Friday, December 22, 2006

Webb calls Bush a failed President

For Democrats, there's good news and bad news about President Bush's decline and fall.

The good news is, Bush's reign of terror is over. The Republican rubber stampCongress has been replaced by advice and consent, as it should be. The grown ups are back in charge.

The bad news is that the President of the United States is a beaten down, frustrated man without enough political capital to run a hot dog stand. His condition will worsen as his party deserts him, and the war in Iraq spins more and more out of control. And then there's this:
Virginia Sen.-elect Jim Webb said President Bush is a "failed president" who should use his last two years in office to repair America's image abroad by ending the Iraq war through intensive diplomacy.

In an interview Tuesday with the Daily Press, Virginia's newly elected Democratic senator made clear his antipathy toward Bush and his determination to help set a new course in Iraq.

Webb, an early and outspoken critic of the Iraq war, ousted Republican Sen. George Allen last month by a razor-thin margin that tipped control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats. A decorated Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary, Webb has a 24-year-old son now serving in Iraq as a Marine.

"He's a failed president," Webb said, when asked what he thinks of Bush. "He has two years to try to show some true leadership when it comes to rehabilitating the image of the United States around the world.

"I warned three months before we went into Iraq that we were squandering an historic opportunity to keep almost the entire world with us in the war against international terrorism. And we have failed utterly to do that. It is now up to us - and that hopefully includes the president - to try and remediate the situation in a way that will enhance the stability in the Middle East and rehabilitate our relationship with countries around the world."
It's a compelling narrative, and one that only the dead-enders at Free Republic or NRO's The Corner will dispute.

On a shallow, purely political level, Bush's fall is great news to Democrats. But when regarded from the distance of foreign embassies, or future generations, Bush's disgrace is a disaster, probably greater than that LBJ and Nixon left us 30 years ago when the US bugged out of Vietnam. I'm not suggesting the Dems give Bush one more chance, as the asinine proposal to escalate the number of US troops committed to Iraq. And this is no time for Dems to compromise the lives of our troops just to give the GOP political cover.

But Democrats do need to formulate a plan, if not one for an elusive victory, then one for withdrawal and to manage what is left behind. It's an awful hand the President has dealt the opposition party, but it's even worse for the American people if the Democrats don't come through.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas pageant

My seven-year-old daughter, aka Heraldblogette Number two, performed a Navajo Christmas prayer with her class at tonight's school pageant.



She waves hi to me at the end as she walks off stage.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let them drink cake

Slaughter, slaughter everywhere, and not a drop to drink. About those treatment plants the Bushies are boasting about - the GAO says 60 percent of their output is lost to contamination, theft, and leakage. But no problem, the Department of Defense is fighting back with language:
"New projects have added capacity to provide access to potable water to approximately 5.2 million Iraqis—an increase of 1 million people since the August 2006 report," the document reports in a somewhat boosterish tone, giving no benchmark to compare those numbers to. The report acknowledges that "direct measurement of water actually delivered to Iraqis is not available."
Don't worry boys, there's always Plan B.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Scorched Earth

Lindsay notes that the AP is sending Brave Little Michelle Malkin to Iraq. Her Royal Dippiness had been hyperventilating about the AP's "immolation story" a while back. You remember it - some Shiite militia invaded a Sunni mosque during prayer services, picked out six men and set them on fire. The Fighting Keyboarders of the Right wouldn't have any of it. Why was the story only sourced to one person, a police chief named Jamil Hussein? Didn't anybody else see this happen?

Now it's idiotic beyond belief that right wing bloggers would expend so much energy debunking a story that mirrors the sectarian violence that has been going on in Iraq for like, oh, I don't know, the last three years. I guess if the murders had taken place in a brand new school, or next to a rebuilt water treatment, the story would have a loud enough ring of truth to snap Malkin and her loony acolytes out of their collective denial. So the loons went into super research mode, and concluded there is no Jamil Hussein in the Baghdad police force. Ah ha! Another Media Drive By® solved!

Unfortunately for Malkin's Militia, a lonely little blogger named Marc Danziger didn't get the memo, and he kept digging, and turned up this little gem: the police chief's name is Jamail Hussein, not Jamil! And he's a real person, and the immolation really did happen!

The AP has invited Brave Little Michelle to Baghdad, so she can see the scorch marks on the mosque floor, talk to grieving relatives about the cruelty of the Sunni militias, then dine with Jamail Hussien on couscous and crow.

Then she will return to the US and do what she does best, namely lie, because you see facts don't mean squat to these people.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company

It's 39 degrees and partly sunny in Milwaukee. Can't wait for Summertime.



Don Adams, who played Agent Maxwell Smart in the 60s, comes off as a real jerk towards the end. I thought Janis gave a great answer.

Great wagers through history, part I

Jonah Goldberg in Feb., 2005:
"I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there's another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I'm all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc. One caveat: Because I don't think it's right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if I win, I'll donate the money to the USO. He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is."
Prof. Cole didn't take the bait.

h/t Lawyers Guns and Money

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why I love the internets

Disgraced and still clueless ex-Congressman Tom DeLay has a new blog, and for a short while he was allowing unmoderated comments. Big mistake, Tommy. Over 100 not-so-supportive readers left their thoughts before DeLay put the hammer down. The comments were duly deleted, but not before blogger and national hero James Risser copied them down. Risser runs TomDelayDotCom, the Bizzaro-world version of the Hammer's blog. A Bizzaro blog? Maybe I've invented a new internet word. Cool biz!

Here's some of the richer comments captured by Risser:

What a magnificently, terrifically boring and irrelevant blog. Honestly, who on earth cares what you have to say?

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Miles Coverdale

****

You left Congress disgracefully and you want people to take you seriously? You should be in prison you assclown, piss off Tom.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Tom you suck

****

Tom DeLay is a pussy-ass faggot moneygrubber.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Jar Jar

****

Didn't we already stick a fork in your ass and decide you're done?

To paraphrase you: You WERE the Federal Government...now you're a nothing.

The fact that you are trying to keep your name alive by starting a stupid blog is actually kind of pathetic and sad. Please just go away.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Meadows

****

How pathetic you are, Mr. Delay. You are a criminal, and you should be serving time in jail alomg with your buddies Abramhoff and Cunningham.

The damage you have done to this country is reprehinsible.

Do us all a favor and just disappear, you sorry excuse for a person.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter cosmo

****

Tom,

When you're locked up, will you smuggle blog posts out in your visitors' rectums?

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Rick Derris
I tried to leave a comment to the effect that I hoped the warden would let DeLay blog from his prison cell, but I guess that one cut a little too close to the bone, and the comment was never accepted. Oh well.

Six Brutal Truths About Iraq

General William Odom wants you to know that everything you are hearing about Iraq is wrong.

He's probably right.
Mythologies about the war in Iraq are endangering our republic, our rights, and our responsibilities before the world. The longer we fail to dispel them, the higher price we will pay. The following six truths, while perhaps not self-evident to the American public, are nevertheless conspicuously obvious to much the rest of the world.
Odom is no lightweight. He's a retired lieutenant general, and a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer. From 1977 to 1981, he was Military Assistant to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

He's also a foriegn policy realist, and that's what makes his essay brutal. Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who ya gonna call? Christian Embassy!

Crooks and liars has a disturbing video from the Christian Embassy. These folks openly prosyletize congressman and house staff, foreign embassy officials and Pentagon brass. These folks need to get a serious grip on what the War on Terror is all about, especially the guy at the end of the video who says "In this time of world wide war on terrorism, what more do we need than Christian people leading us in Christ?"

The video shows four colonels and three generals shilling for CE's blatant political message, a clear violation of Pentagon rules that prohibit uniformed personnel from openly endorsing politicians, products, etc.

How is it possible to fight an enemy that conflates religion and state, if we ourselves make the same mistake?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Heraldblog has the blues



I bought my first blues album in high school, a double album set by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and I was hooked.

