Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No Main Topic



  1. As Eugene Robinson's discussion is showing, the Barack Obama/Donnie McClurkin issue may not go away anytime soon. If Obama wanted to show an example of tolerance, he should have picked tolerant people, not people who are question marks on where they stand or (worse yet) those who are intolerant.

  2. Google leads the war on Facebook.

  3. R&B singer Kelis is released from her record.

  4. Hollywood tries to avoid a writer's strike, but the DC taxicabs look like they're heading closer to one.

  5. Democratic presidential wannabes pile on Hillary Clinton during last night's debate.

  6. "West Virginia is hoping that a little wheel can make a big difference in the state's obesity problem. The wheel is a body mass index calculator, a low-tech tool that will be distributed to doctors across the state as part of a new effort to get physicians to recognize obesity early in their patients. "

  7. Adults are just into the Halloween costumes as children.

  8. And lastly, from terrorists to global warming to...a child: "Officials blamed a wildfire that consumed more than 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week on a boy playing with matches, and said they would ask a prosecutor to consider the case."

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Banned In the USA

Clear Channel seems to have a problem with Bruce Springsteen's new album...so they've decided not to play any tracks from it.

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No Main Topic



  1. Not known for being a chatterbox when he was alive, post-living ex-President Gerald Ford seems to have alot to say.

  2. In West Virginia: "An intense drought that scorched the Southeast this year is going to cost Americans at the meat counter. "

  3. Former President Bill Clinton is getting used to being the "candidate's spouse."

  4. In College Park, MD: a woman is sexually assaulted on a car.

  5. In New York: "Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Edwards offered to resign during the past week, CNBC reported on Tuesday, as the largest U.S. brokerage continues to struggle with the fallout from more than $8 billion of third-quarter write-offs. " The CEO is close to leaving as well.

  6. Once a Ugandan captive, this young women hopes her story can help others.

  7. A Navy doctor who like to tape midshipmen having sex is going to court.

  8. The Taliban is getting help from characters rougher than they are.

  9. In DC: There may be a taxi driver strike on Halloween.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

No Main Topic



  1. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) wants to introduce "legislation that would require the government to write in "plain language" -- simple words, short sentences and no jargon, so that people can understand tax forms, college aid applications and other documents distributed to the public." You know what? I'm so jiggy with 86ing such esoteric languages.

  2. It was the USA that pressured Palistan to let former prime minister Benazir Bhutto back in.

  3. The "Bostocalypse" is upon us with victories by the Red Sox and the undefeated Patriots.
  4. In Australia, a political party known for family values dumps one of their campaigners for using porn.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Point of View


Check this out for an excellent visual description of what it's actually costing to keep American soldiers fighting in Iraq.

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The "F" In FEMA Is For "Fake"




As in, FEMA personnel, not actual reporters, where asking questions (and praising FEMA) about the California Wildfires.




There's a Think Progress post and Daily Kos diary on the story.

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Wizards Preason Rundown

So what do the Wizard's chances look like this year? Well:

Charley Rosen: The Wizards have nothing beyond Arenas, Jamison, Butler and Stevenson.

ESPN's Daily Dime: The consensus is: They'll be better in the regular season than the post season, and playing better defense is just talk.

BulletsForever: If the team can play team defense, and if coach Eddie Jordan play a better chess game, and if the new bench can provide much-needed energy, than we can get within playoff range.

My quick assessment: they traded an old, gritty, offensively-challenged bench for a young, electric, inexperienced one. The most consistent member of the big three is also the oldest. Their best defender is an unmotivated 7-footer, and their most consistent defender is being asked to score more by their coach. Not counting the center and PG position, their starting five is undersized. They have tough, but not rough, players. They'll need to outscore their opponents in order to win. My quickie prediction: 5th seed in the playoffs and first round upset; but lose in second round.

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No Main Topic



  1. Another 'Lost' star is arrested for drunk driving; and knowing the pattern of "drunk driving = leaving the show" I can only hope this time will be an exception to the rule.
  2. In Laurel, Md, a 4-yr-old girl was taken from her church and sexually assaulted.
  3. GOP presidential wannabe Fred Thompson says that he doesn't share Dick Cheney's view of "unitary executive" (aka, "President as King").
  4. A new Washington Post poll has Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani leading the presidential wannabe race.
  5. A fire in New Market, MD leaves two dead.
  6. NBC's Dick Gregory was buying something on the street; I'll let wizznutzz theorize what.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

FoxNews' Lack of Confidence in the Resiliency of the American People

Looking at the screenshot Media Matters found at Fox News, you would think that the discussion actually dealt with whether or not the Democrat's tax proposal would indeed "kill incentive" for Americans to "strive for success."

But as the posting shows, no one involved in the segment addressed this ridiculous premise. And I call it "ridiculous" because to think that after terrorist attacks, city-shattering hurricanes and the current wildfires, a tax proposal would snap the will of the American people. And those are just examples from the last seven years.

This country has survived two World Wars, a Civil War, The Great Depression, the Aids Epidemic, the Oklahoma Bombing, the Columbine Shootings and many, many other tragedies. But no, according to Fox News, it's a tax law that will make Americans loose all hope and give up on life.

Like I said before: the premise is ridiculous.

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Dana Perino is *Still* A "Pimbo"

This ThinkProgress post shows why: this woman actually thinks global warming is good becuase than less people will die from "cold-related deaths."

Sigh.

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Higher Education is the 2nd Most Dangerous Organization in America


According to Family Security Matters. Check out the list. The blurb "explaining" why Colleges and Universities are #2 is amazing to say the least:



Anyone familiar with my column at Family Security Matters knows my thoughts on the Left’s stranglehold on American colleges and universities. Unfortunately, many professors use the various organizations on this list as a part of their curriculum, often selectively ignoring facts that don’t support their far-Left agenda.


Now compare that to their comments on #5, The Center for American Progress:



This liberal think tank does far less thinking than it does smearing and misleading. The Center for American Progress supports driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, refers to critics who oppose illegal immigrants as “racists,” and suggests conservative SCOTUS Justices are somehow plotting to create a conservative America.


So the belief that the GOP is trying to put more conservative Justices in the Supreme Court to "create a conservative America" is a conspiracy, but the belief that Colleges and Universities are in "the Left's stranglehold" is very, very real. Despite the fact that our current Supreme Court has been reversing alot of long-standing decisions.


Well, as someone who went to and works for a University, let me say that professors are not strapping college students to chairs "ClockWork Orange"-style and forcing them to embrace liberal ideas. In fact, there are alot of vocal conservatives here, as well as at other universities. Maybe FSM needs to go back to school.

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Barack the Gracious

While speaking in Dover, Barack Obama says that Al Gore can be a part of his Administration if he wants to. What a heart!

Anyway, the more pertinent part of his visit/speech was his take on possible "Swift Boating" should he get the nomination:

Obama said he expects to face similar attacks if he becomes the nominee.

