investigating a 13-year-old girl's claims that her mother has been hosting sex parties in their Stafford home."

3. Sick of School: "Officials at Catholic University say they've learned the cause of a gastrointestinal illness that's hit dozens of students in the past three days. "

4. Separate, But Something: "The report says black males should be taught in single-sex classes by a more diverse pool of teachers. It also suggest that African-American boys take more PSAT tests and Advanced Placement classes."

5. No Butts About it, Teach: "He creates floral and abstract art by plastering his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas. "

6. On the Other Hand, You Could Have This Teacher: "A middle school teacher who didn't have time to escort three students to the restroom is under fire for allegedly telling them to answer nature's call in a soda bottle."

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Answering Back

Literally hundreds of people chimed in on Allen Iverson's premature departure from Philly, and the Sports Guy shows us his favorites. If you want to see some good highlights, try here.

And a point of clarification: the guy is a warrior, no doubt. Put him on any "soft" team and they become a force (think the Suns); put him on a one-man show and they become a contender (think the T'Wolves); put him on a contender and they become a favorite (think the Spurs).

Of course, it's not likely that he'd go to any of those teams, but it's fun to dream.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

No Main Topic


1. Those Who Can't Debate, Ridicule: When a fiction author gets his environmental views debunked, he retaliates in the most immature way.

2. No Confidence: "Barely one-third of Americans expect the United States to win the war in Iraq, a bleak assessment that's chasing the Bush administration into ever-deeper political disfavor."

3. "Attack the Purse:" so says the latest presidential wannbe.

4. Santorum Country?: Outed senator looks at his options.

5. Book 'Em: Let O.J. Simpson know how you really feel.

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Rove Plans to Move On

You can call him "former political consultant" after Bush's term is up. But I'm sure that won't stop from showing up as a special guest pundit now and then.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Menacing "Maverick"

Presidential wannabe John McCain declares war on blogs. Assuming the guy knows that there are countless non-political blogs out there, what does McCain think he can accomplish by doing this?

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God Punk

Jay Bakker (son of Jim Baker) has a show that features him trying to move on with his life.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Don't Forget to Write

The Saudi Ambassador to the US resigns; making the Bush Administration's failure at foreign policy almost complete.

Jack 2006

A possible new Ripper has England on edge.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Welcome to Death Burger


If one were to look at this picture, one might think that the story is about the health risks that associate with trying to eat this thing. Nope, the story is the sexy nurse-like outfits that the waitresses are wearing, which are ticking off real nurses.

Question: these real nurses, they no that pornography exists, right? And that some porn stars dress up as dancers, waitresses and...nurses, right? Where's the outrage there?


Methinks the real nurses should be more ticked off that they'll have to revive the victims of the Triple Bypass Burger.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Not All Guilt Trips Lead Where You Want Them

"To local officials combating Shenzhen's reputation as a den of vice, it seemed like a good idea, the perfect way to dissuade provincial girls from turning to prostitution in the big city and frighten away the men who patronize their brothels.

So after raiding the karaoke bars, saunas and barbershops where prostitutes often ply their trade, police officers in the southern Chinese boomtown paraded about 100 women and their alleged johns in the street, using loudspeakers to read out their names and the misdeeds they were accused of committing. News photographers snapped away while thousands of residents lined up to take in the show."

Anyone Want a 6ft, 30-Yr-Old Shooting Guard?

Allen Iverson, Mr. Practice himself, allegedly wants out of Philly.

UPDATE: It looks more likely.

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It's Along Way To Go When You Don't Know Where You're Going; You Don't Know Where You're Going When You're Lost...


Eugene Robinson:

At least the five senior Republicans and five senior Democrats who made up the panel have put down a marker. Facts do count, they remind us, and the possibility that the Iraq misadventure will spark a wider regional war is enough to powerfully concentrate the mind...

...Roughly the first half of the report is pure journalism, an example of what old foreign correspondents used to call a "situationer" -- a snapshot overview of whatever country one's editors thought needed assessing. I learned things I hadn't known...

...The second half of the report is less a news story than a long op-ed piece. The panel ruled out my preferred exit strategy, which it dismisses as "precipitate withdrawal." (I prefer to call it "wake up and smell the coffee.'') The report explains how splitting Iraq into three autonomous parts would be an unacceptably bloody process, as well as intolerable to the neighbors; and how the option of sending a lot more troops to Iraq, as Sen. John McCain advocates, is moot given that we don't have a lot more troops to send...

The report is harshest on the president's "stay the course" option, pointing out that the longer we remain, the worse the situation in Iraq seems to get -- and the more American troops are maimed or killed...