Freedom marching to a different drummer

President Bush, according to Newsweek and other sources, plans to save his legacy with a shiny new slogan: 'The New Way Forward,' his latest plan to salvage the mission in Iraq. Expect to see the new way forward rolled out next week, right after Bush reads all the other other Iraq War reports.

If it's possible for a nation to collectively cringe, then it will happen next week when Bush looks into the camera, resists his frat boy smirk, and tells us one more time that we need to be more scared of al Qaeda that we are of the addle-pated dauphin in the Oval Office. And then he will substitute language for policy, and hope nobody notices.
Of course, that's been the problem during this entire fiasco – the substitution of rhetoric for policy – the belief, even at this late date, that reality can be changed simply by changing the language used to describe it. Bush makes a big show of his religious faith, but what's truly impressive is his incredible faith in the power of PR, and, accordingly, his lack of faith in the American people.
Reality got a big boost last week from the Iraq Study Group report, that 150-page term paper from the adults in President Bush's life. From his vantage point at the children's table, Dubya probably feels like my golden retriever when I give her a bath.

Much ink has been spilled probing Dubya's personality, from his spoiled WASP upbringing, his need to upstage an accomplished father, and his alcohol-fueled co-dependency on others to do the heavy lifting. But not every blue blood turns into a sadistic little prick, and a man Dubya's age should have made peace with the Daddy issues by now. So that leaves John Barleycorn as the most likely culprit for America's impending decline and fall.

So forget "New Way Forward", "Merge Right on Freedom Highway" or whatever Rove comes up with next. If we can't rely on the President to lead us through these awful times, then we'll just have to rely on ourselves. What Americans really need is a 12-step program to free us from from the Neo-Con agenda. Just substitute "George Bush" for "alcohol", and we have our plan.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over George Bush - that our nation's life had become unmanageable.

Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity - constitutional democracy and respect for the rule of law.

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Constitution as interpreted by the judicial branch of government over the past 230 years.

Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our leadership.

Step Five: Hold our free press accountable for exposing the exact nature of our leadership's wrongs.

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have Congress investigate and remedy the Bush Administration's defects of character.

Step Seven: Humbly asked Congress to remove Bush from power.

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons Bush has harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory of whatever party is in power, and when they are wrong, send the bastards packing.

Step Eleven: Sought though science and reason to improve our society, to respect the rights of others, and grant power only to those with the willingness to carry that out.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to neo-conservatives, greed-heads, and other political extremists to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Great magazine covers through history, Part I

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The right to keep and arm bears

Is the second amendment an individual or group right? Do individuals have the right to keep and bear arms, or only militias?

The Supreme Court has never addressed the question, although the Bush administration, which has never seen a wedge issue it didn't like, says gun rights belong to individuals. That could change, as a lower court judge in Washington, D.C. recently upheld the district's long-time ban on gun ownership.
"We interpret the Second Amendment in military terms," said Todd Kim, the District's solicitor general, who told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the city would also have had the authority to ban all weapons.

"Show me anybody in the 19th century who interprets the Second Amendment the way you do," Judge Laurence Silberman said. "It doesn't appear until much later, the middle of the 20th century."
Gun mania took off in the US after the Civil War, when millions of veterans returned home with their rifles. Enterprising weapons manufacturers stoked our interest in the shooting sports, and a new industry was born - privately owned handguns and rifles.

The Second Amendment is like the crazy uncle living in the attic. Nobody wants to address the problem, so we just accept the absurdity of a constitional amendment that protects unfettered gun ownership. Courts have chipped away at the right over the years - gone are the rights to own machine guns, sawed off shotguns, shoulder-launched surface-to-air-missles and suitcase nukes. But why? The court won't say. It just seems sensible, and few will argue the point.

The problem, after all, is the second amendment. It was written at a time when state militias were a legitimate impediment to an overreach of power by the federal government. But fast forward 200 years, and there's not much that a well-armed citizenry can do against a modern air-force, and mechanized infantry divisions, unless the feds want to arms us with some serious hardware. Which they don't. It's bad enough the Crips are packing Uzis. How do you feel about flame throwers and grenade launchers?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Hendrix



Because I can.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fox blocks killer jock. Must mock.

Der Fox Fuhrer Rupert Murdoch wants us to know that he is with us 100 percent! He also thinks giving OJ Simpson a pile of cash to tell us how he nearly decapitated his ex-wife 12 years ago, then stabbed Ronald Goldman to death, was "ill considered".

As a public service to our readers, and a personal favor to Murdoch, Heraldblog would like to flag other "ill-considered projects". Do not, repeat, do not green light the following projects:

Schindler's List bloopers and bleepers

Blind, Retarded Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Bowel Movements With the Stars

Hollywood Gynecologists Tell All

Anything with Paris Hilton

Unearthing Mother Theresa

The Bangkok Club Med AIDS Challenge

Queer Factor

Closed Casket or No Closed Casket

America's Most Wanted - All Muslim Edition

LBW


This guy is a national treasure.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Stigmata sold separately

There was a time when Christmas toys were meant to be fun.
Toys for Tots has decided to accept a toymaker's gift of 4,000 bible-quoting Jesus dolls after all.

The program run by the Marine Corps Reserves had initially decided not to take the 12-inch tall religious figures from a California company because they didn't want to take a chance that the dolls would end up going to someone who might be offended by them.

Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., said Toys for Tots doesn't know anything about the religious affiliations of the children who receive its gifts.

"We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family," Grein said Tuesday. "Kids want a gift for the holiday season that is fun."

But a spokesman told CBS4 Wednesday they changed their minds and decided to accept the dolls from the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co.. Toys for Tots refused further comment.

According to the company's Web site, the button-activated, bearded Jesus doll recites scripture such as "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" and "Love your neighbor as yourself."
I wonder how he would get along with Muslim Barbie?

Happy Hiroshima Day!

It took three years and 245 days for Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman to win World War Two for the US. That's how much time transpired between Pearl Harbor and nuking Nagasaki.

It's been three years and 242 days since President Bush kicked off his little war in Iraq. So comparably, this is the day we drop the bomb on Hiroshima.

It took less time for a mobilized, well-led America to defeat the heavily-industrialized, highly motivated, united fascist Germany and Japan, than for President Bush to defeat a nation of third-world religious zealots armed with artillery shells and timers.

ht: The American Street

Bush's family planning director
opposes family planning

Oy vey!

Keroack, in case you haven't heard, is credited with the Scotch Tape® theory of human sexuality:
New scientific studies also suggest that if a woman has multiple sexual partners, this will lower her levels of oxytocin which in turn will damage her ability to bond. Oxytocin is a neuro-peptide most commonly associated with pregnancy and breast-feeding. It seems to act as a human "superglue," helping a mother bond with her infant. It is also released during sexual arousal and there, too, seems to work as a "superglue." Since estrogen enhances the oxytocin response, females are capable of more intense bonding than males, and are more susceptible to the suffering that accompanies broken bonds.vi According to an article by Drs. John Diggs and Eric Keroack, "People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual."

In more basic terms, sharing the gift of sex is like putting a piece of tape on another person's arm. The first bond is strong, and it hurts to remove it. Shift the tape to another person's arm and the bond will still work, but it will be easier to remove. Each time this is done, part of each person remains with the tape. Soon it is easy to remove because the residue from the various arms interferes with the tape's ability to stick. The same is true in relationships, where previous sexual experiences interfere with the ability to bond.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hysterical revisionism

Expect much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth when the Democratic controlled congress blocks President Bush's nomination of extremist judges. "That's not fair!" cries Mitch McConnell:
"We expect from them the same level of cooperation we extended to President Clinton. We decided he'd been elected president, and we were not entitled to deny him all of his judges." Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Hypocrisy), on the Hugh Hewitt show.