"I have no doubt there will be some of that — trying to make me into this foreign, odd, clearly black person and to scare people," he said. "When people try to Swift Boat you, you have to respond forcefully, you have to respond immediately and you have to respond truthfully. ... We are prepared for whatever they will throw at us."


Let's hope he'll be as prepared as he claims. The Swift Boaters all but destroyed John Kerry's credibility as a candidate with a sufficient military background.

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We Must Stop Iraq...I mean, Iran

Why? Because the President thinks so. After all, he's implementing new sanctions as we speak. And presidential wannabe Mitt Romney thinks that bombarding Iran would be, like, the coolest thing ever.

It's not like the "attack Iraq" crowd was wrong, right?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wargasm!

So we have the Congressional Budget Office saying that by 2017, American taxpayers would have spent $2.4 trillion on war. We have a military budget proposal from President Bush that includes funding "to modify B-2 bombers so they can drop a Massive Ordnance Penetrator" aka, "a really big friggin' bomb" on something (it can't be for Iraq; we've bombed the hell out of them already). We also have conflicting points of view between Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about whether or not America needs to renew their missile defense system (the thing the Bush Administration was so gung-ho about before the 9/11 attacks). We have Fox News essentially agreeing that going at Iran is the right thing to do.

There are only a few elements in the Bush Administration not talking about blowing something up or attacking someone (and Gates is the most visible member of that group). About a month ago, Chris Matthews was scared shitless at the thought that Bush would start another unprovoked invasion, and he questioned nearly every politician at the time on their thoughts about going into Iran (his fervor has quieted some since he started to promote his book). The candidates have been all over the spectrum with Iraq: some want a complete pullout; some want a phased withdrawal; some want a "continued military presence;" and others want to copy the Bush Administration Playbook word-for-word.

As far as Iran is concerned, the American people seem to be in one of four camps:
  1. "Let's Kick Ass!" -- This crowd is made mostly made up of the 25% of people who still support the Bush Administration. People who are so afraid of terrorists to the point that they're all-to-willing to relinquish their civil liberties, violent sociopaths and people who are prejudice against all-things-Muslim round out the membership.
  2. "It's Gonna Happen Tomorrow and We Gotta Stop It!" -- These people believe that war with Iran is inevitable like Group 1, but unlike that Group they don't think it's a good idea.
  3. "I'll Believe It When I See It" -- People of a scientific mind; they trust what they can taste, smell, touch and hear. Until they see an American tank rolling through Tehran, they don't think that Bush & Co. would be crazy enough to attack/invade a third country (after Afghanistan and Iraq).
  4. "History Tells Us..." -- This group is cynical, yet realistic. They understand that last time, Bush received overwhelming public support before going to Iraq, and rationalize that he'd need the same before even thinking about going into Iran. At the same time, they know that Bush's record of extreme secrecy, cronyism, and politicizing everything to win makes him dangerously unpredictable.

I have to admit that over the last three years, I've been a member of the last three Groups (some longer than others). My personal take as of this moment? Bush is using this time period as his "diplomacy period" so if he does take military action, he could say that he tried. But with Gates resisting on the inside, no Karl Rove to spin the message, and an increasing focus on the 2008 candidates (both Democrats and Republicans) you have to wonder whether Bush has the "political capital" to pull something this big off.

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A Very Good Point...

Not by me of course (I don't make good points!), but by Atrios:

For the ones [Democrats] who actually hold office I've been much more interested in what they do as officeholders than what they do as candidates. They all say they're great leaders, but some of them currently have the office, stature, and especially for Clinton and Obama, the hefty soapbox from which they can actually ... lead. They have the power to take something which is an issue right now and run with it, instead of thinking about all the wonderfully yummy things they'll do... if they win... 15 months from now.


Good examples of "leadership" would include: how they handle funding President Bush's war, their position on allowing retro-immunity for telecom companies who participated in the warrantless spying, and/or dealing with health care.

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No Main Topic



  1. Bush warns Cuba not to allow Fidel Castro to transfer power to his brother...but he really should have made his move when Castro got sick awhile back.

  2. Halle Berry apologies for her "Jewish lookalike" joke.

  3. GOP presidential wannabes react to Fred Thompson's immigration plan.

  4. A Australian woman is arrested for crushing beer cans with her breasts.

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FoxNews Goes Conspiracy Theory

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Now That's Conservative...

I guess you can't get more conservative than Ugg.

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GOP Plans for Immigration: Spend More Money

Why are Republicans still considered the "party of fiscal responsibility" by the mainstream media and many political pundits?

Take Fred Thompson for example. On the surface, his immigration plan looks simple:

The multi-faceted plan, which focuses primarily on enforcing existing federal immigration laws, includes ending sanctuary cities by cutting off federal funds, denying federal education grants to public universities that offer in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens and denying federal grants to state and local governments that offer public benefits to illegal aliens.

But then you have the "add-ons:"

This afternoon Thompson posted additional proposals on his Web site, including doubling the number of ICE agents, increasing the Border Patrol to at least 25,000 agents, adding resources to the Department of Justice to prosecute alien smugglers and making greater use of the expedited removal process already allowed under federal law. Those proposals, the Web site said, will result in attrition through enforcement.

Thompson also called for requiring all U.S. employers use the Department of Homeland Security’s electronic database to confirm that prospective employees are authorized to work in the country, finishing the fence along the Mexican border by 2010, implementing a system to track visa entrants and exits and making English as the official language of the United States.

Umm...where is the money for the extra agents and to finish the fence come from? Is he gonna end the "war" so we can afford all of this? But wait, there's a "bonus" to this:

One plank of Thompson’s plan entails stripping federal grant money from cities that fail to report illegal immigrants, sometimes called sanctuary cities.

In other words: like No Child Left Behind, if you fail, we take your money.

Then you have Tom Tancredo, who made this request:

“I call on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to detain any illegal aliens at this press conference. Just because these illegal aliens are being used for political gain doesn’t mean they get immunity from the law.”


What unspeakable horror was taking place that Tancredo sought to stop?

Tancredo brought to the attention of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) a staff briefing that was to be attended by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).

The briefing was meant to educate staff on the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow “certain long-term undocumented immigrant children to go to college or join the military if they meet stringent requirements,” according to Durbin’s office.


Word is Tancredo wants every illegal immigrant arrested. Again: where is he going to find the money?

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Keep Hope Alive!!

500,000

That's the number of evacuees due to the California fires:

San Diego County faced the most dire situation as flames raced unchecked, with 500,000 people now ordered to evacuate their homes, county supervisor Ron Roberts said. At least 1,250 homes were destroyed.

Another person died on Tuesday from burns in a fire north of Los Angeles, after the first death reported on Sunday some 150 miles away near San Diego.

A state official told Reuters that the fires have likely caused several hundred million dollars of damage.

President Bush plans to visit the areas...on Thursday.