President Bush:

President Bush vowed yesterday to come up with "a new strategy" in Iraq but expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region...

...The emerging debate over the report sets a baseline for the administration's own internal review of Iraq policy, which officials hope to complete in time for Bush to give a speech to the nation before Christmas announcing his new plan for Iraq. At a news conference with visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush called himself "disappointed by the pace of success" and said that "we'll change it if we want to succeed..."

"...The American people expect us to come up with a new strategy to achieve the objective which I've been talking about," Bush said.


I'll believe in his "new strategy" when I see it. So far, Bush has not shown that he even understands the difference between "strategy" and "goal." When he talks about Iraq, everything is put in the context of what he wants to happen (goal) but he's yet been able to articulate how to get to that point with as few casualties as possible (strategy).

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Would You Blame the Shooter If You Gave Him the Loaded Gun?

Timothy Noah warned that "Blaming Iraqis" would be the latest method of deflecting any criticism about the war from the Bush Administration. Well, he was right:

Whose fault is the trouble in Iraq? Bush's fault? No, it's the Iraqis' fault. They're the ones who are committing sectarian violence, not American troops. They're the ones who are using their freedom from Saddam [Hussein] to kill their neighbors instead of trying to get the power running or pump the oil or pave the streets or fix the schools or repair the hospitals.

If the Iraqi death toll is horrendous -- and no one can seriously claim it isn't -- you have to ask, "Who is doing this stuff?" Are there terrorists in Iraq causing trouble? Sure, but not this many. The death toll in Iraq is clearly the doing of Iraqis. And we ought to be saying to the Iraqi government, "Look, your fingerprints are all over this Shia death squad stuff. They're operating in Iraqi police uniforms, driving official Iraqi vehicles, both of which we gave you. And this was not our intention when we made it possible for you to have your own democratic government."


Because, you know, Iraq just begged us to come over and help them, so this is totally their fault. Oh wait, they didn't invite us, we invaded their country! I guess America has to take some of the blame as well then, especially the leader of the country at the time and his/her military advisors and foreign experts. Now who were those people again?

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Lohan's Lovely Letter

Check it out in all it's glory.

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"If you can't control the monkeys, what can you do?"


Funniest. Quote. Ever. Here's why monkeys have become a problem in New Delhi.

Hoover Gets Sucked Up

Whirlpool Corp. on Thursday agreed to sell its recently acquired Hoover floor-care operation for $107 million to Hong Kong-based Techtronics Industries Co.

Sale of the floor-care business "allows us to focus on our core appliance business," said Whirlpool Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Fettig.

Whirlpool announced several months ago that it intended to sell the Hoover operation, which has had difficulty competing with a surge of low-cost imports, in part because the vacuummaker is saddled with relatively high labor costs.

"It Wasn't the Planes; It Was Ebola That Killed the Beast."

Seriously, it was.

27%

That's how many Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq.

Around the Internets


Media Matters:
1. Money spent on Iraq, and the lack of basic understanding of the enemy are only two of the issues in the ISG Report that the mainstream media isn't talking about.

2. You want a reminder that race will be a factor if Barack Obama decides to run for president? Well, here it is.

ThinkProgess:
3. When the ISG first met with President Bush, he didn't ask any questions.

4. Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ironically talks about playing nice.

Crooks&Liars:
5. Republicans admit that they didn't do much with this Congress (with that three-day work week and all).

6. "Six Months" Friedman tells Imus that we gotta get out of Iraq.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Another Reminder That Terrorists Don't Just Attack Americans

"Gunmen attacked a southern Nigerian oil installation belonging to a subsidiary of Italy's Eni SpA early today, taking three Italians hostage and killing another person, Italian and Nigerian officials said."

Window Shopping, Bush Style

Apparently, Jenna Bush's trip to Paraguay wasn't just for fun:

Foreign news agencies, including the Latin American News Service, are reporting that Bush has purchased almost 100,000 acres in northern Paraguay, near the borders of Brazil and Bolivia. Rumors of the purchase began with Prensa Latina, the state-run Cuban news agency.

One of the orignial stories on the matter, seen here, translates as the following:

The eventual purchase of 40 thousand hectares in the Chaco Paraguayan on the part of the American president, George W. Bush, revives today as theme of public debate, after social and political authorities expressed uneasiness.

Although it has not been confirmed for official sources, the news that travels through the continent I need that the lands are located in Step of Country, near the reserves of gas of Bolivia and of the Guarani Aquifer, in the region of the Triple Border.

Last year, when the Paraguayan Congress approved a request of immunity for the American troops that unfold in the South American nation, were the media of local press the first in bringing to light the official agreement.