Fact checkin' time:
Rather than openly challenge President Clinton's nominees on the floor, Republicans decided to deny them Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Between 1996 and 2000, 20 of Bill Clinton's appeals-court nominees were denied hearings, including Elena Kagan, now dean of the Harvard Law School, and many other women and minorities. In 1999, Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch refused to hold hearings for almost six months on any of 16 circuit-court and 31 district-court nominations Clinton had sent up. Three appeals-court nominees who did manage to obtain a hearing in Clinton's second term were denied a committee vote, including Allen R. Snyder, a distinguished Washington lawyer, Clinton White House aide, and former Rehnquist law clerk, who drew lavish praise at his hearing -- but never got a committee vote. Some 45 district-court nominees were also denied hearings, and two more were afforded hearings but not a committee vote.

Even votes that did occur were often delayed for months and even years. In late 1999, New Hampshire Republican Bob Smith blocked a vote on 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Richard Paez for months by putting an anonymous hold on the nomination. When Majority Leader Trent Lott could no longer preserve the hold, Smith and 13 other Republicans tried to mount a filibuster against the vote, but cloture was voted and Paez easily confirmed. It had been over four years since his nomination.
Don't these people ever give up?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Memo from Omar

"And let's be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospects of a Dem-controlled Congress." - Fox News memo obtained by Huffington Post.


Wednesday Update

To: All martyrs of Islam in the occupied territories of the land between the rivers

From: Omar

Re: Democratic victory in US elections

Before I lay out our plans for the upcoming year, I just want to give a high five to the freedom fighters who kidnapped 50 Sunni apostates at the Ministry of Higher Education. Let's keep up the momentum! And focus. And don't forget to enter the Sword of Allah raffle for the steak knives and electric hummus grinder. But you have to kidnap to enter!

You've probably all heard the news that Allah has blessed the Democratic Party with a sweep of both houses of the US congress, forcing the infidel George Boosh to his filthy knees. While it is premature to expect any immediate gains from the blessed Day of the Donkey, we can be assured of several successes, including a hike in the minimum wage for our sleeper cell brothers toiling in the infidels' wretched fast food palaces. Hassan al Libbi el Abu Tikrit Luweluweye, aka "Mike", a soldier of Islam currently undercover as a sous chef at the Route 22 Denny's in Peoria, assures us the additional 22,000 dinars he will receive every hour will not dissuade him from his purpose - to kidnap the Marketing Communications Department staff at Bradley University.

And how about that Nancy Pelosi? I'd like to see her on a prayer rug, if you get my drift!

Have to go now. This memo will arrive by courrier in about six to ten weeks.

In Allah the Merciful's name,

Omar

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Business as usual?

Is anybody else getting a sinking feeling about Nancy Pelosi?

Yeah, that's what I thought.
It remains unclear who will become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take control of the U.S. Congress next year.

Media reports last week said that the senior-most Democrat on the panel, Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., will not get the top spot owing to personal differences with fellow California Democrat, the Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi.

But the next most senior Democrat on the committee, Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, was impeached and stripped of a federal judgeship in 1989 for soliciting a bribe -- despite his earlier acquittal of the same charges in a criminal case.

According to The Washington Post, in 1981 when Hastings discovered the FBI wanted to interview him, he left his hotel without checking out; headed not to the closest airport with the earliest flight, but to a nearby alternative; and engaged in a complex series of calls to his girlfriend, getting her to leave her home to call him from a payphone, then calling her back there from a third number.

"This is not the behavior of an innocent man," wrote Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who covered the impeachment.
If the Democrats blow this, I'm voting Green from now on.

Depends on the definition of "decrease"

More evidence that President Bush's anti-terror strategery isn't working out the way he planned. The number of terrorist groups that want to kill Americans is going up.
[F]our Palestinian armed factions issued a statement calling on mujahideen everywhere to attack American interests, in retaliation for what the Americans have done in Iraq and Palestine. The four groups are the Salahadeen group affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees; the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade; a group named after Ahmad Abu al-Reesh the Sword of Islam; and the Fatah Fighters, Unitary Brigades, or some such name. Al-Quds said the statement comes in response to the US veto of the UN resolution criticising Israel for the Beit Hanoun killings. The statement called on all free people of the world, and all the mujahideen of the Islamic ummah to "satiate the Americans with attacks..." adding that what the Americans have sown with their guns and their airplanes, this is what they should reap. Traditionally, there has been a very strong inclination on the part of the Palestinian resistance to keep their struggle strictly domestic. It is possible that as a result of Beit Hanoun and the US veto, something has snapped.
I'm sure Dear Leader has an excuse.

Happy Birthday Schwesterherz!


Actually, her birthday is tomorrow, but I'm a little light on the posting today.

Freedom marching news

Gunmen disguised as Iraqi security forces kidnap 100 or more scientists in Baghdad.

Shiite and Sunni militias have been targeting academics and scientists, and as a result thousands of highly educated Iraqis have fled the country. Soon Iraq will be a nation of Islamic dittoheads, if it isn't already.

Friday, November 10, 2006

This is your brain. This is your brain in denial.

"Our party does not suffer the affliction of being a boiling mad collection of fringe interests with notions so cockeyed that they ultimately rub each other raw and make average Americans cringe," Barton said. "Republicans will never be that." Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), flaming the Democrats, and by extension, the majority of US voters.

"All we're doing in Congress is giving Terri Schiavo an opportunity to come to the federal courts and review what this judge in Florida has been doing, and he's been trying to kill Terri for 4 1/2 years." Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Hoosegow) in full cringe mode.

Keep talking, Rush

It's been great fun watching Rush Limbaugh dig himself in deeper and deeper, trying to explain why he's been lying to his faithful dittoheads all these years.

A couple days ago, he said "I feel liberated" in regards to Tuesday's thumping, because now he can stop "carrying water" for the Republican Party. Andrew Sullivan, Josh Marshall, and numerous others piled on the comment, asking why Rush had been only pretending to support the President, and mislead his idiotic listeners. So the next day Limbaugh explained what he means by "I feel liberated". Apparently, flowers and chocolates have nothing to do with it:
I said, "I'm tired of carrying the water for people who don't deserve having their water carried," and from that, hell has broken loose. I was lying! I'm abandoning the GOP! I somehow admitted that I'm no longer going to read the White House talking points when I never, ever get the White House talking points. Some twerp on television last night said, "A-ha! See? The White House had this big meeting with conservative talk show hosts. They got in there and they got their marching orders and they went..." I wasn't invited to that! I wasn't invited because they knew I wouldn't go. I don't do group things, number one.
Ignoring the serious image burn of Rush in a "group thing", I'll say that Limbaugh is, has been, and always will be a liar. His entire schtick is a lie. He's a comedian, or more specifically a clown, dressed up as informed comment. That's the worst type of lie, especially so on radio. Steve Colbert comes close to Limbaugh territory, but he works on television so there are enough visual clues to let everyone in on the joke. Plus Colbert is lampooning O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and every other blowhard, left or right, and the cult of persoality that political commentary creates. Limbaugh only skewers himself. It's shared comedy conceipt, where we get to laugh at both the clown and his audience.

God bless you, Rush. Keep talking.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Real journalist dies

Ed Bradley, the long-time 60 Minutes reporter, died today in a New York City hospital from complications of leukemia. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; and other real American journalists including Walter Cronkite, and, uh, that's about it.

Bradley was 65, and the oldest man to have ever worn an ear ring and look damned good at the time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dubya's "Plan B"

President Bush must have taken a royal bitch slapping to fire his secretary of defense, one day after the Democrats seized the House and Senate. It was a stunning turnaround from the man who promised only last week that Rummy would be around for another two years.

But as Lance at Americablog says, nothing happens at the White House with Karl Rove's approval. Firing Rumsfeld was Rove's way of knocking the Democrats off the front page. The mainstream media, Rove's other bitch, will now switch from "Americans trust Democrats more" to "Bush charts new course for Iraq".
First off, nothing is done in the Rove-controlled White House except for the most brazen and obvious of political reasons. Rumsfeld resigned today so that his resignation would drive some of the election news off the front pages of the newspapers and so it would be the lead story on the TV news all day.