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Selling the Name, Then the Product

Slate.com reviews the first week of the Fox Business Network, and it's as bad as I thought. Other than one redeemable show (The Dave Ramsey Show) the "highlights" consisted of a 4-minute interview with the Naked Cowboy, asking Joel Osteen how he would counsel Britney Spears, and the legs of the female anchors.

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No Main Topic



  1. With Global Positioning System chips in your phone, you won't be able to hide.

  2. A stripper-turned-soccer-mom used a plot from a 90's movie to try and kill her fiance. 'Nuff said.

  3. A&T and Verizon are "donating" (read: legal bribe) to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV so he will vote for retro-active "immunity for businesses participating in National Security Agency eavesdropping."

  4. A hiking trip turns deadly for a pair of newlyweds.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

...Than Fiction.

When you see a movie like "Identity," you think a patient like Malcolm Rivers could never exist. But then you see a story like this one, which makes you think that a movie like "Identity" might not have been real enough.

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Gimme Money. That's What I Want.


Fresh off of telling the Congressional Democrats (and pretty much the country) that America can't afford to help poor children anymore, President Bush asks for $46 billion for the meat grinder...er, "war in Iraq." He also claims the money is for "Afghanistan and finance other national security needs," but who really knows at this point? I just hope he's not planning on using American tax dollars to fund Blackwater's legal bills.

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Sailor Shooting

Just sad:

A U.S. Navy sailor allegedly shot and killed two female sailors early Monday in the barracks of a American military base in Bahrain, a Navy official said.

The alleged shooter, a male, was critically wounded in the shooting at the U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain base, the Navy official, who was not authorized to release the information to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press.


No word yet on what the shooter's motive was; hopefully there will be updates soon...

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Russert vs. Colbert

Tim Russert struggled to have a serious interview with the-always-funny-and-entertaining Stephen Colbert about his bid to run for president. It's didn't always work.

Part One:



Classic Moment: when Colbert compares Social Security and pensions to "tipping a waiter." Can't wait for a real neo-conservative to pick that talking point up and start using it like it was their idea.

And Part Two:



Best Quote From Colbert: "I don't listen to what I say."

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Watch Those Lapdances.

From MSNBC:

Dozens of people in St. Maarten are being treated for latent tuberculosis after health officials warned that they may have been exposed to the illness by a stripper infected with an active form of the disease.


I heard my share of "caught something from a stripper" stories, but TB? That's a new one.


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No Main Topic

  1. In VA, Prince William residents passed anti-immigration legislation that's leading to a mass exodus of legal and illegal immigrants.
  2. California continues to battle a fire that is slowly engulfing the state.
  3. According to a study, being upbeat won't help you fight cancer.
  4. President Bush's approval rating hits 25% in this new poll.

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The Boston Trifecta May Soon Come To Pass...

The New England Patriots did the downtown stomp on Miami, and the Red Sox went all Return of the Jedi on the Indians.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

They'll "Report", You'll Go Broke

Sure, both FoxAttacks.com and Media Matters have never said anything really positive about the Fox News Media Empire, but that doesn't mean they've been incorrect in their assessments.

So, without further ado, here's Media Matter's take on the new Fox Business Network:

I'm attaching to this email an important research document from Media Matters for America that should help you more fully understand just what to expect from the Fox Business team: rampant falsehoods, uncritical praise for the Bush administration, suggestive questioning, and scantily clad women, as well as celebrities discussing the news of the day.



And here's what Fox Attacks had to say:

FBN’s economic news coverage reminds me of the way FOX Noise covers the Iraq war. For the first few years of it, FOX kept telling its viewers that everything was great in Iraq. The US was clearly “winning, there was gobs of “progress”, every school got at least three new coats of paint, Iraqis were delighted to have the US forcibly occupying their country, and any bad news (like the insurgency, civil war, failing reconstruction, non-existent political reconciliation, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, etc) was just the “liberal” media, democrats, and far-left wackos being a bunch of nitpicking Gloomy Guses who hate America. Until it turned out that all this “bad news” FOX was insulating its viewers from was exactly the kind of information its viewers needed to correctly understand why Iraq was becoming an intractable debacle. And when it became impossible for FOX to continue its rosy assessments of the Iraq war, it simply stopped covering it, which explains why FOX covers the war less than any real news channel.


So to sum it up: you'll get neo-conservative propaganda disguised as business advice presented to you by sunny, attractive people (most likely blondes). And if the news can't be spun in a positive way for them, they just won't report it.

I have a feeling that alot of business neophytes are going to lose everything of material value because of this network. If there's a story in 5, 6 years about "the decline of small business man," you'll know why.

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Bullet-Proof Barack


The Illinois Senator, author and presidential wannabe came out swinging:




"My Republican opponent won't be able to say that we both supported the war in Iraq, because I didn't," Obama told a crowd packed into a high school gym.

"My opponent won't be able to say that I haven't been open or straight with the American people or that I've flipped and flopped my positions, because I haven't. I've been consistent this whole time..."

"...My Republican opponent won't be able to say that, 'Well, we really agree about using the war in Iraq to justify military action against Iran, or about a diplomacy of not talking and saber-rattling, because I don't agree with those approaches," he said.


The not-so-thinly-veiled jabs at both Sen. Hillary Clinton and President George Bush (and to an extent, John Kerry) didn't go unnoticed...by the Clinton camp:



Hilarie Grey, spokeswoman for Clinton's campaign in Nevada, said that unlike Obama, Clinton has a plan to deliver universal health care and is the "candidate that voters trust the most to end the war in Iraq."

"Its unfortunate that Senator Obama is abandoning the politics of hope and instead employing the same old attack politics as his campaign stalls. Nothing says politics as usual more than that," she said.



Of course, what Ms. Grey didn't say is that Obama has a compelling argument: a GOP opponent will be hard-pressed to find solid contradictions in Obama's stance on Iraq and Iran.

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Halliburton May Give This Guy a Call...

If you think old people can't be master criminals, check out the 70-yr-old who's been stealing hundreds of gallons from Florida gas stations:

Deputies witnessed Hobert Gibson steal gasoline from two stations Tuesday, but sheriff officials believe he did this on a daily basis since at least January. The two gas stations he hit that day were about 40 miles from his Winter Haven home, and police believe it was typical for Gibson to visit a few stations per day across a wide geographical area. He is believed to have sold the stolen gasoline, which he stored at his towing company.

Gibson outfitted a stolen box trailer with tanks able to hold 3,250 gallons and with a trap door underneath, police said. He would pull over near the underground storage tank at a gas station, pop the trailer's hood and pretend to fix a problem, as the trap door obscured the view of gas being pumped into the tanks.

And he would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that pesky law enforcement.

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Maybe They Should Pray Harder...

With none of the leading GOP candidates willing to put gay-bashing, a ban on premarital sex and a demand for the death penalty for abortions at the forefront of their campaign, religious conservatives are at a crossroads:

"There's no one Republican presidential candidate that inspires them, and the movement leaders can find fault in one way or another with all the candidates," said John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. "It's hard to tell if it means that their influence is waning. But they're likely to have more influence if they stay united. The longer they stay behind several candidates, the less influence they'll have."