Now, the governor of the department of High Paraguay, Erasmus Rodriguez Goes to bed, he revealed to have listened versions that the u.s. president acquired those lands, and that are part, moreover, of an ecological reserve (Foundation Country).

In an interview that diffused the notified entry neike. com. py, Rodriguez referred that he does not have documents that can confirm the rumors that cite Bush as one of the components, godfathers or collaborators of that Foundation.

The routine one did neither he manage to talk on the phone with it referred company, neither he has an answer of the National Institute of Rural Development and of the Land, responsible for the lands of the Paraguayan State.

When he shot the alarm, because of the arrival to Assumption last week of Jenna, one of the daughters of Bush, a spokesman of the Department of Physical Planning was limited to say that most of the region of the Chaco corresponds to private enterprises.

He added that if the purchase mentioned is true, he could try a transaction by private lands and not of the State.

For the undersecretary of Lands for the Social Habitat of Argentina, Luis D' Elía, this theme should be cause for concern for the countries of the region, since they are in risk the natural resources that exist in the zone.

"It surprises exceedingly that the family Bush is trying to be written down on the aquifer, few kilometers of the future American military base, Marshal Estigarribia", he affirmed D' Elía in a communiqué.

Before the silence of the Paraguayan authorities, radial media coincided in which some political sectors are willing to investigate the truth of the information.

"The true wars will be for water, not by petroleum", notified the Argentine one Adolfo Pérez Esquivel in a comment on the Guarani Aquifer, freshwater subterranean the greater reserve of South America.

It located under a part of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, the Aquifer is a system of rocky layers portadoras of water that cover 460 thousand square miles, a greater space al of Texas and California united.

"United States already has problems of water in its southern states", assured the Nobel Prize of the Peace 1980.

Edging Castle, member of the Service of Peace and Justice in Paraguay, emphasized the increment of the presence American military in the area chaqueña, under the protection of an agreement between the governments of the two countries.




So, why would Bush need to buy so much land in Paraguay?

Pearl Harbor Remembered

Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out...

James Baker has been Chief Ass Coverer for the Bush Family for years, but apparently our current President Bush isn't as grateful as his dad.

Asked if Baker would help implement the report, a spokesman for Mr. Bush said, "Jim Baker can go back to his day job."

Just another chapter in the Saga known as "Bush & Bush: Father Vs. Son."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Grave and Deteriorating"

How the WashPost describes the ISG report findings on Iraq.

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What Soldiers Are Saying About Iraqi

Things like this:

"U.S. soldiers are dying trying to help people who don't want their help. That makes you angry."

We Didn't Need a Sequel...Really

Andy Dick now has to apologize for trying to find humor in KramerGate.

A Model Environment

"Sen. Barbara Boxer, the soon-to-be chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said Tuesday she will ask Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and two Democratic state lawmakers to testify about why Congress should pass federal legislation modeled on California's landmark law to combat global warming. "

Waiting to Vote

D.C. will have to wait until the 110th Congress comes in to get a chance at full voting rights in the House of Representatives because Republican leaders basically killed any chances of the bill passing.

As for a clue into why:

"The bill had faced long odds for approval this week, given the time constraints. Even if it got through the House, it would have needed to clear the Senate. But proponents had taken heart from the bipartisan support it had attracted. The bill would have balanced the new seat for the mostly Democratic District with an additional one for heavily Republican Utah."

Either Republicans didn't want another Democrat vote, or Democrats didn't want another Republican one. Considering the party that's coming into power, I'm guessing that it was the former.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not Exactly Mr. Sensitive

President Bush knew that VA Senator-elect Jim Webb's son was in danger before their infamous exchange.

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The Slowdown

"Growth in worker productivity slowed sharply in the summer while wages and benefits rose at a rate that was far below a previous estimate.

Productivity, the key ingredient to rising living standards, edged up at an 0.2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. That was better than the zero change that was first reported, but it was below analysts’ expectation for a slightly stronger 0.5 percent increase."

Stop Streaking

The Washington Wizards were only able to play 3 quarters of solid basketball, but that was enough to handle the recently red-hot Dallas Mavericks.

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Around the Internets


1. From C&L: When he's speaking in front of a safe crowd, President Bush talks tough about things, like whether or not Iraq is in a civil war. But when he's under the interview lamp, he backs down.

2. From Media Matters: Bill O'Reilly can't leave the non-existent "war on Christmas" riff alone.

3. From ThinkProgress: MSNBC wants us to believe that former president Jimmy Carter doesn't like Jewish people.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

There was a time (especially in regards to minorities) that hair extensions were frowned upon. I guess now the rules have changed.