Second, I doubt that if the Republicans were sure they would be holding onto the Senate come January, Rumsfeld would have resigned now. But with the real possibility that the Democrats will be running the show come 2008, Rumsfeld had to get out of the way fast so that this Senate, this still Republican-controlled Senate, can gear up to quickly confirm his successor with a minimum of actual advise and consent.

And third, no matter how bad the guy leaving the job was, with the Bush Administration one thing’s certain—his successor will be worse.

By this point, the pool of competent, honest, decent people who are willing to go to work for George Bush must have evaporated to the point where if it’s even a puddle, it’s the kind of puddle you find on the hood of your car in the morning after a heavy dew, the thinnest of watery sheens.

And if there are a handful of competent, decent, honest men and women out there who are foolhardy enough to think that they can go into the White House and save George Bush from himself and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, you can be sure Dick Cheney and Karl Rove know who they are and have them on a list labeled DO NOT APPOINT!
I'm not quite that cynical. Robert Gates is a foreign policy realist who knew from 2002 onward that using military force to bring democracy to an Arab country was a foolish use of American blood and treasure. It's no coincidence that Gates sits on the Baker commission, which is charged with finding an honorable way out of Bush's War. It's Dubya's best fall back position: relying on his dad's pals to get him out of trouble.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Texans think "inside the box"

Houston voters re-elect a dead woman to congress.
Among the House races, Republican Rep. Glenda Dawson, who died in September, appeared on her way to a final win Tuesday, capturing 64 percent of the early vote.

Her name remained on the ballot in suburban Houston despite her death. If Dawson wins—a likely outcome in the conservative Pearland district—Perry will call for a special election to replace her.

Dawson’s campaign was criticized for sending out campaign mailers just before the election touting her record but not mentioning that she had died.
Hey, either that or vote for a Democrat.

Casey licks Santorum

Couldn't resist.
Pennsylvania voters handed the U.S. Senate's No. 3 Republican his first political defeat Tuesday, rejecting conservative stalwart Rick Santorum in favor of Democrat Bob Casey, the mild-mannered son of a former two-term governor.

Santorum, a strong voice for conservatives in Washington, had long been a polarizing figure in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania. Although admired for his blunt talk, he alienated voters with his harsh partisanship and his positions on an array of issues, from support of the Iraq war to his complaint that in too many households both parents work outside the home.

Casey's victory was based on a statistical analysis of the vote from voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

A disciplined Casey stuck to his I'm-not-Santorum message throughout his campaign, accusing the Republican senator of pursuing a rigid ideology that put him out of step with Pennsylvanians. A former two-term state auditor and now the state treasurer, Casey was seeking to become the first Democrat from Pennsylvania elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate since 1962.

Unable to gain ground on the front-runner, Santorum mounted ever harsher attacks against his Democratic opponent, in the end accusing him of "aiding and abetting terrorism and genocide" through state pension investments.

Santorum raised $25 million and Casey $15 million, making it the most expensive Senate race in Pennsylvania history.
How sweet it is!

Apocalypse watch

Britney Spears files for divorce from what's-his-name.

Dobson blames gay marriage.



Daniel Drezner sees a Republican plot.

Statute of Frauds applies to gays, says Crist

Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is for civil unions, such as buying a house on a land contract, or a small business partnerships. Hey, wait, you didn't really think he meant that kind of civil union!
After months of saying he supports civil unions between same-sex couples, Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has significantly narrowed the definition of what he means.

Asked Thursday whether his support for civil unions is consistent with his backing for a proposed anti-gay marriage amendment to the Florida Constitution, a campaign spokeswoman said Crist opposes state-approved civil unions.

“Charlie Crist … believes that private individuals may enter contractual relationships with each other; however, he does not support the state extending marital benefits to nontraditional couples,” Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac said in an e-mail to the Daily Business Review.
So what changed? Crist has been outed! And so, like any good Repubican, he resorts to bigotry. Too bad about Charlie. He's one of the more moderate voices in Florida GOP politics.

Alternative realities

Which of the following statements was not made during yesterday's yesterday's Rush Limbaugh - Tony Snow circle jerk:

Iraqis are more supportive of the war than Americans.

The Democratic party has lost the support of all white voters.

The Saddam Hussein trial was orderly.

Oxy-contin beats crystal meth any day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I give them three weeks, tops


"What I want you ladies to know is I love my husband Ted Haggard with all my heart. I am committed to him with all my heart." - Gayle Haggard, future Hannidate poster, speaking to 14,000 Republicans last Sunday.

Saddam as symbol

Of course the Bush administration released the Saddam Hussein war crimes verdict two days before the mid-term elections. No surprise there. The Bushies have been bending the Iraq to their own needs since day one. From Mission Accomplished to Last Throes to Bring it On, the Great Decider in Chief has viewed Iraq first as a political cudgel, and then as a place where real people die. And therein lies the reason the US is about to lose its second war in 40 years.

Iraq is really three countries: Shiite, Kurd and Sunni. Shiites are the majority, and a group with good reason to hate Saddam. They are thrilled that the Butcher of Baghdad will one day face the noose. The Kurds are strong, confident, pro-American, and safely tucked away in the north of Iraq. They hate Saddam, and would gladly spring the trap door. The Sunnis are a harder sell, though most will not be grieving when Saddam is sent to that special corner of Muslim hell where the couscous is rancid all the virgins look like Lynn Cheney.

But the timing of the announcement is not going down well in Iraq. Once again, Iraqis are made to dance to Bush's tune. Iraqi blogger Riverbend, who grows more and more dispirited, says
It’s not about the man- presidents come and go, governments come and go. It’s the frustration of feeling like the whole country and every single Iraqi inside and outside of Iraq is at the mercy of American politics. It is the rage of feeling like a mere chess piece to be moved back and forth at will. It is the aggravation of having a government so blind and uncaring about their peoples needs that they don’t even feel like it’s necessary to go through the motions or put up an act. And it's the deaths. The thousands of dead and dying, with Bush sitting there smirking and lying about progress and winning in a country where every single Iraqi outside of the Green Zone is losing.

Once again… The timing of all of this is impeccable- two days before congressional elections. And if you don’t see it, then I’m sorry, you’re stupid. Let’s see how many times Bush milks this as a ‘success’ in his coming speeches.
Winning hearts and minds, let alone the war, is so far from Bush's mind that it is, quite literally, criminal. This was never a war against terror - it was a war for Republican dominance. Look at Riverbend's quote one more time. Replace "Iraqi" with "American". Americans and Iraqis have shared the same fate for the last four years. It's just the Iraqis that have paid the price.

Don't forget to vote.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pastor Ted and the wild side

Found this posted as a comment on Thought Theatre:
Evangelical/charismatic Christianity lives within the tensions of a gender paradox that can rend people's inner selves assunder. On the social/physical level, homosexuality is condemned. But, taking the cue from old Catholic bridal mysticism, evangelicals are taught to erotically love the "passionate bridegroom-Jesus" who has "fire in his eyes."

To picture oneself as a bride, to enter the "King's chamber" and be "ravished by his love" is the highest spiritual goal in this religion. This all might be good and well for a heterosexual female, but what about males? How does a man imagine himself (herself?) as a bride of Christ? What does it mean when for a male to swoon for Jesus and cry out with anxious desire the words from Song of Solomon: "Oh, that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!"?

It means that although in his social and physical realm the Christian man denounces/renounces homosexuality, in the spiritual realm he has taken on the passive homosexual role in a gay marriage. "He" has become "she," a bride in the bridal chamber. Take the lines from that old Lou Reed song: "...shaved her legs and then he was a she; she says, Hey babe take a walk on the wild side..." Conservative evangelical males would be horrified at such a thought, yet this is EXACTLY what they do spiritually, when they image themselves as brides of Christ.