Well, if the data is true, than someone better start pandering to this voting bloc:

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 43 percent of Republicans say social issues will be very important in deciding how to vote in 2008, and another 31 percent call issues like abortion and marriage somewhat important...

[snip]

...Roughly one in five conservatives, churchgoers and Christian evangelicals are undecided.


I would think that after being bamboozled by Ronald Reagan and GWB this group would catch on: the GOP will never outlaw homosexuality, premarital sex and abortions because then there would be no issue to use to get the votes of the Religious Right. But as long as they (the GOP) continues to bait the RR with promises of an Old Testament-driven America, these guys seem more than willing to bite.

The irony? Christianity is also about helping the poor (SCHIP legislation), the unfortunate (Hurricane Katrina victims) and making peace with your neighbors (foreign policy)...things the Religious Right seem to care nothing about.


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It Ain't Real, But It's Funny

Two classic Onion Stories: One about a whole precinct of "play by their own rule" cops and another about Dan Marino finally honoring Brett Farve...but not the way you'd expect.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oscar-Smoscar!

Guess which three actors Francis Ford Coppola says have lost their edge? Hint: he's directed two of them.

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...But Don't Worry, the Economy is Great

So great in fact:

Bank of America Corp, the second-largest U.S. bank, posted a much larger-than-expected 32 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, hurt by mounting credit losses and dismal investment banking results.

The news, the latest in a series of disappointing bank results, dampened confidence about the health of the U.S. consumer and the economy. Stocks fell, bond prices rose, and the dollar tumbled to a record low against the euro. Expectations rose that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this month.


But like 9/11 or Katrina, no one could've seen this coming, right?

"We knew the credit situation was going to be bad, but this was worse than expected," said Michael Mullaney, who helps invest $10 billion at Fiduciary Trust Co. in Boston and owns the bank's shares.

"What causes us concern is the increase in reserves doesn't appear aggressive, and the bank may need to reserve more in the future, which hits earnings," he said. "The real surprise was investment banking, where revenue plunged."


Yes: more cuts to the interest rates! And keep those tax cuts for the top 2%. That's the only way to keep this strong economy going!

Idiots...

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Why Dana Perino is a "Pimbo"

Buffy McLiarpants tries to explain why President Bush's "Iran will cause WWIII" comments is perfectly logical...among other things.

FYI: "Pimbo" = "political bimbo."

I will say this for her: maybe the Democrats shouldn't have spent $1 million in ads to convince Republicans to vote for SCHIP...they should have known that with today's GOP, it's much simpler to just bribe them with the money (or hookers).

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Thank You, Oliver Willis

I knew there was a reason I wasn't high on seeing Bionic Woman. Now I don't need an excuse anymore.

The next shaky show that pops up? Let me know; I owe you one.

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Dissent At Your Own Risk

I briefly mentioned how Adm. Scott Redd had his own opinions on how it's going in Iraq. Well, in light of those comments:

Three days after Americans saw the Bush administration's counterterrorism chief say the Iraq war has likely not made the United States safer from terrorism, the official announced his resignation, citing health reasons.

In an e-mail sent to his staff Wednesday afternoon, Adm. Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), said he was stepping down to "take care of some long-delayed surgery that I can no longer neglect."


That didn't take long, did it?

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SCHIP, Different Day

The vote to override President Bush's veto of SCHIP expansion failed today. Here's a list of those who feel that health care for poor children (which includes those of military families, BTW) is just as important as funding the GWOT, and those who don't.

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You Gotta Know When to Fold 'Em...

Vegas Odds (and the AP) are saying that Republican Senator Brownback will drop out of the presidential race tomorrow.

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Meet Mona "The Hammer" Shaw

I remember seeing this on my local Fox station...last week. Well, I guess the WashPost wanted to make sure that they got their story straight.

Not that I condone violence, but it's like the saying goes: "sometimes you need a hammer to get Comcast's attention."

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This Just In: Hillary Clinton is a Woman.

Duh. But seriously: there are some advantages to being the only female candidate for President, and Hillary Clinton is not hesitating from using them. However, there are at least two disadvantages.

One is that older women might not go for a woman president:

She is less popular among older, married women who are more likely to prefer a more traditional role for women. Clinton's focus on women this week was a bid to consolidate her support among female voters, who account for much of her lead in many polls.


Then there is the fact that her primary rivals are married...to women:

Clinton's main rivals for the Democratic nomination are not conceding the women's vote. The campaigns of John Edwards and Barack Obama have suggested that their candidates are as strong, if not stronger, on issues important to women, such as healthcare, poverty, and domestic violence.

"As the son of a single mother whose grandmother was the family's primary breadwinner, Barack lived through the struggles that everyday women face," Betsy Myers, who worked in the Clinton administration but is now head of Women for Obama, wrote in a memo issued yesterday. "This experience moved him to develop a lifelong history of standing up for women."

In a July interview with Salon, an online magazine, Elizabeth Edwards declared of Clinton, "She's just not as vocal a women's advocate as I want to see. John is."


Hillary's hurdle may not be Barack or John as much as Michelle and Elizabeth.

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A Sure-Fire Way To Piss Off Red Sox Fans...

...Is to say "It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world." while the team is trying to get out of a 3-1 hole against the Cleveland Indians.

Who said it?

Not a sports writer. It was Boston player Manny Ramirez.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"We don't think it's in their interest to send more troops in."

That was President Bush talking, but he was talking about Turkey. Why did he say that? Because in Turkey:

Lawmakers voted 507-19 in favor of empowering the government to order the military to cross into Iraq during a one-year period, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said. They then burst into applause.

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Larry Craig is a Liar

He says he's never used the Internet. Yeah; right. He's a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus, for crying out loud!

Why would anyone believe him about anything in the bathroom case?

UPDATE: Think Progress has a longer list of things disproving Craig's claim.

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Grand Old Predicament

Seems like the GOP leadership is at a crossroads. First, there's the global warming thing. Ever since Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, Republican hopefuls for president have been torn between acknowledging reality (and thereby complimenting a Democrat) and staying true to President Bush (a tactic that's sure to sink you at this point in time). For example: Fred Thompson has gone from poking fun at the issue to taking it more seriously; John McCain claims to have been a convert since 2001.

As for the flip-flopping Heckle & Jeckle of the GOP primaries?

Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani say little about the potential dangers of climate change and almost nothing about curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. They talk almost exclusively about the need for independence from foreign oil as a necessity for national security...

[snip]

...In the tangled Republican race, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney have been much more hesitant to criticize policies of President Bush, who in his two presidential campaigns said that more study of climate change was needed before imposing restrictions on heat-trapping gases.


Gotta play it safe, y'know?

Speaking of "playing it safe," it also appears that once-passionate GOP donors are holding their purses this time. Why?