On the Jose Padilla Case

Jose Padilla, as you may know, is an American citizen detained by the Bush Administration for being an enemy combatant. He was aggressively treated/tortured, and since then he's been using the legal system to fight back (in his first two years of incarceration, he didn't have access to a lawyer).

How the courts treat Padilla will set a precedent on future hearings, and may even have an impact on the Anti-Habeas Corpus bill that was passed before the November elections. So it's in the Bush Administration's best interests to "nip this thing in the bud" as soon as possible.

I guess that's why they've decided to us the "torturing him must have made him crazy" argument: I mean, if he's crazy, how can his testimony be trusted in a court of law, right?

Now here's where I have to get A Few Good Men on that argument: If the "techniques" used are supposed to be considered successful in getting detainees to reveal information, yet they also make the person mentally unstable, how can anything a person say after undergoing such "harsh tactics" be believed? Are they trying to say in the first twenty minutes or so, the person is lucid and can't tell a lie, than right after that they go "Coocoo for Coco Puffs?" C'mon; you can't have it both ways.

Either Padilla was sane and tortured, or he was driven mad and therefore any information he gave is suspect. And if that's true, these methods for extracting information need to be re-examined.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

60 Seconds of Craziness -- December, 2006



Almost at the end of another year, and my last bits of craziness for the year 2006. For the sake of laughter, Let's get it!


1. 3 days ago, I saw the first Asian chick with huge titties that were real. how rare...


2. Man, I LOVE when a woman calls me "papi"! If I hear it again this year, I swear I'll lose it!!


3. It's a good thing people can't see what I think of them in my brain. Maybe I should be on tv...


4. Why do fat people always buy those little ass cars (Mini Coopers for example), like they can even fit into em? It's like watching a busted can of sardines ooze out! My bad, my BBWS, cuz I don't mean y'all...


5. No, Burger King does not have several XBOX games based on their mascot, the King!! Go to one, you'll see em! There's even a commercial based on them; the games are like those "Tony Hawk" skateboard games!


6. Why do vegetarians proudly proclaim they don't eat meat like they're just plain better than everybody else? "Don't eat meat, man." I don't be tellin' them, "yo, stop eating my grass!" "Don't you wanna live longer?" Uhhh no, not if I have to live like you. Besides, even if you DO live longer, what's the point if everyone else you love dies before you? Wouldn't you be lonely? Also, who says you won't just die of something else anyway???


7. It would seem like my life has much in common with jobs: they both have high turnover rates. People getting fired and people quitting, it appears my life has revolving doors, but whatever....


My name is Justin Smith and I approve this message Image


Being Ugly



This is a repost of a posting my sister pointed out to me from an anonymous user on Craigslist. The title is called "Being Ugly".


Warning!! This posting is a real tear-jerker. You've been warned...


Being Ugly






Date: 2005-04-17, 11:42PM PDT


Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love.

The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot has appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail has long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch.

Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. "That's one UGLY cat!!"

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.

Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbors huskies. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.

Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly I thought.

Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear- Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly. Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful.

He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total to those I cared for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, or beautiful, but, for me, I will always try to be Ugly


*Sniffle* Beautiful, was it not??? I have one reply to that: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! ImageImageImage


This Week in Justin News....





Happy ThanksTAKING, everybody! The following is a recap of what happened to me over the last 4 days. Enjoy!



--Sunday November 19, 2006--



I went to church twice and in the second half of the day, I was at my uncle's church to christen the new building. We got to the final service in the new building late, and being that my cousins didn't want to be stared at as we went to go sit in the front, and even though the pastor's his dad and my uncle, we went to the downstairs to help set up the food. After a few taste tests of the food, we tried to watch football on the tv in my uncle's office, but could only get CBS, and waited for the service to end. But then the testimonies came -- you know, the part at the end that will keep your ass in service for about another 4-5 days?? Yeah,THAT part...



Finally, the service is about to start for the new building. While my other cuz and I speak to his girl about a person from our home church that came, my cousin's wife shushes me cuz they were praying way in front where I couldnt really hear what they were doing. I guess she figured it's better to make MORE of a racket to put down the little noise we and other people behind us were making, but whatever, she better stay off mine.Only reason I stat off her ass now is cuz of him, but she better cool it, trying so hard to act like she close to God now with her crack addicted mother and my little cousins THAT close to being bastards.