While human males are off limits in the church, divine males are deliciously enticing; God and angels are imaged as buffed, macho men. They are the rightful objects of spiritual desire and passion. See, for example, the huge scupture titled "Exalter" in the lobby of Ted Haggard's New Life Church. Physically, this angel looks like a weight lifter pumped up on steroids. His arms are raised in exaltation of the the ultimate Super Alpha Male; the exalted (post-resurrection) Christ. Ted Haggard's accuser, Mike Jones, is of similar appearance. He obviously works out quite regularly.

So, that which is forbidden physically is the same thing that entices one spiritually. The same "six-pack" abs and iron pecks that are off limits in the human realm, are the legitmate objects of spiritual desire when one imagines Jesus this way, as the heavenly bridegroom.

Today's evangelical/charismatic male may look fully masculine. He might even have a wife and kids. But when he goes into the "prayer closet," he becomes a she--transgendered into a fawning, cooing bride, seeking bliss in the arms of 'her' "bridegroom-Jesus." When 'she' emerges from the prayer closet, the man becomes a "he" again.

When one goes in and out of this closet so often, for so many years, and eventually the closet door revolves so quickly and efforlessly, is it any wonder that people can become badly disoriented as to their gender? If these allegations prove true, perhaps pastor Ted eventually became confused at times as to which side of the closet door he was on.
There are, of course, different types of love. The love you feel for a child is not the same that you feel for a spouse, for instance. The emotion of love can be considered separately from the physical act. And when the two go together, the act is only incidental to the emotion. Perhaps this is what evangelicals need to discuss, because their fixation on the physical act is really, really creepy,

Friday, November 03, 2006

Brutal

If you can read David Rose's interviews with prominent neo-cons without imagining rats jumping off a sinking ship, it's only because you're from some corner of the world where ships are plagued by hamsters or meerkats. At some point I'll get over my schadenfreude, and start trembling at the realization that the US is facing its worst foreign policy crisis since the Bay of Pigs, or the Cuban Missile Crisis. Until then, I'm in as much denial as the buffoons who brought us to this sorry state. Behold the words of Bush's former speech writer, David Frum:
"I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."
This is one of the kinder comments. Read the whole piece.

Oh no! We've lost Ahnold!

The Terminator says the US needs to set a timetable for leaving Iraq:
In an interview yesterday with a CBS affiliate in San Francisco, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) said, “I think that we should get out of [Iraq] as quickly as we can.” The governor also called for “a deadline of when we pull the troops out.”

When asked what he thought of Bush’s opposition to a deadline, Schwarzenegger said, “I think that eventually he will have to put a deadline on there. I think the American people will demand it.”
Hasta la vista, GOP!

Rove answers Batergate 2.0

OK, Karl has been silent on the good Reverend Ted so far, but you can bet he's mulling over the Republican response. How to shift the attention away from the lying hypocrite who speaks for "the base", and point the finger back at the Democrats? Solution: call Democrats "gay bashers". Bush himself can't utter the phrase, because it includes the word "gay", the word that dare not speak its name. But the great Republican noise machine will sound like an ACT UP drum circle for the next four days, calling Democrats hypocrites for destroying Haggard's reputation over a legal act. I mean c'mon, it's not like Ted Haggard married the guy!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Batergate 2.0

Hey that's not fair! The Republicans aren't through expressing mock indignation over John Kerry's botched joke, and now a prominent evangelical has been exposed for a three-year long affair with a gay hooker? Oh man, what a buzzkill.

And it's not your run-of-the-mill, snake-handling, bad haircut in a cheap suit we're talking about. This is Pastor Ted Haggard (that's star-5 on Bush's cell phone), arguably the most powerful holy roller in Colorado Springs, and the President of the National Association of Evangelicals. A Colorado TV station has known about Pastor Ted for two months, since the male hooker contacted them with the story. So presumably, the station has more to go on than the word of a himbo.

Please God, let there be DNA evidence.

Pastor Ted was the subject of a lengthy piece (ow, bad choice of words) in Harper's Magazine last spring. Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, 14,000 Republican voters strong. Will Pastor Ted's indiscretions keep some of them at home?

I can't wait for Tuesday.

In all honesty, I think we all know how this one will play out. The Republicans will first claim this is a Democratic smear job, with exhibit number one being the timing of the news. Then we'll learn that there's evidence of the affair. Other's may step forward to say they've also kneeled with Pastor Ted. Then Ted will go into seclusion, followed by a tearful confession on the 700 Club. There will be Pastor Ted jokes (got to get to work on those right away), and the Evangelical community will show its indignation with more barking about the great homosexual agenda for America.

Hope I didn't ruin the ending.

Thought Theatre
has some fresh thoughts on Haggard, and the issue of faith and politics.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

That was, like, so six years ago

The Decider in Chief dropped by the Oxy Moron show today, and said this:
RUSH: Well, you have maintained optimism throughout. Many people, I guess -- in the opposition press, the opposition party -- are incredulous that you are optimistic about the outcome next Tuesday. Why is that? Why are you optimistic? What do you know that they don't?

THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I fully understand that here in Washington people are trying to proclaim the election over with, but I've had that experience before. That's what happened in 2004, and it's what happened in 2002.
He probably doesn't want to talk about 2000.

He also said this:
RUSH: When you go out on the campaign trail or when you're in your private moments, do you think of the consequences of governing with a Democrat majority in either the House or the Senate when it comes to things like tax cuts and the war on terror?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I really don't think about the idea of having a Democrat-led House and Senate because I don't think it's going to happen.
Bush also didn't think the Iraqi insurgency would happen, so he didn't spend much time thinking about that either. That's the cool thing about hearing God's voice - there's no point in planning for the unexpected when the outcome is preordained.

Last throes

Did Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki just hand George Bush a reason to "cut and run"?
American soldiers rolled up their barbed-wire barricades and lifted a near siege of the largest Shiite Muslim enclave in Baghdad on Tuesday, heeding the orders of a Shiite-led Iraqi government whose assertion of sovereignty had Shiites celebrating in the streets.

The order by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to lift the week-old blockade of Sadr City was one of the most overt expressions of self-determination by Iraqi leaders in the 3 1/2 -year-old U.S. occupation. It followed two weeks of increasingly pointed exchanges between Iraqi and U.S. officials, as well as a video conference between Maliki and President Bush on Saturday.
The prime minister of Iraq is playing a dangerous game. On one hand, he admits that his country will slide into anarchy 2.0 if US troops leave. On the other hand, he objects to an imposed sense of urgency in quelling the violence that is keeping US troops in his country. Now Maliki is telling US troops they can't set up checkpoints to find a kidnapped US soldier, and US generals acquiesce.

The US military has ceded control to the prime minister of Iraq. Where is the right's outrage? Why is it easier to get worked up over Kerry's botched joke than foreign command of US troops? Malaki is obviously in bed with the same Shiite militias that are killing troops, and all Limbaugh can talk about is Michael J. Fox?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Backbone

Where was this John Kerry in 2004?
Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”
It's a start.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Canaries in the coal mine

For a real taste of what ails the Republican party these days, look at the comments left on conservative, pro-war blogs, like John Cole's:
Hey, now. I’m as righteously angry as any misanthrope who posts on this Godforsaken website. But I’m not a Democrat yet, and I won’t be signing up as one any time soon.

I’m a Republican, whose parents knocked on doors for AuH2O in 1964; whose grandparents cast lonely votes for Willkie. I even voted for W in 2000.

Man, was that a mistake. Something has happened to my party, and a bitter rod of chastisement is well and truly overdue. So I have voted straight (D) for the first time in my life. (I live in Oregon and have already voted by mail.)

The biggest problems for me are the rise of the neocons, and the reliance of the GOP on the Old Confederacy to win elections. The Old Confederacy vote is why the anti-science stuff has such pull nowadays. The fact that it (used to) might rein in votes from Montana to Pennsylvania didn’t hurt.

Right now, I am white-hot with rage at the horrific course the GOP has charted for my Republic. Politically, I fall somewhere between Pat Buchanan and Russ Feingold.