Matt Fong, a former California state treasurer, 1998 U.S.
Senate candidate and two-time Bush Pioneer, said that after months of
disappointment in the Republican Party, he had hoped to be recharged by the new
crop of presidential candidates.

"I have yet to get interested in any of them," he said.
"I'm just not happy with the direction of our party. I think we have a huge
credibility problem, which I have not seen any of the candidates show the
ability to rise above..."

[snip]


"...The Republican brand is not selling very well," said Christine Todd Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, Bush Cabinet member and 2004 Ranger. "There are a lot of frustrated people. They are not seeing anybody who has sent them over the top."

Alvin R. "Pete" Carpenter, a former chief executive of CSX Transportation and a Bush Pioneer in 2000, said it was a combination of the Iraq war and the free spending of Republicans when they controlled Congress that slowly drained his enthusiasm for the party. Carpenter, 65, said he has been a lifelong Republican and was a "Goldwater kid." But this year he sent a contribution to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

"I have opted out for all the well-documented reasons that disaffected Republicans use," Carpenter said. "I'm not sure which primary I'll vote in. At the moment I will say I'm keeping my powder dry. It's the first time I'm really a bit confused about what I should be doing, or where the country should be headed."


Hmmm. Well, like I said before: it seems like the GOP leadership is at a crossroads.

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You Got Your Chocolate In My Jesus...

Really now, people like chocolate and people like Jesus. So how could people not like a chocolate Jesus? Apparently some people have a real problem with the "resurrected" exhibit:

"My Sweet Lord," an anatomically correct milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ that infuriated Catholics before its April unveiling was canceled, returns Oct. 27 to a Chelsea art gallery, its creator said Tuesday. This time, artist Cosimo Cavallaro said he expects the public exhibit to proceed without a problem.


Primarily, it's a Catholic-based group who feels that the 200 lb sculpture is offensive. But considering what happened in the first attempt, I can understand their frustration:

The last show was criticized for its timing and its location. The exhibit, in a gallery visible to passers-by on a Manhattan street, was set to open one day after Palm Sunday and four days before Christians marked the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday.


Now things should be...um, smoother.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Putin the Breaks on the "Iran War"

For President Bush, it's not bad enough that a majority of the American people hate how he's handling Iraq, or that former army captains are writing op-eds telling the public how F'd-up things are over there, or that the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center isn't drinking the Kool-Aid, or that his approval ratings so low he's forced to do townhall meetings in a bubble.

Nah; to top it all off, the guy who was once an ally is now trying to put a stop on "Operation: Distract America From the Iraq Debacle By Attacking Iran." Who's the guy? None other than:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday repeated his opposition to any military action against Iran because of that country's nuclear program.

No Caspian Sea country should let its territory be used by other countries "for aggressive or military operations against another Caspian state," said Putin, who is attending a meeting in Tehran of the leaders of the five countries that border the inland sea.


Sounds like Bush may have to attack Russia before he can attack Iran. But wait; the story gets more interesting:

The leaders of the countries, which also include Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, jointly made a similar statement, signaling the opposition of Iran's neighbors to any military action by the United States or its allies.


So we put these guys down as a "no" for the next "coalition of the willing," right?

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Note to Right-Wing Noise Machine: Don't Quit Your Day Job

Pundits and bloggers with little or no journalistic background have to be careful when they try to get into reporting. It's one thing to critique a story for it's facts or inferences, but to try and play reporter yourself (especially without having the experience and credentials) is another kettle of fish.

The recent attacks on children who have been doing SCHIP ads are a perfect example. Instead of inviting a debate on the merits of the program, or even proposing a compromise, it's opponents have decided to use the tried-and-true tactic of assaulting (and in some cases, stalking) the messenger. After all: now that they're political, they're fair game.

But as Eric Boehlert of Media Matters puts it:

The irony, of course, is that radical-right bloggers despise journalists and claim they're dishonest, biased, and even treasonous. But when the bloggers try to become journalists themselves, when they try (sort of) to report out a story like the supposed Frost blockbuster, the bloggers prove themselves to be comically incompetent as they publish falsehoods, connect nonexistent dots, cherry-pick information, and generally make fools of themselves. And boy, were Malkin and company busy last week doing all of the above.


I think most people remember when Malkin decided to go after the Associated Press in a quixotic quest to discredit it, and failed beyond the human ability to measure. In light of that, or Rush Limbaugh's attempt to slam Michael J. Fox (whose character on Family Ties became the model of the modern-day Republican), why should the masses ever trust any "information" coming for these people?

Critics? Maybe. But reporters they are not.

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"Coats Made of Puppies"

Maybe it's just better to read the C&L post that captured that quote.

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Klutzo the "Christian Clown"...

...except that he's not so Christian:

OCTOBER 10--An Illinois man who worked as a "Christian clown" named Klutzo was arrested yesterday on child pornography charges for allegedly taking naked photographs of young boys at a Philippines orphanage. According to a federal criminal complaint, Amon Paul Carlock took the illicit photos during a "clowning" trip to the House of Joy orphanage earlier this year.


Ugh.

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Strike While the Iron is Hot

Don't be surprised if your favorite TV shows are either put on hiatus or become drastically crappy:

Networks and studios have started thinking about the unthinkable this week.

The harsh rhetoric surrounding the WGA negotiations plus the guild's recent move to seek strike authorization have convinced execs that the threat of a Nov. 1 strike may be very real. A possible lockout is also being discussed.

"We are trying to get as much stuff as possible shoved through," said one studio VP. "It's as hot as I've ever seen it. And whether or not they strike on Nov. 1, we have to act as if they will."


All involved parties are doing what they can, but it doesn't look like it will be enough at this point:

On the feature side, studios are no longer taking writing pitches and are pretty much limiting themselves to making deals on fully developed packages. Warner Bros. and Universal, for example, have put out the word to agents: Don't bring in any scripts until the situation resolves itself...

...On the TV side, the networks are scrambling to figure out how they'll fill primetime with no new scripted shows and trying to get pilot scripts completed as quickly as possible. There's also been a rash of series commitments in recent weeks, with networks handing out an unusually large number of six- and 13-episode orders.


Thank God for cable (and DVDs).

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Friday, October 12, 2007

One More Notch on Gore's "Belt of Accomplishments"

Try as they might, the WashPost's Fact Checker couldn't find any real evidence that Al Gore (who won the Nobel Peace Prize today) exaggerated information in his movie...at this time. And considering the amount of Pinocchios they've been given out lately, that's a good sign.

The way I see it: there are soft trends and hard trends when it comes to predicting anything. So far, I don't see any evidence that Gore is basing his assertions on soft trends; it's just not his nature. This is a man who practically lives by facts and figures. The better question is whether Gore's sources are reliable (though it seems that people would rather attack the messenger than the source of the message, for obvious political reasons). But just like some would say about President Bush, I believe that Gore believes that what's he's explaining and detailing is honest and accurate. He deserves this award.