Anyway, after church, I go to get food and lemme tell y'all something -- black people + the words "food" and "free" in the same sentence = stampede! I couldn't wait to get in line because I would soon have to leave to go to Petersburg to go to a party I was invited but before I went, I'd have to go to see my date for the evening.....only to find out that the party I was invited to, I would have to drive us both there!!! How do you invite somebody to a party, but they end up driving?? But whatever....



Before I get to driving, we have to stop by her aunt's house with all her kids and her husband all snapping flicks of us before the fact. Soon, we take off down 95 south. I get there and have to wait to eat AGAIN, but this time I get to watch all the females in the place drink while all the fellas could not, because it was about the ladies on THIS night. Lemme tell y'all ANOTHER thing -- watching white people dance to instrumental versions of Foolio's (Coolio's) "Gangsta's Paradise", Nelly's "Hot in herre", "Achy Breaky Heart", and electric slidin' all over the joint is not only pathetic, but it was horrifiying! The chick with her b/f who just happened to kiss him infront of me in a picture pose, would just stare at me to see when my reaction would be while watching to fat white girls ATTEMPT to drop it like it's hot (which it was NOT). Oh, it was horrible, I tell you! I got home around 12, and just elected to skip school and prepare for my time at the register at work later that day....



--Monday November 20, 2006--



Because apparently I know all things in the store they let ALL the cashiers be off for the day and I had to do it. I had bought a 18 pack of Heineken just in case I ended up being stressed out afterwords. It wasn't so bad I guess, but it was the principle for me. Why can't other people learn how to do stuff, but anyway...When I got home, I was bound and determined to have me a damn beer (the minimum amount required for me to forget this day: 4), but I COULDN'T GET THE TOP OFF!!!!



--The last Couple of Days--



Not a thing happened...



WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! Why me????? Image

*Editor's Note: This actually happened like alsmot 3 weeks ago, I just forgot to post it here. My bad, yall!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Politics Loss Is Hollywood's Gain

Guess we can forget my earlier plea for Lohan to expand her horizon: she has started to attend AA meetings. Hey, if she's trying to right her ship, I'm all for it. Besides, there's always a chance that Tara Reid or Courtney Love may change their professional venue.

"Bong Hits 4 Jesus"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Please, Lindsay Lohan, Run for Public Office!

After Katherine Harris' exit from the limelight that is politics, I was thinking that there's a void that needs to be filled: the train wreck candidate.

Since Hollywood is full of trainwrecks, let me nominate Lindsay Lohan as Harris' replacement. Someone needs to get this young woman to run for something. Mayor, alderwoman, county exec, anything.

Why? Well check this out, courtesy of TMZ.com:

Lindsay Lohan flipped out when she saw Jessica Biel at an event in L.A. the other night, because Jessica's assistant used to work for the freckled phenom – until a few months ago, when she quit.Page Six reports that Lohan, upon seeing Biel and the woman at the GQ Men of the Year awards, screamed, "If she stays, I'm outta here! I can't look at that girl!" But Lindsay's tirade elicited not so much as a shrug from Jessica: "It was really uncalled for. Jessica and everyone else ignored her." Even more humiliating, says the Post, was Will Ferrell's reaction when he heard about Lindsay's tantrum. Turning to Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, and Ben Affleck, Ferrell scoffed, "Who cares about that freak anymore, anyway?" eliciting laughter from the crowd. Lohan's rep said that the outburst didn't sound like Lindsay, and Biel's rep said, "Jessica is a professional." Snap.

Now tell me she wouldn't be perfect.

“so blind to something this big.”

"For 20 years, Rick Warren was wrong about AIDS, he told listeners at the opening session of the much-anticipated 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. "

But thanks to his wife, he was able to see the truth about the global dangers AIDS presents.

What a Coincidence

First Newt Gingrich suggests that we should curb Freedom of Speech because of the Internet.

Now:

"A Department of Homeland Security advisory cautioning that al Qaeda may be planning cyber attacks on banking and financial institution Web sites was issued out of an abundance of caution, although there is no corroboration, a DHS spokesman told CNN Thursday."

Expect Gingrich and others to tie the two together, and suggest an Internet-version of the Patriot Act (or worse) as a way to "combat terrorism."

Ken's Parting Warning

Outgoing RNC Chair Ken Mehlman told a bunch of GOP governors "the party will face years in the political wilderness unless it corrects the mistakes that led to last month's election losses."

He also assured them that they were the future of the party, which may come as a shock to the Republican leaders in both the Senate and the House.

I'm sure Mehlman has looked at the track record of Governors becoming Presidents (i.e., Clinton and Bush) and likes their chances better.

The Ups and Downs of the Washington Wizards

When Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison combine for less than 51 points, the team is 1-8.

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