And I’d lay you decent odds that a majority of John Cole’s commentariat is made up not of Leftists™, but of disaffected moderates and mainstream Republicans left in the cold by the wild-eyed neoConfederate wingnuts who control (for now, God willing) the GOP.
Democrats can capitalize on this fresh wave of disaffection by stressing fiscal discipline, evidence-based science, and governmental transparency.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday blog roundup

Legal Fiction: "If elections really can be decided on the basis of the drooling, second-grade-reading-level ads we’ve seen, then we’ve got serious problems."

Dan Drezner: "If Bush acknowledges that "stay the course" is no longer a statisfying status quo, he's acknowledging that the Republican position for the past few years has not worked out too well. If that's the case, then Republicans are forced to offer alternatives with benchmarks or timetables or whatever. The administration has had these plans before, but politically, it looks like the GOP is gravitating towards the Democratic position rather than vice versa."

Donkey Rising: "Even if he loses the TN Senate race by a small margin, he has accomplished something important in demonstrating that African American Democrats can be highly competitive in state-wide races in the south. The critical lesson for Dems is that there is a lot to be gained from putting more resources into developing Black candidates in the south."

Glenn Greenwald: "Once corporate-owned networks start selecting which politically-tinged ads are "too controversial" and which ones are not, it is inevitable that messages which please the political leadership which regulates those corporations will be allowed, while messages that displease those political leaders will be rejected. That is plainly what is happening."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rush to judgement

BigBlueSpoon makes a case for Rush Limbaugh. She might have a point:
“Limbaugh is that rare individual that is so repugnant, and so obviously opposed to the principles that are the essential traits of Peace Prize laureates, that in some very real sense he helps to drive humanity toward progress, almost like a socio-cultural vaccine derived from a virus representing the worst of our species.”
Limbaugh's latest chucklefest, making fun of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson disease, might be a hit with his knuckledragging dittoheads, but I doubt it's going over well with his sponsors.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Somebody didn't get the memo

Laura Bush, speaking to several hundred supporters today in Rochester, Minn.: "...the U.S. liberated Iraqis from Saddam Hussein, and they're now building a democracy."

Stop the presses: Bush blames the media

From President's Bush news conference:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush said Wednesday that media reports from Iraq are distorting the actual situation in the country.

Bush told a White House news conference most of the country is relatively peaceful where farmers are farming, businessmen are doing business and the currency is stable. But by looking at news reports, he said, no one would know that.

Bush cited statements by U.S. Army Gen. George Casey, indicating that 90 percent of the violence in Iraq is occurring in five of the countries 18 provinces and within a 30-mile area of Baghdad.

"It's a brutal environment there, particularly what's on our TV screens," Bush said. "There's a lot of work to be done -- don't get me wrong. But there are people living relatively normal lives," Bush said.
I guess he has a point. After all, most of George W. Bush works well. The problem is confined to a relatively small area between his ears.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Now can we stop taking David Brooks seriously?

What is David Brooks trying to hide?

The New York Times columnist and everybody's favorite Sunday morning conservative recently wrote this about Andrew Sullivan's latest book:
"When a writer uses quotations from Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and the Left Behind series to capture the religious and political currents in modern America, then I know I can put that piece of writing down because the author either doesn't know what he is talking about or is arguing in bad faith."
Brooks was objecting to Sullivan's critique of modern day conservatism in The Conservative Soul, a book that Sullivan pushes with the zeal of an aluminum siding salesman. If Brooks truly believes that theocratic nut jobs haven't defined today's Republican party, then he is in as deep a denial about the GOP as Bush is in about Iraq. But it wasn't always that way. Here's what Brooks wrote about the religious right's influence on US political culture five years ago:
"We in the coastal metro Blue areas read more books and attend more plays than the people in the Red heartland. We're more sophisticated and cosmopolitan - just ask us about our alumni trips to China or Provence, or our interest in Buddhism. But don't ask us, please, what life in Red America is like. We don't know. We don't know who Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins are, even though the novels they have co-written have sold about 40 million copies over the past few years. We don't know what James Dobson says on his radio program, which is listened to by millions."
So what's changed since 2001?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Water bored

Bill O'Reilly pulls his head out of President Bush's arse, sees the shadow of a lie, then asks a tough question:
O'REILLY: Now Brian Ross of ABC said — reported the CIA water boarded Mohammed. That is dunked him in water, tied him down and then that broke him. Is that true?

BUSH: We don't talk about techniques. And the reason we don't talk about techniques is because we don't want the enemy to be able to adjust. We're in a war.

O'REILLY: Is water boarding torture?

BUSH: I don't want to talk about techniques. And — but I do share the American people that we were within the law. And we don't torture. We — I've said all along to the American people we won't torture, but we need to be in a position where we can interrogate these people.

O'REILLY: But if the public doesn't know what torture is or is not, as defined by the Bush administration, how can the public make a decision on whether your policy is right or wrong?

BUSH: Well, one thing is that you can rest assured we're not going to talk about the techniques we use in a public forum. No matter how hard you try because I don't want the enemy to be able to adjust their tactics if we capture them on the battlefield.
I wish real journalists would ask this question. It will take more than one or two tries to get it right, and some in the public might get bored with the topic, but those are the same folks who need fresh porn every five minutes.

Nailing Bush on his "torture problem" will take some planning. So far, his big excuse not to answer is "We don't want to give our techniques away," as if the bad guys don't have access to the 10 million websites that have named waterboarding as the CIA's malaise du jour. So ask Bush what techniques the CIA won't use.
HERALDBLOG: Mr. President, we know you won't talk about the techniques the US Government will use to question terrorists, but can you at least tell us what techniques you won't use. For example, can al Qaeda suspects expect to have hot needles shoved under their fingernails?

BUSH: Our techniques are within the law. Hot needles? Haven't heard of that one (heh heh).

HERALDBLOG: How about being thrown into a pit full of spiders and snakes? Naked?

BUSH: Doesn't sound effective. Snakes eat spiders. Seen it on my ranch.

HERALDBLOG: Well let's talk about degrading treatment. Would you sanction forcing a detainee to wallow in a large hamper full of used sumo thongs, while listening to Muskrat Love by the Captain and Tenille?

BUSH: Saw a sumo match once. Ugly thing. No, I don't believe we would use that method, but I can't rule it out.
Hey, can't hurt. The Geneva Convention says nothing about degrading treatment of renegade Presidents, and even if it did, the word "degrading" is kind of hazy, doncha think?

The Eyes Have It

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Delusional), proves that Republicans really are stronger on defense issues than Democrats:
Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the "Eye of Mordor" has instead been drawn to Iraq.

Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic, "Lord of the Rings," to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.

"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else," Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

"It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.," he continued. "You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."
Santorum also said that North Koreans are like the giant bugs in Starship Troopers, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is like the Wicked Witch of the West.

The good news is Santorum trails his Democratic opponent by 13 points.

Friday, October 13, 2006

From the Karl Rove school of good sportsmanship

Which sucks more, being disgraced Republican Congressman Mark Foley, or this guy?
UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A youth baseball coach convicted of trying to pay a child to bean an autistic teammate so he couldn't play was sentenced Thursday to one to six years in prison.

Mark R. Downs Jr., 29, was convicted by a jury in September of corruption of minors and criminal solicitation to commit simple assault.

Authorities said Downs offered to pay the 8-year-old player $25 to hit the 9-year-old mildly autistic teammate with a ball during warmups for a June 2005 playoff game.

The younger boy testified at trial that, on Downs' instructions, he purposely threw a ball that hit his teammate in the groin, then threw another ball that hit him in the ear. The 9-year-old was bruised on the ear.
(Insert getting-hit-by-balls-in -prison joke here).

Faith based surprise

So far, the only criticisms coming from the White House regarding the Johns Hopkins estimate of Iraqi war dead can be summed up as "That's a really big number, therefore it can't be true!" General Casey's criticism is only slightly more well-informed: "I haven't heard that number yet, so I doubt it is true."