It still doesn't mean that Al Gore is going to run for President in 2008, though.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Around The Internets


Wroteasongaboutitwannaheearithereitgoes!



  1. The GOP Debates today were interesting; they're talking about the economy and how it has an impact on the working American, but the irony is that this debate was on during the time when most of the working class is either (you guessed it!) working or on the road heading home from work. Regardless, Oliver Willis was nice enough to sum up today's debates, and SilentPatriot from C&L points out the #1 No-no in politics: attacking someone's mom.

  2. Only God can explain how this former "Friend of Falwell" met a very unusual end. God...and thesmokinggun.com.

  3. And let's finish off with something to put in the "Cry Me a River, Dickface!" File: Republican Congressmen whine that working five days a week is too much, and decide to quit helping the American people.

  4. I lied; one more nugget from Think Progress: an ad that President Bush put out to endorse his Social Security scam...that included (*gasp*) a child! Didn't he realize that this is using human shields?

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Better Late Than Never...


After making false promises of job-creating tax cuts and self-financing wars, the Bush Administration seems poised to seal the trifecta with another agenda: promote fiscal responsibility.

Does the White House think we're so stupid as to forget the last seven years? That when the GOP ran Congress, they had the fiscal restraint of a drunk college kid with their parent's credit card at 2am? Was the poor response to Hurricane Katrina an example of Bush being "frugal?"

If the Democrats were smart, they'd put up more legislation like SCHIP for Bush to veto, and put a face on this blatantly political and pandering move.

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Time For the Next Phase

Eugene Robinson on the archaic concept of "Black America."

Trying to encompass all of black America in a few easily grasped numbers is far from a meaningless exercise. But it doesn't point the way toward specific policies for different segments of a diverse population...

...The problem is that we all say we want an "honest dialogue" about race, but we've been having the same old arguments for years -- affirmative action, inner-city dysfunction, overt and covert racism -- and we seem to be stuck. We need a new language, a new vocabulary and syntax.


So true. While this country is far from being racially unified or respectful ( a quick visit to craiglist's Rants and Raves can prove that) we have, as a nation, become more diverse. The Black people of today are not the same as they were 20, 30 or 50 years ago. African-Americans should not be seen as a Borg-like voting block where everyone thinks the same way about every issue. It's time the level of discussion (economy, politics, religion, health, etc.) reflects that change.

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One Big Reason The Average Person Hates Being Political.


Why does the Average Joe hat getting involved in politics? It's not the corruption, or the fact that you basically have to be rich and/or famous to have your voice heard. Dealing with the stubborn "Old Guard" (established politicians who would run over their own mother before giving up their power and the perks that come with it) is an issue, but every generation (or scandal) usually ushers in fresh blood.

No...the biggest reason has to be: Once You Pick A Side For An Issue, You Will Be Slammed.

That's what's happening to the child who was chosen to give the Democratic Radio Address two weeks ago (regarding President Bush's SCHIP veto), and it's disgusting that anyone would go after a child (and their family) for simply trying to be involved in what was once a very non-partisan issue. But as we've seen with warrantless wiretapping, terrorism, US attorneys and other issues, the current Administration has done their best to create divisions out of the most mundane political issues.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

The Verdict Is In...

...and it doesn't look good for Bush's buddies:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 7 -- An Iraqi government investigation into the Sept. 16 shooting involving Blackwater USA has concluded that the security firm's guards fired without provocation into a Baghdad square, killing 17 and injuring 27, a government spokesman said Sunday.

The Blackwater convoy that entered Nisoor Square, in response to a bomb attack near a State Department convoy a mile away, was not attacked, "not even by a stone," Ali al-Dabbagh, the spokesman, said in a statement.

The employees of the North Carolina-based company, he said, committed "an intentional murder that needed to be called to account according to the law." The casualty toll he gave was higher than the previous official tally of 14 dead and 18 injured based on hospital records.

The Iraqi government's inquiry echoed similar findings by the Interior Ministry as well as U.S. military reports from the scene. Blackwater insists that its guards were ambushed and that Iraqi policemen and civilians shot at their vehicles.


I wonder what the State Department will say (assuming that they write their own report this time)?

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Drug Bugs

You can't make this up:

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch customs officers found 100 dead beetles stuffed with cocaine while examining a parcel from Peru, Dutch authorities said Thursday.

The little drug couriers' bodies had been slit open and filled with a total of 300 grams of cocaine, with an estimated street-value of 8,000 euros ($11,270).


Doing some simple math, that's about $112.70 of cocaine per beetle.

"This is a very striking method of smuggling. We have never seen anything like this before," said government spokesman Kees Nanninga.


Yeah, imagine what else people are smuggling their drugs in.

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Everyone Wants a Piece of the Pie...

Looks like any chance of having "Happy Shiny People" in Iraq will not happen via the actions of the US military:

Iraqi leaders argue that sectarian animosity is entrenched in the structure of their government. Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.

"I don't think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such," said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd. "To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power."

Humam Hamoudi, a prominent Shiite cleric and parliament member, said any future reconciliation would emerge naturally from an efficient, fair government, not through short-term political engineering among Sunnis and Shiites.

"Reconciliation should be a result and not a goal by itself," he said. "You should create the atmosphere for correct relationships, and not wave slogans that 'I want to reconcile with you.' "


You know something's wrong when the government can't even get "legislation to manage the oil sector, the country's most valuable natural resource. "

Of course, turf wars contribute to such stalling. After all, once you've sipped from that cup of sweet, sweet power, it's hard to give it up:

Sunni leaders sense that their Shiite counterparts believe the era of Sunni leadership in Iraq is gone for good -- "that Humpty Dumpty had a fall and cannot be put back together again" as one senior Iraqi official put it -- and Sunnis should accept the new reality. Sunni leaders, however, tend to express more limited goals than reclaiming the government...

...The idea of "reconciliation" in Iraq has always been short on specifics. To Sunnis, it tends to mean Shiites will release their grip on decision-making, allow them greater influence in the government, crack down on militants regardless of their sect and promote peaceful cooperation between politicians. Sunnis demand the release of thousands of prisoners who have never been charged, the purging of all militiamen from the Iraqi security forces and influence in military decisions.

To Shiites, reconciliation is a process fraught with risks that Sunni "supremacists" will attempt to seize their former position of authority over the majority Shiites. Many Shiites believe that reconciliation requires punishing those who, during Saddam Hussein's government, ruthlessly killed and repressed Shiites and Kurds.

"It's clearly perceived by the government that reconciliation is clearly a winner for the Sunnis and not a winner for the Shias," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, chief of staff for the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq. "The question becomes: How do you start balancing that scale a little bit?"


Bottom line: the American military is not helping the political situation in Iraq. Only the Iraqis can do that.

Joe Biden's idea looks more appealing with each passing day.

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Back to School, Iran-Style

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't get unconditional love at home:

Ahmadinejad, who was giving a speech to a select group at the university to mark the beginning of the academic year, ignored the chants of "death to the dictator" and continued with his speech on the merits of science and the pitfalls of Western-style democracy, witnesses said.