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with skepticism, especially when a study comes along that challenges so many pre-existing beliefs. When confronted with the 650,000 deaths estimated by Johns Hopkins, our natural defense mechanisms tell us it can only be an outlier, a statiscal glitch on Satan's spreadsheet.

The best skepticism is informed skepticism. President Bush does not have the knowledge of statistics or sampling necessary to launch an informed criticism of the Johns Hopkins study. So he appeals to emotion, or the authority of those as scientifically ignorant as he. At yesterday's Rose Garden press Q&A, Bush harumphed something about faulty methodology, then followed with the customary regret that his elective war resulted in the deaths any innocent persons. From one so at war with science and fact-based decision making, Bush's explanation rings particularly hollow. Here's Billmon's take:
Well of course Bible Boy doesn't think it's credible. After all, what do Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet know about faith-based epidemiology? Nothing. They're just a bunch of doctors. Now if the study had been conducted by a committee of evangelical chiropractors from Oral Roberts University, that would be different.
The Johns Hopkins researchers used cluster sampling to arrive at a range of numbers, of which 650,000 is the median figure. Cluster sampling has been used for decades to sample large populations. If the methodology is wrong, then that would come as a shock to just about every insurance company on the planet, not to mention the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and the CIA. As usual, Majikthise does a great job of explaining a technical subject.

But don't wait for President Bush to hold forth anytime soon on cluster sampling, chi squares and regression to the mean. The Johns Hopkins study is just one more annoying little speed bump in the administration's road trip to glory. The only thing that will slow it down is a Democratic majority in the House and/or Senate.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stone cold journalist

I just came across this book review on Amazon.com, as a I contemplated spending $17.05 on Bob Woodward's latest book, State of Denial. The review is by Rita Hill, who has some great things to says about the 24-hour news industry:
If you have ever seen Waboutoodward in a televised interview, he writes with the same tone he speaks with. His writing style lends itself to communicating facts and ideas- but not much else. This book is not entertaining, there are no "Ann Coulter" moments. Nowhere is night skiing or steaks on the electric grill mentioned.

What it does do is outline a pattern of events vetted against multiple sources which outline the state of affairs in the White House, Iraq, and sometimes the international community. It does not so much criticise the administration directly, but rather reports events and lets the reader decide.

It is essentially a 500 page newspaper article which is not commentary, not partisan, and absolutely not the writing of a pundit.

Why read it?

Regardless of my opinions of the content of this book, it might be important for someone to point out why one would read a book by Woodward and give it any credence or weight.

Bob Woodward was one of the journalists involved in exposing Richard Nixon's transgressions as president. His partner in this was Carl Bernstein. They wrote for the Washington Post.

Their series of articles in the 1970's led to the indictment of 40 white house officials, and ultimately the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Why would I remind you of this?

There is far too much "opinion" reporting in the press these days because many news outlets report news 24 hours a day. To fill that time, the traditional back page editorial found in a traditional newspaper now is multiplied many times through debate and political speech as "entertainment". Entertainment isn't a good way to be informed.

Woodward will not entertain you.

That being the case- please avail yourself of his reporting. And alternatively, also read some of the other political authorship by the many pundits and commentators out there.

Then make up your own mind.

In a country where Ann Coulter will probably outsell Bob Woodward on a book to book basis, you owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible. That means reading viewpoints you do not agree with, and letting those viewpoints challenge your own.

Woodward is a stone cold journalist.
Not much I can add to that right now.

Upon this rock I stamp my tiny little feet

George W. Bush: A Life in Pictures

From The Onion, of course.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

License to shrill

I'm listening to President Bush's press conference right now. Yikes, the stakes certainly are high, as Dear Leader likes to say. We have an incompetent buffoon in the White House who looks like he's about to go into psychological meltdown.

This is not firm, steady leadership on display. It's the opposite. Bush reminds me of a criminal suspect in a cheesy film noir drama, squirming under a bright light while smug detectives ask tough questions. So he lies. He tells us the Democrats don't want to interrogate terrorists. He says he doesn't question his critics' patriotism. He says his critics will wait until another 9/11 to take action.

He said that if we don't succeed in Iraq, then the enemy is coming after us. He delivered the news like a bad punchline, with his trademark sweep of the hands. We have nothing to fear of absence of fear itself.

It's easy for a glibster like myself to say the real enemy was standing in the rose garden, but that misses the point of the danger our country, and the world, currently faces. No, Bush is not the enemy. But he is a huge part of the problem. There has always been war, always been bad guys who want to hurt us. We've dealt with external threats through a combination of diplomacy, hard and soft power, and foreign policy realism that tells us that we have to deal with the world as we find it. Bush has abandoned what has worked, imperfect as the old framework was, and replaced it with something far more distressing - an illusion of certainty. He tells us that American style Democracy can be planted in a Middle East country, like our flag on the Moon, and create a bulwark against terrorism. There is no good reason to believe this, and after 3 1/2 years of trying, it doesn't seem to be working.

The money quote “I am amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.” President Clueless at today's press conference. You can see the video at Think Progress.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Humor in the Military

Go read the Marine officer's letter home that's making the rounds of the generals' in-boxes, and finally into the pages of Time Magazine. It is sad, funny, outrageous and poignant, just like every war. Here's my fave quote:
Best Chuck Norris Moment — 13 May. Bad Guys arrived at the government center in a small town to kidnap the mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs. There were seven of them. As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the Bad Guys put down his machine gun so that he could tie the mayor's hands. The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machine gun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away. One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list. Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.
Update Kevin Drum reports that the Marine Corp officer is Col. Pete Devlin, the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq.

Sunday morning rock and roll


John Lennon singing one of my favorite Beatles tunes, with back up from Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Mitch Mitchell. If that isn't enough, Lennon shares his sushi with Mick Jagger. And what's with all the raincoats?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Batergate

I know us Dems are suppose to be all giddy over the lastest Republican scandal, in which the House leadership looked away while one of their own was e-spanking it with 16-year-old pages. But with the Schadenfreude so thick you can cut it with ein Taschemesser, it's easy to overlook the obvious: except for Foley's seat in Palm Beach, Batergate will not hurt Republicans. And until Denny Hastert oils up with Barney Frank on the House floor, there is no sex scandal that will hurt the GOP.

Why? Because too many Americans are convinced that Democrats are the party of pornography and abortion and sex education and homos. Republicans are the brave Christians who are fighting to protect us from the real predators among us: the elites who say that morality can't be legislated. If Foley was really text messaging lurid comments to teenage boys, it's only because liberals created a culture in while that type of thing can happen.

Yes, I am that cynical.

That didn't take long. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is blaming society for Rep. Foley (as opposed to the House leadership).

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

False choices from a false leader

President Bush's deceptions are reaching Katrina-like proportions, as hot air rising from panicked Republicans rotates on its own axis of evil. Now he is chastising Democrats for using intelligence estimates for partisan purposes to end a war.
"The Democrats can't have it both ways. Either they believe that Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror or they agree with the intelligence community and the terrorist themselves that the outcome in Iraq is important to the War on Terror. Truth is the Democrats used the NIE to mislead the American people and justify their policy to withdraw from Iraq," he said.
Let's be clear about this: It is possible, even realistic, to see the Iraq war as a distraction, and as an unnecessary front in Bush's war on terror. Bush used 9/11 for partisan purposes, attacked a country that had nothing to do with al Qaeda, thus creating more animosity toward the US than existed before 9/11. At least that's what 16 different US intelligence agencies are saying in the report that Bush tried, but failed, to suppress.

Like most of Bush's lies, this one carries a smidgeon of truth. The Democrats have failed, during years years of failed Republican policy, to deliver their own coherent plan for Iraq. One on hand, you have Hillary Clinton and other "liberal hawks" calling for more troops, more commitment, more blood. On the other, you have the John Murtha wing, backed by numerous retired generals and intelligence analysts and even conservative voices, calling for withdrawal.