The protesters scuffled with hardline students who were chanting "thank you president" while police looked on from outside the university gates. The protesters dispersed after the car carrying Ahmadinejad left the campus.

Students were once the main power base of Iran's reform movement but have faced intense pressure in recent years from Ahmadinejad's hardline government, making anti-government protests rare.

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Compare And Contrast: Rush vs. MoveOn.org

So far, only the John Edwards campaign has shown disdain for both the MoveOn.org ad and the Rush Limbaugh ordeal.

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Blonde Ambition

It's what Rick Santorum feared:

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Sibu the Orangutan has miffed his Dutch keepers by refusing to mate with females and showing sexual interest only in tattooed human blondes.

Apenheul Primate Park hoped Sibu would become its breeding male when he arrived two years ago, but orangutans aren't his type.

"He chases them, or ignores them, but he doesn't do what he should do," said a spokeswoman for the park.

Instead, Sibu fancies his female keepers, especially blondes. That, the spokeswoman said, was common for orangutans but Sibu has a fetish for tattoos, harking back to a heavily tattooed keeper who reared him.


The park employees are trying to turn Sibu back to orangutans, but no word on if they're going to tattoo the females to raise his interest.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

*Now* They're Worried?

The mass exodus of Bushies has left some wondering about our current president's legacy. I think the "legacy gurus" need to worry more about things like resolving things in Iraq and keeping Bush from being impeached (his Administration looks worse with every new news story).

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Pick a Lie, Any Lie.


WashPost's Eugene Robinson pulls no punches on the "Bushlogic" behind vetoing the SCHIP legislation:



Bush's stated reasons for vetoing the SCHIP bill left even reliable congressional allies -- such as Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Charles Grassley of Iowa, both of whom supported the legislation -- sputtering in incomprehension. As for me, I don't know what to call the president's rationale but a pack of flat-out lies.

The president said Congress was trying to "federalize health care," even though the program in question is run by the states. The president said that "I don't want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers," even though the vetoed bill authorizes no such decisions -- the program enrolls children in private, I repeat, private, health insurance plans.

And here's my favorite: "This program expands coverage, federal coverage, up to families earning $83,000 a year. That doesn't sound poor to me." But the bill he vetoed prohibits states from using the program to aid families who make more than three times the federal poverty limit, or about $60,000 a year for a family of four. Most of the aid would go to families earning substantially less.

Bush's spurious $83,000 figure comes from a request by New York state to use the program for some families earning four times the poverty limit. That request was denied by the Bush administration last month -- and that upper limit is not in the bill Bush vetoed. End of story. If New York or any other state were to ask again to be able to raise the income limits, the administration could simply say no.



My take: Bush will continue down this path until he gets the political punch in the mouth. Anything from a veto override to impeachment to removal from office. But it has to be public, and it has to seen as an unquestionable hit (to his political agenda as well as his ego) by Democrats and Republicans alike.

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...And Then They Came For Chris Matthews.

Apparently the Bush Administration has been (indirectly) going after Chris Matthews for "the content of his show."

I guess Bush never saw the gush-fest Matthews hosted when he made the "Major Combat Operations Have Ended" speech. Sorry, Mr. Matthews, but it's a little late to be playing the victim here.

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There Had To Have Been Another Way...

So sad:

CLARKSVILLE — A self-inflicted gunshot during Thursday’s City Council meeting ended a life, a business and years of public meetings at 108 Public Square.

The council had just voted down the second reading of a request from Ronald “Bo” Ward to have his Madison Street home rezoned as commercial property.

Ward, owner of Bo’s Barber Shop across from Fort Campbell’s Gate 1 entrance, had said the rezoning would increase his property value, allowing him to secure a loan to offset debt he incurred when he expanded his shop.

The council approved first reading of the request last month, when Ward tearfully explained that his barbershop would go under — with most of the 101st Airborne deploying to Iraq — if the council did not approve the request.

“If this (zone change) doesn’t go through, I lose my home, I lose my shop, I lose everything I got,” he said then.

After Thursday’s 5-7 vote was cast, Ward stood and walked steadily toward the council.

“Johnny (Piper), I know I can’t speak,” Ward said over the mayor, who was telling Ward the public comment period had ended.

“Y’all have put me under,” Ward said, pulling out a small silver handgun.

“I’m out of here.”

A gunshot punctuated his sentence, and Ward fell at the feet of those sitting in the first row. He appeared to have pulled the trigger with the gun in his mouth.


This is distressing on so many fronts: you have a small business owner, war vet and "All-Around American" rolled up into one and his world falls apart in an instant. These are the people who used to be considered the backbone of the country, and they are being dismissed like flies. It's almost like a modern-day "Mr Smith Goes to Washington."

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Supporting the...Contractors?

The US House of Representatives want to pass a bill that would make private military contractors (like Blackwater) subject to US law. In other words: make them accountable. However...




...the White House, in a formal statement of policy, said the measure would overburden the military, overstretch the FBI, intrude on prosecutorial decisions and extend federal jurisdiction overseas in ways that would be "impossible or unwise."




I'm no expert, but even I can use "average-guy logic" to break this down:


  1. Making PMCs accountable will "overburden the military:" The military is already overburdened; this isn't the same military that was designed to fight two separate wars. In fact the concept of fighting such battles pretty much went away after the Cold War concluded (If 9/11 changed how America looked at terrorism, the nuclear bomb changed how the average military mind looked at warfare). As a result, the US military Bush used to invade Iraq, while admirable, was not equipped or trained for a long, dragged-out conflict. The best way to address the "burden" is to institute a draft, but that's political suicide at this point. Besides, this excuse is coming from the same Administration who is threatening to attack Iran on an almost weekly basis? Please.

  2. Making PMCs accountable will "overstretch the FBI:" My question is: "How?" Aren't we talking about the "Federal Bureau of Investigation" here? What other pressing issues are preventing them from doing something like, making sure PMCs are re-creating the Wild West in the Middle East? Until this excuse is elaborated on, I don't see this holds water.

  3. Making PMCs accountable will "intrude on prosecutorial decisions:" Now a prosecutor is one who is "instigating prosecution in a criminal proceeding." Two groups come to mind for the PMCs: The State Department (although it looks like they're enablers more than anything else) and the FBI (who the White House seems scared of for some reason). Other than these two, who else is making "prosecutorial decisions?" Please don't say the CEOs.

  4. Making PMCs accountable will "extend federal jurisdiction overseas in ways that would be 'impossible or unwise:'" If the country in question was Great Britain or Canada, they might have a solid case here. But the one thing that everyone can agree with it Iraq is no where near being a stable government; otherwise we wouldn't be here. In other words: we've pretty much had "federal jurisdiction" over the place since Saddam went into hiding. How many time has Bush strong-armed Maliki? And if Iraq had any real say-so that could be threaten by this bill, that was lost when they tried to kick Blackwater out and got the finger.