It's harder for the party not in power to put up a united front. There is no clear leader of the opposition party, as have the Republicans in Bush. The Republicans can continue to fragment, as they have, but Bush's mewling still counts are the party line. As weak as Bush is, he is still perceived as stronger than the party not in power.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lost in translation

Is Osama dead? A French newspaper, citing a Saudi source, said Bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last summer. A Saudi intelligence source, obviously speaking in Arabic, told United Press International: "We are not saying he is dead, but there is a lot of truth in the report."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You in a heap o' trouble, Jew boy

Sen. George Allen isn't really a southerner, but he plays one on C-Span. His schtick, honed during his California high school days, is more Hollywood than Heartland, part Jethro Bodine, part aggrieved Christianist. During a recent meet-the- candidates event, Senator Macaca faked indignation when a panelist asked him about his reported Jewish ancestry. "Why is that relevant? My religion, your religion, or the religious beliefs of anyone other there?" Allen asked to applause. Then he launched into his focus-group tested, Jesusland stump speech, ending with "and another thing is preserving our foundational values, and one of those values is freedom of religion, without making aspersions about people because of their religious beliefs."

In Allen's America, there is only one thing worse than calling a dark-skinned person macaca, and that's calling a light-skinned person Jewish. Senator Allen is not a bright man. When he explains later that he didn't know what "aspersions" meant, people will believe him.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RamPo in La-La Land

Ramesh Ponnuru is still in denial:
The effects of victory on the Democrats may also be helpful to Republicans. Powerlessness has stoked Democrats’ rage. If the party wins the House, its left-leaning “net-roots” may grow more enraged still, because the Democrats would then have the illusion of power without its reality. Even under their most optimistic calculations, they would have the smallest Democratic majority since 1957 — and they will have to deal with a Republican president and (probably) Senate.

House Democrats could initiate countless investigations of the administration and schedule votes to make Republicans look bad. But they could not do much to affect either the conduct of foreign policy or the composition of the courts, which are the areas where their most fervent supporters most desperately want influence. If the Democrats try to appease their base by impeaching the president, they will probably increase President Bush’s poll numbers, much as Republicans once improved President Bill Clinton’s.

RamPo is getting ahead of himself, and the constitution. In order for there to be an impeachment, there first has to be an investigation, something the Republican House has avoided so far. But that lack of accountability is about to come to an end, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Simple Request



The sign on the right reads "Free to offend. Please don't behead me."

- Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan

Monday, September 11, 2006

Clarke Attacks ABC

President Clinton's go-to guy for killing terrorists, Richard Clarke, on ABC's crapumentary The Road to 9/11:
From the President, to all of his White House team, and NSC Principals (Lake, Berger, Albright, Tenet, Reno) there was a common fixation with terrorism, al qaeda, and bin Ladin. The President approved every counter-terrorism operation presented to him, including many that CIA proved unable or unwilling to implement. He increased counter-terrorism spending by 400% and initiated the first homeland security program in forty years. Even though the US had taken relatively few casualties from al qaeda at the time, the President repeatedly authorized the use of lethal force against bin Ladin and his deputies and personally requested the US military to develop plans for "commando operations" against them. Even though he knew the timing of an attack aimed at killing bin Ladin would be labeled by critics as a political diversion, Clinton decided to follow the advice of his national security team and pay the price politically.
Clarke is a news consultant for ABC. I'm hopeful that the network's boneheaded decision will prompt a housecleaning there in the near future. ABC and Disney have alienated millions of Americans, in an industry built on trust and goodwill. What were they thinking?

Happy Great Divider Day

I don't expect perfection from anyone or anything, nor do I believe that perfection should be the enemy of the good. So I can forgive President Bush for most of his misteps. But no one should forgive, or forget that Bush willingly broke his 2000 campaign promise to be a uniter, not a divider. It's the big lie, grand enough to make Goebbels blush, and petty enough to escape notice, that has brought America to the sorry state it is in today.

Instead of uniting Americans, left and right, around 9/11, Bush used it for bald political purposes. Rather than work for international consensus, he dealt with Iraq unilaterally. Rather than upholding the constitution, he edits the inconvenientparts, much to the delight of his obsequious base.

Today, on this fifth anniversary of the attacks, two 9/11s fight for the soul of America. There is the actual day when Americans of all persuasions united with a sense of purpose. Even the French were American. So were the British, whose Buckingham Palace band struck up the Star Spangled Banner. Iranian youth lit candles and prayed, while impotent religious police glowered nearby.

It was a truly global event, kind of like the Olympics, but more spiritual and without the closing ceremony. Until President Bush, flight helmet in hand, strutted across the field of honor to extinguish the flame. The prize was too great. Carpe diem, carpo bellum.

The shared experience and all that it has taught us is gone now, says Publius:
The loss, the heroism, everything — it has all been replaced by the second 9/11. And the second 9/11 is not the day, but the concept of the day. And more precisely, it is the concept that has been tailored and mangled to fit the needs of the Republican Party. This cheap imitation of the day has been dressed up and whored out to justify Iraq, to justify torture, and to justify a political and policy agenda that has destroyed tens of thousand lives and made us reviled throughout the world.

And those are the reasons why I (like many liberals I suspect) have been annoyed with the 9/11 remembrances. We feel like we have to go along, but inside we resent the anniversary and want it to be over. Inside we’re coming to hate the day. But we shouldn’t. That’s because it’s not the day we hate, it’s the second 9/11. It’s the Frankenstein-like creation that Bush and Cheney and Rove created for political reasons.
So today we have two 9/11s: one to remember what was, and what could have been; and one to to behold the monuments, reflected in the eyes of the Great Divider.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Road to Cultural Illiteracy

Democrats are right to push back against the Disney/ABC mockumentary, The Road to 9/11, to be shown Sunday and Monday nights. It's obviously a set-up, a four hour infomercial for Karl Rove's War on Terror. And what the hell was Scholastic thinking when it sent out companion workbooks to 25,000 teachers? The whole thing doesn't pass the smell test.

But Democrats are way overplaying their hand when they call for ABC to pull the show altogether. It's more politically advantageous for the show to go on, without charges of censorship, and with ABC's promised edits. ABC is obviously embarrassed by the publicity, and has all but confessed to turning the fiery deaths of 3,000 Americans into a four-bucket popcorn fest.

Have they no shame?

It really takes some historical perspective to put this sham in the proper light. President Bush tells us that his stupid War on Terror wil be vindicated in time. Well, how much time does it take to turn a national heartache like 9/11 into entertainment? It's only been five years since the towers fell. It took longer than that for the first decent Pearl Harbor joke*. Are there even any historical equivalents for ABC's mini-series?

The Road to Dealy Plaza
first shown Nov. 22, 1968

Scene: Lincoln Bedroom of White House. Marilyn Monroe, in her see-through nightie, primps in a mirror.

Kennedy: Now let me get this straight. Your cousin Harvey will sign up 50,000 illegal Mexican immigrants to vote for me in the Texas primary?

Monroe: Silly John John. His name is Lee. Harvey's his middle name.

Kennedy: Yeah, whatever baby. So tell me about these Mexicans. Can they read English?

Monroe: Not yet. But Lee has access to a whole schoolbook warehouse, and he says he'll pass out free lesson books to all of your (giggle) constituents.

Kennedy (skeptically): What do I have to do?

Monroe: Not much. Just go to Dallas, and meet cousin Lee at work. He'll be waiting for you in the park across the street, near the man with an umbrella.

And scene...

________________________________________________________________


*Why was Dec. 7, 1941, such a chilly day? Because there was a little nip in the air.

Moving Day

It seems to be fashionable for bloggers to complain about their web hosts. This makes me cringe just a little, because most blog hosting is free, so we're basically complaining about crappy free service. I started Heraldblog in March, 2004, and continued more or less continually up to a month ago, when my crappy blog host, 20six, changed its platform. Now, thanks to the miracle of windows based architecture, 20Six is no longer Mac friendly.

So here I am.