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When in Doubt, Blame Bill Clinton.

Who would imply that the bad things that happen during Clinton Administration were as bad as torture? This guy.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Actually, There Were TWO Gems in That Speech

Oh, one more thing to add. Later in that speech that Preisdent Bush gave, he said:

The policies of the government ought to be, help poor children and to focus on poor children. And the policies of the government ought to be, help people find private insurance, not federal coverage. And that's where the philosophical divide comes in. I happen to believe that what you're seeing when you expand eligibility for federal programs is the desire by some in Washington, D.C. to federalize health care. I don't think that's good for the country. I believe in private medicine. I believe in helping poor people -- which was the intent of S-CHIP, now being expanded beyond its initial intent. I also believe that the federal government should make it easier for people to afford private insurance. I don't want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers. (Applause.)


So just that we're clear: According to Bush, "the Government" is supposed to "create fiscal policy such that people feel inspired or confident in risking capital" while at the same time "help poor children and to focus on poor children." Of course, according to him the only way that can happen is for the government to give gobs of money to private companies and let stand out of the way as they try to help. What a genius.

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Simply Outrageous.


I agree with ThinkProgress that President Bush's speech today was perplexing (to say the least), but this gem takes the cake:


I want to talk a little bit about the environment necessary to continue economic growth. The job of this government is not to try to create wealth. The job of the government is to create fiscal policy such that people feel inspired or confident in risking capital. In other words, the job of government is to create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship. One of the issues that we're going to be facing in Washington, D.C. is how to spend your money. In other words, what do we do with the good money that we've -- the good money we've collected? How do we spend it?


I can't believe he managed to say that and not get booed of the stage; truly the title "President of the United States" make you immune to even the most outrageous proclamations.

Our country is full of stories of rich and weathly Americans who got their start because of the government, whether it was by manipulating the laws or just getting cash. Bush obviously never used "the Goggle" to search "free government grants." Now keep in mind by "free" they mean "you have to follow certain guidelines," but those guidelines are so various it's hard to argue that getting the cash you need is impossible. And let's not forget the infamous "no-bid contracts," which only help to make the rich even richer.

I would say that the US government has done more to create wealth for (specific) individuals than it has done to encourage entrepreneurship. The way I see it, "entrepreneurship" would be someone saying, "The Government isn't filling this need for the public; I'll do it!" That has happened, but there have been times that government has encouraged businesses and ideas, and there are times where the government has destroyed and buried businesses and ideas. What the government accepts and rejects depends on who's running the government and whether the business is "socially acceptable." I mean, it's cool to sell cigarettes but not crack. C'mon.

For President Bush to imply that (1) the government did not help any of the rich and wealthy in America get their first check, and that (2) the government lets anybody who wants to get their chance to make some cash is as dishonest as his claim that he was for the SCHIP program when he was governor of Texas (he wasn't).

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That's One Way to Look At It; Here's Another.

As Perrspectives said some time back, President Bush has a new slogan to define "the mission" in Iraq:

The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home.


In the wake of the Petraeus Report, it appears that President Bush may bring the troop level down to pre-surge numbers (he announced the surge this past January). One may look at his comments when compared to his proposed "reduction" and assume that significant progress is being made.

One reason I think this premise is wrong? Well, the announced purpose of the "surge" was to provide the Iraqi Officials the breathing room they required to get the Iraqi government going. Well, that hasn't happened yet (in fact, they weren't even around because they went on vacation), so in that regard, the surge was a failure.

But even if you use the logic that "more success means less troops" the question remains: What was the success that lead Bush to think that our involvement can go back to pre-surge numbers? Nothing in Petraeus' testimony hinted that demonstrative success was achieved; if anything, he left alot of things unsaid.

Furthermore, if the troop levels don't significantly change for the rest of Bush's term, doesn't that mean that (by Bush's own logic) that the "success" in Iraq has been minimal or even non-existent?

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If They Won't Join You...Destroy Their Reputation Beyond Recognition.

Via TP: the change of guard in Great Britain means a change in how the Bush Administration treats a once "close ally."

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Mutually Beneficial?

Not as passionate as pure lovers. Less traditional than the plain old "boyfriend/girlfriend" story. Certainly not as dangerous as "office romances" but definitely more tactual than "internet romances."

The infamous "Friends with Benefits" arrangement. There's a recent study and the guys seem to have found gold:

The research, conducted among Michigan State University students, confirmed previous findings that most college students report having had at least one such relationship. Although that is undoubtedly true of many couples throughout history, “friends with benefits” have become a cultural signature of today’s college and postcollege experience.

“The study really adds to the little we know about these relationships,” said Paul Mongeau, a professor of communications at Arizona State University who was not involved in the research. “One of the most interesting things I get from it,” he said, “is this sense that people in these relationships are afraid to develop feelings for the other person, because those feelings might be unreciprocated.”

In the study, appearing in the current issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, Melissa Bisson, a former graduate student at Michigan State, and Timothy Levine, a professor in the communications department, surveyed 125 young men and women and found that 60 percent reported having had at least one friend with benefits.

One-tenth of these relationships went on to become full-scale romances, the study found. About a third stopped the sex and remained friends, and one in four eventually broke it off — the sex and the friendship. The rest continued as friends-with-benefits relationships.


I can understand the appeal of FWB. First, you already know the person so there are no awkward "making acquaintances" period. Second, because (initially) neither side desires a full-blown relationship, you're more prone to set some ground rules. Third, (kinda related to #1) because you know the person you also know their bad habits so the surprises are typically far and few between.

The downside? Other than the aforementioned "I didn't want to fall in love, but it happened anyway" factor there's the desire to keep the relationship secret amongst your circle of friends, the dreaded "first argument," and...well, the discovery that the physical "benefits" weren't as beneficial as first expected.

I don't think this practice is for everyone, but it's definitely not something to be looked down upon. After all, if the stats above are any indication, the arrangement worked for about less than a third of the people who participated in the study.

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War Games

Glenn Greenwald on confronting "politics as usual" during wartime:

Our Beltway establishment today is even worse than the sickly culture about which Smith warns, since they will not even tolerate mild increases in taxes to fund their war amusements. This is a critical disease in our political culture: that all appendages of our political class (other than the military itself) bear no sacrifice whatsoever for the wars they cheer on, and hence, are "dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war."


This reminds me of the movie "Gladiator," where Roman Senators Gracchus and Falco were discussing the merits of Commodus' attempt to revive the coliseum games:

Gracchus: Fear and wonder, a powerful combination.

Falco: You really think people are going to be seduced by that?

Gracchus: I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the coliseum. He'll bring them death - and they will love him for it.


It's a winning situation for those who want this conflict to last 40+ years: those entwined in the Military-Political-Industry Complex make small (and large) fortunes, and the masses slowly become accustomed to a society where wartime is continuous and the notion of peace is viewed as weak and conciliatory.

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